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New baby!

So there may not be many blogs for a short time as my daughter was born yesterday, anyone with children will know what that is like to start with!

When I get back to running again I will give an update.

Thanks for reading.

Gotta love a treadmill run, right?

Hill repeats on a treadmill – get real!!

Todays run was hill repeats, 15 minute warm up, then 1 minute uphill, 2 mins on the flat, do this 8 times, then a 15 minute cool down, and we are all good!

Around here, that is a challenge to achieve because there are no decent hills on my doorstep, albeit there is a place nearby (Burford) which would work but I just don’t have time to drive there and back as this adds maybe another 30 minutes on and I was already up at 05:30 in order to complete my run before my first meeting of the day. So I thought, ah well, use the treadmill, that’s why I bought it! Also, considering it is just sat there in my Paincave (yes, with a capital P) staring out the window at me looking all forlorn, I thought that it doesn’t make any sense to ignore it. My Paincave is not pretty (yet!), it’s more functional, I need to tidy the cables and get some flooring down that works.

IMG 3867So, there I am at stupid ‘o clock (about 05:45) stood on my treadmill, psyching myself up for my run, feeling tired and tbh severely underwhelmed by the whole affair!



After last week being a minor disaster (well on the scale of disasters  it’s very minor) because I didn’t meet my objectives (fellow runners will recognise the self abuse this brings with it!).

I was determined to just get the run done!

Last night I felt that I had lost my ‘running mojo’ but I think it’s back today, fickle little thing that it is! My run was not fast of course (if you have read any of my other posts you will know this already!), but the focus was on climbing and in the planned 8 minutes of climbing I climbed 338 feet which again, is not dramatic, but it was enough.

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And what I found was that, I LOVED IT.

The challenge of the short bursts of climbing, much like intervals, really fires my engine up and this just got more and more fun as I went along. I had an average pace of only 13:05, but this was heavily driven by the warm up and cool down as more time was spent in those parts of the run than the hill repeats, but with a peak pace of 10:29. I enjoyed my run and I had ticked off another target for the day, all before anyone else in my house was out of bed, BOOM! Also, this week is a lower mileage week, so that should help my Running Mojo recover itself enough to take on the week!

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You can see from my fitness charts the effect of last week, but the overall picture is still good and I still have 16 weeks before the main event of The Race to The Stones, which, to be fair, is as long as many complete training plans last, I just recognised the size of the challenge and decided to get off my ass sooner!

Screenshot 2020 03 10 at 14 52 17Looking deeper into my data, there appears to be the beginnings of trends in my datasets (such as cadence, max heart rate etc) but it’s too early to claim a statistical difference yet. It’s interesting though because in order to understand the differences (if they exist) what I am more interested in is the relationship between these differences and any physiological changes. For example, is the fact that my max heart rate appears to be reducing because I am getting fitter, or only because I am running slower 80% of the time? I am certain I am getting fitter, I have lost 3.6kg since the end of January this year and my VO2 Max is improving (slowly!), so is this one or the other or, as I suspect a combination of the two? Understanding data like that might be beyond my capabilities so I might need to get some support on that if I decide to explore it.

Although most of my runs are slow now (in power zone 2), when I recently freed myself of the plan, and just ran for the fun of it, I was significantly faster, also, the pace I was at would have been pushing myself quite hard in 2018/19, but this felt comfortable, not easy, but comfortable. I could have happily kept going for a 10k or maybe longer at that pace, so I’m certain of the effects of the training. What I am having difficulty right now is separating the cause from the effects as they are somewhat circular! I will have to be patient and let the data talk!

Slow and crappy – literally!

Today was supposed to be a 15 mile run.

After yesterday, when I woke up randomly vomiting, it was always going to be an unlikely event.

My day started ok this time, I have started to try changing my ‘long run process’. So today I started by having breakfast and a coffee which is something I do not normally do but after last weeks long run not particularly going to plan, and with the ultra looming in around 16 weeks, it’s time to start dialling my process in.

