LETJOG14 – Week 2

Weekly Runs

So, for me my running week starts on a Sunday, that’s mainly because I use Map My Run iphone app and that logs my runs for me, and it starts on a Sunday!

I have yet to start my 8 week trianing programme, that will commence in a week or 2, depends what happens in the next two weeks with regards to gym work and any runs I can get in – I need to get back into a steady pace and run. Something that is slowy coming back to me since the crash.

LETJOG14

For me, this challenge is all about the running. There are 874 miles to cover in this LETJOG14 challenge. Some people are cycling it, some are running it, some are doing both. I think there is even a chap incorporating swimming into it too!

But I think the challenge is more difficult running and running alone. Outdoors.

I could incorporate the 20 miles cycling I do each week going to the station and back. But I haven’t, it’s all about the running….Lands End to Jon O Groats (LETJOG14).

That, by the way, takes nothing from everyone involved in this challenge, it’s not a simple feat we are taking on. This is just my preferred way of completing it.

Weekly Stats

Sunday – 5.1 miles (click here). Not a great pace, but a good distance to start the week off.

Tuesday – 6.0 miles (click here). I was not looking forward to this one, my legs ached, but that soon went once I got going. A slightly better pace, and a slightly longer distance, to the point that I could have kept going. I put it all down to Wifey’s home sweet potato and tuna fish cakes!

Thursday  – 3.7 miles (click here). My first run at lunch time at work for ages! I forgot how much of a pain in the arse it is having to dogde tourists, duck out of photos, avoid being hit by buses, and on the plus side how beautiful our capital city is. My pace was mental quick, felt good throughout. Looking forward to getting out there again next week.

Saturday – 3.7 miles (click here). Out in the afternoon sunshine, a quick and steady run around the village with my average pace under 8 minutes per mile. Very pleased.

Weekly total = 18.5 miles

Total covered this year = 24.4 miles

Distance left to cover = 849.6 miles.

To follow everyone’s progress on twitter, search for the #LETJOG14 hashtag!!

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Marathon Training Plan – Week 8

Week 8 of the marathon training plan, and I need to pull my finger out. This is the week I need to get back on track and re-focussed. I definitely need to get a good long run under my belt, at least 12 – 14 miles and get back to eating properly – too much cake and other goodies over the last week or so. The marathon training plan does not allow for such treats.

monday 27th august 2012

Bank Holiday Monday. Wifey was at work. The boys were at the in-laws. I had the day to myself. Up and about early, got a few things sorted, and then shopping to be done.

My legs felt a little stiff after yesterday’s run, but seeing as I had time on my hands I wanted to crack out a good 5 miler today. The plan was to drive to Sainsburys, do the shop and leave my car there (being cleaned by the nice Bosovans) while I went for a run.

Shopping done and loaded into the car, I set off and headed down towards the running club. I had a route in my head and guessed it was about 5 miles, it took in the running club, then up through Springfield, along a track towards the farm then cut back through the fields at the back of Newhall School, along the drive of the school, then from the A12 back up to Sainsburys.

It was a really enjoyable run, and a nice little route.

Here are the stats.

tuesday 28th august 2012

Taking a rest day today.

wednesday 29th august 2012

I really wanted to get out and run today, and I was going to go out before work, but overslept, which had me running late for everything today, and I really wasn’t in the right frame of mind for running this evening.

thursday 30th august 2012

Running club day today, feels like ages since I have been.

I got there mega early for some silly reason, I am sure someone told me we were leaving at half 7 from now on…apparently not.

Tonight’s route was ‘Meadows’ not as scenic as you may first think. The route took us through the ‘Meadows’ shopping area, along the river at the back of the Uni, and up through Springfield.

I haven’t run this route before and found it to be quite a good little run. I tried to keep a steady pace running alongside a lady who competes in triathlons, our pace fluctuated a little here and there but overall it was about 8m20s per mile, which, considering we got a bit lost when we came out of the park, and we should of turned right on Lawn Lane and not left….wasn’t too bad!

