Going the Distance

So where has this come from…

Well the other week my mate and I embarked on a 100 mile ride, one of only two for me and for both of us the first for a considerable time out of the saddle. Around the 70-80 mile mark as our legs were on fire and our hearts were about to give up on the final hill a little thought popped into my head.

“If our fitness levels were that of Olympic or professional athletes then what discipline do you think you would do?”

What I meant by this is that if our fitness and ability were the top notch and were good enough to be representing Great Britain, as in it takes me and my mate 6 hours to do 100 miles, or riding on the flat at an average speed of 21 mph then in this scenario those times and speeds would be considered the doings of athletes, not just your average 30 somethings dressing in lycra putting the worlds to rights on a Sunday jolly. So basically if our times and speeds were the benchmark then what areas would we compete in. My mate is all about speed and trying like so many to get the KOM (King of the Mountain) on Strava for his segments on the ride home, for me its about distance. I love a quick 5K, but I prefer a nice long hours run.

Now by no means are my mate and I ever going to be considered professional athletes, I have dreamt of beating Mo Faharh in a race, but in this world I have created then the World Record for the 10,000 would be 39:56 something very close to my own PB. But in this world our times and ability are that of elites and we’re about to be called up to represent Team GB.

So what did we decided? Well for me its all about the distance, at 80 miles even tho I wanted to throw in the towel and just phone a taxi my body still had enough petrol in the tank to get me home, all I had to do was switch of my brain… Your body can do fantastic achievements and can survive and power through, your brain however wants to protect you and prevent damage or injury so starts to lecture you until you stop. through my three marathons and training for them, even my 10K’s where I went out way to fast in 25 degree heat I have learnt to push through and complete my goal.

So for me it would be endurance, long distance. I’m quick, but I’m talking quick for like 300-400 meters on the bike, and even with my running I prefer the longer routes, the longer races. I love the Half Marathon, its long enough to feel I have done something but yet I can run it quick enough to push myself. I love my long runs, 8, 10, 12 miles just running where my feet take me.

So if we did live in my world where slightly beer gutted men who ate pizza before and after a race were representing us in the Brazilian Olympics, then I’d be lining up for the Marathon start line hoping to take the WR of 3:22:34 while my mate will be in the team time trail on the bike.

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Rest

We all need it. That is why we sleep. But it can all be a bit boring.

For those who read the wonderful post yesterday from my legs then you may be able to guess what this short post is about. I need to rest before my race on Sunday. I somewhat over did the running and speed work this week after having a little unwelcome break from my running due to work commitments and the sudden lost in faith that led to me not being bothered and losing any kind of motivation to get out and run.

Like a novice I dived back in with both feet and ran up the miles. I ignored the screams and pleads from my legs to stop and carried on. While my legs do not feel heavy they have a touch of the DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) So with this I said that Friday and Saturday will be rest. Plenty of carbs and protein and feet up. The truth of the matter is, I want to run.

This sitting about lark is a tad boring. I would like to go and walk or run even cycle but I fear any extra stress or pressure I put on the tired legs will result in failure on Sunday. Speaking of which I am still undecided if to run a PB or just run the course. I know deep down that my mind is attracted to a new PB as I am looking at the Pace I will need to obtain a Sub 1:35, and that is after all why I have legs up resting. If I was to just run and practice my marathon pace, taking on gels etc then I would not be to concerned with the state of my legs. If anything it would be good practice to see how I cope with tired legs. After all come Mile 20 that is how they will feel.

But resting is what I am doing. Gentle exercise on the foam rollers and the Stick to ease knots. Wearing my compression clothing to help freshen my legs. Eating the right food, and drink the right liquid all to ensure my legs are fresh and ready for Sunday.

Oh well. Off to eat some more seeds and nuts and rest up some more. I might just go for a gentle stroll round town to get the blood flowing to help the repair.

A letter

To Thomas,

I know you enjoy it and you read all the mags and articles on that world wide web thingy. I even know you have that race coming up and that you are determined to break some PB in a couple of months time. But I do beg you to listen to me.

