Wednesday, 26 December 2012

5.6 k ish?! - race in 20:30. Solid.

A classic for my area, random distance! BUT the "corrida" are a lot of fun, and I wore my santa hat with pride, but also achieving 18:35 over the first 5k, just three seconds off my PB under race conditions, so I must have been shifting along a bit (not that it climbed as much (73m) as Ashton court Park Run (??m) does, where I got that time!)

Very pleased and thankful! Nice festive way to round off the year too with some friends along to cheer and hearing my son doing his now classic "come on DADDY!"

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

2012 Season Review and some perspective for 2013

Following on from Marathon Talk episode 150:

1. What were the highlights andwhat were the things that helped you achieve that?

It was a very tough first half year in terms of health and injury. But through it was birthed a new approach and purpose to my running that integrates a spiritual element, and I hope some deeper perspective and humility.

AND, what are the top 5 you will concentrate on over the winter?

- hill reps

- long runs (2½ hrs or more).

− running with other people

2. List the things you would like to get better at, holes in your training.

- the fade effect that doesn't seem to occur in the shorter distances I race in.

− compacting the time around the training (i.e. quick showers, fitting it into a schedule with it becoming this all−encompassing thing)

3. Key goal(s )? And how far away from achieving that goal do you feel?

− sub 3h marathon (fairly close, maybe 3:02…)

− 100 km / Templiers race (well up for it!)

− 17:59  5 km (pretty close)

− 37:59 10 km (not so close)

− 5:14 mile (stab in the dark)

4. Identifying your A-goal. Sometimes though, there is a bigger picture involved. 

− Marseille Marathon (spring)

− Ultra (autumn, possibly with marathon support a month before, depending on where I am)

5. What is your training budget. Over-promise and under-deliver. ME: do this with Heather.

− 5 runs a week. One long run to be done outside of family time, unless other plans made. My wife is cool with this.

Off we go! 

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Bringing back some speed!

8.5 km in 38 minutes

Loved it loved it, there's still some speed there, although breaking 38 minutes next year is not going to come easily!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Pain in the foot!

I've been sensing over the past few weeks, particularly after road running, a growing awareness of discomfort in the soles of my forefeet, which is leading me to question the legacy of forefoot running.

It seems like no matter where you turn in running media, the discussions about running technique seem to invariably imply that manufacturers have been overly playing to consumers supposed need for cushioning and comfort and actually encouraging poorer technique.

Not only do I understand these arguments, but application of forefoot running has resulted in significantly reduced knee strain compared with this time last year. So what's my problem? Well not only am I suffering from this sense of bruising, but I just question also the rigid application of the technique. I mentioned in a post in October following my autumn Marathon that my calves, which are prone to cramping after a time could be fully alleviated by resuming a heel-strike, which effectively stretches the calf muscle.

This is all coming off sore feet just now combined with a fair amount of laziness "preventing me" from getting out the door. Oh and my wife had gone to bed early and I didn't want to wake her...

Anyway, seriously, I need to give minimalist footware a bit of a try, but it may just be a quick dip 2013 could be an interesting year.

This is a Christian blog. I am also asking God again to afresh inspire me. Interesting to see that one of.the key inspirations behind the blog, andhero in many ways, Ryan Hall, has decided to resume being coached after the faith-based approach he had adopted. Hope it works for him.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

hill power!

Absolutely powered it up a 2k hill, I was feeling cold and only had half an hour. Bliss! Maybe slightly too hard though, as was feeling a bit wheasy for the rest of the evening. Marathon Talk episode 153 do talk about the need to build foundations in December, that tricky month, in order to really start preparations in earnest in January.

Fantastic video out on SaintElyon. Felt quite emotional just watching it!

Monday, 10 December 2012


9 km varied terrain and a couple of phone calls!
Its hard to know when to build long runs back in after a big event, especially if that big event is far bigger than anything you have ever done before. But all stiffness was gone on Thursday and Saturday saw me do 10 km in about 50 odd minutes, so I think it would have been fine to takethings further today. Unfortunately I just ran out of time. I made a concerted effort to remind myself that everything is fine, I'm not even currently training for a race, and am enjoying a drink or two!
Am still feeling really blessed at just how well everything went really last week at Lyon. Some not great choices still failed to tarnish an amazing adventure, and I came out totally uninjured too. Great.
It is time to complete my year review, which I will also blog at some point during the week.

