Sunday, November 29, 2009

Week Commencing 23rd November 2009

AM: 50 @ 7:57 per mile - first day of work so headed out and got my first 6:30 AM run in for a while- lovely watching the countryside go into colour over the hour
PM: 57 @ 7:09 per mile - headed to Stortford and ran the 8 mile loop- quite pleased with pace

AM: 33:49 @9:03 per mile- very busy day today with work, cleaning house and driving to Gatwick to pick up parents
PM: 45:37 @ 7:24 per mile- got to Striders about 20 minutes late (amazing I got there at all though- flew around M25) and started jogging 'til I met Ian halfway through the time trial and paced him to end so was nice having company for a bit of faster running over the hills- then went and jogged back to car cheering on the others finishing.

AM: 39:02 @ 8:56 - 3rd morning run in a row- going well.
PM: 75:07 @ 7:31 per mile- run around Stortford 10 mile route - nice to have a big bunch with faster ones easing off a little bit at start and slightly slower guys pushing it- some great running towards the end and great to be able to get 10 miles in with company at a decent clip.

AM: 26:53 @ 7:30 per mile with Marcus from work- kept up a very decent pace and was impressed- just around the airport and down along the runway. Debbie was very sweet and did me a squash for when I got back!
PM: 16 wund, 3 x mile [120] - with Lee, hit 4:59,4:55,4:59 - pace felt ridiculously quick for what we were running and both really struggling. That was the plan for the session with the option for 4 or 5 but it just wasn't going to be worth it so instead joined the young 'uns after a 3 minute recovery for their 2 mile tempo (5:25/5:20) which felt incredibly easy compared to the miles, couple more minutes then a final mile of 5:17 to finish which was again easy. Very odd session - got some decent work in though...

AM: Rest day

PM: 15 wu, Met League XC 28:44 for 30th place- went out way too hard with the leaders and died the slow death for about a lap until I rallied a bit- dissappointed but 30 seconds quicker would have moved me into the top 15 so might just be a case of getting my tactics right.

PM: 76:53 @ 8 per mile IIs-Vs dinner previous night + dancing so already tight calves had seized up so just went for a relaxed jog over the mud - did 6 strides towards the end of the run and was moving okay. Thought about adding on an extra 35 minutes for a bigger week and proper long run but decided that given recent niggles a smaller week probably wouldn't hurt.

Total: 535 minutes / 71ish miles

Summary: Overall a much better week- lack of a long run and decent Tuesday session was poor and still a bit annoyed/dissappointed with Saturday race but on the whole to get back up to 70 miles this week and, now I'm reviewing, those miles being much quicker than expected (and also with having started work this week me struggling for time a bit) am really quite pleased.

Training to slightly alter for next two weeks in specific build up for Telford but really looking forward to it now and think I definitely have a shot of a) running a significant road 10k PB (33:14) b) running an overall PB (32:15 track) and c) breaking 32. Looking forward to it.

Weeks Commencing 9th and 16th November 2009

Sorry for the long delay guys- after the fairly epic 16+ miler on the 8th November the wheels started coming off a bit so I backed off - here, roughly, is how the last few weeks have gone...

Week Commencing 9th November 2009
Rest day; after the 16.7 miler just to let myself recover a bit

AM: 40 minute recovery run @ 8:36
PM: 15 wund track session at NR - 5,4,3,2,5,4,3,2 with 90 seconds recovery between each rep hitting just short of 1600,1300,1000 and 700 for reps respectively- finishing most reps either with or just ahead of Hendrik

AM: 43:03 rec/easy run @ 7:34
PM: 82:26 rec/easy run @ 7:58 - done with Jamie and Phil from BSRC - unfortunately got a bit lost - pleased to help Jamie maintain 8 mm though. Slight knee pain on last few miles of this run which got much worse as I got near the finish. Legs generally tired and sluggish.

AM: Rest- knee pain had abated but not totally gone so skipped morning run
PM: 15 wund, tempo run 28:39 /5:40 for 5 miles going 6:00 down to 5:20 - struggled in wind and just generally felt carp- knee definitely not happy and decided to see physio and take a few days off.

