Sunday, January 31, 2010

Review of my Running in January 2010

It has been a successful start to the new year for many reasons for my running. I have largely been injury free just a slight IT band ache on the outside of my left knee but only when I purposely try to stretch it to see if it is still there. It doesn't affect my running at all at the moment.
My stats show
  •  a total of 152 miles for the month 
  • I ran on 22 days 
  • My biggest mileage week was 39 miles for this week beginning the 25th of Jan
  • My longest run has been 11 miles on the 24th and 31st of Jan 
  • Fastest paced run was my tempo run on the 20th of Jan 4 miles in 33 mins for 8.09 pace
  • Slowest run was an easy run on the 8th of Jan 5 miles in 46.41 for a 9.20 pace
  • My average weekly rate is currently 34.3 miles
  • My target for the year is 1400 miles and I am currently up on this by about 30 miles
  • I have run 4 tempo runs and 4 long runs
  • My weight is down from 86.5 to 84.5 kilos in this month
  • No hill sessions recorded which is a weakness for me at the moment
  • No races in January

For England and East Anglia January 2010 will be remembered by many as an unusally snowy month. Certainly for the first 2 weeks any runners venturing out had to combat the elements. Snow in Suffolk in recent years has often been confined to February.

I have practically started  again with my running after losing all my fitness following sciatica and then a cracked rib meant my training was patchy and non existent for many weeks at the end of 2009. It will take many months to build up a base of miles but January has been a good start.

For my long run this morning I did 11 mile on road to Risby and then on to Barrow in Suffolk. I did a 5.5 mile out and back run. I don't normally take a drink with me but today decided to take an isotonic bottle. To be honest it didn't work well carrying a bottle in one hand , it was too heavy and at about 8 miles it was a relief to bin and suddenly my arm felt free to move unburdened.

The round towered church in the village of Risby is St Giles
 and th pub shown is the Crown and Castle
It was bright and cold this morning and it was good to see so many other runners out training on their long runs.

The views of icy roads and fields are looking towards Barrow in Suffolk

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nowton Park Suffolk - Seven Mile Run


Uggh bitterly cold and breezy morning. Overnight there was a dusting of snow but I had no second thoughts about the need to keep to my training schedule. I haven't broken it yet though I am sure I will at some point.

The air was cold this morning to the point where it effects my running. I have read about this before and experienced this before in the previous cold spell earlier in January where I find I come to a complete halt when the air is really cold. It is as if I can get get enough air into the lungs and consequently I will walk a bit and then run on.

I read this on a site called Dr Pribut's Running Injuries Page "A balaclava is a fine idea to use to cover your face, and keep the cold air from triggering bronchospasm. A number of articles over the years have found that it isn't merely breathing cold air that contributes to asthma and bronchial constriction, but "facial cooling" that triggers the response. This is considered a reflexive triggering of the vagus nerve. Facial cooling can trigger other vagal nerve reactions, including slowing up of heart beat, which will limit your ability to exercise.

I will certainly try running with a scarf over my face and mouth if the cold weather continues to see if this overcomes a perception that the cold air might be affecting  my breathing. Then again I might be over analysing this!

I still managed to put in my 7 miles and again I had a slight time improvement with the following splits 8.29,8.51,9.09,9.03,8.52,8.39,8.44 for a total of 1hr 1 min 51 seconds. Three seconds faster than yesterday.

 Todays run took me to Nowton Park. There is a good circular run of around 2 miles folowing a woodland trail in parts. The ground was generally frozen rock hard so there was problems with slipping.

Day 27 of the Runners World SMART Coach schedule completed

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ickworth Park Suffolk - Seven Mile Run


I tried to pick the best time to run and listening to the weather forecast this suggested lunch time onwards. It certainly appeared that way as I set out towards Ickworth Park for an easy 7 miles. This is day 26 of my 11 week half marathon training programme and after being cooped up in the car for a lot of yesterday in a trip to the Birmingham NEC I was glad to be able to get out for a run.

Half way into the run the weather which had been breezy turned from a drizzle to hail and this was fun as my visability reduced and the ground around me turned a little white. The breeze soon took the dark black clouds away to be replaced by bright blue sky and a little sunshine.

A lot of this run took me of the road and on to the fields and pathways around Horringer and Ickworth Park. At times I was battling over thick mud and up and down hills.

My time for the 7 miles was 1hr 1 min and 54 which was a pb for the year, not that I was aiming or trying to do this and only represents a 5 seconds a mile improvement but as I pile on the miles I am looking for some small signs of progress.

I think all the training has also resulted in a reduction in my weight since Christmas as I am now down from 86.5 to 85 kilos. However as I am 5ft 9 inches tall according to the Body Mass Indicator Calculator I am overweight as I have a BMI of 27.6. Body Mass Index is defined as a person's weight divided by the square of a person's height, using the metric units kg/m^2.

It is also said that those who like to exercise such as runners may weigh a little more as they will have a stronger composition of muscle to fat. A number of gold medal winning athletes at the Olympics would be considered obese based solely on their BMI. A skinfold thickness measurement with calipers is used by some trainers and doctors when judging an athletes body fat ratio.

