Wednesday Feb 22, 2006

A moment or two to be proud of

Since moving up to her new school, my daughter seems to have discovered sport.

Not only does she climb at the local climbing wall once a week, but she's progressing well in Tae Kwon Do - with her black-belt grading scheduled for October, and also playing hockey after school once a week.

One thing I didn't expect her to do, though, was take up running! In the late autumn, the school makes the kids take part in a couple of 1.5 mile cross-country sessions during scheduled sports lessons. My daughter was towards the back in the first run, but in the second run a week later, left her slow friend behind and came in around the middle of the girls group. However, she has decided that she'd like to be in the top 10 (at least) next time, so before Christmas, asked me if I'd go with her round the course to work on improving her time.

Fitting it in amongst all of the other activities we get up to with the kids has been a problem, but as the days are getting lighter, we had our first run together last Saturday afternoon.

I think I must have been the proudest Dad in the area during that half hour or so that we were out together - especially seeing the positive looks from people (pedestrians and runners) we passed on the way.

The run itself was a bit stop start, but my daughter is committed to improving her time, so we will be making it a regular event, and now she's even considering taking part in a 3K fun run later in the year, which I'll be more than happy to join her in! Long may it continue!!

My son has stated that he'd like to run, but there never seems to be a convenient time for him (perhaps because he's a tad lazy). However, I think his enthusiasm might improve now that he knows that his sister is going out regularly with me. Who knows, he might enter a fun run - or even a 10K - if I can get him out and enjoying it!

Tuesday Jan 31, 2006

Back with the training

Well, Christmas has come and gone and now it's time to prepare for racing in 2006.

I managed to get in some good runs over the Christmas break, giving me 28 and 33 miles respectively in the last week of 2005 and first week of 2006. Unfortunately, I then had to go away on business for a week, and only managed a very meagre 5 miles (although it was along the seafront!).

However, I'm back into the swing of things again now and have done 26 and 35 miles in the past two weeks respectively. Moreover, I've sorted out a routine which enables me to work on my speed (which has sadly dropped off since last spring) plus endurance. The current training regime is now:

  • Monday - rest
  • Tuesday - 5+mile short run with threshold run for last two miles
  • Wednesday - Long club run (12-16 miles)
  • Thursday - rest or recovery run
  • Friday - Speedwork on the treadmil at the gym, plus some weights for core strength
  • Saturday - Short run or long, easy run, depending on how I'm feeling
  • Sunday - Long, easy run (10+ miles) or short moderate run, depending on what I do Saturday

I've finally taken the step and sent of my application form to join my local club, who I've been running with now for a couple of months. They're a great bunch of people, of mixed abilities, and we do a good spread of faster and slower sections over 7-9 (hilly) miles. My £12 ($20) joining fee also gets me £2 off entry into races and free entry into a local 5-mile road-race series which takes place during the year. Of course, I'll probably need to get a club shirt now too, but a guy can't have too much running gear ;)

So far, I have not entered any races for this year, but the Sheffield 10K is in early April, and the Sheffield Half Marathon in May, so they're on my list once I've got my club membership. I'd also like to run a 5K and a few more 10K's early in the year this year, but we'll see how things go.

Wednesday Jan 04, 2006

Bolsover 10K Race Report (better late than never)

I had rather a busy time in the lead-up to Christmas, so didn't get around to writing up a report on my last 10K of the year as quickly as I would have liked. Nevertheless, here it is.

When I first ran this race last year, it was a cold, dry winter's morning, with the temperature just above freezing on arrival in Bolsover at around 9:30am. This year was almost exactly the same, although it was a couple of degrees colder on arrival. However, the temperature picked up a lot more quickly than last year, so it wasn't so cold by start time at 10:30 and there was no ice on the road (unlike last year!!!).

This year, I positioned myself closer to the front for the start, although by the time everyone was packed in, I was well back from the start line, which was a bit of a disappointment. The race started okay though, and unlike last year, I didn't have to run up the ditch at the side of the road to get past the slow runners. Instead, I paced myself and gradually reeled the slower folks in where the road widened. Consequently, my first 1k was in 4:18 - somewhat off my intended 4:00/km pace, but I was happy not to have too fast a start as this has cost me in past races!

Once the field spread out as we headed out into the countryside, I was able to increase my pace and reel more people in. However, I just couldn't seem to get my km times down to 4:00, and by the 5km marker, I knew that a sub 40min 10K was off the cards, so I set out just to enjoy the race. I settled into a pace of around 4:08/km and plodded on through the more "hilly" section of the course (actually, just one hill and a long, long slope).

