Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Good weather ... good training

Lovely sunny weather this week ... a bit cool in the early mornings (when I do most of my running) but very warm in the afternoon.

Today, for example, 4.9 C when I left home and 13.0 C when I returned.  That's an amazing temperature difference for a single training run.  Sunny the whole time which made the 19 miles (30 km) along the Leeds Liverpool Canal all the more enjoyable despite having to wear gloves for the first half.

After next Saturday's North of England 12 stage road relay I begin my next 'easy week'.  Two thirds of my planned mileage and with one one long run instead of two - that long run is 50% longer than usual though.  So ... on Monday I've got a 50k training run planned which will be very useful for experimenting with nutrition.

If you want to join me you're quite welcome ...

Friday, 23 March 2012

bits and bobs

First of all many congratulations to Matt Podd and Matt John on completing their first ultra race last weekend in north Yorkshire ... a trail race but it's a start.  Hope they plan to do some more.

Earlier this week the Olympic kit was launched for team UK.  There has been quite a lot of things written in the media about 'the missing red' but the best thing I saw was on Terry Lonergan's blog - Running On Empty.

Also found some good stuff on the West Highland Way website from a 'night of inspiration' held in Edinburgh recently.  A few hundred people turned up for talks by various knowledgeable people including Adrian Stott and Dr Andrew Murray.  Videos and downloads are on the site and are well worth looking at.

My training this week has been a bit tiring.  Tempo run on Sunday then two long runs (Tuesday and Wednesday) followed by two 7 mile (11.2 km) runs yesterday and speedwork this morning.  Plus lots of core and strength work.  Yesterday's early morning run was completed with heavy legs but the porridge back at home was well worth the five or six minutes effort in making it.  The combination of oats, milk, fruit and spices soon had me back to normal and the evening training run with the club saw me moving much better.

This morning's speed session was also quite good as, once again, I managed to hit all my targets in the cold early morning mist.

A good week but a bit tiring.  The improving weather is definitely helping - almost spring like at times.  No training tomorrow ... a scheduled and well earned rest day.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

training and helping

Over the past week or so I've had a few requests for help from fellow club members who have either entered today's Hardmoors 55 or are running the 52 mile Slieve Bloom Way at Easter for charity.

I'm always happy to help and pass on the benefits of my - relatively short - experience, especially if those runners are likely to think about doing more ultra stuff.  Especially on the roads and/or track rather than trail.  That's just my personal bias, I've nothing against trail races really.

I always try to be careful not to provide to much information at first (I don't want to scare people away) because, unlike the shorter distances there is much more that runners need to know and be aware of.  Hopefully they will enjoy their first forays beyond the marathon and want to run more, and try to increase their times and/or distances.  Keeping me on my toes too.

So, all the best to Matt and Matt today and to Liam in a few weeks time.

For me this morning was a speed session.  Very early.  12 x 200m at 7.30am is anything but easy, especially with a weighted bag on my back.  I often do stuff to make my training harder than it need be - somehow it makes the training a bit different ... and the races a bit easier !!!!

Ran well though and hit all my targets before spending an hour on the bike and then doing some core exercises.  A good day's work.  So far.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

recent training ... and this year's first race.

Well, after a couple of long runs this week followed by this morning's hill reps I can feel my fitness improving almost daily - or so it seems.

The long runs were especially enjoyable in the sunshine (still not too warm though) and I'm beginning to take more seriously the need to experiment with types and quantities of food/drink whilst running.

I'm sure the recent sunny weather has a lot to do with it as it makes everything seem so much ... easier, more fun, worth doing.

Still, I know my speed and endurance is returning but the first real test will be on Saturday 31 March in Liverpool when I'll be running for the club's B team in the annual North of England 12 stage road relays.  It's only 4.9 miles (7.9 km) but at least I'll have a good idea about my level of fitness.  After that it's time to enter an ultra race and get serious with the training.

Friday, 9 March 2012

good run ... good food

Usually I do tempo runs in the afternoon.  Not sure why really, I suppose it's a mixture of habit and the fact that faster running is easier later in the day when the blood sugar levels have risen after the eight hours of overnight fasting.

