Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Mile Run Challenge

Buoyed up by the track session last night I decided to have another go at improving my mile time. Last time out I managed a mile in 8mins 10 seconds.

I again stopped along Newmarket Road at the junction with Oliver Road in Bury St Edmund's . I switched on the ipod and tuned into the Ramones and did my mile. As I mentioned before the mile distance crosses many road junctions before finishing just beyond the Falcon Pub. I got stopped by cars once or twice at junctions but managed  7.51 seconds. Yeah a slight improvement

I registered my mile at the website

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Running Track Session at the West Suffolk Sports Centre

My first visit to the West Suffolk Sports Centre since March was as expected a bit of shock to the system! But it provided a bit of a wake up call that I wanted as now that I am running again regularly and without injury I feel the need to improve my speed.

I am lucky enough to live just .75 of a mile from the West Suffolk Sports track. This will play host to the Rwandan Olympic and Paralympic teams in the run up to the 2012 London Games.

On a mild October night with no wind or rain I jogged down to the track and renewed my membership of the Saint Edmund Pacers club. If you don't belong to a running club I would strongly recommend it . I warmed up for a few laps. and wearing a thermal top I was too warm before I started the actual coached session.

I decided to ease my way back in slowly to the coaching and just to do half the session which consisted of 2 sets of 4 x 3 minutes at 10k pace followed by 4 x 2 minutes at 5k pace  with a minute recovery in between. I sat at the back of the pack and was consistently able to keep pace with the group of runners for each of the intervals. I was tempted to do the second set but I felt a slight tightness in my left hamstring and I had never planned to do it. I settled for an easy jog home.

The aim now is to try and include a weekly Wednesday session at the track into my training as this should improve my speed over the winter months. It certainly helps to run with a large number of like minded souls!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Brooks Glycerin 7

After my recent post in which I mentioned that I was in the market for a new pair of running shoes I am glad to say that I have ignored my own advice and gone for a pair of Brooks Running Shoes!

I have bought a pair of Brooks Glycerin 7's. Yes they are not the latest model as you can now buy Glycerin 8's but I have never been one who needs the latest model the day it is released. I need to secure what I perceive as value for money and only time will tell on this score.

I judge value for money in running shoes on a number of factors but the number one is the no of miles I get from the shoes before the heels wear away. As a neutral heel striker , with high arches who under pronates ( yeah I have tried to run and land more mid foot and I have told myself I am doing it but the evidence on the wear of my last shoes just shows I don't!) I need a heel that will last and give me at least 400 miles.

Secondly I want comfort and from my first few runs in the Brooks Glycerin 7's the shoes were comfortable and don't pinch anywhere. You know how when you open new running shoes you require a pair of scissors to cut off an increasing number of information labels attached to the laces. If you are like me you cast a cursory glance at this before binning as I don't profess to understand the scientific bits ( rather like those shampoo adverts !).  However I was drawn to the use by Brooks of a material called BioMoGo which apparently is the world’s first-ever bio-degradable mid sole which has to be good for the environment.

The review of the shoes on the Runners World site wouldn't have you rushing out of bed to buy these . In summary they state "Probably the best way to describe this shoe would be "solid but unspectacular". Our testers found it to be, at best, a pleasant ride and, at worst, inoffensive, with the cushioning and breath ability being the standout features. Our wear-testers say:
"An average shoe in most departments. I was most impressed by the breath ability of the upper which was excellent." - Ben Madsen"

Interestingly though readers reviews were better than the Runners World staff so hopefully I have made the right choice and I will alternate use of these with my other pair of Asics Gel Stratus 3's which are still going strong  after 300 miles.

I have used Brooks shoes before I had a pair of Addictions back in 2004-5 which served me well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Interval Run

For the first time in many months I felt the need to wear a thermal top and Ron Hill trackster leggings this morning on my run. In fact I wore a second layer over my thermal top as although it was bright and sunny it was also breezy. The first real signs of winter coming early perhaps. The temperature I believe was 2c or whats that 35f or so.

This year we seemed to start Autumn early back in August to be honest and September it rained nearly every day at least it felt like it. We change the clocks in the UK at the end of this month by an hour and return to Greenwich mean time from British summer time. On the 31st of October we gain an extra hour for the week end which is great but from then on we are plunged into darkness from around 4-5pm in the evenings. For a lot of people this means going to work in the day getting home in the dark and you have to make the best of it though many suffer from SAD the seasonal affective disorder.

With the colder weather there has been an invasion of spiders in to the house setting up webs which I don't mean if they are successful in catching a few flies. I am using my Fitflops less frequently now as they are open toed sandals. They were fantastic and helping me overcome plantar fasciitis and if money allowed at some point I would look for a shoe or boot version for the winter. We are eating less salads now and we recently had home made soup so the warm comfort foods are back on the menu. We are also in that inbetweeny stage of sometimes surrendering to putting the heating on and then turning it off again when we are too warm.

