Last week I mentioned the four early season marathons which I ran during the months of January and February whilst also saying I was not sure if running a marathon so early in the year is conducive to a peak spring marathon performance just two or three months later. 


Well, for all those who train specifically to race well in a marathon, they will also know just how important it is to be fully recovered before what is the long and sustained build up (usually around 16 weeks) before pushing your body to the limits over 26.2 miles. 

Some will say (and I probably did too): “I just used that one as a training run for the next one,” although and if I did say it, then I was just kidding myself. 

In 1987, I ran the Hong Kong Marathon on January 25, finishing third and then just 10 weeks later (April 5) raced in the Wolverhampton marathon which I did win but at the same time I also felt very flat until I got going at 21 miles.  

As it happens, I did also run another one just one month later (May 3) and won that too, but in none of them did I perform like I had in what was my PB marathon late September (28), 1986. 

However, and as also said last week, I would not change a thing just for all the experiences I had, and friendships made along the way. But for those who are looking to be at their very best, then I do believe that full recovery after a hard marathon is so important before preparing for your next one. 

So, with this in mind, earlier this week I spoke to Norfolk’s latest marathon star City of Norwich AC's Logan Smith who had a brilliant marathon debut in December when taking part in the Valencia Marathon where he broke the 2-hour 20 mins barrier. 

Now all the dust has settled and as we enter a new year where we start all over again, I wanted to not only know how his recovery has gone (physically and mentally) but I also wanted to get a run down on what had been his preparation prior to Valencia and of course details of the way he ran such a disciplined race. 

“Whilst I had a goal in mind and knew what pace was required to run sub 2:20, with it being my first ever marathon I also had a plan B and even C in place just in case plan A started to go awry. There was no way I was going to beat myself up if it did too, as whatever happened I was always going to come away with further knowledge which would set me up for future races over this distance,” he said.

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As we all know, when it comes to believing in yourself then even when it does not go to plan, there will still be positives to take from it and use to good advantage going forward. 

Logan, along with his coach James Senior, had certainly got it all worked out though, what with knowing that he would need to stick to 5 mins 19/20 secs pace if he wanted to go under 2:20. Training also consisted of running 115 miles each week which was not only geared towards the distance, but also making the required pace feel comfortable. 

“I knew come race day when my legs felt fresh that the early miles would feel easy, but it was also about staying patient and sticking to the pace,” said Logan. “Yes, I could have run faster for the first half, and it may have only felt marginally harder during the latter stages, but not having ran further than 16 miles at race pace prior to the race, stepping into the unknown beyond that was not worth taking the risk.” 

Looking at his splits, apart from a small blip around 30/35k and after looking around at the others in the bunch which he had been running with which had whittled down from about 30 to 8, he not only got back on to pace but picked the pace up during the last 5k crossing the finish line in 2 hours, 19 mins and 41 secs. 

As for post marathon recovery, Logan took the following nine days off where the most strenuous thing he done was a bit of walking when out sightseeing. Whilst also enjoying plenty of good food along with few beers and glasses of wine so as to help further savour all his superb efforts. 

Ironically though, and just when he did start running again, he very quickly went down with an illness. “Although I only ran easy, I let my guard down for which I think it was inevitable that I was going get some sort of illness. However, and on the plus side, I just saw it as another week off to enjoy the festivities over Christmas,” he said. 

With 2023 now behind him which, incidentally, away from his marathon performance was a very successful one for him what with numerous race wins including the South of England track 5,000 metres title and Run Norwich 10k, 2024 also means new challenges ahead. He has further marathon aims, he also wants to get his shorter race times down. His marathon time, when comparing against other guys who are of a similar marathon standard, are themselves quicker over the shorter distances. I also found this during my own marathon days and in hindsight wish I had taken a couple of years out to focus more on the shorter distances, so I know what he means. 

Logan also being the kind of modest and humble guy, also asked me to mention just how grateful he is to James Senior who he sees as invaluable when it comes to coaching and the whole group at the Norwich Distance Squad who in his words not only push and help keep him going, but also make training just that bit easier and enjoyable. At the same time a mention for his sponsors Saysky who supply him with kit. “It really does make it all worthwhile when knowing that a company also believes in you and ask you to represent them and wear their kit,” he proudly said. 

As for the future and going forward, whilst Logan’s longer term aim is to get his marathon time eventually down to 2 hours 10 mins, I don’t think he or James would disagree with me when saying there is still a lot of running to do before then for which I am sure we will see some exceptional performances and more PBs from him over all distances before he does that. Also, and very hopefully an international vest too. 

He definitely has all the physical attributes, that’s for sure. However, and just as importantly, he has the mental toughness too. Without a doubt he is very much a doer and believer in everything he does. In other words – a winner!