The last 500m of this race are the sting in the tail - up hill to the finish in the local school grounds. It's not a steep hill by any means, but at the end of a race, it's not really what you want to see. Last year, it almost finished me off as I'd not saved anything for it, but this year, my more even pacing meant that I had enough to finish without gasping for breath, although not quite enough to catch the small group of runners about 25yds in front of me, which was slightly disappointing.

Overall, I finished 75th out of 651, with a time of 41:30. It was way outside my hoped-for 40:00 and 50s off a personal best, but strangely enough not too disappointing as I actually enjoyed the race! I certainly should have been able to set a personal best time and perhaps even have broken the 40min barrier, but that will come - this year!

I'm not sure yet when my next race will be, but I've already started the preparation by increasing my mileage from the pitiful pre-Christmas efforts, with around 34 (road) miles last week and one run of 14+ miles already this week. I'll get back into the speedwork at the gym later in the week and try to do a tempo (fast) 5-miles on Thursday or Friday.

Monday Dec 12, 2005

6 days to go ...

... until my last race of the year.

I can't say that I've been training as much or as hard as I really would have liked, but this latter half of the year has not been the best for me in terms of personal motivation. That said, though, I've still managed around 25 miles a week and largely kept up with the speedwork since the Bristol Half Marathon at the beginning of October.

I've given up on the idea of any drastic tapering before a 10K race - it certainly didn't do me any real harm to train before Barnsley a few weeks ago, so I'll continue pretty much as normal with training this week, commencing with speedwork today at the gym. Tomorrow, I'll either do a 5-mile run or an hour of cross-training on the elliptical traininer, then it's the club run on Wedenesday (although most of the usual runners are having a Christmas meal that night, so it'll only be a handful of us). Thursday and Saturday are rest days, but I might squeeze in an easy session at the gym on Friday just to keep everything loose.

So, assuming all is well on Sunday, this will be my last chance of the year to exceed my target of 40 minutes for the 10K. Certainly after running 40:43 personal best on a hillier course at Barnsley, I think there's a good chance of me getting close or perhaps just under the target. However, a lot does depend on whether or not it's a windy day, as most of the course is through exposed open countryside. I'd love to beat 40 minutes, but I'll be happy if I can manage to set another personal best.

Monday Nov 28, 2005

Clowne Half Marathon Race Reports

I had last week off work, and spent it doing a few jobs around the house, getting prepared for Christmas and walking with my wife, and in the end, I managed to do no running whatsoever. I'm sure that the fast walks were at least some compensation for not running though :)

So, Sunday arrived and it was time for my last half marathon of the year. I had intended it to be a "fun" (no pressure) race just to get experience, but by the start my willpower lapsed and I ended up running it as a real race.

There was a limit fo some 600 or so competitors, and the starting area was pretty wide, so there were no real issues with bunching that you get in some races. I got off to what I thought was an easy start, and the first mile came up in 6:53 which happened to be bang on target pace. The next two miles, although generally uphill, came in similarly and I was feeling pretty good - not breathing too heavily or running too hard. Miles 4 and 5 were largely downhill and I managed to bank around 45s on my target pace. This was a good thing because mile 5-6 was a horrendously long uphill slog - worse even than the mile 4-5 at Bolsover a couple of weeks ago. I managed to use up all of my banked time in that one mile :(

After that, things only got worse for me. My legs were refusing to deliver the goods and my early pace gradually dropped away to just under 8min/mile. It wasn't helped by the fact that most of the last four miles of the race is on a slight uphill and into a chilly headwind. However, I think that my problems were not caused by that alone.

After really struggling in miles 11 and 12, I managed to pick up the pace a little in the 13th mile to 7:24, but it was too late for any thoughts of personal bests, and in the end I was happy just to cross the line!

My finishing time was 1:34 and change. Still respectable, but I know that I should have done better than that, and earlier in the year I would have made it in under 1:30.

Looking back, perhaps only having a banana and bottle of sports drink before the race contributed to my suffering later in the race. I should probably have had some toast and/or cereal for breakfast for the carbs. I've also had a cold trying to start for the past week or so, which came out in full force after I got home, so that would also help to explain why I suffered so much.

Got a great woolly hat as a memento of the race though, and I have to say that the race was very well organised and marshalled. I shall definitely consider it again next year!

Tuesday Nov 15, 2005

Barnsley 10K Race Report

Sunday morning saw me running in the Barnsley 10K - my first attempt at this race, and only my 3rd 10K this year.