So. It started well but my body had other plans and by 10am I had already needed the toilet 3 times. I ended up feeling completely drained and not wanting to be away from a toilet!

So I fired up Zwift and jumped on the treadmill.

That started off ok, I zoned out and stopped thinking about running. Then I glanced at the screen and found I had only ran about 1.5 miles. Zoned back out, glances again, 1.8 miles. This was just not happening today. I was completely sapped of energy, was not enjoying it and time was stretching itself!

At about 2.5 miles I was thinking I would aim for 10, this quickly went to 5, then when I approached 3, I decided to speed the treadmill up and finish at 5k instead, feeling completely exhausted.

Not a great week all round for my running, but hey ho, I can’t get time back so just need to pick it back up next week.

On a happier note, I weighed myself today to find I have lost 8 pounds since January which is encouraging! Only (ha!) 11 more to my target weight. Need to keep working on it!

My plan is to focus back in on the training again but of course I have to be mindful of the fact my wife is due our second baby this Friday(!) so, maybe not worry about it too much, priorities right!

Sometimes it’s a slog

This week has been tough. After slowly building my weekly mileage up, life decided I have not had enough challenges!

Work has been more demanding, home life has too, neither for negative reasons so I can’t complain but today started off with me running to the toilet at 5am to randomly throw up!

And that is where I start to think that this was not my best week for training!

I had already missed two training runs due to work and home life demands so this morning I was determined to run anyway, with the thinking that if I was going to be sick again, at least I could just do it at the side of the road and carry on running. Lovely.

As you may recall, I’m a bit of data junkie so I hate missing my plan, although the bigger picture data trend is great, you can see the impact even a slight hiccup has on the numbers for my TrainingPeaks fitness report, it’s such a ‘hard won’ number, I hate to see it slip!

Horses and ice

The only good thing this week related to running was an unplanned run yesterday, which was supposed to be a rest day. I ran without paying attention to pace or power, or much of anything really, just that I had to be back to see my little girl before she goes to school. So this run, I did a 5k, not fast by other people’s standards at a 10:25 per mile pace, but for me, that’s the fastest I have run in quite a while, what was interesting is that my perceived effort during this run was relaxed, demonstrating to me how much my trainings paying off.

Part of the view on my rest day run

My own wellbeing

Back to today’s run, a slow jaunt around the Cotswolds with a good friend for just 4 miles, thankfully I didn’t have to utilise the side of the road, but it was very slow that’s for sure and uneventful. Always nice to spend time with my friend Mark though. I find this social run to be cathartic, allowing me to exhale the pressures of the week with a likeminded friend, I no longer consider this run to be training for my body, but for my mental wellbeing. The run is now a lot slower than I need for my training plan but I really value it.

I have a 15 miles run planned for tomorrow, not sure yet if that will happen but we will see!

If tomorrow’s run happens, I expect it to be exceptionally slow, but I’m not going to worry about that.

And not a run in sight!

No running today, family life more important.

Sometimes it’s important to ensure your family knows you value them more than your obsession! Without even mentioning the fact your legs are screaming at you to run! Tomorrow may not be a running day either but we will see, maybe instead I might get a little time on the treadmill or the turbo trainer.

I’ve started listening to ‘Still not Bionic’ by Ira Rainey, seems an interesting listen but it’s early yet, the focus seems to revolve around his battle with mental health issues along with his ultra running journey. I will let you know what I think. Also bought a copy of Dean Karnazes ‘ultramarathon man’ which inspired Ira Rainey, will let you know my thoughts on that too!

Not much to talk about today so going to leave this here just so you don’t think I’ve forgotten!

Longest run in 3 years

Today’s run was long, for me anyway!

A 14 mile run, twice around a 7 mile loop which takes me passed my house. Going passed my house was hard, starting the second loop was a little emotional to be honest!

The run was a power zone 2 run so was intentionally slow, which from a power perspective is ok but oh lord it took so long at nearly 3 hours, it seemed a very long time to be running so slowly. You can see below I had regular stops for water and Trail-butter which I love, along with a couple of extra traffic stops as this was all road running.

