Village Bakery Wrexham Half Marathon 2015

In my last post I reported how I had planned to take a couple of days off to try and shift a knee niggle and a bout of shin splint. Well that turned into four days, followed by an 8 and 16 miler, day off and a 9 mile run. Things seemed to be going well. But then I attempted another 9 miler, this was Wednesday (11/02/2015) but this time things didn’t go so well. As shin splint bit back with vengeance result in me cutting my run short and taking the decision to hold out till todays Village Bakery Wrexham half marathon in a hope that things had settled down enough for me to attempt to go sub 1:25. A key indicator if you want to run a sub3 marathon.

Well this morning, I could feel the shin splint, it was still sore and I was still on anti-inflammatory gels to try bring it under control. The result was, I lined up in Wrexham knowing that there would be pain….

Thankfully, it was not as bad as I feared but it did give some discomfort for the first five miles, then suddenly the feeling full movement returned to my leg and for the rest of the race I was able to run , as if injury free. In side , I was smiling a lot when that happened.

SO how did the race go ? Well this was my first race using a Garmin watch and I had set my virtual pacer to 6:25 as this was closest to sub 1:25 pace I could set it, with the watching seemingly only allowing you change the seconds by 5 seconds at a time…..bit of a pain that really!

The first mile started off well and I completed it in 6:20 , so a little fast but close enough. Usually I fly out of these things and cover the first mile at 5k pace to spend the next two miles settling back down the correct pace. So I was pleased with that. However the next four miles where all completed at over 6:25 pace, with mile four the slowest at 6:40 pace.

SO I knew I had work to do and I aimed to finished ahead of pace for the next couple of miles, and with the exception of mile 7 which was completed bang on pace at 6:25, but I reached mile 10 having regained my lost time. Now I am not sure if it was because this was the mile that I took my SIS gel and that, that slowed me down or if it was because I came across a couple of slight inclines but mile ten was another slow one, as I completed it in 6:35.

Knowing I didn’t have much time and that the miles where running out I picked up the pace once more, competing mile 11 in 6:25 and mile 12 in 6:27.

Then came the final mile and a bit and I really did give everything I had left reaching the 13 mile marker in 6:08 my fastest mile of the race!! Over the final, section of the course I was still pushing it, I could hear feet pounding behind and see a clock ahead of me, so I kept pushing, and every time I heard those feet come pounding closer, I sped up then finally I moved into a sprint crossing the line in 1:24:25 a huge PB!! And im still smiling about it!!

—-

The race, this race has had some bad press in recent years. But this year a new team was managing it and it went without incident, there were plenty of marshals about , plenty of signs, plenty of drink stations (3) and plenty of fruit bread for all at the end. There is a lot of parking, but unlike me turn up before 10:25 otherwise you will have to park down the road. There is a bit of a walk from race HQ to the start, but if you use it for your warm then its not an issue. The route is just as flat as they claim, this is very much a PB course. If you get a chance, run this race, its fast and competitive at the front but the flatness is also great for runners of other abilities and first timers.

And in the video at the top of this post you’ll see my sort of glorious finish, im on at 14:03, enjoy.

In regards to using the virtual pace, what a great tool!! but boy did it work me hard. I doubt I would of got the time I got without mind you I am now feeling very sore. But very pleased, so it was worth it.

And for the first time ever…..here are my splints :

wrexham HM
Oh and im on Garmin as SJPC14 if anyone wants to connect , feel free.

@sjpc14

Splurges, niggles and Burnley parkrun

the splurge

Splurges

January is a great time for the endurance sports enthusiast, as the cost of over priced sporting goods comes tumbling down. Allowing us to justify our purchase of possibly needles but must have products at fantastic prices. Taking advantages of the sales, Ive added to my collection of 1000 mile socks, you really cant beat them, throwing away several worn out pairs and bringing in four brand new comfort filled pairs. I have already worn all four pairs and they are as good as you would expect, this is brand i trust to make a quality product.

After advice from a chap on twitter, who goes by the name of @FoxyDavy and who has run over 200 marathons i splashed out on a pair of SealSkinz gloves, that claim to be waterproof , windproof and most importantly warm yet breathable. Which is exactly what i needed as the only feature of my karimoor gloves seems to be that they are gloves. And after two years of returning home from cold runs with frozen hands i decided its time to get proper gloves for the truly cold nights. So far i have warn these on two runs, they are certainly windproof and warm and as soon as i have warn them in rain, I’ll let you know how they stood up.

Finally, the big one……I have bought a Garmin Forerunner 10, which was going for a knock down price of £70 on Amazon, so i could not resist it and before one my friends could respond to my text questions about the product i have already bought it…..oh well. I have completed three runs with it and i find the virtual pacer an invaluable training feature that will no doubt improve my running, whilst ensuring that i do not slack off or over do it. A fantastic buy for the serious runner and if you can justify the price to yourself go for it. Three runs in, i already can already tell what a valuable tool this will prove to be.

Niggles!

In my last post i mentioned my fight with a bout of shin splint, well its still not 100% cleared up, despite this i have run every day for the last 20 days and picked up a knee niggle. A slight twinge about the right knee. I suspect, it because of how i have been running to compensate for the shin splint. In both cases, the discomfort and any pain vanishes after just 10-15 minutes of running, suggesting that neither injury is a serious injury. And the fact that i have completed runs of up to 22 miles over the past 20 days with any reaction or serious injury occurring backs this up. However, today (Tuesday 3rd February) i working from home and tomorrow i need my car for work, for a meeting out in Rising bridge, a middle of nowhere kind of place. So i have decided to give myself an easy week of running including taking these two days off running, moving this weeks planned running schedule over to next where it fits in with Wrexham Bakery half marathon i have signed up to.

The reason being, that this Sundays long run, is just 16 miles, which means if i complete all the runs scheduled for this week, next week, except on the Sunday where i will run the half marathon i will only loose 3 miles, as opposed to 11 miles i would loose if i stick the training plan , which has me down for 24 miles next week. So its time to cash in one of my weeks in hand and hope that it a) helps me recover from this niggles and b) leaves me fresher for next weeks half marathon where i really want to go sub 1:25 the first indication that a sub3 marathon is in sight.

The Burnley parkrun

As part of my quest to run all my local park runs, in a row, in 2015. Last weekend i head off out the door to Burnley, to run their parkrun……..I guess you saw that bit coming.

As per tradition , i set off late arriving at Towneley Park, Burnley, at 8:52. Luckily this is a parkrun with a massive car park and toilet facilities right near to where the parkrun starts. Which was fantastic for me, although you do need to pay to use the car park.

So i had arrived, i also had forgotten my watch and missed the pre-run talk…..two slightly disastrous things for newbie to the run. Also this run in corporates a few section of grass running and not owning any trail shoes, i knew i was in for a tough run. Finding myself having to slow down on the grassy sections was a pain, but better than falling over and without my watch or a real idea of the route, i prevented myself from over doing it. Which in hindsight was probably a good thing completing the run 20:35, which although is some way off a PB for me, is a fantastic tim.

The parkrun in Burnley is well set up and everybody seems friendly enough, the grass sections are a nice reminder of cross country running and the route is very flat so idea for first timers. On a sunny day, i imagine it would not matter if you wear trail shoes or not but park run is an event not a race, so i guess it does not matter too much either way.

Training update

So i am three weeks into mescocyle 2, i have completed 23 runs, covering 214 miles. Although i was supposed to cover 26 runs and 256 miles at this point. So niggles have cost me 42 miles. But i am without serious injury and there are still 10 weeks to go till the big day and i am using one of my weeks in hand.

In addition to pounding the streets i have completed 2 speed work outs and 14 core work outs during mescocycle 2, which i am fairly pleased about. I still need to be doing more speed work but i am pleased with the increase in core work, which has been aided by this 30 day core challenge here :

30 day core challengeOne other new product i have obtained, but not mentioned so far, is a Fitbit activity monitor, which i was given at Christmas. It is not the most sophisticated gizmo but as well as monitoring my activity and calories burned it is also monitoring my sleep. And it is proving a very handy tool to ensuring i get enough sleep and take on board enough food and water to compensate for the work outs i am doing. So it is proving to be a valuable little tool, each has seen more eating and drinking a lot more that i was. So i cannot really complain about that.

In other news

I found this great running watch comparator tool, courtesy of DC Rainmaker

Womens Running : The Basics of Foam Rolling

A great video from kinetic-revolution.com, of Haile Gebrselassie Running in Slow Motion - which is great to study

And finally a great tool from Run England, allowing you to find running groups and clubs near you can be found here

@SJPC14

Mesocycle 1 – Endurance – Complete

Ron hill then and nowSo i am now in the second week of mesocycle 2 and i thought it was time i gave a long overdue update on how mesocycle 1 went.

This first cycle of training is all about endurance and building it up…… and as expected, and as per my previous step ups in training i found there first three weeks quite tough as my weekly mileage reached a peak of 78 miles and I started running seven days a week. Both firsts for me and both challenging physically and mentally, in fact by the time i got towards the end of this cycle i picked up a shin splint injury.

This is an injury i have had before, so i knew it could mean up to two weeks without running. So i acted quickly, i instantly stopped running, i got some ibuprofen tables, some deep relief gel and for the first time ever i applied compression to a shin splint injury. Now i wasn’t popping pills constantly, i would take a couple in the morning and again in the evening, before removing the strapping and applying the gel at night. The result, five days later i was back running, i had only missed four days of running the last two days of this cycle or training and the first two of mesocycle 2. By far the fastest i have ever recovered from a shin splint and i suspect it was all down to my rapid response to the injury and the compression. That said, i am still not 100% but i am pain free which is a good sign.

