Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Better late than never

After my Christmas of multiple events and bike rides it was K's turn to get out today, which means shopping and Harrogate.  Maisie and Lily spent the day on their DS's, I mooched about the house checking work emails and generally wasting the day.

After K got home it was dark , and we'd just started Scrabble so I decided to ditch running for today, but then I logged onto the Runner's World Marathon Forum and one of my online chums was extolling the virtues of getting out when the weather's foul so I felt shamed in to it.

Got my kit on, and set off towards Halton East.  In direct contrast to yesterday this absolutely was going to be a 5 mile pootle, so with the easterly wind blowing in my face, off I pootled.  Entirely uneventful run - 5 miles at 8:13 pace, Halton East, round the loop twice and home, notable only for the pretty low average HR (124, which I reckon is less than 60% of max) and the slight stiffness in my right calf.  Ice on it tonight then nurse it round Auld Lang Syne tomorrow, which is back to the "traditional" fell runner's route because of the conditions.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Another long one in the bag

K was out running first thing, and when she came home after 35 minutes complaining about the arctic weather I was half hoping she'd cash in her shopping passout and disappear off to Harrogate to allow me an excuse not to go out.

In the end she decided that she really needs a full day at it so at 12 o'clock I was donning hat, gloves, jacket and buff to head out.  I'd no idea what I was going to do, other than the fact it wasn't going to be another 5 mile Halton East pootle, so I told K I'd turn round after either 45 mins or an hour.

Things had warmed up by Bolton Abbey, so I decided it was going to be the hour before I turned round.  As I ran through Beamsley and over towards Nesfield I was conducting an inner debate on where I should turn back.  The "plan" said an hour or 8 miles, but then I thought I've got Auld Lang Syne this weekend, then Garstang 10k the following weekend, so my next long run will be mid-Jan, and that's meant to be 18 miles - and after that it's Brass Monkey and then I'm onto 20 milers - gulp!  It was also by now a decent day for weather, I had a day off and would be running in daylight - so it had to be done...

So as I reached Nesfield I decided I'd go to 9 miles and turn.  I did actually contemplate going further, but the thing about these out and back runs is that you can easily do an extra mile going out when you're relatively fresh and then regret it at the end.  As it was, I felt ok at Ilkley golf club and turned with the watch showing 1:08:39.  I had one of my new Torq gels (not bad at all) and set off to chase the guy I'd seen going the other way a few minutes before.

I felt pretty good all the way back to Bolton Abbey, and was repeating my old long-run mantra that the last 2 miles is easy so really you've only got 2 hard miles to go once you're there.  The climb up to Halton East wasn't too bad, and I even felt frisky enough to throw in a couple of faster miles at the end to end up with a slightly negative split at 2:17:07 - an average pace of 7:37.

I was definitely working harder than the "easy effort" LSR suggests, and I'm not sure what to make of this approach.  Is it my route (that's pretty hilly, especially on the way home where you climb 330' in 2 miles), or am I just pushing too hard?  Come April I'm going to need to run 26 miles at a faster average pace than I did today, and whilst my average HR % was down at 67% it did hit 155ish at times near the end which is more like 80% of max.  I'm also flabbergasted at these people that run 20 milers and do the last hour at marathon pace - that's sub-7m pace for me (I'm still not sure whether the target's 3:15 or sub-3 - but that's for another entry!) and there's no way I could contemplate that just now.  I wonder if I need a flatter route for my long runs?  Toying with the idea of driving over to Ilkley on some of my Friday afternoons off and running down towards Pool and Arthington - busy, boring but flat!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Brrr and Bugger

First time the weather's impacted a planned activity today, and mightily pissed off about it too.

Got up early, collected The Herb and set off to Otley to meet the HLBS (or The Harrowgays as The Herb has named them).  Duly met up and set off in glorious sunshine but freezing tempratures, with the intention of taking back roads via Wetherby over to York and back via Tadcaster.

We spun along to Pool, with our hands losing all feeling despite in my case two pairs of gloves, then turned left towards Leathley.  Angry and Wood decided that the right turn indicated by my Garmin wasn't a metalled road, so we carried on up the big hill on the Otley 10 (and bugger me it IS big! I ran up that!) and eventually found a lane turning right with some of the correct places named on a sign.

