My Brighton marathon 2017

Brighton marathon

So I did it, I completed my eight marathon and here is how it went.

I arrived in Brighton on the Friday before the race having driven half way down from Lancashire on the Thursday, stopping overnight in Strafford-Upon-Avon. This helped to break up the travel and ensured I didn’t spend five+ hours sat in a car. Friday was also the day I chose to go down to the event expose heading there after six, which ensured there was very little queuing and I was in and out with my number within 10-15 minutes.

Unusually Brighton has two start points, one for faster runners, which gives you a most downhill start to the race and a second start for everyone else which sees you running up hill for a large proportion of the first mile. I was luckily enough to given the latter start point…..bugger. Two positives came out of me being assigned this tougher start, firstly the Preston Park start is just two miles from the sea, which is where I was staying, so walking distances. Second, that it made me rethink my race tactic and drawing on the experience of Boston, a hilly marathon in hot conditions and the Wales marathon, an extremely hilly marathon. I decided that rather than sticking religiously to a pace plan, that I needed to be smart and run the route, not the plan. This meant I would easy off on any hill climbs and make up for the lost time on the descents, using gravity to speed up.

The start being within walking distance also helped with Breakfast, as did my hotel Room With A View. Which turned out to be the nicest guest house I have ever stayed in, not only is the hotel done up to a really high standard but the guy the runs the place came in early on the Sunday to make breakfast for people doing the marathon. Which was really good of him and made a huge difference to my race. As thinking back to Boston, another race with an early start, I stayed in a fantastic hotel, but they wouldn’t do an early breakfast which meant I had a really poor breakfast consisting of one of those pot of porridges you buy from a convenience store, a flapjack, an energy drink and an energy bar….not good. Whereas thanks to my hotel in Brighton I had a nice big bowl of porridge, toast and a coffee and an energy drink.

In terms of carb-loading, Brighton is an easy place to do this as there are restaurants and cafes everywhere. So I was having pasta for lunch and rice for my main meals with the two best places, in my opinion being Donatello for pasta and Pavel for rice meals. My pre-race meal was Chicken Tikka Biryani, with Bombay potatoes and garlic nan on the side, so plenty of carbs there!!

I arrived at the start around 8:30 which was just enough time to join the huge queues for the portaloos and head to my start zone just in time for the race. Clearly, the organisers need to hire more toilet’s in future, which a 10k race and marathon both starting at the same location the park heaving. I am glad I wasn’t one the unlucky runners who choose/had to buy breakfast in the park before the race, as the queue for the porridge truck was just as big as the queue for the toilets.

When the race eventually got going, I set off at quite a fast pace, possibly too fast as I just dipped under 6 min pace, but I knew a hill climb was just around the corner and I was would easy off on that and sure enough I easy back to 7 min pace on the hill climb and so the race began.

I continued this system of easing off on the hills, speeding up on the descents and trying to hit my pace plan of 6:40 on the flats for the rest of the marathon, but it wasn’t all plain sailing. The tendonitis in my left foot played up which forced me to stop three times to loosen my shoe lace and then around miles 22-23 we hit the headwinds I had feared ahead of the races. Granted they didn’t last two long nor were they the worse headwinds I have ever faced, but they were strong enough to slow you down, which was quite frustrating as this was a fairly flat section of the course and I had hoped to take advantage of that, as the last three miles were mostly slightly uphill. Heat also played a major factor in this race as temperatures reached 17 degrees whilst I was running, almost as hot as Boston was. Luckily, I didn’t realise this as the forecast was for temperatures of 13 degrees and physiologically this probably did me a big favour as I reassured myself that it wasn’t that hot. Annoying I also picked up mild cramp in both calf’s from mile 15 onwards, now this cant be due to hydration as I because really good at taking on water every day, so it looks like more work is needed on the training ground (read more about cramping here).

