Tuesday, 24 February 2015

3 Peaks Challenge

Next challenge...
A marathon...
Not so easy...
What's that, 24 hours to do it in you say...
Easy!....
Walking!...ha!
This gets even better...
Up and down the 3 highest mountains in Scotland (Ben Nevis), England (Scafell Pike) and Wales (Snowdon)...
...GULP!!!
Yep that's I'm upto later this year in July along with 3 of my work colleagues, our boss and his girlfriend.
9800 ft of ascent a combination of walking travelling in a mini bus between mountains and getting very little sleep...at least its in July and summertime...oh wait this is the UK, we could be walking in anything!!!


I cant wait for this adventure, it certainly wont be easy but hopefully my running means I'm fit enough to take on the task, although I will be doing some walking and spending more time on my feet.
Until then, its keep on running.

Monday, 2 February 2015

I tawt I taw a putty cat

I'll let you into one of my biggest fears of running alone on the trails....Big Cat sightings!!! Now don't laugh, I know this is the UK, but I mean every year you read something in the news about one of these sightings!

Come to think of it, would it make much difference if I was running alone or with other people?....Well at least it would give the cat more of a choice I suppose.

Anyway back to the story. Now I'm getting back into the swing of running injury free again, I'm slowly upping the miles on the long run and running back on my favourite local trails.

The route I take on my run takes me on a steady climb until I reach a long ridge that is long, straight and open to the elements and in my head....open to big cats!

The long open ridge in the middle of nowhere, to me feels the purr-fect (ha ha)  place to meet an escaped puma or leopard from a zoo. 





The surrounding heaths and woodland are full of cat food including deer and wild cows, so why wouldn't a big cat feel at home here.

Purr-fect habitat for a big Cat!

I've run this ridge so many times so over the years I've come up with many scenarios and escape plans.

The open top


The open stretch of trail is probably a few miles long with a few scattering of hardy trees that have survived the open elements. 

Yes trees! 

See this is one of my plans, I have two trees along the route which are purr-fect (I can't keep using that joke!) for climbing. 


Tree #1-Low branches for quick climb!
Tree #2 - Good climbing tree and
I can get high!
I imagine myself getting up these pretty quick and although cats are good climbers as long as I get up first I will be able to fend it off with my kicking feet or use some of the large stones from the trail that I would pick up and put in my pockets as I spot the cat in the distance and I head for my chosen tree.

See I've got it all figured out....well nearly, I'm just not sure how long I would be up there for and how will I know that if the cat gets bored and decides to walk off, he's not just sat there waiting round the corner till I come down!



I guess I'll have to carry on working this out each week on my run. I've been worrying about this, on this run for the last five years. So far so good in that time, I've only come across the deer, cow's and dog walkers in that time.....but you never know! Still at least I've got sort of a plan.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

What a difference 42064.8 metres makes


What's the ultimate running distance, the ultimate word related to running,the ultimate goal, the most famous of all distances?

I would say the 'marathon'.

The biggest race with the biggest race day crowds, that brings thousands and thousands of spectators to the city streets.

Everyone can name the fastest man over 100m, but how many out there can name the worlds fastest man over the most famous distance of them all?

The world record holder for the 100m has 3.5 million followers on Twitter.

The fastest man in the world to run the famous 26.2 miles has just 2300 followers.

The wonderful world of sponsorship and celebrity!




Sunday, 18 January 2015

Running rant # 2 - The price of races

I haven't done a 'Running rant' since the ill fated 'Ultrarunning' post (which didn't go down well at all if you recall). I don't regret that piece, what with freedom of speech, having an opinion and all that malarkey!!! It's just a shame I lost a lot of longterm ultrarunning Twitter followers in the process whom I communicated with and always congratulated them on their achievements even if I didn't agree with the distances they were putting themselves through physically and mentally.

*takes a deep breath*

Anyway......

Hopefully this is a rant everyone will agree on....THE PRICES OF RACES THESE DAYS @!!?**#¥!!!!

*takes another deep breath*

I haven't competed in a race since September 2013 and the Loch Ness marathon, so I decided to look at running a half marathon in the spring/summer. 

The Surrey half, a nice local race in Woking, taking place for its second year.

It's a half marathon remember and the price for entering the London marathon this year, one of the worlds major marathons was a very reasonable £35 for 26.2 miles. 

Now I understand the pricing for street closures, police etc etc, so that's £35 for shutting down the Capital of England. Woking is a Surrey town...the price?...£41...yes 41 flipping sterling pounds for running a half bloody marathon!!!

The Hackney half marathon.......£44!!!.....$$$


Over the last few years there has been the introduction of chip timing, which I'm sure most people agree has been a positive for racing and I can understand that this has had an impact on the race fee, but there's not many races that aren't chip timed anymore, so why still so much variation between the prices of races of the same distance?

