Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

Ironed like a lion (in Hove)   2 comments

Monday’s track session was another combination of fast bits and slow bits. This week it was (5 x) 300f, 100j, 300f, 100j, 300f but the middle rep increased by 100m each time. I didn’t push it too much as I had plans for many hard runs over the coming days and Rob was going on holiday for two weeks so I felt I should fully utilise my final opportunity to annoy him. It was still a good session though and I wasn’t wholly idle.

On Tuesday I went out and did a hill session which is something I haven’t done for ages. I had already decided to try a hill slightly closer to me than King George. It turned out not to be that much closer but was less steep and not as long but made a good loop for Kenyan hills which was to be my session for the morning. The hill is around 300 metres long and a 10% gradient. The full loop is roughly 800 metres (300 up, 100 along, 300 down, 100 back to the beginning). As the hill was a mile or so of hills away from home I thought six loops would be fine. I soon discovered that is was incredibly windy on the downward stretch so I had to work on these sections too. all in all this was a hard session but all the better for that as I haven’t really pushed myself for ages.

In the evening I cycled over to Hove Park for Tom’s session which was to be 5 x 1k. He had us running a loop I haven’t done before but I was good as it kept it mainly flat which is always a bonus in my book. I wanted my ks to be as close to 4 minutes, consistently, as I could manage. I was rather surprised when I completed the first in 3.46. Eeek! Had I peaked too soon? No. 3.48, 3.47, 3.50, 3.50. Excellent. I was very pleased with this session.

On Wednesday morning I set out alone on an LSR. I decided to do it a little bit faster as I hate running LSRs on my own so at least this would mean it was over with more quickly. As I don’t have a watch anymore I don’t know what pace it was but it felt faster than normal which was the aim. Not fast. As that would be a LFR.

In the evening it was Run Club so I ended up doing reps of various distances at perceived efforts of 60 – 100%. This was hard work but I really enjoyed it.

On Thursday it was time for Tom’s annual track 10000. Emily kindly said she would pace me for 41.30. I like having someone to MAKE me try as I’m often not good at doing it myself.  

Looking nervous knowing it was going to be HARD (emphasis especially for Emily)

  

Looking fine in the first laps

 Mostly I looked like this though


Me = dead. Emily = totally fine

 

I don’t even remember this photo being taken. Why am I so sweaty?

Thank you very much to Gill for unknowingly “letting” me use her photos

 

Emily’s Garmin splits so basically mine too

Emily did an excellent job spurring me on all the way round and I can safely say I feel I tried as hard as I could the whole way round … and round and round and round. And round. I was slightly disappointed that my time was only 41.48 after putting in so much effort but I must remember I haven’t done anything proper for ages whilst being and ironless weakling and one cannot put in more than 100% effort so I must be pleased. It has inspired me to bloody well get on with and get back to 2013 speeds. Although actually I reached those again for 5k earlier this year before my stupid idea to stop taking the iron.

Massive thanks to Tom for organising this and getting it officiated so it now appears on Power of 10. Thanks also to Camilla for her lap counting and encouragement.

On Friday I went for a 3 mile run of indeterminate speed (fasting in parts) as I felt guilty at my slacking. I’ve been reading too many runners’ autobiographies.

Hove Prom parkrun was back on this week so I cycled down. It was probably the least windy it will ever be there. Only a slight wind coming from the south east. This meant I had no excuses for a crap time (like my previous three). I had told Emily I would find anything under 20.30 acceptable. I had a new plan: set watch to count down from 20 minutes and see how far I was from the finish when it beeped. I set off at what I felt was a sustainable pace. It was no doubt too fast but I don’t feel I dropped too much. I passed 2.5k (I don’t know where the k points are) in 10.05 so as long as I didn’t slow down too much I was going to be at least sub 21 which I haven’t managed here yet. The fear of my watch beeping whilst I was still miles away from the finish helped spur me on, along with imagining Emily shouting at me that it was all in my head and I had more in the tank. The beeping started in the home straight but the line was in sight (thanks hi vis signage and marshals) and I made it over in 20.25. So only a 15s drop in the second half. Excellent. Two excellents in one post? Good grief!


I rounded off a 47 mile week with 3 x 8 minutes at 80% perceived effort. It was very hot. Nothing now until track tomorrow evening.

