Wednesday, 30 November 2011

BEST 5K PRESTON.......the (in)complete video

 Produced by popular request a 5 minute look at the BEST 5K MOOR PARK PRESTON from 27 Nov 2011.
For full screen  see fastrax 1949 channel on youtube. 
Click the X to delete youtube adverts, of course!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


  Suffering an injury is a pain in the bum. isn't it?  Or in my case a pain in the left calf.   Bad enough at any time. If we suffer an injury during a training run  the natural immediate reaction is to slow down at least to a slow jog or worse still a walk to get back to start point.  Easier at the track as we can simply stop straight away.
  But in a race situation it's completely different , isn't it?  As competitors our natural inclination is to finish the event.  Except perhaps if pain comes in the first mile of a marathon in which case the runner is in real trouble.
Sunday, when I felt pain in the calf at the half mile point I really felt (and hoped) it would go almost straight away.  How many times have we felt a tweek in a race only for it to amount to nothing?
 However it just got worse  and  I was then faced the decision of carrying on or not.  Not really in my nature.
I was lucky in that it was only a calf strain.  I  would say a "grade 1" and  just 7/10 days should see it healed.
 I have to agree with a comment from anonymous "runner" about choosing the right race.  Whilst the wind speed was forecast to reduce it was still likely to trigger  negative astmatic response and make a decent run difficult.  But what I didn't factor in was the leg problem.
 24 hours later,  however,  my thoughts are not so much as whether I  was right to carry on,  but as to WHY the  calf  injury occurred in the first place.   It's not as if I am a chronic calf pain sufferer. 
 Looking at my training summary sheet on excel , the last calf injury I had was back in JUNE 2009.  I attempted a track session of 800s on the Thursday after a Sunday half marathon.  OK for young guns but
proved detrimental for me.
But talking through  injuries with shop customers, calf problems are very commonly referred to.   Recently "minimalist" shoes  would appear to have been a factor but  more often when questioned the customer admits to day after day of hill running or just one too many speed session.   Overuse or lack of variety.
 In my case  I looked  back to last week's training for any clues to factors contributing to the calf problem.  Tuesday   was  not overly fast or hilly. Just my weekly tour of the "2Res". Wednesday  again was just a steady joint along the canal with Sally M.  No hills there. 
 No,  the calf was probably weakened by an effort session done on the grass on Thursday.  I didn't go to the track as there were traffic problems on the way.    I wore a low profile trail shoe  and  the legs generally were calves tad sore but I wasn't overly concerned and didin't do anything about it.
 Lesson being,   stick to routines that  work. 
That was the first grass session I'd done all year and I must have been "clawing" more on grass in a shallow shoe and that action plus lack of cushioning  would appear to have made the calf vulnerable for the next bout of speed which was at 11.00 on Sunday.
 So that plus inadequate warm up would appear to have been the detrimental factors. 
Essentially, the whole warm up routine needs to be looked at. Starting with  allowing more time before race start,  whichever warm up routine is chosen.  
 Yesterday I managed just 2 miles for the warm up at no faster than 9.15 pace.  Within minutes I was heading down that first half mile straight at 6.50 pace.  Clearly a recipe for disaster.
 It's all a matter of time allowed.  For track sessions at race pace I now tend to cover 3 miles before,  I always take time to stretch, I always take time to do some strides.  I take time because I have time.
 Yet race day it always seems to be a panic.   Not enough time before the gun goes for all that is needed to
race to the max!   There are several pages referring to "warm up" in the Jack Daniels book Daniels' RUNNING Formula. Various ways are covered.   I  shall have to perhaps experiment with one or two to establish the best for me.  699 RACES AND I'M STILL LEARNING! 

