December 100 miles

When it’s my work night out for Christmas, I usually run in the morning so that (in my head) I’ve run off the calories I’m about to consume for dinner.

Last night and today is really icy though… I had my gear out ready to go this morning, but 3’C and icy made me decide not to run.

But look at the weather forecast for next week… it warms up and peaks at a tropical 11’C! So my plan is to take this week as a recovery week (I was properly gubbed on Sunday after a heavy training week)… and so far this week I’ve done 2 strength sessions and a run.

I’m nearly half way through the month and I’ve only done 36.9 miles, so I’ll run on Saturday and Sunday, and hopefully 3-5 days next week (Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat).

One more week of work left, then I’m on leave so I can run any day the following week. (I’ll probably do 5 days running again).

63.1 miles to go, around 15 days / 2.5 weeks to do it in. 26 miles a week roughly… I can do that.

💯 mile 🎯

Hopefully I should be able to catch up and get my 100 miles for the month and 1200 for the year!

Now, I wonder what I’ll have for my Christmas lunch today??

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Bodyweight session with Pam

Tonight was a first coaching session with Pam who is injured and unable to run, is seeing a physio to help with the injury, and she’s come to me to do some body weight strength work, to be accountable and to be more frequent in her training.

Tonight we did a warm up, then I took her through bodyweight circuit 1, then bodyweight circuit 2, before she went through circuit 1 again, before a cool down.

She’s promised she’ll do her physio exercises daily to see if she can work toward getting rid of her injury, and get herself fit and strong to hopefully get back to running events in 2018. And she’ll email me weekly to let me know how she’s getting on (and for accountability).

She’ll mix bodyweight work, with bike work, and walking and physio to build her strength up and hopefully get rid of her injury.

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It’s all relative (PBs & running)

Last weekend I wrote about me helping Amazing Audrey, nailing her challenging target of a 30 minute Parkrun 5km. I’m so proud of her for grinding through the hard stuff and getting a PB and the time she aimed for.

Now I’d like to put this into context. If you know me, you know I don’t particularly enjoy running ‘fast’ and I’d much rather enjoy an easy social run.

Why make life hard, surely easy is better?

Put simply, running fast isn’t important to me, I’d much rather enjoy it and help others to enjoy it too. I like to help train and motivate people to achieve their goals, and on Saturday at Bictoria Parkrun, it all worked. Audrey achieved her PB and goal of a 30 minute 5k. 🙂

Now here’s the context – I find that some people think that race times or how fast people can run, are a measure of how good you are at running. So logically speaking, a woman who runs a 20 minute 5k should be a ‘better runner’ than a woman who runs a 30 minute 5k. But I find that whole theory false. Anyone can be a ‘good runner’.

But for me – fast = hard, slow = easy, so instead of thinking I want to go fast (not slow) … think, I want to take it easy… I don’t want to make it hard.

For me in my mind, easy and slow become the positive, fast and hard become the negative … but then we can handle a bit of hard stuff in our lives on occasion, so we can go fast on occasion too. Just maybe not all the time.

Maybe the woman who finishes a 5k in 20 minutes does more training, or has more experience running, but the truth of the matter is that we’re all individual, and it all comes down to who we are, what’s important to us and how much and how well we train.

Maybe some people are more impressed with the female runner who does a 20 minute 5k than the one who runs a 30 minutes 5k. But I’m impressed by anyone who puts the effort and training in, and runs to the best of their ability to achieve their goals.

So let’s look at individuality in running terms – the speed we go when running comes down to genes, body size, weight, what’s important to them, health, fitness, training, experience, motivation, heart rate, support… so many factors for one runner can be different for another runner.

I’ve found that weight is probably the biggest factor that anyone can change in themselves to make thinking easier and help them go faster without trying – lose 2 stone (if you need to) and you should find it easier to trot along. But it’s all relative to you and how you were before compared to now.

