The Runners Code

Look at that it’s like buses, not a single post and then two come at once. This is a little moan something that I specialise in but I feel it should be said. Now I have only been running for a year or two and while I didn’t know what I was doing to start off with I sure as hell learnt. I also kept the passion up and called myself a runner. apparently the difference between jogging and running is runners are serious.

So with success of the olympics and the wonderful weather it was bound to happen that a bunch of people would reach for a pair of shorts and t-shirt along with their trainers that should have found their way to a bin  and reached for the front door ready to run in temperatures reaching 20 plus degrees and go for a run. ‘You not going to take some water?’ ‘Nah, no need. Just doing a few laps of the park’

Nope no water, these joggers, these glory runners don’t need water, they can do a whole two laps of their block before they collapse into a heap. Now don’t get me wrong if the Olympics has encouraged people to get out and do running then good. We are in a real boom of running at the moment and the more that wish to get on board the better. What I don’t like are the glory runners. The ones that take up the pavement when the sun shines. Or the ones that think they will give it a try and come out of the woodwork with their kit that  isn’t even fit for the charity shop. You know when you are a runner when you get up at 5am to fit your run in, or it’s snowing or bucketing down with rain and you are still going out to embrace that 10 mile run.

Now I know that I use to be one of these runners. I entered my first race to prove to myself I could run 10K, and made sure I entered a race so there was no option to give up, the outcome was I became addicted.

Now the other week I was out running and every runner apart from one or two were not obeying the ‘Runners Code’ and before you ask, then yes there is one (those who asked I take it aren’t runners?) An unspoken code between runners. I can’t go into too much details but you will know if you’re a runner when you know the rules. I can however digest a few of the rules to make the pavements a happier place.

1. Acknowledge other runners. Be with a nod, a thumbs up, a hello

2. Look before you cross the road. Don’t dart in front of cars. It makes the rest of us look bad.

3. Learn the ways of a two/three and even a four way pass

4. Don’t make other runners run out into the road, with their back to the traffic when passing you

They are just a few samples. Cyclists and walkers also have an unwritten code and lets face it most of it is common sense. But you can always tell the runners from joggers as joggers won’t say hello.

A simple acknowledgement does not hurt your training. While I don’t want to appear to be a snob I know we will not see many f these runners again come september. It’s like the unexperienced runners at races getting to the start rather than knowing their PACE and lining up further back.

Oh well time for a run, as it has just started raining so hopefully the joggers are all hiding under bus shelters waiting for the sun shine to dry that T-Shirt they has purchased back in 1994

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Sticking to the Game Plan

Let’s face it they are called races for a reason. Even the fun runs which are organised for charity and meant to be for every one are called races like ‘Race for Life’ I realise that the name of that event is a clever pun as it’s all about running to raise money for Cancer research which can save lives, hence the name ‘Race for Life’

But when you are on that start line and hear the gun, depending who you are with you will shoot off like a rocket and before you realise your mistake it’s too late to slow down into you steady pace. Even come the sight of the finish line you spy another runner and your captain shouts down to the engine room ‘Full steam ahead’ and with that you sail past your competitor and over the line with your heart trying to make a bid for freedom.

This Sunday is the Manchester 10K the race that started it all off for me and I want to return and get a new PB and smash my time I achieved last year, however I doubt that I will be able to achieve this. While I was training for my marathon I ran the Liverpool half with the game plan being ‘run marathon pace and see how you feel’ however the gun went off and I went with it, after 1 hour 41 minutes I crossed the line 2o minutes earlier than I’d expected and I had picked up a PB in the process. Last weekend I ran the Port Sunlight 10K on the Wirral and for all those who want to start running or are looking for a friendly nice 10K then this is a must do. I entered the race as a recovery run, just run the 6 miles and make sure my legs work as a warm up for Manchester. However the gun went and I was at the start of the pack and off I went to cross the line with yet another PB. I should also add that this was a quick race. I think the bulk of the runners had crosses the line on the hour and these were a mix of first times, kids, fun runners and the clubs.

