Thursday, 30 July 2009

W11KW#2 - Tempo Run

Absolutely great run this evening, despite finishing work late and having an absolute nightmare getting out the door, which I managed a bit after 9pm. Absolutely perfect weather for running, despite some heavy showers earlier in the day.

Plan for this evening was 5 miles at mid-tempo pace (9m 23s per mile). In my eagerness to get out the door, I was belting down the road and the first time I looked at the Garmin was about 1km down the road and I was seeing a pace about a minute faster than the target pace! Decided to keep the tempo up for another bit, as the longer interval sessions were making the first mile seem rather easy.

Got the two miles in and pace hadn't dropped significantly - I was even looking at a 5km. The next mile was pretty tough and pace but passed the 5km mark at 26m 37s - a new PB (previous 27m 30s).

The aim for the following 2 miles was just to stay under the target pace which I did ok, though the last mile wasn't easy. Finished up doing 5.02 miles in 44m 08s which I'm pretty happy with (over 30s faster than target pace).

I was also down at the pool at lunch and done 1000m for the first time ever - done (2 x 5 + 2 x 3 + 2 x 5 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 2) x 25m - sweet.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009


After the interval sessions down at the track last night, my legs (calves) are pretty stiff. Went to the pool at lunchtime to try and stretch them out a bit, but it's the busiest I've ever seen it down there. Done about 100m (honestly) and some breathing drills down at the deep end and called it quits.

Had planned on going for a cycle this evening, but it absolutely poured down on my way home from work, so I gave it a miss. Was actually pretty bored, with nothing to do and that's usually when I'm at my worst, eating wise. I've been pretty hungry all day, but I've been quite good - went to Tesco's about an hour ago and just got a pot of yoghurt and one of those Philadelphia dippers - about 400kcal in total.

Literally just had dinner (potato waffles and fish fingers) and I'm starving again! Grrr - it's really annoying.

All green

Despite my best efforts over the last few days, my PhysicsDiet 30-day chart is all green for the first time in ages (?ever?). Here's the link for posterity if I go into the red on the latest charts.

Was pretty surprised with my weigh-in this morning - 105.5kg, only up 0.5kg from Friday (and I ate a lot of trash yesterday \ over the weekend). So far I've lost 2.61kg this month - will do a end of month summary later in the week.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

W11KW#1 - Intervals

Got down late to the track tonight and it was pitch black for my last two intervals! Overall, a good session though, legs are a bit stiff now though.

Plan was:
20 min warmup @ 10.43 per mile pace - I only meant to do 10 minutes (at a faster pace) but it was going well so stretched it out to the 20 mins - average pace was 9m 08s per mile.

2 x 1200m @ 6m 20s with 2 min recovery - First one of these I found relatively easy (even after the faster warmup). Second one was a lot tougher. Ran in lane two, so again distances were slightly long. Times were 5m 47s and 6m 04s.

4 x 800m @ 4m 10s with 2 min recovery - Didn't find these too bad, apart from the fading light. My left calf was a bit stiff towards the end, but just having to do two laps seemed relatively easy. Times were (again, distances slightly long) 4m 06s, 4m 00s, 4m 03s and 4m 01s.

10 min warmdown @ 10.43 pace - This wasn't too bad, averaged 10m 34s for the distance.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Latest update

Sorry for the mass of updates - this is the last one for tonight. I've been out on the bike the last two days, yesterday with a friend who's doing a monster cycle next week from Birmingham to Kilybegs over seven days - we just done a short session, twenty or so miles from Reading to Henley and back again. The terrain was relatively hilly and I definitely hope to get out there again over the coming weekends.

This evening I was also down to do a cycle as part of the marathon training. I was considering going out at lunch, but there's been some pretty heavy showers here all day, so just worked through. It'd all cleared up by the time I got home, so I hit the road.

