Monday, 30 January 2012

More on the 'Northerns'

Full results, videos and pictures from Saturday's Northern Cross Country Championships can be found at

thanks to Catherine for this photo

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Northern Cross Country Championships

Pontefract Park provided the venue for this years 'Northerns' and on a bright sunny winters day the going was good to soft as 685 runners completed the 12km course as it wound its way around the horse
race- course. 

The race was won by Steve Vernon of Stockport Harriers, in 39.52.  Not that I saw much of him as I huffed and puffed my way to 329th position in 51.38.  Having said that I did enjoy my run and am reasonably happy with my performance.  I feel that I am still making slow but steady progress and the race provided a much more testing run out than a normal training run would have.

Unfortunately Blaydon did not manage to field a full team, but other Blaydon performances were:

Luke Aston 371st in 52.44
Jamie Boswell 464th in 56.00
Alan Storey 507th in 57.24

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Music to my ears

The wearing of headphones / earphones and listening to music while running seems to be a topic that is guaranteed to generate debate.

This is a bit of a generalisation on my part, but it seems to be that older / traditional club runners tend on the whole not to favour listening to music while they run and newer / recreational runners tend to see listening to music to be an integral part of the training session.

Over the past few years I have read in Athletics Weekly and the like of the use of headphones being banned in some races.

I have also recently read an article from America which highlights that the "rate of headphone related pedestrian deaths has tripled in the last 6 years" Granted not all pedestrians will be runners.

So whether you advocate the listening to music whilst running or not it would appear that listening to music AFTER your training may be the way forward.

A new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, entitled the Effect of Motivational Music on Lactate Levels During Recovery from Intense Exercise, details how a small study found that listening to music during recovery was associated with a greater decrease in blood lactate and in perceived exertion.

So I guess I will be listening to Hawkwind's Master of the Universe following tonight's session.

Time, this week, is again of the essence and it looks as though it will continue that way next week.  So it is going to be a case of fitting in training runs around everything else where I can.  Last night I only had time for a quick 4 miles so I decided to start of slowly with the aim of getting progressively faster over the four miles.  So I am quite happy with the return of miles in 8.34; 7.44; 7.26 and 6.24.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Weekly round-up

Unfortunately I have not had much time for blogging this week.  However, I have maintained the running, with actually, slightly more miles than originally planned.

The two main sessions of the week, on Tuesday was a 9 mile run with 3x5 min on 3 minutes jog recovery and on Thursday, again 9 miles, but this time with a 20 minute tempo session.  Both sessions went very well with noticeable improvements over similar sessions ran before Christmas, so things are definitely looking up.

I said last week that I would be easing off slightly this week.  This was always going to be at the end of the week.  So the next three days will be very easy, with a rest day instead of a long run on Sunday.

If anyone is racing this weekend - Have a good one!

Monday, 16 January 2012

21 miles before breakfast

The sun was just starting to show and the temperature reading was   -6C as I set out on my long run yesterday morning.  It took an age to warm up, but by the time I met up with the group I usually run with I already had 11 miles under the belt.

So another good week with 58 miles covered, another slight increase on the week before.  I am, however starting to feel the extra miles with my knees becoming very tender.  So in view of past problems this week will be a little easier, with the view of getting back on track next week.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Establishing a reference point

Last nights run was a 10 miler with the the middle section, around Ryton Loop (2.1 miles) as a time trail.  The idea of doing the time trial was to establish a reference point as to my current level of fitness and I intend to repeat this time trial on a monthly basis, over the next few months, in order to track progress.

Conditions last night were mild with a stiff headwind from the start of the trial, at the Runhead pub, up to the  turning point at Ryton School before heading downhill and through Ryton village and then climbing back up to the Runhead.  Time taken 12.28.

It is some time since I have ran Ryton loop as a time trial, the last time being October 2010, and the time - 12.29.  So I guess, no appreciable deterioration over the past year and a good platform to build upon.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Week one

Well the first week of the year is over and I am pleased with the 54 miles for the week.  Following on from the Christmas break, as I had been nowhere near the scales and had liberally enjoyed whatever food and drink was going, I had expected to be carrying a couple of extra pounds. So imagine my surprise last Monday when I stepped on the scales for the first time in 3 weeks to find I was exactly the same weight!

So a good starting point for the year and for my intention of increasing the mileage.  Today's run was a 20 miler.  The first 20 mile run for nearly 2 years and although I am feeling a little tired I thoroughly enjoyed it.

With regards to targets for the year, I am still working on which races but at the moment I think they will include a half marathon in March

Friday, 6 January 2012

2011 Review

2011 started with some problems with my back and hamstrings.  Problems I tried to ignore, but in the end had to give in to.   The problem being diagnosed as a restricted sciatic nerve. This resulted in 7 weeks out injured.

So a return of 1793 miles for the year (average just under 34.5 miles per week) I feel is quite satisfactory.

As far as racing goes, despite 3 races by the end of February and the Blaydon Race and Yorkshire Wolds half marathon in June and July, when I was just getting back from injury;  Racing did not really start until September. 

The 12 races I had between September and the end of the year got me back into the habit of racing and I feel were reasonably successful in that, apart from a couple of occasions, stopped the trend of getting slower with each race and in fact started to make small in roads into reversing the trend.  Something I hope to build upon this year.

Talking of the coming year, I am currently finalising my goals for 2012 which I will publish, probably in my next post, by way of accountability.

So, all in all not a vintage year by any means, but one that has left me as keen as ever to keep pushing on and of course I have a new age group (over 55's) to look forward to from May.   

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Derwent Walk - a petition

9 Arch Viaduct
Derwent Walk - Gateshead
Regular readers of my posts will know that a lot of my training runs are based on and around The Derwent Walk.  The Derwent Walk stretches from Swalwell in Gateshead to Consett in County Durham and forms part of the Coast to Coast cycle route.

'The Walk' is an attractive and pleasant area to visit and is home to the recently re-introduced Red Kites.

As well as being popular with runners it is also well used by cyclists, walkers, twitchers and the general public as a whole.  However, the continued management of the countryside sites by Gateshead Council's Countryside Management Team is under threat of being axed from next years spending budget, which could have a catastrophic effect upon this site and the wildlife in the area.

If you want to make your views known against these proposed cuts there is a petition which you can sign.  The petition is not just for those who live in the Gateshead area but also for those who may live outside the area but visit or work in the area.

The petition can be found at

Monday, 2 January 2012

Resolution Run 2012

It may have been the first day of the year but it seemed to be a return to what has become my second home over the last few months - Newcastle Town Moor for what is billed as an approximate 10km (its short) multi terrain race.

The last time I did this race was back in 2008 when I finished 7th overall (1st M50) in 35.36 so it was going to be interesting to see how it went this year.

As I had not pre-entered for the race, on arrival I joined a large queue of  'on the day ' entries - So large that the start had to be delayed and I only had time for about three quarters of a mile warm up.

Conditions were mild but after a lot of recent rain going was heavy and very muddy in places.  Especially between the two hills.

I probably started a little too fast but soon settled into a rhythm and unlike some did not have to walk up the bigger hill.

Generally I was pleased with my run, although disappointed to be passed by three runners in the last 400m or so.  Unfortunately I have not been able to find the official results yet, but by my reckoning I finished in 20th place in 36.47.

photos by Francesca