Out of the 30 runs i was scheduled to run over this first phase i completed 26 despite the injury and Christmas commitments. Covering a total of 374 miles out of 422, around 89% of all the planned miles. The minimum target being to complete 85% of your training. So a good, but not perfect start, however i still have my 14 days in hand so i am sitting pretty.

The biggest downside is that i did not manage to fit in as much speed work as i should of and wanted too and i also got slack with my core work. However of late i have made up for that, fitting in at several core sessions each week, i just need to get back on to the speed work.

mesocycle1Although ending on a positive note, i have booked two pre-marathon prep races. The village bakery half marathon, in Wrexham, in February, were i will aim to go sub 1:25 for the distance, a key marker for someone wanting to go sub3 for the marathon. Then in March i am off to Lancaster for my third outing at the Trempell 20 which sits four weeks before the Manchester marathon thus making it the perfect preparation race in which i can test out the sub3 pace of 6:50.

So its onto Mesocycle 2 – Lactate Threshold + Endurance

The 2014 sign off

WP_20150106_004As with every amateur and professional sports person, a year cannot come to an end without thinking back and reviewing how things have gone. The most common questions people ask themselves are have i progressed, did i achieve my goals and what i am i going to do next aand i am no different.

So how did 2014 going for me……………

Well the big event was of course, the Wales marathon 2014, which i took on using the Advanced Marathoning up to 70 miles per week training plan. The marathon which claims to be run over the UKs toughest route, contained 12 hill climbs and 14 descents. So to prepare for it i introduced hills into pretty much every training run, the bigger teh better and took in several hill repeat sessions. I even sought out and found routes that would incorporate much tougher hills than those i would face in Wales to ensure that i was prepared as i could be. The result a huge PB of 3:12:46 down from a time of 3:31:33, achieved in Dublin, in 2013. So that was without doubt the high point, running wise of 2014 and a massive improvement.

Away from the beautiful distance of 26.2, i ran three half marathons breaking my distance PB twice and setting myself a new course PB at the Freckleton half marathon. I set a new 10K PB, recording my second ever sub40 10k time. I set a new 4 mile PB at time when i was not at my best and I set a new 5K PB but narrowly missed out on my target of sub19.

So there is no question about whether or not i have progressed, although i didn’t get that sub19 5k which was a secondary target, after a marathon PB, during 2014. This now rolls over into 2015. Away from getting faster, i am also training smarter i am doing a lot more speed and core work, two key components to improving and edging towards your potential in running. I have also varied my training run pace a lot more during 2014, which again is all part of training smarter, staying fresher and trying to avoid injury. This something i will continue to do in 2015, but with the additional extra of the tempo run, something until now i have shied away from and i really want include in my training.

The benefit of including tempo runs are that they help you build up leg muscle strength, increase your speed and your endurance. And if you want to know more about these, here are a couple of great links which look at tempo runs :

McMillan’s Six-Step Training System

About Health : What Is a Tempo Run?

Runners World : Tempo Runs Increase Speed and Endurance

Mileage wise, 2014 was bar far my biggest year of running, covering a total of 2187 miles, the first time i have ever crossed the 2000 mile maker and accounting for 33% of all the mile I have ever run.

miles by yearLooking ahead to 2015, obviously the big event this year will be the Greater Manchester Marathon. But rather than simply aiming for the time PB, as per all the marathons i have run to date. This time i am going for a Sub3 marathon, something that only around 3-4% of runners will ever achieve and to aid me in this challenge i am taking on Advanced Marathoning 70-85 miles per week training plan and as mentioned above adding in tempo runs. Training for this begin on December first and i will be posting updates as i go along.

Away from the Marathon, as mentioned previously i will be doing for a sub19 5k and i have also set myself the challenge of bringing my half marathon PB down from 1:25:58 to 1:22:??.

I also want to try and cover more of the Parkruns which are local to me. Something i made a great start on, thanks to my friend Lousea, after running two in one day on New Years day. The only of any year such a thing is possible. It was Pennington Flash parkrun at 9 am, then St Helens parrun at 10 am and with some nifty driving (thanks Lou) we just about made it on time to the latter of these.

If you are thinking about running either of these parkruns. Pennington Flash, is a bit of a trail run, involving three long laps and a 400 metre straight start and finish. St Helens parkrun, is set in a really nice park and involves three large laps and one smaller lap of it.

I got to train with Helen Clitheroe on not just one, but two occations, which as an amazing experience and a great learning oppertunity. I hope to try and arrange more sessions with her before the big day. And i got to meet the inspirational Ben Ashworth, who really is an amazing guy.

So it was another great year of running, lets hope 2015 beats it!!

In other news :

Fuelled to go far

Can we alter our genetic blueprint by training?