The plan was to repeat a time trial that I done last year, which was two laps of a local circuit - I'm not sure of the official distance, but that doesn't really matter for comparison. I'd done the distance last year in 39m 03s and was hoping to beat that, despite this evening being windier and a "personal" time-trial.

I came in at 36m 19s, about 2m 40s faster than last years time which I was pretty happy with. My average pace (which I'm extremely happy with) was almost 31kmph for the 18.68km. Overall I covered just over 40km in 1hr 25m, an overall average of 28.4kmph.

Finally, I'd an absolutely shocking day diet-wise - a few bars of chocolate, some doughnuts, etc., etc. Must do better - be interesting to see what the scales say in the morning.

W12KW#3 - Long Run

If you've been following my long runs over the last few weeks, you're probably starting to notice a pattern! Well this weekends run was good in one sense, but probably bad in the context of the planned run.

The plan for W12KW#3 was 18 miles @ 10m 48s per mile. As usual, the plan was to do it on Saturday, as I'd arranged a cycle on Sunday. Didn't get up particularly early, wasted time hanging around the house, eventually got out for breakfast (around 1.30pm) which consisted of a Panani (dropped half of it :() and Rocky Road which was washed down with a Frappachino in Starbucks - truly the breakfast of champions!

Went and done some shopping in the local running shop (spending a heap of money on nothing in particular), hung around the house a bit more and arranged some dinner with friends at 6.30pm - trouble was that it was now 4.30pm!

So finally resolved to get out and done a nice (slightly hilly) run that I'd seen in the running shop (they've a weekly running group and have a noticeboard). I actually ended up getting a bit lost and probably went around 2 miles out of my way, but it worked out ok in the end. The run itself was on the opposite side of the Thames than I normally run, behind (and above) all the posh houses that overlook the river!

Overall, done 12.9km (just under 8 miles) in 1hr 22m (6m 21s per km (10m 10s per mile)) which I was pleased enough with. I could have certainly done more (time permitting), so despite the shortness of the run, I was still pretty happy with it.

W12KW#2 - Tempo Run

Bit of a delay posting this run up so I'll keep it short - plan called for:
  • 2 miles @ 10m 43s per mile (easy pace)
  • 3 miles @ 9m 08s per mile (short tempo pace)
  • 1 mile @ 10m 43s per mile (easy pace)
For the first time in these training plan so far, I actually managed to do the warmup part relatively easy (10m 18s per mile). While this is approx 30s per mile faster than the target, I'd still consider it relatively easy.

The first mile of the tempo run was pretty easy after the mile-long interval session on Tuesday night. I was holding off a little, conscious of the remaining two miles, but still managed 8m 44s. Second mile was a lot tougher, especially mentally - pace slowed down a little to 8m 50s, but it was slightly uphill, so still good going.

The final mile was tough - I really had to dig in and grind it out in 8m 58s. Overall, my average pace over the 3 miles was 8m 48s per mile - 20s faster than my target pace. I hung on for the final mile and a half to get home, doing the total 10.66km in 1hr 3m 17s (5m 56s / km).

Overall, pretty happy with it!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

W12KW#1 - Intervals

Another week, another track session.

Plan called for:
10-20 minute warmup
3 x 1600m @ 8m 35s with 1m recovery
10 minute warmdown

Once again, I'm pretty sure I got the distance wrong. Tonight, I started on the 4x400m mark on the outside lane of the track (the two inside lanes were closed off) and stayed in that lane for the duration. Garmin showed 1.75km (I only clocked it on the last one!). A quick look on youtube shows that the runners take the inside lane shortly after the initial handover!

In any case, found it pretty tough going and thought I wouldn't be able to do the second one after the first one. I actually ended up taking longer than the minute to compose myself between intervals. I just took it one lap at a time and thankfully completed the required session, though my times were definitely dropping off as the intervals progressed (the idea is to keep the times even).

