12x1km and Sunday LSR

12 x 1km is a pretty nice work out all in all. It’s actually preferable to the 3km mini-tempo/intervals which, as I have described, can be galling in more ways than I can describe. The nice thing about a 1 kilometre rep, is that no matter how bad you feel on it, from literally moments of starting it, you can think about finishing it. 1km into a 3km rep is just no fun. No sir.

I chose Riverside Park in Bitterne Manor (Southampton) for the rep again. It’s as nice a place to do workouts as any, certainly in Southampton. Pleasant surroundings? Yup. Good path? Yup. Pedestrians? Yup – but more than enough room to negotiate. Perhaps the only thing lacking in the segment is its lack of loop. The park is one of my favourite areas in Southampton, but it is very much a commuters park. I often think that one of the reasons that so few people choose to walk there is because your options are limited walk through or walk back. I much prefer a nice loop.

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And so, all things considered, I felt fairly good about things. I ran a mile to the park, in the way of a warm up and felt fairly optimistic about things. It was early and I was silently pleased at the notable absence of people in the park. The first rep passed by easily enough and was performed at a 10km pace (4:30min/km). The 2 minute rest almost felt a little generous but my opinion on this had changed half way through. On turning back to come to the north end of the park, I realised a slight headwind would accompany me on every odd rep which was somewhat disheartening. Given the hurricane esque escapades of the preceding weeks however, I was willing to accept a little gentle breeze.

With a 1/6 of the workout completed, I felt a little worried. The thought of doing another 10 series of kilometres left me feeling uneasy. As I began my 3rd kilometre I realised on my way back for my 4th I would be a 1/3 of the work out in. There on in I divided each there and back loop into one segment into one repetition and it felt a lot better. By the time I’d returned for the third time, I had completed 1/2 of the workout.

I was suitably happy with my times also. Based on the intended pace of 4:30min/km, the splits were all happily well within this time and I can quite categorically say they felt pretty manageable. I should make it clear that the rests made this much much easier but, all in all I felt strong for the entirety of the workout. Here are the run details.

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The pace chart is far too big for me to screen shot – but all times as you can see are <4:30min/km. Quite happily, the rests were all well within 2 minutes as well, so not too much time spent hanging around for the next rep.

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The day ended with a gentle jog home and 17km in total. I felt great, all things considered. The following day I spent in London and ended up running 28km with my brother – 4 unintentional kilometres but you can’t miss an opportunity for a London tour though can you? There was a Royal Parks 10km also in Hyde Park when we arrive which we chose to run past and ignore.

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For those that care – don’t make the mistake of running along the Great West Road/A4. At 18km or so I told myself that it might make things better for me but really, it was just a noisy fucking nightmare. I cut back up through Stamford Brook and rejoined civility in Acton once again. From that point onwards, it was just counting down the kilometres home. I’ve paid for it today with DOMS all up in the place. I’ll never learn.

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Richmond Nice Work 10km

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Sunday was a gorgeous day. On the back end of Saturday’s meteorological erraticisms and angry skies, the sun rose and beamed on South West London. We made the pleasant and uneventful commute from Southampton fairly early to arrive in time for the gun at 10am. On arrival, Sheen gate (in the North East corner) was positively bustling and seemingly, as far as the eye, a human engine coughed and chortled into action. Two men with designer coffees and presumably occupied prams wandered carelessly through the Tamsin Trail. The queue for the toilets grew ever longer. Underneath the sprawling canopy of trees the beginning and end of the Richmond Nice Work 10km was found.

On arrival, having not been entirely familiar with the route I decided to canter along it, 1 km in each direction. It seemed reasonable enough. I would openly refer to the course as an enjoyable run. With a good mixture of terrains and gradients, it makes for a particularly interesting but not easily accomplishing course. I wouldn’t personally seek it out for a PB. The opening 3km take the form of an insidious climb, confusing the eyes but not the legs as the course brings you along the Tamsin trail to the Western most aspect and the peak of Richmond Hill. From there and acute turn almost back onto oneself is made onto a paved road, tumbling down Sawyer’s Hill lasting some 2km. From there a further kilometre began a grass lined ascent to the start.