Online BMI Calculator

To get to a healthy BMI figure I would need a BMI under 25 and to do this be 76.5 kilos or 12 stone. That would mean losing 1 stone 4lbs or 10 kilos! Unlikely as I like a beer or two and I am not dieting in any way.

One of the alternatives to the BMI Calculator is the body mass index calculator. According to this they have slightly different definitions of weight.My BMI of 27.6 would make me marginally over weight - sounds a little better but not a lot!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hundred Push Ups Programme Week 6


Today was a rest day from running after yesterday's tempo training. So time again for more push ups.I am repeating week 6 training at the easiest level as I reached a plateau last week for the first time. Whereas up to now each week I have been able to do a few more push ups I suddenly couldn't.

At the end of week 6 you are expected to then be ready to do the 100. My max is still around 50 hence I will be repeating week 6 for a few weeks.

Today my session included sets of 14,14,15,15,14,14,10,10 and a final set of 46. This I managed comfortably though I was experiencing the arm burn at the end of the 46.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Five Mile Tempo Run in Bury St Edmunds Suffolk

Wednesdays are my days for tempo runs. Today the tempo run distance was a little longer being 5 miles instead of 4. Then again everything is a little longer I think in week 4 of the Runners World SMART Coach training schedule.

I am continuing to hit the mileage targets as per the schedule so that is going very well. However I am going through a week at the moment where I am feeling tired, whether that is due to the steady increase in mileage every week or it is a week where my energy levels are lower I am not too sure.

When I set out at lunch time the weather was dry but it has turned colder again and temperatures are hovering around freezing due to the winds having picked up.I ran an easy first mile in 8.26 to warm up though this should have been a bit slower. Some how knowing I am going to pick up the pace during the tempo run I usually run a bit quicker in the warm up than I should.

For my tempo run I couldn't really avoid some hills unless I chose to run on a track or found  a flat mile to run up and down over and over again. So my times for the 5 miles seem to flucutate quite a bit  8.06, 8.35, 8.15,8.17 and 8.23. Total 41.38 average pace 8.20. As the schedule called for 7.59 mile pace I am again outside of this.

I jogged home the final mile in 9.24

Just 24 days into the new running schedule there is a need for patience as I don't have a consistent platform of base mileage in the bank in the last 6 months of 2009 and can't expect instant results such as noticable reductions in times. The main indicator of how the training is going at the moment has to be on how successfully I am able to complete the longer runs. I have another 11 mile run this Sunday and completing this distance in reasonable shape will boost the confidence as the body gets to used to spending this amount of time on the run.

What I found helpful when out on the run is to listen to podcasts as a change from music sometimes. A brand new podcast which I think is an excellent listen is called Marathon Talk. The episodes tend to be about an hour which is just right for me as all my training is for an hour or more these days and it saves having to change the ipod over not easy to do I find when the player is in armband wallet.

What I like about this new podcast is how they have chosen to have a no of regular features. It has a news desk feel and is introduced by Martin Yelling and Tom Williams and each episode they interview a running personality.  Although it is marathon talk it would appeal to any runner though they have clearly launched it at this time to appeal to the mass of folks training for a Spring marathon.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Seven Miles around Fornham Suffolk

I ran tired today. I felt tired before I started but still get myself out of the front door which was the biggest battle. The weather was cool,grey and damp with a hint of rain. I was back to wearing a hat and gloves for this session which was day 1 of week 4 of my Half Marathon  training.
I am following the Runners World SMART Coach training schedule which this week calls for another increase in mileage from 36 to 39 miles all told if I do it.

My shortest run now is 7 miles where as that was probably my longest distance for most of the 2nd half of 2009.

Todays 7 miles saw my do a time of 1hr 2mins 31 secs. Not quick and at a slower pace than yesterdays 11 miles but not surprising as I have 30 miles in the last 4 days.

However I again ran within the easy 9.20 pace that was called for on the schedule.

It being a Music Monday a phrase coined by Kenley at the Essence of Running  I listened to the album by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs  - It's Blitz and it being such a dull day my track of the day is Dull Life

It was also time for me to do another session on the One hundred push ups programme. After my last session I have retreated a bit and decided to do  Day 1 of week 6 again and to choose the easiest of the 3 options available.

So I did a 25, 30,20,15 and then a 40 . Wow that was hard.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Suffolk Winter League County Cross Country 2010


The Suffolk Cross Country League is a series of 5 races run during the winter months. All are approximately 5 miles on multi terrain track and fields. Today was the race held at Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds and having already run before the event I went along to watch with my camera.

There is a junior and adult race and I took many photos which I will upload on to Flickr to my site and to my UK Running Group. You can find the photos on Flickr by searching using running or running in suffolk to find the photos or take a look here. The UK Running Group now has over 3000 photos , 41 members and over 124 clubs are represented in the UK. Why not join up and add your photos of races in the UK?

