Sunday, 22 January 2012

Making the most of the lunchtime run

A measly 45 minutes is all I get for lunch at work, which gives me enough time to eat my lunch, catch up on Twitter, a 5 minute walk to stretch the eyes and legs and then back to work....

...Or, I can get out for 35 minutes for a run. It used to be a plod down the canal or over the local common, which is great but they were becoming 'junk' miles. Junk miles are those miles where you run for the sake of running because you're paranoid about the 'numbers', and you must complete 'x' amount of miles each week (We all do it!)

So now it's a case of making these 4 or 5 miles count. I probably get out for about 3 runs during the week at lunchtime, One of these runs is now a Tempo run which has me pushing myself to the limit for 4.12miles (I told you we all obsess about the numbers, notice I had to include the .12!!!).

Amazingly the week before last I managed to run the fastest I've ever run the 4 miles..Ahem, sorry 4.12 miles with a 7:07min/mile pace, which goes to show that as you get older, it does not mean you cannot push the boundaries. I'm not sure I can push into the 6 min/mile bracket, but who knows, watch this space.

I don't look forward to these runs, as at the end I'm doubled over with my legs and lungs screaming at me to get back to the old routine. Tempo runs hurt, but then 'No pain, No gain'.

Tempo Runs!!!
My second run of the week will be a hill session, this is a 4.9 mile route which I can just about squeeze in the lunch break. This consists of running down and up, four times, a quite testing hill in a quiet residential street in Woking town. I must admit I do quite enjoy hill running, and much prefer this to the tempo session. After any hill training I always feel stronger as a runner and have really benefited from the session.

The third run will probably be an easy run where I can enjoy the surroundings and have a chat with work colleague and running buddy Brian.

With this weekly routine and a long run, marathon training is coming on nicely. The last couple of weeks has seen the long run increase to 16 miles, running at my marathon pace (8:50 - 9 min/miles).

With 3 months left to London, my running at present is in a good place.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Random Training and nutrition

As I said last post, I'm not following any particular training plan for my marathon. I read enough and am experienced enough to know essentially, what you put in is what you get out. I know I have to do my hill runs, my long runs and my tempo runs. Combine those three elements plus put the miles in and you're not going to be a million miles off.

God knows I read enough about the subject to know a bit about running! I subscribe to Runners World and Running Fitness magazines each month plus magazines online that are free to read: Go Trail (South African publication), Running Free, and Competitor magazine (US publication). If I'm not reading these then I'm catching up on fellow runner's blogs (see blogroll on the right) or I've always got a running book on the go. I'm basically reading about running everyday...blimey, maybe I should throw in the odd Stephen King novel for some variety!

Arghhhh! Information overload!
Training's not rocket science, or is it? There are many other aspects that play a part in training such as nutrition and cross training and these are two area's I could do with concentrating more on. Since Christmas I've developed a sweet tooth but am getting back into the swing of eating a little healthier again. Anyway I think Christmas is the perfect time to have a little down time and enjoy those treats that normally as runners have us feeling guilty. But I feel my running definitely improves when I my nutrition improves.

That's all you need - Flaxseed
I eat porridge everyday, I have this once I get to work as I never feel like eating first thing when I get up. I've started adding flax seeds to the porridge and rather than sugar, some honey. This is the perfect start to the day and by adding the flaxseed, turns this already healthy breakfast into super healthy! Flax seeds are high in fibre and Omega 3 so an easy and great boost to your breakfast.

Australian treats - Delicious
I'm running around 30 miles a week at the moment, I'll probably stick with this through January before increasing to 40 miles through February and up to the Marathon in April. This weeks training consisted of three lunchtime runs at work, 4.9 miles of hill training and 2x 4.12miles along the canal. Sunday I got out for half marathon distance around the North Downs, one of my favourite runs. For nutrition I had drunk one bottle of Lucozade sport before the run and another bottle on the run. For my last couple of longer runs I've taken with me a Carman fruit muesli bar. These taste amazing and I seem lucky to be able to eat these on the run without any indigestion. You can't beat some 'real' food on a run rather than sickly gels. As far as I know the only major supermarket that stock the Carman bars currently are Sainsbury's.

A couple of other tweaks I've made is eating more fish, and healthier snacks in the day rather than a chocolate bar. For this I have started buying tin salmon for my sandwhich at work, perfect after a lunchtime run. To beat the trip to the office snack box I now head to the fridge, get my cottage cheese and pineapple and have this on a couple of Crisp breads. Subtle changes that will hopefully improve my overall health.

That's where I'm at, 2 weeks into the new year and only 15 weeks away from the London marathon.

I'm running for the British Heart Foundation, so if you can spare a small amount, please sponsor me at: Virgin money giving, Ian Chitson .....Thank you :)

Sunday, 1 January 2012

What a way to start the New Year!

The North Downs
An amazing run to kick of training in the year, across the North Downs. Starting at Newlands Corner just outside of Guildford and getting nearly as far as neighbouring town Dorking, this was a stunning run clocking up a nice distance of nearly 14 miles.

2012 should be a great year running, what with me taking my place at the London Marathon in April. Training has now started in Earnest as I try to aim for a sub 4 hour finish. I am not following any particular training plan, just getting out there, putting in the miles but specifically putting in some quality runs. This week I've completed a tough hilly 13 miles, an 8 mile run and concluded with this run today of 14 miles putting me on 35 miles for the week with just 3 runs.

The UK despite the rain has some beautiful scenery to offer (beautiful and green, due to the rain!). Down South we have the North and South Downs, Further north, the Lake District and in Scotland the mountains. Wherever you are on our small Island there is plenty of great trail running to be had.

If you are competing in your first marathon, whether a road or trail race, get on the trails for part of your training. The hills and multiple terrains will condition and strengthen your body and make you a better runner. As I said in previous posts, I'm going to spending most my training on the trails. Although I'm training for a road race, I now consider myself more of a trail runner. Most my runs are done off road and I enjoy it so much more, the fresh air and scenery beat the concrete jungle any day!

I ran today with usual partner in crime, Brian at an enjoyable and relaxed pace. The only downside of the run was the muddy paths in places, that had us sliding around and having us slow down in a few places on the slopes. For the first few miles I struggled to get into the run, but then I always do. Note to self - This feeling is where your body is warming up and adapting to the challenge ahead. The feeling will pass as it always does come mile 5! Once I settled into the run I felt strong on the hills and enjoyed the stunning scenery that was on offer today. Brian done well, on the back of running everyday this week and clocking up over 50 miles (Show off!)

Beautiful views all the way
 I carried a bottle of Lucozade Sport with me, which is the official drink around the course at London, so I thought it best to start getting used to this.

This was the perfect start to the year and was well worth getting up for while others were recovering from the previous evenings festivities. A tough run mainly due to the mud, but if I can keep putting in quality runs like this, then maybe that sub 4 hour marathon can become reality.

At the end of a great run to start the year