Running Safely…………..Full Stop!

I’ve read quite a lot of blogs lately and one of the hot topics of the moment is about running in the dark. Or more specifically, running SAFELY whilst it’s dark.

A bit controversial I know, but I’ve always wondered about whom these posts are aimed at??? I’m guessing, and it is just a guess, that the vast majority of people that read a running blog are runners already and semi-serious ones at that? I don’t want to generalise everyone, I know there will be exceptions to the rule but please bare with me. Now maybe I am an eternal optimist but I would like to think that the vast majority of runners know that the number one rule of running at night is to be seen. It’s obvious isn’t it???
Maybe I’m giving people too much credit. I have to say that i have seen runners at night wearing all black. And boy do I have a good old moan about them as I drive past in the car. I’m not going to bleat on about this and I hope it’s obvious that if you are out on the roads at night, you don’t want to be dressed all in black trying to blend into the night! HI-VIS, HI-VIS, Hi-VIS people!!!!
Can anyone see me??
Can anyone see me??
What I am going to write about it running safely in general. After all, running is a year-round pursuit and for a large portion of you running ‘career’ you will be doing it in daylight. Should you not be safe then also???
Here are my tips for staying safe whilst out running, regardless of time of year!!
1. ALWAYS (if possible) let someone know where you are running or your route.
Nice simple one to start off with here, easy peasy, let someone know where you are going to be running. If you get lost while out on a run or fall and break a bone, it’s no good the emergency services looking to the north if you are down south. If you can let someone know your entire route then great but if not, at least a general direction is better than nothing.
2. Carry some money on you.
Don’t worry, no-one is going to try to mug you for a fiver & being the top class athlete that you are, you could just run away if they tried. This falls under the ‘just in case’ category. There have been times out on a long run when I’ve been running low on energy & could have done with a Mars bar or a drink,…but no money. Or having just got injured on you 20 mile run, you can make a call from a phone box to get picked up. That’s if you don’t have a mobile (point 3). Or my personal favourite, if out on a social run, you’ll always have some spare cash for a quick pint in the local pub!!
3. Take your mobile (cell) phone with you if possible. 
I love the Nokia 8210
I love the Nokia 8210
I think most runners probably do now anyway but it is a good point to remember. Mobiles have moved on a bit now from my old Nokia 8210 (still my favourite phone). ‘m sure you don’t need me to tell you that the latest phones have GPS, music , running apps blah blah blah. But that is why they are such a handy tool to keep on you while running. I don’t tend to use a running app having a Garmin watch but i do listen to podcast as I run. As a little side note can i recommend the Serial, Radio Lab & MarathonTalk podcasts, great listening for whilst running. I also can’t begin to tell you the amount of times Google maps has come to the rescue on my phone when I’ve got a bit lost.  And performing it’s main function, you can always ring someone if something should go wrong. Unless you are with EE in which case your phone never has a signal and is basically worthless!
4. Running against traffic
Rules of the road
Rules of the road
Not literally. I don’t want any new runners playing chicken with oncoming traffic. I just mean running on the side of the road where traffic in coming towards you (right-hand side in England). Ultimately, running on the path is the best option but that isn’t always possible so we have to remain safe whilst running on the road. By running against oncoming traffic, more important than the drivers being able to see you, you can see them. Sometimes, just that 1 second of eye contact with the drivers can make all the difference. Also, you can can see them to dive in the hedge if need be. A couple of times i’ve had to do what i like to call the ‘Running Superman’ into the hedge to not be hit by a speeding driver. I don’t want to scare people but it does happen and it is better to be prepared than blinkered thinking everything is going to be alright. “Pray for the best, prepare for the worst” The amount of times i see people out running in the same direction as traffic having no idea what is coming up behind them……which leads me onto point 5.
5. “Will you turn that racket down!!!”
Funky Headphones
Funky Headphones
Headphones. A touchy subject with some, especially when it comes to races. I’m just going to come out & say it………you shouldn’t wear headphones whilst racing & it pisses me off when runners do. Even if the race rules clearly state ‘No Headphones to be worn during the race’, you still get some idiots that ignore it thinking that they are a special case. The rule is there for a reason guys and gals. You will be the first to complain about being hit by a car bcos you couldn’t hear the marshals instructions over Katy Perry blaring in your ears!! There is no place for them in races, take them off!!!
On the other hand, whilst on training runs, I would go against the magazines and common thoughts on the matter and say yes, by all means, wear headphones & listen to music/podcasts. I certainly do, especiall on long runs. But please, don’t have it so loud that you can’t hear anything else. If a person can stand in front of you talking, and you can’t hear anything, you have them on too loud. If you can’t hear them, how would you hear a car. And if you are wearing headhones, run against traffic as i mentioned in point 4. You are just asking for trouble if you can’t see nor HEAR the traffic coming up behind you. Can anyone else say “trip to A&E??”
 6. Alter your route
More for the girls this one…..although I have had my fair share of deranged ex-girlfriends in the past! I’ll try to keep this one short & sweet. Not only does this help with dodging those crazy ex-partners that just can’t seem to let go but when we run the same route day after day, we can switch off. This can make anyone an easy target for stalkers, attackers etc. I might be coming across all melodramatic and scaring would be runners off but it is better to be safe then sorry. And the truth is that the chances of something like this occuring is very , VERY rare. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Essentially, the more alert you are, the more likely you are to remain safe.
7. Rules of the road
If you are running on a road, you should be following the rules of the road. Just because you are not in a car, don’t think that makes you a immune to laws and procedures. You wouldn’t go through a red light in a car so why would you do it running. At least in a car you have a couple of inches of metal and airbags to protect you. I can’t speak for Lycra as a brand, but i’m pretty sure they have never advertised their lycra shorts product as being crash proof!!
8. Trust your gut
Us humans have evolved over millions of years. From when we first started walking on 2 feet instead of swinging in tress…….to walking on the moon. And over that large period of time, we have had to deal with dramatic climate shifts, dodging Sabretooth Tiger attacks, being killed by the neighbouring Neanderthal tribe and god knows what else. That’s why we as humans have developed this 6th sense, this gut feeling when something is wrong or just doesn’t feel right! Listen to that feeling. If you feel unsafe, if something feels off, you are probably right. Don’t go running through that dark park on your own. Don’t run if you have a strange niggle in your calf. Don’t go out for a long run if in an umfamiliar place. Just stay safe!
Stay Safe Out There
Stay Safe Out There
I realise that there may be some readers that i have just scared off from running. Please, don’t go! Buy yourself some trainers and get out there. Running is one of the most amazing, awe-inspiring forms of exercise/meditation/relaxation that you can do. By just being aware of a few importantt things, you can run in the knowledge that you are safe. You wouldn’t go car racing without a seatbelt right??? Why should it be any different for running. Stay safe and enjoy the enrichment that running can bring to you life!