I enjoyed the two weeks off that I had and really enjoyed taking it easy but you must remember I am not a car. I can’t be started up and driven long distances, I need to warm up and get back in the game.

After this week, and I will be the first to admit the mileage is very little and the work load has been on the small scale but I am feeling it. Feeling so much that come Sunday I may refuse to play ball at the start line and if I do play along I may throw in the towel in the last 400 meters.

So if you don’t want a DNF on you record then may I suggest you spend the next two days giving me a rest. Giving me some TLC. It’s all well and good running long and hard and doing hills and speed work but like you I need time to recover and the harder you train the longer I need.

Off course you are able to help in this matter. Some more protein, seeds, nuts, fruit. Less bad fat and chocolate. Plenty of stretching after the runs. At least half an hour. You use to be so good at your warm downs now you seem to think a poxey five minutes with the foam roller will suffice. Well have I got news for you… It won’t.

Like a car I need the correct fuel and maintenance. If you spend time looking after me I will perform and keep on performing for many years to come. I’ve shown my worth in the past… Looking how your PB’s keep being smashed. Look how far I have carried you. The speed I have travelled.

So please take note. I’m tired, and I really don’t want us to fall out over this as I know how happy you get when pounding the streets. But you won’t be happy when I can’t carry you forward and get an injury.

I hear from Left and Right Foot that you treated them to some new socks and trainers. They pass on their gratitude. Now if you can only show me the same respect and give me some rest. The miles I am use too. The new training scheme of hills and speed is something I need to get use to, and this needs time. Heart and Lung do their best, but over the years I’ve adapted to long distance and need time to adjust. And I’m not just talking about in training. Recovery is when I grow and repair myself and at the moment you are refusing to give me that time.

So I beg of you Thomas. Please surrender the trainers until Sunday and allow me and your body to recover.

Thank you for your time

Your’s

Legs.

 

 

Is there anything harder than a Marathon?

In truth yes. There are the Ultra’s or fell running. So what is my point. The point is that I have run a marathon, go me, woo woo and as a reward for all my training did I take time off to recover because oh boy did I need to recover the day after I couldn’t walk but I did manage to drive to the physio for a good deep tissue massage. No rather than taking time to recover and get back into running I had lined up a series of races which all began two weeks after the Marathon.

Now the thinking behind these races were recovery runs. Races to take it easy and get back into running however after the first it soon became clear that recovery was not the word. Over the past eight weeks I have ran ‘Port Sunlight 10K, Manchester 10K, Bangor 10K, Llandudno 1o miler, Mersey Tunnel 10K. In all apart from Manchester and Bangor  I beat my PB, each week I would go out hard, for my 10K’s my pace is under 7 minutes a mile for the Llandudno race I set off at 5k pace and some how kept going at this rate till mile 5 when I had to slow, but only slowed by 20/30 seconds.

A year ago I was running 10K’s at 55 minutes and now I’m about to run them in 42 minutes. From the Port Sunlight to Mersey Tunnel I have wiped 1:30 of my PB. The truth is that each of these races I found hard, my heart was beating overtime and my lungs had to take out a second mortgage for an extension to breath all the oxygen I needed. However despite this I enjoyed all the races, I felt relaxed, felt like I wasn’t over doing it but the week that followed the race would tell a different story.

The result of all this hard running on legs that had not fully recovered (I started running 7 days after my marathon) meant that I have been out of action. My legs have seized up and been so sore that I have not been able to run through the week. So now I am resting, not out of choice or out of injury but because I have no time to run. This week I was in Birmingham working and next I am in the Lakes and the week after I will be working hard. Hopefully this will allow my legs to recover so I can begin my training for the next race which at the moment isn’t till October.

