Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Oops! I don't wanna do that again

It appears I made a number of mistakes during my first ever HM last year. I completed it and in a time I was pleased with but I have since found out that I could have done better not only in time but in how I felt too. So here are my mistakes and how I've fixed them:

Having random music playing instead of a set playlist. This is a bit geeky. OK, very geeky but I didn't like the random music coming on. It didn't mean anything to me while I was running. Therefore I devised a set playlist that I would use for the last 6.1miles (52:26sec) of any run I did. This meant I raced something home. I started with a song which starts at the halfway point (i.e 3 miles) and then worked forward from that and back from that to get the full 6 miles. It means I know what plays when and how long I've got to go. Plus it's upbeat so it pushes me on. I really can't tell you how much this has helped my when training on my own.

Drinking only water on both training runs and the actual HM. This stinks of the obvious but this was bloody stupid! I mean really, really, bloody stupid. Running for 2 hours uses a lot of energy. I didn't replace it with anything but water. No sugar, no salts, no carbs. Genius. Sometimes I'm amazed I finished at all and wasn't one of the unfortunate ones eating pavement. This time I'm training with Lucozade Gels and drinking Powerbar Milkshakes after and I feel so much better for it. Both during and after the run. Why did I discover this so late!! Idiot!

Starting too fast and finishing too slow. After my revelation last week, this is not a mistake I intend to make again. Negative Splits!?!?! is something we should all be doing apparently and all I have to do is let lots of people run past me at the beginning and then pass them towards the end. Surely even I can do this!! I have to let the competitive part of me go for the first half of the race before turning on my playlist and start reeling them all back again in the second half. I see this as a little challenge now!

So, mentally I'm doing better than last time, physically I'm doing better than last time and at the moment, I don't just want Fleet to be over with and then stop. I want to carry on and do more organised runs and try and improve every time. Maybe this is what it feels like to be a proper runner...

As a final note, I really want give my full support to my running buddy, eatingtrees. He's only now coming back from suffering with his ITB and he is not where he would have liked to have been in training coming up to Fleet. He's starting to put the miles in again now but is pretty down hearted about his times. Considering we thought he may not be able to run Fleet at all, I think he's done fantastically and it'll all help towards our ultimate goal of the Prague HM which is a couple of weeks after Fleet. If you want to know how he's getting on with his injury, check out his blog and give him some encouragement, I reckon he'd appreciate the support!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

What's a day between friends!

Well 24 hours later then planned and with less pub based preparation and more pasta and bed based preparation, I did my longest run for 5 months this morning. Yup, 10.1 miles and you know what, I loved it. Really happy with the time of 1:27:35 too. I worked that out (probably incorrectly) somewhere in the region of 8.40/8.45's for the complete distance which I believe to be heading towards a time of proper runners and less of the slightly overweight bald bloke that I've been in the past.

I also learnt something too. Pace yourself. I know this isn't exactly a revelation to the majority of people but for me, it was a necessary lesson. Some of my runs in the past (training and Royal Park HM), I've been (rightly) accused of setting off to quickly on something around an 8/8.30 pace and have always struggled nearer the end. Reasons for this severe lack of genius training regime include the fact that I always think I'm going to struggle near the end so I try and build up the time in reserve to meet my target. WOW!!! How wrong can one person be?!?!?! A mate of mine has been nagging me about this for a while now and finally today, some of that nagging found it's way into my little pea brain.

The results: I ran my first 5 miles at 9 m/m pace but then what's his? I still have plenty of energy?? Maybe I'll pick up the pace. So I did. The second 5 was done of a pace around 8.20 m/m ish to give myself a time that I'm very happy with and also the knowledge that I can run 5 miles at 8.20 pace if I put my mind to it. How cool is that!!! That's made my day.

So 18 miles in the last 7 days. That's a good place to be I think. I'm off to make myself a cup of tea and bacon sarnie to celebrate!!

Thursday, 19 February 2009


Well that hurt. A lot. It's official, running + hangover is not good. I'm not sure how Jogblog does it.