The boxing Day 10k, Leyland

santa_10k_medalTwas the morning after Christmas, when all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Mainly as most people seemed to be over in Leyland for the Boxing day 10k, in fact 314 (maybe more depending on whether or not anyone pulled out part way through the race) hardy souls had turned out on a cold boxing day in Lancashire. It was an impressive sight and it took a good few minutes to get us all in position before the big off.

The attraction, well to burn off some of the Christmas day feast and a relatively flat PB friendly route, which looks very much like this [here]. This was my second year of entering this race, having run my first ever sub40 10k the previous year and i was back aiming for sub39.

A week ago, i had achieved a third place parkrun finish and a first place santa dash victory on the very same day no less!! (see here) but i had feeling today’s race would be slightly more competitive and i probably wont be keeping in touch with the leading pack. Something which was further hampered by the fact i had managed to fail to get a spot at the front on the start line. This meant i spent most the first mile passing slower runners until i settled within a group of runners of similar ability. Completing the first mile in 6:23.

The second mile was completed in around 12:14 and third was reached in 19:02, which was followed by the fourth on 25:34. I was on for a sub39!

But something went wrong, it may of been the duel i got involved with, as i traded places a number of times with a club runner along Altcar Lane and then Tithe Barn Lane or it may of been a result of having raced just one week ago but i reached the fifth mile marker on around 33:04! Not good at all, i was now in danger of not even making sub40….I dug in deep for the final mile and charged up the hill climb on Runshaw Hall Lane, despite knowing how much effort it takes to charge up a hill, i knew i had little time to pass. I turned through the gates at Farm Yard Woods and my watch read 37:10, there probably wasn’t time, but i wasn’t far from the finish and i gave everything i had left crossing the finish line in 39:21….

I was slightly disappointment, but this was a big PB, down from 39:55 and i can take some pleasure from that. But it was a missed opportunity just like the Best 5k last month. But this is a great little race to enter it is well placed towards the end of the year and it has a festive feel to it. Also getting out and racing on boxing day is actually quite rewarding and not as challenging as you would think. If you stuck for something to do boxing day 2015, get up and take on this little number.

The race in numbers

Finishers : 314 , 180 Males , 134 Females
First place (MM:SS) : Race 33:03 , Male 33:03 , Female 35:31
Average time (MM:SS): Race 51:38, Male 47:37 , Female 57:01
Last place (H:MM:SS) : Race 1:34:47 , Male 1:34:47 , Female 1:34:37
% under 35 mins – 4% [8] Males  , 0% [0] Females
% under 40 mins – 19% [35] Males , 1% [2] Females

Description : Fast paced, well organised , well attended, good crowed, on site parking (but get in early – otherwise plenty of nearby side streets), PB friendly and a decent goodie bag (Santa medal (see post header image), bottle of water and calendar)

Manchester Marathon Training update

Continuing with my running plan, after doing two 5ks in one day turned out to not be the smartest plan i have ever put into action, with the following Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays runs all done with stiffness and fatigue. As such i took Christmas day as a rest day to aid me in my sub39 attempt in Leyland, which didnt work out…….. But i felt a heck of lot better for it, i also had a big night out with my friends on the 27th which resulted in my taking the 28th as rest. So i have run 26/28 planned runs and covering 250.2 miles out of the planned 276 which comes out at about 91% of my target and i still have my 14 days in locker after starting training two weeks early and i am almost past the demanding holiday period, so i am quite happy with that.

I have finally purchased some much needed new trainers taking advantage of the end of year sales to buy a pair of Kalenji Kiprun LD, which is the long distance version of the MD’s i have been running in over the course of 2014 and i will be using these, well obviously for my longer training runs…..and i bought a pair of Asics GT1000.

And as the Kipruns have turned up today, i will be giving them their first run out, in oh fifteen minutes or so…

kiprun LD#KeepRunning

@SJPC14

#Merry-Christmas!!!

One day , two races and one legend

Ben AshworthI have dedicated my main post picture to several running legends and heros over the past two years and without doubt this fellow deserves his place alongside him. His name is Ben Ashworth (@ChemoDadRuns) and you can read his story [here]

December 20th will be a day i remember for a long time, for many reasons, one of those reasons will be that i forgot my watch on what would turn out to be a great day of running for myself. But the main reason that i will remember this day, is meeting Ben Ashworth, a fellow runner who i have been talking online with for a while, whose story is simply inspirational to kind of quote my friend John and quoting local race director/organiser/runner Brian Porter (@brianporterrun) he’s a legend and a hero.

So here’s how the day went…….

Leaving my home, late as usual, i was drove down to Preston parkrun for change, the reason being because after parkrun i was due to run a second 5k and i wanted to give myself a chance of getting around both in sub20 my self imposed target for the day. A challenge made even more difficult by the fact that i had forgotten my watch…..of all the days!!!!