Here are the times:
1.78km - 8m 25s (4m 44s per km)
1.75km - 8m 42s (4m 59s per km)
1.73km - 9m 01s (5m 12s per km)

Warmdown was at a pretty decent pace (compared to previous sessions), so overall quite happy with the run.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Weight update

This is a mid-month update, which is basically just cause it's being going so well over the last while I figured I may as well shout about it! As you can see from the graphs on the right hand side, everythings been in the green since the 25th June where my moving average tipped the scales at 109.1kg (actual 109.5kg). This morning (19th July) my weighin brought the moving average down to 107.7kg (actual 105.7kg), an overall loss of 2.4kg (actual 3.8kg).

Needless to say I'm pretty chuffed at that! One of the lads who hadn't seen me in around three months also thought I'd lost a lot of weight! To celebrate, I went out to this evening with a Nando's dinner (large chips + coleslaw) and desert this evening was a full tube of pringles and some dip! I could have held off the desert and I'm certainly not proud of it! Oh yeah, while I'm confessing, had two (yes two) cinnamon buns with my tea :(

Just want to write down what I think the weight loss is down to:
  1. Training: the first week of my marathon training plan started on the 23rd of June - hardly coincidence. I think the mix of the high intensity intervals and tempo runs with the slower longer runs at the weekend may have shook my body out of it's state of equilibrum.
  2. Diet: I've started being a (tiny) bit more planned with what I'm eating, especially during the week. Breakfast normally consists of 2 weetabix with milk + a portion of fruit, lunch is typically a small roll with meat, cheese and coleslaw, tea (around 5pm) is the same and dinner is usually a portion of pasta with some chicken. It's a little boring, but it seems to work. Of particular not is what I have for lunch \ tea - prior to this I'd have just had the two rolls at lunch. Splitting it into two seems to keep me full for longer if that makes sense.
  3. On a roll: I'm looking forward to getting up in the mornings these days to see what I'm weighing in at - seeing the line on the right hand side continue to go down is an awesome motivator (when it's going down). Once you build up a bit of momentum, then it seems easier to keep it up.
  4. Cravings \ willpower: For some reason (I've mentioned it before as well) I seem to have gone off all the junk food I used to eat (with the exception of ice-cream). If I go into a shop, for some reason I seem to find it easier to avoid chocolate (or crisps) at the moment - I've no idea whats brought that on, but long may it last. Even today when buying the pringles, I could have still put them down - it was the boredom that was the over-riding issue.
  5. Fear: Probably links in with #3, but if the training (especially the long runs) are teaching me anything, is that the marathon distance is to be feared and respected. Every pound or kilo that I can drop will hopefully make the distance easier.
So hopefully it keeps going as it has been - keep a close eye on the chart on the RHS and be sure to poke me if I'm falling back into the red.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

W13KW#3 - Long Run

Plan called for a 20 mile run at 7.02 per kilometer. Initial plan was to have an early start, so set the alarm for 6am. When that went off, reset it for 7am and eventually got up at 10am! Got out the door just before midday!

My plan for the run was to run along the River Cam up to the city of Ely, almost exactly twenty miles away. Any of the paths that I'd been on along the river near Cambridge had a good quality tarmac or gravel surface so figured it'd be like that up to Ely. A couple of lads from work live up there and reckon it's a nice day for a day visit, so it seemed like a decent plan.

Weather was good for running - a bit overcast, slightly windy and looked like it might rain (it didn't in the end). First half hour was ok, though was struggling a little and stopped for a drink of water on the 30 min mark. Was averaging around 6m 40s per km up to this point. Set off again but once I hit the river I soon realised that the nice path I was expecting was on the otherside - the path on my side was just a rough track in a field along the river!

I couldn't seem to get into a rythm and was in a run \ walk strategy - eventually got across the river and onto a section of path I cycle along regularly, which made things easier. That only lasted for 2 or 3 km, as we got into the Fens proper. The path here is essentially on top of a flood barrier (dam?) and there were long walking sections over the rough ground.

