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!  



The First Run of The Year!

In the Blue Corner

So here I am then, weighing in at a post Christmas 13 stone 7lb, a strapping 6ft 1inches (ish), size 10 feet, sticky out ears and ruggedly handsome hahaha

They are my starting stats for the year.

My targets for 2014: (in no particular order)

1. To run 4-5 half marathons (already booked Southend and Warwick Castle)

2. To Run at least the 874 miles for the #LETJOG challenge.

3. To cross the finishing line of the Southend Half Marathon hand in hand with wifey.

4. To get down to my fighting weight of 13 stone and 1 lb by March.

5. Improve the 6 pack by June for our Holiday

There is someway to go with my training for a half marathon, and it starts here.

Training for a half marathon

When I trained for the Amsterdam Marathon back in 2012 I stuck to a 12 week training plan as best I could. At times I went over the stated amount of miles, but I rested when it said to rest and I incorporated some races during the 12 weeks too.

I’ve had a look at a few training programmes at a ‘just above beginner’ level to try and improve my pace and strength as I haven’t ran properly for 3 months, I have found one which takes me up to 8 miles, but I will probably adapt a little to suit my working hours and weekends etc.

First run of the New Year

So, I’ve just got back from my first run of my training, and knocked 5.9 miles off of the 874 miles for LETJOG14, only 868.1 miles to go. Piece of cake hahaha.

So, 5.9 miles; 1097 calories in 49mins 24secs. Average 8:22 pace.

Not as quick as I used to be, but it’ll do for a starter!

Sunday 1st April 2012 – I only went out for a quick 5K!

April Fool’s Day.

A pinch and a punch, first day of the month.

It’s the 1st of April today, April Fool’s Day. The day of pranks, jokes, jesting and jibes.

For some it is anyway.

Family time.

I spent the day with the family, chilling out, the sun has been shining for the best part of the day, we’d been to feed the carp and the fish at Little Easton Manor, it’s always nice to watch the big carp coming to the surface, basking in the sunshine, walking around the lakes and feeding the ducks.

We ended up driving to Sandford Mill Lock and walking along the river. This was where I had ran yesterday morning, along past the lock and into Chelmsford. It was nice to actually see the things that I missed yesterday whilst concentrating on not tripping over and navigating my way along the narrow tow path.

The best laid plans and all that…

I decided that for my Sunday afternoon run I would come back along the tow path for a short distance and then back up to home, probably about 5- 6 miles. I didn’t want to run too far cos my legs were aching like a bugger from yesterday, to be fair I doubted I would get much further than 3 or 4 miles.

It was mid afternoon, the sun was still out, I headed out, 2 miles down to the river, I aimed for a mile or so along the river then head back home.

Typically, I kept going. I ran along the river for a couple or three miles, I was heading towards Sandford Mill Lock again, a quick sat-nav like route calculation, meant I turned right at the lock, and headed along the country lanes back up to the main road.

The additional distance meant I was heading for a run nearer to 8 than 6 miles. I had passed 3 miles ages ago. My legs were killing me. I was close to ringing Wifey to come and pick me up.

Ah the shame of that thought! I kept on going.

It’s all uphill.

The run from the lock towards the main road was up hill, then there was more uphill running as I headed towards the A12, at the 2 mile from home point I was absolutely knackered. My legs were on auto pilot. I was gasping. Still, 2 miles to home, not that bad.

The dreaded hill, from 1.5 miles to 1 mile is a hill. It gets me every time. I’d forgot about it. How I managed to get up it I don’t know. But get up it I did!

I happily staggered through the door after running over 9 miles. I stretched, got changed and limped to the sofa…

This is the route and the run.

Saturday 31st March 2012 – A river runs through it

A change of route

Saturday again, my favourite day of the week. My ‘long run’ day.

I’d been checking out some alternative routes lately, although I was quite happy to pound the pavements, I needed to do something different. Something to keep me on my toes, as it were.

We’re fortunate enough to live out in he sticks, and being a sensible chap, I have always stuck to running along the roads, especially in the dark mornings, always crossed the road on a zebra crossing, never talk to strangers blah blah blah!

Across the fields there is a River, this river runs, as you would expect, for many miles. We’ve walked along parts of it on many occasions, mainly in the summer. It had never once occurred to me that I could run along the tow path.

Off to get some fresh air!

I had worked out a route that took me along the road for a couple of miles, down to the river, then run along that for 4.5 miles which would lead me into Chelmsford town, then up past the prison, around Springfield, through Beaulieu Park, then back over the A12 and towards home.