Sunday, 27 November 2011

A miserable P.W. at the BEST 5K

 There's the race day plan and there's the execution of the race day plan.  They rarely match up 100%.  On rare occasions  the race may even go better than expected.    Conditions better than hoped for,  surface better than hoped,  compettion better than hoped and hey presto!...........a P.B. race day.
 But usually  there's not a lot of difference between apiration and realisation of the plan.
  At Lytham a fortnight ago I was looking for a sub 43 10K but windy coastal conditions and a  groin strain at 5 mile saw a 43.08 clocking.  Close......but no cigar as they say.  A few percent off thtat's all.
 The plan today?   We would arrive before 10.00 a.m. for the 11 a.m. start.   I would enter,  complete a 3 mile warm up,  some stretching and some strides and be hovering ready for the off at 10.55.   My lungs would hopefully cope with the strong winds present once again and I would not be far off what should be a predictive time on or around the 21 minute mark.   I would add a couple of mile to round the exercise off.
It would be a reasonable 699th recorded race.   
  But with gales hammering Wharfedale throughout it wasn't a night for a perfect sleep and  it was with much effort that  I eventually extricated myself from under the duvet;  much later than planned.  Further hampered by traffic delays it was 10.25 by the time I started out on the warm up around MOOR  PARK, PRESTON  and immediately bacame aware that the strong winds would be a nuisance.
 With the field assembling there was no time for the planned stretching and strides and at 10.59 we sprinted off into the headwind.   I knew from the warmup that after half a mile we would turn with the wind behind so if I could survive that the breathing would then improve. 
 What I didn't plan for was pain in the left calf after just 4 minutes!  I thought it would be just a tweek and it would fade away.  No such luck.  Instead of the planned 6.46 for the first mile  I was just over 7 and to add insult to injury  I was passed a  6 foot penguin loking like a refugee from Happy feet.
 The rest of the race was a test of trial;  I kept thinking about the distance we'd travelled and stubbornly thinking about notching up that penultimate race to 700.  I would finish whatever.
 At 2 mile I past another mature gentleman who'd stopped and encouraged him to join me in a last mile limp.  And by now I was dragging the left leg quite badly but with the wind now behind at least holding pace; albeit now a miniute slower than predicted.   No accelration as I usually manage then.....7.02  7.40  7.39 to the 3 mile marker.  Yes, as last week, it was mile marked not K marked.  Unbelieveable.
 So, a final miserable P.W. of 23.32.    Slower than I manage on the track in training by myself.  Slower than I manage at the end of a 12 mile run   but hopefully no long term damage.   I wish I'd worn the calf sleeves  which I had considered but rejected.  4th M60  64th of the 185 who finished.
Needless to say there was no couple of miles  cooling down; just a hasty retreat home to commence the iciing process  as soon as possible.   So as they say FAIL TO PREPARE.........PREPARE TO FAIL!

Consolation?  Well at least I beat the penguin whose flight of freedom had stalled by half way.
M35 JASON PARKER (Preston) scored his first victory for quite a while,  1.32 slower than his 2010 best.  F35 Liverpool international JENNY CLAGUE was first lady in 18.31 again 1.04 slower than her 2010 best.   Others were similarly slower. Perhaps the title of tjhe race as the BEST 5K needs to be changed!  It certainly wasn't for me.  A bad day at the office altogether.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


  I would not be surprised  to learn that  JO PAVEY was  sat at her computer last weekend, anxiously waiting to see how two of her main rivals for the London 2012 Olympic marathon places had performed in the YOKOHAMA WOMENS INTERNATIONAL marathon . 
 She will have been relieved  to see that LOUISE DAMON had dropped out at 6 miles but  probably "gutted"   in seeing MARA YAMAUCHI  (pictured left) take her no.2 spot in this year's rankings with her 2:27.24, a great comeback after 2 years plagued by injury.
 With 2 ladies being "preselected" on December 5 perhaps Jo Pavey  is regretting choosing to race the hillier NEW YORK CITY marathon as opposed to say AMSTERDAM which I would have thought would have produced a faster time than her PB set at LONDON of 2:28.42.  The 2:28.42 New York would suggest she was capable of sub 2:28 on a flatter course.
  But life is all about choices and consequences, isn't it?  Could be that the choice to run in America was the wrong one if U.S. based  4th ranked CLAIRE HALLISSEY chooses to  try to improve on her Chicago time of 2:29.27 before the final 3rd place is selected.

