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Category: Schedule

3k Time Trial Results 10th May 2018

Posted on May 11th, 2018 by

Great job to all those who attended yesterday’s track session, which saw the first of three 3k Time Trials on the track this summer.

Results are below, be sure to come along to the next time trial in June to track your progress!:

Name 10th May
Chris Zair* 10:39
George Viner 11:01
Stephen Nash 11:02
Vincent Guillaume 11:11
David Thorne 11:18
John Paul Hipkin 11:27
Danny Berry 11:32
Lauren Longhurst 11:33
Liv Hawe 11:59
Yoel Marson 12:12
Claire Baudouin 12:28
Alex Renton 12:34
Rebecca Bryant 12:56
Sarah Funderburk 13:12
Eamon Byrne 13:49
Lauren Hall 13:58
Michele Griffiths 14:30
Jenny Moore 15:30
Dylan Tomlinson 15:31
Ciara McManus 15:54
Stephen West 16:24
Sarah Hayward 16:40

*recorded pre-session, proof on Strava!


Why I’m not telling you how fast to run the Parkrun

Posted on January 6th, 2018 by

If you’re following our training schedules and have said you’d like to run the Saturday sessions, you will see there are a lot of parkruns in the schedule. Some of them are marked as “hard” which means you should race* them properly, but how fast should you run the rest of them? The answer is: it’s up to you!

When there’s a parkrun in the schedule it’s your job to listen to your body and decide how hard to take it. Most of the time you should be taking them fairly easy, running them at your 10 mile race pace or slower rather than your 5k pace. But every now and again, you might want to test your fitness and see what you can do. Just don’t do this every week or immediately before big races. However, if you’re running a parkrun in the rain during a flu epidemic and suddenly realise you have a chance of winning* the damn thing, then don’t look a gift horse in the mouth: it may never happen again.

So why don’t I tell you what to do?

A typical running schedule tells you exactly what to do for every session, but in reality you have to see a schedule as a guide to what to do rather than follow it to the letter. One danger with giving an athlete a schedule is that they can become completely passive and just do what they are told without applying their brain. But to get the most from a schedule you need to interact with it and make some decisions of your own about when to push yourself and when to back off.

Here are some points to remember. They apply to every training session, not just the parkruns.

  • If you are ill, don’t run. If you’ve got a cold, you will recover from it faster if you stop running. If you keep doing hard sessions, you can easily drag a cold out for weeks.
  • If you are feeling tired, take it easy. Most of us have got tiring jobs and long commutes, so you can’t push yourself as hard as an elite athlete would do. Your muscles only develop when you’re resting between training sessions, not when you’re training, so rest time is key to improvement.
  • If you miss some sessions, don’t try to catch up by doing them later. Just let them go. It is assumed when writing a schedule that you will miss some of the sessions, practically everyone will have to take a little bit of time out due to colds if they are training during the winter. So the schedule will still work if you don’t do all the sessions.
  • If you are injured, don’t run unless you have received medical advice that this will not exacerbate your injury. You are playing a long game: it doesn’t matter if you have to pull out of some training or miss a target race; it matters a great deal if you pick up a chronic injury that stops you running.
  • Don’t go to our track sessions with an injury.

It is a skill to adapt a schedule around your life and your fitness, but it is a skill that you are going to have to master to get the most out of yourself. I want you to learn that skill.

That is why I haven’t told you how fast to run every parkrun. And, of course, it should go without saying that you don’t have to run a parkrun at all! You can skip the session entirely if you’re not in the mood, or do a similar 5k session of your own later in the day. And if you like to get your long run over with on a Saturday because you have other godly or ungodly matters to attend to on a Sunday morning, by all means do your long run on a Saturday.

It’s your schedule. Adapt it to your needs.

Pedants’ Korner

*A parkrun is not a race so you cannot race a parkrun. A parkrun is not a race so you cannot win a parkrun.


Running Interval Notation

Posted on January 4th, 2018 by

How can you understand the Thursday sessions described in our training schedules? Most of our Thursday sessions are what is called “interval sessions”. In an interval session you alternate fast running with rest or jogging, but to describe the session in full you need to know how many intervals to do, how long they should be, how fast to run them and how long to rest. That’s quite a bit of information to get across.

Believe it or not there is an international standard for describing running interval training sessions, and that’s pretty much what we use in our schedules. The official notation was adopted as a standard by the IAAF in 1997, but we’ve made a few tiny tweaks from the standard to make it easier to read for novices.

The basic format is:

reps x distance (pace) [rest/recovery].

For example we might specify that you run:

4 x 1600m (10k) [1min].

That would mean that you run 1600m at your 10k race pace then rest for a minute. This is repeated 4 times.

A more complex session might be:

1600m (10m) [3min] 4 x {400m (1m) [2min]} 1600m (10m).

This means that you first run 1600m at your 10 mile race pace, then do 4 sets of 400m at your 1 mile race pace with 2 minutes rest between each 400m, then finish off the session with another 1600m at your 10 mile race pace.

That’s the notation we use for the main part of our schedule, but for the sessions for the current week we go to the trouble of calculating how long each interval should take you. This depends upon how you’ve customized the schedule. For example, if you’re hoping for a 3:30 marathon, for the complex session described above it would say

1600m (10m pace=7’31”) [3min] 4 x {400m (1m pace=1’38”) [2min]} 1600m (10m=7’31).

This means that the first 1600m rep should be done in 7 minutes and 31 seconds.