The day started cool, but dry and clear - excellent running weather, and I made it to Royston (just north of Barnsley with an hour to spare, giving me plenty of time to have a warm-up, change running tops twice(!) and do those other important pre-race niceties :)

The start was at Royston School, and there was a very nice "Start" banner over the school gates, so it was obvious where the start was. Except that it wasn't - that was the gathering point, and the real start was 50yds down the main road. A little confusing, I have to say, but I stayed near the front of the field, so it didn't cause me any issues.

We had a minute's silence for Remembrance Day just before the start at 10:30am and then stepped out en-masse to block the main road.

There was no starting gun as such, just a guy shouting "ready, steady,... go!" (yes, really!!). As I was near to the front, I heard him clearly, but apparently people further back didn't know the race had started - well, presumably until the people in front of them started running, anyway.

The first mile or so took us through along the main road, off round a couple of back streets and then back onto the main road again - presumably to make up a bit of distance that couldn't be made up elsewhere on the course. Then, it was a bit of an uphill drag past a coking plant, which wasn't the most pleasant experience, either for breathing or viewing, before we were out into glorious open countryside.

I have to confess that before the second mile marker came up, I felt ready to quit. My legs felt heavy and energyless and I was having trouble getting enough oxygen into my lungs (although that could have been the effects of the coking plant!). However, when I checked my watch at the 2-mile point, I was on schedule for a 40-minute run, so I realised that even though I was suffering, I was keeping up a good pace (even up-hill).

The next two miles were very gently undulating with a mix of gentle slopes up and down through the rolling Yorkshire countryside. Marshalling was excellent, with marshalls holding back traffic at every side road to allow us to go through. Normally this is done by the police, but I have to say that the race marshalls seemed very effective at it.

I'd read somewhere that there was a bit of a hill between the 4th and 5th mile. This was probably an understatement as it seemed that it was actually uphill for the whole mile!! I really suffered going up it, and although I was off the target pace a little, I still managed that mile in under 7 minutes.

When you hit mile 5, there's a psychological release: only a mile left! I have to say that I was very glad there was only a mile left as I was at the limits of my aerobic capacity (well, perhaps a little into anaerobic if the truth be known). Unfortunately, there's a sting in the tail in this race, and that is the uphill section at around 5.5miles. It can't have been more than 400yds, but it felt much longer coming so late into the race!

The last half mile was pretty much flat, and the finish was down a narrow path just outside the school. Unfortunately, there wasn't a finish banner (or at least I didn't see one), so it wasn't clear quite where we were finishing. A minor niggle for me as I wasn't in a big crowd of people vying for places.

I finished the race 72nd out of 671, with a personal best of 40:43. Although I still didn't beat my goal of 40 minutes, at least I managed a personal best on an undulating course. So I think I'm perhaps slightly fitter than I was when I ran 40:46 in March this year on a flatter course, which is pleasing.

Overall, I found it a tough race mentally, which is something I'll have to work on, but it was pretty well organised overall and the other runners I chatted with were a friendly bunch.

Next race is the Clowne Half Marathon in just under two weeks time. I believe this race is a little hilly, so my plan is to run it for experience and try to enjoy, rather than suffer the run. My target is to come in at around 1hr 35m. If I can beat that, well that's excellent. If not - so what ? :)

Monday Nov 07, 2005

Still making excuses

Last week was a pretty good week for training - I managed over 20 miles of running (including speedwork), plus an hour on the elliptical trainer. However, it all fell apart at the weekend :(

I'd like to claim that it was because we picked up our new family member (a puppy) on Saturday, and that running around after it left me no time to get out for a run, but the truth is that I allocated time on Sunday afternoon, but lost all motivation to go out - despite acknowledging to myself that only through better training will I get better.

This week will start the same (speedwork today, elliptical training Tuseday and club run Wednesday), but I'll then rest for the remainder of the week pending my 10K on Sunday morning. Weather permitting, I think I should be able to come close to my target of breaking 40 minutes although never having run the course before, and knowing that it is described as "undulating" does make me think that I might end up a couple of minutes out. However, I've promised myself that I won't be disappointed with whatever time I do - I'm doing it for the fun of it this time.

As a slight aside, I ran with my prospective club again last Wednesday evening, and once again I was made to feel very welcome. The only issue I have is when we run the last hill close to the sports centre we start from, there are chaps older than me who just run away up it as if they were motorized, whilst I'm left gasping trying not to drop too far behind ;) One day ....

