Saturday, 31 July 2010

Day 49 - Saturday 31st July: Hatford loop

Run: 2.46 miles
Time: 21 minutes 02 seconds

Today's run called for a "10 minute jog", but that hardly seemed worth lacing my trainers up for, so I decided to run out to Hatford & back, in about 20 minutes or so. This takes me comfortably over the 100 mile mark for July, and means I've also clocked up 495 miles in my "new" trainers which I bought in February. One more long run in them, and I'll break out a brand new pair to last me the rest of the year.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Day 48 - Friday 30th July: Rest

I was planning to cycle to work today, but when I woke up I decided I simply didn't have enough energy.
I've already run over 20 miles this week, swam 1k, been to 4 gym classes and done a 10k gym challenge.
Added to that I don't seem to be able to get myself off to bed before midnight, so I need a day off today.
This is no bad thing, and I think that I should be more careful to ensure I schedule complete rest days into  my training plan.
Back to a gentle run tomorrow (to take me over 100 miles run in July), followed by a half marathon distance training run on Sunday.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Day 47 - Thursday 29th July: Run & Dry Tri

Run: 4.08 miles
Time: 35 minutes 45 seconds

"Dry tri" gym challenge
2k row: 8m 00s
5k bike: 10m 54s
3k run: 15m 39s

A steady-to-brisk 4 mile run at lunch, with a good -ve split. Sunny, but not too hot, and a gentle breeze. Good running conditions.

Then after work, in spite of feeling a bit achy from yesterday's exertions, I did the row/bike/run gym challenge. The set the rower to 10 to make it more challenging (last time I did it on 6), and I knocked 10 seconds off the time. Then I did 5k on the bike set to 6, but upped it to 7. However I was taking it too steady (I'm not used to gym cycling, so find it hard to set a good pace), and did this section about a minute slower than last time. Finally I did 3k on the treadmill. I set the incline to 5, and the speed to 12 km/h - but this was too much, so slowed it down gradually to 11 km/h and the include down to 4, and then down to 3. I upped the speed for the last few hundred metres to 13 km/h - and managed to shave 9 seconds off the last go. Overall 10k in 34m33s (compared to 33m43s when I did it 2½ weeks ago).

Last of all I did another 60 sit-ups on the 4-week "abs of steel" plan.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Day 46 - Wednesday 28th July: Mixed bag

Run: 3.43 miles
Time: 30 minutes 00 seconds

Gym classes
Stability Ball: 30 minutes
LBT: 30 minutes
50/50: 45 minutes
LBT: 1 hour

A steady lunchtime run today, where I averaged roughly 9-minute-miles, but with a few fartleks thrown in to speed things up a little.

Then after work off to the gym for what, sadly, turned out to be my last 4-class session. As of next week the timetable will change, and there'll be no more stability ball or body-burn 50/50 classes. And LBT is brought forward to 6.15pm making it harder to get to. Oh well.

Between LBT & 50/50 today I nipped into the gym for 5 minutes to do 100 sit-ups on the ab roller. These didn't feel quite right because you use too much of your arms and not enough of your abs.

After 50/50 and it's on to.... another LBT class. The Yogalates teacher is on holiday, so it's my 4th class with Amy this evening, and since there were just three of us, she made it a tough one. I couldn't manage all of it, some of the leg raises proved just a bit too much today.

To wrap things off, I nipped back to the gym and asked Amy to show me how to use the ab roller properly, and she said to be honest I'm much better off doing proper ab crunches and not using my arms at all. So I did 50 normal sit-ups.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Day 45 - Tuesday 27th July: 1k swim

Distance: 1km
Crawl: 40 lengths

Another good session in the pool. It was quite busy this evening, but I stuck to the "fast lane", alternately being overtaken and overtaking other swimmers. There were about 5 of us at one point - and I was the slowest. Two girls steadily swam back & forth without stopping, so overtook me every 4-5 lengths. Two blokes who were obviously faster than me stopped every two lengths for a huge breather. I guess they were timing themselves against the pool clock, and had to keep waiting for the next minute to clock up before setting off again.

