Thursday 30 May 2013

Slow thursday, still recovering?

So, I've been out for 13km in the new shoes. It was hard work. I don't think I'm recovered from the marathon yet as various joints and ligaments felt tied as I set off! Added to this are new shoes with a different heel strike and probably delicate feet after visiting the chiropodist. Everything combined to make it less than great. Can't complain about a 5:34 pace then, can I?

Wednesday 29 May 2013

In these shoes?

I'd mentioned previously that my Roclite 315 shoes are 18 months old and were showing wear on the left heel. Today I decided to splash out on a new pair and tried on both size 9 and 9.5 as I wondered if the 9s were too small. Well I have worn the 9s out and the 9.5s were too loose, so another pair of 9s were chosen. I suspect that an element of pressure on toes is to be expected on descents and is preferable to shoes so loose that they can be pulled off in mud.

Even acknowledging that the new pair are of a slightly modified design I think it's pretty obvious that the EVA midsole of the old pair is crushed and the whole shoe tilted. This shoes a moderate degree of pronation on the left which I don't do when I walk. On walking the most obvious wear is laterally on the right! The crushing of the midsole could also be found in the centre of both shoes by pinching across it with the foot bed removed.

I think the old orange/brown design is a bit more practical, and perhaps more timeless, than pale and light grey with blue highlights. A minor point though if they work for another year or so. I'll have to get them dirty once my legs are recovered from Monday's exertions (and yesterday's swimming too).

...and something to add a musical interlude:

Monday 27 May 2013

Hathersage marathon

I'd set myself a target for this week; 40km at a fair pace. I'd decided to be committed to a 10 minute run:1 minute walk cycle. Of course, any serious up hill sections to be walked too. Initially I was at a good pace including walks but by the end I was struggling to maintain a 7:30min/km pace. I'd hoped to complete a marathon distance in under 5 hours which I did in 'moving time'; excluding my brief stop in Hathersage. I did achieve 40km within 5 hours so not too bad.

Today was also a first test of my new rucsac. It was surprisingly full with water and jacket.  There was still space for overtrousers although I didn't take them today. Generally it worked well but the front straps are a bit fiddly to unfasten with cold hands. I think I prefer traditional plastic clips but they can rub, and even crack in the cold. How well will the soft loops survive?

Considering that the included bladder and pipe are free-of-everything the water was tainted with a plastic taste. Hopefully that will reduce with use. I almost ran out of water and I know that some argue that bottles are easier to monitor and refill. UltrAspire are very much focused on bladder drinking systems. I did fit a small Tropicana bottle on the right strap for a sugar hit.

At each 10 minute walk interval I took a photo to illustrate the route:

Note added 6 days later: My sunday entry says all isn't great though...

Saturday 25 May 2013

Not so fast

Today we had planned a fast attempt at the normal 'Saturday Loop' but in itself that made it doomed to failure. Start off too fast and be too tired to keep up the pace, start too slow and time has been lost. We set off at a fair, but in hindsight too slow, pace but the little team fell back leaving me alone. For some reason my usual pace-setter hadn't turned up! I reached the top of the clough in 30:31 minutes, good, but not good enough. Strava subsequently showed that I'd got a best on the last section of the ascent.

The reminder went alright, arriving back in around 66 minutes. I'd call that pretty good, and amongst my best performances but the group all recalled how ten years ago they could do it in 56 minutes; but the passage of time etc etc. I'm lucky, I wasn't running seriously a decade ago so I'm still improving and don't have the performances of a pre-40 year old self to compare to.

On my way home I called in at the post office and picked up my new, overpriced, running backpack.

UltrAspire Omega
After scanning a load of online and magazine reviews this looked to be a good option; you'll be able to find plenty of these with a quick search. Not a conventional design but the 'vest' style does seem to be gaining popularity in running even though it does look a bit 'ultra'. Who says that running is a cheap pastime? More spending is needed as it looks as though my 18 month old shoes are at the end of their life too!

Probably once the midsole part is showing signs of breakdown it's time to get fresh ones?

Today's run enabled me to pass the fourth milestone in Strava's May Massive so that's not bad.
Another 'gold star'

Saturday 18 May 2013

Medium long run

In the general rhythm of the Saturday group today was to be an extended loop, but not too much. We tend not to decide too much in advance but I'd got a half-marathon plan...

We set off from the park far too fast to maintain it and that meant it took just under 31 minutes to the top. Not too bad I suppose since the time included being too hot and having to pack away my jacket. Then on to Burbage bridge and back along Houndkirk Road before rejoining the 'normal' route. The hills on this return leg, although short, are quite steep and progress was slow.Nonetheless the average pace was 5:50min/km which isn't too bad for 23km with much of it on undulating trails.

Additionally the longer run added to my May total nicely so the ultimate May Massive goal of 160km is well within reach.

