Sunday, 28 July 2013

last week ... next week

Not posted for a while mainly because it's been a bit hectic here recently.  Keir, home from university until September, invited his girlfriend to stay for a fortnight.  She arrived from Belfast at lunchtime on Tuesday but he didn't tell us she was would be staying until two days before that ...

So Monday was spent shopping, cleaning, organising, baking, washing ... and training.  Since then we've spent quite a lot of time out and about as Rachel has never been to Yorkshire ... and there a lot to see (it's a big place).  On Monday they're going to London for a few days to leave us in peace again for a while.

Tuesday morning's run was unusual because amongst all the hot, dry weather we've had this month along came a thunderstorm.  Which began just as I set out to run 15.1 km.  To say I returned rather wet is a bit of an understatement.

My second tempo run of the year was on Thursday morning - 4 k this time.  The kilometre splits were 4:05, 4:09, 4:15 and 4:24 and the target was somewhere between 4:13 and 4:16.  Need to get the get the pacing more even but I know that will come in time and it's all over the place at the moment because it's been too long since I did any tempo running.

Friday was my first session of hill reps.  The length was 709m and the climb 35m.  Much better than expected but I only did two, a good start though.  Eventually that will increase to a dozen or more.

Today is the start of an 'easy week'.  I like to have every fourth week easier than usual to help with recovery and recharge the mental batteries a bit.  During such a week I do about two thirds of my normal workload and have one long run instead of two (50% longer than usual though).  So, tomorrow I'll be running about 25 km.  I know that's not far but it's my longest training run since 12 August last year when I ran more than 48 km.  Reading again the what I wrote about that makes me a bit sad (see here) that I'm not up to that yet ... to be honest I'm not sure about 25 km.  I'm sure it'll be fine though.

Also in the next few days I have a blood test as part of the new National Health Service free health check program for all 40 - 74 year olds.  Apparently, every five years, everyone of that age in England will be screened for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease.  It will come as no surprise to learn that I'm not worried at all about this except that I don't like needles.  Overall I think screening is good though.  So long as I'm healthy !!!

Saturday, 20 July 2013


Two days ago, on Thursday, I ran with Otley AC for the first time since ... last August probably.  It's been a long time and there was a few new faces but it was good to be back with old friends.

The following day I decided to run 3.2 km at tempo pace.  Not knowing what that would be at the moment I looked at all my race times over the past twelve months and putting the figures into various online forms such as this one from Runner's World I came up with 4:18 to 4:21 per km.

I haven't done any type of paced running in 10 months so I didn't know what 4:20 per km feels like.  I did know that I could adjust my pace as necessary every kilometre and that wouldn't be too bad.  Also, I vaguely remembered how my body felt running at tempo pace (breathing, tiredness, etc) so that's what I aimed for.

The first k passed in an amazing 3:59.  Couldn't believe that, I then expected to blow up or not even complete the whole distance.  So, I slowed down a bit and the second k took 4:04.  Something wasn't right, I thought, I shouldn't be feeling so good running so quickly ... I'm not fit enough for this.  Slowing down even more, the third kilometre took 4:12 and the final 200m took 50s.

So my overall target was to run 3.2 km between 13:51 and 14:00.  I managed 13:09 and felt OK doing so.  Next time I think I'll have to up the distance to 4k perhaps (or maybe more).  And the temperature at the local weather station was over 26 degrees C whilst I was out running.

Pleased with how this week has gone.

Other pace calculators can be found at Running for Fitness,, Runworks, Attackpoint, Santa Clarita Runners and many others.  Almost all of them are based Jack Daniels Running Formula and the idea of the vdot.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

guest post number one - recovery

As mentioned previously there will be a few Guest Posts over the next few months (and beyond ?).  The first one is here and it's from The Supplement Centre.  I know that almost everyone who reads this will be familiar with the content but I feel it's always worth reminding ourselves about this very often overlooked aspect of training.

Three roads to running recovery

Being a runner is as much about the recovery process as it is about the run itself.  If you don’t get the recovery part right, your body won’t be up for the running bit.   You’ll be aching and tired and the last thing you’ll fancy doing is donning your trainers and getting out there.

So here are three things you need to think about after you’ve done a hard run.  And they’re not chocolate, beer, and collapsing in a heap on the sofa.  Sorry about that.

1. Think about what you put into your body

Basically, this comes down to three things:

 - Liquid – a hard run will leave you dehydrated.
 - Carbohydrates – a hard run will leave your glycogen stores depleted.
 - Protein – a hard run will damage muscle cells, which need repairing.

The quickest way to get all three forms of nutrient into your body is to use sports supplements.  Have one or two energy gels to hand, and consume these along with a non-carbonated sports drink as soon as you’ve finished the run.

For the next 24 hours, drink plenty of water and eat regularly.  A balanced meal for a runner would be made up of 60% complex carbohydrates, 20% protein and 20% fat, plus a generous helping of fresh fruit and vegetables.  During this time, avoid alcohol and caffeine as these will dehydrate you.