Overall though, it was good - as I made the 40 lengths in about 35 minutes.

Then when I got home and my pasta-egg-mayo-noodles&peas was cooking, I did 70 crunches as part of a new daily plan to do 60-100 sit-ups - called "abs of steel" (thanks to @Sall_y on twitter).

Monday, 26 July 2010

Day 44 - Monday 26th July: Hanney 12

Run: 12.00 miles
Time: 1 hour 56 minutes 44 seconds

After my birthday weekend seeing loads of bands at the Truck Festival in Steventon, it was back to the training today, and the delayed weekend 12-miler. I set off at a steady pace, and stuck to it. I wanted to take it slow, about 10-minute-mile pace, but not any slower than that, and actually made it a bit faster completing exactly 12 miles in just 45 seconds more than it took to run the Milton Keynes Half.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Day 43 - Sunday 25th July: Rest

Another day off today, as it's day two of the Truck music festival. I shall be running this week's LSR tomorrow instead.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Day 42 - Saturday 24th July: Milk run

Run: 1.26 miles
Time: 10 minutes 59 seconds

Just a short gentle jog down to the shop for milk, and a slightly more brisk run back again. I couldn't face not running all weekend long!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Day 41 - Friday 23rd July: Rest

Day off today after yesterday's super speed session. It's my birthday today too. So if you feel like giving me a present, please give £2 to the RNLI instead thanks!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Day 40 - Thursday 22nd July: Stanford - 5 laps

Run: 5.33 miles
Time: 41 minutes 08 seconds

A "brisk" 5 miles, getting faster on each lap. Splits of:
8m08s - 7m45s - 7m41s - 7m37s - 7m27s

I was planning to run my regular Milton 5 mile route, and go for it in 40 minutes today, but didn't feel up to the challenge at lunchtime. I thought perhaps I'd visit the Park Gym after work and try out a fast treadmill run (they've been taken over by SOLL, so I may enquire about upgrading my existing membership). In the end though I decided I needed to run a fast outdoor run.

I planned to set off at a good pace, clockwise round the village, and then speed up along the straight alongside the A417, trying to get faster on the uphill section, and then back to a steady-to-brisk pace for the other two thirds of the lap. Lap one felt so good, when I clocked up an 8:08 mile, that I decided to up the ante, and run a negative/negative/negative/negative/negative split - trying to run each lap faster than the last - meaning I'd also run the 5 miles in under 40 minutes.

It was a tough challenge, but I was more than up to it. And I've smashed my best time for this run by nearly 3 minutes from... 1 year ago today - Weds 22nd July 2009! Maybe my subconscious runner is trying to hold onto lost youth before the turn of the day, and another candle is added to the cake of my life?

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Day 39 - Wednesday 21st July: Milton 3

Run: 3.23 miles
Time: 30 minutes 22 seconds

Fairly gentle 3 mile lunchtime run. Where my Garmin lied about the starting point again. Apparently I was running a 3m55s/mile pace at one point. Roger Bannister, I am not. I wish I knew the trick to getting it to correctly locate me more quickly.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Day 38 - Tuesday 20th July: Charney 8

Run: 7.81 miles
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes 34 seconds

Just a gentle run this evening. Supposed to be 65 minutes, but that was still working from the "beginners" marathon training plan. Since I'm now a bit more than a beginner, I decided to up it by ten minutes. I even tried a few fartleks too - but nothing too serious. I chose a few telegraph poles and a roadsign along the way and ran faster to them for probably not much more than about 10-15 yards each time. I was conscious to not try to up the overall pace too much, until the last mile or so when I ran a bit faster for longer sections.

Overall a pretty good run, apart from the bit where I got a small fly in my mouth. I'm not sure if I managed to spit it out, swallow it or breath it in! Whatever - it upset my pace a little, half way through. Stupid blimmin things, what are they for?

Monday, 19 July 2010

Day 37 - Monday 19th July: Swim

Distance: 1km
Crawl: 40 lengths

Wanting to beat the distance I swam last week, I made sure I was at the pool earlier again today. I was in the pool at 7.22pm - giving me just 38 minutes before the aqua class to get in at least 33 lengths. Not a problem, I average about 1 length per minute, including the rest at the end. Having never learned how to turn - I just take a quick breather before setting off again.