This time though I thought it would be good to have a morning fast run so, after a mile and half warm up (2.4 km) I did the planned 4 mile (6.4 km) run concentrating on maintaining a good pace and good form.  The idea is to always be in control of the pace so that if, for whatever reason, I inadvertently run slower for a while [weather, traffic, etc], I can pick up the pace again without too much effort.

My plan was to use the mile markers on the route of the Otley 10 and complete 4 miles in about 27:45.  Not too quick, or too long, but considering my recent injury I'd be happy with that.  My mile splits turned out to be 6:33, 6:55, 7:15 and 6:47 which made a total of 27:25.  Pleased with that but you can see that the third mile was quite a bit slower and this was due to heavy rush hour traffic over Pool Bridge.

After a shower and a cool down it was time for some food.  It was still quite early in the day but I was hungry and so I made a bowl of pasta with homemade tomato and marscapone sauce.  Wonderful.  Of course I made plenty of sauce and put some in the freezer for another day.

Monday, 5 March 2012

better than expected

Yesterday it was Otley AC's turn to host an event for the Yorkshire Veterans Athletic Association.  It was only 5.8 miles (9.3 km) but if a club belongs to an association such as that then it should expect to stage a race once in a while.  And if a person belongs to a running club they should expect to help out as a marshal, or similar, once or twice a year.  It's not fun standing around in the rain on a cold March afternoon for 90 minutes though .

Good to see Helen Barber (Horsforth H) running well on the multi terrain course.  You may remember that she and her partner (Tony Hazell) provided much help during my Run To London back in 2009.  Wow, was that really three years ago ?

Today was different though.  Went for a long run this morning.  Well, about 21.3 miles (34.2 km) up the valley to Addingham and back.  Not hilly but far from flat either.  Without pushing the pace at all I was out for about 2h 52 ... more than happy with that.

The sun was shining, it was a little breezy but all in all it felt warmer than expected and as promised a few days ago I just had a fun three hours (almost).

Feeling good ... fitness coming back ... testing nutritional stuff ... very happy ... expecting a better year than 2012.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

training, races, retiring ... and questions about drinks

Recent training has been good in the warm winter sunshine - the temperature here has regularly been over 11 C (52 F) whereas the average is only about 7 or 8 C (45.5 F).  It's all starting to come together and I've added hill reps to the training schedule.  In fact I find myself choosing the hilly route almost every time I go running at the moment - it's good for strength though so I'm not complaining.  It will also come in handy if I choose to do a hilly ultra in June.

Early next week I'll be doing my first 20 miler (32 km) since late August last year and I'm really looking forward to it.  I've no idea yet where I'll be running but those three hours will be fun if the weather stays as it is.

Sad to read about William, Anth and Torill all having bad races recently for various reasons in Espoo and Evreux.  I'm sure they'll all bounce back, learn from the experience and have some good performances later this year.

Received news yesterday that it's extremely likely that I'll be taking part in a 24 hour race in eastern Europe in early September.  Nothing definite yet (the wheels of officialdom are turning slowly this year) so I can't say any more than that.

On a similar note many of you will be aware that the IAU is pushing very hard to have a 24 hour race included in the 2018 Commonwealth Games which will be held in Australia.  If that does happen it will be a fantastic opportunity and experience for all the athletes.  Not just for ultra runners but for all the other sports and media people who will get an chance to see first hand what we do and the extreme levels of fitness, endurance and camaraderie involved.  Fay said recently that I'll be retired by then ... don't tell her but even though I'll be 54 when the Games take place I'll be trying my best during 2017 to make the team.

Retire ... don't be silly.

A couple of thoughts recently came to me when reading the label and website of a well known brand of isotonic sports drink:

100ml contains 6.4g carbohydrate (of which 3.5g are sugars).  What is the remaining 2.9g ? and
if I aim to take on board 60g glucose per hour during a 24 hr race will 100ml provide 6.4g or 3.5g of that ? and
500ml bottles of liquid and 390g tubs of powder have slightly different ingredients and nutritional data, why ?

Hope someone has an answer or two (or three maybe) - for ultra runners nutrition is important ... everyone else thinks we're bonkers !!!

Thanks to everyone recently for the birthday greetings via Facebook or otherwise ... much appreciated.