LETJOG14 – Week 8

Give me more!

I was adamant that I was going to run more than 15 miles this week, just under 12 miles last week, and a poor performance the week before have left me well under the average mileage count to beat this LETJOG14 challenge, it’s time to up the ante and start cracking out some proper runs, especially with the Warwick Castle Half Marathon a few weeks away.

This Week’s Runs!

Sunday - 8.5 miles (click here) – A pleasant Sunday evening run with Wifey, my aim was to target 8 miles and keep each one under the 10 minute barrier, which we almost did, all barring 3 of the 8.5 miles. And that was mainly down to waiting to cross roads. Very proud of Wifey, she is coming along well, and should be in good shape for the Southend half marathon in June!

Tuesday - 5.4 miles (click here) - The Lunchime 5 miler, frought with it’s usual mix of deaf and ‘stop dead in their tracks’ tourists, light jumping cyclists and kids on half term! Fast paced, chilly and entertaining. Love it.

Saturday – 3.6 miles (click here) – I went to the gym yesterday….I ached when I woke up. I went to the gym this morning…running was not top of my to do list, but needed to get out just for a quick 5k. So I went when Edward was at football training, a quick blat around the village, not quite the 5 miler I normally do, but it was enough!

Weekly total = 17.5 miles

Total covered this year = 106.65 miles

Distance left to cover = 764.35 miles.

Next target – 150 miles!  



Marathon Training Plan – Week 7

Week 7 of the the marathon training plan already, it’s gone around so quick, almost halfway through and I am no where near prepared enough. I haven’t been doing hardly any long runs due to one thing or another. This is playing on my mind a lot.

monday 2oth august 2012

It’s rest day according to the marathon training plan, which was handy as I had a beer or two (literally) at the wedding yesterday.

tuesday 21st august 2012

I wouldn’t be running today as Wifey and I would be driving up to Barnsley tonight for a couple of days – pain in the arse, but needs must.

wednesday 22nd august 2012

We’re in Barnsley, I would love to go for a run, especially amongst the moores, it’s very hilly around here, plenty of challenges.

The biggest challenge I have is the reason we are here though.

I need to get even a short run in as it’s the West Mersea 10 mile race this Sunday, or will the rest do me good??

thursday 23rd august 2012

Still in Barnsley, we go home tonight, perhaps a run tomorrow if I can muster up the energy.

friday 24th august 2012

I haven’t ran for 5 days now and it’s getting to me. The last 2 days have completely knackered me, I ache a lot. Hopefully I will be ok for Sunday’s race.

Saturday 25th August 2012

Another day without running, still aching so resting for tomorrow.

sunday 26th august 2012

Today is the day of the West Mersea 10 mile race. Two 5 mile laps starting from the esplonade through the streets along the causeway, back up THE HILL, down and along the esplonade.

I woke up as I always do on a race day; agitated, nervous and keen to get out the door and to the event. I picked Crispy up at 9 and we headed off.

I wasn’t sure if not running for a week would help me today, my legs were still a little stiff from during the week at Barnsley. Crispy and I did a bit of a gentle jog along the front, and I made sure I did plenty of stretches.

Our plan was to set off and settle into an 8:00 minute pace, I was sure I could maintain this. Target time was between 1 hour and 20 minutes and 1 hour and 25 minutes. The weather was due to be cool, slightly cloudy. Good running conditions, which should help.

As it turned out, the clouds dipsersed and the sun shone hot and bright. This was ok for smaller shaded parts, but running along the coutry lanes where there was little shade was tough, and THE HILL was unshaded too.

The first 5 mile lap was good, we ran the first 3 miles in sub 8:00 minutes for each, and then slowed down into a more sensible 8:00 to 8:30 pace. We completed the first lap in 39:00 minutes which was really good going. We were well on target.

The second lap was tougher, running laps always is, you know what’s ahead, your head is buzzing with calculations and questions as you look at your watch for pace and information.

It was getting warmer, and at 6 miles or so my legs began to feel it a bit. They started to feel like aching lead weights and I plodded on. Up the hill for the 8 mile marker there was a water station, I slowed to a walk to ensure I took on water properly instead of trying to drink it as I ran and throw it all over my face, up my nose and down my top – I didn’t want a repeat of Southend. Ok so slowing down cost me 20 seconds or so, but it was important for me to take water on board.

Reaching the top of the hill mid 8 and 9 mile was good, I knew that I was going to beat 1:25:00 and just kept going, Crispy was a good 45 seconds to a minute in front of me, I could see him ahead, he looked like he was ok, his pace was constant, little did I know he was struggling too.

