Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tempo Session - Newmarket Rd Bury St Edmunds Suffolk

Enjoyed a quick lunch time session without any nagging pains

I did an initial warm up to my starting point in Newmarket Rd Bury St Edmunds of 1.28 miles in 11.05 an 8.40 pace.

Stopped to reset my Garmin Forerunner 205 before do a mile from the top of Newmarket Rd junction of Oliver Road to the Falcon Pub at the bottom of Victoria Street. This is a mile only problem being the need to cross some busy junctions which canmean you have to stop.

My mile time was 7.47 which gives me a target for the new year which I can and will beat.

I then jogged back to the bottom of Westley Road and did a 2 mile tempo run around Westley Rd, Oliver Rd and Newmarket Rd.  My 2 mile time was 16.47 or 8.24 miling. Again I am sure I can beat this in the new year health willing

To finish up my final tempo spin was a Half Mile run along Westley Road. My time was actually a slower pace than for the mile which shows I was tiring doing a 3.55 or 7.52 miling pace

Gives me targets to beat for the new year when doing tempo runs. Will look to add a 3 miler when I found a good circuit to do this.

Photos are a view from the top of Gibralter Barracks looking along out Risbygate Street and towards the town centre. This was part of my run today when doing the mile tempo run

Shropshire - Who has the best Running Club Website in the County?


In my post on the 26th December I said I would start to review Running Clubs websites around the country  and today I start with Shropshire.

Shropshire in England is an area not well known to me but we had a vacation there two years ago. We timed it well as it coincided with the severe floods in the west midlands region.

Shropshire in a nutshell - The Ironbridge Gorge is often known as the birthplace of industry and this is probably the most visted place in Shropshire though if you do visit take time to also take in  Much Wenlock to visit the museum and follow the Olympian Trail and visit Wenlock Edge. It is also home to Shrewsbury Town which is where Charles Darwin was born.

As far as I can tell there are 10 running clubs within the county of Shropshire. These being:-
Ludlow Runners
Mercia Fell Runners
Newport & District Running Club
Oswestry Olympians
Shrewsbury AC
Shropshire Shufflers
Telford AC
Telford Harriers
Whitchurch Whippets
Wrekin Road Runners

Comparing the clubs websites is based on the criteria I set out in my post of the 26th December as follows:-

1. Evidence that it is regularly updated
2. Ease of Use
4. Attractiveness
5. Beginners are Welcome
6. Photos
7. Community / Social Feel

Ludlow Runners

1. 6  Some evidence good news page some race results
2. 7  Easy to navigate from front page
3. 5  There isn't a vast amount of fuctionality
4. 5  The site is kept simple and clean with just 3/4 colours
5. 5  There is a line or two on the opening page welcome to encourage new comers
6. 5  There are some photos on the home and news pages of club runners and awards also links to further photos on other sites
7. 6 Looks as if club members meet up once a month for a social evening drink and chat.

Score 39  Liked the low membership fees of just £10 per year for an adult. Also like the idea of the club championship with one race to enter per month with prizes for club spirit for atttending a lot of races being a big plus.

Mercia Fell Runners

1. 7 Initially from the front page with the entries dated 2006 and 2007 you can be forgiven for thinking this hasn't been recently updated - however this isn't the case and there are lots of updates on races and results and blog updates.
2. 6 the navigation is detailed in a menu - front page could do with being more of a welcoming page with general information  for all runners
3. 7 Club members have a log in and can blog updates , good race information and links pages
4. 5 the colours principally being grey and a dark blue
5. 5 There is a line or two on a blog entry on the opening page to state all welcome
6. 6 There is an images gallery with loads of photos, however it generally doesn't appear to have been updated too much in the last 6 months.
7. 5 There is a visit to the pub after the training session in my short visit couldn't see much else

Score 41 This is a fell running club and has good links page to other clubs and associations, useful fell maps. Just £8 to join plus the £5 for England Athletics - free for under 18.

Newport and District Running Club

1. 9 Wow someone is clearly looking forward to 2010 , the Club Calendar 2010 is all set out. There is even a weekly newsletter
2.  8 Good bold use of font in club colours draws you to the links
3. 8 Lots to look at but not overpowering
4. 8  Good banner on the front page and just as an example on the our races page - also like the menu column with the small photos
5. 9 Clearly beginners are very welcome In big bold on the opening page It states whatever yourpace and experience come and join - you are left in no doubt
6. 4 Good use of photos within the website , I couldn't see a link or page with club photos
7. 9  There is a social events forum with clear evidence of activities such as dances, awards evenings, quiz evenings etc

Score 55 For a club of 120 members Newport & District are very lucky to have such a good website. They even have their own covers band called Running Wild that plays gigs!

