Q&A: New Year, Faster Charlie?

We check in with Big Marathon Challenge runner Charlie Griffiths

Where are you at with your training?
I did intervals on the treadmill this morning, because it’s cold outside and I was being a wuss! I’m off to Thailand with my wife, son and his girlfriend for a week this afternoon, though, so I’ll be able to do some of my sessions on the beach over there.

Did you make it through Christmas unscathed?

I was ill and think I tried to rush back too early, because I was out of action for a few days after my long run on Christmas Eve. But I was quite please in a way, to get the cold out the way early, so hopefully I’ll be alright now for the rest of training. I did a quarter-marathon race on New Year’s Day and managed to get round in quite a good time – 42 something or other – so I’m feeling good again now.

You were good on New Year’s Eve, then?!

Yeah I had half a beer and that was it. After my holiday I’m going to cut out drink completely for the rest of training; I want to give myself every possible chance of getting that sub-3. I still don’t know if I’m going to quite make it, but I think I’ll be there or there abouts.

You’ve said you’ve always struggled with hard, speed sessions – has that changed at all with this training plan?

The first session Ben set me was 6x3mins and I thought, piece of piss! But it killed me. He’s been really good, though, Ben, because I emailed him and said I was struggling with motivation for the speed sessions, and he replied advising that I should just think of them as another run. So I’ve tried not to get so intimidated by those sessions, and that’s really worked. Before I had a plan, I’d go out for a 10-minute warm-up with the intention of doing a hard session afterwards, but five minutes into my warm-up I’d think, ah b******s I’m just going to do a five-miler!

Is it too early to see any improvements at this stage?
No I don’t think it’s too early. I mean I was already running quite well, to be honest, but I feel strong and confident, and there’s definitely been a mental improvement in terms of my approach to those hard sessions. I’ll hopefully be able to get a better sense of where I’m at physically over the next few weeks.

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