We completed 5.7 miles in about 47 minutes of darkness – very pleased, great route to run. This may form part of my long run on Sunday.

Here is the route and the stats.

friday 31st august 2012

Rest day. Splendid!

saturday 1st September 2012

This morning’s run was going to be quick. I planned to do the 5k run around the village as quick as I could. I hadn’t done any speed work for a while.

The air was fresh and good for running in, I set off at a pretty good pace of about 7m40s for the first mile, and then got quicker for the second and a little bit quicker for the third.

I finished in 23 minutes 43 seconds which wasn’t too bad, the 22 minute mark still eludes me, but I will have that cracked by Christmas!

Here’s this mornings quick 5K.

sunday 2nd september 2012

Time for a nice long run. According to the marathon training plan it would be 15 miles, and I was quite looking forward to it. I haven’t run this distance for months. It would be a good challenge.

I began by heading out through the village, back lanes over the river and on towards junction 18 on A12, that’s my 4.5 mile point, over the A12 towards Baddow, but turned left and went through Sandon too, trying to get the extra mile or so in, through Baddow and down towards the Army and Navy roundabout, this was about the 8 mile mark.

Calculations in my head were that from juntion 19 on A12 to home is 2 miles, the ‘home stretch’, so I needed to get at least 5 miles in between here and J19.

I ran into town and picked up on part of the ‘meadows’ route from Thursday’s Striders run, this took me along the river, past the back of the University running along the back of the Avenues, then over the bridge under the bypass and then left up a short steep hill into a housing estate, I turned right and then left at the end of the road onto Lawn Lane.

It was at this point the inner arch of my left foot started to feel a little hot, a blister was on it’s way. Not sure why as I hadn’t had a blister for ages. This hampered the final part of the run a little bit, but not enough to stop me.

I ran along Lawn Lane and turned right into Brackenden Drive, left at the top and then right at the roundabout along New Nabbots Way, crossed the road at the top and ran through Beaulieu Park and out again and down towards Sainsburys. At Sainsburys my thighs were aching and the blister was burning hot, I knew I only had 2-3 miles to go, no stopping now.

The ‘home stretch’ was hard. The cool air was warming up, the clouds had disappeared and the sun was shining nicely, getting to the top of the last hill up towards The Lion felt like a major acheivement. I ran as far as the Cock Inn where the Garmin clocked at 15 miles, that was good enough for me, I stopped and walked the last half a mile back home – a good warm down after running non stop for 2 hours and 8 minutes!

Could I have run further? Possibly, maybe a mile or 2. Could I have run further if the course had been a lot flatter? Definitely. And the Amsterdam Marathon is apparently quite flat, so I don’t think getting to 15 miles or even 20 miles will be much of a problem, the last 6 miles however…

Here’s the stats and the route.

The week finished on a real high, very happy with the long 15 mile run, and in a pretty good time. Let’s hope I can continue it moving forward to the next phase of the marathon training plan.

Felsted 10K 2012

The Felsted 10K 2012

Today I would be running the Felsted 10K 2012, I have never ran this race before, all I know is where it was, that it wasn’t cut off from traffic 100%, the course said it was flat and slightly undulating, so I could expect small hills, nothing major.

Oh and I also knew that it had been raining continuously for a good week now, and it was still raining today. This wasn’t a bad thing, I would much rather be running in the rain than in the scorching sunshine (see Southend Half Marathon).

I also knew that I had ran 10k at least 100 times, albeit the majority of those runs were not a race but pounding the streets on my own. I wasn’t particularly worried, I thought it would be a fantastic race, my main concern was for Crispy, he was running it with me, and it was only his second proper race, the first was obviously Southend Half Marathon. The Felsted 10k 2012 would be his first race at this distance, and on this terrain.

Although, he was competent enough to run 10k, and had done so on numerous occasions.

Before the start

I picked Crispy up with plenty of time to get there, assess the situation, warm up and be relaxed for when the race started. We arrived and were guided into a field to park the car, a quick change, consume a quick banana with some water and then walk up to the start.

