Tag Archives: Training

Breaking those barriers – 5km fun runs

A new Parkrun was set up back in July less than 1/2 mile from us – at Crane Park.  The ideal distance for me to get to, a short warm-up run there and no messing about with parking like at Bushy Park – with the 1,000 other runners they often get there.

Normally 40-60 runners at Crane Park and a very friendly group.  Some very very fast ones – just over 16 minutes I think was the record recently and always a couple with 18 or 19 minutes something.

I did my first one there back in July and got a rather nice 20:50.  My best was 20:19 from back in 2008 in Bushy Park.  I’ve done 11 or 12 runs since and my PB for Crane Park is 20:49.  Most other runs virtually around 20:50.  It’s a new barrier – physical or just in my head.  Normally come anything from 3rd to 7th or 8th but can’t crack the barrier.

Crane Park Parkrun route

 

The route is 1.5 laps – see the map.  A few inclines and lots of bends, particularly near the finish.  I still can’t judge properly when the finish is coming up and when to really step up a gear.  The finish line itself is on a sharp bend (to finish away from the other guys walking in the park and not cause traffic jams).

I’ve been overtaken by a fast 12 year old – very impressive – and then today by a guy with his small (but fast) dog pulling him along (for the whole 5km).

I had a new plan of attack last week – back to pace.  6:41 minutes per mile was the average pace last week, bang on a 20:50 finish time.  And I need to slow down at the start and not head off with the front runners at a too fast pace.  So this week, 4 training runs done in the week all focused on intervals and speed work, stretching every day, a banana for breakfast this morning, pasta last night and a plan to attack my pace.  I was all set this morning to break the barrier…

The heavens opened and there was a lot of rain as left the house and wet route with slippery leaves – not a major issue though.  Set off well at the planned pace – just a bit faster.  Managed to maintain it for about 1.5 miles then it slowed a bit but then got it back around 2.15 miles with a mile to go.  Picked up more for the last 1/4 mile or so and – despite being overtaken by the doggy and his owner – the average pace at the end was 6:42.  Just slower than last week.  Time slower as well.  The barrier still there!  Very frustrating.

Need a new plan of attack for my 5k and training.  Suggestions very very welcome…!

But without a doubt one of the best ways to start your weekend!

Tempo runs, intervals, Kenyan Hills and threshold runs – it could get complicated

The 10k training plan is ready!  Research done from ones in magazines like Men’s Running (which conveniently enough this month has a section on 10k training) and some online plans I’ve found.  4 runs per week starting next Monday – my birthday – and lasting for 8 weeks.  244 training miles and 6 and a bit race miles, a nice round 250 in total.

The 4 weekly runs are:

  • Hills
  • Intervals or tempo
  • Long
  • Recovery

With distances building up over the first 5 weeks and then dropping back slightly, and focusing then on the actual 10k distance (and pace).  Again some cross training in there with karate – for core and stretching.  2 sessions of karate a week most weeks, cutting back to one and then none in the last few weeks, focusing more on the running and getting enough rest days in.

Long runs up to 12 miles – nice and easy!  And tempo and interval runs (at threshold level) up to 10 miles.  Again all building up over the first 5 weeks.

Sounds good and again it’s about pace – and this time running at my target pace.  What’s my target pace?  Good question – that’s the next goal to figure out.  The 10k run I did last week was at 7 minutes 14 seconds per mile.  Would like to improve on that.  7 minutes per mile – just under 44 minutes?

A good link here to what the different types of runs are – all these new terms can get a bit confusing.  And these descriptions are care of “full potential” by Keith Anderson (a pretty awesome marathon runner – around 2:17).  Kenyan Hills, Threshold Runs, Long Runs, Fartlek and more all here!

And last but not least the infamous tempo run and a great description from Runner’s World by John Hanc

This will be fun and challenging.  Just what I like.

The best training plan for 10k?

A good question.  Having done a fair few 1/2 marathons and now 2 full marathons over the last few years, I know the sort of training you should do for those distances.  And yes how important the long runs are.  But 10k?  That’s just over 6 miles.  Do you need to train for that?  Obviously the answer is yes!  And more so if you want to push yourself and do as well as you can, PB’s and the rest.

8 weeks looks to be a standard training programme length for 10k, so not as long as for the longer distances but a good few months and with some intensive runs in – assuming you want to push yourself.

And all the normal types of training runs should be in there:

  • Long runs – up to say 90 minutes
  • Tempo and interval runs – for speed work
  • Hill runs – I didn’t do too much of this last time so one to add for me
  • Actual 10k runs – the real distance of the race
  • Speed work – just speed work

3-4 runs per week with some cross training thrown in – karate again for me (with a real focus on core work and stretching).  And I’ll get the Swiss Ball out as well to do some more core work at home (and try again to keep up the regular stretching – daily would be good).