  Of  far less consequence is MY choice of my next race.  A repeat visit to PRESTON's  Deepdale football ground for a swift couple of circuits of the adjacent Moor Park looks attractive.   But with gales forecast  to improve a 2011 best of 21.11 might prove beyond me!
 If I complete 2 more races this year it will bring my listed  races up to a total of 700 which would quite nicely round the year off, wouldn't it?   I know some of my contemporaries can refer to over 1000 races run but  as I have tended to run no more than 20 races most year's 700 will do for me.........FOR NOW!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Hazy afternoon at the COMPLETE RUNNER XC league at SHIPLEY

11.00 a.m. Monday. Well the sun is certainly being coy again today, hiding itself behind a veil of grey cloud much as it did yesterday.  Subsequently the remperature dipped from 13 to 4 degrees and to be honest I was a bit concrned that the cold would impair the breathing during the Sunday 10 road run I had planned.
 I say planned because the undulating road run would be the first test for the upper leg strained at the mile 5 point in last week's 10K on the Lytham promenade and I was prepared to have to abort.
 Pleased to report the "test" was passed and this "medium" length run compensated for low recovery mileage on the days immediately after the race. But with no speed session it had to be a recorded as  below par week with just 38 miles covered.
 I think we must all have been hoping for the curtain of grey gloom to be drawn back by lunch yesterday to treat us to an afternoon of fine autumnal weather  but it let us down.  The 3rd fixture of the COMPLETE RUNNER CROSS COUNTRY league up on Northcliffe Playing Fields at Shipley near Bradford was a damp, cool, mist shrouded affair but did not seem to dampen the ardour of hundreds who took part.
 Not a great day for clarity and quality of film with runners disappearing into and emerging from the Yorkshire mists  but I hope the videos of the womens and mens races prove of interest. If you can't achieve full screen viewing , they are already on YOUTUBE.



Wednesday, 16 November 2011

PRESTON 10 MILE ROAD RACE......then and now


I  have a slightly different approach nowadays when training and racing is not at quite the same intense level as it was 25 years ago.  Nowadays most of my weeks are much the same,  all being well. But back in 1986 , concentrating almost entirely on road competition ,  having started the "season" in January, by this time in November I was ready to call an end to racing and would be cutting the training back for a period of recovery.   Following the Windermere 10K  3 weeks prior I'd put in hard weeks of 89 and 83 miles including several speed sessions and hill sessions, keen to make the last race of the year a good one.  More to the point, the PRESTON 10 mile would inevitably attract more "young guns" than I had been facing in some of the longer events, coming from Cumbria , Yorkshire and  of course all parts of Lancashire to race on the flat  Preston course.   I had started into my "ease down" period  the week before the race,  running just 44 miles including race day.   So a cut of 50%.   Perhaps I knew I would have to be well rested to take on one of my former St. Mary   pupils, SCOTT DRY, racing for Bingley.  Showing no respect for his elders and betters he ran away from me to finish 11th in 52.00.  Clayton's ROGER BREWSTER (30) won in 49.06 and 25 years later is still on the scene.   Last year he ran 61.56 on the tough Burnsall course.  A great career.  Preston's KEVIN HESKETH pipped me to the post by 4 seconds. He was part of a very successful Springfields A.C. team  consisting of British Nuclear Fuels Work workers. Some works team!    Kevin  now 57 ran 62.45 in the Hexham 10 miler this year.   So a slow down of just 10 minutes in 25 years.  Far better than my slow down of 19 minutes!!   VALLEY STRIDER teammates MIKE and STEVE O'CALLAGHAN made the trip from Leeds. A rare victory over his big brother for Mike.   Mixed feelings after the run from my point of view.  It was the first time I had been out of the first 15 in any race all year down at 22; but the time was actually the fastest for 1986 and better than any in 1985.  Looking at the list now and checking out some of the names below me there is compensation.  I spy  FRANCIS DAY (East Cheshire) behind for one ; the M60 who has beaten me easily in all the Manchester Park races this year.   
 As is evident from the attached list,  54.27 was good enough for just 50th place.  Last year, the event was won in  52.10 by Steve Litler (Wesham);the second runner ran 56.49.  It will be interesting to see  the times run when the 2011event takes place this Sunday. 
It will also be interesting to note the number of over 40s.   CYRIL LEIGH (M45) and P. MORRIS (M40) are the only vets in this first 50 list from 1986.   Last year  27 over 40s featured in the first 50 at the event.
Whilst thousands of 20 and 30 years would appear to be making up the numbers in the "mass participation events"  evidently they are not joining our running clubs and so making up the numbers in low key events with just a few hundred in.  Obviously UK  clubs must do more to sign then up; particularly clubs with no junior or track/ field sections or eventually it'll just be us diehards battling for the veterans prizes!

