Saturday, December 30, 2006

What a terrible night

The wind (outside) was whistling round my windows all night. Had a terrible nights sleep. I felt so tired in the morning I just couldn't face a run in all that pants weather plus I can feel the knee thing again.

Managed to get down the gym instead for an hour on the exercise bike, interval level 13. I tested my fitness level before I got started with the hour session. You enter your weight, age and sex and then peddle away for five minutes. At the end of that time it gives you a rating of between 1 and - well I'm not actually sure what it goes up to but over the last few months I've been able to hit the ranking of 'Elite' for a score over 51. I'm guessing this is the top rank unless of course they have the 'dogs bo#@*cks' rank but I'm suspecting they haven't programmed that one in! I was stuck on 'excellent' for ages before I finally made the break through. Not sure it really means much but I guess it means I'm going in the right direction fitness wise. And it's nice to pose when the ladieeess are near, you know the kind of thing, just a casual bit of peddling with 'Elite' flashing on the screen, sweating like a pig and breathing like an asthmatic - ok, so maybe not such a good idea :)

Anyway, the bike session was good, if hard work come the last fifteen minutes. Really felt it in the quads. Finished off with some ab crunches, some bicep curls and some chest work. Then home for tea.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Not so easy easy run

I joined in with Clive, Graham and Terry for their annual Christmas run. They tell me they get out between Christmas and New year almost every year. There's nothing better than going for an easy(ish) run with friends at Christmas - just a shame I only had Clive, Terry and Graham to run with - ONLY KIDDING.

The weather was a stinker. Continuous drizzle and very strong gusting wind - no, I'm not talking about Graham and his brussel sprout soup!

Clive is still buzzing after his boxing day exertions and so led from the front taking Graham with him. Terry and I held back. We ran up over Dundry and back down the A38. Not sure how far it was but it took just under 34 minutes. On the run in Clive and Graham were 150m ahead after the hilly section. Terry and I just let them get on with it. After my hard session last night I wanted an easy recovery run but it was a real effort to stop myself from trying to chase them down. With about 800m I finally lost the battle. I couldn't hold back any longer and set off in pursuit. I didn't manage to catch them but made up about two thirds of the distance over that last 800m so I was fair flying along come the end.

Long may this Christmas tradition continue. It's great to join their hallowed ranks. Just hope it's better weather next year.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

We're all going to the zoo tomorrow

Well actually we went this evening instead! Well around the outside anyway. We ran three double laps around the zoo (6:02, 6:07 and 6:14) followed by three single laps (2:53, 2:52 and 2:50) with a two minute recovery. The double lap was 1.7km and the single one 820m.

I'm really pleased with the session as I put in big effort and worked hard throughout, especially the last three singles. My mile pace was good, all of them being at least as fast or a good bit faster than my last Aztec session. Additionally, the lap has some sharp turns where you have no choice but to take them slow which makes the pace on the rest of the lap even better.

I'm hoping I can take the same work ethic into all my future sessions. I'm more determined than ever to crack the whip (ooh kinky). I've been guilty on more than a few occasions in the past of just going through the motions during training and not really pushing myself. Tonight was the real deal for me. I pushed it to the limit and didn't cheat on the recoveries, keeping them tight.

Here's to a 17:30 5k in the first part of the coming year. It will happen - and you can take that to the bank.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Fading memories

Clevedon is but a fading memory... Now the hard work begins in earnest (not sure what he's got to do with anything but there it is). I was just outside the top 50 target at Clevedon finishing in 52nd place. In my category (SM) I was 47th but five ladies - I mean women (that's a private joke) beat me. That's close enough for me though.

Reflecting back over my year (running wise) this has been by far the best one ever. I've looked through my records and I've set 13 pb's this year verses six in 2005 and seven in 2004. And of those pb's I've actually knocked off far bigger chunks of time this year as well. I must be approaching my physical limit by now but then again I thought that at the start of this year. Is a seventeen minute 5k possible? I'm not sure but I wouldn't bet against it.

On a final note, the knee is much better today. I've been down the gym for an hour on the bike and the 'popping' is no more.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Body popping

Just finished the Clevedon Boxing day 4 mile race. As ever, greatly enjoyed by all who race and spectate. On the downside I can feel a kind of popping in my left knee as I walk. It's been a bit dodgy over the last few days and I don't know where or when I picked up the niggle but it definitely didn't affect my run and I'm sure it will be alright in a day or two. On the upside I set a new pb by over a minute, 23:15. Further on the downside, I thought I had the beating of Helen today - bol#*cks did I. I was soundly thrashed - oh well - it's not like I've ever beaten her before. Looks like she might remain unbeaten - ho hum. Well done Helen (through gritted teeth). On the upside though, I skinned the Skinner, Pete that is. He's beaten me soundly at the Bridge 5k races all season but I managed to get the upper hand today - Every cloud has a silver lining!

It looked like another big turn out for Clevedon. It never fails to amaze me how many damn fools there are out there that roll out of bed Boxing day morning to go and run 4 miles in the cold. As ever, the crowds were brilliant and this year we even had the luxury of chip timing and instant results - very professional. A big well done to Clevedon AC for great organisation and a great race.

Must add a well done to Clive T, good to see he enjoyed his run. Nice to see him actually smile after a run - a very rare thing I might add. Was it the first time? Answers on a post card to....

Well done to Gareth C. He had a good run today. He was only just behind me and I fear, catching fast.

Graham C had a good run as well, beating his time from last year.

Good to see the Dickinson twins out again, Mark and Matt. First race in a while for the pair of them. Hopefully we will see a bit more of them in the coming year. Sorry I didn't have time to stop and chat at the end - had to shoot.

And finally to Matt R, I'm behinndd yooouuu! - but I recon I'm catching. Don't go looking over your shoulder cause I'm a coming.

God, this has turned into a bloody Oscar style speech - I'll get my coat....

Monday, December 25, 2006

It's Chrissssmmmmaaaassssssss

Merry Christmas everyone and what a great day to clock up my centennial post. Obviously I'm not going to be running today. Always think it would be nice to get out and run on Christmas morning but each year when the day finally arrives can I be bothered? can I F*@#.

Anyway, eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die - well hopefully not - at least not until after a new pb at Clevedon tomorrow.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

Not sure what Sean had for breakfast this morning but what ever it was I need some. He was really tanking it along come the end. Left the rest of us for dead. We had quite a good pace going ourselves. We just let him go.

Liam was out with us today. He's just back from New Zealand - so I guess the weather was a bit of a shock to the system, it's the summer down there. Still, he seems in good shape so he's obviously not been slouching while over there.

And finally - Happy Christmas, and don't eat too many mince pies if you're racing at Clevedon on boxing day. I wonder if I can make the top fifty this year ?........

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Just the two of us

Graham and I got out for longish run today along the Bitton railyway cycle path. It was my longest run since the marathon - about 15k. We took it easy and all in all it was a good run. I'm out for another easy run tomorrow before a rest day and then Clevedon.

