Sunday, January 31, 2010

End of week, end of month

So another week gone and one month of the year out of the way too. I ran 288 miles in January which is an average of 9.3 miles per day and an average of 10.3 miles per day if you consider that I had three rest days. These are close to unprecedented numbers for me at this time of the year and building on the work I did heading into my December marathon I'm getting pretty excited for how things may develope for me this year if I can keep this consistency for a while yet...

Today's run was another slip and slide over the snow with folks at Mcalpine. Luckily the past two days were down as being nothing more than easy days so it didn't really matter but now the snow and ice is getting old and I just want it to go! Tomorrow's workout is already questionable so I may have to practice what I preached in my last post and come up with an alternative plan to get the workout in this week!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Planning ahead

One of my biggest bug bears about fellow runners is when they make excuses for not being able to train. If you plan carefully enough and are flexible enough with your schedule then you can make it happen, no excuses. We've all got busy lives, family, work commitments, etc. but if we want to get something out of this sport we can all make little sacrifices here and there to make it happen. My buddy Tim, for example, very busy, young family, will often find himself heading out the door at 10pm to get it done. If that's not for you then don't do it, that's fine, just don't come running to me later saying you didn't have time to train. Lets face it, we do the simplest sport there is. All you need is 30 minutes and a pair of shoes and you can do it.

That being said, a little forward planning can also help in optimising your training. For example, this weekend I knew the weather here was going to be crappy so I got my 18 miler in on Friday morning. Yes I had to get up at 4.30 and yes it sucked, but you know once I was out there I got in to my groove and it was fine. 2 hours later and all I had to worry about for this weekend was squeezing a few miles on the snow when I could.

Then next week I usually do my hard workout on Tuesday or Wednesday after work, but can't next week as I have obligations to attend with Emily. So I sent a note around, rallied some troops and am planning a group track workout Monday after work instead.

I don't mean to sound all 'preachy' but it just annoys me when people make excuses when they really aren't necessary. If you don't want to do something, fair enough, but if you want it enough you'll MAKE it work.

Anyway, enough of the sermon, I'm hoping i can head out later today for some running on the snow, and then hope it clears out of here pretty quick so can get back on the mileage horse next week!

Post Script. Nathan Stanford did his 22 on the dreadmill today- now that's flexibility (and insanity, obviously)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Coach in town

Tim was passing through Charlotte on his way down to South Carolina so made a welcome appearance at the Tuesday CRC workout last night. Unfortunately he has been riddled with flu the past few days but he was still able to warm up and down with me and even jumped into a couple of the repeats I was doing to provide some valued assistance.

Details of the workout are in my log but suffice to say it was another decent effort after Saturday's good one and I'm feeling happy with the way my fitness is developing currently.

I'm currently 'enjoying' my down week, ready to launch back into the higher mileage again next week. My only concern for this week is when I'm going to be able to get my planned 18 miler in. The weather forecast from late Friday through the weekend is particularly grim. I'll get it in somehow, I usually do....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Home from home

What a miserable day of weather today- definitely a reminder of winter in England! It was a day for staying inside, crashing on the sofa and eating the contents of the fridge, so I did- it's amazing how a trip to Blockbuster can keep a 3 and 6 year old happy for hours at a time (yes it was a "bad parent" day)

I got my 16 mile run in early. It was miserable but luckily Jordan and Tom joined me to help pass the time and ignore the rain. As I drove home at 8.30 the roads were pretty deserted except for the cars of the few people who didn't consider it too wet to go to church and the 4 or 5 lone runners I came across. Getting it done, regardless of the weather, good stuff.

The 16 enabled me to surpass my previous weekly record mileage high as I head into next week's 'down time'. I won't know what to do with myself tomorrow and the next morning as my next run won't be until after work on Tuesday. Hopefully it will have stopped raining by then

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tempo fun

Tim had me down for a 6 mile AT tempo plus 1 mile fast today so I rallied the troops and emailed 6 or 7 others to join me. So I rock up at Mcalpine to do the workout this morning and see about 15 other skinny dudes (and gal) ready to get to work. Excellent! It was great to head out on the trails with such a big and talented group of people and a great start to the weekend. You can check out R2W for a recap of the workout but suffice to say it went well and I'm feeling the legs and fitness coming along nicely at the moment. Life is pretty good right now...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Of all the places....

So it was a beautiful Spring-like Tuesday evening and CRC workout night. Having worked out the week before at the beautiful floodlit JCSU track where should we go tonight? I know, how about a cemetery!!

No, to be fair the workouts we were doing called for road rather than track work and the cemetery seemed as good a place as any for a central, traffic free location. You can see my workout comments on R2W but let's just say it was a rather surreal experience and not a place I will likely return to for a night time workout!

The funniest and scariest part of the evening was when a group of 20 or so of Charlotte's fastest cyclists came bombing past with their headlights blaring. Anyhow it completed another solid Tuesday of work and today's 7.25 put me on target to hit upwards of 75 this week. After a few days of beautiful weather we are forecast some heavy rain and a return to colder temps which is a bit of a pisser....

