Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas Update!

Greetings all!

Unfortunately up until this week I have had professional exams which tend to dominate your life rather unfortunately. With studying, Hayley and training time came at a bit of a premium which meant blogging went on the back burner!

I did however get used to regularly updating on twitter and for easy daily updates you're probably best off checking that although I will try and update around once a week from now on.

So how are things going? Well fitness is increasing very gradually and I'm pleased with the progress but also slightly frustrated at how long it seems to take to get back to where I was. This has partly been exacerbated by the approach to not do any real faster stuff until well after Christmas. This might slightly hurt the performance at the Bath Half in March but I also feel it's crucial to try and give myself the base in order to really push forward this year.

Mileage has generally been quite restrained, following the ridiculous toe blister mileage has roughly been 80,95,95,56(easy),72 and this week will also be in the mid 70s. Last two weeks have been relatively low but this is just a matter of circumstances with studying taking over. I'd have liked them to be higher but I won't have lost any fitness with two mid 70s and can now put in 2-3 weeks high volume training.

This week will be a 75 off of only 5 days training and 6 runs so the training that has been done is quite substantial. This is also with bad snow and ice in the second half of the week restricting mileage - for the length of time I was running today I'd normally expect to be about 15 miles and only covered 13 and a bit. I find it quite difficult running in the snowy conditions but it's a great whole lower body work-out. Must admit I was shattered by the time I got back.

As far as the faster stuff goes -the closest thing to a rep session I've done is 4 x 10 minutes - and that wasn't fast! I've really been focusing on my continuous high-end aerobic efforts. Mostly been hitting 2 sessions a week with one a longer tempo of 70-90 minutes at around 5:50-6:00 minute miling and a shorter tempo of 30-50 minutes at 5:40 or so pace. I was hoping to do a shorter 5k effort at the Brockwell parkrun but it was cancelled due to the snow (not the current lot- the last lot!). This has obviously held back fitness in the short term (I'm sure if I was bashing out 8 x k on the track each week progress would be quicker!) but I think it'll be worth it in the longer run - there's a limit to how much progress you can make from the intense track sessions - hopefully a 6 week stint before the Bath Half will let me see some strong gains before returning to the tempos (but with more strides and faster efforts) before hitting another 6 weeks hard before my early track season.

As far as improvements go - I need to be doing more strides and drills - I got really good during my initial injury period but am now being lazy and not doing them which needs to be rectified quickly to keep some semblance of leg speed. What I have been good on is doing some basic leg strength exercises, stretching and a lot of self-massage using the stick. It meant I was running 95 mile weeks on singles and my legs were feeling fresh.

That's been the final major recent change to my training - singles - for the first time in a few years I've been concentrating on mostly running singles as opposed to doubles, simply because that fits in a lot better with my schedule over last few weeks but really seemed to help my legs recover a lot faster given the full 24 hours. Not sure if long term it'll be better but certainly right now it seems to suit.

In summary - I've been mixing things up quite a bit and training differently, that isn't to say the training I was doing before was wrong but the body adapts to things remarkably quickly and often altering training routines can make a real difference - hopefully we'll see this in March.

So, toodle pip and see you on the roads.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

A Very Brief Interlude

Hey all,

Just a quick update. I did the RAF vs EAA vs Cambridge Hare and Hounds match as usual last Saturday. The achilles actually held up for an entire race in spikes! Sadly my big toe did not as I picked up a ridiculously large blood blister and lost * my big toe. This wasn't a huge tragedy as even though it's entirely raw skin it heals up fairly quickly and today I got a 16 minute jog in (despite limping most the week). I probably could have done a bit further as the toe despite being painful wasn't getting any worse but one thing I've learnt is that when you're having to alter your running form you should always do the bare minimum as you're straining totally different muscles.

What was awesome though was that the achilles didn't even feel the slightest thing (yay!) and the groin was likewise strong. Not quite the same as an hour at mid 5 minute miling but it's progress.

The race itself I was fairly pleased with my performance at this early stage of recovery but was frustrated to go down to Cambridge by a single point. Looking back over previous years we were dominated fairly comprehensively by them and last year it was, to be frank, a little ridiculous with our team of 6 closed in 9 places so to have such a tight finish this year was fantastic. Chris Rooke ran outstandingly to win the race outright from a strong RAF runner, Luke Allen did a sterling job on his return from injury finishing second followed by Dan Poulton who had a phenomenal last lap to reel in Angus Holford who looked like he'd escaped and ran a very canny race. Adam Searle put in a stalwart performance in his eastern debut.

That said I never like to lose to Cambridge so we'll be looking to put the wrongs right next year on their home course (and my occasional training loop). Hopefully I'm looking at seeing whether we might be able to get an Eastern team out to a road race as well.

Right - I definitely need to grab some sleep. I'm in studying/exams until mid December when I'm heading off on annual leave so it's frustrating to have the time to run but not be able to but that should get better next week. Working in the docklands it's an hour to get there in the mornings by foot but if I get in running, work all day and then study in the evening until late and just run home, I get 2 hours of running and enough work done I can take the next day off studying and get home for 5!

Toodle pip and all that.

*the skin off

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dropping out of a Marathon before Halfway...

Below was adapted from a recent post on RW - just some of my thoughts after a friend had to drop out of a marathon before halfway despite a strong build up with multiple consecutive 100 mile weeks... Be good to get all your thoughts.

A tuppence from someone incredibly inexperienced in running marathons but who has run a lot of races; my gut feeling is that the first half is all in your head and the second half is about your heart.

When you know you've done the training and you know you're in shape and you're struggling and off the pace within the first half then something is not right. Either you've gone off at the wrong pace, you've got an underlying injury issue or an underlying virus.

If you're running for a team (or representing your nation) then you do not drop out if at all possible. If you're running for yourself, and you want to perform to your best, then what use is continuing on for over 13 miles? What are you trying to prove? That you can keep your legs moving for 13 more miles? Big deal - so can 30,000 at London - and most of them are wearing bunny suits. I think most reading this blog are looking for more than that, they're looking for a special performance to hit their absolute limit and if you're not going well at 12 miles then that's not going to happen.

 I've got absolutely no doubts as to my mental toughness when I'm on the start line. I've hardened myself through gut-wrenching work-outs, lonely sojourns at marathon pace in the pitch black and the general debilitation and grind of running mileage week in, week out the same as we all have. It's when you're running before the sun is up and you're running in the twilight as the sun sets. So if my body is telling me at mile 10,11,12 - that I'm already badly off the pace and it's not going to be happening I'll be straight off the course, into an icebath and within a month I'll be ready to put my body on the line again and this time, it'll go to plan because I've done the prep and if it doesn't then I need to go back to the drawing board.

Way I see it - if you carry on when something is clearly not right you're trying to prove to yourself or to others that you're mentally tough enough. If you've got the self-confidence to know you are then it really doesn't matter, you can just focus on hitting your target. 

Different in shorter races, but the marathon is a different beast and needs to be respected. In the second half you need to dig deep and find everything you've got; the first half you need to be cool, calm, collected and rational. 


As a side note - I have only ever dropped out of two races.

The first was my second ever half marathon the day after I ended up stranded moving continually at about 0.5 miles per hour for 5 hours (they were letting a 2.5 mile tailback off the motorway with traffic lights...) - I missed the national XC and my back was going into spasms when I got home, found a race the next morning, set off very well, but about 4-5 miles my back started tightening, mile 6-8 were in agony and at mile 8 I just had to lie on the pavement for about 10 minutes until I could get up again.

The second was at BUCS XC in Cardiff. I shouldn't have been on the start line. My calf had been in agony for days but intensive massage the previous day after the long minibus ride had seemed to have eased it off. Unfortunately it was still not great but I decided to run anyway, ironically it was absolutely fine and my back again totally screwed me over and left me hunched in agony.

Generally I've discovered that minibuses totally screw my back-up and I need to be majorly stretching at every single stop or else staying over the night before to race well. I think this is probably part of the reason (together with my race usually being the last one and hence the course absolutely torn up) that in previous years I have run relatively worse in the major XCs than in smaller ones.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Back on the dusty road...

Well - generally I seem to be recovering quite well at the moment with more and more runs pain-free. Whilst there is still substantial work to be done on my achilles I'm starting to dare that the worst of it is over.

Part of what this experience has made me realise is that the Meb quote I think just after he won the New York marathon last year was absolutely dead on. Essentially running 90 minutes a day is the easy part! For the first time probably ever in my running career if I went to a physio I could say "Yes I do stretch, and probably enough". I'm doing exercises to strengthen up all of my muscles. My core stability stuff is still questionable but on the whole I'm ticking a lot more of the boxes with improved diet and whilst I'm still not getting enough sleep at least it's fairly consistent now.

So - what next? Well I've selected the Bath half in March as a target. Both Bath and Reading half marathons have fairly generous policies with late entries available in some cases for sub 75 HM guys and free entries for sub 70 guys (whole 8 seconds clear - get in!). I've devised up a program till then which if anyone is interested they're welcome to a copy just drop a comment at the bottom of the post or drop me a mail - brynreynolds1athotmaildotcom (you can add the dot and the at yourself!). The basis of the schedule is a decent length base phase transitioning into some more specific stuff. Compared to previous schedules I'm approaching it from a far more aerobic angle with lots of 50-80 minute sub-aerobic threshold runs at just under marathon pace and 40-60 minute efforts at marathon pace dotted with shorter stuff at lactate threshold, 10k and 5k pace. I'm for the most part staying away from VO2 stuff until closer to the event though there will be some sort of 3/4 volume very fast sessions with decent recovery - hopefully combined with strides and drills this will keep me being able to move optimally. I'm also (as I try and do most years) increasing my average mileage by probably around 10 over this time last year with the aim being to run fairly regular 85-90 miles for 3 weeks before a cut down week per training block.