I eventually crossed the line in 1:22:45. I was bloody knackered but very happy. I found Crispy laying on the grass, he had beaten my by a minute or so, but he was equally as knackered. We drank plenty of water, got changed and headed for the food stall for a well deserved bacon butty and a cup of tea!

Here are the results of the run, and here are my stats for the run.

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.

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!

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!

Wednesday 14th March 2012 – 10K for breakfast!

Target in sight

I couldn’t wait to get out and run this morning. I’d set my target of 10k to take me through and beyond the 100k barrier for this month so far and toward my 155K for the month (although this I now very highly probably going to increase to 200K for the month).

I got out of bed, got changed into my running kit, which included my new Asics running top that Wifey bought me for my birthday (which has to be the most comfortable top I have got, short sleeve, light and breathable) and my new running trainers.

10K heaven

I tip toed downstairs so as not to wake everyone, drank a pint of water, stretched and then hit the road.

I never thought I would say this but 10K is a good distance for me. I enjoy it. It allows me a couple of miles to warm up and four miles to enjoy myself. All done in under an hour.

My first race was 10K back at the end of September. I struggled like a bastard that day. It’s amazing how much my running has improved in the past 5-6 months through continually getting out and pushing myself.

Practice makes perfect and all that!

It must be the trainers

I haven’t felt so comfortable running as I have the past few days. This could be down to the new trainers. It could be the fact I listen to audiobooks and not music. It could be that I am just naturally improving and growing as a runner and the trainers and audiobooks are coincidental.

Who knows? All I know is that this mornings run was fun. I really enjoyed it. A good 10K run before breakfast.

This takes me well past the 100K barrier so far for the month. and only half way through it.

My next run is Saturday. Although I’m popping out for a ‘couple of pints’ Friday night. I may leave the run until Sunday.

You can see the run here.

Music to run to.

Music and running

When I first started running I ran without music. Looking back this was probably for the best as my running skills / technique and breathing were non existent. As was my capability to run half a mile without stopping twice, bending over double and nearly puking my guts up. But through perseverance and determination I eventually managed to not only run half a mile, then a mile but to get to 3 miles without stopping. Out of breath and totally knackered, but happy.

Waiting until I had the running thing sussed before adding music was not intentional, but I am gladded it worked that way.

When I added music to my runs I started by listening to The Prodigy. Why? Well mainly because growing up I always liked them, and I vey rarely got an opportunity to listen to them, especially on full blast, so when I was out running I had half an hour or so to enjoy them.

The problems with that though was a) the tempo of the music, which made me run as fast as I could, and b) the songs reminded me of many happy times clubbing, and I would find myself daydreaming or having flashbacks, which distracted me from what I was trying to do.

I needed something with a steadier tempo.

A radical progression

Eagle Eye Cherry, Dave Matthews Band, Kings of Leon and Will Young then became my preferred artists to run to.

One particular track by DMB was about 14 minutes long, I started my run with this song, it was half of my running time, so I knew that when the song finished I was half way around my route. And each time I would aim to be a few 100 yards further than the time before, this meant I was running at a quicker pace.

I went through a phase of trying to run 5k as quick as I damn well could. I started with runs of about 28m 30s, and managed to get it down to 23m 53s. That was without listening to upbeat, quick tempo tunes.

Steady pace, longer distance

Until recently my play list included Maverick Sabre, Plan B, Adele, Will Young, Kasabian, The Script, Florence and the Machine, Stone Roses and The Who. Quite a diverse range of artists, but all tracks were suitable to help me maintain the pace the I was comfortable with. I was refocussing. My running strategy had changed from ‘hell for leather as quick as I can’ to slower and longer’

My intention was now to build up my distances, slowly increasing from 3 miles to 6, 7 then 8 and 9 miles.

Listen and learn

To help me to achieve a slower pace still, and increase my distance further I now listen to audiobooks. Currently I am listening to an emotional yet very funny biography read by Mr Michael Caine.

The constant tone helps me to maintain a very even pace and stride, and helps to pass the miles away far quicker than music can do.

So I have gone from one extreme to another with music and what I listen to.

I guess different people listen to different genres of music, and it all depends on what works best for you. For me at the moment it’s all about distance. Perhaps this will change one day, once I have achieved my target distance.

A marathon and more.


Saturday 3rd March 2012 – 20K and a new PB

Saturday morning running!

Saturday. My long run day.

I had no idea how far I was going to run today nor what route I was going to run. But I figured I needed to crack out at least 10 miles to keep me on track for the 155K I intend to run this month.

