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.

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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.

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Time To Regroup

Now that the South Coast Challenge is out of the way, I figured it’s time to regroup and think about what I really want to get from running.

While I have, for the most part, enjoyed the challenge of longer races, I really miss that feeling of being able to run continuously without walk breaks – working to improve pace and gain a PB rather than constantly struggling to up the distance. So, I have come to a decision.

For the next few months my focus is going to be on achieving that illusive sub-30 5K. I’ve come close a few times and know that, with the right type of training, it is achievable. I just need to focus, get a training plan in place, and stick to it.

Before coming up with a realistic training plan, however, I need to see where I’m at. Although I have been running on the treadmill a fair bit recently, it has been a while since I’ve run a continuous 5K outside. So, the first step will be to have a bit of a test run this weekend and then from Monday the training begins.

I can’t wait!

How’s your training going? What are you working towards with your running? Are you aiming for a PB or trying to up your distance? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Eight Days To Go

With only eight days to go until race day, it’s a bit late for last minute training, but I figured it would be good to take a short turn on the treadmill to keep things ticking over.

It has been a while since I’ve done a non-stop run, so I thought I’d try a steady 5K this evening at 6.0 mph to see how I felt. After the first 2K, I felt pretty good, so started increasing the speed by 0.1 mph every now and then to see if I could get a 5K time of under 31 minutes.

My PB is 30.03, which I haven’t even come close to in the last year. Of course, running on the treadmill is much easier than outside with the wind, hills and human obstacles, so it wouldn’t really count if I managed it, but I reckoned it was worth a shot nonetheless.

I was pretty tired by the time I hit the final kilometre, but I still kept increasing the speed and was pleased to finish with a time of 30:38. Not bad at all after a hard day at work, and definitely good for fending off the pre-race doubts.

I know I’m nowhere near as ready for this as I would like to be, so I’ll probably do some more short runs over the next few days to get my head in the right place. But the main focus now needs to be about getting some good walks in and making sure that I eat enough to keep my energy levels up.

Only eight days to go! How the heck did that happen?

How’s your training going? Have you got a race coming up this month? Please feel free to leave a comment.

Still Here…

I realise I haven’t posted for a while, but I’m still here, so thought it was time to check in with a quick update.

The training hasn’t been going too well over the last few weeks. There hasn’t been much running lately, although I did manage an out and back 30K walk/run along the coast a couple of weeks ago.

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I won’t go into a blow by blow account, but let’s just say that I learned a few useful lessons for the 50K that’s coming up:

  1. Trim toenails a couple of days before the race
  2. Don’t forget the sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy.
  3. Prep feet with zinc oxide tape before going out.
  4. Check that running socks don’t have holes in them.
  5. Remember to pack the blister kit

In short, I got sunburn, blisters and almost lost a toenail, but apart from that it was kind of fun. And I got at least one good photograph.

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The photograph was taken on the way out, at about 10K, looking back towards Saltdean. Brighton is further back beyond the cliffs in the distance, so I was feeling pretty good that I’d managed to tackle those hills that you can see.

Even though it was mostly walking, with some downhill running, it was good practice for the 50K as the first part of the race will be pretty much like this. Not that it’s going to be much of a race for me now, but it will still be fun running down all the hills.

How’s your training going? How do you prepare for long runs in the heat? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Getting Some Miles In

What with all of the excitement of the Euros and Wimbledon, I haven’t managed to get much running in this week and, with some big matches this weekend, I was getting a bit concerned about my already haphazard training plan. But then I remembered… I have a treadmill!

Yes, running while watching TV has become one of my favourite things to do. So, I set up the laptop on top of the ironing board and tuned in to watch McEnroe (the younger) and Bahrami take on Woodbridge and Woodforde in the Gentlemen’s Senior Doubles Invitation. Bahrami’s antics on court were certainly entertaining and gave me something to focus on while trying to complete my 10K.

My strategy was to run 0.9 miles and then walk 0.1. This seemed to work pretty well and I was able to stick to the ratio throughout the run, finishing the 10K in just over 1:08.

As I’m only 7 weeks away from Race Day, however, I really need to be getting more miles under my feet. So, after a bacon sarnie and a bit of bimbling around, I decided to watch the Women’s Singles Final with a second 10K.

My legs were pretty tired after the earlier run, so I decided to change the ratio to 0.45 miles running and 0.05 walking. The time would be about the same if I could stick to it, but I figured it might be a bit easier on the old legs.

The first 3 miles were a bit of a struggle, so I decided to take it mile by mile and see how it went. I even considered reducing the ratio, but then I remembered that saying about how running is more mental than physical and realised that what I really needed to do was to knuckle down and start training my mind to not give up.

So, again, at about 1:08 I completed 10K, and just in time to see Serena win the match while I was doing my cool down walk.

I also did another 5K on the treadmill yesterday evening, which gives me a weekly total of 25K so far. Not bad for a week without running! I may even do the same thing again for the Men’s Final, but I’m not making any promises!

How’s your training going? Did you get your running done this weekend? Please share your thought in the comments.

An Eventful Treadmill Run

Who said treadmill running was boring? Well, I have, because they generally are, but today’s treadmill run was a bit more eventful than usual.

I was supposed to do a Half Marathon distance run/walk this morning, but when I remembered that ‘Paddle Round The Pier’ was going on I figured that by the time I would be heading back, the seafront would probably be mobbed, so I opted for a treadmill run instead.

Knowing that the hardest part running for over 2 hours on the treadmill would be sheer and utter boredom, I decided to watch one of my favourite YouTube documentaries on the run – it’s the one where a guy runs Badwater for the first time and almost wins it, which is about 2 hours long.

The only way I could watch it while running though, was to put my laptop on the ironing board, put the ironing board in front of the treadmill and hope that the cat wouldn’t do her usual trick of sitting on the keyboard whenever I try to watch something on the computer – luckily she was otherwise occupied with the window for most of the morning.

So, that being done, I grabbed my Garmin (so that I could upload my workout time), and hopped on to the treadmill for a bit of a warm up walk. I’m still not certain about whether the treadmill is in miles or kilometres – the manual says kilometres but since I’ve been running outside more, I’ve been comparing the two and I reckon it has to be miles.

This does mean that the running on the treadmill is a bit faster than running outside, but without wind, hills and other humans to contend with, that might make sense. Anyway, I figured I’d assume it is miles and see what happened on today’s run.

Of course, pretty much as soon as I started the run, my stomach started complaining. I think I managed about half a mile before I had to give up and sort myself out.

The second attempt was slightly better. I decided on a ratio where I would run for 0.9 of a mile at 6 mph and then walk 0.1 at 3.5. This was working quite well for the first 23 minutes, until my bottle decided to launch itself from from the drink holder and I accidentally stopped the treadmill trying to retrieve it, setting everything back to zero again.

I was a bit miffed to say the least, but the guy on the Badwater documentary gave me some hope, so I reset the Garmin (again), found a better place for the bottle, and hopped back on for round three. Third time lucky, right?

Even though my legs had already covered 2.5 miles (or thereabouts) I was feeling pretty good and continued with my ratio for the first half of the run. By half way though, my legs were getting tired, so I started reducing the running sections and increasing the walk breaks. This seemed to be working, but as I watched the timer on the treadmill pass the 9 minute mark, I realised that there was no space on the console for anything over 99 minutes and 59 seconds.

I kind of hoped that nothing would happen other than that the clock would continue from zero again. That would be fine. My brain could deal with that. What I didn’t expect though, was that the treadmill would slow down to a stop and the distance I had already covered would disappear!

Luckily, I clocked the distance as 9.04 miles just before everything stopped, so I knew how much further I had to go. My legs were drained of energy by this point and I was running less that half a mile for each run segment, but I was getting there. I just needed to get in another 4.06 miles and I’d be done.

In the end, I completed the 13.1 miles in 2:29:54, which is slower than most of my previous Half Marathons, but a bit faster than I expected. Taking into account how I felt at the end, and the fact that running on the treadmill ought to be a bit quicker than running outside, I’m pretty much convinced that miles win over kilometres where the treadmill is concerned.

Either way though, a two and a half hour run/walk should help to get the training back on track.

How’s your training going? Have you had an eventful run recently? Do you plan your training runs according to distance or time on your feet? Please share your thought in the comments.

I Need A Plan…

There’s just over eight weeks to go until race day and my training has hit a slump. I’m not sure what’s going wrong. I try to get in regular runs and gradually increase the distance, but it’s just not working the way that it should.

Maybe I’m expecting too much. After all, I did have a long break from running after my injury. But even with that in mind, I still don’t feel I’m making the progress that I need to.

What tends to happen is that I have a couple of good weeks where things are going well, followed by a slump where I just don’t have the energy to have a decent run, which is pretty much where I am at this week.

This evening though, I made myself get out for a bit of a run. I told myself that even a slow 5K would be better than nothing, but it was slow. I had very little stamina and had to take way more walk breaks than I should have – not good when you’ve got a 50K race coming up and you’re still finding 5K a bit of a struggle.

I think I may have to resign myself to the fact that August’s race is going to be more of a walk than a run, which is a bit of a shame. However I have raised £200 already for charity, with another £40 on its way from last month’s virtual races, so I shouldn’t complain too much.

I just need to come up with a new training plan…

How’s your running going? What do you do when your training isn’t going to plan? Do you adjust your training plan or try to stick with it until the end? Please share your thoughts in the comments.