A Long Slow 16K Run

As I’ve got some time off work this week, I thought it would be a good opportunity to start introducing some more mid-week runs to my training schedule, especially as I swapped my long run on Sunday for a short one.

The plan was to get out early and run 16K this morning, but thanks to bad weather, social media and the cat that had firmly planted herself on my lap, I didn’t actually get out the door until late afternoon.

It was pretty cold, wet and windy so I decided to add an extra layer of clothes and head to the seafront. I should probably get myself a proper waterproof running jacket, but I made do with an old hoody as the rain wasn’t particularly heavy.

As this was to be a long slow run, I adopted the usual run-walk-run approach with a 3:1 run:walk ratio and made sure that I kept the pace nice and easy. It would have been nice to have gone a bit faster, but I didn’t want to mess up the distance and I was kind of enjoying taking my time.

Despite being out in the wind and rain for two hours, it was a really enjoyable run and I felt pretty good afterwards – apart from the fact that my legs feel like they are about to fall off, but that’s to be expected, right?

2014-11-25_Overview

Needless to say, I’ll be having a rest day tomorrow which will give me time to recover before Thursday’s shorter run which, hopefully, I’ll be able to complete without taking any walk breaks. As it is though, I’m feeling pretty good about the whole run-walk-run thing so no real pressure there.

A Good Call

When I looked out the window this morning at the cold wind and drizzly rain, the last thing I wanted to do was go for the 16K run-walk-run that I had scheduled for myself. It wasn’t so much the thought of running in the miserable weather, but the fact that I would be out there for a couple of hours and would likely feel like crap afterwards. But what was it I said a couple of weeks ago? No excuses, right?

Ok, so I had to go for a run, but maybe I could come up with a compromise and just do a shorter run today. I’ve got most of next week off work so I could easily get my long run in mid-week. It wouldn’t mess up my long term schedule and might actually be better as I could have a rest day before and after the long run.

So, before I could talk myself out of it, I got dressed, got out the door and headed for the seafront for a quick 5K. I decided it was going to be quick because the faster I ran, the sooner I could get back indoors to my nice warm dry flat – that’s what I call winter running motivation!

The wind wasn’t too bad this morning, except that it was coming from the North. This meant I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of a tailwind and, more annoying than that, the rain was constantly in my face and I kept having to wipe my glasses.

I set off at a decent pace and was running negative splits until the fourth kilometre, when I decided to take a bit of a walk break. It was just a short break, less than a minute, so it didn’t pull my pace down too much and I still managed to get a decent enough time of 31:53 (6:22 mins per kilometre), which is faster than I have run since July, even on shorter distances.

2014-11-23_Splits

Walk break aside, I’m pretty pleased with the run and glad I made the call to postpone the long run. It’s still a far cry from a Sub 30 5K, but at least I’m heading in the right direction and getting closer to where I was before.

How’s your training going? Have you had to adjust your schedule because of the weather? How do you motivate yourself to get out and run on those days when you really don’t feel like it. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Back To Continuous Running

Circle HopUsually on a Saturday morning I’m pretty keen to get out the door and get my run in, but this morning I just wasn’t feeling it. However, as Saturday is now VRUK Blog Hop Day, I decided to spend the day getting my head together and eating well so that I could run this evening and get a blog post in for this week’s blog hop. And I was so glad that I did.

It has taken me a while to get back into a regular running routine and to be able to run without taking walk breaks, but this evening I managed to run my first non-stop 5K in months! It wasn’t particularly fast and I’m still a long way from my Sub 30 5K goal, but that didn’t matter. The important thing was to get the distance in.

Once I had completed the 5K, I was still feeling pretty good so I decided to continue back to my starting point, which would take me up to a bit over 6K. Of course, I had to take a short walk break to get that far, but I still did it and it felt really good.

2014-11-22_Overview

As far as run-walk-run is concerned, I’m still going to use the 3:1 ratio for my long Sunday runs as part of my marathon training, but in between I’m hoping to gradually build up my continuous running in the hope that I might be able to run the distance for February’s half-marathon.

I’m also thinking of taking part in the Virtual Jeff Galloway 3.1 in December. According to my training plan, I should be able to complete a half-marathon run-walk-run by the end of the year, so it would be a good benchmark to start from as well as a great opportunity to earn some bling!

