Category Archives: Running training

Guernsey, Newham and a lull in the running

It’s been about seven weeks or so since my last post here but I’ve still managed to squeeze in a couple of races in that time.

Training went ok. After Liverpool I did a couple of gentle runs then a ten miler on the Sunday after the half marathon. Then a few more little runs including an aborted effort at trying to beat #mymile record and the following Sunday another great long 8 mile run.

A couple of days on from that I had another go at my mile record and achieved it getting a 6:49 – a brilliant effort. Which pretty much takes me up to the Guernsey Milk Run.

In the build up to the run, my wife and I had decided that we’d try and run this one together, ideally in order to get her a best for the half marathon, but probably just to enjoy ourselves. While we were in Guernsey, we stayed at this lovely pub with rooms, the Longfrie Inn. The staff there were just brilliant and I really hope we find a reason to go back next year, although if I do the same run next year I probably wouldn’t stay at that hotel.

The first couple of miles in Guernsey were great. We both had lot of fun.

But as the race got on the heat took its toll on Jean so we didn’t do as well as we wanted too but the 2:54 time was perfectly ok in what were actually horrible, hot conditions.

After Guernsey I had only a couple of runs before running the Great Newham London Run two weeks later. Work had got really busy so training ended up taking a lower priority.

I think my wife and I had differing views about Newham. I thought it was an amazing event and I hope to be able to return one day, but again it was very hot and there wasn’t a lot of shade out there on the course.

Again we didn’t really meet any speed objectives but we had a good run. I really enjoyed finishing in the Olympic Stadium and while yes there could have been bigger crowds it still had a great atmosphere.

Then since Newham I’ve done very little running at all. Work has still been stupidly busy so running time hasn’t been available. But the Jersey Marathon is still a fair while away yet.

Before that though we have the pleasure of an all inclusive week in Greece and after the past couple of weeks I can’t wait.

Running into form

There was a time – shortly after December 2015 to be reasonably precise – when I could, and occasionally did, bore anyone within earshot about how good my running form was.

I would babble on about how I’d got myself into such good running form that I broke just about every personal best I track in a period of a couple of weeks. What was (slightly) interesting in the preparation of this very blog post was that this was a complete fabrication – lots of PBs were broken but not all. And it took a couple of months too. But evidently my brain has re-worked this period as a golden age of my running.

For what it’s worth, I should have been talking about what was actually a two-and-a-half month period from the final leg of the Jersey Marathon relay where I set my 5 mile best as part of a sightly longer run to Jersey Parkrun #13 during which I broke every best from 2km up to 5k, and took in the Poppy Half and my first Regent’s Park 10km on the way.

Anyway, the point of all this is that i seem to have run myself into some pretty excellent form again just in time for some big races. It’s about time too really. I’ve had a few too many races spoiled recently by injury or illness so I’m determined to make the most of a good run of success. Up until very recently all of my personal bests were set in 2015 with the exception of all those longer than a half marathon, mainly because I’d not run beyond a half until 2016.

That’s all changed in the past couple of weeks.

I’d previously mentioned breaking my 5k / Parkrun best with my first time under 24 minutes but I’ve followed it up with much more. On Tuesday I set out to have a crack at my one mile and 1km bests. I broke both of those plus every other shorter distance best as well. 6:55 for a mile was just brilliant.

At Parkrun on Saturday I had resolved to run steadily, like a threshold run I guess, keeping my heart rate under good control. I did that well but evidently my basic steady speed has increased to such an extent that I could still run a 24:22 without really thrashing myself. I was really happy with that effort.

For today’s long run, I had originally planned to run 8 miles but decided this morning that I’d make it 12 miles. I used an unusual route combining the seafront promenade with a more inland path, just to make up the extra distance without finding too many hills.

Then on the way back home I still felt strong albeit starting to slow up a little, and I’d decided I could add a loop around the harbour to find an extra mile or so to take me up to an unplanned half marathon. I continued to slow up but kept a pretty reasonable pace and ended up finishing the GPS measured half only eleven seconds slower than March’s Reading Half Marathon. I think with proper race day preparation and tapering I’ve definitely got a really special run in me.

So it’s the Durrell next weekend. I’m feeling a little anxious about all of the hills but I’ve run it before so at least know what to expect. Then two more weeks to Liverpool. Certainly exciting times!

Greenwich, Southend and a new Parkrun best

My last sort of catch up post was reasonably thorough about the number of runs I’d done in the past few weeks since Reading – and boy doesn’t that feel like a long time ago now. But what it did omit was a rather lovely trip to Greenwich and Southend.

We went over on the back of one of my fairly regular trips to London so met up on a Friday evening in our favourite Premier Inn hotel around Gatwick. We headed over to Greenwich in the late morning and aimed to get out pretty quickly for a run. Having been to Greenwich Park last in December we knew it would make a pretty fair site for a hill interval session 

but it was loads tougher but better than we thought. With the hills of the Durrell Challenge in mind we knew it was important but we did well. A nice pint or two was consumed in a sun-trap garden of a pub just down the road but we feel pretty spent at that stage.

