Monthly Archives: December 2011

Too many mince pies

First run today for 6 days and didn’t feel good.  10 miles but very slow – 8 minutes slower than last 10 miler along the same route.  Pace almost 45 seconds per mile slower.

That would put me a mile behind me last week on the same route – rubbish really.

Things different today?

  • Early run – started at 7:40am (recent ones have been around 11am)
  • Not run for 6 days – normally max. 2 days between runs
  • Too many mince pies over Christmas (and turkey curry last night)
  • Slow starting pace

So are these excuses or genuine reasons why I was slower?  Good question.  The slower starting pace is the real killer – if you don’t feel good when you go and you naturally start off a bit slower, it’s very hard to pick up (as mentioned before).  Starting pace was about 8:02 but I then slowed down over the run – which is even worse!

The Christmas dinners and the usual excess of food and drink over the Christmas period may have affected the run – it does make a huge difference when running when full (or after a heavy meal the night before – or 5 nights before over Christmas) – but all worth it and we had a lovely Christmas.  Very much a family occasion for us and spent with grandparents and auntie and cousins.  And of course Father Christmas made his appearance on Christmas Eve and was caught on Noble CCTV coming down the chimney delivering presents.  Ho ho ho!

Let it (virtually) snow

In the absence of real snow, we have the virtual alternative.  Watch this page slowly and you’ll see “snowflakes” falling across it after a few seconds – the wonders of clever technology (thanks to WordPress).  On a similar thread, Google have their own little snowy themed “Easter Egg” this year.  Go to the main Google page, type in “let it snow” – without the “” – and click search.  Snow starts to fall across your screen and after a while it frosts up and a new defrost button appears.  Have never understood how someone has the time to develop these and why.  Maybe I need to read a bit more about them – by clicking on the link above.  I’m sure there’s some logic behind them somewhere.

A white Christmas in London this year?  Probably not – no sign still of the arctic winter that was predicted.  Though little Mr. Noble has now had 2 snowy Christmas times – not on Christmas Day specifically but around then – out of the 2 he’s had in total.  His 3rd this year.

Could it be any easier?

Don’t forget, all the marathon training is to help support the great work that the guys at Whizz-Kidz do, helping disabled children become more mobile.  The clip below from their web-site gives some details on the work they do – please have a read:

These guys have several hundred runners in the London Marathon raising money for them and it is their biggest fund raising event of the year.  They also really help support the runners whilst fund raising with marathon training sessions, regular newsletters and getting people involved in other activities (e.g. Christmas carols).  Some pics below from the Christmas carols at Fulham Broadway shopping centre last weekend.  We went along after the carols at the Royal Albert Hall and sung some more for another couple of hours. The guys from Whizz-Kidz were there from 10am until 7pm with their running volunteers coming along for 2 hour sessions throughout the day and we raised almost £1,400.

The little Nobles and Nic also helped out with mum and dad coming along for a little bit as well.

So could what be any easier?  Donating.  With the wonders of modern technology – and the services from Just Giving all you need to do is send a quick text message (care of a cool new service set up with Vodafone) from your mobile with the amount you would like to donate to 70070 and the code VCKN89.  You receive a text message receipt from them and can even tick a box to allow Whizz-Kidz to get back Gift Aid from HMRC.

Don’t buy that extra 1/2 pint at the pub – please send a quick text message and help make a real difference to these children’s lives.

Where’s the snow this year?

None to write home about this year, yet.  Lots last year though – at the beginning and end of the year.  Some of the pics we took below that I like…


The UK daily tabloids – the Daily Express in particular – keep predicting arctic conditions to come every week (for about the last 4 weeks) with blizzards everywhere.

A white Christmas in 2011 in London?  Unlikely.

Taking it easy

11 miles yesterday at a slowish pace.  Along the Thames again and over Richmond Bridge. Very chilly and wet, so even more layers on – could only just move the legs!

Have done a fair few 10 milers and 12 milers but not an 11 before.  Shouldn’t make any different but 11 sounds odd – ha ha.  8 minutes 30 seconds per mile pace – so slower than planned marathon pace and it now feels wrong to run at that pace.  Feels like the pace running is paying off.  Happy days.

A dodgy foot this feet – apparently suffering from Plantar Fasciitis – inflammation of the plantar fascia in the foot (a band of tissue running from the heel to the middle foot bones).  And yes it hurts.  Funnily enough more when not running.

Advice from the doctor is rest – easy running hopefully along those lines – plus stretching and a nice info sheet printed off by the doctor.  A trip to the physio later this week for more help and to see if some new custom in-soles are needed.

Bought the current ones about 3 years back and they’ve been one of the best running investments there is.  Had a problem when training for the marathon in 2009 when at about 16 miles (on the longer runs) my knees would hurt.  Saw a physio and did some proper foot and running analysis and they fitted me with some in-soles for my shoes designed for my feet.  Worked a treat.  Suspect now they need replacing and shoes may do too.  Brooks GTS11 are my current shoes – had the GTS8 ones before and loved them.  GTS11 are the latest ones.

One more longish easy run planned this week – on the way to the physio – and then a fast 5km on Friday.  And more running next week – first one on Boxing Day morning.


2 minutes faster

Another good running week last week.  10 miles on Monday, followed by 1/2 marathon on Wednesday (over 2 minutes faster than my last Royal Parks Foundation 1/2 time in October) and then an even quicker 10 miles on Friday (40 seconds faster than Monday).  Speed work is definitely paying off – though need to ease off for a bit now and increase mileage.  Still over 5 months to go until the big day in April.