Oswestry Olympians

1. 6  On the members page plenty of updated information
2. 6  From the front page you are directed to adult / junior triathlon pages once on the members page there are lots of notices
3. 5 Fairly standard functionality
4. 5 It is a busy site with use of many different font sizes and links with an oswestry page background
5. 4 There is an application form for new members but in my snapshot look I couldn't see too much to welcome new comers
6. 5 The members page has a number of photos
7. 8 Club Presentation evenings social side looks healthy

Score 39 Club achieved West Midlands Club of the Year 2009 plenty of sponsorship going on

Shrewsbury AC

1. 6 On the front page clearly being updated  on a regular basis
2. 6 Its a blogger site so everything is found on the front page via links
3. 6  Some useful links to Shropshire Runners Network and an injuries and treatment dignosis page
4. 5  The site is kept simple and clean with just 3/4 colours
5. 4  In my snapshot look I couldn't see too much to welcome new comers, however this might well be because they are over subscribed in some of the  junior section age groups and there is a waiting list!
6. 7 Some photos on the website - like the link to a Shrewsbury AC flickr site with lots of photos this is really good and any club could easily follow this as an idea for a small annual charge.
7. 3 In my quick visit to the site I couldn't see anything of a social nature

Score 37 Particularly like the idea of a County Runners Network - there is a link to the Shropshire Runners Network from Shrewsbury AC

Shropshire Shufflers

1. 6 Yes this site is being updated with lots of news items
2. 7 Very easy to navigate from the menu on each page so you never get lost
3. 7 Good range of funtionality
4. 7 Like the simple use of two colours black and blue on a white background good design
5. 7 There is a becoming a member section on the site stating anyone can join
6. 7 Some photos on the website - from the gallery there is a link to their flickr site with lots of photos this is really good and any club could easily follow this as an idea for a small annual charge.
7. 7 Annual presentation evenings and regular food and drinks events

Score 48 Like the Haugmond Handicap Chase page with photos depicting the route, also the championship page must be popular with club members

Telford AC

1. 6.Plenty of news updates mostly on the blog which the website links you to
2. 5 Due to the site having a web page and a blog you do tend to flick between the two or have both open not that that is a problem but could be confusing
3. 7 good range of functionality like the athletes profiles page
4. 5 the blogger account looks neater than the website
5. 8 Like the news members FAQ's page on the blog tells you how to join and who to see when you first go along
6. 6 Lots of photos of club runners, races and awards evenings
7. 6 Annual presentation evening looks popular

Score 43 Lots of content might just be me but perhaps better to ditch original website and go with the blogger account or vice versia.

Telford Harriers

1. 6 Yes this site is being updated with lots of news items
2. 6  Easy to navigate from front page
3. 5 Fairly standard functionality
4. 6 Font size looks a little small,a lot of content on the front and club pages -perhaps add more menu categories
5. 7 Like the beginners sessions perhaps have a beginners page or make this prominent on the homepage
6. 4 Good use of photos within the website , I couldn't see a link or page with club photos
7. 3 In my quick visit to the site I couldn't see anything of a social nature

Score 37 Like the idea of including the newsletters  as a pdf link

Whitchurch Whippets

1. 6 Yes this site is being updated with lots of news items
2. 7 Very easy to navigate from the menu on each page so you never get lost
3. 7 Lots of good funtionality like the noticeboard page
4. 6 Red white and blue are the principle colours of this site
5. 7 There is a notice about joining on the front page and a further membership page
6. 7 lots of club photos on the gallery page with a link to a further picasa album
7. 7 Social page with loads of photos of awards evenings and many social events

Score 47 For a club that is only two years old pretty impressive what has been achieved. Liked the Winter Safety advice. And yes I did look at the Naked Whippets page only to be disappionted!

Wrekin Road Runners

1. 6 Yes this site is being updated with lots of news items
2. 7 Very easy to navigate from the menu on each page so you never get lost
3. 7 Loads of good funtionality like the member profiles and members birthdays are given a mention
4. 6 once you get beyond the front page the design is a lot cleaner with use of generally 3 colours
5. 6 There is welcome to new runners on the front page
6. 7 There are some photos within the web site but mostly held on a flickr website
7. 6 Social events are mentioned they have a social secretary to organise

Score 45 LIked the Lingometer page

 So the winner (and this is only in my view) of the Best Shropshire Running Club Website Award goes to Newport and District Running Club

All the websites to be honest were very good and put my blog to shame! If anything this might spark a little healthy debate and raise the profile of some of the great running clubs that we are lucky to have in this country.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Body Shop Simply Purify


In the current sales the better half bought this product from the Body Shop which is labelled as a refreshing body gel. The price had been reduced from £4 to just £1.50.

The product contains wasabi, menthol and bladderwrack seaweed.  Don't let either the thought of bladderwrack seaweed or the fairly uninteresting tube put you off! After my 8 mile run yesterday I wacked some on my legs particularly on the  calfs and thighs which can get tight after a long run.

What is wasabi? I recently had a bag of wasabi peas but didn't manage to eat them. I guess you either love or hate them  - a bit too peppery/ spicy and the peas were hard like bullets. Wasabi is a member of the cabbage family and is green in colour. Used to garnish noodle dishes but also known for its medicinal benefits to support the immune system and for detoxification.

Bladderwrack seaweed was the original source of iodine and is found in the North Sea of the British Isles. It is often found in kelp tablets and is eaten in some parts of the world as part of a salad. It is said to have many medicinal benefits including being an antioxidant.

In using the product what immeadiately hits you is the menthol. There was a fairly long term revitilising feeling in the legs which were grateful for a little stimulation and reward after a long run . I will certainly use this over the large winter months to come.

Definitely worth hunting down for any runner especially now as this is just £1.50

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kings Forest West Stow Suffolk


Five miles North of Bury St Edmunds in  Suffolk is the village of West Stow which is known further afield for its Anglo Saxon Village. If you want to experience what it might have been like to be an Anglo Saxon then make a visit to West Stow. There are generally events on most of the year details at the friends of West Stow site.The village has been created on the site where a major archaeological dig in the 1960's revealed a well preserved Anglo-Saxon site saved beneath the sands of the Breckland.