How’s your training going? What do you think of run-walk-run? Have you taken part in any virtual races recently? Please share your thoughts in the comments and pop over to Virtual Running UK if you fancy signing up for a weekly running blog hop.

Fancy A Shuffle, Santa?

santa shuffleOh, I know. It’s still only November but I thought I’d better get into the spirit of the old yule tide season, and what better way to raise some festive cheer than to indulge in a little bit of festive running… or shuffling… with Santa?

Over the next few weeks, many towns and cities across the UK will find themselves overrun with Mr and Mrs Clauses shuffling through their streets in the name of the Santa Dash. And, while these events seem to grow and spread year upon year, it’s a sad fact that there are still many towns and cities across the world that have yet to experience such a joyful sight.

So, in the name of spreading the festive cheer, I’ve decided to host my very own Virtual Santa Shuffle over at my virtual running website (Virtual Running UK). The idea is to run 5K, 10K, a Half Marathon or in fact any distance you like dressed as Santa and, in return (for a small fee), you’ll receive a lovely piece of festive bling from yours truly.

Ok, so you don’t have to dress up as Santa if you don’t want to and, lets face it, you may get a few strange looks if you’re running on your own, but maybe a Santa hat? Or a bit of tinsel? Or persuade your dog to wear some reindeer antlers?

Better still, why not get a bunch of friends to do it with you? Or wear a festive costume to your Christmas Day parkrun? Who knows? You might even start a new tradition in your own town!

So, wherever you are in the world, if you want to join in the fun, head over to Virtual Running UK and get yourself registered. Places are limited so you’ll have to get in there quickly if you don’t want to miss out.

Happy Running!

 

Mixing Things Up A Bit

Running the same old route can be useful in terms of motivation and progress as you run past points that you struggled with in the past, but it can also become a little bit tedious after a while. That thought, along with the fact that the Brooks Brighton 10K was taking place on the seafront this morning, prompted me to try something a little bit different.

My goal for today was to do a 13K Run-Walk-Run, using a 3:1 Run:Walk ratio, but instead of running along the promenade and out towards Shoreham Power Station, I decided to mix things up a little bit and get some much needed trail and hill running in.

Knowing that this was going to be a tough run, what with the hills and the muddy trail that I planned on taking, I decided to start off with three laps of Hove Rec. The nice thing about this part of the route is that each lap is about 1 kilometre and has some nice gentle inclines, which would be a great warm up for the rest of the run. I kept the pace nice and slow, enjoying the cool breeze and drizzle, before heading down to Hove Park.

The park was pretty quiet as I jogged along the eastern side of the parkrun loop, sticking to my ratio as I took in the steep incline before descending and heading into the wooded area and the first major challenge of today’s run.

The first part of the trail wasn’t too muddy, but before long I found that the incline was a bit more than I could handle. Still, determined not to give up, I altered my ratio to 30 seconds walking, followed by 30 seconds running. This worked for a while, but proved to be pretty hard going, especially as the trail started to become a bit muddier.

The hardest part, however, was yet to come. Once I emerged from the trees, I was faced with a lovely grassy slope which, although not particularly muddy or slippery under my trail shoes, proved to be difficult to run on. The problem was that as well as running up the slope, I was also running across it, with one foot always slightly more ‘uphill’ than the other. I knew right away that any attempt to run in this way wasn’t going to do my dodgy ankle any good, so I did the sensible thing and walked until I got to the top.

After that though, the rest of the run was great. I crossed the road and ran on some nice open grassy trails, made friends with some dogs and got back into my stride. I stuck to the 3:1 ratio as much as possible, stopping only for mud, dogs and gates, before crossing back over the road and returning to reap my rewards on the run down the hill.

Funnily enough, the run back down was a breeze and didn’t feel half as muddy as on the way up. I still took it fairly slowly though as the rain on my glasses meant that I couldn’t see as well as I would have liked, but I emerged unscathed and feeling very happy having completed 9.5 kilometres of the 13 that I’d planned.

Of course, I wasn’t going to give up there, so I headed back to the park to complete a lap and two thirds before heading for the pavements and a nice jog along the roadside to bring my distance up to 13K.