I reached 20 lengths in just under 20 minutes, so was on plan to make at least 36 or 38, though 40 would be a bit of a squeeze. However, someone else joined the "fast" lane, and she was going just a bit faster than me, so I had to cut down the dawdling at the ends, and keep swimming back & forth to keep out of her way. This was perfect for me! Again, I've benefited from a pacemaker, and completed 38 lengths with 5 minutes to spare, giving me the chance to sprint the last two. And I wasn't even tired at the end!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Day 36 - Sunday 18th July: MK Half Marathon

Run: 13.1 miles
Time: 1 hour 56 minutes 9 seconds

Up early this morning, double portion of oatsosimple & banana, and off to Milton Keynes to run the 2010 NSPCC Half Marathon. Given that it's just a training run, I wasn't aiming to beat my 1h50m PB today. Anything under 2 hours would be good.

I got there just before 9am, and bumped into Michelle, from the Realbuzz forum, straight away. We chatted in the cool morning for a while, waiting for Sooks to arrive (another Buzzer). We couldn't tell if it was going to warm up, it looked pretty grey... but by about quarter to 10 the sun was out, and we head to the start line to get ready. With only about 1200 runners, there's not a huge queue to get over the start line, and at 10am on the dot we're off.

The route takes a combination of cycle paths, footpaths and towpaths, so is almost completely off the roads. I'm wearing my shades as I like to keep flies & dust out of my eyes as much as the sun, which is still struggling to make a big impression on the day. At least that means it's fairly cool, pretty good running weather.

Mile 3 comes up pretty quickly, and I go to pick up some water which I was planning to keep until mile 4 to take a drink with my first gel. However I hadn't realised that the water is in plastic cups, not bottles, so isn't possible to carry for a mile! Oh well, I gulp down my gel a bit earlier than planned. And struggle to drink from the cup on the run, so have to stop to a slow walk to be able to not get it all over my face and up my nose...

I follow a number of other runners who seem to be sticking to a 8m50s - 9m per mile pace, which is spot on to get me round in about 1h55m - 1h58m. Sometimes I overtake, sometimes they over take me. I find running like this takes my mind off it, and helps keep me going a bit faster than I'd normally be used to when I'm out in the countryside on my own.

Between miles 6 & 7 I'm confident that I'm on course for sub 2-hours, and depending on how much faster I can run the second half, I might even make 1h55m... however I wasn't prepared for the final section which had some rather tough "hills". The route towards the end (miles 8-10½) follows the canal towpath, and every time there's a bridge over the water, the towpath goes up and down to meet the bridge. These short sharp inclines are strength sapping.

About mile 8½ I take my second gel, and have just about sussed out how to drink from a plastic cup without spilling it all over myself. When it kicks in at ten miles I up the pace, and leave behind the girl I'd been using as my pacemaker. Although I know I'm going to finish comfortably under 2 hours, I still want to get back in as good a time as I feel I can push out of myself today.

Then there's the hill at the end too, where they've moved the Start line round the corner to be on the school playing field. I guess I'd expected the Finish line to be where the Start line was. I'm sprinting up the hill to where it was, and it's not there. Maybe it's just out of sight round the corner? No! There's a final loop to do up to the corner of the playing field, and then up a grass straight for a proper sprint finish. I'm so pleased that I've made it, I almost forget to stop my Garmin, but do so on 1h56m09s - about a minute slower than I thought I might do it, but still pretty good considering the profile of the route for the last 5 miles.

I grab my goodies (medal, banana, water, nature valley bar), and retrieve my bag. I stretch, and then get changed, before flopping out on the grass and closing my eyes for about ten minutes before I look out for the other two to finish. After about five minutes I spot Michelle - she's standing by the fence near the Finish line looking out for Sooks! She'd already finished about ten minutes earlier, and I missed her as I was having a power nap! We both cheer on Sukeallia as she crosses the line, and then we sit around enjoying the sun and chatting about the race, and what other plans we have to come.

