Tag Archives: training

The Causeway Coast Marathon Starts Here

Over the past 6 months I’ve become far too lazy and far too fat. I’ve come to realise that without a goal to aim for I end up getting this way.

So I’ve decided to sign up for the Causeway Coast Marathon in September – that’s 6 months away. I’d like to aim for a sub 5 hour time so the training isn’t just going to be about putting in the miles, but also upping my pace.

My fastest marathon to date (Amsterdam) was 4.30 with my 2 Belfast times in and around 5.15. I know this will be a tough ask but I want to aim for more than simply plodding along and finishing in 6 or 7 hours – I already know my body can plod.

I aim to document my journey on here and via my YouTube channel

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Making Room for Running

I have a post over on my photography blog which approaches this subject from the photography aspect. This post will be from the running aspect.

I have a bit of an obsessive personalty (as you may have already realised from looking at some of the pictures of my feet after ultras). My main passion in life (and growing) over the past few years has undoubtedly been photography with running coming a close second. I also used to fill the remaining hours of the day with other pursuits including, drumming, gaming, home cinema and conservation.

There came a time in 2012 when I had so many things whizzing around in my head  (as well as holding down a full time and pretty time consuming job) that I’d sit at home on a Saturday morning and get frustrated about having so much to do that I would quite often do nothing. Well actually that’s not strictly true as I would run. I needed to run as I not only found it a bit of an escape from the pressures of all of the other stuff, but I knew I needed to keep running if I were to maintain my chances of completing some upcoming Ultras.

Every time  I’d be out running however I’d be frustrated that I’d not been out with the camera. My two main passions as they had become require many hours of one’s time – and even for me (being an insomniac) it felt either running or photography needed to take a back seat.

This worried me as in my heart of hearts I knew photography would  be the upfront driver and yet I also knew if I simply decided to run shorter distances (and therefore cut the amount of hours needed) I would loose interest and with that would come an unhealthy lifestyle and finally piling on the lbs I’d managed to loose over the past 2 years.

Making room for both of my passions meant that other pursuits such as gaming and home cinema took a back seat – resulting in not only the end of year sale of some of my consoles but also the agreement with myself that for the first time since I became interested in gaming I would not be picking up either of the latest consoles (which launched this past November).

I’ve helped myself on the running front by not entering as many events in 2014 – so far just two (which I’ll talk about in a later blog post) which will allow me to focus more photography while still having something big to train for.

As I start to ramp up the training heading into 2014 ready for my first event (April 2014) I feel I’m in a much better place to devote just the right amount of time to running while ensuring I leave enough time to continue to grow as a photographer.

Run August Run – Nearing The Finish Line

Goodness me, only three days to go (including today) in our #RunAugustRun Challenge. Can you believe (if you are still with us) that you have managed to run on 28 consecutive days – that is just amazing !

Last post left us in Romania, and today I pleased to report that we have almost cleared the Black Sea and are close to the coastal shores of Turkey. That is pretty amazing folks – we are in fact as a group less than 50 miles from Turkey which would take us to 2000 miles !!!! 

WOW What A Journey

WOW What A Journey

So how many are left at 100%? Well I have to sadly report that since our last update a number have missed at least one day – never fear though they continue to run on for the project adding important miles to our journey. The drop rate proves two things, just how difficult a commitment it can be to run every day for a whole month, and of course in doing so how extra amazing those are who are have kept it up.

Some extra statistics for you

  • 1955 miles to date (this figure will increase as I know there are a few to check in from previous days)
  • Longest day to date is now the 24th when we clocked up just over 105 miles. It would have been more but a few of our long runners had the following day down as their long run.
  • Our longest weekend was this past weekend when we clocked up an amazing 195 miles
  • We had our fastest mile challenge and for those who have reported in I can announce that this prize goes to the speedster Lynne Anderson – a 6min 34 seconds (verified by picture).
  • A number of us have broken through the 100 miler marker, and even those who said at the start would be running a mile per day are nearing (or have already) broken 50 miles – that’s more than 1 mile a day so just fantastic !!
  • The crazy French Man Jojo continues to streak ahead with some amazing running and a grand total so far of 236 miles (with a few days of confirmation still to come!) Amazing mate, simply amazing !

So as we near the end of the challenge I wonder how everyone is doing – perhaps posting a little chart will help to motivate everyone to crack on and reach certain targets.

The Running Totals

The Running Totals

As you can see a number of us are close to certain milestones, 50 miles, 150 miles and even 200 miles … 3 days to go 🙂

All I have to say is how impressed I am with everyones commitment – even those who for one reason or another have had to miss a day or two. The important thing is that you started, and you continue to run, which in turn will add a few extra $$ onto the totals for my charity and that after all is what this is all about.

