Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Sorry I don't do marathons...yet

It's about this time of year, every year, i will be asked the same questions and they mainly focus around the trend, Have you/Are you running the London Marathon. Each time i have to grit my teeth, smile and indicate that although i do run a fair amount compared to the average Joe the marathon is a little bit too far.

I'm sure at some stage i will be tempted by the 26.2 miles but while i still have a few fast twitch fibers in my legs I'll stick to the shorter stuff. Although after watching the race on Sunday i may need to keep a few of them just to keep up! The leaders were putting 3 or 4 4:30 minute miles back to back and this was after 15 miles. There were great runs by fellow group members Dave Norman and Gareth Raven with the husband of Donna Jones, Andi Jones, finishing 2nd Brit.

I have a huge amount of respect for marathon runners, those that i know and train with along with the world leading athletes that head up the races around the world. To train for a marathon you have to sacrifice so much more than a normal runner as during the week at some stage you will have to go out for 15 mile runs and Sunday runs will be the same if not further. To focus on a good time weekly mileage has to be around or above 100 miles, sessions are focused on maintaining sustained efforts for longer periods with the same if not less recovery. The race itself pushes your body to the limit, after 18 or so miles the body is virtually drained of glycogen stores or quick energy so it then has to start turning to other sources be it fat or muscle, which are that little more difficult to access.

A big congratulations to all those that competed, it's a monumental effort and i hope you can now just about walk!

To the training diary.

Sunday 18th: 9:39 (58:01, 7.53mi, 7:42 min/mi) Out with Tom and some of the Sale old guard in Center Parcs (I was here for a friends birthday), we were running through the woods twisting and turning thus the slower than normal pace. We were planning on getting out for 20 mins in the evening but after a day of 'activities' Tom and i were pretty shot.

Monday 19th: 8:17 (22:22, 3.16mi, 7:05 min/mi) Out with a steady run with Tom before leaving.

19:03 (WU 15:16 2.10 mi, Tempo 24.24 4.77mi (5:12, 5:06, 5:03, 5.00, 4:02) WD 13:54 1.70) Barnsey, Bondy, Dave and Andy Norman, Tom, Dave Proctor, Niall Brooks. This was supposed to be steady after the race at the weekend, we don't seem to do steady at the moment! In hindsight should probably have gone to 5 miles, but legs felt battered.

Tuesday 20th: 12:43 (25:27, 3.84mi, 6:38min/mi) Still not into a routine plus felt shattered, so steady run at lunch.

17:55 (35:29, 5.23mi, 6:47min/mi) Took it steady in the evening.

Wednesday 21st: 12:51 (22:03, 3.30mi 6:41mini/mi) Feeling ok but legs were not quite all there.

19:03 (WU 15:39 2.10mi, 4*1200 1*800 (3:24, 3:24, 3:24, 3:24, 2:16) 90 sec recovery, WD 15:15 2.12mi) With Barnsey, Bondy, Mike and Steffan. Consistent, which is key, would normally have just done the 4 but decided to do an extra 800 taking out the first lap for the rest of the group. Legs were definitely tired after.

Thursday 22nd: 7:05 (23:45, 3.43mi, 6:56min/mi) Not feeling too bad after the night before.

17:46 (34:35, 5.24mi, 6:36min/mi) Still feeling a little tired but able to clip along at a fair pace.

Friday 23rd: 8:10 (19:38, 2.76mi, 7:06) Not the best of morning runs, cut it short.

Lunch: S&C session.

18:18 (33:26, 5:05, 6:37) Ran from home for a change, different scenery and route helped me get round.

Saturday 24th: 10:45 (WU 12:32 1.67mi, 4*1 mile(4:55, 4:59, 5:01, 5:02) 1 min rec, 10 minutes jog, 3*200 (27, 29, 27) 30 sec recovery WD 12:48 1.64) I was glad to get the session done, Barnsey, Bondy, Tom and Dave all involved. Fairly happy with miles although would have preferred them under 5 mins.

Week total: Approx 64 miles

Although a normal week of miles i hadn't properly recovered after the weekend so was running fairly tired for most of the week. Sessions were good which counts for something. Next week will be fairly similar with Saturdays session a steady one before the first Stretford on the 4th.


Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Injuries and the past week

The past week was a bit of a struggle after the time away. Monday morning came far too soon and trying to get back into the routine of things took me a couple of days. However I was still able to get training in as usual although there was a considerable drop off in the amount of miles I did. Being a race week I was tapering down fortunately, this allowed the latter part of the week to be a lot easier. When I taper before a race usually my last session will be the Wednesday night, the following days will be easier runs where I go no faster than 6:30 min/mile and I won't do any strength and conditioning work.
Luckily for the past 8 or so months I have steered clear of injuries and any major illnesses, bar the odd cold, however since 2006 when I made a big jump in performances I was dogged for 3 years with my body breaking down in one way or another.

In 2007 I was coming to the end of the cross country season and was invited to a UKA endurance meeting in Birmingham, part of the session consisted of splitting into your relevant discipline and having some specific coaching. The steeplechase coaching consisted of 'water jumping' into a long jump pit, however we were going over one after the other and leaving holes in the sand. I raised my concerns that it may cause someone to turn their ankle but this was ignored. Needless to say I was the one that turned their ankle and was out for around 8 weeks, wrecking my track season.

2008 was another problematic season this time caused by my choice of footwear. I had been going well at the start of the track season, running a PB in my first race, but over the next few weeks I began developing Achilles pain and by the middle of May I could barely run. I went to my physio who in turn referred me to specialist who identified the problem as tendinitis. I took the necessary advice and started the rehabilitation, after it had improved I returned to training only to find the problem returning. I decided to visit the podiatry department at Salford University. They diagnosed the spikes I had been using as the culprit (a lack of a heel and support coupled with my foot pronation was putting excess pressure on the Achilles tendon), but because of the damage they had caused I had to be fitted with orthotics to counteract my pronation. I wasn't running properly until the end of September.

2009 was looking promising, a PB over 5 miles and highest ever positions in cross country races, but this all began coming unstuck around the end of February. The 2008/2009 winter had seen me up my weekly mileage to around the 80/90 mark, a lot higher than I had ever experienced. I was feeling stronger but at the same time tired, just thinking this was a result of the miles I soldiered on. The first signs of something going wrong was the week after the Northern cross country championships I raced in a 5 mile race in Alsager. I ran 26.22 this was 1 minute 33 seconds slower than the 5 mile race I had done 3 months previously. My coach and I thought this was just the result of 2 races in quick succession. However as time went on sessions were sporadic as was my racing. The final straw came in early May when I raced a flat 3k, I finished in 8:54, 7 seconds slower than my PB in the steeplechase. I asked the advice of my friend and UKA doctor John Rogers, we did some preliminary blood tests and simple mood gauges. Nothing came back from the tests and John indicated that this was pointing to a condition called 'Overtraining syndrome'. The condition is pretty self explanatory, but not only was it affecting me physically mentally I was low and unenthused. I had to stop training and gradually work my way back, I took a week off everything and then gradually had to build back. This took close to 2 months before I was back in full training and by then it was the middle of July and I had missed a lot of training and had lost a lot of endurance.

All these experiences has made me listen to my body more, resting when I was tired, not doing the extra reps in session if I didn't feel like it and cutting back the miles to a level which has allowed me to optimise my training.

Sunday 11th April: 8:42 (1:17:29, 10.95 mi, 7:04 min/mi) Out with Matt Barnes, Dave Norman and Matt Bond. A lot slower than my last Sunday run, grateful of the pace. After run went to bed for an hour was drained!

Monday 12th April: 12:44 ( 24:47, 3.71 mi, 6:40 min/mi) Today was a huge effort, didn't want to get out of bed for the morning run, so went at lunch.

19:11 (WU 15:03, 4*800 (2:10, 2:09, 2:11, 2:10) 3/2 min recovery WD 11:45) Not a good session tonight, felt tired and lethargic. Work had been a daze and had carried through to the evening.

Tuesday 13th April: 8:01 ( 19:17, 2.70 mi, 7:09 min/mi) Still felt tired, out of routine which didn't help.

17:39 ( 38:10, 5.75 mi, 6:39 min/mi) Felt better than the morning, but still not quite right. Had a massage and then an early night!

Wednesday 14th April: 8:05 ( 19:29, 2.74 mi, 7:06 min/mi) starting to feel better, massage definitely helped.

18:53 (WU 15:32, 7*300 (46, 45, 45, 46, 45, 45, 45) 45 sec rec WD 15:25) Felt controlled during the session all fairly consistent and wasn't pushing it.

Thursday 15th April: 12:57 ( 40:01, 6.09 mi, 6:35 min/mi) Starting to ease off for the weekend, felt good during this run up and down middlewood way.

