No Excuses.

Let The Running Commence….

…well maybe not today, but possibly tomorrow. Or perhaps the day after?

I want to run but….

…I’ve got an excuse. I had a really bad car accident at the beginning of October and have been unable to run or train properly or go to the gym. I have been out for the odd run here or there, just to de-stress and unwind. Or to run with Wifey; who ironically picked up her running enthusiasm just as mine was lost in a 70mph wrestle with bloody great lorry.

To be fair, as good as an excuse as that is, it still doesn’t and hasn’t really stopped me from running or curbed my enthusiasm for running; far from it. Not being able to get out on a regular basis has been bloody frustrating, but I have enjoyed watching Wifey go from strength to strength as she trains for her first half marathon in June.

Something to aim for.

Her aim is to conquer the Southend Half Marathon, and whilst she only manages to get out once or twice a week she is already hitting 8-10 mile runs at a steady pace, it’ good training for a half marathon, 13 miles at the beginning of June should be a walk in the park for her.

I have entered this race too, and aim to cross the line with Wifey. I have ran it twice before, it’s a fairly easy course, simple route, and has lots of support from the crowds, especially when it’s hot and they hose you down!

For me, the race is 6 months away, by then I should have finished my physio, and be nearing the pace and good physique I was in back in October. But it gives me something positive to aim for, and in training I should eat away into the 800 plus miles that forms this LETJOG14 challenge.

But for now…

… I am going to break off another strip of this massive dairy milk bar of chocolate and pour myself another glass of port and lemonade…perhaps I will get my running kit ready for the morning and go out before work….?

Tenner says I don’t though!

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LETJOG14

Time Flies

It’s been well over a year since I last blogged about running, it’s not because I stopped running, far from it, and it’s not that I didn’t want to; I just never got around to it, or forgot or some other lame excuse!

I changed jobs so my running routine and mileage went right out of the window, gone were the early morning 10k runs and weekend long runs, I was just about managing a couple of 5k runs in the evening. I even stopped going to my running club.

The last thing I blogged about was training for the Amsterdam Marathon (which I am happy to report I completed in 4h 15m).

A New Challenge

Now, a mate of mine called Dan Bowsher has completed many runs in 2013 in aid of charity, and has well and truly got the running bug. And fair play to him, he’s done a fantastic job, and the blisters and training have all paid off!

He has now come up with another challenge, and that is to run the distance from Land’s End to John O Groats in a year.

Simple? Well it’s 874 long, chilly, hot, mentally straining, hilly, wet, blister enhancing miles. As he says, it’s only about 15 miles per week, and a good challenge for beginners and seasoned runners alike.

Count Me In

I like a challenge, and reckon that this is something that I could do and fit in around current work hours etc etc yawn…..

The thing is, I had a bit of a bad car crash back in October and am awaiting a 6 month session of physio on my back. I haven’t really ran properly for the last 3 months, I have had to pull out of races and my pace is nowhere near where it was.

But this little challenge has given me something to aim for. It’s given me a reason to blog again. And if this blog helps to encourage 1 other person to do this challenge then that’s a bonus too! 

LETJOG14

Dan has set up a hashtag on twitter to follow #LETJOG14 (Lands End To John O Groats) and is encouraging others to join in and blog about it!

As of Wednesday 1st January 2014 I shall be capturing all my runs no matter how small on Map My Run, and updating my blog at least once a week.

So if you fancy it…..? Either tweet with Dan on his twitter account or Big Running Year twitter account, he would be more than happy to add you to this growing running community. LETJOG14

Marathon Training Plan – Week 1

Marathon training plan – week 1

Monday 9th july 2012

Thankfully today was a rest day, which I needed after the Felsted 10k yesterday. My legs were aching a bit, and the last thing I needed was to be getting up early.

Tuesday 10th july 2012

Today’s run was 30 mins easy run, so I figured a 3-4 mile simple pace around the village, I was up bright and early and keen to get the marathon training plan underway.

The run was ok, nothing too strenuous, I managed to complete the run in 30mins 11 seconds. Rest day tomorrow.

Here’s today’s training run.

wednesday 11th july 2012

Another rest day. I could get used to these – although this is the only week with 3 rest days in. It’s a tough slog from here on in!

thursday 12th july 2012

Today was down to be a 40 mins steady pace run. I figured what ever I did at running club would equal or better that.

And it did.

Here’s today’s training run.

friday 13th july 2012

Another fantastic rest day.

saturday 14th july 2012

Run for 30 minutes. According to my marathon training plan, that was all I had to do today.

I did the same route as Tuesday, nice, simple and steady.

