Training: Weekend Running – 10k + 5k

Friday first! I fully intended on going for a run on Friday however the weather was lovely , I’d been in an office all day and I live 30 minutes from the beach…you do the math!

A Saturday 10k

I have two races this week, one on Tues and on Friday, so although I haven’t done a long (70mins+) run for a while, I opted for a 10k yesterday (Sat) and 5k today. The 10k was really warm and humid, sapping all the energy from my legs. I planned to do about 15k but couldn’t go on! Also watched my wife run a Parkrun PB in 21:14 – very proud!

Fast-ish 5k on Sunday

Today I ran 5k in a fairly pacey 19:53. I intentionally pushed myself as there is a 5k race on Tuesday, so needed a bit of tuning up. I ran today in my Newton MV3′s which, I’m pleased to say my calves have finally got used to! They really do throw you forward, but with zero drop I’d still be wary about wearing them even for a 10k.

I liked this photo of me and my wife walking toward the start line for a race last week!


Next Training
A race on Tuesday – The Corfe Mullen 5k followed by a race on Friday – the Purbeck 10k.

Parkrun: Stretching the legs before a big race

I have a 10k race tomorrow and so would normally have rested for several days before to ensure my legs are 100%.

However… Steve (Doc) at Purbeck Runner swears by a stretch of the legs the day before a race and often does a slower tempo Parkrun the day before, so as an experiment (and to try out my new Newton MV3s properly!) I did a 5k Parkrun today.

Aiming to do it about a minute slower than full speed, we started at 4min k’s, but the Newtons wouldn’t let me go that slow for very long! They’re like running barefoot, on seesaws tipping you forward, begging you to speed up!

Finishing time was 19:47 which is about a minute slower than my PB. We’ll see tomorrow whether running today had a positive or negative effect on my 10k time.

So I did Parkrun yesterday and then did the 10k today. When I did the Parkrun I was raring to go and full of energy, hence doing it a lot faster than I intended. I did spend the rest of yesterday on my feet and when I woke up this morning, my legs felt like lead. I thought ‘oh no, I’ve ruined my legs for the race!’

I actually noticed that I got ‘in’ to the race a lot quicker than usual. Often it takes a good 1-2k for my body to realise ‘ah, you’re doing this running thing again are you, ok…’ But I was able to start quite fast. I ran the first 5k quicker than I run Parkrun sometimes, in 19:06. It was only towards the end, in the heat that my legs began to fail me…

Next Training
10k at Poole Festival of Running tomorrow.

Race: @Parkrun in Copenhagen

I’m very lucky to be able to go away for work occasionally and this weekend found myself in historic and beautiful Copenhagen. So what does a runner do when abroad? Search out the nearest Parkrun of course!

So after checking my map and loading up Google Maps on my phone I set off in the the city streets to find the Parkrun. Well… A bridge I needed to cross was shut, which sent me on a detour of 4km so by the time I reached the middle of the park where the run was, I’d run 7k! The Parkrun route itself was lovely – this really tranquil park land following a gravel path. There weren’t many participants; maybe 80, compared to the usual 600 at Parkrun Poole.

It was difficult to pace and I was shattered from racing 7km just to find it, but I was 4th in 19:14. Annoying to go over 19mins but a lovely run. Then 5k back to the hotel so around 17k in total!

Here’s some photos I took on the way:





Training: A Fast 5k and Newton MV3 Sizing Issues!

Tuesday arrived and with it the promise of a new pair of racing flats (more on those later) and an evening speed session on the track. Rushing in the door from work, whilst my wife rushed out the door to go to her running club I spotted a package with my name on!

New Shoes (Upset Number 1)

Taking out my gleaming new Newton MV3′s from the box, I brimmed with excitement as I felt their weight. So, so light and very minimal upper. I was advised by Newton to order a full size up from my usual 9, to a 10 which I duely did… And regretted. Slipping the Newtons on they instantly felt too big. Optimistically, I laced up the second shoe and mock-jogged and the house but there was definite slippage and so much space at the toe end, the show pinched my big toe with every take off. There was a good 2cm/half inch gap at the end of the trainer so reluctantly I put them back in the box to return them for a size 9. Width wise they felt perfect so I am slightly wary of how the 9s will feel here – watch this space!

Upset Number 2

The second disappointment of the day was rushing off to the track session and doing several warm up laps, before looking up and realising there wasn’t the usual smattering of people warming up. Realising it must have been cancelled I drove back home and headed out for a fast and furious 5k by myself! I’d just borrowed my dad’s Garmin heart monitor so my aim was to push to the limit and see what my maximum heart rate was.

I did 5k in 21 minutes (very hilly) and definitely got my heart rate to the max!

Next Training
10k this evening if I can fit it in!

Race: Upton Summer Time Trial 1/6


Upton Country Park is a green and wooded space on the edge of Poole Harbour, in the grounds of the regal Upton House. Running wise, the series comprises six races spread out from May through June, July, August and Sept.

With exactly the same route each time (the organisers used to alternate venues) entrants begin what is a double loop in the gravel car park. The course immediately winds down a wooded path, swing round across a wooden walkway over marsh land and back in to the woods towards the starting location – then do it all again!


This is one of our Championship races and it is organised by local club, Poole Runners, so there was a good turn out – 150 people on a Friday evening!

I managed to knock about 25 seconds off my best time last year, complete ing the 3.5 miles in 21:48, but I’d like to be in the low 21′s by the final race in August…

Race: Poole Parkrun (5k) PB

Possibly the most painful race I’ve ever done!

Lining up at the start of the race there was a notable absence of the usual movers and shakers of the front row. I presume this was because there was a race the next day – the North Dorset Village Marathon I think.

