Running For Fun

It’s so nice not having a race to train for at the moment. OK, so I still have a goal and a plan to reach it, but the pressure is off and, strangely, my lack of upcoming races is giving me the motivation to get off my backside and run!

Under normal circumstances (i.e. having a race to train for) I would feel guilty about running on the treadmill instead of going outside, but not today. Today I was supposed to have a 5K run outside, but I didn’t feel like it, so I ran inside instead.

My goal was to run 5K in under 35 minutes, so I upped my ratio to 5:1, keeping the pace nice and slow. It felt good and I could have done more and could probably have gone faster, but I knew I would pay for it later. So I stuck to the plan and finished on pace at 34:46.

How’s your training going? Are you running for fun or working towards your next race? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Easy Means Easy

I had to adjust the training plan this week due to a social event at work, so I ran this evening instead of yesterday. It should have been an outdoors run but I wanted to eat first and then it got dark, so I opted for the treadmill instead – a bit of a cop out, I know, but at least it was still a run.

In this phase of the plan, the idea is to run easy to make sure that I have enough time to recover before the next one. I still aim to do a bit better each time, whether it’s reducing the ratio or improving the average pace, but ultimately I need to make sure that I can run every third day.

The aim for tonight was run 3:1 ratios and to try to hit something around the 36 minute mark. That would be a huge improvement on my last run, but with the treadmill it’s much easier. Apart form the fact that there’s no wind, hills or obstacles in the way, the fact that the machine controls the pace makes it much easier to keep things nice and even.

In the end, I completed the run in 35:50 and felt pretty good afterwards. Of course, the next run will be tougher as it will be outside, but it’s still good to get it done.

How’s your training going? Do you keep your ‘easy runs’ easy or are you tempted to push harder each time? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

A Sporty Sunday

After a couple of days rest, the old calf was feeling much better this morning, so I headed to the seafront for  a nice easy 5K

The temperature had dropped a bit over night and it felt lovely and cool when I set off. My aim was to run/walk 5K in something between 35 and 37 minutes, using a 3:1 ratio.

This worked well for the first couple of kilometres, but as the temperature warmed up, I found that I was starting to struggle. Not to be put off though, I reminded myself that this was supposed to be an ‘easy’ run, and dropped the ratio as and when I felt like it.

Not worrying too much about pace, I started to settle in to the run and enjoyed watching the activity on the seafront. The Brighton and Hove Triathlon was taking place this weekend, so it was inspiring to see some of the triathletes running past as I plodded my way along the promenade.

I completed my 5K in 36:45, which was just within my target time, so I was happy with that and enjoyed the cool down walk back along the prom and home again in time to watch The Great North Run from the comfort of my couch.


Then, to top off this Sporting Sunday, today is the first weekend of the new NFL season. The Giants (my favourite team) don’t play until 9:25pm, so I’ll probably watch The Bengals (my second favourites) at 6:00pm and catch up with the rest tomorrow.

How’s your weekend going? Did you get a run in today? What’s your favourite spectator sport? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

If In Doubt…

Today was supposed to be a run day, but the niggle I picked up on Sunday is still there. Much as I wanted to get running this evening after work, I figured that it wasn’t worth risking it. I’d rather wait a few more days than take the chance of doing some real damage.

At the same time though, I didn’t want to set myself back before I’d even started, so I decided to do a session on the exercise bike instead. It was pretty much the same session as yesterday, using the C25K app, taking it easy on the ‘walk’ sections and pushing harder for the ‘run’ sections.

As with yesterday’s workout, it had no impact whatsoever on the calf strain and I felt pretty good when I’d finished. I even managed to get my heart rate a bit higher than yesterday, so that’s got to be a good sign.

According to my Training Peaks stats, even though the workout is improving my general fitness levels, it doesn’t have the same benefits as a run would have. So, going forward, the rule is that if I have to miss a run, I’ll do two sessions on the exercise bike instead to keep things ticking over.

How’s your training going? What do you do if you are unable to run? Do you skip the session or do something different instead? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Cross Training

After Sunday’s very slow run/walk, I’m keen to get started on my new training plan and had hoped to get out for a run this morning. However, when I was creating the plan I only scheduled a run every 3 days. This is because it usually takes me two days to recover and, when I got up this morning, I knew that I wasn’t ready for another run.

Apart from the fact that I am still feeling the effects of the race from two weeks ago, I seem to have picked up a bit of a calf strain from Sunday – no doubt the result of running through fatigue. So, I decided to dust off the old exercise bike and do a bit of cross training instead.

Not wanting to mess up my chances of a run tomorrow, I stuck with a nice easy workout using my C25K app. The idea was to cycle at a comfortable pace for the ‘walk’ sections and then pick it up to get the heart rate going for the ‘run’ sections.

This worked pretty well. While I felt that I was pushing myself for the faster sections, the recovery sections did what they were supposed to and I finished off feeling refreshed and energised. Also, it kept the strain off the calf muscles, so hopefully that will be feeling a bit better tomorrow too.

I’ve decided to add in a few more of these sessions to the training plan over the next couple of weeks to help build up my general fitness. It’s not something that I’ve done much of in the past, but since the exercise bike is just sitting there I might as well use it.

How’s your training going? Do you cross train as part of your training plan? What are your favourite cross training workouts? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Setting The Base Line

2016-08-05_SummaryHaving decided to get back into running shorter distances, I wanted to get out this weekend and see where I’m at in terms of my 5K time. I had hoped that, after last weekend’s exertions, I would be able to achieve something around the 35 minute mark. Unfortunately, however, things didn’t quite work out that way.

I knew I was still not feeling 100%, so I set off at a very modest pace to see how long I could manage without a walk break. As it turned out, this wasn’t very long and after the first kilometre I had to stop and walk. My legs felt ok, but my breathing wasn’t great and, even though I don’t use a heart rate monitor, it was pretty obvious that my heart rate was a lot higher than it ought to have been.

Not to be put off, I decided that I would just take it easy, taking walk breaks at the end of each kilometre for as long as I needed to recover. This worked well until the final kilometre where I had to take an extra break half way through, before jogging the final 400 metres to finish with a time of 37:14.

It’s a pretty slow time, I know, but if that’s where I am at the moment, then so be it. At least it means there’s plenty of room for improvement!

In terms of my sub-30 training plan, I’m going to start off by taking things fairly easy and not worry too much about pace for the first three weeks. The plan will be to run 5K every 3 days (outside where possible), using a variety of different routes to keep things interesting. My hope is that this will bring me back into the 33 to 35 minute range and, ideally, without walk breaks. But we shall see. For now, I’m just happy to be focusing on the 5K again.

How’s your training going? How long does it take you to get back on track after a tough race? please share your thoughts in the comments.