Wednesday, 28 May 2014

What's your position?

Last weekend was the 12th Edinburgh Marathon Festival.  On the Saturday my nephew ran the 10km, finishing 4th and on the Sunday two of my training partners ran the marathon finishing in 2.51 and 3.06 respectively.

I know these times and positions because I have spoken to them since their races.  Unfortunately this is the only way I have been able to find out how they got on.  As usual following their races I had scoured the internet to try and find their results and compare them to others in the race ie How they compared to other runners I recognised in the results, How their times compared to the winners time and such like.

 But to no avail. The reason, the organisers decided that they would only publish the results for the first 3 male and female runners in each race.  Individual results for the rest of the fields only being able to be accessed by the runner themselves.  The reason being given seems to be one of data protection!

I understand the need to protect certain information but keeping peoples results private, ie their position in a race and the time it took them to complete the race, is to me nonsense.  To me and I know many others (who spend considerably more time than myself analysing race results) the results are an intrinsic part of the race package.  We like to compare ourselves to friends, clubmates and rivals from other clubs.  As well as other runners in our own particular age category.

The results provide an indicator of progress against others and can become a strong motivating factor.  By not issuing results the organisers are saying that participants are only interested in completing the course and not the competition a race provides.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Changing tack

My current approach of trying to get back to race fitness is just not working.

In principal the idea of slowly and steadily increasing the workload seemed simple and with a little patience on my part the correct way to go.  However, even the modest increases in workload I have managed over the last 5 weeks have not resulted in any improvements.

In fact, things are getting worse.  It seems weird that having only increased my total weekly mileage to 48 miles over the 5 weeks that I may be suffering from 'overtraining'.  But, the symptoms are there:

- Results reversal, although I have not been racing I am actually getting slower with every run and can't match any times for the routes I use, from 4 weeks ago, never mind the times I should be able to do when fit.

- General Fatigue, yes I normally feel tired after training but not to this extent.  It seems to take an age to recover from the easiest of runs plus feeling run down and tired all of the time.

- Injuries, past problems with my hamstrings etc. seem to be resurfacing.

Obviously I don't want to stop training but I am going to have to re-structure what I am doing by allowing longer recovery periods between sessions, reducing the intensity of the session or by making the higher intensity sessions shorter ie reduce the overall mileage.

So it's back to the drawing board.  Things are looking tight for the Blaydon Race so I may have to sacrifice going for a good run for just run around, but if it means a greater overall improvement a little later so be it.

Friday, 16 May 2014

View from the back of the pack

I am still sticking to my plan of slowly building up the training.  However, I must admit to struggling and a sense of frustration.  I have started back training with my usual group.  Although I use the term

Newburn Bridge
'with' loosely, as even in the warm -up on Tuesday I found myself about 100m of the back of the group.  The ensuing pyramid session was tough but satisfying to get under the belt.

Last night was a steady run along the banks of the rivers Derwent and Tyne, up to Newburn Bridge and back.  Once again I was 'tail end Charlie' and had to slog it out. But at least I finished before closing time and rewarded my efforts with a refreshing pint of Black Sheep.

Yesterday, I also entered the Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon in July.  I think this is about the 25th time I will have ran this race and have got to admit to it being one of my favourites.

So my upcoming racing schedule now looks like this:

- 9th June; The Blaydon Race
- 9th July; The Bridges of the Tyne 5
-19th July; The Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon

For the time being I guess I will just have to keep slogging away

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The first Newcastle to Blaydon road race

As regular readers of this blog will know, my aim following my recent tribulations is to get some sort of fitness back for this years Blaydon Race on 9th June.

Those who have been reading my blog for some time will also know that I have posted about the traditions behind the race and how the route follows as near as possible the route described in Geordie Ridley's song of 1862.

The Blaydon Race in its current format is organised by Blaydon Harriers and has been running (excuse the pun) since 1981. However, how many people know that the first Newcastle to Blaydon road race was held over a 5 mile course as part of The Blaydon Race centenary celebrations in 1962.

As a 5 year old at the time I must admit to not remembering the road race to well, but I do have vivid memories of standing outside The Ord Arms pub on a packed Scotswood Road just before you reached Scotswood Bridge, watching the parade and floats go past enroute to Blaydon.

The race in 1962 had 99 competitors and was won by Tommy Elliott of Gateshead Harriers in a time of 29.41.  Footage of the race can be seen as part of a film of the celebrations here If you are only interested in the race rather than watch the full 40 minutes or so then footage can be found between 4.05 and 5.38 minutes, 6.48 to 7.37 and 10.12 to 11.00.  There is some charmingly dated commentary to go along with the film such as the comments regarding Tommy Elliott's winning time, where the narrator comments on whether the time means anything to the watcher but going on to say " it seems to be generally considered to be a pretty good effort."

Another interesting aspect of the film is the size of the crowds at the finish, with the runners only having enough room to squeeze themselves across the line.

There was also an athletics meeting held at the Municipal Stadium in Newcastle which featured races of up to 2 miles footage of which can be seen between 23.07 minutes and 24.28 on the film.

For those interested in other sports there was also a cycling race and rowing races.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Hash house fun

As usual for my Sunday run I drive down to Swalwell to meet fellow Blaydon Harriers, where we normally base our runs along the Derwent Walk.

As I left home this Sunday I noticed an arrow chalked on the pavement outside our house.  I thought nothing of it and headed off to Swalwell.  The aim being to slightly increase the mileage over the previous Sunday, as I slowly build back up to some form of fitness.

Having laboured through a slow 11 miles I then headed back home, feeling a mix of
Satisfaction, for managing to increase my mileage, and frustration, for being so slow and fading over the last couple of mile.

It was a surprise therefore that I noticed, on my return home, a large group of runners assembling in the pub car park next to where I live.

Was there a new race that I did not know about and literally right on my doorstep?

As I got out of the car I recognised a face from some years back of an ex Elswick Harrier.  Are you coming to join us? He shouted over as he in turn caught sight of me.

It wasn't a race, however, but Newcastle Hash House Harriers on there monthly Hare and Hounds type run.  For anyone not familiar with this, it is where one person, the hare, sets a trail using flour, and in this case chalk, which the other runners, the hounds, have to follow.

Newcastle Hash House choose a different location for each of their runs and on this occasion they had just happened to have chosen Medomsley. I was tempted to go with them and indeed if I had been fitter would have, but  I was well aware that in my present state of fitness I would be better off declining the invitation to join in  on some 'old time' running fun.