After a long, long slog I made it to the little village of Upware - absolutely in the middle of no-where deep in the Fens. Came across a pub on the river that was serving food, so decided to call it quits after 20.57km and 2hrs 47m (8m 07s per km pace) and grab a spot of lunch.

I'd a tough call after that - continue onto Ely (still 12km away) over the same terrain or try and get a bus somewhere. I decided on the second option and was told the nearest bus stop would be in a nearby village. Thankfully the google maps feature on my iPhone proved invaluable here and 6km later (52m - 8m 36s per km) I was at the bus stop waiting for the bus home.

One lesson from this is that I'm no longer attempting to run routes I've not at least cycled before - if I wouldn't cycle on the route (I certainly wouldn't on todays route) then I'm not running on it.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

W13KW#2 - Tempo Run

6 mile session tonight.

1 mile easy (10.43)
4 miles mid-tempo (9.28)
1 mile easy (10.43)

Done my usual thing of doing the tempo session first. First time wearing the new pair of Kayano's and after 4 miles I felt like I was starting to develop a blister. With the long run on Saturday on the horizon, I stopped on the four mile mark (had been planning to do 5 at the tempo pace).

Short stop (talked to a guy about his Red Setter) and carried on to complete the six miles.

I've signed up to Garmin Connect to give it a go - I've uploaded the run here.

My splits were as follows:
1st mile: 9m 22s
2nd mile: 9m 03s
3rd mile: 9m 20s
4th mile: 9m 32s

23m 13s for the last two miles :(

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

W13XW#2 - Cycle

Went for a 2hr cycle on my own this evening - nice evening for it, bit slightly windy which of course meant it felt like a gale out of the flat open areas around Cambridge. I obviously had it on my back for the first 40-50 minutes (20km), where my average speed was up on 31kmph!!!

That was up to the point where I turn westwards (I'm cycling in an anti-clockwise direction) in the screenshot below. Pretty uneventful, if tough for the next section of the cycle - the section around Needingworth was particularly tough - just long, straight and slightly uphill into a headwind. At this point my average speed had dropped to 29.3kmph.

Went slightly wrong at this point (almost ended up on the dual carriageway) and was starting to tire, so pace dropped a bit despite no longer being affected by the headwind. My knee's were playing up a little as well but soldiered on, my main aim to keep up the average pace.

Made it back to the start in 2hrs 15m, total distance 65km at an average speed of 28.9kmph. I think it's safe to say this is one of my fastest cycles (a shorter time trial may have been faster) - it'd have been nice to break the 29kmph mark, but will leave that for another day.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Weight Charts Fixed

I've fixed up the weight charts on the right hand side of the page. These are taking the values from the balance scales I got at the end of the last year.

As you can see, things haven't been going great on the weight loss front so far this year, but it's started to look a bit better in the last month or so. I suppose the main change there has been the start of the marathon training in earnest. I've also been less inclined to eat chocolate \ junk - for no apparent reason. That's not to say that I haven't - just that on a few occasions I've actually fancied a snack but have turned my nose up at a chocolate bar.

That said, I still have an ice-cream problem :)

W13KW#1 - Intervals

Tonights interval session called for the following:
20 mins warmup
5 x 1km intervals @ 5m 14s with 400m recovery
10 mins warmdown

Found this pretty tough but made it through to the end in one piece. Due to lanes 1 & 2 being closed, I had to run in Lane 3 and just decided to do the 2.5 laps from the start finish line instead of figuring out where to start to just do 1km exactly.

For the recovery intervals, I walked for 3 mins (approx 300m) and slowly jogged the rest.

It was an absolutely lovely evening for a run and really enjoyed the warmup. It was starting to get dark as I done the last interval and I was starting to struggle, but still managed my fastest interval of the night. It'll be interesting to see how the legs are in the morning.

