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Showing posts from March, 2020

Sprint, jog and repeat

How many times have you found yourself thinking: "I know what, I really quite fancy doing some sprint intervals tonight"?

If you're anything like me, I suspect the answer is quite possibly almost a resounding "NEVER!!"

Strangely, however, despite Monday evenings usually being set aside for my weekly long run, intervals are what I found myself doing and, shock horror, despite the number of times I have expressed my dislike for such an activity, I actually quite enjoyed them.

I selected the Couch to 5k Week 1 workout on my watch and off I went; jogging the walking bits and sprinting the running bits and, lo and behold, I set a new 5k PB of 28:04 in the process.

I'm almost certainly going to suffer for this tomorrow, but it was worth it.


(Virtual) Winton 10k Trail

Round about this time last year, when I was just about completing Week 4 of the Couch to 5k programme, I noticed signs going up around the village for the annual 5k/10k trail run. At that point I had still to complete the "infamous" 20 minute non-stop run that would be the climax of Week 5 and the idea that I might, just might, one day, be able to run 5k was still a seemingly unlikely aspiration (little did I know I was less than 5 weeks away from achieving it) and I set myself the goal of doing this year's 5k event.

Skip forward 12 months to today, and I was down to take part in the 10k version (I really did not imagine that this time last year). Sadly, due to the current COVID-19 situation, this year's run, like so many others, has had to be postponed (if not cancelled altogether). Since the run starts and ends more or less on my doorstep, I decided that I would run a version of it anyway.

Unlike last year's event, where the runners had to contend with a torre…

Mixed sporting metaphors

English can be a bewildering language at times, but when it comes to mixed metaphors, the world of sport and language have provided us with some classic examples.

Now, I'm not a golfer, but I am a frequent walker.  There is much debate as to whether or not Mark Twain was responsible for the following quotation:
Golf is a good walk spoiled. But regardless of who actually provided us with this gem, I'm firmly in agreement with it.  To me, it just seems like groups of people going for long walks through stupendously manicured parks, pausing occasionally to hit a small white ball with a metal stick.  The fact that if you're particularly good at it (the hitting the small white ball part that is, you don't actually have to be particularly good at the walking part), you can earn staggering amounts of money does, I suppose, explain some of its appeal.

The one thing I do know about golf is that under par is good, whereas over par is not so good.  In fact, the whole point, if th…

An unintended 8k

As I ran yesterday, 10k in fact, today should have been a rest day. Having gone for a walk around one of the nearby country estates at Gosford House, the weather was still lovely when I got home, so decided a short run wouldn't hurt.

Not quite sure when 8k became a "short" run, bit there you go; my legs just decided they were happy to keep going.

The bizarre thing I find is that despite trying to run slowly, I averaged 6;27/km; with my fastest kilometre being 5:45/km. Last year, anything quicker than around 7:30/km would have been me flat out, downhill with a strong following wind; today, even when I'm consciously trying, I find it almost impossible to consistently run slower than 7:00/km.

I am still constantly amazed by the fact that not only can I run so much further than I could a year ago, but also the fact that I can run faster with much more ease for longer than I could possibly have imagined.


Sanity in a time of corona virus

Stay safe everyone, in these difficult times.

Exploration and discovery (and the joys of nature)

One of the things I like about Strava is that I get to see routes that other runners have taken, and so I get to discover new paths and trails in and around the vicinity of the village where I live. Given the current restrictions on organised running events, it does seem that the ability to finding new courses to run and enjoy is now even more important than ever. If we can't have the social side of running (even for those of us who are mostly solo runners), then we need some changes of scenery to help keep our spirits up.

Today, I followed a new route that was, to all intents and purposes, a 2km extension to a route that I already take, but that I hadn't run before as I only discovered that the path that joins it to the route I knew existed on Wednesday evening when I was comparing my time on a particular segment with someone else who had run it a couple of hours earlier, and noticed that at the end of the segment, they's taken a slightly different route back into the vi…

Getting back out there

So, it would seem that the best way to shake off the gloom and despondency of having not managed to get out and run for a couple of days is, quite simply, to get out and run...

Wasn't really sure how far I'd manage when I set out after work, but it seemed that my legs were keen to make up for having had a couple of days off (from running at least, they'd walked more than 20km over the weekend) and I quickly just fell into a rhythm and off I went.

5k came and went easily enough; 10k wasn't especially tough, so I just kept going.

It had been threatening to start raining pretty much from the beginning and as I hit the 14k, it became less of a threat and more of a promise, but despite the fact I was more or less passing my front door at that point, my legs were not for giving up and I carried on through to the 10 mile mark in my second best time of 1:52:44.