Now my Pb for a 5k is around 21:30 – it wasn’t even an event. It was about 8 years ago, I decided to go out one day (and annoyingly run against local football fan traffic on the pavement) to beast it and try and run my fastest 5k ever. Eye balls out stuff, it was sub 7 minute miles and it was nasty horrible. But I did it (and I haven’t done it since.)

Now my comfortable easy pace is usually 8:30-9 minute miles. My heart rate ticks along at 150 or less, about 80% of my max HR. I feel good and it’s more than likely aerobic and re-energising running. A sub 7 minute 5km for me on the other hand has my heart rate climbing very high and going up to max. Close to sickness, the body’s natural way to slow you down when you’re pushing too hard, I run fast sparingly because deep down I think we shouldn’t make life (or running) hard.

Now compare this to Audrey as an example. She did all of that on Saturday, pushed her body (and mind) to the max. Her usual comfy pace is 11:00-11:30 or 12 minute miles, and just as 830-9:00 pace is individual to me and all of my factors, Audrey’s comfy pace is individual to her, just as mine is to me, and yours is to you.

Her pace on Saturday was 9:40 minutes miles. Her heart rate built up high and maxed, her body tried to stop her by trying to make her sick, TWICE. Just like me on my 5km PB all those years ago, she was doing her best and running at around 2:00 minutes per mile faster than her comfortable pace. AND she was doing it for nearly 10 minutes longer than I was!

Your speed or pace is an outcome of your effort, fitness and training you out in + the conditions.

Speed = (your effort, fitness, training) + conditions.

I use heart rate to measure effort in running, and fitness and training can help to reduce your heart rate, or allow you to run faster at the same heart rate, so that formula can become:

HR (effort) + conditions (hills / weather etc) = speed.

Now, this might be controversial, but I actually think that someone who pushed them self to run at max or close to max for 30 minutes, is more impressive than the person who does it for 20 minutes. To stay strong, for half the amount of time again, it’s amazing. They’re both ‘good runners’ – it’s all relative to who they are.

Extrapolate that up to a 3 hour marathon running compared to a 5 hour marathon runner where both are pushing to their max, and both are impressive to me, but the 5 hour marathoner is doing it for 2 hours longer than the 3 hour marathon runner!

For me, time doesn’t matter; unless it’s important to you. It can be a good measure for an individual, and if you place an importance on time then it can be a motivator, but I don’t think it should matter that much.

(Measure = You can use a 5k time trial one month and compare it to a 5k in a years time after lots of training and weight loss maybe, and you should see a big improvement. Motivation to = train, improve, compete with yourself and others).

I’ve done my 3:28 marathon, 1:38 half, 44 min 10k and 21:30 minute 5k, but I’m probably not going to improve any of them any time soon. These might be fast for some, or slow compared to others, what matters is that they’re mine. Not yours or theirs, they’re my pbs to be proud of.

I ran my first Skye half marathon and shaved 13 seconds off my PB and felt great. 2 years later I ran the same route 13 minutes slower (and felt great at the end again.) The first time I placed an importance on running fast, the second time I didn’t and placed the importance on enjoying myself).

I know that my PBs are probably behind me, but the main reason for that is that I don’t really care much about my times, I don’t place an importance on it and I’d much rather run to enjoy myself and see what happens. And that’s fine.

Still, all the same, when someone does their best and gets a PB, it’s such a great achievement and one they’ll no doubt remember and be able to quote forever. 🙂

If we were all the same it would be boring and racing and running pbs can show just how different and individual and brilliant we all are. We’ve al got the potential to be good runners, and speed / fast doesn’t have to be a factor, it’s all relative.

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Wk49 into Wk50

Last week I ran a marathon … ha ha … well, I ran 26.2 miles across 3 days / 4 runs sort of. I did 2 Strength sessions, Monday and Friday and I had 2 rest days.