Protein/Carbohydrate Recovery Bars

I haven’t posted a recipe for a little while so here is another favourite of mine. I tend to have these straight after a run but you could just as easily have them before, i don’t find them to heavy on the stomach. i should also say that although the ingredients list ‘organic’, i don’t have the budget of a middle-eastern, oil-rich, province so i find just normal version of each item is just fine!!

40g of Tesco Organic, dark 70% cocoa cooking chocolate
1 cup of Organic Peanut Butter
8 tbsp of Organic Honey
3/4 cup of Unflavoured Whey Protein Powder
1/4 cup of Chocolate Mile Protein Powder
3/4 cup of Oats
1/4 cup of Flax Seeds
Goji Berries
Being English, i don’t quite understand the whole cup measurement. Is that a big cup, or a Starbucks Grande ‘swimming pool’ cup?? And just to make it even more confusing, a cup is different depending on the ingredient. A cup of butter is 227g while a cup of flour is 128g??? Go figure. I just tend to use a mug out of the cupboard but if you prefer the grams & ounces method, it might be a good idea to look the conversions up.
Microwave the 40g of Tesco Organic (Finest, Blue Stripe, whatever you can get your hands on) for approx 1 minute in a large microwaveable bowl. (Don’t do what i did & use a plastic one…messy)
Add all the peanut butter & honey and then microwave for another 90 secs.
Mix thoroughly and add the unflavoured whey powder & chocolate milk protein powder. Make sure this is all mixed in before adding the oats, flax seeds and goji berries (these should be chopped by the way).
After making sure that that this is all well mixed, spread onto a baking dish roughly 8″ x 4″ x 1″ deep. Spread more flax seed on top & press down.
Shove in the fridge for 20 minutes to harden. After the 20 minutes are up, divide into 12 equal bars 7 wrap in foil. Keep refrigerated.
Et Voila!!

