Tuesday, 31 July 2012

the week so far

After last weeks good training I was brought down to earth with a bump yesterday afternoon.  As usual on a Monday afternoon I had a long run planned - fartlek.  In this case it was just over 26 miles (42 km) [coincidence] and after a 30 minute warm up the plan was to alternate 7.5 minutes at 10k pace with 4 minutes recovery.

The route was quite hilly and the wind a little strong but I ran well to the end, finishing in under 3 hours 20.  But then the problem started.  It just seemed to take ages to recover and no amount of rest, milk, ice baths or bananas could make me feel like completing the scheduled 28.8 mile (46.4 km) run this morning.

So I went for a slow run this afternoon - 10 miles (16 km) in about 1h 20.

Complete rest tomorrow.

Good Olympic news for my home town though.  At one point Otley (population about 15000) was number twelve in the medal table.  Lizzie Armitstead rode magnificently in a very exciting cycle race on Sunday afternoon to finish with a silver medal.

Watching it on TV was most inspiring and I dare say I ran a bit too hard yesterday.  Surprising to come across Ian Fisher shopping in Shipley though.  I had run about 20 miles (32 km) at that point and was looking forward to a long haul up Hollings Hill about 2 miles (3 km) further along.  Stopped to chat about Lizzie's achievement for a couple of minutes ...

Friday, 27 July 2012

very short race

Each year Otley AC organise two track races for members only.  The first is a one mile race and the second is 3000m.  The first one of 2012 took place last night and I was quite looking forward to it as I hadn't taken part in a mile race for almost five years.  It being a whole lot different from my usual race meant that I had absolutely no idea about pacing this one so I began by looking back at my previous times:

5:19 ... 15 Sep 1998  (age graded 5:13)
5:37 ... 24 Aug 2004  (age graded 5:18)
5:41 ... 23 Aug 2005  (age graded 5:19)
5:40 ... 30 Aug 2007  (age graded 5:13)

I then looked at my current times in training and decided that I should be able to manage somewhere between 5:45 and 5:50

At the track I was surprised that only seven people had turned out.  I'm sure we used to have enough runners for two or more races.  One of those looking for a short race was president Mick Jeffrey who, I felt sure, was after the M60 club record of 6:08

After half an hour warming up and waiting in vain for other runners to arrive we decided to race.  The only problem was ... we didn't have a timekeeper.  So, the ever resourceful Richard Hamer persuaded a member of staff to help out for a few minutes.

And then we were off.  Graham Lake shot to the front and after about 100m I knew I wouldn't be able to compete with that pace.  My only hope of winning was if he blew up.  I went through 400m in about 85s with Mick hot on my heels.  I was working hard but expected to be able to keep that pace going.  Mick was still tailing me at the half mile and, more significantly, Graham was not increasing his lead - it was remaining constant at about 25m.

The third lap saw Mick lose touch and I reached the bell in about 4:17 gaining slightly on Graham.  With about 350m remaining I lapped Antonio and down the back straight I began to think the leader was beginning to tire too much and that I might just catch him if I could muster a sprint finish.

That wasn't to be though.  My final lap was my fastest (about 1:22) and I suspect that Graham just started his finishing spurt a bit later than me.  I was well pleased with my time of 5:39 which is an M45 pb and also an age graded pb (see this page for details).

The race was won with 5:28 and the president equalled the club's M60 record with his 6:08 although he probably could have gone a bit quicker with better pacing.

Finally ... to all those running in the Lake District this coming weekend (100 miles & 50 miles) I hope the weather stays kind and that you all have good and enjoyable races.  Especially John Kynaston and Sarah Fuller.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The last few days

Yesterday's long run went without hitch.  I decided to run two separate 18 mile (29 km) routes with no rest between them - mainly to avoid carrying lots of refreshments.  It could have been a bit boring but by choosing the routes wisely that was avoided.

So, overall I ran 36.4 miles (58.6 km) in five hours exactly.  Very pleased with that as the weather has decided to give us something resembling summer ... at last.  Very warm and sunny towards the end (23.8 C/74.8 F).

Only strength work today but tomorrow it's an 8 mile (13 km) tempo run and on Thursday it's the club's annual 1 mile track race over in Keighley.  Looking forward to that.

And congratulations to Simon Anderson on joining the Bob Graham club at the weekend.  His time of 22 hours 33 was fantastic and well deserved.