The flip side of this is that I'll not be running amazing times over 5k/10k. The plan after Bath is to then take a short break and then start nailing some faster stuff for the summer. I'm tempted to avoid 5000s for the moment as there is a slight chance that if things go very well then next summer I might be able to take an entire minute off my PB in a single race - that'd be amusing! My road and track PB still remains a half way split in a 10k (with my second best time being the second half of that 10k!) though my time at the 12 stage shows I was clearly in shape to run a very substantial 5k PB.

One of the other ideas about the schedule mentioned above is that I'm trying to hold back the rapid fitness improvements I usually get a little bit in order to help keep my body and fitness in sync. Not much use being able to bash out 16 miles at 5:35mm feeling comfy if the body breaks down the next day.

I've been struggling a little bit this week with a decent volume finally being hit - this week will be an 80 with a rest day (tomorrow and well needed!) with my legs just not being used to this and also the additional stretching and flexibility stuff meaning some muscles that didn't get properly used before (e.g. hamstring, hip flexors and glutes!) are now being subjected to decent mileage for the first time and they're not quite ready. Hoping that I'll be adapting fairly quickly though. the first week after bumping up is always the hardest.

The previous weekend I ran in the Surrey League XC division 2 for my second claim club Clapham Chasers. I started out very conservatively and to be honest took the whole race relatively easy and felt quite relaxed the whole time - which I appreciate isn't how XC should feel. I started way back probably just outside the top 20 but by a about a third of the way through I had worked my way onto the back of the chasing pack behind the lead pack and feeling really strong. I went past the chasing pack and had just started reeling in the lead pack (or at least trying to) just before halfwya when I took a wrong turn. I didn't lose an awful lot of time 9 somewhere between 5-10 seconds I'd guess, but the result was that I was back behind the chasing group and feeling pretty awful after feeling great the whole first half - I'd just lost all my momentum. Thanks to the Guildford guy who called me back on course by the way! We then had a pretty good battle over the rest of the race with me getting away about half way through the lap - he pushed again to try and catch me near the end but I just upped the intensity a bit (by this point I was starting to bring back one of the guys who'd fallen off the lead pack but it was just too far to make up at that stage) - and cruised in for 6th place. Quite pleased as the Guildford guy actually narrowly outsprinted me at a Parkrun earlier in the year when I was fully fit (albeit messing the race up majorly and pretty much deciding I didn't want to run halfway through - not a proud day!) and was a nice return to XC.

One a side note about parkrun I was interested to see a post about the new Brockwell parkrun. Whilst it's only 2 miles away I've never been there but I definitely will now! Having it only 2 miles away will definitely make it a firm fixture in my weekly training schedule and I'm just hoping they make it a fairly fast race course- if so they'll never get me away from it!

Right that's a pretty good catch up I think- hope everyone is well and let me know how you're all getting on!

See you at the races.

Friday, August 13, 2010

'Cause I'm in Need of Some Restraint

Well - progress continues. Yesterday topped off a solid morning run with a very easy jog then drills and 90 minutes on the exercise bike before today running into work at a decent clip. Really feel that I'm getting a lot more of a range of motion around my ankle joint so positive stuff on the whole.

Interesting day - I usually set aside one day a week where I try to have a beer or two and just relax (that being better I reckon than nothing for a month or two before an absolute blow out). It always seems to bring things into focus.

Had a leaving do for a friend today as she managed to get her dream job elsewhere. Had the following conversation on the way back (my fellow new starters found out about London when I couldn't walk the next day and I made the mistake of telling them the U23 ranking) - "So do you want to go to the olympics" - "well yes, but that isn't happening", "I thought you were the top ranked in the age group", "yep, but all the good runners don't do them this early"(honourable exceptions for Wanjiru and Kebede), "So you're going to get better?" "Well hopefully but I'll still be miles off the pace". Just interesting to see the contrasting views of runners/non-runners. I'm moderately happy with a 2:31 debut but know that my chances of ever running 2:15 are slim to say the least (the only thing that gives me hope is how many of yesteryears runners managed to go under 2:20...) but to a non-runner it's only 16 minutes! It also makes me wonder a bit - given that I've run 2:31 and think I've got a very limited chance at running 2:20 that's pretty much one minute a year at most for the rest of my potential career!

Also interesting to put things in focus. I had a beer. Just the single. And stayed out chatting away etc. It does make me wonder though - how much more can you improve/could you improve if you took it utterly seriously. I'd say I generally take it seriously, but just doing the drills these last few weeks makes me realise how much I could have been doing that I haven't. Instead of going out for a drink I could have done an extra cycle session, another session with the stick (instead of just the usual quick workover), massage on all parts of the leg rather than just a concentrated session looking at loosening an ITB, few more weights, bodyweight exercises, core - there's a whole list out there of things which help you improve and I'd be interested in knowing who out there honestly feels they dedicate their lives 100% to the sport.

I can think of very few runners I know who do. It's utterly impractical. The big one is having to work/study for a living. That's life unfortunately. But maybe, just maybe, that whole-hearted 100% focus is what allows the Kenyans and the Ethiopians to get that extra 1% which takes them clear of the rest of the world. Farah cut his honeymoon short and went straight to a training camp, and he's looking like he has that extra 1% now.

And whilst I know it's impractical, short-sighted and just ridiculous for an athlete (which is stretching it!) of my calibre, you sometimes just have to wonder - "what if I did focus like that, how good could I be?" - before usually settling down for another pint. That said if I can manage to combine running to a good degree (including up to and above 100 mile weeks!) together with a normal life, that'll be for the best without a doubt but I'll still be waiting to see if that hunger emerges to really try and hit the absolute limits. For the moment running a low 31 10k would do very nicely though!

Keep on running and hopefully see you all at the races soon. Albeit not the Olympics!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Time has come to make things right

So the last few weeks have gone fairly smoothly. I've managed to up my exercise biking and my running to the extent where at the very least I'm no longer losing fitness.

That's all really subsidiary to my achilles though. It's made progress but not as quick as might be hoped (a large part to do with realising I was doing my heel drops entirely wrong which thankfully Noel managed to correct me with in fairly quick order!) and I think there's now some substantial progress being made - in particular they're now targeting (and reproducing the pain!) exactly where the sore patches are. Hopefully towards eliminating issues that aren't just short term but might have been lurking since 2006...

I think the drills are generally helping, if not the achilles then just generally in making me a more efficient runner. The key is going to be integrating them once I'm back to a full training schedule.

Hit a good run back tonight - decided just to hit a steady from work, then spent a fair bit of time on the bike - roughly 100 minutes. Hopefully should help build up some general leg strength as well.

Adios for now.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Got to heal the wounds that we've made

Update time I guess!

Will actually get the last two weeks training logs up soon. Basically things seem to be going on track. The achilles is definitely improving (Thursday I was actually able to wear normal shoes with no issues) - but it's going to be a matter of weeks/months until the eccentric dips manage to improve it substantially.

That said am now running pain free in my vaporflys and am gradually increasing the volume of running. I've also finally stopped moping and gotten myself on the exercise bike. It's not perfect but if you're putting in long stints on it, a) you keep the weight down (and I was getting perilously close to a stone above training weight - now it doesn't make a huge difference to my appearance but an extra stone with every footfall - not good on an injured achilles!) and b) it keeps you at least aerobically fit.

Right now with drills, limited running and extensive exercise biking I'm hitting over 2 hours a day training - that's not going to win me any medals but should keep me under 17 minute 5k shape and make a comeback much easier once my achilles is fully healed. I really felt it a bit last few days getting back into semi-decent training - it takes a week or two for the body to adapt- luckily I was at clapham all this weekend so nice and easy to take a midday nap!

One thing I would be fairly interested in is seeing my actual sprint speed in the next few months. Right now 6 days a week I'm putting in 20 minute a day of drills and then a few strides - last time I ended up doing something like this (but nowhere near as rigorously) I dropped a 56 high/57 low 400m despite having very little running under my belt. Not really intending to too but temptation might get too much. If I can keep this up I'll certainly look at doing a few time trials and maybe even doing some running indoors and see if I can get anywhere near 2 minute for 800m.

If anyone knows where to get any shoes (or any models) with a very flexible heel cup (or very cushioned) - a la the Nike Vaporflys please let me know - currently they're the only ones that don't manage to completely shred my achilles at the moment.

Training log up very soon. Haven't done the final calcs but next week the total training volume (running/drills/ex. biking) will be good I hope...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Keep spending limits of my life

Very interesting session with Noel Thatcher who managed to squeeze me in on fairly short notice. Split it up into two halves basically - firstly trying to work out what existing problems there are in my body which could well limit me in the future (and quite likely caused the current issues!) and then in the second half working specifically on the current problem. Great seeing a physio who totally understands the drive that runners have (undeniably greater than my own) to get better.

The good news is that the achilles injury is on part of the achilles which has a good blood supply and that the injury itself probably isn't as bad as the pain occasionally suggests - around the insertion point although there is tendinopathy (and if any of this is wrong it's my fault for not remembering properly what Noel said!) but the "irritation" from the shoes is due to a small patch of hypersensitive tissue - basically that particularly bit shouldn't be lasting but just until it calms down. There's still a lot of work to get the achilles healthy but on the whole it's not as bad as might have been thought.

The bad news is that it and the strain on the outside of my foot are almost certainly caused by a complete lack of mobility and extreme tightness around the rest of my body. My glutes have apparently "gone to sleep" and are just totally non-functional almost when I run. My hip flexors are tight as anything so there's no way I'm driving my body forward properly. My hamstrings are... well... they're my hamstrings just as they've always been and roughly the same length as my patience in not running. I've got an asymetric pelvis which whilst not great isn't a huge worry apart from the fact that the tight glutes, ITBs, hamstrings etc. are exacerbating it.

So going forward - I have exercises and stretches to do. Basically along three main lines - 1) strengthen achilles (eccentric heel drops) 2) stretch out all my very tight muscles groups 3)reawaken my glutes and basically learn how to run properly.

