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

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Marathon Training Plan – Week 6

Already it’s week 6 of my marathon training plan, all ok up to now, I have missed a few runs here and there, which is annoying but unavoidable at the time. Where they have been missed I have tried to make up for them elsewhere.

All in all, I think I am pretty much on target, my main aim now is nailing the long runs and getting the distances in.

Here’s how this weeks marathon training plan worked out;

monday 13th august 2012

Monday’s are rest days, so I did just that.

tuesday 14th august 2012

Ashamed to say it, but I never managed a run today, not entirely my fault. OK so I couldn’t be arsed to get out of bed this morning, and opted for an extra hour or so in bed.

I decided I would go to the running club for the Tuesday evening training session, something I have wanted to do for ages, and been told I should be doing. As I was driving up the road near Strider’s HQ, the runners from the club all ran past me. It seems they had set off earlier.

I would never have caught up with them by the time I’d parked the car – so I turned around and went home feeling quite dispondent.

wednesday 15th august 2012

Right, so having missed a run yesterday I was mega keen to get out today. Didn’t get out of bed in time (feeling so tired in the mornings lately, probably the holiday catching up with me), so instead I went out this evening.

Target distance was 7 – 10 miles, target pace was 8:30 to 8:40 minutes per mile.

Happy to report both targets were met – well almost, I was a little slower on average pace at 8:42 minutes per mile, but it’s as near as damn it.

Here are the stats and the route.

thursday 16th august 2012

Running club night. I checked out the Springfield Striders website this morning to see what course we would be doing, and found that it was going to be 5K time trials this evening. Hopefully I could improve on my previous time, of which I thought was about 24 mins 50 (ish) seconds.

We ran the mile to the start, a gentle pace mainly downhill, into the park and to the starting point.

The route was as previous, along the path at the side ofthe river, under the bypass, over the footbridge, left down the footpath at the end of Fifth Avenue, which heads all the way to the Uni at the bottom of the other Avenues, round the back of the Uni, into the park over the bridge, then repeat for a 2nd lap, only to turn right after the final bridge and 100 yards top the finish. Nice and flat and simple…and tough.

I started at break neck speed, yet again. I was running around 6:50 – 7:00 minute pace for the first mile, I felt ok, but knew I would not be able to maintain this kind of pace and would probably drop down to about 8:00 very soon.

Instead I kept my breathing steady, and gave myself targets to reach; the underpass, the bridge, the next marshall, all the while trying to maintain this crazy pace. I did slow a little, my legs were like lead weights (probably still feeling the effects of yesterday’s 9 miler).

The second mile was slower, but only by 30 seconds, 7:30 minutes was pretty good going. Could I keep this up for the last mile or so?? In my head I broke the route down into small chunks and laughed to myself when I reached them, my legs were shot but I was keeping the pace up.

Mile 3 was 7:33 minutes. My overall time was 23:17. I had beaten my previous time. I was very happy, I thought I had knocked well over a minute off my pervious PB, it turns out though that my previous PB was 23:58, so only 40 seconds had been knocked off…even still I was buzzing!!

Here’s the new 5K PB stats.

I have a new target now for 5K, and that’s a sub 23 minute run.

A gentle run back to Strider’s HQ, warm the legs down a bit and head home.

friday 17th august 2012

Friday’s are rest days remember!

saturday 187th august 2012

We’re away this weekend, staying in Stevenage for my cousin’s wedding. We travelled up today and will be staying for a couple of nights, not getting a run in today (it’s far too hot to be running during the day), perhaps tomorrow.

sunday 19th august 2012

Managed to get up and go for a run this morning, not as early as I liked, nor did I run as far as I would of liked, but even at 8:30am it was stuffy, hot and humid.

Here’s the hilly run.

Thursday 5th July 2012 – 5K time trial

Running club

Thursday. Running club this evening.

I checked out the website this week to see what route we would be running (I remembered this time). According to the posting we would be doing 5k time trials. Brilliant, the last time we had done this I had crashed and burned half way through, far too quickly out of the blocks.

Subsequently I had finished in about 25 minutes, a gasping wheezing wreck.

Well that wasn’t about to happen again. This time I would pace it a bit more.

5k time trial

Before the run I did my usual stretches and took on some water.

We headed out, a mile or so run down to the park where we would be starting the time trials. I kept at the back, a steady jog to try and conserve some energy.

