Sunday, March 28, 2010

Joe Cox Half Marathon 2010

St Mary's Church Buxhall
Finally the race that I have been training for really since the beginning of January arrived. On a dry but breezy day I set of for the new race venue headquarters which were in the small village of Buxhall in Suffolk.

The Headquarters were at a firm called John Deere a tractor and lawn mower company. There was plenty of car parking and the directions sent by the Stowmarket Striders who organised the race were good. The decision to switch the race from Gt Finborough last years venue was clearly a good one at least from the participants point of view.

As I got out of the car I was caught out a little by the weather. It was much cooly than yesterday with a chilly breeze blowing across the prominatory position of Buxhall. Walking to the headquarters to pick up my race number the views were quite stunning looking towards St Marys Church and the tower windmill in the village.
Joe Cox Medal
I wished I had brought my gloves and my thoughts were changing regarding what I was going to wear for the race. I had been confident the day before that I could just wear the St Edmund Pacers club singlet and shorts.

After picking up my race number I had nearly an hour to kill. This I did by listening to the latest episode of Marathon Talk podcast. I do think this podcast is one of the best out there at the moment. Good mix of training tips and humour in a magazine style format.

Junior Race at Buxhall
I then took in the start of the juniors funrun . There seemed to be a very good turnout of runners from the St Edmund Pacers.

It was then decision time on what to wear and I wimped out and decided to wear a long sleeved top under my race vest. The start at 11am came and I shot off too quickly carried along by those around but I felt good and I ran the first 2 mile loop in  7.43 and 7.31 miles. The course was very rural often along single track roads. The roads were open to traffic but there was very little and this didn't appear to be a problem.
Final bend

Finish in site
There were frequent drinks stations during the race I believe there was either 3 or 4. Drinks were provided in small bottles most of this being wasted after a few sips and then lobbed into the verge. This must provide the marshalls quite a lot of work in the tidy up.

After about 5 miles I felt warm and wished I wasn't wearing my long sleeved top and I toyed with removing it and chucking it but decided to just ignore it and hope for the best.
Bobby Moore Charity Runners

It has been so long since I last raced that I had forgotten how so much of the race is about the mental focus and whole miles go by once you get yourself into a trance like focus on the race and who is around you. The course was generally flat but large sections of the race were spent running up hill down in short bursts. The strong breeze was a constant consideration.

I began to stiffen up after around 10 miles and I stopped at the drinks station here to have a drink. Although I realised I had slowed my pace I was confident of finishing which was my first target. My second target was to get under 2 hours and if I ran well to get under 1hr .50 mins.
Daisy Tractor Girl

So I was pleased to complete the race in 1hr 48 mins on my watch and officially I believe in 1 .48.03. My mile splits for the race were

7.43,7.31,8.09,8.01,8.27,8.11,8.21,8.15,8.28,8.19,8.24,8.34,8.13 and 1.17

This is an average of an 8.15 pace so plenty to work on here but I am going to have a restful week before considering what to do next?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Canal Lake at Ickworth Park Suffolk

One of my frequent running routes takes me to the National Trust Park at Ickworth. The park has several miles of routes to follow and two lakes including the one in this video.

It was a windy day so the sound is rather blowy. Stick with the video to the end and you will see across the lake the old summer house.

The Grade II walled kitchen garden is situated 500m south-west of Ickworth House
on the north bank of the River Linnet. It is enclosed on three sides and is open to The Canal on the south side. Within the kitchen garden lie a further two walled enclosures also open to the water, currently used as a vineyard. Sir John Hervey's three-bay, single-storey Summerhouse (also listed grade II) built in 1703 is situated in the centre of the main garden. It is constructed of red brick with moulded cornice and a parapet which hides a flat roof. The Summerhouse is said to have stood in the grounds of the old manor house and was retained as a feature within the kitchen garden. (extracted from St Edmundsbury Borough Council's Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Interest)

Beyond the summer house you can see St Mary's Church and the rotunda shaped Ickworth House.