Safe to say, I found the course difficult. Undulating, muddy swamps reflecting the preceding month’s weather, uneven grass patches – it did not make for straightforward racing. This said, I was still fortunate enough to register a chip time PB of 45:36. Although not a “Garmin PB” – I suspect it’s calibration may need some attention, I am holding this official time as my PB. The following is the race and the splits. Screenshot 2016-01-11 15.57.53.png

As can be seen, the second lap was a real pain. I overtook an older chap in a white cap as we passed 6km but was rapidly overtaken in the onslaught of an oncoming hill. As he crept away from me I decided to hold on to his pace for as long as possible with the intention of jumping an attack on the hill and getting away from him. As it happened, he sped up more than I could counter and I watched him peel away from me slowly but ever so deliberately. He must have maintained a minute’s gap at least as we passed the finish line. After the race we had a chat and I lamented with him on his fitness. He told me of his upcoming London Marathon  qualification via good for age. Disgusted, I shook his hand as he left.

All in all, another PB on the back of a non taper week and difficult (for me) course. I cannot help but think that perhaps what is required is a flat fast course for the required <45. Perhaps after Spring’s two half marathons a 10km is back in the picture. We’ll see.

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Medium Long Run: 14km

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This is the view at the top of Cleveland Park in Ealing looking back across North and West London. In the hidden distance the A40 hurries to the City and away to Oxford. The houses are large and proud. The park represents a sincere incline away from the River Brent, a polluted and opaque affair, a sorry tributary to the pumping vein of the Thames. By this point I had completed some 13km of my run and paused to capture the scene. On my way up the hill a man slipped and fell and was picked up by some concerned dog walkers. Embarrassed, he picked himself up and continued. I watched him run out of the park and having caught my own breath, pulled out my phone and took the picture.

I was in no mood to run in the morning. The was no real sense in recovery from the previous days hiatus and it was everything I could do to get myself to the point of beginning the run. My legs felt weighted and I felt aware of them more than I have done in recent times. The ground was wet but the skies were clear. Two cars countered each other belligerently in the narrow recesses of the road, each refusing to move. I began.

Irritatingly, there is still no data to show you given the very notable absence of my ANT + stick and so you will have to take my word for this excursion. I completed 14.3km at a 4:55min/km pace and felt every footstep. There were countless times I wanted the run to be over and in many circumstances found myself willing my psyche to the end of the road, the next tree or the top of the hill. One more kilometre. One more kilometre. My average HR was 151bpm with an average cadence of 92spm. The kilometre splits (min/km), I have hand written below, so you better fucking read them

  1. 5:00
  2. 4:55
  3. 4:55
  4. 4:47
  5. 4:53
  6. 5:04 (big hill man, you had to be there)
  7. 4:44
  8. 4:49
  9. 4:52
  10. 4:55
  11. 4:56
  12. 4:56
  13. 5:13 (big hill man, you had to be there)
  14. 4:55
  15. Only 260m (in 1:15) Screenshot 2015-12-29 17.56.30.png

So given how tired I was, not a bad pace for me overall. I obviously joke about the hills but they clearly continue to hit me hard. On lap 13, I genuinely cannot convey how difficult it was to put foot in front of successive foot. I didn’t fall but I would have happily ended the run at the park’s summit, such was my exhaustion. To date, there are many many runs that I have not wanted to do. There are many many runs I would have happily ended prematurely and walked the remainder of the distance. There are many runs, like today, where every step almost required a conscious battle to progress from A to B. As it happens and despite all of this, there are no runs I have regretted on completion and as I sit here now, I am conscious that every run only makes me stronger now matter how weak I feel whilst in it’s oblivion.

*Addendum. The Garmin is now connected. Rejoice in the data that is the Strava application.

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Parkrun No. 10 Gunnersbury Park

This is the backdrop awaiting you as you arrive in Gunnersbury Park. 6 towers furnishing the southern most point, arms up to the sky. I don’t know what purpose they serve but they have been there ever since I can remember on my earliest visits to the park. One of them may be a Sega building but I can’t be sure. Does anyone still play the megadrive? As you approach them, the rumble of traffic increases and in such lazy and unfurled grounds it’s easy to forget that the M4 comes into existence here in it’s storming relentless passage to Wales. It is quite abundantly, a classic example of life in London; we play under the smog of traffic that surrounds us.

After yesterday’s yuletide 5km personal best in southampton, today was to be a gentle affair. The plan had been to do the ParkRun in Gunnersbury as a warm up and then retire to it’s mid town neighbour for a series of 10x1km repetitions at 10km pace. That was the plan anyway.

As soon as I left the house, I knew this wasn’t going to be easy or even possible. As I cycled through South Ealing, the wind reminded me that even though South England might not be flooded, it wasn’t going to let me get away without a slap in the face. My legs, stiff, heavy and unrecovered grumbled beneath me. They’re never particularly happy with most things, I didn’t expect any different now.