Monday, January 18, 2010


Spring has sprung here for a few days at least. 8 miles in Mcalpine this am, most of which shirtless. Even the daffodils have started to sprout in our yard. Freaky weather so far in 2010!!

Having got the run out of the way it was time for lunch. it was up to the girls to decide where they wanted to go. Thankfully they chose Five Guys over Mcdonalds or Chick Fil-A so an assault on the Cajun Fries ensued. I love the burgers there, but it's the fries that swing it for me. Being English I love my chips. Not your American chips, they are crisps, no, chips as in wedges of potatos fried and crisped to perfection. Although still too thin to match the chips from home, Five Guys certainly have the best fries I have tasted in Charlotte...

70-75 miles, two workouts and a long run on tap for this week. that should take care of today's dietary lapse!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Closing out the week

Finished up my week with a couple of so-so efforts which you can read about in my log log. I have also added the link to my log in the sidebar so I won't be regurgitating my workouts every day from now on in the blog.

Tomorrow is a planned rest day and then back to it on Monday when I am looking forward to being able to head out in the afternoon when the temps should be in the 60s!

Just me and the kids this weekend as Lisa is off visiting family in VA. We're having a blast!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Enjoying the company

When I was updating my training log earlier, I realised that 5 of my last 6 runs have been with Charlotte Running Club folks. This is unusual for me. For want of training chums, especially since Tim B moved back North, I would guess I usually train for 75% of the time on my own. But I'm loving this group thing!

Those five runs encapsulated all the benefits of group running!

First there was Sunday's long progression run. Having Billy and Jordan along made for great company as we did the workout together and kept the effort honest and in line with what we needed from the workout. On my own I would probably have gone out too fast and defeated the object of the workout immediately! And it's not every day you get the chance to run with a marathoner shooting for low 2:20s in his next marathon!

Then there was Tuesday's Miners Run. I wanted a nice low key shake out before the track workout in the evening. Mission accomplished

Then the track workout. having 10 people on the track at the same time offering each other encouragement as we all did our own thing was great. we all split off and did our own things but all had a sub group to run with and share the workload with. then when our group was recovering we would cheer the other group on and vice versa- great stuff....Had I been on my own I am sure my repeats would each have been 5 seconds slower and also I wouldn't have been given the motivation at the end to try and keep with Jay next time he tears up the last quarter!

Wednesday am, just ten hours later, most of us met up again for the recovery run. Tales of the workout were shared, legends created, mutual legs nursed back to some sort of decent shape.

Finally, today I was down to do my second workout of the week. However, instead of heading out on still unrecovered legs I decided to run from the Dowd again in yet another group. Again the pace was nice and the company good and gave my legs another day to recover in time for tomorrow am's workout- which I will be doing on my own!!

Faster, better, more beneficial workouts and long runs; slower, easier, more beneficial recoveries, it's a win-win!!


Two days after the workout on Tuesday night and the legs are still feeling it! I guess it was to be expected after doing my first proper track workout in months! The last two mornings have just been 8 or 9 miles as easy as possible with the folks from CRC. So glad to have people to meet up with, makes these runs a lot easier and ensures a proper recovery pace rather than me belting it out on my own! Back to solo running tomorrow morning as I have another workout planned as I can't do it at the weekend. Hopefully by the morning my legs will be feeling more cooperative!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back on the track

Last evening I headed down to the JCSU track for the first workout of the new training block. I had never run at this track before as I have two accessible tracks within jogging distance from my house, but having run there last night I would definitely consider making the extra effort to head there again. The 'Mondo' track surface is super fast and the view of the city skyline as you come into the home straight is awesome. Also, as a result of the “public-private” partnership formed between JCSU and the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Commission the general public can utilize the track for exercise everyday from 8:00 a.m. to dusk. Last night the floodlights were even left on for us until we completed our workout!

Inspired by this and the good company of at least ten other trackites from Charlotte Running Club I proceeded to notch a solid workout. The goal was 5 mile repeats at half marathon pace (5:28) with a minute recovery and the option of running a 6th if the legs were feeling good. I managed to hit 5:26,28,26,21,26,12. Yes I did the 6th and generally felt great throughout the workout. I had Jay's company throughout and Aaron and Jordan jumping in too. Enjoyed it!

Having also run Tuesday morning (I can only run Saturday this weekend so am having to frontload the week a little) I ran over 17 miles yesterday and it will be interesting to see how the legs feel on this morning's run from the Dowd. Again the Company will make it feel easier regardless!

A good start to the new training block!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The curse of DVR

Sitting here at 4.45 ready to head out the door later for the first 7 miles of the next training block. Nothing too remarkable about that except for the fact that I probably had less than 4 hours sleep last night. Started off with not going to bed until well after midnight because of the football. Even though the Packers' game was in the afternoon, family duties had caused me to DVR it to watch it later.

