Tag Archives: #running

A Virtual Run instead of Polar Bear hugs

Pretty much every few days in the past month or so I’ve been saying internally that I really need to get round to posting here. And then forgetting to do so of course. But finally here I am.

But what I’m not going to do is recap the whole period of running. It’s been quite varied and would take too long frankly. However, I will say that in January I ran a fraction over 100 miles but they were really good quality miles.

Today’s run probably summed that up. A 10k including parkrun in just over 56 minutes – even quicker if you consider I was queuing to have my barcode scanned for a minute. It was my fastest 10k outside of races since 2015. Very very strong. I’ve also had a whole sequence of really quick 5ks too.

In the end today’s run was a virtual 10k race designed to earn the Winter Run 10k medal from the cancelled event last weekend. Storm Ciara made sure we couldn’t run the streets of London but it only stopped us temporarily.

The other races this year comprised the New Year’s Day parkrun double. This year we visited Dinton Pastures (too busy and too wet) and Maidenhead (evil hill at the end of each lap but still great).

Recent runs tell me that I’m in some really good form at the moment so I just need to keep the progress coming all the way to my first, and most promising, half marathon of the year in Fleet next month.

But I’m taking nothing for granted. Largely due to the weather, I’ve had a couple of slightly lighter training weeks so I need a couple of tougher high quality weeks. And that will take me to a 5k at Kempton Park racecourse on 1 March. Got high hopes for that one.

2019 in review – close but not quite

It’s that time of year again when I look back at the running year just completed and maybe sneak a little look forward at what’s to come in 2020.

I guess the really key element of the year was the beginning of the challenge for my wife and I to take in 25 running events during the year after our 25th wedding anniversary. We’ve already completed 2 but the plans for the year ahead look amazing.

But as far as 2019 went…. it’s quite hard to summarise. There were no lifetime bests but there were some strong performances. My 3rd fastest ever 10k and my fastest 5k in two years primarily, but somehow I didn’t quite take that next step up to PB level.

Runs by location in 2019

Reading 149
Jersey 37
Churchend 4
Theale 3
Caversham 3
Lanzarote 2
Liverpool 2
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 2
Winnersh / Dinton Pastures 2
Bordon 1
Chichester / Goodwood 1
City of London 1
Finchampstead 1
Fleet 1
Greenwich 1
Guernsey 1
Lowestoft 1
Maidenhead 1
Port Solent 1
Scratby 1
Silverstone 1
St Albans 1
Streatley 1

But I set out saying to myself I wanted to run better in 2019 than I did in 2018, and I did that. I ran more distance in a calendar year than I have before.

So what were the highlights?

January saw our first parkrun double on New Year’s Day in Maidenhead and St Albans, and I joined the Sweatshop Running Community events in preparation for the Fleet Half.

February began with snow mainly but not enough to stop us heading to Goodwood for the Chichester Priory 10k which went pretty well. I hurt my knee towards the end of the month during a rather desperate run to a cash point which set me back a touch.

March featured the Fleet Half Marathon but I wasn’t really fit to be at my best. I did enjoy it though because I accepted my fate early on and just had fun with my race number of 1 getting some attention.

April started with continued recovery from injury but also saw us discover a new running route along the Kennet and Avon Canal from Theale to Reading. We’ve used it a few times since and usually enjoy it.

May’s feature was the Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend. The 5k with my wife went very well. My half marathon ok but not brilliant coming in just under 2h10m.

June saw me discovering a new, very enjoyable parkrun at Dinton Pastures, and a Guernsey Half Marathon where I picked up an injury within the first kilometre but still got round anyway. I’ll always remember the lack of responsiveness in my legs trying to cross the road afterwards from Costa to the pub. Tough day running, but I enjoyed the day immensely.

July mainly just featured training, but I did fit in my fastest parkrun in a year but still a little over 26 minutes.

August saw a surprise performance, probably showing that my training had been worth it, at QEOP for a Chase The Sun event where I switched from the 10k down to the 5k when I saw how fast I was going. It was under 25 minutes and my fastest non-Parkrun 5k by a fair distance.

In September we visited London and put in a strong effort around the hilly surroundings of Greenwich Park although I suspect a drink or two too many the night before might have affected the performance a tad. I also enjoyed a few runs on holiday in Lanzarote.

October was about training for the races to come but it had been going pretty well.

November saw probably my most exciting run of the year – not my best as that was probably Chase The Sun – but the thrilling experience of charging along at PB times at Silverstone but sadly not hanging onto that pace. Yet it was an amazing experience. I’ll look forward to the 2020 attempt for sure.