As for this morning I felt I could have done with some gloves but apart from the first 5-10 Min's into the run I was OK. My session this morning was a 45 minute effort using the Adidas mi coach set to the heart rate monitor function.

I did 5 min easy warm up (blue zone) 5 Min's moderate (green zone)  and then a 5 minute anaerobic threshold interval I repeated this 3 times for a total of 45 Min's running. Total distance 5.04 miles which is slightly under 9 min miles.

This morning served as a reminder that I  must check out hats and gloves  for running.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Mile Run Challenge

After yesterdays long run my schedule called for an easy 30 minute run which I did. However as I mentioned in a previous post I am intending to self test myself by running some of the classic distances such as the mile, 5k and 10k during my training.

Today half way through my 30 minute jog I stopped along Newmarket Road at the junction with Oliver Road. I switched on the ipod music on shuffle and did a mile at a pace albeit slow, very slow! The mile distance crosses many road junctions before finishing just beyond the Falcon Pub. Depending on traffic you do have to give way to cars at 3-4 junctions so it is probably not ideal as a mile time measure. However I have run this route as a mile course for donkeys years.

I am not sure if I will ever return to my previous pace of even a year ago as at the moment I am much, much slower. However I am going to enjoy giving it a try.At least today I registered a mile time which was 8 mins 10 seconds. I can get a lot quicker than this and will do I hope!

I registered my mile at the website and hope that some of you who read this will also join Konkura and enter a mile time. If you are not familiar with Konkura it is a challenge website for many different running events but also many other sports.

The mile is an event which isn't often raced on the track these days as I believe the record has been held by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morroco since 1999. The mile record was held by English runners between 1979 and 1993 by a succession of great middle distance runners - Seb Coe, Steve Cram and Steve Ovett.  As everyone knows the 4 mile mile was broken by Roger Bannister another Englishman in 1954.

Seemingly the popularity of the mile has faded which is a pity if this is the case.

Looking back on my records I ran 5.52 for the mile in 2008 on the track.  But I haven't kept complete records so I don't know what my best ever mile time was. So my best recorded was 5.52.

So how about doing a mile and updating your blog and Konkura with your times?

Friday, October 15, 2010

My long run at Barnham Suffolk

Welcome to Barnham
  I have always liked to run somewhere different rather than always repeat the same old routes and today for my long run I drove out to the Suffolk village  at Barnham. About 11 miles from Bury St Edmunds and close to the Norfolk border town of Thetford, Barnham sits off the main A 134 road for travellers heading towards Norwich.

According to Eilert Ekwall the meaning of the village name is Beorn's homestead. There used to be a railway station here at Barnham which was opened in 1891 for passengers travelling between Bury St Edmunds and Thetford but this closed in 1960.

Water Lane
War Memorial
The population of Barnham according to the Domesday Book was 36 in 1086 and was 748 in 1981. There are two churches in the village though St Martin has been a ruin since the 17th century. I must admit not knowing where to look I didn't spot it on the run but apparently it is now used as an animal shelter. I did pass St Gregory church on many occasions during this run.

Barnham is a reputed site for a battle between King Edmund and the Danes in 1870.

The Duke of Grafton is the major landowner in this area and there was once a pub here with the same name but I don't know where this was located.

It is also said that Barnham was one of the sites between the Admiralty in London and Yarmouth on the coast for a telegraph system which was used during the Napoleonic Wars.

After a run around the village I headed out along the Elvedon Road and after a short distance picked up on an off road track at North Farm. At first the track was fairly good but soon turned in to a sandy pathway where I had to run in the grooves made by farm vehicles or otherwise run on the camber at an odd angle. This made for a harder run but was much more scenic. I was also running parallel to the old dismantled railway line.

St Gregory
I passed fields full of sheep and then pigs. A large field full of pigs was enclosed with a low level electric fence, however up in the distance a large pig had clearly escaped and managed to jump over or found a break in the fence. As I run towards it the pig turned tail and started to run away from me in short bursts. It soon tired of this and started to squeal loudly so my run became a jog as I debated whether to carry on. Initially I thought I would and the pig would shift of the path but there wasn't room and the pig had had enough of running and turned and completely blocked the path. I must admit rather than charge the pig to see if it would move I did a u-turn and backed away from it!  The pig won.

Old Railway Bridge removed
This was a pity really as my plan to do a circular run along the trackways was over and I returned to Barnham and then headed out on the road towards Euston village . This was my second 1 hr 30 min  run since returning from injury and I am finding that I lack the stamina after an hour. As a result my speed was reduced to a crawl for the last half an hour but the big plus was that I completed 10 miles.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What new Running Shoes shall I buy?

Yes it is that time again when I need to invest in a new pair of running shoes and retire an old pair.

