Saturday, 30 October 2010

A grand long autumnal run

Didn't manage to get out for my Friday afternoon long one due to a packed diary and the need to take some golf clubs and a dinner suit (don't ask...) into work, so begged a couple of hours puppy-free time on Saturday to get my long one in.

K went out early doors, so I looked after Izz (who in my opinion is getting much, much better with wee etc and painfully cute with it - see right) and then when K took Lils swimming I went out for a run.

Not exactly sure where I was going when I set off, only that it was going to be slow with no MP nonsense, but I'd checked out a few possibilities on Google Maps beforehand.  I got to Halton East and over into Wharfedale at a steady 8 min-ish pace, then had to make a decision - downriver for an all-tarmac but less secenic excursion, or some extra-pretty fo road stuff by the Strid.  I opted for the latter as I had my camera with me and the trees were looking amazing with golds, yellows and even the odd light green still hanging on in there.

The Cav Pav is 5.25m from home, so I worked out I'd need to be on 10.75 when I got back there if I was going to get 16 in, but I was pretty sure just running up to Barden and back would be too short.  The trip through the woods was glorious as ever, and I had several stops to take pictures, dodging little people on some sort of pumpkin hunt.

Barden Bridge was, as I expected, only about 2.25m upriver from Cav Pav so I was going to be a mile or two short if I just ran home, so once I got back to the Pavilion via the far side of the river (with some amazing views from high above the Strid) I crossed back over and set off towards the A59.  I managed to spill gel all over my hands, and was still grumpy from this when I realised that I couldn't stay by the river and get down to the A59 and had to plod up some steps and then go back down to the Priory. 

I then got even grumpier when I stopped to wash my hands in the river and due to my lack of flexibility managed to slip one of my feet mid-calf in the water - so it was a squelchy, grumpy andy made his way to the old bridge and headed for home.

The pull up from Bolton Abbey was pretty tough, and it's a long time since I've run up there with tired legs.  I used to do all my long runs on this route, and that 2 miles of uphill is hard when you've got 16 miles already in your legs - so no chance of MP miles at the end today.

I did do a couple of sub-8 miles in at the end, but today was just about time on my feet - I ended up doing 16.2m in 2:10, so just over 8 min pace on average, but some quality miles in my legs and a stunning day to be out.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Intervals by the river

Tuesday was a London day, then off to Newcastle on Wednesday for a couple of days with the team before the official "TUPE transfer" next Monday when we're all one firm.

Knocked off about 5 and headed down to the hotel, then was out of the door by 6:15 heading down to the Quayside for some faster running than of late.  I'd decided on half mile intervals with half mile recoveries, and decided to do just three as it's my first time.

I felt really good running more quickly, and whilst I'm not sure I'd have fancied mile reps at that pace, it felt like there was more in the tank.  The long recoveries helped, of course, as I decided to run half miles instead of the normal 200m we do at the track, but I was pleased with three reps all at faster than 6 min mile pace.

Not sure how I'm going to get a long one in tomorrow, so may be using up Brownie points with Kazza to get my planned 16 in on Saturday.

Monday, 25 October 2010

MP session in the sun!

My second "4 in 6" MP session tonight - same as last week with a half mile jog then 4 miles at MP - which turned out to be a bit brisker than that.  6:37, 6:33, 6:21 (whoops) and 6:36 all felt comfortable, but I definitely didn't fancy the extra mile I'd contemplated early in the effort.  I must get myself into the habit of running these at a more comfortable pace.  The problem is now I know that 6:45 or whatever's going to feel pretty tough, so I sort of just run at what feels suitably hard - but actually I'm going to need to be doing 5, 6, 8 and even 10 miles at this pace in the New Year, so I'd better get practising.

Still felt fresh enough for a 7:15 back to the road and a slow jog down to give an average pace for the 6m of under 7 min pace.

I think it's time I started to put some speedwork into this programme, especially as Abbey Dash is only 3 weeks away, so I think Wednesday's run up in Newcastle will be something involving half mile efforts - hopefully at somewhere around 6:10 pace if I can manage it.  We shall see...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

A quieter week, but a lovely Sunday


Went out with Herb on Wednesday after work for a very steady 5 miles on the canal - probably about 8 min mile pace, chatting away - what some people would call classic "junk miles" but for me is part of getting the old bod used to running most days.

Thursday was a write off, as I left the house at 0630 and got home at 2130 after a full day in London, so my vague plan to run into work before getting the train to Newcastle was a non-starter and I stayed firmly in my pit.