Pace is king in my world now.  And it’s absolutely about setting your initial pace right.  Too slow and you’ll never pick it up.  Too fast and you’ll fatigue too early and slow down dramatically in the latter part of the run.  So yes, it’s a very fine balance.  It’s also what you mentally set as your planned pace.  I like setting it faster and then coming in just over that.  Last 10 miler this week was great.  Back from good old Tumble Tots – where little Mr. Noble had done some tumbling, rolling, climbing and jumping – and through Bushy Park (and back dodging some huge stag that look very mean).  Again managed to pick up my face in the last 1 mile or so, with a nice finish.

Talking of Bushy Park, the Parkruns there continue to amaze me – 840+ runners last weekend.  Unless you know about it, you’d never realise that there are over 800 people meeting up for a fun 5km run first thing on a Saturday.  Very cool.  And I’ve said before, definitely need to get back and do some more.  Definitely helps with speed.

But multi-layered?  Oh yes, it’s that time of the year – cold and frosty.  Running gloves and hat on and then a number of layers on me to keep warm.  Still in the shorts though!  Amazingly, however cold it is, as long as I’ve got gloves and hat on (to cover the exposed bits) within a few miles you’re nice and warm and the odd cold gust isn’t a problem.  If the weather forecasts are to be believed – minus a big number and arctic conditions – the layers will be going up even more.

And a great running week finished off with carols at the Royal Albert Hall in London – an official Noble Christmas tradition.  With some more carols helping raise money for Whizz-Kidz in the evening.  Now it feels even more like Christmas.

Thankfully no major downpour of snow this year, like last year when we almost didn’t get to the Royal Albert Hall and in actual fact about half the people were unable to get there due to bad weather.

3 easier runs this week with one long one and a trip to Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park.

Let’s go back 4 seconds

Just a test – spotted this on Twitter earlier today and it looked pretty cool, embedded Tweets.  A link to my Tweet about the 4 seconds post…

Quite clever and just a few clicks away. Perfect to capture any of your favourite Tweets very quickly.

More on running tomorrow after another 10 mile session.

A lot can happen in 4 seconds

Having knocked a whole 40 seconds off my 5km times last week, I was raring to go this week and improve on other distances.  First up was 10 miles through Twickenham and along the Thames to Richmond Bridge (and back).  A lovely run and ground I’m familiar with – from almost 3 years of daily running commutes to and from work in Richmond.

The plan was to go for 7 minutes 30 seconds per mile – 30 seconds faster than the planned marathon pace.  I managed to do 8 miles at this pace last week, so 2 more couldn’t be hard, could it?  Got off to a slower start – about 7:45 per mile and kept it around that level, edging up to 7:56 at one point and then back down to 7:48 ish.

Having concentrated on pace runs recently, I’m convinced it’s all about getting your starting pace right.  If you start too slow, it’s very difficult to improve.  The so-called split run (where you do the second half faster) is actually very difficult to do.  The first 1/2 mile or so is critical and where you need to get the pace right.  With 35,000 other runners in the London Marathon this is even more challenging, as you’re not running at your ideal pace from the go.  This needs some thinking about – if I want to achieve my 8 minutes per mile pace.

Although I did set off slower than planned today, I finished a whole 4 seconds faster than 2 weeks back when I did the same run.  Not a lot – particularly over a longer distance – but it made me think what can you actually do in 4 seconds.  A lot according to a quick Google search (side note – Google still my favourite search engine by a long shot; you know they’ve got something right when your 5 year old understands the concept of “Googling” something)…

  1. Folding a shirt in 4 seconds – and yes someone’s filmed this being done
  2. Catch a piranha
  3. Form a lasting impression (4 Seconds)

It’s also the name of a marketing company that I have no connections with and until tonight hadn’t heard of.  But it’s a cool name and I like their site and what their aims are!

Happy running!

Over 30 miles this week

3 great runs this week.  Nice 8 miles on Monday faster than marathon pace.  A long 16 miler on Wednesday – about 30 seconds per minute slower than marathon pace.  And then a fast 5km – knocking 40+ seconds off my last time (on the same route) – and a mile and a bit cool down on Friday.  The speed work and interval training is working – and more needed.  The 16 miles felt hard – I had planned to do a split and pick up the pace on the 2nd half but it didn’t happen.  Great route as well – up past Hampton Court Bridge and along the footpath by the Thames – more awesome scenery.  Longest run I did that way back in 2009 was around 22 miles – so another 3 miles up the path still to explore (assuming I do similar distances for the long runs this time).  I am a fan of long runs where you go out a certain distance along a route and then back the same way.

Average pace picking up as well which is good.  The 5km at the end of the week was great – 40 seconds off the last time and felt very good.  Need to get back and do the Bushy Park parkrun one Saturday morning soon – they really help pick up your pace.

Week finished off with an early Christmas dinner at mum and dad’s in Bedford with Auntie Anne and Uncle Lol – all the trimmings plus mum’s brunch the morning after.  Perfect!

1/2 marathon distance planned this week and at a good pace.

8 miles an hour and parkruns

So close – an 8 mile run yesterday at 25 seconds per mile faster than planned marathon pace (should have been 30 seconds but slowed down after first 5 miles).  Great run into Bushy Park and some huge stags around – with massive antlers on them.  Very impressive to see.  It’s fantastic running through Bushy Park – much bigger than you realise and great natural scenery in the middle of West London.

And home to what must be the biggest parkrun of all – 9am every Saturday morning throughout the year, 750+ runners (plus volunteers) doing a 5km run fun.  Some in under 15 minutes as well – awesome to see and great fun to run as well (a fine way to start a weekend).  Haven’t done now for a good few months, on the to list for the New Year.  See the Bushy Park page on the Park Run website for more info.