The small vineyard here produces some good wine . I tried a bottle of their walled garden white wine and very enjoyable it was.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Cygnett Action Sports Armband

Cygnett Action Sports Armband
If you are like me, then when you are going for a training run  I like to enjoy listening to music or podcasts. This has especially been the case as I have spent more time out running than usual since the beginning of the new year as I have trained for a half marathon.

So it still surprises me that when I am out running that you see so many people holding an mp3 player or an IPOD  in their hands. Or worse still and I have been there and done this, have thier phone or IPOD tucked in the waistband of their shorts. From experience it doesn't stay in place and you end up fishing inside your shorts to remove your phone or IPOD. This can get some funny looks if you time this badly and someone just happens to spot you doing this!

The answer of course is a sports armband and today I tried out my new Cygnett Action Sports Armband from

My review of this product is as follows

 I was doing a fast tempo run today but regardless of this when running if you buy a sports armband above all you want peace of mind. By this I  mean you can basically forget all about it because it is secure and it isn't going to come loose from your arm. The velcro tabs provide a nice tight fit . For those of you with big biceps I am not sure how big an arm this would fit . My biceps are apparently spot on with the average which is 13 inches and these armbands could certainly fit a lot larger size than me.

Secondly my IPOD touch fitted neatly into the see through pouch on the armband . During my run I had no problems when I wanted to skip a tune in accessing the touch screen menu. I don't have very long earphone cables but I know this can be a problem. This armband allows you to wrap any slack cable through the holes in the top and bottom of the armband.

 During the run I had no problems with sound quality as my IPOD touch was secure on my arm and the design of this armband is said to give good shock absorption .

We have finally got some better weather and as I say I was doing a fairly fast tempo run so I got somewhat hot and sweaty. I have had sports armbands where if you run 6 miles and get warm you find your IPOD is incased in its own little sauna. The inside of the  pouch can get wet and you wonder if this is doing your IPOD any good. Obviousy only my first use of the Cygnett Action Sports Armband but when I returned home the IPOD was still fairly dry. The neoprene material must be fairly breathable and this is a big plus.

All in all a super little product which comes with  a 1 year warranty.You can find other iPhone accessories here.

The manufacturers blurb on the product is as follows

Go the distance with this lightweight & weather resistant armband for iPhone & iPod.
Move without restriction & without sacrificing performance. From track to trail, on a bike or on foot, this sports armband frees your hands for action. Made from a breathable, easy-clean, quick-drying & sweat-resistant neoprene fabric, the Cygnett Action armband protects your phone whilst your working out by adding additional shock absorbtion.

The case also features a removable cable management system to add greater comfort for you and your iPhone or iPod.
  • Removable cable management system
  • Suitable for walking, running, cycling, climbing etc
  • Comfortable design that moves with you
  • Protects your iPhone and iPod with added shock protection
  • Breathable, easy-clean, quick-drying & sweat-resistant neoprene fabric
The product is compatible with all iphones, IPOD touch, IPOD classic and IPOD video  all generations

Tempo Run

Lunch time today was my last quality training session before my half marathon  race on Sunday at Stowmarket, Suffolk. I am in a taper week and didn't run Monday or Tuesday. I am putting up my feet a bit and planning to enjoy plenty of carbohydrates such as  pasta , pizza and potatoes. Along with a few beers I could get used to this.

However my tempo run today was a 6 mile effort. I warmed up for a mile in 8.29 and then switched on the Ramones to accompany me on the faster four mile tempo run. I felt good starting off running down a hill and finishing the four miles up a hill. My 4 miles were run in 32 mins 3 seconds. Splits were 7.46, 7.54, 8.07 and 8.16. Overall that it is my best tempo run pace that I have managed during the half marathon training.

I warmed down with a slower mile home in around 9 mins.

I am still a long way short of what I was running pace wise before all of my injuries last year but I am heading the right way.

I have a couple of short 4 mile easy runs planned before Sunday but that is it this week

Monday, March 22, 2010

50 Essential Health Hacks for Serious Runners

You may be interested in taking a look at this post on the X Ray Technician Schools blog aimed at providing 50 essential health hacks for serious runners. These are hints to prevent injury , remain healthy and  keep hydrated.

Some of the hints are familiar ones I have seen before but some are new such as

sleeping in your running clothes! Not sure this would go down well with my better half but understand the logic. It is to help you go running first thing in the morning.