Monday Oct 31, 2005

Two new races entered

I'm still going through a bit of a rough patch as far as training goes, and despite my best intentions, last week I only managed around 15 miles. In an effort to try to inspire myself some more though, I have entered two more races - a 10K in two week's time and a half marathon in 4 weeks. I'm hoping I can just beat 40 minutes in the 10K, but the half marathon is slightly hilly, so I'm really doing it for the experience.

I finally managed to hook up with the running club on Wednesday night last week, and we did a good 8 miles at around 8min/mile pace. However, this did include a number stops to pick up the slower runners, so the running pace for me was actually faster. Apparently, this was the mid-paced group, and there's also a fast group that run at 6min/mile pace. However, they don't often go out because of the small numbers of members who can run at that pace. Much as I'd like to run with them, that's faster than my 10k pace, so for me it would be painful. I might give it a try one day, though, if they think it is worth me joining them.

The club runners seem to be a very friendly bunch and on that basis, I'm happy to spend £12 to join up, which also saves me money on race entry fees. However, the guy who organises the Wednesday runs told me to hold off joining for now and run a few more times with them first - as other than the race entry fees, there's not much benefit to joining at this time of year (probably nearer the end is better).

One thing I have kept up over the past few weeks is my speedwork at the gym. I'm still finding my heart-rate higher than back in May, but it will come down if I keep at it. I've also done an hour on the elliptical trainer each week since the Bristol race, and this is definitely improving my strength.

So, just two weeks to try to recover some of the speed I had earlier in the year. Frankly, I think I'll be nearer 41min than 40min, but I'll certainly give it my best on the day. I'm thinking too that I won't run with the speed sensor on the heart-rate monitor, and instead try to manage my pace based on feel and the time for each km. I'm hoping that instead of concentrating on the minute-by-minute pace and then worrying about what my finish time will be like, I can focus more on racing at a steady pace.

Friday Oct 21, 2005

A bit of a quiet week

After my rather pleasant run (in the pouring rain) last Wednesday, things went downhill rapidly :(

On Thursday evening, I set out to do a 7-mile run. I felt a little sick before setting off, but was sure it would clear once I got running, and sure enough, it went before I finished my 5 minute warmup. That was, unfortunately, as good as it got. Suffice it to say that I have never felt so bad during a run! Sure, I've had periods of feeling like I couldn't push on any further, but I've never had anything quite that bad.

I put it down to having a virus, and still feeling a little under the weather on Friday, I dropped my normal gym session. I figured that a weekend's rest wouldn't do too much harm, so didn't run.

Monday, I felt much better and did my speedwork in the gym with only a slightly elevated heart rate (above normal). Tuesday, I did an hour's cross-training session on the elliptical trainer, and that felt good too. Wednesday, I intended to meet up with the folks from the running club I'm thinking of joining. However, having got my gear on and prepared myself, it started raining - hard - so I gave it up as a bad job. Yesterday, I got my running gear on to go out after work, but I lost all motivation somewhere between putting my watch on and finding a T-shirt, so that was abandoned too :(

However, today, I managed to fit in a 7 mile run instead of a gym session, and it felt really good!. My heart rate is still a little above normal, but my legs felt good, and it was an enjoyable run despite getting a soaking from a truck when running past a very large puddle :) I'm a little stiff now, but that's to be expected after 9 days off the road.

I'd like to get in a couple of runs over the weekend to make up for the lack of mileage during the week, but I have lots of jobs to do around the house, so that may not be practical.

Thursday Oct 13, 2005

A nice group run

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, I intend to join a running club to try to improve my pace, so last night I headed off to a local Sports Centre to see if I could hook up with some of the people from the club I have in mind and go for a run with them.

I was a couple of minutes (only) late arriving at the club, but there was no-one waiting outside when I'd parked the car, and although I saw someone jogging up the road, I must have missed them. Probably not surprising really as it was raining hard, and only nutters go out for a run when it's like that! I had a quick jog up the road to see if I could see anyone disappearing into the distance, but alas no. So, feeling suitably miffed with myself for being late, I jogged back to the sports club with the intent of getting back in the car and going home.

However, when I got back to the club, there was a group of runners just about to set off. It turned out that they were a beginners running class from the gym at the sports club, and when I explained my predicament, they invited me along. Well, I was out and dressed for a wet run, so why not, I thought.