Rest- knee felt a bit better but not risking it

Rest- same as Friday

AM: 30 minute run v. v. easy at 9:06- knee held up fine
PM: 40 minute ex. bike ride- knee was fine

Total: 325 minutes / 43ish miles

Summary: Week going well till the knee- hopefully few easier days will let it recover

Week Commencing 16th November 2009
AM: Rest- just giving the knee one more day with this weeks rest week

AM: Physio- confirmed knee should be fine and just a tight quad muscle directly above it pulling on it- huge relief.
PM: 46:03 steady/tempo @ 6:49- odd experiment at Saffron Striders with lots of extra loops and people trying to catch up etc. Not totally sure if it worked but a good experiment and something to definitely be considered. Had some decent bits of pace running with Nick

PM: 67:00 @ 7:44- out around the BSRC 8 mile(ish) loop tonight and added a little on- nice run.

PM: 15 wund + strides, Tempo with the lads at Herts Phoenix running a straight tempo with the young 'uns dipping in and out- 27:26 for 5 miles- 5:29 pace which was dead on the target- felt tougher than it should have done- but then I was running up front all by myself bar two laps and those two laps felt a lot easier and were a few seconds faster as well! Wind on the home straight was brutal.

AM: 30 rec @ 8:53
PM: 58 steady @ 6:55 per mile- first double day since the niggly knee and did this with Anupam around a three bridges/marston ferry loop which was good fun having not done it for a while. Pace varied with some fast sections at v. low 6 minute miling and quite a bit in the low-mid 7s whilst we chatted.

Saturday: Rest (yes- second one for the week- I had a long drive back from Ox hungover and shattered so with Hereward the next day I decided to take a break)

Sunday: 15 w/u 1:00:47 for 9.84 awful miles (a good run- effort-wise close to 5:30 or so per mile) 2nd on stage and 3rd team

Total: 336 minutes / 45ish miles

Summary: A marginally better week across the week- really quite pleased with the Hereward run and whilst the mileage was low- I got a good race, tempo run and some faster running on Tuesday including a few hills. Mileage is perhaps slightly better than reported because this week I ran very few of my recovery runs and just concentrated on getting one decent run in a day. Must say I'm pleased when my "down" weeks are now 45+ miles - okay, by a lot of standards that's still carp but for me right now making sure I am injury free and remain so is priority one and so if running two weeks at 40/45 is needed then I prefer that to one more week at 70 and then three off!

Hereward Relay Report
I had high hopes of the Striders managing to take the title with a strong squad this year and we'd been up for it for the previous 3 months. Chris Dodge started the team well with a 5th place on the first leg only 2 minutes behind the leaders- if that could be kept constant we were in with a shot! At the second leg we saw Mayezar Firouzi coming in a very good time of around 1:03 and thought it might be game over - but Nick absolutely pulled it out of the bag and managed to take 15 seconds out of him coming in 1:45 later in second place overall and individually on the stage (as a Bury St. Edmunds runner was ominously behind him but had cut our lead on them marginally). Unfortunately whilst in a very solid third place and catching the Cambridge Tri guy Ian was sent the wrong way by a misdirected arrow. As I waited for him to come in to Welney ready for the final leg to Ely first and second went through (with Bury St. Edmund starting a minute ahead of Cam Tri and with Kev Murphy on last leg the whole thing being a bit of a foregone conclusion- wish I'd had the chance to start level with him and try and hang on) it was a long wait and after fourth and fifth started about 5 minutes after the two leaders Ian finally came in after rhaving gone around 3/4 minutes off the route. I set off into the driving wind (it is point to point and all South into the wind) and thankfully the leg started on the road- I rapidly reeled in the two who had set off ahead of me over the first 3k and was then faced with the prospect of a very gloomy 45+ minutes running totally on my own over narrow tracks and muddy fields with the fens all around me. Then it started raining, and hailing, oh yay. I kept pushing hard pretty much the whole way in miserable conditions with the pace eventually falling to 7 minute miling despite the effort being consistent (and on a road it would have been ~5:30 pace I reckon) - I actually at one point just yelled "Oh F@:k" when I still had half an hour to go in the sleeting rain which is a first for me in a race (though not in a training run...). Really very pleased to just finish and quite surprised the time stacked up so well compared to others. I reeled the Cam Tri guy in massively but never quite got him in sight so I could really kick on. Striders will be back next year to try and take on Bury St. Edmunds once again! It was however our highest ever finish and I think fastest legs by Striders ever on legs 2 and 4 so an awesome effort. We got very cool pint mugs to go with our well earned horse brasses.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Week Commencing Monday 2nd November

AM 30:46 @ 8:47 easy Post HM

Rest day - drove to Oxford- ChCh social - too much red wine (my nemesis)

AM 64:31 at 7:13 per mile steady. Really nice run up the canal and back through Godstow with Matt, Jess and Hayley with Anupam joining in from time to time.
PM 41:23 at 10:01 per mile v. easy - absolute shuffle with MC gurk - nice chat though!