Despite all these things, I was able to push onwards and maintain a fairly fast pace, even if I didn’t manage the fast final six miles as I had hoped for I did manage to find myself being helped/raced/supported by another runner in yellow over the final two miles..i have tried to work out who he was from the race photos but its proved impossible I have managed to be pictured around two runners in yellow over the final mile of the race and the race numbers are blurred in the pictures…..Anyway thanks to him (Thank you whoever you are), I was able to pick up the pace once more, particularly over the final 600 metres to finish the race in 2:55:32 a new PB, although technically as with Boston I ran further than the marathon covering 26.4 miles this time so my estimated marathon PB on smashrun is now 2:54:18 but my official time of course 2:55:32 and I am very pleased with that.

Brightn medal

I have spent the last three years doing pretty much the same training, but I have continued to make improves by adding simple things such as core work, weekly spinning classes, strength work, regular stretching, foam rolling/other massage tools, off road running and joining a running club. But now I think its time to shake things up. I am currently working through the Advanced Marathoning 5-week recovery programme but after that, a new training regime will gradually be introduced. I cant keep doing the same kind of running and expecting results, there is nothing more I can add to my training programmes, so its the running that must change if I am to continue to see improvements. It will be a gradual thing, but hopefully, by June I will be fully on my new programme and its going to be the kind of twice a day training system you see in books such as “The art of running faster” and I will go into more details soon.

So its an easy five weeks after a long 11 weeks of hard training which paid off with yet another marathon PB and a fantastic medal to add to my growing marathon medal hoard. Bring on the summer, bring on race season!!

all medals 2017

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Brighton marathon : training complete

brighton logo

So that’s it, that’s my lot, the final run is done……its time to race!

Today marked my last run ahead of Brighton, brining my total mileage run over the past 20 weeks up to 993 miles, however I have only managed to complete 11 full weeks of training due to going over my ankle mid-December. Making this one of the shortest training periods I put in ahead of a marathon in a long time. This has made me slightly apprehensive ahead of Brighton, but remember feeling the same last year when I headed to Boston with 16 weeks of training, again due to injury. Obviously there is a big difference between 11 weeks and 16 weeks but my recent performance at the Trimpell 20 suggests that I am at a similar level as I was ahead of that race so that gives me some hope. Additionally in the 12 months before Brighton I have run 1,949 miles whilst over the 12 month period prior to Boston I ran 1,970 miles so over the longer term there isn’t much in it and again hopefully that will help.

As per Manchester and Boston, I have been using the 70-85 miles a week training programme from the Advanced Marathoning book whilst last year I added in strength work and completed my first year as I club runner. This year I have added off road running and trying to ensure that each training week incorporates the five S’s of running : Speed, Strength, Stamina, Suppleness and Skill. The Trimpell result, compleing 20 miles in 6:31 pace, just outside my PB for that distance, suggests that these new additions have made up for the missed training but I guess Brighton will be the real test.

The course appear to be an undulating one, although the organisers talk up as being as fast course I am not so sure the profile chart backs that up :

Brighton course profile

So it looks like an interesting course, the weather is currently predicting temperatures of around 12 degrees, so it will be warm but not as warm as Boston. One additional weather factor which play a key role is the weather. There are a lot of miles along the cost in this race and a strong sea breeze will knock even the best runners off their pace target.

Incidentally, I have umm’ed and arr’ed enough and decided to go for an initial pace plan of 6:40 for the first 18 miles, then gradually pick it up. Where I can, I will use the downhill sections to gain a boost but for the rest of the race I will aim to hit 6:40. The course profile suggests there is a long down hill section at 18 miles, hence why I have picted this mile to pick things up rather than mile 20 , I hope to then try and pick the pace up once more at mile 23 and then mile 25. This wont be easy as miles 23-25 are mostly up hill but I will give it a go.

Sooo race time it is…..packing done…..play list created….key documents printed…..

The Trimpell 20

trimpell2017 medal

So two weeks ago (Sunday, March 19th 2017) was my traditional spring marathon practice race the Trimpell 20 up in Lancaster. A 20 mile race on mostly flat traffic free paths, which finishes inside Lancaster castle over what must be one of the hardest finishes to a race going!! With runners expected to climb around 100ft over the final half mile of the race.

Conditions were not as favourable as last year with cool temperatures and head winds and crosswinds adding to the challenge of running a fast 20 miles. Also unlike last year, I arrived at the event HQ in plenty of time, however just like last year there were huge queues for the toilets which wiped out any time for a suitable warm up. Although with the race starting a bit away from the HQ, I was able to jog down to that as part of my warm up.

