Monday, 31 October 2011

Farringdon Cross Country

My official time for Farringdon Cross Country was 39.16 and not the 39.09 I clocked myself as doing.  However at 2 minutes and 2 seconds quicker than last year, it was still a successful outing and shows that I am slowly making in-roads to getting back into some sort of form.

Results can be found at

Saturday, 29 October 2011

This week and next

Having spent most of the last week visiting Amsterdam, training took a little bit of a back seat.  although I still managed to get in a 6 miler, with 10 x 1min on 1 min jog recovery and 2 brisk 3 milers.

Back at home, today I ran the second race in the North East Harrier League, cross-country fixture over approximately 6 miles at Farringdon.  The aim for me was to get in a hard run and pick up some points for the team.  The results are not available yet but I timed myself at 39.09 and was Blaydon's first counter.  So I guess I can put that down as a successful day.

Tomorrow will be an easy 11 miles and then its back into training mode next week

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

If you need a reason to keep going.....

A recent Norwegian study, by Stian Thoresen Aspenes, with the snappy title of:

"Peak Oxygen Uptake Among Healthy Adults: Cross-sectional descriptions and prospective analyses of peak oxygen uptake, physical activity and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy adults (20-90 years)."

Has concluded that it is possible for a 50 year old to be just as physically fit as a sedentary person 30 years younger. 

The study shows that by increasing the intensity of your exercise, you can hold back the risk of metabolic syndrome.  Which can be one of the factors which lead to type 2 diabetes.

The study goes onto say that the key to maintaining fitness is not just how much exercise is carried out but the intensity.  They looked at the benefits of high intensity exercise in the form of interval training and came to the conclusion that, in their words, "very high intensity exercise"  is a quick way to increase overall fitness.  The optimum interval session they suggest is 4 x 4mins with 4 mins recovery.

As for my recent intensity exercise - last nights session was 8 miles with 2 laps around Newburn Business Park and an interval session of 5 x 3 mins with 75 sec recovery.  Despite having to battle with the strong winds in places, the fluidity of my running  and consistency over the session was a lot better than of late, so things definitely seem to be moving in the right direction

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Austerity cuts

In line with the Governments austerity measures and the subsequent cuts to local government spending, Middlesbrough Council have recently announced its intention to close the athletics track at Claireville Stadium.  It appeares that the decision is not yet final and there is a chance that it may be kept open.  With this in mind there is an on line petition to save Clairville from closure.  The petition can be found at:

Sunday, 16 October 2011

A round up of the week

This mornings long run was a struggle, so much so, that I cut it short and only did 10 miles.  Although I have a bit of a cold hanging around I think the real reason for not going so well today is more down to tiredness from quite a tough week. 

Monday I did 5 miles with a series of 30 sec bursts with 30 jog recovery.  Tuesday was a 5 min, 4min, 3 min, 2min, 1 min, speed session, all on 1 min jog recovery.  Thursday was a 35 min tempo run over which I covered about a further 100m  than on the same run the week before and yesterday the session was 7 x 2 min with 1 min jog recovery.  Wednesday was a steady run and Friday a rest day.

Next week I aim to change the emphasis slightly only doing one speed session - probably Tuesday, with steady runs the rest of the week and a 5km time trial on Saturday (possibly using one of the Park Runs).  Then a longer run Sunday.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Marathon goings on

Spirit of the Marathon movie poster

The Marathon has certainly raised a number of talking points this last week or so.

There has been the annual discussion around who has had their entry for next years 'London' accepted/rejected and who will be putting in for a club entry.

There was also Patrick Makou's recent new world record at the Berlin Marathon, of 2.03.08.  Knocking over 20 seconds off Heile Gebrselassies previous record and Gebrselassie dropping out of the same race.

Talking of world records - What about the IAAF's ruling on the women's world record?  Re-classifying Paula Radcliffe's world record of  2.15.25 as a world best and making her third fastest time of 2.17.42 the 'official' world record.  The reason for this being that her two fastest times were achieved in mixed races and not women only events.

And what about this Sunday, the local, Kielder Marathon, saw Rob Sloan of Sunderland Harriers being disqualified after finishing 3rd.  The reason for the disqualification being that he got on a bus part way around the course before jumping off just before the finish to complete the race. Not only that, but on discovery, he first of all denied it,  then seems to have said that it was some sort of accident and he did not mean to do it and then again today there seem to be further reports that he is again denying it.

Also on Sunday at the Chicago Marathon there was the lady who gave birth to a baby girl only hours after completing the race.

Monday, 10 October 2011

A change to plans

The original plan on Saturday was to run a 11km leg of a team bi-athlon at Kielder.  However, this fell through and so I headed to Cramlington for the first of the North East Harrier League Cross Country races.

It was a mild afternoon and the course offered firm conditions, so much so, that the spikes stayed in the back of the car and I wore a pair of off road flats.

My aim was to set off at a 'good' pace and try to maintain it throughout the race.  Although there are no real hills on this course, I did still struggle on the inclines.  However, covering the 6.08 (Garmin measured) miles in 39.04, I am reasonably happy with my run.  Especially as I was feeling generally 'heavy' and have a bit of a cold hanging around.

Team wise, having been promoted to Division 2 last season our aim is to at least maintain our Division 2 status this season and our 8th place out of 11 teams is a steady start.

A special mention to Caroline Acaster of Blaydon and Sunday morning training partner for winning the ladies race, leading from gun to tape.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Bunny Race series - Race 3

Strong windy conditions greeted another small field (13) for the final race around Newcastle Town Moor. From the off John Bell (celebrating his 50th birthday), Kevin Lister and myself broke away.  However, part way around the first small loop, Jon and Kevin opened up a gap of about 10 yards on me, which I managed to close as we completed the loop and headed off across the top of the moor towards the hills. 

As we neared the turn, towards the hills, Jon broke clear and then as we started to climb, Kevin opened a gap on me. It is becoming evident that I will need to incorporate some extra hill work into this winters training.

Coming off the hills, I was able to raise my pace closing and passing Kevin at almost the exact spot as the previous race.  Pushing on, I was able to close the gap slightly on Jon but was unable to catch him.  The results:

1st Jon Bell 18.39
2nd Me 18.56
3rd Kevin Lister 19.14

So another slight improvement from me, knocking 14 seconds off from the previous race - have got to be pleased with that!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Ghost Runner

I have just finished reading The Ghost Runner by Bill Jones.  I found this to be a fascinating account of the life and times of John Tarrant and his fight against a lifetime ban from amateur athletics imposed because as a teenager in the 1950's he had been paid £17 expenses for fighting in a boxing match.

Among John Tarrant's list of achievements are:

40 mile world record (1966) of 4hrs 3min 28sec
100 mile world record (1969) of 12hrs 34min 10sec

Tarrant also won a number of prestige races including the London to Brighton Race (twice).

I must admit there are times I found the narrative a little condescending but I guess the idea was to add some emotional texture to John Tarrants' own account of his life, also called The Ghost Runner, published  by Athletics Weekly (I think during the 70's and no longer in print).

Well worth a read!