This very quickly became slippy, and Wood took a tumble.  Things got worse the further we went, until we came to a bend with sheet ice right across the road.

This is Angry looking gingerly at the icefield.  Just after this we met a bloke out walking/skating his dogs, who told us it was even worse down in Huby, so we continued past Almscliff, spending more time sat on the crossbar with our feet down than we did pedalling.

Eventually we made the main road in Huby, with Wood having reacquainted himself with the tarmac, and had a brief recce of the road to Weeton.  This being equally icy we debated doing something on main roads, but in the end a return to Otley was the decision.  A very fast (and extraordinarily cold) 6 miles later we were back at the car, having travelled a magnificent 15 miles.  The Herb manfully decided to cycle back to Embsay, but the rest of us retired to Dunnies for a full English and a moan about the council gritters.

Toyed with the idea of a few miles running, but decided that I could gain more brownie points by doing the shopping, and also spend some more time on the logistics of my post-marathon pressie to myself, a trip to ride the Duva International Sportive in Mallorca.  Flights now sorted, hotel booked and bikes arranged - 4 days of top class cycling in (hopefully) spring-like weather for under £300.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

A dribble round the Ribble

Not sure how the duathlon yesterday would affect me, I lined up with Henry and a few other Ilkley Harriers at the start of the Ribble Valley 10k in Clitheroe.  I'd been for a warm up in my Nike race shoes but they feel so un-padded and lightweight that a slightly niggle calf persuaded me to change into normal trainers.

Henry, Mark Iley and I ran the first mile or so together, then Henry started to pull away slightly, so I went with him, deciding to wait and see how I felt.  I've finished a few seconds ahead of him a few times this year, but he's been doing track sessions with Ilkley at Carnegie and posting some scarily quick reps on his blog.  Several times he seemed to be pulling away, then I'm not sure whether he slowed a bit or I speeded up, but we ended up together again.

Just after the 2m point the route goes sharp left and I glanced back to see Mark had dropped back by maybe 50m or so - just me and Henry now then...

At the 5k point the watch showed 18:45, so not quick enough for the sub-37 I've got on my shopping list, but a possible PB on what I still maintain isn't the quickest course (although it invariably produces some fast times).

We ran together until at about 8km I thought I'd maybe gained a decisive lead, but soon enough I could see Henry's red t-shirt to my right, and at 9km he started to pull away again.  This was one of those points in a race where you can think "oh bugger it" and let the other guy go, but I decided it's only 2 1/2 laps of the track and less than 4 mins to go so I'd stick with it.

The route goes down to cross the river with maybe 400m to go, and unlike me normally I pressed on as we went downhill instead of allowing inner-cyclist to make me take a rest!  I kept the effort up on the other side and then just held on for grim death to the finish.  I actually passed a young lad in the colours of Lancaster & Morecambe just before the line, so finished 124th in a new PB of 37:14.  Henry was just 5 seconds behind with 37:19, which will, I think, get him in the official UK M50 rankings for 2009!

That's it for fast 10ks now - I'll do Garstang in January just because I always do, and because it means I can have lunch with Rick, my brother, to continue plotting our Mallorca Sportive trip in April.  After that it's long runs and half marathons right until April 11th...

Saturday, 26 December 2009

A boxing day duathlon

Having pretty much jacked in multi-sport events, one of the 3 or 4 that I'll probably continue to do is the Kildwick Duathlon.  Run by our near neighbours Keighley and Craven AC this is a low key, fun event that always runs on Boxing Day, but also at other times in the year.

Having eaten quite a lot but drunk very little yesterday I was on reasonable form when I woke up, so by 10.30 me and my bike were down at Kildwick waiting for someone else to show up.  I went for my normal "where does the run go" recce to the canal bridge to find it absolute sheet ice, and spent a very wobbly few minutes trying to get over it.

In the end the course was changed, with the bike leg being 5.5m instead of the usual 10m, and the run taking a slightly longer route to cross the canal before running up the fell to go round Farnhill Pinnacle.

I was (in my opinion) drawn rather higher than my ability deserves about 5 from the back (they go off in reverse order of expected finish time) and thoroughly expected to be passed somewhere on the ride by a speedy person.  As it was I passed a couple myself and held off my pursuers.  My transition was a bit ropey, but I set off on the run with a few people to chase.  My mate Steve was just doing the run section, so he gave me someone to follow who knew the way, and I caught a few folk on the run as well, and was just passed by the eventual winner half a mile before the finish.

