Confidence Boost

This past week’s training has been pretty good. After last Sunday’s slow 3K on the treadmill, I topped up my training with a 11K walk along the seafront. It’s not the same as running, I know, but I figure that if I can’t run the distance then walking it is the next best thing. And, let’s face it, chances are that I’m going to do a fair bit of walking in August’s South Coast Challenge 50K.

I also managed to get a mid-week run in last week – another slow 3K on the treadmill, but slightly faster than Sunday’s effort and with fewer walk breaks, so again, it’s all good progress.

Today, I planned to do another treadmill run, but as I was getting ready I changed my mind and decided to head outside instead. For some reason, I’ve become a bit self-conscious about running outside again. I’m not sure why. Probably because I’ve slowed down a lot over the last year, but my slow treadmill runs had been getting me down a bit and I wanted needed to prove to myself that I’m not as slow as the treadmill would have me believe.

In order to get a better idea of how slow/quick I really am, I decided to head for the seafront. It’s nice and flat along the promenade, so any walk breaks would be because I needed recovery time, not because there was a great big hill in front of me.

I didn’t have any fixed plan about how to approach the run, but once I got going I decided to try a 3:1 run/walk ratio. This worked really well for the first 3K, which I completed in 20:35 (Take that Mr Treadmill!), but as the run went on I found that I was tiring and had to reduce the ratios. By the final kilometre I was down to a 1:1 ratio, but still managed to complete 5K in 35:29, which is pretty much what I was hoping for at this stage.


As far as the treadmill goes, I’m still not sure. Maybe I am just slower on the treadmill and, if that’s the case, then it’s no bad thing as running slowly is good for endurance. However, getting outside in the sunshine really did boost my confidence and I’m finally starting to feel that I’m making some progress again.


How’s your training going? Did you get out for a run this weekend? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Phantom Poops and Treadmill Running

I totally forgot to post about yesterday’s run. I’m not sure why. Maybe something to do with the fact that I almost destroyed my MacBook by trying to watch Game of Thrones for free, which resulted in two days spent updating my virus protection, trying to locate and remove irritating adware and then rewarding myself by paying £15 to legally watch the first series of said box set of Sean Bean, sex and violence – and yes, I did watch all 10 episodes in the space of two days, and am now a third of the way through series 2. If only I could be so dedicated to my training…

In between tales of war, incest, treason and butchery, however, I did manage to get a couple of runs in. The first of which didn’t quite go according to plan.

I had planned to do a 5K run/walk (that’s walking up a hill and running back down again), and it started pretty well. I used my usual route through Hove Park and then up through the Three Cornered Copse, even managing to trot a bit up the hill through the woods. Unfortunately, on the run back down, I was confronted with what I thought was another type of ‘trots’ and the only way to stop the feeling of having to poop was to walk.

Luckily I wasn’t too far from the park by that point so managed to hold it together by ditching the run and walking very carefully to the public toilets. Strangely, however, when I got to the toilets I discovered that I didn’t need to go quite as badly as I’d thought. It’s not the first time that I have been visited by phantom poops and probably won’t be the last, but there’s no point taking any chances so I made a promise to myself to make sure I got a run in today to make up for it.

This afternoon, I decided to err on the side of caution and stick with the treadmill. I ran (with only a couple of walk breaks) for just over 32:12 but only managed to cover 3K, which was about the same distance as yesterday but a good  7 minutes slower and with much less walking – I still swear that treadmill is in miles not kilometres, even if instruction book says otherwise!

Of course, the numbers don’t really matter that much. The important thing for me is that I got a run in. I may go for a longish walk this evening to get some more miles on the old legs, but that will depend on whether or not Season 2 of Game of Thrones is as compelling as Season 1 was!

