Monday, June 10, 2019

On the 2019 rollercoaster

This year started so very well with my running delivering great things, I ran everyday between new years day and Valentine's day before the wheels completely fell off my wagon. Not long after the streak and a few fun races I broke myself at my first ever 20 mile race. In the days that followed a hip issue left me barely able to get out of bed in the mornings, and so my running and mood plummeted. Roll on to now and my mood has not improved much and neither has my running - I now have a heel / plantar fascia issue on the foot of the opposite leg to the now resolved hip issue.

Suffice to say that I am desperate for a run, or at this point any other consistent physical exercise but it feels some way off. I am not done with running, I still have a lot of ambitions to do events and to do some events I have never tackled before. Something needs to change and I am wrestling with how to do that just now.

Friday, March 15, 2019

2019 has certainly started

I have belatedly realised that I have not yet posted in 2019, so here it is a post! It has been a busy beginning to the year and so that is probably why I haven't blogged. If you are a follower of my running over on Strava you have a fair idea of what shenanigans I have been up to. I won't write much more now but suffice it to say I have my first ever 20mile race on Sunday. More soon...

...will have to see if I can beat 5 posts this year (my average for the last two years)... no promises!?!?

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Run#7 spring marathon training block

Run#7 of my journey to spring marathons (my 48th parkrun)

This morning I got myself down to the Blackweir parkrun (Cardiff), my outing was split into three parts:

Part 1 - warm-up on the way to the parkrun start

This morning I used the 1km commute to parkrun to jog, and do a dynamic warm-up (including a bit of plyometric skipping). It was a really good warm-up and happily I wasn't skipping when I passed two fellow Pegs Ellen and Caroline. Both of them looked to be well set for a good run and were doing their warm-ups looking relaxed.

At the start area I took of the extra layers that thought it wise to use for a change and left them in the parkrun baggage drop. Near enough the first time I have used it for warm clothes because I usually barrel down in my running kit, survive whatever the weather throws at me and then run home before I get to cold / wet (or both). Once I had sorted myself I stood waiting feeling clear in my purpose for my run session, a warm "good morning" from another Peg, Colin, made me feel even more at my ease.

Part 2 - Blackweir parkrun (A course)

So I set out this morning with a fully formed plan for both preparation and the run, and happily ended up nailing a good parkrun for the third in a row. The middle 3k were as balanced an effort as possible and the numbers look nye on perfect. Today was about borrowing some last kilometre speed and spreading it through the first 4k to take me to sub-30mins for parkrun for the first time this year. The last km was still a controlled burn and happily felt as strong as my last parkrun.

My kilometre splits according to Strava were quite staggering 5:59, 5:37, 5:37, 5:37, 5:00 - I focused hard in the middle on technique and rhythm but was surprised by the quality of the outcome when I interrogated my watch once I got home.

As soon as I got out of the finish token collecting funnel I enjoyed a quick catch up with Luke (another Peg runner), he finished well ahead of me and looked fresh but reported that he has been wrestling with some niggles that are stubbornly not clearing up. I hope he is back to full fitness soon as I hope to be chasing him around some more parkruns in coming months.

Once I was done I got my kit back on and stretched before setting off for home. Pre-warm-up and layers to put back on afterwards were all part of trying to go into each run from here with the best approach / preparation that I can.

Part 3 - the strategic walk home

So then it was the final element in my cunning plan... walking home warming down gradually. It felt good in the moment and I hope that the active stretching of the walk home will improve my post-parkrun recovery time.

#parkrun #blackweir #strava #2018PB #runningwithaplan #marathontraining #brightonmarthon2019training #running #pegasusrc #persistantpegs #dontcallitacomeback

Monday, September 24, 2018

Sunday long steady run that wasn't quite...

It was not really a steady run it was more of a marathon paced run, to see how I would get on. This run turned out to be one of those eventful ones that will stick in the memory for a while. The run started out close to my old marathon pace and then saw how long it would - not long as my post run Strava km splits revealed. I was really pleased with how much better this run went than last weeks run, I felt far more fluid and was in a really good frame of mind setting out.

