Thursday, 31 May 2012

A new goal...

I have a new goal on the horizon, on 22nd July, I will be running with friend Brian, as team 'Running OK in the UK' at the Love life, love running festival and we will be taking on the 6 hour challenge!

We will be heading away for a  weekend away in Staffordshire, at the national park of Cannock Chase.

The festival is in it's 3rd year, but I only heard about it through the running community on Twitter. The festival sounds family orientated, but I've decided to leave my family behind this year to see what it is like, but if a success I may return with them next year.

Anyhow this time round it's a bit of 'me' time and I am really looking forward to the weekend. The 6 hour challenge takes place on the Sunday and will involve Brian and myself taking turns in running a 7K (4.23 mile) lap for 6 hours. As the website states, you can make this as easy or as hard as you wish. We are entering as a pair but you can choose to run this in a team of up to 6 members, or even solo.

The course record is 13 laps, I'm not sure we'll be breaking any records but a weekend away dedicated to running is good for me, and it sounds like a few of the Twitter running community are taking part so it will be a chance to see some faces.

My training has become a little lethargic since the London marathon, although I have put in some decent runs along the canal to work and over the ranges on the undulating trails. But a new challenge is a great way to freshen up things and Brian has come up with a plan to get us match fit. I'm not lacking in endurance since marathon training but my speed has dropped right away and I need a bit of that back for this event.

I went for a 3.5 mile run today and managed to get my min/mile pace back in the 7 minutes. Anything starting with a 7 for pace is good for me. Tomorrow we will be running 3 times to help get the body used to a run,rest,run,rest format which is what we will be doing come race day. We will run 6 miles before work. 4 miles at lunch, and then just over 2 miles after work.

The plan for the coming weeks will definitely be concentrating on more short faster runs, with a longer run once a week to keep the endurance up. I've also dusted down the bike and been out on that a couple of times, although I hate cycling I have to admit it is great cross training. I did suffer a puncture yesterday though and as I said on Twitter ' This is why God intended us to run and not cycle #puncture'.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Denbies 10

Denbies Wine Estate
Today I fell back in love with running! After the high of the London marathon, getting back into the routine has been hard both physically and mentally.

Today everything seemed to click back into place, maybe is was being back in race conditions and somewhere new to run, but it worked.

The 10 mile race took place in the beautiful surroundings of the Denbies wine estate just outside of Dorking and set in the heart of the North Downs. I love running on the North Downs trails that are located not far from where I live, though this part I had never run on before so was looking forward to the challenge. Running the Downs is definitely challenging, the hills you see behind the building in the picture were part of the course so it's not one to go chase a PB on.

Team Twitter

I was meeting up with some fellow runners that I've got to know through Twitter and local races Steve and Kirsten, Steve was with girlfriend Jo whom normally runs, but today was our official photographer!

The race started promptly at 10am, and Steve was off to a flyer. Kirsten and myself set off at a more leisurely pace and straight away began to make our way uphill! The course leads out along a tarmac road and past the vast expanse of the vineyards.

The climb of about 450 ft over the first two miles certainly gets the heart rate up but once completed the views are spectacular as we joined the North Downs Way path. For the next couple of miles the course was undulating and the couple of miles after that some faster downhill running can be enjoyed.

View at mile 4
View at mile 7.7
But what has gone up and back down then goes back up again and at mile 6 probably the hardest part of the race kicks in. Upon reaching Landbarn farm there in front of you the next challenge awaits 350ft climb in just over a mile. Kirsten and myself had been slowly picking up the pace along the run and chatting happily but at this point I couldn't help myself to have ago at attacking this hill and picked up the pace. For the next mile I done well overtaking some runners and by this time some walking but the final stretch of the hill picked up it's gradient yet again and I found myself having to walk for a minute.

At this point the final 2 miles is the same 2 miles we run up at the start of the race meaning a fast downhill finish and back to the vineyard.

Nearly finished with my stash of gels!

I finished in a time of 1:33:56 with Kirsten not far behind and Steve finishing in an impressive time of 1:17. With 3 water stops on route (I trust it was water and not wine!!!) it was a chance to take a couple.....OK take hoard loads of the Power Bar gels from the stations (Thanks to Kirsten for holding on to a couple for me as my hands, pockets and belt were full of my stash!).

The Events to Live team, the team that put on the Spitfire 20 race I recently run, once again put on a great, well marshaled race. At the finish you receive a nice technical t-shirt and chocolate bar, but no medal which is my only disappointment. But overall great race, great company and my running mojo seems to be back.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Under Armour Coldblack shortsleeve T shirt

Men’s coldblack® Shortsleeve T-Shirt
Not me! Similar Physique!!!
When I hear the name 'Under Armour' I straight away think of compression wear, but it turns out that there is a lot more up their sleeve (excuse the pun). I've been sent this product: Under Armour Coldblack shortsleeve T shirt  to review, and an impressive piece of kit it is too, one that will make a nice addition to my running wardrobe.

The Coldblack technology blocks out the sun's harmful rays when out training in the blazing British summer...Ahem! I chose the white T shirt, but it's matters not what colour you choose as even the dark colours (black,navy and dark orange) reflect the heat acting the same as you'd expect light colours.

The sun was actually out here in the UK today. For the information of oversea readers, the UK has been a total wash out through April and May. So with it being a warm day it was a good chance to put the technology of this product to the test, and it did not let itself down.

Although on first inspection the T shirt feels slightly thicker than a usual T, it is incredibly lightweight and comes in a regular fit which is very comfortable. There is no intrusive stitching and when out on the run the comfort and breathability of the top was really noticeable. This comes from the stretch construction of the material used (92% Polyester, 8% Elastane) allowing good mobility and wicking.

The product is also available in a woman's cut, and retails at a reasonable £22 for men and £30 for women (not sure why £8 more?) I would highly recommend this T-shirt to the running community.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

My marathon plan

Over 2 weeks has now passed since the London marathon and reality has returned. The buzz of running in the capital coupled with the sound of people cheering my name has now been replaced with the running blues. I have not lost any motivation or love for running and have managed to get out for a 12 mile run and regular lunchtime runs since the marathon, but more than anything it's been tough physically as my body recovers from the unfamiliar pounding on tarmac for 26.2 miles. My legs feel like there is not much in them, maybe I have returned too soon. I said that after the marathon I would get back to some chilled out no pressure running but it was not long before the nagging voice in my head began questioning whether I would lose all that fitness that I had built up to run the marathon distance. Having worked hard to get my body capable of running this distance, it's a place I want to stay and not have to build again. I did not run to any structured programme and kind of created my own. I have included my last 12 weeks running programme below. Now you will see that this is not a start from scratch programme but shows I was running under 40 miles a week and achieved my goal of a sub 4 hour marathon (just...3:58:50). So this may be of interest to anyone wanting the same goal or 40 mile a week training schedule.
Click to enlarge