I reckoned between 14 and 15 miles.

The first couple of miles were down hill, it was lovely, the sun was just beginning to rise, the birds were singing and I had a good feeling about this run.

Whilst running along the river, I tried on several occasions to kick myself repeatedly. Why? Well for not running this route before, that’s why.

It was stunning, the water was tranquil apart from the odd coot or duck paddling across it, the air was fresh…it was quite very close to perfection. Seriously, why had I not run along here before? I passed locks and old lock keeper’s houses, I ran past horses and cows eating the early morning dew covered grass, old gunner huts strewn across the fields. It was so much nicer than running along pavements.

The only down side was the ground, it was hard, cracked and uneven, tree roots threatened to trip me every now and then, and it affected my pace and stride. I was running slower, and the undulated ground made me more cautious.

Back on the road.

The river led me into Chelmsford town center, back on tarmac and pavements, my slower pace along the river meant I had conserved some energy, which was handy because the run up Springfield Road was a killer, my calves were aching.

By the time I reached mile 10 I had picked up pace a little, and was running at about 8:30min miles, although it seemed as if my legs were on auto pilot, it felt as if I had no control over them!

The uphill run between miles 12 and 13 almost finished me off. I have a mental issue with this hill. It nearly beats me on every occasion.

Happily I completed a refreshing 14.6 mile run in approx 2 hours 15 minutes, not a record breaker by any shot. But very enjoyable none the less.

Here’s the route!

Sunday 25th March 2012 – Getting back on track.

Best to take it easy

After the disappointing run yesterday, the distraction from the bouncing water bottle around my waist, and the niggling pain in my right calf, I knew I probably shouldn’t of gone out for a run today.

But my calf was feeling better, I had rested it for most of the day, and anyway, I always go for a run on a Sunday, difficult to break a routine.

I needed to run, yesterday had played on my mind quite a bit, I was annoyed with myself for allowing myself to become so bloody distracted, although part of me was thinking ‘sod it, I am not going to run for a while, I’ve had enough’, I knew that if I didn’t get off my arse and run today and sort my head out then I probably wouldn’t complete the challenge.

I had to get back out there.

And it’s not as if I was going to go hell for leather and crack out a 10-15 mile run, I was only going to go for a quick 5K to get the blood pumping.

To the roads…

I took it easy. I tried to hold myself back a bit, not wanting to put any unnecessary force or trauma on my right calf, I settled into a steady pace fairly soon and was quite content to just plod along.

I refrained from running that extra little bit further or increasing my pace too much, I needed to ensure my leg was ok, after all I had the 155K barrier to break through this week, and I wouldn’t be able to do that with a knackered calf muscle, or any other injury come to think of it.

Happily I managed to complete 5K in about 27 minutes, injury free!

This is the link to the run.

Saturday 24th March 2012 – Distractions

I should of stayed in bed.

It comes around so quickly. Seems like only last week I was getting up and getting my running kit on.

There was something that wasn’t quite right about this morning though. I’m not sure whether my head was in the right place or what it was.

Perhaps I should of stayed in bed. In fact in hindsight I probably should of stayed in bed.

Left foot, then right foot. Repeat until finished.

A run starts with putting one foot in front of the other and then repeating the process whilst using your arms to help propel you forward. Opposite arm to leg.

It’s quite simple, yet this morning it was like I had never run before. I had about as much rhythm, co-ordination and balance as a Dad dancing at a wedding. My stride was out of sync with my arms.

After a couple of miles of this I was frustrated and getting really pissed off with myself. I had a 15 mile target set for today, at this rate I would be lucky to get to 5 without kicking myself up the arse and falling over.

Distracted by the bottle.

This week I purchased myself a new water bottle which is on a belt thing that you tie around your waist to save you carrying it while you run. I figured with the weather getting warmer and my runs getting longer (mixed with the fact that I keep neglecting to take water out with me on the longer runs – school boy error) I should take some water on my runs with me.

For the first few miles it was bloody uncomfortable, it kept bouncing as I ran. This was really distracting. The bottle was slipping around my waist, I found myself running at a funny angle to prevent it from moving. This was messing up my stride and pace.

I tried tightening the belt, but it worked it’s way loose time after time.

In the end I had to refrain from thinking about it and focus on the running, by which time I was 7-8 miles in, and my right calf was beginning to hurt.