Dale Mandell – Q & A!

A few weeks ago, I saw a post by Fallon @ Slack Runner answering a load of questions about herself. You can see the post & her brilliant blog here

The post got me thinking about how i would answer some of the questions , so in honour of Fallon @ Slack Runner, i too have answered the questions, (i hope she doesn’t mind :-/ )

4 Names that people call me(other than my real name)-

Oi – Normally by Helen. “Darling” when I’ve been a good boy, “Oi” when i haven’t!

4 Jobs I have had-

Barman – Edwards Bar
Buyer- Cartledge Lighting – 5yrs of Zzzzzzzz!!
Currently- Estimator at a Civil Engineering Firm – 7yrs
I’m only 33, i think that is more than enough jobs so far!

4 Movies I’ve watched more than once-
The Thomas Crown Affair (Pierce Brosnan version)
The Shawshank Redemption
The American Pie films
Anything from Marvel – I do like my comics!

4 books I’d recommend-

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Ice Station – Matthew Reilly
The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman
The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins

An interesting read whatever your views
An interesting read whatever your views

4 Places I have lived-

Hatfield Peverel, Essex
Chelmsford, Essex
Maldon, Essex
Bentley, Suffolk

4 Places I’ve been-

Last Vegas

4 Places I’d rather be right now-
Somewhere in front of a log fire
On my sofa

4 Things I don’t eat-

That’s about it really, there’s not a lot that i won’t eat!

4 Of my favorite foods

Sunday Roast
Cheese – any & every type
Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream

4 TV shows I watch-

The Walking Dead
Downton Abbey – Bcos I’m made to.
Game of Thrones

The Walking Dead, best show on TV??
The Walking Dead, best show on TV??

4 Things I’m looking forward to-

The new Avengers film – When it comes out.
The rest of my life
Edinburgh Marathon next year

4 Things I’m always saying-

“To be frank…..” – I don’t know who Frank is???
“Whatever” – Great in an arguement!
“For the third time….” – This is to the children,..annoying.
“For f*cks sake” – Normally when something has gone wrong.

What is your current health related goal?

Lose a bit of weight & get that sub 3hr marathon!

What is your biggest irrational fear?

Probably something boring like Spiders. i mean really, one step and they are gone. What’s that all about???

Do you enjoy wrapping presents?

‘Enjoy’ might be the wrong word. ‘Tolerate’ is closer to the mark.

What’s your favorite cross training activity?

I quite enjoy swimming, it is just finding the time to do it. That and hiking……Snowdon, Scafell Pike,
Kinder Scout & others.

If I came to visit you, what would we do?

Whatever you wanted to. You’re the guest, you tell me!

You have 2 weeks off of work and 2 round trip plane tickets to ANYWHERE. Where would you go and who would you take?

I would take Helen on a tour of the Greek Islands. We are both interested in ancient Greek history so a chance to see places from Greek legend would be amazing.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you during a run or race?

I can’t really think of one to be fair. I face-planted at XC training the other week when it was stupidly muddy but that wasn’t really embarrassing as everyone was struggling to stay upright. Nope, I’ve been pretty lucky so far!

Tell me the 3 best days of your life. Or at least the first 3 that pop into your mind.

The birth of my daughter Matilda
Meeting Helen
The other hasn’t happened yet, but it will!!!!

Helen & Mattie outside Ely Cathedral
Helen & Mattie outside Ely Cathedral

Okay, you HAVE to eat a fast food meal. What restaurant would you choose and what would you order?

Maccy D’s, Large McChicken Sandwich Meal with a vanilla milkshake and McFlurry to finish. Yum, but bleurgh!

Have you ever met a celebrity?

Steve Cram (World Champion & Olympic Silver Medalist) at the Southwold 10k Race. He was starting it!
Chi McBride – he was starring in ‘House’ at the time i met him in a shop in Las Vegas

Steve Cram, Olympic Silver Medallist
Steve Cram, Olympic Silver Medallist

Share a picture of yourself in non workout clothes!

A trip to Flatford Mill, Where John Constable painted the 'Hay Wain'
A trip to Flatford Mill, Where John Constable painted the ‘Hay Wain’

If you could choose to have a ‘do-over’ and switch careers, what would you choose and why?

I really wish i had been as active at school & maybe gone into a career as a PE teacher or Personal Trainer. Something to keep me active throughout the day, and if it was helping others, all the better!

