Thursday, 31 January 2008

"It's a blustery day" (said Pat)

Hurrah, today I've run my first run that didn't involve running round the same bit of road over and over again.
I plotted out a new "4 mile" route to do at lunchtime (for the next couple of weeks when my runs are still as short as 4 miles!).
The route is Milton Park - Sutton Courtenay - Milton village - Milton Park, and it's roughly a mile to each village, and back and then a mile round the park.

~Mile 1 - 9m36s
~Mile 2 - 10m24s
~Mile 3 - 9m23s
~Mile 4 - 11m15s

The wind was pretty fierce, from the West, which is what increased my pace on the third mile; and passing a colleague running the other way when I got back to Milton Park, who high-fived me gave me a boost too...!

The milepoints probably aren't too accurate, but overall I did it in a fraction under 41 minutes, which was good going.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Getting there

My swimming lesson went well this evening. I've pretty much got the breaststroke sorted - in as much as I now know how to do it properly. All I need to do now is explain to my feet (especially my left one) to actually do what I want them to, and I might improve my stroke. Now onto crawl, and after half an hour it suddenly all clicked together and I managed 24-30 strokes, breathing every 6 strokes! More practice needed there...

Back to the running tomorrow, and Friday; with a seminar in London on Saturday for Golden Bond runners. A busy day:

Guests start to arrive, tea & coffee available, and Flora London Marathon official souvenir sales commence; custom fitting of shoes with adidas Footscan machines

Nick Bitel - the Flora London Marathon's Chief Executive welcomes you and outlines the charity background to the event

David Bedford - the Race Director looks ahead to FLM 2008 and explains how he has set up a truly world class race, just for you

Lisa Thompson & Andrew Smith - our Course and Finish Directors present an expert perspective on what you can expect on the course (from start to finish) on Race Day

Sam Murphy - one of UK's leading health and fitness writers, runner, coach and sports scientist, brings you "Ten Commandments" to steer you clear of injury

John Stewart & Duncan Malins - from adidas, official suppliers to the FLM, with plenty of ideas on what to wear when training and racing

Tea & Coffee break - Flora London Marathon Souvenir clothing on sale; custom fitting of shoes with adidas Footscan machines

Simon Doggett - from brings inspiring ideas on how to maximize your fundraising potential

Tim Rogers - from invites you to be a part of the Flora London Marathon website

John Brewer - Director of the Lucozade Sport Science Academy with vital advice on nutrition and hydration for training and Race Day

David Bedford - totally unique tips from the man once dubbed the "most colourful character in world athletics" - you'll see why! Not to be missed

Liz Yelling (one of Britain's top distance athletes) and Sam Murphy (leading writer, runner and coach) bring you invaluable training advice for the months ahead

General Forum - your chance to put questions to the expert panel

Finish - Flora London Marathon Souvenir clothing and shoes on sale until 17.00


Tuesday, 29 January 2008

3 miles in 27 minutes

Today was a "short" run so I ran it a bit faster than normal. Instead of trudging round the mile (and a bit) lap of the village, I opted for 5 of the short "5 minute" runs I started out with back in October:

0.6 Mile 1 - 5m28s
0.6 Mile 2 - 5m17s
0.6 Mile 3 - 5m23s
0.6 Mile 4 - 5m28s
0.6 Mile 5 - 5m31s

This is the first time I've done these short laps back-to-back, and I think this will be a good "speed" workout for me on shorter training sessions, to build up my pace for the longer runs.

Swimming lesson No 3 tomorrow.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Half a kilometre in half an hour

I was planning a swim on the way home from work today, before heading straight out to a gig in Oxford, but the Wantage pool isn't free for general swimming until 8pm, so I popped into Didcot at lunchtime instead. Luckily my 1pm meeting was postponed until Wednesday which meant I wouldn't have to miss out on swimming today (and get in that all important practice before my next lesson on Wednesday). I managed 20 lengths: 10 breaststroke; 4 crawl; 6 breaststroke. I've kind of got the hang of what to do with my feet, but they're not quite there yet. Still, it's a lot better than a few weeks ago. Crawl was a bit rubbish, every time I tried to swim with my head down and only breath every 4 strokes, I ended up getting water up my nose. Perhaps I was instinctively trying to breath in when breathing out under water?! Ah well, I've all that to learn.