Then we make our way back to the car parks, and head off homeward! Overall a pretty good Half Marathon, and one I'd recommend. I may do it again next year, depending on how it fits in to other plans!

Back at home, and it's not long before the official times are up on the website, and I've done it in 1h56m09s - exactly what I'd recorded on my Garmin!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Day 35 - Saturday 17th July: Stanford 2

Run: 2.17 miles
Time: 22 minutes 06 seconds

Just a very gentle couple of miles today to loosen my legs up before tomorrow's Half Marathon. I left it late so it was cool to run, but then was keen to get out and get on with it, having put it off all day, so I managed to get going before my Garmin had fully picked up where I was...

More carbs and early to bed, I've got a very early start in the morning!

Day 34 - Friday 16th July: Rest

Another day off today. I was thinking of cycling to work, but with a half marathon on Sunday I need to "taper". Glad I didn't cycle, did you see how windy it was?

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Day 33 - Thursday 15th July: Treadmill hill interval fartleks

Distance: 6.22km (3.86 miles)
Time: 40m00s

Today I was due a steady 40 minutes, but fancied something a bit different, so tried out a new hill profile on the treadmill. 40 minutes broken down into twelve 3.333 minute sections. I took the first one easy to warm up, and try to gauge what was going to happen. After a while it felt a bit slow, so I upped the pace a little. The first "hill" seemed a bit gentle too, but I'd decided that I wanted to do some speed play (or "fartleks" in Swedish). This basically means doing short sprints within a long run. They can be any length you want. Out on the road you can just say to yourself "I'm going to run really fast to the next tree/lamppost/telegraph pole/etc." On the treadmill it's less fun, you just have to whack up the speed for a bit. So I left the hill pattern alone, and didn't alter the gradients.

After the first hill, I did a minute sprint on the flat. I was thinking I'd do anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute, but it felt good - mostly because I wasn't sprinting flat out, so I stuck to this pattern. Somewhere on each flat section - I ran fast for a minute. All except the last one, where I ran slow for 50 seconds, fast for a minute, slow for 40 seconds, fast for 30 seconds then slow for 20 seconds to finish. And then a minute to cool down.

1 gradient 0 8.5km/h
2 gradient 0 9km/h
3 gradient 2 8.5km/h
4 gradient 0 9km/h + 1 min 13km/h
5 gradient 3 8.5km/h
6 gradient 0 9km/h + 1 min 13km/h
7 gradient 4 8km/h
8 gradient 0 9km/h + 1 min 13.5km/h
9 gradient 6 7.7k/h
10 gradient 0 9km/h
11 gradient 6 7.7km/h
12 gradient 0 9km/h + 1 min 13.5km/h + 30s 15km/h

Disappointingly I still ran a shorter distance than I would have done on the road, but then a steady 40 minute run would only normally cover about 4¼ miles, so I wasn't that far off.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Day 32 - Wednesday 14th July: Gym classes

Stability Ball: 30 minutes
LBT: 30 minutes
Body Burn 50/50: 45 minutes
Yogalates: 1 hour

For a change this week, I was not the only bloke doing Stability Ball. Amy promised us the tough exercise we did last week, but I had to admit I couldn't remember it. I think I must've blocked out the pain..? The half hour whizzed by, and the other three left.

Onto Legs, Bums & Tums (not Lettuce, Bacon & Tomato) - and I'm the only participant. This is great, 'cos I get a half hour 1:1 personal training session, tailored just to me! Amy decides to make it quite tough, especially when I tell her I can't feel the burn in the lunges. She makes me hold the lunge at the bottom and keep it there for a count of about 100. Ok, it was just 8, but boy did I feel the burn! She gave me tips about crunches, and got me to do some twisting ones whilst she threw a medicine ball at me, not one you can do in a full class.

Next up it's 50/50 and this is mostly easy compared to the previous half hour. That is until we do squats, followed by balancing on one leg, at which point the burning lunges from LBT take their toll...