Post Minehead taper intentions   2 comments

I had planned my week post hills hills hills and off-road off-road off-road to contain only a couple of tempo runs and a few k reps as advised by Bob. Immediate failure as I went out on Monday morning to join Rob on his LSR “for a bit” and ended up doing around 10 miles. I felt completely fine whilst running and my legs didn’t feel tired or highly at all yet when I returned home both my knees decided it was enough. Perhaps it was just due to the solidness (and flatness) of road after so much off-road? Whatever it was my knees, especially my right, were very unhappy. However this did mean Tuesday was a day off as my right knee wouldn’t even let me walk on it. I thought this was the end. But, as is so often the case, by Wednesday it was almost back to normal. I went out in the morning to do a test run of 6 x 1 minute just to make sure my knees could take it. They could so I set off for RN Run Club in the evening confident that I could actually run. Naturally as Bob had said no hills Jo had planned a hill session. However by the time we reached the Weakest Link zig zag we only had time to sprint up it three times. This we did. At least this proved my knee was fine and that I can still drag these old legs into a sprint.

On Thursday morning I went for a leg massage which I haven’t had for years so I was very surprised to discover everything was only as tight as always and there were no extra specially awful bits over and above what you’d expect for a serial non-stretcher. In the evening I havered over what session to do but plumped for the Arena Hove Park session. Having not been for absolutely ages I was pleased to discover that I got on ok with the first set of reps, up and down the bench to playground stretch. Unfortunately on the next set my knee decided to be weird again which meant the next reps were overshadowed by knee-breakage panic. Of course I didn’t stop running and thankfully the knee held up enough to get me to the end.
To be on the safe side and trying to remember I was supposed to be resting a bit I didn’t run on Friday.

Of course I ran parkrun on Saturday. It was supposed to be one of the two 20 minute tempo runs Bob had prescribed so dragging my knackered form home in 21 minutes was perfect (I shan’t mention I was trying really hard and only managed this). Looking at the average pace it was perfect but of course I didn’t run it evenly, rather, slowing down after 3k.

Here I am still sticking with Rick. Shortly afterwards he drew well away from me, and I was overtaken by Terry (in red) by the end. (Thank you very much Mark Brocklehurst for letting me use the photo!)

I took Sunday as a rest day but still notched up 26 miles for the week which was a little more than I meant but hey ho. I’ll try again next week.

Weather woes   Leave a comment

Variety is the spice of life so let me start yet again with Monday’s session. The weather was rather horrible, strong winds and rain, though after the warm up it settled down a bit so it was merely wet and just-about-acceptably windy. This meant we didn’t go Ricki Lake cray like last time cheering each other on and being all emotional but that’s probably a good thing as that night could never be repeated which such brilliance as the first time. Again my plan was to stick to Rick through thick and thin (me thick he thin). The session was (2 x) 600 tempo, 600 fast, 1m rest, 600 fast. 1 min rest. Ditto with 500s. We completed our first tempo stretch a little bit too fast so Mark slowed us down on the next one to make sure we had the requisite change of pace from tempo to fast. This meant it was a nice, reasonably comfortable session. Our fast bits were around the same speed as the group above (we ran a bit of ours just behind them when they were a lap or so ahead) but our tempo sections were considerably slower. Anyway over all this was a good sensibly-hard paced (by Rick) session.

The weather was being horrendous and windy again so being at work on Tuesday and Wednesday wasn’t too bad because I wouldn’t really have been able to run properly anyway.

On Thursday I knew I needed to get out for a long run even though the weather was still forecast to be hideous. Thankfully Rob was up for a long one too so I would not have to face the weather alone (also it meant I wouldn’t just hide at home). He very gentlemanly ran further up Old Shoreham Road to meet me to equalise our headwind running. In fact the wind was nowhere near as bad as I feared and it wasn’t that cold either so the run was much more pleasant than expected. We made sure the only seafront section was wind behind. After collecting a parcel from North Road sorting office we proceeded back to Preston Park where Rob made off with his sweaty parcel (bad idea to put it in his armpit whilst sorting out watch. Jiffy bags shed their outer coating fulsomely when moistened it transpires and parkrun 100 jackets are like magnets to it). This run felt really slow but was in fact normal LSR speed which must signal progress? I racked up 13 miles for this run and even the Old Shoreham Road slog home alone wasn’t too windy.

Alas I had agreed to run the vets xc at Lancing on Saturday. I don’t usually mind Lancing but it has always been dry in the past and this time it was anything but. Definitely a race for spikes I thought, but no! Even with spikes I couldn’t get any grip. It was possibly the worst 4 miles ever. Sliding all over the place on every step, I couldn’t negotiate any of the myriad tight corners so kept crashing through the course tape/into trees and managed to plummet elegantly down the hill on the last lap (though I blame Jeanette for that as she did it on the first lap with such grace and elegance I was compelled to copy her). Horrendous. 32.12 for 4 miles should give you an idea (it is very hilly too). A race best forgotten.

