Sunday, 29 January 2012


Drugs company GlaxoSmithKline carried out a recent survey to determine the amount of "physical activity" the over-55s do compared with other age groups.  The survey found that over -55s are more active than the 18 to 25 year age group averaging 12 hours 6 minutes compared with 11 hours 38 minutes by those half there age.
  Walking of course for the over-55s is a very popular activity.  The trails of local Wharfedale swarm with my generation  whilst those half their age  are in the main hard at work.  Many not walking are of course in the gyms across the before lunch; so the figures are not really surprising.
  Sally M. joined for this week's "2 res run". We started out at 10.30 and just over an hour later, on a fairly mild late January morning, by car park was entirely full and it's a pretty big car park.  Confirmation of the upsurge in  recreational walking  as a retirement activity; and confirmation of the fact that running with a friend  leads to a faster pace even with chat all the way around!
 Following another visit to the soggy gravel pits on Thursday it was back to the track on Friday  in a bid to extract a tad more speed from the old legs with a set of 8 600s.
 A bid which failed as  I could only manage the same pace for one and a half laps as I did the previous week for two and a half laps!  Quite disappointing but I'll  put it down to the  strong winds prevailing on Friday.
At least the sun shone for the  midday session; two hours later  I drove back into a very heavy snow storm, hoping throughout that  the snow would not settle as it would severly hamper the preparation and running of the NORTHERN CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS on Saturday at Pontefract.
 Fortunately as I reached the Yorkshire border there was no sign of the snow and as I drove towartds there were one ot two strange glances at the snow laden car.
 Forecasts for the Northerns were very favourable and proved correct.  Officials, spectators and most importantly competitors enjoyed a Pontefract Park  race course bathed in bright winter sunshine for all the races.  Just as well really as there was no heated facility at all at the venue to provide respite if the weather had have turned nasty as it can happen at this time of year.
It was a long day all in all as I had arrived at 10 in time to watch Georgia Malir, Sally's daughter, compete in the under 17 race.   Two year's ago she ran in the under 15s race and finished 81st.  Whilst still maintaining an excellent standard in the exam subjects and music (piano) under Sally's guidance she is maturing very nicely as a versatile young athlete performing well on the trails, fell and road.  Yesterday it was time to see how well she had progressed on the country.
 Seemingly buried by faster starters from the pens she had surged through the 5th place midway through the first lap and  held on well dropping only one place to finish 6th. An tremendous improvement of 75 places!
Well done, Georgia! 
  Those in front of her yesterday have enjoyed greater success in the last few years but they have a "new kid on the block" in their age group to worry about and she looks certain to being only one way if  she continues to work hard in her training.
  In the 3 hours  between Georgia's race and the senior races it was great to catch up with so many old friends from the northern region but ,with my new camera in hand , none of them asked me if I was running.
When it came to the senior mens race I must confess  I did have some regret at not entering as it was by no means a race exclusive to the under 40s.
 I did manage a rare run in the dark when I arrrived home of just 3 miles which left me fresher for the final run of the week.   A 12 miler on the canal from Silsden, as usual.
 The canal was unusually busy as I ran closer to the planned turn at the famous Bingley 5 Rise Locks.  In fact  as the locks came into view so did a great crowd of people on the towpath adjacent to the locks.
Apparently the locks were beinng drained and hundreds had come out to watch!  At which point I turned back.  Not really being concerned to discover what was being uncovered on the base of the canal.
 Usual acceleration on the run from 9.14 opener to 8.01 uphill mile to finish. The run compensating for Friday's disappointing performance.  Obviously I'm build for distance rather than speed.  But at 9.5 stone I suppose tha's fairly predictable.
So 11.5 on the day.  Closing week 4 off at 43 miles.  Averaging 42 on the year.  Time for a race?!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