Monday, 14 November 2011

WINDMILL 10K.....a stroll along the prom,prom,prom?

All sing along now....."Oh, I do like to beside the seaside,  I do like to be beside the sea, I do like to stroll upon the prom, prom, prom...."   And like it we did....except for the wind.  
  Any event along our UK coastline is highly likely to be blighted by the wind and today proved no exception.
  Of course the compensation for the 405 runners in yesterday's fyldecoastrunning's WINDMILL 10K was that the course was as flat as it gets and the wind was at least favourable as we tackled the middle section of the race centred around the promenade and Fairhaven Lake at Lytham St.Annes.
  My last outing over 10K 3 weeks ago brought a return of 43.23 on a more undulating course; so it was not unreasonable to expect improvement  on that and hopefully dip under 43 minutes.  This then  would be the plan.   The prerace information included a map of the course which was marked in kilometres and so  if I kept every kilometre under 4.18 the target would be hit.
 But as we drove into Lytham I spotted a race marker and it read 2 MILES.  So race plan out of the window.  Readjusted to keeping every mile under 7 minutes or there abouts.  Needless to say,  as we lined up for the start I  suggested to race organiser Ron Mc Andrew that as it was 2011 and
as it was a 10 kilometre  race,  mile markers were somewhat inappropriate and illogical.  He mumbled somewhat then said he could see my point.  In the future....?
  After 2 minutes of silence to take time to remember those who gave their lives in two world wars we set off  at 11.02.   Contrary to the race info. we headed  down the prom towards the windmill and into the wind.  Now whether it was this wind or the fact that I went past the first marker in 6.48
who knows but as we turned with the wind behind I was not comfortable at all.   Wind does not help astmatic runners!!  Despite wind assistance the second mile dipped to 6.57.   Time to "dig in"!
  I passed Pat filming the race in 60th position.  A somewhat convoluted loop of Fairhaven lake produced miles of 7.10 and 6.47 and I was by now more "settled".  I was racing with Brian Wildman of Clayton who asked me how it was going.  I replied not bad...for 62.  He said he hoped he would be running as fast as me when he was 62.  I asked him how old he was. he said 46.  I respectfully pointed out that it was more than likely that he would slow down a tad in the next 16 years!  He agreed and said that if he was going to beat me then it would have to be this morning.   
 I pressed on up the slope from the lake and of course we hit the wind again but no matter there were targets in front to hunt down.  Unfortunately at 5 miles I jarred the right leg on another slope and  my normal fastest last mile proved to the slowest in 7.09.  All the split times presuming the mile markers were in the right place, of course.
 Nevertherless,   I had pulled through to 50th position but the sub 43 mins. had eluded me ......43.08.
Brian Wildman?  He showed respect for his elders, finshing in 43.24.  Another day, no doubt, Brian!
 The race was an easy 2 mins plus victory for Bolton's ANTHONY VALENTINE in  a leisurely 33.13.   Local  star, SUE SAMME (Lytham St.Annes Roadrunners) (F45)  ran a very impressive 37:47. A time which takes her to 8th on the UK F45 rankings.  Well done, Sue!
 Another outstanding run was recorded by the legend that is STEVE JAMES of Sothport Waterloo.  Steve at 73 ran 44.45 to place 9th on the M70 2011 rankings.  Not a position he is used to however. He's normally in the top 3!  But still a fabulous performance.
 Youtube have extended my film time to 15 minutes now so we took advantage and there is 14.24 mins of event coverage to peruse with music courtesy of EMERSON LAKE & PALMER "Take A Pebble".


Wednesday, 9 November 2011


 Yesterday's track session called for a gentle 4 miler on the grass today and inevitably whilst lapping the grounds my mind went back to Sunday's New York City marathon and particularly how Kenya's MARY KEITANY had approached and executed the race.