It's official - I'm now a vet!!!! Yes that's right, M35 today. Not many races host the category - and quite right too because 35 is way to young to be classed a vet - I'm still getting quicker for pities sake. I can't be classed a vet or I'll have to get out my pipe, smoking jacket and slippers. All this equality stuff has gone entirely too far. I don't want to be a vet and I not going to be one - I'm too damn young. I'll be able to enter the South West Vets Championships in the coming year. Am I going to? Hell no. To my mind I'm not really a vet for another five years.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Four Hill Christmas Special

Tonight's hill session over at Sneyd Park was different from the normal one. I'd never run this one before. It was Mike's four hill Christmas special. 2 sets of 4 different hills. The last one of the set was the normal hill loop so you could use it to gauge your performance. I ran the last one in 3:51 on the first set and 3:45 on the second. I put in a real effort on that last one, stumbled a couple of times with the tiredness, but it was worth the effort. In all it was about 4 miles of running on the hills and 5.5 miles in total (including the recoveries).

After three hard days I can have a rest day tomorrow. I'm continuing to really enjoy the training, I think, even more so because I'm coping so well with the three back to back hard sessions. I'm aiming to start adding a bit of twice a day training after Christmas. Running three or four easy recovery miles before work and then a hard evening session. Hopefully it will allow me to work even harder in those evening sessions.

Finally, only three and a bit days to go until Christmas - Oh bugger, I haven't got a Chimney!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Fog ...

The night was chill. Fog lay like a blanket across the dark moonless moor. No sound could be heard except for the blood curdling scream cutting through the darkness like a surgeons scalpel .......... TRACK!

I really enjoyed tonight's track session. Of the lads only Sean was present but I am assured that the others had been out training earlier in the day. I shall of course be asking the official adjudicator for confirmation of this.

We ran ten 400's with a 100m, 60s jog recovery. I paced each one pretty consistently with a slight edge towards quicker laps at the end of the session with lap times of 82.0,79.0, 77.5, 77.3, 75.7, 76.8, 76.0, 75.3, 76.0, 73.2. Sean put in some good work chasing down Jerry and I (he gave us a wee head start). Really can't explain why I'm feeling such a buzz from training at the moment. I really look forward to the sessions. Just hope it continues because right now, I'm lovin' it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Excellent Aztec

Just completed my fastest and most consistent session on the Aztec mile reps. Ran 4 hard and 1 easy. The set of 4 were run at 5:48 (correction from 5:50 after checking the gps, making it an even more consistent set than I at first thought), 5:45, 5:45 and 5:48. The average pace was somewhere in the region of 4s a lap faster than my previous fastest but much more consistent. The last one was hard work but it was definitely worth the effort. I seem to have come back so strong after the marathon. I can feel myself lifting from the plateau that I'd found myself on for the last month or so. I'm hoping to get into the 23's for Clevedon. Last year I was in the 24's so I think it should be realistic.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A restful Monday

... well almost. Today was a non-run day so it was off to the gym straight from work. Put in a hard session on the bike, whacked it onto high resistance interval and relaxed while I read my book for 45 minutes. Then onto the concept II rower for a quick ten minute blast - does that bad boy ever work you into a sweat! Then it was a quick twenty mins on the upper body, got to keep in trim, before home for tea.

Well done to monsieur Crump on his cracking new 10k PB of 40:18 set at the Wyvern Christmas Cracker. Setting a new PB at his age, why that's almost illegal :)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ashton no questions tell no lies

Up Ashton court this morning. We ran for an hour. Rick, Sean and me too. Gary and Tim put in an extra half hour. Went out of Ashton Court over to the Ashton Plantation, it's a good little run if you enjoy your hills as I do.

It felt easy. I pushed hard on the last couple of hills - just wanted to probe where I'm at. Felt really strong so things are looking good. I've had a slight twinge on my left hip over the last three or four days. I only felt it once today so I'm sure it will be gone in the next day or two. Went down the gym afterwards for an hour on the bike set on high level resistance interval.

I haven't decided what I'm doing tomorrow. Probably just a visit to the gym and some bike and concept II rower work.

I've planned my race schedule for the first part of the year ahead. I'm going to run a 5.4k trail race in early January. I might run the 10k version but definitely not doing the 15k one. Following that will be a short fell type race the following week. It's only two miles but sounds quite steep. It'll certainly be a bit of test on the way back down but fortune favours the brave (or stupid - not sure which category I fall into!). Next up is the Bridge Inn of course at the end of January followed by the Dursley Dozen on the 11th February and then a repeat of the January trail race on the 18th. Up next is the Final Winter Bridge Inn followed by the Tumble fell race on the 3rd March (not sure if it's mandatory to actually take one but knowing me I probably will - a tumble that is). If I'm required for a leg of the 12 Stage Midland road relays then I'll stick that in at the end of March.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Felt I needed a rest after my first week back in training. Gave yesterday a miss and I'm giving today a miss as well. I'll be out tomorrow though. I'm still really eager to get quick and looking forward to the Aztec reps on Tuesday.

Had a bit of a computing catastrophe. Unbeknown to me my server had gone crazy and only half of my email had been collected. Didn't realise it was happening until now. Suffice to say it's now sorted (unfortunately in means I have bucket loads of emails to answer). I've had to bring online a new server which has taken me about three days solid work to get going (every self respecting computer geek has to have their own server to serve their internal network don't they?). Anyway, this new one is super charged compared to the old one so hopefully my email won't go missing again. What's even better is I can now do my bit to save the environment because now I only need to take one computer into the shower instead of two! (In the interests of safety please don't take your computer into the shower as electricity and water can be hazardous to health - you have been warned).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Strolling down the promenade

It was actually quite a decent night tonight - weather wise that is. My legs felt pretty tired after the previous two days hard sessions. This was my third in a row and got to admit it was hard going up that promenade hill. We did six of the medium reps and two of the short ones ('cept I missed the first short rep on account of being too knackered). I'm really pleased with the way things have gone in this the first week of full training since the marathon. I've run five days out of six since Saturday and to add to that, work wise, I've worked more hours this week than in any week since my employment re-alignment phase in June (aka made redundant, bummed around for a few months, then became self employed). I can feel the (relative) speed returning - everything's relative - I'm no Phil 'Fleet of Foot' Parry after all. And another thing, talking of relative, do you know that if you run quickly enough the distance actually becomes shorter! - by virtue of the Lorentz contraction (no - nothing to do with Obstetrics). I could explain what that's all about (the Lorentz bit not the Obstetrics) but then I'd have to kill you and bear in mind that if you wish to try this you'll have to run at a speed close the speed of light. A word of advice, don't try this at home. I digress.

I took things pretty easy tonight. Don't get me wrong, I was working hard just not all out. I went hard on the last medium one though, going 15s quicker than the first five. I really pushed up the steep bit of the hill on that last one. For the final rep, the short one that misses out the steep part of the hill, I really put my foot to the pedal and the pedal to the floor. Took it out easy-hard until we started to climb then it turned into a full on sprint. I was eye balls out and it felt goooood....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm back and I'm cooking on gas

Looking back through the archives to 1st November and 8th November. We ran the same session tonight as then. Three 900's followed by three 500's finished off with three 300's. The recoveries where in the region of 2:30, 2:20 and 1:30's. I was a few seconds down on each rep from the 1st November and almost identical to the session on the 8th. Tonight was windy but the 1st wasn't so all in all I do declare - I am back.

