As a youngster, I would get home from School, get changed and go out to play with my pals.
Now I'm older, I get home from work, get changed and go out to play with my pals, but now I call it training.

Friday, December 31, 2010

The last post

On boxing day I ran 14 miles. 7:15 per mile average in the snow and ice was good enough for me. Last year we (me and Milly) were not inside 7s when we started the marathon schedule. I felt much better running 14 miles than I had felt running 13 the week prior. I shall continue adding a mile per week and hopefully the pace will increase too.

Monday I was up the fells for a good 3 hours. Although there was a good deal of walking on the steepest ascents we (me and Appleby Stu) were running whenever possible so overall it was a good conditioning workout.

Tuesday was a funny day - despite being off work I didnt get round to running while it was light and ended up joining the Harriers again for their hill reps. I tried much harder this time than last and afterwards my lungs were hurting from the effort and strangely so were my ARMS!?

Wednesday was another late run -  a steady 7 miles jog with the Champ.

Sharp Edge
On Thursday we (me and Penrith Stu and my brother Jason) were up the fells again. Not such a good run this time though, as I was keen to get some photos of Blencathras Sharp Edge. Photos were a washout mostly as it was a gloomy, misty day. But a good day was had by all nevertheless.

Today we (me and Milly and Kev and Tom) jogged about 10miles at 7 pace.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

a LOT of jogging

The latest snow came to nowt, scarcely an inch, but since it snowed it has never gone above freezing - day or night. This means that the pavements are covered in a very thin film of compacted snow and ice - not ideal for running on. Wearing full fell shoes has prevented any slips but I've only been jogging  - nothing fast. I've been every day though (though a couple of days were very short runs due to ridiculously low temps)

Last Weekend I ran my 13 mile circuit in 1hr 35mins  26 secs - not exactly a stellar performance but in the conditions was probably OK for my first 'long run'. Tomorrow I'll do exactly the same circuit but with an additional 7minute out and back loop (to make it approx 14miles).

I managed a couple of decent length runs in the midweek - 8 miles on Wed and Thurs night, and on Friday I ran 5 miles hard. I say hard I mean harder then my jogging efforts of late.

I got some Kahtoolas to attach to my shoes so I can run without fear of slipping on the ice. The snow on the pavements is too thin to use them as they would surely become blunt and damaged. And on the park which is totally flat, my fellshoes get plenty of grip anyway, but I'm looking forward to using them on the fells on Monday.

I should manage to get some faster running done this coming week. Not at work until Wednesday and even then only sort of part time as and when necessary.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I wish it could be Christmas every day

Time marches on! It seems not long ago I was relishing a two month spell easing myself back into 'proper' training - but now I still feel sluggish and unprepared for a marathon campaign having  just 2 weeks of that 2 months left.

Usually I look forward to the Christmas break with an anticipation of getting lots of additional training done, longer runs, and daytime running instead of at night after work. I am still very much looking forward to all of that but in the back of my mind is the fact that I'm still very unfit and still on the 'comeback trail' following my time out. My longest run since the summer is 10 miles (although I have a few 3hr+ fellrun/walks), and I always like to start my marathon campaign with a 16 miler before the end of the year. It is my intention to run 13 miles this Saturday and as long as that goes OK I should manage 15 the following week.

I've been very disciplined of late - having ran every day since I 'missed' Thursday 9th December.

Monday I hoped to meet up with Milly. He confirmed at dinnertime that he would be out as usual at 6 oclock but I was alarmed to hear that 20miutes at 5.30 pace was his intention!!!!!!!!

Luckily he didnt make it due to work commitments - I say luckily because I couldnt possibly have kept up with that pace. Perhaps for a mile but then I would have had to ease back. Instead I ran a similar session but at my own pace. I ran 3 miles in 18.18. Not flat out by any means - just a good steady effort.

Tuesday I was warming up to do 4 miles at similar pace when I stumbled upon the Border Harriers group doing hill reps. As I have no firm schedule to stick to I decided I may as well do something different and in company, so I joined in with the session. To be honest though, these reps were, I feel, unsuitable for my current intentions to claw back fitness. They were very short, possibly less than a minute, and the hill was of no real consequence whatsoever, so they were a bit like doing 300m-400m reps on a track, which is NOT a session I ever do.

Legs were a bit tired on Wednesday even so. Perhaps not surprising as the hill reps were the first reps I'd done since the last week in July. So I just jogged round my 7 mile circuit with the Champion of Manhatten. Probably took us an hour including wee wee stoppage time.