Unlike the mens race in which,   as usual,  a large group of the world's finest breezed along knocking off the speedy miles and eyeing each other up, the womens race quickly developed into an "catch me if you can" game of hare and hounds as Mary Keitany simply took off,  recording  31.54 for the first 10K which included the pull up the Verrazano Bridge from the start.   2:14:35 world record pace.  What was she thinking?  Was that the plan?
 Reading her pre-race somewhat cagey interview accompanied by her agent, Gabriele Nicola,  to make a statement very early in the race  was the plan.  To make it clear that she was the one to beat and she wasn't going to be held back by the bunch.   To assert herself from the off.
 But agent Nicola also said that Keitany "won't be trying for a marathon world in 2012 because of the Olympics but would wait until 2013! 
 So why then did the Kenyan  not stick to the plan?   After the race she declined to admit that she had gone off to fast and paid the price,  saying that she had a problem with her leg towards the end
and that she would race the same way again.  It will be interesting to see how she approachs the Olympic marathon.
 Following her 31.54 she slowed to 32.27 (20K)  34.16  (30K)  37.08 (40K)  but was she "foolhardy"
"reckless" "naive" as reports suggest or was it an heroic attempt to beat Paula Radcliffe's time.
Another report described her second half of the race as "marathon meltdown".  Hardly fair bearing in mind the way she responded she as the hare was caught by the hounds in 2nd and 3rd place, Deba and winner Dado.   They didn't breeze past a runner fighting to stay upright.  Keitany to her credit rejoined the fight and for a moment it looked like a 2 horse race before she drifted back. 
  Now the elite female runner that Geoffrey Mutai passed staggering her way through the last  mile may well have deserved the  description of meltdown but a bit off the mark for Mary Keitany, I think.  
  The printed results defy the whole drama of the hare and hounds chase that unfolded on the streets of New York.   Dado ran  2: 23:15,  narrowly defeating Deba 2:23:19 with Keitany a close 3rd in 2:23:38   but how they ran to those times made for very interesting viewing!
 World bests or world records generally don't just happen do they?   More often than not an athlete  in such good shape that they feel the record is within their grasp and they go for it.  We see it on the track all the time.  Some succeed, generally they fail. But the commentator doesn't describe the failure as "meltdown".
 My guess is that Keitany's  first 10K was simply over exuberant   and from then on she tried to slowly put the brakes on,  possibly  mindful of her agent's instructions that this was not the day for a record ; just get the win!  But ultimately the course  took its toll.   The slope up the Queensboro Bridge, more  bridges and bends  and then Central Park.  
 One thing is pretty certain from half way the predominant emotion she would have been burdoned by was.........FEAR!
  I've been "fortunate" to have lead 3 marathons.   I did similar to Mary Keitany, briefly, early on in the 1985 Leeds marathon; opening a gap on a bunch of the region's finest, only to slip back to a disconsolate, frustrated  12th.  as witness in left pic. ( Blog follower Jack Verity is just to the right of the policeman and went on to finish 5th in 2:27.48)
  Better fortune in the 1984 Selby marathon  when I shared the lead with wee Harry Bates at 25 miles. He decided to stop for a drink (?)  leaving me to race away over the last mile.   An anxious end to the race.
  But the really "fearful" marathon was the Morecambe earlier that year in March.   It was around the 14 mile point that I found myself leading  from  Fylde Coast running's Ron McAndrew and with over 12 miles left  there no feeling of elation just the constant dread of being caught or suddenly being hit by cramp or whatever as can happen over 26.2 miles at any time late in the race.   That finish line just could not come soon enough believe me!
  My time that day of 2:28.57 coincidently  was very close to that of JO PAVEY in NEW YORK
(2:28:42) arguably a better performance than her slightly faster (18 seconds) debut in London.  She has certainly reasserted her position as GB's no 2 female marathoner.  But  that game is by no means over as each player shows her hand between now and selection day. 