Due to the amount of training I missed in December and January, I opted to run this race using the same strategy as last year, trying to stick to 6:30 pace for 14 miles and then seeing what I could do over the final six. Last year I latched onto another runner fairly earlier on who was also hitting this pace but this year I had no such luck and I spent most the earlier parts of the race working with just my watch. In the most part, this went ok and I completed the first six miles in 6:31 pace. I then did find another runner, who did seemed to be hitting 6:30 so I ran with him and we occasionally exchanged conversation about the course and I was able to let him know what to expect up ahead and we also used each other at the drinks stations which helped. However after mile 10, he pushed on ahead as he planned to run a hard second 10 miles, a tactic I have used unsuccessfully in the past.

From mile 12-14 the course runs in a mostly downward section and as a result, I picked up the pace earlier than planned, but its always good to use the terrain to your advantage. Finally, reaching mile 14 it was time to genuinely pick up the pace. However, it was from mile 14 onwards that runners were faced with the worse of the head winds and crosswinds making it harder to stay on pace. But I found I managed this fairly well I passed a number of runners over the last six miles, including my one time running companion. As I passed through mile 15 in 6:29 before completing mile 17 in 6:09 which was a bit of a surprise to myself, but this was again assisted by the course terrain elevation profile.  The next three miles were a bit of a mixed bag with mile 18 completed in 6:37 and mile 19 in 6:27 before I reached the final and hardest mile of the course, mile 20, which I completed in 6:48.

Ultimately I completed the race in 2:10:56, slightly down from last years time of 2:10:41. However whilst last year I finished 29th, this year I finished 23rd so in that sense this potentially represents an improved performance given the conditions, if not an improved time.

In the whole, I am happy with my time, as I did miss a lot of training sessions early on over the winder. So I am thinking, perhaps I am seeing the difference/benefit that off road running makes as my time wasn’t far off last years result. So I head towards to Brighton with a confidence boost which leaves me feeling less apprehensive about the training I have missed. When I line up on April 9th, I will have completed just 12 full weeks of training, but it would seem that I am in the same condition I was ahead of Boston so maybe, just maybe this is thanks to introducing off road runs to my training.

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I do enjoy the Trimpell 20……

trimpell2017 tops

 

 

 

A long overdue update

bakery

It has been quite a while since I posted an update, who would have thought that renovating a house and training for a marathon would be so time consuming……

Anyway….I have battled back from my ankle troubles and am back full-time training…although I am quite conscious that I am well behind where I was last year when training for Boston, something is troubling me a little. This said some of my training runs are being recorded as my fastest ever times for distances such as 15 miles and today 24 miles….which was nice. I have completed three races, one of which I am still feeling to this day, one that was right off and another which went well but maybe could have gone better.

Inskip Half Marathon – January 22nd

This was my first race back from injury and it probably shouldn’t have been. I turned up with less than three weeks of training in my legs and attempted to run the thing at my PB pace…..This went well for six miles, but sadly a half marathon is more than twice that distance and I spent the next seven clinging on to a decent pace. The result was a miserable feeling race but I came home in just over 84 minutes which still a respectable time.

The Northerns XC – January 28th

This was the North of England cross country championship race and this year it was held at Knowsley Safari Park….sadly there was no time to go around the park with the mens race not starting till 15:00, coinciding with the final entrance time to the wider park (Blast). The race was a monster of a race….as by the time the mens race started, the course had become a mud bath. With thick, ankle deep mud covering the most the course, save for a few sections, with most of these being uphill sections!! It was a battle more than a race and my usual XC race plan of staying in bed till 10, eating breakfast then heading to the race didn’t really work out here. As were other the XC races I have done started at 14:15, just over four hours after I had woken up and eaten. This later start of 15:00 left me starting to feel hungry just as we approached go time. However, my XC strategy of starting fast did work out as well has it has done in past XC races and I completed the course in 55 minutes. Which given the state of the course, was a good time and it was a time that secured me a top half finish, something which I was pleased about given my limited XC experience and the fact that I was running in fell shoes.

