Tuesday 22 December 2020

Fill Your Boots (with peat-laden water)

Once again Sheffield is in COVID-19 Tier 3 and we're not supposed to leave the city. Luckily I'd been sent a route to revisit the summer run destinations, 9 of which are within the city boundary. It looked as though a 17km loop would encompass these so long as I started at The Norfolk Arms. The day was picked wisely and I was on Houndkirk Road for sunrise. Within 20 minutes I'd got wet feet and legs from knee-height heather but this would prove to be a relatively dry part of the run. 

I have to confess that after 90 minutes was getting disillusioned with skipping through boggy bits and trying not to trip over stone islands that (falsely) promised dry feet. Progress was slow and I decided to complete the run with 7 destinations passed. It's often said to set trail runs by duration rather than distance so 2 and a half hours seemed enough. For just under 15km this shows how 'steady' I'd been.

It was great to be out mid-week and by accepting I'd had enough, and replanning my route as I ran, Type 2 fun was avoided.

Saturday 12 December 2020

Into December

 It's been hard into this winter. We've been in and out of rather lax 'lockdowns' and 'tiers' that restrict opening of gyms. The perpetual change has disincentivized getting back into swimming. Now it's a good 9 months since I was in the water. My early successes in regular morning runs have dissipated now I'm going into work a few days a week and need to be ready at my desk the other days.

Even so we've done a walk or two every day and I've maintained the circuits habit on a Wednesday evening. Sunday morning to Oxstones is a good habit too. This (saturday) morning I managed 5km in the mud. This week I've had an aching right knee which has no apparent cause although I'm thinking it's due to uneven heel wear on my current daily boots. The absence of issues this morning whilst running with my mid/fore foot gait supports that hypothesis. Hopefully OK for a longer run tomorrow then.

Saturday 21 November 2020

Replaced Lone Peak 4.0

 On the last run the Grey/Orange Lone Peak shoes were ripped. For quite a while I'd notes the midsole collapse, the lack of lugs on the sole and the general shoddy nature of the uppers. The rip was the deciding factor though. So, after 1400km, new ones were ordered, as usual there was a new model, and tested today.

As might be expected they felt a bit stiff and the heel tab slightly caught my foot but for 45minutes they were fine. I did run slightly faster than usual but I'll put that down to the chill weather rather than new shoes.

Sunday 18 October 2020

Oxstones habit

With a return to attending work I've found by 'COVID' morning runs to be impossible. However, for the last few Sundays I've managed 90 minutes to Oxstones which is always a lovely journey. Actually it's just under an hour to the stones and 35 minutes back along the road.

Today was very overcast but the image looks quite atmospheric after 'some' enhancement. The last couple of weeks I've been a bit quicker on the ascent and  I now have a goal to do it in under 55 minutes. I've probably done that in the past but somehow every year achieving a pace gets tougher!

Saturday 26 September 2020

Todwick 12

I'm trying to develop a good running routine again after a break due to disrupted guts. The medics claim the radiotherapy didn't affect it but I've not been trouble-free since. Could be a coincidence of getting older? It's a disappointment that I've had to step back and rebuild as early in the summer I was managing a reasonable distance each week in a reliable way.

Anyway, I took the risk today of another 50% increase in length to 12km. I've only run this circuit once before although included sections in 2 other longer runs. I felt that I pushed quite hard today and was rewarded by 7 Strava segment stars.

Of course, gaining '3' means that it was my second slowest attempt! The weather was blustery and that's my excuse for an especially slow kilometre near the end when I was into a headwind and uphill.

Closer analysis might suggest that I set off too fast and lost pace? The main thing is that I was out for over an hour and seem fine afterwards.

Saturday 8 August 2020

July into August

The end of July and early August have had summery weather which has made it good to get out and about. Perhaps a little too pleasant as it appears that some popular spots have been so busy a to risk COVID-19 transmission and attractive swimming and camping locations have been 'discovered' and left a mess. There has been such a noticeable rise in 'wild camping' that the Home Office are considering making it a criminal offence.

I've had to go into work a few days per week recently which has meant that I've missed my Tuesday morning run. Most weeks I've fitted in an extra run to compensate. This morning, for instance, I've done a slow 17km which should fit nicely with something on Sunday to make a back-to-back slow run.

Today was very warm and I kept a slow pace so as not to be too worn this afternoon. The heather is coming into flower so the moors are becoming colourful.

Friday 17 July 2020

Great Longstone Peak Raid

With a day off work and a fabulous forecast I ran the first of the Explore Events MapRun programmes this morning. I had down loaded the MapRunF app but I couldn't work out how to start the event at the village centre so simply uploaded a GPX from my watch.

