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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Seriously hard training

Tonight I met up with Plucky to run his rep's session.

5 times 5 minutes with 1 minute jog recovery.

I normally would do one mile reps with 2.5 to 4 minutes stationary recovery, so this session was a shock to the system with its short recovery period. Obviously the pace for the efforts needed to be slower than I was used to to avoid burning out early doors. It was an uphill start which yielded just outside 6:00 pace for the the first two reps, then the last three were all sub 5:40 pace.

I found this very tough indeed. Where last week I was easily able to drop Plucky, tonight I was more than happy to run alongside. Looking forward to running with Milly tomorrow. Hope he doesnt renegue.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

it begins

My intention is to train very hard for a few weeks now, with the idea of being in good shape for November races. There is no reason to do any long runs (over 15miles), they will resume at Christmas. 10 miles is long enough for now, moving to 13 next weekend. but crucially the runs need to be completed at a hard pace.

So it began this weekend - as usual a hard lap of Gelt on Saturday morning was enjoyed with Plucky for company. Legs were jaded somewhat from Thursdays mega effort so the final 10mins were a bit of a struggle. Lap time of 31:22 is respectable.

Today I decided to do 10miles of intervals. I waited until 1pm so I'd had over 24hours recovery time from Gelt. This session is a bit like doing 2mile reps but with a continuous jog recovery between the efforts. I start with 4 minutes of easy pace running, then 11 minutes as hard as I can sustain. Then repeat three more times (all without stopping). The idea is that after 4x 4 and 11 (or 1 hour) I will have covered the whole 10mile course. But this isnt 2004 and I cant get near 60 minutes nowadays, meaning after the fourth 11 minute effort I have another few minutes to jog to the finish line. Todays time was 63mins 50secs which is OK I guess.

The trouble with this session when I am not super-fit is the percentage of the 10miles spent jogging (today 15:50 out of 63:50is approx 25%) which drops the average speed and skews the result a little. Next time I might consider doing 4x 4 and 12. This would result in finishing the course mid-fast-rep and give just 12mins jogging in 62-63mins total (under 20%). It shouldnt really matter what the pace is - its the heartrate that proves that hard work was done but I am a slave to the stopwatch. Although the HR was a wee bit low today (averaging 170ish on the 11min efforts) I couldnt have tried any harder, I felt quite poorly for a couple of hours after running.

I intend to do shorter reps (5x 5mins) on Tuesday, easy 6to8mile offroad run Wednesday, then tempo run Thursday (probably 10miles in 64/65 mins).

Although I enjoyed all the fellrunning I did this summer, I feel very comfortable training fast and hard on the roads. I will never do another 5k, 10k, 10m, half or full marathon PB unless I give up work to run twice a day, but as long as I enjoy what I am doing then I am doing the best thing for me. I reckon by late Nov' I will again be keen to enjoy some crisp, bright winter days on the fells with Iain and Stu. I dont know if I will even want to aim for a BGR next year - I get a great deal of enjoyment helping attempts and may just stick with that again next year.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What happened?

To say that the Langdale marathon didn't go exactly to plan is a bit of an understatement.

It was a wee bit too warm and sunny to be counted as ideal conditions for me, but it wasn't seriously hot. Nevertheless I was sweating profusely within ten minutes of the start as we all trotted up the steep pass out of the West end of the Langdale valley. At the top I enjoyed stretching out my legs on the long descent, eventually bringing us through Little Langdale. I seemed to passing other runners with ease on the downhills (perhaps the fell running has helped in this respect, although I am quite inept at descending in a proper fell race. On the uphills I was sometimes passed back by these same runners. This was fine by me because I was definitely taking it very easy on this first lap, and of course they were all half marthoners in the top 15 or so of their event. I was running on 'feel' but did also have my pulse displayed on the Garmin, which showed highs of around 169 on the big uphills and 160-165 the rest of the time. More or less within the limits I had set myself for lap 1, perhaps two beats higher on average.

As I descended from High Close YHA into Elterwater, about 10 miles covered, I glanced at my average pace for the first time. 7:20 minute miling and with no significant uphills to do until the next lap, I was very happy indeed. As the next 3miles of lap 1 passed below my feet I allowed some of the runners near me to pull away slightly - realising they would be pushing hard in the final 15mins for their finish line. Only after approx 12 miles did i feel anything other than 'very comfortable'. At this point I was vaguely aware of just a little bit of lethargy creeping in. This wasn't a big concern to me though as I had a gel stashed on a wall top 500metres from the start line and I also knew that Plucky would be supplying extra water etc on lap 2.

(plucky had started as an official Half Marathon entrant but had stayed alongside his missus Gill, carrying her gels and drink. After lap 1 he said he would get on his bike to supply us both for the second half of our marathon)

My time for lap 1 was just inside 1hr 32mins. This would have been 20th in the shorter event. The Garmin was showing 7:08 pace up to this point, and I reset it to give an average pace again for lap 2. All looking good for a sub 3:10 result.

The big descent into Little Langdale felt very different on lap 2. Rather than letting gravity give me speed for free I felt I was scarcely going any faster than on the the flats. Third after lap 1, I was soon caught and passed by the Fourth placed runner. I relayed my drop in energy/speed/confidence to Plucky as he darted between myself and Gill. Approx 4mins behind me at halfway, she had gone through a bad patch but was currently running well and catching me up. As I slowed to a crawl and wanted to throw up, I was passed by Gill at about 18miles (into 5th place) then by Richard Bardon at about 22 (into 6th). With a mile to go I was caught by another lad but he refused to go ahead of me as I had been in his sights for over 2 hours and felt he should stay with me as I struggled to look composed as we entered the finish field.