Stupid running

Stupid running

Back view of stupid running

Back view of stupid running

The runners

The runners

Today it was off once again with the Sunday crew. This time we started at Hove Park to follow Trevor’s “impossible to get lost” route to Stanmer Park and back.

Greenies pre run

Greenies pre run

I don’t think a single person bar Trevor actually went completely the right way. Thankfully the route I followed (thanks to my Guide-Rob) was close enough so I ended up doing 12ish miles (the planned route was billed at 12.5). Some people (Mark and Kevin) ended up doing 14 so I’m glad I didn’t go with them! My legs were rather knackered from yesterday but the worst was my intercostals/ribs which felt like I’d done a serious core workout (or been punched repeatedly) – which of course I had courtesy of the 32.12 minutes of slipping and sliding on Saturday. The average pace was 8.30mm which was perfect. We did throw in a 7.17 mile down Carden Avenue as half pace practice (though far too slow as we need to do 6.52s for a dream sub 1.30). I also added a solo what-felt-very-fast section down King George VI (only around 500m) but was probably only 7mm at best. After two cups of tea and a bakewell tart (thanks Dorian) at Hove Park café I came home to thaw out and see I had run a paltry 34 miles for the week. I blame the weather though of course my lack of motivation is a larger factor. Though two runs of 12+ miles is fine so really I should just shut it.

Bright ‘n’ freezy   Leave a comment

Monday turned out to be a beautiful day. Sunny and cold with only a slightly too windy wind. I had a feeling it would be too icy come track time so decided to make the most of the excellent weather and get a long run in. As I am now a watchless I have no idea of my pace but I did my usual 13ish mile route in around 1.55 I must have been averaging 8.30mm ish. Ahhhh the calmness of imprecision. I am glad I did this run as the weather was forecast to be unpleasant later in the week so at least I had one long one in the bag.

On Wednesday I managed to fit in an unexpected 4 or so slow seafront miles whilst we were being trained up to hold a run club at work. It was rather cold but another crisp and sunny (and windy obviously) day.

On Thursday I had the pleasure of running with the perfect pairing of Rob and Danny. They make excellent flankers when it’s windy which it certainly was. This was a really nice run in the bright sunshine once more. Alas though the last stretch was horrible. Once I’d left Danny and Rob I had to run 4 miles home into a massive headwind. I didn’t even notice the wind the first time when all three of ran that way together. A fine example of how running with others (especially these others) makes it all so much easier and more enjoyable.

Saturday heralded a return to Hove Park for parkrun as a tester before next week’s Arena Age Graded superseries race there. It was absolutely blinking freezing. I had forgotten quite how crowded and horrible the beginning of this parkrun is. This is no excuse for reaching 1k in 4.12 either. I didn’t get any faster as the miles continued. However I was trying all the way and I did storm up the hills overtaking people (a very rare occurrence). Eyes shut for 80% too so I really was putting in the effort. My time was 21.13 though so all that effort for no reward but as I was trying my hardest I can’t really complain though of course I shall.

It was Rick’s 200th run. We were both there at the first ever Hove Park Time Trial (as it was called then). Fatter, unfitter and much slower.

The first Brighton & Hove parkrun

The first Brighton & Hove parkrun

We didn’t know each other then and now look at us.

Rick's 200th parkrun

Svelte, fit and speedy (well Rick is at least). He was only 3 seconds adrift of his PB which was an excellent effort in the arctic conditions (he was wearing shorts too). Although I didn’t particularly enjoy the run due to being far too cold I enjoyed the change of scenery though will be glad to get back to Preston Park for it’s relative emptiness after next week’s superseries.

Today (Sunday) it was out for yet another LSR. I set off early with Rick to get 4 ish miles in before we met up with Danny, Trevor, Rob etc etc for a nice steady 9 or so miles. Thankfully it was another sunny and cold day (though no where near as freezing as yesterday) and the wind was at a tolerable level.

SB2 1 SB2 2 SB2 3

A very enjoyable 13 miles with a bargain (80p!) cup of tea to finish.

43 miles for the week with nothing speedy other than parkrun which wasn’t.