Tuesday, 8 November 2011


   I will always recall a customer in the Ilkley shop who said that he was going up to the airport to meet his son off a flight from Portugal.   His son had been working out there but had decided to come home because ...."he got fed up of getting up every morning to be greeted by bright sunshine and high temperatures. They don't have weather out there; it's just dry and sunny all the time"!! 
  An exaggeration maybe but we get the point. Well perhaps this week he'll be getting back on that plane as a depressing blanket of grey cloud shrouds the U.K.  
  The cloud cover certainly made today's solo track session more of a chore, a real dampener:  and the spirits were not helped either by having to go through the whole session accompanied by the noise of a grass strimmer man working trackside.  What a pain!  Whether it was the effort of the session or the noise but my head was banging by rep 12 and I was pleased to call it a day; at which point he turned off and sat down to start his lunch! Typical.

  TODAY'S SESSION.  12 x 300 metres rep. with  100 metre jog/walk interval rec. (1.10)
Geared to 5K pace,  estimated at present at 21.00 mins.  4.12 per targetting 75 secs per 300 rep.   74.6      75    75    74.6    74.3    73.8    74.4   74.7   74.4   74.1   74.1   73.7...averaging 74.4

          So despite the grey mistly damp conditions and  trackside distractions on target for once!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Accounting for age......

 Well what a fabulous day yesterday was for racing.  Sun high in a cloudless sky and  with the temperature just cool enough to help not hinder in the heat of competitive battle.  In the Lake District 455 enjoyed the scenic tour of Derwentwater,  running the 10 miler from Keswick.  257  ran "Through The Villages"  from Wheelton near Chorley whilst  on this side of the Pennines 220 competed in the Maltby7.
 Shame then that I had resisted the lure of  the Lancaster half marathon!  I had given strong consideration to running but  failed to join the 705 who made the trip for the Lancashire coastal run.  I had debated with myself all week and in the end we simply decided against the journey.
 But also uppermost  in my mind was the fact the almost inevitably it would have been a very hard slog for a personal worst time in what would have been my 103rd half.  Now I can hear murmurings that race times are NOT the be all and end all  of racing :  the 13.1 mile distance in itself is a challenge certainly at over 60: age group placing is always a spur and just taking part in a field of that size would have brought plenty of shared effort and added another page in the book of memories.
 Friend Sally M. also reminded me to bear in  AGE -ADJUSTED  race times.  So if I ran say 97 mins. as would be predicted it would factor out to 79 minutes (97 x .8143; the age adjusted factor for a 62 year old male).   My 42.39 2011 best for 10K starts to look more respectable adjusted to 34.26!!
 In fact lowering that 10K time was also a consideration because  if I'd have done the half I think I might have made it the last race of the year and I think there is unfinished business over 10K and even 5K.  Who knows.
 Not having over 13 miles in the legs meant that Pat and I were able to enjoy a  4 mile loop of the top of the moor with the SKY + handling the New York marathon recording.  I was particularly keen to photograph the progress made in laying down the slabs across the bog from Keighley Gate to the Trig Point. This pic shows the work in progress.
          But in dashing out I left the camera!
 Still pleased to report for any local readers that the work is complete for this section.  Bad news for purist "up to the knees"  bog trotters,  but  good news for the state of shoes, kit and the laundry required.
On top of the morning 5 miler it was not quite the easy day I had in mind,   but hey it wasn't a day  to be inside now was it?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Up, up and away from it all........almost!

 Walking, of the "rambling" variety, has certainly caught on big time.  Time was when we could find a parking spot easily for an "away" off road run in the Dales.  Nowadays you have to be up with the lark to grab a space.  Trouble is when the lark is up; I'm turning over for another hour under the duvet.

 So the intention of a tour of the Strid for the umphteenth time went out the window as by 11.15 the ramblers had nabbed all the parking spots in the layby and I had to resort to plan "B" to execute the 9 miler on the planner.  
 No real problem.  The 3.5 mile uphill start to the run would be uplifting!  Well it would certainly uplift me to 409m. above sea level if nothing else.  Good job the run started at 178m!   and good that the surface is runnable "trail" rather than rugged fell.  The first 3 miles were logged at 11.15, 11.49 and 11.07.
  Another steep half mile and I turn downhill.  A lone walker pops his head up from a grouse shooting butt to see who is disturbing his quiet lunch with the sound of heavy breathing!  He looks at me disdainfully as if I've just run across his back garden lawn.  He   had obviously thought he was "getting away from it all"!
  And compared to the hundreds of walkers we would have encountered on the Bolton Abbey route we were.  I only came cross 8 up here enjoying the great scenery in relative isolation.
  The rest of the run is, of course, a breeze in comparison.  What goes up, must come down and all that.

