Saturday, 18 April 2015

Thought of the day

Friday, 17 April 2015

3 peaks training

This week was time to crank up the training for the 3 peaks challenge in July. Along with friend Brian, the plan was to run a 10 mile loop on the trails over the ranges; an undulating first mile, fairly flat for the next 4, and then the tougher last 5 miles culminating nearly 700ft of ascent. Then come back to the cars, put on the walking boots and rucksacks, and do it all again but this time walking the loop.

A total of 1400ft ascent on the night is way off the 9800ft we will climb on the challenge but never the less, it was a good training session. 

For one there is no running involved on the 3 peaks event, so the idea of running the first 10 miles was to get us feeling tired both physically and mentally before beginning our walk. Also we started the walk just as the daylight was fading, so we also got used to walking in the dark.

The Lake at night -not the most interesting of pictures!....but 
 you can see Jupiter in the sky!

It was a chance to try out some fuelling as well. It was quite nice to be able to enjoy a chicken wrap while on the move, something I'm not used to while running. Add to that a chocolate milkshake and a berry 'Naked' bar, and it made for an enjoyable feast!

The obvious observation made from the nights activities was that walking is a damn sight slower than running! There were stretches that fly by on the run that seemed to take an age whilst walking. 

While running on trails you have to be focused and concentrate all the time, watching for tree stumps and loose rocks. Walking you don't have to be as alert, so at times knowing the trails in this area so well, at times became frustrating and boring covering the same ground twice as slow and in the dark.

In total we were on our feet for 4.5 hours. Running for 1.5 hours and walking for 3. I was pretty tired, more mentally than physically as we head back to the cars for a second time that night. But that was the aim of the exercise and we both agreed that we gained some good experience from the night. One thing I learnt is that I must purchase some proper walking socks!!!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Parkrun tour #3 Alice Holt

Next on the Parkrun tour is Alice Holt, 11 miles from home, a 851 hectares (2,100 acres) Forrest, South of Farnham in Surrey. 

As this was my first parkrun at this location, I went to the new runners briefing which was imformative and well delivered. There was quite a few new runners, maybe from it being the long Easter weekend.

The course is two loops, the first around a mile long. The second loop follows part of the first mile and then takes in more of the Forrest. See above......does that not remind you of a whale entering the sea with part of its back and tail?....only me?....ok let's move on! 

Definitely trail trainers for this run. There is a mixture of terrain but there is also some sharp corners with mud and stones as you hit the bottom of some of the downhills, so good grip is required.

This is an undulating course so chances of a 5K PB are slim. Having said that there are plenty of fast downhill sections particularly on the first lap, but what goes down must come up!

Just before the 2 mile mark there is a hill. It's fairly steep but fortunately not too long. From then on the course undulates to the finish line. My legs were quite tired after the run!

Apologies for the blurred picture above and doesn't do justification how beautiful the course is. There is some lovely sections where you are in deep pine Forrest, well worth a visit whether you're running, walking or cycling, all of which are popular at Alice Holt.

There's lots of changes in direction but these were well marshalled, so no problem with course directions and the main race briefing at the start was good too. Ran like a well oiled machine. I shall be back.

Runners 248
Atmosphere 8.5 out of 10
Scenery 9 out of 10
PB potential 6 out of 10

Friday, 3 April 2015

My worst run ever!

Yesterday I had planned to run just over 10 miles on a quite tough trail, probably my longest run for quite sometime.

Yesterday turned out to be a disaster....but with some positives to pick out from it, but let me start at the beginning of the day.

The long Easter weekend is upon us, 4 days off work...Wahoooo! So to celebrate our boss was kind enough to treat us to a pile of party food, enough to keep us going through the day. This consisted of the usual culprit's....Sausage rolls, pork pies, scotch eggs, Pringles, peanuts, Chicken wings, doughnuts, Lindor chocolates (the coconut ones, probably the best thing in the world!) You name it we had it.

Now normally I would start the day with some healthy, slow releasing energy porridge with dried fruit in it, lunch maybe a soup or a vitamin and mineral packed salad with some mackerel, throw in some fruit for snacks...not bad, and fuels my running very nicely. Today however consisted of a breakfast of scotch eggs and sausage rolls, lunch and snacks throughout the day, much the same! The afternoon I moved on to chocolates and doughnuts and coffee.....end of working day.....time to run.

Nice....but zero nutritional value!

Really good!!!.... But sadly zero nutritional value!

                                                      Nice....but zero nutritional value!