So, on the whole, I good run to get back out there with.


The unintended lollop

I wasn't meant to run tonight on the grounds that I was supposed to be refereeing a 7s tournament  tomorrow. Unfortunately, due to the deepening Covid-19 crisis, the SRU have taken the step of cancelling all domestic rugby in Scotland until further notice. While this is no doubt disappointing to many, it is an entirely sensible and understandable step to take in the circumstances.

Combine this with the fact that no one knows for sure if parkruns will be held tomorrow (and no one could blame anyone if they were cancelled), it meant I suddenly found myself at something of a loose end.

Fortunately, there is a virtual 5k challenge (courtesy of New York Road Runners) happening this weekend (there's also a half marathon challenge, but there was no way I was doing that tonight); so I laced up my trail shoes and went for a leisurely lollop along the old railway path and through the woods, and added another 5.15km to Team HU's total for the Vitality Running World Cup. Managing an …

The anniversary run

A year ago, I laced up my shiny new running shoes and headed out for my first Couch to 5k run. That evening I "ran"  for a combined total of 8 minutes and covered approximately 1½ km in the running sections.

Tonight, 170 runs later, I also ran for 8 minutes, but then I also ran for an additional 60 minutes on top of that and covered 10 km.

When I set out on that first run, I had no idea of the journey I was about to embark on; a journey of 1,025 km so far, and so much more on a number of personal and emotional levels. I certainly did not expect to find so much enjoyment in an activity that I'd always considered to be something of a necessary evil and occupational hazard of a referee.

Anyway, let's see how far the next 12 months take me...


Edinburgh Kilomathon: April 5

While I started running for my physical health, an extra bonus has been the improvement to my general mood. As someone who has struggled with mental health issues for over 30 years, this has, perhaps, been the greatest benefit of taking up this simple, but (for me at least) highly effective activity.  With that in mind, I am running the 2020 Kilomathon Scotland 13.1k for SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) in order to raise as much money as possible and I would be so grateful if you could take the time to sponsor me to help a cause that is particularly important to me. If you would care to support me, you can do so via my JustGiving page. All support will be gratefully received and appreciated.


Opening my account

The Vitality Running World Cup 2020 is now upon us. It actually started yesterday, but as that was a rest day, I had to wait until today to start my contribution to the Healthunlocked Team tally.

It was one of those runs that almost didn't happen. The event may be sponsored by Vitality, but I certainly wasn't feeling any initially. First it was a case of, I'll head out mid-morning, then it was before lunch, then it was after lunch and before I knew it, it was 2pm and I still hadn't got anywhere and was in danger of putting it off until tomorrow, so I decided to bite the bullet and get on with it.

I figured that all I really needed to do was complete the qualifying 3k in 30 minutes and if I still wasn't feeling it, I could essentially call it "job done" for the day; there would always be other runs.

As is often the case, once I'm actually out and my legs have found their rhythm, things just click into place and by the time I'd passed the 3k mark, …

A million metres...

On 11 March 2019. I laced up my shiny new running shoes for the first time and set off to restart Couch to 5k. Having only got two weeks into it on my previous attempt before my knees forced me to take an extended rest break, I wasn't entirely filled with optimism, but I was determined to see if I could get there. Get there, I did. I graduated on 7 May 2019 and kept on running.

Today's run, which was an easy paced 12.k lollop around the village and surrounding countryside took me to beyond 1,000k since taking those first tentative steps 51 weeks and 167 runs ago.

I don't like using words like "transformative" because they always sound a bit trite; but in this case I think it's entirely accurate. Up until this time last year I would probably manage up to 5-6k on a Saturday during the rugby season and that was as far as running went. I'm still doing those 5-6k "Saturday Scribbles" but they are now run as part of the typical 25-30k that I run ea…

Another month begins...

It's become a bit of a tradition; ever since I ran my first 10k back in July last year, I have tried to make my first run of the month a 10k (or longer). As I didn't run yesterday, it was a tradition that I carried on, once again, today, with a reasonably leisurely lollop around the village. I had intended to go a little further afield; taking advantage of the fact that I'm not at work this week, but in the end, due to having 101 other things that I needed to do, I simple stuck with what I knew.

The big advantage was quite simply that it early afternoon, instead of my usual after work run, and the paths were deserted. I encountered one other runner heading in the opposite direction to me as I joined the railway path, and a dog without its walker just as I was running down the hill back into the village, but other than that, there wasn't a soul (other than the wildlife) to be seen.

I do enjoy running in solitude. In just over a week it'll be the anniversary of me s…