Quarry View

I'd been for a run yesterday and intend to go out on Sunday too,  so didn't want to 'race' this. Not that there was much race in my legs. The Great Longstone area is heavily quarried and the event was based around Longstone Edge and Moor so always more ascent and descent to do. I completed with 5 minutes to spare having decided against 2 checkpoints just off my route so I could have misjudged it either way. I missed another point by picking the wrong path at one point. So there was potential of a slightly higher score.

The main thing was that I spent 2 hours running somewhere I've not been for many months.

Sunday 28 June 2020

Ups and downs

June 2020 has been a difficult running month after the consistency and progress made during Spring. This was helped by working from home which gives me more time for morning or evening runs. In June I decided to do a rest week and then missed few runs through the impact of building work and bad weather.

Anyway today I returned to Endcliffe Park to start my run and found the ascent through Porter Clough especially tough. I've not ru up here in many month and it showed! Heading to Oxstones the weather turned wet and windy for a few minutes but settled as I continued to Devil's Elbow via God's Spring. After that it was easy to return home via well-worn routes. Although I usually run in the other direction.

The run was hard going, long runs should be done at an easy pace but that would have needed me to work the whole way.

Sunday 31 May 2020

Consolidation and consistency

I started May with a potential knee problem and leave it with some recurrence of my left foot pain. However I've managed some consistency in my running which shows a solid foundation over the spring.

I must try harder on stretching and roller work to reap the benefits long-term.

Destination #10

Another beautiful day for a run although I set out with tired legs. Today's destination was a little further from home than some of the previous ones and there were many routes to choose. Initially I'd planned to approach via Stanage Edge but decided it would be a bit too far. In the plantation I spotted 2 dear in a firebreak. During Covid runs I've seen deer far more frequently than previously. Maybe their behaviour has changed due to reduced traffic or is it simply that I'm out and about earlier?

I found the target just beyond Cowper Stone.

The rock formations include hidden passages and tunnels, perfect for concealing a geocache. I'm not sure whether these spaces are due to natural clefts or mining.

Whilst pausing before departing for home several curlew flew over and another bird (maybe a plover) spotted me and chirpped at me until I ran away.

Sunday 24 May 2020

Destination #9

The running group's destination runs have been set each week with points set across the Eastern Moors. I missed one as I cut back due to pain in my left knee to take a week off running. It seemed to as I've managed to get back to target after a few weeks building back up.

Today was a shock as the weather has broken and as I ascended out of the sheltered Sheffield valleys the wind and rain were quite unpleasant. On Blacka Moor I spotted a herd of deer, who were sufficiently relaxed to slow me to find my camera and take a few pictures.

It's well known that deer are on the moor but in the past I've only caught a distant fragment of one.

Destination #9 was described as being below a crag on Houndkirk Moor but despite circling the appropriate spot and peering under stones and into crevices I couldn't find the logbook. I gave up before becoming too cold. It's no matter really, the goal was an encouragement to be outl for a few hours on a day when it would have been all too easy to stay warm indoors.

Monday 11 May 2020

HRM battery change

Once again I spotted failure of the HRM belt by super-high heart rate data causing the 935 to indicate a massive effort. The run on Sunday was a few km more than intended but was at a gentle pace.

Just before bed tonight I've fitted a new CR2032, as before it needed 2 attempts to restart and be paired.

It's over a year since last replacement so that's fair although I've not run much so it's not had heavy usage.

Sunday 26 April 2020

Destination #5

Today we ran to a tree just off Rud Hill, facing the Redmires reservoirs. Very much uphill from home for over an hour, with gradually more exposure to a light wind.

I've not used the permissive path before being unsure of it's condition or route. For this destination it was clearly the intended way to approach.

On the descent, heading back home, I saw a variety of birds. First a chevron of geese, seemingly low flying but perhaps they were north of the ridge and well above the ground?  Then I spotted a solitary bird notable for transverse black and white rings around its body. Looking at bird finders and pictures online it might have been a plover. There don't seem to be other birds in England with that marking, even though it is considered uncommon. There are reported sightings at Redmires so not impossible. On Fullwood Lane there were goldfinches flitting between the hedge and a garden. Perhaps there was a box of seed attracting them.

As my fourth run this week I've slightly exceeded my target. Yesterday I commented that a consistent running routine had enabled weeks without an injury, as one could guess, today I'm aware of my left knee. I've done some roller work in case it's simply tight muscles pulling on things.

Monday 13 April 2020

Easter Day Destination

The very unofficial running group are doing socially distant runs by setting a destination and us treating it as an excellent individual orienteering task. Today's run was to a 'promiment rock' south of Houndkirk Road.