Back tot he pub for a welcome pint of Landlord and a chinwag with a few folk, and when the results were passed round I was surprised to see I'd come 3rd - so a podium finish (albeit in a very small field) and a nice sharpener for the Ribble Valley 10k tomorrow.

No idea what to expect tomorrow - I'm definitely half a stone over fighting weight, and haven't done a huge amount of running recently, certainly no speed work.  We shall see...

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

More snowy action!

Decided to come home and put the Tesco order away, so whatever the state of the Seedhill track I wasn't going.  After a comedically early appraisal meeting, then a 3 hour Exco meeting it was gone 1pm when I was free to go out to run.  Thankfully, gloriously and beautifully that coincided with a fantastic spell of weather between the grey snowy bit this morning and the dark freezing bit later, so I set off for a quick 5 miles on the canal.  Gorgeous.  The snow was smooth and slightly soft, a bit like a recently bashed red-run, and the canal looked lovely.

I had to use Rubitrack on my iPhone again as I rushed out Garminless this morning, but apart from a slightly wonky track at the start where it appears I ran through Magnet Kitchens it was fine.  5m (Rubitrack reckoned 5.15 so 250yds out) in 35mins, so 7min mile pace, which was 1m of warmup/down and 4m at c6:30 pace which felt very comfy.

Probably a couple of days off now til Kildwick on Boxing Day and Ribble Valley on 27th.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Chilly at lunch...

After a day of inactivity yesterday the comeback of the Newmanator was scheduled for today.  Having broken a finger playing hockey he was passed fit to run the Abbey Dash (which was to be his first 10k) a month ago, and decided to warm up by playing a friendly hockey game the day before - and promptly broke the middle finger on the other hand quite badly.

So a month off for the little marketing lad, and me and Hinsley up for action, saw us debating hats/gloves/tights and eventually plumping for all three as the snow started again.  A longer version of our flat 5 miler on the canal, achieved by running down towards Bingley to start, gave us 6.7m total.  A few quicker bits left Newman panting a bit, but we eventually finished with an average pace of 8min miles, which given the conditions underfoot is fine.

Rang the track this afternoon, but as it's snowbound and on the wrong (well, the right side, but wrong if you're driving) side of the Pennines it looks unlikely we'll bother - so in all probability we'll do some kind of intervals session on the canal.  Wore my Innov-8 shoes today which were spot on, and certainly less slidy than the road shoes my chums were wearing.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Even more snowy silliness

Plan was to take the family out to Forbidden Corner near Leyburn today, but a forecast of heavy snow mid-afternoon put paid to going anywhere the other side of Harrogate.  A morning's sledging was followed by a realisation that I was (a) not hungover and (b) free for the afternoon, so I decided to get a few bonus miles in.

The Herb was keen, so for the first time in ages (he's been injured on and off for a couple of years now) we went for a run.  I put off road shoes on, as there's still a lot of snow on the roads, but in the event it wasn't too bad underfoot.  I ran down to The Herb's, then we ran back past out house and round the Halton East loop to give a nice 6 miler in just under 49mins, so a very steady 8min mile pace, but it felt great to have got a run in, and nice to run with Herb again after all this time.

Back to work tomorrow, and with the cold weather forecast to continue for the rest of the week I think a last bike commute of the year is looking unlikely, but we'll get a couple of runs in at lunchtime hopefully.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

More wintery silliness

Not content with cycling home in a blizzard on Thursday, the diary had "run home" in it for Friday afternoon, so off I went to work with my running stuff in a carrier bag and a slight feeling of dread.  Not just because of the thought of running home across 4" snow, but because the diary also had "Christmas Lunch - Aagrah Shipley" in it.  In the end we went to the Aagrah, I had too many starters as usual but missed out on pudding, so felt full but not stuffed.  Back to work to let it settle for half an hour then about 2:45 I set off home.  I used the canal towpath as far as the end of Riddlesden Golf Course, then cut down onto the lane that takes the cycle route.

This was slippy but much more pleasant than the uneven towpath, and cut down below the canal to leave me in the middle of Silsden, where I ran over the hill to Kildwick and Farnhill - this was easier than I'd expected, having only cycled along that road and remembering it as a very big hill.  Definitely a route to take in future rather than swearing at the muddy canal bank.  Dropped onto the main road at Cononley lane end and ran home through town.