On the plus side once this is all done then I'll be able to run possibly not looking like I'm on a long haul flight to the US and settled in for a long journey (I sit down - a lot) and hopefully a little bit faster/more efficiently as well.

My fastest ever 400m was oddly enough set the summer after I was badly enough injured I couldn't run more than a minute or so and ended up just doing a solid 20 minutes of drills each evening and sometimes 2-3 times a day. Almost immediately I came back and whilst I couldn't run aerobically for toffee I was much more fluid. Looks like I'll need to try and be more of a complete package now than the stereotypical marathon runner!

Whenever I think about it - it always shocks me how we're willing to throw ourselves into 10-12 hours of running a week and yet spend so little time learning "how" to run.

To the commenters (it's appreciated!):-

Aaron - Thanks for the support mate - miles will be down a bit temporarily but as long as I can tick over I won't be too frustrated. Seeing the progress you've made recently has been pretty inspiring stuff for the rest of us!

Anonymous - You're absolutely right. I'm working on it - probably having breakfast at least two out of five weekdays now but it's still not enough. Unfortunately I'm not a morning person. Once I'm running regularly in the mornings I think it no longer becomes even vaguely optional though.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Run to where you want...

Couple of succesful days running to report. Yesterday did 17 minutes steady (~6:30mm) followed by 18 minutes easy jogging. Generally I felt fairly good on this but definitely wasn't an improvement on the whole today so I just went for a very relaxed jog up to Battersea Park to see them taking all of the stuff for the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge down. Really hope to race it competitively next year. Unfortunately I always seem to be injured in the summer- perhaps need to work out why!

Marginally awkward elevator conversation on the way down from work (working in a different building for next 5-6 weeks so don't know everyone!) - with a group heading off to the challenge. Said I ran a bit and hoped to have done it but company wasn't able to get me a place.They offered me a spare place which I had to turn down with my achilles injury. Got chatting and asked me what sort of time I'd have liked and said something in the 15:xx minute range when fit. They clearly were moderately undecided as to whether I was bsing or they should be impressed (group seemed split about 50/50). Lost track when stopped to top up my oyster but passing them in the queue a few minutes later I heard one say "yeah- everyone has times and stuff from school sports days and dodgy events" - ye goods I wished I had my national 12 stage medal with me! Be interested in how people deal with the dichotomy between us knowing that what we do really isn't that special (and that we're really distinctly average) and that the average person (maybe that should be runner?) is blown away by it? (False?) Modesty usually seems the best policy and not really talking much about it.

Spent most of the evening watching the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne and some fantastic performances by Michael Rimmer and Lisa Dobriskey on the British distance side. Rimmer has been world class at times in previous seasons but now appears to be able to do consistently and this was rewarded with a strong new PB - unfortunately the Polish athlete he beat at the European Cup managed to marginally edge him! It's looking to be a great European championship between the two of them and Borzakovsky. I noticed that we're not taking the full complement in the 800. This seems foolish to me when we can take more - in 2006 after "that Watford race" - it looked like we had three big talents but Hill and Rimmer definitely took the headlines. Ellis took the medal. If we can send the athletes- particularly in an event like the 800 - we should do. Rimmer has clearly moved on from then however - it's great to see him throwing himself into the Diamond League- to my mind (for reasons to be explained later...) it's a fantastic innovation and has given real structure to the calender particularly in this non-championship year. What's noticeable in this (and the previous Golden League and high quality meets now in Diamond League) is that often the "race" which can dominate the world rankings can come slightly unexpectedly (often because without a "star" the athletes seem to race more freely) but by being present all season you guarantee your chance of being there when "it" happens or similarly a slightly slower race gives you a chance to come through. This is in stark contrast to when some British athletes (in all fairness being self funded usually) go across to a single European meet and hope that it ends up being the "one" with the race they need.

Rest day tomorrow with just some cycling - if achilles is great might pop out for 30 minutes but want to make sure am ready for physio on Saturday.

For dinner I cooked Lamb Chops with a moroccan sauce (sadly pre-applied) on a bed (doesn't that sounds so much more fancy than "with") couscous which I added chickpeas and dried apricots to. I also fried some polenta which was interesting as I've never had it before (quite solid stuff as well rather than granular) - but is apparently moderately close to Ugali. Wasn't amazing but definitely edible - can see what people mean when they talk about it not being a "natural" taste.

Right- time for bed! Night all. 

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tweaking the System

So- aiming to build back up. I'm coming at the whole thing pretty much from scratch again (current estimate of fitness is about 4:30 1500 / 16:40 5000 / 34:00 10,000 - very roughly and totally guesstimating) - so what can I work on from the beginning now?

Flexibility and stretching. This has been an area I've just been generally improving on over the last 6 months or so with regular opportunities to stretch at beginning/end of runs being taken advantage of.

Sleeping habits. They're poor to say the least but now I've started full-time work they're actually slightly better. It'll be a tough change when I start running in the mornings again though!

General strength.  My body as a whole is generally not particularly strong - increasing use of body weight exercises and v. light weights should at the very least improve general strength and specifically work on legs and calves so they can take the pressure of running high and up on toes for 10+ miles.

Diet. Recently my diet hasn't been the greatest - although cooking for myself it's usually been the case of just lumping something into the oven most days. At lunch my diet has generally been better (usually a salad (mostly kidney beans to be fair)) and either a sandwich or jacket potato with cheese and beans. Breakfast is frequently skipped but I'm working at improving this. Main area to be worked on though is the evening meal which is going to involve more pasta (without drowning it in sauce) and grilled chicken/lamb. Cutting out the ludicrous quantities of fizzy drink might also help.

Massage- just generally using "The Stick" to ease up calves, quads etc. and try and deal with injuries and strains before they happen.

Plan for this evening is 35 minutes jogging and 30 minutes cycling - wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Long Road Back...

Hey all,

As most will know - whilst I was making a slow recovery from London I opted to do the Green Belt Relay and managed to tweak my foot/achilles pretty bad on the first day and racing the second day made it worse. It's been an odd injury as I've never been in great deals of pain and been able to keep jogging through-out (3 x 70-80 mile weeks and then about 3 weeks of 20-30 as I've tried to give it a chance to recover) - finally had a run tonight I would describe as 99.9% pain free so am hoping to start blogging again on my hopeful return to form.

Will be trying to tweak things as I go along and get better at the simple stuff. First up I'm going to see Noel Thatcher for physio to absolutely get this sorted and worked out.  Noel is a great guy and whenever I'm home a pretty awesome training partner - it's good having someone to bounce ideas and the like off especially when they've been there before and know what it's like.

Despite the fact I could probably build up now I reckon it's crucial that I get any biomechanical issues I might have sorted out now. I can probably get away with them at 80mpw but as I gradually build up it's going to be harder to do so.

In terms of racing - I think my next major goal is going to be GSR if I can get a place. Originally I was looking at running a track 10k but I doubt I'll have time now to get fit for late August so track might be off the agenda. I might see if I can do the Cardiff 10k to get an idea of fitness and after GSR it'll be pushing on for the Leeds Abbey Dash and a 31:15 attempt. Once I have some basic fitness (e.g. running 60-70 minutes a day) - key to getting back into shape will be short progressive tempos (5 miles going from 6:00 to 5:20 - then 5:50 to 5:10 as I progress) - then as I get closer to fitness mixing 10 mile tempos at 5:3x with 5 mile tempos at 5:20 will be key sessions together with learning to be efficient at 5:0xmm - probably through sessions like 8-10 x mile / 3-4 x 2 mile off 60 and finally some VO2 max stuff at sub 5mm.

Of course that is just pie in the sky at the moment with my most recent fitness seeming to suggest 4:50 is my flat out mile at the moment!

Okay- keeping this a short one as one of those "tweaks" is to ensure I get 7-8 hours or so of sleep a night!

Training 6th July 2010

~30 minutes @7:30mm (4)
~20 minutes exercise bike (10.08km)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

On the Way Back! - Little bit on weight etc.

Have had an awful week workwise- had my second set of professional exams so was working around the clock from about last Thursday till Wednesday in order to make sure I was completely okay and had nothing to worry about (fingers crossed!).

Have just kept up running a steady 60 or so minutes a day this week as well (with a few faster spurts at ~tempo pace on the run into work on Tuesday) - have also realised in my usual post target race slump I've managed to put on half - three quarters of a stone (usual weight is 10 stone, sometimes dipping down to 9 3/4 during heavy training) - clearly got to cut back on the hot chocolates at work!

Seems as reasonable point as any to address weight! My policy (which may or may not be healthy but it seems to work for me!) - is that I know ten stone is about the right weight for me when running decent mileage - if I'm a few pounds either way I don't  really care. If it creeps out to a quarter stone or so out I generally just make small adjustments. If I'm at 9 3/4 then there'll be a couple more soft drinks/takeaways etc. and if I'm at 10 1/4 then I start cutting them out. As those who know me know - I've an awful soft drinks habit putting it away by the litre - and I like my junk food! - regular Indians and a 17 slice best at the Pizza Hut Buffet - long term once I start hitting some barriers it might be something that'll need serious consideration but I have to admit that I slightly live by the maxim that if the furnace is hot enough - anything will burn!

When I find myself considerably out (never been much lower than 9 3/4 generally) - and know I need to lose a couple of pounds - if I'm in full training I don't really worry as I know that running 80-90 mile weeks just by not eating as much crap but still getting all the healthy stuff in it'll drop off. If I'm not in full training (which is likely as usually the reason the weight can balloon is if I'm not training due to injury etc.) - then I start using the exercise bike more. When I get the Nintendo DSi up or something on TV and just cycle away at a very low heart rate/intensity you can get a lot of cardio/aerobic time at minimal stress to the body.