So setting off at the beginning of the Parkrun, there were a lot fewer people at the front, so no jostling for position! I started off fast and, after 100 metres I thought too fast! But I managed to keep the pace up even though my lungs were begging me to slow down, and finished in 18:45 – a PB by 1 second!

Next Training
A 10k this evening and a longer run tomorrow as it’s a Bank Holiday

Training: A Tempo 5k

After a my 9 mile run in Hamburg on Wednesday morning and subsequent travelling back to the UK, I was feeling surprisingly full of energy yesterday (Thurs) evening upon returning home from work. So, like a scene from Superman I ran in to the house and in a blur of motion changed in to my running gear and running back out of the door 2 miniutes later  (Running Man? Super Runner?!)

I  had 30 mins to run which, adjusted for stretching and warm down time left the perfect amount of time for a fast 5k.

The route I took is my preferred one for a 5k as it includes a long steep hill between 3-4k, perfect for building leg strength and aerobic improvement. For the first 1k I took it easy and then alternated fast for 400m, slow for 100m for 2km before hitting ‘The Hill’. I was breathing so loud at the top of the hill, gulping down breaths of air that I’m surprised people didn’t come running out of their houses to see what all the noise was about. It hurt my chest, but I don’t feel satisfied with a training session if there isn’t a little amount of pain involved! Total time was 20:45 which is over 2 minutes slower than my 5k PB but considering the large hill is a time I am happy with. This time last year my best for this training route was 21:30 so keeping up my year on year improvement!

Hill into Lytchett

THE hill at end of 5k

Next Training:

Out for a meal with friends tonight so will be a Parkrun tomorrow morning!

Training: A Different Kind of Speed Session

Heart Speed Sessions

I love a good speed session – I find them so much more enjoyable than long, slow, drawn out runs mainly due to my very short attention span. The chopping and changing of speeds and the short yet intense bursts of speed also favour my naturally sprinty, fast twitch leg muscles. I often attend a local track session with Poole A.C. which is excellent but difficult to attend as my wife’s club night is on the same night (my club night’s a Wednesday night). So yesterday evening with the light fading and a chill setting in, I slipped out of the house for my own speed session.

Track or road , speed sessions are important

Solo vs Group?

First things first… a solo speed session will never, ever be as intense as a group one. I find it impossible to push myself to the same limits when I’m alone, compared to when I have people to race against, so my preference would always be for a group speed session.

The Session

I decided to take a different approach to a standard speed session with the same aim – to run at faster than 10k pace for a minimum of 40 minutes, including rests between intervals. To begin with I ran a hilly 5k in 20:30, this ended on a very steep hill! I then did a set of 10 x 200m repeats at 90% effort, with between 60-90 secs recovery between each. I then finished with a 1km slow warm down – a total distance of 8k in 36 minutes

I would say that this combination of 5k, plus repeats worked my legs for the first 5k (I could feel the lactic acid claiming my leg muscles) and busted my lungs in the 2k’s worth of repeats. I rarely feel my legs tire in a race, it’s nearly always my lungs that are screaming for air so this work on my aerobic/cardio fitness is definitely required!

Next Training:

Club night tonight with Purbeck Runners – need it to be 6 or 7 miles to keep my weekly mileage up to 30 miles although it may be a hills session. You never know!

A Naked Parkrun!

Drink? Check. Sunglasses? Check. It was only on the start line for Saturday’s Parkrun that I realised I’d forgotten my Garmin! I actually felt at a loss without it, even though when I DO have it I only look at it once I’ve finished.

So round the two laps of the lake I went, having to guess at my pace using the position of other runners that I knew were roughly the same as me. Well I did the 5k in 19:18 which I didn’t mind, having not run much in the last few weeks.

Next Training
Easy long run of around 10 miles. Aiming to run 30-35 miles this week, including a speed session….

Weekend’s Running

A mixed bag of running this weekend – a tale of two halves if you will…

Saturday morning brought with it the early morning amassing of 627 people for Parkrun in Poole. This was a record turn out – and it felt like it! I usually love Parkrun and still enjoyed it this week but it just felt a little too massive – so many people in a small space! It was a week for fast runs too as I came in at 18:48 and was still 47th, this time would usually get me inside the top 20… Even the winner did a PB of 15:08. 15:08! Can you imagine! I may try one of the other local Parkruns soon as they are generally a little quieter.

Note to self: Buy some longer shorts and smile when I see a camera. This must have been the final lap ; )

Poole Parkrun

Poole Parkrun 5th April 2014 – Photo: Rob Steele

Then on the Sunday and The Long Run. It was my wife’s last weekend before doing the London Marathon next Sunday so she went out for a relatively short 10 mile run at 8:30am. When she returned I headed out into the rain, making the mistake of wearing my running jacket, a big mistake as I was boiling hot within 10 minutes! The worst thing however was my ankle, which began to twinge slightly 10 minutes in and by the time i’d run 4k was hurting so much I was limp-running – never a good thing. So frustratingly I had to limp-run back home and instead of my planned 90 minute run, I’d run for 20 minutes – not good!  I’m hoping it was a one-off thing and will try making up the mileage by doing 8-9 miles tonight but I don’t want to risk making my ankle worse.

Nike LunarGlide +5

My Nike LunarGlide+5 trainers

I have a theory that it’s because the foam in my Nike Lunarglides has stiffened. I used to have a dodgy ankle but found that Lunarglides negated whatever it was that was causing my pain so they have been my shoe of choice for the last couple of years. However, I’ve read that the foam can stiffen up if they’re dried too quickly after a wet run and goes after around six months of running anyway. I bought my latest pair in January 2014 but the weather has been so wet, that in 90% of my running they got soaked and were then dried under the radiator, damaging the foam slightly each time. Plus I’ve run around 400km in them! That’s the theory anyway!