Back to the running tomorrow.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

6 in 74

After warming up my leg for 15 minutes, I set out for a 5, or maybe 6 mile run this evening. I hoped to do 6, but would settle for 5 if my leg was still playing up, and I hoped I'd definitely be able to make at least 4. And although my leg grumbled a bit on the 4th mile, it had settled down again on the next lap, so when I got back home after 5 clockwise miles, I turned round and did a 6th in reverse.

Mile 1 - 11m31s
Mile 2 - 12m05s
Mile 3 - 12m24s
Mile 4 - 12m53s
Mile 5 - 12m31s
Mile 6 - 12m31s

So I made it round in the dark in a shade under 74 minutes. Off to refill my hot water bottle and to thoroughly relax my leg muscles!

Saturday, 26 January 2008

I ran faster than a horse today!

Ok, so the horse was walking, and I was running...

I nipped out for a quick 2 mile run this morning:

Mile 1 - 09m58s
Mile 2 - 10m29s

This means I've clocked up over 100 miles on my new shoes now. The physio yesterday was pleased with my progress, and sent me away with a fitness roller,
Fitness Rollerand I have to work on my quads and itb two or three times a week. It's quite simple, I lie on the roller and roll up and down, which massages my leg at the same time. When it stops hurting, then I know I'm getting better! So with this self-management regime, I should be able to get my leg back to full fitness really soon, and I'll be up to 10 mile runs in a couple of weeks...

Thursday, 24 January 2008

A marathon in 4h40m? Who cares?

Hurrah! Today I've run my first proper run at work. I managed 5 laps of the 0.7 mile circuit¹, in a pretty consistent ~7½ minutes per lap. This is back to the sub 11-minute miles I'd achieved before picking up my injury:

0.7 Mile 1 - 7m12s
0.7 Mile 2 - 7m25s
0.7 Mile 3 - 7m38s
0.7 Mile 4 - 7m32s
0.7 Mile 5 - 7m36s

If I were able to keep up this kind of rhythm for seven times this distance (does 26.2 miles sound a bit shorter put like that?!) then I'd be well on target for the marathon in under 5 hours. Not that that's my target anymore. You know I set four targets back in November? Well now my targets are slightly revised:
Target 1 - just to finish (however long it takes!)
Target 2 - just to finish (however long it takes!)
Target 3 - just to finish (however long it takes!)
Target 4 - just to finish (however long it takes!)

Yep - I have one target and one target only. To finish. Yes it would be great to do it in under 4½ hours, but it doesn't matter if I do in in 4, 5 or even 6 hours. As long as I can actually get round in one piece, and finish the whole 26.2 miles, then that is the only achievement that matters. The reason for my change in thinking?
The Non-Runner's Marathon TrainerSimple. Thanks to some advice from this book. By April I will have been training for the marathon for 6 months. I will have run over 300 miles to get there. I will have raised over £1500 in sponsorship for VRH, and also run a half marathon too. Do I really want to risk even the slightest feeling that all this has been a failure - just because I'd set myself a target of 4½ hours, and I only managed it in 4h48m? in 5h06m? in 5h42m? So out with the targets, and in with the positive mental attitude. I'm not out to win the marathon, am I? I'm out to do it, and do it I will!!

¹ actually the route is nearer to 0.77 miles, but I'm rounding it down to 0.7m to make the maths easier!!

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

It would be easier to swim with webbed feet, wouldn't it?

Remember Bobby Ewing in "Man from Atlantis"? (if so, you're showing your age!!), well he had webbed feet, didn't he? This evening I had my 2nd swimming lesson at tfd. I've got my arms sussed, and the breathing is better, it's just my feet that will take practice to make... well, if not perfect then at least better than they are now. I still point my toes too much, and find it difficult to splay my feet out sideways so that kicking through the water will push me forwards. My pointy toes have a habit of slicing through the water, and not helping much at propelling me through the water. Ah well, more practice practice practice and it will come in time.

Back running tomorrow, then off to see the physio on Friday to see how my leg is getting on.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Was that .... snow?!

Out running again this evening, it was good to be back on a proper run. Ok, so I took it steady, and only covered three miles, but that's a great improvement on last week when I was struggling to run one. I also ran clockwise again for a change.