Friday 16th April: 7:56 ( 22:23, 3.28 mi, 6:50 min/mi) Steady morning run after dropping off car, feeling quite relaxed.

13;16 ( 21:13, 3.24 mi, 6:32 min/mi) Run to pick up car after it had been cleaned, same distance but downhill thus the quicker time. Still felt good.

Saturday 17th April: National 12 stage relays 3rd leg (WU approx 10 min, 27:15 (5.4 miles), WD 25min approx 3 miles). Took over in 3rd i was oddly on my own for a majority of the race. Passing second place shortly after the start i then had to aim at Notts in first who were about 100m ahead. Through the stage i worked towards him but was passed by Shettleston after about 2 miles and Dave Norman came past me with about a mile and a half to go. Coming into the final hill i gave it all i had and took the Notts runner and got within 20m of Dave. Happy with the run, although would have liked to have had someone with me to pull me under 27... Next year!

Weekly total Approx 60 miles

Normal-ish mileage for a race week, will be getting a good few weeks in now before my first track race at Stretford!

Should post on time next week!


Sunday, 11 April 2010

Warm Weather Training

Sorry no blog for the last 2 weeks, i have just returned from a bout of warm weather training in Portugal, and to be honest i didn't want to come back!

This was the first time i had experienced the whole warm weather thing, I found if you treat is as training camp rather than a jolly it is the perfect excuse to get some solid training in while getting some much needed Vitamin D (which actually helps with carido endurance, there have been studies, if you don't believe me google it!).

Anyway it all came about after i put out a cry for help on a forum website,, after failing to arrange something within my own group. i was directed to contact Martin Williams, a marathon runner from Tipton, who informed me there was space for one in the apartment he and two others had booked. I took up the offer and a few weeks later i was on the plan to Faro, which is located at almost the southernly point of Portugal. We were staying in the resort of Villamoura, a town more known for it golf than athletics. The crew i was rooming with was Martin 'Quiet man' Williams, Phil 'Primarni' Nicholls and Jason 'Cheetos and Beer' Ward. Jason i knew of through the Altrincham club, i had met Phil before at a few training days but i had never met Martin before. However within hours of getting there i had already settled in and was feeling part of the 'family'. Within the hotel there were also plenty of other athletes from the Trafford club, Liverpool and Loughborough University all of which we mingled with at one point or another.

Our apartment was perfectly placed being 2 miles from the track and just over 3.5 miles from a purpose built cross country course (i think it was a world cross course, can't tell you when) with trails and perfectly maintained roads surrounding the complex.

Although a little boring all i did for the trip was run and relax, but this was just what was i wanted. Due to this i put in probably the most miles i have done in a 7 day period (Approx 92 miles from Saturday to Friday), this is something i wouldn't have been able to do trying to do activities during the day!

Anyway in conclusion, i had a great time, made some great new friends and put in an excellent week of training for me! I will be doing it again next year, but will probably go for a little longer.

I will now try and put together the last 2 weeks of training as concisely as possible!

March 28th: 10:30 Wilmslow half Marathon (1hr 32 mins, 14.4 (including warm up and warm down) approx. 7min/mil) Now although i ran the race i was not competitive, a colleague from work was running and was hoping to break 1 hr 30 mins and i offered to help him pace it correctly. We were on for the time until the last 4 miles where we turned back and there was a gradual rise to the finish which caused him to fade. I found it a fun race although i don't have the half marathon or full marathon bug just yet!

March 29th: 8:03 (21.22 min 3.01 miles, 7:05 min/mil) Steady morning run, no ill effects from the day before luckily!

19:00 (WU 12.39 min 1.73 mi, 4*800 (2:13, 2:10, 2:11, 2:09) 2 min rec WD 13:35 min 1.73 mi) First session back on the track on a monday night, felt good, weather was a bit damp but felt strong and gradually sped up.

March 30th 8:10 (20.29 min 2.90 miles, 7:04 min/mil) felt tired this morning thus the shorter than normal run. Probably the result of the previous 3 days effort

18:26 (34.56 min 5.54 miles, 6:20 min/mil) felt a lot better than the morning and was able to pick it up a bit.

March 31st 8:07 (21:20 min 3.00 miles, 7:07 min/mil) steady run where i stacked it in front of a dog walker when i slipped on some mud, highly embarrassing!

19:04 (WU 12:49 min 1.73 miles, 5 Mile Tempo 25:31, WD 11:23 1.50 mil) Was supposed to be doing a 30 min tempo at a slower pace than the last time, however due to the speed we were running i decided to cut back to 5 miles. ended up running 25:31 4 seconds quicker than the last one!