This was the first time I'd run with a group of people (outside of a race, which is different anyway), and I first ran with the ladies at the back and had a chat with them. Then I caught up the group leader from the gym who was a really nice guy. He said his intent was to get everyone in the group into at least one 10k before Christmas, and having run along with them, I'd say they were all more than capable of putting in a good showing in a 10k. I ran with other pairs along the route, gradually catching up the leaders, and in the end tagged on with a woman running alone who was setting a very good pace for a so-called beginner. We ran together for the last couple of miles and the pace gradually increased during that time, so that we overtook one of the two chaps at the front and weren't far behind the other one when we finished. She thanked me afterwards for setting her a tougher pace (I didn't like to shatter her illusion by telling her that I'd just been running along at her pace :).

I have to say that I really enjoyed the whole run. It was good to run at different paces and good to chat with people instead of being left to converse with myself in my head.

So, next Wednesday, I'll try to get to the sports club a little earlier to see if I can catch the guys from the running club. Secretly, though, I won't be too disappointed if I miss them and have to run with the "beginners" group again ;)

Monday Oct 10, 2005

Getting back into the swing of things

I had a pretty quiet week last week to allow me time to recover from the half marathon.
Monday and Tuesday I was still a little stiff, which surprised me really, as when I've done other races this year, I've not been stiff afterwards. Perhaps it was the gap in training during the summer, or just the constant pounding of the pavements ?

Wednesday, I decided to allow my running muscles an extra day's rest and did 30 minutes on the bike at the gym. I have to say that I found this much easier than I was anticipating, having not been on the bike for any length of time for 6 months, and when I got off, I had a real buzz from the effort!

Thursday evening, I ran 7 miles at a relatively easy pace. Although my legs were up for something faster, I reigned in a bit to make it an easy run. I did, however, punish the last little hill before home, and that made me feel great all over again.

My legs were a little stiff again on Friday, so I had a break, and it rained on Saturday afternoon when I'd planned to run, so I skipped it. I don't really mind running in rain - it's cooling and I don't get much wetter than running normally, but it was that fine drizzle that soaks you, and I just couldn't be bothered.

So, with a very busy Sunday scheduled, I decided to fit a 10 miler in first thing. I left the house at 8am and had to be back for 9:25 at the latest so we could leave for my daughter's climbing lesson. I only realised when I had finished my warmup that I was going to have to run a hard 10 miles to get back in time, so that I did! It is actually only 9 3/4 miles, and I managed it in a gut-busting 1hr 10m (7:12min/ml). Not race pace, but not too far away, and definitely a bit much for what was supposed to be a long easy run. I made it back just in time though!

As a result of the pace, I have a bit of a knee twinge today, so will take it easy at the gym, and defer the speedwork until Friday.

I'm hoping to go out Wednesday night with some members of a local club to try to gauge whether or not I want to join the club. As I mentioned in my last rambling, I'm hoping that joining a club will give me the extra training I need to get to the next level, so Wednesday will be my first steps (pun intended) in that direction.

Wednesday Oct 05, 2005

Have I plataeu'd?

5 months ago, I ran a local half marathon in just over 1hr 30. Last Sunday, I was on target to do pretty much the same before the stitch set in.

So, with 5 months of 25-35 miles a week under my belt, including lots of hills, I don't appear to have improved significantly. This is concerning me a little!

I'm wondering if my training has been at fault. Whilst I've been doing weekly speedwork and long runs, I have done as much cross training over the summer as I did over the winter. So, I'm thinking that a refocus on cross training at least once a week will help build strength and give my muscles something to deal with which isn't running.

Given the law of diminshing returns, I'm also wondering whether I've just reached a point where I need to do quite a bit more mileage each week to gain that extra speed.

I'm glad to say that stamina doesn't seem to be an issue any more as my legs were as strong at 11 miles as they were at 3 on Sunday, so I think it's really about improving speed.

More speedwork might help, but I don't think that's necessarily the answer as most training plans recommend only one such session a week.

Despite not having reached my goal of 1hr 30 for this year, next year's target is going to be 1hr 25, and 17min for the 10k. So how am I going to get there ?

Here's the strategy so far:

  • Cross train for at least 1.5hr a week (mix of elliptical trainer and cycling)
  • Resume weekly speedwork sessions at the gym and build on them
  • Do a 20-30 minute run each week at aerobic/anaerobic threshold (this is usually just flat out)
  • Get some more races under my belt without worrying about times
  • Join a club! Yes, really, I'm thinking that it might give me more incentive over the winter, and maybe they'll have a coach who can help me develop.
Of course, that's just today's strategy. Tomorrow's may involve eating pizza, drinking more beer and fitting in a run whenever I can :)

I'm determined to get off the plateau though as I'm sure I have a 1hr 20 half marathon and 35min 10k in me. They are my 2007 goals!