So 9 am, i was lined up on the parkrun start line, watchless. luckily i had spotted a runner who often gives me a good race over parkrun and sometimes beats me. So to compensate for the lack of a watch, i decided just to try and keep ahead of him. Additionally i decided that i would take it easy up the hills and that i would not be sprinting for the finish line, so to conserve energy.

Starting off at a fast but comfortable pace i found myself slowly working through the crowed of runners, picking people off until i ended up in the top five before moving up to second with just half a mile to go. I could see first place down the road, within catching distance, but i decided to stick to my pace, a plan that saw first place gradually move away from me and another runner sprint past me over the final straight.

A 3rd place finish, my best positioning in the Preston parkrun yet and whats more, i later found out i had clocked a time of 19:04!! i couldn’t believe it, i had achieved a course and distance PB without actually pushing myself to the max…..further highlighting how wrong i got things at the Best 5k a few weeks back.

I also learned in this race, that things get pretty warm in a Christmas hat…..

parkrun xmas1Something that did not bode well for the Santa Dash where i would be wearing a Santa hat with attached beard….

So i ate a couple of cookies for energy, which some nice person had brought in for the traditional after Christmas parkrun cake feast and a drink of water for hydration and then it was a wait for Ben Ashworth to start the Santa dash. Something he was going to do after he had completed the first half of his 45 mile Guild wheel challenge and a little after 11 Ben appeared to much applause from the large gathering of runners keen to wish him well. Something which is captured well in this ITV news video you can watch [here] – Also if you watch closely your spot me in the back ground.

So off we went on race number two, which is nothing compared to what Ben was doing , plus a couple of other parkrun runners were also lining up to run their second race of the morning. The route, was something like this  [here] and as we set off i quickly found myself among the leading pack. However, after about 100 metres i felt that the pace wasn’t that quick and took the decision to move to the front and push things on.

To my surprise, no one challenged me and after a little while the pounding of feet behind me started to feel a good couple of metres back and this photo (thanks to Runningpix) taken at around the 340 metre point shows that :

cheeky5And this was how things reminded and i completed the first lap in first place.

Around 700 metres into the second lap i started to feel a little sore in the legs, the impact of two races was beginning…..at this point i was on a long straight gradual incline and i was beginning to wonder if i could hold on for another high position finish. But my legs were sore so doubt was creeping in with visions of a repeat of Vernons creeping in. Then i thought of Ben and what he was doing and what he was doing despite his situation and with that i pushed on, i wanted to give it my all, i wanted to repay Ben for what he was doing and for putting this event on by trying to win this thing.

Approaching the final hill climb i made the decision to ease off and wait until i reached a flat once more, before pushing on. I knew this would be a gamble as those behind me, would be motivated by my slowing down. However, i hoped this would work in my favor knowing a) how tough it is to charge up a hill and b) how much it takes out of you, those behind could end up over exhausting themselves trying to catch me on a hill climb.

Reaching the the top of the hill, the ground leveled out and I pushed one final time, beginning to believe i might actually be able to win this…..and then Helen Clitheroe‘s words on how she makes her move with a 1000 metres to go, came to my mind and on i pushed weaving in and out of those at the back, lapping a number of people. After fighting strong winds on bridge section, I made my way down the tricky narrow down hill section, made harder by having to move around a family with a pram. I reached the sharp turn at the bottom of the hill and remembering how over shooting such a turn cost me dearly in the Vernons 4 mile , so I eased off and took the turn in a controlled manner.

Then i was on the home straight with some race marshals beckoning me to go for it, glancing up the hill i just descended i couldn’t see any other runners meaning they were either closing in or they were too far back now to stop me….i decided this was no time to take a chance, i was metres away from winning my race since i was a young lad. So i went for it and sprinted to the finish line, crossing it with a sense of shock and joy.

i could not believe i had actually won the race, a feeling which stuck with me for the rest of the day, and even today its feels a little odd. Granted i doubt i got that great a time and perhaps the field was not the strongest but it was a win and it was my win and it will prove to be a valuable experience.

Afterwards i got talking with Ben and as well as finding out he knew one of my friends, i also found out what a nice guy he is. He is really humble , he has time for everyone and has a really up beat personality. He is truly a great guy and what has happened to him, at such a young age is very tragic but clearly he hasn’t let it beat him and is doing his up most to raise both funds and awareness of his illness.

And in the style of a shampoo advert, here comes the science….

Bowel Cancer is one of the most common cancers in England and between 2002-2011 an average of 24,179 people were diagnosed with the condition per year and an average of 9,405 died from it per year. Age plays a major factor in your likelihood of contracting bowel cancer with the major of diagnoses occurring in persons aged over 60. Other risk factors include lifestyle (being physical inactive, smoking) and poor diet.