Wrexham Village Bakery Half – February 19th

A favourite race of mine and one I’d recommend doing. Coming at a time when my training was back on track, but also a time when I had no time to taper due to my December ankle injury. Although that said, I turned up for this race feeling confident of a good time but worried about the lack of any taper, having completed a 15 miles just two days before and I was still slightly sore from the Northerns XC. It really has left its mark!

The race did go well, I set my virtual pace as my PB pace (6:20) but I felt good enough to stay ahead of that for the majority of the race, with just three disappointing miles. Mile 4 where I must have lost concentration and miles 11 and 12 were the impact of having consistently stayed ahead of my PB pace started to take effect. It would have been smarter to stay on pace and then speed up. That said, I did take 11 seconds off my PB to come home in 1:22:59, so that was pleasing but if I had raced smarter, I could have achieved a better time.

 

So plodding on and starting to feel a little more confident but still feeling pains and stiffness in my left upper tight/quod muscle area from the Northerns. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious, it certainly seems to go away after a few metres of running.  In a couple of weeks time, I have my customary spring marathon practice race, the Trimple 20. Here is hoping for a great time, which would be a great confidence boost, as Brighton looms on the horizon.

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2016 over and out

2016 and as per most running years it was a mix of highs and lows.

The lows were the several injuries I’ve had, which led me to wonder if i have become injury prone. But then I realised that I have had 2 ankle sprains, one caused by a treadmill mishap a week before Boston and one picked up just the other week caused by another running mishap with a rock, one calf muscle tear caused by trying to push off on a sloped ridge and one shin splint injury. So three of these injuries are in fact self-inflicted, caused by moments of madness/stupidity which makes me think that in 2016 I become accident prone. I am training smart but running a like mad man. So mission 1 for 2017, run sensible and don’t take any unnecessary risks.

Misssion 2, continue to train smart, run off-road regularly and keep with the five S’s.

As for 2016 well i set PBs in the 4 mile (23:26), 5 mile (31:30), 10k (38:17), 10 mile (1:02:18), the half marathon (1:23:04), the 20 mile (2:10:41) and finally the marathon (2:57:31). Meaning the only distance I didn’t run a race in and set PB was the 5K, although I did do a Harriers only track 5k in around 18:33 minutes I have decided not to count it. So a good sweep of all running distances and those who are quick at maths will see that pacing wise those results do not exactly line up which hints at possible future improvement.

I completed enough races of the Lancashire Interclub series to receive a placing despite that fact one of the races I ran was cancelled, one was run the day after I had done a relay training session on the track and therefore with heavy legs and one was done during a return from injury. However, one race was the race I earned my fastest average pace of the year in, the Blackpool interclub 4 mile (5:51 per mile) so that was a good moment. In the races, i did complete I finished 19th, 29th, 51st and 35th giving me a surprising 30th place finish overall in the series, out of the 212 runners who completed at least four races.

As well as road running, I took part in my first ever Cross Country series completing all four races of the Red Rose Championships finishing 67th, 62nd, 47th and 33rd to earn a series finish of 31st out of 146. Not bad for a road runner!

Overall in 2016 I ran a total 2,037 miles, which is my second highest milage ever recorded despite the seemly stop start year that i have had, which added to all PBs and ventures off-road, make me think that actually i had a pretty good year of running.

miles-run-2016

My average training pace was 7:43 which is the fastest average I have recorded, but it should be said that 2016 was my first full year of being a club runner, so I recorded a lot of very short and fast track runs, which would of no doubt brought the average down. This also explains why my average run distance was just 3.6 miles in 2016, competed to 6.4 in 2015 and 9 miles in 2014. At full overview of my 2016 runs can be seen here

So on to 2017…..and currently my plan is to train for and run the Brighton Marathon, which hopefully will go as well as previous marathons (Fingers crossed the ankle heels up soon). Then I want to complete enough races to record a series finish the road race interclub, the rell run interclub and again the Red Rose XC. It will be hard to do all of those things and I need to study the race listings and plan things out, but if it all goes well and I achieve my goals, will be a great year of running covering three main disciplines which would be quite pleasing and a venture into new territory. Also, I must update my 5k PB!!