2. Think about what you do to your body

Get yourself into a swimming pool.  Hydrotherapy will help flush everything out and keep the blood flowing to your legs.  If you don’t have access to a pool but do have a bit of time, treat yourself to an ice bath.  No ice? Try a cool bath or cold shower.  Failing that, turn a garden hose on your legs.  No, we’re not joking.  Do not succumb to the comfort of a hot bath, as this will hinder recovery.

Once you have fed, watered and cooled your body, take care of those blisters that are likely to have developed.

A sports massage is a wonderful thing, but for the first 24 hours you should do little more than have a good rubdown.  Save the sports massage for the next day, or you risk exacerbating the breakdown of muscle tissue brought about by the run.

3. Think about what you do with your body

Once you’ve replenished your water and nutrient levels after your hard run, your second priority is to do some stretching.  Even better is to combine the two by walking around while you pop those energy gels and knock back that sports drink.  If you don’t stretch, you will be so sore the next day that you’ll never want to run again – and for a while at least, you may not be able to

Next, try to get a good rest so you are ready for the last phase in your recovery – the recovery run.

In the wake of a marathon, you won’t find the professional runners at home, feet up, eating Pringles; they will be doing a recovery run – a slower, shorter run – because they know this is the best way to improve their fitness.

And now you know how to do that too. Good luck.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

a few bits and pieces

First of all an apology.  To all my race organiser friends, I know I've been pestering you for a couple of weeks now about when your races are likely to be held next year.

I hope you all understand that it's only because I'm feeling fit, healthy and ready to go after a lengthy absence.  All the more so now that we have some good weather.

Next up ... there may be a few guest posts in the future.  Not too many but if anyone reading this is interested let me know.  But please be aware that I will still retain full editorial control.

Training.  Week one finished and the introduction of my usual two longer runs (the first one as a fartlek session) has been successful.  Next week I'll be introducing tempo runs and I'm looking forward to that on Friday.

Finally it appears that my morning heart rate is now, on average, 47.1 which is the lowest since 19 September last year.  And my weight has now fallen to 60.3 kg which is the lowest it's been since 15 November last year (until 17 June this year my weight had been over 61.5 kg for at least six months).

Things are looking good ... if I can find a few races.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

so far ... so good

Four days into 'proper training' and everything seems to be going fine.

Sunday's run was nothing special except that I ran for distance instead of time.  That felt very unusual at first, being able to run as fast or as slow as I needed to and knowing that it would have an affect on how long I'd be outside.

Monday was my first 'long run' and my first fartlek session.  Felt good to run fast (at times) but it was hard work.  When I finished I thought it must have been the temperature making things hard ... it was over 24 degrees C when I was running.  Looking at the stats though it seems that it was hard because I was running fast [overall about 8 - 10 seconds per km quicker than fartlek sessions 15 months ago].

Tuesday morning was my second 'long run'.  I know 12.7 km it isn't long really but it was the furthest I've been since last September.  Just nice and relaxed after yesterday's hard run.

And today was another shorter run - identical to Sunday's.

A couple of accident's made thing a bit more interesting though.  Slicing my finger badly on a tin can lid on Monday was painful and running into a lamp post while trying to avoid a cyclist on Tuesday was even more so.  That has caused quite bad bruising to my left shoulder (and a few grazes too).

Why don't cyclists stay on the road ?

Saturday, 6 July 2013

now what ?!

Everything's fine ... hunky dory ... A OK ... great ... now what ?

Well, for a start I can now begin to train properly after three months of no running (and minimal strength work) followed by six months of a strict rehab regime.

Although I've been given the all clear it doesn't mean I'm going to immediately include all the things I did twelve months ago.  That would be stupid.  So, over the next few weeks I'll be introducing - one at a time - hill reps, fartlek, speed work, tempo runs, long runs.  I finally feel as if I've been let off the leash ... a bit.

Cycling will continue much as before but weight training will shift from an emphasis exclusively on muscular strength (especially ankle) to a mixture of strength and endurance.

So the next few weeks will be a period of transition from rehab to training.  And during that time I'll be looking around for some long races to enter (especially as I'll be 50 years old in February) ... any ideas ?

I feel that in one unexpected way this rehab stuff has had a positive effect though.  It has taken a certain mental strength to adhere strictly to the regime when it would have been all too easy to, for example, enter a race or run further/harder than I should ... especially when the ankle has been feeling great for the past few weeks and I only live five minutes walk away from where Otley AC train.  I think that will stand me in good stead for the training and racing to follow.

Much to look forward to then, including running with my club (Otley AC) occasionally on training nights and in the odd race and handicap events (autumn relays perhaps).

Finally, the doctor told me that the medication for gout is working fine and there's no need to change or adjust the dose.  It's not affecting my running at all and everything's under control.