So I was left with the weekend, during which I was honour bound to do some puppy-proofing in the garden, which at the cost of 85 quid I managed to do fairly successfully - we now have a slightly frustrated pup but nevertheless one who won't dig any more soil up of eat any bulbs.

However I did manage a blustery old 5 miles up to Halton East in something just under 40 minutes, with a few miles on the way back down at 7:30 pace which is feeling pretty easy nowadays.

Herb on top of the moor, with Simon's Seat in the background
Herb and I went out on the fell today - Arr (he's called Simon, but he's from Cornwall, see...) had told us about a way of going off-road to Halton East, so we set off across some very poo-ey farm tracks to the Eastby road, then along the lane at the far end of Eastby.  This leads to the ice-cream place near Halton East and from there onto the track up to the fell.  Herb struggled a bit on the uphills, but I felt better than I have recently - maybe I should have gone and done the Within's Skyline!
Embsay Crag looking spiffing as usual
Up on the moor was just glorious - blue sky, a bit of a breeze and everything looking amazingly crisp.  We headed back over Embsay Crag and paused on the top as we spotted K and Nicola plus children on their way up.  We stopped for a chat before descending fairly fast to give a 9m run - and who cares about pace?
Looking down at the rezzie and our approaching children
So no long run this week, but a good 90 minutes or so of running today, and a total for the week of almost 30 miles.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Just a steady run in the sun

Bonus today - had planned on cycling in as I had an all day assessment centre, but it turned out late yesterday I was only requiredbto do one interview and watch a presentation - with the interview at 08:45 and the presentation at 16:00 - so not only did I get loads done I also got a bonus run in.

Just a steady 5 at lunchtime, but the weather was gorgeous and the pace once on the towpath of 7:24 felt easy peasy. Finished in 37 and bits (haven't downloaded it yet as I'm puppy sitting again) so something around 7:30 pace overall. I love a bonus run, me...

Monday, 18 October 2010

MP session in the rain

My first experience of the loneliness of the marathon training runner tonight - all the lads were out at lunch having a sociable time but I was stuck in meetings, so at 5:15 off I went for my first "x in y" MP run.  I start at 4 MP miles in a 6m run and try to build up to a 10 in 12 although 8 n 10 was as far as I got last year before my calf conked out.

So - 4 in 6 it was with the sky darkening and threatening rain.  I decided to start my effort at 0.5m in case it got really dark and I had to do 4 in 5.  My pace judgement's buggered - 6:15 for the first mile before I conciously slowed down.  Then 6:45 (spot on), 6:42 (getting too quick again), 6:32 (wtf??).  Averaged at 6:33 for the 4m, so too quick and no way I want to be running that sort of pace for 8 or 10m, so some judgement work required.  And it pissed down.

Still - I wasn't blowing too hard and my calves are fine, so maybe a return to the track is called for soon...

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Long run - almost a proper one

Board Report week (which is an awful series of writing then correcting/changing reports, and with acting as a kind of "supply teacher" and looking after Operations I have two to write) so by 3pm Friday I'd absolutely had enough and was itching to get out and get running.

We were going out with Angry and his wife so I was under oath to get home for 5:30, so starting out at 3:25 for what was planned to be 16 miles wasn't the best idea. However I set off, possibly a bit quicker than usual, heading for Bingley.

The first few miles, usually averaging 8's were indeed a touch quicker, and my pace on the canal was 7:30-7:35 and felt very comfortable. I had decided to turn at 4:20pm as I could allow myself an hour to get back and still not turn into a pumpkin. At 4:20 I was at about 7.25m, sodecided to carry on to 7.5m and do 15, which would still be a step up from my last long one, and also to try and do a 4m effort at PME (which my RW mates tell me is "perceived marathon effort" - which at this stage will of course be slower than marathon pace).

The mile up 3 and 5 Rise was slower at 8:03 then I had half a mile to recover before the Micklethwaite road and the beginning of the effort. I tried to keep it at what felt comfortably brisk, which for mile 1 was 7:07, and the second one was 7:03. I felt pretty comfy so speeded up to 6:51 and then the last one at 6:41, which still felt ok. Pleasing to manage that at the end of the longest run so far, and to be able to run the last 1.5m still at 7:30. I also got home to go and see a very chucklesome Jon Richardson in Harrogate.

No running today as it was a momentous day in our house - firstly a nail-biting couple of hours waiting for the postman to deliver Maisie's 11+ results, which she passed by bloody miles (not sure what we were worrying about really...) and then off to Bordley to pick up young Izzy, our new puppy, who's a real cutie and seems to be settling in really well. Pics on here if she ever stops still long enough to take any...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

No bike this week...

