Active Travel



Project BQ: The Building Phase Week 1

Sep 22, 2019 | Running, Running Advice | 8 comments

The Runner Beans marathon training Brooks Ghost 12 | Project BQ: The Building Phase Week 1

As I mentioned in my instagram last week, I’m sort of going back to basics on the blog to remind myself (and hopefully you guys) why you started following me in the first place. Before the travel, and the worry over the instagram algorithm, this blog was set up to document my running journey, trying to cut down my marathon time.

And I’m still working on that!

Project BQ: The Building Phase Week 1


Strong in Fall Tabata Workout at the hotel in Istanbul- you can find the workout here.


3.5 miles zone 2 after landing in Portugal. This felt great, the first ‘good’ run for such a long time, where sub 8.30 min mile pace actually felt comfortable. I feel like I’ve lost so much of my speed (and confidence in my speed), that this run was a definite boost.


10 min warm up, 1 min on/1 min zone 2, 5 min cool down

I programmed it into my Garmin (although sadly not quite perfectly!) but I’m getting there – here’s how you can set up your workout on your Garmin so that you don’t have to constantly stare at your watch, manually lapping/counting down.

The Runner Beans marathon training | Project BQ: The Building Phase Week 1



3 easy miles, 4 mins run/1 min walk down to The Campus, followed by Strong in Fall Full Body workout with Tom.

The Campus is new gym in Quinta do Largo (near Tom’s parent’s house), that I first visited on our trip here in April. I fell in love with the facilities, gorgeous gym, bike shed and tennis courts. We used to go to another gym nearby and loved the beach bootcamp, I thought that it had shut down but was thrilled to hear that beach bootcamp, plus a huge range of classes are available with daily, weekly, monthly and annual memberships. Plus many professional sports teams train here, we watched Rangers training in June!

They’re also hosting two running camps with Susie Chan in October, on top of ‘Run Quinta’, a half marathon and trail race weekend in November! Love that all this is on the doorstep out here – might have to bring myself out here for a mini training camp in the new year!


Padel tennis lesson at The Campus plus 3 easy miles, 4 mins run/1 min walk

Having seen John Terry playing Padel on instagram, Tom was keen for us to give it a try. The PR team at The Campus were kind enough to organise a lesson for us to learn the basics. As usual, Tom was really good…and I was not. It’s similar but also very different to normal tennis and played on a much smaller court, with glass walls at the back/sides that the ball rebounds off, giving you an extra chance to hit it back. Tom enjoyed it so much that he played in a tournament the following day!


45 mins ‘zone 2’, my coach Ash had said to keep my heart rate below 140 which just did not translate to a zone 2. More like zone 1! But I went with it, kept to sub 140 HR and tried to focus on logging the miles rather than worrying about my pace.

Listened to Twins that Travel podcast and literally couldn’t stop laughing, listening to their recap of our recent Turkey trip!

It was pretty understandable that I was exhausted for my run after having an hour’s tennis lesson (where I seemed to do ALL the running!) at The Campus (again, kindly gifted), and tackling another of the Strong in Fall workouts. This time it was an arm workout that seemed to still work the entire body! Click here for the full workout. 

Strong in Fall Workout

marathon training plan


1hr 30 mins = 9.2 miles, 9 mins run/1 min walk.
I wore my hydration pack for the first time in months and sadly discovered as the water poured down my back and legs, that it was leaking! So I binned the bladder on the run but not before I was soaked through.

I ran close to the villa, then on to meet Tom at The Campus where I showered and we had brunch while watching the England vs Tonga match in the Rugby World Cup at Dino’s.

Dinos at The Campus, Algarve

Project BQ: The Building Phase Week 1

Overall I’m really pleased with this week of training, running a solid 6 days and nearly 30 miles.

I had one great run, a couple of recovery sessions and a couple of runs that felt like a slog. I’ve lost a lot of speed and fitness, but I know that with hard work and dedication, I can get it back!

Texting Marcus (who is going for a sub 3 this weekend!), I was sharing how frustrated I was that I seemed to have stalled in terms of progress in my marathon. I ran a 4.54 marathon in 2012, then a 3.49 in 2014. Since then I’ve only dropped 11 mins over 5 years and on the surface, 9 marathons. However, when I delve deeper into those marathons, I’ve actually only ‘raced’ 4 of them (Chicago, Boston, Tokyo and Edinburgh), dropping 5 mins at both Tokyo and Edinburgh. Chicago and Boston didn’t exactly go to plan!

Furthermore, when I ran the 3.49 in Berlin, I was *only* working my 9-5 job plus 12-5 on a Sunday at Sweaty Betty. I didn’t miss a single run during training, plus completed a lot of cross training. Whilst I was running just three days per week, they were all quality sessions, with speeds that I’ve been running more recently in training too. I was probably the fittest and most confident I’ve ever been. I also wasn’t travelling a huge amount, going on a long weekend and a week long holiday to tom’s parents house in Portugal during that time.

With that realisation hitting home, I’ve decided to say no to a lot more of these travel opportunities or races that don’t line up with my ultimate goal.

Would you like to see my weekly training plans?

Here’s Project BQ: The Building Phase Week 2!


  1. Kristin

    I just came across your blog a few weeks ago, while looking for tips for Tokyo Marathon(which I got a ticket for in the drawing on Thursday and could not be more excited). Since I am a new reader I can’t really say anything about a shift in the content, but I just wanted to say that you have gotten a new super fan (both here and on “the gram») with your current content. I am personally following you mostly for the running content, but find inspiration in the travel content as well.

    Good luck on your BQ!

    PS. If you have any fellow running influencers-friends that you know will be running Tokyo, I would love to get your tips in who else to follow on my way there.

  2. jenniferlucie

    It’s nice to read about your training again! Just a note on HRs, I found the Garmin Fenix defaults (if that’s what you’re using) were totally out for me. When I eventually did a ‘test’ to find my lactate threshold and work them out properly, it turned out 144 was the top of Z2 for me. There seem to be numerous ways to determine your HR zones, I’m guessing some more accurate than others, but might be worth looking into if you are using the watch’s defaults. Good luck with your training!

  3. Em

    Yeah, love seeing this again! What race are you going to BQ at?!!

  4. Elisa Shrack

    I love the idea of running for 9 or 4 minutes, then running for 1! I tend to take a lot of walking breaks, but would like to structure them so I still build endurance while giving my body the breaks it needs! Thanks for posting.

  5. Rachel

    Yes please to the training plans Charlie <3

  6. Sarah

    Yes, would love to see your weekly training plans! It helps give me ideas on how to structure some runs just to mix it up as I’m not training right now. Also, love that you are tagging your clothing in your IG posts because I always love your work out kits!

  7. Lauren S

    Thanks for posting this Charlie! I love following you on instagram and really love the combo of strength and running that you are doing. I have recently been training for my first marathon but this plan has been side tracked due to achilles tendonitis – so “only” the half for me in two weeks! Really want to incorporate more HIIT/strength training into marathon training for two reasons – to avoid injury again and because I love variety – I am simply not someone who could run 5-6 times per week without anything else! So yes – please keep posting your BQ marathon journey and your training plans! Love it!

  8. Maria @ Maria Runs

    I really find reading weekly training recaps interesting- especially for people who have to fit training around “real life” too.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *