Saturday, September 30, 2006

Over the hills and far away

Managed to get myself out for my planned 18 miler. It actually turned out to be just over 19. And why does it always rain on me? I guess because I chose to go when the forecast said it would rain. The wind put in an appearance as well.

I was pleased with my pace of 7:20's versus my target marathon pace of 6:50's. The GPS really helps keep me focused on keeping the pace up. Today it coped really well. It didn't loose signal under any of the tree cover but stupidly it lost it with about 3 miles to go when I was running on the road with perfect clear views of the sky. Now what's that all about? I guess I have to find a route which keeps me under the trees!

Finished off with half an hour on the exercise bike to get the lactic out of the legs but my right calf is a bit tight now. I will be doing some gentle stretching and massage later to see if I can't sort that out before tomorrows recovery run.

I Recon I might just be able to get in enough miles to attempt the Luton Marathon in December. I plan to run 22 miles next weekend then I'm going to taper for Stroud. Once that's out of the way I plan to run two more long runs of 22 and 24 miles. Leaving me with a four week taper to the Marathon. I'm not planning to go sub 3 this time. I just want to end the year with a time slightly closer to what I feel I am capable of. Looking to run Luton on 7:10's which will give me 3:08. Apparently Luton is not flat so I might be a bit slower but either way I feel I should get inside 3:15 (7:25's) which will give me a good base to build on next year.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Another day another session

Had a long day today, had a job up near Slough this morning and found the drive back very tiring. Tonight's interval session on the Downs was hard going. It was sets of 4 reps with short rest in between. The intention was to run three sets but I could only manage two. My legs just didn't have any life in them and rather than risk injury I declined the final set. I am going to have a rest day from running tomorrow before hopefully feeling fit enough to go for a 15 miler on Saturday. I won't risk that if I don't feel recovered though. Overall the training this week has been really good. I've managed a tempo run, long run, a race (treated as training), a speed session, and an interval session. All I need to do is add a hill session early next week, probably Monday.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

You know you're mad keen when ...

... you run a track speed session in the pouring rain! Despite the best effort of the weather to put dampener on things it was actually a good session tonight and I enjoyed it. We ran five sets of 700m / 300m with 1 minute rest between the seven and the three and 2 minutes rest between sets. I ran the seven's at 2:20 and the three's at 55/56s. I was pleased with the consistency throughout. The final three was really hard work but I managed to hang on in there and run a 55. I recon I ran the session just about right, not too fast and not too slow as I was able to finish the last as quick as the first - but only just.

It's been a hard few days of training since Saturday but I feel the quality has been really good. Tomorrow's session on the Downs looks like being a sort of hill session, so it will compliment what I have already done this week. I might even give myself a day off on Friday - from running that is - obviously I will head off down the gym at some point.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Bridge Too Far

Ran a double session today. Went for a recovery run this morning to try and get the affects of yesterdays excellent long run out of my legs. Only 4 and a half miles but it was hard work. Coupled with 60 minutes of interval bike session to follow and it all adds to a fairly meaningless 5k race at the Bridge Inn. Never the less, I went through the motions. I decided to treat it as a training run and break twenty minutes by going out slow and then speed up. The legs felt well dodgy in the first km. I didn't think I would make it but they came back to life a little bit in the next km. I was able to follow the game plan with splits of 3:54, 3:54, 3:47, 3:47, 3:40, for a time of 19:02. Silly thing is, a few months ago a time of 19 minutes was flat out on fresh legs!

Overall the training is going well. To be training so hard and still knock out a reasonably 5k is really pleasing. I know I can go sub 18 now but at the moment all my focus is half-marathon and marathon. I'm happy to bide my time and wait until the opportunity arises to break 18 rather than force it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Long(ish) run

Went on a longish run today, 14.5 miles. The first for a while, except the half marathon eight days ago, of course. Wanted to give my new GPS gizmo a spin (forerunner 305). Set it to auto lap every kilometer so I could get the splits, to analyse where I was slowing or speeding up etc. Ran one of my standard routes. From David Lloyd along the tow path, up past Leigh Court, across to and through Lower Failand to the main road then back into Failand and over to the Ashton Plantation before heading into Ashton Court by the Quarry entrance and back to David Lloyd. It is a pretty hilly run with five good steep hills.

The GPS coped really well on the whole. It lost signal only once on a short section of the run in very dense tree cover. The run took in quite a lot of tree covered sections so I was expecting it to loose signal more than once. As a training tool I found it very useful, especially on the hills because I could monitor the lap pace for the current kilometer and push hard to try and maintain somewhere approaching the average pace. It really gave focus to work hard on the hills and then continue to work hard afterwards to bring the average pace back to where it was before the hill. Finished in a time of 1:43:03 which is good time (for me) on such a hilly route and far quicker than I normally go on the route. So, I give the GPS a thumbs up. Hopefully it will help improve the quality of my long runs. I feel that I normally go too slow/easy and end up not getting the full benefit that I should get from a long run. I believe that the forerunner 305 will enable me to get more from my long runs by running more accurately at my goal training pace.

Also, I found a piece of software on the Internet called SportTracks. It downloads the data from the GPS and then displays the route on google maps and charts all the vital stats; pace, distance, hr, weather, the list goes on. I could spend almost as much time analysing the charts and reports as I could running! My only negative comment about the GPS is that the elevation data it records is way off and next to useless. The distance seems pretty much spot on which I guess is the most important thing.

Finally, I will racing the Bridge Inn 5k tomorrow evening. I plan to go for an easy morning run followed by a session on the weights down the gym. As long as I go sub 19 I will be happy. I have ramped up training and the race is not a priority. Training comes first for the next few weeks. I want to get in some quality work, focused towards the Stroud Half Marathon, where I intend to knock a minute or two off my Bristol time.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Went for an afternoon run up over Dundry today, about 11.5km. Decided to run hard and see what time I could produce. 48 minutes dead. Over 3 minutes quicker than I've gone before on the route - and I can tell you that the first hill along East Dundry Road to the top is a real bad boy. I wanted to see what I had in the tank after yesterday and I'm happy to report that the tank was relatively full. Plan to go for a longish run tomorrow. Then some speed work on Wednesday.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Midland Road Relays

Ran at the Midland Road Relays today. I ran in the 'C' team which, unfortunately, was incomplete. I ran well and managed to knock about 1 minute and 40 seconds off my previous time over the course so I was suitably pleased. This was my fifth PB inside a month so everything is still going great. I do feel a little tired right now but I'm sure it will pass with a good nights sleep.

Our 'A' team took the silver while the 'B' team finished an excellent 7th, a few seconds off sixth place. Both qualify for the National Road Relays in a few weeks time.

The women's team came a credible 5th or 6th (I'm not quite sure) place which was really good considering they fielded an understrength team. I'm sure there will be more to come at the Nationals.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A rest day

Decided I deserved a rest day after two good sessions this week. Legs still feel good but I'm forcing myself to be sensible after all I did race a half marathon on Sunday. Anyway, went down the gym for an easy 60 minute exercise bike session and half hour on the weights. I will probably do the same tomorrow so that I am fully rested for the Midland RR's. Can't remember what my time was from last year so I will have to look it up in anticipation of beating it handsomely.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Down at the track

Ran another good session at the track tonight. Must admit that the legs felt a bit tired so I didn't push it to the limit. Three sets of 800m + 400m with 30s rest in between and 2 mins rest between sets. Enjoyed it though, and still worked pretty hard. Each set was slightly quicker than the one before, without burning myself out. I will be taking it easy on tomorrow and Friday so that I'm ready for the Midland Road Relays on Saturday.

I can't believe how much I am enjoying my running at the moment. I'm so keen to improve. I look forward to every session, knowing that all the hard work is paying off because I can see the results almost weekly. I hope I can retain my enthusiasm and long may it continue.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It's all in the interval

Did my first training session after the half marathon. Went very well. Ran five of the six reps (missed a rep in the middle). The reps were all 4 to 6 minutes and I held up really well. Felt reasonable strong and ran at a pretty good pace. Even managing to stay strong to the end. It all bodes well for Stroud because I really feel that I took Bristol steady even though it was a big pb. I think that had my effort at Bristol been at my maximum I would not have been able to run so strongly (if at all) today. Therefore I am convinced I had something left in the tank at the end of the half.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The day after the race before

Well Monday's here and it's back to the grind stone. No running today but I did ride to work and back. The legs feel pretty good, in fact, they don't feel too bad at all really. I expect they'll be aching a bit tomorrow though but I'm hoping they won't be too bad so that I can get up to the Downs for an interval session. Finished off down the gym this evening - got to get back in the swing of things.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mission Accomplished

Well I did it. I broke my target of 1:23 at the Bristol Half Marathon, knocking over 4 minutes off my previous PB, to complete the fourth PB of my late summer schedule in the space of 22 days (10k, 5k, 10Mile and Half Marathon). I ran pretty much to the planned pace of 6:20's the entire way. My first mile was 6:22 and my last was 6:19 so in addition to the time, I'm pleased with the controlled manner of my run. I was hanging on at the end but then, hey, I guess that's to be expected. I certainly couldn't have gone any faster. My finish time was 1:22:57 from the gun (official results chip time 01:22:53, 129th place). Had to sprint to make it but make it, I did.

The euphoria didn't last long, about an hour! My thoughts have already turned to the Stroud Half Marathon on Sunday 22nd October. I'm going to put in some quality training for a few weeks to work on speed and endurance to see if I can run 6:15's. I'm going to go for sub 1:22 at Stroud. I have the belief and recon it's game on. (Picture shows my final surge to the finish with about 300m to go).

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Nervous? Oh Yeah!

Went for final run yesterday evening. Just a short twenty minutes round the block at very slow pace. Wore my heart rate monitor to make sure I didn't go too fast. Legs felt a bit heavy before I went out but this morning they feel fine. I think physically I'm ready for the challenge. I know I should run well but that doesn't stop me feeling any less nervous. Just going to spend the day at home. Resting, fueling and, of course, drinking plenty of water.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rest Perfect Rest

Today is a complete rest day. No running. No cycling. And no gym work. I'm trying my best to put Sunday out of my mind so I can relax but I'm finding that difficult.
On the work front, I have been offered another week temping (must have made a good impression). I'm going to accept as I will be resting next week after the expected exertions of Sunday so it won't affect my training schedule - and the money will come in handy.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tracking Back

Well tonight was my last real training session before the race on Sunday. Six 400m reps at 70s with a long recovery in between. This was the fastest set of 400's that I have done so far and I felt good all the way through. Finishing the last just as strongly as the first and with consistent pace throughout.

I am feeling very optimistic about Sunday but also beginning to feel very nervous. I'm starting to feel the pressure of my own expectations. I want to go as fast as I can but also want to avoid blowing up. I am going to decide the pace that I will run in the next day or two. Then I will try to relax and wait for race day and just crank out 13.1 miles at the chosen pace. Calm, must stay calm and relaxed - plenty of sleep required me thinks.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Tuesday before the storm

Or in my case before the Bristol Half Marathon. Went for a light training run this evening of about four miles. Took it very easy for the first half and then powered home. I was surprised how fast I ran on the way back because it felt really easy. I have worries about cycling to work this week. I definitely don't want to cycle on Friday so that I am fully fresh for Sunday but I don't want to waste my time waiting for the bus either. I guess I'll end up cycling but must force myself to simply pootle along slowly. It's my penultimate training session tomorrow. A speed session on the track.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Road Relays

Well we had a bit of trouble at the Clevedon Road Relays. One of our runners failed to arrive so we were a man short. I had a good run on leg 1, 18:12, slightly down on my pb but I have my suspicions that the course is a slightly long measure. On the whole it was a good strong run, with each k fairly even paced except the last k but I don't feel I slowed. Suppose I can't pb every race. Anyway, I filled in on leg 5 so we could record a team time. Ran 18:56 second time round. Again, fairly even k's (except for last k again) but obviously each one was a bit slower than the first time round. Still pleased to get inside 19.

Now just need to rest up ready for Bristol. Just found out that my yellow number means I'm in the second starting pen which means I will get off to a slow start. I put my estimated time on the application based on running in my Scooby-Doo costume but I've decided to run properly so I'm now in the wrong starting position. Not sure what to do. I will have to make sure I get to the start of the yellow pen and then try and surge my way through during the first mile because I can't afford to loose too much time. It does mean my planned easy start ain't going to happen. I was planning 6:30's for the first couple of miles but now will be a bit random in the first mile. After three miles I will increase up to 6:20's then see how I feel with 4 to go and crank it up to the finish.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Train Station

Easy day today. Gentle 5 mile loop starting and finishing at Bitton Railway Station. The weather was nice and sunny and I enjoyed the run. Finished off down the gym for 45 minutes interval session on the exercise bike and a session on the weights. Looking forward to posting a quick time tomorrow at Clevedon.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Ups and Downs

Did my first interval session of the Autumn/Winter with the serious boys (and girls) up on the Clifton Downs. It was an 'easy' session tonight so I was told but I still found it hard going. We only did five reps, longer to shorter but my legs had turned to jelly by the fourth. Felt I coped OK though, and ran relatively strongly all through the session. I am going to start easing back now in preparation for the HM. I'm planning to run a leg of the Clevedon Road relays on Sunday and that will be my last real effort. It's only 5k so it will be a bit of a burn up. I've been pleased with my training this week, especially now I've got to fit it around work. Everything is still going in the right direction.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Give me speed

Cycled to work for the first time. Beats the bus hands down. Quicker, cheaper, with no waiting and gives me a bit of a recovery session to boot. Suffice to say I won't be using public transport again - what a shame.

Had another great interval speed session on the track tonight. A session of 600m, 800m, 600m, 800m, 600m with 200m jog recovery. Managed to complete all the reps within a second of each other and ran at just about my limit. And the best thing was that my limit tonight was faster than last week. I am making gains and can see the benefit from week to week. These sessions are definitely making me quicker. I feel so optimistic of running a fast time at Bristol (well fast for me that is). I hope to edge down to 1:23.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The portway!

Had another busy day at work and then walked home. Just managed to get down the gym in time to go out with the running club there. We ran up the portway and back as practice for the mind dumbing experience that is the Bristol Half Marathon. Went out steady because my left hamstring was tight but plied on the power in the last third and finished really strong. The hamstring feels fine now. Looking forward to the speed session tomorrow.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Back to work Monday

Well I managed to drag myself out of bed and into work this morning. It's hard to get back into the swing of this going to work everyday lark!

My legs feel amazingly good after the exertions of yesterday at Oldbury - considering how wasted I was at the end of the race. I am most surprised (pleasantly of course). Got down the gym after work. Today was a running rest day so I did 60 mins exercise bike interval on high level. Then 45 mins on the weights. Tomorrow I have an eleven miler planned at fairly easy pace. I'm going to take it easy between now and the Half Marathon so I stay injury free and fairly fresh.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Oldbury 10

Had a pretty good race at Oldbury. Can't say it was great because I was a little down on the time I had planned for myself but the conditions where not good. The wind was really strong and sapped the strength out of me in the latter stages. Taking that into account, I guess 63:22 for 10 miles is actually pretty good for me. Probably the best part of the result was my finishing position of 23rd out of over 400 runners. I guess the wind played a part in slowing everyone. I recon that on a windless day I would have been close to 62 minutes so things still look good for the Bristol Half Marathon where I feel confident of approaching 1hr 23. Now all I have to do is stay fit, healthy and injury free for two more weeks, get in a few more quality training sessions and then I will be all set. I really feel that I have moved up a league with my performances over that last month.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Rest day

I'm really looking forward to my race tomorrow, The Oldbury 10. I have a few aches today but hopefully by the time of the race I will be fully recuperated and ready to run my socks off. I've never run a ten miler so however it goes it will be a PB. I think I should approach somewhere in the region of 62 minutes. Recent race form and good quality training indicate that this is possible. I must admit that I will be disappointed if I do not perform.

Back to work...

Just finished the first two days of a two week tempory job. Feels a bit strange to be back working, not having the free time to go train in the morning then again in the evening. I’ve got to get used to it but I am going to miss the free time. Just hope I don’t loose the fitness. Might have to get up early for a short run before work!!!