With sugar still running high, I started my run at a reasonable pace, even with some hills to climb. 3 miles, still going nicely, 3.35 miles........sugar crash!!!! Brain wouldn't talk to legs and legs wouldn't talk to brain! After leaning against a post for a moment to relieve the spaced out and wobbly feeling, I decided it would be foolish to carry on. I headed back, but I needed to walk for the next mile, I just wanted to get back so decided to run the last couple again. Confidence gone I slumped into car before heading home.

But every cloud has a silver lining. You've got to accentuate the positives, eliminate the negatives....and all that malarkey!

What a great nutritional lesson and the mile I walked was on the flattest part of the route meaning I managed to run all the hilly parts, so I still benefitted from what I believed was a disasterous run.

I certainly won't be eating like that for a while, or put it this way, if I do, I won't be running after it!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Carry on Blogging

Note to self: Must blog more!

I've gone a bit quiet on the social media front, I don't do Facebook and I've gone right off Twitter where I would regularly tweet about my running and my football team Newcastle United......I checked in the other day after a couple of months away....I havent been missed..ha ha. Anyway it's nice in the real world not worrying if I got a retweet or a favourite! But hey, we all want to feel loved...right?

But I do enjoy my blog, and need to get back to regular posting. It's a great personal scrapbook to look back on, and once in a while I may post something that someone else out there may find a bit interesting (not just my Mum!)

Right now I'm in a great place with my running. I'm really enjoying it, being relaxed about when and how far to run and not beating myself up if I have a couple days off and enjoy the odd beer and slice of cheesecake!

That's not to say that I'm taking things easy when I do siree! I'm running regular at work and mixing up how I run my lunchtime 4 miles. I'm now throwing in progressive runs, fartleks, hills and tempo runs.

Hills, kill; fartleks and tempos hurt, but the one I enjoy the most is the progressive session. Progression runs steadily increase in pace, so I will usually start at 9:00 min/mile pace, the next mile hit 8:30, then 8:00 and then finish with the last mile at 7:30 min/mile pace. If I'm particularly feeling like I want to smash myself, then I will run 8:30, 8:00, 7:30, and 7:00.....but my God...that hurts!

I think this is a great session as it warms you up with starting out slow, and also gets you used to judging how your pace feels.

One evening a week I run with friend Brian on the trails. We're running around 8 miles but quite a tough hilly route that we hope will help build the strength in our legs for our 3 peaks challenge in July with our other work colleagues. 

After the run, we then change into our walking boots, put on our headtorches and rucksacks and head out for a hilly hour walk so we get used to walking whilst feeling tired. To be honest though walking hills is a hell of a lot easier than running up them and the walk has become quite a nice warm down after the run.

....and that's about it. Im really looking forward to the walking challenge in July and happy to keep the running where it is at the moment. If I can get back to my 13 mile to work every Friday in April, keep up the midweek trail run and the lunchtime running, then I think I've found my perfect running formula.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Walking OK in the UK

New kit time as thoughts turn to walking and the 3 peaks challenge. I've never had a pair of walking boots before and was hoping I could have used a pair of my trail trainers but I'm required to have footwear with some ankle protection. Although the challenge is not until July, I wanted to get my boots early to allow 'wearing them in' time.

So without any knowledge of walking boots I went straight in and ordered a pair of Hi-tec V-lite Sphike hiking boots from Amazon (£43.99). As luck would have it the fit was perfect (I went a size bigger to allow for walking socks) and after 2 x 2 hour dog walks on multiple terrain this weekend....all appears good. Comfortable and lightweight. I'm not sure how waterproof yet as conditions have been dry of late.

Success with the boots, and I appear to have been just as lucky with my other Craghopper Kiwi walking trousers, again from Amazon (£19.99). Loose fitting, part elasticated waist, plenty of pockets (9 in total) lightweight and water repellent. Like the boots, really comfortable, so I seem to have struck lucky with these two important parts of the kit. 

Obviously 2 hours of walking isn't quite the same as 24 hours walking the UK's highest mountains, but you've got to start somewhere, and so far so good.

I'm still running 5 days a week, which includes a hilly 7 mile trail run in the dark,with head torch once a week with friend Brian, whom is also doing the 3 peaks challenge. 

The running will obviously be beneficial training for the walking challenge, but we've also got some big walks planned to complement the running training which will hopefully make the 3 peaks as enjoyable as it is challenging.

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...
This gets even better...
Up and down the 3 highest mountains in Scotland (Ben Nevis), England (Scafell Pike) and Wales (Snowdon)...
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 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.