2014-11-16_Summary

In the end, it was a very slow run, what with all the extra walk breaks and having to stop to cross some roads, but it was good to do something different for a change. And, with 13K in the bag, I’m feeling pretty good about getting myself ready for my first half-marathon and marathon next year.

How’s your training going? What do you do to mix things up a bit? Have you tried something new to help pull yourself out of a slump? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

A Rubbish Run Is Still A Run

Today should have been a 5K continuous run, but it didn’t quite work out that way. I blame my breakfast, and maybe the three bottles of beer I drank last night, but mostly I think it was the breakfast. Normally I have a banana or a bowl of porridge (made with water) about an hour before my run, but this morning I opted for Cheerios and milk. And I think that’s where it all went wrong.

The run started out pretty well. My breathing was fine, my legs felt good and I was in control of my pace. It was all going great until about 2.5 kilometres into the run, when my mouth started to feel dry and my stomach started going a bit wrong – not run to the nearest toilet wrong, but not good either. So, at 3K, I took a walk break.

The walk break seemed to help so I started jogging slowly again, but I was wrong. My stomach just wasn’t feeling right. When I got to 3.5, I decided to turn of the Garmin and call it a day.

After about another half kilometre of walking though, I figured that I could probably manage to run another 1.5 and get my 5K in for the day. I fiddled with the Garmin and somehow set it to start on a new lap. This seemed to be working as I jogged along past my starting point, but once I’d completed a kilometre, taking my recorded run to 4.5K, it beeped at me. Not sure what to do, I pressed the lap button again, thinking I was telling it to record another lap, but the next time I looked at the watch I realised that it had stopped!

At this point, I realised that enough was enough and decided to call it a day. My stomach wasn’t feeling quite as bad and I’d recorded 4.5K – walked a bit more than that and run a bit less, but by this point the numbers didn’t really matter. The main thing was that I’d got my run in.

I also used the Runzi app again to record my cadence. This time though, I wanted to record a continuous run so I stopped the app when I took my walk break at 3K and it turns out that my average cadence was 173 steps per minute, which really isn’t too bad at all.

So, yes, today’s run was a bit rubbish, but it was still a run and at least I’ve learned how to use the lap function on the Garmin and that Cheerios and milk for breakfast is probably not a great idea.

How’s your training going? What’s your favourite pre-run breakfast? What have you learned from those runs that didn’t quite go as planned? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

10K Run-Walk-Run

As I didn’t run at all last weekend (naughty, I know), my main objective for today was to catch up on my distance progression in my long slow run. Ideally, I should have been doing 10K, but as my longest run in recent weeks was only 7K, I told myself that as long as I completed 8.5K I would be happy enough – which, of course, was a lie, but whatever gets you out the door, right?

I headed for the seafront at around 8:00 am and was relived that the weather had calmed down a lot since yesterday. No rain, no wind, just a nice cool temperature and a little bit of sunshine peeking through the clouds.

As this was to be a long run, I used the 3:1 run/walk ratio that I have been using for the last few weeks and reminded myself that, even though the walk breaks make it easier to run faster, I would have to take it easy if I wanted to get past 8.5K. That, of course, wasn’t easy as I was feeling pretty good and really just wanted to run at whatever pace felt comfortable, but I tried to rein it in as much as I could.

After the first few kilometres, instead of getting tired and wanting to give up, I actually found myself getting faster. The three minute running segments, which had me checking my watch at least once a minute during the first half of the run, seemed to speed up towards the end, and before I knew it I was done. 10K in 1:06:21, which is just over a minute short of my 10K PB. Not bad for my first 10K since July and my first ever 10K using run-walk-run.

2014-11-09_Graph

I also downloaded the Runzi app to track my cadence, which probably wasn’t a great idea as cadence decreases during walk breaks. However, I was encouraged to see that it recorded my average cadence for the run as 152 steps per minute. Again, not bad considering there was a bit of walking in there, so it will be interesting to see what it comes out with when I use it for my next continuous run.

How’s your training going? Do you track your cadence as well as your distance and pace? What tools, techniques or apps do you use to help improve your running form? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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