Plenty of people were milling about and nattering, others were preparing themselves (some taking it a little too seriously in my opinion), we chatted with a few people we knew and then did a bit of a run to warm up as well as some stretches.

At 2 minutes to 11:00 everyone was behind the race car and ready to go.

“What’s the race plan then Westy?” Crispy asked me, I replied with “take it easy for the first couple of miles and then maybe pick up the pace a little, strong finish!” Thumbs up from Crispy.

When the starter went off, we all surged forward, everyone jockeying for space and to settle into their own stride and pace. Crispy and I surged on, darting in between other racers, working our way through the field.

When will I learn?

After about 4 or 5 minutes I found myself running along on my own, Crispy was no where around me. Where was he? What had gone wrong? A quick glance at the GPS told me I was running at just over 7:00 mins per mile. Shit!! I’d done it again, set off far too fast, I slowed down to just over 8 mins per mile.

Crispy caught me up, “Did you have a birth plan for either of your two kids?”   The question threw me a bit “No” I replied, “They both came too early for us to put any plans in place” (one was 8 weeks early, the other was 5 weeks early). “That explains why you went tearing off then!”

We ran side by side for a bit, but I’d knackered myself by setting off way to fast, Crispy gradually eked away from me, my legs felt like lead. I was running slower and slower, I ran steadily at about 8 mins 30 secs per mile.

Perhaps I shouldn’t of ran 10k yesterday, perhaps I was over doing it lately, who knew? All I knew was I was 2.5 miles into 6 and hating myself for running off too quickly. My mind raced with calculations, I wanted to finish between 50 and 55 minutes and in the top half of all racers. I’d be surprised if that happened at all today.

Hindsight and all that…

The Felsted 10k 2012 was not the race I had hoped it would have been for me. Crispy on the other hand had a blinder! He finished in 46 minutes, I was very pleased for him, I on the other hand finished in 50 minutes, OK so I had beaten my 10k PB by 3 minutes, but I was not happy about the way I had started.

I need to learn to start a lot slower.

Here’s the course and my splits.

Tuesday 26th June 2012 – Taking it easy

Making the wrong decision

When I woke up this morning and turned my alarm off, I had that “can’t be arsed” feeling, I was tired and in no mood to haul my ass out of bed, even though the sun was shining through the window and it looked like it was going to be a lovely day.

I decided there and then to stay in bed and get an extra hour sleep, or at least try to.

This, as it happened, turned out to be very much the wrong decision to make, for the rest of the day I had the hump. I was annoyed with myself for not getting up and going for a run. A run wakes me up and sets me up for the day…I know that, yet felt it would be better to stay in bed.

Making the right decision

I stewed all day. I regretted not running this morning. I was snappy with people when I could be bothered to speak to anyone.

I didn’t like it. I decided to go for a run this evening instead, and to make up for being such a lazy arsed git this morning I’d run 10k instead of the 5k I was going to run. I’d managed to cheer myself up a bit, and was now looking forward to a nice steady run on a summers evening. Assuming the rain holds off, I’d be able to get a good pace going and be taking it easy, nothing too manic.

Slow and steady

So once the boys were bathed and in bed, and wifey was settling down to read them stories with Gruffalos and diggers, I was throwing my running kit on and heading out.

I’d planned a simple, slightly undulated route that took me around the village and headed over the A12 down passed the BMW dealership, up to the Sainsbury’s roundabout and then head back over the A12 and the 2 mile straight through the village home again.

The temperature was nice, the roads weren’t too busy, and I soon settled into a good stride and pace. I wanted to take it steady and try to maintain an even pace throughout. I needed to work on this in preparation for the half marathon and marathon I had entered.

Happy again

I ran just over 10k (6.65 miles), in just over an hour. Not a record breaking run by any means, but I had managed to run steadily. I was happy again.

Taking it easy.

Thursday 21st June 2012 – Riverside running

Thursday – Running club

Thursday already, it rolls around so quickly.

Today’s run was with the running club, I’d checked the website to see which route we would be running this evening, it seems we would be running the river route. I’d not run this one before, it looked about 6 miles. I was looking forward to it.