Saint Edmund Pacers wearing the red and black stripes on white shirts are winning the Suffolk Cross Country Series this year and again came in 1st in the mens race today.

11 Mile Run to Bradfield St Clare Suffolk

Sunday morning was dry a little misty and grey as I set out to do my longest run of the year. My Runners World SMART Coach schedule called for an 11 mile run which is the longest distance I have run since May 25th 2009 so was a real challenge to test how my general fitness and the running schedule I am following is working.

I am glad to say I completed the out and back run with good stamina. I do stop briefly during long and slow runs to take photos and to change the IPOD but today was good as I felt able to carry on and didn't have the same desire to walk that I have had in some longer runs towards the end.

It being an 11 mile run I am starting to think about taking a little fuel on the run. I hardly ever take water with me , perhaps I should but hate carrying it. I might have to look at options to make carrying a drink with me easier.

I did take 3-4 jelly beans with me today though these were not the sports beans that you can buy. Again I have meant to have a look at trying sports jely beans but haven't got round to it .
A  little water would help to wash the jelly beans down as they can stick to your teeth somewhat!

My run today took me out of Bury St Edmunds along the pathway besides the A134. About 4 miles into the run I went through the village of Sicklemere and then Little Whelnethum. The 5.5 mile half way point was reached at the village of Bradfield St Clare and I returned home on the same route.

The photo of the stream is along the aptly named Water Lane at Lt Whelnethum.

The Burns Night Poster is in the village of Sicklesmere.

The last mile has 2 large hills and my time shows that I slowed at this point. I felt pretty good up to around 10 miles.

Splits were 8.53,8.58,9.07,8.53,8.52,8.39,8.22,8.38,8.45,8.45,9.40

11 miles in 1.37.38  this represents my longest run of the year and of course a 2010 record for me over the 11 mile distance! It being the only one I have done.

So I have reached the end of week 3 of my half marathon training and apart from a little niggle occasionally on the outside of my left knee all is well. In week 2 I suffered from 2-3 blisters as my feet toughen up to all the pounding they are getting. Do you pop your blisters? Not sure if you should but I do it just seems to relieve some of the pressure from a blister. Lovely subject but inevitable I guess if you run distance or races.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Six Mile run at the Saxongate Water Meadows Bury St Edmunds Suffolk


It was a cloudy grey morning as I set off for an easy 6 mile run. I decided to run around the Saxongate Water Meadows in Bury St Edmunds.

Water meadows in Britain are an endangered shrinking habitat constantly under pressure from road and housing development. The Saxongate Water Meadows depend on volunteer support for their general upkeep and well worth it is as it home to many wildlife species. The water meadows here surround the River Linnet and once belonged to the Church and the Abbots in the Benedictine Monastery in Bury.

Wildlife to be found here include

  • great crested newts
  • palmate newts
  • smooth newts
  • frogs
  • toads

  • coot
  • mallard
  • moorhen

  • water shrew
  • water vole
Birds in the area include:

  • blackcap
  • great spotted woodpecker
  • heron
  • kingfisher
  • coal tit

I ran slowly this morning and felt tired from the off. The Runners World SMART schedule is leading me to increase my mileage every week and I am already at 36 miles a week if I complete  my long run tomorrow with no problems. Last year in 2009 I only ran higher mileage than this on 2 weeks of the year. I average 23.5 miles a week last year so the schedule I am following  is a significant increase. No wonder I am a little tired.

My 6 mile to day were run in 54 minutes exactly 9 minute miling so it certainly wasn't quick for me. My splits show 8.19,9.02,9.11,9.20,8.56,9.10

The 3rd photo on my post shows a lost childs umbrella probably dropped and then blown by the wind into the water.

I also completed the 1st session of week 6 of the hundred push ups programme. I stuggled a bit with this as well today and did sets of 40,30,25,25 and 40. I was supposed to do 50 on the 2nd and last set so I will need to repeat this session or go back a week before  I move on again.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Six Mile in and around St Johns Street,Bury St Edmunds. Suffolk

Day 19 of the Runners World SMART Coach training plan in my bid to complete the Joe Cox Half Marathon at Stowmarket Suffolk on the 28th March 2010.

I am mainly aiming through the training schedule to build up my stamina and have a good base level of mileage . If this goes well then I can begin to add some faster quicker sessions perhaps in the Spring.

Today was a 6 miler at 9.20 pace.  It was dark and damp with steady rain .  I was a little unsure where to head towards but decided to run the pathways and roads around St Johns Street named after the church St John's the Evangelist.

Built in 1840 this Victorian gothic church is often described as a rocket ship or as Thunderbird 1. It's appearance is like an Apollo space ship waiting to take off.

St Johns Street runs steadily up hill and is the route followed into the centre of Bury St Edmunds if you are walking from the train station. It used to be on the route of the Bury 10. Running up this hill was the final challenge at about 9.5 miles.

Looking back on my splits for the 6 miles  I set off quickly though I didn't notice this at the time and then gradually slowed as I get progressively more soaked.