Best to be safe than sorry.

My right calf was aching quite badly, there was no way I wanted to risk damaging it any more than I had already. I decided to cut the run short, and headed back home.

I took a short cut home, taking 3 miles off the intended route, 12 miles was ok but I wasn’t happy. I had been too distracted by the water bottle, it had interfered with my pace and posture and now I had a niggle in my calf.

I need to get used to the bottle!

You can see the route here.

Saturday 17th March 2012 – Waking up is hard to do.

I’m so tired.

Last night whilst sitting down and chilling out once we had put the boys to bed, I was nodding off and it was only 9pm. This may not be unusual for you, but it is for me. Well quite unusual anyway. I can normally stay awake without a problem until we go to bed, which isn’t late, normally around 10 – 10:30pm

I’m not sure why I am so tired, could be a number of things like, work, dehydration, early morning starts, a busy week in general, or a busy few weeks. Or a combination of all of them.

So, when the alarm went off at 6:00am this morning for me to get up and do my weekly long run, my initial thought was ‘bollocks to that, I can’t be arsed’.

My second thought was, ‘that’s not the attitude Paul, its’s 14-15 miles this morning, get up’

Angel on the left shoulder saying ‘get up and run’. Devil on the left saying ‘sod that, stay in bed’

..half hour later..

I eventually got up, got changed, new trainers and running top, and headed downstairs. The day had already started, the sun was almost fully up and about. Time to hit the road. I stretched and off I went.

Immediately wished I had put a long sleeve top on. It was cold. What the f*ck was wrong with me? The cold weather doesn’t normally bother me, I love running when it’s cold. I put it down to old age, I turned 36 last week, almost 40, that had to be the reason.

Heading for 14 miles

I had a plan to go out and run 14 – 15 miles today, I wasn’t going to let the tiredness beat me but after the first 4 miles I was shattered. The cold air had woken me up a little bit, but I just felt like I would never manage 5 miles let alone 15.

At the end of 5 miles I had a decision to make. Turn right and head home which would mean an 8 or 9 mile run, or turn left and try for the target. Head said ‘right’, legs went left. Brilliant.

Ok, so now it got a little serious, I had to do the run. No matter how tired I was.

Breaking the mental barrier

I ran through Chelmsford town center, or City center as it is now know (it got promoted a week or so ago), bumped into my mate Steve of John’s Blinds who was setting up his market stall, then headed along the river, up Springfield Road, through Springfield, then Beaulieu Park, and up towards the A12.

To be honest by mile 7 I was so focused on the run, and was actually enjoying myself again, I clean forgot I was tired. By the time I got to the roundabout over the A12 I had 2 miles to go, it was looking like I was pass the 14 mile mark. This spurred me on.

I finished at just over 14 miles, in just over 2 hours, in fact 5 minutes longer then it had taken me to do 13 miles last week.

It was in fact a bloody good time!

I was shattered.

You can see this run through most of Chelmsford here.

Tuesday 6th March 2012 – Running with Michael Caine


I think I’ve mentioned before that I really like my Tuesday morning run. I’m normally rearing to go after a long run at the weekend, and getting Monday out go the way, no one likes Monday’s do they??

After only managing to crank up 3.43 miles instead of the intended 5 miles, I was a little behind on my planned distance for the week. So today was time to get back to the game plan and get back to the 4-5 mile morning run.

My name is Michael Caine!

I have been scouring music albums to find something that could set me at a decent pace, much akin to that of last Saturday – that was an ideal pace and something I have wanted to achieve for a few weeks. There are a few running albums out there, but a lot of the songs I found annoying and knew that if they were to come on whilst I was running I would be frustrated and it would put me off my run.

I do have some great tracks to run to, perhaps I will share them in a future blog post.

Then I had a thought. How about an audio book? It’s a steady constant sound, perfect for settling into a stride.

I scoured iTunes audio books and came across a few great autobiographies, but one stuck out the most.

The one and only Mr Michael Caine CBE.

The run.

To be honest the run was a bit of a blur. I was so bloody engrossed in what Mr Caine was saying I could of run until he finished telling me his story.

I may have found the thing to keep my pace and stride settled. A very comfortable run, and a very respectable 4.81 miles, which is another 7.74k off the 155K.

Only 114.45k left to go!

You can see the run and the route here.

Editor’s note: I can highly recommend the Michael Caine autobiography, especially the audio book as he narrates it himself.

Sunday 4th March 2012 – ‘Orrible cold and wet!