So there you go – 3 days to go, the next (and final update) will be upon completion. Please take a check on the numbers above and let me know if you think I’m wide of the mark with you total – it’s been a challenge in itself to keep up with everyone.

Thank you again for your efforts here – it’s very very much appreciated.

As a side note – Sunday 8th September, if you are free for a beer in town (Cambridge). I’m not going to organise lunch as such (but people can eat if they do choose to)

1pm – All Bar One, Cambridge.

Hope to see as many of you there as possible – partners welcome of course (although we will make them run every day in September !)

Run August Run Is Tomorrow

Despite completing the Thunder Run only this past weekend (write-up pending but you can view a video here) I’m now attempting to run every day in August. See more details on the plan here.

I’ve managed to convince over 20 other people to do it too and for each person who manages it I will donate a certain $$ rate to my charity – The Orangutan Rescue Centre.

Now I won’t be checking up on people but hopefully everyone can stay honest. Remember it’s only a mile per day and even if you shuffle along (as I do in the latter stages of an ultra) you could get your mile down in under 20 minutes.

So you are signed up for this .. what’s next?

  • you need to run at least 1 mile per day for the whole duration of August (1st – 31st)
  • at least every other day update me of your progress … ie what milage you did

And that’s it .. simples really 🙂

Really can’t wait to see everyone’s progress and hopefully at the end of the month raise a good deal of money for the charity.

The Runners and Riders

The Runners and Riders

The Wall Run 2013 – Part 4

So there you have it. I managed to go back to The Wall and put my demons to rest. It felt great finishing. It also felt really good taking part (i.e. mentally so much better than last year). Now that I’ve had a few weeks to recover (back on the running this coming weekend) I’ve also had time to reflect, not just on the event itself, but on my own relationship with running and moving forward.

Now before I get started, if you are reading this a word of caution. I am no expert (perhaps the fact the word Pork Pie appears in one or two posts you may have already realised that) and the opinions reflected here are my own and I don’t necessarily endorse any of them for you. Perhaps though something will help in one way or another.

So first in regards to the specifics of the event;

Training – Despite putting in lots of miles in the first four months of 2013 I slackened a bit too much in the build up to the race itself. I had run a few long runs and almost used this as an excuse to stop my early morning runs over an extended period. I also had a business trip to Houston a mere 10 days before the event and so once again running took a back seat. Looking back I need to make sure that despite the longer runs I need to keep the mid week shorter runs going as well. (the data below is miles per month). On top of the miles I also realise that I need to change my training a bit to incorporate a few extra bits including;

  • Mixing up my longer running with speed work, hill work (especially) and more back to backs to ensure I’m used to running on tired legs
  • Include other elements including biking, swimming and cross training (that last one is going to be tough as I’ve never much been a fan)
  • Core work and better stretching

Screen Shot 2013-07-04 at 06.08.08

Kit – I had changed my kit a bit since last year including a full change of clothes. I made use of most of this so not too much to tweak there. One thing I do run with is a waist belt where I can put water bottles in. This remains a bit of a love / hate relationship as while I can carry extra fluid I do find myself struggling with keeping it comfortable. Now in the UK I don’t think we are ever going to have to worry too much about dehydration, but I still take comfort in the fact that I have a few extra bottles on me.

Feet – Last year wasn’t pretty. This year, while a huge improvement, I still ended up with a few massive blisters. I need to continue to understand what is causing these. Taping up my feet worked well I think and Talc Powder in the socks and around the feet at various points. I’m sure the fact the course was much dryer helped as well. On top of this I invested in a number of pairs of really good running socks and this I’m sure was a major reason for the improvement. As I’ve said I still got blisters but perhaps this is just something that happens after 50 miles?

Fuel – Although I significantly reduced the amount of spare food I carried in my bag I still took too much. Over the past year I’ve been focused on my training runs to eat more sensibly. (sorry folks not a single pork pie was consumed in the making of this run). I need to find an energy gel that I can get on with – the ones I used on the run (I only could stomach 2 across the whole race) tasted like the inside of a 3 week dead badger … it almost made me vomit upon each and every drop. DISGUSTING ! They did help though so I know I need to do a bit more searching around and find something that works. For me what works still is focused on a few different types of food (something sweet, something savoury, salty etc … )

Technology – I carried 3 GPS watches in total and just about managed to get across the full event with at least some battery life left. I really wish they made these to last at least 24 hours. The course itself was very well marked out so I had not planned to import the GPS information although I really need to give that a go soon (I know a lot of Ultra runs expect you to navigate a lot yourself and I’m not that good at that). On that point I need to get better at map reading. Finally although I carried my shuffle I only listened to it for about 2 hours in the second half of the race. It was still a welcome break allowing my mind to wander.