AM 15 warm up, 30 minute tempo @5:35 per mile, 22:15 warm down. FIrst session post HM so took it very easy - ran with Carl and we several laps of Uni Parks at a comfortable rhythm- very pleased with how relaxed this felt.
PM 39:45 recovery at 9:08 per mile - hate running in the rain but this wasn't too bad.

AM 40 recovery at 9:01 per mile- met up with college mates previous night and quiet night ended up with me leaving the night club when it closed... avoid anything called a "happy" bucket.
PM 40 easy at 7:25 per mile after driving home.

PM 25 w.u. RAF vs. EAA vs. Filthy Tabs race at RAF Halton 30:35 8th 17 w.d. (65)

PM 1:50:34 steady at 6:36 per mile - first half done about 7:00 and then dropped pace without meaning to to 6:00 for most second half. 6:0x pace felt incredibly easy and finished the run very strongly.

Total Running: 505 minutes

An odd week coming as it did post HM and with my trip to Oxford. Total volume is a little down on what I'd hope but not particularly worried about that as it would only have been a second run on the Monday or Tuesday of about 35 minutes which in the big scheme I decided would be a poor move due to the HM and decided to let my legs recover a little bit more. Legs were still a bit sore on Wednesday but the shuffle helped that and then the Thursday tempo was very pleasing with how relaxed it was- my true tempo pace has almost certainly dropped to more like 5:25 rather than 5:30 I think - I'm sure that a combination of little sleep on Thursday (and not a great amount on Friday either) with the tempo affected Saturday's race.

Saturday was my debut as team manager and really enjoyed it and thought the squad did superbly with particularly good runs coming from Carl and Paul I would say. In addition to have 4 of us finishing within 10 seconds showed that the squad was all fairly balanced. Personally I was quite disappointed being ~20-30 seconds down on where I would hope to be- I set off extremely fast, then died very badly in the woods before being caught by the rest of the East runners before rallying and staying in fairly close contact. In retrospect I probably should have pushed on a bit more when feeling good in the second half of the race.

When I consider the poor tactics (well- it didn't work but I did intend to try a fast start), lack of sleep and maybe some residual soreness in the legs from last weekends 5k/HM double I reckon it was an okay run but I definitely hope to run much better in a month or so's time.

The Sunday run by contrast was awesome- first time doing a 110 minute run as a "regular" long run as opposed to a one-off longer effort. First 45 minutes was very relaxed at 7:00 in gloves and jacket, stopped for a minute to grab some water at home before carrying on - without realising it I must have been running faster even though I felt very easy and for the last 40 minutes or so was dropping 6:0x and sub 6 minute miles. Very pleasing to average 6:36 and feel very strong though doubt I'll be able to do it long-term. 2 more 110 minute runs and then will be attacking the two hour mark which will be a real indicator of how I'll deal with marathon training.

To cover 20 miles I reckon I'll be running between 2:00 and 2:30 depending on how I feel from day to day- the idea of during a 3 week training block doing a 2:30 time on feet run over 20 miles @7:30 per mile, a 2:00 run at 6:00 or probably not a huge amount off marathon effort (as untapered and not as fit as I will be come marathon day!) and a shorter 3 mile warm up, 10 miles @ MP, 2 mile warm down effort- seems very tempting but that's just me ruminating!

So- for a post HM week covered ~67 miles with a not great race, good tempo and very good long run. Not bad at all!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Week Commencing Monday 26th October 2009

This is intended to be my substantially lower mileage week with a decent tempo run on Tuesday, and then 3 very easy days before racing a 5k XC leg on Saturday and a HM on Sunday for my second serious one.

40 minutes easy

Hard tempo- 36:36- course record at Striders averaging 5:30 per mile over an extremely hilly course. Took 1:32 off my own record on the course we run most weeks of the year.

80 minutes at 8 minute miling

Rest day

Friday: 45 easy

15 warm up, 16:39 5k XC leg - reckon that it's worth around a minute if done on a track from others times, 5 warm down

very short warm up, Stevenage half marathon in awful conditions and a tougher course than I remembered, ran 73:50 - not sure how much it's worth but probably a bit. Finished 4th behind James Lawler, Martelleti and Chris Smith. Generally very pleased- especially with champs qualifier.