As this was closed for Christmas I parked further up the road at the picnic site known as Ramparts Field. This as the signboard indicates is a reminder of how much of the brecklands once were but after the 2nd world war much was put to forestry.

Ramparts Field survived as it was an  ancient gravel working site and is now used as a  good starting point for walks around the gorse and sandy lanes nearby.

 For my run on an overcast morning I wore layers to keep out the damp cold temperature it being just above freezing at 1 C. A sweat shirt and a techical t shirt over the top along with tracksters , gloves and hat kept me warm enough.

A short distance along the road from Ramparts Field towards the Anglo Saxon Vilage you can pick up the ancient Icknield Way which is said to be the oldest pathway in Great Britain predating the Roman invasion of 43AD.

What immeadiately strikes you when running this pathway is just how sandy the soil is around here with large numbers of flints everywhere. The name Breck derives from broken land and hints at how this area was never considered a great one for agriculture.

This morning there was a heavy frost and the ground even though being sandy was hard. The pathway I followed has been heavily used by forestry vechicles and hence is heavily rutted in places. At times I was running within the ridge formed by the car wheels and going up and down so although running I could imagine how bumpy a drive along here would be.

There are over 200 varieties of trees in the area known as Thetford Forest. My run took me on an out and back 4 miles to the King George the 5th monumnet in the King's Forest. Most of the trees that I could see that predominate are pines, oaks and conifers but there were also birch to be seen.

This certainly wouldn't be every ones cup of tea this run as it lonely and isolated. I say one mountain biker apart from that I was alone in the forest with the odd squirrel and a million rabbits for company.

In one section a local farmer has obviously filled one of the larger ruts in the pathway with broken bricks this provided a different challenge to run across.

At the end of the King's Forest the path meets the B1106 in a clearing, is a stone monument, with the following inscription: "This tone commemorates the silver jubilee of King George the Fifth. The Forestry Commissioners began in 1936 to afforest the King's Forest and to plant with Beeches Queen Mary's Avenue, which follows the course of the Icknield Way. P.L. Robinson, Chairman, W.L. Taylor, Assistant Commissioner."

I ran fairly slowly today but I was happy with my stamina on this run not feeling the urge to stop until around 6 miles. But by this point I was feeling a little cold and picked up the pace to complete my run back at the car. It was at this point that I realised that I had forgotten to use my jelly beans that I took with me to give me a little boost!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Push Ups

No run today. Instead just completed my push up programme for today.

Five sets were 16, 17, 14 and 14 followed by a 20. If you haven't tried a press up for sometime give it a go. As to be expected after completing 81 push ups you can feel some tingling in the shoulders afterwards. I completed the session but had doubts that I would after the 1st set. As the programme progresses the no of push ups to complete is growing. At the end of week 2 you complete an exhaustion test. Basically doing as many push ups you can do until you collapse and based on this your week 3 programme begins.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Timworth Green Suffolk


A good run this afternoon. I did a 10 mile run which consisted of a 5 mile out and back run to Timworth Green.  The conditions were a lot better than of recent with the frost pretty much gone. There was a drizzle and a strong wind that continously pulled at my hat when the cross wind hit me on the return leg.

This run from Bury St Edmunds takes me to Fornham St Martin. Just opposite St Martins the church in the village is a path known as the drifts which provide some excellent off road running on good pathways.

My route took me along the Great Livermere drift which emerges at Barton Bottom the main B1106 road. I run straight acoss this road and continue up a minor road- so minor on Google Maps it just shows as two thin lines with no detail. After about 1.5 miles you reach the tiny settlement of Timworth Green.

I began to struggle on this run around 7-8 miles when I felt tired. I had been listening on the ipod to A Mile with Me a running podcast from Steve Chopper who is based in the Christchurch/ Bournemouth area of the UK. If you are not familar with running podcasts then in my view this is one of the better listens around. Well researched informative content. This isn't a podcast diary of Steve Chopper's running it is more of a magazine with features such as interviews and history of various places that he might visit within the UK.

For the last 2 miles when I was really struggling I switched to the Lillingtons album The Too Late Show. Listen to the Lillingtons here and then download the album for about a £5 from ITUNES. Who doesn't like a zombies tune !!

I saw them crawl out of their graves,
On the night of the living dead
I saw them eating human brains,
And it went right to my head
I saw something at school today,
A-walking through the hall
Were those zombies that I saw
Over at the shopping mall?

They’re zombies
I think I see them everywhere
We’re zombies
And I’m afraid they’re everywhere
We’re zombies
I think see them everywhere
We’re zombies
And I’m afraid they’re everywhere
We’re zombies

I saw them crawl out of their graves,
On the night of the living dead
I saw them eating human brains,
And it went right to my head
I saw something at school today,
A-walking through the hall
Were those zombies that I saw
Over at the shopping mall?

They’re zombies
I think I see them everywhere
We’re zombies
And I’m afraid they’re everywhere
We’re zombies
I think see them everywhere
We’re zombies
And I’m afraid they’re everywhere
We’re zombies

Have we all turn into zombies?
Have we all turn into zombies?
Have we all turn into zombies?
Have we all turn into zombies?

