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  • Ollie McCarthy

Paris Marathon- Starting point

This week marks the start of my first phase of training for Paris 2021.

I am 6 months away from race day and taking a slightly different approach in terms of beginning so early.


Well firstly most of my previous races have been about completion, rather than racing for time per se. This time I am aiming for a slightly more ambitious PB. I ran Brighton Marathon in 4:22 in 2018 and considering I aim to be around 10kg lighter and much fitter, my main aim is to beat that time.

My secondary goal is to go sub 4 hours. I know I can run faster but I am also aware how much extra training I would need to do to achieve that goal. While this athletic goal is important to me, maintaining balance between growing my business and making time those I love is more important.

I want to limit the impact my training has on the rest of my life and I believe I can do that. I aim to train 4-5 hours a week with a mixture of strength, running, and biking. I will try to be time efficient where possible (running/biking to and from work, mobility while watching TV etc) and being very sparing with strength work in blocks 2/3.


Essentially my training is going to be split into 3 blocks of 2 months each.

Block 1- Building a base

Block one is going to focussed around building an aerobic base and also a base of strength.

The aerobic base will allow me to work at faster speeds for longer periods further on down the line. The bigger this base is the better I will run and considering a marathon is pretty much 99% aerobic, it would be foolish not to make this the base of my training. This will be made up of slower runs and cycles, with one longer effort weekly.

The strength work will be pretty heavy not begin with to help build strength in connective tissue and muscle while the running side of things is less demanding. The plan will be to reduce this as running increases further down the line in block 2.

Finally the last part of this block will be weight loss. I started this block at around 89.1kg and plan to get down to 83-84 by the end of the block. It’s no secret that running when you are heavy can be pretty demanding on the body. I want to make sure I am in the best place possible to achieve what I want to and being lighter will have a positive effect on both reduced injury risk and increase in performance.

Blocks 2 and 3 are going to be based around building and maintaining speed before going into a 3-4 week taper pre marathon.

I’m leaving them fairly fluid in terms of outcomes at the moment to see how this first block goes.

My concerns

Injury will be the biggest limiter of my success. I have had multiple ankle rolls over the last year or so, with 1 being serious.

Therefore building strength and stability through my ankle will be a priority, while making sure I am staying mobile.

Recovery will also be important. Most of the time I have rolled my ankle has been on a day when I have had limited recovery from my last session. Could be coincidence but definitely something I want to pay attention to.

Making sure I fuel my runs will be key especially in the second two blocks. Sleep will also be a factor and making sure I strive for 7-8 hours a night minimum will be my aim.

Round up

These are my initial thoughts on how I will chase this goal. There is likely to be some changes as we go through but I am leaving some wiggle room for this.

If you have any questions then feel free to ping me a message (

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It’s the age old question. How do you get faster as a runner. And in truth the answer is multi faceted. There are 4 main areas you need to think about. 1- building speed 2- maintaining speed 3- overal

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