We had a full contingent tonight and they were brimming with youthful exuberance - oh how they deserved a slap for that - and for whooping me out of sight. I didn't even get close to them tonight. Joking aside, it's good to see them all enjoying it, jockeying for position on each of the laps.

Got to mention Ben, it's good to see him back in training after a long layoff through injury. Go Ben.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Down at the dingley dell

Or in English - Coombe Dingle. The rain held off - must have been me lucky underpants to be sure. Thought we were in for a wet one but in the end conditions were pretty good if a little blustery. I run marathons in blustery conditions so a we bit o training in such conditions is no problem.

I was pleased with the way I went tonight. The session was a trifle complicated. A six and a half minute effort, followed by 30s recovery and then a one minute blast followed by 90s recovery. Then repeat but with a six instead of six and a half and trying to run as far as the first pair. Still with me? Well you're a better man than me if you are! Then we did basically the same but with a 4:15 and a 4 then a 2:10 and 2. Each long was followed quickly by the 1 minute blast. I must admit I missed out on the two's but my reduced session was still 25 minutes of hard running which I think is enough for me at the moment.

Anyway, I think I should be recovered and fit for tomorrow's track session. Let the hard work continue....

PS, managed to get down the gym today for an upper body and abs workout. There was heavy traffic to contend with yet again but I got there in time for a quick half hour before moving on to the Coombe session.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bloomin traffic

Got out for a run yesterday with Rick, Heidi and amazingly ....... Harry. Now that doesn't happen every day! We went out for about 45 minutes around and about Ashton Court/Leigh Woods clocking up maybe 10k. Harry seemed to cope fine. I was pretty pleased as well because I didn't feel too bad and even managed to get down the gym again afterwards for another hour on the exercise bike.

I was going down the gym tonight, straight from work, but the traffic was horrendous. I moved about 500m in ten minutes and just gave up and came home instead. I am disappointed because I was looking forward to a good session on the weights but I'm not putting up with an hours drive for one that normally takes ten minutes!

Not sure if I'm going to Coombe Dingle tomorrow. I can't decide if I want to take it easy with the guys from the gym or hard with the MD. Decisions decisions....

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Crisp fresh morning run

What more can you ask for? Good running company, a lovely sunny morning and no wind or rain. What a great way to start the day. We went out for our Bitton loop which takes in a couple of hills. Thought I would give it some up the first one to see how the legs were feeling. Went up really well and felt easy, even accelerating towards the top. Don't think the marathon has effected me very much at all. After Aprils marathon I was pants for weeks. This time round I feel fresh and ready to go after just one week of rest. I went down the gym after the run for an hour interval session on the bike. Cranked up to the highest level I normally use and again it was fine. Almost seems to good to be true.

I'm really fired up for training again. A few weeks ago I was ready for a break, just going through the motions before the marathon. Now I feel so ready to train hard again I can't wait. Bring on the speed work for I am ready.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Bitton off more than I can chew

Back out with Clive 'Well that was crap I don't know why I bothered' Tucker tomorrow over at Bitton by the railway station. Clive never fails to bring a smile with his boundless enthusiasm and unfailing optimism. Nice one Clive. Just hope the wind and rain keep away.

It's been a one run week for me so far which is probably a good thing. I always try to get back into it too quick after the marathon and end up being pants for a month or more. Hopefully I can force myself to keep taking it easy. I will probably get out a few times next week, even heading out for Mike D's sessions but I won't be running any of them hard. Going to try and mix in lots of bike work which isn't so tough on the running muscles but still gives a good cv workout.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Back in the groove

Started back into training tonight with a very light session on the track. Only completed four six hundreds relatively slowly but that was enough. My 400m lap pace for the first one was about 85s increasing to 80s for the last one. It felt pretty easy but my left ham string began to tighten and I aborted halfway round the fifth rep. I was surprised I was able to go even that quick (or slow depending on your point of view!).

Anyway, I'm back on the training trail after a long layoff of .... two days!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Feel like death

Oh do I not feel good today. I've felt sick all day. Got up for work but could only manage an hour before I felt I was going to spew and came home (nice topic for the blog eh?). Just got up from a four hour slumber. Feel better but still not right.

Hopefully, I'll be fixed by tomorrow so I can do some light training. The legs feel OK today, a bit sore maybe but not too bad considering.

I've decided that I'm going to concentrate on the shorter distances for the time being, 5 and 10k's. So I'm going to be training for speed. Sub eighteen 5k is the target for January's Bridge Inn.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Mission accomplished

Well I hit the target almost spot on. 3:09:39.

The wind, if you pardon my French, was a right bastard. Steadily picked up throughout the race. On the third and final lap there were points going into the wind uphill that I almost ground to a halt. The main thing is I now have the confidence from this to take into next year.

It was a lot harder work than I intended because of the wind but its done now. A new pb by 17 minutes. Hopefully I will get over it pretty quick and be fit for the Clevedon Boxing Day race.

Now I have the 3 hour drive home to look forward to!

T minus 60 and counting

Not long to go to the off. Had my ready brek and I'm ready to rumble - hopefully not literally!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Am I full now

I am stuffed - in a food sense that is. Now just 13 hours to d day. Wonder how much of my book I can get read?

The restaurant

Just placed my food order in the restaurant so thought I'd post to the blog on my super dooper gizmo phone to kill some time. I've ordered the steak - I know I know I should go for pasta but what the heck. I'm not trying to set any records and I recon the steak might be just what I need to blast through the wind and the rain! I'm hoping my relatively easy target will still be acheivable in the bad conditions allbeit wih a bit more effort than I had intended.

Almost there

Well its finally here, the eve of the Luton marathon. 26.2 Miles of hell and then the drive home. I think I'm ready but you can never quite tell with such a long distance. I just hope that I can control myself and run slow enough in the first half. I have my supply of jelly babies ready and the tape to hold my feet together - that's taping them to stop blistering as opposed to taping them together and hopping all the way!

Looks like the weather is going to be kind up in Luton - big time NOT. The forecast for 10am onwards tomorrow is 100% chance of rain with 24mph winds That's going to make it fun. I just hope that they've got the forecast as wrong as they normally do.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


That's a season worst if you were wondering. Ran the Bridge Inn tonight and ran it intentionally slow. I was running at 4:11 km pace for the first 4km, on target for 21 minutes. I was very nearly almost breaking into a sweat. But with 1 km to go I just couldn't contain myself any longer and burnt up the last km in about 3:35 with a ridiculous last 100 hundred metres. I was pretty much sprinting flat out as fast as I can go. I now have to chastise myself for being such a doofus and not taking that last km as easy as the first four. Sean had a race in his first 5k road race. He dipped just under 17 minutes - something I'm sure I'll never manage.

