Paul’s Running Blog (formally Orwell Challenge training!)

UPDATED 25th May

The Orwell Challenge is taking place on 21 June this year organised and run by the Ipswich East Rotary club. You can run or walk a Marathon or Half Marathon course along the river Orwell and surrounding countryside via some areas that are private and usually inaccessible to runners or walkers.

Last year I intended to complete the course in 4 hours eventually finishing in 4 hours 4 minutes. As a first Marathon attempt with some slightly patchy training it wasn’t too bad if a little disappointing at the time.

The Orwell Challenge is a tough marathon, its almost completely trail, in places running along the river bed through seaweed, mud and over rocky river bed. It heads down the Orwell and out onto Trimley Marshes near Felixstowe before climbing and heading back through various areas of private land and fields. It then turns and heads back to the river along some challenging terrain under Orwell bridge and up towards the finish at Gainsborough Sports Center.

It sounds hellish! Its actually a great run.

This year I’m going to attempt to train better.

My training plan is 14 weeks in total based on four sessions a week with the opportunity to utilise the Tuesday and Thursday KK Sessions. Sunday is going to be the main mileage builder.

In order to build the mileage I’m going to add one mile every Sunday run up until the Marathon, this should put me in the region of 24 miles before the start based on the 10 mile start point detailed below.

08 March 2020


After being injured for the last 6 weeks or so with a suspected tear in my left calf I’ve spent the last week getting back to running. This all started with a 1 min walk/1 min run on March 1st managing 5 miles in 47mins.  It progressed during the week to a 10 mile Run this Sunday gone which took 1hr 25mins.

At a 8.29min/mile pace this is faster than my required 9 min/mile pace for a successful Orwell 4 hour finish so i think i am nearly ready to start training.

15 March 20


Post my successful 10 miles last week I took a few days to rest and repair going out mid week for a 10km run. All went well. Today I finally ran without the intention of circling near home(in case of injury) and headed out towards Kyson point. Darren Abbot joined me and we did a pretty decent 11 mile trail/track run averaging 08:40min/mile.

In total I ran about 12 miles, quicker than my required 4 hour pace so at this point I’m really happy with the progress. Overall only 18.2 miles this week but injury free so happy days.

Thanks very much to Darren for joining this week.

Continuing my build up to Orwell ( if it goes ahead!)>>

25 March


A lot can change in a week! Orwell has been cancelled due to the COVID 19 pandemic. I’ve decided as long as we are still allowed to go out for exercise I’m going to stick to my plan and be at the distance on or about the week that Orwell was supposed to happen.

So what did i actually get up to in the past week? I took a few days off after running with Darren and then mid week did 7 1/2 miles at a pretty medium pace (8min/mile), Saturday carried out a PR replacement 5km managing a reasonable pace (7:15/mile). Overall not a great deal really!

Sunday I ran with my other half for 10miles together managing a nice relaxed 09:30 min/mile then I did the 3.1 miles solo a little faster completing 1/2 marathon distance in 2hrs 1min. Hardly my quickest ever but happy to be able to do the distance again.

I will update next week if we are still allowed out!

Well its Been a funny old week or so for sure. We didn’t get grounded and so I continued with my training, although it was somewhat haphazard.

After my long Sunday run I had a few days off as is becoming the Norm and didn’t do anything until Wednesday. 8 miles out to Waldringfield Golf Course via the BT dishes then back along the A12, over the footbridge and Longstrops to home. A nice run with nobody around, perfect for avoiding social contact in these times. Infact the only living things i saw were a flock of sheep steadily munching through a field of going off cauliflowers. Proper Flatulance!

Next up some Intervals! This is a real departure for me, I hardly ever do them. Hateful, dont like them at all. Anyway 20 minutes, 1 min on 1 off along Longstrops for 2.74miles. I was right i still hate intervals!

Saturday 28th March.

5K Parkrun replacement. Setting Patterns now.. Longstrops again. 1/2 mile warmup  to the Bell Lane end and then off as fast as i can to Dobbs lane , turn around and back again, add a bit and Voila! 5km. Decent run, easy again to avoid folk. Fact Fan -I know at least one person must be reading this (Neal because hes an admin!) Bell Lane to Dobbs Lane along Long Strops is 1.3 miles (welcome anytime).

Sunday 29th March.