We went back to the park the next day to have a look around the Royal Observatory, a really lovely walk around the park and a wonder down to the Cutty Sark to get the river bus across to North Greenwich by the O2. From there we took a ride on the cable cars which was something we’ve wanted to do for a little while. I was quite surprised how close City Airport is to them really.
On Sunday afternoon we went down to Southend and discovered a pretty fantastic Chinese on that first night which I’d seen good reviews for but which if I’m honest didn’t look up to much from outside. It was really well worth it though.

Monday morning saw us go out for our long runs. Mine was 8 miles and I enjoyed it. The fog was pretty thick so the views weren’t what they could be but it was fun – and even better it was followed by a great breakfast. We had a great relaxing break, had some fun and did a bit of running too.

So bang up to date then and today saw us going up to Parkrun. We weren’t definitely planning to but this morning we felt good so got on with it. On the first lap I went out strong but felt fresh. I faded a little over the second half of the run but still came in in a PB time of 23:55 – my first sub-24 race ever, although my Strava time had me down as low as 23:37. I set three other records on the way round so it’s fair to say it was a great run.

Tomorrow morning brings us another 10 mile run, with the Boat Show in the way of where we’d normally run to but I’m sure it will still be fun.

Building towards Liverpool

As I’m writing this I see that I’ve completed 18 running sessions since the Reading Half Marathon. That’s 18 sessions in a month and three days. Reading was really successful in a sense but still wasn’t enough due to irritating illness. The past few weeks have really seen my pace and strength improve.

I’m not going to attempt to list all of those training sessions but there have been some real highlights. The Parkrun I did last weekend was much better than I’d expected seeing me over the finish in only a little over 25 minutes despite not really having worked on my speed in a little while.

Then today’s run, which was planned to be nothing more exciting than a threshold run but actually turned into being a little bit special. The run had a block of ten minutes run at Heart rate zone 3 so tough, yes, but not something i can’t persevere with.  In the end I stormed through that middle section of the run including my seventh fastest ever 2km section – second fastest if I take away Parkruns and races. And I’m not going to say it felt easy but it did feel like i could carry it on. I came away thinking that a sub-24 minute Parkrun is properly within reach but of course I’m focusing on the hills and half -marathon at the moment and probably for the next couple of months too.
The next challenge is the Durrell Challenge in three weeks time and once again I’m not really looking forward to the hills that it will feature. I wasn’t massively happy with my effort in the event last year but I’m feeling like I’m coming back into something resembling decent form. Then there’s the two Liverpool events at the end of May which are going go be great fun.

We’ve also added an additional run into our schedule for the year – the Guernsey Dairy Milk Run on Fathers’ Day in June. I’ve looked at different events in Guernsey over the past year or so and its great to have one signed up.

But for now its still the routine of training. Tomorrow sees me running ten miles using Waterworks Valley. That could be painful!

Running again – counting down to Reading

I’m back and running again. After a nasty cold & sinus issue, I’d taken a sensible few weeks off but I got a clean bill of health from the doctor and so I started running again with the intention of being ready on the start line for the Reading Half this coming Sunday.

My first run on Sunday wasn’t the best ever but it did the job. The rain came to see me as it often tends to do, but it went OK. Not my best run ever – far from it really as shown by a relatively poor VO2 max score – but the point of the run was that I ran safely with no ill effects. In that sense it was perfect.

I got out for another run tonight. This time I ran for 35 minutes and aimed to push my heart rate that little bit higher. In the end I did what I set out to do but my speed was a little low for my heart rate (or vice versa I suppose) but it was better. I ran the final mile or so at around 2-hour half marathon pace so it was good preparation even though it’s not at all certain what speed I’m going to set out on during the race.

I’m planning two more sessions – tomorrow and Thursday – although I’d accept getting to do only one of those if circumstances get in the way. Both quite light sessions preparing me for Sunday’s event. At this stage I can only hope I’ve done enough to overcome my illness and achieve something in Reading. Whatever happens I’m really looking forward to it all.

While I’m here I thought I’d post my running music playlist on these pages – specifically this one. I don’t profess that there’s a load of inspirational Half-marathon tunes on here. Nope, this is just my personal selection at the moment. I’ll try and keep this up to date but can’t promise! My favourite running tune at the moment is the new Chainsmokers / Coldplay one. All this being said, I can’t run with music on in Reading this weekend so it’s all a bit irrelevant for now!

Frustration….

I’m sorry to say that since my last run along part of the Reading Half Marathon route I haven’t ran since. At the end of that last long run, I felt a little unwell but that turned out to be the beginning of a rather nasty cold / infection that’s afflicted both Jean and I and has clung onto us both for the past 2-3 weeks.

So with RHM being only 13 days away as I write it’s probably fair to say that personal bests are likely to be out of the question. A real shame because the armada of pacers turning up for the event was a real plus. No, at the moment being on the start line will be sufficient but I really need to be back running by next weekend to feel like I have any confidence to do that. Time will tell….

Reading long run

I wouldn’t go as far as saying today was a rehearsal but Jean and I came to visit our daughter in Reading and while here I went for a run over what were described as the hills around mile 3 of the RHM route.

Having done the hill in a 7 mile run I’m quite encouraged. Yes, there’s a very pointy bit but it really is very short and no worse than some of the hills we train on regularly at home. If I’m honest I think the longer hills before the run back to the stadium will be harder. Looking forward to four weeks time now!