Tuesday 30 April 2013

Almost a summer's evening

After work the weather was pleasantly warm and dry. More June than April. I was too late to join the Tuesday group so elected to do that loop, but starting from home to add a little distance. I also decided to take the run very gently as yesterday's swim was tiring and I don't think I'm fully recovered from the 'Round Walk' we did a fortnight ago as yet.

The photograph doesn't do justice to the conditions as I ascended to the Oxstones, juts warm enough with a gentle breeze.
From the Oxstones towards Lady Canning Plantation
I was cautious on the descent to home as I didn't want to overstrain anything. All of this slow progress gave an average pace slightly better than 6 minutes/km which I suppose isn't too bad for a post-work trail run. I didn't expect to achieve any Strada awards for such stately progress but somehow I was faster than someone!

Saturday 27 April 2013

Better late...

I was in London working this morning so missed the usual Saturday morning run. However I'd resolved to do something similar on my return. So after a cup of tea I was off down to the park and up towards Porter Clough. Things felt right and perhaps a little faster, although I know that can be deceptive. I decided to keep an eye on pace and noted that on this section the average pace dropped below 5minute/km pace here, at the holly bush just after the bridge:

View Larger Map

I pushed on up the Clough and crossed the 'reference point' log at 29 minutes 59 seconds! First time under 30 minutes. Great! Then it was more or less downhill all the way home. Unfortunately I tried to keep a good pace through Limb valley and pulled a calf muscle (again...) whilst navigating the twisty-turny ridges. Nothing serious but an irritation. Should be fine by the next run.

It'll be interesting  to see how close to the 30 minute ascent I can manage next week as the current average is closer to 31 minutes. Only 3% difference but that's a lot. I also need to monitor pace now I have the 5minute goal.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Long Intervals

Thursday is interval day and perhaps the day for a fast 1km. But yesterday I did a fast 12km and it certainly left its mark. My measured 1km was slow and the intervals were very hard going and slowed markedly. At least I've learnt that I am adapted to alternate days of running and putting them back to back is a lot more work. So now, with my goal in mind, I need to look at training on at least some adjacent days.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

A key barrier broken

This afternoon I took a bit of annual leave to take advantage of the pleasant, perhaps rather warm, weather. After a sandwich  I ran an hour loop and convincingly completed it under the hour. This time it was 58 minutes whereas last time I was rather down to the wire.

Goldstar from psdGraphics

More excitingly I completed 10km in under 50 minutes. I knew I'd broken the barrier a kilometer or so from home but as the last bit is the fastest that alllowed me to get the PR time down to 49:15. A month or so of intervals and adding some longer runs seems to have allowed me to increase pace without too much trouble. Just as the books say. A plateau must be on its way.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Sheffield Round Walk Route

Here's a GPX file of the route. It's 500 points long to give a good resolution. I tried cutting below 100 and that was usable, but I'd need 20 to get it onto my 12XL. I suppose that would work as 5 individual routes.

Saturday 20 April 2013

Tired gastrocnemius

It took a bit of planning to encourage someone to join me on a run of the Sheffield Round Walk but it was arranged and today we did it. I was hoping for a slightly larger group but potential members decided they weren't fit enough or they had a better offer elsewhere. So we were two.

We set off from the usual saturday morning point with the goal of doing the 14 mile park-centred walk as a slow run in around 2 and a half hours. The main thing was to conserve energy early on. The weather was going to be lovely. The first half of the walk is attractive, the third quarter adequate and the final quarter 'mixed'. Until sometime in the late 1980's the walk stopped at Graves Park but 'recently' the loop was completed. Brincliffe edge is superb, if short, but the section around Lees Hall rather unkempt.

Anyway we were very pleased to reach Bishop's House but as both of us had different niggles, my calf muscles had become quite tender, the descent through Meersbrook was not speedy. We completed the loop in 2 hours 20 minutes and estimated the distance to be closer to 15 miles.

Our pacing wasn't good as we set off at 5:15 minute/km and finished closer to 6:30 minute/km. That's quite bad practice! I'm ploughing my way through the 'Lore of Running' and was taken by Galloway's scheme of  walk-run. The essence of the idea is not (necessarily) to give aerobic breaks but to give the locomotory muscles a chance to recover and thus delay fatigue and soreness. I need to try this in the near future.
Anyway, despite the slowing I think that was pretty good going and I managed to get a PR of 2 hours 1 minute for the half marathon distance and a fastest 20km too. Also first run to exceed 25km. All of this is in the right direction.

I took along a Blueberry Clif bar  and found it quite agreeable to break off bits and nibble en route. It tasted like real food, unlike the SIS drink I tried  a few days ago, although the ingredient list isn't quite what you'd have at home in the kitchen.

The only question remaining is "Are we going to do this every other month?"

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Hot and windy makes a 10km best

That's the weather and only partially me. Spring seems to have arrived suddenly and a jacket and running tights aren't required. It was one of those runs where the wind was in my face whichever way I was going. There was no chance of a record at Millhouses as I found it really difficult to make forward progress. Perhaps I ate too much at lunchtime whilst on a course today, or perhaps Wednesday isn't as fast as a Tuesday? (Yesterday I had a massage for a stiff shoulder and it was quite unpleasant. There are weird websites linking right shoulder pain to diaphragmatic imbalance and thence to symptoms of hiatus hernia so could there be anything in that?)