This is particularly useful as a lot of the time the weight can be contributing to the injury problems. During my worst ever period of injuries lasting 18 months I finally clocked on at one point and got on the scales for the first time in about 12 months- I'd gone from being a very slim 18 year old at about 9 3/4 stone to a 20 year old at close to 12 stone - you wouldn't necessarily notice to the eye- but in terms of my body it meant that for every footstep my already weakened legs/tendons were taking they were carrying an extra 2 stone - by cycling I managed to lose the weight (I usually reckon that 2 lbs / week is the maximum that should be lost and can actually be kept off).

Eating/weight is obviously a slightly taboo subject in the running world as there is  a problem with a lot of serious athletes having eating disorders or more commonly disordered eating! The unfortunate fact is that losing weight below what's best for you usually does improve your running- for a very short while until continual illness and general health problems catch up with you. It's also not helped by the seeming ability of some African athletes to look incredibly lean whilst seemingly fine.

 It's a hard balance to strike - perhaps not helped by the huge divergence between the athletics community (where generally people tend to be very slim) and the running/jogging community (where occasionally people might need to lose a pound or two for optimum performance but generally have very different aims in terms of life goals often not being just to run as fast as possible) - which makes frank discussions about the subject difficult. I once got a text from a friend after a run commenting that I was now looking "much leaner than before and was everything okay?" - whilst I was slightly shocked (my biggest eating problem generally seems to be avoiding stealing food off people's plates due to my greed issues...) I didn't mind being asked- if someone's concerned to my mind they should always say something!

Okay- this is starting to get a bit too long now. Basically try and be healthy people (I won't advise you on diet- that'd be a very much pot-kettle-black discussion!) -  measure weight regularly (but not obsessively!) - and over time find out what weight works best for you. I find a BMI of 19-20 my "optimum" for performance and much over 21 I need to lose a pound or two but that may be totally different for other people.

I definitely need a catch-phrase to sign off with. Answers on a post-card please. Winner will get the pair of trainers in the last post (or maybe one before that?) signed by me, Bryn Reynolds - or there are some used batteries on the table in front of me- you could have those instead.

Time to fly
Keep running
Jog on
Let the demons loose (Once a Runner aside...)
Run for the fun of it?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Striding out again and new laces!

Third day back running. Today was always going to be tough as I had a mock to sit for my professional exams which combined 3 areas for the first time - on a bank holiday! 3rd bank holiday in a row I've missed but will be totally worth it in the long term.

Anyways- after the exam had a great little meal at Nandos with the rest of the trainees before heading back getting a bit of work/revision done at the office before heading home a bit early. Watched an episode of Arrested Development then headed out for the run - was thinking somewhere between 40-60 minutes but having chatted with David we're still keeping this week fairly relaxed so decided to do same 2 loops of Clapham Common but add in 6 x 90m strides just to get the body used to running a bit quicker again.

Run went well - am really quite surprised at how quickly it seems to have recovered. Haven't had a huge amount of "pop" yet but certainly feel pretty much back to usual. Been interested to see how many people have been racing again this weekend immediately after the marathon. Obviously everyone is different but to me that seems crazy and/or like they still feel they have something to prove and are in a real rush.

Strides went well- no issues with how I was moving and think they were probably at around 65/lap pace. One thing that was surprising was deciding to go through one of the little woods dotted around the common and seeing a number of gentlemen dressed a little too well to be out walking the dog loitering around the centre of it - had heard the rumours but didn't realise that it actually happened! Will be sticking quite firmly to the perimeter trail of the common in future!

Laces went on one of my wave riders last week but what with not running haven't had to replace them. Now gotten rid of them and replaced them with the new red HEART laces I got from VLM - totally mismatched and look suitably crazy!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Recovery Continues

Did my second run back today. 39 minutes jogging two laps around the common at a very easy pace. I'm deliberately trying not to push it too hard after last week being a complete recovery week. This week I'll be looking to run ~50-60 minutes most days with some strides thrown in for good measure and maybe a 75ish minute long run. The week after that will hopefully be closer to 80 and maybe a light session or two... After that I should be back to full training. I'm currently wondering about whether to include a pre-competition period of ~4 weeks of very intense anaerobic work to get me in "track" shape before then starting to race and complimenting the racing with a return to more aerobic work-outs. Still really not sure what to focus on competition-wise. I know the Beagles would like me doing a few chases and to be honest I do like the event- I'm just carp at it! On a personal level I'd like to do some revision to my 800 and 1500m times. Then as the season progresses shift up to do a few 5000s and then a good 10,000 effort aiming to try and break 31:30... Have a short break after the season and then start looking at running a good 10M or HM time this winter- possibly Great South Run or Great North Run? Also might be nice to race abroad so the Amsterdam Half Marathon sounds like a very quick course and I'd hopefully have some 2:18 marathoners to share the pace with...

Right- off to the office to get some work done for tomorrow when have a mock for my professional exams (on a bank holiday - yay!).

Saturday, May 01, 2010

My three medals...

Probably the three medals that mean the most to me together with my herts county xc u17 silver... (Damn that pepper!) Each was a combination of a lot of hard work and training which paid off this season big time and with interest!

Return to Running

Going to try and post more regularly now... hopefully will help keep things fresh!

First run back today- just did a single lap of the common in about 20 minutes. Very relaxed run. Typically though managed to leave it late enough that the good weather had ended and the drizzle had started. Still good though. Really enjoying having a first free weekend in what seems like months (well... when I say free I am going into the office tomorrow...).

In response to the questions/comments on the last entry...

Ben - Many thanks for your advice! I do quite a few of my long runs without fuel (not so much planned but more lack of planning/being late) and it does seem to help but definitely think I need to get more faster running into them. Considering doing the Spedding work-out as part of them just to get me running faster in general. Was very pleased at Eastleigh- the build-up races and just learning to train harder was a major part of this marathon build-up - must admit that catching a South runner in the final km was very pleasing after last September. Looking forward to us having a few battles over next few months at various races!

Anupam- Think you'd be surprised! My first few long runs were definitely scaring me a bit just in terms of time on feet etc. and our long chats and explorations definitely made it a lot easier. We should definitely link up for 2011 if at all possible. With Sean potentially moving over here, Will already not more than 5 minutes jogging away- could be an Oxford endurance powerhouse if you moved anywhere near!

Regarding your schedule- looks good but think you'd fine 7 miles @ ~tempo pace (as HM pace will feel more like 10 mile pace in a training week) pretty intense- would cut that down to 5-6 but apart from that solid stuff. Next time round just going to try and bag so much MP stuff...

Monday, April 26, 2010

There's no sign of the morning coming - thoughts on a marathon debut

Rainbow in the dark was a song frequently on my ipod in the run-up to London training in the dark totally on my own throughout the dark of the winter and the above pretty much encapsulates how I was feeling from mile 17/18 of London to the finish.

The first half was fine- at halfway I was honestly wondering if I could negative split a 2:27:high - I kept on that pace despite falling slightly off the group till mile 18 then in one fell swoop I went from running consistent 5:40s down to 6 minute miles. How I managed to keep it going until the end is beyond me. Normally I'm not too amazed by my racing performances as I know what gets me there- the training - I've been dead in races before but with maybe 2 miles to run? This time I was dead and hung out to dry at 18 with 8 miles to go and it took all I could do to get to 20 and then somehow grit out 6 minute miles to the end - I'm fairly proud of that.

So- how did I go from looking at 2:28:xx at half way to running 2:31:16 which I fully appreciate by most peoples standards is an excellent run and very strong debut at 22. But this will almost by definition be fairly negative in tone as I'm not the sort to sit on laurels but always want to look to improve.

Well a few things to look at... firstly what caused the slow down. The simple answer is my legs just weren't strong enough - almost similar to how they are in XC races but in this case it was just the distance that tired the muscles out. The quads on the inside of my leg/next to my knee got very tired and sore. I just couldn't lift my legs very high without pain. As I got towards the end I was actually able to lift my effort level somewhat and push through the pain with an end in sight and knowledge that if I damaged the legs somewhat now I could still finish (which at mile 18/19 I really wasn't sure would happen).

In terms of the usual factors - aerobically I was barely working - there's the potential for a lot faster marathon based upon my aerobic system. In terms of energy I never felt faint - I don't think this was a huge issue for me - the lucozade seemed to help a lot though I wonder if trying to get so much down from each bottle might have slightly harmed me by upsetting my stomach which really wasn't happy from around mile 15. In terms of hydration apart from lucozade I didn't drink much until the crash when I started getting regular sips of water on at every water station. I don't think this was an issue really though as tbh I was like a leaky bucket the rest of the afternoon when it's meant to take several hours...

So- something fairly simple then and not something I was really expecting to struggle with or had thought about - leg strength. I think this bodes well for the future as whilst there are limits on aerobic ability, clearing lactate, energy levels and just general suitability for the marathon, leg strength should be one of those things I can quite easily work on. And as a 22 year old debut marathon runner who until last September thought 90 minutes was a long run and ran 60 miles a week leg strength is something that'll hopefully easily come through age, more miles in the leg and I'm sure next time with at least 12-18 months of regular 80+ mile weeks and 2 hours + long runs it'll be a very different picture.

Now to why it was going so well until my legs failed. Well I think (and perhaps unsurprisingly) that with my mix of relatively low mileage, various paced reps and whilst long, fairly slow long runs and 12-16 miles @ MP runs I wasn't perhaps training quite optimally for a marathon (at least given my body type) but more for the half marathon. There's not a huge difference but as someone pointed out on eightlane- the half is much closer related to the 10k (where I also had a very strong performance). I think given my racing aims (I finish this campaign overjoyed at my intermediate 10k and HM times) it made a lot more sense for me to do this.

So - what would I change for next time, what would I add, what would I keep and what would I remove?