Overall, I done 12.47km in 1hr 20m 39s (6m 28s per km). The splits were as follows:
1.05km - 5m 11s
1.04km - 5m 18s
1.04km - 5m 14s
1.05km - 5m 09s
1.04km - 5m 08s

Monday, 13 July 2009

Darn football

Got roped into my first game of football for the 2009 season due to a lack of players. I was supposed to be running the 17 miles on Saturday morning, but probably just as well that didn't happen.

I'd been planning on playing in goals, mainly as I didn't fancy getting injured but ended up playing in the forwards. Scored a point, but wasn't too happy with my play overall - that said, it was the first game I'd played since last year and first time with a ball in hand for a few months.

The main result of that was that I was pretty much unable to walk on Sunday morning - firstly because my right ankle had seized up and secondly because of a blister on the heal of the same foot. There went my plans of doing the 17 miler that I aborted on Saturday.

Going to continue with week 13 of the FIRST plan tomorrow down at the track. I'm a bit worried that I've a 20 miler beckoning at the weekend, but just got to see how that goes I guess.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Bad run

Supposed to do a 17 mile run this morning at 10m 58s pace. Got up early (for me) at 7am and was out the door around 7.45am. First half hour was un-eventful, until I had some "gastro" problems - luckily, I was beside the main hospital here in Cambridge and decided to use their facilities.

Got back out, figured that wasn't the best start but that I'd crack on - try and get another two hours under my belt. 15 mins later, I'm strolling home :(

I'm going to have another crack at it tomorrow morning.

Friday, 10 July 2009

W14KW#2 - Tempo

My first good tempo session of the training plan so far - it was always going to be a reality check as my main excuse from the last two weeks was gone - it was an absolutely perfect evening for a run - nice, cool, calm, etc. After my laziness yesterday, I went out for a relatively easy cycle at lunchtime, which looking back I probably shouldn't have (since the run was the more important training session).

So the plan called for
  • 1 mile easy (10m 43s)
  • 5 miles long tempo (9m 38s)
  • 1 mile easy (10m 43s)
As I always seem to get my pacing wrong from the start, I decided to just do the main part straight off - I was feeling pretty good and legs were strong after the first two miles, despite the quicker pace (around 30s / mile faster than the required pace on average). I kept that sort of pace up for the next two miles and was hoping at that point to do six miles at that quicker pace. However, I really struggled in the fifth mile and decided to take a rest afterwards, the quality part of the session done.

Rest of the run home was a series of run walks. Just after I'd stopped on the hour mark, I came across the biggest bunch of foreign students I've ever seen - I thought Dublin was bad during the summer, but Cambridge definitely takes that prize now! There must have been over 200 of them going over the railway bridge close to my place - just as well I'd stopped or I'd have had to run out on the road.

1m: 9m 02s
2m: 9m 04s
3m: 8m 59s
4m: 9m 15s
5m: 9m 27s

I've posted a screenshot, which should illustrate the difference between today's run and the corresponding run last week :)

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Lazy day

Was supposed to be a cross training day, but after working late and my usual Wednesday cycle partner pulling out, I took the evening off. Have to admit, it was a bit wierd doing nothing for the evening up here in Cambridge - any of my usual rest days I'm either travelling, visiting friends or taking Spanish lessons.

W14KW#1 - Intervals

First workout of W14 called for a 10-20 minute warmup, followed by runs of 1200m, 1000m, 800m, 600m, 400m and 200m (with 200m rests) and a 10 minute warm down. I'll give a summary of the expected and actual paces below.

The evening itself was perfect - it'd rained heavily at least three times during the day, the last time just prior to the run (8.40pm). Although today wasn't exactly hot, it did seem to make conditions perfect for running. I was actually considering doing the tempo run tonight because of this as I don't seem to struggle as much with the intervals in the heat, but I decided to stick with the plan.

Anyways, here's the details.