Lastly I finish the evening with an hour's Yogalates, which has some new moves which I find hard. One is lying on your side, propped up on one arm, lifting both legs up off the floor, and moving them back and forth in a scissors movement. Sounds easy? You should try it (after 2½ hours exercise first!)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Day 31 - Tuesday 13th July: Milton 5

Run: 4.97 miles
Time: 44 minutes 51 seconds

A steady lunchtime run. I couldn't afford to set a brisk pace today, as I'm running the 
Milton Keynes Half Marathon on Sunday. So it wasn't hard work this time, but in spite of that I got round in 9-minute-miles. I think the cool, damp climate helped there, as I wasn't struggling in the heat. The heavy rain held off until a while after my return, so luckily it was the ideal weather to go.

Since I'd felt a bit of soreness in my left adductor towards the end of Saturday's ten-miler, I decided I should book myself in for a sports massage. I'd planned to have one about now anyway, but when you get a niggle it's definitely worth getting your legs checked over for a bit of routine maintenance before an unchecked niggle turns itself into a more serious pain - or worse still an injury.

Sammy from Inside & Out Body Therapy soon discovered that the slight pain in my thigh was most likely caused by over-tightness in my calf. This may have been brought on by the increase in cycling I've been doing, or maybe just the volume of running. I've been training proper for a month now, and in 17 runs I've knocked up just under 90 miles. Apart from a tight left calf, things seemed to be pretty much ok. She commented that my quads were better than normal - just before she found a tight knot in my left quad, needing a bit of elbow work to loosen up. Ouch!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Day 30 - Monday 12th July: 800m swim

Distance: 800m
Crawl: 32 lengths

Got to the pool a bit earlier this week, so had just over half an hour to get my swim in. I wanted to beat last week's 30 lengths, and was easily going to get to 32 in the 30 minutes, however about 5 to 8 the lifeguard removed the lane separator in readiness for the aquaerobics class. So I finished my last two on a sprint, and left a couple of minutes before 8pm. That way I can beat the distance again next week!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Day 29 - Sunday 11th July: Dry Tri 10k

2k Row: 8m10s
3k Run: 15m48s
5k Bike: 9m45s

I've taken up the great gym challenge for a bit of fun with other members of the realbuzz community, or Buzzers as we're otherwise known. Although so far only two of us have signed up to take part!

After a 5 minute warm up on the treadmill, I decided to start the challenge today with the 2000m row. I set the resistance to 5 (half way) and set off at an eager 32 strokes per minute. I normally row one or two 500m sprints in under 2 minutes each, so 8m10 was pretty good for the full 2k.

After a quick breather and top up on water I'm back on the treadmill for the next part of the challenge. I set the incline to 3 and the distance to 3.0k and I'm off, setting the pace up to 12.5kph although I slacken this off a little at half way. I'm sure I once ran 5 miles at a 12kph pace, so thought I should be able to go a bit faster for less than 2 miles. But that was in the Didcot gym, and this is Wantage, so it's quite possible that one or other of the treadmills is not calibrated very accurately. 15m48s feels a bit slow for 1.86 miles, as I reckon I could do that out on the road easily in under 15 minutes.

Lastly I'm on the bike for the 5k cycle. I set the resistance to 4 and set off at a steady pace. I'm not used to cycling any particular distance or speed on the bike in the gym, as usually I just do a 5 or 10 minute stint. Again out of the road I can easily manage 3 miles in under 12 minutes. How will that compare when I'm not going anywhere - or indeed having to propel my own bodyweight along the road? It turns out I make the 5000m in under 10 minutes which is doable on a real bike, but normally only when there's a downhill involved!

So my first attempt at this challenge is complete. I'll have some more goes at it, and see if I can shave some time off. I might try another gym too to see how different equipment compares!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Day 28 - Saturday 10th July: Charney 10

Run: 10.01 miles
Time: 1 hour 41 minutes 30 seconds

The weather forecast for the weekend was scorchio, so I decided if I woke up early enough I'd try to get out for my run early today. Sure enough, I was awake before 6am and could already feel the day warming up. Microporridge & a banana later and I'm ready to hit the road. I'd put my water bottle and Lucozade Sport in the fridge last night. Suncream on, and I'm off. I deliberately keep it slow to run a gentle ten miles. I'm doing a Half Marathon next Sunday, so need to take it easy today.