Pace of my long runs - I was honestly just dawdling for lots of my long runs and think I need to run faster than 7:30 pace for most of them to develop adequate fuel burning and this was actually pointed out by David early on but stupidly (or weakly?) I hoped just getting the distance in would do it ignoring pace. Part of this was coming into the schedule having literally just gotten used to a 2 hour run let alone running it at 6:30-40 pace. Adding some variation will be necessary as well.
Build-Up Racing - This is a mixed bag for me. Objectively - I was ecstatic at my 10k and half marathon PBs and running 31:37 probably meant more to me than if I had gone sub 2:30 as 10k is undeniably right now "my" race distance that I understand and can race as close to the line as I can. Strong legs at Teddy Hall Relays and the National 12 stage over 5-6k also went well. In the long-term to achieve my best marathon shape I probably wouldn't want to be in PB 10k shape. Realistically though- until I run much bigger miles the sheer aerobic gains will mean I'm in 10k PB shape in a marathon build up which I should take advantage of - realistically I think that for the next few build-ups I'll be sticking to something like I did this time but when I really want to "pop" that big time in 6-7 years time I probably won't do as many short races but by then I'll have much stronger shorter PBs and wouldn't be able to run them whilst in marathon training as by then I'll have done a season focused on 10k at my peak mileage optimally configured for 10k performance.

Marathon-Paced Runs- These actually went very well- next time around though I perhaps need to ease off the pace just a fraction and try and incorporate them more consistently through the build-up rather than shorter racing goals. Also a second per week short of 5-6 miles either during the long run or mid-week might be a good idea.
Very slow recovery runs- Something I definitely don't regret - they worked well.

More Mileage- nothing drastic but I'm not quite there yet. Any more for this campaign would have been stupid and counter-productive but as I get older and run more miles this will develop naturally. Realistically
20 mile race- Though oddly I'm in less need of one now than I was before London! London was the first time I stepped up to a race to run consistently at a fast hard pace for more than a half marathon.  Like I say- I think I was in more of a half marathon (run hard then hang in) than marathon mentality and a 20 miler might have brought me back to earth. Perhaps at the very start of the build-up than in the middle because as Dave very rightly points out- lots seem to run much better at the 20 than they do at London and that'll be because of the recovery aspects - veteran racers like Andy Weir recover very quickly whilst it would have taken a lot out of me. Suffice to say that with 4 half marathons in the last 5 years being my longest races I was perhaps a touch mentally unprepared for 26.2 and did rush very quickly from 10ks to half marathons to marathon without really taking the time at that intermediate distance learning to race. Next year I'm quite tempted to do a hard 20 instead of London - currently Autumn 2011 is plan for next full marathon.
Leg strengthening- This was what let me down and whilst I think faster paced long runs will help a great deal also some general leg strengthening through either more hill running or simple body-weight exercises will be invaluable.

I think on the whole the schedule was very solid and most things went pretty well- I certainly don't think I'd have changed how I went out yesterday despite the fact a more conservative race might have got me closer to 2:30. Most of the things were inevitable given my age and the already fairly rapid step up in mileage and long run. Certainly I think the first 16-17 miles showed I have the potential to run a fast marathon and the last 8 showed mentally I'm strong enough even when in pain. If next time I can strengthen my legs enough to get through to over 20 I think I'll be okay. Certainly there's nothing to suggest I can't run a fast marathon one day and as I said at the start- by most standards fastest U23 and 2:31:16 for a debut is fairly handy - but I'm in this for the long haul. It certainly was a lot harder than I expected and I really didn't think I'd be in trouble at mile 18 but there's a lot of positives to take.

Huge thanks once again to everyone who supported me out there or mentally who couldn't get there- especially my lovely girlfriend Hayley with her "Go Bryn" sign, my parents for coming down and supporting me and not saying a word when I had to move back in with them from July until my job started early this year giving me time to train, Anupam for keeping me company on long runs and generally in good spirits as a constant touch-stone of insanity - I don't think either of us would have run as well as we did without the other, the Sub 3 thread in general who were there at the good times and the bad with advice, knowledge and kind words, Lee for constantly keeping me down to earth and providing a strong training partner when I needed someone to push me on, the Saffron Striders and Herts Phoenix for helping me from 15 to current day and BSRC for helping me out over the winter, Bob and the Beagles team for having faith in me to run on the 12 stage team and support on the day, and of course my coach David Chalfen who has managed to cope with my constant neuroticism and emails and guided me through an interesting transition period keeping me injury free and progressing sustainably.

Right- that's about it - hopefully I haven't forgotten anyone! Time to put my feet up for a while but I'll be back soon- don't you worry!

P.S. For reference... Splits!
5k 17:13
10k 17:38
15k 17:39
20k 17:40
25k 17:26
30k 17:47
35k 18:41
40k 19:09
Last 2.2k - 18:20 / 5km pace

Rough Marathon Report

Sorry to have this rushed off but just what I put on the RW site last night...

Many thanks to everyone who came and cheered me on- it was definitely appreciated.

eal game of two halves. Set off in a slightly manic fashion from front of pen one to catch up with the guys I was planning on running with - many thanks to the anonymous RW lurker who was marshalling at the start of pen 1! (Brilliant to be greeted by "oh- so you're hobbling harrier!" before getting head marshall and saying "this guys legit- he won a gold medal last week!" - many thanks for your help!).

Manic start anyways but after about 800 got settled into a very comfortable rhythm and kept moving forward through the field with an absolutely huge group forming together with Coro, MikeB and Christchurch Jon - just clicking through 5:40s. At this point I was incredibly comfortable, my calves were sore almost from the get go but holding up well (despite Coro kicking me). Aerobically I wasn't in any discomfort and legs turning over smoothly. This carried me through pretty much to half-way where I was running strongly as we went through in just over 74 minutes. At this point I was feeling pretty good despite the sore calves and was thinking if I could negative split to get 2:27:xx - sadly that wasn't the case! A few miles later and I was in trouble and couldn't really work out why. Suffice to say the lead few disappeared off and I was struggling to move my legs at all. No real pain just dull through the whole of my legs (GI playing up a bit as well) - it probably wasn't hydration judging by the amount of times I had to go to the bathroom afterwards! Very odd feeling with both inside sides of quads in pain. At mile 17/18 I honestly didn't think I was going to finish but had to just convince myself mentally to get to mile 20. Managed to somehow do that and despite the pain I'd managed to stabilise at just about 6mm. Very hard work both mentally and physically - I was looking for any excuse I could find to drop out but apart from sore legs which weren't moving very fast didn't really have any! I worked out that if I could just keep at 6mm I would still run something okay though sub 2:30 was out the window!

As I got closer got a bit more confident- mile 23 and mile 24 were huge landmarks mentally! I knew I was going to finish at mile 23 and started pushing a bit at mile 24 and finished fairly strongly - especially over last 400m or so as I unfortunately went past a thread hero who was having a monumentally bad day at the office but still managed to finish. Sorry I didn't realise it was you at the time or I'd have cheered you on!

Anyways 2:31:16 - not the time I was aiming for but a fairly solid debut. First British U23 and possibly first U23 in whole race (Kebede is 23 but apparently qualifies...) as well as somehow winning the Varsity Marathon Match (you qualify for a year after you leave) so some very pleasant silver linings.

Training Week Commencing 18th April 2010

The final taper week!

AM: 66 recovery @ 8:01mm - enjoyable relaxed run with Martin around Battersea Park

AM: 59 steady @ 6:49mm w. Clapham Chasers having a good natter with James Ellis going around.

PM: 21 recovery jogging to/from massage.


PM: 18wu, 10:25, 2 x ~450, 10:25, 20wd -10:25s run at about MP+15 seconds

PM: Rest- went to expo and moderately late by time got back.

PM: Rest- just didn't want to risk going over on an ankle- think probably should have run on one of this or Thursday- spent all afternoon cramming food into self.

AM: rest- not going to do anything day before- considering ten minute jog but coach reckoned best to save energy.

Time: 255 Minutes ~34
Miles: 30
Pace: 7:03mm

Summary: Just a relaxed week leading up to marathon. Ideally would have done Wednesday's run on Tuesday and run 20-30 on one of Thursday/Friday but hardly likely to have done any damage. Generally felt good.

Training Week Commencing 11th April 2010

First week of the taper!

AM: 2:25 long run @ 7:31 - very enjoyable long run with Herne Hill Harriers albeit slightly longer than I wanted hence I walked a fair bit of the way home.

AM: Rest day!


PM: 11wu, 8 x 1650 off 60, 9wd  Final track session w. David's group. Running relaxed but breathing slightly off. Target was ~5:28/1650 (~5:18 per mile)- 5:25,24,26,27,26,27,24,21


PM: 41:38 recovery @ 8:47mm around common


PM: 19 wu, 4 miles @ MP w. fast finish, 22 wd - didn't feel good at all here.

AM: Rest

AM: ERRA 12 stage road relays, leg 2 - gold medal for Newham! Still shocked I ended up running in the A team. Ran 15:18 (whch represents a 5k PB of roughly 33 seconds) after going a touch too fast on the hill. Think something around 8 seconds faster might have been doable with better pacing but still a reasonable run and great to contribute a very small part to an awesome team performance. 14 early morning wake up run. 23wu, 15:18 race, 16wd

Time: 390 Minutes (~52)
Miles: 53
Pace: 7:38 (without 12 stage leg though...)

Summary: Fairly strong track session on Tuesday followed by a disappointing run on Thursday but nice to run relatively well on Saturday and especially take a gold. Hopefully the start of what should be a very long Beagles career.

Training Week Commencing 4th April 2010

AM: 2:49:20 @ 8:27mm - headed to a trail race to be handed a set of very confusing acronyms! Managed to get around but very slowly!

PM: 36:05 easy @ 7:08mm

PM: Track session w. Urban's group. Ran fairly slowly but picked up at end. 3 x 1000, 3 x 800, 3 x 400, 3 x 200. 200s were fairly decent off ~30 secs was hitting 31s.