Dist Target Actual
==== ====== ======
1200m - 6m 20s - 5m 43s
1000m - 5m 14s - 4m 56s
800m - 4m 10s - 3m 57s
600m - 3m 06s - 2m 52s
400m - 2m 03s - 1m 50s
200m - - 0m 48s

Monday, 6 July 2009

W15KW#3 - Long Run

Long run #2 of the plan! A small matter of 15 miles (or 24km in new money) - easily my longest run ever, never mind a training run. Ok, so I wasn't going to run it non-stop but it was still pretty daunting.

The plan called for an average pace of 10m 58s per mile over the distance. Given my last long run (13miles) came in at 12m 03s per mile, that was going to be a tough ask. After the trouble with the heat last weekend, I decided to try and get out as early as possible. So a 6.30am wakeup call and myself and my running partner headed out for the first stage of the run. She peeled off after 50 minutes (longer than she'd planned) but the company really made a difference - I knew I was about a third of the way through the run at that point and it didn't seem as daunting.

After leaving my running partner behind, I carried on along the Thames for another 40 mins or so. It was actually pleasant running weather and I picked up the pace a little. My first bit of trouble came around 9am when I came upon an open area and the sun decided to show properly for the first time - instantly I was zapped of energy and took a five minute walking break.

Thankfully, I got it all together again after this and managed a few longer run \ walks over the next hour or so. The last half hour though I found quite tough - it was starting to get a bit hot and I was tired. But I was in much better shape than last week and still enjoying it.

Anyways, done the 15 miles with an average pace of 11m 40s - I'm taking solace in the fact that it's a fair bit faster than last week and was a much more enjoyable run. If I'd taken five minutes off my time I'd be much closer to my goal time, but I can only run the run that I'm able for.

Going to start week three now - getting the miles in, even if I'm struggling.

Friday, 3 July 2009

W15KW#2 - Tempo

Possibly my worst run ever, certainly in recent times. Even at 8.30am in the morning (was going to a Blur concert later in the day) I just couldn't handle the heat! Ran 3km and lapsed into a run walk - mainly a walk for the rest.

Plan was to do 1 mile warmup, 5 miles @ 10.13 and 1 mile warmdown. I think I'll be repeating week fifteen. The marathon training is going pretty bad so far!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Weight update

Once again, haven't had one of these in a while, so it's probably time to 'fess up.

01/07/2009: 108.88kg
03/06/2009: 108.99kg
01/05/2009: 108.86kg
01/04/2009: 108.80kg
03/03/2009: 108.61kg
02/02/2009: 108.26kg
31/12/2008: 108.45kg
01/12/2008: 111.20kg

As posted before, I just can't seem to get a handle on my weight this year. At least it's consistent which is a not quite a negative point. Food wise, while I'm not religious about what I'm eating, my pattern is generally good during the week and lapsing at the weekend! But this is no different than last year while I was losing weight.

There's definitely excess calories creeping in - I can't deny that (and the weight graph \ figures don't lie). My activity levels have probably been more or less constant, but I'm hoping that the current marathon plan I'm following helps me focus on both food and exercise.

One things for sure though - any weight loss between now and the marathon will make the event (slightly) easier. When I think back to a rucksack I was bringing on holidays that weighed in at 16kg's, which was around the amount I'd lost at the time, it really hits home how difficult it is carrying around extra weight, even if you don't notice it at the time.

Long cycle

Went for a long cycle this evening, one of the cross training sessions on the FIRST plan. Went with another lad here in Cambridge who's also doing Gael Force in August and the plan was to get 50km's in. The weather all week has been absolutely fabulous and today was no exception.

For the first hour or so took it relatively easy, just spinning the legs but still making a good pace. After that, pushed up the effort level a bit and at one point our overall average pace was hitting 18mph. Unfortunately a quick toilet break reduced this significantly and a slight headwind, coupled with tired legs and a hungry belly meant the average pace dropped until the finish.

Overall, very happy with the cycle and will probably give this route another go at some point. Overall distance was 56.34km (+ 4.85km to start point), total time was 2hrs 04m 21s (+ 12m 19s) and average speed 27.2kmph (23.6kmph).