Practice belly breathing to maximise oxygen intake

Making sports drinks at home

Take a cold shower before running in the heat

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday Long Run

MY last long run of my half marathon training schedule called for a 14 miler. To be honest I didn't quite manage it and I did exactly 13.1 miles in a time of 1.56.26 at an 8.53 pace. The Runners World SMART Coach training plan suggested a 9.09 mile pace so I was within this.

Next Sunday when it comes to the race will I be able to run a bit quicker? I just don't know. My prime target having not raced for so long is just to complete a race. I think I have already concluded that following the Runners World Smart coach plan has been a success for me. What I have got back is a core mileage base and  a confidence to be able to go out and run 10 -13 miles. Before the plan during the second half of last year my long run was seven miles. As long as I run under 2 hours I will be happy having a new pb for 2010 , a new target to then try and beat.

For all I know it could rain heavily and be windy on Sunday and battling the elements will be the main focus. Again as long as I get to the start line and then finish I will be happy.

Todays weather would have been ideal clear blue skies and quite cool at 7.30am. I visuted the villages of Fornham St Genevieve, Hengrave, Culford and Flempton on a circular run.

The first few miles were off road besides the river bank. As pleasant as it was besides the River Lark the ground was slippery and muddy in places. Getting back on to the road at Hengrave was actually a relief . On reaching Flempton I decided not to do and out an back run to avoid repeating the riverside run and instead returned to Bury St Edmunds via the grounds of Culford School and back to Fornham and home.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bury St Edmunds Town Centre Five Mile Run


Saturday morning and the weather was set fair with a little drizzle in the air.

I was tired this morning before I started to run and consequently I ran a very slow five miles. It was however at the half marathon schedule pace of 9.09 miles.

I decided to run around the centre of the town which is possible on a Saturday before 8.30am as although the market stalls are set up there was very few people about .

I had the Abbey Gardens more or less to myself but unless you are going to run in circles over and over you need to venture a bit further afield if you are running five miles. So running out of the Abbey Gardens you pass through the old graveyard next to the St Edmundsbury cathedral shown in the  photo on this post.

There are many interesting old gravestones particularly in the old charnel. Mary Hasleton in the photo on this post was said to have been struck and killed by lightening in the act of prayer at the age of nine.

 The second photo is an epitaph to the prime mover and founder of Jamestown North America - Captain Gosnold. His daughter Mary is buried in this churchyard hence the naming of the place known as Martha's Vineyard

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fornham Suffolk Circular Run

Lunch time today I did a seven mile circular run over a regular route. It always provides me with a bit of a benchmark of where my training is at.

Running out of Bury St Edmunds I visit the 3 villages of Fornham - St Martin St Genevieve and All Saints before returning home. The outward mile provides a couple of downhill sections but what goes down must come up and I climb the hills in the final mile.

Most of the rest of the course is pretty flat. Today my mile splits showed the following 8.01,8.09,8.26,8.21,8.24,8.34 and 9.05. This shows how poor I am at climbing hills. I have done no hill training in my half marathon training preferring just to build up my base mileage and core strength from the press ups programme.  Obviously if there are many hills in the up coming half marathon this is going to slow me down.

My time for today was 59.03 my best over this course this year and first time under an hour this year . The last time I ran quicker was the 10th June when I did 57.33 so again a long way to go to get back my fitness but I am heading in the right direction now.

This short video of the centre of Fornham All Saints is mainly of the church.  The church has been restored over the years but is mainly 13th century.

As you can tell from the video it was a fairly breezy day but mild and I again ran with just shorts and a technical t shirt


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Track Interval Session at West Suffolk Athletics Arena Bury St Edmunds Suffolk

Tonight my running schedule called for an 8 mile tempo session. I decided to vary it a bit and do an interval session at the West Suffolk Athletics Arena in Bury St Edmunds instead.

This was my first visit to the track this year as I have focused entirely on my half marathon training schedule. This has meant road training and road training and more road training and I haven't been to the track or ventured off road as much as I would normally do. This has been a deliberate plan to see if a focus on a schedule would put me back on the straight and narrow as regards to my stamina to run longer distance and most importantly my confidence. I haven't raced for so long it is now a scary prospective.