For Geeks and Pedants

You might be wondering what the official notation is. The official notation for the session above is:

1600 (7’31”) [3′] 4 x {400 (1’38”) [2′]} 1600m (7’31”)

What are the differences?

  • The distances are always in metres so the “m” can be dropped. Our notation uses m for metres when describing the distance and m for miles when describing the pace which is a bit icky.
  • The terse notation 3′ for 3 minutes.
  • The equivalent race pace isn’t mentioned, only the time each repetition should take.

Although it’s standard, the official notation is probably a bit too terse for normal humans to read. Also it doesn’t give you much of a clue what the effort should feel like. It’s easier to understand how running at 10 mile race pace should feel than it is to work out how running 1600m in 7’31” should feel.

For more information on the official standard see:

MACKENZIE, B. (2006) Representation of Running Training [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/trainprog.htm [Accessed 4/1/2018]


2018 Marathon and Half Marathon Training

Posted on January 2nd, 2018 by

At Mornington Chasers, we’ve put together some spring marathon and half marathon training schedules. They’re designed to target the London Marathon, the Brighton Marathon and the Paddock Wood half marathon (which is a flat, fast half marathon in Kent which is easy to get to on the train from London). We’ve written them with our members in mind but if you’re not a member you’re still welcome to use them.

The schedules are aimed at runners who are planning to do some track work as part of their schedule, but that’s a pretty broad range. Our marathon plans have been used in the past to achieve goals from sub 2:45 to over 4 hours. You can customize our schedules to match your personal goals.

We’ll be doing the Thursday sessions together at Parliament Hill track each week and we welcome runners of all abilities to our Thursday track sessions. And don’t worry if you just want to do the track sessions and have no intention of running a marathon/half marathon. Whatever races you are targeting these Thursday sessions should help you improve.

Using our schedules

You can find all our schedules here.

The marathon schedule is aimed at runners who can already run for 90 minutes continuously. If you can’t do this yet, start with what you can manage for the Sunday runs and add no more than 15 minutes each week until you have caught up with the long runs in the schedule.

If you have missed the first few weeks of the schedule, again don’t worry about it. Just join in and adjust the long runs as described above so that you are building up gradually.

The schedules include various warm-up races to help you prepare for race day. If you’re planning to follow the schedule with the club you should enter those races now. See this post for details of all the races. We’ve provided a few alternatives in case the races are full and if they don’t work for you, just replace them a hard workout of a similar distance.

I’ll be posting on this blog over the next few weeks to explain what all the terms in the schedules mean, but the easiest way to find out exactly what to do will be to come and join us at our Tuesday and Thursday sessions (at the Talacre Sports Centre in Kentish Town and Parliament Hill track respectively). We hope there will be plenty of pace groups running the Sunday sessions from Talacre too, but you should chat with others on our Facebook group to find out who’s running and at what pace on a Sunday.

Session 1: Kenyan Hills

We’re starting the New Year with 2 sets of 10 minutes Kenyan Hills.

Kenyan Hills is a training session where you run at a continuous fairly hard effort both up and down hills. It’s the fact that you keep up a good effort level on the downhills that makes them Kenyan Hills.

The session is designed to build strength (from running uphill), technique (running downhill) and speed endurance (from the continuous effort). The focus is primarily on building speed endurance.

You should be running at “threshold” effort which is the effort level you can just about sustain for an hour long race. That might be your 10K effort or your 10 mile effort depending upon how fast a runner you are. If you’re an olympic athlete it might even be your half marathon effort. Note that it isn’t your speed that counts, but the effort level. You want to maintain this same effort level on the ups and on the downs.

An alternative way of understanding what threshold means is that it is a pace where you should be able to say 3 or 4 words while running, but by the end of the session you shouldn’t be able to put a full sentence together.

We’ll be running two blocks of 10 minutes continuous Kenyan Hills on Primrose Hill with a two minute jog recovery between each block. We’ll meet at the Talacre Centre in Kentish Town at 19:00 for a 19:15 start as usual.

If Primrose Hill is no good for you, find a hilly circuit so that you can alternate about a minute uphill with a minute downhill.


Our Schedules for Spring 2018

Posted on December 9th, 2017 by

We’ve got a feast of running lined up for you in spring with no less than 3 schedules for you to choose from, all adapted to the Mornington Chasers timetable so we can train together as much as possible.

The schedules we have are:

As preparation for all of these big target races, the schedules work in the following preparatory races. Make sure you sign up for them ASAP. Dates and times are in our calendar.

  • The Fred Hughes 10 (in St Albans) or, if you are fit enough already and prefer a trail race, the Benfleet 15.
  • The National Cross Country championships, Parliament Hill. Sign up via our calendar. If you are following the half marathon schedule you should take this easy, everyone else should be in it to win it.
  • The Mornington Chaser’s Regent’s Park 10K in March. This is our club 10K championship. If you are following the half marathon schedule, you should race this hard. If you are following the marathon schedule, you should build this into your long run as a marathon pace section. Marshal the race in January or February to get free entry.
  • The Official Hampton Court Half Marathon (in March, not to be confused with the “original” Hampton Court Half Marathon in February) or if you are a trail fan the Ashridge Boundary Run (note that this is on a Saturday an is a scenic but demanding 16 miler)
  • For those who like to train on Saturdays as well as Sundays, the schedule also incorporates the remaining Start Fitness Met League Cross Country fixtures. You can just turn up for those races on the day: just remember to bring your club vest and make sure that you have England Athletics membership (log in to our website to check).

Can’t wait to get started? Well we’ve also got a December schedule that will build your strength and, if you are a marathoner, will start to condition you ready for the long runs ahead.