Down One Place at Number 2 (The Running Charts)

A Non-mover at #10 its the 5K a distance for anyone quick or slow.

Number 9 isn’t going anywhere its 10 Miles for when you want to let of steam but don’t have another 3 miles in the legs

Straight in at 8 its the 7 to 8 Miles – long enough to be tempo and not burn out, or useful if you want to extend that 10K if you have the energy or used as a long slow run with sections of speed.

Number 7 moves down five place partly because I’ve not done it for a while it’s the Marathon. A great distance and the training is the best bit.

Meaning number 6 has also slipped its the Half -or 13.1 miles, long enough to feel like you’ve ran and a distance you can keep the speed up.

So number five is Fartlek yet again not done this for a long time since I like to do it on a treadmill along with…

Non mover at number four Hill Sessions. Find a hill and run up and down, also great as you can mix up your routes with hills

Still clinging on at Number three where its been for 6 months is the 10K a distance that I can do at anytime at any speed – also my first major run.

Meaning number 2 has dropped from the top spot its Listening to Music. It somehow puts your mind of the task in question, but listen to the wrong tune and it throws your run out.

So back at number 1 is Just Running Yeah with no music or no set goal just a run and see where it takes you, add some hills if you wish, cut it short or extend it – but with no music allow your body to guide you.

Yes people last week I spoke about running with music again, this week I am still running with tunes, but todays run was so up and down with pace, what should have been enjoyable turned into a chore until I ripped out the headphones and just enjoyed the run for what it was.

The jury is still out on running with music as I feel that without it today the I’d have thrown in the towel after three miles. I am sure I will keep you informed.

Returning to my Roots.

This blog and let’s be honest has grown and travelled in several directions, a little like my running and that is where this blog was born. For some reason I felt that the internet needed another blog written by some one who wasn’t very good at writing telling the world about his exploits in the hope to one day cross a finish line in a 10K race allowing people a key hole look into the highs and lows of my 10K training and my discovery of running.

Well, to save you the hassle and bother of trawling through the archives I can confirm now that I did cross the finish line and my addiction to running was born. I carried on telling tales of my training, my injuries and of my running adventures and soon the blog snowballed into tales of work, dreams, walking and anything I felt there was to moan about.

Today I return to write about my running experiences. Its been almost a year since my last event and that happened to be in New Zealand. I have yet to get back into a full training session as work (What little there is) and my cycling has got in the way. Plus I have not felt I can enter… But now I am determined to train for a half and to get out there and start running regularly, however for some reason I have started to listen to music on my runs again and I feel this has been what was missing.

I always use to listen to music on runs, it would help me set my pace and some of my Personal Records have been thanks to my playlist, slow medium tempo songs to start me off which slowly build to faster dance or faster tempos – and using the same playlist for each race I would often race myself – I have to get to Stereophonic’s by mile 2 or I must have crossed the line before James comes on.

Now like most people I stopped listening to music because of the races I ran, many were on country roads or smaller events that were run on open roads as it wasn’t worth the cost or hassle to close roads so for safety headphones were banned. One of those very races was the Snowdon Marathon and so I started to train with no music to get use to it and you know what? I found I liked it. Didn’t at first, but I grew to enjoy it, being able to hear your surrounding and your body I found my running improved. I found I enjoyed running a lot more. I enjoyed races a lot more. I enjoyed not having that distraction of music and trying to fumble to skip a track or turn the volume up and off course hitting the accelerator because the beats were at 5 minute pacing.

But for some reason I decided the other night to slip on some headphones and listen to music on my 5K and while it was no quick run (one of my slowest as it was 25 minutes) it felt quick, the music distracted my mind from saying “you’re tired” “This hill is too steep” “Turn left it’ll take us home quicker” instead my head was telling me to turn right as they liked this one . So I tried it again today with a 10K and the same result. The music lifted me it carried me along.

While it was not super fast as I was still listening to my body in terms of pace, the music helped me to keep going and to zone off and be in the moment. Not sure how long it will last as when I ran with no music I felt in the moment but just recently running the same routes with the same scenery and not being able to push myself with times or distance as left me feeling deflated and adding music as some what for now   added a new sparkle into my running.