Looking at my mile times for todays run my 10 miles was run in 1.29.31 -  8.23,8.32,9.06,8.28,8.45,8.54,9.32,8.47,9.10,9.50

As you can see even the Lillingtons couldn't speed me up for the last 2 miles.

How am I getting on with the push ups? Anyone else doing them? Well I have completed Week 1 on the 100 Push Ups website and today was the 1st session in week 2. This consists of 5 sets of push ups with a minimum of a minute rest in between. Set 1 is 14 Set 2 is 14 Set 3 10 Set 4 10 and Set 5 is a mimimum of 15 and I did 18. The main thing is to keep good form and complete proper press ups.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Running Club Website of the Week

 I am going to start including a review of running club websites.

What makes a good website? Well in my view it is many things but anyone who maintains a blog or who runs will know that you only get out what you put in a cliche I know but one that is true. A good web site should have the following
  1. Evidence that it is regularly updated. Websites live and die if there is no evidence of the site being regularly updated. Who is going to regularly return to a site that is only updated once every few weeks.
  2. Ease of Use. Some websites can trip over themselves in a bid to include every known technical gadget or feature on the planet. The viewer can get lost in a myraid of links so you end up down a  "blind alley". Or your viewers are just confused as to how to get around the website.
  3. Functionality. Having said above at 2  don't confuse your customer/viewer of your site this may sound contradictory but at the other extreme a running site must have functionality. If your viewer is going to return to your website then a range of functionality is important. Unique functionality will always score highly. Hurrah for the creativity webmaster who can create some unique feature.
  4. Attractiveness. This can be quite subjective after all beauty is in the eye of the beholder. An attractive website to some might be twenty different colours or very dark coloured fonts on a dark background making it difficult to read. A consistent pallete of colours for background and font will score highly.
  5. Beginners Are Welcome. A running club web site surely must always be looking to attract new runners in its area to join the club. So just how good is your running club website at doing this. Is there a big welcome flag saying come on in?
  6. Photos. A  picture can paint a 1000 words. Does your running club website have a good range of photos or is it wall to wall text. A good use of photos to break up text will score highly.
  7. Community/Social Feel. Does your running club have a social side or is it run , run , run and no fun. If it does a running club website that indicates whats on will score more highly in my book.
There are probably other attributes that could should  be added but that is what I am going to use to review other running club websites.

Why am I doing this? My blog is a running blog if you haven't noticed!. To bring attention to the many great running clubs around the UK. Also just for the fun of it. All running websites  are a labour of love and require a lot of unpaid effort to maintain. So hopefully no reacts badly to a lower score than they would have liked I realise my own site isn't that good. It is after all my own  personal view.

To start with I will do a review of regions in the UK and depending on feedback will continue or drop. Look out for this shortly so drop back in to see

Boxing Day Run 2009

 This morning after a week of ice and snow, finally most of the ice had gone and a bright blue sky and temperatures above freezing brought out many runners on to the roads of Bury St Edmunds.

If they were like me they were rolling more like a barrel rather than running smoothly through the parks. Many runners and non runners alike will start to think about starting their training schedule for the Virgin London Marathon 2010. I didn't get a place in the ballot and probably just as well. t present I don't have the stamina to run a marathon.

I initially headed to Nowton Park  but conditions here were dodgy with the car park like an ice rink it was impossible to run through . Once through the car park the grass was water logged in places and boggy and whilst runnable I didn't fancy a slow bog run.

So instead I headed back into the centre of Bury St Edmunds and headed to the Abbey Gardens. As you can see from the photos the ice has gone from the centre of town making this the safest place to run at the moment.

During the holiday break will start to think about plans for training and races to enter for 2010

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mid Winter - Holiday Break Run and Push Ups


Finished work today and to celebrate went for a run this evening. After two family do's and a meal at work I was in need of a run to burn off a few calories. However although there has been no more snow since Monday the ice and snow lingers and it is making it difficult to do any decent running. I haven't run since Saturday and feel the need over the Christmas break to put in some regular mileage weather permitting.

So tonight I decided to find a patch of ice free road and do some repetitions up and down along Newmarket Road in Bury St Edmunds. As I was running in a side road from the main road there was very little traffic and the road was fairly ice free apart from some spots of black ice where my footing would slip so you couldn't have absolute confidence.

I ran over to Newmarket Road doing 1.83 miles in a time of 15.17. My private strip of snow / ice free road ( why was this an oasis of snow free road? No idea) was around a quarter of a mile .23 mile to be precise.

My lap times for .23 of a mile were 1.51, 1.58, 1.57, 2.00, 2.02 and 1.58 a total of 1.41 miles in 11.48.

My run home after this was a good deal slower on the ice.

After my post yesterday about push ups I decided to start again. The push ups demonstrated in the video on the 100 push ups site indicated a bend in the arms which takes your chin almost to the ground. Prior to seeing the video I think when I first did this and scored 30 this was with a slight bend in the arms . I am sure I have seen only a slight bend in some push ups performed on tv. However I started again tonight after my run and I could only do 16 full push ups with full arm bends. So I have a long way to go to reach 100.

The initial "exhaustion" test places you in to a category for the push up work outs to follow.

I started day 1 today which involved sets of push ups doing 10 , 12 , 7, 7 with a minute gap between. For the final set you can do your maximum. I left it for 3 minutes and managed 17.

My arms are like jelly!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Push Ups

No run tonight with the paths being so icy. The only place to safely run is probably the roads but I don't fancy that in the dark.