So when the alarm went off at half past silly o’clock this morning, I didn’t hesitate in getting up and getting my kit on. Back to wearing just a single layer, short sleeved and definitely no hat today. I was far too hot on Thursday whilst running, and the claustrophobia was kicking in.

If I was to run a good distance today I needed to be cool and comfortable.

The key to a good run is…

Actually I don’t really know what the key to a good run is. All I know is this morning, my stride hardly changed from the moment I started, my pace throughout was consistently between 8m30s and 9m00s per mile. This morning’s run seemed perfect.

I wasn’t held up by traffic turning in and out of roads I was trying to cross, my laces never came undone, I didn’t get a stitch, my shoulders never ached, and 7 of the 8 other runners I passed said good morning to me! Which was nice.

The route.

the first 3.5 miles was my normal route, up to the village, round the back road, to the other side of the village, down to the A12, over the A12 and heading for Springfield, left at Sainsburys, down towards Buy and Queue, hang a left again.

I was now at around 4 miles, I was gong to run down to the next roundabout and back up and then continue as I had done on the 10 mile run the other week, but as I was feeling OK, I kept on going. I headed along the road, past Asda, up toward the retail park roundabout, turned right and ran toward the bypass. Along the bypass, off the slip road and toward Aldi, right at Aldi then left at the bridge over the railway line.

By now I was up to about 6 miles, no niggles or knocks or stitches so I just kept going.

I was trying to calculate how far I could potentially run this morning. I reckoned I could probably get to 12 miles, give or take a few yards, this spurred me on, if I could do it, then it would be my furthest distance yet.

If I could do it? Of course I was going to do it. I was determined to do it now.

10 miles down, at least 2 to go

I continued the run through the middle of Springfield, then up and through Beaulieu Park, back down toward Sainsburys, then turn left, past the BMW garage, up the hill and over the A12 again. Little app lady piped up “….1h 30 something minute…blah blah 10 miles..”

I was going to break my 10 mile distance record, and I had a good couple of miles to go. I was running with a big grin on my face, down the hill, up the hill (I hate that hill, it’s the worst hill I have to endure..and normally I am ok with them), on past the park. App lady again “…blah blah blah..11 miles” my pace quickened slightly.

Threw a left at the Cock Inn to run up the bridge over the A12 and back (it’s about 350m and the hill gets the heart thumping before the final half a mile back to home).

Back onto the home straight, the final half mile push, pace quite a bit faster now, I switched the music off and listened to my breathing and my trainers as they bounced off the road, trying to get them in sync with each other.

App lady kicked in just short of home “..blah blah 1 hour 48 minutes….blah blah 12 miles”

I’d done it – 12 miles. A new distance PB.

That should take a fair chunk out of the 155K challenge!

You can see the route and the times here.

Editors note: my legs are aching to buggery, perhaps I will just do 5 miles tomorrow!

Editors thought of the day: “no matter how slow you run, you are still faster than someone sitting on a couch!”

Sunday 26th February 2012 – a 10K triumph.

Tiredness caught up with me

I haven’t been out for a run since Wednesday.

I couldn’t get out of bed Thursday morning, for some reason I have been so damn tired lately, and trying to motivate myself Thursday morning was hard work. The alarm went off at half 5 and I just thought ‘you know what..I can’t be f*cked!’

I know it’s the wrong attitude, and it’s not like me to be like that, but I have been seriously struggling lately.

Friday is rest day.

Saturday I normally get up and try to do 8-10 miles. But yesterday I was up early and picking up a rental van to go and shift furniture from my Mum’s house back to home. I had planned a run in the afternoon, but got caught up in tidying a load of crap out of our house and getting it ready to take to the dump today.

So today then!

Can I be arsed?

Well today I wanted to do a minimum of 5 miles. Getting out of bed was a mission, my back was aching from humping stuff around yesterday, the ‘can I be arsed?’ thought went through my head a couple of times.

I got up, got changed. went down stairs and stretched and went out.

10K run

Seeing as how during last week the temperature had risen, I went out with just a single layer, and no hat.

Typically we had a slight frost last night, so the initial chill to hit me was quite a shock, but I soon warmed up.

The first mile was mental, couldn’t get into my stride, shoe lace came undone twice and I was thinking ‘a quick couple of miles and I’m done’, by mile 2 I was enjoying it, I knew I had missed it, I’d had 3 days off, struggled with motivation and drive, and now I was back. Just as well really seeing as I have got a big plan for March!

Miles 3 and 4 were a breeze, I was heading back towards home after the 4th mile and aiming for a 6-7 mile run (10K run), keeping it manageable and sensible considering lack of running this week.

Happily I clocked a 6.86 mile run, if you want to see it, here it is.