So am I able to get another one this weekend, or have I burnt out. I have still not fully recovered from the marathon, as they say it normally takes a day a mile to recover, which works out around a month. While you can still jog and run, training and running hard on tired, worn out muscles is not a good idea and here I am speeding round Port Sunlight at 6.40 mile

The question is why can’t I stick to my game plan? What is it about a race and the adrenalin that spurs me on and gets me so competitive. Does every runner have this? I know training for the 10K last year my friend who also participated often moaned about the runs we did as I ‘was too quick’ and even I have to admit that he was slow. Running with him around Sale water park a cool 9 minute mile would be fast for him, however on the day he crossed the line just two minutes after me. I was injured on the day but was still running pretty fast for a newbie at 8.40, so there was something in the air with having other runners that made my mate pull it out of the hat.

So is there a point to a game plan? or should you just run and enjoy it, after all we all know out limitations if we have done our training correctly and on the day you will be surprised at what your body can do.Maybe the game plan should be to be to cross the line and enjoy yourself and that way you will always keep to the plan.

Good luck to everyone running the Manchester 10K especially to a fellow blogger (Runs like a Penguin) for what I believe is her first time. Her training diary as been a joy to read and I know all the hard work will pay off for her. Good luck to all those others who will be running in this very special event and one that I hold very close to my heart partly because I’m a local lad but also it’s the one that started all this madness off.

Addicted

It would be a fair comment to say I am addicted to running. But is it an accurate description of the portrayal. Yes I run, and sometime I run a lot, other times I like to stay in bed. This does not seem like an addiction to me, more a social pass time, a hobby that requires a little more attention and care than lets say ‘Stamp Collecting’ or ‘reading’.

My blog started life as a way to moan and let off steam about the world and the way it angers my very being but soon grew into a training diary of some one becoming a runner with that person being me. Me  who had never really ran more than the distance to catch the number 42 to the city centre before it pulled away from the bus stop. I wanted to blog to show people that a non runner could in fact learn how to run and the following blog is testament to that.

So am I addicted to the running, did I at some point while training for my first 10K race catch the so called ‘Running Bug’ it appears so as even when I was injured all I wanted to do was run and no sooner had I kissed my medal and sat back in relief that I had achieved an activity that for many is out of their reach and comfort zone had found myself entering ‘The Great North’ and then ‘Conwy’ followed by another 10K that was soon to be followed by yet another run.

It is only now that mystery seems to be unravelled. I am not so much addicted to the joy running, although science has shown that running can become addictive with the chemicals that your brain produces during exercise and I can hold my hand up and clearly say after a run I feel happy, delighted I may even go as far to say I feel ecstatic and for those who know me seeing me wear a smile is an odd occasion and I can even back the science up as when I am unable to run like the time I was injured I become miserable. Running makes you feel good. So am I addicted? I think the answer is a no, what I have now found or believed I have found is that while addicted to the benefits of running I am more addicted to the races.

As I write this entry I have just had to turned down a chance to race in the ‘Two Castles Race’ in Warwickshire an event that would be right up my street, running from a castle to another castle with the bonus of staying with friends who live down that way. The reason for this upsetting decision is because when I first tried to enter the organisers said it was full and placed me on a stand by list, wanting to race in June I quickly hunted for another race and found the ‘Mersey 10K Tunnel’ in Liverpool that falls on the same date only to get an email a couple of days later informing me that a place had come available.