Mile 1 - 12m15s
Mile 2 - 13m30s
Mile 3 - 13m15s

I was surprised to feel a light and fluffy precipitation on my face on mile 2, it was too delicate to be rain, yet it felt quite mild. Anyway, it didn't come to anything. It would be just my luck to be back to proper 4, 5 & 6 mile runs by next week only to be snowed in!

Swimming lesson tomorrow, then 4 miles on Thursday (5? on Sunday - have to see how the leg holds up).

Wii tennis elbow?

I've picked up another minor injury... well ok, not an injury just a slightly stiff shoulder from playing tennis on my brother-in-law's Wii (or should that be my niece's Wii?) at the weekend. Serves me right for using different muscles! I don't think, however, winning a 5 game match against my stepson counts as cross training. Nor do the two bowling matches that I lost to my brother-in-law's fiancée and my wife count either.

Swimming 20 lengths yesterday evening does count as cross training though. I swam somewhere between 460 and 500 metres yesterday evening. I am unsure as I may have lost count on the lengths I did (I think it was 10 breaststroke; 2 crawl; 6 breaststroke; 2 crawl); and there is some debate as to the official length of Faringdon swimming pool. Apparently it can't be used in swimming competitions, as the builders managed to build the 25m pool a bit short of the designed length!
Anyway, it was a good 40 minute session where I practised what I learned at tfd last week. I've kind of got the hang of the arms, and almost got my breathing pattern correct. My legs still require some work so I bet that's what this week's lesson will need to concentrate upon.

Back to running this evening (iliotibial band permitting).

Sunday, 20 January 2008

The heat is on

I've been warming my quads on my left leg before and after running. This morning when I went downstairs, my leg didn't hurt. Which is an improvement on last week, so the heat treatment seems to be working. So I went out for a "long" run today, hoping for 3 or 4 miles depending on how things went, and I managed 2½

Mile 1 - 12m24s
Mile 2 - 13m07s
Half mile - 6m38s

I thought it was going ok, but then about a third of a mile into my third lap, my leg started to hurt again, so I stopped at the half way point.

I hope more heat and more massaging will do the trick tonight, as my leg feels quite stiff again now...

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Back in training

Having warmed up my leg beforehand, I ventured out for a slow relaxing 2 mile jog today. The first mile was ok, and took me 13 minutes. The second mile was slower, and my leg felt a bit sore again, so I gave up after half a lap (in about 7 minutes) and walked the rest of the way back, with a few short jogs along the route. More heat and more massaging this evening, and I'll see if I can do a bit more tomorrow...

Friday, 18 January 2008

Good news and... well something I never knew about me!!

I had a good session with the physio this morning. He asked me to describe in detail what was wrong, he looked at my feet he looked at the back of my legs and he poked around with my toes a bit. Then he explained what was wrong, and how we were going to go about fixing it, and not to worry, this doesn't spell the end of my marathon, not yet anyway!

The problem is, despite trying to be careful with my training - to only build it up gradually, I have managed to over train my quadriceps, and it's these stronger muscles in my thighs that are pulling on my knee when I run causing the discomfort in my lower leg. I haven't torn or pulled anything, so all I need is some remedial therapy for my quads to loosen them up a bit, and things shold be back to normal.


Why do my quads hurt my knees? Because I pronate. This in itself is not a problem, as I have the right running shoes for this style of running. However, I am still landing so that my foot turns slightly inwards, thus twisting my knee, and my quads are pulling against the joint.

Why have I only hurt my left leg? Now here's the new thing I learnt today about me, something that I never knew before. I have odd legs. I have one femur that is longer than the other, and on the other leg the tibia is slightly longer than the other to compensate. So overall my legs are the same length, but my knees aren't in exactly the same place on each leg!! It's this imbalance that means my left knee is under a bit more stress.

To fix the problem, I need heat, and to massage it. The physio spent some while massaging my left thigh with a machine. So it's back to gentle running tomorrow after preheating my quads with a hot water bottle, followed by more massaging and more heat. And repeat. Then back to the physio next week for another session. By next weekend I should be back on track with my training. I still have three months until the marathon (well almost), so it's not all doom and gloom after all. I can stop feeling fed up and start getting excited again at the thought of taking part in this world famous event!!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Off to see the physio...