Once I sat down at 9 to watch I of course became transfixed by one of the greatest games in play off history and before I knew it my planned relatively early night went out the window. Waking up at 4 feeling both starving and needing the bathroom I had to get up and then my choice was either go back to bed and wake up at 6 feeling grouchy and hungry and unmotivated to get out the door or suck it up eat some food and head out the door at 6 for my run. I chose the latter....

Work will suck later but at least I will have got my run in!! And tonight I will MAKE SURE I am in bed by 10 as it will be another 5am alarm call tomorrow for the weekly 'Miners Run', so called as a bunch of us meet up at Mcalpine armed with headlamps for a run on the trails.

Motivation to get up so early is clearly better when I am committed to meeting people for a run. To give you some sort of an idea of how this week should play out, well it will be an easy 7 miler on my own this morning, a shorter than usual Miners Run tomorrow am doubling with an evening track workout of 5*1600, early morning run from the Dowd Y with Charlotte Running Club folks Wednesday, another workout on my own on Thursday morning and 12 miles either in one run to work or a morning/lunch time double on Friday. Lisa is away for the weekend from early Saturday so not even a chance for a lie in at the weekend, having to get my 14 miler in early before Lisa hits the road. Sunday will then be a blank with hopefully 65 miles in the bank for the week....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Next phase eve

Sitting here watching to see if the Ravens can hold off the Patriots. Finished my long run about 6 hours ago and haven't left the house since! It's so bloody cold outside, even though it's sunny you can't really do too much! It's meant to start warming up again next week luckily!

So finished off another solid week and am ready to embark on Tim's latest schedules for me starting from tomorrow. This week ended up hitting 60 miles again, this time on 6 runs, with the 'quality' being provided by Thursday's workout and today's long run/workout which went thus....

"1st,3rd and 5th finishers from T Road hit up Mcalpine this am for a long 'progression' run. The first 4 we ran nice and easy, picked it up a little for the middle 4 and then picked it up a little more for the last 4.

Before the run I had some goal paces in mind but as it happened I didn't even look at my watch the whole time, just consciously picked it up a little at miles 5 and 9. Ran pretty hard towards the end but was chatting throughout so never really got uncomfortable. Solid run heading into the next training phase starting this week!

5.57,6.02,5.42,5.41,5.40 (0.87m)"

So yes, I ran with Billy and Jordan this am. Jordan sent me a note via this blog last night asking if he could step in with us so we had a pretty solid line up for our run!

Ready to launch into next phase and ready for it to warm up a bit!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Been slack of late on the Blogging front so a quick update of what's been going on since my last post.

Running has been going well. I feel officially out of the recovery phase and moving into the next training phase. Last week I hit 60 miles on 7 runs, with 2 workouts and a 'long run' of 11 miles. Quick recap of both workouts per my training log....

Workout 1- "First workout since TR. Met up at Mcalpine at 6.30, 9 cars in the lot. Great turnout- Jay, Ben, Mike, Justin, Billy, Aaron, Thomas, Steve, William. We ran to the 3 mile mark and then did five miles progression 6:11,5:46,5:27,5:27,5:26. I picked it up during third mile and felt pretty decent running with Jay and Ben through 4.5 before I started feeling it a bit and was having to strain to hold pace. So I backed off a little to try and keep my form and Ben and Jay finished about 5 seconds ahead of me looking strong. All in all I was happy with this as a first workout back. Really hope I can do some more workouts with these guys as it is so much easier and more beneficial!"

Workout 2- "Headed out in the afternoon but it was still bloody freezing. Wanted to a bit of up tempo stuff today so decided to head to the cross country course and run 400 'on', 200 'off' over the 5k (ran the last 0.8k straight through). Wasn't worried about pace just wanted to get some turnover. the 400s/800 ended up being around 5:35 pace and the 200s 6:40. It was cold and I was wrapped up and could hardly get my legs moving but the effort was good. I then ran a couple of easy miles before closing out the last 1.5 miles in 9:00."

Spent New Years at a friend's beach house in Ocean Isle. Great time of chilling out, plenty of food and drink, while the kids all played with each other. Got a couple of runs in while there- hit the beach for a few miles but it was bloody freezing!

Back to work last Monday refreshed and ready to go. Took Monday off from running but still plan to hit 60 miles this week with one workout done this morning and one long run/workout of 12 miles on the plan for Sunday. The Sunday workout I am taking straight from Mark Hadley's most excellent blog long runs. I'll be doing the 12 mile progressive long run described....

Today's workout was another 'Tempo' effort, described in my training log thus...

"Headed out on my Alexander, Providence and Sardis loop for an 8 mile progression run. The aim was to run 2 miles at 7:00, 2 miles at 6:30, 2 miles at 6:00 and then the last 2 sub 6 but I am useless at running these progression runs on my own and the run turned into more of a standard tempo run after I hit the second mile in 6.27


Decent enough effort in the cold"

The most exciting thing that happened this week was receiving my Spring training plan from coach Tim Tim's blog

I received it Wednesday afternoon and all work productivity went immediately out of the window for the rest of the day. I'm excited to get started on the plan next week!