Sunday, 18 November 2012


After a good result at the Maltby 7 last week (1st vet 40) confidence going into todays Abbey Dash was high.   Last weeks Maltby race was a great stepping stone to my first attempt at the Dash.  I've heard lots about the race and generally it has been good. 

The thing about some of these "big" races is that time just goes in queueing, getting to the start line, getting in the right area, baggage tents etc etc.   Today was no exception and the one thing I didn't really manage was a decent aerobic warm up.  Instead my warm up consisted of lots of stretching, a few short jogs and generally whatever I could do to keep warm in the crisp winter morning.

As a dash first timer I was keen not to go off to fast and to make sure I had something left at the end for the uphill finish I had been warned about.  

It was a great event all in all.   A very quick course, well organised, nice T-shirt, recovery shake and a very friendly atmosphere.  

As for the performance I was 129th overall, 11th vet 40 in a time of 33.56.  A vet 40 pb and my first sub 34 for a good 15 years so happy days all round.

Six males under 30 mins and 6 females under 34 minutes showed the depth and quality of the field.

For the record my splits were:  5.24, 5,26, 5.30, 5.24, 5.23 and 5.34.  Once the hill was conquered it was a battle against the clock as the sub 34 was fast ticking away.   Quite a relief when the text result came through and showed 33.56!  The sprint finish was worth it in the end!

Friday, 9 November 2012

The need for speed!

After bombing out of my last two interval sessions with hamstring related issues I approached last nights session with some nervousness.   Such a relief to get a simple 8 x 700m ish session done and in the bag.   We used our usual estate loop in Saltburn and enjoyed a 90 second recovery in between.  Job done! The pace was not spectacular - about 10km pace so not  flat out but a good feeling all the same to get a session done.

Talked about range of paces last night and I remarked that sometimes when you are feeling good all runs tend to become a little bit quicker but its good sometimes to go through the gears in training.   Last nights session was the first time in a few months that I have sustained running at about 5:30 pace.   There have been plenty of miles run at around or slightly under 6 minute miling.  There have been lots of runs in the last few weeks between 6 minutes and 6 and a half minute miling.   But not many miles outside of 7 minute miling - becuase I have been feeling good and generally my running has reflected that - particularly in the last four weeks or so!  

So just to celebrate my successful interval session last night I rewarded my legs with a nice recovery run at a leisurely pace outside of 7 minutes per mile this morning. I didnt feel guilty at all and quite enjoyed the feeling of an easy run.  

Whilst it's good to run fast (well relatively fast!) sometimes you need to get the balance between lots of hard slog type quicker running and some easy recovery runs to let the body recharge......use your gears! 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

An enjoyable Sunday double!

After what seems like months of struggling with hamstring pain today's run were definite signs that progress is being made and fitness is improving.   My Sunday runs recently have been doubles - fitting a short steady run of around 5 miles in before taking one or both of my boys to junior football matches followed up by a swift 5km or 4 miles on the treadmill whilst they hit the pool at the leisure centre with the swimming club (active kids!).
The morning run started off steadily at 7 minute miling but feeling good the pace quickly picked up after a mile or so and I found myself ticking off the miles at a quick 6-15 to 6.20 pace and ended up with a decent 7.5 miles at an average pace of 6.25 per mile.   The best thing was the weather was almost perfect for a morning run with a light frost and a very light breeze and the legs felt great - no aches and pains and responsive to the pace that I pushed along at.  The kind of run that makes you feel great to be a runner - Sunday mornings were made for these runs!

I decided to hit the road later in the day for a tempo session.   As most of my recent tempo efforts have been treadmill based a road session would be a welcome change.   With the morning effort in my legs I struggled for the first mile to hit the target time of under 6 minute miling but once I got into my rhythm I was happily going along at between 5.45 and 5.50 pace for the rest of the four mile run.  Progress is definitely being made although I must admit the first mile of any run at the moment is a bit of a struggle...maybe that is just an age thing!

The Treadmill vs the Road - A debate many runners have and one which came up recently in a discussion with one of my training partners.

- My own speed sessions on the treadmill have been slightly quicker than that on the road but you cant beat the feeling of eating up the tarmac!  
- There is no maximum speed limit on the road for a runner!
- You don't have to wait for a treadmill or feel guilty if you are on for more than 20 minutes.  For a more scientific view have a look at this article which outlines some of the key differences in propulsive forces of treadmill running and advocates their use only for some specific workouts.  Some "experts" feel the differences between treadmill and road running are so great that excessive treadmill use can actually impair running economy on regular surfaces.

Big test of consistency comes next week as I tackle the delights of the Maltby 7.  My results in the last two years have been just 6 seconds apart so any where near the times of the last two years will do just fine to set me up nicely for the Leeds Abbey Dash on the 18th.  

Happy winter running!