Training Update: Project BQ

Project BQ Update

You guys, Big Cottonwood is just 5 weeks away!!!!!!

I am so nervous about it. If I’m being honest, I don’t know if I am going to BQ. I KNOW I should have a positive attitude but I think I’m being realistic. I know I’m in shape to PB, I know I can do sub 3.40 but whether I can run 3.30…I don’t know.

As you might have seen on my Instagram last week, my shins have been niggling. Having suffered with shin splints before and could feel the tell tale pains returning, so I quickly booked myself in for a dry needling appointment and took a couple of days off from running.

I know I haven’t been as good at the strengthening for this training as I had wanted to be, however I’ve got to accept that I’ve done the best I can with the travel, moving, studying etc. And I’ve been getting faster over my speed workouts and tempo runs.

The tempo runs scared the crap out of me. There’s something about a 7.XX min mile that makes me question my ability to hit it when I see it on a training plan. Thankfully, running a 10K PB with a 7.32 average pace a couple of weeks ago convinced me that maybe I can actually do it, and so I’ve been giving them my best effort.

Sometimes I think we talk ourselves out of a pace or time before we even try it.

It’s one of the reasons I think working with a coach is so great, they know what you have, even if you don’t trust yourself.

Project BQ Update

Part of the reason I’m nervous about September’s marathon is that I don’t feel my fittest, or strongest I ever have. I still harp back to my Berlin training in 2014 where I felt unstoppable. However I’ve got to remember that I still have 5 weeks, in which time I can do my best to get into amazing shape, getting my nutrition and recovery back on track.

My training has been similar to plans that have worked in the past for me; a speed workout, a tempo/threshold session, long run and some easy runs thrown in. In fact, I’ve got an EASY run that is 4 mins running, 1 min walking every week that I really look forward to. I’ve heard on numerous podcasts that a lot of us don’t run our hard runs hard enough, or our easy runs easy enough…but this training plan that Ash has me really pushing myself during those tempo runs and speed sessions, but take it soo easy on easy days.

Regardless of what happens in September, I know that this training is working for me, and with the addition of a little more strength work, I know that I can run a BQ. This is a long term goal for me, and I will not give up until I achieve it.

I know a lot of you are really interested in following my training on a weekly basis, so I’m going to share my training recaps going forward on a Monday (this was one of the most requested blog topics!!).

Project BQ Update

Last week;

Monday – REST

Tuesday – 2 mile warm up, 6 x 800m at 6.55-7.10 min mile pace (400m walking recoveries), 1 mile cool down.

I didn’t have access to a track so did this up and down a straight bit of road. Managed to hit all of my paces for this which I was super proud of.

Wednesday – Easy run with Emma – 3.5 miles, 4 mins running, 1 min walking.

Thursday – 2 mile warm up, 4 miles at 7.25-7.35 min mile pace, 1 mile cool down

I just couldn’t hit the paces for this, but I kept going and pushing as hard as I could. 7.36, 7.45, 7.48, 7.49 min miles. This was TOUGH in the heat, but I gave it all I could and am pleased I didn’t quit or let the paces scare me too much.

Friday – REST

Saturday – REST

Sunday – REST

Two solid workouts, an easy run (and a postponed long run to give my shins a break!) Not the ideal week but not a total loss either. Speaking to my coach, Ash, we discussed the back up plan if the shins don’t play ball, and the longer term plan which I’m excited to have in place. I am one of those people that needs to take the pressure off, I need to know what the back up plan is to reduce my race day/exam day anxiety! Although I won’t be sharing those plans just yet…

Photos by Anna Jackson 


  1. Zoe
    July 31, 2018 / 11:15 am

    If you’re not confident of the BQ this time you could add in an intermediate goal of GFA at London? It’s 3.45 which is not far off your PB at all.

    A blog about race day strategy for this would be really interesting- whether you will set out at BQ goal MP even if there is a risk of blowing up, run at PB pace with a view to running a positive split etc.

    Hope it all goes well on the day 🙂

    • charlotte
      July 31, 2018 / 11:33 am

      Thanks Zoe – I actually have a GFA already (ran a 3.44 in Tokyo!) and have agreed to pace London this year but would like to run a sub 3.40 if I don’t BQ! Will def be interesting to see what happens and what the plan is…watch this space!

      • Zoe
        July 31, 2018 / 12:09 pm

        ah, nice, I was looking at your old about page so didn’t realise re Tokyo! 3.44 is a great time, can see why it feels like BQ is the next marker in the sand.

        on the few times I’ve acted as a pacer I found it was more stressful than running all out so more power to you!!

        • charlotte
          July 31, 2018 / 12:13 pm

          whoops better update that about page 🙂

  2. David Dawson
    July 31, 2018 / 12:23 pm

    What I have done in the past when looking for a PB on a certain run, is look at the elevation of the run. Then work out what pace I need to run for certain sesections or miles. This made it easier than just trying to stay at an average pace for the entire run.

    • charlotte
      August 1, 2018 / 3:55 pm

      There’s a great website that you can download/buy pace bands that does this for you! I am notoriously bad at blowing up at the end, so not sure about what my plan will be for race day!

  3. July 31, 2018 / 8:33 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing, Charlie! It’s really interesting to hear that you’re finding so much benefit from your run/walk workouts – I might give that a shot, too, since I have the tendency to run my easy runs too fast.

    • charlotte
      August 1, 2018 / 3:56 pm

      It’s a very interesting concept, but certainly I’m working on the differences between FAST and SLOW, and really pushing myself in the speed/tempo with maximum recovery during the easy runs.

  4. Laura F
    July 31, 2018 / 8:50 pm

    Just remember how much downhill is coming at Big Cottonwood! You’ve got this!! (Also hearing you say it’s onkg 5 weeks away shocked me – I’m doing the half and boy it is coming up fast!) 🙂

    • charlotte
      August 1, 2018 / 3:51 pm

      it is SO close!!

  5. August 1, 2018 / 7:17 am

    “They know what you have, even if you don’t trust yourself.” Love this about working with a coach. It’s exactly why I train weights with a PT, so he can push me to achieve what I’m capable of instead of staying comfortable with what I know I can do. Don’t be too hard on yourself Charlie, you’re doing amazingly and you’ve gotta listen to your body. Not hitting the paces is not a problem – the point is you did the session and that was your pace on that day. Another day you might have hit them – it’s all in the bank either way, the miles are in the legs. The perceived effort is likely to be the same on that day had you hit the ‘correct’ pacing, so it’s probably all relative anyway.

    I haven’t ran consistently in aaaaages but as we approach autumn I’m getting my familiar excitement for the return of my running season 🙂

    • charlotte
      August 1, 2018 / 3:53 pm

      Thanks Tess, and I really hope so! Definitely planning on working with a coach again specifically for strength!

  6. August 1, 2018 / 3:34 pm

    You briefly mention about getting your nutrition on track over the next 5 weeks. Id be interested in a blog post about this. Or an eat in a day/week vlog! Its something I am interested in addition to my training.

    • charlotte
      August 1, 2018 / 3:44 pm

      Sure!! Going to have to really stick to this now, aren’t I?! 🙂

  7. August 7, 2018 / 11:31 am

    Thanks for the sharing information with us. I love your post it’s very useful. 🙂

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