PM: 60 recovery @ 8:22mm inc. 8 x strides at Newham track.

AM: 68 easy @ 7:53mm

PM: 17wu, 88:38 AeT @ 5:36mm, 20wd - 9 laps Battersea Park solo - really pleased to have managed to got round this feeling pretty strong.

AM: 68 recovery @ 8:40mm - just jogging around Common.

Time: 604 Minutes (~81)

Summary: Long run was slow but not surprising given circs. Tuesday track session was quite fun with me shifting well on the second half on the 400s and 200s after having done the ks and 800s at close to half marathon pace. Friday was really the focus for this week and it went really well though athough the pace felt relaxed maybe just a touch too fast. Still a great run though.

Week Commencing 28th March 2010

AM: 17 wu, 31:37 Eastleigh 10k, 7:20 wd - huge PB and had a great meal afterwards with Lee, Matt and Oz.

PM: 62 easy @ 7:31mm

AM: 65 easy @ 7:50mm to Office
PM: 61 easy @ 7:20mm home from Office

AM: 37 easy-steady  lunchtime run around Isle of Dogs with Harold Wyber
PM: 62 easy @ 7:30mm home from office

AM: 60 easy @ 7:15mm to Office (dull week)

PM: 14 wu, 79:11 AeT @ 5:37mm, 16 wd - 8 laps of Battersea Park good to have Hywel and Fernando there for a few laps and James Ellis for the whole way!

AM: 61 easy @7:49mm through city to London Liverpool Street
PM: 31 recovery @ 8:50mm

Time: 615 Minutes / ~82 miles
Miles: 85
Pace: 7:12mm

Summary: Very dull week with lots of running to/from the office as was busy. On plus side great PB at Eastleigh, recovered quickly and a solid marathon pace long run on Friday.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pre-London Carbs

In addition to pasta, pizza and cereal also large quantities of maltloaf, bread, croissants and lucozade.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Recent Photos...

Photo from Eastleigh 10k - moving fairly well towards the end! Nice to have a Welsh and South of England runner in the background.

And one of me chatting with James Ellis and the start of the Thames Riverside 20...

and finally one from the Wimbledon Park Run...

Friday, April 02, 2010

4 Week Review - 28th February - 13th March 2010

Week 1: 627 Minutes / ~ 84 miles

Run-In XC League at Newport (1st)
64 Aerobic Threshold @ 5:38mm
17:04 5k Tempo @ WC
21.4 Long Run @ 7:21mm

The XC I was pleased with as it was a ridiculously cold and wet day and I wasn't sure how my legs would cope with running XCs on consecutive days. The answer is not particularly well but I was still able to get away. The middle of the week was a stark contrast as the long run was an absolute disaster with me really struggling for energy even running 7 and 8 minute miles. The next day after heading to Oxford, eating junk food and getting uproariously drunk I managed to nail a very solid marathon pace session with Hawcroft, Oz, Anupam and Harper. The WC run was just standard apart from missing the start!

Week 2: 623 minutes, 83 Miles

24 mile long run - 4 miles @ 7:30, 20 miles @ 6:18 - won Thames Riverside 20
Teddy Hall Relays- 3rd on leg 1 / 4th fastest leg - 18:01
69:36 Aerobic Threshold @ 5:40mm
WC Park Run - 17:05 - 1st

A very solid week's work. Tough stuff at times but 3 very solid runs. 18:01 at Teddy Hall was a great run narrowly behind Chris Busaileh and Chris McGurk who both ran stunningly at the Southern and Midland Road Relays respectively. The MP run around BP I was pretty worried about but actually went pretty well- especially solo and late at night. My legs felt very heavy the next day at WC ParkRun but tbh that was expected and nice to sneak the win on very heavy legs. Finally- Thursday evening- definitely a sign of a better attitude - in recent years being tired I'd have just said sod it and stayed in- actually drove to the nearby town and ran in the dark.

 Week 3: 632 minutes, 84 Miles

 23 mile Long-Run @ 7:28mm
4 sets of x 400,800,400 [200 jog,400 jog]
29:55 / 3 laps BP at AeT @ 5:40

This was always going to be a difficult week what with starting work so I was very grateful to get my long run done on Sunday and also slightly further than I was intending. Tuesday was a great session - I was running 70s and 2:22 and I wasn't even working- lactic set on fairly quickly after the 2:18 though and the final 67 was a struggle. Thursday I just felt poor and could tell my legs needed a quick rest despite pulling the MP session back in. In the past I'd have done 3 x 5 x 300 at the track before a race but David reckoned a half hour @ MP would be more beneficial before Reading.

Week 4: 452 minutes, 60 Miles 

Reading Half Marathon 14th Place 69:52 - huge PB!
Clapham Chasers Kenyan Hill session 12 x ascents - 19:21 @ 5:45mm

Great start to the week with the stunning HM PB. Monday was in some ways a bad day (how stupid can you get?) but in other ways I like that I'm able to call a run if I'm having a bad one and make the minutes up either later in the week or not at all (in this case I pretty much traded what would have been 30 awful minutes running very slowly in pain with 30 very enjoyable minutes on Thursday evening!). Thursday's run is still carrying me on right now - meant to be 60 but ended up 90 - just couldn't stop. Actually recovered!

4 Week Period Total: 2334 minutes , 311 miles (627,623,632,452)
Long Runs: 21.5, 24 , 23
Races:4 (6 inc. WC ParkRuns)

Well a very interesting 4 weeks. Obviously the highlight being the huge half marathon PB of over a minute on a PB set about a month ago which was a 3 minute PB in itself! In all honest at the time of Stevenage I felt I was in 71-72 minute shape at the very least (hard to believe when you're running close to 74) given the conditions- it's nice to have now proved that and then some. The first week was a mix with the confidence boosting AeT session following my disastrous long run where for the first time this campaign I was seriously worried. The second week I was glad with how easy running 20 miles @ 6:18 pace felt and then running so well at THR - just annoying McGurk got away! I knew then that I was in at least 15:30 5k shape and probably more like 15:15...  Week 3 pretty much backed that up as I felt easy running some of the fastest rep times of my life. Remembering last winter how I struggled running 69s indoors to now when I was floating around it hardly seems the same thing.

The session I'm probably proudest of is nailing 70 minutes around BP in the dark late at night solo. It was tough but well worth it!

Very pleased that a rest week for me now can be 60 miles - the last week was intentionally very easy with no stress on the pace as I know after a HM I usually spend Monday and Tuesday doing little, recover quickly, spank a session on Thursday and then am in doldrums by Sunday/Monday. I also know that to run a decent 10k I seem to do much better off a week long taper of doing fairly little (in contrast to HM where mileage is fine from what I can tell in week preceding). Worked out very nicely that I did a "half" session on Wednesday where I ran fast but not hard (half sessions - either 3/4 usual volume or being done at one race pace down - are increasingly becoming favourites of mine as opposed to destroying myself in workouts) and was fresh, recovered and ready for Sunday- well- all but the calves! 

Now into the last month before London- fingers crossed!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Club Switch to Beagles

Well- with the Eastleigh results published it looks like the cat is out of the bag as someone has picked up on it on Eightlane...

Early February I moved to London. I now work ~3 miles from the Terence McMillan Stadium. Newham consistently manage to get good teams out to events and not just A-teams but B and C teams as well which was a big part of my decision. Obviously their strength is a big part of it but generally faster runners move to a club for a reason and Beagles were the best choice for me which was why I approached Bob and enquired about joining.

They were the dominant club I knew (also the first I ever heard of!) as I grew up (in my local area Ben Hellmers who was the superstar a few years above me at school and Richard Mead who was the unbeatable guy at districts (4:30 1500 seemed very fast))  as well as Noel Thatcher who for the past 2-3 years I've regularly been training with. Seeing how it has helped propel guys like Kev Skinner who I've known for years to greater things makes it an easy choice.

Appreciate I'm going to be a marginal player at best- but I've done the whole big fish in a small pond thing and whilst it's great for the ego it's not much of a challenge and as I want to improve I need that hierarchy to try and move up through. That means taking my lumps as a weaker athlete and trying to push up to the faster guys (though it can be taken for read that Farah and Geele will always be a fair bit quicker!).

I've also done the thing where I hope that the athletes from the juniors will come through whilst at Herts Phoenix as the few seniors we had gradually drifted away. Herts Phoenix was a fantastic experience I will treasure for the rest of my life but it is near exclusively a junior club. The hard work of legends like Adrian Newman and Richard Bloom together with racing with guys like Lee Reynolds, Matt Carlisle, Chris Saville, Michael and Richard Tarpey, Paul Greaves and more recently Ed Shepherd, Adam Frith, Dave Wilson and Steve Prosser created a great atmosphere but it meant we struggled to be competitive at events even as small as the Southern 6 stage with adminstrative rules preventing us from fielding stronger teams (Prosser and Frith both running for small clubs that would never enter and Shepherd and Wilson usually ineligible due to age). The club was brilliant in a lot of ways but it is very junior centred with little focus on senior athletics and endurance in particular sometimes seemed like the forgotten child which for a club with roots in Verlea is a tragedy. It helped bring me through and for the last few years it's been okay whilst at uni but the lack of having a full team at events has been a real heartbreak at times.

At Beagles I'll get the odd race for the A-team and frequent run-outs in the B-team with committed and talented guys (okay- maybe I'll have to be in the C team then!). There were obviously some other options I looked at - in particular Serpentine who are coming on leaps and bounds and I get on very well with the faster guys there (despite what you might have heard!) and also Thames Hare and Hounds with the obvious Oxford connection where I would be competitive but still with room to move up- in the end though I decided this was the best chance to improve as an athlete.