The plan was to practice gels and take one an hour with one before - having gone around Cardiff Bay to the second gel at two hours of running I discovered I'd lost it somewhere (it must have worked its way out of my run belt). Happily I had packed a pack of 'just in case' sports beans, so I smashed those down and finished of the bottle of water I had carried / used until that point.

On the way back towards town I realised the park entrances to the Taff trial would be locked and I couldn't retrace my steps, new plan hatched (that I calculated wouldn't add too much distance) I ploughed on. Into town it was quite busy and I was greeted by three lads who yelled "Oi, fat slob!!" as I passed them. Already feeling a bit out of sorts at other hiccups this just about mentally finished me off... the long gradual hill up North road was incredibly hard.

Finally I got within a kilometer of home and entertained thoughts of a final push, to which my legs said "no chance!", and then the wall hit and I was in gripped by a full energy bonk as I got back. Breathing rate up, heart rate up, deep fatigue, legs legs jelly... yeah, it was not a long steady run, it was basically a 3 hour tempo run. Glad it was done, glad that I stayed focused (for the most part), and glad that it sets me up to get round Bournemouth marathon (albeit now perhaps as a recce for a better attempt at it another year).

Monday, August 20, 2018

Bournemouth calling (soon)

Why Bournemouth?
It will be an opportunity to meet up with a school friend who has also signed up to run the marathon. Though that said my biggest motivation is to try to take some time off of my most recent marathon time of 5hr 21mins. Initially when I signed up I was thinking of knocking an hour off, from here though I will be happy with simply bettering my last marathon time in a way that builds me into the winter and a crack at Newport again next year.

What is Bournemouth?
The Bournemouth Marathon is ’running as it should be.’ Beautiful coastal views, a chance to run the Boscombe and Bournemouth piers and a spectacular finish.
Held this year on Sunday 7th October 2018 (Start time:10am)
It's 2018 lead charity partner is Macmillan Cancer Support.

To answer this another way I turn to
The Bournemouth Marathon is a road race run over the distance of 42.195 km or 26 miles and 385 yards. It takes place each October in Bournemouth on the south coast of England. The inaugural Bournemouth Marathon took place on 6 October 2013. It is an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race. It is part of a festival of running which includes a half marathon, 10km run along with shorter races.
18 week training plan
The fulsome training plan went out of the window with the summer holidays, a change of job role, and well life in general really. Back on the road now and following a hastily assemble 9 week progression aimed at getting me around in one piece. The plan is my own and relies somewhat on prior experience of what works for me, the big issue (as it has been in most training phases of late) is to try and avoid injury whilst building up time on my feet.

Stretching and strength
I am almost permanently broken these days so I have to find some core strength and fascia responsiveness

Mental preparation
At the time in the Newport marathon when things began to unravel and the lack of preparation became fully evident I didn't have the mental preparation of having run long and hard through fatigue in my recent memory. I far from mentally imploded but it was evident that I was wrestling with plan B the rest of the way without the preparation that would have made the last 10k less emotional.

The biggest challenge?
Overcoming myself and the obstacles that I will no doubt put in my own way - the run with too much intensity, the run when I should have rested, the extra helping of food I don't need, the slavish dedication to a preset plan rather than listening intelligently to my body, and probably above all the pressure to run the time that I want to.

The way forwards
Training sessions will pop up on instagram and strava, and periodically be summarised here so that I can track my efforts and reflect upon progressions (weekly or fortnightly posts - I haven't decided yet). Most of all (and again a theme I keep coming back to) I have to get moving.

Hashtag cloud - #bmf2018 #runbournemouth #andyonthemove #autumnmarathontraining #comebackkid #anothermarathon #marathontraining #newtonrunning #garminrunning #stravarunning #chasingfitness #letsdoit #persistentrunner #slowandsteadywinstherace

Thursday, May 10, 2018

2018 so far

Apologies for the distinct lack of blogging, I have been very busy instagram'ing, strava'ing, and so forth but not sitting down to write and build blog posts. But then I realised that I have been missing writing about my running in a longer form, so I am trying to get back here a little more.