 My 1987 racing programme began in January as usual and ended in late October.  Nothing in November and then just one low key race in the December.  Several years took this shape in the '80s  as I  had stopped racing over the country.
 On  this date, JANUARY 25TH 1987 , I  returned  to York Knavesmire in an attempt to repeat my 1986 win in the BRASS MONKEY HALF MARATHON (67.55).   I had  run one race over 6 miles (the Woodkirk Valley 6 in Leeds) on January 6th.  clocking  32.20 on the undulating course ; perhaps indicating  that I was not in shape to run under 70 minutes again at this early stage of the year.
 In the weeks since Christmas I had covered 72, 69 and 80 miles with a longest run of 16 and had put in plenty of hill work but  hadn't really started speedwork.  The diary tells of  "head and chest slightly congested" "coughing and spluittering" "an unsettled night" on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday;  but clearly not serious enough to me racing!

 Pre-race favourite to win was RICHARD BUTTERFIELD
who was running for Skyrac A.C. at the time  (pictured here running for Horsforth Harriers alongside V.S. stalwart Bob Jackson).  He certainly figured from the gun but he was surrounded by phalanx of  white vests.   VALLEY STRIDERS were out in force!  4 of us were on his tail!  Must have been something we said as undeterred he ran away to win  in 68.07  but we held on to take 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th place!!
 MARTIN HOPSON was 2nd 69.27,  HILARY MC EWAN  69.45 , I was 4TH IN 70.23 with last year's runner up, JEFF COULSON 5th .  GEORGE DEBNAM put the host club, Knavesmire Harriers, amongst the prizes with his sixth place in 71.01. 
  The race winner  later joined Valley Striders.  A case of I can beat them, but there are more of them,  so I'll join them!
 None of us would have threatened the 2012 winner YARED HAGUS (Wallsend) who  battled through the strong winds last Sunday to win in 66.42 but might well have pushed back this year's 2nd place finisher MATTHEW PIERSON (Holmfirth) (71.12) in 8th place?
 I only have a newspaper report for this 1987. It would be interesting to see a full results sheet.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


  Those that know me well know that I have time and inclination to run everyday.  Well you brush your teeth every day and brush your hair every day so why not run.  It's body maintenance after all.
  I DO however have very easy days and the session usually consists of jogging several laps down on the local fields.  No speed, no hills, no mud,  no traffic.  BUT  it is very open to the strong winds that tend to blow down Wharfedale and without company can tend to get a bit boring lapping grass for 40 or 50 minutes.
  Quite often I've noticed "doggie-walkers" , as I call them,   exiting over a fence at the corner of the far corner of the fields but until yesterday  never been tempted to discover where they have been heading.
  Bringing up the area  adjacent to the field  on   revealed quite a large area of land with quite visible paths through woodland and around a couple of large ponds.  But quite a lot of trees so difficult to measure  exactly.
 I ventured in  yesterday and   within minutes came to a sign telling me I was in BEN RHYDDING GRAVEL PITS NATURE RESERVE.  Very grand I thought.  Should be well maintained paths and quite extensive, I thought.    Not quite so!  I  ran as large a loop as the terrain allowed and  was back at the sign having covered just a kilometre. 
   Somewhat disappointing but  I did at least discover a very good loop for an offroad speed session prticularly useful in windy conditions. Ideal for anyone doing a cross country season.  Still combining the Gravel Pits loop with the playing fields, covered twice,  gave me an easy 4 mile start to week 4.
  Being able to look for and then explore  routes which  are within a  short drive is one of the benefit of having more time for training and certainly the satellite pictures provided by gmap-pedometer and similar sites
are a tremendous aid to this.  A great bonus for the modern runner particularly within the measuring facility.
Just wish I'd had the means to measure runs so accurately when I was training in earnest in the '80s instead of driving around a route or trying to measure it with string on a map!