No time to run monday or tuesday this week with trips to newcastle monday and sunderland tuesday, so today's planned cycle commute was ditched in favoir of a brief lie-in and a lunchtime run.

On my own, so up to the canal and left towards Riddlesden. Pace was easy but turned out to be 7:30 once on the canal, and speeded up a touch each mile. The weather was so utterly glorious I didn't want to stop - however with this being lunchtime I had to turn at the 3 mile point. So we ended up at 6 miles in a touch over 45 minutes, an average of 7:36.

It was luvverly.

Another comedy get-up tomorrow and newcastle again, so no running, but then hopefully a long one friday.

Apple of my eye Lily W ran in the Craven Area schools cross-country yesterday and came 4th - meaning she's through to the county finals! Clever old Lils!!!  Here she is just being pipped on the line by a sprint finish:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Autumn or late summer?

Herb and I picked the right day for a bike ride - a stiff easterly breeze but increasingly clear skies and reasonable temperatures.  We'd decided on Otley "the lumpy way" as this offers a couple of stiff climbs and a visit to Dunnie's caff.

I seemed to spend far more time out of the saddle on the climb up Halton Heights, but suddenly became aware that I was alone.  Normally I have the sight of Herb's arse disappearing into the distance, but it became clear that I had somehow left him behind - odd, as since the early summer I've been the one getting dropped on the climbs.  By the time I got up to the top and dropped down the other side he was quite a way back, having suffered riding into the wind.

We couldn't decide if I'd gone up the climb quickly of whether he was having a bad day, but either way it seemed I was feeling better on the day, which makes a nice change if nothing else.  Having looked at a couple of other ascents of this climb, we weren't going much quicker than normal, so maybe it was Herb's legs having a bad day - whatever, I was going to make hay!

He speeded up quite a bit on the ride down Wharfedale and was alongside most of the way up Langbar (with me out of the saddle again), but dropped back on the final section.  2-0 to me!

We decided against inflicting further punishment on ourselves by not bothering with the Askwith moor road, so arrived a Dunnie's with 18m on the clock.  A "double" sausage sandwich (which on reflection isn't as good as the "single with egg" and a brew later we were on our way, having tired somewhat of a series of large noisy motorbikes with large noisy men on them coming and going.

The ride home was fairly sedate and enjoyable (apart from a spectacularly stupid overtake from some woman in a Freelander who seemed unsure whether to nearly kill us or some pedestrians, so opted for both), and we got home with 35 miles done at an average of just over 15mph.

Possibly my Cannondale's last trip out this year, unless the roads are salt-free for either of the upcoming winter sportives.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Blustery recovery

Have a list of jobs to do for K today, so after changing the water filter in the kitchen I decided I'd better get shifting and get a quick run in.  Karen had been out first thing and said it was "exhilaratingly blowy" so I put my Rab pertex top on for a bit of protection and set off.

Just up to Halton East, and the name of the game was recovery so I tried to keep it slow and steady - so slow and steady (and uphill and windy) was it that I ran a couple of the slowest miles I can remember!  An 8:21 was followed by and 8:46 - but then a couple of laps of the village gave me an 8:12 mile and the return journey being both wind and gravity assisted were steady 7:50's.

My HRM is starting to really piss me off again - straight up to c200bpm+ and then staying up there apart from the occasional excursion down the correct level, which I'd guess is about 130 for this sort of run - it was reading 137 as I was stood outside the front door!  I even took my bike computer out for a little jog up the road to ensure it's the strap and not my watch that's wrong - sure enough - both were reading 236 as I jogged slowly towards the paper shop.  Why is it so hard to get right?  C'mon Garmin- most of your stuff's pretty good, but this is shite.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Longish run - the last one after work?

Got away at about 4.45 today to do a run from Silsden.  Herb was along for the first bit, so by the time we were changed and ready to go it was just after 5 past 5.  Herb was going to run 6m, so I'd have company for the first bit of my run.  I hadn't really decided how far it was going to be, as Terry L had suggested I increase mileage every other week and last week's run was 14m.  I set off unsure as to whether it'd be 10 or 12 miles, and determined that I'd see how I felt at Tesco.

Herb asked me about the planned pace and I said 7:40 would be good, at which he demurred slightly - but of course as always with Andrew he is always going better than he thinks.  The first couple of miles were, as usual, a bit slow, as the first one involves getting going and the other the little slope up to the canal.  Nevertheless we were probably just under 8min miling for this section, then speeded up nicely to a 7:40 for Herb's last mile with me.