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I have also blasted my weekly mileage goal, which is set at 20 miles a week in order to hit 1000 miles in 2020, this week having hit over 33 miles, putting me 34 miles ahead at this point for the year. Bearing in mind my wife is due our second baby in 12 days, I need to get ahead if I want to ensure I meet that target, obviously, it is far more important that I support my wife than meeting the goal, but it would be nice to do both.

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So as you can see above, slow, but done! Whore hey (Jorge) was kind to me and it stayed dry, if a bit windy. At around 9.5 miles, I nearly bailed, strangely, I started feely fuzzy headed and could not focus for some reason. I was not sure what was happening as I have run further than this before with no problems and had been taking plenty of fluids and nutrition. I decided to carry on running and see what happened, knowing my wife would be unlikely to come and pick me up anyway as she was out (also with baby 12 days away, I wouldn’t blame her for not wanting to come searching for me lol). So I trudged on and if you look carefully at the charts from Stryd you will see that my power output went all over the place at around 10 miles, which was me basically battling this fuzzy headedness. At around 11.5 miles I started feeling fine, but it was a real battle during this time. This is something I am going to have to investigate because, it felt like I was bonking, so maybe my nutrition was not at the right levels for a run of this length on an empty stomach.




Slower than a slow thing having a slow day in slow town

Today I was slower than a tortoise in treacle

But I’m ok with that.

Today was a 1 hour zone 2 run, simple, straightforward, nothing fancy. It was a good time to chat with my friend about work and understand more of the politics going on at work while having a nice relaxing run at very low effort.

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We didn’t run far or fast, which was exactly what we had planned. I stayed in mid zone 2, did not break a sweat or get out of breath at all. Slow. Yes, indeed, but I was ok with that because that is what I am supposed to be doing. Running like this brings the joy back to running again which I love, but also it allows me to spend an hour with a friend just talking stuff through, I think we both find that beneficial to be honest.

Screenshot 2020 02 29 at 19 36 53You can see here that I am diligently following my plan, tomorrow is a long run (well, long enough for me at 14 miles). I have a nice 2 loop local route planned and I am hoping that storm Jorge (whorehay!!!??? WTF!! LOL!) won’t hit too hard in the morning and the run will be a comfortable one. Whatever happens, you can be assured that I will complete my target, worst case scenario I might have to run on the treadmill. I don’t mind a treadmill run but for this distance, I am going to struggle with boredom I think, which then means I will end up focussing on the pain. So hopefully, whorehay will be kind!

Screenshot 2020 02 29 at 19 58 08As you can see from my PMC I am now slightly fitter than I was 2 years ago when I ran the London Big Half, which is encouraging because I don’t feel like I have had to train particularly hard to get back to a fitness level where the thought of running 14 miles tomorrow does not phase me, in fact, I’m looking forward to it.

I have found that forcing myself to slow down while running has allowed my body to adapt faster. I am definitely losing weight, at some point I might have to change the name of the blog, but hold on, let’s not get carried away lol! People are noticing my weight loss and my clothes are getting looser, so the 80/20 plan I am following is doing all the right things!

2 social soulless sociopaths bound together in a friendless world

So this post is nothing about 2 social soulless sociopaths bound together in a friendless world, I just heard that phrase recently and it made me laugh, thought maybe it would share a smile!

Today was a rest day so I am feeling fat and heavy, hold on, I am fat and heavy(!), well, more than normal! I have been sat at my computer fathoming out spreadsheets for work all day and cajoling people into doing what they are paid to do, but hey ho, I’m paid too!

The rest day is an odd beast, the night before, I look forward to not having to get up early and going out in the rain. Then I wake up early, get up and look out the window, wanting to run! I then proceed to slouch around all day and hardly move.

Normally I take about 13000 steps a day, on a rest day, it’s more like 3000 steps and I really feel the difference.