Running wise it was a brilliant start the year, a 10 week marathon training block that went about as well as any training plan ever has for me, and then I ran a half marathon. The Llanelli half went fabulously well, it was my fourth fastest ever, the bit that didn't go so well was the aftermath. As I healed up after the race it became clear that I had more than just little niggles, I had the kind of niggles that were going to keep me out of running for some time. The good part was that I really really really enjoyed the 10 weeks, and that I found lots of elements that worked for me.

At the end of the April I managed to get myself to the Newport Wales Marathon... more on that at the beginning of next week...

Friday, September 01, 2017

Race review - 2017 Severn Bridge10k

2017 Severn Bridge Half Marathon and 10k - Sunday 27th August

The first ever Severn Bridge 10k was a good one because it was born out of an existing half marathon course and organisation. The runners village was well proportioned and well laid out within the available space. Sunshine bathed the event on August bank holiday Sunday and even had some of us hunting the shade before the start.

Would I recommend the race to a friend? Yes, because it is well organised, a good sized event, an accessible location (as you might expect being as most of it is run on the motorway network), the goodie bag was very well appointed, and scenery is very different - how often do you run along a plank of concrete suspended between the sea and the sky?

How it went for me:
What happens when you haven't run a 10k in a while? You run the best 10k you have in three years - of course. It was a strange circumstance indeed and I can only fathom that as I have run so many near 5k PBs this summer that I carried something through to the bigger distance. I was absolutely chuffed to bits to smash my own low expectations. The runners high and raw endorphin buzz was huge afterwards, so much so I might still be riding on the wave.

We started at one junction of the motorway bouncing to power ballads and dance tracks played over the public address system with many runner tucking themselves out of the sun under a road bridge. Before the gun went off I had the pleasure of milling about with the merry band of Pegasus club mates that had also opted for the 10k race instead of the half. We discussed sun cream (which I was able to 'borrow' from a kindly Peg in the runners village), the nature of the last hill into the finish, what everyone hoped to achieve, and we even waylaid an official photographer to do us a group shot.

I started off running the first two kilometres with no idea how I was going to go and clinging to the hope of dipping below the hour mark. During the opening 15 minutes I settled, found a pace, and more importantly found my breathing in the warm weather. It helped that I found a flatter part of the road deck camber and was following a club mate up ahead who I knew was on a similar schedule. By the time we reached the turn around point just inside of 5k I was happy that it was turning out pretty well, and was bracing for the second pass up and over the suspension bridge. Running with Pegasus Club mates made for a buzz before the race and great encouragement during the race. It was at the half way mark that I realised I was in fact chasing just the one Peg up ahead of me.

On the down hill slopes I gained and worked to try and limit loses on the up hills, the Peg up the road was doing a great job of pushing up the hills and was consisting gapping me more on those sections. In the last 3k I settled into the thought that as long as I didn't slow down beyond 6:20/km I was coming in under the hour and any real notions of pushing harder melted within that thought process of "Under an hour? Awesome!". The sun was shining across the whole cross and I was not at all comfortable with the heat, but knew I could keep efforts where I wanted them.

That talked about last hill was indeed a kicker, not hugely long but a sharp gradient that took me right out of my rhythm. Up ahead I could still see my club mate and was pleased that she would be first home of our cohort. After the hill levelled off leaving about 100m to go I briefly gave chase and had given up when a guy sprinted up next to me. He clearly wanted to beat me to the line, so rather than throttle back I daftly decided to throw on the afterburners and race him. I held him all the way to the line where he actually squeezed over in the narrow funnel to make sure I wouldn't pip him on the line. Could have been he was running the half and not the 10k (as they come into the last 3k together), but I like to think I spurred him to a better time (! - ahem, will I ever learn!).
A welcome can of pop, a flipping big medal, and a cracking time

Summary: Absolutely chuffed to bits with my efforts, most of which I paid for over the following days of course having done so little training. The race is very good, and I reckon I will be back for a crack at the half-marathon.