But I resist lingering too long on the long distance scenery, concentrating hard on staying upright; always the danger on the stony paths.  In fairness with the first part of this route serving the reservoirs and the rest well kept for the grouse shooting the going is to be recommended. 
 I know I live in a hilly area but to be honest some weeks the gentle inclines of the 2 resrun are all the climbing I do.  Very easy to avoid hills if I want to.  (I live on the hill above Ilkley but rarely run from home!)
One good reason for keeping a  good record of the training on excel.  Very easy to review several weeks at a time on the page, and the lack of hillwork, scrolling up and down as necessary and plan runs in or even make fundamental changes.
 I think most of us have a weekly routine;  dictated often by club nights and group runs.  Tuesday and Thursday at the club plus the Sunday run or race with perhaps solo runs in between.  But I'm not really part of a club set up so I'm starting to look ahead on a fortnightly basis;  introducing easy days every 4th day rather than sometimes just once a week.
  So tomorrow rather than another routine Sunday run of over 10 miles  I'll have an easy day; hopefully fresher for a return to sub 8 minute pace on Monday.
  Nearly 7 p.m as I finish this post and the sky is already being illuminated by the fireworks from the Bonfire parties taking place in the town below and on the hillside opposite.  Better claim a spot on  the balcony and enjoy the spectacle!  

Friday, 4 November 2011

NEW YORK MARATHON...will you be sitting comfortably?

 I can recall running through a snow storm  one Christmas day and  visualising  running  over Westminster Bridge to finish the London Marathon  I was due to race in the following spring.   A good form of motivation I thought at the time;  whilst patting myself on the back that I was out training when my "rivals"  were possibly glued to the couch watching the Great Escape. 
  But there can hardly be  greater motivation to spur on GB distance runners  through the winter than a place in the OLYMPIC MARATHON;  especially when it will take place along the streets of London.  GB runners will have  unprecedented home support every inch of the way;  unlike the spring event where the crowds are very thin in places.  With stadium places  at a premium,  thousands of spectators will choose the marathon as THE event to watch  without the need of a ticket.   The atmosphere for the competitors will be unprecedented.
  PAULA RADCLIFFE'S place would appear to be pretty secure after her 2:23:46 in the Berlin marathon
and it will be interesting to see if she changes her questionable race build up.  But the contest for the remaining 2 places has certainly taken a new twist following Bristol's CLAIRE HALLISSEY'S run of 2:29.27  for 6th place in this month's Chicago marathon.  U.S. based Claire certainly has made a claim for her place as one of 3 , hopefully, in the Olympic event with just Radcliffe and Jo Pavey above her in the rankings.
 JO PAVEY is next to play a hand in the game with an outing this Sunday in the NEW YORK CITY MARATHON;  no doubt hopeful she can improve on her debut 2:28 in this year's London.  She states she went off a tad too fast in her first marathon (been there!) and struggled from 18 miles but feels the tougher N.Y course will work against a P.B.  Whatever the time it'll standher in good stead and no doubt be a reasonable pay day.
                      We can see how she fairs on EUROSPORT 2 LIVE at 2 p.m. 
                Hopefully she can stay in touch long enough to feature in the coverage.
 MARA YAMAUCHI, who has yet to record a qualifying time and LOUISE DAMEN , who has,  will no doubt be glued to the couch as well  plus several ladies just over the 2: 30 at a good time for UK female distance running.    Including  LIZ YELLING, recovering from her 2:34.58 last week in the Frankfurt Marathon.   She'll need to improve to make the team.
  Seems to me the solution is quite simple.  Do what the Americans do and have a trial race.  Their 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trial race though is Houston in January. Perhaps London in the Spring would be considered by many as too late for it to be used as a GB trial race.  In my experience I think there is enough time to recover after London and we have had Olympic trials in the past.
               And, finally, ref. U.S. distance running just noticed this in Athletics Weekly......
            LOS ANGELES  OCT 30  Womens Half Marathon....(behind Deena Kastor)

  Linda SOMERS-SMITH  75.17

      ( World Record for a W50)

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Visit for 24 hours while you're at it!

