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.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's good but it's not right

Considering that last year I was so unfit that I took 64minutes to run Brampton to Carlisle 10miler - I should be pleased that yesterday I was comfortably inside the hour. But I'm far from pleased as I raced terribly.

The course was shortened due to a flooded section of road, and my time of 53 minutes translates to 5:50 pace, or 58:20 for the full ten. I knew Plucky would beat me. Despite there being nothing between us in training, he is still chasing PBs and has an edge that gives him something extra over me on race day. To beat him in a race I think I would need to regain the fitness and speed that would allow me to simply run away from him in training, and that's not something I'm bothered enough to strive for.

In the first few miles I was in a group of about 8 lads running hard, very hard. Too hard according to my pulse of 175+. Sure enough by mile 3, going up a hill, I was dropped as my pulse showed 183 (max pulse is about 185). The remaining miles were covered with an ever dropping heartrate (and ever dropping speed). In the final mile I was so slow that I must have been passed by 6 or 8 runners. When you consider that in training I recently ran an out and back 8 miler at night on the pavements, in 5:56 pace, - runnning 5:50 for a slightly tailwind, overall downhill, 9 mile, important race is really a very poor result.

Anyhow, never mind, its all over for 2009 now. A week off altogether, then an easy week of daily fast 5milers, then NEW YORK, then a short week at work and then Christmas. And of course Christmas sees the beginning of scheduled training for London Marathon 2010.

This year has been a real surprise to me. It was never my intention to reach this fitness/speed on the roads. I expected to mainly run on the fells. I've enjoyed the time I have spent on the fells - Iains BG was a privilege to be a part of, and is up there in the top 10 days of my life. The 50 miler was an eye opener into a different world to the one of six minute miling I know so well. Going up the fells has been a contributing factor to an injury free 12month period. Training with Milly for the first four months of the year gave me a kick start, gave me a reason not to miss training sessions. I was so gutted for him when he couldn't finish London marathon. Now, with such an injury interrupted summer, and my improved fitness, there is a huge gulf between us. I'm not sure how we will manage to train together in the immediate future.

In 2010 I will run two PROPER marathons, London, and either Berlin or Chicago. I will also be on the fells at least once a month from January and helping Stu and others on BGs from May.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Following the weekends training I now have a touch of tendinitis in my right leg. As that's one of the two I intend to use this Saturday to run the Brampton to Carlisle race I need to carefully manage this issue. If necessary I will defer training all week, perhaps stick to short jogs from Wednesday. It's not a big worry - I've had this happen to me many times over the years, but I may as well do everything I can to get to the start line 100%.

The weekends training was good.

Gelt was the venue on Saturday. I had decided not to challenge Plucky this week as I had been feeling pretty tired. Not just sleepy tired - struggling to get out of bed of a morning type tired. Something more than that. I've been unusually aware of my legs, or more specifically the little pains within them for the last week or two. On one occasion I remember running on the track thinking 'why does my left like have that undesirable feeling every time I land on it and not my right?' Its all due to the particularly hard training schedule I have stuck to this last couple of months. Even the 'easy' weeks have tended to include a race at one end or the other.

Anyway, Plucky seemed intent on running the lap pretty hard, and whilst not wanting to challenge him I certainly wasnt about to let him run off into the distance either. Conditions were poor - very wet, therefore muddy and slippery, so I didn't expect a great lap time whatever the effort. On the big tarmac uphill section I found Pluckys pace to be almost ridiculously easy. I know he was trying equally as hard here as on the flat or downhill sections so it highlighted to me how I have improved my power to weight ratio over the last few weeks as I have become fitter and also managed to shed 4 or 5 pounds in weight. The lap continued, Plucky pushing on, me on his shoulder. We finished with a time of 31:15. Quite remarkable really given the poor conditions and the fact that I had spent much of the lap running well below my capacity.

Sundays run was 10 miles, running 4-11, 4-11, 4-11, 4-11. (4easy, 11hard)
I last ran this in late September and took 63mins 52 with an average heart rate of 162. This latest occasion my time was 59 seconds faster with 2 heartbeats lower average. A further good sign. Historically I have ran this session just inside 60minutes - so whilst I am certainly running very well lately, I remain a long way from my best of 2003-2004.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

all the sixes

Tuesday was six, one mile reps at the track. Third week at the track means I have spent six pounds thirty pence with the city council now - (it should be free in lieu of the resources fit people DON'T take from the NHS). I felt a bit under par for these to be honest. The first one in 5:39 was a good warm up. The next alongside Plucky in 5:28 seemed a little harder than it should, so I checked myself a little and ran the third with Darren in 5:23. Feeling brave I rolled out the big guns for the fourth and managed 5:18 (2 seconds slower than last weeks big effort, but to be honest i could tell all the way round the that i wasn't really firing at 100%). We all ran together for rep 5 to record 5:26 then the Sixth and final effort was upon us. I let Plucky take the first two laps then took on the last 800m myself. I felt I was struggling, losing form and probably slowing so I ran in the centre of lane 1 to allow Plucky past if he wanted. I was still pushing hard though and he was unable to pass me. We recorded another 5:23. Darren was distanced on this rep.

Earlier on Tuesday I briefly called in at home to tidy up a little for a party we were having that evening. I opened a letter that turned out to be from the Derwent race the other week. Six pounds to spend at Pete Blands - handy - a free pair of socks or similar. Later in the evening i looked again at the voucher. it's only blummin SIXTY pounds isn't it. Not six. That's free trainers that is.