Got home after 1:50, 14 miles in the bank and an average pace of just under 8min miles, which given the conditions is fine.  I also felt I had a few more miles in my legs, but as I was out on the beer (and more curry...) I decided against it.

Weekend off looks likely, as today was hangover day and we're of for a family day out tomorrow, so unless the day dawns bright and sunny I'll probably give it a miss tomorrow too.  The weather looks snowy for the next few days, so not sure whether my bike will be getting any action, but I'll be back to running again from Monday.

Interesting point about the run yesterday was that I'd forgotten my Garmin so thought I had no way of recording my run, but then I remembered I'd bought an app called Rubitrack for my iPhone, so decided to give that a bash.  It worked perfectly - even from in my pocket.

Thursday, 17 December 2009


Cycle commute day today.  Got up expecting to see everything crispy and white, but there was no frost, just a wet road and a slightly chilly breeze.  Once I'd got going it was definitely cold though, but with a buff pulled up round my ears and my new Alpkit headtorch on my helmet I was ok.  My hands got really cold though - K bought me some softshell gloves for my birthday, but my finger ends were very cold riding through Skipton.  Not the quickest ride to work with an average speed of just over 18mph (we often average over 20mph in the summer) but this was riding on my own on wet roads.

The snow started about lunchtime, and after a slightly worried call from Karen this afternoon to tell me it was settling in Embsay, and a later meeting than I would have liked I got away about 5:25 in quite heavy snowfall.  It was settling on the pavements but the roads were clear, although there was half an inch of slushy stuff in the sides, so I rode a bit further out than usual.  The drivers of Keighley were maybe more tolerant of this idiot cycling in a blizzard as I got no abuse, nor any near misses.

A slow ride home, along the valley as I wasn't even contemplating going home over the tops, and I arrived home covered in snow to be called an idiot by my darling wife!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Solo track session - good for the soul...

A day shopping in Leeds with m'lovely wife today - well more accurately a day shopping in Leeds whilst m'lovely wife was also shopping in Leeds.  We met up briefly for lunch then separated again.  I spent a fair bit of time in Up 'n' Running, Cotswold Outdoor and various bookshops.  I did venture in the occasional present buying emporium, but being a bloke all my Christmas shopping took less than an hour.

As I know I'm going to struggle to get much running in for the rest of the week I decided to use the last part of the day to grab a quick track session, but of course normal track chum Rich was still at work so I found myself down at Nelson on my own.

There was a guy (who I now know to be called Mark) doing some sprint training, but I was going to do my  intervals session on my own.  After a mile warm up and half a dozen 100m strides I decided on a 6x800m session with 200m recoveries.  It's a bit shorter than ideal (8 is maybe better) but K is out tonight at college so I needed to get back, and anyway being on my own I wasn't sure how I felt about a long session.

The first lap was, as always, too fast (82s) but having done this session running with Rich a week or two ago at 3:00 per rep I wanted to see if I could go a bit faster.  The second lap was 86, so "on the run" I decided 2:50 (or 5:40min mile pace) would be my target - I'd initially thought 2:55 but I was in the mood for pain!

In the event I managed it (although I think I'd struggle to do a full 8x800m at that pace):

1st rep 2:48
73s recovery
2nd rep 2:49
72s recovery
3rd rep 2:49
73s recovery
4th rep 2:49
71s recovery
5th rep 2:50
74s recovery
6th rep 2:48

This felt hard, and it's quite unusual for the 2nd to last rep to be my slowest, although both laps were 1:25, as by then the end's in sight and I usually speed it up a bit.  The last lap was tough, and my HR hit 170 - which I'm convinced is pretty much my max, so these readings of 178 and beyond during long runs are wrong, I reckon.

Had to share this simply fab notice on the door at Seedhill track in Nelson, setting out their Christmas "opening hours":

London tomorrow, so no running, then hopefully bike to work Thursday if the weather plays ball (although I think it's going to be a chilly one)...

Monday, 14 December 2009

Accidental tempo running

Took my stuff into work today for a nice steady 5 mile recovery run, as lunchtime running this week may be a little tricky due to shopping, London, biking and curry all taking their share of my time this week.