Symptoms of bowel cancer include :

  • a persistent change in bowel habit, causing them to go to the toilet more often and pass looser stools, usually together with blood on or in their stools
  • a persistent change in bowel habit without blood in their stools, but with abdominal pain
  • blood in the stools without other haemorrhoid symptoms such as soreness, discomfort, pain, itching or a lump hanging down outside the back passage
  • abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always provoked by eating, sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss
  • a lump your doctor can feel in your back passage or abdomen
  •  pain in your abdomen or back passage
  • a feeling of a need to strain in your back passage (as if you need to pass a bowel motion)

For more information see [here]

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Marathon training up date

I have completed 21/21 planned runs covering a total of 201 miles, i have slacked off my core work and my speed work. Although the latter of these has been disrupted by the fact i have done a number of races recently and you are always advised to take one day for each mile youve raced, as an easy day. Also things at work have been pretty busy and i had a major assignment to complete for uni. I aim to correct these things as of next week.

In preparation for the marathon i have been eyeing up, well places training races and I have entered the Boxing day 10k and the Trimple 20. i also was looking at the Inskip Half marathon but it turns out that its full already! which is a bit of a pain, its a flat fast half marathon, which would of been perfect practice. So i need to find a plan b for that one.

Anyway, ive waffled on a bit today, so see you !!

#keeprunning

@SJPC14

The Best 5k 2014

Slightly misleading title, it actually refers to the name of the 5k race i ran last Sunday and the above video, from 2011, gives you an idea just how flat this race was. On top of the complete lack of hills this race also boast several long straight stretches. In other words a perfect PB route.

Here is a slightly crude map of the route :

http://www.runningahead.com/scripts/maps/3fdf5fdcac094a48ae93f311862c5883?unit=mi

Going into the race, i was confident. I haven’t race a 5k in years and being a short race. I took the race non-plan i took to the Vernons 4 Mile road race a few weeks back. That was to go for it and see how it goes. Now i had actually had some hope of going sub19 having recorded several sub20 5k runs at the Preston Park Run and when i reached the first mile point in 5:40, i had two choices slow down or carry on pushing it.

I decided to carry on pushing it, which ended up being a mistake and highlights how little experience of shorter races i really have. In a 10k or above distance race. Go out to fast, you can slow down and use the next mile or two to get back onto your pace plan. In a short race, as i found out at Vernons. There is little room for error, so going out too fast equals a gradual running out of steam with little or no time to recover by either taking your foot off the taking on board more energy.

coal engineSo i chose the bad option and when i got to the long home straight, which i had initially looked at and thought what a great opportunity for a fast finish. I was instead battling the urge to slow down and using up every last bit of energy i had left. Annoyingly, i was side by side with another runner and we switched places several times but i knew i was going as fast as i could muster, there would be no sprint finish for me. So as he took off one last time ahead of me, i had no choice be to watch him go.

I crossed the finish line in 19:07 a new distance PB and sixteenth place, but with a sense of disappointment, that on a perfect course with good whether conditions i missed out on a great chance to go sub19 by getting my approach all wrong. I think the long straights and flats actually worked against me, as i wasn’t used to running on such routes and combining that with my limited experience of racing a 5k. I couldn’t judge my pace properly and i missed out.

That said these last two races have been a great learning experience and i think i have neglected the shorter distances too much over the past few years. They offer a great opportunity to judge if you your training is working and whether or not you’ve gotten faster. But that said 19:07 isnt bad, it facct its a great time and it works out at around an average pace of 6:10 which is the fastest average i have ever recorded, so progress has been made. Even if it wasnt what i had hopped for.

I think i will re-run this race and vernons next year, i am big supporter of using the shorter distances as bench markers for your longer races and for too long i neglected the distances below 10km. Time to correct that.

The race in numbers

Number of finishers : 139
Female / Male split : 40% (55) Female / 60% (84) male
Winning time : 00:16:24 (Male & Race) / 00:19:50 (Female)
Last place : 00:56:01 (Male & Race) / 00:46:25 (Female)
Average time : 00:26:42 (Race) / 00:24:40 (Male) / 00:29:48 (Female)

Would i do this race again : I certainly would, the organisation was great, plenty of free parking, use of the facilities in the Deepdale football stadium and a pancake flat route with plenty of straight stretches, a perfect PB or first timers route.

In other news :

The Russian’s continue to their drive back to the good old days of the Soviet union

Win something every day until December 25th with Athletics Weekly

Find National Trust running routes

Speed Development for Distance Runners

Marathon news

As planned i started my marathon training two weeks early, this week, and so far so good. 7 planned runs, 7 runs completed – 65 miles close to Manchester.

Next to book in a few races to us as markers, before the big day. I have my mind on a half marathon which if i set a PB will see me increase my training pace and a 20 miler which i will use to test out the sub3 marathon pace.