Running conditions

We’ve had a bit of rain recently, but this evening was warm with a slight breeze, nice conditions to run in.

We headed out of the running club HQ and over the bridge, down past the Audi garage to the roundabout, straight across and turned left. A public footpath through trees and thickets past a few houses and down to the river.

With all the sun and heavy rain we had been experiencing lately the bushes, grass and nettles had grown thick and luscious, which was nice, except they intruded across the foot path at the side of the river, that mixed with the slippery muddy conditions underfoot made for an interesting, careful and steady trot.

Slip sliding away

We ran single file along the river for a mile or so, through Sandford Mill and onwards towards the bypass. A small group of us eked our way through the grass, skipping over muddy puddles and dodging nettles.

Why is it there are always nettles crossing the path where there is lots of mud? You either get stung or go ankle deep in the brown stuff!

The chap behind me was quiet, I guessed he was concentrating as hard as I was on balance and not getting stung. “I’m angry!” he suddenly said. I shouted over my shoulder “what’s the matter?”. It turns out he had slipped over (that’s why he was quiet). I felt for him a bit, the last thing I wanted to do was to slip and injure myself.

Suddenly the lady in front of me went over. Her left foot caught a very slippery patch and down she went. Luckily I was some 15-20ft behind her otherwise there may have been a pile of bodies laying in the mud and nettles!

Home stretch

We reached the bypass, by now it was just me and the guy that had fallen over behind me earlier, we crossed a small bridge and ran across a field towards the under pass. It was so much nicer to have some more solid ground underfoot. Through the under pass and back up onto the pavement. The last three quarters of a mile up to club HQ.

We were caked in mud, him more so than me. Our legs were red and stinging. It felt brilliant. What a great route!! I’d thoroughly enjoyed it, we’d completed about 5.5 miles in about 48 minutes.

Riverside running; it takes concentration, it’s muddy and full of nettles – I loved it!

Can’t wait to see what happens next week!

Slippery and packed with stinging nettles, here’s the route!

Tuesday 5th June 2012 – Improving my running pace

Trying a new route again

The other day, in fact the other day when I tested out my new GPS watch, I tried out a new route, this took me along the back country lanes through to Utling, then back up through Hatfield Peverel and home, all in all about 6 miles.

The first time out had been good, and this time was no exception, my aim was to beat my previous time, even to beat it by 2 seconds would be an achievement. I was also trying to improve my running pace.

I’d been out for a quick 5K yesterday, and hoped that I hadn’t used up too much energy.

Getting connected

Using too much energy was the least of my problems. Remembering to switch the GPS tracker on the new Garmin was my problem. I’d turned it on whilst I was stretching and warming up, and then set on my way.

I’d pressed the ‘start’ button, but it wasn’t until I was about 3/4 of a mile into it, and I heard the watch beep, when I looked I realised that it hadn’t connected with satellites, all I had done was to take it out of sleep mode. So if you ever buy one of the Garmin GPS watches make note!

A 10K run

The cock up with the watch had put me off a little, I was hoping to do a proper like for like run with the one I did the other day, now I wasn’t going to be able to do an accurate performance comparison. A like for like comparison on my pace and mile splits wasn’t going to happen.

Never mind though, I was here now and going to make the most of it. It was a lovely clear morning. There’s something about running along the country lanes and breathing in lung fulls of fresh air that make running that little bit more enjoyable.

The run up through Utling was good, I felt fine up until I hit Hatfield Peveral, the hill run up through Utling had taken me a bit as it had last time, I knew it was coming but forgot just how much of a bugger it was. By the time I had reached the Duke of Wellington pub, I had my breath and my legs back.

I turned left at the pub and headed towards Boreham, thankfully there was a little down hill run before heading back up the 3/4 mile up hill stretch before getting back home. The hill run was made simple by counting ten steps at a time, it didn’t seem too imposing and before I knew it I was at the top of the hill and home!

Here’s all the technical stuff!

