My philosophy...

'The road to success is a painful journey through the Wilderness with various obstacles man has to overcome. The journey has its ups and downs, its highs and lows, but man will rise victorious eventually. The human body is designed to deal with everything you throw at it; never give up fighting and you will never lose the fight.'


Monday, 2 August 2010

Pushing those boundaries!

Well, as of late I've become pretty hooked on speed training. My weekly schedule now includes a 5k speed session, as well as a 10k one too. Having had a busy week, I found myself doing these sessions back to back ie. Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday was the 5k session ie. shorter efforts. This entailed 2 mins, 4 mins, 6 mins, 2 mins, 4 mins, 6 mins, 2 mins all of 2 minutes recovery. What a tough session this was, but I was very pleased to get the final 2 minutes on the end as that is some advance on the past few weeks where I have found myself finishing the session on that 6 minutes.
Sunday was the 10k session - 2 x 10 minutes @ 10k race pace off 3 mins recovery. At least I have a 10k race pace now - about 3:39/km. I wasn't expecting to stay with this pace as I was running on a grazing field which doesn't give anywhere near as much pace as the tarmac. I still recorded 3:42 pace for the first set of 10 mins and 3:44 for the second.
I'm now on my recovery week after a solid few weeks training. This fits in nicely as I go out to Swizterland on Thursday to run in the Sierre - Zinal Junior Race on Sunday. I couldn't have got into shape at any better time; I feel as if I'm peaking and ready to rumble!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Reflecting.

Well, this feels like the first opportunity I've had to sit down and blog since Harrogate 10k. I've been on work experience with Dr Martyn Speight, a cracking runner in his day, and so have struggled to even find time to train!
During this time however I've found time to reflect upon the 10k. Firstly, I am now really wanting to do another one and bring that time down to low 36. My mind is asking lots of questions; what I could have done on a flatter course, what if it wasn't windy etc. My biggest suspicion however is of the length of the course, as the map I posted last shows the course as 6.31 - 0.11 miles longer than a standard 6.2 mile 10k race. So, maybe I'm clutching at straws on that one but if it is true it could have cost me a good 30 seconds.
My preparation for the race was also very bad. Having had a variety of Mexican drinks on Friday night (!) and only birthday cake, nothing more nutritious to eat, I found myself a little low on energy on Saturday/Sunday.
These are all 'ifs and buts' but next time I may get everything right and reach the goal of 36 minutes!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

A good debut!

Well after a week or so's solid training, it was time to race.
I think it was mere curiosity rather than anything else which has driven me to enter a 10k. I’ve been on the look out for a local one which doesn’t cost a bomb to enter for while; Harrogate Town Centre was to fit the bill perfectly.
The course has been changed in the past couple of years to eliminate a sizeable hill in the route (typical road runners!). Still, I wasn’t to complain as the eradication of a hill would surely mean I could get a faster time.
As I lined up, the atmosphere was reasonably friendly but equally intimidating as people jostled to get to the front of the grid. Without any warning, the horn sounded and my first ever 10k was underway. I set off steady but soon got into the pace of the race and started pushing on, passing the early high flyers seemingly effortlessly. The organisers still seemed to have picked an ‘undulating route’ as we seemed to be forever gaining and losing height; there was certainly a lack of flat running. I hit the first mile marker in a time of 5:37 (!). I definitely felt as though this pace wasn’t sustainable for a further 5 miles.
It was as we neared the 3 mile mark that it became apparent that the race was 2 laps! I now started to feel the strain of the early miles which were all sub 5:50 and the tedious nature of 2 laps began to damage my psychologically. Still I fought on, up-down-up and round the houses of Harrogate.
I tried to hang on to the couple of runners in front and despite losing a little bit of ground, they didn’t get away too much. I was relieved to see the 6 mile marker; only 0.2 miles to go! All I focused on now was getting to the line and so all the pain could be relieved. As I lunged over the line, I looked at the big timer which showed 36:50. So, a pace of about 5:54 per mile over 6.2 miles.
I didn’t really know what this meant but as I had set out with a goal of 38 minutes, I couldn’t complain. Had I paced it better, I may have earned something more respectable. Still on a hilly and windy course I felt fairly satisfied, and even more so by the fact that I’d actually done my first 10k. Will this be my last? My last for a while I think! Don’t get me wrong, it was a very well organised event with a nice goody bag at the finish, but I don’t think I could pound the streets with minimal enjoyment week in week out. I’ll stick to the fells from now on, until I pluck up the madness/courage to try and beat the time I set today!

