Week 10 training diary

Leading up to the Sherman Cup scratch XC race on Saturday I’m looking to get two key training runs in and continue on my good form from Cramlington.

In general I’m looking to up the mileage a little with extra emphasis on threshold running.

For the race on Saturday I’ll be looking for a really good hard run and see how I stack up in the field.

Week 10 diary

Plan – 45 min threshold

Signed up for coaching with Dave Tune at Blizard Physio. I’m excited about what this chapter in my running brings.

Decided on the route around Fenham and Town Moor. Got into it nicely. Cardio wise I’m feeling very strong. Legs feel a bit like glass sticks though and the main thing holding me back.

Did 6.2 miles in just over 40mins averaging only 171bpm (~84% max HR) which is well below top end threshold (183-185).

Rest day tomorrow and get some R&R on this right leg peroneal muscle which is flaring up again. Had the same last year and dealt with it with stretching and foam rollering.

Plan – rest

Plan – 30 min threshold

Went for a cross country session and after a 5min warm up was thinking I might revert to an easy run. In the end got on with it.

There’s something about cross country threshold running that’s tough. I would say 30min on grass is harder than 45mins on the roads.

In the end I got over the hump. Whether right or wrong I often tick off runs as I’m going through them. So at 10mins I was a third through, 20mins 2 thirds through etc. It helps me get it done.

At the minute the only thing holding me back is my legs! I know this sounds ludicrous! But my legs feel unresponsive and weak, prone to injury. It’s mainly the peroneal muscle on the right leg. I had the same issue last year and I’m hopeful of dealing with it whilst still making further progress.

Plan – rest

Plan – easy run

Right leg still causing problems. Sherman Cup looking unlikely, more interested in long term than risking a more serious injury. Will decide in the morning.

Plan – Sherman Cup

My mind had been made up not to run today. Just didn’t want to risk a proper injury.

Instead I cycled down to my local gym and did 40mins in there before getting in the steam room to massage my leg.

It’s already starting to loosen off and I’ve got that on the mend feeling so I’m hopeful of being able to get back to some running next week.

In the meantime I’ve been writing my next goal down to go on the fridge.

This is the big one and I’ve pulled it forward ahead of target to bring it more into focus.

This one really means a lot to me…


Plan – rest

Weekly Totals
Running – 12.5 miles
Cycling – 20 miles

Pushed on a little hard too soon and paid the price. Not to worry it happens and looking forward to full recovery and starting my training plan with Dave Tune as coach! Exciting times ahead.


Week 9 training diary

It came together with a good performance in the opening cross country fixture at Cramlington and I’m keen to take the momentum into the scratch Sherman Cup XC fixture in a few weeks time.

It’s an ideal time to make the trip back down to Doncaster to see Dave Tune at Blizard Physiotherapy to see where I’m at versus my lactate test in June. I’d also like to get his view on what I need to do from here to nail a sub 17 pb attempt. I’m thinking well ahead of my initial target of March 2016 but I’m feeling good and think I can push on this winter.

Week 8 diary

Plan – 40mins easy

Got out on the same route as last Monday. Conditions very different, the temperature has definitely dropped and there was a decent breeze blowing.

Nothing much to write home about, similiar pace to last week and had to work a little harder for it due to the wind. No adverse reactions to the cross country on Saturday.

Plan – rest

Plan – Lactate Threshold test

Went back down to Blizard Physio in Doncaster to see Dave Tune for my second Lactate Threshold test.

Was great to see Dave and thank him for his help on my two 5k pbs since meeting him for my first lactate test in June.

Apart from falling off the treadmill twice(!) it was a good test and excited for the updated training plan and targets ahead. Watch this space!


The customary bottle of red wine to Dave Tune at Blizard Physio, thanks for the PBs!

Plan – rest

Plan – 35min easy

Got out for an easy run using my new heart rate training zones. My body has improved the way it handles lactate and I can run a faster pace whilst staying in easy.

That said didn’t want to push too close to the top of easy so completed 35mins at an average pace of 7.37/mile and 156bpm HR.

Plan – 45-60mins threshold

I need to build to a 60min threshold over the coming weeks. But I felt up for trying one at the low end of my HR range which is 164-183.

Went out and didn’t get too comfortable from the off and struggled somewhat to 56mins averaging 6m 54s/mile. Still went through 10k in 41.46 (3rd best ever) and finished with just over 8 miles in the bag. I will get stronger on this run with more experience, I’m not used to running >40-45mins.

Plan – rest

Attended an England Athletics workshop presented by Luke Adams on Running Technique.