Monday 4th June 2012 – Improving my 5K time

Getting quicker

You may recall a few weeks ago at the running club we all took part in 5K time trials. This was on a reasonably flat course and I should of put in a time that was quicker than I did, but shot off out of the blocks far too eager and tired too quickly.

One of the goals I have now set myself is improving my 5K time, the aim is to get it well under 24 minutes, and nearer to 22 minutes. In fact, 20 minutes would be amazing, but let’s take this one step at a time.

A little help.

One of the reasons I invested in a GPS watch was to help with my pace, to help to maintain it, and ideally improve it. To get quicker.

Today was Bank Holiday Monday, Wifey was at work, the boys were at the in-laws, I had some time to myself and was scratching about indoors, I decided to get out for a run. I haven’t run early afternoon for ages, and it had been reasonably warm this morning.

I set out with a target of about 25 to 27 minutes, I wanted to see if I could maintain a pace before I started to increase it.

Mile 1 was 7m 45s, mile 2 was 7m 54s and the 3rd mile was 8m 15s.

I think perhaps I set off too quick again, although not as quick as previously, and slowed up again. I think my target pace for the near future should be nearer the 8m to 8m 05s per mile. This should give me a similar average – in theory.

The run

It was good to be able to monitor my pace as I ran, and helped quite considerably, but it can be a distraction looking at it every 20 seconds!

Here’s the quick 5K

Saturday 2nd June 2012 – The Garmin 110 Forerunner

Upping things a little

As you know I’ve been trying to improve my running a bit, I’ve been seeking more motivation and I have been taking my running a little more seriously.

I have got back into a running routine, I am plotting and running different courses and routes. I have joined a running club and I have entered races. I have even entered the Amsterdam Marathon.

All of these things are good and I am feeling better about my running, the main thing that is getting on my nerves and leaving me frustrated about my running is the fact that I seem to set off far too quickly and flag majorly towards the end of the run or race.

I need help with my pace.

The Garmin 110 forerunner

I recall a year or so ago talking to a guy about running, he was all excited about a new GPS watch he had just bought. He was a very serious runner, he’d completed a few marathons and he said that if I was serious about my running I should get one, I would need one.

I remember thinking it was a) a bit geeky and b) far above my level of running, after all at the time I was only running to keep fit.

Little did I know that it would become so addictive, and I would find myself where I am with it today. He was right, I needed a GPS watch. Mainly to keep track of my pace, something I could look at and measure how fast I was going and whether I needed to increase or decrease my pace.

I have done some research, and all GPS watches seem to do the same sort of thing, prices ranging from £100 to £300 – £400. I didn’t want to spend a fortune, but wanted something practical that would offer me the basic information I needed; mainly distance, pace set and current pace.

The Garmin 110 Forerunner seemed to be the most suitable, and upon reading reviews from others who had purchased it, it was quickly looking the likely choice.

Using the Garmin 110 Forerunner

Ok, so when my shiny new toy arrived yesterday I couldn’t wait to try it out.

I found it easy to set up, the small easy guide manual did what it said on the cover. I put it straight on charge ready for using it today.

I was going to try a new country lane route today, I was up early and heading out the door, ready to test the Garmin 110 Forerunner out.

Two minutes later I was still standing outside the front door as the watch searched for satellites….still waiting…

It finally connected, I pressed start and set off at a fairly rapid pace, a quick glance at the watch told me I was running sub 8 minute mile, so I eased off a little. After half a mile or so I turned right off of the main road and headed for the back lanes, towards Utling, fortunately there was little traffic, the air was cool and I was smiling.

A gentle run down hill (this could only mean one thing…time for a hill), and across a ford, a gentle right hand bend and then up hill. A bugger of a hill too. But I was ok, I felt good, I had paced myself for a change.

I ran through Utling and then onwards and through Hatfield Peveral, then downhill alongside the A12 and up towards Boreham. The 3/4 mile run up hill towards Boreham. It was tough going, but enjoyable.

I managed to clock 6.08 miles in about 51 minutes.