Here’s today’s run.

sunday 15th july 2012

According to the marathon training plan I had to do a long run today, to the tune of 6 miles. I decided I would do the Utling run, a quiet country lane route around the back roads between villages, and a couple of stonking hills in there for good measure.

A cracking time of 52 minutes, I was very pleased with it, it’s a brilliant route and a good one for me to test my 10k times on.

Here’s today’s run.

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!

Saturday 14th April 2012 – Breaking barriers

The weekend has landed.

Saturday again. I’ve had a busy week.

I missed my Tuesday and Wednesday runs, a slight chest infection and a trip to Paris scuppered those, and seeing as it was a short week due to Bank Holidays I am a day or two behind.

I have been planning my run all week, 15 miles was the target distance, no targeted time, I just wanted to be able to complete the 15 miles. This time though I was not going to run along the river so far, I think that was one of the reasons my legs and body felt broken after the last long run. So today I was only going to run a mile or two along the river.

As my running partner and great mate Rob Cameron says, “I need to get some miles under my belt” especially seeing as I have now entered the Amsterdam Marathon 2012.

Ideal conditions

I woke up full of enthusiasm and raring to get out and hit the road, I couldn’t of asked for better running conditions, it was slightly chilly, the sun hadn’t been up all that long, the roads were quiet…ideal!!

A mile and a half in and I was struggling, not just physically but mentally too, my legs weren’t sure what my brain was telling them, and my brain had no idea what the hell my legs and arms or the rest of my body was doing. I was determined to keep going though, I wanted to run. I needed to run.

Panic over.

I needn’t have worried, I soon got back into the swing of things, my stride and pace re-appeared and I was settling back into things nicely.

I detoured left at about 4.5 miles and headed on a steady mile or so decent towards the river. After the previous battering on the hard clay tow path a week or so ago, I was pleased to see that the recent rain had softened the ground, muddy in patches, but easier to run on, I headed towards Chelmsford town center for a mile or so, before heading back up towards Springfield.

A slight detour to elongate the route, and add a bit more distance and different scenery took me round in a loop and back on to the main road. It’s good to add new surroundings to a route.

Breaking another barrier

At mile 10 I was miles from home still, barely coming into Springfield, a quick route calculation meant I was sure to break the 15 mile barrier, this put a spring in my step, my legs were beginning to feel stiff and on auto pilot, I upped it a notch, got my head down and ran.

I broke the 13 mile barrier well over 2 miles from home.

Finally passing the 15 mile mark I was done. My legs just stopped, I was quarter of a mile from home. I walked the rest of the way home, happy. Aching like mad, but happy.

This is my longest run to date

Amsterdam Marathon 2012

At the beginning

When I first started this running blog, I intended to blog about all of my runs throughout the year no matter how short or far, how important or insignificant, rain or shine…or even snow. I hoped that I would be able to blog about some races I had entered, deep down I wanted to enter a marathon and blog about that. What is a running blog without a marathon?

The Marathon is the race every runner wants to compete in, no matter what country they live in, it’s what we all aspire to.

For some, running it once isn’t enough, some people have run 100′s. Believe it or not there are folk out there who run races upto and over 100 miles per race, these are Ulta-runners.

Dean Karnazes is one of them, he’s become a bit of a hero, I listen to his story of how he ran 50 marathons in 50 US States in 50 days. Some of the crazy stuff he has done, makes my 5k weekly runs seem a little inadequate.

It’s good to talk.

A few days ago I spoke to my good friend Rob Cameron. Rob is a runner. He has ran the London Marathon, competed in a few half marathons and is very focused in his approach to his running.

Rob mentioned that he had applied for, and would be running, the Amsterdam Marathon 2012. This appealed to me. Greatly. TCS Amsterdam Marathon

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to run the London Marathon, but there’s something about it that just seems like a load of commercialised chaos. I would rather run a marathon that has a few less entrants, a little more low key and a bit different.

And the Amsterdam Marathon has just that. As does the New York Marathon, but that’d cost me a fortune; leaving Wifey alone in the Big Apple for 4 hours or so could have a negative effect on our bank balance, and there’s only so many shoes you can get in one suitcase!

Plus the Amsterdam course looks a little more straight forward!!

Training programme

So now I have 6 months to get my self into shape and prepare myself for my biggest challenge as a runner.

Thankfully Rob is as dedicated a person as I have ever met and although he lives 150 miles away he will not allow me to slack on the training.

I think the fact that I am not starting from scratch should help me. I have run 13 miles plus a few times so far, I have run in all weathers, I have run up hills, along rivers and got up at silly o’clock far more frequently than others to go out and run.

All I have to do is sensibly increase my distances, and ensure I do not get injured.