I did complete my 8 miles with TAOSW but it hurt. So, so much. My standard pace seems to be somewhere between 8:45 and 9 min miles. Yesterday, after 3 miles, both our watches read 24 mins. 8 min miles. Oh dear, it appears we may have gone out a little quick. There was no doubt at all in my mind that I was going to suffer for this later on and suffer I did!

Around mile 3 was also when I just couldn't catch my breath. I'm not sure it was because of shock at our time or the hangover but both is probably a good bet. Had I been on my own at that point, I may have walked a bit but there was no way TAOSW was going to let that happen. She has training to do remember!! So on we plodded albeit closer to a 9 m/m pace.

Now a problem here arises as I don't trust this Nike+ thing as my pace varies so much plus I'm too tight to buy a Garmin and I was too hungover to remember any more mile markers so we just continued to pound the pavement and eventually, after a few more moans and groans (from me) and more wanting to stop (from me), we got to the finish line registering a time of 1:12:25 for 8.2 miles. That's an approx pace of 8:48 per mile. With my hangover, my general bad mood and the wanting to die/stop every mile ish, I'm was quite happy with that. As you can see though, we (I) did struggle badly towards the end and had nothing left.

My points from my last post were met as follows:

1)I did get my Haggis, Neeps and Tatties and it was lovely 2)I did demolish a pack of Maynards Wine Gums and it must of helped in some way. At least they made me smile 3)It didn't feel fantastic when I finished. I just felt relief 4)It hurt for a lot longer than just the first few miles and I still ache now 5)Confidence isn't the right word but with no beer on Friday and running at 8am Saturday, I think it should all be good

Now my right foot has some feeling back in it (it goes completely numb on most runs so I have to remember to scrunch my toes every few steps. I forgot), I'm going to attempt 10 miles on Saturday morning. That will be my longest run since the Royal Parks HM last Oct and I'm actually looking forward to it. At least then I can banish my memories of this one. Roll on the weekend!!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Stepping up the training…. kind of

Well with only 3 and a half weeks until the Fleet HM, I need to pick up the training a bit so his week I'm planning to run 18 miles. Obviously not all at once, that would just be wrong but in 2 stints starting with an 8 miler tonight. This is my least favourite run I do. I run from my work to Twickenham. For all those outside of SW London, that's 8 miles pretty much all along the South Circular (A205). The traffic's horrible, there are too many curbs for me to fall down and worst of all, I'm actually running AWAY from my home!! That's an awful thing to know while running. I then have to get the train back (and no, there's no way I'm running back again and doubling the distance). I do this for 2 reasons only. Firstly, to push my mileage up and secondly, because someone I work with (we'll call her 'the amazingly organised spreadsheet woman'), lives there and is training for the big London run for disturbed people (aka The London Marathon) so it's nice to run with someone occasionally.

Because of the above, last night should have been a night of card loaded food, relatively early night and no alcohol. It backfired slightly. I say slightly... I mean completely. When you're still trying to get served more disgusting cooking lager as the bar staff are cleaning around you and the bell has already gone, you realise that it may not be the best training possible. Even more so when you consider that this part of the evening had been preceded by many various and tasty forms of Indian Tapas at Imli and yet more cooking lager with a couple of friends. Together with SHL (aka eatingtrees) we appear to have bullied (there really is no other word for it) the 3rd one of us into running a 10k in May. He doesn't run. Well I guess he does now and he was certainly keen once plied with alcohol. I will let you know if this is still the case once I send him the link through later today. Fun as it was, it was certainly not the best training and I think I'm going to suffer later for it.

Because of all of the above, I'm having to try and give myself encouragement and motivation to run tonight. This is all I've come up with so far so any help would be appreciated.

1)Once I get home, I have Haggis, Neeps and Tatties which I've been looking forward to for a few days now 2)For energy purposes only obviously, it gives me an excuse to feed my unhealthy addition to Wine Gums 3)It'll feel fantastic once I finish 4)It'll only hurt for the first few miles 5)It'll give me confidence to run 10 miles on Saturday Morning

OK I'm stuck there and as you can see by points 3, 4 and 5, I'm already clutching at straws!!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Is running the new tube journey?

