The exciting conclusion of the England Athletics Experience

England Athletics Experience chosen athletes have a personal running goal that means something them and are being helped achieve it by England Athletics coaching team and our partners.

Brad, Shamir, Joanne, Stuart and Alison share the results of their England Athletics Experience. Join us as we delve into the heart of their training, uncovering the highs, the lows, and the pivotal moments, as the final preparations are made for race days.






Goal: Sub 3-Hour Marathon
Club: Telford AC
Race: Morecombe Marathon
Race date: 8 Oct

Goal: Sub 3-Hour Marathon
Club: Ealing Eagles RC
Race: Chester Marathon
Race date: 8 Oct
Goal: Sub 45-minute 10k
Club: Hoad Hill Harriers
Race: Morecombe 10k
Race date: 8 Oct

Goal: Sub 1:30 Half Marathon
Club: Lonely Goat RC
Race: Kent Half Marathon
Race date: 1 Oct
Goal: Complete a Marathon
Club: Team Caterpillar
Race: Morecombe Marathon
Race date: 8 Oct

Brad's journey

I’ve really enjoyed the experience and have been using the partner products every day.

With training for the marathon, a lot of the runs are fairly long, and the Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones have made them fly by. Just being able to put on a podcast or listen to some music has made it so much easier to get out for the early morning runs and stick to the plan with more consistency.

As for the plan itself, I feel like I have already made great progress with my running. I have stuck to every session so far as working with a coach makes you stick to the sessions as there is more accountability. The weeks for me follow a standard layout, two sessions, one long run and lots of easy running. I particularly enjoy the Tuesday sessions as these have more high-end speed work which is way more fun than the low heart rate easy runs. It’s always nice to let the legs work at that top end.

I’ve found the plan easy to fit around my life so far. My body struggled in the first weeks with the volume and sessions, but I’ve settled into it now and feeling good. I’ve noticed my pace has improved on the easy runs with the same heart rate which is fantastic.

Having the kit from Pressio and the shoes from SportsShoes has been a game changer for me. Trying the ASICS Metaspeed Sky, a brand I haven’t tried before, has been fun and putting on the Pressio singlet shifts me into the hard work mindset. So far, I’ve definitely learnt a lot to take forward with me into other race blocks. I had some knee soreness one week and tried out the KT Tape for the first time. During the run I felt a lot more confident knowing it was supported and the pain went away by the next week, so I’ll be sticking the tape on from now on whenever I feel a slight injury coming.

The England Athletics Experience graphic of participants

Shamir's journey

Tom Craggs (England Athletics National Endurance Manager and performance coach) did a fantastic job shaping my training plan around my existing commitments and habits. My weekly sessions incorporate club runs and social runs, so it’s been easy to get out there and get stuck into the training without sacrificing things I enjoy.

It’s not all been smooth sailing: some of the training has been tough! My most recent long run, which incorporated an intense forty-minute interval session was very challenging. Admittedly, I made things more difficult than they needed to be by overcooking the pace, but it’s better to make that mistake now than on race day! The plan has been pushing me, but the recovery has kept pace (especially after increasing my calories), so I’m feeling strong and optimistic about hitting my sub-3-hour marathon goal at Chester.

Partner products have been a great help. I selected some of Goodr’s ‘Wrap G’ range for my runs. They’re bold, they’re big, and the curve offers nice protection on windy days – plus, they make me look a bit like Cyclops from X-Men, which is no bad thing. The kit from Pressio has also been great, the tops have been wonderfully smooth and have fantastic wicking performance. The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% Flyknit 2 from have provided exceptional comfort on my long runs and will be the perfect choice for race day. I can noticeably feel the exceptional energy return. Plus, the Flyknit upper has been incredibly effective during those hot summer days. I love how eye-catching these shoes are.

Joanne's journey

I'm very lucky in that I'm retired so don't really have a problem with fitting in my training sessions. I know that many other athletes must come home from work, exhausted, and then get right back out there to train. In theory, I should be well rested. But I think a combination of my age and previous medical issues means I tire easily. So far, one of the main differences I've found in my training plan compared to my normal routine is pace - and that's at both ends of the spectrum.

I normally just "go for a run" and I just pace it on how I feel - usually a steady run - unless I know there's a Strava segment I'm aiming for! However, now I must incorporate easy runs - really easy runs, which are slower than I'd normally run. This feels very strange - how can I improve by running more slowly? But I now know that these runs are important in allowing me to recover properly.

Then at the other end of the scale there's speedwork! I usually avoid all speedwork and intervals if I possibly can - it's uncomfortable and quite often hurts. Because Tom knows of my aversion, he slowly introduced speed to my training, starting off with some fartlek. 

In addition, apart from the odd pilates class, I'm not used to doing much strength and conditioning. I'm sure Tom thought I was joking when I said I had no core. In fact I have so few core muscles, it's a miracle I'm able to stand upright without flopping over! As a result, I found most of the core exercises he gave me very challenging. So one of my key targets for the end of this is to discover my (well) hidden abs!

The England Athletics Experience graphic of participants

Stuart's journey

The training plan has been great fun with lots of variations to keep it interesting and challenging. I’ve really enjoyed the Fartlek sessions as they test my legs in the final few reps. The structure and use of more effective ‘EASY’ runs has aided my recovery and avoided any burn out. Compared to what I was doing this has felt easier, as Tom explained, good rest and easier runs can be more effective on performance than over doing it, which I was. The runs have been more enjoyable, and my performances have got better.

I have been very impressed with the goodr sunglasses. They look great, are good quality and are amazing for running. The two big positives are that they neither move nor steam up whilst running. Comfortable, reliable and offer good protection. were brilliant in helping and advising me on the best shoes for my style and needs and the ASICS they pointed me towards have been complete game changers, giving me comfort and support that has helped reduce injuries and increase speed and form that has knocked time off all my pb’s. Delivery was super-fast too.

The vest, compression shorts and socks from Pressio are all really good quality. I never used a vest before as I found they were all quite unflattering for me, but Pressio’s is a great fit, light and airy and great looking. The compression shorts are supportive, and I am massively impressed by the quality and fit. The pockets are also well positioned and sized.

The Kukri technical t-shirt is great quality, it’s material lets air circulate to keep you cool and also looks amazing. The shorts are equally well made and have lots of useful pocket areas too.

The Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones are brilliant! Once they are on you forget they are there, they fit so well! The sound quality is amazing. I can hear everything loud and clear in any environment and the clarity is comparable to in ear or over ear headphones which is brilliant performance. I love the magnetic charger too.

Alison's journey

My race day shoes from are the New Balance FuelCell SC Elite v3. They offer a blend of speed, comfort, and responsiveness. The standout feature of the FuelCell SC Elite v3 is its midsole technology. It provides a high level of energy return. The FuelCell SC Elite v3 has been suitable for tempo runs and interval training.

I attended the webinar on taping from KT Tape, which was useful, as are the videos on their site. They kindly sent a roll of tape and an electronic device for targeting specific body areas to all attendees.

I met with Tom Craggs (England Athletics National Endurance Manager and performance coach) where he asked for a copy of my training plan, and we talked about my current activities, etc. He was very encouraging and gave me lots of confidence about completing the marathon. He set up an account with a training plan for me on Training Peaks, which I’ve been using, after watching some tutorials.

Woman running in woodland