Insane in the Portslade   1 comment

I thought I’d better get back to the gym after a three week break as I am paranoid I shall lose my leg muscles again. I was pleased to discover I could do everything at the same weight as before so everything is ok. I was less pleased when I arrived at track in the evening and remembered it is difficult to run having been to the gym in the morning. Although I tried I was completely unable to keep with Mark and Rick in the 4 minutes kilometre group. This week we had to do the 1000 in 4 minutes then 2 x 500 in half the time minus 5 seconds so 1.55 in my case. As I couldn’t keep with Mark and Rick I had no idea of my pace except what my watch told me and I don’t think it’s very good on the track. Too many corners and not much real movement in a GPS sense. Bob confirmed this by telling Joel and I at the end that we were too erratic and thus had rendered our session useless. Ooops. Sorry Joel!

On Wednesday I was able to go to the Arena tempo run after last week’s bicycle breaking ruination. I had a plan to run at 7mm again this time with Joe but when it came down to it I just stayed at the back with Andy doing 7.45 – 8mm as he was tapering for Beachy Head marathon on Saturday. Thus it was a pleasant chat-speed run and a good solid 9 miles in the bank all told.

Thursday was a break from the norm with a visit to the wizard in the morning followed by an exercise class in the evening. I had been invited to try Insanity so I would then write about it for the West Hove Directory. Having done most sorts of classes going I thought it can’t be that hard. It was. It was like circuit training but continuous with only a 30 second rest every 4 revolutions of 3 different 30s exercises followed by a minute of “power” moves which seems mainly to be jumping. Obviously I got stuck in with gusto from the off which meant I was well and truly dead by about half way through (25 minutes or so). I began to massively rue thinking it would be a good idea to go to the gym on Monday (and was very glad I hadn’t been this morning). I reached a point where my legs just had nothing left so had to wibble about jellily for the second half. It was an excellent class but doesn’t mix well with gymming and running. Or it didn’t for me anyway. I could tell it was hard as I was already DOMSing before I’d even finished, so technically I suppose that’s just MSing. After crawling home I put my calf sleeves on my upper arms which had taken an almighty beating. Psychosomatic. Addict. Insane. Except there was quite clearly a reason for my all over brokenness.

On Friday I had planned to do a LSR but after the Insanity I had to cut it down to a SSR, partly for recovery, partly because I couldn’t be bothered to drag my sorry form any further.

Saturday meant parkrun. Obviously. I am still trying to make my way back down to sub 20.30 pre Brooks 10k. I managed to knock a tiny bit off my recent times with 20.49. I am hoping that, like the past, if I am consistent for a few weeks then I shall suddenly jump down by 30 seconds or so. The last 4 I have run have been within 7 seconds of each other which is really consistent for me so I’d better pull that sub 20.30 out of the bag soon.

This morning I joined a merry band of fellow Arenas on a LSR. It is so much easier to run with other people. It was stupidly windy in one direction which was still horrible but at least there were others to share the pain. 13 miles at an average 8.47mm, though the middle 8 were sub 8.30 (wind permitting).

All in all this was a good week with a variety of runs and strength things. Somehow I ran 40 miles.

Something to report   2 comments

To continue keeping up a decent weekly mileage and having a day off I started Monday with a 7 mile run. It was very slow and I felt tired but my legs felt strong. I’m still getting used to having proper legs again and it was good to feel them NOT knocking into each other in a spindly style as I made my slow way along the seafront. I had already decided that this week I wouldn’t go to the gym as I think it is important to let my legs have time to reap the benefits which means not thrashing them in the gym every week (just thrashing them by running instead … ahem …). Of course as it was Monday I also had track to contend with in the evening. I joined my trusty band of running mates and thought I’d do my usual and try and follow Rick (I think he is fed up of this but hey ho). After a 1k warm up Bob set us off on 5 x 1300 with the first 1000 tempo with a wind up last 300. Arg! This was hard as long reps. I have no idea what speeds we were doing but I remained in about the same place each time and know that everyone (bar me) in the group is good at pacing so assume I was consistent enough throughout. A reasonable double day over all.

On Tuesday I went to visit my old running friend Rob who has become a rampant gym goer whilst being injured. I joined him in his new habitat. It is sooooo modern compared with my gym! It had actual people in it too whereas mine tends to be emptier. Anyway I didn’t really do much as I was knackered after Monday but I did end up doing 5k on the treadmill after I had to leave the elliptical machine as I can’t coordinate my limbs for it.

Rob capturing the moment I remembered how much I hate the cross trainer

Rob capturing the moment I remembered how much I hate the cross trainer

Wednesday was a long run. Well it was supposed to be but ended up being just over 10 miles. Not too bad though as I wanted to do well at the track 5000 on Thursday. My pace was very slow again as well which is fine for now as I’m just trying to get my weekly mileage back up to a decent number.