How’s your training going? What do you do when you get caught short on a training run? Have you ever been visited by the Phantom Poop? And, most importantly, is there anyone else out there who discovered Game of Thrones as late as I have? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

If You Can’t Run, Just Walk

Ever since my run last weekend, I’ve had a bit of a twinge in my lower calf. Nothing too serious, but when I’m walking I can feel ‘something’ in the inside of my left calf. I’m not sure how to describe it really, but it’s just in one area, maybe about an inch or so in length, and it feels a bit like a bruise, except there’s no bruising.

Anyway, being over cautious about injuries these days, I decided that attempting my scheduled running this weekend would not be a good idea.

Today’s session was supposed to be a repeat of last weekend’s 10K, so instead of running, I decided to walk. To makes sure that I was still pushing myself though, I doubled the distance to 20K instead of 10K.

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 22.50.13The route was similar to the 10K that I did last weekend, but instead of turning back when I emerged from the woods, I continued down London Road to Preston Park, hoping that would be half way.

Unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough, so I had to do a couple of laps of the park before turning back and then take a slightly different route home to make sure I captured it all on the Garmin.

As routes go, it wasn’t that great really. There was too much pavement and crossing roads in the middle section for my liking, so I’m not sure I’ll go that way again. But it was a nice sunny morning and it wasn’t too busy, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.

How’s your training going? Did you get out for a run or a walk this weekend? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Striking A Balance

After Sunday’s hilly 10K run/walk efforts, I wasn’t surprised to find myself feeling a little bit tired and achey this week. But, while I’m still a bit injury wary these days, I also know that if I don’t do something on my scheduled training days, then I run the risk of falling off the waggon again.

So, instead of going out for the 5K run/walk that I had originally planned, I decided to do a couple of kilometres on the treadmill. My main gripe with the treadmill is that for some reason I just can’t hit the same pace that I get when I’m outside; but this could work to my advantage when I need to run slowly to avoid injury.

One of my favourite tools for planning my training and tracking my progress is Training Peaks. As well as showing you how your fitness is progressing, it also tracks your levels of fatigue according to how much and how hard you’ve been training.

Draft Training Plan: May 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 22.02.30

Not to get too technical, the blue line shows the long-term effects of your training, increasing on training days, but decreasing slightly on rest days. In contrast, the yellow line maps your ‘training stress balance’, decreasing after training days to show to show tiredness and fatigue, but increasing on rest days to show recovery.

At this stage in the training plan, it’s normal for the yellow line to show an overall drop while my body gets used to training again (see above). By the time the big race comes round at the end of August though, this line should start to increase ( see below) with the highest point being race day.

Draft Training Plan 1st May – 31st August 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 22.28.08

Of course, anything with a dotted line on these graphs is just a plan at this stage and, judging by the large dips as the distance on the long runs increases, is likely to change. But what I like about it is that on days like today, when I know I have to train but don’t feel 100%, I can play around with different options to project what effects any adjustments will make to the overall plan.

So, what were the effects of today’s training? Well, it takes the blue line back up to where it was after Sunday’s session, so no real gain there; but it also allows for better recovery so that I will be stronger for this weekend’s long run than I would have been had I stuck to the original plan.

I suppose it’s all common sense really, and it’s not telling me anything that my body isn’t telling me already. For me though, it’s nice to have a visual representation of what’s going on, even if I do end up changing the whole thing.

How’s your training going? Do you use data, tools or apps to track your progress? What features do you like best when looking at your training reports? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

10K Trails and Kit

I have finally completed a whole week of scheduled training runs! Whoop!

I know, it shouldn’t really deserve a whoop, but I can’t remember the last time I actually stuck to a training plan for more than two sessions, so for me it’s a mini-milestone.

Today’s run was a scheduled 10K Trail Run/Walk. The total climb for the route was about 180 metres, with grades as steep as 15% in places, so there was no way I was going to be running all of it. Heck! I can’t even run 5K on the flat at the moment without walk breaks! But run or walk, it’s all time on the old feet and that’s what counts right now.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 11.31.38

As the race that I am training for will involve carrying a back pack, I decided to use this morning’s run to test out my Camelbak. I hadn’t used it in a very long time so had to make sure I gave it a good rinse out before putting a couple of litres of water in the bladder. I don’t need as much as that for a 10K, but I wanted to put a little bit of weight in it to try it out.

