Training with Rory in October 2009
I met Rory Coleman at the ‘Marathon of Britain Coast 2007.’ He
is a very experienced ultrarunner, having run 630 marathons and
160 ultras, run Marathon Des Sables (MDeS) six times and has
held 9 Guinness World Records for running different distances
and times on a treadmill. He has organised ultra races for many
years, an example being the ‘marathon of Britain’ race which he
has organised for six years. I am sure event organisers reading
this will appreciate how difficult it is to organise a race of
more than 150 miles over 6 days, and Rory is amazing at doing
so. He is now a personal trainer and life coach. He trains
people from all over the world in a gym in Derby and organises
MDeS training days in Nottingham. He is inspirational as he
drank, smoked and ate too much previously. 15 years ago he
changed all that and has remained sober, a non-smoker and has a
body fat % of 8% average. He is strong, lean and very focussed.
He also is a family man with 6 children and a beautiful wife,
and lives in Nottingham. I decided 5 days training with him
would be what I needed after the Commonwealth. Five weeks off
training and feeling fat and very unfit, I decided I needed
Rory. What an experience it was to be!
On Tuesday 27th October, after a 9 hour boat and
train journey, I arrived at Rory’s house. I was given a bed in
the attic and soon settled down with Wi-Fi and my laptop. The
hospitality I was shown was excellent. This was not a cheap
‘holiday’ but I needed to re-focus my life and in particular my
new-found sobriety of 13 days. I thought I had the evening off
but ended up at the gym with Rory. He gave me a quick workout
before his client turned up and then left me to it.
The first day’s training was held at ‘The Bridge’. This is a
big railway bridge with lots of steps. I stepped up and down
until my quads screamed. One-up’s, two-up’s and even
three-up’s, followed by bunny hops. Then shuttle-runs across
the bridge and press-ups and sit ups by the side of the bridge.
I am not sure what the railway workers below thought about what
I was doing. Rory had a bike as he has a herniated disc in his
back and cannot run, so after the bridge I ran kenyons, up a
long sloping hill, with Rory cycling slowly by me. Kenyons
involved me running fast for 30 strides and then recovering by
running back downhill and round Rory on his bike, before running
uphill again. Then it was two crucifying climbs up a
near-vertical slope before we headed home for beans on toast.
In the afternoon Danny arrived and we went out for a ten-mile
run. Danny is a former rugby player who has run one marathon in
former days. He has been training with Rory for 6 weeks and
after having lost some weight he was starting to run. He is
very strong and the opposite of me in build. Rory was keen for
me to talk to Danny about the past 5 and a half years I have
been training and running and what I have accomplished. People
say I am inspirational and I enjoy demonstrating this, and Danny
was a willing listener. Danny ran very well and I enjoyed the
scenery. Back home the family had a curry and then I settled
into bed for much needed rest.
On the Thursday I was up with Rory at 5am as we drove to
London. Rory is currently organising the first London Ultra
(besides his ultraround). So today Jen, a fantastic Cardiff
runner with a lot of talent, and Rory’s assistant, joined us at
Wembley Plaza Hotel and by 9am we were running the ‘Capital Ring
Walk’. After 14 miles and a minor detour off the route as it
was poorly signed from the direction we were running it, we ate
lunch in a café and Jen ran to Richmond. Rory and I ran back to
the hotel – covering 26 miles in total. Rory’s bike suffered a
puncture at 17 miles, but God was on our side and a ‘Sports
Direct Shop’ was round the corner with a puncture repair kit!
Amazing! It was my 21st marathon, 14th
this year. We drove home but the traffic was awful and it was
9pm before we parked the car. A long and tiring day but well
worth it and I ran well – 26.6 miles in 5 hours 18 mins.
I woke up on another sunny day but very stiff and sore. Rory
decided I should have an easier day so we recce’d part of the
Grantham Canal Race where the building of a new bridge on the
A48 means the route has to be amended. I ran 7 miles while Rory
cycled. We worked out the new route and I decided to use this
short run as a speed session.
On Saturday I ran the Leahurst Marathon. Rory’s house is called
Leahurst and he has a marathon route round the countryside from
and to his home. It is mixed terrain; fields, canal paths,
roads etc. I had run this in January but this time I was on my
own with a map. I hardly went wrong and finished 26 miles in 5
hours 14 minutes, muddy and tired. Rory was delighted.
On Sunday it poured down with rain so we went to church
instead. At 1pm the clouds had cleared and we drove halfway to
the gym. Then I ran the 5 miles to the gym, did a very hard
workout lasting an hour under Rory’s guidance, and then ran back
to the car. I was exhausted, not least after having to contend
with a strong headwind. I had run nearly 90 miles in a week and
had worked hard in the gym, with a new gym programme from Rory.
I flew back home at 8pm that night having been ‘Rory-fied’. We
had talked a lot about my illness, my drinking and diet and my
life. I need to change some things and cut some things out.
Rory has made me focussed and motivated. JOGLE is six months
away and I know how to train for it now. I need to do a lot
more and stay off the cider. Thank you Rory – you are amazing!