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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

No training

First there was a Cross Country meet at Penrith, then 4 days later an offroad, hilly, half marathon then 3 days after that another cross country, this time at Burnley. Inbetween that I haven't trained - didn't seem to be any need to.

The first XC was for the veteran Championship of Cumbria. I didn't win! The following day I enjoyed an outing in the valley behind Skiddaw, running about 15 miles or so in real gloomy conditions. Very easy pace though and little climbing.

Then Monday I met up with Milly who was doing some fartlek training. Id done a handful of miles easy and basically was going home but I joined in a five minute effort with him, then a two before jogging the short distance home while he got on with the rest of his session.

Whilst I never intended the midweek race to curtail my normal training I figured that to run 10m brisk with Plucky just 17 hours prior would be likely to get me injured so I rested up on Tuesday.

The half marathon was on forest tracks in an RAF base about 20 miles from Carlisle. Only about 120 entered it and most of them were RAF personnel. I knew the winning time in previous years was more than 1hr 20 and reckoned I would be able to run somewhere in that time region myself. It wasn't to be though as a young gun recorded 1:18 to my 1:21 (for third place).  I was quite strong for most of the run. I almost caught the second placed lad with about 3m to go but then I faded in the final 1.5m and he pulled away again. Some lads were talking afterwards about how they both ran approx 2 mins slower at this event than the Cumbrian run just a few weeks earlier. So that would have given me a 1:19 or so if I had followed suit. 1:19 is not quite where I want to be though. I reckon I should be able to run sub 6min miling for all distances up to and including the half. However, I think the time to run a good half is when the marathon miles are in your system, perhaps early march.

The two days following the Half I did bugger all really, just a four mile jog one afternoon.

Then suddenly it was Saturday and the Burnley Cross Country was upon me. I know I shouldn't have ran it really, or certainly not at full effort, but I'd said weeks ago I would have a go at the Mid Lancs League meetings and I didn't want to back out.

Conditions were blustery but dry. Very muddy in places, but avoidable for the most part. There was even a section of about 200m of tarmac path which was Ideal for me as I was one of the few not using spikes so I could blast past folk taking care to keep to the grassy edges. With 350 runners I was always in company, and notably with fellow Border Harriers Jason Holmes and Chris Neil close by. I managed to drop them both after a lap or so but then about half a mile before the end of the race my half marathon came back to haunt me as my legs turned to mush. I was overtaken left and right and only the fast approaching finish line saved me from losing a lot more places.

Bearing in mind that I always said one race per week was too much for me, to run 3 within 8 days was a bit daft. Better than going training though. Next weekend is yet another race - the Derwentwater 10. At least there are 8 days between it and the XC so I should be OK. Theres also the Brampton to Carlisle 10 two weeks after the Derwent 10. I will be tapering a little for the B to C and therefore NOT racing the XC the weekend before it.

Yesterday (Sunday) I had a walk up a local fell - not far or steep. Today I jogged out for about 4 miles with Scamp. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel able to push on a bit with Plucky but I certainly couldn't  have done anything tough today - legs are not trashed and sore just aching from deep within!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Title shmitle

In a nod to Rick I'm not running anywhere today (Friday)

Mind you I have trained  a bit hard since last weekend and with a race tomorrow I thought it would be daft to do 'owt more than a jog with Scamp. We walked home through town and the park though, so no jog even.

On sunday I was full of good intentions to run for an hour in the low fells near Cockermouth immediately prior to photographing the English Schools Fell Championship for which I had been commissioned. Various things taking my time and attention meant this was more like a 10 minute run up a hill followed by a 4 minute run back down it for fear of being late for the races. Not to worry though - I had ran the day before and even after I finished this short one I was then back on the fell with my heavy bag and covered at least 2 more miles albeit walking.

Weather wise Monday was poor. Plenty of showers and damn cold too. It seemed to have improved when I left he house with Scamp for a jog in the evening. I planned a route to see us out for at least an hour. But after 40 minutes the rain came back - with a vengeance! My choice of clothing offered little protection and I was soaked through within seconds. I considered sheltering somewhere but then decided picking up the pace and getting home ASAP was the best option. So only about 50 minutes mostly easy.

Plucky said he was up for a bit of a bash on Tuesdays for a few weeks to come so I went to his house after work and we ran a hilly 9.3 miles. Not having seen him for several weeks we had a good craic as we toured the countryside. This was unusual as Plucky usually says little when trying hard. I wasn't trying very hard either but we did seem to be flying along rather well.  The calculator afterwards said 6:15 pace which was simply remarkeable as it had never felt anything more than a brisk jog.

I think we must have been well rested for Tuesdays run because the next day I felt like the 6:08 pace I managed  for my "flat" 5 mile circuit was about as fast as I was comfortable with!

(Dont read the next sentence Rick) Next day I went to the track and completed 4 by 1600metres with the club.I hadnt done 'mile reps' for a few weeks but figured I should be able to run 5:30 pace so planned on 82 seconds per lap. Lap one was 78 seconds - and that wasn't by keeping up with any of the lads who I knew better than to try to - just  a bit of an enthusiastic start by me. Not surprisingly I slowed from that pace and recorded 5:26. For the next rep I stated I would be running 80secs/lap and I stuck to that exactly until 800m when I thereafter ran 81 and 82 to give me a 5:23 mile. For my third I lapped at 79s then struggled at the bell but still recorded my best for the night (and year) of 5:19. The final rep I wanted to run in 5:30 and ran very even laps to record 5:29. An excellent session, far and away my fastest average pace for several years. If I can repeat this over 5x 1 mile then the theory says I should be able to run 34 minute 10ks.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

One week older - lots faster

I admit to being a little disappointed at taking nearly 69 minutes for the ten mile run last Sunday. Despite not trying very hard I hoped to still run inside 68 if I'm honest. The next day I had an easy hours jogging around the park and golf course with Scamp.