At full overview of my 2016 runs can be seen here

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Taking to the Fells

dscf2731

Fell running is type of running which originates in the North of England and is particaully popular in Cumrbia, Lancashire and Yorkshire. It basically means running over hills, valleys and moorlands.

For years ive looked at hills and thought wouldnt it be great to run that.  Well today (Dcember 24th 2016), i finally got my first taste of felling running. As I joined up with a host of runners from verious clubs including of course Preston Harriers, to take part in their annual Christmas eve fell run up White Coppice, a small place just outside Chorley, Lancashire, home to 1,000 ft of hill climb and synonymous with a fell runner known as Joe Whitter (Nice chap it seems) who has his own memorial up on these moors.

joe-whitter

Annoyingly, i have recently missed a week of running due to sprained ankle but i had healed up another to decide that i didnt want to miss out on this trip and although it was tough going on the old ankle it was well worth it. There were some great views on offer, some chllegning terrian to naviage over and of course a tough hill climb. Being new to the run and to fell running i ensured i that i always stayed behind someone so that A) i didnt get lost and B) so that i would watch how they move across the terrian, a sort deomstration in fell running if you will. That said, with all the stopping to let the slower runners catch up i had enough energy to surge up to the summate to be the first one at the top, the competive runner in me couldnt resist.

One major learning point and this is something my lunch time runnign partner Rob Hope  has pointed out to me, is when you run up hills you need to avoid using your heels , you want to be up on your toes and sure enough plenty of these experienced fell runners were doing just that. Something i will have to pratice until it becomes second nature.

I think my misson to run at least one near or completly off road run a week and the cross  country races have done is paying off for this run, as the terrain wasnt too bad, mostly being the kind of stuff I have faced in cross country, wet muddy grassland. Although there were a couple of very narrow ridges and some rocky sections, which will take a lof practice on before i become confirdent of running.

So learing wise, I need to practice hill climbs, running on rocky terrian and picking a good path across a boggy moor….thats another key thing to learn for this kind of running (There will be mud!!). It was a great introduction to fell running and i am looking forward to returning to this kind of running latter on in 2017.

Here’s a bunch of pictures from the run, none of which are of me as i took the snaps……

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Rossendale XC

rossendale-xc-me

It could be said that Rossendale was fairly muddy. Yes that is me in the swamp.

A week behind….but hey ho….So last Saturday (03/12/16), i ran the last of the Red Rose Cross Country , completing the full series and my introduction to cross country, completing with by far the hardest of the four races. With the series getting harder with each race, i am thinking the order of the races is intentional….

Learning from the previous three XC races, i set off on a fast start aiming to get as far up the field as I could before we hit any narrow sections which I was sure we would do, based on the other XC races i have done and sure enough we did. After a steep hill climb (see below) we reached several sections, most of which also involved going uphill, that very narrow making it difficult to go past other runners.

Rossendale XC.jpg

None of these people are me.

There were three laps of this mud and hills, but there was one section of open flat grass and it is this section where I worked my hardest, saving myself on the hardest hill climbs as the energy spent there would have resulted in me becoming fatigued later in the race, as I did in my first cross country outing. It was a tactic that worked and despite almost slipping over several times and having to use the odd tree to prevent myself running off course on the woodland hill descents. Rossendale ended up being my best performance of the series, finishing in 33rd place.

This meant that despite finishing in the mid-sixties in my first two races, this finish combined with my 47th place finish in the last race, meant i finished the series in 31st, which isn’t great but given it was my first go at cross country i am quite pleased with myself and a couple of places higher up and i would have broken the top 30.

Rossendale is a tough course, with my people comparing it to a fell race. But it is a great one to do, it’s very challenging but it’s set in a fantastic landscape and completing it is quite rewarding.

rossendale-xc

Marathon training begins

In other news, last week, i began my marathon training program, which as ever starts with the endurance phase. So far i have completed all but one run, a 10 miler which i dropped as i was feeling exhausted and i decided running it would do more harm than good. As always, i have started training two weeks early to take some of the stress of any potential injuries away and should i manage to go injury free, it will give me the option of tapering for one or two of my practice races.