I am definitely not training tomorrow night. If anyone sees me train they have my permission to slap me - but not so hard as to make me cry!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Back on the straight and narrow

No running for me today (turns to camera) - nice. Just an easy weights session at the gym. Upper body only. I will partaking of the Bridge Inn tomorrow but I will be running very very slowly. This week is all about rest rest rest ahead of Sunday. My right hip is a bit bruised and battered (after a little slip on the weekend - and before you say it, it's got nothing to do with my exertions on Saturday night, it happened Saturday afternoon - alright) and I need it to get better real quick. I'm sure it will. The hotel is booked and nothings gonna stop me now.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Too much stupid juice

Over did the booze a bit last night at the club do. Can't help myself, once I start I can't stop. As per normal, once I'd downed a few, I became a total arse. Hence the reason I don't normally drink. Think I might have annoyed a few of those sitting close by who bore the brunt of my inanity. If I did I apologise.

Anyway, got out for a run of sorts this morning up on Ashton Court. Could only manage forty minutes. The others put in fifty but I had to cut it short as my legs felt tired (not to mention the slightly dodgy head, which actually isn't too bad considering).

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Out with the posse

Got out for a run this morning with the posse, Graham, Mark, Clive and Terry. We haven't run together for six months or more. These boys, brave and strong, got me into running a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Well, five years ago in Bristol but that doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

We did ye olde Bitton railway loop, about 9k. We were lucky with the weather. The rain held off, although it was wet under foot. It was good to see the others and hopefully it won't be so long before we're out there doing it all again.

Went out for another run this afternoon. Put in about 18k. It was a steady run with 10 small efforts thrown into the mix. We ran through Ashton Court into Leigh Woods and along the tow path. It rained in places but again we were pretty lucky with the weather. It could have been a lot worse. There were some big puddles out there and unfortunately I kept splashing the person I was running with. I have to say it wasn't intentional or was it....... ;)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Round the square we go

It was the Clifton college session tonight. Eight 1 lap reps with a pretty tight recovery. I managed five really good strong ones and another lesser one. On my sixth, and final lap, my legs just went. There was nothing left. I had given my all. I decided to call it a day, or should that be night.

The lap is about 660m, according to the gps, which I have to say is usually spot on. The turns on the lap are tight and with the leafs under foot, it was a little slippy in places. My splits were 2:13, 2:16, 2:15, 2:14, 2:15 and 2:35 (but I'd slowed to a jog on that last one). That equates to 81s for 400m and taking into account the slippery tight turns I'm actually really pleased with the way the session went. My third hard day in a row and I have to say I've surprised myself how well I've gone.

I have an easy run planned for tomorrow. In fact, I shall be taking it easy from here on in to the marathon. The hard sessions are over for at least a few weeks. Oh am I looking forward to the rest.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mad Wednesday

Good session tonight. Two 800's followed by four 500's with a 400 to finish. The 8's were 2:43 and 2:38. The 5's were 1:36's and the 400 to finish was a 68. The lads worked slightly harder than me tonight. They ran 1000's instead of the 8's and 6's instead of the 5's with an 800 to finish. I had officially ended my session after the 5's but I could see Harry fading on the final 800 rep and knew he'd fight to hold me off if I joined in for the last lap. Subsequently he put in a really strong effort as did Sean to hold off Harry's charge. All three of us ran the last lap in about 68s which was really top notch. Nick was a little bit ahead but both Sean and Harry closed him down somewhat on that majestic last lap. Unfortunately the crowd had already left the stadium so there was no one there to see it! The lads all worked hard tonight and can give themselves a pat on the back - but no slacking - I want to see more of the same next week.

It's been a good two days for me in the aftermath of the half-marathon. I've trained far better than I thought I would. I actually felt quite strong tonight and held my form (or what little form I have) throughout the session. I was really focused on relaxing and keeping the posture good.

Nick came up with, what I think is, an absolutely brilliant idea for next weeks session. Unfortunately I shall only be watching as I'll be resting before the marathon, which is a real shame. During the session he posed the interesting question, 'How long would Ten 3 mile reps take?' It was then 'politely' pointed out to him that this was in fact 30 miles! Next week the lads are bringing their camping gear as the session might be going on into the early morning......

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Back to the grind stone

Got back into training tonight. It was the Aztec mile reps. We ran four reps with a two to three minute recovery. I didn't run too hard because I'm still feeling it a bit in the quads from Sunday. Surprisingly though, my legs felt like they had lots of spring in them. I felt I could have really legged it if I'd wanted to. I had to fight the urge to do so.

I'm looking forward to tomorrows track session. Like tonight, I'm not going to run too hard. I'm going to be taking it easy in all my sessions up to the marathon so I'll be fresh and ready to rumble on race day. Don't know why but as I type this I feel really positive. Things seem to be going ace for me at the moment. I listened to few words of wisdom from father Clive earlier today and maybe that did the trick. Either way, nothing is going to stop me now in my bid for world domination (evil laugh) ha ha ha ha ha - scratch that, I mean in my bid for a decent marathon time.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Legs a bit knackered

My legs are feeling a little knackered today. Mostly in the quads. Put in an easy(ish - you know me by now) half hour interval session on the exercise bike down at the gym. Coupled with half an hour on the weights and I clocked up 210 ab crunches, a new record. Hopefully I will be able to train normally tomorrow but I guess I should force myself to take it easy. We'll see.....

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The reason revealed

........ I snuck off (got to be careful how I say that one!) for a low key half marathon down in sunny Gosport. All that resting didn't really work though, boo hoo. It was a two lap course, completely flat but prone to the wind coming in off the sea. The first lap was mostly calm but the wind kicked up a bit at the very end of the first lap and stayed there for the second which made it a bit tougher but not overly so.

So how did I go? Sadly not the best. It was, as they say in the trade, a bit rubbish. I was aiming to run 6:10's which would have given me a time of around 1:21. I managed a reasonably pathetic 1:23:21.

I don't know what was wrong but I just didn't have it in the tank. When I got there the cupboard was bare, so to speak, (thanks to old mother hubbard for that one). The only mile I managed to hit target was the first one, and it was spot on 6:10 but I just couldn't sustain it. Basically, I didn't have the speed. I didn't fade and I finished reasonably strong. I even managed to pick up the pace slightly in the last couple of miles but I just couldn't make the legs move quickly enough. Most of my mile splits were between 6:16 - 6:20 but one slipped to 6:25 during the windiest part of the course. It was all very consistent and I'm pleased with that but I think I need a few weeks off. I'm now going to get the marathon done and out the way and then take it really easy through December and maybe the first part of January so I can come back recharged and inspired to push back the boundaries.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Is there a reason for this training lapse?

Didn't train today. That's the third day in a row! What's going on?

I've decided to give up running and gym work and take up pie eating. Always been partial to a nice bit o' pie washed down with a jug of finest ale.

The story continues..........

Friday, November 17, 2006


Another bad day for training. Didn't do one jot. Made myself a lush Spaghetti Bolognese though. Ho hum.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Slippery teeth and bananas

The talk at the track turned high brow tonight with talk of banana eating and slippery smooth teeth. I don't know what they're putting in the lads water but I think I should try it!