Since the London Marathon – just over 2 weeks ago – I’ve done 5 runs:

  • Nice slow and easy one with Nic (Mrs. Noble) – about 4 miles 4 days after
  • 10k – and at a nice pace (managed just under 45 minutes)
  • 8 miles – also at a nice pace (just over 59 minutes)
  • 5.5 miles interval training
  • 5 miles – ok pace (today’s run – struggled for some reason)

Next week the official plan starts and will do 2 more runs this week around 10 miles each.

On a side note, for the interval training I did last week, I ran 1.5 miles warm up, then 6 sets of 1/4 mile fast and 1/4 slow and finished with a mile cool down.  On the 1/4 mile fast section – one of them – I managed a pace of 5 minutes 7 seconds per mile for short distance (just).  And that was hard.  The elite marathon runners – let’s call them supermen from now on – run 26.2 miles at a pace of 4 minutes 35 seconds per mile.  That’s nothing short of super human awesomeness.

I love having a training plan to follow and focus on.  Really does something for me and pushes me on.  For me it’s important to have the plan with the goal to run the race.  Need to get some goals outside of running in place now with Mrs. Noble.  Goals are good!

Do you set goals for yourself outside of any sport activities?  And if you do, how do you do it?  Any tips and tools you have to share?

 

How fast can they run these marathon things?

2 hours 3 minutes and 38 seconds is the current world record set last year in the Berlin Marathon by Patrick Makau Musyoki.  That’s an incredible time.  Average pace around 4 minutes 43 seconds per mile – for 26.2 of them.  And Roger did just one in just under 4 minutes a few years back (see last post).  That’s a long long sprint that Patrick did.  Nothing short of awesome running.  And in the morning of that world record run, he said his body wasn’t feeling good.  It’s clearly a perception thing…

Not only can he do the marathon in just over 2 hours but he can run a 1/2 marathon in 58 minutes and 52 seconds (but that’s only the 6th fastest 1/2 marathon time ever).  And about 5 miles ahead of me!

Can we (and I use “we” in the very wide human sense) ever break 2 hours?  Or is there some physiological limit built in to us?  Current consensus is that yes we can do it and we will – it might take another 20 years or so but it will be broken.  Which makes sense – we’re so close now and have come down by nearly 50 minutes in the last 100 years.  It will just require someone with the genes all right and perfect race conditions (and a little bit of hard training).

Here’s a great article on from the BBC on this – written in April 2011 before Patrick broke the record.

Running on empty

I always try to run after food – normally an hour ish after breakfast or 1-2 hours after lunch or dinner.  And I’ve always found my energy levels pretty good like this.  For some longer long runs I’ll take energy drinks with me though most times not.  On the marathon itself, back in 2009, I found myself drinking the energy drinks along the route whenever they were available – my energy levels then just seemed to be shot to bits, so I needed the top-ups.

A good review of some of the more commonly available energy gels and snacks is here.

This last weekend I did an early morning 1/2 marathon and decided not to have breakfast – but did have a small packet of Jelly Belly’s sport beans (about 30 minutes before the run).  The run started well – and along one of my usual routes – but even before half way my pace had slowed far more than I’d wanted and the running was hard.  Managed to do 1:46 but it was no way near where I wanted to be.  For me breakfast is a must before the morning runs.

Not a fry-up though – as good as that looks.  A nice bowl of gluten free cereals and rice milk.  And no coffee before running – to save me having to go to the loo mid-way.

After my longer runs now, I alway drink a bottle (or 2 for long long ones) of Lucozade Sports Orange Body Gel – the same drink they hand-out along the London Marathon route.

What do you eat before you run?  And how long before?

The 20 miler

First one this year – and for this marathon training – done this morning.  And did I forget how hilly Richmond Park actually is or what?  Slightly different route to the last long runs in Richmond Park – pretty much going the other way round the park.  Which turned out to be the hillier way round (is that a real word?).

It seems such a nice park when you get in and start running round, but there are many killer hills.  Elevation changes of over 50m along route and some very quick changes, i.e. short steep hills.  And then some long not as steep ones thrown in.  All good training.

Pace was around 10% slower than planned marathon pace – which is good – but just found out it was a slower pace than back in 2009 (though the route was different and hillier as mentioned, and I did a 10 mile run yesterday, so little time to recover).  Do need to leave longer gaps before the long runs.

Early start this morning – out for 8am – but then back before 11am and the rest of the day still ahead (and you’ve done a 20 mile run already).  Great way to start the weekend.  Hunger levels have been something else today!

Fast, sad, slow and long

Fast – 10 miles on Tuesday just over 1 hour 15 minutes, a whole minute quicker than my previous recent best.  And in the Adizero shoes again – these babies rock!  Still slowed down on the turn around to come back.  Advice from my dad this week is why not do a loop instead, so you don’t lose the rhythm?  Good point.

Sad – my mum and dad emigrated this week (yesterday) all the way to Australia.  They’re on-route now – about 3 hours away I think.  Very sad goodbye – as it will be a while before we see them next.  Sad for the little guys as well, particularly Sophie who’s old enough to grasp what it means a bit more.  She wrote a lovely but sad card for them – with a little note saying she wanted them to stay.  But very very exciting for them – off to sunnier shores, walks by the beach, chilling and enjoying life and retirement.  And being close to my “little” sister and her gang.