I’m still not 100% sold if I am a runner with or without music… But these last two runs have been very enjoyable with some musical accompaniment.

How Lonely is the Long Distance Runner?

Wow, that’s a question. I have yet to read the book or see the film that goes by the same title. Well goes by the title of ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’ and while this is not going to be a rip off or even an interpretation of what Alan Sillitoe wrote it is going to be an examination into the world and mind-set of runners.

Everyone knows were a funny lot. People come in from the cold wrapped up to the nines with gloves, coats, hats they turn the heating on full blast and comment how icy and freezing it is and it has started snowing. Or they comment that the rain is hammering down so much it is bouncing. With this weather report you can guarantee that if there is a runner in close proximity then they will grab their trainers and be off for a run. Even the very name we take pride in. ‘Were runners’ I picked a parcel up the other day before going for a run and because of this I had my Liverpool Half T-Shirt on. The Post Office official commented and asked if I was going for a ‘jog’ before I could reply she had apologised and corrected herself with the word ‘Run’ ‘You don’t jog do you? You run, you’re a runner I’m a runner’ While the words ‘jog’ and ‘run’ don’t bother me I know in the fraternity of our sport anyone who takes it seriously is a runner.

Yes we are crazy, we know that. We run because we enjoy the freedom, buzz, energy and maybe the solitude and boy is there a lot of that. I am at the moment after hitting ‘Publish’ going to lace up the shoes and be on my way for a good 90 minutes running where the only company will be that of my own and for people who know me that is not always enjoyable.

But at the same time there is a community and camaraderie between runners. As we run and see other runners we wave, nod, even go as far to say ‘Hi’ if we can mange wasting our precious breath on speaking. As we go into running shops we talk about times, races, routes. At the start and end of races we chat and laugh. On route we sometimes talk and laugh, if people stubble we ask if they are okay, we offer water and energy gels around but while all of this is happening we are also in our zone. Running our own race on our path to a hopeful PB or course record.

So how lonely is running. Is the Long distance runner alone on the field, starving off the exhaustion with only his or her thoughts for company. When I ran my first Marathon I have never felt so alone yet there were hundreds of people around me running as one. The crowds were calling my name and cheering us all on but yet I was running my own race my own route.

The mind set of running is strange. We are a big family, large support and only a runner will be able to understand or comprehend an other. Our community is large and extensive we welcome new members to the fold but yet when we run we run on our own with our own thoughts and goals and I’m not going to lie Manchester Marathon saw me almost throw in the towel as my body began to shut down. Every movement required a strong conscious effort to move. As my legs filled with concrete and my head dropped I thought I was going to die out on the field and then the realisation that I wasn’t alone helped to bring me back to the land of living.

But in training you don’t have the luxury of crowd support or fellow runners and part of the training is becoming strong, telling your mind you are strong enough to keep running. Running is a solo sport, hobby, ambition, lifestyle. You will only ever understand a runer if you become one and even then you will never understand how every individual feels as he crosses the line after 26.2 miles or comes in from a 20 mile run on a Sunday morning.

That is where the true loneliness happens. Not being able to share your relief and joy of long distance running, not being able to explain your thoughts and feelings as you picked up pace, tackled the hill, popped a gel cause you thought it was the right time. Everything about running is personal to you and to you alone which in itself is a nice thought.

 

Does it come with stabilisers

Now I have never been good with balls. I was hopeless at football when I was at school, so dreadfully poor at the sport that if I was at school now I could be picked for the England team. I was pretty useless at catching and throwing but did enjoy rugby and was slightly better than other people at this contact sport. I had trouble hitting balls be it with a tennis racket or cricket bat, and much preferred that of a shuttle Cock in Badminton.  So what is this confession of the lack of sporting prowess all about? Well it’s here to give  a background as for Christmas I asked for a stability ball or yoga ball depending on who you are. I didn’t get one partly because my father has one which is now sitting in my room after he made it redundant when his elbow/wrist improved. 

Now I was told to get one or to use one by my physio to really work on my glutes and get my core strength nice and strong… Now I have one and its taking up the majority of the living room… (Do they come in different sizes?) anyway I tried it out after spending a good two hours pumping the dam thing up and if I’m honest I don’t think it was 2 hours well spent as it still seems a little squishy. 