It was a wet and windy night and after yesterdays run I felt a bit tired. I ran an 800m followed immediately by a 400m then three more 800's with about three minute recovery. The 800's where slow at between 2:40 and 2:43 with the 400 at 74s. Never the less I pushed as hard as I could. The head wind into the home straight got stronger with each lap making the times slower than the effort would suggest. My heart rate hit 182 on the final 800 which is getting on for 95% of my maximum (which is about 190). That's pretty high for such a slow session but I guess the wind played its part. I'm definitely ready for a rest. Going to take it easy for the next three or four days.

The lads did well tonight, they ran an 800m followed by a 30s recovery then a 400m with a two minute recovery before repeating twice more. Then they finished off with four 300m reps with a 90s recovery. They all ran well and although they went the way of exploding lap on the first 800m - as usual - way too fast, they finished strong and had some storming 300's. Sean and Rob gave it some on the third 300m, thinking it was the last one, beating Nick and Harry. To their credit they gave it some again on the final one, not quite as quick but they gave everything so hats off - Harry and Nick got their revenge.

Now where are those bananas.......

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Running from the gym

Back down the gym tonight for a nice easy run with my pals in the running club. (Managed to get in 198 ab crunches before we headed out. Next stop 202!) Well my plans for easy one were shattered when it was decided we would go and run some short reps and then a few hill reps. Ended up with a twenty minute warm up, twenty minute session and then twenty minute cool down. The session was six flat out 200m reps followed by five minutes of easy jogging before hitting four 300m hill reps. It was a good session and we'll soon have our little group licked into shape. Hopefully, because the session was pretty short, I should be ready for tomorrow's track session with Rick.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Biking in the interval

Decided not to run today. Instead I headed down to the gym after a very successful day at the office. Did thirty minutes hard interval session on the exercise bike. It was slightly harder work than normal. Indicating that giving the running a miss was probably the right thing to do after yesterdays race. Then I worked on my biceps, pectoralis majors (that's the pecs to you and I) and, most importantly for us runners, the core stability muscles of the back and abdomen. 194 various position ab crunches including giving the obliques a thorough seeing to. Soon be clocking over two hundred!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Magic 153

Had an ace race at Bath this afternoon. Amazingly I finished in exactly the same position this year as last year, 153. How consistent is that! But my time was over three and a half minutes quicker though (that's about a 9% improvement which is pretty damn fine). Just outside forty minutes in 40:30. I'm really pleased because I've felt really tired over the last couple of days. Resting up obviously did the trick. Conditions this year were pretty similar to last so I think the time comparison to last is fair and I'm chuffed with the big improvement.

I wanted to go off steady and increase the pace on each lap and I executed the plan with military precision. I took it easy on the first (short) lap, 4:07 min/km pace (possible slightly too easy but who's to say). Then increased to 4:02 min/km pace on the second lap. Increased it again to 4:01 on the third before letting rip (oh er) on the final one to hit 3:57 min/km pace.

In terms of racing, the bath course suits me well because my killing ground comes towards the end of the lap on the long uphill section. After the initial few hundred meters nobody came past me during the race, and the hill was were I gained places voraciously. My tactic was to make sure I closed down any nearby large groups before the hill and then gather myself before taking it away up the hill.

I don't normally enjoy cross country - I guess because usually it's all boggy and soggy (and I'm a bit namby pamby after all). With it being a bit firmer it was excellent and I had a real buzz at the end. Whoo hoo....

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Operation lie in

Well I didn't get out to run this morning. In fact I was so tired last night I hit the hay by 10 and slept through until about 5am solid which is a season best. Then I drifted back off until 11! A thirteen hour sleep fest - beauty. Hopefully I'm now fully recharged and raring to go. Must admit I do feel a lot sharper today - maybe not the full scalpel but certainly a fine quality steak knife. With the rest I guess I have no excuse to take it easy tomorrow over at Bath in the Gwent league.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

In need of rest

The Sneyd Park hill reps were tough. Beginning to feel really tired. Managed 6 reps where some only ran four but that was the high point. I suppose it was good to run consistent times, about 4:13's but that was way down on last times efforts. My legs just felt heavy. I guess the last six days training have caught up with me. Looking back it's been a week of solid training with some hard sessions and some less so. The highlight has to have been the 25 miler. Anyway, I shall be resting tomorrow - and I mean completely. I'm not going down the gym or a gentle jog. Exercise wise it will be a nothing day.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why does it always rain on me?

Is it because ...... I go training when the forecast says showers? Could be!

Ran the same session as last week but there was a bit more wind about tonight - shut it, I'm not talking beans. The wind was strong into us on the finish straight which made it tough. It was my fifth straight day so I can afford to feel a little tired. The 9's were run in 3:02/3:01/3:01 followed by the 5's in 1:36/1:36/1:37 finished off with the 3's in 55/54/52. I was 4 seconds down on last weeks reps and generally felt more tired before the session started (staying out till the early hours this morning probably didn't help but that's my own fault) and the wind played a part. Overall though, I'm not too disappointed. I certainly worked hard and didn't slack so who cares if the times were a bit slower? (well I do actually but I'm damned if it'll get me down).

Once again, got to wish Nick a happy birthday and thanks for the choc cake - nice.

And finally, oh yeah, scalped Sean on the last 300 m rep. Picture the scene. 100m to go. Sean 3m ahead. The Mad Runner, digging deep. The crowd lift to their feet. 50m to go. Sean 2m ahead. Me, digging even deeper. The crowd silent in anticipation. 10m to go. On the heals of Sean. On the line - have it. The crowd go wild.

Easy does it

Just an easy one tonight with the boys (and girls) from the gym. Only about 40 minutes but I should be recovered enough to give a strong effort on the track tomorrow night. Not much more to say except I hope this bloomin' fog clears as it is getting on my wick. Come on Sun - give it some.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Meet the Aztecs

It was really foggy tonight. During each lap the visibility was reduced to almost zero - and that was just my glasses misting up! I took it really steady on the first four mile laps, stringing together a 6:30, and three 6:40's. I had good company on the way round and helped pull the young lady round to complete a consistent paced session. I didn't want to push to hard after the weekend so I was happy to help. On the last two laps I went commando - oops - I mean solo (I kept my pants on). I gave it a bit of a blast and knocked out a 5:45 and 5:54 to finish. I was pleased to have gone so quick on the last two. I was hoping to maybe hit 6's so the 5:45 was a real surprise.

Must rush, my smoked chilli, sweet pepper and (fake) chicken is just about to finish cooking and I am well ready for it. I can smell it from here and if I say so myself it smells gert lush.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Damn tired legs

Not much to report today. Went out from Ashton Court with the gang this morning. The legs didn't feel the best but I managed to go for about 40 minutes which wasn't too bad. And to be honest the legs felt the better for it. Went straight down the gym afterwards and did another 30 minutes interval on the exercise bike while finishing off my latest read.

I hope that the easy day today will give the pegs a bit of recovery ahead of the Aztec mile reps tomorrow night. Suspect I might be taking them a bit slower than normal. I recon I should be able to knock them out at about 6 minute miles.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

40 kilometers of beautiful hell

Well the final long run was a success and almost exactly 40km and no cramping. I ran up through Ashton Court then down to the towpath and along to Pill and then over to Portishead along the cycle path. Are there ever a lot of cars stored over there! Then I pretty much turned around and ran back.