Splits were 8.17,8.39,8.54,8.40,9.09,9.07

Total 52.49

Captain Robert Barclay Allardice (1779 – 1854) “The Celebrated Pedestrian”

This post is a little research on an event that took place in Newmarket Suffolk in 1809  by a famous pedestrian.

 If you are not familar with Suffolk England where I run then  I guess you may have at least heard of Newmarket . Some 16 miles west of Bury St Edmunds on the border of Cambridgeshire is the world famous home of horse racing. 

Whilst horse racing has taken place for over 2000 years it was Charles II who did more than any other monarch to advance the sport of horseracing in England. In 1665  he instituted the first race to be run in Britain under written rules and exported the name of Newmarket and the sport of horseracing to

America that same year. The first race track in the USA the Newmarket Course was built in 1665 in New York

The Jockey Club, a London gentlemen's club, came to Newmarket in 1752, and because it gradually bought up the land in Newmarket, it was able to regulate how racing took place there; these rules became adopted throughout the country, and emulated throughout the world.

During the 18th and 19th centuries pedestrianism was a huge spectator sport in Britain. It was an early form of race walking and was competitive with large wagers being stacked. Its similarity to horse racing being obvious - large crowds and big bets equestrianism (horse racing) pedestranism (race walking).

Samuel Pepys had written in the 17th century of footmen in service to aristocrats competing for large wagers. Footmen were employed to accompany coaches and walk ahead with important letters and to clear a path in narrow alleyways.

Born in 1777 near Stonehaven in Scotland 

Robert Barclay Allardice, who was universally known as Captain Barclay, was born in August 1777 at Ury House just outside Stonehaven in Scotland. Barclay was one of the strongest men of his time, which seems to have been a family trait. His family were famous for their muscular prowess and pastimes such as wrestling bulls, carrying sacks of flour in their teeth and uprooting trees with their bare hands were part of the Barclay family tradition. As a boy, Barclay played with a two handed sword which was too heavy for most grown men to lift. By the age of 20, he could lift an 18 stone man from the floor to a table with one hand. Hammer throwing and caber tossing were like children's games to Barclay.

However, it was his extraordinary walking feats that earned Barclay his greatest renown and the title of the 'Celebrated Pedestrian'. Long distance walking was a popular spectator sport in the 18th and 19th centuries with huge crowds willing to pay entrance fees to watch walking events. It could also be extremely lucrative for its top competitors, particularly if, like Barclay, they were not adverse to a degree of gamesmanship to stack-up the odds. In 1801, he wagered a thousand guineas that he could walk 90 miles in 21 hours, but reputedly caught a cold, and lost. He then increased the stake to 2,000 guineas, and lost again. He then got odds which would pay him 5,000 guineas if he won, which he did, with an hour to spare.

His first recorded competitive walking performance was in 1796 when he walked for 110 miles in 19 hours 27 minutes in a muddy park; in the same year he did 90 miles in 20 hours 22 minutes; in 1802 he went 64 miles in 10 hours; in 1805 he walked 72 miles between breakfast and dinner; in 1806 he walked 110 miles 100 miles over bad roads in 19 hours; and in 1807, 78 miles on hilly roads in 14 hours. In 1808, he started at 5am, walked 30 miles grouse shooting, walked 60 miles home in 11 hours, dined and walked 16 miles to a ball, returned to his home by 7am, and spent the next day shooting, having travelled 130 miles and gone without sleep for two nights.

In 1809, at Newmarket he accomplished his most noted feat of endurance walking. This involved walking one mile in each of 1,000 successive hours. In other words Barclay was required to walk a mile an hour, every hour, for forty-two days and nights. Barclay started on the 1st June and completed his historic feat on the 12th July. His average time varied from 14 minutes 54 seconds in the first week to 21 minutes 4 seconds in the last week.

Some reports on the event :-

"It was the afternoon of Weds 12th July and by now the crowds on Newmarket Heath had grown so vast that most of the men, women and children had very little possibility of seeing the action. It was hot with the midsummer sun beating down as more and more people arrived, drawn by the weeks of almost incessant media coverage in The London Chronicle, The St James Chronicle and The Times… Among the general hubbub, the noise of enthusiastic spectators and the smells from the food stalls, the mood was of excitement and satisfaction. Just being able to tell people when you got back home that you were there at the finish. Just being able to tell your children and grandchildren that you had been there and part of it. Part of the greatest human feat ever attempted. That was enough."