Well I got back into training today, and it lasted less than 9 minutes. Not wanting to exacerbate the problem in my leg, I walked/jogged/walked/jogged/walked (mostly walked) back to work. I'd mapped out a new 0.77 mile lap to do at lunchtimes and took about 8.5 minutes. I've booked an appointment to see a physio tomorrow to find out what I need to do to get my leg better.

Whilst mapping my lunchtime circuit on, I updated my normal "1 mile" lap of the village that I've been running for the last three months, and it turns out it's 1.08 miles, so my last "long" run of 7 miles was in fact 7.56 miles. It also means that I've run over 100 miles since Day 1.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Swimming lessons

I started swimming lessons this evening. I've been swimming for 30 years, but never very well. If I'm going to go to the pool to get in some worthwhile cross training, then I want to know how to do it well, so I enjoy it and get a good workout, and don't come away afterwards having drunk half the pool, or with cramp from trying too hard and too inefficiently to swim that extra length.

I've started a six week course at tfd to learn breaststroke and crawl; how to move my arms and legs correctly and when and where to breath. Today - breaststroke: I learnt that I shouldn't move my arms in a complete semi circle; and that my legs were next to useless as my feet were too pointed, so were hardly propelling me through the water. Ok, so I know how I should be doing it now, but it's hard work and will take some practice to throw off my ingrained bad style to get it right. If I'm thinking about how my feet should be working, I don't move my arms properly, and if I try to remember my arms, I forget to breathe and so my brain gives up controlling my feet... and then I'm back to square one!!

Back running tomorrow....

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Fed up :o(

Well my run on Thursday didn't go to plan, I stopped early as my leg felt a bit uncomfortable. I hoped that stopping early would mean I'd be back running in a day or two. But on Friday it hurt to walk again. So I spent Friday on the RICE plan. Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. On Saturday I could walk again, so spent a couple of hours delivering CT in the Vale. My leg was a bit stiff afterwards, so a bit more rest, and some ibuprofen gel seemed to do the trick. Today walking is ok again. I think it best to rest for at least another couple of days, and then try some light training, and hope for the best!

Also today, my new swimming lessons ... failed to materialise. Although I can swim, I never learnt to breath properly, so I'm not very good at it. I want to know how to swim efficiently, and quickly and not gulp down half the pool. If I can swim well, then I'll be able to swim for fitness and this cross training will help my marathon planning. Sadly however, the gym rang to say that the pool was closed for maintenance, so my swimming has been postponed until Wednesday instead.

Fingers (or should that be legs?) crossed that I'm fully fit again in a few days, and get back into training asap.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

3 in 34

Not so good this evening, but a medium length medium pace run, with a break for stretching to try and loosen up that stiff muscle/tendon in my left leg which is still bothering me.

0.6 mile - 5m22s (warm up)
1 mile - 11m04s
1 mile - 11m53s
0.5 mile - 6m25s (cool down)

Another 2 days off running now, then a big one on Sunday (assuming my leg's up to it). Then a swim!!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

6 miles in 32 minutes

This evening was a long overdue cross training session, on me bike!

I decided half an hour's non impact exercise was called for, to get my heart pumping, but my calf muscles and tendons not under too much pressure. I cycled round my normal "mile" route, although my bike's convinced it's 1.15 miles...

Mile 1 - 5m30s
Mile 2 - 5m24s
Mile 3 - 5m33s
Mile 4 - 5m15s
Mile 5 - 5m33s
Mile 6 - 5m28s

distance - 6.93 miles
average - 12.2 mph
max speed - 18.1 mph

Back to the running tomorrow. Thanks to a day off yesterday (and some vitamin i), but leg feels back to normal now.

More cross training at the weekend, when I start swimming lessons!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Running in the footsteps of Lewis Hamilton

I have passed the half way point now, it's all downhill from here!!

Today I have been in training for 97 days.
There are 96 days to go until the 2008 Flora London Marathon.
In this time I have run 93 miles. I was hoping to say that I've run 97 miles, but I've had to skip today's run as I have a slight pain in my left leg below the knee, and I don't want to push it. Better to take a day off than to risk getting an injury.