In fact while I continue to write I have just entered yet another 10K race, which makes it my third race I’d be participating in during May, and only a couple of weeks after my Marathon (So much for resting). So while catching the ‘Running Bug’ may be a hazard to many who suddenly find themselves waking at 6am and knocking off work early to get home just to enable them to squeeze a quick 5K jaunt around the park I feel that I have gone beyond that and have now moved into the rather dangerous and costly addiction of race entries chasing the next medal, PB or distance. My diary is slowly booking up more with race dates than work ones, and being that I am freelance, that should be a worrying statistic but I am finding I am organising work to fit around races, not races to fit round work a couple of months ago I turned down a job as it meant I would miss an opportunity to run.

What is the reason for this addiction? I’m not too sure! is it the medal or T-shirt, the joy to run with others and run next to people who share the same passion and enjoyment. Is it just down to wanting to bag as many races like walkers wanting to bag monroes. Maybe its a consistent battle whereby you’re running after PB’s as all my races to date have seen me record a new PB and while I’m new to running the room for improvement will I’m sure die away and the PB’s will become harder to achieve so maybe the addiction will also fade or maybe I will just find something new to run after. Maybe it will to get ‘The best in age’ category or addiction to for the goody bags.

What ever happens, I know one thing for sure my love of running and the passion that burns inside for this simple past time will always stay lit and be it that the addiction is too competing, medal hoarding or just placing your trainers on at 6am and running on the desolate streets watching the world slowly wake and the sun rising as the human rat race begins another day the addiction will always be there in one form or another.

I was never good at Maths

Now I am not sure if I have written about this before. Please be my guest and trawl through the archives. No? Didn’t think so! Obviously if it sounds familiar then you can stop reading but it will be interesting to see how many runners out there, and yes I know it’s yet another blog entry about running and not the usual moaning and complaining posts that started the blog a year ago but lets be honest I love running and it’s becoming my life even to the point where I am in my freelance career turning jobs down so I can run in certain races, but like I said it will be interesting to see how many other runners feel the same.

So what is this post all about? Well I need new trainers according to my Garmin I have run over 400 miles since September, and being that I have had my current pair of trainers since May and they recommend you change them every 500 miles I thought now was the time to do so. I don’t have any races I’m training for… Hence why I am getting a new pair now and not a month ago. (All runners know you need to run your shoes in if you excuse the pun… Is that a pun? Or is it just a saying?)

Anyway running away from the point, I went to Sweat Shop in Manchester, I normally use Up and Running but the last sales assistant was not very helpful and the more I shop with Sweatshop the more I enjoy my experience. I often go in and browse and end up having a chat. Anyway I went in to buy a new pair and because it was late in the evening they were quiet so two assistants served me. Now before I go on I should point out the title.

I got a C in Maths, and that was by luck. I am very poor at it, even with the basics of adding up and subtracting but why am I telling you about my very sub standard knowledge of a number system? Well the answer is that in the hour I spent trying on various trainers and running on the treadmill and around the shop (Yes around the shop, they told me it was the best way to feel the cushioning, I could bare to look up just in case they were laughing), we spoke about running, training and races. I think mainly because I was wearing my Conwy Half Marathon T-Shirt from the weekend (washed) and some people from the shop had taken part and they wanted to know what I had thought. They then asked me my time. The following sixty minutes was filled with talk and a lot of numbers and this is the point of the post. I am miserable with numbers and I’m not that much better at the English language judging by some of the blog posts but I have picked a sport that is all about numbers. The distance, the time, your pace and while running with your Garmin set to miles you try to work out how my K’s you have done, what time you will finish the race if you have a 8min/mile pace. Runners are all about numbers. The speed, time finished, sub this, sub that, pace, number of races, distances, miles covered a week, time spent running, time spent warming up. It all comes down to numbers.

I just found it hard that for some one who found Maths difficult I am now using it everyday, working out my target time, keeping my pace and converting distances. Its now I wish I had paid more attention in those lessons then maybe when I’m on the road and see I’m averaging 7min/miles it wouldn’t take me the five minutes to work out the distance I will run in 30 minutes.

Today I went Running!!!!