I approached via Dore and Devil's Elbow and found a small path between the footpath and byway. I can imagine it would be soggy in wet weather. Notably I passed a spring, named as God's Spring on the map. Online there are various stories as to how it might have gained this name.

Saturday 21 March 2020

Week One

One week after the UK started to take notice of Corvid-19 it's almost at the point that exercise in public could be banned. So it was essential that I took a run in today's beautiful sunshine. I did go the physio on Monday but we agreed that it was likely the last face to face appointment for a while. Luckily the ongoing niggles seem to be keeping to just niggles. I was told that I could start to increase distance to maybe 35km a week for the next month or so. Maybe that'll be possible, maybe it won't.

Although it's generally agreed that chlorinated pool water denatures the virus the local swimming pools are closed. So I'll have to be doing lots of dryland exercises to keep up mobility.

Thirdly, as we'd all been sent home from work to limit contact I couldn't rationalise going to circuits so made do with a routine at home. I didn't make it hard enough and timing was irritating. After finishing I downloaded Tabata Timer Pro which can be programmed for various reps and sets and even pyramid workouts through its group system. I've set up a simple circuit and a pyramid set but not used either yet.

On today's run I think there were fewer runners and cyclists out and about but first thing Saturday is never especially busy. We may go for a walk tomorrow but I will have to keep my mind on a run too so I can work towards the weekly total.

Incidentally, I have signed up for the University's Big Walk but I half expect it to be cancelled.

Saturday 14 March 2020


It's around 7 years since my last park run and I expected to crack 28 minutes in view of my lack of tempo training, and indeed shortage of training altogether over the last year. I went with a small group who'd decided to make an effort to go to Millhouses, chosen as both our nearest and as being less busy than the famous one at Endcliffe Park.

Naturally there were pre-run nerves whilst standing in the cold so I was pleased to remove my fleece and get started. I'm so used to gently trotting along that I knew my pacing could be poor so made a mental effort to start gently and aim to pick up as I (hopefully) became more confident.

Grade adjusted pace per 1km split

My final time was below 24 minutes which I am very satisfied with especially as I don't seem to have upset a joint or muscle. My pacing was exemplary with a nice warm up and then distinct negative splits.

To maintain my current weekly target, and thus consistency, I really need to go out for another 7 or 8 km this afternoon. At least it doesn't look as though it will rain.

Saturday 7 March 2020

All of the paths in Ecclesall Woods

You'll have seen Strava logs where people have run all of the streets in their town but I can't see me ever doing that in Sheffield. A week or so ago I thought that it would be a fun morning to trace all of the paths in the local urban woodland. I run and walk through it at least twice a week but I knew there were certain paths I'd never been on. How hard could it be?

An evening on Viewranger suggested that it would be a 22km route with around 500m of ascent. I've made the route available to download here. The woods aren't on much of a hill but to cover every path needs the small undulations to be addressed numerous times.

As I'm still getting back into the swing of long runs I hoped to take it steady at around 8min/km but in the end the overall pace was slower than 9min/km.

Here it is done, it took over 3 hours and in my current state of unfitness it was quite hard going. I saw some dog walkers quite a few times and felt I needed to apologise to one for popping up so often.

That's my weekend running basically completed now, just a few easy km to achieve the week's target.

Sunday 1 March 2020

Ongoing recovery

I've noted that for the last 8 months there's been a steady increase in my running distance. This comes after stopping in April 2019 when it seemed that some discomfort around my left heel/ankle/achilles was getting worse. After some rehabilitation work I started to swap in walking instead of running, keep up with circuits and limit bouncing loading.

Unfortunately the increase in running has occurred with a reduction in swimming but there are only so many active hours in a week! Now I need to keep this level for a while, a goal of 120km a month is probably right for while.

Friday 3 January 2020

New Year CSS 2020

I'm starting 2020 with only a few niggles in my arms and legs so really have no reasons not to make good headway with my training. Over 2019 I took some backwards steps with both running and swimming. I hope that I've worked on strength and flexibility enough to have a stronger base for this year and can complete some of my aspirations.

This morning I completed the trials for a CSS estimate, knowing that I'd be slow.

I'm behind my CSS pace for the last few years. However perhaps that means I will be able to use it for training as some previous paces have been unattainable! My pace within the sets was fairly consistent so that might indicate that it's realistic.

A SwimSmooth-recommended set for CSS training is:

Baby Bear
2x 100m + 20 seconds rest (or 1 beep)
1x 200m + 20 seconds rest (or 1 beep)

Mama Bear
2x 100m + 20 seconds rest (or 1 beep)
1 x 300m + 20 seconds rest (or 1 beep)

Papa Bear
2x 100m + 20 seconds rest (or 1 beep)
1 x 400m + 20 seconds rest (or 1 beep)