He turned at the Riddlesden swing bridge and I carried on towards Bingley speeding up slightly to 7:30 pace to the turn at the top of 5Rise.  I'm not sure when I decided to do 12, but at Tesco I was moving pretty well and there seemed to be enough daylight to get round in, so I carried on.

My HRM has gone bonkers again, so my HR was showing 220+ most of the way round - time for a new one or time to stop bothering?  Anyway - I was feeling fine when I got back to the Tesco road so speeded up.  I've been saying I seem to only have 2 speeds - 7:40+ and 6:30 or better, so I decided to see if I could run at an increased effort without pushing hard - this turns out to be just under 7 min miling - not a bad pace if I can get that a bit quicker come the spring then that could be about marathon pace.

I did a 6:57 and a 6:55, then pushed a bit harder for the last mile of effort and ran a  cheeky 6:38.  That took me to within half a mile of coming off the canal so I finished with a 7:40 and a 7:34 to come in just under the 90 minute mark for 12 miles.  The last mile along the road was fairly hard work, and it getting pretty dark, so my LR next Friday will have to be an early start - I've booked the diary out from 3:30 which should be plenty.

I'll try and get a steady one in tomorrow, then maybe a few miles with The Herb on the bike on Sunday.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Bike in on a lovely day

Glorious day to ride to work - felt far less grumpy about missing it yesterday as we set off into the rising sun at 7:15.  Definite nip in the air though, and I was grateful for my long-fingered gloves and jacket.  My Hope front light had its first outing of the winter too.

Herb was merciful today and pootled along without leaving me gasping in his wake, and we got into work in a few seconds over the hour.  One fabulous day (of weather - not work) later we set off home, with me feeling decidedly over-dressed in the sunshine.

A truce was declared just outside Tesco - this was not going to be a silly ride home, so we spun nicely up through East Morton and bimbled along to the top of Holden Lane. A swift swoop down and we came across a solitary mountain biker complete with rucsac and baggy pants.  Herb was unable to resist the temptation for a burn-up so we went up through Swartha a touch quicker than I would have liked, but we were soon heading over to Cringles at a more sedate pace, road cycling's honour having been preserved.

We got home in a touch over the hour, so a good 6 minutes slower than last week, but it definitely felt a more relaxed and pleasant trip.  I would have liked to stop to take some photos as the view up Wharfedale as we came over to Draughton was fantastic, with Simon's Seat standing proudly out from the moor.  May just have to have a little run over there this weekend...

Quite possibly my Cannondale's last commute for this year, as my winter bike goes in for its pre-season service on Saturday, so I may well ride to work on that next week.  Maybe I should have some sort of ceremony for my summer bike - although it's done rather less work this year than last.  Looking at my stats from Rubitrack we're just over 3/4 of the way through the year and I've just about done half as many cycling miles as last year.  I am slightly ahead on running though with 78% of the total mileage (but of course this year includes a marathon campaign).

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Swifty tempo session

Bottled biking in today due to inclement weather so ran after work.  Warmed up for a mile with Herb then ran a 3 mile effort at 6:22, 6:23, 6:22 then a 7:20 and a 7:50 warm down.  Solid 6 mile sesh and the effort didn't feel too eyeballs out.

I think I need to do more work at MP though - maybe not yet, but those "8 in 10" mile midweek MP sessions are going to be key.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


A work conference thing in Harrogate Monday and Tuesday this week, but with the current austerity-fest we decided to work til 10 (including eating tea and drinking wine) and then start again at 8, with breakfast at 7.  Running was going to be tricky, so unless I was going to drag myself over to Harriers tonight I was going to have to try and run very, very early.

So - no wine, a quick pint then off to bed by 11:15.  Sadly due to space constraints in the biggest hotel in Harrogate 3 of us were lodging across the road in another hotel.  To say it was "a bit tired" would be insulting to insomniacs everywhere - it was bloody horrid.  A classic "Wallace Arnold Coach Holidays for the Nearly Dead" stop-off, you could smell tea and wee the moment you stepped through the doors - my room was on the uber-grotty 3rd floor and had single glazed windows that wouldn't shut, and some constantly running water pipes in the walls - so a restful night it was not.

Nevertheless, my new "base training" motivation saw me up at 5:45 and out of the door by 6:10 for a run through Harrogate and round the Stray.  It was odd running that early - I've never really been one for very early runs, but it was very peaceful in the dark, and once I'd worked out where I was going quite enjoyable.

I cut left at the Stray and across to the Wetherby road, then past Hornbeam Park station to where the Leeds road comes into Harrogate.  There was quite a valley on here, with a stiffish climb up to the junction.  Then it was gently downhill back into town, across the Stray again and back to the hotel.