Recently with my on and off injuries I have been thinking seriously about doing some all round exercises to improve my core strength and hopefully toughen up a bit. I have to admit to never really doing much stretching either before or after runs.

So recently I gave it a go just to see how many push ups I could do in one go without stopping and I have to admit this was only 30. I guess after years of not doing push ups probably since school days I just didn't have the body strength to do more.

By coincidence I also took a lot at the latest update on the Ran Yank Run blog and podcast and noticed that he to has mentioned push ups and that he has started a programme which builds you in 6 weeks to being able to do 100 push ups.

I am going to give this a go too as part of an all round programme of exercises to help improve my flexibility, strength and hopefulll reduce the possibility of injury.

The web site I have seen is called 10o push ups and is an excellent site including as it does a complete guide and video to push ups and a push ups logger to record your progress over the 6 weeks. Looking at the video of the push ups I don't think mine were as good form as those demonstrated so I guess I will start again with another test and let you know how I get on!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Running in the Suffolk Snow December 2009


After yesterdays 'wimp out' I decided I was going for a run this morning regardless of what the weather was doing. I wished I had gone yesterday but didn't feel confident about keeping my footing and avoiding slipping. Running in newly laid snow is to be honest easier than a day later when it has been walked in and becomes lumpy!

Only my hands felt a little cold. I wore a hat, a sweat shirt and thermal top and tracksters. My thin gloves were ok but I could have done with a thermal pair.

After some initial caution I found I could trust my shoes to get sufficient grip. I decided to run along Cullum Road and then head for the pathway along the side of the River Lark in Bury St Edmunds. The sheep grazing in Cullum Road seemed to be enjoying eating bark of the trees presumably to get some kind of mineral intake.

My run time for 5 miles was extremely slow with a time of 46.42 but this is meaning less in these conditions.

On my ipod I listened to a new podcast called Running and Life. This is different from many podcasts as firstly it is a UK based monthly podcast. Most running podcasts are based in the USA so it is always good to hear from fellow podcasters in the UK. On this apart from the UK and the USA there are very few podcasts seemingly from anywhere else in the world unless I am looking in the wrong place as they don't show on I Tunes.

Anyway I have subscribed to Running and Life and recommend if you like listening to an IPOD on a run to give this a listen. It is also different in being more like a running podcast magazine of featured articles and news from fellow runners who have taken apart in races. The 1st episode had a feature on the Eddie Izzard run around the UK.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snow comes to Suffolk - December 2009

No run today. I took this decision after I went down the garden to let the chickens out of their house. Flimsy excuse really but my hands were bitterly cold and I put doubts into my mind as to whether I would slip in the snow.

With the overnight snow our chickens said no thanks to coming out for a run around. To be honest with 5 inches of snow there was nothing for them to forage on if they had of come out. Instead they chose to stay put in their run. I poured hot water into the lock on the shed so the key would turn and then feed the chickens some corn. Their water was frozen in their feeder so I broke this as well so they could get a drink.

Looking back to some photos I took in February our chickens did venture out then but admittedly this was a much warmer brighter day.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Asics Gel Stratus 3


Christmas has come slightly early as I have bought myself some new running shoes. Namely a pair of Asics Gel Stratus 3. With there being no specialist running shops within a dozen miles of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk as per usual I buy on line and surf for the best bargins.

I am never worried about buying the latest model of a shoe but nor do I want to spend hours combing dozens of on line retailers to save a fiver. I often buy from offering as they do with most shoes a free technical t shirt. Their service is always good with prompt delivery .

The Asics Gel Stratus 3 suit my high arched feet as I tend to under pronate. As I tend to land on the outside of my heel this is where I found shoes wear out. I need shoes to have a hard carbon outer otherwise I can find the wear is too grea.I can end up chucking shoes out even the rest of the shoe may be in good condition because the outer heel has become like a cliff edge.

If you have any doubts about the type of shoe you should wear for running you should go to a decent shoe shop for a gait test. This is a check on how you land your heel and whether you roll your foot to the left or right or stay neutral.

You can also do a water paper test at home. Wet the sole of your left foot and lay it on a white piece of paper for a few seconds. If you are like me the water will leave an inprint as shown above. Visit Runners World for a complete range of types of feet and how to choose a shoe.

I also like to double up my running shoes so that I alternate usage. I do think you can give your shoes a chance to recover and dry out if you alternate usage so at the moment I also have a pair of Asics Gel Stratus 2 on the go with a hundred or so miles of wear.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Puddle Splashing

I am laughing about it know. However at the time I stopped running and gave the driver a pleasant wave well actually more of a Maxwell House coffee handshake gesture. The cause of this? I was on one of my regular runs around Fornham when a driver seemed to veer in towards the puddle beside the pavement kerb side. A large wash of muddy water left me soaked down my left side. I am sure the driver took a lot of pleasure from it and as I say I quickly found it funny but at the time with the temperature being freezing with some sleet and drizzle in the air and a further 4 miles to run I could have done without it. Believe it or not there is a £2,500 fine for inconsiderate driving according to this article in the Times. According to this article in the Daily Express someone failed there test as a result of splashing as the driving instructor said they should have stopped and exchanged insurance details!

Continuing on the theme of driving on my run around Fornham I run past one of the most famous roundabouts in England. What do you mean you have never heard of it! The Island Shrine of St Genevieve is a celebrated landmark according to an organisation called SABRE. Something to do with all four arms on the roundabout having the same number, the B1106.