Just back from the local school/ hockey club's playing fields which combined provide a  stressless, cushioned surface for a nice relaxed easy pace run.    If anything it was too "easy" ; as averaging 9.30  over 4 miles,  I was well over that  recommended  for the Masters Competitor  (Bob Glover's Competitive Runner's handbook)  10k race pace plus 2 minutes  but I suppose that rule can apply to any runner whatever their 10K time.
  The loop down there is just less than a mile and  4 loops prove just enough after the speed session  on the canal yesterday.   I must admit it begins to get a tad tiresome passing the same discarded drinks bottles every 9.5 minutes. 
  So what kind  of strength of mind  and fortitude do you have to run for 24 hours around a ONE KILOMETRE CIRCUIT?
In my 50 years of competition I've raced from 100 metres (once!) to 10,000 metres on the track, from a mile to marathons on the road, short fell races, long fell races e.g the 3 Peaks and all aspects of cross country BUT I have no experience of ultra running. 
 I mention this because I caught up with a great programme on CHANNEL 4 ON DEMAND which covered all the events at the recent COMMONWEALTH  MOUNTAIN & ULTRA DISTANCE championships over in North Wales.  

 Local runner, CHRIS CARVER, is a familiar face at races in his OTLEY A.C. vest but the programme gave an opportunity for us to see him in his speciality event  racing for  24 hours (!) as part of the winning England team.   Lizzy Hawker (England)  (pictured above) fresh from sprinting around the Jungfrau marathon in a brief 4:27 just 13 days prior was overall winner  covering 247+ kilometres with Chris in 8th place overall  with 220+ kms.
That's 220 laps of a 1K circuit laid out in Llandudno.  Incredible!
 And I thought I was doing well to run 25 laps of a mile circuit non stop!
Lizzy has a road marathon best of 2:47 but obviously flat 26.2 events are not challenging enough as she would appear to consider tough altitude marathons the very least she'll get out of bed for.  Her other events have been over 56K, 87K and 2 mountain circuits of 100KMs. Amazing!
  The film shows the great battle she had with runner up JOHN PARES of WALES who described the 24 hour race as...

      "not so much a race as an eating competition with some running involved"
That's if you consider  over 150 miles in 24 hours insignificant, but we know what he means.
 Once recovered Chris will no doubt return to "normal" club races from 5K upwards but will  no doubt
quietly resume preparations for his annual trial over 24 hours with some epic weekly runs amd mileage.
You can follow his blog....
  The programme went on to cover the  Commonwealth Mountain Races and the Ultra Trail event which again proved very interesting with Wales being rewarded for their hosting the events with 1/2/3 in the trail race.  Shame though that the young athletes didn't feature more with just a short clip of local starlet Georgia Malir finishing her race on her England debut.  But overall well worth watching.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


For once, a good decision to postpone last week's track session from Thursday to Friday.  The BBC weather forecast correct for one more time. A pretty reliable web service I find.
   I wrote last Thursday  that since week Sunday's race I hadn't  been under 8 minute mileing.  Friday  it was time to stop jogging off road and remind the legs about pace.  A  rep session of  8 x 800.
  Now in a perfect world based on 10K times I know I should be able to complete this at worse at 7.00 minute per rep (43.30). So target time 3.30. 
   Despite pretty reasonable conditions, quite warm, bright sunshine and breezy, it just didn't happen.....
                             3.37  3.41  3.43  3.42  3.42 3.42  3.45  3.36
             Way off target but not totally disasastrous averaging 3.41.....approx. 45.30 pace.

4 days on...the length of recovery my "maturity" demands....days of easy offroad (4.5)  offroad (7)  steady road (7.5) and a rare loop of a single res yesterday and it was time for a speed session again. 
  Once more using the dirt path of the canal  served as a pretty good alternative to the track. 
A warm up run of 4 miles into a strong wind then a set  6x 600 reps  wind assisted with 200 interval recovery. 
                  NOT 6 X 600 "INTERVALS" as I keep reading in magazines!