#KeepRunning

@SJPC14

Time to ditch the car! Time for Active Travel

Ditch That CarI am now getting towards two years where i have been mostly walking to and from work, its a journey of just over two miles. And a couple of months ago we to a building with changing and shower facilities which resulted in me starting to occasionally run to and from work as well as fitting in the odd lunch time session.

Now not everyone has access to such facilities, i am very lucky in that sense but if you live around 2 miles from work and your a keen runner. Why not walk to work ? You have all the water proofs you need for you running life, which can easily be used for walking and if you don’t want to walk all the way, why not walk and bus your journey ?

As well as the obviously financial savings, which can then be invested into running related paraphernalia and doing good towards the environment walking is great exercise.  It has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers. Walking at a moderate pace of three miles/hour (five km/hour) expends sufficient energy to meet the WHOs definition of moderate intensity physical activity. Also you wont need shower facilities if all your doing is walking to and from work. walking burnsSimilarly even without showers, if your place of work is within five miles of your home and you have a bike, that’s an easy gentle cycle in.

In regards to the running commute, again even if your place of work does not have showers. If you live close enough to it, to walk in. You could run home after work, taking in your lunch for the following day and your running gear makes this a much easier to achieve in my experience and means you’ve less to carry in your run bag. Now that run doesn’t have to be straight home, it can be your long midweek run or an easy five miler, it can be what ever kind of run you want.

If you don’t have the faculties i have, live over two miles from work, but work for a large organistion, why not get the other cyclists and runners in your place of work to come together and request the introduction of shower and locker faculties for staff. After all studies have shown that there are benefits to employers of promoting active travel schemes include: increased productivity, a reduction in sick leave, improved public image as a result of lowering the workplace’s carbon footprint, and savings in providing car parking facilities

Waking to and from work on just a two mile journey adds an addition 20 miles of exercise and will only take you between 30-40 minutes depending on how fast you walk. Best set off early the first time you try this, to be on the safe size. Cycling wise, you could easily cover up to five miles each way in no time and gain 50 miles of additional exercise each week on top of your running.

So two easy cost affective ways of adding additional training to your week.

If your go for the third option of the running commute, even if its just a run home, once a week. Your find your gain additional time in your life, as you completely cut out the time spent traveling home, giving you more time to do whatever it is you do in the evening.

So come on get active, go for active travel!!

p.s walking to and from work, is so much nicer than driving!

Related links

NHS – Walking for Health

The contribution of walking to work to adult physical activity levels: a cross sectional study

runningtowork.co.uk

Runners World -The Run Commute

cyclescheme.co.uk - discounts on bikes!!

@SJPC14

Challenge 2015 – Something to focus on

new york 2014

This posts header picture is of Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany the male and female winners of the recent 2014 New York marathon who battled winds of up to 40 mph to record times of 2:10:55 and 2:25:07. A world a way from the kind of times i am doing and pretty mind blowing.

So challenge 2015. I needed something big to focus on, something other than trying to improve my running form that is. And after a lot of thought, Ive decided after two years of traveling, to do a home marathon and Ive plumped for the award winning…..

Runners world, most improved marathon 2014,

Running Awards best marathon 2014

Great Manchester Marathon

The race in its current format, has only been going since 2012, but 2015 will actually be the 39th addition of the race, after a decade passed during which it wasn’t held.

The race is known as the flattest marathon in the UK, which will make a change from the Wales marathon which had been designed to be the UK’s toughest.

The race starts and finished near Old Trafford stadium, taking in many of Manchester main roads and Media city, so I can expect plenty of space (hopefully) . So again, quite the contrasting race from Wales, which took in coastal views, castles, hills and fields. But being a big city marathon, what it will lack in beauty it will make up for it in atmosphere. With the organisers promising entertainment throughout the race and a festival style atmosphere. So that’s will make it a little special and keep us runners moving.

For more details on the route , you can see the online map here

The marathon is licensed by UKA and your time counts as a qualification time for other marathons such as Boston, Comrades and London ‘good for age’. So who knows maybe, I’ll be going to Boston one day after all (fingers crossed).

Looking at last years times, the first four runners all finished in under 2:20 , 204 (3.4%) runners of the finishers completed the race in under 3 hours. So despite the race being the flattest in the UK, the theory that only around 3% of runners will ever finish a marathon in under 3 hours holds true. After all, you would need to run around 6:52 mins per mile for 26.2 miles in order to just slip under the 3 hour mark, so its no easy feat.

48% of runners completed last years race in under 4 hours.

The winning time last year was 2:16:58, the average finish time was 4:07:43 and last place came home in 7:12:29. There were 5,911 finishers of which 73% were male, so clearly more women need to sign up to this one.

great manc mara 2014

So April 19th, all being well, will mark my first attempt to go under 3 hours, requiring a PB of at least 12 minutes and 47 seconds. Its not going to be easy.