Apparently members make pilgrimages to various road sites around the country and this roundabout is on the itinerary.

As for my run I lost all concentration and plodded out my 7 miles listening to The Cinematics - Break

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Icy 5

It was only 5pm but already there was a heavy frost on the cars and a crispy glint on the pavements as I set out for a steady 5 mile run.

For the first time this autumn/winter I felt the need to wear a hat and gloves. I hesitated there as to whether it is still autumn or are we in winter? The answer is it that it doesn't matter as whatever season we are officially in nature doesn't run to an official clock. Astronimically winter solstice begins on December 21st so it is still autumn. However Metrologists would go by whole months with December , January and February being winter in our Northern Hemisphere. So take your pick!

My run was pretty good without any obvious back or leg pain. I ran a circular route along Newmarket Rd in Bury St Edmunds with a white visable top over an Ipswich Town football sweat shirt, Ron Hill tracksters and my Asics Gel Stratus 2's. I picked up some excellent sweat shirts from Portman Road about 2 years ago for about £3 which were ex players training wear. I haven't looked at what they are made from but they are just perfect for running being warm and also wicking away sweat.

My laps times were 8.43, 8.35,8.44,8.35,9.12 for 43.51 for the 5 miles. This is better than my last 5 miles times which have all been in the 44 min plus region so perhaps some small improvement.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Flickr UK Running Photos


I am pleased to see there are over 3,000 photos on the UK Running Flickr Photo Group. I am encouraging anyone to join and add photos related to any running clubs in the UK.

If you don't know flickr in short this is a free photosharing site for all your photos amd I have started a group for UK Runners.

There are over a 1000 running clubs in England, Scotland,Wales and Northern Ireland. This group is about promoting your club by posting your photos here from events and competitions. This can be any event from a track meeting, cross country race, road race, trail or fell run. In fact any event in the UK .

Club running vest colours can date back many years and have a proud history. If you know a bit about your club and its history feel free to add some background with your photos.

With over 1000 clubs in the UK be the first to send in photos from your local clubs. The link here suggests there are 1039 clubs in the UK.

There are currently 37 members of the group but this growing slowly. You are welcome to join if you have an interest in runing in the UK. Any questions drop me an e-mail

These are the clubs currently represented with photos

Abingdon Amblers Athletics Club
Alchester Running Club
Amber Valley AC
Banbury Harriers AC
Barnet & District AC
Bedford Harriers AC
Belgrave Harriers
Bellahouston Road Runners
Benfleet Running Club
Biggleswade AC
Bildeston Bounders AC
Billericay Striders
Bingley Harriers
Birchfield Harriers
Birmingham Rowheath AC
Bishop's Stortford Running Club
Black Country Triathletes
Blackpool Wyre & Flyde AC
Blyth Running Club
Bolton United Harriers
Braintree & District AC
Brandon Fern Hoppers
Bridlington Road Runners
Bristol Triathlon Club
Bristol &West AC
BRJ Road Runners
Bungay Black Dog Running Club
Bushfield Joggers
Cambridge & Coleridge AC
Cambridge University Press Running Club
Cannock & Stafford AC
Cardiff Amateur Athletic Club
Castle Point Joggers
Centurion Running Club
Chelmsford Athletic Club
City of Norwich AC
City of Stoke AC
City of York AC
Clapham Chasers Running & Triathlon Club
Colchester Harriers Ac
Cornwall AC
Coventry Godiva Harriers
Derby AC
Derby Triathlon Club
Dereham Road Runners
Diss AC
Dorking and Mole Valley AC
Doncaster AC
Dudley & Kingswinford AC
Dulwich Runners AC
East Cheshire Tameside AC
East Cornwall Harriers
Edmonton Running Club
Elvet Striders
Ely Runners
Falmouth Road Runners
Farnham Runners
Fairland Valley Spartans
Felixstowe Road Runners
Fetch Everyone
Framlingham Flyers
Garden City Runners
Gateshead Harriers & AC
Gloucester AC
Great Bentley Running Club
Great Western Runners
Great Yarmouth Road Runners
Guildford & Godalming AC
Haddington & East Lothian Pacemakers AC
Heddington Road Runners
Hadleigh Hares AC
Halesowen Athletics&CC
Halifax Harriers
Hallamshire Harriers
Hayle Road Runners
Halstead Road Runners
Handsworth Road Hogs
Haverhill Running Club
Havering '90 Joggers
Helsby Running Club
Horsforth Harriers
Horwich RMI Harriers & AC
Hunts AC
Ilford AC
Ipswich Harriers
Ipswich Jaffa Running Club
Ipswich Triathlon Club
Kendal AC
Kimberworth Striders Running Club
Kingston upon Hull AC
Lakenheath Lopers
Larne AC
Launceston Road Runners
Leamington Cycling & Athletics Club
Leeds Carnegie
Liverpool Harriers & AC
Leicester Coritanian AC
Long Eaton Running Club
Looe Pioneers Running Club
Lowestoft Road Runners
Marshall Milton Keynes AC
Newmarket Joggers
Newquay Road Runners
Norfolk Gazelles
North Derbyshire Running Club
North Herts Road Runners
North Norfolk Beach Runners
Norwich Road Runners
Oakhampton Running Club
Oak Park Pacers
Orion Harriers
Peterborough AC
Pitsea Running Club
Plymouth Harriers
Pudsey & Bramley AC
Purple Patch Runners
RAF Honington
Ramsey Road Runners
Redhill Road Runners
Road Runners Club
Rothwell Harriers
Royston Road Runners
Saffron Striders
Saint Edmund Pacers
Saltwell Harriers
Serpentine Running Club
Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers AC
Shepshed Running Club
Southend on Sea AC
Southville Running Club
South West Road Runners
Springfield Striders Running Club
St Austell Running Club
Staffordshire Moorlands AC
Stilton Striders Running Club
Stockport Harriers & Athletics Club
Stopsley Striders
Stowmarket Striders
Strathaven Striders
Stubbington Green Runners & AC
Sudbury Joggers
Swindon Harriers
Tamworth AC
Tavistock AC
Team Kennet
Telford AC
Telford Harriers
The Saxons
Thetford AC
Tiptree Road Runners
Tipton Harriers
Totley Athletics Club
Trail Running Association
Trentham Running Club
Tri-Anglia Triathlon Club
Truro Running Club
UK netrunner co uk
Valley Striders Yorkshire
Ware Joggers
Waveney Valley AC
West Bromwich Harriers
West End Runners
West Cheshire AC
West Suffolk AC
Wharfedale Harriers
Wigan Phoenix AAC
Witham Running Club
Witney Road Runners
Woodbridge Shufflers
Woodstock Harriers AC
Wrekin Road Runners
Wrexham AC
Wye Valley Runners
Wymondham AC
Yaxley Runners and Joggers
York Acorn Running Club
York Knavesmire Harriers
26.2 Road Runners Club