Thursday rolled around which meant it was time for Tom’s annual 5000 track race.

The 5000 posse pre race

The 5000 posse pre race

I hadn’t even really thought about this and suddenly it was time. I did my shoelaces up a bit tighter as I think their looseness isn’t helping my dodgy calf/Achilles as I am probably scrunching my foot up a bit to hold shoe on (not that it would actually fall off). I felt good from the off and even overtook some people after about 1k as I knew I could go faster (usually I stay behind for fear of going to fast and dying later). Only one person re-overtook which I knew would happen anyway. Foolishly I hadn’t set my watch to beep at each k so I didn’t really know where I was but could see my average pace was 4.04 per k so this boded well for an acceptable time. Once I received the last lap shout (thank you Mr Cartledge) I did a traditional Muir wind up and windmill-sprint which brought me home in a quite unexpected 20.10. This was pleasing as my best run for ages. I had felt strong all the way in leg, mind and lung which is a rare occurrence indeed.

On Friday I rested.

Today I ran Preston Park parkrun in 21.09. Was putting in a good effort but was unable to produce any speed.

Pushing the invisible shopping trolley of slowness. Thanks Rob for the photo.

Pushing the invisible shopping trolley of slowness. Thanks Rob for the photo.

Hellingly 10k tomorrow.

 

Running (inspired titling I’m sure you’ll agree)   Leave a comment

This Monday was track. But not the usual track. No! It was vet’s league time. Hooray! You may have noticed that I love vet’s league. It is like school sports day but for old people (over 35). I like to do as many events as possible and this time that meant I did the 100m, 1500m, 400m and medley relay.

First up was the 100m. I noticed immediately that the lady who beats me every single time wasn’t there which meant victory was surely mine!

Victorious!

Victorious!

It was. The time was however truly terrible but as vet’s league is a team events placings are more important. Ha! As if. It’s only ever me as the whole ladies team so it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters anyway other than the fact I love the act of sprinting even if I am rubbish at it.

Next up was the 1500. I had ambitions of it being a gentle warm up jog for the 400 but I felt like giving it a bit of a go so set off fastish and then the love of a good sprint took over and I caned the last 150 metres or so just for the goddamn heck of it ending up in 3rd place.

More sprinting

More sprinting

This did however mean the 400 was a non starter and I trailled in in second place in another appalling time and in fact didn’t manage to pull out any sort of sprint. Boo. I was still second though.

In the relay I was approached to join non-scoring team which made a nice change from me running around harassing all and sundry to make up a team. Alas though I ended up having to do the 800m last leg of the medley (200, 200, 400, 800). I didn’t really mind though as I just wanted to get out on the track again. I was truly knackered by this time and massively last so I just strolled round. The best part was they turned the floodlights off before I’d finished. Yes, thanks, I KNOW I’m slow.

Anyway none of this detracted from another great vet’s league night. I wish there were more than 4 meetings a year though. Roll on 2015!

On Tuesday I went to the gym to do my leg stuff again before work. When I start at 11 it means I can fit this in neatly on the way.

On Wednesday I decided to do a little run just for the heck of it with no particular plan. I set off for Shoreham Arm then on the way back decided to see how much speed endurance I’ve lost by throwing in a fast mile after 4 slowish ones. A lot. 6.31. Oh well, it wasn’t as bad as I feared but still a long way from the days when I could do a whole 10k in 6.20s or so. Of course I know why as I’ve done hardly any long runs for months.

Thursday was another gym before work day.

Friday I did nothing as I thought I should really give my legs a full day off to try and glean some benefit from the recent gymming.

On Saturday I set my watch to beep if I strayed above 6.45mm … which I did almost immediately. Another slow jog to add to the collection. Oh, it was Hove Park parkrun by the way…

Today (Sunday) it was a gym before work day again.

As mentioned above I know why I have been so very slow of late and decided that the way forward was to get stuck into some heart rate training. The last time I tried this about 6 years ago I became annoyed that the HR monitor was telling me I wasn’t working hard so stopped using it. This time I shall try and face the fact I’m not trying hard enough (as I know I’m not) and listen when it tells me so. I have bought this snazzy new watch that measures the heart rate at the wrist to spur me on in my new regime and also as it takes away the other main annoyance of HR training – the chest strap. Tomorrow I shall attempt a LSR in the “easy” zone as I have track in the evening where I shall hopefully spend some time in the endurance and sprint zones.

My newest aquisition

My newest aquisition

Now I have told you this I hope that I shall actually get back to proper training as I am supposed to be a runner after all so should get on and do some running.

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