Long Run day 🙁 14 miles planned. Really not looking Great as I contemplate setting off. Snowing! yes snowing!

Add an extra layer, gloves and a wool hat. This run is planned again to head out past the BT dishes, Waldringfield, over to NewBourne then back up to the A12 , footbridge and onto Longstrops (again!!)

By mile 2 the snow has stopped and its raining, mile 4 the sun is out and I’m baking! Hat off! Top Layer off! Gloves-nope i always wear gloves.

Really nice run, good views of the river between Waldringfield and Hemley, nearly get run over coming up the hill out of Newbourne by the only car on the road(go figure!). Back home and 14 miles done. Feel ok, used a gel at 8 miles posting a semi OK 1:58:32 for 14 miles (8.28min/mile).

01 April

Its Wednesday again. Had a few days off. 10 km Tempo run today. Longstrops up to the Black Tiles and back along main road, to Penzance road finishing at the shops. Did ok 7.25min/miles, pretty consistant across all 6 miles. Happy with that, better than doing Intervals.

02 April

Kruisers Garden mile….

I did a mile around the garden table, it took 29minutes according to Garmin Connect, Strava later decided the mile actually took 19 mins ?!?!?!?! Fran then did the same . We both agreed it was horrible.

Afterwards I ran another 3 miles just to make sure I could still run at a reasonable pace . I could, very relieved.

04 April

5.44 miles around Kesgrave at a leisurely 8:20min/mile. I saw a lot of people out and about

06 April

Long Run Day! Kesgrave Landmarks Run!!

13.2 miles around the Landmarks Run organised by Kevin Ward and Neal Hardwick. Fran and I got round in about 2hours 5 mins. Took pictures at every point, discovered new roads and generally had a great time.

As i was supposed to be running 15 miles today i did some extra, Kesgrave local area 3.4 miles, a lot of people out and about walking in the sun, also saw Batman and Deadpool ?!?!? as i ran around. Total mileage today 16.6 miles, Opps! slightly more than intended but feel ok.

08 April

A few days off after Sunday. 9 Miles around Kesgrave,struggled for the first 5 then started to pick up completing the 9 with an average 8.07min/mile. No idea why it all felt so difficult.

09 April

Decided to stay local after the last effort and circled the roads near home. 5 1/2 miles at a leisurely 8:52min/mile. Felt ok , 200m from home i caught my ankle on a curb and twisted it. Hurt alot, limped home. Grabbed a beer, pain killers and ice.

No running for 3 days and a lot of ice packing and constant use of compression socks and straps to try and fix the ankle. Heavy bruising. Plan to run Bank Holiday monday just around the local area….

13 April

Had a few days off and then went out for a pretty slow 10km. Stayed around the local area and discovered roads i’d never along before. Ankle not feeling great really.

15 April

Early morning run to the Boardwalks, along Purdis Farm lane and back up Dobbs Lane to GF. Very warm for 07:30 in the morning.Not particularly fast 08:15min/mile.

16 April

A bit of a break in normal running for me going out 2 days in a row. Lockdown Fever maybe? Longstrops to Tesco, main road down to Penzance and back to Ropes drive. 7.5miles and a pretty sedate 8:42mn/mile pace.

19 April

Today is supposed to belong run day but im not really feeling like it, thinking i might do 10 miles or so. Ankle is still not right, slightly swollen.  Set off down Dr Watsons lane, maybe cut into Fynn valley and turn back for home. I wasnt sure. A few miles later feeling great. Watch is telling me I’m doing 7:50min/mile. Stop for a gel at 6 miles down near Kyson point on the river and bump into Nick Moon coming the other way. Have a quick chat, hes off for a Marathon distance. Set off and head back up towards Waldringfield road, bump into Pete and Sam Ingram and then 100m later Katy Wideatt.

Still feeling ok. ( a bit thirsty as no water and its another hot day) having done about 8 miles so decide to crack on to 1/2 marathon distance. Head towards The Black Tiles then down main road to penzance and in to home. 13.1 miles complete in a reasonable 1:43:24. As its long run day i made up a few miles jogging bring the total for the day to 18miles.

On sitting and checking my Garmin this turns out to be my fastest 1/2 distance since Great bentley PB (1:29:50) back in 2018. No idea why . Thats running for you!