From The Celebrated Captain Barclay by Peter Radford

The Times
The gentleman on Wednesday completed his arduous pedestrian undertaking, to walk a thousand miles in a thousand successive hours, at the rate of a mile in each and every hour. He had until four o'clock P.M. to finish his task; but he performed his last mile in the quarter of an hour after three, with perfect ease and great spirit, amidst an immense concourse of spectators. The influx of company had so much increased on Sunday, that it was recommended that the ground should be roped in. To this, Captain Barclay at first objected; but the crowd became so great on Monday, and he had experienced so much interruption, that he was at last prevailed upon to allow this precaution to be taken. For the last two days he appeared in higher spirits, and performed his walk with apparently more ease, and in shorter time than he had done for some days before. With the change of the weather, he had thrown off his loose great coat, which he wore during the rainy period, and on Wednesday performed in a flannel. He also put on shoes thicker than any which he had used in the earlier part of his performance. He said that during the first night after his walk he would have himself awaked twice or thrice, to avoid the danger of a too sudden transition from almost constant exertion to a state of long repose.
One hundred to one, and indeed any odds whatever, were offered on Wednesday; but so strong was the confidence in his success, that no bets could be obtained. The multitude of people who resorted to the scene of action, in the course of the concluding days, was unprecedented. Not a bed could be procured on Tuesday night at Newmarket. Some bullet points
  • “1,000 miles in 1,000 hours for 1,000 Guineas” 
  • Captain Barclay wagered with a man called James Wedderburn Webster that he could walk 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours, covering exactly one mile in each and every hour of every day and night. 
  • The event, held on Newmarket Heath between 1st June and 12th July 1809, attracted huge crowds and vast amounts of money as it was estimated that over £100,000, probably worth £40 million today, was gambled on the event.
  • Captain Barclay was a remarkable athlete renowned for his outstanding powers of endurance and indestructible physique. Barclay was one of the strongest men of his time and was able to lift an18 stone man from the floor to a table with just one hand.  However, it was his extraordinary walking feats that earned him his greatest renown and the title of the 'Celebrated Pedestrian'.
  • His remarkable achievement in successfully winning his wager made him one of the most famous athletes in England at this time and also one of the wealthiest. The original wager was only for 1,000 guineas, but due to numerous side bets his winnings actually rose to over 16,000 guineas, over £6m in today’s terms.
  • His diet while walking consisted of 5 to 6 pounds of animal protein per day and he kept well hydrated with numerous glasses of wine, ale, porter and cups of tea. Whilst walking, Barclay felt the need to take certain security measures to guarantee his safety especially at night. He carried a pair of pistols in his belt and employed prize fighter ‘Big’ John Gully to accompany him.
  • Barclay’s average time per mile varied from 14 minutes 54 seconds in the first week to 21 minutes 4 seconds in the last week. He stopped only to have little rest breaks within each hour. Deep sleep was impossible and therefore Barclay would have suffered chronic sleep depravation.  The effort came close to breaking him physically. 
  • If the report of the total wagers was accurate, they were equivalent to some £5 million ($US 8 million) in modern terms.
Richard Dunwoody 2009 

Richard Dunwoody marked the 200th anniversary of Barclay's achievement by replicating the walk in 2009.Dunwoody was on the road for 255 hours 57 minutes and 36 seconds walking the '1000 Miles in 1000 Hours', 39 hours and 51 seconds quicker than Captain Barclay. Although a superior diet and trainers would have helped.

His fastest walking mile was 12 minutes and 19 seconds and his slowest, 17 minutes and 9 seconds with the average at 15 minutes and 21 seconds.

Dunwoody was accompanied for most of his walk with supporters and  famous stars such as Jilly Cooper, Michael Holding, Frankie Dettori, AP McCoy, Miss England, jockey Hayley Turner and Sir Michael Stoute.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Exhaustion Test week 5 for the hundred pushups

Today is another rest day from running after yesterdays tempo run. Tonight I did my exhaustion test at the end of week 5 of the hundred pushups training programme.

Basically the exhaustion test is to test yourself to do as many pushups as you can safely. At my absoloute limit I did 51 which is a new record for me.

I now start week 6 training in a couple of days and the number of push ups again increases. I may have to start repeating a week or two before I can advance with the aim of doing 100

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Four Mile Tempo Run in Bury St Edmunds Suffolk

Day 17 of my Runners World SMART Coach Schedule. Wednesdays are tempo run days and tonight it was a repeat of the session I did 2 weeks previously.

The session called for 6 miles in total  1 mile warm up followed by 4 miles at 7.54 pace and then a one warm down. How did I do? I am happy with the session because It is a definite improvement on the same session two weeks previously. My splits were warm up of 1.07 miles in 9.24

followed by tempo miles four miles with no rests in between miles of 7.52,8.11,8.12 and 8.20  followed by warm down of 1.04 miles in 9.19

So the first mile was pretty much spot on what was required I then began to slow for each mile so I couldn't keep the consistency. However all the miles were quicker than 2 weeks ago when I ran 8.30, 8.44, 8.50 and 8.53 for the same course.

Too early to say if the training programme and push ups are working but perhaps some green shoots of recovery are beginning to blossom I hope though never count your chickens before they hatch . Hows that for a cliche filled sentence!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hundred Push Ups Programme Week 5

Today was a rest day from running after 4 consectutive training days however I did complete a core strength session of pushups. I am continuing with the 100 push ups programme and I have reached the end of week 5.

