Friday, 31 December 2010

Review of the year

First of all the stats:

Mileage for the year - 2338

Average weekly mileage - 44.96

Number of races run 17

Anyone who has read my posts for a while will probably already know that overall I am going to rate my performance for the year as POOR. I started the year full of enthusiasm with a goal of returning to London to run a Marathon for the first time in 6 years. I did not think I was being over ambitious with a target time of 2.55 to 2.58 (the last marathon I ran was in 2.49). The training seemed to be going fairly well and with regard to quantity and quality of sessions I felt reasonably prepared despite race results leading up to the marathon.

In fact of the 17 races this year, all but two have been in personal worst times, and not just by the odd second or so. I appreciate that I am getting older and slower but the decline this year has been rather drastic.

Again I accept that I will probably never reach the mileage I used to cover in a year (a number of years over the 3000 mark) and that I am not going to recover as quickly between races and therefore race less frequently (again I used to average over 40 races a year) but I need to race more often than I did this year.

However, not everything is negative. Despite what I have just said and health and injury problems aside I am still enjoying my running as much as ever and am looking forward to next year.

The idea of reviewing performance over the last year is to use it as a basis for progressing into the next year. At the moment I have only some broad objectives which I will formulate into some sort of plan over the next couple of days.

Broadly speaking though the aim must be to halt my current decline and if possible reverse it slightly to where I was a couple of years ago. Also to have some specific objectives rather than have a scatter gun approach and try to do everything at once.

Once I have refined my plan I will post it so that there is some sort of accountability. In the meantime hope I would like to wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

By the way, Luke joined me again for a run this morning, we did 10 miles off road. There has been a further thaw and apart from Milkwell Woods the trails where fairly snow and ice free, but very muddy.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

The great thaw

Due to the Christmas festivities and the distractions of yet more food and drink I have not found the time to post anything since Christmas Eve. So here is a run down of running related activities since.

Sunday (Boxing Day) was a steady 12 miles through Pont Valley, Celestial Way and around Pont Top.

Monday saw a fresh fall of snow and I contented myself with a steady 5 miles along the Derwent Walk.

Tuesday saw a rise in temperatures and rain rather than snow. This meant a 6 mile slither and trudge along the Pont with Luke who had decided to join me on my run.

Wednesday was a brisk 3 miles - I hesitate to call this a tempo run as the pavements had stretches of frozen slush which made for difficult running.

This morning was a steady 8 miles around the Consett section of the Coast to Coast. However the frozen footpaths seemed to be more suited to ice skating than running. As I had been expecting the paths to be difficult and therefore a slow run I took the camera with me and took these photos of the sculptures along the walk at Consett.

As I write this I have just had a phone call from Liam, our club Fixtures Secretary, to tell me that the club have an entry spare for the London Marathon if I am interested. I must admit I am tempted, but after the disaster of this years attempt and my current problems with knees and hamstrings I am taking the sensible (?) option and declining.
On the 23rd November I posted about two news stories I had read. One about the Governments imminent cuts to funding in schools sports and the other regarding the ultimate possible times for world records.
Well both have been in the news again this week. Firstly, it seems as though the Government may be starting to reconsider the cutting of funding for schools sports, with funding (£65m a year) being made available for the two years following the end of the current funding. I suppose a reduction in funding is better than no funding at all.
With regards what the ultimate times for world records could be The Times has reported that John Brenkus, the presenter of an American television programme 'Sports Science' has just published a book 'The Perfection Point' and believes that the pinnacle time for the Marathon will be 1hr 57min 57sec and will be reached in the very near future. However, he says it will take much longer to reach the ultimate 100m record which he believes will be 8.99sec. Brenkus also thinks the ultimate time for the Mile will be 3min 18.87sec.
Sticking with things in the news I see that Athletic Weekly have reported on a recent survey which shows that the number of people who are taking part in athletics once a week or more in the England has grown from 1.74 million to 1.86 million in the last year and is now the 3rd most popular participation sport in England, behind swimming and football.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

The snow is still here,with further fresh falls over the last couple of days, it seems its going to be staying for a while yet. I am still managing to get in a few miles of steady running by running off road, With 6 miles clocked up on Tuesday, 7 on Wednesday and 5 today.

No running yesterday as it was the works Christmas do and I succumbed to the temptation of food and alcohol. Tomorrow is Christmas Day and I always take Christmas Day off'

So here is wishing you all a


Monday, 20 December 2010

By the light of the silvery moon

With the thermometer reading -6C and the footpaths and by-roads still little more than sheets of ice with a layer of snow on top. I had two options for tonight's run. either the treadmill or as it was clear skies and a full moon reflecting off the snow, an off road run. As you will see from the photos below I opted for a steady 5 miles off road in the snow.