The run is good, it's not too hot, and I take on water in small sips - little and often. At one point the mild wind drops to nothing, and I can feel that I'm hot. I'm regretting having had a hot breakfast. Luckily when I turn the corner the breeze picks up, just enough to keep me cool. The miles fly by, even though I'm running slower than usual.

In Lyford just about half way, and a fly buzzes in my ear so I have to shake my head vigorously to dislodge it. Just this little thing knocks me off my stride, and the second half of the run is slower. That's ok, I don't push myself to pick up the pace. I'm still going to get back in around 100 minutes, so I'm on plan.

A couple of kites are up over Charney Bassett, flying high trying to pick up the thermals, whilst down on the ground a cool breeze is welcome on my face. I'm on the homeward stretch now, and looking forward to getting in for a refreshing shower to cool off. Not long and I reach the straight to Gainfield and I can see the woods at the crossroads to Buckland ahead. They look so close, yet they're still ¾-mile away - just under 8 minutes.

Soon though I'm back in Stanford, and although I'm flagging, I know I'm nearly done now. I want to make it to 10 miles, so I run an extra little loop to clock up the full distance. Realistically it makes no difference if I run 9.9 miles or 10 - but psychologically it's a big boost to my training plan to get to double figures, so the extra minute running round the green is worth it to me.

So weekend LSR done, and it's only just gone 9am - I'd normally still be fast asleep in bed at this time!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Day 27 - Friday 9th July: Rest

No exercise today. A ten miler planned for tomorrow, but with temps of 27ºC it'll be a fun run! I'll make sure I take it slow, and have plenty of water & lucozade sport with me.

Then on Sunday I'm planning on taking part in the
Great Gym Challenge

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Day 26 - Thursday 8th July: Milton 5

Run: 5.00 miles
Time: 46 minutes 28 seconds

A more gentle go at this regular route today. Tuesday's was "brisk", today was "steady".
Again I failed to hydrate during the morning, only managing half a pint of water today. One day I'll get organised and make sure I have a good amount to drink before a hot lunchtime run! Still, because I wasn't pushing it, it was quite a good run today.

I overtook another runner out today. I spotted him not long after I'd turned south from the Drayton road back towards Milton village. He was running on the left of the road, whereas I was correctly running on the right, heading into the oncoming traffic. I could tell I was going to overtake him, and as I drew near I realised we were making a rolling chicane as oncoming cars began to pull over to avoid me, thus getting closer to him. Why was he running on the wrong side of the road? Who does he think he is, Eddy Izzard? Luckily I left him behind as I got to Milton and then it was soon back into the Park and back to work.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Day 25 - Wednesday 7th July: Gym classes

Stability Ball: 30 minutes
LBT: 30 minutes
50/50: 45 minutes

Just the three classes today, and on the whole they weren't too bad. I think the instructor was being a bit easier on us this week!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Day 24 - Tuesday 6th July: Milton 5

Run: 4.95 miles
Time: 41 minutes 35 seconds

Phew - a fast one today, though surprisingly it didn't feel fast. It felt good, but I wish I'd hydrated better earlier in the day, as I was thirsty after only a mile or so. I kind of wanted to beat last week's 43 minutes, but was resigned to not putting in a great performance because I'd only had one cup of tea and a pint of water during the morning. However, I made the first mile in under nine minutes, and just got faster on miles 2 & 3. I kept thinking about how fast I ran the Birmingham Half marathon (about an 8min 20sec pace), so subconsciously I think my legs got the hint, as that's the kind of pace I managed through miles 2-5.

Afterwards I was both amazed and strangely disappointed to have set a PB for this route - knocking 1½ minutes off last week's time. Why did I feel let down instead of elated? I can't put my finger on it - but perhaps it was because next time I want to beat this time, it's going to be harder - because I've raised the bar higher than I was expecting. Beating a time in small increments is achievable, whereas beating a time when I've already knocked a sizeable chunk off (3.5%) makes me think I'll have to work harder next time, just to match the same PB (let alone beat it).