If you won the Olympic Gold Medal – how do you think you would react?

Sheepishly & hoping that i didn’t get drug tested, as that would be the only way i could ever win an Olympic Gold Medal!

Sounds about right
Sounds about right

What do you want for Christmas?

Running Shoes, Running Spikes, XC Spikes….basically anything that i can put on my feet!

What skill do you lack?

The ability to step back & shut up. If i have a point, and i know the point is correct, i have been known to drive it home. Sometimes its better to concede and just know within yourself that you were right.

How would you answer any of these questions??? Let me know!

Please don’t do this to me now….AAARRRGGGGHHHHH

Running has been great lately, brilliant in fact!!

My legs have felt good, I’m consistently running under 7:00/mi pace comfortably, my legs & fitness are top notch and I feel ready to push, possibly, for that mythical 80min half marathon on February.

And then I tweak something at XC training yesterday. An innocuous little hole in the trail, the slightest twinge to the front of my shin & now I’m nervous. Luckily, today is a rest day………otherwise I would be panicking but to to say I’m a little worried would be an understatement. Please not now, not when everything is going so well.

This is one of the things that infuriates me about running!!! Get a puncture on the bike, you fix it and out you go. Pull a hamstring while running though and your family needs to move out for the next 2 to 3 weeks as you are going to be pissed as hell and make their lives a misery!!!

To be fair, I don’t know what I have done to my leg. It might be nothing. Every now & then I get a twinge and I can just ‘feel’ it. Does that make sense? I just know that there is something there that shouldn’t be! It’s a rest day today and I had always planned to take a week off over Xmas as such. Not stop running completely but reign it in a bit, a few nice slow recovery runs just to keep the fitness up over the Xmas period while gorging on every type of food possibly!!

And that will still be my plan, but that depends on that first recovery run tomorrow…………

Are you suffering from injury at the moment??? How do you cope. How does your family cope with you?? Let me know………..

To quote Stain’d…….”It’s been a While…..”


I think this is my first post in something like two weeks & yes, it is long overdue. I could give you a myriad of excuses as to why I haven’t been posting…….the dog ate my laptop, I was kidnapped by a bunch of sexually delinquent aliens or I recently won the lottery but alas…..none of them are true.

The real reason is much more mundane………I just haven’t had the time! What with work, Xmas coming up, getting the running miles in, racing, my reading group, Xmas parties, school plays/panto’s etc…life just sort of took over! But I guess this is a good thing bcos if it didn’t, I wouldn’t have anything to blog about!

And with that in mind, let me give you a brief (there is nothing brief about it) update as to what has been happening with me lately. I’ll try and stick to the running element as this is what the blog is meant to be about and let be honest, once you’ve seen one school panto, you’ve seen them all right!

Suffolk XC Champs at Ickworth, tough course this one!
Suffolk XC Champs at Ickworth, tough course this one!

So, where do I begin? Well i posted a race report for the Woodbridge XC race so lets go from there! Having shifted around the course at a sharpish pace, even if I do say so myself, I came to the conclusion that I like this XC lark even more than I thought I did. So I decided “hey, why not” & entered the Suffolk County XC Champs. Held on the 4th January at Ickworth Park in Bury St Edmunds, it’s a gruelling 12km (7.45 miles) route over uneven terrain, long grass & mud. And a few bloody big hills as well. The Striders, being the amazing club that they are, pay for it’s members to enter as the race. It’s quite a big deal this race so it’s silly not to take the chance to compete if offered. I remember racing it a few years back when I was a Woodbridge Shuffler, I had to pull out as I was wheezing like a 23st asthmatic. I had just got over a chest infection & this course is brutal, it nearly killed me off!

The start to the National XC Champs in's all uphill from here baby!!!
The start to the National XC Champs in London……it’s all uphill from here baby!!!

With the knowledge that the last 12km XC race I did nearly ended me, it seemed only natural that I enter another one. Phhhhhhhh,… I’m starting to think I should be sectioned under some act. There must be one for deranged runners or sociapathic race participants! Yep, I signed up for the National XC Champs held every year at Parliament Hill, London. I have absolutely no clue as to what this race is like other than it is hilly, and has a talented field so I’m going to get muddy and have my backside handed to me on a plate. What more could you ask for on a Saturday morning in February lol. I should mention at this point that again, the magnificent Striders club is paying to put two teams of 6 men & 6 women in the race. If your running club is willing to fork out money for you to compete in a National race against top class runners……..I just don’t see how you can throw that opportunity away.