Monday Oct 03, 2005

Bristol Half Marathon report

Sunday dawned bright and clear in Bristol, with the temperature hovering around the 10°C (50°F) mark at 9:30.

After a 7am breakfast, the family and I pottered around for a bit before leaving the hotel at 9am so I could get in a few minutes warmup.

The race started almost exactly on time at 9:30am and I managed to position myself in the first few hundred runners at the start (with a view to finishing in around the same position). Because of the number of runners and some bottlenecks in the first mile, it was a bit of a slow start (>8min/mile pace), but after that, it eased and I was able to make up most of the time lost in the first mile and began to run on my 4:15/km (6:50/mile) pace.

The course winds around Bristol City Centre before following the River Avon out to the West. It is predominantly flat, with a couple of short, steep inclines around the 11 and 12 mile marks.

I had a pretty good first 5 miles, although my legs did seem rather more lethargic than I expected them to be given the tapered training I did in the previous two weeks. However, I managed to keep (just) on pace. Between 6 and 7 miles, I really thought I was struggling. Looking back, I don't think it was a struglle to run, merely a struggle to get into a regular breathing pattern. This settled around the 8th mile though, and I was still on pace (again, just!).

Just after mile 10, we returned to the centre of Bristol and my wife and kids were there cheering like crazy. That's such a boost!

Unfortunately, after this, things started to go downhill for me. In the past, I've physically struggled between 10 and 12 miles. This time, though I was running okay. However, a stitch started to develop, which slowed me down, and this got so bad that I had to stop altogether at 11 miles :( I managed to resume after a minute or so and got back onto a reasonable pace, but not the pace. The stitch came back at around 12 miles and I was really concerned that I'd have to give up and walk the rest of the way. The great thing was the number of runners who passed me at this low point and offered me words of support and even a pat on the back! This cheered me up, and I eventually pushed on through the (easing) pain. By the time I saw the family again at about 12.5miles, the stitch had nearly gone and I was getting back to near target pace. I even managed to re-take a few of the people who had passed me in my darkest moments.

At 13 miles, and with 200m to go, I managed a sprint - well, sort of. The crowd support in the last 1/2 mile was absolutely fantastic and I'm sure that helped me on. I overtook a few more folks in the last 200 and finished in a very respectable, if slightly disappointing 1:32:50 (chip time).

I'm pretty sure I lost 2-3 minutes (and 150+ places) because of the stitch, so it would have been close if not for that. Final position was 569 (by position) and 593 (by chip time).

I'll definitely enter again next year as the place and the people make it a fantastic race. Hopefully I'll be able to pull my time down to nearer the 1:25 mark with a year more of training.

Monday Sep 26, 2005

5 days to go..

... and I thought I might try to tap you blog readers for a little sponsorship :)

I'm raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on behalf of my daughter who was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes two years ago at the tender age of 9.

If you can spare a few £ or $ (or something similar in your currency), please click here to read all about it and make a donation by credit-card (there's also a picture on there of someone who's spent 18 years at Sun - let that be a lesson to you all!).

Thanks for your support,

Friday Sep 23, 2005

Only a week to go

As I promised myself, this week has been the start of my taper toward next weekend's half marathon.

Unfortunately, I've picked up a slight injury - a shin splint on my left leg - probably from increasing my mileage too quickly after vacation. It was only slightly sore on Monday when I went to the gym, but after a 30 minute easy treadmill run, it got a bit worse, and on Tuesday it was noticeable all day. By Wednesday morning, it had eased, so not being a man to shirk his training, I went out for a 7 mile run that evening. It started off okay, but by about the fifth mile, my shin started to ache again, and it ached for the rest of the run home. Thus, I vowed to take it easy from then on so as not to aggravate it any more before the big event.

In that spirit, instead of going to the gym and doing treadmill work today, I went on the elliptical trainer at home for 45 minutes. It's been a while since I did this, but my fitness is noticeably improved since the last time, and the great thing is that it is so low stress that there was no ache from my shin at all!

I'm still planning to run 9/10 miles on Sunday morning, but will cut it short if my shin starts aching again. Then, it's a really easy week next week - easy paced 30-minute treadmill sessions on Tuesday and Thursday, followed by lots of pasta!




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