Also well done to all the runners at the Anglo Celtic Plate who successfully proved their fitness to the selectors for the World 24 hr Championships.  Especially the English women who retained the team title.

Friday, 20 July 2012

stuff ...

Yesterday evening Otley AC had one of their monthly handicap races.  This one was 2.9 miles (4.7 km) around woodland to the south of Otley.  With one large hill at about half way.

Having ran 28 miles (45 km) the day before and 6 miles (10km) eleven hours before the handicap I wasn't expecting anything fantastic in terms of time.  In fact, I wouldn't have been surprised if I'd finished last.  Especially with all that mud.

I started with three other runners [Lloyd Best, Simon Toyne and Richard Smith] and they immediately sped off into the distance, as expected.  After about a mile (1.6 km) I realised that I was actually closing quite rapidly on one of them.  Passed Lloyd going up the hill and then closed the gap significantly on Simon and Richard.  Unfortunately they took a slight wrong turn just after 2 miles (3.2 km) and I passed them both at that point and stayed in front.  Shortly afterwards I began overtaking many of the runners who had started before me although I was never overtaken by any faster runner who started behind me.

So, a very good run be me ... and an excellent time too.  19:18 is just one second slower than my best on that course which dates back to June 2007.

This event was followed by a much enjoyed barbecue at Otley Cricket Club where it was good to see and catch up with long standing member Phil Robinson who's still recovering slowly after a horrific cycling accident about 12 months ago.

Also in news ... best wishes to Simon Anderson on this weekend's attempt at a Bob Graham Round.  And then there's the Anglo Celtic Plate 100k in south Wales on Sunday - all the best to those runners (especially the England team, of course).

And finally some sad news for music fans.  Jon Lord - keyboard player with The Artwoods, Deep Purple and Whitesnake - died earlier this week after suffering a pulmonary embolism.  His work with those bands was outstanding (especially with his Hammond organ) but he has also been quite prolific in recent years as a writer of classical music.  BBC Radio 4 aired an obituary this afternoon during which someone mentioned that  Jon Lord was the only person ever to have been #1 in the classical music chart and #1 in the pop music chart.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The next few weeks

Since my last post my training has been:

FRIDAY 13 JULY ... 8.5 miles (13.7 km) tempo.  The plan was to run at about 6:52 per mile (4:16 per km) but I can't say I was looking forward to it because of the strong winds.  Half way through I felt very good - and the wind was proving to be no problem at all - so I just continued at the same pace and finished in 57:23 (6:45 per mile/4:12 per km).  Really pleased with that.

SATURDAY 14 JULY ... just an 8 mile (13 km) recovery run.

SUNDAY 15 JULY ... hill reps up (and down) Newall Carr Bank just to the north of Otley.  Fourteen times, not excessive but that will increase to twenty by the middle of August.

Today also marks the beginning of proper training again after three weeks recovery from the ULTRArace 100.  If you haven't read it yet, my report is here.  Only eight weeks now to the World Championships which will be five weeks training and three weeks tapering.  The next five weeks (running) training will be:

MONDAY 16 JULY ... long run fartlek (25 miles/41 km)
WEDNESDAY 17 JULY ... long run (28 miles/45 km)
THURSDAY 19 JULY ... steady (9 miles/15 km)
FRIDAY 20 JULY ... tempo (9 miles/14 km)
SATURDAY 21 JULY ... steady (9 miles/15 km)
MONDAY 23 JULY ... long run (39 miles/63 km)
THURSDAY 26 JULY ... tempo (8 miles/13 km)
SATURDAY 28 JULY ... 200m reps
SUNDAY 29 JULY ... steady (6 miles/10 km)
MONDAY 30 JULY ... long run fartlek (26 miles/42 km)
TUESDAY 31 JULY ... long run (29 miles/46 km)
THURSDAY 2 AUGUST ... hill reps
FRIDAY 3 AUGUST ... tempo (7 miles/11 km)
SATURDAY 4 AUGUST ... steady (6 miles/10 km)
SUNDAY 5 AUGUST ... 1 mile/1.6 km reps
TUESDAY 7 AUGUST ... long run fartlek (27 miles/43 km)
WEDNESDAY 8 AUGUST ... long run (29 miles/47 km)
THURSDAY 9 AUGUST ... steady (6 miles/9 km)
FRIDAY 10 AUGUST ... hill reps
SUNDAY 12 AUGUST ... steady (5 miles/9 km)
MONDAY 13 AUGUST ... long run fartlek (27 miles/43 km)
TUESDAY 14 AUGUST ... long run (30 miles/48 km)
THURSDAY 16 AUGUST ... hill reps
FRIDAY 17 AUGUST ... tempo (6 miles/10 km)

I'll also try to fit in a few of the upcoming club events:

2.9 mile (4.7 km) handicap on Thursday 19 July
Golden Acre Relay on Wednesday 25 July
1 mile (1.6 km) track race on Thursday 26 July
3000m track race on Thursday 16 August

On to other stuff now.