So it was with great pleasure that I jogged a mile to the track with a drink in hand wearing tracksters and a thermal top. It was positively balmy this evening and I wasn't in two minds about removing the layers and a short sleeved technical t- shirt and shorts was all I needed along with my Ascics Gel Stratus 2's. These shoes will have to be retired in probably a month or so as I see I have recorded 375 miles in them.

The coach and many of the rest of the Saint Edmunds Pacers club were doing some sets of 4 minute runs but I wasn't tempted to join in as my plan was 6 x one mile intervals .

I felt strong as I set off on the first mile. The main thing was I felt I could keep up a decent pace throughout and my legs and breathing were not acting as a brake as they quite often do. I wasn't sure what time to expect for a mile but I stopped the Garmin Forerunner 205 at 7.32.

Not bad my fastest mile of the year but only because I havent't been to the track. Normally runs at th track are over a shorter distance with intervals of between 1 min and 5 mins so running several mile intervals isn't usually done. Looking back my diary indicates that last year for pace on the track over 3 minutes I would often run around 6.50 - 7 mile pace. 

I tired after 4 intervals but managed to complete the set of 6 to give times as follows

7.32,7.32,7.27,7.22,7.39, and 7.40

In between efforts I had my Asda Isotonic Mixed Berry Flavour Sports Drink

I really like this flavour , very good design of bottles with a good closure cap and cheap  in comapison with the competitors £1.46 for 4. Nice one Asda.

My times were pretty consistent with just 13 seconds between fastest and slowest. I was tired after this and jogged home the mile to give me a warm down and 8 miles in the bag.

Felt good tonight will have a break Thursday before reurning to the road on Friday lunch time.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Running training - The big week

This is week 11 of my Runners World SMART Coach training plan. It is the week when I am due to run the biggest mileage of the 12 week training plan. I doubt I will do the complete 51 miles of training but I hope to get above 41 miles and that will mean I have run the highest mileage of the schedule.

Next week is a taper week leading up to the race on Sunday week. This week I am supposed to do
  • Easy run 8 miles 
  • Tempo run of 8 miles including 6 tempo miles
  • Easy run of 7 miles
  • Easy run of 7 miles
  • Easy run of 7 miles
  • Long run of 14 miles
Tonight I ran 8 miles and I felt really good to the point where I didn't run easy I just let go as I felt I needed to and wanted to. What resulted was one of my quickest 8 miles of the year .
My splits show an 8.24,8.27,8.58,8.21,8.34,7.36,8.21,8.40. for a 1hr 7 mins 29 secs for the 8 miles which is an 8.26 pace.

The odd thing was the 7.36 mile ?! Where did that come from seems a bit odd on my garmin .

This week is daunting scary almost but I am through day 1.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Running Diary Time Machine

No run today feet up having a rest so a blast from thr past what was I doing 3 years ago ? Well here is one of my entries from 2007. This one with a link to the ship the  Titanic


For todays run I drove out from Bury St Edmunds to Thurston and parked near to the railway station. I presume what was an old railway station building from the 19th century has now been converted and is flat accommodation.

I immediately headed out of Thurston passing the grounds of Thurston House on the left side of the road. Thurston House will sadly always be linked with the Titanic. Tyrell William Cavendish was married to Julia Florence Siegel in 1906. When they bought Thurston House in 1912 they had made plans to renovate the house. However Mr Cavendish had political ambitions with thoughts of being an MP perhaps for Bury St Edmunds. Looking for funding he decided to visit Henry Siegel who was a multi millionaire on the ill fated Titanic.

Tyrell Cavendish had had uncomfortable premonitions about the voyage and made his will on the day of the voyage. They boarded the Titanic at Southampton and traveled as 1st class passengers. Mrs Cavendish survived along with the maid a Miss Nellie Barber who were rescued in a lifeboat.

Lady Cavendish sold the property without ever living there for a value of £5k.
Tyrell Cavendish Hall was paid for by Lady Cavendish as a memorial to her husband and the village hall is still used by local clubs.