My GPS gizmo helped me to keep the pace pretty even all the way. Total time, 3 hours and 8 minutes. Again, as with my run of a month or so ago this is the fastest I've ever covered 40km, far quicker than in any of my marathons.

All in all, things are in good shape to hit 3:10 at the Luton Marathon. Now it's just a case of tapering back. I have 28 days to get ready, which should be plenty of time.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Legs not up to the job

Couldn't face running tonight. The legs feel lifeless so there was no point in just going through the motions. I went down the gym for some upper body and abs work. Also put in 30 minutes hard interval on the exercise bike which worked up quite a sweat - like you needed to know that! I find the bike work really useful because I can put in hard effort when I wouldn't be able to do so with a run.

If I rest up tomorrow I should be able to put in a really strong long run on Saturday. I'm aiming for 24 miles and thinking out to Pill/Portbury and back through to Failand with a few laps in Ashton Court. It will be my last longish run before Luton which isn't really that far away now.

Jack Frost

Bit of a frosty start this morning. It gladdens the heart to know my car is safely tucked up in its little garage and that I won't be doing an scraping - excellent. All those people with cold hands busy trying to get the ice cleared before they get away to work - and there was me in my shorts and t-shirt plodding past.

It was a real battle to get up and run though. I woke early and decided I couldn't be bothered, I'd trained hard last night so it was alright. Then I had pangs of guilt at such thoughts ...... but still decided I deserved the lie in. Then at the last moment, I pulled back the sheets and I was away. Glad I did.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Rocket man

A nineteen seventies clapped out Russian rocket maybe but a rocket never the less.

Ran a cracking track session tonight. Three 900's in 2:58 with a 3 minute recovery per rep followed by three 500's in 1:30 again with a 3 minute recovery and finished off with three 300's in 51s with a 2 minute recovery. My reps were really consistent. The last set of three 300's was killer - I had a few wobbly leg moments. I was pleased by my mental strength almost as much as the physical. I kept pushing to the line each time and didn't at any stage bottle it. After the 500's I considered ending the session but talked myself out of that to carry on and I'm pleased I did.

That has to be my fastest and most consistent session so far. Considering I raced last night, tonight's session was doubly pleasing. I even managed to get my arse out of bed early this morning and go for a 3 mile run before work - now that's dedication. There's nothing quite like a disappointment to concentrate the mind and make you raise your game. And boy am I going to raise it. I may be a bit pants compared to the really fast boys but I am determined to go as fast as my body can take me.

The young uns looked good tonight as well. They seemed stronger. Especially on the last rep of each set of three. Normally they fade a little bit but tonight they maintained consistent pace - now that's a first. All this training seems to be taking them in the right direction. Now, if we could only get them all out for the Sunday hour run, that would be even better. Got to wish them good luck for Saturdays cross country relays though.

I wonder if I can shift my arse out of bed tomorrow morning for another run before work.........

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

So close but yet so far ...

I was disappointed with my run tonight at the Bridge Inn. I took it out hard but really fell apart in the last kilometre. I guess all the hard work on the weekend just took its toll but I still can't help but feel disappointed. To come so close to a new Pb to have it snatched away in the last km is just plain annoying. I finished in 18:12, just 2s adrift.

I will be back. More determined than ever. I will train better than I've ever trained before. I will succeed - and you can take that to the bank.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Hit jim today

He didn't seem to mind! More correctly, I hit the gym after work today. Strictly no running. It was an OK upper body workout - got keep those pecs in shape and the abs defined, don't you know. But to be honest, I did cut it a bit short. My heart wasn't really in it. In fact, I've been a bit lackadaisical (nice word) at the gym of late. I'm going to try and put in a bit more effort over the next few weeks.

On the running front, my legs feel a lot better today. The aching and pain has gone from the quads. Yesterdays run, although tough, has proved worth doing as I think I'm going to be ready for the race tomorrow. Not sure if I'm going to break any records but I recon I should at least be able to take it out hard and try to hang on.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday Sunday

Well, we had a no show by one of our younger runners (whom shall remain nameless). Took it out for around 55 minutes this morning. Through Leigh Woods, around by Abbots Pool and back in for a loop of Ashton Court. We had a fairly good pace going especially considering the couple of hills. It was good to see Sean running so strongly at the end, really pushing up the final hill. He seems to have acclimatised to these slightly longer runs.

My legs felt achy come the end but still managed to work hard in the latter stages. Now I can enjoy my well earned rest day tomorrow before the Bridge Inn 5k on Tuesday. I hope to run somewhere near 18 minutes but it all depends how well the legs recover. To be honest, I'm not too worried about the time. At the moment it's all about being ready for Luton. Saying that though, I will be disappointed if I'm outside 19.

All in all I've managed some excellent training this weekend and in fact the whole week. Just need one more long run next weekend (24 miles!!!) and I'm sorted.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Big miles

Twas a good run this morning. Clocked up about 22.5 miles with no sight of the wall today. The time was a bit slow but there were a couple of contributing factors to this. Firstly my legs felt a bit tired to start with. I guess I still have a bit of last weeks race lingering in them, so I decided it was wiser not to push it too hard. Secondly, have you ever tried running in Leigh Woods when it's been raining? I decided I would stay in the woods for about an hour. I think I must have run up and down almost every path there is! Boy was it slippy in places. Made the wrong shoe decision as well. Should have used the Walshes and not the road shoes. In places I had almost no grip and had to take it really slow to avoid going down. Finished off with half an hour on the exercise bike to let the legs recovery.

Tomorrow it's Ashton Court again for our normal 10am run. Suffice to say I will be taking it easy.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Lazy git

Had a nice (not very) healthy chinese last night and tonight I can't be arsed to train. At least it proves I haven't got a total addiction to running (although sometimes I feel I'm going that way). I must get out for my long run tomorrow though, regardless of how wet it is. I know I've got to do it and trust my iron will and determination to see me win the day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Tracky situation

The track surface was a bit wet tonight but thankfully the rain held off during the session. No chaffed nipples for me this evening! Tonight we ran eight 600's grouped in 4 sets of 2 with a minute recovery between the 1st and 2nd then a longer 2:30 recovery before repeating. I averaged 1:58's per set and managed to push it on the second rep of the pair to nudge it just a little faster than the first. The pace was about right as I had to work really hard on the last couple to maintain the pace but managed to hold it together. Considering the race and yesterdays session I am well pleased. I have a prior engagement tomorrow so won't get out to train and I'm going to rest on Friday so I can get out for my intended long run on Saturday. I hope to put in about 22 miles. Followed by 24 the following Saturday (as long as the body holds together that is! At the moment the signs are good).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Interval in the park

Tonight's interval session was back over at Combe Dingle on the grass, the first time this autumn. I'm still recovering from Sunday so I took it fairly easy. The full session was 2 x 6 minutes, with 2 mins recovery followed by 4 x 3 minutes, with 1:30mins recovery (the last one only had 1 min recovery) and then 6 x 1:30 minutes with decreasing recovery from 1 min. Suffice to say I let myself off the the final six reps. I ran the 6 and 3's hard though and although my quads felt heavy the rest of me seemed to work OK.

