This week’s running – 24th to 30th of November 2014

Another week that didn't go according to plan

Another week that didn’t go according to plan

Things still didn’t go according to plan this week.

Run commutes from work

My intention to run six times a week still hasn’t materialised. Despite adding one or two additional run commutes from the office, I’ve still yet to have a week where I’ve been able to run Monday to Thursday and Saturday to Sunday. This is only going to get more disrupted as we approach Christmas so perhaps I should just write this off until the New Year?

Anywho, click here and here for the Garmin data for the two commutes home from work.

6 mile fartlek along Hagley Road

I’m not sure what it was about the opposite side of Broad Street and Hagley Road, but I felt like I was working much harder when compared to my previous two runs on the other side.

Road maintenance was in full swing, with barriers making some portions of pavement rather narrow; normally not a problem but occasionally became tricky when passing people.

Here’s the Garmin data for this fartlek sesh.

Running – An inspiration

Nigel running his 50th Parkrun

Running – An inspiration

Recently, I received a request to plug Summersdale Publishing’s upcoming release: Running – An inspiration. Summersdale are the same folks who publish the very entertaining Keep on Running – The Highs and Lows of a Marathon Addict by Phil Hewitt.

Clearly, like many new book releases at this time of year, it is intended to appeal to those searching for a Christmas gift for the runner in one’s life. A coffee table book in hardback format, it’s packed with images along with inspirational quotes (some athletic, some not). I had a flick through with Lis and we concluded that it would be ideal for those that are just getting into running, or those that need motivation to get out there during those cold winter months.

Because it is the season of giving, I have decided to give my promo copy away to one lucky reader. I don’t make any money from this blog so can only afford to send it to a UK-based individual – sorry overseas readers, I still love you!

To enter, all you have to do is answer this question:

What is my current half marathon PB?

The answer is, obviously, somewhere on this blog. But where could it be? And by “current”, I mean like right now and it’s not a trick question.

Just simply drop me an email with your answer to andy@runtowin.co.uk and somebody will be randomly selected out of a hat (OK, email inbox) on the evening of Thursday 4th of December. I’ll then be in touch with the winner for postage arrangements etc. Best of luck!

Cannon Hill Parkrun – the Nigel Beecroft edition

Nigel running his 50th Parkrun

Nigel running his 50th Parkrun – photo by Geoff Hughes

Saturday took me back to my home stomping ground of Cannon Hill Parkrun. It was a big day for Nigel, who would be running his 50th Parkrun and also wanted to make it a good’un and by that, we mean sub-20 minutes. Without a real plan for myself, I was more than happy to pace Nigel through to the end.

It was uncharacteristically warm and muggy that morning and probably caught a few people off-guard. A last minute panic ensued when Nigel realised he had forgotten to take his espresso shot; I told him he didn’t need it despite me being a regular user of caffeine before races. “Liar, liar, pants on fire” indeed… As is now customary, we found ourselves at the sharp end of the start line.

On “Go”, we were off. And boy, were we off! Well, Nigel was. I was pacing from my Garmin at a steady 3:58/km and Nigel had already created a vast 10m gap between us. This gap increased to about 15m when he found himself in the thick of a nicely paced group to work alongside for a common goal. I decided to hang back and stay steady so that I would be there to help if the time came. On occasion, I even saw Nigel leading the group.

After 2km or so, Alex Mold passed me and I asked if we would see a PB from her. She joked that, “We would see” and settled in about 5m ahead of me for much of the remainder of the run.

At around 4km, I had more or less caught up to both Alex and Nigel by upping my pace slightly. I gave Nigel some feedback that I was right behind him along with some encouragement to keep going. I also gave Alex some motivation to go for that PB, sensing that she wasn’t far from one.

We all exited Fergal’s/Dave’s corner and I gave some more encouragement to Nigel and Alex, which was easier said than done. I awkwardly had to hang back a little so that I was behind Alex but also still ahead of and in contact with Nigel. Both of them were blowing hard and I could sense the agony they were going through, having been there many times myself before on that very spot in Cannon Hill Park. I spurred both of them on again as we approached the final hill and finish line.

Looking at my own finish of 19:38, I was confident Alex had PBd crossing the line just before me. Nigel followed behind with a tidy comeback PB of 19:44 – more than 20 seconds faster than his recent best from the last couple of weeks. I was thrilled for him, where he committed to and delivered the plan and then some – well done Nige!

Here’s the Garmin data for this Parkrun.

In other Parkrun news, we later worked out that the two of us would have been in with a chance at the podium had we have attended Perry Hall Parkrun instead; first to third place finished between 20:04 and 20:28. One day, Andy, one day…

13 miles of south Birmingham

I was disappointed last week that the canal towpath towards Bournville had been closed again. Not wanting a repeat and because I couldn’t work out whether it was still closed, I routed a course that would take me down Bristol Road, through Bournville and back into town via Pershore Road.

The sun was out for a very pleasant morning. I went out fasted again with only a coffee and some weak orange squash to jump-start me.

Without any fast fuel to call upon, I felt rather out of sorts for the first few miles, almost like I had forgotten how to run. Once warmed-up, things ticked along like clockwork.

The route would have given me around 11.5 miles; as I passed Cannon Hill Park, I decided to take a detour inside to boost the total distance to 13 miles or so.

Finishing up the run back at home, I was kinda whacked. I ran on empty; the route undulated far more than anything else I had recently ran, and was also further too. Hours later whilst I’m writing this, I’m still slightly out of it…

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Now on to the real reason you read this blog, it’s time for another entry from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book:

The whole pasta thing is way overblown

Distance running and pasta are so closely associated, it makes you wonder if the two industries aren’t in cahoots. (It’s probably a coincidence that the last journalist to explore this theory was found dead soon after he started asking questions, buried under 3 tons of elbow macaroni in a Long Island warehouse.)

I should stress that eating pasta the night before a long race is not a bad idea. It’s great, if that’s what you’re hungry for. Or what you’re used to. I often enjoy a plate of penne as a prerace dinner.

But there’s nothing magical about the stuff. It’s just flour and water, folks.

So have whatever you like the night before a race, assuming it’s reasonably healthy and reasonably “safe.” (Steak tartare is probably not the smartest choice, nor is the habanero bean burrito platter at that new hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint.) And for Pete’s sake, don’t eat anything you’ve never tried before.

Don’t overthink. Let your gut guide you. You’ll be fine.

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