Weekly totals

Running – just over 20 miles
Cycling – zero

A good ‘take stock’ week and I turn my attention to next week’s Sherman Cup which will be a good chance to see how I fair in a scratch cross country race.

Week 8 training diary

I feel in a strange state at the moment where I just don’t feel 100% and yet I’m getting my training done and my numbers are good!

My training paces are improving and my heart rate numbers are coming down. I really enjoy my running in such circumstances, but I still haven’t fully got rid of the throaty head cold so very wary of not pushing it.

Anyway, unbelievably the cross country season has arrived and it’s more a case of this week trying to get that feeling of 100% rather than anything rash in training.

My training is pretty much done and I just want to go into Cramlington as fresh as a daisy and see how I come out the other side. It’s a benchmark run to see where I rank in the field, from where I can plan the rest of the season.

I’ve booked a follow up lactate threshold test in Doncaster on 15th October so that’ll be the next chance to see where I’m at and plan maybe a winter 5k pb attempt and possible 10k debut amongst the cross country.

Week 8 diary

Plan – 35mins Easy

Decided on a loop round Fenham, Spital Tongues and Town Moor. Just kept it easy but at times got into steady.

Felt good and ended up covering 5.7 miles in around 44 minutes.

Planning on a rest tomorrow before a low end threshold on Wednesday.

Plan – rest

Plan – 24mins threshold

It was touch and go whether I was going to complete this workout. I just can’t shift this throat and a little concerned it might get on my chest…

In the end I got out, reduced threshold down to 20mins and kept pace around 6.20-6.30/mile. Felt fine. Got stronger towards end.

Finished averaging 6.14/mile and 173bpm.

I’m in good shape, just don’t feel it.

Plan – rest

Plan – rest or 20min recovery

I’ll take the rest and store it all up for tomorrow.

Plan – Harrier League race #1

See race report


Photo by Hippie Nixon Photography

Plan – rest

Weekly totals

Running ~15 miles
Cycling ~6 miles

Had a great end to the week at Cramlington and now chance to take stock and plan next steps. Mileage is still very low and, although I’m not keen to up it too much at this stage, I really want to push on to get in shape for a sub 17min 5k.

NEHL XC Race #1 – Cramlington – race report

The target for this race was to get round and survey the scene. You never really know what to expect for race 1.

As I’ve mentioned in my training diary my sessions have been going well. But I haven’t felt well. I’ve had a head cold and it’s felt like it’s been moving onto my chest.

I’ve got to admit I felt terrible going into the race. I was desperate not to make an excuse though. I comforted myself that I like Cramlington. It suits my style as it allows a rhythm and any slight inclines are followed by a nice flat or downhill stretch – it gives a chance to attack again.

It seemed quite busy. I estimated 500 runners at least. I was surprised to get a nice spot about 5 or 6 deep on the right. I’d allowed the delay to spook me a little. I’d worked up a sweat and convinced myself I was going to struggle.

The usual over exuberance was seen at the start. I was around 90th 5.50 miling for the first mile and a half. I knew I’d gone harder than I wanted but I felt fine so went with it. I just waited for people to come back to me.

I have to say I felt so strong the 2nd lap. I was taking a couple of runners every incline. I think I heard someone say I was around 61st three quarters through the second lap.

I did start to tire third lap but I was aware others were in the same boat. A few strong medium packers were the only places I was conceding and I was still picking off some tired slow packers.


Great to be back at Cramlington, a course that suits me

I was developing a stitch but managed to contain it. I had some very strong positive thoughts. Finish it off. You’ve done this so many times. Make yourself proud etc. I felt good!

Coming to the last straight I had at least 3 to 4 runners ahead going one pace. I always like to try to finish strongly. It took a huge effort but I got past them all.

52nd place. I think I’ve qualified for Medium Pack. That was my main personal goal for the whole season and I think it’s done race 1!


This can come off the fridge!

I’m aware that I was assisted by the pack rule changes and I’m now geared up for what will be a very tough slog of a season, but a chance to gain a lot of experience.

Really pleased and buzzing to decide on my next goal.

I’m keen to run the Sherman Cup for the experience but I’m also thinking of planning another 5k pb attempt as I still feel I am capable of more there soon.

Thoughts on NEHL Cramlington XC

This Saturday marks the start of my 3rd North East Harrier League season.

I can’t quite believe it!

Back in 2012 Cramlington was my first Harrier League fixture. My first cross country race since school.

I turned up fresh faced and a bit unsure of what to expect! I loved it and here I am today excited to start a new season.

