Two more bowls of porridge

I only eat porridge before cross country races.

I hate porridge.

I love cross country.

Today I’m running at Morpeth. I’m hoping for a really hard run. More for fitness than anything else.

Next month I am running in the North East cross country championships. Quite excited. It’s undoubtedly going to be the toughest race I have ever done. It’s going to be all about the experience for me.

To be honest, I’m glad though that there’s only two bowls of porridge between me and a mental holiday for Xmas and New Year. Here’s one person you won’t find boasting about Xmas day or New Years Day training. I need a break. I need a rest.

That way I can spend some time crystallising my plans for 2014. Next year will see me move into my third full year running and I’m hoping to see another year of improvement towards my goals.

Back to this porridge…it won’t eat itself.


The (rough) plan today

This is the life of a pb hunting amateur –

06.15 – alarm
06.45 – taxi
07.10 – bus

08.00 – arrive Chester le Street. Walk to Riverside. Warm up

09.00 – run 5km as fast as my mind/body allows. I won’t be giving 110% because everyone knows that’s not physically possible. Cool down run to the folks. Breakfast. Shower. Lie around. Chew the fat. Bask in the glory of a pb / wonder about what could have been.

PM – Lift back to Newcastle.

17.00 – meet mates, food. Go to watch The Doors Alive (I hope they do them justice). Drink booze.

??.?? – sleep

p.s. I hope there’s a pb to report. If not I shall work to correct at the next opportunity but may never set an alarm at 06.15 on a Saturday to commute by public transport to Riverside parkrun again. I just hope my hometown brings the best out in me.

Dare I say things are going quite well?

Last time I said things were going well I had a small setback and two low training weeks. Well I got through that (touch wood) and things feel back on track.

On Saturday I did 3 x 1 mile which initially I was disappointed with. Lets face it, when the session is finished you pretty much need to fall over. But I was no where near the target of 3×1 @ 5.46 per mile which is sub 18 5k pace. I only managed 5.53, 6.03 and 5.59. Having said that I know it’s the best 3x a mile I’ve done. So positives. If I’m honest the mile reps were daunting given that I’ve mainly been doing 400-800m at that kind of target pace (which I’ve been nailing in the main). But I did my best and that’s all you can do on the day.

Just finished a nice steady run tonight. I’m planning on a 10x300m on Wednesday and then thoughts turn to a 5km time trial on Saturday. I’ve put the 10×300 session in as it’s the same session I did before my Newcastle parkrun pb in May. So mentally I want to beat that session for some confidence. I checked my training diary and for some reason I did 3 minutes rest(!) last time (generous to say the least) so by default I’ll make it a better session by bringing that down to say 1m 30s and the work around 60-65s per rep. I’ll be doing it on the same stretch of Kenton Lane as last time which is a slight incline and usually into a head wind, fun.

I’m quite excited about the time trial as I feel confident I’m as fit as I’ve ever been and mentally I’m feeling tough despite some rather dark thoughts at times in training (“why the fuck am I doing this to myself?” etc). Excited as well as I’m planning a little excursion to my home town for it. It’ll mean an early start but also I can have a nice cool down run up to the parents house for a decent breakfast and maybe even a lunch time pint with the old man! Having said that I haven’t told them yet…

I went to watch the Town Moor Memorial yesterday. It was good to see what sub 30min 10k pace looks like going past and, as I did last year, I really want to get a 10k under my belt. In truth I’d like to think a sub 40 would be a given and my Blaydon race time suggests that. However, if I can achieve a sub 18 5km over the next few weeks then a sub 37 would be a better stretch target for 10k in the first half of 2014. I’ll have a look over the winter for a fast 10k to enter in March/April time.

Anyway, I’m hoping I can report some pb news soon. If I can I’ll be able to roll that good feeling into the Jarrow and Morpeth cross country fixtures. Last year Jarrow suited me and I think it’s my best chance of really asserting myself. I went out hard last year and just held on for 85th having been in the top 50/60 for a good portion of the race. I’d love to improve on that. I need to be willing to blow up to see what I’m really capable of. To date I really don’t think I’ve properly put my neck on the line in any race I’ve done, I’ve raced too conservatively. In fact I’ve “raced” my Garmin. So here’s to putting my neck on the line and properly racing…

Winter Training

There’s something about winter training I enjoy.

When I was young I used to run for a running club in Chester le Street. I don’t even know if it still exists. We used to meet at North Lodge near Birtley. I remember going for steady runs in a big loop round the school complex and back round past the BOC plant, maybe two or three times. It used to stink, a really strange smell – not conducive to running. Being only about 12 years old I wasn’t fast enough to keep up with the front. But I wasn’t the slowest either. I usually ended up stranded in the middle on my own. I used to get a bit scared as it was winter and dark. Every now and then a run leader would appear in a luminous tabard, give a few words of encouragement then gone again. The heart rate pounding, pressing on.

But I didn’t mind those little scared moments, being alone. They were exciting. The adrenaline kicked in, my pace and breathing quickened, I never felt like I needed to slow down, I never felt like I needed to stop.

In my quest to get quicker now I want to tap into that adrenaline, that fear. This week training on the moor, in the dark, alone, I was reminded of those nights at North Lodge. But the adrenaline wasn’t there. I couldn’t stop the slow down, I couldn’t wait to stop.

But once I’d finished the session I felt good. I know I’m getting stronger. I know I’m getting fitter. This isn’t a short course, it’s a long game, a hard game, a lonely sport. But strangely it’s one I love…