22 April

Post the long run had a few days off. Ankles still sore, hurts to touch around the knuckle area. Decide a short local run is in order -10km in fact. Bit of a mistake, with about 1/2 mile to go pain developing in my hip along the IT band (same leg as the ankle injury). Run complete. Time for a few days off. probably going to take 5 to 7 days off and let everything settle down. Not impressed at all. As above Thats running for you!

Looking at my stats for April I’m at 95 miles for the month so maybe over doing it a bit.

28 April

4 days.. i managed 4 days off. Local run around Kesgrave incorporating Neals 2.6 Challenge. Pretty hot. Hip hurts, ankle also hurts!

30 April

Local Run again this time with Kevin Ward. Short at 4 miles and not pacy at all at 8:39min/mile. Not feeling great still .

That concludes April. 102.5 miles in total. Thats quite high for me and right in the zone for picking up injury. Maybe a little less in May?

02 May

The start of another month. I’ve set a little challenge for the club -2.6miles along Longstrops 2.6 bell lane to dobbs and back.

Thought id better give it a bash 18:59 so 7:15min/mile. not to shabby.

03 May

LongStrops 2.6 this time with Fran dressed in lime and pink tutu’s. 21:30 then off down Penzance road and back up Main road to home. Quite afew car toots and Fran waving at drivers ‘ because they need a wave’. Also mistaken for Kesgrave Supersheroes and have to stop for a few photos.

04 May

Afternoon run with Fran around the local roads 4.35 miles at a leisurely 9:13pace. Nothing too taxing. Probably time for a day off. Hip and ankle starting to feel better.

07 May

Another Neal Challenge… this time 5km Twist. Beat your most recent 5k time in a race against yourself. Tough one. I did my best 5k this year on 4th Jan just as i was getting back some speed, then got injured, anyway ive got to beat 20:31 (approx) . How can i do this?….

Gravity! ok so a bit of a cheat, run onto main road, black tiles, down to the red lion and finish at sandy lane. 5kin 21:10… hmmm that makes me +0:39 sec. Not bad. I punish myself by running back to complete a 10k in 45 mins.

09 May

Not the Twilight 5k..+KK Twisty Challenge.

Twilight was a major goal this year. I had planned to train and get back to my 5k PB of 19:11. Injury pretty much stopped that, however i need to earn my medal. New route , main road to dobbs, dobbs to little tesco along the cycle path. No Gravity assist. 21:07.

Not bad , Mile 1 and 2 pretty decent 06:40min/mile -mile 3 7:20- fatique and a bottle of wine/beers the night before taking its toll. Still my KK twist drops to +0.33

10 May

2 Telfs Sunday run. New route through ‘The Sinks’ and about 2 miles of completely new trail. 8 miles total with Fran then an extra 5.1 solo to make 1/2 Marathon distance. Needed to do some mileage and start to get the marathon training back on track. not bad -7:50min/mile for the last 5 bringing me in for the 1/2 in 1hr59min. Its under 2 hours so thats fine!

So far this month I’m at 37.8 miles… not sure how this low mileage month is going to pan out!

13 May

Phils +ve mind -ve split Challenge

Another week another KK challenge. This one tricky for me. I hate picking up pace as a run develops! I thought id run 1/2 way then just go abit quicker therefore achieving the neg; split. After mile 1 that felt like a cheat so i decided to go for upping each mile my approx 15/20sec/mile.

pretty much succeeded 8:00>7:56>8:41>8:28>8:18>7:42>7:33>7:21>7:06. Pleased with it and cheers Phillip for giving me something to aim at.

15 May

Off the back of Phils Challenge a Progressive 5k 7:55>7:30>6:44min/miles . Finishing in 22:49

Enjoyed it alot maybe ill do this again!

16 May

Another 5k. Same route as the other day but relaxed finishing in 23:53, upping the pace every mile but not making massive effort. Fun if a little warm! On completion i tacked on an extra 2 milesjust to up the mileage a little. Also because it was sunny.

17 May

Long run day. I last ran this route training for Orwell last year with Darren Abbot covering 21miles in 3hrs 10mins at a 9:04min/mile pace, it was my last long run before Orwell taper week began. So how did i fare this time?

The route takes you down to the Deben along woodbridge river front then along the river until the path terminates at the rail bridge . Thats the 10 mile point , turn around and run home. It was very hot this year. I had one 0.5L water and 2 gels. i really didnt plan this well at all. So all went well until 10 miles, drank 3/4 of the water, took a gel and turned for home. At 15 miles (boatyard by the creek) had another gel and the rest of the water. Starting to feel fatigued.