Hopefully there will be some rain in London the night before!!
Hopefully there will be some rain in London the night before!!

And last but not least, I seem to have been coaxed into running an Ultra Race?? Not quite sure how it happened but I got back from a run last night and either through being deliriously hungry or not paying enough attention to what I was doing, I agreed to take part in the Stour Valley Path 100km Ultra Race (SVP100). The 62 mile route starts in Newmarket, Suffolk and winds it’s way along the Stour Valley until it finishes at Cattawade in Suffolk. It’s worth doing the race for the views alone, at one point we run past Flatford Mill where John Constable painted the famous ‘The Hay Wain’. At present there is myself, Martin, Matt, Andy and Jason all taking part…although Jason is the only one to have actually entered so far (he’s keen). After the disaster that was the Suffolk Ultra Intro in September, it’s time to redeem myself in the eyes of the Ultra Gods!

The start line for the SVP100
The start line for the SVP100
And the sort of views we will be seeing while running 62 miles.
And the sort of views we will be seeing while running 62 miles.

Well i think that pretty much covers the races that I have entered in the last couple of weeks. There’s also the Bentley Half Marathon coming up in Feb where i’m hoping to beat my PB but there will be more about that in a future post.

What other news do I have?? Ahhhh, I know that all i seem to have bleated on about is how great my running club is so it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m going to to it some more (I hope the cheque is in the post Striders). I think a lot of clubs do this but the Striders are currently asking for a couple of it’s members to be trained up as a Coaching Assistants to help with the Junior members & possibly progress on from there. They will pay for you to do the course on the condition that you agree to the coaching of the Junior members. I think this is brilliant. What a great opportunity to give something back to the club. Granted, trying to get my 8yr old daughter to do anything is nigh on impossible so to say that the thought of coaching 20 to 30 small children is slightly daunting would be an understantement. But I’m always up for a challenge so I have put my name in the hat for the chance to do it! Hopefully I’ll hear something this week as I think they want to get things moving in January. Exciting stuff!!!

And lastly, again, I’ve somehow been coerced into becoming the Striders Press Officer in the new year. Helen, Don and I were at the Striders Xmas party last Saturday when Emma Yarrow came over. She currently makes an excellent job of being press officer but is planning to stand down come the Striders AGM at the end of January. So there I was sitting at the table, music pounding in the background and myself slightly (very) inebriated on Gin & Tonics when over Emma sauntered & asked if I would be interested in filling the role once she had vacated it. Now, I enjoy writing, I wouldn’t do a blog otherwise but there is a security in knowing that hardly anyone reads it.  However, I will now be writing articles for regional newspapers. What if i write something untoward or crack a joke that sinks like the Titanic?? Emma assured me that I would be fine and that she along with Julia (the club IT officer) would ‘hold my hand’ & guide me through what I need to do!


So all in all, 2015 is looking to be an exciting & challenging year!! You can never know what life will throw at you, it’s what makes life so interesting. But equally, life has to be grabbed. You have to snatch & steal every opportunity, moment and chance you can! These ‘opportunities’ that I have mentioned above, these are but the start of what I hope 2015 brings!!

A bit of Xmas Cheer running.......looks a bit nippy to me!
A bit of Xmas Cheer running…….looks a bit nippy to me!

Merry Xmas everyone, and a Happy New Year!!

Race Report: Suffolk Winter XC Series Race 2 – Woodbridge

Today's Stats
Today’s Stats

I should first of all apologise, this is a pretty wordy post. There aren’t a lot of photo’s from yesterdays race, I don’t think the families/spectators were too keen on traipsing through all the mud and sand just to take some photo’s!!

Waking up yesterday morning, the thought of running through woods & fields really wasn’t on my list of things to do. Helen had gotten up early to go for her own XC run, she wasn’t competing today, so i decided to stay warm n cosy in bed. I wasn’t going anywhere. I should probably say at this point that I am NOT a morning person……..AT ALL. I think it comes from all the late nights I had working as a barman in my 20’s, I don’t get tired until about 11pm.

Today's elevation & pacing.
Today’s elevation & pacing.