At the same point in lap 2 I glanced at the average pace

exactly one minute per mile slower than lap 1!


(incredibly bad)

Last year I ran this marathon less than one day after (up to then) my longest ever fellrun of 5hrs+,helping Pete Beer over leg 3 of his BGR. On that occasion I took just 7 mins longer than I did today, and that included lengthy walking sections and even brief stops with muscle cramping.

I honestly don't know what went wrong. I am obviously very disappointed. I would never have won the race this year, Alistair Tathams winning time of 3:04 was never a target but I would have been second with anything inside 3:10. Now I feel like I wasted last week by resting and not training. So much so that after doing nowt but long dog walks on Monday/Tuesday while a mild case of DOMS worked its way out of my legs- I jogged 30mins on Wednesday.

Then, last night I met up with Plucky who was running a brisk 9.3mile hilly circuit from his house. From the outset I ran hard tempo, forcing the pace. Plucky struggled throughout the entire run, losing ground on all the uphills, regaining me while I took it easy on the downs. I ran every bend wide while he ran tight. Last week Plucky ran a PB around this course by 45 seconds but still took over an hour. Last night we completed it in 57mins 30 seconds (6:10miling)

With this kind of current fitness and speed I am even more baffled re Sunday. I realise that 10mile pace is very different from marathon stamina but I thought I had done plenty of long runs in the last 6 weeks too. Now I am determined to have a really good result in one of the two main races that remain this year. The Derwent 10m on Nov 1st, or, two weeks later, the Brampton to Carlisle 10m. There is no chance of a PB in either but I would be elated to beat the hour over the hilly Derwent course. Anything other than a sub 59 minute run at Brampton would be disappointing

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On Countdown

No, not the long running Channel 4 show - countdown to Langdale marathon next Sunday. I always follow the same routine in the final week before a marathon. Sunday is always 10 miles steady effort. Aroundabout 6 or 7 easy pace on Monday then a mile less each day up to the Saturday when I will probably run for just 15mins or so with a couple of 90% effort sprints. usually I do 2x 1mile on the Wed or Thurs, running at about 30secs/mile slower than what I might manage if i tried really hard.

So far though I haven't followed the normal routine as I have worked late the last two nights. This shouldn't be a problem, as the most important factor is to avoid doing anything that builds lactic in the muscles. I will run tomorrow with the dogs for an hour or so, then again on Thursday.

I'm really looking forward to Langdale. I am in decent shape and I think sub 7:30miling should be within reach.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Making the best of it

Following the poor show last Tuesday I ended up missing Thursday nights run altogether. I just couldnt be bothered to traipse out to Talkin, do the two laps then be home late.
The weekend runs were much better. Usual Gelt Woods on Saturday, then Sunday was at Talkin again. A 3 mile warm up followed by 2 full laps in a decent time. Despite the very easy 3mile section this was 16 very hilly miles at 7minute miling. This pace will be tough to manage at Langdale Marathon but I reckon 7:30s will be quite acheivable, so a time of 3:10 to 3:20 looks most likely.

Milly got married on Saturday and is now away for two weeks in the USA so I must ensure I arrange some training with others to avoid falling into the habit of missing sessions. Two of the best races of the year (Derwent 10 and Brampton 10) are still to come in November, and it would be nice to have some decent speed for these.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A poor do

What was supposed to be the culmination of a summer of decent road speed training turned into a soggy, slow mess.

I decided it would be ok to leave home at 6pm to drive up to Dumfries. Getting home at 5pm after a decent walk with the dogs I opted for an hour on the settee watching telly. Fast forward 50 minutes when I was awoken by a ringing phone. Phone call over and quickly bundled gear, dogs, myself into the 4x4 and whizz up the road North.

Get to event HQ - 1848
Park up, collect number, remove pants, fasten trainers - 1855
Find suitable bush for pee 1857
Jog approx 50metres to line up 1859
Race begins 1900

Started OK. Lying about 8th in a bunch of about 5 lads.
2K marker - rain begins - very heavy indeed. My favourite weather to race in (because it rained heavy in London 2004 when I ran my marathon PB and also during my win at Langdale '07)
3k marker - group splinters - now I am about 10th and not feeling great - legs hurt.
Garmin battery is flat so no info on how fast I am going. I turn it on every K or so to get an instant pulse figure before it switches itself off again. Pulse only in mid 160s. Not good, should be mid to high 170s for a short race like this.
5k marker - settle into 12th place. Not getting caught but already disappointed with the whole thing..

10k - finish. No idea of my time but next runner behind is someone I know. We chat and he shows me his time of 37:01. I probably did about 36:30 odd.

Prize presentation for this always takes an age so I head off home after a quick cake and cuppa.

Fellow Border Harrier Gareth ran well tonight, a short 35 - exactly what I was expecting. When I think that just 3 days after the 50, I finished a 10k only a few seconds behind him, I am even more certain that I could have had a decent result here. Obviously the pre race prep was poor - (should have done a warm up of 2miles or so). Perhaps I have also neglected the mile reps recently, and also the very fast (sub 32minute) laps of Gelt with Plucky. At least i got first Vet again. Thats 4 out of 4 in road races since I turned 40.

Still, move on to the next goal. Langdale marathon is two weeks on Sunday. Tomorrow will be 2 laps of the hilly 6.5mile road circuit at Talkin/Foresthead. Will try to really BLAST lap 2.