There's a great new e mag put together by Paul Ali called Ultra Tales and the second edition has just been released.  See here for all the details and a great read.  And then there's the new book from Tim Noakes (Waterlogged) who argues that the human body is quite capable or regulating it's own hydration and electrolyte status - so long as we don't interfere by doing things such as drinking to excess or ignoring thirst.  That book is a fascinating read - see what the fuss is all about here.

Finally let me tell about something which happened on today's training run when four cyclists passed by ...

the first cyclist turned to me and said "100 miles today, Chris ?"
"Not today" I replied.
The second cyclist looked at us both in surprise then said "we are"
the third cyclist then piped up "but we're on bikes, you fool"
the fourth cyclist just laughed as they sped off into the distance.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

a very good week (updated) ...

Training has gone exceptionally well so far this week.  My training week starts on Sunday (yes, I know that's a bit unusual but it just fits better with everything else in my life) and apart from strength work it was just a steady 6 miles (10 km).

Monday afternoon was a long fartlek of just over 19 miles (31 km) which basically comprised alternating 6:50 at 10k pace with 4:00 easy.  That went very well indeed on an undulating route and the following morning I did another long run - more than 22 miles (36 km) this time.  Again I couldn't believe how easy it all seemed [8:11 per mile/5:05 per km].  I seem to be flying at the moment and I'm not sure why.  Feels good though.

Wednesday afternoon was to be the most difficult session of the week ... 5 x 1 mile (1.6 km) in 6:16.2 each.  Made even more difficult by the strong westerly winds in Wharfedale.  As I hadn't done any similar training for about 12 months, and I'm still in recovery mode (just about), I wasn't sure how I would fare.  I used the Otley 10 mile markers along Pool Road which meant reps 1, 3 and 5 were with a tail wind while reps 2 and 4 had a head wind.  The times were 5:58.2, 6:29.2, 6:16.2, 6:23.2 and 6:16.5.  The mean was 6:16.7 and considering the strong winds I very pleased with that.

Rest day today.

Yesterday I also received an email from UK Athletics confirming my selection for the World 24 hr Championships in September.  Very relieved after everything that happened in June.  I know that a few other runners have still to prove their fitness so I don't really understand why this confirmation email has been sent.  To everyone I presume.

Planning can now go ahead - pacing and nutrition mainly but also training for the next eight weeks can now be finalised.  For the nutrition plan I will use the ULTRArace 100 as the starting point as, in general, that worked very well indeed.  Just needs tweaking.  For pacing I'll probably use ... well, I know what my targets are.  And what I'm capable of.

Right, got to go, no more time.  More later.

OK I'm back now, sorry about that.  Worries regarding Fay, work, health sometimes take priority over this blog.  I'm sure you understand.

After editing some of the above I'm not sure I should be blogging about selection just yet as it doesn't seem to have been officially announced just yet.  Anyway congratulations to JP, PR, SH, DMC, EG, KH, MD and JS.

A couple of things I've just noticed:  (1) I'm the oldest person in the team and (2) the youngest man is a couple of years older than the oldest woman.  Hmmmm

Friday, 6 July 2012

recovery and race report

Recovery has been going very well at the moment.  I planned to take three weeks to get back into full training and everything is on schedule ... so far.

The last couple of weeks have included the usual stuff - tempo runs, hill reps, steady runs, a race, etc - just less of them.  Like a taper in reverse.

Today's training was a 5.5 mile (8.9 km) tempo run.  The target was just over 38 minutes and, with the heavy rain and strong winds to contend with, I was pleased to achieve that almost exactly.

Apologies for the ULTRArace 100 report taking so long but I've had a couple of gremlins in the system here and for some reason I don't seem able to include any photos to go with the text.  If I can get that sorted I'll put them in later and let you know.

Anyway - you can now read about my last ultra on this page.