In week 5 the big difference is that the no of sets has increased from 5 to 8. On the last and 3rd set of the week my session tonight included 20, 20, 24,24,20,20,22 and then the final set called for a minimum of 50. I had started the 5th set and got to 15 when the phone rang. So I had to stop and it was a wrong number!. So should I have started from where I left off or start the set again? It wouldn't have felt right to split the set in two so I started again and just managed to get to 50 which is a new record for me. It certainly shows with practice that I can and I am sure anyone can improve their ability to do press ups.

Talking of running on consecutive days  you may have heard of Ron Hill. I believe he holds the record for having run at least a mile every day since 1964 over 45 years ago! He has logged over 150,000 miles. Of course Ron Hill is not your average runner having once been at the top of the world marathon standards back in 1970. He lowered the record for the notoriously tough Boston race by three minutes to 2:10:30 in April that year and three months later at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh he did 2:09:28, the first sub 2:10 marathon.

For 26.2 years he ran twice a day and once on Sundays. You can catch up with Ron Hill's blog here 

I don't believe there is a Running streak association in the UK but in the USA there is a site listing runners who have run every day. The United States Running Streak Association indicates  the US record  to be held by a Mark Covert since 1968

Monday, January 18, 2010

Half Marathon Training - Runners World SMART Coach Week 3

After work I managed to fit in my training on day 15 of my 11 week Runners World SMART Coach schedule. Week 3 has another 10% or so increase in the overall mileage and this was seen today as my Monday easy run has gone from a 5 mile to a 7 mile run at a 9.20 pace.

I felt pretty good today its too early to tell but certainly my stamina and breathing felt better than recently. I ran the 7 miles in 1hr  2mins 49 secs which is just inside 9 minute miles. Splits were 8.30,8.49,9,8.53,8.50,9.01,9.43

So far I am running slightly quicker than the called for pace on the easy runs but not hitting the pace for the tempo runs. I am altogether very much a one paced runner. Hopefully following this schedule with regular tempo runs I will begin to correct this.  My first priciple aim though is to improve my overall stamina to build more confidence on the longer runs that I do which at the moment are up to 10 miles. I begin to tire around 7-8 miles and tighten up for the last 2 miles at the moment. Thats what I am aiming for with this training schedule is to improve my stamina and get my base mileage up to a good level the cream on the cake being any speed improvement in time to come.

Following a new tradition created by Kenley over at the Essence of Running today is also Music Monday. Check out his blog for details and join in by offering up a song that helps motivate you when out on a run.  Here is my first offer from the great band Jimmy Eat World whom I had the pleasure to see and briefly chat to at the Milton Keynes Bowl in around 2005.

Here is the lyrics and video to 23.

I felt for sure last night
At once we said goodbye
No one else will know these lonely dreams
No one else will know that part of me
Im still driving away
And Im sorry every day
I wont always love these selfish things
I wont always live...
Stop it...

It was my turn to decide
I knew this was our time
No one else will have me like you do
No one else will have me, only you

Youll sit alone forever
If you wait for the right time
What are you hoping for?
Im here and now Im ready
Holding on tight
Dont give away the end
The one thing that stays mine

Amazing still it seems
Ill be 23
I wont always love what Ill never have
I wont always live in my regrets

Youll sit alone forever
If you wait for the right time
What are you hoping for?
Im here and now Im ready
Holding on tight
Dont give away the end
The one thing that stays mine

Youll sit alone forever
If you wait for the right time
What are you hoping for?
Im here and now Im ready
Holding on tight
Dont give away the end
The one thing that stays mine...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Crowswood Cottages Ickworth Park Suffolk


For my Sunday long run the weather was mild and dry with a breeze.  I set off early in the morning at 8am and still wore a thermal top and a sweat shirt along with hat and gloves. Day 14 of my 11 week Runners World SMART Coach schedule called for a ten miler at 9.20 mile pace. 

The road to Horringer is about a mile from Westley Bottom.

Entering the park in Horringer with St Leonards Church to the right and the gatehouse lodge there is a wonderful park full of trees much of the design being by Capability Brown for the Hervey Family.

Passing by the redundant St Mary's church it sets the mind thinking as to what this landscape would have looked like when there was a small settlement and villagers who lived here. The depopulation of Ickworth was presumably encouraged by the Herveys over time. From census records it doesn't seem there was ever much more than 100 residents. Apparently there was approximately 15 or so properties close to St Mary's Church with a square green.

I dispensed with the hat and gloves at this point as if anything I was a little over dressed and needed to cool down. 

Just past the church at the White Houses you have a choice of heading on to Chevington Village or you can follow the old coaching track out to Westley. I chose the latter the track way follows the course of the River Linnett.

There are pathways to take you through Twist Wood and Diary Wood and here there are plenty of sheep but continuing along the coach path this takes you to another White House and beyond this the New Warren area which is a wooded area and an uphill stretch out to the main road at Crowswood Cottages.

I returned on the Little Saxham road back into Bury St Edmunds and completed a further three miles along Newmarket Road.