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fornham Suffolk Circular Run


This morning I did a regular seven mile run around the villages of Fornham.

The weather was fairly good bright but cool.

I have returned to wearing Asics running shoes. I had a brief sojurn with Nike shoes but never again I found them to firm and grippy and constantly biting into the foot - The Nike Air Pegasus 25 were the worst running shoes I have ever had. Not that I have anything against Nike just that I won't be buying Nike ever again. I have a pair with some mileage which I won't use they just feel to firm and provide to much support.

Instead I returned to Nike and instantly comfortable were a pair of neutral Asics Gel Stratus 2. They just feel like running shoes which just leaves me to overcome injury and build up my mileage so I can start to improve my times.

However it wasn't to be today. I at least felt good with this run and didn't feel like stopping. Partly perhaps because I was running so slowly my time of 1 hr 2 mins 43 seconds was some 6 minutes slower than my best. My lap times were 8.39, 8.50,9.06, 8.58,8.42,9.19,9.05

Friday, December 11, 2009

Shopping in Norwich


The highlight of shopping in Norwich for me today was this busker. I would have taken a video but when I returned although his tape cassete was stil playing he had vanished to get a pasty I think.

This guy is unique as a busker basically his act consisted of songs on his cassette player whilst on the end of his arm a glove puppet on the end of his arm frantically jumped and bounced up and down. Not sure what the puppet was a dog or a snowman may be. To his credit he had earned a couple of quid in bronze coins as Cliff Richards 'The Young Ones' squeaked out of a 1980's cassette player. This guy is a legend and it would be worth going to Norwich to see him again and his performance.

In Fat Face this yeti was worth a photo. I survived shoping by listening to my IPOD and reading an Allan Mallinson novel called the Warrior. Mallinson is a historical fiction novelist in the style of Bernard Cornwall but a notch better in my view.

Lunch was had at this pub the Sir Garnet Wolseley overlooking the market. Inside on the plus side it served Adnams and pints of Broadside were gratefully accepted. However it was something of a glass house and lacked atmosphere. You certainly needed to keep your coat on as it was chilly. The bar man was friendly and had his work cut out as he served at the bar and then had to run up and down the 3 flights of stairs to attend to the needs of the patrons.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Running Injuries


I have had a very stop start period of running since the summer. I seem to have had at least three attempts to get into a regular pattern of running but every time I have beeen hampered by something new.

My initial problems started on returning from holiday in Southwold when I got out of the car and couldn't stand straight. I was bent double and had intense pain in the lower back and all down my left leg. I couldn't drive for nearly a month the cause being sciatica. Eventually after much popping of pills and a routine of stretching exercises I eventually felt able to attempt to run. However all my stamina built up over weeks of regulaly training had gone and I felt as if I was starting to run from scratch. My breathing felt laboured and my times were slow much slower in fact.

Perhaps because of this I managed to fall over a pot hole in Newmarket Road in Bury St Edmunds. I fell in a roll but managed to crack a rib in the process. The next day I tried to run but knew I had cracked a rib as running was out of the question due to the intense needle like pain in the chest. This meant another enforced break from any training. During this period of inactivity I managed to put on an extra half stone on weight which has added to the vicious circle of inactivity extra weight and slower running times.

Recently I have got back to some regularly runs but then had a heavy cold which didn't prevent me from working but wasn't something I felt able to run through or with.

I am once again back to running but still experiencing some pain in the lower back and right leg which feels a bit like like a return to sciatic type pain. I intend trying to build up the mileage and running with a degree of dis-comfort if I can and will plan out a schedule before the end of the year hopefully to include some races though my confidence is knocked as I never know from day to day if I am going to have aches and pains in the back and legs.