Would I do it again? The answer is no. I might have done one or two of the races but the idea was to have something that would keep me motivated to run after the high of the marathon had died down, instead I found myself out of action saving myself, making sure I was recovered enough for the next race. I should know by now I will never lose my passion for running it has become part of me and the idea of having another goal to look towards to keep you motivate doesn’t really bother me. I enjoy running it free’s me up. If I am honest I could say I was addicted to the racing as well, trying to bag as many medals or tick off as many of the must do races as I can. While I wouldn’t do it again I certainly don’t have any regrets, all the races I have wanted to do and can now tick them off my list

So after the rest period I can hopefully start getting into a routine with some slow running, and some good old hill sessions thrown in, as I am going to need it as the next race is the Snowdon Marathon.

Feeling Good

‘God am I reading this correctly?’

‘I think you are!’

‘He has titled it “Feeling Good” which is a shame. I like the rants he sometimes does’

Well I am sorry, there is no rant or no moaning but just a very quick post. Today I ran 18 miles. 18. And I can hold my hand up and say come mile 12 it was hard, but by 14 I was enjoying the run again and could have gone on to do another 2 miles.

After last weeks 16 miles I was a little bit upset that I was not cut out for Marathon running but then again which British beer drinking men are? However after today’s trip running at 20 seconds per mile slower than my race pace I felt good. The issue with mile 12 was I ran into my local park which has quite a lot of steep hills which I kept running up. Last weeks 16 was hard, as I was working evening and mainly ate sandwiches, where this week I have been able to carbo load and had two nights off.

Anyway I was concerned last week that 16 miles felt tough, but after today I feel good and confident that I will be able to run the 26.2 miles and will still be smiling and alive as I cross the finish line on the 29th April. Just another couple long runs to go and then it’s time to taper taper taper.

Thought Sundays Were Made for Rest!!!

They were! weren’t they? It says so in the bible ‘And on the seventh day he rested’ Through history Sundays were seen as rest days people didn’t work.There was no noise of clogs on the pavement trudging down the cobble road to Quarry Bank Mill in 1864 on Sunday and come to think of it it has only been within my lifetime when shops have decided to open their doors. No, Sundays are rest days they are getting up before your parents and watching ‘Sharky and George’ (google it if you’re unsure it’s a childhood reference) then helping to bake cake with your Ma before getting dirty in the garden digging holes for your dad before being called in for a milky coffee and getting cleaned up before a roast and the afternoon film which would often be a western or a war theme. While you snoozed the afternoon away waiting for the buffet style evening tea and the Sunday night bath you could be assured that the day had been spent in deed resting from your usual life. And even now the thought of Sundays are to sleep in and do not a lot.

So why is it that my Sunday just gone I found myself in the shower at 7am and in my car for 8.30 heading along the M56 and on to the A55. Yes Sunday was a Race Day. I had been looking forward to this cheeky 10K in Llandudno North Wales as I was using it as a warm up to my Marathon. The course runs around the Great Orme which climbs 650ft in about 3-4 miles, before it sends you cascading down in just over a mile.

I had run the Orme before as part of the Conwy half so half knew what to expect. The atmosphere was electric even for a small running club organised race. The truth be known it looked like the locals were staying in doors as the promenade was filled with the 800 runners that were ready to start. After doing so big organised races like the Great North and Manchester 10K, I do prefer these smaller ones. You get more for your buck and a better chance to have run rather than being stuck trotting along like a heard of sheep on a country lane trying to break away from the pack.

I manged to get to the front of the pack at the start and when the gun fired I was away. I didn’t really know how to treat the run, so I just ran my 10K pace and felt fine. I think I was spurred on by the fact that up the hill I was over taking and never once being over took myself.

It was only towards the end when I over took a guy, and no longer had anything left to give a final push and sprint across the line that he took back the lead and crossed the line seconds before me.

All in all it was fun, I felt I could carry on that pace and my legs were fine. All the long running  is making these 6.20 miles seem like childs play. The bonus of the day was I also got a new PB and came 160th. All I need to do now is try to break the 40 minutes for a 10K then I will be happy. For those who don’t know, then within a year I have gone from a 55 min to 44 min race time so who knows another couple of years and I could take on Mo Farah.