Slow – a second 10 mile run today, not in the Adizero shoes and trying a loop (sort of).  But my time was way off Tuesday’s – over 20 seconds per mile slower.  Very strange.  Started off ok but after about 3 miles the pace dropped off.  You’ve got to get the starting pace right or else!  Great sign though…

Long – and then tomorrow’s my first 20 mile run in this marathon training programme and for 3 years now.  Looking forward to it.  Need to pick a route still – Richmond Park looking the likely option.  Slow and long again.  Planning on doing it early so back for late morning and then chilling the rest of the day.  No karate tonight – need to rest the legs a little bit ready for tomorrow.

And a few photos of mum and dad yesterday before they set off on their next journey.  Miss you guys like mad already!

 

 

Can’t feel my fingers

It’s getting to that time of year again when running gloves are a must-have accessory, if you like to be able to use your hands after running!  Starting a run and then after 2 miles having completely numb hands (plus the rest) is not fun.  I’ve managed to collect a nice all-weather set of running clothes over the last few years – for sun, rain, wind and snow (all thicknesses and all lengths).  And got a nice pair of Nike running gloves from my little sister for Christmas last year.  Running hats also very important – particularly when running into wind.  Cold wind on your forehead also not fun.

3 good runs this week, with interval training yesterday over 5 miles.  6 sets of 400 metres at 80-90 seconds faster than planned marathon pace, with 6 sets of 400 metres 80-90 seconds slower (plus 1.5 mile warm-up and the same cool down at the end).  Great run – really enjoying the speed work.

The next piece of running kit that comes out soon is the high-visibility jacket – bright luminous yellow, for late runs in the day.

The vast majority of my running kit over the last few years has come care of the guys at Sweatshop in Teddington.  And no doubt a few more visits coming over the next few months – new shoes next on the list (and some more decent multi-layered running socks).

Weekend resting from running – with karate for the cross training tomorrow.  Calf now back in order (and not hurting) after last Sunday’s training session!

Speed running

A 10 mile training run today and at an average of 7 minutes 54 seconds per miles – just faster than my planned marathon pace.  Fastest pace today 5 minutes 45 seconds per mile.  And felt good after the run.  Planning now to slowly increase the mileage on these pace runs.  Speed interval work Friday – the technical name for this style of training run is Fartlek training.  There had some play on words of this on Google and low and behold…

Talking of speed running, my fastest time today is still slow by the standards our professional friends set.  Scott Overall mentioned in yesterday’s post manages under 5 minutes per mile for 26.2 of them in a row!  And Usain Bolt – officially the world’s fastest man – runs the 100m in 9.69 seconds and 200m in 19.3 seconds.  Translated in miles per hour we have:

  • Jason’s marathon pace = 7.5 mph
  • Scott’s marathon pace = 12.1 mph
  • World record marathon pace = 12.8 mph
  • Mr. Bolt’s 100m = 23.1 mph
  • Mr. Bolt’s 200m = 23.3 mph

Clearly I’ve got some room for improvement still!

I had the pleasure of saying hello to Mr. Bolt recently at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham – where our karate dojo is – when he was there for training and some interviews.  I’m not that small really – he’s just very very tall!

Training plans

This week’s all about getting my marathon training plan sorted.

My time back in 2009 was just over 3 hour 46 minutes.  Can I beat it next year?  That’s the plan.  Less than 3 hours 45 minutes would be nice and just under 3 hours 30 minutes even better.  The latter would mean an average pace of around 8 minutes a mile.  A whole minute or so less than what I’m currently doing longer training runs at.  Need to do speed work more and focus on running at my planned pace for the big day.

Lots of different theories as to how long a marathon training plan should be – and of course it’s got to be very specific to you!  They range from 24 week plans – almost 6 months – to 12 weeks in some books I’ve read, to 16 weeks which is more the norm.

The first part of the training is all about building up your mileage and running 4, 5 or then 6 days a week.   The weekly mileage builds up from about 30 to 60 miles, increasing weekly and then tapering off 2 weeks or so before the big day.  Right now I’m around the 24 mile mark, so a bit off where I need to be.  Will get to 30 miles this week!

I also need to factor in karate training – normally twice a week – and how much of that to do and how intensely.  As I did in 2009, most likely that I’ll keep doing karate training as normal until a month or so before and then go really light and drop some sessions until after the race.  And yes take all the sessions lightly to avoid any injuries before!  Karate’s a big part of the fund raising as well and once I’ve sweet talked Sensei Robert, we’ll be holding a another kickathon to help raise money for Whizz-Kidz.

There’s a lot of useful info on the internet about marathon training – the key of course is finding something that suits you, both in terms of your level of fitness and lifestyle.  One very good site I’ve found is on www.wikihow.com where it focuses on how to improve your times and about running at your planned marathon pace, which seems a sound idea!

Stay tuned – will post the actual plan over the next few days.