Finally, December’s race was a Chase The Moon at the Olympic Park where I just didn’t have the endurance I needed but still loved it anyway, particularly as my wife smashed it in an outstanding time, just as she had at Lowestoft parkrun the weekend before.

And that was 2019 in an admittedly rather large nutshell. I didn’t hit the heights I’d hoped but it went pretty well too. However, I do think it’s set the baseline for what I can improve from in 2020.

Which begins tomorrow with a parkrun double again. Bring it on!

Lowestoft, Stratford and the rest of December

Running wise December wasn’t the best possible month. I slacked off a little although that was largely replaced by a lot of walking but also a fair amount of merriment, fun and alcohol in the name of celebrating my wedding anniversary.

Oh and driving. 660 miles in 18 hours 45 minutes over 8 fantastic days in the south and east of England.

There were two big running events. Firstly, on our wedding anniversary itself, we drove to Lowestoft parkrun. But not before locking ourselves out of the house we had rented.

But once that was sorted, parkrun went brilliantly. We’d decided to run together and my wife ran to her fastest ever parkrun time and I have to say my running had very little to do with it. She just did brilliantly but I loved taking part together with her.

The other race was our latest visit to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for RunThrough Chase The Moon and I was running the 10k. It wasn’t brilliant for me although was also far from a disaster. I had a few stomach issues earlier in the day so maybe I was a bit under the weather. Maybe I was just tired or a little under trained in the previous couple of weeks. But I finished in a touch over 53 minutes. So, a couple of minutes outside my Silverstone time but not a terrible performance by any stretch either. Just perhaps not what I’d hoped for.

In the next couple of days we’ll be entering a new decade with another double parkrun effort and then training really begins in earnest for my spring half marathons. I’m quite excited for what a good injury free spring and summer will see me achieve. Bring on 2020!

Race week build-up

I’m writing this on the Tuesday night 5 days before my next 10K race and in the unusual position that I’m going into race week with a justifiable positivity. As I said last time I posted here, running has continued to go well.

Since the last time I posted here I’ve been running 4 or 5 times a week pretty consistently.

Not all of these runs have been particularly beneficial. There was one of those on Halloween where my heart rate was misread completely and somehow my GPS interpreted me as being about a mile away from where I actually was. Very odd.

There was also a parkrun where the weather was utterly foul – there was wind, it was raining, there was mud and I was not really enjoying it very much despite that coming in to it I had been hoping for a course personal best.

Training has really built up to a place where I am developing some confidence going into Sunday’s race. It probably started at the beginning of this month when I had a long 6 mile run with a fast finish where I ran faster than I have done, if I exclude all races, since the middle of 2016.

Then, this past Sunday I went even faster again – about another minute faster. To me and it really bears some repeating but these are the fastest runs I have done over this kind of distance – excluding all races – since June 2016. My 10km personal best was achieved in November 2017.

Does that mean I’m in better form than I was before? To be honest, I doubt it but I feel like I’m in really good form but not necessarily better then those brilliant days around 2 years ago. But you never know.

I am looking forward to Sunday as I could be on the verge something really brilliant. Or it could just be a great weekend away. Either way I’ll be happy.

I’m not sure I really mind how it goes actually but I’m certainly looking forward to it, am confident of running well and whatever will be will be.

What does come to mind though, considering where I’m running at the weekend, is the finish of my very first half marathon back at Silverstone Circuit in 2014. I finished that day having run the whole thing which I hadn’t really expected. Then, I stopped after the race, posted photos on Facebook and loved the reaction that came back.

Now I don’t expect reaction every time but back then it was still great and while I can’t imagine any reaction like that this weekend, to me this event could be just as special as that first time. I better let you know how it goes next week.

Progressing well…

Since last time running has continued to go really well.

There was a really strong speed play session along the Thames one Tuesday morning. I ran a 400m time quicker than I had in a little while, at least if we ignore a little Strava segment chasing in Lanzarote last month.

Just over a week ago I had an amazing Fast Finish session taking an hour in which I covered a little over 10k. At the time I’d only run 10k quicker in races this year, and there probably weren’t many training sessions ever that have gone quicker over that distance.

Last Friday, I squeezed in a session during my lunch hour, which I haven’t done in a little while. Again this was a speed session and I did a half mile time under 4 minutes. I have to go back to my last Greenwich Park race to see one faster than that.

I had a steady effort at parkrun at the weekend as part of a longer recovery run, and then a slightly longer Fast Finish effort over 65 minutes but this one wasn’t quite as impressive as the previous week’s.

However, ultimately things are all in a good place. Fitness is good. Health is fine. Injuries are clear. Have to say I’m really positive about races to come and looking forward to them.