Tag Archives: training

A run with a view 1/52

I love running that much I’m sure is clear, but my heart truly belongs to trail running. Being out in the countryside away from cars (and people) is what makes me happy. Having sheep, rabbits, deer, buzzards, sparrow hawks and the occasional badger for company is a whole lot better than cars, houses and tarmac.

The UK has some beautiful countryside and where I live I’m blessed with being able to run out of my door straight onto bridleways in an area of outstanding beauty. However what this does mean is that on days like today with crisp frozen ground and a big golden sun rising in the sky that it’s easy to get distracted from running. Inevitably I end up stopping fairly often to take photos of the view and why not when it looks like this?

They say running is good for the soul and on days like this I think it’d be hard for anyone to disagree.

Sunrise over Barbury castle


View over Marlborough downsGolden sun over Barbury castle-001

You just put one foot in front of the other right?

That’s how you run a marathon isn’t it? How hard can it be? Well I’m going to find out shortly as having been officially categorised as a smurf for the 2nd year running by the London Marathon I’ve decided to pop my marathon cherry a lot sooner. In 5 weeks time to be precise on the 10th November where I’ll be toeing the line at the Broadway marathon.

I’d love to run the London marathon simply because it’s London and such an iconic event, but if I’m honest my heart is on the trails and so it is probably more appropriate to be tackling a trail marathon as my first marathon. Doing the Scotland coast to coast reinforced my love of the off road where the miles of road cycling really wore on me and I felt like I came alive during the off road stages both on the bike and on foot.

Continue reading You just put one foot in front of the other right?

One month to go

Exactly one month from today I shall be (hopefully) finishing that little race I’ve signed up for. *whispers* you know the one that involves crossing Scotland from coast to coast. Which means I’m at that point before a big challenge where I’m part excited and part in denial about exactly what I’m going to do.

I’m also having a small panic over whether I’m fit enough, I think I am but the cycling still worries me as I haven’t done as much as I would have liked. Work has limited my plans for evening rides, not to mention the 2 weeks of travel to the USA. But this was also why I found myself setting an alarm for 5.30am today to get out for a 2 hour ride before work. The advantage of working from home 1 day a week is I can be a bit flexible with start times on those days and not worry about commuting to the office.

My legs felt terrible all the way around the ride, but when I got back it was not only my highest average speed (16 MPH) but also the longest at 28 miles. Not even halfway to the distance I’ll do in the race but good to know that even when feeling that my legs have no energy I can do a good pace and one higher than we plan for the race anyway.

Continue reading One month to go

Running like Mo

The Olympics were inspiring in many ways and you can only hope that there are many small children out there riding their bikes like Bradley Wiggins or trying to sprint faster than Usain Bolt. But for me the inspiration was Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis who both have something in common; that is the reason they gave for their success. Mo’s put his success down to “hard work and graft”. Simple isn’t it? No fancy equipment, mystical training regime or scientific diet. Sure diet and training regime have a part to play but there is no shortcut.

This is something I’ve taken to heart, too often I can be a dreamer, wanting to read all the magazines and buy the gear rather than just getting out there and running. Not any more, now I’m getting out there and doing it. Trying to build up the mileage, getting my legs and lungs stronger so that I can do the races that I want to. I can realise some of those dreams.

Watching Mo run also taught me something else, if you watch him run he looks like he is floating, those strides look effortless. This is pretty much the opposite to no doubt how I look, when you’re trying to get back into running you end up being a plodder, one foot after the other, having to fight to just keep going. It’s hard to break this habit when all you can think about is your lungs about to explode.

So I’ve started quite literally running like Mo, trying to land my feet with less impact and take longer strides. The effect is quite incredible, it forces you not to drop down into your hips and engage your core more. It takes some of the pressure off your lower back which for me is a godsend.

It takes some getting used to though and you definitely have to build strength in your legs and core, but I would highly recommend you trying it. If it’s good enough for Mo then it’s good enough for me.

All of this means I am now running at least 3 times a week, mostly with Bracken as there really isn’t enough time for a run and a dog walk each day. In a typical week I try to get the following in, as I’ve said before I don’t really take a formal approach to training but do try to keep some variety. I’ve been doing this for about 6 weeks now and am thankfully starting to feel the benefit and actually feel strong on a run.

  • 2-3 runs of around 5 miles, normally with Bracken at 6am (with preferably 1 off road)
  • A core workout in the gym during lunch time; 5 exercises for 40 seconds each and 20 seconds rest between exercises. Repeat 3 times
  • 30 minutes pilates
  • A speed session; sets of sprints (up hill if possible), it’s a pretty quick session and really helps build up strength in your legs for getting up hills.

It might sound quite a bit but apart from the 5 mile runs the rest can be done in 30-40mins which is easy enough to fit in either before work or during a lunch time. I plan to try and start doing a longer run once a week if possible and then if I get my London marathon place will need to up the training a whole lot  more!