Having recently joined Keswick AC as a second claim member it was rather apt that I should end up training with some Keswick members on Tuesday. Not on the fell though. Bizarrely it was on the Sheepmount track where I trained with Russell and Pippa Madams. My first track session in months was a real shock to the system. I only did about 4500metres consisting of mainly 800 and 1200 efforts which I ran at about 5:30 pace. Running there and back as well as a one mile warmup was a decent mileage for the day though.

Next day I was back to some recovery jogging on the grass with Scamp, then Thursday and Friday were the same run both evenings -  5 mile Houghton loop. 30:46 and 30:51 were decent enough times although I would prefer to be knocking out these inside 30:30.

Undecided what to do today (Saturday) I hung about the house all morning and watched the GP qualifying. After walking off my breakfast with Scamp I finally got up the motivation to go for a run. It was a lovely sunny day with temps in the teens centigrade. Vest weather.

I started my watch at the 13 mile route start point and decided if I felt rubbish to cut it short at the 10 turn.
I didn't put much effort into the early miles and expected to be running at about 6:45-6:55 pace. I only have vague checkpoints on this route but was pretty sure I was running much faster than anticipated. The second half was headwind today and also features the main hills, such as they are. I finished with 1:25:30 which is about 6:35 pace. Excellent result for a very routine run. Only the last three miles could be described as 'hard running' and if I was to do some marathon pace efforts on this route then I would be confident of my ability to run 15-20secs/mile faster than today.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


After that annoying glitch in my late summer plan I resumed training with two good fellruns with Penrith Stu for company. The first was over Clough Head and the Dodds in'c a brief stop at Calfhow Pike where, remarkably Stu had never been. It rained for 120 minutes of the two hours we ran but was nevertheless very enjoyable. Next day was drier and we had another 90 minutes of decent training in the fells E of  Kirkstone pass where Stu was due to run a relay event the following week.

Next day I opted to jog with Scamp in the park after work. It was only  four mile loop on grass and I was taking it pretty easy but strangely my knee started to hurt. I stopped and poked and rubbed it a bit then carried on but within 100metres it was hurting again, too much to carry on running. Worried, I didnt run on the Tuesday and on the Wednesday I took a walk up the fells to assess how it was faring. It seemed not too bad so  when Stu, Sam, Steve B and Carl turned up at 6 oclock I joined them for the remaining few miles of their run. Error! Error! Error!

It hurt a LOT on the Thursday so I took myself of to see Chris the physio. He assured me it was nothing to worry about and would soon be better - he even said I could probably run the Langdale half marathon two days later! Apparently it was a bit of inflammation behind my knee, probably caused when I slipped on the wet grass during one of those two weekend fellruns.

I didnt do the Half Marathon - it still felt a bit too sore at that point. But I did resume jogging gently a couple of days later and this gave no additional trouble, in fact, I could tell that every day it was getting better and better.

Saturday the 1st of October was the date for  a cross country relay event at Sheffield which I had said I would run as part of a Border Harriers veteran team. I wasnt concerned about my knee hurting, but racing  two miles is not exactly my distance, and after so long out of proper training I figured I would struggle.

As the 'baton' was handed to me we were sitting in 2nd place of the veteran teams with the lead team about 50 metres ahead of me. I gave everything to try to catch him up but it was to no avail. When I figured I might be halfway through the course and looked at my watch to see just 4:45 had passed since I started. I was in serious trouble and my legs gave out on me as I tackled the remaining course - two or three lads passed me but luckily they were seniors not vets so once I knew I was within sight of the finish I pushed hard again to ensure we didnt lose the second place.

Waiting at the presentation for our medals we were gutted to discover that only Yorkshire veteran teams  were eligible to win anything. The seniors, juniors and ladies races were all open to all of North England but not the vets. What a stitch up! I expect our £12 will be refunded with interest and full letter of apology any day now.

Unsure if the XC course was really 2 miles or maybe a bit more it wasnt a great time I ran. 12:06. Possibly not even six minute miling! A few days later I ran my 5 mile loop in 30:50 so at least I knew I was still reasonably fit and the race was merely a glitch.

Wednesday evening I was up Blencathra a couple of times - leaning sideways to run at 1mph uphill in 40mph wind - great training - loved it.

Thursday evening was VERY cold and VERY windy and I went home and lit the fire for the first time since summer began.

Friday evening I like to take off from running but keen to get back into a routine of training I ran the 5 miler again. Despite a decent wind blowing I ran it in 30:31 - not bad going at all.

Yesterday was the first proper Cross Country race of the season at Cockermouth. The going was wet and soft and my legs were sapped of strength within two of the four lap race. The field was rather short of many of the talented lads who often turn out for these events and I think I was lucky to get 4th place and first vet40.

Today I ran my 10 mile loop steady - very windy again but really warm - too warm for the  long sleeved top I'd opted to wear. Almost 69 minutes after starting I finished in a lather of sweat.

So there we have my round up of the last month or so - very annoying to have a two week glitch immediately after taking two weeks rest but all is not lost - I seem to have held onto some decent speed and fitness. With well over a month to go until my next target race, the Brampton To Carlisle 10 miler, I should be back where I was by then if not quite in time for the Derwentwater 10 two weeks prior.