Thursday I was keen to lengthen my pace run by a mile, to 4. I figured that I would go just a tad slower than the 6.06 pace i had achieved on Monday for 3 miles, so set myself a target time of 25 minutes (6.15 pace). Most of my half-mile time checks showed I was only just inside 6.30s though - not so great. A final time of 25.46 left me perplexed and disappointed as to why I ran 20 odd seconds per mile slower than I had on Monday for what felt like a very similar input effort.

So, keen to prove Thursday was a blip I ran exactly the same route tonight too. It would have been very easy to run at a higher intensity to achieve a faster time but I avoided doing this and kept the same steady effort as the night before. I ran almost exactly the same time as the night before (25.38), so Im no less perplexed than I was. Perhaps Im asking too much of myself yet. But then again how did I run 6.06 pace over 3 miles on Monday without flogging myself if I'm only fit enough to run 6.25 pace over 4 miles?

Next week this run will be 5 miles each time I do it. Based on what I've done so far I'd should be no slower than 32 and a half minutes. I made an earlier reference to a plan to do track intervals this week, but after the daft hills session on Tuesday I decided there was little point. Maybe I will get there (track) next week. If I do there will be no daft sub one minute reps - it'll be 4x1mile for my first session - with a target time of sub 5.50 pace off 3 minute recoveries.

So finally, to quell the urge among those in the South to leave comments about boring number based posts lacking interesting photographs I leave you with this masterpiece.

It is of course the very photogenic Ricky Lightfoot who is attempting a winter Bob Graham round this very evening. Best of luck and hopefully that smile will be evident once back at the Moot Hall tomorrow.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Now, let's get this party started

The first day in Edinburgh I didn't run, which was a bit disappointing as I had, up to then, ran every day for over a week. Got back to it on Friday though, and Saturday too with  treadmill runs in the hotel Gym. Not far, just three or four miles, but including a mile each time at decent pace of 5:40.

The hotel we stayed in was called The Scotsman. I hadn't heard of it prior to this trip but one thing for sure is I will never again need to look for an Edinburgh Hotel - this was the best hotel I have ever stayed in - quite superb.

Back home it was remarkable to see that the snow and ice that had caused nearly two weeks of disruption to my evening training had completely melted!

Keen to make the most of the weekend, today I went up the fells for a 'decent' run. None of the deep snow or steep hills encountered last Sunday meant I was able to run more than walk - in fact when I was walking it was only due to the incline so the heartrate was up there anyway. The ground was good for running - free from snow but a hard enough frost meant there was very little water around - ice in the shady corners was easily avoided and if it wasn't for breaking through some ice into mud up to my shins after approx 3 minutes of beginning the run I reckon I would have had dry feet throughout.

I stopped just once to take some photos. here is one I really like. And here is another, of Skiddaw and her neighbours.

So with the snow gone I'm keen and excited to get some decent training under my belt in this run up to Christmas. Hopefully Milly will be out tomorrow evening - if not I'll do my 3 miles pace run, moving it on to 4 miles for the rest of the week. I might even go to the track if it's reopened after the weather.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pesky weather

After getting the physio's confirmation that all was well and I should be running I moire or less stopped again. Due to the weather really. It was so slippery I thought running would be foolish to try, so I sat in the house Monday -Thursday night. By Friday though I was desperate to run and went out with fell shoes on. There was no problem whatsoever - I didn't slip once during a pleasant 4 miler.

Saturday I ran 10 miles (though not without stopping to let Scamp have a drink from the river)

Sunday I went up the fells. Helvellyn from Thirlmere side. It was glorious, the best weather I ever recall for being up there. On the summit of Helvellyn was not a breath of wind and the views went on for mile after mile.

Scamp atop Helvellyn, behind him,  Coniston is covered in a blanket of fog

I was derided by those in the South for choosing a route with so little running (due to being too steep to run up). I see it differently though. I think if my heartrate is high due to walking hard up steep ground then that is just as good as jogging along at a steady pace on the flat. There was some running to be done as I crossed Helvellyn summit and on to Nethermost Pike - and then the return of same. But once the proper descent was before me it was a case of hold on to my hat and go for it. By choosing lines through untrodden snow there was little chance of slipping - often quite the reverse as I sank up to knee depth. But when it was only six inches or so it was utterly exhilarating and very very fast as I part ran, part slid my way down the hillside. I bit like a scree run but without the bleeding ankles afterwards.

Monday Tuesday and Wednesday I ran 5 miles in the snowy streets. No point in timing the runs but each took inside 40 minutes (for the 5 mile Houghton loop PLUS about 4 mins getting to and from the start -house).

Despite making the best of the weather I am now rather sick of it. I dont mind how cold it get 'cos Ive never been cold whilst running, but the icy pavements deteriorate in condition with every nights frost.
Off on a mini break to Edinburgh today so may get a couple of treadmill runs done.