I'm looking for a half marathon in mid November. I intended to run an even pace and will try to get 81:00 / 81:30. I learnt a lot about myself on Sunday. I (think) I know what level I'm at and hope to apply that knowledge successfully. I believe I'm capable of running 6:10/12 minute miling. We shall see.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Managed to put out the flames

The official results of the Stroud Half Marathon are now online and my chip time is 2s quicker than the time I clocked myself. At 1:22:51 that's a new Pb in its own right by an earth shattering 2s. There's nothing quite like spending almost an hour and a half and thirteen miles punishing yourself to claim a 2s Pb!

And race suggestion just in, the Weston Prom Series 5 mile races, next race takes place 16th November. As it's pretty close to home it seems like an obvious choice.

PS, I was the first Bristol and West AC finisher (doesn't say much because there weren't any good ones running!)

Crash and burn

Well today was the day and, as per my suspicion, I'm not quite ready for 1:20. I set off on 6 minute 5s pace (and if anything just a tad quicker which probably added to the burning). I was through 5miles in 30:23 (an unofficial Pb by about 1 minute 15) still feeling good. The hill at mile 6 to 7 was made harder by a tough wind. It was after mile eight that I began to slow and the slowing was pretty damn rapid. Still managed to get through ten miles in another unofficial Pb of 61:39 (by about 1 minute 40). But by then my average pace had dropped to 6:10's and continued to drop. I was f***ed ... I mean spent.

The last three miles were all about hanging on. It was tough. With the wind picking up into your face it was not the most enjoyable twenty minutes I've ever had. My pace over the last three miles was shocking, 6:50's. I just could not go any quicker. Each time I tried to inject some pace I came up blank. I had nothing left in the tank.

My finishing time (unofficially) was 1:22:53. Amazingly, this is exactly the same as my time at Bristol, and I mean to the second! I'm hoping my official chip time will by rounded down to 52s but it could, I guess, go the other way. We'll just have to wait and see.

So, am I disappointed? Not really. I pretty much knew that I wasn't quite ready to go sub 1:20. I don't blame the conditions either. Although there was a bit of wind, the conditions were pretty good. It was cool and the rain held off for the most part. The cold truth is that I'm just not quite ready to run that quick. It was a good learning experience though. To find out what I could or, in this case, couldn't do. At the start of the year I was targeting this race at Stroud to go sub 1:25. I achieved this and more. Setting numerous Pb's at distances from 5k to half marathon. All in all it's been a good year and I don't feel in any way disappointed. In fact, my unofficial timings at five and ten miles have given me a big boost (and these timings are based on my GPS distance/time which were pretty much exactly to the race distance markings). I believe I can definitely break 30 minutes for five miles and get down to 61 minutes for ten.

Now you'll have to excuse me as I'm off to find the next available five and ten mile races!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Long run day

Today I went on my normal long run, out into the hills .... only kidding. Actually, I enjoyed the delights of defrosting the freezer compartment of my fridge. Boy can that baby produce some ice. There was so much of the stuff I didn't know what to do with it all. First off, I considered building myself an igloo. Then I came to my senses with the idea of selling it on eBay for any would be house building Eskimos, I mean Inuit people, out there. Then finally I came up with the idea to beat all ideas and bung it down the drain. Oh yeah, the little grey cells were cooking on gas today.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Just a jog

Went for a gentle twenty minute jog, and I mean gentle. Tonight's run was about feeling ready for Sunday rather than gaining any training benefit. The hard work has already been done.

I've been drinking water like a fish and cooking pasta like an Italian. The final critical component for me is to get enough salt. I know the advice from the health police is to cut down on salt but I add it by the bucket load to my cooking in the last phase before a long run. If I don't I get cramp in my calf muscles. All that exercise and drinking water seems to flush salt out of my system so it's vital I get enough.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Today's session (suprisingly) today

Met up on the track for the Wednesday session. All the usual suspects were there. Captain Rick had a nice easy session planned for the lads. Four sets of 800m followed by 400m with a sharp recovery of 30 seconds between the eight's and four's with a longer 3 minute recovery between sets. The boys dun well, sustaining good pace throughout, although as per normal, one or two (who will remain nameless) went off a bit quick on the first rep. I gave myself permission to only run the eight's as I'm on my taper. I felt good and ran nice and quick, the last couple covered in 2:31 (which is not that surprising considering the 5 minute recovery). It's still good to run them that quick, while feeling easy, especially considering my PB is only 2:25!

Everything still remains in (good) working order - which is nice. Just need things to hold together for four more days until judgement day. I'm aiming to run Stroud on 6:05 miles. Just saying it, sounds scary. Don't know if I'm quite ready for that kind of pace yet but as Dell Boy would say, Monge Tou Rodders, Monge Tou. Oops, I mean, He Who Dares, He Who Dares.....

Yesterday's training today

Went for an easy session yesterday. Forty minutes at a leisurely pace. Just going through the motions (oh er) really. Nuff said.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Easy like Sunday morning

Twas the seventh day before Stroud and all around was quiet but for the gentle crescendo building to a veritable cacophony of expectation ... what the hell?

It was an easy hour run today followed by an hour on the exercise bike at fairly hard interval level. The legs are well rested and the tightening calf problem seem to have disappeared with the easing down through last week. I still have a slight ache in my left hamstring, which has been there since June. It doesn't seem to get any worse so I just ignore it.

Finally, a quick mention to Phil and Helen who ran the Cardiff Marathon today, conditions were not perfect, a bit too much wind ... stop it, I'm talking weather here ... but they both managed to achieve their goals. So well done.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I've been a bad boy

Have had back to back days of no training. In addition I have been eating entirely too many pies! I have been wicked and must be punished .... but not until after Stroud.

I intend a short run tomorrow morning and on Sunday then it's legitimate rest during the coming week with only a sprinkling of light training together with Wednesday's track session of course. I can't miss my track session now, can I?

Then, showing at a town near you, Stroud and the Half Marathon Of Doom, starring The Mad Runner. Miss it at your peril....

PS, I lied about the pies.

PPS, Cheers Nick

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

This goes out to the boyz at the track

Yes - you know who you are!

It was another good session at the track tonight, ten 400m's with a 90s recovery. Each lap was between 72 and 76 seconds and we all managed to run fairly consistent, maybe a bit quick on the first couple but overall not too bad. Nick, Harry and Sean all started back up the track a bit, they gave me a head start on account of my old age and general decrepitness. On the first few reps they came firing past but as the session wore on there was life in the old dog and by the last couple I was managing to stay ahead, oh yeah, bring it on (I still had the head start mind but we won't mention that again).

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The joy of hills

Today's session was a simple 6 repetition hill affair. We all had to wear our Sunday best as apparently they don't allow you into Sneyd Park without it, they don't want any old riff-raff moving through their streets, don't you know! The lap was approximately 1km with the first 400m along the flat before hitting the hill which got steeper towards the top and then a 200m dash (or not) to the finish. Managed to knock out all six within a few seconds of each other in an average of 3:46. A few months ago that would have been a good session on the flat so I am still heading in the right direction.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Walking harder than running?