The race start today was slightly later than normal, 11:00am, so i got up at 9:00am & got my kit on ready……which is just as well really as I had a phone call from Helen about 10 minutes later saying that she had got lost on her run. One of the problems of running in the country lol, all the fields look the same. So after I had picked her up somewhere outside of the village, we all set off for Woodridge, the setting for the destruction of my legs!

The actual race is in Sutton, just outside of Woodbridge & i guess you could describe it as a figure ‘8’ course. 5.5 miles in total. What makes this course so tough is the sand. Sutton Heath and the fields we run through are a mixtures of sand & bridleway and come the 2nd lap, you just want someone to shoot you and put you out of your misery. Even now, 9hrs later, my calfs are killing me. I dread to think what they will be like tomorrow!

I’ve sort of jumped to the end their really haven’t i? Back to the start we go.

After a warm-up run with Scott to see how compacted the sand was (not a lot we found out) we headed to the start line & waited for the off! As I mentioned earlier, Helen wasn’t running so she was designated ‘bag-lady’ and how she cherished the role with her big black rubbish sack collecting fellow Striders jumpers & trainers.

A few minutes later & “Whhhoooooooooooooo”, the klaxon goes and the stampede begins. There was a large group of Striders running together to begin with, a little bit of black ‘n’ yellow carnage. Everyone was vying for that tiny patch of compacted ground. There were places on the route where the competitors filtered down into single file, sharing the one strip of compacted sand or grass verge….just for that 30 or 40 metres of respite from the bloody sand!

it wasn’t too long into the race…..the first corner I think, when Sam decided that it might be more productive to roll around & play in the sand a little. I think a branch or something caught him on the leg & down he went. We had a bit of a laugh about it at the time but it wasn’t until he crossed the finish line later with a knee covered in blood did we realised quite how bad it was. That’s the sign of a proper hardcore cross-country runner there, a little bit of blood isn’t going to stop them from finishing that race.

To be perfectly honest, I can’t remember a lot of the first lap. I was so busy concentrating on trying to keep my feet planted and not lose any ground/places, I didn’t pay too much attention to what was going on around me. I remember catching up to Martin Little at one point as he seemed to be going ‘great-guns’ but other than that, I was having a bit of an out of body experience.

However, by the end of the first lap, we were down to just the 4 of us………Danny Preece (a fellow Strider), an older gentleman from Sudbury Joggers, someone from Felixstowe Road Runners & then lowly old me. And it was the four of us that ran together right till the end. This was Danny’s first race for the Striders & i think he was giving us all a masterclass in XC running. And it was great running with him to be fair as he was pushing the pace just right, it wasn’t easy but I wasn’t breathing out of my arse either. There were a couple of times where he hit the afterburners and pulled away a bit but we always seemed to end up back together again.

We all stayed together for the second lap pushing between 6:05 & 6:10/mi pace which I’m quite chuffed with considering the ground conditions & then we hit the one sticking point. My spikes.

I wear spikes when doing cross country & up until the last section, that was all good but then the track turned into a concrete road. It was only about 100 metres worth & it was less than half a mile from the finish but I went from feeling secure and having traction to being on an ice skating rink. My feet were all over the place. Danny was wearing spikes as well so we were both having a bit of difficuty.  Luckily, there was one of those saviour grass verges again which gave us a little bit of grip. I’ll be honest, by this point I was pretty knackered so when the other three pushed on, I was more than happy to maintain my current pace to see me across the line. 20th place with an avg pace of 6:10/mi. I don’t think I can grumble with that, although my legs may well be grumbling about something tomorrow!

Today's course & lap times
Today’s course & lap times
Coming into the finish line
Coming into the finish line

Once the race was finished, there was nothing left to do but 1/ get some coffee & cake and 2/ cheer the other Striders on. There were 41 of us racing yesterday…….41!!! That’s massive & i bet every last one of us found it tough…….but we will be there for the next race, come rain or shine!!

I really do love XC season, and today drove home just how much!!!!!

Did you race yesterday?? How did you find it??? XC or Road???

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud…….

Another lunchtime run & another bloody miserable day. I know it is winter but still….a little sunshine wouldn’t go a miss!

This was the last ‘big’ run before Sundays XC Race. I’ve never been one for large tapers, just a slow 2 miles the day before normally see’s me toe the line in reasonable condition. On my own today as Helen was working so i thought i would hit some hills.