Sunday, 22 January 2012


 Whilst it's nice to have the freedom that being semi-retired gives me for training and other home activities it's also great, on occasions,  to get back to the coal face and spend some time iin the COMPLETE RUNNER shops;   listening to customers and help satisfy their running needs.
 Pat and I worked in the Nelson branch on Friday and Saturday and as always the experience proved invaluable in learning how running fits into the lives of boys and girls and men and women of all ages up to eighty. Such was the variety of customers who kept us very busy over the 2 days.
  But no so busy that I couldn't excuse myself for track session on Friday; followed by a gentle jog over 5 miles on Saturday morning.
 FRIDAY..........TRACK SESSION. This was the first rep session of the year in week 3 and I elected  to do 5 x 1K .  A session I had completed in week 6 last year;  so I was keen to see how times would compare.  A year older and essentially rebuilding anything close would be very acceptable.
Last year  I recorded  4.47   4.41   4.38   4.39   and  finished with a swifter 4.30.  I did not try to work to these times but in reviewing the session it was good to see that Friday's were very close except the last one during whioch I lost concentration and failed to finish with my fastest rep time.
So for the record   5 x 1K reps with a generous 2.20 jog/ walk interval recovery in cold blowy conditions.                                   4.44   4.42   4.40   4.37  4.37
  Plenty of scope for progression by increasing the reps,  reducing the recovery and of course getting them faster!  But it was a reasonable start, nevertheless.
In the last post I said it's easier to focus when training with others and so it proved on Friday.  I certainly  lost focus on that last rep.   I think I was getting hungry and started to think about what I was eating for lunch!  But still  the session overall was within one second on average on the same session in 2011,  provided good feedback on current fitness and  also gives a good idea of race time expectation.   Providing of course that I can find a race in the near future that is not already booked up.  
   Saturday's out and back jaunt on the canal was a gentle as I could make it  although I did manage a short sprint when attacked by a gaggle of geese who were probably in a bad mood as they couldn't comfortably swim in the water which had formed into choppy waves created by the gale force winds.
   Gales which  continued throughout the night and this morning brought through driving rain from the west as usual.   However Pat offered to drive me out and I was able to run back for 8 wind assisted miles. Now you may consider that  "wimpy" but as I've said before gale force winds and asthmatic runners are not compatible.
  The 8 miler brought the week's total to a solid 42.  No quantity progression but progression quality wise with  the track session and  several other miles in the week sub 8. So a pleasing week.
                              I hope and trust your week went equally well.  


Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Fairly obvious really but  reading the following  in today's R.W. email ..........
"Studies have shown that athletes perform better together than alone. Find a running buddy—or a few—and you'll get faster while having more fun. " 
Certainly these Murlough AC members respendent in their Fastrax vests seem to be enjoying themselves on their beach run.   The email newsletter was timely as I was just reviewing  the 2011 times I had recorded for my near weekly 2 RESRUN as I call it, (the ever popular trail circuit around Yorkshire Water's Fewston and Swinsty reservoirs) run properly for the first time
this year yesterday.  
  It's amazing  but interesting how times vary for runs we run frequently.  Interesting in that records serve as  good feedback  for current levels of fitness;particularly useful when building up as I am at this stage.  Times for this 6.5 mile undulating circuit are generally around 61/62; around 60 minutes on a good day. 
 But the fastest clocking came when I was joined on the run by Sally M. and Jan from Ilkley Hrs...57.17!

The pace picked up similarly today covering a flat 6 mile road run.   Opened up with an 8.44 mile, accelerated to 8.22 but for most of the 3rd mile I had the company of a friend cycling.  Despite maintaining the chat for the mile,   my "paced" mile showed  acceleration further to 7.52.
 As I turned back and he cycled on,  I  spotted another runner in front and inevitably  just had to chase him.   The  pace was maintained sub 8.  But once he had  peeled off and the pace dipped to 8.06 and 8.15 for the last mile.   So  49.20 for the run. 
Still running ahead of where I was in week 7 last year;  but probably over 50 minutes if I had run the whole 6 miles solo.
 Runners World suggest that running with company keeps us "more focussed" and "less distracted by pain".   All well and good if your running mate shares your running aims and you are of a similar ability.   
 There is no way I would have run that 34.58 Salford 10k at the age of 50 in 1999 if I hadn't shared months of hard with a young Bingley H. lady I was assisting at the time.  Some good track sessions and some good long runs as well.   Similar relationships have been enjoyed since and have been mutually beneficial.   Problem now though is finding someone as slow as me who trains late morning!
  Mind you if  your partner  is aiming, say, for the 3 Peaks and you are working towards a spring marathon you might both have to compromise or go your separate ways,  for your long run at least.
 I would say that over the last 49 years  the greater part of my running has been self motivated and
run solo.  But certainly there is s tremendous advantage  is banging out track reps ,working shoulder to shoulder with a like  minded partner or group.
 On the other hand,  I wander just how many runners went to their club last night, joined in a session which they had not planned for and weren't prepared for and ended up injured.  Quite as few , no doubt.
 Meanwhile, all being well, I'll maintain my weekly solo  track  sessions  and hope that I can at least match the efforts of 2011.  I suspect most readers are members of a  club and regularly training hard shoulder to shoulder with club mates but if not perhaps finding a running partner or joining a club might be just the boost your running needs in 2012.


