Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Racing to get fit

It seems to be taking increasingly longer to recover from races and hard sessions.  So much so that at the moment with a plentiful supply of races there is little or no time to do any sessions, once I have recovered from the previous race before the next one.

The solution, other than race less frequently which I don't want to do, is to use the races as the sessions and race myself 'fit'.

So it was that last night I found myself lining up at the VAANEE track meeting in Jarrow for my first 1500m in four years. Still not having done any real speedwork for a month now and still with twinges from my left calf, The warm up was spent deciding whether I should wear spikes or not. 

Finally, opting for the spikes, I lined up with 9 others in the M55 plus race.  As it was some time since my last 1500 I had originally planned to sit in and if possible try and pick things up over the last 600m or so.  However, I found myself in the lead from the off and decided to push on from the start.

Somewhat predictably I started to tie up over the last lap but fortunately I was able to hold some form and was far enough ahead to cross the finish line first in 5.07.3.  Second went to P Richarsdson of Sunderland Harriers in 5.29.6 and third to G Long of Low Fell in 5.36.1.

To put this into some sort of perspective the M35 - M54 race which followed was won by Ian Twaddle of NSP in around 4.20 with 6th place finishing in 5.06.

This morning my left calf is very tight and my groin very tender but with a little more work I am sure I can get under 5 minutes this summer. 

My next race will be next week over 5.7 miles at the Blaydon Race.  Hopefully I should be able to get some speedwork in before then.

Friday, 25 May 2012

End of Week update

Last night was a glorious evening for running and having raced the night before it was not a difficult  decision to have an easy one - so a group of us ran along the banks of the River Tyne with a loop around Ryton Willows to give us a 'steady' 8 miles.

I must admit to feeling very heavy legged and tired.  One thing I have noticed is that it seems to take a lot longer to recover from races and indeed hard sessions these days. So the plan will be for another couple of easy days and then possibly to race again on Monday.

The results from Wednesday evenings Clive Cookson 10km can be found here Confirmation that I finished in 50th position in 39.10 making me 2nd M55.

Anyone who has a race this weekend - have a good one!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Clive Cookson 10km

One of the problems with running as you get older is that invariably, you get slower.  The Masters five year age groupings for racing, I suppose, take some of the sting out of this.  The age grouping not only allow you to compete against and compare your performances with your peers.  They also provide you (or at least in my mind) with the opportunity of wiping the slate clean with regards to PB's and starting again, so to speak, with each new age group.  So although your overall PB remains, usually from years past, you can have a current PB which reflects your current age.

The reason I mention this now is because it just so happens that last week I moved into a new age group, M55-M60 (I have just winced as I typed that).

So in near perfect conditions, last night's Clive Cookson 10km was my first race as a M55. Mind you, the way I started I must have thought I was at least 10 year younger.  When I went through the 3km point 16 seconds faster than I had ran 3000m on the track last week I had a passing thought that perhaps I was running quicker than my current fitness levels would allow and perhaps I would be paying for this later in the race.

And you've guessed it - I did!

The last couple of km becoming a nasty shuffle as I tried to hang onto those who past me. My finishing time being 39.10 giving me 50th position overall. I have not seen full results yet but think I may have been 3rd over 55.   But as I said earlier, it was my first M55 race and therefore a PB for this age group.

 Every cloud has its silver lining!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Last M50 race

Last night, I was in two minds as to whether or not to turn out at the first VAANEE Tack & Field meeting of the year.  As I had not completed a track session since last June and as I am still getting twinges from a troublesome left calf, perhaps a track race was not going to be the best of ideas.

But, how could I resist a chance to run, what would be, my last race in the M50 age group. So I headed off to Jarrow for the 3000m with two concessions in mind. Firstly, not to wear spikes and opt for racing flats instead and secondly, to start steady and if things were going OK then try to pick it up.

The race started in cold and blustery conditions and I duly slotted in, in 7th position. once settled, I set about trying to work my way steadily through the field. Which I did, moving into 3rd place, but well down on the front two, with about 300m to go.  My finishing time of 10.50.9 providing a benchmark from which hopefully I can improve over the summer.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

An afternoon with Miss Rutherford's class

St Catherine's Primary School in Sandyford, like probably most schools up and down the country, are covering the Olympics as one of their teaching topics.  As I have been selected as one of the Olympic Torch Bearer's I was invited to talk to Miss Rutherford's Year 4 class about the Olympic Torch and what it is like to be a runner.

Once everyone got over the shock (and probable disappointment) that I was not Usain Bolt, I gave a brief introduction to how long I have been running and why I run.  This was followed by a question and answer session after which we left the classroom for a run around the sports field.

Following some stretching and a couple of laps of the field we had some timed sprints followed by more stretches to warm down.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  I know I did.  So its a big thank you to Miss Rutherford and everyone in Year 4 for a great afternoon

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Preston Guild 5km

As I was already in Preston visiting my daughter, it seemed like an ideal opportunity to run the Preston Guild 5km as well.

There was a very healthy turnout (741 finishers) for this race which was the first in a series of 4 races to celebrate the Preston Guild.

Starting at The Japanese Garden in Avenham Park, I made the classic mistake of going off too fast and knew by the 2km point that I was going to pay in the latter stages.

Winner of ladies race
Gemma Adams - Preston Harriers

And sure enough just before the 4km point I was tying up.

Race Winner
Thomas Carson - Bolton Utd H
Time 15.36
I tried to keep my form, as I started to drop back further through the field.  Eventually finishing in 19.35 ( a little down on what I had hoped - but my own fault really) in 29th place.  However, the silver lining was that I was first M50.

Paying the price for too fast a start

I am not sure whether I will be signing up to the rest of the series yet.  The other races are a 10km, a 10 mile and Marathon / Half Marathon.

Thanks to Francesca for photos

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Doing the smart thing

"Listen to your body" is an often used phrase when determining how much training you do / how hard you train / when you should rest etc.

 Listening to my body is something I try to do but I  must admit there have been numerous occasions where I have been guilty of ignoring what my body has been trying to tell me in my continuing quest to improve or these day just maintain my performances.  Last week I did however, hear what my body had to say.  As mentioned in a previous post my left calf had started giving me trouble again.  so I eased down, with the plan of picking things up again over the weekend. 

However, as the weekend approached I found that things where not going to plan.  Towards the end of a very easy four mile canter as I ran the last mile, up the hill from the Derwent Walk to home my heart rate suddenly shot up to 176 bpm and I struggled to complete the mile in under 11 minutes. 

To be honest I thought this was just a blip and repeated the same four mile run the following day.  Once again it was the same story, with my heart rate operating in the usual range for the first three miles then jumping up to 173 bpm for the uphill section.  The hill again taking well over 10 minutes to complete.

As a result, I decided to rest.  This and particularly missing my long Sunday run meant that I was nowhere near my planned weekly mileage, achieving only 27 miles for the week.

However, on the positive side Monday saw me feeling a bit better in myself and quite a significant turn around as I ran the same 4 miles as last week as a tester.  This time when I hit the hill at the end of the run I felt no real increase in effort other than what I would normally expect and  my heart rate only went up to 142 bpm and taking only 8.32 to run.

A recent French study has found that cue's like those above are not the only indicators that perhaps you are over doing the training.  Published in the Scandinavian, Journal of Medicine& Science in Sports.  They say that mental sharpness can decrease as your miles increase, and that emotional cues, such as increased irritability often appear before physical ones when runners are on the verge of over training.  The study also says that we can monitor our 'cognitive executive functions' such as working memory  and attention span for clues that we doing too much.