Friday, 7 December 2012


I am signed up to a running newsletter (RunnersConnect - probably a bit too "scientific" for my liking, but I have to confess it does appeal to that side of my brain!) who sent me today a link to an article on caffeine, which is definitely something I have wondered about before. Last weekend, for example, during my first nocturnal ultramarathon, I really felt I needed caffeine, but when and how much are big questions...

If you read the ProPlus instructions, you discover that the doses seem to be quite conservative: 50mg per pill, "do not exceed two tablets in three hours, or 8 tablets per day". So does this mean that you can take 8 tablets in one go (provided that was it for the next 24 hours), and just how drastic would that be?

What I like about the RunnersConnect article, is that is actually referring to sports research which is broken down according to a person's weight. I weigh nearly 70 kg, which surprisingly placed me squarely in the middle category of 150 pounds. This means that 200 to 400 mg (so 4 or 8 Proplus tablets) are beneficial. More than 400 won't be beneficial (but won't kill me either). To be taken 60 to 90 minutes prior to exercise". 
Now the unfortunate thing here is that we are not told what kind of exercise it is. During my SaintElyon event, I started to feel real drowsy around about 2-3am after 2-3 hours of running and a quite moderate level of effort. Prior to the start, no caffeine really was required as adrenaline performs the wakefulness needs, and the subsequent effort is not sufficiently intense for caffeine to provide a fatigue-staving effect.

So the ultra-event represents a completely different scenario to the 5 km - half-marathon distances I presume are envisaged here.

Conclusion: Test taking 6 tablets 1 hour before next short race or simulation and observe the effect for distances no longer than half-marathon. Test taking perhaps 2 / hour over a 4 hour run for the lower intensity long-distance stuff.

Monday, 3 December 2012

SaintElyon 2012

I love running! And I have to say I am so glad to have run this race, despite a number of factors that probably weren't in favour of its enjoyment factor. Stomach issues, possibly the wrong shoes and people are now saying that the conditions were the hardest they have had in recent years in terms of cold, icy (think: slippy−slidy) conditions − I must have fallen 6 or 7 times, with many more acrobatics to prevent others! The cold also affected hydration − on two separate sections of over 10k, I was without water, even though I could hear it sloshing in my pack, because my hydration tube froze! But there was a great atmosphere! Imagine the excitement as 12,000 head torches bob up and down at the start−line in preparation for the starter−horn, or miles of little lights snaking their way up a mountainside, it was impossible not to think of Lord of the Rings! The camaraderie was great too − after one of my falls (I think it was around half−way), I had instant cramp in both calfs and couldn't move. INSTANTLY, there were two other runners, one on each foot, helping me stretch. 
However, what made this mostly fun, was down to luck. It's true that I run marathons, but I have never set foot over the marathon distance, and certainly not on terrain or over a profile like this, so I naturally took it quite slowly to start off with. After a few miles we climbed up into the snow where it was just very difficult to pass other runners, so I was often forced just to retain my position. A lot of this journey is blurry to be honest, but at the 50k point there were more roads, and I felt strong for the next 10k. But then I finally fell victim of an over−inflated sense of ability, and decided to power it home for the last 10 km, including an absolute whopper of a hill. This plan fell to pieces with 4 km to go, and the enjoyment finally died! These were very long kilometres, but I finally made it. As I crossed the finish line, the emotions were really intense, and I collapsed into tears for several minutes. Tears of joy, a sense of achievement, but also at disbelief at just how far and long it had all been!
One of the things I had been worried about was gaining too little (or no!) support for Refugee Support Network because of my poor organisation in getting the word out! But support from people has been really good and I am so grateful. This was definitely a tough physical challenge, probably the hardest I have ever faced, but it shows how friends and family really are willing to get behind people who are up for that. This challenge is over for me, thank goodness, but the refugees' one is on−going. Thanks for the support.