Thursday 16 May 2013

Does the 'Thursday run' really happen?

The informal running group meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays to run a loop across Houndkirk Road. I've run with them on Tuesdays quite a few times but this week had the opportunity to go along on Thursday. Oddly I was alone. It did mean that I went somewhat quicker than when with the group; 1 hour 3 minutes rather than the habitual 1 hour 20. That's good,

More importantly I also felt more 'in the zone'.  Yesterday I'd not really been in the mood, although I did get my 80km badge. Halfway in half the month. That's good too.

There's a bit of an error in the May Massive algorithm though...

... that's only 1,706 km per day, non-stop. C'mon Chris, try harder!

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Too tired, too wet

For the first time in ages, I didn't want to go for a Tuesday run. I'd had a cold weekend, a good swim (slow but clear progress in technique is being made) yesterday and then a long day at work. Really it all seemed too much, and it was raining. I know that all sounds pretty feeble but there it is. Hopefully I'll be more in the mood tomorrow!

Sunday 12 May 2013

Cold and stiff

This weekend I've made myself cold an stiff through a combination of sitting on a motorbike for 6 hours, trying to sleep in a cold tent and chatting in a drafty marquee. I probably ate too much pasta and sauce on saturday night too; or maybe too much foccacia first?

It seemed wise to pop out this evening for a few km even though drizzle had well and truly set in. My little interval loop seemed worth a try but I couldn't motivate myself, or more correctly my still limbs, to travel very quickly. At least I'd tried.

I'm looking forward to a massage on Tuesday; my thought of getting a smaller tent was quashed when I found how restrictive the current one is!

Thursday 9 May 2013

10 to 1

So this was a Thursday back to back with a fast Wednesday. One mustn't overdo it, especially as a 'veteran', but it seems to be well accepted that distance-trained is vital to success in longish events. Well, within reason anyway, but as that threshold is somewhere over 100km per week I don't have that worry presently.

I set off from home with with a plan to try a run-walk strategy and really do it. I decided to have a 1 minute break every 10 minutes with a goal of keeping an average pace better than 6minutes/km. Of course, over the toughest uphill km of the route I did go more slowly but the average was sustained. As a system it felt to work well but I can't say that I got home fresh. There was a break during a longish downhill section too and that felt more of a relief for the muscles than the uphill breaks. These breaks are supposed to be rests for the soft tissues, in particular muscles tired from eccentric contractions, not for 'aerobic' reasons.
Image stolen from Ron Hill website

It was a wet day too, so that gave me the chance to test my newly acquired Ron Hill Trail Tempest jacket. Some of the showers before I left the house were heavy, but whilst out it barely rained, so I would have been better with a far more breathable windbreaker. Anyway, I didn't get too wet from sweating and the jacket did fit nicely into my bag for the few minutes when I decided I was getting too hot. It's been a good experience to try the jacket out as I'll have to take it if I do a 'proper' trail event.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Recovery time

I've been really careful over the last few days to allow my tired muscles to recover before another run. I've walked a fair few miles, but that's just normal life. Last night was swimming which doesn't seem to trouble the same joints and muscles as running. By today I couldn't feel any calf pain, so I went for a 12km road loop. There was the usual stiff, slow start but gradually I gained my pace. Abbeydale Road had a headwind as so often is the case but after that all went well. Indeed, better than well as I knocked a few seconds off the whole loop and gained a 10km best, also by a few seconds (just over 49 minutes). The improvement was subtle but I interpret this as meaning that I was recovered. Every few seconds reduced also implies that my performance hasn't yet reached a plateau.

Saturday 4 May 2013

20 miles done!

As it's the May Day Bank Holiday on Monday I decided that I could be extra tired today.  Also, although the first week of the month is 'Parkrun day' my usual running partner is away and so I was left to my own devices. I decided during the week that I needed to exceed 20 miles / 32km.

A pleasant loop to Hathersage and back was a very convenient 32.8km and I know the route well so there wouldn't be any navigation issues.

My goal was to complete it in under 4 hours and this was met with a small margin. Typically I don't get any Strava 'achievements' for this effort as it was all done at a steady-to-slow pace. It has contributed significantly to my May award though:
The first 16 km were easy, I suppose I'm used to that and the 18 or so to Hathersage were OK. The ascent onto the moors was very tough and I walked most of it, as I expected. By 24km my calf muscles were upset and I was really glad to be home at 32km!

I tried a one minute walk every 20 minutes, or if the incline was too steep (up or down) or rough underfoot, but I think that was too spaced out to gain from the run-walk approach. I aimed to stay under a 7 minute/km average and I achieved this as a moving time. I was stationery buying refreshments for 12 minutes in Hathersage so that put my average just a little slower.

In general a good outcome, but 50km seems a challenge and 100km impossible currently.