My splits were 8.59,9.28,9.42,9.02,8.52,9.16,8.24,8.43,9.03 and 9.30 for a total of 1.31 .05 for the 10 miles. Again slow but within the 9.20 mile pace that was called for in today's run.

It completes the 2nd week and a total of 34 miles. Next week wil get harder again

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bury St Edmunds Suffolk - 5 Mile Wet and Windy Run


Day 13 of my Runners World SMART Coach schedule called for a 5 mile run at an easy 9.20 mile pace.

The snow has gone to be replaced by wind and rain today. I don't mind a little rain but running in the wind can be disconcerting one moment giving you extra propulsion and next moment stopping you in the tracks. However wouldn't it be boring if every day  was the same.

Running is about being prepared and being able to run in all weathers. In a race you can tuck in behind other runners and get the advantage of a wind shield. However this morning I was running on my own.

With a cold wind like this morning you need to continue to wear layers as the wind chill effect will penetrate and could lead to a chill or worse still grinding to a halt several miles from home. However wearing  tighter  fitting clothes is your best option to reduce resistance.

Running in the wind can lead you to tense up and start fighting against the wind for a training session its better to remain compact, lean slightly forward to reduce the amount of drag , accept the wind and don't fight it. If you keep a running diary be sure to note it was a windy day as your times are likely to be slower.

My run was circular today, if it had been an out and back I would have given more thought to the wind direction as it is always better in the cold to run out into the wind and come home with the wind behind you. On a warm windy day best to do the opposite.

From what I have read a10 mph headwind slows you down by about 8 percent. So running into the wind is a form of resistance training and it is totally free!  Hopefully by embracing the wind rather than avoiding it any training will pay dividends giving a mental edge if and when any races are windy.

As per usual I took my Casio Exilim EX-Z70 with me on the run.These two photos show a wet and windy market stall at Bury St Edmunds market. Normally this would be a bustling hive of activity with crowds of shoppers.

The other photo is the Cullum Road Water Meadows. The ice has thawed and there is some slight flooding.

I got my 5 mile run done with splits of 8.41, 8.55,9.06,8.48, and 9.16 for a time of 44.46 which was within the target time of 9.20 miles.

The 2nd week of my Runners World SMART Coach schedule has seen an increase in mileage overall from 31 to 34 miles. It is going to get a lot harder from now on so time will tell if I can stick to the plan.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Six Mile run at Moreton Hall Suffolk


This was day 12 of my Runners World SMART Coach schedule which called for an easy 6 miles at 9.20 mile pace.

The temperature  was up to 4c and the snow is really beginning to go replaced by rain. This was a run in the rain but for larger parts of the run the pavements were clear of snow until I ran up Symonds Road which was still very slushy. This is also an uphill section and I slowed to a 9.36 mile but it couldn't have been too slippery as I came down the hill in 8.21.

Mile splits were 8.31, 8.47, 9.36, 8.21, 8.41 and 9.01 for a total of 53 mins for 6 miles.

On the podcast I listened to the the latest episode of phedippidations talking about Spring Marathons and his acceptance into the Boston Marathon.

Quotations on Running

I originally included these quotes on the Saint Edmund Pacers Website but though it worth while repeating here on this log as a source of motivation, inspiration and positive thinking.

I would have to say my favourite is the very 1st one from Confucius. By all means let me know yours and I would like to add to the list so send me others that I will add.

Quotation Source
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
"When you win say nothing,When you lose say less" Paul Brown
"While a man is racing he must hate himself and his competitors" Paul Cerutty (Australian Athletics Coach trained John Landy and Herb Elliott to name two)..
"I love controlling a race, chewing up an opponent. Let's get down and dirty. Let's fight it out. It's raw, animalistic, with no one to rely on but yourself. There's no better feeling than that." Adam Goucher American Cross Country & Track Athelete
"Sport is not about being wrapped up in cotton wool. Sport as about adapting to the unexpected and being able to modify plans at the last minute. Sport, like all life, is about taking risks." Sir Roger Bannister
"If the hill has its own name, then it's probably a pretty tough hill." Marty Stern Athletics Coach
"I always loved was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs." Jesse Owens Winner of 4 gold medals at 1936 Olympics
"Hills are speedwork in disguise." Frank Shorter 1972 Olympic Marathon Gold Medal Winner
"It's at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys." Emil Zatopek 1952 Olympic Marathon Gold Medal Winner
"Run like hell and get the agony over with." Clarence DeMar Boston Marathon Winner
"The mile has all the elements of a drama."
Sir Roger Bannister
"The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep." Robert Frost
"No one can say, 'You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.' The human spirit is indomitable." Sir Roger Bannister
"I've always felt that long, slow distance produces long, slow runners." Sebastian Coe
"You find out by trial and error what the optimal level of training is. If I found I was training too hard, I would drop it back for a day or two. I didn't run for five days before the sub-four-minute mile." Sir Roger Bannister
"Mind is everything: muscle - pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind." Paavo Nurmi the flying finn winner of more olympic medals (12) than any track & field athlete in history.
"Running is a lot like life. Only 10 percent of it is exciting. 90 percent of it is slog and drudge." David Bedford London Marathon race Director
"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon." Emil Zatopek 1952 Olympic Marathon Gold Medal Winner
"To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who's never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind." Jerome Drayton Canadian Marathon Runner
"The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare" Juma Ikangaa Tanzanian Marathon Runner
"I never put limits on myself" Michael Johnson World Record Holder 200 & 400 metres
"Get up and walk if you have to, but finish the damned race" Ron Hill