Mon: Deadlift Strength (61kg Deadlifts)
Tue: Rest
Wed: AM 6.2M + 3.3M Walking in the day PM 3.5M run coaching session Thu: PM 6.2M run coaching session
Fri: Squat Strength (42kg Squats)
Sat: 10.3M incl Parkrun
Sun: Rest

33.2M for the month, and that’s just on target for my 100 miles a month. My new garmin vivosmart now automatically tracks any walks I do which are over 5 minutes long, and it recorded nearly 9 miles of walking, to work and into town and back on Wednesday.

I did an average of nearly 15,000 steps a day, and 23 floors. My sleep could be better (again) – I keep waking up at 2-3am which is very annoying. I’m sure it’ll get better.

My runs included a coaching session on Wednesday night, an early 10k on my own and lots of runs on Saturday totalling 10.3 miles. And another coaching session 10k in the southside. Its good being able to help and motivate people. 🙂

With my strength training, Ross my PT suggested I increase the load this week in my last week of my 4 week training plan – up to 5×5 heavy lifts on the Deadlift and squats.

See more about Ross (Jackson) here:

Monday was 61kg deadlifts, my bodyweight, and I felt that the next day. As I did for 42kg 5×5 of Squats on Friday – day 2 DOMS in my legs is most definitely here. Ouch. Recovery required today and I need some quality sleep to help my body repair. It’s not debilitating, and still ok, but something to remember.

My aim with strength training is to get stronger and get into the gym to strength train twice a week, but not be sore from it to impact my running.

The results are in and here the difference in body measurements in 4 weeks of strength training twice a week:

Looks like I’m up about 1lb,
… but down body fat from 14.8% on my scales to 14.1%… (athlete mode!) 19.8lbs body fat at the start, 114lbs other (lbm etc)….
to now… 19lbs body fat, 115.9 lbs other ….
-0.9% body fat, +1.9lbs lbm/other.

I can’t imagine there will be much difference in my taped body measurements, but we’ll see tomorrow.

I’m seeing him again on Monday and next Monday, for a refreshed plan for the next 4 weeks. The build into it has helped me not be sore when running, but still gain strength, and although tough, I’ve enjoyed the single leg deadlifts and Bulgarian split squats.

Here’s my plan for next week:

Mon: AM Strength PT & PM Coaching
Tue: 5k easy
Wed: 6M
Thu: 8M
Fri: Strength (work Christmas lunch!)
Sat: 9M
Sun: Rest

61.1M (58%) for the month by next Sunday the 17th.

I’m all ready for Christmas, and today I’m hopefully going to lay a layer of flooring in the Garagym and spend some time with the other half. No santa dash for me, maybe next year.

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Amazing Audrey’s 5k Parkrun challenge 

Today was one of those special days where everything just seems to be magic. I’d offered to run with Audrey to help her get a PB at Parkrun, and aim for under 30 minutes for a 5k (for the first time for her). 

I decided I’d run to Victoria Park (3.3M), then do Park Run with Audrey (3.1M), then run to my friend’s for coffee / brunch (1.6M), then on to my hairdressers and home (2.3M) = which would be 10.3 miles in total (and a very productive morning in the West End.) 

The 10 miles long run day would keep me on target for my 100 mile monthly target (33 miles in / 9/10 days in) and I’d get to help Audrey hopefully do her 5k in 30 minutes or under, get my haircut and see my friend. 

I had a good chat with my friend, and in the hairdressers my step mum phoned whilst I was waiting and I managed to help her buy an album on iTunes. After all this and having run with Audrey, I was feeling rather super. 

For running, I wrapped up warm with 4 layers on top, including my warm winter running jacket with hood and integrated gloves. The morning sky was lovely and it was due to be a clear but cold winters day.

I’ve not done many Parkruns (this might be my 2nd or 3rd having only run at Pollok), and today, 2 weeks out from Christmas it seemed a little quiet at Victoria Park. I met Audrey at the gates just before the start, and we randomly met some other people she knew. I got there and realised I didn’t know what the target min mile pace for a 30 min 5k, so I quickly worked it out on my phone. – 9:40 min mile). 