Anyway leaving the infallibility issue to one side I tried the exercises my physio had shown me to get my Hams and Glutes good and strong and then decided that youtube may have some good workouts as I thought I was failing  to remember the precise nature of the method Dom had instructed me to do. Now I fell on a good 30 minute video detailing several workouts, some were the ones my physio had shown others were new and some just saw me never complete them as I was for every falling off. 

Trying to balance on an inflatable ball whilst lifting your left arm, right leg into a superman pose is not my idea of exercise or fun. There is a reason why my core is weak and I get injuries as a runner and that is because I don’t cross train, I just run. Running is fun and I can do it, and do it easily. Sure there are mornings when I need to motivate myself into getting the trainers on but at least I do get them on in the end. The days trying to motivate myself into carrying out the physio exercises or going to the gym for a session never seems to materialise, however that may all change with the ball, or it would if it had stabilisers that way I might be more inclined to continue with it without the fear of falling off. 

For those runners who use one, tell me your best uses, if your are a runner with out one then get one, the 30 minute routine I did today used and stretched muscles in my legs I never knew were there or could never reach.

The news after the run

Well my post a little bit ago, was talking about a run. As I predicted I did go for a run, and I feel fine afterwards. The question is was it a good run or not. Well for many months now since I got into this running lark I have forever grown an interest in the sport and the activity. By this I mean I started watching it on telly, started reading forums and blogs. The real hook line and sinker was when I started to buy magazines and now I often buy two or three each month. In one of these mags there was an article about a good run and being chained to the runners GPS system with the heart rate monitors and such like. Within the article the runner talked about always trying to shave off those few seconds or running that extra mile and if completed then he would gauge his run from the system that lit up on his LCD screen. The enlightenment for him came when he entered a race and forgot to strap his little gadget onto his wrist. Thoughts of pulling out of the race hit him but he eventually decided that he should go through with it. Once at the finish line he found he’d completed the course in his quickest time getting a new PB and enjoying the race for the first time. He went on to explain that he was no longer chained to the GPS informing him about pace, distance etc and therefore all his thoughts and energy could go into the running style.

While out running tonight I was; as I am constantly looking at my Endomondo on my Blackberry to see how quick I am. The trouble is for the past several months I have never been able to beat my PB and I always run a 5K within a minute or two of my normal time. I too judge the nature of the run on the speed and distance, and how alive I feel at the end, not whether if my technique is correct or not.

Maybe when I go out for a run later in the week I will leave my phone at home to see if I run any faster, and just use a standard watch to help me pace myself. The thing is that I do love looking at my run afterwards, and compare it with other runs. Have I ran the same speed at the same check points etc the trouble is you can become bogged down in all of this. Until the article and tonight I had not really noticed how glued to my hand my blackberry with the application has been and has this affected my running. Should I be using other bars to measure if the run was good. Coming back feeling like I could do it again, noticing how fluid my arms swing through the air or how bouncy or how I spring from stride to stride. Is it a mix of the two. Being that I am a solo runner, and not a member of a club maybe I could perfect a style and maybe by reading several articles that will in the end contradict the other I will be changing the technique to suit what I find easier or more believable. But at the end of the day I whole heartily see where this runner comes from a GPS can be a good aid, but that is all it is at the end of a day is an aid. It should not be the be all. You should use is as part of your training but most certainly should not rely on the results it shows you.

I do love running, and I love running against myself, but I feel my injury may have been result in a poor technique as I was to busy moving my eyes off the goal and focusing them on my lit screen that stared back at me relaying that I had only done 3.23K in 11 mins. ‘Push yourself harder’ I would hear myself say, the other day you had done .2K more in this time. I remember on the Manchester 10K while I had paced myself well and with the rest of the pack my eyes drifted to my phone to see that I was covering a kilometre in around 6m 30 secs. Far too slow as in all my training and runs I would normally complete this in 4m 30s.

So for keeping pace, watching your progress I could not argue more for their use. The trouble is you don’t want to be a victim. They can become very addictive and a little like scale watchers when people lose weight they end up becoming a distraction and drawing you away from the real goal.

If you are a runner then I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. I would also like to hear what blogs and magazines you read.

Right I’m off to read what I should be eating as a runner.

Night all