On the whole, the Camelback was fairly comfortable. It did move around a bit and the drinking tube kept popping up and rubbing at my neck, so I’ll have to sort that out. But otherwise it was absolutely fine. Of course, I’ll have to add some weight to it over the next few weeks just to make sure.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 12.00.04The one piece of kit that I did miss on this run though, is a walking pole. Although I probably won’t run much of the uphills on the day, I did struggle this morning when walking the steepest section of my route, which was only at about 5.5K. With big climbs at around 20K and 30K of this summer’s race, it’s probably not a bad idea to invest in a light weight retractable pole to get me through the tougher bits.

All in all, the run went pretty well and I completed the 10K in a very slow but nonetheless satisfying 1:25:20.

How’s your training? Do you try out your kit before race day? What’s your favourite pice of running kit? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


A Sunny Evening Run

This evening I was supposed to do 2K on the treadmill. But, since it was warm and sunny outside, I decided to head outside for a bit of a run on the seafront.

When I say a ‘bit’ of a run, what I mean is that I ran a bit and walked a bit. I decided not to go for a strict run/walk ratio though and just see how I felt. After all, it has been a while since I’ve run along there, so I just wanted to see what I could do.

It went pretty well, despite the toddling baby cyclists and teenagers on skateboards wandering in front of me, and I managed to complete the first two kilometres in under 14 minutes – not great by my old standards, but much quicker than the treadmill!

As I was feeling pretty good, I decided to keep going for a while longer, running up past the King Alfred Centre to the corner of Hove Street and then back to my starting point. That took me to 3.5K, by which point I was starting to feel tired, so I headed for home – run walking to make it to a full 4K.

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 19.52.40

My time wasn’t great, but I was still pleased as it was a heck of a lot faster than anything I’ve been doing on the treadmill. Plus, I was running outside again in the evening sunshine, which is something I haven’t done in a very long time!

How’s your training going? Are you getting out more now that the evenings are becoming lighter and warmer? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Objective: Get Outside

Training is still a bit of a struggle at the moment. A couple of weeks ago, I promised myself (again) that I would get into a regular routine with my running, and it was going quite well. I wasn’t running far or fast. Just a few slow kilometres on the treadmill every couple of days, but it felt ok. There was progress. I was building pace and stamina and, most importantly, confidence. But then I got sick.

Ok, I had a cold. It wasn’t even a bad cold. But it sat on my chest for about a week, which made doing anything beyond a short walk pretty exhausting.

Today though, I woke up feeling a lot better. I still didn’t have a huge amount of energy, but my chest and head felt clear enough to go for a walk. Not a long walk. Just 5K. But it was better than nothing.

So, at about 8:00 am I headed out into the drizzle for a short walk through the trail that runs behind Woodland Drive.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.01.26My Garmin picked up a signal at Hove Park, so I started off with a bit of gentle running and and brisk walking. There was no pattern to it. I just ran when I felt like it and walked when I needed to.

As I expected, the first part of the trail (all up hill) was too much for me to run, so I reminded myself that my objective today was just to get outside, and walked pretty much all of it. It was ok though. I kept my pace as brisk as I could and, when I got to the top, turned round and ran all the way back down.

Despite the drizzle, the conditions underfoot weren’t too bad. There were some parts, where there is a bit of a path rather than just dirt and roots, that I had to be careful on as they were a bit slick under my trail shoes, but other than that it was pretty good.

I finished the session by run/walking back round Hove Park and then to the railway bridge to complete 5K in a very slow but still quite satisfying 41:33.

How’s your training going? Did you run this weekend? Please share your thoughts in the comments?


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