This week’s running – 16th to 22nd of December

In need of a recovery week!

Anybody else in need of recovery?

This week was the final of a 3 week hard cycle and boy was it hard!

Chicken biryani is not ideal pre-run fuel

A colleague of mine recently found £20 in the carpark at work and offered to buy me lunch, so who am I to say “no”? If I wasn’t to be running later that evening, this would have been an amazing lunch but unfortunately, the biryani was giving me major heart burn and also continued to repeat on me during my interval session. Throw in a developing stitch and we were off to a great start.

The reps felt ever so slightly harder than usual, irrespective of the speed bump to 16.1kmph. I had an extra day of recovery due to a slight schedule shift so I should have been extra fresh, but my legs didn’t feel like their usual self. All said and done, it wasn’t a bad session and I’m glad I convinced myself to complete all five reps – I could have done without the massive downpour that hit me on the walk back home afterwards.

Take a look at the Garmin data here.

Thursday 6 miles

I didn’t want the schedule shift to impact on this week’s training so I went out for an easy 6 miles along Hagley Road, taking in the sights and sounds of the opposite side of the road. Nothing remarkable other than I needed to get the mileage in to hit my week’s quota.

Have a gander at the Garmin data here.

The Parkrun that didn’t go so well (for me)

I really don’t know what happened at Cannon Hill Parkrun on Saturday other than I was probably still fatigued and recovering from Wednesday’s speedwork and Thursday’s run.

Andy and his Santa hat

Perhaps the hat slowed me down this year? Photo by Geoff Hughes

The day started off normally bar the inclusion of a Santa hat. I opted not to don the beard again like last year after it robbed me of a PB by a mere 2 seconds!

All the usual faces were running with a guest appearance from “Chinese Andy” (not me, I’m technically “Japanese Andy”) visiting from Hong Kong. A big congrats to Joseph Stone for hitting 100 runs; a real achievement and one to be proud of.

I started off at roughly 6:17 mile pace with Dave in close pursuit; Nigel joined us after a short while and we all ran together. Somewhere going into mile 2, my pace slipped and I was unable to hang on and continued to fade. Nigel and Dave went on without me. My legs were heavy and my breathing was laboured, with every step taking real effort. Coming to the end of mile 3, I could hear Mike behind me with bells jingling away. I urged him on and kept a few metres between us going into the final 100m. He started to flag but I continued to push Mike on for a sprint to the finish.

Nigel managed to PB by about 5 seconds which I was really pleased to hear. I knew he was on for a good time so long as he and Dave stuck together – what a brilliant way to end the running year.

Jim also managed to PB by a good margin and he’ll be stalking the sub-20s before too long.

Because I had to slow myself down, I didn’t feel wrecked at the very end. I’ve arranged to attend Brueton Parkrun on Christmas day with Mike and potentially a few others from Kings Heath Running Club and Cannon Hill Parkrun.

Here’s the (embarrassing) Garmin data for this run.

My magical mystery tour of Birmingham

Due to all the rain over the last few days, I decided not to venture out on to the canals for my long marathon training run. Instead, I opted to use Hagley Road for 7 miles and then would make up the rest by using Bristol Road and Pershore Road.

My target average pace was 8:45 per mile though I later found out this was ever so slightly ambitious.

Hagley Road ticked by nicely as did Bristol Road. Pershore Road proved slightly more challenging mentally and I had a few brief conversations with myself (I’m not mad). Entering Stirchley, I realised that I would have to add additional miles on to make up my 17 miles for the day, so I started to mimic the half marathon route by going into Bournville and back on to Pershore Road again.

There were roadworks everywhere which made it tricky navigating some sections of pavement with raised boards. Some sections were even blocked off entirely and required I run on the road!

Heading back into city centre, I realised that I’d miscalculated a mile somewhere and would end up short if I ran straight back towards the Jewellery Quarter. I ended up adding some additional mileage in – not ideal on tired legs and a frazzled mind.

In the end, I averaged 8:55 per mile but this is still well over a minute faster than the same distance training runs I was completing this time last year, so I’ve definitely acquired more speed since then.

Have a look at the Garmin data here.

Finally, another entry from The Runner’s Rule Book by Mark Remy:

Do not tempt fate

The scene: a residential neighbourhood street on a mild January morning.

The players: three-middle aged guys dressed in cotton sweats, jogging and chatting.

The audience: me and my dog, out for a walk.

So far so good, right? Except that these guys were jogging three abreast… an arm’s length apart… in the dead centre of the street. Oh, and they were headed straight for a steep, blind hill. Which they proceeded to run up.

I cringed, waiting for a truck to zoom over that hill and send those guys flying like three bowling pins. Didn’t happen, thank goodness. But to this day, I kick myself for not having spoken up, even if it would have made me sound like a scold: “Guys, that’s really not safe. A car could come flying over that hill and not see you till it’s too late.”

I mean, I’m all for taking calculated risks when the situation calls for it. But that was just dumb.

The moral: don’t tempt fate. Keep you wits about you.

Live to run another day.

Merry Christmas from the Yellow Runner

I have a recovery week scheduled for this week where I’ll be running at Brueton Parkrun on Christmas day (probably at 7 minute mile pace), Cardiff Parkrun on the 28th (full pelt) and 7 miles around the Llanhennock Hills in Wales on Sunday.

To all my readers and running compadres out there, I hope you all have a merry Christmas. Don’t feel guilty about lacing up on Christmas day to go out for a run – you’d be surprised by how many of us are actually out there!

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