This week’s running – 25th of November to 1st of December

Hamster Getting a Workout on Spinning Wheel

Sometimes, I feel like this…

This week was all about embracing the treadmill.

5 x 800m treadmill reps

The campaign for speed continued with another treadmill interval session on Tuesday. Previous sessions had me feeling like I had one more rep to give so I upped the count to 5.

Each rep was run at 15.7kmph; slightly faster than last week and swifter than my current 5k pace at Parkrun. It all felt tough but manageable and the gym was well air conditioned for once. Finishing the fifth rep, I felt quite nauseous and this feeling remained for a further two hours.

The reported feedback from the newly calibrated footpod seemed much more accurate than the week before, despite looking much faster. It’s notoriously difficult to calibrate footpods in a one size fits all manner where they’re suitable for speedwork, slow plods and everything else in between. As you can imagine, your gait and stride length change dramatically depending on how fast you’re running. Thankfully, I was running on the same treadmill as before rather than introducing another new variable.

Interestingly is the chart for my heart rate data when it’s compared to previous interval sessions. The sharper peak suggests I was able to keep going for longer compared to the stubby peaks where I guess I was maxing out much more quickly.

Heart rate data 1

Heart rate data 2

Heart rate data 3

Take a look at the Garmin data here.

Treadmill 10k

I’m not sure why I opted to complete 10k on the treadmill rather than running it outdoors on Thursday. Perhaps I wanted a flatter, steady run without the extreme camber and incline of Hagley Road?

I decided to run at a pace that was a touch faster than a typical Thursday run for me, given the flat terrain. Everything started off smooth and steady before I gradually upped the pace through the miles.

At one stage, one chap started running next to me and noticed the speed I was running at with relative ease (12.5kmph). He decided to have a stab at that pace and lasted about 5 minutes before calling it quits.

Thankfully, I did have the Marathon Talk podcast to keep me company; 6 miles on a treadmill with no mental stimulation is psychological torture.

Take a look at the Garmin data here.

Cannon Hill Parkrun

I was a little nervous going into Saturday’s Parkrun (or should it be “parkrun”?). My recent finish times have suggested that I’m now fully recovered from autumnal racing but I would still like to be able to get closer to that magical 19:18 that both Dave and I ran back in September.

Lis’ parents were visiting us for the weekend so I had my own support entourage out on the course.

I noticed David Williams was back so he and I went for our warm-up jog together, catching-up on his various Parkrun adventures. Neil Muir was also back in town, so I had a good feeling that there would be enough people around me to pace with.

After last week’s failed 19:4X attempt, I definitely wanted to hit something in that time band and duly set the Virtual Partner on my Garmin to 6:19 per mile to keep me on track.

The run started smoothly enough. My warm-up lap with David indicated there was no frost on the ground with more or less perfect conditions for a fast run. Before too long, the pack started to break up and I soon caught up to Neil. Running with him made things feel a lot easier where he would occasionally lead and vice versa. He regularly told me to relax my shoulders; a habit I have to fight when I’m running hard.

Towards the closing stages of the run, my breathing became very laboured with huffs and puffs that would put Mr Wolf to shame. There was a 10m lead separating Neil and me initially, which I managed to close to become just a mere second between us crossing the finish line.

Afterwards, I had a catch-up with all the usual regular faces. I congratulated Jonny on his 19:07 PB from last week which had become an 18:55 PB that very morning. I had a chat with Mike about how I missed our weekly races against each other. I also had a natter with Jim, who I hadn’t seen since the end of the Great Birmingham Run. As I’ve said previously, I now look forward to the social aspect of Parkrun as much as the actual running each week!

Have a gander at the Garmin data here.

10 mile cut down run

What’s a “cut down run” I hear you ask? Well, for me it’s my long run where the distance has been purposely reduced. I’ve scheduled one of these into my marathon training plan for every 3 out of 4 weeks to allow my body to recover and also for any adaptations to take place.

I ventured out towards the south Birmingham canals with a plan to turn around at Bournville train station and head back. Thanks to the recent spell of dry weather, I had a good inkling that the canals would be in decent shape without requiring too many jumps over puddles and other obstacles.

Near where my brother lives by the Mailbox, I bumped into Parkrun management, AKA Helen, Fergal and Mary, out on their long Sunday run.

The canal was fairly quiet, with only a few fellow runners, walkers and cyclists about. The narrow tunnel was clear for me on the out and back which was a real surprise.

My pace was very easy at around 8:20 minutes per mile. I’m not sure whether I could have gone any faster, but given the purpose of the run I was probably wise to not push it. I need to become quite strict about each run of the week where each must serve a specific purpose of either speed, endurance or recovery.

The Garmin data for the run can be found here.

Random musings

It’s an odd time in the world of running for me right now.

I’m at the beginning of a training cycle and I don’t have any races of any nature booked in until mid February, and even that isn’t a true balls to wall run.

My overall fitness looks like it’s improving and my marathon endurance is on its way, though the thought of running anything more than 20 miles right now fills me with the heebie-jeebies.

Speaking of marathon specifics, the January cover issue of Runners’ World magazine has a few good bits and pieces about marathon training and in general, which might be worth looking at. I received my subscriber copy a week ago and it’s probably one of their best issues I’ve read in a long time.

Finally, here’s the next entry in The Runner’s Rule Book by Mark Remy:

Pass Gas, Not Judgment

First, a few facts:

  • Runners tend to ingest a fair amount of healthy food – including plenty of fruits, vegetables, starches, and so forth.
  • These foods produce gas in the GI tract.
  • Gas in the GI tract cannot stay in the GI tract forever.
  • Especially when the GI tract is being bounced and jostled.
  • Like during a group run.

You see where I’m going with this.

Passing gas while running is not only excusable, it’s healthy. It also happens to be inevitable. With that in mind, here are some handy guidelines.

  • You may not mock another runner for having passed gas, unless he has previously mocked you for the same or unless he opens the door by mocking himself.
  • If a runner has clearly taken pains to mask his flatulence, the polite thing is to pretend that nothing has happened.
  • It’s fun to pretend that the gas you have just expelled is helping to propel you forward, like a little booster rocket. That isn’t really a guideline, though, is it? Okay, forget that I brought this one up.
  • Rule of thumb for passing gas on a group run: if you’re intimate enough with the other members of the group to discuss politics and religion with them, you may openly pass gas in their presence. (Credit where it’s due: I believe Emily Post was the first to declare this.)
  • Corollary to the above: if the group is entirely male, not only may you openly pass gas, you will be expected to, and the louder the better. The group may or may not then acknowledge the act – eg. by hollering or high-fiving – depending on the pace.
  • Running solo? Don’t think twice. Just let loose.
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