Tuesday, 17 January 2012


With pace being of little concern yesterday  I thought I would have a rare run on Ilkley Moor;  get nearer to  the cloudless blue skies and hopefully enjoy some magnificent view of both Wharfedale and Airedale.
  It would also give me a chance to test run the newly laid stone slabs which I mentioned in a previous post when Pat and I walked over them.   A massive haul of flagstones was helicoptered onto the moor earlier in 2011 after being recovered from a demolished mill in Lancashire.  Some of red paint used on them in their original situation can actually be seen on some.
 They've taken a while to put in place as plans to lay them on a very popular  route across the top of the moor were  put on hold, for fear the work could disturb the breeding season of ground-nesting birds such as grouse and lapwings.
 Pictures taken today show clearly how they are saving walkers and runners from sinking into thigh deep mud and water which can be seen to left and right of the flagstones.  The path project involved more than 1,000 flags, each of which weighs around a quarter-of-a-tonne.
  I ran on them  from Whetstone Gate in the west to Trig Point towards the east of the moor but have yet to check another path  I read  will run north from Dick Hudsons pub at the southern edge of the moor, replacing an ageing wooden ‘boardwalk’ route.  The aim of the new paths  is to  protect the moorland’s fragile peat areas and encourage the regrowth of vegetation either side of the stones.  However I'm sure many purists will object to paths on the moor being made "roadrunner friendly" considering going over the knees into peat to be all part of the fun.   The work on Ilkley Moor is costing £120,000 and is being    supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Following a deviation out and back along the track from COWPER'S CROSS (pictured above)  to bring the distance up to the planned 5 there was just time for a final shot before shooting down the track, said to have been neatly constructed by our Roman friends when they popped over from Italy to show us how to build straight roads.
  Check out the length of my legs. Useful for running or what!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Be patient or be a patient

 Back to the desk after a few days away (one highlight being the sunset above taken near Sandside of the Morecambe Bay estuary) but catching up a pile of emails had to be the priority before my blog  posts,  of course.  It's amazing how emails accumalate when not dealt with continually throughout the day.
 Firstly, welcome to Graham Y. of Loftus as a follower.  All the best for 2012 , Graham.
 Returning to the running I hope your week 2 went well whatever stage of your season you are at.   The regional and national XC champoinships coming up but for me the foundation period continued with just a slight increase on the previous weeks.
 Whilst we all appreciate weekly mileage is only one measure of a week's training it is a key element.  Views vary slightly of course on planned progression.  One view is to consolidate with the same mileage over 3/4 weeks then add 1 mile for each session run in a week.   So if we do  40 miles  in  7 sessions for 4 weeks we then can justify the 5th week seeing 47 miles being covered.  
  Another view popular is to increase by a minumum of 5% but no more than 10%.
                         My view........just nudge last week's effort up a tad!
Having run 40 miles in week 1  I was looking for  43/44.
So  a 10% progression in quantity  but  looking also for better pace in the miles and  a faster 5K session as the week's speed work.  In short a few more miles.  Some faster miles and a faster speed session.  Simple.

