Archive | November 2014

Running In The Dark

Despite having had most of the week off work, when I had the freedom to run at any time of the day I wanted to, I seem to have ended up doing all of my runs in the evening. This is a bit strange for me as I usually prefer to run first thing in the morning, but for some reason I just didn’t feel like it until it started to get dark outside.

Thinking about it though, this isn’t such a bad thing. Being in the habit of only running on Saturday and Sunday mornings was making it hard for me to find the motivation to run in the evening when it’s cold, dark and usually either rainy, windy or both; but now that I’m getting into the swing of it, it’s not so bad and I’m starting to feel like I’m ready to up my running to three times a week again.

This evening’s run also helped in that respect. I didn’t run on Saturday so I wanted to make sure I got 5K in at some point today. I’ve been struggling with running without walk breaks since I started training again, but have managed it a couple of times in the last few weeks so I wanted to build up consistency by getting a few continuous 5Ks in.

At this stage, pace doesn’t really matter, so I set off nice and slowly, running by feel and only looking at my watch occasionally to check on the distance I had covered. I was feeling pretty relaxed and the weather was pretty good too – a bit warmer than I had thought it would be, but with a nice cold breeze to keep things comfortable.

The way I had planned my route, I would run East along the promenade for just over a kilometre and then turn back, run past my starting point until I had reached about 3.6 and then turn around again and run back to where I had started to complete my 5K. I like to run like that, rather than just out and back, because it means I have to do the maths in my head while I’m running to figure out when to turn around, which gives my brain something to focus on.

However, when I reached 3.6K, my pace had picked up a bit and I didn’t want to slow and turn back round. So I decided to just keep going and turn back at the Lagoon, which is at the end of the promenade. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to run all the way back to the starting point but I didn’t really mind either way. All I knew was that I was feeling good and I didn’t really mind as long as I got the 5K done.

2014-11-30_Map

At about 4.5K though, I started to feel a sharp pain in my right shoulder. I couldn’t really understand it as I was still feeling quite relaxed, but I gave my arms a bit of a shake to try to loosen it up and tried to find something else to focus on. This seemed to do the trick and before I knew it I was back where I started, having completed just over 6K without stopping for a walk break.

I’m not sure if it’s the cooler temperatures or the fact that I’ve been taking it easy and eating well throughout the day, but running in the evening this week seems to have given me a much needed confidence boost for these continuous runs. So, starting from next week, I plan to get at least one mid-week evening run in so that I can start working on my speed. After all, I’ve got a very important Santa Dash to run in a couple of weeks and I don’t want to mess that one up!

How are you getting on with your evening runs? Do you find you run better in the evening or first thing in the morning? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Jeff Galloway Virtual 13.1

Circle HopAs today is Virtual Running UK blog hop day, I thought it would be a good idea to sign up for a virtual race.

I’ve been using Jeff Galloway’s run-walk-run method to get back to training after injury and, now that I’m back to running again regularly, I figured it would be interesting to see how close I can get to my goal half-marathon time using run-walk-run.

JG131It just so happens that Jeff Galloway himself is hosting a Virtual Half Marathon, so joining his race seemed like a good way of giving pay back for the help that his training strategy has given me over the last few months – that, and the fact that you get a medal and a t-shirt for taking part!

I plan to run the virtual half-marathon in December, which should be do-able if I stick to my current training plan, and of course I will submit my time to Virtual Running UK as well, just for good measure. I don’t expect it to be particularly fast, but it will give me an idea about how fast I can run using run-walk-run.

In other news, Virtual Running UK are hosting their first annual Blog Awards next month. Of course, I’m exempt from this as Virtual Running UK is my website, but if you want to nominate your own or someone else’s blog you can do so by clicking this link; or you can click here to join the weekly blog hop. Either way, it’s a great way to connect with more running bloggers and who knows, you may even win a prize!

So, that’s it for today’s post. No run for me today as I ran last night, but hopefully I’ll get one in tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

5K and Onion Bhaji

One of the best things about running on Hove seafront on a Friday evening is that, if you get out early enough, you can get a free onion bhaji from Azaro’s on Church Road. Of course, I’m not usually early enough to get one on the way back from my run. By the time I get home from work and get myself out the door again, it’s gone 6:00 and, much as I hate to decline any offer of free food, something tells me that eating onion right before a run is probably not such a good idea. This evening, however, I was in luck.

I’d taken a few days off work this week, which meant that I could pretty much go for a run whenever I felt like it. Ideally, I would have gone in the morning but I’ve been feeling pretty tired since Tuesday’s long run, so I decided to leave it and see how I felt later. If truth be told, I almost didn’t go out this evening at all, but somehow I managed to persuade myself. Something to do with the fact that I’ve been feeling a bit fed up with the cold, the lack of daylight and my inability to keep running for 5 kilometres without slowing to a walk.

In the end though, that was what got me. Much as I enjoy run-walk-run, it doesn’t seem to be helping me get back to running continuously for the shorter distances. The only thing that will do that is to actually get out and practise. So that’s what I did.

I headed to the seafront just after 5:00 to see if I could complete a nice easy 5K. The words 5K and easy aren’t something that have gone together for me for a while, so I started off very slowly and allowed my pace to pick up naturally without pushing it.

This seemed to work quite well. I felt relaxed and comfortable for the first 4 kilometres and was running negative splits (not hard when you start off that slowly, I know), but by the 5th kilometre the head wind was starting to pick up.

I knew I wasn’t going to run a particularly good time, but I still felt strong enough to push a bit harder. Not too much, as I didn’t want to feel like crap again tomorrow, but enough to match the pace that I had set in the 4th kilometre.

2014-11-28_Splits

In the end I completed the distance in a very slow 33:39 but that didn’t matter. I had run 5K without stopping and it felt really good – even more so when I received my free onion bhaji on the way home.

How do you reward yourself after a run? What’s your favourite post-run snack or treat? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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!

 

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