I ran along the Thurston Road under the A14 just before entering the village of Beyton. I ran around Beyton Green and visited both of the local pubs The Bear and the White Horse. Beyton has a true village centre with a large village green with a stream running through the centre and space for sport.

I continued past the White Horse on towards Hessett. After passing Beyton Middle School and the old Post Office now a private dwelling you come to All Saints a round tower church.
I would say less than half a mile further down the road you arrive at St Ethlebert's at Hessett this time a square tower. I took my life in my hands and entered Hessett but I didn't notice any strange children.

After a run around Hessett I returned following the same route back to the outskirts of Thurston and decided to visit the Thurston Planche. A rather grand building in substantial grounds.

I carried on over the railway line along Barrell's Road before returning to Stockhold Green under another railway bridge before heading up to St Peter's Church

I retraced my steps through to the the Thurston Planche and on to the Thurston Road past Thurston House and to my car.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

10 miles around Great Saxham Suffolk

This morning I did my last run of week 10 of my half marathon training programme. I felt sluggish this morning not helped by the large curry and beers the night before. I had intended to do another 13 miler today but I forgot to restart my watch when I got to Gt Saxham .

As I ran uphill I saw a couple emerge froma field having feed their horses and immeadiately two labradors came bounding towards. I stopped at this point not knowing how friendly they would be. As it turned out perfectly harmless. However I couldn't run again , I tried but this only set the dogs off again so I walked up to the couple who were friendly and turned out to be the owners of Great Saxham Hall .

They were interested in what I was training for and explained that there daughter had run the London Marathon  a year or two ago. The hedgerows at Gt Saxham are carpeted in snowdrops but there is little sign of the daffodils at the moment which are late this year. This concerned the lady as she said they were holding an open day at their hall and gardens in 3 weeks time.

After this I forgot to restart my watch so I don't have a time or exact distance for my run but I believe it was around 9.5 miles.

My run had begun in Bury St Edmunds and I had run out to Little Saxham before taking the Barrow road and heading left up hill into Gt Saxham.

Further photos of Gt Saxham including some of the hall are avilable at my flickr photo site here

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fornham Circular Seven Mile Run

I got in a seven mile run this morning around Fornham. It was a fairly standard run at an easy pace before setting off for the football at Portman Road. Ipswich Town v Scunthorpe Utd in the Championship. Both sides struggling at the wrong end of the league fought out a dour game spoilt by the tactics of the away who constantly wasted time.

However they got what they deserved in the end as Ipswich won 1-0 scoring in the 2nd minute of injury time. The goal coming from Conner Wickham who is just 16 years old.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sicklesmere Suffolk - Interval Run

My SMART Coach half marathon schedule called for a 10 mile run today but to include intervals.

I decided to run an out and back course to Sicklesmere a small village on the Sudbury road. I warmed up for 2 miles in 16.59 and then did a series of 5 interval miles followed by a half mile jog.

My times show the following for the miles 8.01,8.14,8.05,8.07 and 8.09. I would have hoped to have run miles under 8 minutes but my level of fitness is just not at that level at the moment. I was fairly happy it being a fairly windy day and my times were quite consistent.

It was also quite mild. When I reached Sicklesmere I stopped by sides the road and decided to remove both the thin gloves I had been wearing and my tracksters leggings . I was so warm as I changed the sweat was just pouring of me. As a result this was my first run of the year in shorts ! I certainly felt better for it and after the 8.14 mile all of my following times were quicker as I wasn't overheating in the same way as before.

I jogged my last mile home. My total time for the 10 miles was 1hr 24 mins and 37 seconds. This compares with a time of 1hr 28 mins and 29 seconds for the same route on a continuous run back on the 1st of March . Of course today I did stop to change for a while.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Five Mile Easy Run

After a late night at the football on Tuesday I was feeling wiped out and didn't run on the Wednesday either. So I was looking forward to a run as I set out this evening.

I was in two minds whether to switch my schedule around and do the 10 miler or the shorter 5 miles. However my mind was made up for me as my battery on my Forerunner 205 ran out of juice. Consequently I had a releaxed easy 5 miler over a regular route.

