Sunday, 28 November 2010

Pont Burn

Rather than run on paths where the snow has become compacted and icy, or play dodgems with the cars on poorly cleared roads, I decided to run down into the Pont Valley and along the Burn. It was not quite as cold as yesterday morning with the thermometer reading -2c.

I had planned another very easy paced run and before the novelty wears off, I took the camera along for more snowy pictures. However, as there was no adverse reaction from the hamstrings the planned 3 to 4 miles turned into 6.

Saturday, 27 November 2010


Since my hamstrings are feeling a lot easier and this cold has just about disappeared I decided it was time to get out for a gentle run to see just how the hamstrings would respond and with a view to starting to get back into it.

So with the thermometer reading -3C (about 26F) I headed out into the snow and since it was an easy run, decided to take some snaps en route.

Despite my lungs feeling as though they had been cast into Dante's inferno and the memory patterns for my legs to run being replaced by those for Bambi on the ice, it was great to be back running (although shuffling is probably a better description) and there was no adverse reaction from the hamstrings, so I'm thinking same again tomorrow.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

In the news

A couple of news articles have caught my eye over the past couple of days. The first was regarding Michael Gove's decision that the Government cuts £162 million of sports funding in English schools. This is despite a supposed commitment of providing a lasting sports legacy for the country following the 2012 Olympics and the fact that England is currently bidding for the 2018 World Cup.

Figures show that when the last Conservative government had power in 1997 only 25% of children at state schools were given the statutory minimum of 2hrs PE per week. Under the last Labour government this figure, by 2010, had risen to 93%.

Surely reducing funding to such a degree will result in this figure dropping again, as well as having an adverse effect on other initiatives, such as the fight against child obesity. Which we are being told is increasing to epidemic proportions in this country and the resulting burdening effect this will have on such institutions (and their associated costs) as the health service.

The other article, which appeared in 'The Observer' discussed how fast man could ultimately run, featuring particularly the 100m and the marathon.

Frequently statistics of past performances and trends in performance are used to predict the possible limits of how fast a man can run. However, the article set out, that scientists are still only in the early stages of understanding the limits of human performance and that humans will continue to throw up unpredictable variables which make the prediction of ultimate world record times impossible.

I don't think many people are expecting British athletes breaking world record times in the near future, but when looking at the way things are going funding wise I think that any that do will do so despite funding and support as much as because of funding and support.

Meanwhile, from a personal running point of view, I have picked up a heavy cold and since my training has already been curtailed do to hamstring problems, this is probably the best time to have caught cold.

Finally congratulations to Catherine who knocked a minute and a half of her 10km pb at the Leeds Abbey Dash.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Someone may have to tie me down

I am absolutely itching to get out for a run!!

Yes my hamstring problem still persists. I have given up on running the Leeds Abbey Dash on Sunday, and this week has consisted of stretching and gym work, with the aim of not aggravating the problem, aiding the recovery and strengthening the surrounding muscles.

I must admit I have enjoyed the gym sessions but it is not the same as getting out for a run

Even getting out in poor weather conditions and dark wet nights for a run is much more satisfying.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Keep on running

As, It would seem, just about everyone expected; following his decision to retire after failing to complete the New York marathon on 8th November. Haile Gebrselassie has decided to change his mind and keep on running.
A decision I think most people will agree can only be good for athletics.
I wonder - will he again race the Great North Run next year? (see post for 10th November).
My day job, today brought me into contact with a company called Kinesio UK. A company who specialises in elastic therapeutic taping. "It involves taping over and around muscles in order to assist and give support or to prevent over-contraction." This allows the muscles to be supported while at the same time allowing a full range of movement.
Has anyone used Kinesio tape? What are your thoughts?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Too much, too soon

As per usual, for me at least, enthusiasm got the better of common sense. Following an easy 4 mile jog on Thursday, a gentle 2 miles on Friday and a rest day on Saturday, Sunday saw a bright, cold and frosty morning and I decided an easy 6 miles would be achievable without having an adverse affect my hamstring. - WRONG!

Just after 3 miles the hamstring started to tighten and by the time I had completed the run the pain had spread to include my hip and abductor.

So its back to the ice, anti-inflammatory's and stretching. As this Sunday's Abbey Dash in Leeds appears as though it will be a non-event as far as my participation is concerned.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Hitting the Wall

Two blogs that I have read today, Julie at Hot legs runner and Terry Lonergan at Running on empty have both discussed hitting the wall.

So flicking through December,s edition of the Running fitness magazine, it was a bit of a coincidence when I noticed an article entitled 'New carb calculator could help runners avoid hitting the wall.'

The article reports that Benjamin Rapoport of Harvard University and MIT has formulated a mathematical model to calculate how much carbohydrate a runner should consume to prevent their fuel reserves running out.