And after yesterdays lunchtime run, i was amazed at what a difference a day could make….i ran round with no issues, i felt comfortable and other than putting horse poo in my mouth (i didn’t realise it was on my glove, it’s not that i got hungry), it was a  very productive run.

There are hills at Sundays Woodbridge XC race so hopefully this has put me in good stead………and worked off the two pints i had at the local pub last night. Well earned pint i should add after yesterdays effort.

Yesterday, i gave you the list below;

“Things i learnt from today…….

  1. How i feel is not neccessarily how i’ll run.
  2. English weather can be really depressing & miserable at times.
  3. School children get knocked down easily when they act like dicks & don’t get out of your way on purpose.
  4. I need to get some thermal underwear, a vital part of my anatomy virtually got frostbite.”

Today’s thing i learnt

  1. Horse poo does not taste nice!

Tomorrow: 2 mile Recovery Run645609235

Miserable Weather, Miserable Dale, Miserable Run (ish)

Lunchtime run in the grey dismal drizzle today. Sounds almost poetic doesn’t it. Yes, if that poet was Edgar Allen Poe.

I wasn’t really feeling up to today’s run from the start. It’s cold, it’s grey, i wasn’t feeling in tip-top condition and my legs ached. But out i went as today’s run was a ‘Key’ session.

I did a 2.5mile warm-up around the block & then 4 x 1km efforts at 10k pace or quicker. I took a 60sec standing recovery between each effort! I actually ran better than i thought i was going to and the legs felt a lot looser on the cool-down run back to the office.

Things i learnt from today…….

  1. How i feel is not neccessarily how i’ll run.
  2. English weather can be really depressing & miserable at times.
  3. School children get knocked down easily when they act like dicks & don’t get out of your way on purpose.
  4. I need to get some thermal underwear, a vital part of my anatomy virtually got frostbite.

Tomorrow: 45min Steady Undulating Run

Today's Lunchtime Run
Today’s Lunchtime Run

The Striders have a new website

That’s right, the Striders have today launched the new-look club website. It’s absolutely jam packed with information about club training, local race & race series, club races and much much more!!

I have to say, I’m really liking the new improved look!!

Take a butchers & let me know what you think!!!

The OLD look website. Very yellow!


The NEW look website. Love the style


A Recovery Run with Helen….apparently she hates me??

Just got back from a recovery run with Helen. I was meant to be doing a 60min steady effort today but after the incline session with the Striders last night……… legs are shot, or f*cked as Helen puts it so lady-like.

This was Helen’s first time running this route (even though she created it on ‘Map My Run’) so it was all a bit new. But hopefully she’ll be able to run the route on her own from now on if she wants to.

The run was meant to be a 1 mile warm-up, 2 miles at a harder pace (for Helen) and then 1 mile cool-down. All was going well until we got 1.9 miles into the 2 mile hard section. Helen decided to walk at which point i had a little go saying something along the lines of “Get your arse moving, there’s only .1 of a mile to go”, or something to that effect!

The response???

“I hate you!” it’s what  love about Helen,….no beating about the bush.

We did manage to finish the run without killing each other or bickering anymore so all good!!

Tomorrow: AM: 30min Recovery Run / PM: 15min Warm up, 6 x 1km @ 10k Effort, 15min Cool down




Ouch, Ouch……another incline……ouch.

Tonight training session with the Striders was inclines which is never going to be pretty. I normally pride myself on my ability to push it on hills but i think it might have come back and bit me on the arse tonight bcos my legs feel knackered and my calf’s are still out on the hill somewhere.

After a 1.4mile warm-up/commute to the hill we would be working on, we did 2 sets of 10 minutes. The first 10 minutes was done in an anti-clockwise direction where we would push the uphill section, jog recovery to the roundabout and a steady downhill section with a good stride.

After a 2 minute recovery, we did the second 10 minutes in the opposite direction. Full pelt up the hill and then a jog recovery all the way back to the start. This was meant to be done in pairs but myself, Chris, Sam & Marcos were all running at roughly the same pace so we all pushed each other to what was a tough but fun session.

Tomorrow: 60mins @ Steady Effort




Weekly Training : 24/11/2014 – 30/11/2014

Monday: Rest Day

After yesterdays XC training session, i needed the rest day today. While my legs are for the most part feeling ok, my Soleus / Achilles Tendon is really tight. I’m not really sure which it is but it’s not an injury as such, it’s just a bit tender. Once I’ve been running a little bit, they ease off! No real hard effort today unless you count picking up the Sky remote and changing the channel???