Decided as i climbed out the river valley just to get home. At 18 miles very fatigued, held on until LongStrops and 19 miles. Stopped 1/2 mile from home and walked in, shattered, too hot,not enough water not fuel.

overall 19 miles at 8:38min/mile. total time 2hr44min. Not bad my longest run this year. Despite the bad planning marathon distance getting there in the legs.

20 May

Another 5k. a pattern forming?

23:45. recorded in strava a hard effort , didnt enjoy it at all.

21 May

10 k around Fynn valley . Very easy 4 miles taking photos as i went, run up the hill past the allotments and a quick last mile home finishing with an average 8:05min/mile.

24 May

Fynn Valley run with Fran. 14 miles and frans longest run ever. Route took us out to Tuddenham (fountain pub)to Strugglers Lane then to Witnesham. Theres a nice 3.5 mile loop here from Strugglers Lane, then back along the valleyand home for 14miles.

1/2 distance in 2hrs 11min and on to 14 miles and frans distance PB.

An extra 3.5 miles solo to bring the training distance up to 17.5miles.

Its getting close to the point were i need to think about a suitable Marathon route and hopefully a PB for my second ever Marathon distance run.

101.4 miles this month…so much for the distance reduction!

27 May

On Sunday fran suggested maybe i should just go for it and do my Marathon. With a history of getting injured the more long runs i do i decided to set 31st May as the date. That made this the last run before some rest and the actual attempt. As i had a rough plan to do 3 loops past my house for the actual Marathon i decided to run one of them. 8.41miles at 8:21min/mile coming in at 1hr10mins. Felt good, setting the basis for my pace on the coming Sunday.

31 May 2020 MARATHON DAY

Today is Marathon day.


Complete 26.2 miles quicker than 4hr 4mins – my previous time from Orwell last year (also my only other Marathon)


The course is 3 loops of between 8.4 and 9.4 miles past my house.Mixed tarmac and trail(about 80/20 split) Planned set off time 0700 hrs.

Fran is organising the water stops- 1/2L water with High5 isotonic added+a Gel+a water bottle to carry on the lap.

Kev Ward and Phil and Jayne Chappels are socially distance running an individual leg with me to keep me company/motivated/pointing in the right direction.

Loop1 with Kev Ward

To Waldringfield Golf course via the BT dishes- back past BT,over the footbridge and along longstrops to home. Pace – maintained 08:20min/mile average- projected Finish 3:38:39. Felt ok. Ant there to clap as we came in. Stopped for about 20 seconds to take the drink. Fran sorted me out and off again.

Loop2 with Jayne Chappels

To the Hospital along main road, down to KFC, left and along past the showground almost all the way to the A12, left turn and heading back home up Bell lane. Pace- maintained 08:20min/mile average-Still on for 3:38:39 finish. Felt ok coming in . Grabbed another Iso drink and gel+ water to carry. Stopped about 15 seconds this time. drink very hard to get down. Fran had written down all the Kruisers wishing me good luck on a banner to cheer me along.

Loop3 with Phil Chappels

To Tesco and through the woods,past the donkeys and on to Ipswich road at Waldringfield-A12,past BT, footbridge and Longstrops to finish. About 9(and a bit miles). it took about a mile to get the Gel down, making me gag! I’d intended to carry on the 08:20 pace as long as possible. it dropped immediately to 09:00min/mile on mile 18 and remained in that region for the rest of the run (between 8:43 and last mile 09:30). By mile 23 i was struggling, partially due to the heat(it was very warm) but also due to not running past 19 miles during the build up. Phil kept me on track with words of encouragement including ‘GET YOUR HEAD UP!’ as i sagged on the hills, and general chatter. Despite the slow down i crossed the finish in 3:44:55, Fran, Nathan,Kev and Jayne waiting- also passed Ant on millennium field clapping again.

A 19 minute PB.Quite pleased. Big thanks to Fran, Kev, Jayne and Phil for making it all much easier.

Overall a successful couple of weeks, Frans longest run ever and a new Marathon PB.

If anybody would like more information you can contact me via my Kruisers email (

More updates to follow….maybe , not sure. maybe a new blog.