Then again, I may just surprise myself and manage the elusive 40 minutes!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Day 23 - Monday 5th July: Swim

Swim: 750 metres
Time: 30 minutes

At last - I managed 30 lengths again, wasn't sure I'd make it in time. But I kept going and just made it (before the aquasize class was due to begin). I finished on a quick one again too.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Day 22 - Sunday 4th July: Rest

I did go to the gym today to attend Combat Circuits again, but yet another class mysteriously cancelled with no notice. This time there were four of us who were let down by the lack of instructor. So I took it as a sign that I should have a rest day today instead!

Day 21 - Saturday 3rd July: Charney - Denchworth 10

Run: 9.81 miles
Time: 1 hour 31 minutes 38 seconds

This was supposed to be about 9 miles, but turned out to be nearer 10. But that was ok - as the plan was for a 90 minute jog, so it turned out to be about spot on.

Day 20 - Friday 2nd July: Cycle to work & back

Cycle: 11.84 miles
Time: 47 minutes 7 seconds

With the wind behind me, I knocked another 5 minutes off the time to get to work.

Cycle: 11.89 miles
Time: 1 hour 2 minutes 46 seconds

It was harder on the return leg, however, cycling into the wind. I had to stop for a breather and a drink a couple of miles from home.

Day 19 - Thursday 1st July: Stanford 5 (3 outer)

Run: 5.11 miles
Time: 49 minutes 47 seconds

Again, another change to the usual routine of running 5 mile laps of the village, I ran 3 longer 1½ mile laps instead. Next week is a rest week for this day, but after that I'll be back to the "speed interval" run.

Day 18 - Wednesday 30th June: Gym classes

Stability Ball: 30 minutes
LBT: 30 minutes
50/50: 45 minutes
Yogalates: 1 hour

Luckily the regular instructor was back from her hols, so things were back to normal. Although she was determined to push me to my limit this week, and took great pleasure in seeing the pain on my face during 50/50!

Day 16 - Monday 28th June: Swim

Swim: 650 metres
Time: 25 minutes

Just the 26 lengths this week, though I did sprint the last one.

Day 17 - Tuesday 29th June: Milton 5

Run: 5.05 miles
Time: 43 minutes 9 seconds

A new PB for this route. I may yet beat 40 minutes on this lap... one day!

Day 15 - Sunday 27th June: Charney & back

Run: 7.77 miles
Time: 1 hour 18 minutes 48 seconds

Another alternative to my usual long run - an out & back route this time to Charney Bassett.

Day 14 - Saturday 26th June: Recovery run

Run: 1.88 miles
Time: 18 minutes 27 seconds

A gentle jog to loosen things up again after all the cycling the day before.

Day 13 - Friday 25th June: Cycle to work; to Abingdon & home

Cycle: 11.85 miles
Time: 51 minutes 56 seconds

Cycle: 5.50 miles
Time: 31 minutes 30 seconds

Cycle: 12.22 miles
Time: 1 hour 1 minute 35 seconds

A cycle to work, again faster than the week before. The off to Abingdon for the department summer BBQ & games night, followed by a late cycle home on a cool moonlit night.

Day 12 - Thursday 24th June: Milton 4½

Run: 4.53 miles
Time: 43 minutes 30 seconds

A more gentle lunchtime run, on a very sunny day. Followed by an hour on the squash court in the evening (where I lost 5-0, but my excuse is that I haven't played in over 5 years!)

Squash: 1 hour

Day 11 - Wednesday 23rd June: Gym

Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

I went along to the gym, and signed up for Stability Ball, LBT & 50/50.
When I got to the studio, no-one was there. I asked at reception, but they didn't know why there was no replacement instructor (for the regular one I knew was away that week). So I went to the gym for 20 minutes.

At 7pm there was still no-one in the studio. Back in the gym.
At 7.45pm there was no 50/50 either. Odd that it was only me and the gym staff who knew nothing of the cancelled classes. None of the other regulars had turned up. Back in the gym for another quarter of an hour.