Tuesday PM: 3 Steady Run
Tried out a new 3/4 mile route today. It would have been 4 miles but i met Helen on Meredith Rd for a chat as she was working her lunch and could only get out for a few minutes. Not the most exciting of routes, it is at least a change to the normal one that we do. A little bit undulating, it would certainly be  a quicker course for threshold runs. Fitness felt alright, the rest did me some good. The lower calfs were still tight tho. Loosened up after a while but i think the run tonight with the Striders will certainly be easier now that the legs are a bit looser. Will mix this route up with the other to at least give me a bit of variety, after all, variety is the spice of life!
Tuesday Lunchtime
Tuesday PM: Striders Session – Fartlek/Intervals
Great session tonight with the Striders tonight. Grouped into 6’s, myself being number 6, we were running the Striders one mile route & throwing in random Fartlek sections. We would all start off running together and then at some random point, number 1 (whoever it may be) would say, “From this lit lamppost to the next” and as soon as we got there, you would run as fast as number 1 could. You were not allowed to run any faster than the runner who’s turn it was. After a little recovery jog, and once everyone was grouped back together, number 2 would set a distance and away you’d go again.
The session went as follows:
1 mile fartlek with 2 min standing recovery
2 mile fartlek with 2 min standing recovery
1 mile fartlek with 2 min standing recovery
1 mile cool down.
Felt good, if a little knackered after the session and i wasn’t dropped at any point so that must be a good thing right???

Wednesday: Easy Run home from work
Nothing overly exciting about this run except that my rucksack was rubbing the hell out of my neck as i ran. Had to stop and slather my neck in vaseline to ease the chaffing. Took the run nice & easy, i just wanted to get the miles in and keep the legs turning over as i’m worried about not getting the miles in this weekend. The weather was a bit drizzly which make the ground under foot a bit slippery, especially where leaves had fallen on the path. There were no near misses but i certainly didn’t feel secure on the downhill sections!

 Thursday: Steady run around the block
I didn’t get the chance to run at work today (busy, busy, busy) so i had to go out tonight instead! i didn’t really want to be any longer than i had to as it was bloody freezing so i pushed it a bit and turned it into more of a steady run than the recovery run it was meant to be. One thing to be said for the roads around where i live……other than the main road into Bentley, all the other ones are really quite traffic-wise. Which is just as well as the roads are mostly unlit and can make navigating a little difficult! I have had a few near-misses in the past but tonight was incident free. I got home, had a quick shower and then watched some crap on the TV. Just what the running doctor prescribed.

Friday: Lunchtime Steady/Threshold Run
I was well aware today that i might not get the chance to run this weekend so i wanted to have a good session at lunchtime. I went out and did a 15 min warm-up run, followed by 15 mins steady & then 10 mins at Threshold pace. The run started off Ok and i was hoping that the warm-up portion of the running would see me going up Valley Rd Hill at a fairly relaxed pace. Luckily it did, it might have been a short run if i had to push the pace up there. Pretty much as soon as i reached the top of the hill, i began my steady section and continued running along Valley Rd until 23 minutes had elapsed. This got me to just past the Northgate High School turn off! Then i turned back & headed for home so to speak. The  minute section at Threshold pace started just as i go to the top of Valley Rd Hill again. Running at Threshold pace down hill is easy, just make sure you are placing your feet correctly and you’ll be fine. However, running at sub 6:00min/mi pace back up Norwich Rd is a lot tougher. It’s not noticeable to begin with but it is all uphill and it soon takes it’s toll on you. The pace was starting to bleed off towards the end. After the ten minutes, and lots of heavy breathing, there was a small recovery jog & then i was back at the office for a shower & lunch. Lets see what this weekend brings in terms of running.

Saturday & Sunday: Ludlow Medieval Xmas Fayre
This weekend brought no running whatsoever, except 20 minutes on a treadmill before being kicked out of the hotel gym. Hardly worth the effort. Saying that, the rest probably did me some good. Helen & I had a great weekend doing LOTS of walking (10+ miles) and LOTS of eating. Back to proper training & diet on Monday. I have a Half Marathon PB to get in February!

Total Mileage: 27.79
Total Time: 3:24:23
Total Calories: 3,543


Taking big strides towards that Sub-3hr Marathon

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