Showered, dressed and into breakfast for 7:15 and into the conference room ready to talk bollocks all day.

Feel pretty good - even though it was a bit of a nothing 5.5m at 7:38 pace, it would have been easy to sink a few beers then had the day doing nothing with a thick head - as it is I'm bright eyed, bushy tailed and currently charging my "best" Hope lights for tomorrow's commute!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Shame - a strong motivator...

I got up this morning to see the same sort of rain that has battered Celtic Manor this weekend and caused the Ryder Cup to be rescheduled.  And it went on and on.  And on and on.  And as I type it's still going on and on...

K took M&L to the shops to buy lots of stuff Maisie probably doesn't need for her forthcoming trip to Bewerley Park, so I was left at home on my own, generally tossing it off and reading Runners' World forums.  I spend a fair bit of time on the "sub-3:15" marathon thread and have made some good (virtual) chums on there, so I was impressed to see how many of them had got their arses out today.

I'd decided not to bother, see, as I thought my 14 yesterday qualified me for a day on the bike if not a complete rest.  However the roads are awash which means no cycling - so having seen that other people had got out I felt almost oblioged not to waste a day off.  Added to that the diary looks a bit nuts this week so running's going to be intermittent at best - pay rises and new jobs are lovely but I do look back to 18 months ago when we could be out pretty much any lunchtime or by 5 any night.  This week I'm in Harrogate tomorrow with no time to run, so my best bet could be either early Tuesday or maybe a trip down t'Harriers on Tuesday night assuming we get finished in Harrogate on time.  Then bike to work Wednesday, probably Newcastle Thursday and hopefully a run home or a longish canal run Friday.

Today's run was my Halton East 5 miler in absolutely torrential rain - the road's flooded in a couple of places and I not only ran in a jacket I also kept my hood up!  I took it pretty steady until the last couple of m iles, which I ran at 7:15 pace - which bodes well (eventually) for MP runs of 6:50 or so in a few months as it felt very easy.

I've also picked out a few races for the build up - I already have Abbey Dash in the diary, and I've entered the Ribble Valley 10k at Christmas.  I'll be doing Kildwick Duathlon and Auld Lang Syne I expect too.  As well as that I'm thinking Brass Monkey, St Annes 10m in March and possibly Coniston 14 the weekend before London.  I won't be racing Coniston if I do it at all, but it's such a lovely race it'd be a good one to have as my last LR before the big day.

Finally just a word about the rugby league last night - Wigan won the Grand Final after 12 barren years which was great - but what I was also struck by was the number of good natured messages of congratulations from supporters of other clubs, including arch-rival St Helens - why can't football be like that?  Answers on a postcard...

Saturday, 2 October 2010

A little bit more...

After my "cutback" longish runs of 8m and 8.5m last weekend this week it was time to add a bit more on.  Newcastle Thursday saw me out with The Newmanator for a few miles on the quayside before some teambuilding beers with our new Northern Rock Asset Management friends.  We did 5 miles, 4.5 pretty steady ones then Tim got a bit giddy in the last half and we ended up running a fairly quick last bit.

No chance of a run Friday as it was back from Newcastle and K out on the last with the village rounders team, so I had to run today.  Lils' swimming lesson out of the way, then it was off to Silsden for my usual there and back run on the canal.

I'd decided on 14, and a pace of 7:40-7:50 or so.  The first couple of miles along the lane were just over 7:50's, then I speeded up to 7:45 or so for a couple, then I was into the mid-7:30's - I wasn't aware of pushing it but just ran at what felt comfortable.

I'd not been particularly keen to run today, but as I'm now in the "building a base" phase of pre-marathon training training (??) I thought I'd better get out, and I'm glad I did - I turned just the far side of Bingley having put in a 7:27 mile in down 5 Rise and all of a sudden I was on the way back.  I toyed with the idea of another mile to make it a 15, but decided I'd better do as Uncle Terry suggested and build up slowly.  After a slower mile back up 5 Rise I then speeded up some more, so ended up doing a 4 mile faster section culminating in a MP mile of 6:50 during mile 12.  After that it was back to 7:48's for the last couple of miles.

14 solid miles, 7:35 average and a good start to the "base miles" section of my training.  It feels a bit more real now as my "You're In!" mag came this week - as did The Afterburner's!  2 ballot entries, 2 successes - jammy sod.  Hopefully will have someone to do at least some long runs with anyway - although Paul's tendency to (a) do his long runs hideously early on weekend mornings and (b) run them at an unfeasibly fast pace may make that an occasional pleasure!