Day 10 - Tuesday 22nd June: Milton 5

Run: 4.95 miles
Time: 43 minutes 57 seconds

A bit faster than last week.

Day 9 - Monday 21st June: Swim

Swim: 700 metres
Time: 30 minutes

28 lengths this week.

Day 8 - Sunday 20th June: Denchworth 8

Run: 8.45 miles
Time: 1 hour 18 minutes 42 seconds

Instead of the Stanford - Gainfield - Charney Bassett - Park Lane - Stanford loop, I ran to Denchworth & back for a change.

After lunch and a rest, I headed off to the gym for a class with a bit of a misnomer. I've done it about three times, and not once have done anything along the lines of "combat"...

Class: Combat circuits
Time: 45 minutes

Day 7 - Saturday 19th June: Oxford to Charlbury

Cycle: 19.86 miles
Time: 2 hours 5 minutes 2 seconds

A slow ride from Oxford to the Chalrbury Riverside Festival. Where it wasn't hilly, it was windy... It included a fantastic downhill between Combe and Stonesfield where I hit the brakes when I hit 33mph!

Day 6 - Friday 18th June: Cycle to work

Cycle: 11.83 miles
Time: 55 minutes 19 seconds

A fraction faster than when I cycled in to work 2 weeks earlier.

Day 5 - Thursday 17th June: Stanford 4 laps

Run: 4.44 miles
Time: 39 minutes 35 seconds

Something a little different - a "speed interval" workout, alternating steady & fast halves of each mile lap.

Day 4 - Wednesday 16th June: Gym classes

Stability Ball: 30 minutes
LBT: 30 minutes
50/50: 45 minutes
Yogalates: 1 hour

I am the only bloke who goes to the first three of these classes, although I don't know why. They're great for working all muscle groups - but especially the core.

Day 3 - Tuesday 15th June: Milton 5

Run: 4.99 miles
Time: 44 minutes 41 seconds

My regular lunchtime Tuesday run.

Day 2 - Monday 14th June: Gym class

LBT: 45 minutes

I'd booked a 45 minute circuit training class, but it was cancelled. Not wanting to miss out, I went to "Legs, bums & tums" instead.

Day 1 - Sunday 13th June: Stanford - 5 laps

Run: 5.28 miles
Time: 45 minutes 00 seconds
I'd thought of running 8 miles today (having done so already the previous week), but settled for 5 quick miles instead of a long slow run.

Marathon number three - Loch Ness

Having run the Edinburgh Marathon on Sunday 23rd May, I was all set to sign up for the Abingdon Marathon in October. I'd been umming and ahhing about running another marathon this year, and wanted to see how I got in Edinburgh first. Once my disappointment of the run itself had passed, I was indeed keen to run another 26-miler. At this point I found that Abingdon was already full.

On the whole my training for Edinburgh had gone well, although a bit of plantar fasciitis (sore heel), followed by a dose of sinusitis, kept me from hitting the big runs in the latter stages of training. The longest I'd been on was 18.8 miles five weeks beforehand. Enough to get me round, but without the couple of planned 20-milers in the bank, it proved a struggle on the day - given the heat. It was the hottest May weekend on record in Edinburgh (hitting 25ºC), and everyone suffered in the sweltering conditions. I made it in 4 hours 42 minutes - so 12 minutes slower than London 2009.

As the London Marathon was my first one, I kept this blog. It was a useful tool to get me over the lows during training, and to keep me on track when the going got tough. I could share my frustrations with fellow marathoners-in-training. I didn't keep it up during training for Edinburgh, I simply threw myself into the runs, and didn't need the added boost of sharing all the details here. However a few people have commented that I didn't keep it going. So for my next challenge, that will change.

I've decided upon the Loch Ness Marathon on Sunday October 3rd 2010, and I started the 16-week training plan on Sunday 13th June. To kick start the plan, I decided to include more fitness work to a) improve my core stability (to make me a better runner), b) take advantage of my gym membership (by cramming in more gym classes) and c) to save money on driving to work (by cycling now and then instead!) Over the following 21 blog entries, you'll be able to see how I got on during these first three weeks. Don't panic - they're not long!

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
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