In terms of what training i am doing, i didn’t manage to build up my mileage enough to move up to the 85+ a week training program as planned. So instead for the third year running, i will be running the 70-85 miles per week training program from the Advanced Marathoning book. Its got me two sub3 mararthons so far, so why not…

In regards to what i will be doing that is new….well last year was the introduction of regular speed work, which took 2 minutes from my PB and this year, i guess will be the test of what difference following the five S’s and introducing at least one off road run a week will make, as well as all the XC races i hope to do. They say that off-road running makes you better runner well…..time to find out.

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The Preston 10 Mile

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 Crazy gloves for a crazy guy : Heading to the finish line

Sunday November 20th and my first road race since August, a 10 mile road race that I have wanted to do for a number of years but for one reason or another I have never had the chance. The Preston 10 mile.

Ahead of the race, things didn’t look good heavy rain was forecast, my Friday run had felt a little sluggish and on my Saturday run I was unable to hit my training target. However, come race day, the sun was out and I felt well rested. Aided in part by my traditional long lie-in on the day before the race, something I started doing because I would often struggle to sleep the day before a race.

The next thing that went my way, was when standing at the crowed start line, a runner stood to my side on the pavement told me how he had a clear run and I pointed out how he would have if it wasn’t for the group of spectators down the road. To which, he replied don’t worry I know them, I’ll clear them, I know them. So I followed him and sure enough the crowd did move and for change I was able to run unrestricted right from the start. However, noting my pace was coming up as 5:40 I decided to slow right down to my pre-planned pace of 6:20, a plan based on my 10 mile PB.

Last time I ran a 10 mile race, I tried to hit 6:15 the whole way around with the aim of going sub 63 minutes, that didn’t work. So this time I had returned to my tried and tasted strategy of using my PB pace as my guide. However early on I was finding it hard to hit that time, with my watch often reading 6:10 or 6:15. One reason for this was that unlike in Elswick, I was surrounded by other runners who I could pace off. Although things were going too well as I completed the first mile in 6:09. So I gradually slowed, until I could find some runners, running at the pace I wanted to hit. I was then able to hit the next two miles in 6:19 followed by the next two in 6:20 pace. Pretty much perfect pacing.

The plan was to run mile six at the same pace, before using the next three miles of the race to gradually speed up before hitting a fast final mile. However, mile six came in at 6:15 pace, so I decided that the plan was already in action and I completed the next two miles in 6:08 and 6:09. Then came mile 8 and I was well ahead of where I wanted to be and feeling confident. However despite trying to increase the pace, I found this mile hard going and completed it in 6:21.

Worried that the wheels may be about to fall off, I put in one last effort, there was one mile left and I was going to give it everything, I had left to achieve my goal. Passing a number of runners along the way confidence returned and seeing one more runner up ahead who was struggling, I made it my goal to catch him and pass him. Something I did with perhaps 400 metres to go and then it was a matter of trying to hold on, completing the final 322 metres in 5:08 pace and the final mile in 5:58 pace, to complete the race in 01:02:18 a huge PB of over one minute!

So the return to road racing was a success, this was a course that helped me, being fairly flat and including several long straight section. The weather on the day of the race was perfect for me and training smart, I had dropped my mileage right down on the week of the race. I also felt stronger and fitter than when I ran my last 10 mile, it’s clear that the training I have been doing, aiming for the five S’s, is working and there could be more to come.

SmashRun provide you with estimated finish times for selected distances based on your run time and from this race they estimate I could run 5K in 17:50 (A PB), 10K in 37:30 (A PB), HM in 1:23:20 (Slower than my PB) and a marathon in 2:55:49 (A PB). So plenty of room for improvement and more PB’s to follow…….maybe…….hopefully……fingers crossed.

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Bolton XC

2016-ph-group-bolton1

So on to Bolton and race three of the Red Rose Cross Country League (12/11/16) and whilst this race had no large hill climb to battle up (4 times as it was in Blackburn), I felt this three lap course was far more challenging as there were  multiple hill climbs & descents of various sizes, there were twists & turns and there was a wide mix of terrain. An opinion slightly backed up by Smashrun, who gave this course exactly the same hill difficulty level it gave to Blackburn with its (4 out of 6).