Well I finally got one of my mates who also reads all the mags to come running with me. However he reads Mens Fitness and is more into weights then jogging out doors. He does run but prefers it inside where he can control the incline and speed. I like running with him as he is slow. Were talking about 10 minute a mile, which is a lot slower than my usual jogging pace but it means we can chat and it’s an easy jog for me. A big workout for him but we both win as he gets a good hard run while I get a gentle easy 5 miler.

Because he’s into a different fitness game it shakes up the usual running and today we did a lot of sprinting and increasing pace and reducing etc. While I don’t feel I’ve had a workout I know it will be good as I have done some fast running and gentle jogging all which increased the heart rate and caused some deep breathing at times and according to my magazines have helped improve my running in some way. (Some what think I may need to do more session like this rather than one a month). Also I didn’t over do it which my body will thank me for next Sunday.

I think I will spend my training this week on the cross trainer and doing some hill sprints and then maybe take Thursday, Friday and Saturday off as rest days.

Getting really excited now.

On the Street

Well, after having 3 weeks off from the gym, and replacing that natural drug which is released when you pump your bodies to exhaustion, with that powerful drug they call alcohol I’m back to my routine with the first port of call to get rid of all the tyres that have been placed around my midriff from the cider.

There is now only four months left until the big day and still the sponsorship is low, and so is my energy. I find running 5k easy on the treadmill, it’s flat and with my long legs I can complete the distance in 25 minutes. However the road is a different story, and with my area being a mix of up and downs as well as several small parks It’s taking me 25 minutes to run 4k. Still not that bad. What I find hard is getting my pace correct. If I run fast I become tired and out of breath, where on the old treadmill in the gym, I am fine running with my legs flapping all over the place in an uncontrolled sprint.

Anyway, I did some road jogging and got the pace correct, almost got hit my some cars and was almost ran over twice but apart from that I got home in one piece. The last time I went road running, the next couple of days my legs felt it, especially in the shins, so hopefully my warm up and cool down routine I did to-day will solve that little unfortunate issue, as that was the main course that prevented me from going to the gym as my legs would not of responded well to any more unnatural abuse in the strive to become fit and healthy, and hence the vacation in the land of beer also bought on my some turbulent times and just basically being annoyed and pissed off.

But I think I am back on track. All I need to do now is get my stomach back to expecting the food at the right times. As when I drink, and I wouldn’t say I’m a/or was an alcoholic, but I feel I have to continue until I am so pissed I fall asleep or at least all the beer and wine I have as been nested in my stomach. So a couple of drinks with friends after work would involve me going home to buy a bottle or two to continue the spirit by myself. With this, I cottoned on to making sure I got pissed at a slow rate, so I would eat before I drank, and then just before I went to bed I would have pizza or take-away to make sure the hang over was minor or in most cases not present.

Basically I was consuming a lot of calories, and my body still thinks he needs it. So when I go to the gym now I return to my flat with healthy food, but also some very high calorific items. This is not helping to deflate the tyres that have surrounded my once toned body (I wish) But running and burning off 1000 calories is easy, the hard part is to train yourself into eating the foods that are good for you, and not being tempted by those treats every second of the day.

Anyway, the jog was good, and I’m back in the routine, just in time for work to spoil it by going into a tech week and then I have a week off before I return to the cut and thrust world of self employment. I just have to remain focused on the training, and force myself to go when I have a spare minute or two.

And here comes the asking part as a blog entry about the training would not be complete with out the selfish act of me holding out my hands asking for any spare change. But unlike people on the street it’s not to buy a cup of tea, its to buy a life, or a machine that would ease someones suffering, or help give a family the support they need of loosing a loved one.

Any donations that you could spare, would keep me focused. I am trying to raise £500.00 for Christies a Cancer Charity based in Manchester, that treat patients from across the UK as well as researching treatments and causes. If you would like to donate then please click HERE to go to my just giving page, or if you know me personally then get in touch if you would like to give me the money direct.

Speak to you all soon