Set off up to the canal intending to run about 8 min mile pace, but shortly after turning onto the towpath I spotted the tell tale luminous green of a runner in front.  Incapable of doing anything but chasing my pace increased, expecting to overhaul the sweating tubbster within half a mile or so and then revert to recovery pace having shown him or her what a proper runner looked like.

Sadly as my watch bleeped to tell me the expected half mile of effort was over he/she/it hadn't got noticeably closer.  The next mile went past in 6:40, and although I was gaining it was clear I wouldn't be reeling in my prey until very close to my turn round point at 2 1/2 miles.  As I approached the swing bridge at Riddlesden my quarry was still a hundred metres or so ahead and clearly carrying on - I decided that as I had a 1pm meeting I'd better turn round.  I also decided that as this had turned into more of a tempo run and I was feeling ok I'd carry on, so I put in another two 6:40 miles before slowing down for the last bit back down to work.

Idly blog-browsing this evening I find that none other than Henry Heavisides, fellow Harrier, was also out for a run on the canal, and running his half marathon preparation long run at about 7:15 pace - so unsurprising I didn't catch him over the course of a couple of miles when he had a 1/4m start.

Anyway - left calf's a bit sore now, but no real damage done.  Concerned to find I've put on about half a stone in recent weeks with the bulk of the festivities to come.  On Friday I have a double curry day, with our team lunch at the Aagrah in Shipley then another curry there in the evening followed by beers in Bingley.  Have decided to take it easy on the curry Friday lunch then get a run home in - that should hopefully burn off my lunchtime bhajis and allow me to indulge in the evening with the calorie counter back to zero.  That's the theory anyway...

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Langdale 10k

Set off this morning for the Lakes after a poor week of training and a good (?) week of drinking.  Also got some very good news at work on Thursday which probably added a beer or two to the total.  Anyway - I decided it's Christmas, it's in God's Own County and if nothing else we have a designated driver (Vic, Aussie bloke, figure of fun and all round good egg) so we'll have a beer afterwards.

Arrived at the New DG and got parked up and after a usual toilet visits, debates on how many clothes to wear Rich and I set off for a warm up.  This was pretty unstructured by recent standards, but I didn't feel any niggles so just did a few strides and made sure everything was loose.

I've got stuck at the start of this one before, so I was quite assertive in not moving back from the line when all the latecomers try to join at the front.  Got away well, and was surprised to see that firstly I was somewhere in about the top 15 or so, and secondly that the other 14 weren't disappearing off up the road as quickly as I expected.

I was passed early on by a guy from Dewsbury Harriers I recognise, and thought to myself that that was any vague hope of being in the prizes gone - he's in my category and seems to be a fair bit quicker than me.

The hill on the outward leg seemed to be over quickly, and I only dropped to a 6:14 mile for mile 2.  Mile 3 was back nearer 6:00 again, then we were on the return, and in my opinion harder, leg.  We went through 5k in 18:30, so I guess breaking 37 was just theoretically possible, but I don't think this is a negative split course.

I was by this time with a group of maybe 6 or 7 guys, and I decided to actually "race" instead of just "run", so I pushed on a bit for half a mile and was pleasantly surprised to see we were now just 3.  I had seemed stronger than both the other guys on the hills, and as all of mile 3 and half of mile 4 is uphill I decided this was my chance.  I managed to get away from one of them, but the other one was doggedly staying with me, even coming past on the downhill sections.

I realised I was going to have to run a fairly fast last mile, so dug in and pushed the pace up again.  It worked!  The heavy breathing that'd been with me from about 2 miles in was fainter, and I finished 4 or 5 seconds up in 37:52, a time that I'm pleased with on a hilly course.  I was also very chuffed to come 9th out of 380 finishers, which I think is my first top 10.

Rich had a brilliant run to break 40 for the first time with 39:41.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

A few days off - naughty...

Intended to do a few miles on Thursday in-between two Christmas bashes, but felt a tad jaded after a late night on Wednesday.  Decided against a run and just went to another party, where another late night led to another day of sloth.  This was the cycle I was in last autumn, where staying away with with work led to too much beer which led to no exercise and poor diet.  At least this year I can recognise it and accept that there'll be the odd week when that happens.  Decided against a bike ride today as I'm racing tomorrow, but I will be back to a proper week next week.