Anyway, Just a short note tonight to have a grumble about inactivity, looking forward to my run with a friend in the morning!

My Stryd wind pod says I’m balancing my running stress and recovery and my TrainingPeaks PMC says I’m getting fitter (blue shaded area), in fact, fitter than I have been for over a year now so I will trust the data!

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Oh for crying out loud!!! – SNOW

Well, the last couple of runs have been fun!

Wednesday was a ‘power zone 2 run’, which basically means a slow run (even by my standards!) It’s a foundational run in my training plan, being the 80% of all the training. The thinking behind this is data driven, and to cut a long story short, is based upon the fact that elite distance runner athletes spend 80% of their time in low intensity training zones and 20% in high intensity zones. Now, my low intensity zones are, maybe, marginally different to an elite athlete, granted, but the principle remains! So, my zone 2 runs are achingly slow and it gets somewhat dull while running sometimes, this was one of those days. The weather was beautiful, clear, dry, a little sunshine but cold (apparently felt like -3!) although not too bad. I had a nice subtle tailwind while going out, with a frosty headwind on the way back. When I got back home my legs were very red but the run kind of felt a little bland, also being an hour’s run, the distance wasn’t interesting either! Todays run, was a tempo run, I had been looking forward to it, adding a bit of pace, but not too much, to the run is nice. The run consists of 15 minutes warm up in zone 2, 30 minutes tempo run in zone 3 and then 15 minutes cool down back in zone 2 (remembering the 80/20 plan adds 2 extra zones in, so we get Z1, Z2, ZX, Z3, ZY, Z4, Z5). I usually enjoy this one because I know that towards the tail end of the tempo run piece, I am feeling it, and I like that. Today however was not as nice as I had hoped, I woke up and my phone told me it was snowy with poor visibility, I curled back up in bed! After about another 10 minutes I forced myself out of bed, knowing that if I went back to sleep that would be the end of that! I looked out the window and saw no snow, I thought, bloody phone, then, great, let’s go. Got my normal gear on, stepped outdoors into sideways snow!

Well, thanks for that! I completed my run as per the plan but really did not enjoy it, I was cold and the snow was blowing straight into my face for half the run. Happily, no snow was settling on the ground, but it was definitely soggy out there. When I got back I had chilblains all over my legs and particularly my feet as I had worn my normal road running Vibrams instead of my water resistant trail running Vibrams, not a happy bunny! On my way back I ran passed a friend (Emma) who asked if I was cold enough yet, I responded with something like a falsely jovial ‘not yet, haha ’ but actually I was freezing! LOL

Anyways! Not fast, but moving!

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Funny how the runs you don’t want to do can end up being the best ones!

How was todays run?

I slept bad, awakened by my daughter at 4am for some crazy reason which to her made sense I am sure, but to me it was ludicrous, I then got back in bed and spent another 90 minutes (ish) debating if I should just get up and run. When I eventually dragged my sorry ass out of bed and got outside, just as I stepped out the door, it started raining, well thank you very much! That did not improve my mood in the slightest!

But, today was intervals and I just love intervals, I get to have a plod around but also to push myself a bit.

Today was a little different because instead of using data to control my output, I ran by perceived effort, it was interesting because although I was aiming for zone 4 in the high intervals, I was actually running over 3 minutes a mile faster than normal and was easily in high zone 5, yet my effort for 5 out of 6 of these intervals felt great. I felt I was on the lower end of zone 4, although on the 6th interval I definitely felt like I faded (despite the actual power output showing higher!). That said, I am quite impressed with how well I managed to hold my efforts!

I used to hate running intervals, but I have got to the stage in my training, which focuses most of my effort (80% of it) on running slow, so I now look forward to these as they add a welcome variation and the speedwork challenges me to endure the pain, my legs tingle all day long and I often get a rush of endorphins (the runners high), with so much of my plan being low effort, it’s a welcome buzz!

At the end of my run today, I felt absolutely GREAT, note to self, when I don’t want to run, GO RUN!!

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