Today I had intentions of heading over the fields at Horringer Suffolk but the farmer had completley ploughed away the footpath I intended to follow leaving very muddy gullies. I tried to run but had a job just standing up right so I did a u- turn back into Bury St Edmunds. I want to search out some fixed distance courses around the town to do on a regular basis over the coming winter. This will allow me to compare my times and try and do some tempo runs , injuries willing.

A perfect 2 mile course I found starts from the junction of Oliver Road and Westley Road. This circular run could be run from any start point but I cose to run along Westley Road turning left at Newmarket Road before turning left again up Oliver Road and returning past Westley School back to the start. My time for the 2 miles was a slow 17.35 but it was the quickest I could do it at a training pace at the moment

I hope to try and add some other courses between 1-10 miles which are preferable circular in the coming weeks.

On the ipod today I listened to a BBC Radio 4 podcast Clare Balding walking the length of St Oswald's Way in Northumberland. St Oswald's Way is a 97-mile route, running from Holy Island in the north, along the Northumberland coast before heading inland to Heavensfield and Hadrian's Wall. Clare Balding is a presenter I associate mostly with horse racing but she has obviously presented on a lot of other tv and radio programmes.

Northumberland is definitely on the list of most visits places. I have travelled through on route to Scotland but was always impressed with the scenery.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Sir Bobby Robson Statue


A legend in his time. A familar site for any visitor to Portman Road are the statues of both Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alf Ramsey two of England's finest ever mangers.

Sir Bobby Robson


Sir Bobby Robson, originally uploaded by Running in Suffolk.

Sir Bobby at the final match of the 2007-8 season at Portman Road

Ipswich Town visit Feyenoord


Here is Sir Bobby and the Ipswich Town team visting Feyenoord. Sir Bobby is in the front row wearing the captains hat.

Sir Bobby Robson


It is a very sad day for all football fans with the passing of one of our greatest ever managers and gentleman of football.

Obviously at Ipswich we were fortunate to have the benefit of Robson as manager throughout the 1970's taking us to sucess in winning the FA Cup and the Eufa Cup. The league alluded us but I thank Sir Bobby for the fantastic memories which are unlikely to ever be repeated at our club.

He was a regular visitor to Portman Road even in recent years and I will load up one or two photos.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Victorian Photographers of Bury St Edmunds Suffolk


From what little I have found out so far on the Victorian & Edwardian Photographers of Bury St Edmunds I believe the following to be true but happy to be corrected.

A collection of carte de viste (cdv) and cabinet cards from Bury St Edmunds Photographers has been posted on my flicker site here and includes these photographers

W Spanton
W.S. Spanton
J W Clarke
JP Clarke
WM Aston
JH Gill
F Barkway

The photographer of these two photos is John Palmer Clarke whose studios were at Abbey Hill House now the Borough offices and 31 Abbeygate Street Bury St Edmunds

JP Clarke moved to Cambridge in 1903. He was in business in Bury St Edmunds from 1868 to 1903 so these photographs dates most likely from the 1880-90's.

JP Clarke was the son of John William Clarke also a photographer working in Bury St Edmunds at Abbey Hill House from 1868.

JP Clarke's apprentice Henry Issac Jarman bought the photographic studio at 16 Abbeygate Street which was run by WS Spanton from 1870 to 1901 when he retired. Two years later JP Clarke moved to Cambridge to work as a photographer.

William Silas Spanton was the son of William Spanton who was based at 16 Abbeygate St Bury St Edmunds from 1864 to 1870. William Spanton died in Jan 1870 at the age of 47.

JH Gill was based at 77 Whiting Street

William Aston was based at 83 St Johns Street now the home of the shop called Sunrise

Monday, July 13, 2009

Walberswick Suffolk


Walberswick is an area of outstanding natural beauty with its heath,marshlands and coastland. Though to many it is known as the home of the British Open Crabbing Championship which this year is held on 9th August. I have never taken part in this but know the event seems to grow every year with nearly 1000 entries last year.

Staying in Southwold to get to Walberswick you have a few options. You can drive about 8 miles back to the A12 and around the River Blyth. You can see Walberswick from Southwold just the otherside of the River Blyth and only a hundred yards so this seems the least sensible option. You can walk over to Walberswick and there are many routes which will take you through Walberswick Nature reserve. The most direct footpath will take you over the bailey bridge which is the former route of the old Southwold Railway line. The walk will only take you about 20 minutes from the centre of Southwold.

The 3rd option is to cross over the River Blyth by way of the ferry service. There is a footpath from Southwold Common leading to the ferry and is definitely an experience to try at least once. The ferry service has been run by one family for many years and there is a book to be bought telling the history of this service.

Walberswick has a long association with the arts and the English impressionist painters and when we there there was a party of some 20 painters at the sea front.

On the beach we had a competition to collect sea glass and hag stones. Most sea glass comes from bottles and is picked by beachcombers and is then used to fill jars or to make jewellery. Apparently according to the Sea glass association (yes there is one!) sea glass can be bought on e-bay but isn't necessarily authentic. Green and white sea glass was found which seem to be the more common coming from broken bottles there jagged edges long since being worn by the sea to a smooth service.

We also found many hag stones. What are they? Well they are stones that have a hole running right through the middle of them. They are also known by many other names such as wish stones, holy stones and nightmare stones. Hagstones have often been worn around the neck in the past to ward off evil spirits or at the end of a bed to prevent nightmares. The hole in the stone is created by centuries of wave action.
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