"My race of glory run,and race of shame, And I shall shortly       Milton
be with them that rest"

"For him (Keynes) the short run was much more significant       Keynes
than the long run - that long run in which as he used to say
'we are all dead'

"We swing unguarded hips and lightened our eyes                   Sorley
The rain is on our lips we do not run for prize"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Stowmarket Striders Half Marathon 28th March 2010

I really have a focus to base my training on now. I have gone and done it and entered a race for the first time since June 2009.

I have entered the Joe Cox Half Marathon at Stowmarket Suffolk.  This year the race course is a new one with a new venue at Buxhall near Stowmarket. I did last years race when I was feeling fairly fit and did a 1.45. 39 time I think. I doubt even with a successful 11 training programme that I will get close to this time because I don't have a solid base of regular running behind me.

The main thing for me is to finish with confidence and get familar with road racing again. Even if I run it as a training run it is the taking part and the experience of the event that counts.

Photos from last years race at Stowmarket

Hundred Push Ups Programme - Exhaustion Test

Today was a rest day from running however I did complete a core strength session of pushups. I am continuing with the 100 push ups programme and I have reached the end of week 4. At the end of each week you complete an exhaustion test basically doing as many push ups as you can without going over the top and doing harm to yourself.

I managed 45 which is a new record for me! But sadly lacks behind my son Tom who hit 60 though I think he has been doing some secret training! When I look back at the last 4 weeks my progress is as follows:-

Exhaustion tests
  • week 2 16
  • week 3  36
  • week 4  45
 Press Up Sets every other day a session consists of 5 sets these have progressed from week 1 where I did a total of 53 to 160 in week 4

According to the Guinness Book of Records the record for non  stop push ups is 10,507 by Minoru Yoshida of Japan back in 1980.  The reason why this record has stood so long is because this record was dropped from the records books in favour of a 24 hour record where any athlete can have as many rest breaks as they like.

The new 24 hour record is held by Charles Servizio (USA) 46,001 in 1993 However this has been beaten by Jeffrey Warrick (USA), 46300 though the new record claim has not yet been verified.

The one year record is held by Paddy Doyle of Great Britain who did  1,500,230;  in 1989. If you have not heard of Paddy Doyle take a look at his records. He is said to be the world fitness endurance champion

There are loads more push ups records at

So what do push ups do for you ?

The push up is actually what is termed a 'total body' exercise. While it is known as an upper body exercise, it works more muscles than just the chest and the arms. You work your chest, shoulders, triceps, back and abs.

The following video is worth watching and shows just how much your form can suffer when you try and do multiple push ups. Full credit to the girl in the video  who shows great determination to do 100 push ups much more than I can do at the moment !

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Snowman's lost his carrot

The slow thaw continues in Bury St Edmunds Suffolk and snowmen all over are shrinking and losing their eyes and in the case of this one at Fornham All Saints his carrot nose.

Although the roads are clear the pavements are a variety pack you just don;t know what you are going to get ice slush snow and clear sections. All of which meant that for my tempo run today I did a warm up in search of a fairly clear section of pavement which I found out at Fornham All Saints.

This was day 10 of my Runners World SMART Coach schedule which hopefully will gear me up for a crack at a half marathon at the end of March. Yesterday was a total rest day no running or push ups and I felt strangely inactive after 4 continuous days of running. Today called for a tempo run of 7 miles including a warm up 3 miles at 7.24 mile pace with half mile jogs in between before a warm down mile home.

How did I do?  Warm up of 1.73 miles in 15.08  Tempo miles in 8.11, 8.17,8.17  . I did the half mile jogs and then ran home 1.33 miles in 11.49 A total of 7.12 miles.

Ok again I was nowhere near doing my tempo runs in the pace suggested by the schedule I am just not in that condition and it was still slippery in places. However taking the positives from this my 4 tempo miles last week were between 8.30 and 8.53 so perhaps there has been some improvement. Perhaps I am increasing my anaerobic threshold or it was just less slippery than last week

Felt good today after my rest yesterday which was needed as I had been feeling a little pain on the outside of the knee. A sure sign of Iliotibial band syndrome. It didn't affect my running and I only felt pain by pressing it. But seemingly gone today though something to watch out for in the coming weeks. I have never had this before so not sure what may have caused it but I suspect overuse brought on by the sudden regular running in this training schedule, running on ice, overpronating which I do or running on hills which I do.

More grey snowy photos on this post. The church is All Saints at Fornham All Saints village. You can only just see that the snowman has lost his carrot.
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