Being away I chose to run Thursday's 5K effort on the Lancaster canal which was a nice change as it provided good views over Morecambe Bay running through Hest Bank.  Not my pic. but conditions similar.  Sunny, cool and blustery.
The plan was to run 4 miles steady
down the canal then turn running the 5K tempo with the remainder jogging.
   Mile one and two of the tempo went well (for me!) at 7.51 and 7.40 but then the Garmin showed battery low before going off seconds later.  I estimate however that I would have run 24.10. So some progression from the track 5K the week previous.
  The Garmin has been shutting down after 4/5 miles recently despite being fully charged . I deleted all history as I know this can be a problem a cause.  We contacted Garmin support and latest data is now installed.   But it still failed after a similar period.  Pain!
  Choice would seem to ditch my old pal the 205 which whilst quite bulky does provide time of day, pace, distance covered and time taken whilst training and racing  and go for the sleek 110 which seems more basic.
Or  go for a new internal battery which will cost nearly as much as trade on the 110.  Technology!!
THE LONG(est) RUN.  Last week it was 10 so I had in mind 12 but forced to "pull into the pits" at 5.5 miles,  back home on the  familiar Leeds Liverpool canal , I turned at that point and made it 11 miles.  Unlike others I tend to run late morning fuelled with breakfast so  by the time I hit the towpath I was of course combatting  mad cyclists, loose dogs etc.  all adding to the fun....and risk of falling into the icy waters.
 Usual acceleration scenario......first mile 9.12 last mile 8.12 averaging 8.43.  Where I was by week 7 last year. Progress!

There's a low half marathon next Sunday which would allow me to nudge up this Sunday run to 13 with some company.  Tempting but with snow forecast from Thursday.......who knows.

Whilst the last 4 weeks have been encouraging I am still "aware" of the left calf and know that I'm going to have to be careful  and not  do anything silly in the progression which will see me going backwards.
The phrase I recall is............"BE PATIENT OR BE A PATIENT!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012



I'm sure the majority of you recognised the runners but just in case any gave you trouble.
here they are in order of appearance in the recent post.

ALBERTO SALAZAR   now coach to
MO FARAH   training hard to win Olympic Gold in the U.S.
JO PAVEY still to secure a place in the Olympic marathon alongside
PAULA RADCLIFFE who has run many races organised by Nova International. The company of
BRENDAN FOSTER   who came near but did not quite match the Olympic succcesses of
LASSIE VIREN  famous for his subtle marketing exercise holding aloft his ONITSUKA TIGER spikes.
Unlike  ABEBE BIKILA who in contrast was initially famous for winning gold wearing no shoes at all.
Can RYAN HALL win Olympic Gold also?  First he has to make the USA team.  Trial this Saturday.
and finally, will we see HAILE GEBRSELLASSIE lining up alongside Hall on the streets of London?

Sunday, 8 January 2012


Whilst longer term aims have still to be defined, quite clearly if I am to match or get anywhere near to last year's time short term goals, I  have to be to inject some faster pace miles into the week and regain strength will some increase in the longest run of the week.  Simple...on the planner.
  Problem being the  extremely strong gales prevailing for most of this week and the constant thought that the calf might not be up to the task!
  The weather is always a factor at this time of year.  Plans can fall apart or be difficult to fulfill with gales prevalent  or poor underfoot conditions.   This week it was a case of coping with some of the strongest winds for years. 
 Fortunately , Pat helped  me manage Tuesday's run by driving me 6 miles to the west and I ran back home gale assisted.  With the constant threat of being blown off the pavement into the path of adjacent traffic!
  Wednesday Sally and I sought shelter with 2 laps of the res. Nice to have some company for a change!  Thanks Sally.
 Thursday's track session went well with a solid 5K time trial,  as the gales thankfully abated.  The sun even made an appearance as an added bonus.
  Following two  so called easy days combatting the wind on the grass (4/3) it just left  today and  the task of nudging the "long run"  up to 10 miles.   Contrary to the "the book"  I ran down the canal with the wind behind in 45 minutes and  managed a better second half despite a fairly strong headwind.  Pleasing.
 So week one's goals achieved!
 40 miles covered.   Spot on last year's average.
 Track session completed.  The calf stood up to the better pace.
 Longest run increased to 10 miles.