Total running volume: 310 minutes ~40 miles

Aim was about 340 so losing a decent warm up and down for Stevenage was pleased.

3rd Half-Marathon- Poor time; Good run!

So today was the Stevenage Half-marathon. I did this as my debut 4 years ago running 77:42 and aside from a monumentally stupid run at Roding Valley (I was in excruciating back pain) where I DNFed this was my second serious HM effort. This time after a hard 5k leg at the ECCA relays yesterday- maybe a little silly!

Reasonable performance but poor time from me I'm afraid. Course was much tougher than I remembered and the conditions were awful. Constant rain and fairly high wind speeds.

Got absolutely soaked walking about a km to the start and didn't have anything to change into so ended up spending ~ hour in wet clothes before the race- didn't do much of a warm up as conditions were so poor- still had a little stiffnes in my groin and hamstrings due to the 5k XC race yesterday. Set off and two runners disappeared off into the distance (I'll leave you to guess who!) leaving me in about 15th place - I went past my original two guides for ~72/73 minutes ( this guy Andy - 72:46 and Grant- 2:37) and a lot of other runners very quickly. Thankfully one of my friends from yesterday was pacing me to half way so I always had company. The miles were badly out so won't bother you with too many of the splits

First few miles were mostly uphill and tough work- I found myself in 5th fairly quickly with 4th about 30m ahead and 3rd Chris - 14:50 5k / 31:40 10k/ 21st National XC! similar. and around 3/4 miles we entered a strong headwind and my mate started pushing- went with him and he pulled me up to 4th very quickly and onto 3rd place who we steadily caught up with over the next mile until at around 5 miles we caught him- he slowed slightly and I could hear 5th coming up beind fairly quick. My mate was quite keen for me to push on but he was dropping out in about a miles time and on this horrible day I was going to struggle running on my own in the second half - went through 6 miles in just under 34 minutes.I was feeling very comfortable still (aerobically was comfortable) - our group of three with me and Chris running pretty much level and 5th just off the back stayed together for about another 1.5 miles and then Chris started pushing on a long uphill drag and whilst my lungs were fine- my legs struggled with the extra pace and I dropped a metre or two back and tucked in behind 5th place.

I saw the gap was only ~10-20m so wasn't too worried but as I stayed behind 5th he kept on moving away and didn't realise just how much he was getting away- was planning to try and kick on at 10 miles (very pleased when I went through in a 56:1x PB and knew I had the sub 75 in the bag) and in retrospect after taking a quick recovery behind 5th I should have tried kicking on much earlier but in horrible conditions I lost a bit of nerve - right on ten miles though you go into the worst headwind in the course so I stayed tucked in and didn't kick on till mile 11- then went pretty well (got away from 5th without an issue) and was reeling in 11th but by now he was well clear ~180m I'd guess without me realising at all- reeled in a few seconds and cut him down to 28 seconds but finish came too quickly.

Odd race- final time of 73:50- which on the whole is a bit disappointing. On the other hand I don't think it's a particularly representative time (the runners I was planning to use as guides for 72/73 finished in 77 and 79 minutes, Chris has run 71:27 before, my friend who ran 59:07 at the BMAF champs in Portland for 10 miles finished outside 80 minutes) and to be as close to an athlete as good as Chris was very promising. The weather was horrendous and the course much worse than I expected- on the whole I'm relatively pleased with the performance, especially with the flat-out 5km yesterday, and as my second completed HM it's ~4 minute PB on the same course in the same conditions 4 years ago. At the 6 stage 4 years ago I ran 20:10 (awesome run) and this year I ran 19:47 so the difference over 6k isn't necessarily huge but over HM it's substantial showing my improved endurance.

That said: championship qualifier - tick, huge PB - tick, huge trophy as ARC winner - tick, got some good scalps and felt very comfortable running a HM coming through injury free- tick. Now taking a few days of just easy running before starting training again- hamstring little sore but nothing too bad.

Really not sure what it's worth on the "comparison-meter" - estimates ranged from a minute to up to 4 minutes! As it is am very enthusiastic for my next HM where I think on a decent course with decent weather I can aim for 71.

Finally I have to say an absolutely huge thank you to Lee for getting me around the first half- if I'd been on my own I would have shot off after 3rd place way too hard and early but Lee steadily worked me up there and took the wind when it was at it's worst. Couldn't ask for a better pacer or friend to come out there in that weather and help out.

Bryn Running

Training diary and musings on running in general.