Again my pace was slower than the previous two races, but I again I feel that this was yet another improvement in my cross country running. Like Blackburn, I approached the race more tactically than I did Leigh, but unlike like Blackburn I didn’t finish the race feeling like I could have given a lot more. Although I did still finish strong, passing a number of runners on the final lap and achieving my highest placing yet 47th. Which isn’t the slightest bit impressive, however it is almost 20 places above where I finished the last two times out.

So it’s a marked improvement, despite it being a tougher course, suggesting that my strength work is going to plan.  I also managed to get spiked in the race, around the knee and quad area. I remember it happening……..well I remember thinking it had happened, it was only after the race that I noticed it had happened. I took a hill descent in my normal kamikaze style, ending up right behind a group of three runners. I then felt one of their feet come right up right up against my leg and I thought I am a bit close here, thank goodness he wasn’t wearing spikes, before nipping around the three of them and pushing on. Afterwards, I spotted a small amount of blood on my leg and in the car home I noticed two more marks and then today I spotted a fourth mark. So the lesson here is, do not run too close to someone in cross country or you will get spiked.

In other news, I am continuing to fit in at least one off-road training run a week and I have continued with my gym workouts. Covering the strength part of the five S’s.

I have also upped my mileage and this week I reached 60 miles, covering the stamina S.

I have continued to make to the track training sessions and I completed my new Thursday cycle by running my first tempo running since….well who knows….I can’t remember when I last did one of those. But i am glad i went out i did one, even if still felt slightly sore on the morning of Bolton. Something i think was due to me running the tempo faster than I should have. With Runners World, recommending i should aim for 6:10 pace and me hitting 5:55 pace at one point. So that’s not training smart and neither was the decision to run 18 miles, the day after race…….hopefully that won’t come back to bite me. So that covers Speed and I am continuing with my morning and evening stretching, ticking off suppleness.

Leaving just one of the five S’s, skill….and this more to do with running technique and I am consciously working on/thinking about that. So I would now say that I have successfully managed to incorporate the five S’s into my weekly training. How I will continue to do this as I increase my mileage, I am not sure. But I will try and that’s the main thing.

Next up my first road race since the summer, 10 miles and fingers crossed I will finally go under 1:03:00, something I think done in a half marathon but for whatever reason haven’t done it in a 10 miler. Annoying.

So unlike the cross country races, I will treat myself to an easy week, bringing the mileage right back down, putting the gym work on hold, step out of the three week Thursday cycle (hill reps, mile repeats, tempo) and hoping for the best come Sunday.

Twitter : @SJPC14
Garmin : SJPC14
Smashrun : SJPC14

 

Blackburn XC

jess-judd-1691

So on Saturday (29/10/16) I ran my second cross country race of the Red Rose League not being fully fit and still getting to grips with this sort of running, I took the advice of championship winning fell runner Rob Hope who recently told me that I rely on my watch too much, so I turned off the virtual pacer on my Garmin Forerunner and ran the course rather than the pace.

The result of this tactic change was, unlike in Leigh two weeks ago I didn’t finish the race dead on my legs struggling to hit a decent pace. Instead, I completed the final lap of the four lap race by passing a large number of runners as I picked up the pace. That didn’t stop me finishing well down that rankings, but I did finish what was a much tougher race, feeling a lot happy with my performance. So running the course, is certainly the way to go with off road running. I just need to work on picking up the pace on the easier / flatter sections. As you can tell iI am still finding this kind of running a huge learning curve and Ii have to admit it took me until the fourth lap to find what was, in my opinion, the best route around the course.

The course itself was very challenging, 5.46 miles in length (for me) with a 128 meter mill climb, i completed it in 37:52, which works out at 6:56 pace. [see here]

And the post picture….that’s GB athlete Jess Judd who turned up, out of the blue and won the women’s race. Well done her!!

So progress is made but there is still a lot of remove for improvement, next up Bolton in two weeks time.

In other training news, i have completed 8 gym sessions based on the gym program I had created for me, two full track sessions with Preston Harriers, a hill rep session and last week i did 52 miles for the week. SO things are moving along as i edge towards my new marathon training program in December.

Twitter : @SJPC14
Garmin : SJPC14
Smashrun : SJPC14