Monday, 24 February 2014

14 Minutes

I would love to be now going on to say that 14 minutes was my new PB for 5000m, but alas, no.  That is still nothing but a dream (the best I ever managed for 5000m is 15.03).

No, 14 minutes is the title of the latest book I have been reading. An autobiography by Alberto Salazar and the 14 minutes in question, is the length of time that his heart stopped beating following a heart attack in 2007!

This autobiography is an engrossing read. From his family history:  His father was a friend of Fidel Castro and fought alongside Castro and Che Guevara, prior to falling out with them and escaping to America;  His determination to become the greatest Marathon runner in history;  His faith, Salazar is a staunch Catholic;  His battles against injury;  His approach to coaching; And of course, the near fatal heart attack of 2007.

The book was written during the period, shortly after Mo Farah joined his training group but before the 2012 Olympics.

 However, while talking about Galen Rupp and the marathon he states that he has advised Rupp to hold off on the marathon.  Saying "Once you run a marathon you can't return to the track with the same consistent short-distance speed that you exhibited before running 26.2."

Interestingly, another running legend Haile Gebrselassie in last weeks Athletics Weekly, while discussing this year's London Marathon suggests that he feels it is too early for Mo Farah to run the marathon as he still has potential for improving his times and possibly a world record on the track.

Another observation that Salazar makes is more general, but I am sure it is one that every runner can relate to.  When comparing runners and why they keep on going, as compared with those who do other sports, Salazar says "a runner of any calibre almost never outlives the need to run.  Once you get hooked - once the day comes when you suffer more by not running than by running - you're stuck with it."

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Bits and pieces

On the 29th January I posted a blog 'Is it a race or not? - of course it is' in which I talked about Parkrun and whether or not it is really a race.  Well coincidently, following that post, Parkrun has featured quite heavily in the Athletics Weekly, over the past two weeks.

Firstly in an article by Jason Henderson where he felt that Parkrun was a race but had been criticized by 'parkrun' for the use of such terminology as 'race' and 'win' where they prefer terms such as 'coming first'.

Then in last weeks AW, the 'Your Say' page features a letter from a Mr Hamilton.  Although he supports and actively takes part in Parkrun, he does express his concern with the prohibition of the term 'win' within Parkrun vocabulary.

Mr Hamilton also raises another interesting point.  "that on September 21st a total of 294 Veteran men (M40 plus only) ran in Kent county's 6 Parkruns.  On the same day there was a total of just 10 finishers from M35 to M70 level in the Kent County Veterans' 5000m Championships"

Semantics  aside though Parkrun, whether it's used as a race, time trial or as part of a fitness programme should be applauded and supported.

As for what effect Parkrun has on entries to more 'traditional' races, well I suppose that will also depend on how the organisers of such events promote their races.  Personally, I intend to do both Parkrun and County Championships.


I realise from checking the data for this blog that a number of readers are from outside the UK.  However, for those of you who are located in Britain I am sure the arguments and the uproar raised against Michael Gove and the Department of Education for their promotion of exercise and running in particular, as a punishment for mis-behaving school pupils, have not gone unnoticed.

It's obviously not just me but it is difficult to believe how someone can include such an idiotic idea into Government education plans.  Especially when you consider one of the Government focuses is supposed to be the encouragement of a healthy and active lifestyle etc.

Brendan Foster was interviewed by the Daily Mirror and accused the Government of 'demonising running'.  Saying that organisations and events such as the GNR had gone a long way in popularising and getting people involved in running and a healthy lifestyle.

I also liked, if that is the correct term, another of Fosters comments aimed at Gove "I'd like to make him run around a school field - If I could find one.  He has been selling them off."

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Walking a tightrope

My training at the moment seems a little bit like walking a tightrope.  Last week was my second week back following my Achilles problems and I managed to increase the mileage to 54 mile for the week.

The week started promisingly with a tempo run on Monday.  The planned speedwork on Tuesday, however, was swapped for a steady 10 miles due to the snow.

Wednesday was a comfortable 5 miles followed by a 9 mile fartlek on Thursday.  Friday and Saturday, however, were very light, easy runs due to some painful twinges from my right Achilles.

On Sunday it was a steady 15 miles.  Which started well but I found myself struggling over the last 5 miles and again had some reaction from my achilles.  Especially on the hillier sections of the run.

So now with only3 weeks to my next planned race (The Dentdale) I find myself torn between the desire to push on and the need to be cautious about this irksome Achilles.  I suppose it's all a question of balance.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Another new race - hopefully!

There are proposals for another half marathon on Tyneside.  With the start and finish on the Newcastle and Gateshead Quaysides.  The race would head out east towards the coast as far as the Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel which it will pass through before returning back up the opposite river bank.

Currently the organisers are trying to establish how much support there would be for such a race.  So if you are interested please let the organisers know by visiting to let them know.

The Tyne pedestrian Tunnel is presently undergoing a major multi-million pound refurbishment.  The pictures to the left show the tunnel prior to work starting.

Hopefully I will be fit by the time the race is actually arranged.  Having had a couple of easy run outs on the treadmill and a couple of easy jogs with very little negative reaction from my achilles I am intending to start to slowly pick things up this week.

The photos, by the way, were taken as they often are on this blog by Francesca.

If you are interested in photography why don't you check out some more of her photos at