I knew the route of the trials, 2 laps starting along the riverside, over the bridge, back down through Chelmsford University, cut back through the side road, over another bridge – and repeat.

It was a nice, flat run, and good for setting decent times.

My time trial

I started off quickly and was kicking myself inside, I knew I’d do that, I wanted a slower pace to start and then increase and push for the last half mile. I was running under 8 minute mile pace.

I kept going, breathing hard but maintaining the pace. I looked at my GPS, a quick few calculations, I could beat 24 minutes at this rate.

I ploughed on, I slowed a little but nothing major. I came over the second bridge and headed for lap two, still feeling ok, still breathing hard, but all the while pushing hard. I had the 24 minute target in my head.

Half way around the second lap I could feel myself slowing, perhaps I hadn’t quite paced this out correctly.

A left turn after the Uni, across the bridge and then turn right, the last 100 yards or so to the finish line, where 80% of the rest had already finished. I stopped my watch 23m:59s….

Here’s my 5k time trial PB

Tuesday 3rd July 2012 – Running at the same pace

Running at the same pace

This was the beginning of my last week of ‘solo’ running for a while. As of next week I would be working to a marathon training plan, 16 weeks of tempo, easy and long runs in the build up to running the Amsterdam marathon at the end of October.

Today I wanted to cover 5 miles running at the same pace. This may sound easy and probably is for some people, but it’s something I tend to struggle with, so this morning I was going to practice it.

A simple route around the village at a manageable pace was the plan.

Setting off too quick

As per normal I set off a little too quickly, this is becoming a very annoying habit I have, and something I need to work on.

My pace slowed down after a mile or so, my target pace of 8m 20s to 8m 30s per mile, seemed manageable. I set out and headed down toward the village.

A quick right at The Cock, up and over the A12 and back not only adds distance to my route but throws a short sharp hill in both the beginning of my run and at the end too.

Back down to the main road, left at Plantation Road and then around the back of the village to the top of Church Road.

On Target

I turned left then, past The Lion, down hill then up to the A12 junction, over that and back on myself for the 2 mile run home.

So far so good with the pace, although I had slowed a little, something which I expected to do, I hadn’t gone over the 8m 30s per mile mark, I felt pretty good too, the legs were holding up nicely and my breathing was steady.

The last two miles were good, the uphill run back toward The Lion was easier today (I’m sure that’s just a mental thing). I tried pick pace up a little once I’d come back down the hill by The Cock and started the last half mile home.

All in all a good run this morning, happy with it.

Here’s a good 5 mile route

Bike ride to work

Stupid ideas

I have had many stupid ideas in my time, mostly when I was younger, you get wiser as you get older, not quite true in my case, ok, so maybe slightly wiser.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, I was going on a bike ride to work, I was going to borrow a company pool car for a weekend, I couldn’t drive my car and pool car home so I decided to ride my bike to work and put it in the boot and drive home.

My journey to work when I drive is 16 miles door to door. I had mapped a more ‘direct’ (?) route at about 20 miles for the bike ride in. I reckoned I could cover a mile every 5 minutes, quick calculations indicate a journey time of about 1 hour 40 minutes.

I must be nuts

I woke up the following morning and checked the weather outside, it looked like it was going to be a warm one, a slight breeze and the odd cloud.

I showered, dressed and went down stairs. I felt ok considering yesterday’s hard run and biking to and from the running club, I was pretty sure, well maybe only quite sure, that my legs would hold up for the next couple of hours or so.

I left home at 6am, heading for the country lanes and back roads and as fewer hills as possible. The first 4 miles were good. Mile 5 was mainly up hill to Danbury, turned right went through Bicknacre, along to Hanningfield.

I came to a T junction which was where I picked up my normal route to work. I had to turn left and face a rather large up hill ride. I took a breather for a couple of minutes, swallowed and energy gel and some water before battling on again.

I’d reached 12 miles and was feeling pretty good, I was an hour into it, and reckoned another half hour and I would be there.

What goes up must come down

The ride up the hill wasn’t as bad as I had expected, after pedaling through Retendon village it was a case of what goes up must come down…a nice steady downward, effortless glide to the bottom of the hill to the main roundabout, straight over that, and the next one immediately after.