April 1st 7:59 (20:32 min 2.82 miles, 7:16 min/mil) very tired this morning, so just got through it.

18:23 (37.42 min 5.93 miles, 6:21 min/mil) felt a lot better in the evening again, holiday probably had something to do with it, but happy with the pace and how i felt.

April 2nd 16:32 (52.32 min 7.77 miles, 6:45 min/mil) first run with the lads in Villamoura, ran to the cross course and back along the cliffs next to the sea, very pleasant first run!

April 3rd 10:37 (WU 26.22 min 3.45 miles, 5*5min (1.01mi, 0.99mi, 0.99mi, 0.97mi, 0.97mi) 90 sec rec WD 25:18 3:54 mi) Ran to the Cross course and did session with Martin and Jason, felt good and pushed on from the second rep although was working hard for the last 2 reps. The course although firm had sand traps on corners which made it hard work.

Week total: 71:51 miles

April 4th: 9:00 (Approx 1hr 33 min 14.00 miles) Mid run i deleted my time and distance so not sure of complete details. Quick for me started off at about 7 min/mi but towards the end we were getting down to 5:50's with Jason pushing on!

April 5th: 10:44 (WU 16.41 min 2.11 miles, 5*800 (2:09, 2:11, 2:10, 2:11, 2:09) 90 sec rec WD 16:32 min 2.11 mi) Session with the Trafford lads at the track, was pushing on from the start and with the shortened recovery from the previous week fairly happy with the times although the two 2:11's annoyed me slightly.

17:31 (44:21 min 6.99 miles, 6:21 min/mil) This was a quick run with the lads, Jason and i held off as Martin and Phil were pushing on hard, their third miles was 5:50, i turned back after 3.5 with Lewis Moses, a loughborough student, and we slowed it slightly.

April 6th 8:27 (34:34 min 5:14 miles, 6:45 min/mil) Went out on my own as the lads were doing a session, was told a route to go but being the numpty i am ended up getting lost, when i realised where i was i was about 4 miles away from the hotel so i just walked it in as i had a weights session and run to do later. the half hour run ended up taking an hour and a half.

11:00 walked to the track and did my standard weights session there.

17:14 (37:13 min 5.05 miles, 7:22 min/mil) The lads took me on the route i should have gone that morning!

April 7th 9:20 (12:40 min 1.41 miles, 6*200m 20 sec rec, 5 min, 6*300m 45 sec rec, 5 min 6*200m 20 sec rec WD 13:28, 1.74mi ) This is the session that gets me fit and fast, did it on my on so was tough. Knocked out some good times but in the next few weeks i expect to do the same session quicker.

16:53 (46:33 min 7:08 miles, 6:34 min/mil) Out with the guys in the evening, again turned back at about 3.5 miles, steadier pace than monday.

April 8th 9:28 (49:44 min 7:06 miles, 7:03 min/mil) Jason, Phil and Martin were doing a session at the Cross course so ran down with them, watched them though their first rep and them ran back.

17:56 (35:30 min 5.04 miles, 7:02 min/mil) The 'Cob-on' run, after dropping Martin off in Monte Gordo to join up with his Scottish training camp we came back and went for the run. We then found out that Martin was the glue between the 4 of us with Jason going off and Phil and i running together for 3 miles although running 15m apart!

April 9th 10:43 (WU 25:28 min 3.59 miles, 2*2 miles (10:00 min, 10:11 min) 5 min rec, WD 25:48 min 3.53mi) Session down at the cross course with the Trafford lads, again pushed on and felt good. Last session of the holiday and was pleased with the 4 sessions i had put together while over here.

17:01 (27:53 min 4.25 miles, 6:34 min/mil) Cob-on part Deux, we all went our separate ways with this one, so i went out and did 4 miles to make my 15 mile day.

April 10th Rest day This was forced upon me by the travel arrangements, i was flying at 11:25 so had to be at the airport for just past 9 so no run in the morning. When i get to the airport i found out flight had been delayed by 2 hours so had to entertain myself for 4 hours. To top things off i was sat next to a haribo and kit kat-ed up 4 year old on the plane that was obsessed by me. I never knew kids could be so tiring. When i finally got home i was shattered and decided to call it a rest day.

Week total: Approx. 80 miles.

Two solid weeks with a big 7 days in the middle. Easier week next week before the national 12 stage relays in Birmingham.

Sorry for the longest post ever, next week will be a lot shorter!