I've got a day off to do shopping, but that should allow a run of some description, commuting bike ride is booked in the diary for Thursday, as is Friday afternoon for a long run - plan is to do 16m running home, but will try the slightly hillier but less slippy road route this time.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Lumps and bumps

Checked my Garmin readout for yesterday's ride home from work, and was fascinated to see that our lumpy way home has slightly more ascent than the whole of our 28m ride including Halton Heights and Carleton Moor on Sunday in half the distance.  Blimey.

My birthday today, so I bought lots of M&S cakey things on the way in and ate lots of them this morning at work (justifying it by also eating a posh M&S clementine as well).  then at lunchtime me and Rich went out for what we hoped would be a mud-free version of our hilly lunchtime run.

The flat bit along the canal was quite brisk, with the watch showing a 7:30 pace or quicker, and both of us were concerned that the hills, when they came, would be a killer.  The first one is a bit of a beast, and last time I did this route it was with Rob Thackray, ex-pro cyclist and fit lad.  A bit of unspoken willy-waving occurred as we both upped the pace without ever looking like we were actually trying.  Anyway today Rich and I ran on opposite sides of the road and I reached the top feeling ok - Rich confessed he was absolutely goosed - 1-0 to me!  The rest of the route was an alternative to the normal off road section, and it proved to be really good - a flat section followed by another testing climb.  Good stuff.

6.2m in 47mins odd - averaging 7:42, which is very respectable given 600' of ascent in 6 miles.

Out for birthday tea with the family tonight, so undid all the good work by eating a burger and drinking a beer or two!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Biking with sore legs

Determined to get a bike commute in this week, and today was the only day I could do.  Duly picked The Herb up at 0730 and set off down the valley towards Crossflatts.  Earlier in the year I always seemed to be training tired, as my legs got used to doing stuff regularly again, and this morning I had that feeling again for the first time in ages.  Presumably a result of 16m on Friday and a hardish ride yesterday (and being a tad fatter than I'd like).

Really felt like I was struggling on the first part of the ride, until Herb came past to take his turn on the front and then I realised what the problem was - monster headwind!  It was one of those winds that really take it out of you on the front and that makes the drafting bit of the ride a relative pleasure.

More idiots than usual on the way in, including a 4x4 blaring its horn at us for having the audacity to ride 2 abreast on the widest section of road imaginable, and we got in to work in one of the slowest times since last winter.

We came home the lumpy way, with my new Hope lights doing the business.  Very slow, but I think that's par for the course now as we can't get anywhere near as much speed up on the descents as we can in daylight, and both our brakes seem to be becoming less effective as the pads get gunked up.  No matter - another 27 miles in the bank, and the monthly total's already at 55!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

A few bike miles

The Herb's daughter's birthday today, so he was commanded to be home for 11.  We were keen to get some bike miles in though, so we set off at 9 over Halton Heights towards Barden.  For some reason that hill, which we ride over almost every time we go out never seems to get any easier - not sure if it's because it's at the start, but it just always seems to require an effort out of proportion with its height and steepness.

Damp brakes and wind meant the descent was more staid than usual, and we turned left for Burnsall with the sky getting darker.  Shortly before Thorpe it really started to lash it down, so waterproofs were put on, and we made out way into an increasingly breezy breeze down the tiny road from Thorpe to Cracoe.  I kept saying to The Herb that it was all downhill to Gargrave, but somehow the wind made it feel more up than down.

Because of the birthday celebrations there was no time for tea in Gargrave so we pressed on over to Broughton and onto a road we rarely ride, down to Elslack.  I had memories of the climb onto the moor from Elslack, which involved pushing my brand new first ever road bike up an endless incline, completely buggered.  I managed to scare The Herb with this tale, so as the road went up he slowed down conserving his energy.  In the end it's not that bad - about a mile of climbing, never grindingly steep - but you certainly know you're on a hill!  A left turn and a brilliant descent into Carleton, with the moors above Embsay looking spectacular in the sun, saw us hit 50mph with wet brakes - goodness knows how fast we'd go if we were confident we could stop!

A steady pootle through town and back up to Embsay gave us 28m in 2hrs, which is ok given the conditions.

I do feel I'm letting the cycling slip - 30m at the weekend is ok, but it needs to be backed up with at least one commute - but I suspect I'm going to struggle this week with 2 nights away again, plus out for a pizza on Tuesday as it's my birthday.  Maybe bike tomorrow, but I'll see how I feel...