No time to recover

The plan for today’s run was going to be a simple 5 miles. I wanted to run a little more than 5k to make sure my legs were OK after yesterday.

My legs were aching. My calf muscles felt like they needed to be stretched all day, so I wasn’t quite sure how they would hold up during or after the run.

All change

The weather in the morning had been raining, which doesn’t really bother me too much, I don’t mind running in the rain, it can be quite refreshing at times.

After doing a few bits around the house, having lunch, and cleaning the chickens out, I got ready to head out for about 4pm, it was still raining albeit slightly heavier now.

Best I get out quick before it gets much worse.

Bad timing!

Not 30 seconds after I stepped out of the door and started my run, than the heavens opened. As I ran along the road between the fields the sleet came in at me at a vicious angle and it was snowing gently at the same time. How that was happening I don’t know, but it was.

My face and legs were stinging. I’d ran all of 200 yards and I wanted to turn around and go home. I plowed on. After a couple of minutes I got used to the stinging sensation.

I turned left after three quarters of a mile, and the sleet was now hitting my back, this was more bearable. The road curves round to the right, then it’s a left at the end, and then back on myself, I was now running head first into the sleet and snow. This was ridiculous.

After a mile and a half I had a decision to make; turn left and do the 4-5 miles, or turn right and do 3-4 miles?

So, right it was then!

I picked up the pace a little, and headed for home. I had been battered all over the show by the wind sleet and snow. I was drenched and freezing cold.

Such a contrast to yesterday’s run.

To see today’s windy, sleet and snow battered run, click here!

Editors mileage update: I managed to run 3.43 miles, which is 5.52k.

I have completed 20.39 miles which is 32.81k, leaves me 122.19k to go, and 27 days in which to do it!

Saturday 11th February 2012 – 10 Miles!

A week with out running

I woke up this morning full of excitement with a little bit of fear / concern thrown into the mix.

I was determined to crack the 10 mile barrier this morning, but due to the recent crap snow and ice I hadn’t been out for a run since last Sunday, so either A) the long rest would be a great help or B) the long rest meant I was a little out of practice and was going to struggle some what. I hoped it was option A.

I’d been keeping an eye on the conditions of the pavements and pathways, and they had been improving daily, but I wasn’t prepared to go out running in the dark on a still icey path. Today would be the day. I could feel it.

A touch of frost?

Running kit on, downstairs for a stretch and a warm up (feed the cat), check the weather outside…and low and behold it was clear, although it seemed we had been on the receiving end of a very heavy frost. Temperature check, minus 4. Crap.

The sun was just poking it’s nose over the horizon, the cockerel was making a row in the garden, time to hit the road!

Setting a pace

Something happened as soon as I started running this morning; on the opposite side of the road was another bloke running, from the village up the road into our village, nothing odd in that, in fact nothign odd at all, but he was properly running. Not jogging slowly or quickly. Full on running.

Well that was me ruined. Instead of settling into a nice pace to start off with, seeing as I wanted to push myself that little bit further this morning, I wanted to catch up with him. Not only did I want to catch up with him, I wanted to over-take him.

I did neither. He was way too fast. A hardened pro no doubt. After 150 yards or so I realised 2 things; Firstly I was not going to catch him, and secondly my legs were fricking stinging! Bollocks.

I needed to concentrate on the job in hand!

The first two miles flew by, albeit I was bored, and my pace quickened a little, I wanted to get the first 4 miles out of the way, and into the meaty bit.

What a fool I am.

Having torn through the first couple of miles at about an 8m30s pace, I got a stitch at 4 miles, this lasted until mid 6 to 7. I was struggling. The stitch was really pissing me off, I couldnt shake it, but was glad to be at 7 miles, and new that I had plenty in me to keep going.

The stitch, and not my pace or technique, had been my point of focus and I needed to get back into my stride…which took me about half a mile.

Home straight

At 8 miles I knew I had 2 miles or perhaps more to go, the home straight is 2 miles long give or take a few yards.

Down a hill, up the other side, a mile of flat straight, chuck a left up a short hill and back down, at this point my right calf was cramping a little, no time to worry about it, I was almost home. Left again, half a mile to go. Pace quickened again, running full out for the last few hundred yards…

10 mile barrier…BROKEN!

I’d done it. It had taken me a couple of months to achieve it slowly, but surely.

Very pleased. I am now ready to book in for some 10 mile runs, and 10K runs.

You can see my route and times here