Went for a walk in the afternoon with the brunel walkers group, first time out with them and it was quite relaxing. We went on a circular route that took in part of the Gloucestershire Way from Minsterworth to Longhope. It was only about 13 miles but I am amazed how tiring it was. I feel more tired now than after my run yesterday which seems so odd. The weather held off until about an hour to go when the heavens opened and the rain came pouring down. Despite this, it was thoroughly enjoyable and a nice change of pace from the running. There were great views of the river Severn from the top of one of the hills we went up.

I would like to go out again with them, maybe on one of their more challenging walks in the Brecon Beacons. I will have to make the time because it is definitely something I think I can enjoy for relaxation.

Easy does it

My legs are fine today, not feeling any after affects of yesterdays run. I thought I might be feeling it in the calves but they seem fine. Went on our easy Sunday run, 50 minutes through Leigh Woods, along the tow path and back into Ashton Court. It's been a really successful training week, with some good quality sessions. Don't feel I've put in any wasted miles which is always a nice feeling.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A not so bitter pill

Had a great training run today, 23 miles of leg busting running out to Pill and Portbury, really felt the buzz afterwards. In fact, I covered the distance quicker than I ever have, and that includes my three rubbish marathons, and this was just training and on a hilly course. The marathons have been relatively flat and today's run was most definitely not flat. Really had to grind it out from Portbury up through to Failand on country lanes that take in the top of the hill just above Failand. Once I was there it was mostly downhill or flat, apart from a couple of miles around the Ashton Plantation loop which has another bad hill. Didn't hit the wall as such but I did have slight wobble at about 20 miles and had to mentally focus hard to keep going. Got through that and then picked up the pace to 7 minute miles, the fastest of the whole run, for the last few miles. The calves held up great, although the left one twinged a bit on the way up from Portbury but after that it was fine. Finished off with 15 minutes cooling down on the exercise bike at the gym.

I had my doubts that I could get myself ready in time to run Luton but now I know I'm ready. Luton is supposed to be a bit hilly and with three laps you get the hill three times. So my hilly long runs are perfect preparation. I feel I am totally ready for it. I should be able to hit 3:10 no problem. I don't want to go any faster than that at this time so that I'm not totally broken after and then I can run some good races over the winter period. With a good winter behind me I will be ready for a sub three attempt in the Spring. If everything goes to plan I shall be gracefully retiring from marathon running and looking forward towards duathlon/triathlon.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lazing on a Friday afternoon

Well, I didn't make it to training on Thursday but I did go down the gym. Didn't go training today either but hopefully the calf muscles will be at full capacity tomorrow for my 22 miler. I am going to run tomorrow's hilly run at 3:10 marathon pace and if I make then I am all set for Luton in December.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Running on the red stuff

Ran a great session on the track tonight. It was a pretty big session consisting of one 1000m, two 800's, two 600's and three 400's to finish, 5k of hard running in total. The calf held up brilliantly and I was able to run with full effort throughout the session. Ran the 1k in 3:22, the 800's in 2:40,2:38, both the 600's in 1:57 and the 400's in 72,72 and 70. I think I needed to have run the 600's a bit faster, maybe 1:54's but I will learn from this for next time. I'm going to do the interval session tomorrow night and then rest on Friday, maybe going to the gym straight from work to get in a upper body workout.

On the work front, the new job is going great so far. It all seems very interesting. I really think I'm going to like it. It's been difficult acclimatising to working again though as I have missed a few gym sessions this week. I am going to make a start of going for a small run before work and heading off down the gym straight from work before going for my evening training sessions.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Way out west, Aztec that is

Went over to Aztec West for some mile reps. Ran the first two in 5:36 and 5:39 which is thirty seconds quicker than I've ever gone before. On the third rep my right calf began to tighten again, I have been suffering with this for a few weeks now, so I slowed down so as to not aggravate it. I want to run a track speed session tomorrow so hopefully it will ease off by then. It is not really that bad, yesterday I was limping so it does ease off pretty quickly with a days rest. I will have to see what I do for the rest of the week though as I desperately want to get out for 22 miles on Saturday at 3:10 marathon pace. I will see how it is on Friday but I recon it will be OK.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Well I made it but only just

There was a lot of flooding on the roads and the road to Aston Court was really bad. So bad I didn't think my car world make it through so I turned around and went the long way which made me late. So late, in fact, that the group had set off without me! They were just heading out of Ashton Court into Leigh Woods as I hopped out of the car. Luckily I had all my gear on, locked the car and shot off after them. I chased them down and caught up to them inside the woods. Again, luckily I chose the path that they had taken. There are a couple of ways you can go when you enter Leigh woods, so it was a good guess.

So how did the run go? Pretty good actually. I felt a lot stronger than I thought I would after yesterday. Felt good on the hills and overall really pleased. It was a relatively easy pace but normally after a long run, where I have worked hard, I am terrible the next day. My right calf is really tight now but then it started off that way so it's my own fault. Good news is that the left one is fine now and that's the one that has been giving me trouble of late so I'm not too worried. I recon it should be fixed by Tuesday for the session at Combe Dingle.

And finally, it didn't actually rain while we were out which was pretty amazing as there was thunder and lightning before and after. The gods were truly smiling on us today and we were blessed.

9am and it's raining outside

It's thundering outside and I up ready to go out for my 10am run in Ashton Court and Leigh Woods. Am I going to go? One part of me says yes but the other says, hell no. I think I will force myself to go up there and hopefully no one else will turn up then I can go to the gym instead.

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!!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tempory Job

I start work tomorrow on a two week tempory position. Better than a slap on the face with a wet fish. It’s going to seriously impinge on my training - it’s going to be a real shock to the system.

The 5k race on Monday was ace, I knocked 39s off my previous time, finishing in 18:10. I am flying at the moment but my calves are a bit tight after tonights speed session on the track. I was really pleased with the session though. With the ten miler coming up on Sunday I can afford to ease back a little during the next three days - plenty of time to recover.

Oh well, better start planning the bus timetable to get to work tomorrow.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Battle Of Sedgemoor 10K

I took part in the 10km race yesterday and what a race! I just knocked almost a minute and a half off my personal best time finishing in 37 minutes and 41seconds, which I can tell you is a massive chunk to take off in one go. Normally you hope to knock ten or maybe twenty seconds. I am so chuffed. It is my best ever race performance, achieving 28th position out of a field of over 300.

I have another race today! A 5km in which I am hoping to get another PB. I’m going so well at the moment, that I have added another race to the schedule, a 10 Mile race next weekend followed by my long time planned half marathon a fortnight later. If all goes to plan I will have set four PB’s at four different distances in the space of 4 weeks. Bring it on.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Final Bank Holiday of the year

Hi, I’ve been running really well of late. Now to put all my training into action. I have two races coming up; 10k on Sunday and 5k on the Bank holiday Monday. My calf muscles have decided to play up this week and still ache today but I think they will be ready for action tomorrow, where I hope to set a new PB.

Anyway, still unemployed but hey, who cares