Unfortunately my experiment with using Saucony shoes or at least the Saucony Jazz 13's was a failure. I should qualify that the Jazz 13's may be a good shoe but they were not right for me and I will explain why. Not sure if you can make out the wear and tear on the shoe photos  in this post but to explain I think you can see that the uppers are as good as new and would last many more miles.  However  the heal wear was excessive and the black carbon sole has been worn away to show patches of yellow beneath. At this point I never run on using a pair of shoes as to do so will only lead to probable injury. There may be people who do and get away with it but not me.

Unbelievably I have only run a 108 miles in them! They were very comfortable and out of the box were immediately enjoyable to wear perhaps more so than most shoes that I have had which normally require 3-4 runs to get used to them. New shoes can often feel so springy and it just takes a few runs for you and shoe to become perfect partners. The Jazz 13's as I say felt like slippers and were a great fit.

As a runner I have high arches and under pronate as I run and the advice I have always had is that I need  a neutral shoe.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 great.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.

What lead to the Jazz 13's not being right for me? Well I just don't know but with my long term injury I did put on weight so I would have been a harder on the shoes. I do tend to mix my running between road and trail. As you can see from the photos there is plenty of mud on these but I have never had a pair which gave up the ghost after just 108 miles! Clearly Jazz 13's were not ideal for trail running.

I always try to alternate shoes for each training run so I still have my Asics Gel Stratus 3's which currently have over 300 miles of usage and are still fine. In fact this set me to  looking back on recent shoes and how many miles they have lasted as a basis for what brand I should buy next. My results are

Asic Gel Stratus 2's                     412 miles
Asic GT 2130                               449 miles
Mizuno Wave Rider                     423 miles
Asic Gel                                        427 miles
Asic Gel GT 2110                        516 miles
Reebok Premier Ultra 111          314 miles
Reebok Premier                           214 miles
New Balance 1060                       439 miles
New Balance 854's                      241 miles
Saucony MC5's                             356 miles
Brooks Addiction                          405 miles
New Balance 855                         406 miles
Saucony Trigon                            258 miles

I started recording the shoe I wore and the miles run in them from around 2004 so what does the stats tell me ? It is fairly clear that the Saucony shoes just don't suit me as well as Asics. I have consistently got at least 400 miles out of Asics. New Balance , Brooks and Mizuno were also in the main likely to give me 400 miles of running. From this I am likely to look at one of these brands for my next shoe.

I would be interested to know how many miles do you get out of your shoes before they wear out ?

I ran a 40 minute mainly green paced heart rate monitor run this morning. This is a medium paced effort and I think doing the race on Sunday acted a little as a kick up the pants as I ran 4.6 miles for around 8.45 pace. Still no great shakes but heading in the right direction as most of my previous training runs in the last month have been at 9 min plus miles.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

5th Annual World Wide Festival of Races from Bury St Edmunds Suffolk

This morning I ventured out to run the 5th Annual World Wide Festival of Races. This was a race with a difference it being a virtual race and I merely went out of my front door to take part.

Although I was the only one taking part I was also aware that all over the world this week end I was joined by 742 other entrants from 42 different countries.

I had chosen to do the Zen Run 10k named after Adam Tinkoff who is better known as the Zen Runner. Anyone who listens to running podcasts will be well aware of the many podcasts that Adam has produced over the years including Shock of the News and Hear Zen Run.

I am still building up my base mileage after a long period of injury and whilst I am running pain free I have found in my training that I am generally running a minute a mile slower. This is largely due I think to having put on 14lbs or a stone in weight over the 3-4 months of inactivity. I have also been training according to my heart rate since I returned to training in a bid to listen to my body and so reduce the risk of  further injury.

I have built my mileage back up to around 25 miles a week but I certainly don't feel I have much stamina at the moment though I put in my first 10 miler recently. It is going to be a long slow road over the winter to regain full fitness but the first step is the hardest.

As for this morning I haven't been training very much at all at a heart rate zone above 151bpm which using the Adidas Micoach is yellow zone running. This is the anaerobic threshold where you feel the "burn" and is  hard paced running. All of my running recently has been at the more easy green and blue zone pace and my average heart rate for my running in September was 140bpm.

The weather was very good,warm and sunny with little wind as I set out on a circular run around the villages of Fornham.  I was happy with my time for this run which was 54.10 for the 6.2 miles which is an 8.45 pace. My heart rate averaged 150 . It was probably my slowest ever 10k and was slower than my normal training pace prior to injury back in April. I ran the Stowmarket Half in March at an 8.15 pace for a 1hr 48 min time and the Breckland 10k in 47.19 last year so it shows just how much my fitness and pace has declined!

Nethertheless the positives are that I ran a race (only my 2nd of the year) and after so much time injured I wasn't sure that I would run again. I can eat in to that time making some progress over the winter. I shall stick to something like a half marathon training programme to build stamina over the winter. I plan to build into this training some regular runs at the mile , 5k and 10k to test my fitness and progress.

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