The calculator has been developed to allow a runner to calculate their own individual caloric needs both quantitatively and specifically. In the past runners have worked on averages with at times only a vague idea of how to quantify their own personal fuel requirements and as no two runners are the same i.e. different weight, different aerobic fitness, different builds, etc. etc. the calculator allows the runner to calculate their own personal needs.

The calculator can be found at

If anyone out there tries this calculator I would be interested in your thoughts

Reviews and a short retirement?

Following my stretching routine on Monday the hamstring did not feel too bad so I decided to brave the elements (strong winds and hail) and gently jogged 2 miles. Although not great, there was definite improvement and I hope I will be back running properly very soon.

Last night I attended the Great North Run Review evening and a very enjoyable evening it was. However one snippet that came from the evening came from Brendan Foster who indicated that following a chat he had had with Jos Hermens, the agent of Haile Gebrselassie, the recently retired star was already reconsidering his decision to retire and could possibly be racing again next year.

Could we be seeing Haile Gebreselassie at the Great North Run again next year?

Meanwhile I am considering another gentle 2 miles this evening.

Monday, 8 November 2010

That was a stupid thing to do

As my hamstring continues to play up there has been no running since Thursday. Although I did nothing to help myself yesterday. While walking from the house two young lads with a football knocked the ball in my direction. I controlled the ball with little effort and then drew back my right foot to return the pass - yes you guessed it. As my foot hit the ball my hamstring reminded me why I wasn't running and I was left to hobble back home.

I have been using some of the time I would have been running to catch up on some reading and in particular 'Joss' a biography about fell running legend Joss Naylor.

The book, as well as covering his exploits as a runner, details his hard upbringing on a lakeland hill farm during the 1930's and 1940's. and his life and work as a shepherd.

Joss Naylor, now 73 and still running over the fells of the Lake District, achievements include in 1975, running 72 Lake District mountains in under 24 hours (23hrs 20mins to be exact).

In 1997, aged 60, he ran 60 Lakeland fell tops in 36hrs and in 2006, aged 70, 70 lakeland fell tops, covering more than 50 miles and ascending more than 25,000 feet in under 21hrs.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Playing the percentages too long

Regular readers of these posts may have noticed that I have latterly been whinging a little about my knees and hamstrings, while at the same time trying to ignore them and train as usual. Well unfortunately, last night my hamstrings gave me a final warning, and this time I am going to listen.

Last night the session was 8 x 2 mins with 2 mins jog recovery, and as I was completing the third rep I received a rather painful tweak in the right hamstring. Deciding discretion was the better part of valour and attempting another rep would probably result in worse damage I decided to just jog the 3 miles back.

So its a couple of days stretching and TLC towards my hamstring.

If anyone is racing this weekend - have a good one

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Virtual race

Christina at Laceitupandrun is celebrating her birthday today. To help her celebrate she has asked people to join her in a 3.1 mile virtual race.

So to help her celebrate I ran my 3.1 miles on an out and back course. The route can be found at in a time of 20.34. Weather conditions were 8c and raining.

Happy birthday Christina - have a great day!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

In the dark

The clocks going back to GMT at the weekend has meant a reduced choice in routes as the dark nights limit us to running on roads with street lighting.

Monday night was also a battle against the elements as strong winds buffeted me throughout a 7 mile run, from Medomsley, up to and around Consett, and back again. I also included 2 x 1.5 miles at tempo.

Last night, we managed to avoid the worst of the weather as the torrential rain eased off just as six of us set out for an interval session of 5 x 4mins with 3 mins jog recovery. The route was once again around the streets of Dunston and The Teams, with two laps of the track to take the distance up to 8 miles.

Although it has been very windy and wet, temperature wise it is very mild with temperatures averaging 9C.

My knees and hamstrings are once again objecting to my attempts at speed work so an easy 6 miles should appease them tonight.

Monday, 1 November 2010

North East Harrier League - Race 2

As I had a couple of days holiday from work at the end of last week I took the opportunity to get a couple of days away and to take things easy. I also bought a new pair of spikes for the rest of the cross country season.

Saturday's cross country race at Farringdon turned into another hard slog. The course was less muddy than in previous years but very tight which made passing difficult. After starting too far back (I should know better after all these years!) I found myself well down in the pack and forced to come to a standstill on the second bend.

I then threaded my way through the field as best as I could over the next two laps only to find myself dropping back over the last lap and final small loop, to complete the course of approx. 5.9km in 41.19 and finishing in 131st place.

After comparing Saturdays results with last weeks race at Cramlington, there is a slight sign of improvement as I finished ahead of a number of people who beat me last week. But its still a case of back to the drawing board.

Race wise I have nothing planned now for a couple of weeks when it will be a return to the roads with a 10Km at the Leeds Abbey Dash.

Sunday was a heavy legged fourteen miles along the Derwent Walk.