Has running become a victim of its own success? The number of people running has continued to rise year after year. More people running, more opportunities for people to make money. 

Here is a selection of races coming up, I've separated them into 'Daylight Robbery' for races around the £30 mark and above and 'Bargain Buys' for £25 and below which I think is a reasonable price.

Thank God for Parkruns.....Running for free and funded by sponsorship.....hang on a minute, don't most races make money out of sponsorship as well as charging us!!!

Daylight Robbery

Surrey Half - £41
Hackney Half £44
North London Half - £42
Brighton Half - £34
Bournemouth Half - £31.57
Robin Hood Half (Nottingham) - £29.75
Northampton Half - £29.40
Llanelli Waterside Half - £30


Bargain Buys

Fleet Half - £23
Stafford Half - £22
Yeovil Half - £22
Chippenham Half - £22
Farnham Pilgrims Half - £25
Roding Valley Half -£22

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Goals


I go into this year injury free, coming off the back of a runstreak at the end of last year, I'm in relatively good shape, a few pounds overweight but the best I've come into a new year for a while.

So what now for 2015? Well im quite enjoying the daily routine at the moment which consists of running generally about 4 miles most days. The thing I'm most enjoying though is mixing up the training, doing fartleks, throwing in some hills, running at low intensity. This has mostly come off the back of the runstreak.

If you're running everyday, you are forced to vary your running. You cant go out everyday running at full tilt, so most the time I was paying a lot of attention to my heartrate and keeping it low.

Now with taking 1 or 2 days off a week I can speed things up again and learn from my heartrate stats when I need to rest or slow down.

Im not missing marathon training, I'm quite enjoying the shorter distances I'm training at. This is the first winter I havent done my 13 mile run to work every Friday, getting up at 5am and running in what ever conditions the weather throws at you, and I've done them runs in every type of weather you can think off!!!

So back to goal setting for 2015. Marathon's are off the radar this year (but never say never!) During spring I would like to get back to half marathon fitness, getting my Friday run to work back and then throw a couple of half marathon races in late summer.

To be honest though after the last couple of years I've had with my ankle and achilles just being able to run again regulary, is goal in its self that I've achieved.


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Did you know...


Note:

1,022 runners were randomly selected, and asked a series of questions about their running habits. The survey targeted male and females (50:50 ratio) between the ages of 25-50 years old, who all run at least once a week. 


#TomTom




Saturday, 27 December 2014

Runstreak....The conclusion


I stopped the runstreak at 50 days...I know, I know, I said 100 days, but it has served it's purpose!

I've not blogged for a while but rather than bore you with regular updates of I ran 4 miles today blah blah blah and repeat blah blah blah, I've got my head down and concentrated on the running.

So, the main reason for taking on this runstreak was a mad last ditch effort of mine to solve my long term achilles problem....Incredibly it worked!

The method to my madness was that if I kept doing something, my body would adapt, running was what it had to do each day and it would heal itself to take on this new and daily workload.

In the first couple of weeks my legs were feeling heavy each day, but about half way through the streak the body adapted like I thought it would and they got stronger....the body is clever like that :-)

Over the 50 days I ran an average of 3.5 miles a day, It would have been closer to 4 miles, but a throat virus towards the end meant some days of running the minimum of 1 mile and a few 2 mile days in there too.

As well as solving my achilles injury getting an illness was the other reason for stopping. The days I ran the 1 and 2 miles would have been rest days. There was very little to be achieved by running a single mile especially in the cold only to keep the runstreak going while feeling ill. Normally resting and recovering in the warm would have been the best remedy.

In the past after a tough workout, say a 4 mile fast tempo run, the next day I would have a rest day but I've learnt that you can still run the next day but you need to just take it easy and run a recovery run, easy pace. I learnt how to vary my runs a lot better, and I used my heartrate as a big tool also, two things I hadn't done in the past. Looking back over the years most of my running was done at mid to high intensity.

That leads me on to a book I started reading towards the end of the runstreak; 80/20 running by Matt Fitzgerald. The book deals with running intensity and benefiting by doing 80% of your running at low intensity and only 20% at mid to high intensity. This logic fit well with running everyday and something that the elite runners use with running upto 120 miles weekly but it works for all levels and racing distances from 5K to marathon.


To sum up, I've learnt more in the last 50 days about my own running than I have in the last 10 years of running, its been that beneficial! 

Going forward, Im going to run a lot more consistently than I have ie. I will probably run 6 days a week but vary the intensity to allow me to do so. It maybe that some weeks I run everyday but without the pressure of a runstreak it doesnt matter if I decide to have a day off each week.