Here’s the new route with the shiny new watch!

Thursday 31st May 2012 – Running through fields

The running club

Thursday. Can only mean one thing. Today’s run would be with the running club.

I had no idea what the route would be, who would be going, what the weather would be like, but I was very much looking forward to it. On the few occasions I have been so far, each one had bought a new challenge and pushed me that little bit further.

The first week was a new route and a quicker pace, last week was the 5K time trials. I wondered what this were would bring.

Off roading

I checked out the Springfield Striders website earlier today to see what route had been put up for tonight. It was titled ‘Taj Mahal’. It showed a route from the club HQ up towards Boreham, then cutting down hill through fields, along the River and back up hill along the roads to HQ. A good 5-6 mile route.

Here’s the off roader!

Chelmsford Running Club

Running alone

There’s something nice about running alone, you can run at your own pace, you can increase or decrease your speed when you want, you can run where you want to and you can run when you want to.

You can watch and listen to the world go past as you run along streets, by streams or through woods and fields. You can experience the sights and smells alone, special moments when you see a deer an owl or a kingfisher, ok so it may be nice to share those moments, but it’s those moments that make MY run special. A reason why I like to run alone.

The solitude of running; that YOU time of the day. If it’s before or after work, its weekends, its running in the sun, snow or rain, it’s that short spell of freedom that allows you to break away from family or work stuff and come back refreshed and re focussed, de stressed and calm. Another reason why I like to run alone.

But running alone doesn’t help to improve your running. Nor does it help to get you used to running in a race or group running.

Running alone does not give you a pat on the back, or those words of encouragement when you want to throw the towel in, it doesn’t push you to improve your speed, it doesn’t give you a team of runners who are there for you and it certainly doesn’t give you another social aspect to your life.

Chelmsford Running Club

A year or so ago a friend of mine suggested I join a running club. “I don’t need a club to run” I said, full of myself. At the time I probably didn’t. I was achieving my own little goals under my own motivation and drive, something which I continued to do.

Then just after Christmas just gone I looked up “Chelmsford running club” on google, there in front if me were the words “Springfield Striders running club”. I took a quick nose at the website, they met up a couple of times per week, loads of members seemed to regularly win medals and they were fairly local.

I forgot all about them for a while, my time to be one a Strider was not yet.

Since I have booked myself into the upcoming races I have struggled to motivate myself a bit. Getting up in the mornings is a struggle (which is odd considering there’s normally daylight steaming through the curtains and it’s not dark at 5:30am). I knew I needed to do something to help with getting out and improving my distances and run times if I was going to finish these races.

So two weeks ago I punched “Chelmsford running club” into google again. Again there were the “Springfield Striders” in front of me. I decided there and then that I was going to attend a meeting on a Thursday the following week.

Joining a running club

I was very much looking forward to Thursday evening.

I was a bit nervous when I arrived, I didn’t know what to expect, or where or how far we would be running. What if I was too slow? What if I couldn’t keep up? What if I was out of my depth? What if I made a total tit of myself! Just…what if..?

I needn’t have worried. The first person I spoke to was very nice and friendly. I explained it was my first time and that I ran “a bit”. She introduced me to a member called Paul (which was easy to remember), we chatted for a bit before we went out. Paul has ran numerous races and completed 12 marathons, all in quite a short space of time.

Tonight we would be running 5 miles. Brilliant. Or unless you are Paul’s GPS system 5 is actually 6.5 miles.

Paul and I set off at a good pace, after a few hundred yards we were joined by another couple of guys. We ran. We chatted. We laughed and joked. We continually encouraged each other throughout the whole run. Time flew past.

I struggled a little with the slightly quicker pace, but I felt rejuvenated. I wanted to do it again. Back at HQ we warmed down and said our goodbyes.

I was buzzing. Why the bloody hell hadn’t I done this ages ago??

If you are thinking of joining a running club then do it. Now.

There are lots of additional benefits to it, discount from running stores, discount from race entry fees and help and encouragement from other people just like you!

Go on…do it

This was the 6.5 mile route!