Along Cullum Rd, up to the Ramada Hotal and back to Newmarket Road in Bury St Edmunds .

Monday, March 08, 2010

Seven Mile Circular Run Fornham Suffolk

After yesterdays 13 miles I was a little tired and I had to talk to myself at least twice before I decided I was running. Half the battle I decided was to get changed into my running gear but I have been beaten before at this stage and not then gone out of the door.  However I convinced my self to go as I know I definitely cannot run tomorrrow night as I am at the football.

This convinced me along with the thought that I would run slow around the villages in Fornham Suffolk. The weather continues to be dry and cool and tonight there was a breeze and I wore hat and gloves.

Although I was feeling a little tired my time for the 7 miles was actually the quickest this year. I did 1hr and 36 seconds for the Fornham Circular Run for an average of 8.39 miles. None of my miles was particularly quick the fastest being an 8.23 and the slowest 9. That seems to be the biggest difference between previous runs over this route as I have tended previously to slow on 1-2 miles and run a 9.20 or 9.30 miles.  My time today was a full 2 minutes quicker than when I ran this route on Jan 25th and nearly a minute quicker than on 22 Feb.

 What I take from this is that slowly both the longer runs and the tempo runs are beginning to pay off and I am seeing some small improvements in my times.

For Music Monday my offering this week is a song that is guranteed to make you run a minute a mile faster ! The legendary one and only Ramones - I don't wanna grow up

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Long Run to Lawshall Suffolk

The end of my 9th week of training for a half marathon called for a 13 miler. Luckily once again the weather was ideal for running, bright blue skies and no wind. At the same time it was cold and the overnight frost had left intricate patterns on the cars and made for some icy patches on the wet roads first thing this morning.

As my long run extends I am travelling further afield and my route today took me to Lawshall via Horsecroft, Pinford End, and Hawstead. The route was on road all of the way but I rarely saw any cars and was untroubled.
The church here is St Andrews at Hawstead , a sprawling village 

After my temp run on Friday I was a little stiff still and with the cool air took a while to get going. I think I could have done with having something to eat before running this sort of distance but as I was running by about 7.45am I didn't apart from a cup of tea and plenty of water. I took with me some Powerbar Ride Shots as the name suggests I think they are designed for cyclists but are designed for high intensity exercise. The blurb on the pack suggests :-

They're formulated with PowerBar C2MAX dual source energy blend for more energy to muscles. In fact, C2MAX was designed to have the same blend of energy sources that were shown in breakthrough studies to deliver 20�55% more energy than glucose alone, and in another study to improve athletes' cycling times by 8%. 

I bought them at the new Holland and Barrett health food store in Bury St Edmunds . I took 3 of these on my run and realised after wards that these are not for vegetarians so I will ditch the rest of them. A little hard to say based on one usage whether they provided an energy boost. The problem was I didn't have anyway water with me and without the the lemon flavour was sticky sweet. As an experiment  I will try something different for my next long run. I guess armed with a drink these may work for you.

My mile splits today were 8.55,9.28,8.54,8.37,8.49,9.01,8.38,8.33,8.27,9.10,8.43,8.31 and 9.38

The route was generally climbing on the way out and more downhill on the way back apart from the final mile which has 3 stiff climbs.

My total time for the 13 miles was 1hr 55mins and 28 secs. Happy with this. Not quick but main thing was the confidence gained from competing this. I know that I should be able to complete the half marathon at the end of March as long as I am healthy and not injured. Whether I can run any quicker will depend on the course , the weather and my state of mind.

Looking at my running log the last time I ran this far was when I ran the Stowmarket Half Marathon on the 29th March 2009 in 1.45.37

The Metcalfe Arms at Hawstead Suffolk is a real ale pub and consequently has a listing on CAMRA the campaign for real ale. There is a Metcalfe Society which is a one name geneology study site.

There were plenty of snowdrops on the banks of the road this morning, they are a flower that we have never been able to get to grow in our garden

On this route you pass an old school house which is a now a private residence.
This monument at Lawshall commerates Flight Sergeant Johannes Bartholomeus Jat Van Mesdag of No 64 Squadron who aged 21 whilst flying his Mustang Mk 111 lost his life on the 6th March 1945 near this spot on his Mothers birthday. The statue was erected in November 2009.