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The start. That lady looks a little un-impressed. He definitely forgot to put the seat down.

I ran the park run at a gentle-ish effort. The 5:00min/km I was aiming for quickly became 4:40min/km odd and I registered a final time of 23:34. I would link the Strava data here but, pleb that I am, have lost my ANT+ stick and so have been using my iPhone instead. Looking at the splits, they couldn’t be more dissimilar to my watch and so there’s not point in commenting further. The race itself was seasoned with a good helping of wind throughout, with little to no crowd cover. The field itself was only of 172 odd patrons and so there weren’t too many running groups.

Just some pictures of the end funnel there. There was quite a big bridging pause between the <25 and >25 runners in my mind. Not sure as to what the reason for this discord was. As I left, some runners were still trickling in. I have to admit, I didn’t give any encouragement as I was more concerned about the repetitions awaiting me.

By the time I arrived in Walpole Park I felt tired and the decision had been made, with extreme guilt to reduce the workout to only 5 repetitions. This guilt was consolidated by the circulating runners whirring their way across the park’s perimeter. Clearly lots of folk trying to lighten the Christmas day dietary damage. I locked my bike up and began the workout which is here (and remember this is iPhone data which is about as useful as taping a cat to my wrist and getting it to pace me).

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Needless to say, I was fucking dying. If you look, and you really don’t need to, the pace drops off incrementally and by the final rest I have succumbed  to walking. The pace was supposed to register around the 4:30min/km mark but it was way off and I think on average it would have been closer to 4:35 or so. I was disappointed to have performed so poorly and perhaps the smarter of you might have suggested leaving this workout out altogether. Personally I think that you need to identify your running needs and a big weakness of mine is running whilst fatigued. Clearly we can’t all have the burst of acceleration of a certain Mo Farah but it would be nice to be able to hold a reasonable pace with out flapping like a fish, long out of water, being prodded by an idiot toddler.

I leave you with the new improved Walpole Park.

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This was what I previously and lovingly called Paedo lake (please note, I don’t know if any bonafide paedo-ing went on here). There was a conglomerate of bushes that had once stood in quiet contemplation around this water whilst all sorts of naughtiness went on under the drooping arms of the English Ivy canopy. Basically I think this was the place to be if you either wanted a little bit of drugs from that bloke Trevor or to lose your middle class virginity. I did neither of those, in case you were wondering. Still haven’t.

Toodles.

 

10km, Kew and the Wind

It was windy today. The weather forecast suggested a 21mph wind WSW, which according to the Beaufort Scale is a Category 4 wind and a fresh breeze. I don’t know who described these scales. There was nothing fresh about the breeze today. As soon as I left the house, I was hit by a sucker punch of wind that had probably originated from a fart in Guernsey. This persisted throughout the first 6km or so of my run, culminating on Kew Bridge. It was a miserable affair. I hate the wind.

Today was supposed to be a recovery run but I decided to decorate each kilometre with 200m strides at 800m. See, I like the idea of fartleks but I lack the intuition to do them. If I am running and I have to randomly assign myself a period of running harder, then I assure you, as day follows night, I will not run any harder. Therefore regulated strides work well for me. I know they are coming, I fucking hate them, but I do them anyway because I hate giving up on things. So that’s what happened.

Here is the workout and the pace chart below.

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The pause was at the junction of Ealing Road as it passed underneath the A4/M4. It wasn’t intentional. In fact it was a real ball ache. I hate standing and waiting for traffic to pass. However, not being run over is contingent with life and so I let this pass.

This is the map of the route if you are interested.

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It’s actually a fairly nice route. There’s some racy stuff on the A406 back up to Ealing and the traffic just never seems to quieten down but it’s a relatively nice route. It’s actually well worth extending the loop through Kew which is beautiful to run through. For the point of the 10km today it was excess to need and so I reigned it in.

The strides went well overall. The wind was pretty relentless as I headed southwards and by the first 5km I was honestly contemplating cutting them to only 5 repetitions. As I came back up Gunnersbury Avenue, my legs were really feeling stiff and I was pretty tired. I have no idea how I managed to make it back into Ealing, I was puffing like a steam engine.

All in all it was a good run, coming in as my 3rd fastest 10km which is no bad thing. I feel the strength is beginning to build and hopefully the strength in combination with a stronger aerobic base will serve me well. We’ll see. Christmas Day Parkrun tomorrow.

Oh yeah, merry Christmas Eve!

2 Mile Intervals: Lammas Park

It’s a resplendent morning here in West London. The sun has crept out from the clouds and the wind has settled enough that the day can be considered a pleasant one. There is genuinely, nothing quite like a morning run under the sun.