And so what about just in general going forward;

My Weight – I’ve struggled with my weight for many years. Over the past 3 years I’ve lost close to 3 stone (currently sitting at 187 lbs) but I still look at myself (and others) at races and realise I’m still carrying too much meat. I’ve got 3 more races planned in 2013 ending with the Round Ripon in October and I’m setting myself a target to try and get under down to 175lbs. Tough going I know but the less of me to carry around the miles the better.

Beer – I’ve had a love affair with the hop for quite a few years and while I don’t batter it anywhere near as much as I used to I still find myself using the excuse “well I did a big run today so I owe myself a few beers or a bottle of red”. The more I get into the running (and just fitness in general) I realise that I need to seriously reevaluate my diet (read above) and that includes alcohol intake. I find when I make the bold statement “going dry for xx weeks” I immediately  get myself craving a beer (even at times when I normally would not). While I don’t think I’ll ever tee-total (I actually love the taste of a really nice ale) I’m going to have a significant reduction in my in-take. That alone should also help with my weight plan.

Photography – for those who know me know that I love photography – it’s my number one passion in life.  Now that Ultra Running is running it a close second I find myself in a constant battle to get enough time for photography and training while also fitting in a very demanding day job. Quite often I’ll be out running and wish I had my camera, while others when I’m out with the camera I can feel guilty that I’m not running. I typically run in the morning – perfect time for sunrise photography. I’m still struggling to balance this out but I’m getting better. Perhaps as Google Glass gets better I can have both 🙂

So there you have it … The Wall 2013. I remember listening to Ryan Giggs talk about winning medal after medal after medal. As I sit here and look at my medal from The Wall I find myself with a similar attitude to Ryan, that is the medal is now hung up with the rest of them and pretty much forgotten about. For me after completing a race (even half or full marathon) I find myself often turning my attention to the next event.

And for me that’s the 24 Hour Thunder Run ….. More on that in future blog posts ..

25th May – 12 Hour Training Run

As I posted earlier I’m planning a 12 hour training run on 25th May. My plan is to try and cover 40 miles over the 12 hours, and indeed try and keep a steady 4 miles per hour pace (and before you question my calculation I’m allowing for an hours worth of stopping to take on fuel over the course of the day (probably at least 30 minutes or so after lap1).

I know a few have expressed an interest in joining me for part of the run. Below I’ve listed out the route I plan for both lap1 and lap2. Basically both are quite similar in parts. I’ll leave home in Fulbourn, run through Cherry Hinton and then on into town. From here I’ll make my way out Madingley Road then onto Coton. From here it’s across into Granchester, over to Shelford and then back up over Lime Kiln Hill to Fulbourn. This will mark 20 miles and the end of lap1.

At this point Nicola plans to feed me .. and then run with me, for what will probably be her longest run to date (just over  8 miles). I’ll drop her off at Schlumberger and then out again to Coton and once again onto Granchester. At this point however rather than heading out to Shelford I’ll start making my way back into town with the finish on Jesus Green and a well deserved pint (or 2)

Fancy joining me for part … well you should be able to work out roughly where I am and on the day if you consider the 4mph pace.  I’ll also keep FB updated with the status. Would be great to run with a few of you .. although again bear in mind it will be a very slow pace (4mph) to allow me to get going throughout the day.

Lap1; 7am – 12pm 

Lap1

Lap2; 12.30pm – 7pm

Lap2 The plan is to finish at 7pm at the Cambridge Beer Festival – for much needed restoration of course 🙂

25th May … Fancy a Run ?

So 25th May, a meer 5 weeks (and 3 days) from today. That marks the peak of my training plan for the Wall Run, which at that point will be exactly 4 weeks from the big day.

On this day I plan to run for 12 hours …. 7am-7pm. I have a bit of a route already planned. It will consist of 2 loops hopefully around a 5 hour loop if I was doing this singularly, so adding on a bit extra for the stage I need to adopt the monkey-shuffle ….

I’ve also just realised that the Cambridge Beer Festival finishes that evening and I for one can’t think of a better way to finish  12 hours of running that to sup a couple of cold beers (hopefully in the sun)

Although I won’t mind running 12 hours by myself it would be nice to see some folks come out and run various parts to help pass the time. Anyone fancy joining me ?

Anyway, just an advance notice … plenty of miles to put into the tank before then (including a nice 8 miler home from work just now in the evening sun – just beautiful.