This week’s running – 22nd to 28th of February 2016


A map for my time in Duisburg. Just in case!

This week saw me running in Germany, and trying to get back into some sort of a routine once I returned.

Duisburg runaround

Whether on business or leisure, it’s no surprise that I take my running shoes with me almost everywhere; I’ve covered some distance on three different continents.

Not wanting a repeat of my work trip to Peterborough last autumn, I made sure I was better prepared to avoid becoming lost whilst in Germany. Firstly, I only had enough time each morning to cover about 5k at a leisurely recovery pace, so that prevented me from wandering off too far from the hotel. Secondly, I plotted routes that utilised laps around the hotel. And thirdly, I printed off a map!

The routes were simple, thanks largely to the layout of Duisburg with its easy to navigate roads. Aside from Parkrun, it’s rare that I run before 9am, and my body reluctantly went with me on the early starts, ignoring pace in the process. The late nights, copious amounts of German food and beer also did little to help each morning as I laced up… Weather and temperature-wise, there was no difference compared with the UK; a t-shirt and a pair of shorts sufficed, though did attract some strange looks from locals.

I enjoyed my plods in Duisburg and found the part I stayed in to be pretty conducive to running, unlike the time I tried running in Manchester city centre, where everywhere conspired to derail me.

Here and here is the Garmin data from the two runs.

10 canal miles

With all of last week and half of this week dramatically scaled back, I desperately wanted to restore some normality. With only four weeks until the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, that leaves me with only three training weeks and one taper week to get ship-shape. That and Germany left me 3lbs heavier than normal…

Thursday was my usual ten miles along the Birmingham canal network. I couldn’t bring myself to slot in several miles at marathon pace, and instead settled on nine steady miles at 7:30 pace after an initial one mile warm-up. It was refreshing to not have to battle with any gusts of wind out there for a change!

Thick cloud cover meant there were some GPS issues out on the run. Lock-on was easily achieved, but I could tell distance tracking was off, based on my normal checkpoints arriving early or late relative to what was recorded. Strava, which does some slight pace and distance smoothing, is never normally too far out from Garmin Connect, but it was absolutely useless on this run where it wildly over-estimated how fast mile 1 and 3 were compared to reality.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Cannon Hill Parkrun

After two weeks without a fast 5k, my mind was itching to get back out there. If only my body was so willing!

I decided to have another bash at running a slightly slower opening split of 3:45/km (success) in a bid to try and even out the middle section from sagging too much. Well, easier said than done; I ended up running large stretches alone and even when Dave went past me at about halfway, I didn’t have the necessary oomph to go with him. He went on to run a very tidy 18:54, claiming his stake on last week’s results blip of being issued somebody else’s 18:57 result. I dragged my arse back in with 19:10 on the Garmin, though seem to have been promoted to 19:07 through yet another results blip.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

I know exactly what happened with this performance. I was still dog tired from Germany and the fastest bit of running I’d done up to that point was a bit of marathon paced running almost 10 days prior. I’m sorely lacking in VO2 max development, so will address that with some focused pace work during next Tuesday’s fartlek session, even if it goes against the free-form ethos of what a fartlek run should be.

14 canal miles

Whilst my short runs are getting slower, my long runs are getting faster. Specificity reigns supreme!

I knew I wanted to get the majority of this run in at around sub-7:30 miles, with a sprinkling of marathon pace for two miles or so. Mission accomplished, with the sub-7:30s coming in a little closer to 7:20s, though the marathon paced miles were much tougher than they should have been due to fairly strong headwinds that hit on the return leg.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.


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