Audrey briefed me that there are three loops in the Park before the finish. On the loop are a couple of small inclines and one slight downhill, before finishing up a slight incline and finishing corner / straight. The race director and marshals had been up early getting the park ready with grit, which we were grateful for. 

We were near the back as the run started. I switched my garmin display away from the usual heart rate and cadence screens to Current Pace and Average Pace, and kept Audrey updated during the run. The first half mile she went off fast, 8:30 min mile pace, then about a mile in she was averaging about 9:00 min mile pace. 

Up the hill I was saying to her to ease off and relax a bit, don’t push it too much, and recover at the top. After the hill there’s a wee slow downhill and by about 1.3 miles in her Pace was about 9:07 on average. She was going well and I was telling her. 

We knew her first mile might have been a bit fast and hard, but she was hanging on. Round the loop for a second time, and this time the uphill took it out of her a bit. I was encouraging her and telling her she was still in Pace, just over 2 miles on and 9:30 min mile pace on average. (Still under 9:40 min mile for her 30 min goal). I was full of belief in her, and was fully thinking she was going to do it. 

(This was us at the start). 

I’ve been coaching for Audrey for about 2 years now, and she’s such a determined runner. She’ll admit herself she’s not fast, her usual avg min mile for an easy run is 11:30 – 12:00 min miles, but I’ve tried to get across to her that speed doesn’t matter. 

To me, good running doesn’t automatically mean fast, good running is doing the best you can do. Doing the training, learning what works for you.  She’s run a few marathons, and usually trains consistently, is very friendly, good at running and successful in other areas of her life. 

As we were running on the second loop, I said to her she was the best runner I know, and I wasn’t just saying that. It’s true. She’s full of guts and determination. She’s run the Loch Ness Marathon, Stirling and New York marathons, and she’s running the London marathon in 2018 (for the Big Issue charity).  I call her Amazing Audrey, simply because she is. 

Now we’re on the third loop and I know she’s working hard. After the 2nd time up the hill she had to stop to walk, boak a little, recover with a little walk and then she got going again. But as I told her she was still on target pace – about 9:30 avg pace. 

Then on the 3rd loop just at the pond, she crumbled, and announced to me ‘I can’t!’ 
Now I know Audrey, and I know when I can push her, and now wasn’t the time for it. She’d given up. She was done pushing it. She said sorry to me, and I said don’t worry I don’t mind and she was doing well. 

I saw on my watch she was still on target to finish in under 30 minutes and encouraged her to keep going and see what happened. But she said she was done. I said just forget about the time pressure, and do what she could. I shut up about pace, and just let her do her thing. 

We still kept running and she decided she’d keep running steady then take some recovery with a short walk on the third uphill – a good tactic. Down the gradual downhill one last time and she kept a steady pace, past her friend Alison who had finished and was cheering her on. Alison said Audrey was looking strong. 
I said to Audrey she just had a bit to go, 0.3 miles to go… keep strong. Up to the left and up a final wee incline avoiding the ice we were warned about by a marshall. A quarter of a mile to go, and I could see by the pace that she might just bloody do this. 

Then she took one final little walk break, which she needed, and a lady in a marcothon tshirt passed us and encouraged her to keep going. Audrey seemed resigned to the fact that she wouldn’t get 30 minutes, but it wouldn’t be far off it and it would be a PB. 

She picked herself up and seemed to give herself the kick that she needed. With 0.15 miles to go, she pushed one last time. 

Fellow park runners and I cheered her on. She went around the last corner to the finish and gave it her all. She finished just ahead of me. The pace on my watch showed 9:45 min miles on average, which worked out at about 29:49 for 3.06 miles. I worked it out to be about 30:15 for 5k, so very close to her 30 min target. 

As she stopped at the end, she bent over and wretched a little again, and once she recovered I gave her her chip. We got our chips scanned and I congratulated her. She was still pleased even though she thought she didn’t quite make 30 minutes. 