Despite the sign, there was no bull - too cold!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

This weekend

Still mindful of my dodgy hamstrings the Saltwell 10km was out of the question, even though it is one of the few races to have gone ahead in the last month as the weather plays havoc with everyone's race plans. For a report of the race see

For me, well I was reminded of a quote by Jesse Owens:

"I always loved running...... it was something you could do by yourself, under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wished, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights. Just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs"

So for me the weekend looked like this:

Friday evening was cold (-5C when I set off) but the sky was clear and the moonlight reflecting off the snow made for a great off road night run.

Saturday, with the paths still very icy and slippery was another off road run. This time a steady 5 miles. Cutting across the fields, down to Cut Throat Lane and down on to the Derwent Walk, up to Ebchester then back up the fields home,

Sunday, again off road, steady down into Pont Valley, up to Leadgate and along the Celestial Way to the Transformers before returning home by way of some paths I have never used before. For a solid 10 miles.

No races but an enjoyable 3 days of running!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Up date

Well the good news is I have managed 2 outside runs since Monday's treadmill session. Tuesday was a 7 mile run around Scotswood and Newburn Bridges, with 3 miles tempo in the middle. Wednesday was a steady 5 miles on the partially cleared paths around Medomsley.

Thursday saw the return of the snow and although nothing in comparison to the amount of snow we had last time, the low temperatures mean that it has promptly frozen, making walking and running treacherous. At least with the weekend arriving I should be able to get a couple of off road runs in. The forecast for today is dry and cold (max temp 0c), with more snow for possibly Saturday and probably Sunday.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A lull between the storms?

With the return of more moderate temperatures over the weekend, it was hard to believe just how quickly the vast majority of the snow has melted. However, the paths are still covered in hard, rutted ice and ever mindful of dodgy hamstrings I once again opted for the treadmill, followed by a weights session. So another 5 miles on the treadmill, starting easy and gradually increasing the pace throughout.

Tonight is club night at the Harriers and I am planning to go down to Blaydon to train with the group, especially as the paths are a lot clearer down there. The (small) difference in height between Blaydon and Medomsley has a significant affect on the depth of snow we receive and it would seem, how quickly it thaws.

With the weather forecast predicting a return to the snow and freezing conditions from Thursday, it looks as though this may be just a brief respite.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Treadmill running

Because of the poor state of the roads and paths and my continuing recovery from hamstring problems this week has been a self imposed exile to the Gym and treadmill running. Although the treadmill provides a useful alternative to running outdoors, I find that I get bored very

easily and start to sympathise with caged hamsters.

I can't understand those who prefer running indoors on a treadmill, rather than outside in the fresh air, with differing terrain and scenery - see
Terry Lonergan's post today http://runningonempty/.

Anyhow, following Monday's session of 5 x 400, Tuesday was a steady 5 miles, as was Wednesday. Only this time to make things a little more interesting I set the T/mill at an easy but steady pace with an incline of 1%. I then increased the incline by 1% every 500m. Last night I managed 6 miles with 4 x 4mins, with 3 min jog recovery.

Although I intend to return to the treadmill tonight, I hope to get back outside for a run at least once over the weekend, if only for my state of mind.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

5 x 400

Last night I gave up on running in the snow and headed for the gym. The session was a modest one at 5 miles, with 5 x 400m in 89 sec with 400m (3 min) jog recovery. Not a session to set the world alight but it is the first speedwork of any kind that I have done for 5 weeks and more importantly, there has been no reaction from my hamstring. So hopefully it is going to be a case of onwards and upwards. I also finished the visit to the gym off with a weights session.

Another fall of snow last night, although only a light one in comparison to what we have been receiving and continuing freezing temperatures mean that I will probably be heading to the gym for most of the rest of the week.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Give me 5

With all this snow and the associated travel disruption I was, luckily, able to work from home.

My initial thoughts were to get out early morning for my run, before settling down to work. However, with the thermometer reading -10C I decided to re-assess the situation and go out at lunchtime.

And so it was, with temperatures at a balmy -1C I headed out the door for another five miles as gradually build the mileage back up.

There have been some pathways established in the snow, however, these have become rutted and frozen, so don't make for easy running. But still I am out and the miles are starting to build up, which is more than I can say for last week.

Anyone lucky enough to find a race that has not been cancelled this weekend - have a good one
and Julie at hotlegsrunner have a great marathon

Thursday, 2 December 2010

More Snow

Today's run was only 5 miles but it was tough going. With the snow over knee deep in places it was at times more of a yomp (is that a word) than a run. Slow, hard work, but fun. Definitely no chance of any speedwork but good for working on that knee lift. I May have to run up to the gym and do some faster work on the treadmill if this lasts much longer.

Cut Throat Lane

Derwent Walk

Derwentcote Steel Furnace - built early 18th century

River Derwent near Blackhall Mill