If anyone has any questions I'm happy to answer them either below or by email. I have applied for a ban exemption but have no idea what the length of the ban will be. As far as I understand it I am able to compete in any road races, open meets etc. but not "Open Team Competition" which is Track and Field Leagues, Road Relays and XC Championships until my ban is over. Herts Phoenix have supported/not opposed my application.

On a more trivial/personal note- the Beagles are also close to where my family came from. My paternal grandparents were originally from Greenwich just south of the river (hence why I'm a Charlton supporter and have been from birth) and have gradually moved north with my dad working in Ilford early in his life. My maternal grandparents live near Telford and seeing as I look much better in yellow and black than in the confused mess that is the Telford vest it was an easy choice!

Training Week 21/03/2010

AM: 15 wu, Reading Half Marathon 14th Place 69:52 - huge PB!- calves bit sore to warm down.

PM: 44:41 @ 9:22mm - life lessons a) running the day after a half marathon is tough b) don't make it worse by eating a doubled up ultimate burger shortly beforehand... Ditched run at 45 mins and caught tube. Wasn't doing any good out there.

AM: 1:11 @ 9:18mm - very slow run into work...

PM: 18 wu, Clapham Chasers Kenyan Hill session 12 x ascents - 19:21 @ 5:45mm, 19 wd


PM: 1:32 @ 7:50mm - absolutely perfect run home. Went through deserted city and just kept on adding loops on through BP as wanted to carry on going- one of the runs that really makes you remember why you like to run.

AM: 62:24 easy - run into work - dull.

AM: 40 easy @ 7:22mm with Hayley - she kept on getting lost poor girl - plus managed to assault a poor child's bicycle with her shin- see photo below!

Time: 452 Minutes (~60 miles)
Miles: 60.37 (with miles lost near CW more like 64)
Pace: 7:29mm (again- more like 7:10ish)

Summary: Great start to the week with the stunning HM PB (see report below). Monday was in some ways a bad day (how stupid can you get?) but in other ways I like that I'm able to call a run if I'm having a bad one and make the minutes up either later in the week or not at all (in this case I pretty much traded what would have been 30 awful minutes running very slowly in pain with 30 very enjoyable minutes on Thursday evening!). Thursday's run is still carrying me on right now - meant to be 60 but ended up 90 - just couldn't stop.

Very pleased that a rest week for me now can be 60 miles - this week was intentionally very easy with no stress on the pace as I know after a HM I usually spend Monday and Tuesday doing little, recover quickly, spank a session on Thursday and then am in doldrums by Sunday/Monday. I also know that to run a decent 10k I seem to do much better off a week long taper of doing fairly little (in contrast to HM where mileage is fine from what I can tell in week preceding). Worked out very nicely that I did a "half" session on Wednesday where I ran fast but not hard (half sessions - either 3/4 usual volume or being done at one race pace down - are increasingly becoming favourites of mine as opposed to destroying myself in workouts) and was fresh, recovered and ready for Sunday- well- all but the calves!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reading Half Marathon Race Report

Really wasn't sure I was going to even be at the start for this one! Had had no response back from my late entry but finally got the okay from the organisers Friday lunch-time. With my cold and feeling pretty bleurgh I was struggling for motivation but it's so rare a chance to race in a top quality HM with a lot of others comes along that I had to really go for it. My training in recent weeks had been solid with a good leg at THR that I knew even with the cold I had a decent shot at a PB and maybe even tickling the sub 70 barrier...

Got over the day before and kipped at my brother's place. Definitely better than staying at home and going on the day. Felt much more professional even though it was only a bed, duvet and pillow - without creature comforts of home definitely helped me focus better.

Got over fairly early as still needed to pick up my number. Was struggling a bit with what to do as around 9 it was still pretty chilly and I needed to drop my bag off, run for 15 minutes to warm up in my warm stuff and get down to the start in plenty of time. Eventually settled for dropping bag off at half past and stripping down to racing kit with just a bin-bag over the top and slowly jogging down to the start-line. Met Mark (Coro) and Graham Robinson (not Breen!) from GCR who I figured I'd be in a fairly tough battle with through the race before John Hutchins and Kev Quinn joined us from the elite athletes area! Had also seen Chris Smith who I'd had a good battle with at Stevenage before he got away around mile 7/8. I always feel slightly odd racing Chris as on the country he is an absolute demon (9th place in SEAA XC to my 93rd place and 52:xx to my 58:xx) and almost a mile clear of my whilst on the roads we're pretty well matched! Odd case of a runner who loves the mud and one who hates it.

Right- to the race plan- I figured the plan had to be to go out at 70 minute pace (5:20) and see what the hell happened. Mentally I had the splits I needed down as 26:40 and 53:20 at ten miles - I was actually slightly out as whilst the pace needed was 5:20 it was 5:20 and a bit and the splits needed were 26:43 and 53:26... I also figured that Mark and Graham would both be looking to run or at least head out at 5:20s so if I stuck with them I'd probably be okay. Keith (TT) as well as I figured he'd be looking at very similar if he wasn't doing it as part of a long run!

So- race began and I was feeling pretty crap tbh. I was coughing and spluttering all over the place trying to clear my system out. The pace felt far too quick for HM pace. I fairly quickly found myself on Mark's shoulder and before long Graham joined us. Keith was nearby and then an AFD athlete (Breen) joined us shortly after and I could hear someone catching us from behind. It was Chris Smith and with that battle was joined! We clicked through the first mile in around 5:20, and the second mile very similar for 10:41 with Keith easing off from us somewhere between these I think. I was a little worried that we were only just on pace but given how poor I was feeling (thoughts of dieing badly sadly dripping through my head) I was happy just to let the pace go. The third mile contains a fairly decent hill in it which I was glad to get to the top off with our group still intact with the mile in 5:30. 10 seconds off the pace now but I figured most of that was the hill. The next mile we sped up a bit and the group was shifting along fairly nicely but I was still finding myself occasionally bumped around a bit and took the lead a few times just to get some space as well as dropping off the back. I was having a tough time and wondering if I was going to get through when we hit a fairly substantial downhill just after the fourth slightly faster mile in 5:16 and Breen started to push clear. I was lucky here as earlier I had been a metre off the back but right now I was in place and accelerated to stay with him with Chris Smith joining us but getting the sense a few of the others had slightly dropped off. We scuttled through that mile in 5:15 which gave us 26:44 for 5 miles. Okay- but 4 seconds off- given how I'd been feeling earlier I'd definitely take that though! I then took a brief stint at the front through the twists and turns after almost falling over Chris Smith at one tight turn and during this mile we caught Glenn Saqui of Highgate. That mile was a very quick 5:09 and have to admit I was definitely feeling it as we went through 10k in 33:07 (7 second road PB!). The next mile was a bit slower with the twists and some gentler uphills taking their toll together with the pace as we clocked 5:29 but were still just about reeling in Stu Huntingdon who was running a very solid debut HM despite some fairly serious stomach problems and blisters. We caught him on the monster of a hill at 7 miles - thankfully knowing this was the last one in the course we worked together and whilst I drifted a bit off the back I caught them up again on the flat with the split of 5:33 being slow but knowing we had now done all the major hills.

Our group had been working for a while now each taking turns in the lead (with Graham being the real powerhouse taking most of the slack), and we knew we were going for a good time. Miles 8-10 were actually pretty good for me. My left calf was tight but I knew I was on for a good time as we alternated and got the important miles done and dusted. 5:20 before a moderately stunning 5:04 using a downhill on the 10th mile to go through in 53:22. Queue a quick conversation with Breen, Me: "We're on for sub 70 pace" Breen "Great", Me (to clarify) "70:00", Breen "Feck!". At the time I thought we were 2 seconds out as opposed to 4 seconds under.

I really started to feel it in my legs and lungs over the 11th mile as we started really pushing with a 5:21. It felt much tougher though- especially as Chris Smith edged to the front and started building a small gap. Breen and Smith were both clear of me at the 11 mile mark but not by much and the gap wasn't growing- we were also finally reeling in Josh Guilmant who had been a tall ghost in the distance most of the race. Breen caught him whilst still 5m or so clear of me and I surged a little bit to get onto Josh, rested for a second and then pushed again. I was back on Breen as we went through 12 miles in 5:19. The last mile and I really had nothing as my legs were tired and mental fatigue was starting to set in - I clicked my garmin to lap time just so I had proof I was actually getting closer. Chris was still 30m or so ahead but I was focused on just getting to the stadium. I could hear the names (Lindsay!)being announced as they finished. I saw the entrance to the stadium and the 13 mile mark and glanced down at my watch "69:23" - I had a shot! I surged into the stadium to see Kev Quinn finishing and just threw everything into it to try and get to the line in time - I was terrified of going over on the 90 degree bend on the slightly odd and slippy flooring! I still didn't believe it even as I crossed it with 69:52- sub 70 accomplished and some awesome runners behind me. Very pleased with a 63 second PB (which was only set a month ago!). Slightly strange to have come all the way to Reading for Chris Smith to finish in the place ahead of me again but I'll definitely take it and was also made up for Graham Breen to break 70 as well which he totally deserved as the engine and workman of our group.

Hopefully a photo up soon!


1 5:20
2 5:21
3 5:30
4 5:16
5 5:15 (26:44)
6 5:09
7 5:29
8 5:33
9 5:20
10 5:04 (53:22)
11 5:21
12 5:19
13 5:19
13.1 0:29 (69:52!!)

Week Commencing 14th March 2010

AM: 2:50 / 22.84 miles / 7:28mm - very enjoyable run with Sean Renfer who might be moving to Clapham. Headed down running easy to WC where I met him, then a loop around Richmond Park (glad Sean was there as I assumed the trail around the outside was 7.2 miles - apparently it's the road which is 7.2 and the trail is much longer!) - dropped the pace a bit on way back from WC with some 6:mid miles.

AM:40:30 @ 8:14mm - recovery run around Clapham Common with 6 x strides before first day of real work.