She did maybe go off a little too fast, 9:07, 9:50, 10:20 min miles, then 8:44 to finish the 0.1 to the end, but she banked some seconds in the first mile, which allowed her to slow down on the 2nd and 3rd mile.

We went our own ways after, and I was pleased I’d helped her to push herself to get a 5k PB. I coached her last week and she said she’d been very busy at work and wasn’t getting as much training as she’d like in. So today was a great result.  

Then the results came in – my time was 30:01. And Audrey’s time was? …

30:00 minutes!

Bang on! Amazing indeed. Determined Amazing Audrey with a smashing PB, bang on target and around 2 mins a mile faster than her comfy pace. I felt very pleased to have been able to help her.  🤗
Well done Audrey. I had a feeling you could do it. 

No more saying ‘I CAN’T!’ – because you most definitely CAN! 

What a magic day. 👍🏻 I love running coaching and I love helping people 

Ps: after this week of training – my legs feel gubbed. Rest day for me tomorrow! 

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Windy Storm Caroline

My brother in Wick has this rather simple rule about running… he looks at the BBC weather app and if the arrows are black, he tends not to run… (as he might end up being blown backwards, or into the sea!)

Now, tomorrow Storm Caroline is coming, and in Glasgow we have black arrows – peaking at 51 mph winds. Then it’s forecast to all calm down (apparently). 

Tonight my brother text me and said he might not run tomorrow… look!! No wonder!! 79mph! Schools are closing and everything! 

So the North East is going to get battered but I’m sure they’ll handle it well. They’re used to it after all. Maybe best not to run eh?

Even Stornaway isn’t as windy as Wick!

If you do go out tomorrow, as the lovely Sandra Beattie said the other day, ‘hold onto your hat!’ 😜

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How to just do it…

I didn’t run this morning as planned. I woke through the night again and had a disturbed sleep for a few hours, and when my alarm went off at 615am, I decided I’d be better off lying in getting another hour of sleep than going running. 

I knew the run would make me feel good, but I had a training course all day, and decided I might be better off with a rest day and some focus on the training. 

The training was ‘Personal Effectiveness’ – about how you can play to your strengths, set goals, take action and achieve. How to manage your time better. How you can be in control or influence, and a bit about getting out of your comfort zone into a learning zone (but not a panic zone). 

A bit about how time flies when you’re doing something that energises you, and how it’s important to recharge your energy. About being accountable, taking responsibility for your life, your choices and your career. 

I naturally relate a lot of goal setting, resilience and mental strength to running. Running can be a metaphor for life, and it’s helped me to learn a lot about myself and what I’m capable of achieving. 

I’m comfortable that I didn’t run today, and it was probably a good thing to take a rest day, but I need to be motivated to run first thing tomorrow morning. The rest will have done me good, and the next 2 days will be Run and work days, then strength and work on Friday. 
So how will I do it? How will I be motivated to get up early and run tomorrow?

  • I’ve planned a new route – 9.5 miles, which will take his under an hour and a half. (Below)
  • I’ll need to set my alarm for 6:00am and be out the door by 6:25am (get dressed, wake up properly etc)
  • I’ve laid my running gear out in another room so I get straight into it without thinking or disturbing anyone else first thing. (And gadgets)
  • I’ve checked the weather and it doesn’t look nice, so I’ll wrap up well and just get out and run (cap on etc)
  • I’m going to get an early night and hopefully get some good sleep / 8-9hrs
  • I’ve put it on here that I’m going to run… so I’m aiming to be accountable (to you!)
  • I know that the 9.5 miles tomorrow morning and coaching tomorrow night will get my 100 mile target back on track for December. 
  • I know I’ve had a rest day today, and the run tomorrow will do me good and help me to feel good / sleep well tomorrow. 

I’m off for an early night – wish me luck. 🙂

Ps: I have DOMS in my fingers / hands today from deadlifting 61kg / 5×5 lol. Never had that before! 

Pps: How do you keep yourself motivated to do what you’ve planned?

Ppps: I better do it tomorrow now, eh?! 😳

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