I haven't been able to find to much about this pilot but presume he may have been based at the Suffolk airforce based at Bentwaters.

Apparently these planes were named as P-51's in the US . 

The statue had fresh flowers.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Week 9 of my Half Marathon Training

I am really uping the anti as I head towards the final weeks of my 12 week Runners World SMART Coach training schedule. The main thing for me will be to avoid injury so I get to the starting line fit and prepared on the 28th March for the Joe Cox Half Marathon  at Stowmarket Suffolk.

Today's training called for a 6 mile tempo run sandwiched between a mile warm up and warm down for an 8 mile total. The conditions were just about perfect cool bright blue skies, temperatures cool enough to make me think twice as to whether where some thin gloves but I decided not. I am still wearing tracksters and a thermal top as we haven't got to the point of bear legs for training yet. However the signs of spring are all around the days are getting longer , snow drops are abundent in the hedgerows, we are through February hurrah!!

I warmed up for a mile doing an 8.39 mile whilst listening to a new download from Podiobooks called Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell. This is a free science fiction novel where the main character Ishmael Wang just happens to be a runner in his spare time. This is a really good listen and totally free from their site.

The blurb on the site promotes the book as folows

A Trader's Tale from the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper : Book 1

When Ishmael Wang is orphaned by a flitter crash, he must make some hard decisions about how to survive in a Company-owned universe. With limited time and fewer options, he lands a job as the newest hand on the Solar Clipper Lois McKendrick and learns there's more to life than making coffee. Join Ish, Pip, Big Bad Bev, and the rest of the Lois McKendrick's crew as they sail the galaxy in search of profitable trade.

The book offered a very good distraction as I got in to my tempo run my longest to date being a six mile effort.  My mile splits showed the following times 8.21, 8.32,7.54,7.52,8.05,8.02. I was conscious that this was a 6 mile temo and took the first two miles a little to easily. When I noticed my watch I speed ap a little and my times improved so that I averaged 8.08 miles for a time of 48 mins 49 seconds. I was pleased with this though my schedule did ask for 7.58 miles so I didn't achieve this and have a long way to go still.

My run today took me out along the Mere Lane a very quiet single lane road where I generally don't see any traffic, just the odd farmer tilling the soil

I jogged home the last mile my work done in a 9.05 mile

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Five Mile Run Horringer School /Hospital /Cullum rd/ Newmarket rd Bury St Edmunds

Tonights run was the shortest of the week being a five miler around a route I haven't run too much in recent months . Looking at my running log I have only run it once this year on the 4th of Feb  in 44 mins 15 seconds. Prior to this due to injury I last ran this route on the 28th June 2009 in 44.30.

As a course it is undulating , Glastonbury Road is a long uphill drag which seems to get steeper the further you get up the hill finally levelling out near the Glad Abbot Pub. Horringer Road has a nice downhill section before reaching the Spread Eagle Pub and another shorter climb up Vinery Road to the West Suffolk Hospital . Hardwick Lane is all up and down but no real hills . There is then a flat section along Cullum Road before reaching the Elephant and Castle Pub. Past this there is another fairly lengthy climb up Parkway before turning along Kings Road another downhill along Chalk Road. Risbygate St is flat before turning up Westley Road and back home.

Tonight I ran 43.12 for the 5 for an average 8.38 pace which I was happy with. This was 3rd run in 3 days following a 10 miler Monday and a 5.5 miler yesterday. I felt good with no problems with my breathing and coping with the hills fairly well.

My mile splits today were  8.43,8.21,8.25,8.55,8.38

I should have also mentioned yesterday in my review of my running in February that my weight is now down to 84 kilos or 185 lbs.

I started the year at 86.5 kilos or 190 lbs. My BMI now reads 27.3 which means I am overweight as I should have a BMI of 25 or lower. I am 13 stone 3lbs and should be around 12 stone. No wonder I run so slow!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Review of My Running in February 2010

February. If I had to name my least favourite month of the year then February would be it. Its only redeeming feature is that it is short but nevertheless seems to drag. I think the reason I dislike February is that by this point I have had enough of the long nights and short days and it is usually cold and snowy. I am impatient come February for the longer days of Spring. February is usually the month when the new years resolutions fail and you are still paying off Christmas.