I do have some good news however, I have a place on the adidas half marathon at Silverstone in March, as a warm-up for the full distance in April. Before any Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton walks the circuit to familiarise himself with the course, so at some point he will have walked round Silverstone. I shall be running the same route, so will be able to get round faster than he did!

In honour of this, I've created a Facebook Group for anyone who's running in this event. I'll be running 4 and a bit laps, at roughly 33 minutes a lap (hopefully!), which is about 32 minutes slower than the lap record of 1m18s (held by Michael Schumacher).

Monday, 7 January 2008

The aches are back

Despite feeling great after yesterday's 7 mile run, both physically and mentally, I awoke this morning to aching knees. I'm used to a bit of stiffness the day after a long run, but today it was even less comfortable than usual to walk down stairs. Walking and ascending steps was fine, it was just going down that my knees gave me more grumbles than usual... boo.
This evening saw me out for a slow 20-minute recovery jog, covering only 1.6 miles. It was fairly hard to force myself to run that slowly, but I found if I took 4 paces for every breath in and 4 paces for every breath out (instead of the normal 3 in 3 out for normal running and 2 in 2 out for faster runs), then I could keep my pace down to a very relaxing jog.
Tomorrow I hope my knees are feeling better, as I'm supposed to be back to doing 4 miles!

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Seventh Heaven

I ran 7 miles today, in 75 minutes, and afterwards felt great! I could even have run a bit further .... well, maybe!
Mile 1 - 10m20s
Mile 2 - 10m43s
Mile 3 - 10m40s
Mile 4 - 10m45s
Mile 5 - 10m57s
Mile 6 - 10m56s
Mile 7 - 10m51s
This is a great achievement for me. I've run more than a quarter of a marathon on one go, and today I've managed to run at a very consistent pace!
This bodes very well. If I could keep today's pace up for the full 26.2 miles - I could be running the London Marathon in 4h41m, which is only just outside my target of 4h30m, and I still have another 97 days to train before the big day in April!!
Time for a cup of tea I think, I finished running over 3 hours ago, and I still feel dehydrated (even after half a litre of lucozade sport and a litre of milk).

Friday, 4 January 2008

Comfortable jog

Well - if running 4 miles in the wind and the rain can be called "comfortable"!!

I ran at a more leisurely pace today:

Mile 1 - 11m13s
Mile 2 - 12m11s
Mile 3 - 12m28s
Mile 4 - 12m34s

Day off again tomorrow, then another 6 miler on Sunday.

Only 99 days to go now!!!

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Running in the dark

It was only possible to manage a sub 10-minute-mile on yesterday's run thanks to a Christmas present from my wonderful wife:

It meant I was able to see the path ahead of me clearly enough. The only problem I had was running up one path where my breath was fogging in front of my face, lit up by the cybalite and temporarily blinding me like driving through fog with your headlights on full beam!

Back to it tomorrow - hopefully the snow will skip Oxfordshire so I can get out there and keep up with my rigourous training plan!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Cool Runnings

Brrr it was cold tonight! Nevertheless, I went out, and ran 4 steady miles as per week 2 of the 16-week training plan.

Mile 1 - 9m49s
Mile 2 - 11m08s
Mile 3 - 11m28s
Mile 4 - 10m55s

That means that I've run a half marathon since Friday - 16 miles since Boxing Day. Phew!!

Tomorrow is officially a day off, then back to it on Friday (a 4-5 miler again!!)

Running 13.1 miles in memory of Carl

I ran the Silverstone Half Marathon on 15th March 2009. I managed the 13.1 mile course in 2 hours and 4 minutes. Not a bad effort for my first Half Marathon! I returned in 2010 to run it in 1 hour 54 minutes, and plan to do it again in 2011. I decided to run this in aid of The PSC Trust and PSC Support in memory of my brother Carl, who died from liver failure in November 1997. If you'd like to sponsor me for this - please email me at PSC Trust
PSC Support Or visit my Justgiving page for PSC Support at PSC Support - Justgiving
Have you signed up to the national donor register? If you haven't yet done so, please think about it, and let your family know your wishes.
Give the gift of life.
Join the NHS Organ Donor Register
Organ Donor Line 0845 60 60 400