Monday, 12 July 2010

The good and the bad news.

Well firstly let's get the bad out of the way. The injury I sustained to my heel turned out to be worse than expected and it was a crack to the bone with lots of tissue damage. The good? I'm back fighting fit, training well after a 4 week layoff and ready to start blogging again!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Hebers in ya legs!

Yep, I can certainly tell I've had a session in Hebers Ghyll Woods right now. My legs feel a little achy and generally tired. It's hardly surprising however after 4 reps of possibly the hardest location I will ever encounter to do my hill reps. I didn't really know what to expect after a reasonably hard session yesterday and a sore heel which came about as a result of me jumping off a roof at school to retrieve a football. Foolish I know.
Still I set out today with the ambition of running every single rep. Each rep isn't particularly long, probably 3 minutes for the fastest and 5 for the slowest, but by God it gets the legs and lungs going. I did achieve this goal as I chipped away at the reps and manage to run every single one of them without any troubles ie. I didn't venture into the territory of that familiar Fell Running race walk. Many of the group did, even on the first rep (!) as the going gets particularly steep and slippy near the end with various roots and steps to overcome.

I felt to run really well. I felt to have a really flowing style and felt to have lots left in the tank ahead of Saturday's race. Normally, I wouldn't have done something as tough as this 2 days prior to a race, but the upcoming race isn't particularly important so I'll just see how it goes and always know that whatever the result, I've come off the back of a tough week's training.
The picture shows the last two bridges of one individual rep - as there are about 6 bridges in total on each one, each one having a similar distance/climb in between, the task in hand becomes apparent.
A nice rest day tomorrow as I go and look round Manchester University and then it's Buckden on Saturday. Onwards and upwards!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

2+2+2=6

Well after yesterday's steady 30 mins on the Cross Trainer (sorry not worth reporting!) which helped me recover from Monday's hard session, I thought it was time to rev the engine again in another speed session. This one, despite taking place in the same location (ie the School's grass track), took a completley different format and direction. It was much more endurance based, more of a 10k session than the 5k one encountered on Monday.
So, 2 miles 'easy' followed by 2 miles at a 'medium' pace, followed by a 'fast' last 2 miles. Yep, no rests, just continuous running which gets progressivley faster throughout the session. My next trouble would be what pace was fast, slow and medium. They are all fairly general terms; I did however have a rough idea of what these meant. 'Slow' would be 7:30 min/mile pace, 'medium' at around 7 and 'fast' hopefully in the region of 6. These predictions proved pretty accurate. I set off with these paces in mind and they felt to be pretty much perfect, although the slow may have been a little fast. Still, the session grew older and the pace got faster - a lot faster.
I ran the first mile (easy) in 8 minutes pretty much exactly and so decided to use this as a precidence for the second mile. I then had to up the pace to 'medium' which involved taking a minute and a bit off per unit as I did the first one in 7 minutes and the second in 6:50. The session, at this point, was far from over. I'd had it pretty easy up to the 4 mile point and I know had to kick on to a hard pace. This I did with a real vengeance as the legs got shifting and the heart got pumping. The first mile is a good effort, 5:58. I want better now though, I feel mentally strong and it's the last burst. I'm now going hard and really in full swing, going for it like it's the end of the race. I'm now into the last 10th of a mile and I sprint to the imaginary line for a 5:38 last mile! Boom!
What a reeeeeeally great session. I was ecstatic as I warmed down in the baking sunshine. I felt physically and mentally strong, almost revitalised and as if the form from Monday had continued. I feel so much better now than I did a couple of weeks ago. Roll on tomorrow for some Hill Reps on Ilkley Moor with the club!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Back on track!

Well, I've summoned up the courage to blog a post in a time where running has been pretty tough for me personally. It's a bugger of a sport - one minute you feel on top of the world, the next it beats you down.
I seem to be finding my feet once again however. I did 30 miles (up and down Yorkshire Dales terrain) last Tuesday on the bike and since then things have come on nicely. Today was the peak of things. I had 2 minutes, 4 minutes and 6 minutes all of 2 minutes recovery x 2. I wouldn't however have been surprised if I only managed the first set. I really went for it though and revved the engine, feeling really good and getting some great reps in. I got to the 4 on the second rep and after that, decided to call it a day. Still, an awesome session and the 2 sets is something to build up to next week.
Tomorrow is a nice recovery run before a hard session on Wednesday. Let's move forward together!