Week one last year I limped through
4......4....3.....3.....0.....0.......2..........16 miles.
This year  I ran through
4......6 ....6.5.....6 .....4.....3.5......10.......40 miles

Plenty of room for improvement and progrssion .............but a much better start to 2012!
I hope your week one went well also.  Let's keep it up!

Friday, 6 January 2012


Need some help drawing up your list of NEW YEAR RUNNING RESOLUTIONS?  Perhaps these world class  distance runners from PAST and PRESENT can help you out. 

This famous marathon runner might suggest that it's time to FIND or change to a NEW COACH or MENTOR to get your running back on track.
 This young man would certainly seem to have profited from  his move to the man above.  But he's not suggesting you move from one continent to another. Perhaps simply a MOVE TO ANOTHER CLUB or FIND NEW TRAINING PARTNERS might be just what your running needs?

    This young lady switched from 5k and 10k on the track to the marathon in a bid to earn a place at the 2012 Olympics. A place which has still to be secured.  Perhaps 2012 IS THE YEAR FOR YOUR FIRST ATTEMPT AT THE MARATHON DISTANCE OR THE YEAR WHEN YOU REALLY COMMIT TO A MARATHON P.B?   

    If that's case  then  follow this lady's example and  RESOLVE   TO PUT THE TRAINING IN AND INCREASE IN YOUR WEEKLY MILEAGE. Though she may suggest her 120 per week is more than YOU need.  

  If you are planning to include some mass participation events  into your race programme this year,  then you may well   take part in events organised by this runner's company.  His advice is DECIDE ON YOUR EVENTS AND ENTER EARLY TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT.

This Olympic gold medallist would seem to be suggesting that one of your New Year resolutions should be  to look at your shoes and DECIDE if IT'S TIME TO INVEST IN A NEW PAIR.   But of course there are other manufacturers than Onitsuka Tiger (Asics)  .

This double Olympic marathon winner won one of   his races running 26.2 mile without shoes but was shod when he won his second.   So if you are thinking of running barefoot or more likely converting to minimalist shoes his advice would seem to be  ENSURE YOU BUY THE RIGHT SHOES FOR YOU and YOU ALONE; TAKING GOOD ADVICE IF NECESSARY

This current U.S. marathon runner may well go in the OLYMPIC HALL OF FAME but he has to make the U.S. 2012 team first.  If we learn nothing else from his training videos it's the importance of THE LONG RUN.  Will one of your 2012 resolutions be to TRAIN UP TO OR EVEN OVER THE MARATHON DISTANCE?

and finally...................................if you have let your running slip or stopped running altogether perhaps ONE OF YOUR 2012 RESOLUTIONS should be TO PLAN A RUNNING COMEBACK. This man did after his DNF in the New York City marathon in 2010.  He changed his mind about retirement from racing
and ran 60:18 in his COMEBACK HALF MARATHON RACE..........some return!


Thursday, 5 January 2012

Keeping track of current fitness

 Quite obviously at this stage of build up after the period of R.& R. I know I'm far from 100% race ready. However,
sometimes it's useful to set a little test  for oneself just to see how things are going.  Let's call it an "interim report" !
 I know many would use  a parkrun  for this purpose but I resorted to my 5K track time trial  today  in conditions which were very much improved than those of late  with the sun making a  welcome  reappearance .
  I did similarly after injury over Christmas & New Year in 2011.   That 5k effort on January 28th produced a modest but satisfactory 25.27.
 Today I honestly hadn't  a  clue what to expect.   Very little running had been done over the last month at under 9 mins pace. With the gales of the last few days passing through to leave clear blue skies it was pleased as the laps all peeled off at just seconds over 2 mins. for a final clocking of 25:31.
 So I guess in real terms I'm 3 weeks ahead of where I was this time last year  at an age when I'm already trying to combat Old Father Time.
 It was certainly good to get back on the track. There really is no better place for nudging up the pace!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

It's all about commitment!