Then it was a slow grinding battle up an ongoing hill to the lights at Rawreth, and then another ‘legs in the air’ and ‘flies in your teeth’ few moments as I sped down hill towards another roundabout.

I was very close to work now, a mile and a half, two miles tops maybe. I threw a right at the roundabout, my thighs were aching and my backside was sore.

The last few hundred yards were both annoyingly slow yet exhilarating, and as I got off my bike when I pulled into the car park I was very happy to be off of that bloody saddle! My bike ride to work had been amazing, a challenge and rewarding.

It had taken me an hour and a half to cover 18.5 miles, a lovely sunny morning through some stunning countryside…should do it more often really.

Here’s the bike ride to work.

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.

Sunday 29th April 2012 – Rain rain go away

Bloody weather!

For the last week or so now it has pretty much rained all day every day. Although we have a hose pipe ban, and according to the weather lady on TV this afternoon, over the past 2 years the monthly rain fall has only been above average for 3 of those months. The monthly rain fall has mainly fallen below average, hence the hosepipe ban.

Some places are expecting 50mm and over. 2 inches of water. Not much really, but this meager 2 inches brings with it ‘amber’ flood warnings.

Still, at least the boy’s like to sing ‘rain rain go away!’

Running in the rain?

I have been a bit lax on the running front lately, the wet mornings and evenings, puddle (small lake) covered pathways and grass verges have not been overly enticing to run on…not overly helped by the sound of the rain beating down on the bedroom windows, and the bed feeling extra warm and snug lately.

New running stuff.

I ran in a lightweight running jacket on Tuesday (the one that Virgin send you when you don’t make the ballot for the London Marathon – this was from last year), I thought it would make me claustrophobic, but it didn’t, I was actually quite comfortable. So I looked into buying one.

I went to the local Asics store yesterday afternoon and bought a new one, a nice lightweight black one (like the picture), also managed to get myself a running cap. I am not one for wearing baseball caps or running caps, so I felt a bit odd trying it on in the store, let alone running with one. I got the one in the picture.

Rain Rain Go Away

All morning I had been itching to get out, it had been raining constantly, a light drizzle, then heavy – constant. I couldn’t wait to wear my new cap and running jacket, my new protection against the horrid weather.

Around mid afternoon I declared that I would be going out for a run. I threw my kit on and proceeded to piss-ball around for ages with the jacket, my ear phones and my bottle belt (which was new too), I was getting the hump, I need to work on my running preparation time, especially for morning runs. I finally managed to get out of the front door.

Two minutes into the run, the rain stopped…the clouds parted, and for the next 45 minutes the sun shone gloriously as I trekked out a 5 mile route.

I was gutted, I was so looking forward to running in the rain, getting drenched and testing my new attire.

This is the non rain drenched run!

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

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.

Wednesday 28th March 2012 – Enthusiasm

Wake up! Wake up!

I’m Knackered. Fact.

Don’t know why. I’m not doing anything majorly different. Struggled to get my arse out of bed this morning.

When I went to sleep I had all the enthusiasm in the world to get up in the morning, get my kit on, run down stairs and then run the streets for half an hour.

This morning’s enthusiasm levels were as low as a snakes belly.

I miss my bed.

That aside I got up and went downstairs. I looked out of the window, the clear dark sky gave a chilly impression and my thoughts immediately aimed themselves at my warm bed. Brilliant. Why couldn’t my thoughts aim themselves at the run? The fields? The roads? My pace?

I stretched slowly, paying more attention to stretching my calves out, I didn’t want that niggle in my right calf to come back, definitely didn’t want to get an injury this morning, having to walk home would be a royal pain in the butt!

Once out on the road, breathing in the crisp fresh air, blood pumping and listening to other runners inspirational stories on my ear phones the smile came back and so did the enthusiasm. It came back in bundles.

What creates enthusiasm for running?

It’s the feeling of freedom. No it’s not. It’s the sense of peace and quiet. No it’s not. It’s appreciating the elements. No it’s not. It’s the feeling of achievement when a run is completed. No it’s not.

To be honest it’s a mixture of all of the above.

When I run I sometimes think about running different routes, I wonder what it would be like to run in warmer or colder countries, run along beaches, up mountains and this helps to keep me going, it keeps my enthusiasm levels up and the inner drive alive.

Getting up in the morning, however, remains a struggle sometimes!

Here is today’s route and the run.