Today the plan was to undertake 3 x 2mile intervals with a 3:00 minute break in between. In honesty, this was supposed to be a 2:30 break but after the first 2 miles I realised that clearly wasn’t going to happen and so there was a mid work out addendum.

I chose Lammas Park in Ealing to undertake the splits. I have to concede it is one of my least favourite parks in Ealing and I have always been drawn to the gentle middle class pleasantries of it’s bloated neighbour, Walpole Park. I have to stress, it’s not a particularly bad park at all, I just never particularly warmed to it. My older brother does seem to enjoy it a little more than me and so on family runs I have been dragged through it and I suppose it’s not so bad. Importantly, it doesn’t have that air of disownment that the once impressive Gunnersbury Park seems to shoulder. True, it hosts the Gunnersbury Parkrun as some form of consolation but it does feel somewhat broken and forgotten, sitting as it does, beneath the roar of M4. Along the broken paths and the murky lakes, even the dog walkers leave the dog shit where it lands.

I digress. I chose Lammas Park for the principle reason that it equals a mile in its perimeter, no less. This is very helpfully marked by the 100m distance posts that circle in an anti-clockwise manner from the main (Walpole side) entrance to the park. Here is the Strava segment for the Lammas Mile.

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It’s actually remarkably suitable for the repetition. There is a slight incline from the SW corner to northerly most point but it is not enough to compromise your interval. I should add, I felt it, but it was manageable. Also the middle waist where it seems to pinch is also quite sharp as you turn for the final 300m. There were some yummy mummies (they weren’t that yummy) doing some odd lunge type activities on that very corner which wasn’t odd at all. They kept this up for the entirety of the workout.

Here is the pace chart for the workout.

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The pace was maintained relatively suitably. I aimed for a 4:30 min/km split for the first 2 intervals and then a 4:35-4:40 for the last one. The overall times were 14:05, 14:08 and 14:34, all of which I will live with. I managed to keep trotting for the first rest interval but after the second one, it was everything I could do to not collapse on the floor, so I walked. I’m not a big fan of walking during interval workouts but I was completely spent, it was a necessity.

Overall I was happy with the outcome. I was disappointed to feel that I needed to extend the rest periods and walk during one but I completed the workout and that should count more than anything. Overall, the run paced  at about 4:45 min/km which is satisfactory at my current level. A 10km recovery run awaits tomorrow. See you Anon.

MLR with the elder brother.

I think I am more or less on course with the running now. I am about a third of the way into my training for the Brighton Half Marathon (which is on 28th February 2016) and I am feeling pretty good. I don’t think feeling good is particularly synonymous with objective improvement but I’m not injured, I’m running, things are going well.

Today I ran 14km in West London with my older brother as part of my MLR (medium long run). I’ve added the link to my Strava so you can see it. He ran the first 1okm (to a PB I should add) with me and I finished off the final 4km on my own. I do love running through London. I am by some considerable measure, an urban runner. Nothing quite inspires or invites me to run as the turning of road upon road. It’s an amalgamation of the history of the city, the buildings in ascension, the feeling of something significant happening; yesterday today and forever more. The space is bombarded by the blitz of relentless human endeavour. I’ve enjoyed many runs through fields and countryside but they never get me quite like urban running does. There’s only so many things you can do with a horizon.

I’ve added the pace chart from said run below.

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We kept a nicely gentle and comfortable pace of about 5:30min/km in the entirety of the joint run. The suggested pause just after 9km isn’t at all, merely a venture over a bridge and British Rail. I think he had begun to turn by this point as the pace had begun to drop off towards 6min/km. I continued onwards with the goal of keeping the pace of 5min/km for the final 4km. This more or less was achieved.

I’m getting to the point now where 5min/km is a fairly comfortable pace for me at distance. I’m probably teetering on the edge of my aerobic capacity. A venture toward 4:50 begins a tugging of breath and by 4:40 I am fully aware that I’m running.

4:40 is the intended goal pace for the Brighton Half. The goal time is 1″40. The current PB is a somewhat embarrassing 1″43. I feel I can do much better than that and hopefully now I should do, given that never before have I trained for a half marathon. There is something thoroughly depressing about watching 40 year olds cruise to 1″30 (I am 30 years old myself) whilst steam pours out of my ears. Happily, 4:45 should get me my goal time, but I am keen to arrive comfortably into the next time zone. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens.

2 mile intervals tomorrow in Lammas Park which I am looking forward to. I know, I’m a little strange.