Well I'm back from my weekend in Essex visiting the parents and have now taken off the white stiletto running shoes and am back in the world of the antipodeans that is SW London.

One of the best things about living round here is the routes along the river and the feeling that you're still in the countryside whilst being in an awesome city. Mind you, running back around where the parents live this weekend was an interesting change... For a start where are all the bloody pavements?? I forgot they don't exist in the countryside just south of the middle of nowhere!! I mean I should be trying to figure out whether I'm on course for an 8:45 minute mile, not whether I'm going to be sprawled over the bonnet of a 18 year old's Peugeot 106 with go faster stripes! Saying that though, it was lovely and quiet. On my 6.1 miler (bloody lightweight i hear you cry) I saw 2 other runners. 2!!! I reckon I see more than 100 on my normal route. The whole of South West London's just a very public running club where every one's invited on either a Saturday or Sunday morning as long as there's no eye contact. It's like being on the effing tube. Hot, sweaty, crowded and you're not allowed to talk to anyone else but you still have to pretend you're cool!!

One argument that quite often gets directed at me is that I may be a little competitive... OK very competitive and annoying to boot. Now I have to admit that there may be a slight element of truth in that but it's only slight. No really! Saying that though, I did discover something when training for my first HM last year, it just doesn't apply to running. I just don't care where I finish in relation to any one else. Friend, foe or complete stranger, I just don't care. I race against me, my watch and my iPod shuffle playlist (it's 52:32 secs and i turn it on with 6 miles to go on any run). That's it and I love it. That's all the motivation I need and so far, it's worked just fine!!

As a final note, I had a Facebook email from a mate today. He's just found out that he's been given a last minute place in the London Marathon '09. Unfortunately for him, he only ran his first mile today. Fuck that!! I reckon he may well be collapsed on the side of the road somewhere along the route on the day but fair play to him, he's giving it a go and he's got my support. However, he will now go to the top of my list of disturbed people I know that run marathons!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Who is... Hauling My Carcass?

Well this is my first insightful, witty, and hopefully readable post for my new blog. OK, It's not a great start but I had to run 3 miles before I could run a Half so everyone has to start somewhere right?!?

From the start, I apologise for the general appalling abuse of the English language and spelling throughout. I got a 'c' in my GCSE about... 5,10... 13 years ago (bloody hell!! really??) and things haven't exactly improved since! Also I have a really annoying tendency to use too many exclamation and question marks. I will do my best to keep this under control too. (amended)

So a quick rundown of my ability to run: I bloody hate it. Not a little or just a bit. With nearly every ounce of hatred I can muster. That is until I get about 2 miles in anyway. Then something weird happens, I start to enjoy it! OK maybe enjoy is a bit strong. Maybe endure is better. So far I have complete one 10k a few years ago but did my first HM in Oct last year. YAY!!!(sorry) Christ that hurts. I mean seriously, why bother? These people that do actual marathons and triathlons must be in some way disturbed. Anyway, once the nicotine and alcohol had calmed me down and obviously once I'd finished, I agreed to do another one. When I say agreed, I mean was bullied into it by my friend and occasional running buddy, Shaven Headed Lovely (incidentally, this is his name for himself, not mine for him but from here on in, he will be known as SHL).

So here I am. The middle of Feb with the Fleet HM coming in about 4 weeks (wow putting it in writing is a bit worrying) and then the Prague HM 2 weeks after. Admittedly the Prague one will be about just finishing and making my way to a bar with SHL to smoke Shisha and drink Staropramen but I figure I'll deserve it by then.

Training works out around 10-15 miles a week right now and I can't see that increasing too much as I prefer eating and drinking to running and I can't see this ever changing! Anyway, it's Saturday tomorrow and 6 miles awaits. Hopefully it'll be an improvement on my 2 miles giving up effort on Wednesday! As you can see, the 10-15 mile training is not as strict as it should be.

Comments are more than welcome and would actually be appreciated so please, show some encouragement!!! (sorry)