Tonight (Wed) I ran (without dogs) my usual easy pace effort. With a record low average pulse in the mid to high 140s I achieved 6:54 per mile for Six miles. Perfect.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

2 days - 3 days training.

9 miles easy offroad.
A steady ten mile run.
5 miles of hard effort.

The 9 was in Gelt Woods on Saturday morning.
The 10 was on Sunday morning and was immediately followed by the 5 mile effort.
It was a superb day for running - bright and sunny, scarcely any wind, and a cool temp.

The 10 miles felt easy, as my heartrate indicated it should, averaging 151 for the 66mins 20 seconds it took me to complete. Ten months ago, such a heartrate would have elicited a result 20-30seconds per mile slower so I must be doing something right.

I had wondered what pace I might achieve for the final 5 mile 'effort'. 6:25 seemed a reasonable target as that would be 13 seconds per mile faster than the 10 I had just ran. As I started I simply ran as hard as I could, not checking the Garmin until 1.5 miles into the 5 which was at the highest point of the run. Delighted to see 6:14 showing I knew I wouldn't fall back to 6:25 no matter what. Pressing on I maintained exactly this pace to the end.

I had never ran 15 miles in quite this manner before but I think it was good training. It took a bit of deciding what pace to run the first 10 at. Perhaps I should have done it in 65 mins then followed up with a 6:20 five miler? Anyhows, that's the last long run for a few weeks. In two weeks time is the Brampton to Carlisle 10 which means next weekend will be just 10 miles but at very hard effort.

This coming week will be the hardest I have set myself for a long time. On Tuesday the mile reps will go up to six. Wednesdays easy 7 to 8 hasn't gone well recently - doing 7:20 odd pace with the dog on a lead has made my legs feel awful. I think it might be better to run at about 6:45-6:55 pace but only do 6 miles. Thursday I haven't decided for certain yet - possibly 8 again but trying to beat last weeks pace of 5:58. the alternative would be to do 10miles at just over 6minute miling - I'll see what Plucky thinks.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Title added later

On Wednesday Plucky ran with me around an easy 7miler.
On Thursday he was over again to run the 8mile tempo effort with me. I set the Garmin to show heartrate only, switching it to show distance only once we were almost finished. It was a hard run, often very hard, but not flat out. Turned out to be 5:58 per mile, good training.

Got a phone call tonight to say I had won a prize at the Derwent 10. It can't be much as I was only about 12th and 4th Vet, but nevertheless, nice to get something.

Exciting news - me and Janet have decided to go to New York next month. Woo Hoo.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

16,000metre steeplechase (without jumps)

Following a steadier training week last I want this week to be bloody rock hard. (that's a technical term oft-used by Bolt, Radcliffe, Naylor et al.)

Nowt is harder than racing so Sunday gone I travelled over to Keswick to compete in the Derwentwater 10. It's a 10mile event circuiting Derwentwater. Sunday was the wettest day I can remember for some time. As I drove to the race I imagined it might be called off. The roads were certainly awash - at ten or more locations around the course we had to run through 6inches (150mm) of water. It was like doing a steeplchase event without the jumps. I had hoped to run this in a little under 59 minutes. It took me 59:57, I wasn't 'on fire', I wasn't pinging, it wasn't the best I have ever raced. but it was a solid performance and was the best I could achieve on the day.
With this latest result I have decided against racing the LancasterHalf Marathon next weekend. I had considered going to Lancaster to attempt to run sub 75mins as that time would qualify me for a AAA championship number in the 2010 London Marathon. It's equal to 5:43 per mile and I think that may just be beyond me at present. Plucky IS going to do Lancaster Half, and is also hoping to run under 75mins. I await his result with interest.

Tonight (Tues) I ran on the track again. Milly and Plucky joined me for 5x 1mile (4 laps actually so 9metres short). With an intention to run 5:40 for rep one I allowed Plucky to pull away slightly as he was keen to run all 5 in 5mins 30. I ran exactly 5:40. He ran exactly 5:30.
Rep two I said I was happy to run 5:30 as I was now fully warmed up. We ran bang on 5:30 pace for three laps when Plucky forged ahead for some unknown reason and beat me by two seconds.
Rep three was always to be my 'bloody rock hard' rep and I immediately ran away from the others. Five minutes sixteen seconds later I crossed the line for the fourth time and was very happy to have the additional 14 seconds recovery time as Plucky again ran 5:30.
Expecting to feel dreadful on rep 4 I tucked in behind Plucky for two laps. 5:30 pace felt absolutely fine so I front ran for lap 3 then ran 'bloody rock hard' for the final 400 to record 5:25.
I said I didn't intend to do anything silly on rep 5. From the beginning I ran slightly wide, just inside of the lane 2 line. Three laps in, perfectly paced to bring us in at 5:30 I really wanted to test myself again but resisted. As we neared the final bend I sensed Plucky was trying to get past me. I moved out to lane 2 and marginally increased my effort. I moved out to lane three and again increased the effort. As we reached the final 100m straight - both level - it turned to an all out sprint for the line. We both ran 5:26 and those 4 seconds were all made up in the last 300 metres.

Obviously a hard week needs easy days within it so tomorrow will be the normal Wednesday 7 to 8 miler at 7-7:20 pace.