Turning up to Dore was almost as bad but once on Hathersage Road I had a little more energy than usual to descend homewards. In the end I completed the loop in under an hour for the first time. A few weeks ago I added Long Line, but didn't feel like doing that today, and perhaps the training effect of that was shown today.

The quick descent enabled me to record my best 10km at 50:22. One day I'll break that 50 minute line perhaps.

I also tried an SIS GO Electrolyte drink. Perhaps its general stickiness made me want to get home faster? It's not very pleasant.

Saturday 13 April 2013

Half marathon with a bit more ascent

Today's route was a usual 'Saturday run and a bit' so I decided to add a few km by returning home via a scenic route. That allowed me to complete my second just-over-21.097km and this time there was 490m of ascent. I'd hoped it would be 500m and it was very nearly; perhaps I should run up and down the stairs 3 times? The final few km were hard work but we had done the saturday loop at a fair speed, not holding back for extra distance.

It's lovely weather too. Hooray!

Stomach felt fine. Hooray!

Thursday 11 April 2013

New 1k best

This evening's interval session allowed me to record a 4:11 minute km. Unfortunately I didn't align myself well with the Millhouses 1km segement so no improvement there (oddly Starva has me at 4:14 for a km but Garmin Connect at 4:11). I couldn't have gone much further at that pace, but might have reached the end of the park if I'd really tried. Something for another day.

Dreadful dyspepsia

Eleven months ago I ended up taking 3 weeks off work whilst I overcame abdominal pain. After ultrasound and H. pylori tests, a good response to Omeprazole convinced my doctor that I had 'functional dyspepsia'. Basically too much stomach acid for no obvious cause. Usually stress induced. After another couple of months I gradually came off the Omeprazole and was fine until 6 days ago.

I recognised the pain straight off and took Omeprazole to allow me to sleep through the night.  The doctor reckons I'm in the same position again - probably due to student finals exams approaching again. I sometimes think it would be easier, and less stressful, to retake them rather than help in running them!

Last year I had to stop running for a few weeks and lost fitness when I restarted as uphill running was uncomfortable. I'm assuming that this was due to increased abdominal pressure needed to maintain core stability. After the gains I've made in the last few months I really hope I'm not back in that position once again.

Saturday 6 April 2013

Half marathon distance completed

By combining a regular run with the ParkRun and an extra loop home I managed to cobble together a half-marathon. It did include 16 minutes in 3 breaks between the segments so it wasn't continuous, but very nearly so. At least that is a 'target' beaten and by no means was it an easy course as it included 438m of ascent, a snow covered 500m and a sub-25 minute 5k near the end. I'm content with under 2 hours (moving time) for that (note that it is TWICE world record time).

Significantly the sun was out and I ran the 5k without a jacket! Perhaps it really is spring now?

Friday 5 April 2013

GPX issue solved

I had a reply from Strava support about my problematic GPX track but it wasn't all that helpful. Anyway I now have a solution and knowledge of the issue. It seems that Strava doesn't like trackpoints that are separated by minutes; seconds is fine. I assume this has something to do with its stop/go algorithm and is clearly more fussy than other packages. I tracked this down by using Adze to overwrite the timestamp to 1 minute and then 30 second intervals. As the time got shorter, the quality of parsing by Strava improved. So did my reported speed though so that wasn't enough. I needed to remake my track with a high frequency of points. 

So I used the command line of GPSBabel to interpolate points at 10s intervals as described in the documentation:

gpsbabel -i gpx -f track.gpx -x interpolate,time=10 -o gpx -F newtrack.gpx

Unfortunately that generated an extra spur of travelling but that was easily deleted with Adze, and as it was only a single point it didn't disturb the total time significantly.

I can't set my 12XL to record at 10s intervals though as on a day hike the memory would be exceeded and it would also drain the battery; at 2 minute sampling it lasts a very long day, unlike my Forerunner 110 which only manages 3 hours. Perhaps due to its high sampling rate?

Tuesday 2 April 2013

GPS12XL or GPX import issue

Whilst on the Easter break we did a lovely walk from Carbis Bay to Zennor and back. The weather was photogenic but ever so cold for the time of year.

The South West Coast east of St Ives
An undulating 20km hike seems like a fair training event and so I wanted to include it on Strava. I took my (rather old) Garmin 12XL along to record the track. I exported the data via serial port, converted to GPX and then uploaded to Strava. Now the 12XL doesn't include elevation data in the track which is fair enough but I get a rubbish travel time, so much so that my average pace is 10s/km.

I've looked at the GPX file, and tried reprocessing in several programs but even though the file looks sensible I can't get a better pace. I've messed with a test GPX file and can get a sensible time & pace on that, until I start to use by true GPX data! The XML format is pretty simple and I can't see how a basic file can be so problematic...

I'm not spending anymore time on it; the total distance is added to my total and the crazy pace hasn't upset my PBs. I've raised a query with Strava and we'll see if they come up with anything.