I’m extremely keen to perform in 2014/15.

Last season was a huge disappointment for me. The second half of the season didn’t go to plan and what followed was 3-4 months of picking up the pieces.

I want my 3rd season to be my best, my breakthrough as it were.

The first fixture is always a little chaotic. It draws the biggest crowd. The slow pack seems at its biggest…

My tactics for this one are to get the race under my belt and see how I stack up, a little tester to see where I’m at.

Cramlington is a course that suits me. More undulating than hilly and 6 miles is fine, time to settle first lap and pick it off from there.

Hoping to get the season off to a good start!

Good luck to everyone tomorrow! Have fun in the fields.


NEHL Cramlington: finishing with a flourish

Elite Minds by Dr Stan Beecham

I found this book through the US running coach Greg McMillan who recommended it to his readers wholeheartedly.

If you are interested in improving your mindset in run training and racing then I highly recommend you get hold of a copy.

I’ve already read it a few times and, with the competitive cross country season around the corner, I’ll be reading it again for sure.

It’ll change the way you approach your next race I’m sure.

Read a more detailed review on my website http://www.run5kfaster.com/elite-minds-by-dr-stan-beecham-a-must-read-for-competitive-runners/

Week 7 training diary

I feel like I’ve come through a little illness period unscathed. I wasn’t worried about it as I was aware a lot of people have had the same so it was just a case of patience and doing nothing silly. I’ve definitely learned my lesson about the importance of listening to what your body is telling you.

That said it’s only two weeks until the opening cross country fixture so I want to get a great weeks training in this week before final preparations for Cramlington.

The plan is to get two good threshold runs in on grass. One hard around 20-25 minutes on the limit and another slightly easier approx 30mins.

Other than that a few easy runs and hopefully get the bike out for a few work commutes for active rest.

Hopeful of a productive and confidence building week…

Week 7 diary

Plan – 40mins easy

Decided on a change of plan and went to Jesmond Joggers for a club session. Turned out we were doing a 5-6 mile steady run with a few efforts which suited me. Was a good group with a fair few new members which was good to see. I don’t know why but I enjoy the darker nights and I find myself more keen to go to the club in the winter versus the summer. Ended up with 5.7 miles and av. HR at the top end of easy so good session and enjoyed it.

I cycled to the session and back so that was another 6 miles cycling as well. Good start to the week.

Plan – active rest

Plan – 22mins hard threshold

Felt knackered as really busy of late and so it turned out. I always know things aren’t quite right when I struggle to get the heart rate up. I feel like I’m going full pelt but yet the heart rate won’t get to the top of threshold and I’m only running 6 min miles. In the end I battled through and did the 22mins averaging about 6.05s and av. HR 179.

If it had felt like a normal threshold I would have been happy with the session but didn’t feel good, felt forced so I’ll monitor how I feel next few days.

Plan – rest

Out with work, beers and curry.

Plan – 35min easy

Felt very tired and not great but glad I got out and ran for 30mins averaging around 8mins per mile. Need to make a decision on session tomorrow as not sure it’s worth pushing a hard one. See how I feel when I wake.

Plan – 30min easier threshold

Woke up to not feeling great and the weather was poor. I didn’t fancy running round in circles on a muddy field (won’t have a choice next week, ha) so I had the idea to go for a 10k training pb which I think is currently 42.11.

So got the running tights on for the first time since last winter and set off.

Actually felt much better than I expected and I was ticking off miles between 6.30-6.40/mile and well below top end threshold.

That was until I came to turn onto a bridge and slipped badly, losing my feet and landing hard onto my left knee and hip. The side of my head and lip kissed the pavement. It was a very light blow and I was extremely lucky.

I instinctively jumped straight back up and hammered it over the bridge. I could feel a bit of pain in the left knee but I was in no mood to stop.

After about 10 minutes I’d forgotten about the fall and I was averaging around 6.36s/mile for 5 miles with the remainder of the 10k into the wind and rain up hill to Kenton.

I was starting to work a little bit harder but was enjoying the run!

I finished off maintaining the 6.36s/mile average for the 10k and only 170bpm which is 15bpm below my Threshold top end. So a new training 10k pb of ~41 mins.

Really happy and feel ready to give my all at Cramlington. Great to get a practice fall in as well (bad joke)!


Battle scars! Lucky to escape with just a few cuts!

Plan – rest

Weekly totals

Running ~21 miles
Cycling ~6 miles

I can’t believe the new cross country season is upon us. I have not felt so determined to prove to myself my ability than I do now for this season.