As for my running this February my stats show

  •  a total of 119 miles for the month which is down from 132 in 2009.
  • I ran on 16 days 
  • My biggest mileage week was 41.1 miles for this week beginning the 1st of Feb
  • My longest run was 12 miles on the 7th,14th and 27th of Feb
  • Fastest paced run was my tempo run on the 24th of Feb 5 miles in 40 mins 58  for 8.12 pace
  • Slowest run was a long run on the 7th of Feb 12 miles in 1hr 49 16 for a 9.06 pace
  • My average weekly rate is currently 32.9 miles
  • My target for the year is 1400 miles and I am currently up on this by about 52 miles
  • I have run 1 tempo run, 1 interval run  and 3 long runs
  • My weight is down from 86.5 to 84 kilos in this month
  • No hill sessions recorded which is a weakness for me at the moment
  • No races in February
  • I missed a weeks training between the 16th and 22nd February with a cold 
  • My tempo run pace improved to 8.11 average mile pace from 8.22 in January
  • My easy run pace was slightly quicker at 8.49 miles compared to 8.57 in January
  • My interval pace was 8.02 miles in February
  • My long run pace was 8.58 in February compared to 8.56 in January
Highlight and success of the month must be the long runs, I did 3 long runs of 12 miles which has at least given me a good basis for completing the half marathon at the end of March. I didn't do enough speed work this month partly because of the cold.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Running the Lt Whelnethum Suffolk Line Walk

After yesterday's continous wind and rain today was a lovely dry day with clear blue skies. The 1st of March as the saying goes ‘When March comes in like a lamb, it goes out like a lion’ goes the old folklore saying‥The reverse, however, is also true, and the saying continues: ‘When March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb, so based on this we can expect some wild weather at the end of March.

Lunch time I used my time off work to do a run. The photo opposite with the fence in front of a lake is normally a field. The heavy rains have created a little lake along Cullum Road in Bury St Edmunds.

The 2nd photo on this blog post  again highlights the heavy rains and the flooding we have had. This is normally a pathway between the fence and the bush on the right.

I then ran  out along the Sicklesmere Road - A 134.Once into Sicklesmere I picked up a track to take me to the Lt Whelnethum Line Walk. This is a stretch of the old dismantled railway line which used to run between Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury. It is now a beautiful walk or run in my case!

You can still imagine the trains running down here even though none have done so for nearly 45 years. At its peak 6 trains used to make the journey between Bury St Edmunds and Long Melford. The line opened on 9 August 1865 and closed to passengers on 10 April 1961 and freight on 19 April 1965.

From the local newspaper the Bury Free Press this storey is shown on the Foxearth and District Local History Site for June 1878 ......

"There was a fatal accident on Saturday afternoon last at Gt Waldingfield, alittle boy named Gooden aged 7 years was riding with his elder brother who was returning to Lt Waldingfield with a horse and tumbril laden with coal when by some means the poor little fellow fell down between the wheels and was much crushed receiving injuries from which he died on Sunday mornin"

My ten mile run today went well. I am certainly more confident about doing this distance since doing the Runners World SMART Coach schedule.  My aim was always to build up a strong base level of mileage and the cream on the top would be a good race time at the half marathon at the end of March.

I am not running particularly quickly still. My 10 miles today were run in 1hr 28 mins and 29 seconds for an average of 8.51 miles. This is within the 9.15 mile time detailed in the schedule. My mile splits were 8.20,8.34,8.38,8.36,9.24,8.49,8.55,8.48,8.45 and 9.35.

At  the 5 mile point I started the run along the old railway line and my times slowed as the ground was heavy, muddy and it was a case of dodging the puddles. However some of the time the ground was like a rice field and my feet become wet. My last mile was the slowest and this contains two lengthy hills so this is understandably slow

 In the late Spring and Summer the walk along the Lt Whelnethum Line Walk will be totally different with tall grasses and ox eye daisies. My photos of a run along here in June 2006 show a different picture from today
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Running in Suffolk