Friday, 4 December 2009

Another one in the bag

My second Friday afternoon off to get a long run in daylight ticked off, but due to an enforced visit to Argos in Bratfud tracking down "hard to get" toys for Christmas, and the nightmare that is Saltaire roundabout I wasn't ready to go til 3:30, by which time the glorious sun had started to dip and the air was getting colder.

Nevertheless, hatted and gloved, I set off towards Halton East at a comfortable pace.  Something very odd has happened to my HR monitor because I was hardly out of breath and it was showing a HR of 170 - which is pretty close to my maximum.  Anyway, I don't use HR to measure effort, so I carried on at what felt comfortable.  5 miles is Bolton Bridge, which came and went with darkness fast approaching.  I turned down the Nesfield road towards Ilkley, thinking that come February and March this point will be about the 1/4 and 3/4 mark on my long runs when I'm up to 20m+.  Gulp...

I was having all sorts of niggly aches all the way round today - a bit in my shin, then a bit in my calf, then a bit in my thigh - nothing particularly painful, just irritating.  Probably just the effects of getting used to running longer distances again.

I'd decided to turn round at 1hr and see where that got me to, and it was pretty much bang on 7.8m, which is slightly past Nesfield.  I duly turned round and set off home, which turned out to be hard work, mainly due to it being pitch black and lots of uphill!  Still, the watch hit the 2:00 mark with home in sight, so not a negative split but not far off even.  I ran along past home to get the full 16m in, so overall I finished in 2:04 at an average pace of 7:45, which is a minute slower than 3hr marathin pace, so probably what I should be aiming at for long runs.  Legs feel feel fine, so I might do one more 16miler before upping the distance to 18m in Jan, aiming for 20milers in Feb and March.

The pic above is the readout of my Garmin - and you can see the HR seems very high (red line), and in fact leaps up massively just before 2 miles - but my effort didn't feel like I was working that hard.  Think I'll change the battery in my strap and see what happens.

Glad to have another longer run in the bag, and that I'm starting to feel like I'm getting some discipline into my training again.  This'll be another 30+ mile week, which is pretty good for this time of year.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Back, then to the Track

A couple of days away, with yesterday's Regent's Park session, meant I'd not seen the kids since Monday evening.  Maisie had decided she missed her Dad, mainly on account of the fact her Mum can't pick her up any more cos she's a bit big for K to carry, and she wanted a cuddle.  Nevertheless the track was waiting.

So, off to the track before going home tonight - cold and windy so decided on longer reps, and achilles both a bit tight so decided on fewer of 'em - 3x1600m (which I think is pretty much bang on a mile?) off 200m recoveries. Intention was to run 1:30 a lap or 6min miles.

1st rep - 1:23 (whoops)/1:30/1:30/1:28 to give a 5:51 1600m
200m recovery 71s
2nd rep - 1:29/1:28/1:29/1:28 - 5:54
200m - 71s
3rd rep - 1:28/1:30/1:29/1:28 - 5:55

So overall fairly happy with the pace, and no reaction from my achilles. Another Friday afternoon off tomorrow, so will do something long and slowish.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Round and round...

In London tonight and staying near Oxford Circus to try a different area for running.  I usually stay somewhere that gives access to the river and pass the time frightening stern-faced London runners who don't seem to have the same tradition of saying "how do" to their fellow runners.

Anyway - a tempo session (if that means a longish effort at something below flat out but a lot quicker than pootling).  Jogged up to the Outer Circle at Regent's Park then upped the pace to something a bit below 10k pace, and did 2 laps of the park which means something around 5 1/2 miles of effort.  Pace was about 6:25, which is quite pleasing as that was my 10k PB pace a year or two ago.  Had to take a work call after a couple of miles of effort so I did get a few minutes rest, but a total of 6.8m at and average pace of 6:45 which includes a mile and a half of warm up and recovery - so despite the fact I feel a bit porky I seem to be running ok.

Interesting thing is to look at the HR output - I've not downloaded my Garmin yet, but the average for the last couple of miles looks high - c170 when the overall average is 157, which is what I'd expect as an overall.  Will check when I get home and see if it was just short lived spikes or a general increase through the session, but that's higher than I see on track sessions normally.