I will again be following an 18 week training programme from the Advanced Marathoning book, once again stepping up, in terms of distance. To take on the 70-85 miles per week schedule. Unlike Wales, were i made the mistake of not starting training early, i will be starting training, two weeks early so with just 23 weeks (gulp) until marathon day i will be starting training in three weeks time on December 1st (Happy Christmas). The advantage of starting training early is a reduction on the impact of any injuries that may occur and flexibility to account for any life related matters or should i wish to enter any races.

I already plan to do a few races, which i will keep to a minimum as they do break up training. However, if i can achieve some PBs in say a couple of half marathons then it will give me confidence going into the day and give me something to gauge my development as well as forcing me to train at a higher pace. That said the training programmes in the Advanced Marathoning book, do often include “tune up” races, so perhaps some races will line up nicely with my training.

As well as an increase in mileage, there are a couple of others things i plan to do to aid my mission to go Sub3. These include an increase in core work (every time, i say it, i just don’t do enough), an increase in speed session, improve running for (With the aid of Helen Clitheroe) and perhaps join a running club. I will continue to walk to and from work, despite my office move adding an additional 600 metres to the journey. This will help me maintain a good endurance base as well increase my leg strength as there are a couple of hills en-route.

So i have three weeks to build my mileage up to fit in with my next training plan, which last week was 54 miles and this week is on for around 50 miles and week one of the training plan is 65 miles. So i think am on for a smooth(ish) transition into that. I am thinking 55 miles, followed by 62 miles, followed by 60 miles will be a good transition. Although i was thinking about doing a 5k race on November 30th…..But hey this is why am starting training early.

So it begins……well in three weeks time it does….

In other news

THE RUNNING AWARDS Not only is voting and nominations under way for the 2015 additions of the awards, but you can also vote for this very blog, if you have found it at all useful, i would appreciate that. Thank you :)

Runners World look at the ideal age for marathon running

Yoga for core strength

Running camp

helen&Tanja

So last Saturday (October 18th) was running camp….and as per custom, I set off late. Which having made the decision to run the sort 1.8 mile to the training location, ensure I was the second the last person to turn up. One day, I’ll get better time keeping.

The session was being run by Helen Clitheroe and Tanja Slater and would last for three hours. In all there was around 17 of us booked in, for what would turn out to be quite an intense but enjoyable session covering even more routines and moves that I had never seen before challenging my flexibility and even my coordination.

The day was set out as follows :

Dynamic warm up mobility exercises

Leg swings forward back/ side to side
Hurdle lead leg/ trail leg
Eagle face up/ face down
Scorpion
Leg whips
Rocker to hurdle seat
Trail leg rol

Running Drills

Walk (arms and foot placement)
Walk with hold- balance and core
High knee drill
Heel flick drill
A skip (driving leg down)
B skip- leg extension
A/C skip
Ankle hops
Chicken run
Running with form

Conditioning Exercises

Barefoot

Practice single foot balance
Rolling foot with tennis ball
Walking with a roll through the foot heel to toe
Heel walking
Toe walking
Kenyan shuffle

Shoes on

Single Leg dead lift walk- arms out to the side
SLDL walk
SLDL walk with rotation
Spiderman walk
Plank walk
Afterwards I caught up with Helen who like me she had also recently run a four mile race, finishing fifth. Although unlike me, her time was around 20 minutes!!  She would of won my race by a good three minutes, such is the gulf in class.

I mentioned my heel issue to her and like me she thinks it could be a bruise rather than an injury. I then asked her couple of questions :

What do you think of when your in the lead position, with no one ahead of you to focus on ? 

Run hard and focus on your pace.

One the hone straight, if someone makes the break for the line before you, obviously they now have the advantage, is there anyway to recover from it ?

She said, obviously they have the advantage and it is very difficult to beat someone who has moved into the sprint before. Also the closer to the finish you are, the less likely it is that you will be able to recover. What I do, is I start to think about the finish from 1000 metres back, which should give me enough time to prevent this situation occurring.

Is it worth joining a running club ?

Running clubs give the opportunity to access running coaches and to meet runners of a similar ability to yourself, who could potential come training partners would will push you harder than training with someone of a lesser ability or always training by yourself.

So that was running camp…..I think I will be booking another session with Helen and rightly so. In the meantime I need to work on some of things we went through and practice proper running form by thinking about how I am running. Although in the session we were warned this will take time, in fact the coaches said it will have to do it 1000 times before you master it.

So lots to think about, I still have a bit of an issue with my heel but it is getting better. I even managed to cover 34 miles this week.

if your interesting in checking out training session like this one, visit the Active Training World website or visit the person sites of Helen and Tanja.

In other news :

A workshop with Alberto Salazar

Belaynesh Oljira and James Rungaru win Great South Run

When to return to running post marathon

Ageing and efficiency

Indian Half Marathon elites take the bus

@Sjpc14