The Amsterdam Marathon 2012

Tuesday 27th March 2012 – Done it!

155K Challenge

At the beginning of this month I set myself a little challenge; to run 155K in March. That was 5k per day. Obviously not running that each day, but to achieve it over the course of the month.

By the 14th March I was well on target, and even thought that I could reach 200K, I contemplated increasing the challenge, but I didn’t. Good job really, as I went 5 days without managing to get out and run at least twice, on a few occasions I never managed to run as far as I wanted to, and once or twice I gave in to the elements.

Crossing the line.

This morning’s run took me to exaclty 97 miles this month, that’s 156.106 km

I was half aware of how many miles I had ran so far this month, and figured that by around 6:30am I will have completed the challenge.

I managed between 4 and 5 miles, it was probably the 3rd mile that took me across the 155K line – challenge complete.

What’s next?

For what I thought would be a simple challenge it turned out to be more difficult than I imagined, mainly because of the reasons mentioned before.

I am going to set myself another challenge though, probably go for ’5 half marathons in 4 weeks’ or ’200K in a month’.

For now though I am very pleased to have completed this challenge.

Here’s the run!

How hard can it be to run 26.2 miles?

Personal challenges

As I have mentioned before I like to set myself a running challenge from time to time. A sensible challenge, one that will push me just that little bit further.

Over the past few weeks, on my Saturday morning run I have been increasing my running distance, and trying it add a mile or so to my previous weeks distance.

Currently I am up to 14 miles, which is good, I never thought I would reach that distance.

I need to do something more though. I need to push myself a little bit further.

Bishop’s week of hell

A year, 18 months ago, maybe a little longer, I struggled to run a mile. That’s a lie. I struggled to run half a mile. But with a bit of determination, grit and positivity I got there. If you had said to me a few years ago that I would be running 20-30 miles per week and entering running races I would of fell on the floor laughing. But here I am doing just that. And more to the point I am enjoying it, it has become part of my routine now.

I recently followed John Bishop’s week of hell, where this normal guy, with no previous desire to run, row or cycle got off his arse and did something for Sport Relief 2012. He wanted to raise 1 million pounds.

To get from Paris to London.

This included a 185 mile bike ride from Paris to Calais, rowing 26 miles across the English Channel from Calais to Dover and then 3 back to back Marathons to cover the 82 miles from Dover to London. All this in 5 days. (It took him just three hours to do the journey the other way by train).

He enlisted some professional trainers to help him get ready for this challenge, and he had fantastic support from other celebrities, fans and family members or help him get through it.

It almost broke him…but he did it. And he managed to raise a couple of quid too!

Anything you can do…

This got me thinking.

No. I am not planning to copy his challenge. Simply because I couldn’t get the professional training and support to do this, nor could I get the French rozzers to give me a police escort out of Paris, nor could I get the time off work to train or to carry out the challenge.

I need to run a marathon. I need to actually compete in a marathon. First of all I need to cover the 26 miles as part of my run. In fact I want to try to run 30 miles in one go, this way I know that I would be able to run the 26 without much of a problem – in theory anyway.

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 13th March 2012 – The challenge continues

Over halfway

When I set myself the challenge to run 155K this month, I thought it would be relatively..er..difficult. Maybe that’s the wrong word, I’m not sure, but I am finding it quite easy.

At the moment I am up to 83.22K, that’s well over half way, and we are just coming up to half way through the month. Today’s run on top of this and add tomorrow’s one also, should take me around the 100K mark, and that would be my halfway run.

So, I am thinking of increasing the challenge to 200K.

Upping the ante

Initially I thought I would struggle to complete this task, and to be fair, the only thing stopping me now would be major flooding, a huge snowfall, the shits or an injury.

The weather is getting warmer, so no chance of snow,  I am pretty sure the village has never been subject to any form of flooding as it is quite high up, I watch what I eat (although I could catch a bug from the boys if they pick anything up from school) so no chance of the shits (famous last words!!). Seems only an injury can stop me then. There’s probably a 70-85% chance of that happening.

The increase would ensure that I have a target to aim for, the 155K would come and go too quickly. I need a target, I need something to motivate me, and push myself towards…otherwise I become complacent.

Today’s run

I was up bright and sprightly as always for my Tuesday morning run, the target was 5 miles.

A very enjoyable run, a slight chill in the air ensured I got off to a good pace, the new Asics feeling so very comfortable, I wish I had invested in them weeks ago!

I managed a very respectable 5.07 miles, this is 8.16K and takes my total to 91.38K. Not far off 100K now.

Let’s see if I can break that barrier tomorrow.

You can see the run here.