2011. COMMITMENT TO TRAINING....... Over the Christmas and New Year period last year I was so troubled by the reoccurring pain in my left leg (piriformis problem)  that  I was not foolish or even optimistic enough to make any training/racing resolutions for 2011.   Resolutuions which  at the time would have  seemed totally unrealistic and out of the question. 
  If I could simply make a return to daily,  pain free running that would be more than enough.
  But gradually as the pain diminished the weekly mileage was nudged back up again to the average.  16, 22 ,24 36 and then 40.  Daily runs of 4 mile in January,  ticking over,  were gradually increased up to 10 miles.  

  I  ventured back to the track to attempt a 5K solo time trial which went quite well and encouraged me to start  looking at a "comeback"  race to kick off the 2011 season.  I  was pleased to run 43.28 for the initial outing on Mar 5  at Stanley Park, Blackpool.
  I was back in business  and fitter than I had thought.  I had predicted a time of around 45 minutes.
  Pleasingly I was able to go on enjoy  10 months of  interrupted training and racing  averaging 43 miles per week.  50% of  many weeks 25 years ago but a reasonable and satisfactory degree of commitment at my age and  running life I would suggest.  
  However, the last 4 weeks of 2011 with the calf strain naturally took that average down.   But  at least I was able to  recover well enough to  need just 9 miles  last Sunday  to bring the year's total up to 2080
and average exactly 40 miles for 2011.   
  A paddle strewn towpath  and torrential rain  tested the resolve but it had to be done, didn't it?!

 I could never be accused of over racing on a regular basis.  I have been guilty over "binge racing"  (several races in a very short period) but generally balanced out by a period of race inactivity. A "down season".

The greatest number of races in a year was in 1989 with a total of 29.
 This year if I had been confident enough to set a race number target it would have been 20.   I had reached
18  when I suffered the calf strain in  November. I would have  slotted in one of the popular 10 milers  and possibly a 5K .
  But hey 18 out of 20 doesn't look too bad so I'll settle for that.   I often say I only race flat road races nowadays but in fact the list shows otherwise with  some trail races in there and some testing road events.
There are exceptions but I would say generally at my stage,  working against old father time,  we have all on to maintain  race times year on year.  Perhaps a decline of 30 seconds over a 10K is more likely and that was what I could only manage. No improvement on 2010. 

 The best 10K was down by 20 seconds but the 5 mile only down by 6 seconds.   I managed 4 category wins in the year.  At 63 in the M60 section this will prove harder in 2012.

2011.  COMMITMENT TO THE CLUB...........
 Living in Yorkshire,  an hour and a half's drive from Sale Harriers'  club HQ  means I don't get involved with club training.  However,   I did respond to the call and turned out in the the Northern 12 man relay ("B" team)   and Northern 6 man relay ("D" team)  and  along side several teammates who completed the Manchester Parks Races Series.   Far  more in fact than many who live on the doorstep!

The majority of my "speedwork" is track based.  Some longers efforts being done on the canal towpath.
2011 saw 26 track visits.   Some room for more commitment there then. 

Only half a dozen  actual hill rep sessions.  Perhaps too much of a reliance on mildly undulating off road runs to  act as hill work but nothing like the intensity of sessions which i used to incorporate into the week in the "good years".    Again, something which needs to be addressed.

  In general  I  have enjoyed another year of near daily training; mainly off road, mainly traffic free in England's second best county of Yorkshire  and should be thankful that after nearly 50 years  and over 700 races I am still able to sit here and be able to write the above!
  That's it for 2011.  I hope as you look back over you running year you have achieved all that you aimed for and trained for.  But if not,  hopefully your running record allows you to evaluate,  establish where the problems occurred, reset fresh goals for 2012 and enjoy running towards achieving those goals.   
      I wish you well in your efforts. Go for it!