AM: 82:44 @ ~8:15mm ran to work at Canary Wharf getting very lost in the process.
PM: 17 wu, 4 x 400,800,400 [200 jog,400 jog], 26:27 wd - session at Battersea Park with Urban Bettag's excellent group. Ran with Fernando Del Valle till the final set where he dropped a bit. 400s all ~70 with a final 67, 800s 2:23,2:22,2:22,2:18. Jogs fairly quick ~8mm.

PM: 68:36 @ 7:10mm - ran home from work a slightly more direct route this time and pushed a bit at various points. Rucksack still a pain to run with but not noticing it too much.

AM: 62:26 @ 7:49mm - finally found close to most direct route into work. Much less stressful knowing roughly where I'm going now.
PM: 18wu, 29:55 /3 laps BP  at AeT @ 5:40 - was very lazy on first 5 minutes or so dropping around 30 seconds so had  to work hard to bring it back in,  17wd

AM: 66:31 @ 7:53mm - ran into work again but a bit more relaxed this time as legs felt quite tired after last night.

Rest- First rest day in what seems like months. Went shopping with Hayley (KCHMcS) then travelled over to Reading.

Time: 632 Minutes / ~84 miles
Miles: 83.32 acc. Garmin (lost a fair few this week around CW)
Pace: 7:36mm

This was always going to be a difficult week what with starting work so I was very grateful to get my long run done on Sunday and also slightly further than I was intending. Tuesday was a great session - I was running 70s and 2:22 and I wasn't even working- lactic set on fairly quickly after the 2:18 though and the final 67 was a struggle. Thursday I just felt poor and could tell my legs needed a quick rest despite pulling the MP session back in. Thankfully next week is a rest week!

What with work beginning, a progress test already! and finally a cold hitting me on the Tuesday this was a good week - especially with what happened on Sunday!

Training Week 7th March 2010

Have the garmin times but too tired to post so here is the week roughly! Will add in important work-out splits...

Sunday: 4 miles @ 7:30mm, 20 miles @ 6:18mm at Thames Riverside 20- good run and felt like I was jogging along with bloke in second place before putting 6 seconds into him over final 100m.
Monday: hour easy running to Liverpool Street
Tuesday: hour steady with OUCCC @ 6:43 - good natter with Matt, Chris and Lee.
Wednesday: 15 warm up, Teddy Hall Relays (18:01- 4th fastest leg- huge number of big scalps - reckon it's worth ~ 15:15 for 5k), 15 wd 
Thursday: Travelling most day. 40 recovery at ~ 5 in the evening. PM PM (about 9)- 15 easy, 20 steady (~6:40mm), 15 easy.
Friday, 15 wu, 69:36 @ 5:40mm (7 laps Battersea Park, fast first lap, rest all between 9:55ish and 10:00- 10:00 = 5:42mm), 18 wd 

Saturday: 35 wu jog to WC Park Run, Ran it at tempo in 17:05 pushing last few hundred to break Andrew Mercer (course worth at least 30 seconds possibly up to /over a minute depending on conditions - is a bog at the moment), 40 wd on way back home.

623 minutes run (~83) with Garmin spitting out average pace of 7:12 and 86.52 miles which is probably a bit more accurate!

Summary: A very solid week's work. Tough stuff at times but 3 very solid runs. 18:01 at Teddy Hall was a great run narrowly behind Chris Busaileh and Chris McGurk who both ran stunningly at the Southern and Midland Road Relays respectively. The MP run around BP I was pretty worried about but actually went pretty well- especially solo and late at night. My legs felt very heavy the next day at WC ParkRun but tbh that was expected and nice to sneak the win on very heavy legs. Finally- Thursday evening- definitely a sign of a better attitude - in recent years being tired I'd have just said sod it and stayed in- actually drove to the nearby town and ran in the dark.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Training Week Commencing 28th February 2010

AM: 16 wu, 26:09 @ 6:04mm, 2 wd - Run-In XC League 1st- Absolutely ridiculous conditions. Raining and gusting wind. Course is half fields, quarter usually decent trails and quarter concrete so getting right shoes is a sod. Broke away early on, minor mistake took me off course and back into second then the ford which was meant to be calf deep was chest deep. Got clear again and won fairly comfortably despite sore legs from national. Conditions were so poor just couldn't warm down. More risk of catching hypothermia.

AM: 41 recovery @ 9:42mm (probably faster- garmin playing up)
PM: 65 easy @ 7:37mm w. Clapham Chasers

AM: 47 steady @ 6:41mm + 13 recovery / drills


PM: 2:37 easy(!?) @ 7:21mm - awful run - really struggled badly especially in last few miles

AM: 5 wu, 63:36 AeT @ 5:38mm - 11.284 miles (8 laps Uni parks (1.4105)), 18wd

PM: 86 easy @ 7:26mm - ran two different routes to work- slightly longer one by Chelsea Bridge along embankment and then back via Elephant & Castle

AM: 34 wu, 17:04 5k Tempo at ParkRun (missed start), break then 10 Tempo back + 25 wd.

Time: 627 Minutes / ~ 84 miles (ass. 7:30mm)
Miles: 86.35 miles
Pace: 7:12mm

Summary: Odd little week. Race at the start was okay but struggled in the poor conditions with the previous day's race in my legs. Monday and Tuesday I was very lethargic in both runs. Wednesday's run was a disaster and just really struggling to clump along at even 7:30mm. By contrast Thursday was fantastic and was just floating along very relaxed. Friday and Saturday more happy mediums- quite pleased to have run 17:04 at the ParkRun (10 seconds slower than 2 weeks back) but having arrived 30 seconds late and had to weave through the entire field and staying relaxed this time am not really too worried.

On whole- decent mileage (tomorrow's 24 miler will give me a 7 day total of ~104 - joint highest ever with Portugal) at a decent pace. Got through a very tough long run, won a race, did a good MP work-out and Tempo run this morning and finally some decent easy-steady running fleshing the week out.

Winning XC team. Overall, Mens and Ladies. Three of us on the back row (Me, Nick and Andrew) went 1,2,3 at the last two fixtures.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

4 Week Review - 31st January - 27th February 2010

Week 1: 579 minutes, 78 miles

19 Long-Run @ 7:01
27:21 tempo @ 5:25
22:17 AeT @ 5:34

Good week where I hit a good LR early on then a decent two tempos in the middle.

Week 2: 460 minutes, 62 Miles

Great Bentley Half: 13.1 @ 5:25 - 70:55 3rd Place PB
Easy session with Paul Evans

Recovery week following Great Bentley- just got my legs ticking over with some steady stuff on the Tuesday.

 Week 3: 602 minutes, 82 Miles

 22 Long-Run @ 6:54
5 x 4:30 off 90 @ ~5:15-20 w. CC
5 x 1200 off 90 (4 x ~3:59 + 1 x 3:32)
Run-In XC League 4.74 miles 28:18 (5:59mm) 1st 
Parkrun 5k - 16:54 @ 5:11mm 3rd

Solid week with the move and v. nice to get my first 20 (and 21!) miler in - looking back despite the "easy" sessions- this week had 2 interval sessions, 2 races and a long run in which is really too heavy...

Week 4: 600 minutes, 80 Miles 

 20 @ 7:07mm (inc. hour at 6:13mm)
4 x 1600 (lap jog)  (5:17, 5:19 ,5:11 ,5:05)
3 x lap Battersea Park (2.84km) (90) - 10:03 ,10:27, 9:47
National XC - 43:58 (5:54mm) 171st

This was an interesting week coming off a very heavy Sunday/Monday (38 miles) - the Tuesday track session was suitably relaxed and the Battersea session likewise. The National was a reasonable result- might have been interesting fully tapered and having done some hill work. Muddy courses just don't suit me though.

4 Week Period Total: 2241 minutes , 302 miles (579,460,602,600)
Long Runs: 19, 22, 20
Races: 4

Interesting 4 weeks incorporating a move and me getting used to doing some proper long runs. What has been particularly odd about this month has been that I don't think I've had a single interval session where I have had to push. A case of perhaps realising that just because I can do it- doesn't necessarily mean I should do it. The nice part is that because I'm so used to banging out hard interval sessions week-in, week-out I can realistically go to the track and run 4-5 x mile in 5:10-5:20 and it feel like a jog and not compromise the rest of the week. The results over the next few weeks might throw up a few surprises as we see how this has worked out.

This might also be contributing to my consistent mileage - this has to be one of my better blocks ever - as part of that I need to remember that my legs are going to start feeling tired occasionally and that niggles are likely to appear. That is why massage and stretching are more important than ever right now. I am very pleased to hit 3 x 80 weeks and a 60 recovery week. 80s definitely feel "normal" now and a 90 wouldn't be a huge stretch. I usually calculate mileage based on the minutes and averaging 7:30 miling- from the garmin it seems I actually average 10-20 seconds faster so am actually likely running a couple of miles more.

In terms of training theory- right now it's fairly clear that I'm working on my long run and basic endurance in this block with a decent amount of work at tempo pace. Maintenance has been on 5k/10k speed and on MP work. The next month will see a decrease in the tempo work and more work done on MP (with hopefully the gap between them closing) as my body should now be more comfortable with the long runs.

Racing-wise there has been an exceptional result (Great Bentley), two quite decent results (National XC is definitely my best ever run in a "major" over a hilly course and a substantial improvement on the Southern. In the run-in XC league I was fairly pleased to win and moved well on the harder surfaces) and a poor one at the Wimbledon Common Parkrun which I'm having to write off due to poor tactics and poor dealing with the mental side of it. It all seems to confirm I'm moving in the right direction - and also that I still can't run particularly well on tough muddy XCs - from results it appears that I lose ~30 seconds / 15 minutes run on these sort of courses to good XC runners.

On the whole- very solid month and good progress though the lack of sufficient running at MP (usually either above or below) is a worry.

Bryn Running

Training diary and musings on running in general.