Running Goals 2015

#1 – 5k – run a sub 17 minute 5k by the end of April 2015

#2 -10k – based on the 5k time, run a comparable performance 10k by the end of May 2015

#3 – Half Marathon – debut before NEHL 2015/2016 season. Target time to be confirmed

#4 – Blaydon Race 2015 – to be confirmed

Cross Country –

#1 – NEHL 2014/15 – assist Jesmond Joggers with winning Division 3

#2 – NEHL 2014/15 – Individual Grand Prix – top 50

#3 – North East Champs 2015 – to be confirmed


Bring on 2015!


Sub 17 5k – Week 8 training diary

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Coming into Christmas week I was looking forward to getting my last few days at work finished so I could re focus on some running as I was starting to feel like coming back from a “mental holiday” following the North Eastern Cross Country Championships.

On Monday I was too busy with work and pre Christmas planning so cancelled my recovery run until Tuesday which I completed on my lunch break. I’m never too keen to run on my lunch break because logistically it takes up too much time but enjoyed it. Maybe it was the rain beating down. I like to feel different and the quizzical looks from colleagues on the way out made me chuckle.

Christmas eve and I had a 45 minute recovery planned. Did the usual loop around onto the Town Moor. Nothing spectacular as planned.

Going home for Christmas is always nice for my running as it allows me a chance to run some different routes.

On Christmas day I ran up to Edmondsley and almost to Sacriston. It’s a decent uphill climb to there from Chester le Street and it was nice to turn back round for the easier descent home. A few cars on the road and some dog walkers but not any other runners. I felt like a hardy soul and I enjoyed my first ever Christmas day run.

On Boxing day I had 40mins threshold planned. I fancied finding a flattish stretch of road to see what pace I could run in my threshold zone. After a 5 minute warm up I got started. The course I ended up on was a stretch of new road going up to Chester Moor. It was about 5 mins down, 5 mins back up times 4 to complete the session. I was running quite hard and yet the heart rate was operating around 165-174 max. I find this interesting, especially since I was knocking out 6.06 average miles for the duration. My threshold heart rate at the last test was 183bpm / 6.14 miling. I’m getting stronger.

I left Chester le Street and headed down to Hexham to see my girlfriends family. I’d never ran whilst down there before but was aware of some good routes. So I got out around 9.30am for a 45min recovery. I followed a route along the river and railway track. Its a great place for running. I decided to do an out and back, turning round after 22 and a half minutes.

It felt like you could go for miles along that route. It would be great for a long run. As it happened I’d been running for about 21 minutes when I came to a road with water crossing it, gushing across like a mini stream. Aware that I was close to turning back I was caught in two minds whether to run through it or stop. In the end I did neither and ended up slipping over onto my behind and into the freezing water!

My shorts, gloves and hands were absolutely soaking and freezing! And I was about 3 or 4 miles from home. That said I was straight back up and heading back. I chuckled, shook my head and got on with it. It’s not the first time I’ve fallen over and it’s character building if nothing else! In the end I enjoyed another run on a new route and certainly one I’ll use again when I’m in Hexham.

I was starting to feel like a strong week was being notched up but I still had a 60min recovery in the diary for Sunday. That said, with it being the Christmas and New year period I was starting to feel fatigued with all the running, eating and socialising. And when I woke up and got out the door I realised it was absolutely treacherous with ice underfoot. So I quickly changed tact and did a XC run. The ground was fairly frozen with some muddy bits and I completed 40mins. It felt quite tough to be running off road again so I cut it short and ensured not to overdo it.

All in all a good weeks training with about 37 miles completed.

Next week I will be back to work and then down London for New Years festivities so I expect a reduced week and will be looking to come back in January 2015, raring to go to start sharpening for the sub 17 5k in Spring.

Hope you are enjoying the holidays!

Sub 17 5k – Week 7 training diary

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Not much to report this week. I was really pleased with my performance in the North Eastern counties cross country but I’d felt a bit of a shin problem afterwards and this week I’ve just been playing it by ear and ticking over with easy running.

Still not overly pleased with the shin so expect I’ll just keep it gentle over Xmas and New Year and hit 2015 with renewed vigour.

2015 is the year I want to nail the sub 17 minutes 5km. I also want to put in a good debut over 10k and I’m also considering a half marathon debut although that really depends on how I get on over 5/10k.

Before that I want to finish the Harrier League strongly, help Jesmond win Division 3 and finish as high up the Individual Grand Prix as possible.

So plenty to look forward to.

What are your goals?

Happy Christmas to all my readers and all the best for 2015.

Enjoy your running over the festive period!

Sub 17 5k – Week 6 training diary

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It doesn’t get much better than a new PB and last week I got one.

I’ve said before on this blog that running is a bit like the tide coming in and going out. It ebbs and flows.

When the tide is coming in everything goes right. Training goes well, there’s no niggles and you don’t feel tired – just charged up and raring to go.

I’m hoping I can keep on riding the crest of the wave as my attention turns to the North Eastern counties cross country next Saturday.

Training Diary

Plan – Recovery Run 45mins

Was still feeling tired but got out and did 6.2 miles in 45mins. Probably pushed a bit too hard for how I was feeling and a recovery run.

Plan – Threshold Run 45mins

Really long day at work and didn’t get home until after 7pm. The weather was poor and there was a strong wind. Really didn’t fancy the run but got out and never got going.

Struggled to get heart rate into threshold and felt tired. The wind on the Town Moor was so strong I was finding it hard to keep on the pavement. My mind fast forwarded to the cross country race on Saturday which is on the Town Moor.

“There’ll be casualties” I thought to myself, wondering if one could be me. I’m feeling in need of a rest and decided to cut this run short…


Didn't enjoy this week's threshold!

Plan – Recovery Run 45mins

Another stressful day at work and again late home. Was going to leave this run til tomorrow but instead cut it short to 30mins. Yet again wasn’t feeling up to it, just one of those weeks. Perhaps the tides going back out and just need some rest. Could do without this race on Saturday…

Plan – rest

Plan – Recovery Run 30mins

Yet again considered shelving this run but got out. Thought about withdrawing from cross country. In the end told myself to sort it out and grow up.

Plan – North Eastern cross country champs

Despite the whingy week I was keen to get to the xc champs and give it my best shot. This race was the culmination of training going back to August/September and it was the one I was wanting to do well in.

After the weather we have had this week I was happy to see the sun in the sky but the frost and ice still hadn’t fully gone by 1pm.

Getting to the course I was struck by how big the laps looked. And obviously the Cow Hills about 3/4 round each of the 3 laps. I know those hills well and I’ve had a few hard sessions on them. I was less daunted than I’d imagined and I’ve been banging out 7 mile training runs in 45mins. I felt ready.

This race gets smaller fields than the normal NEHL fixtures which I find a bit odd. Anyway, it meant it was quite easy to get a good position on the starting line. Last year I was a bit timid and held right back. This year I was content to sit about 3 or 4 deep. My tactic was to settle in easy first lap and build. I wanted to finish strong.

As it happened I found myself holding a fairly steady position very quickly. I heard someone say I was around 70-75th after the first hill on the first lap. I had a loose goal of top 100 so I was happy with that and resolved to dig in hard.

I really enjoyed this course. The hardest part wasn’t really the hills. I think I handled those really well. I’ve never really credited myself as being a good hill runner but today I was always able to take some places on the two climbs. Coming downhill I wasn’t so assured and was probably a bit flat footed.

The toughest bit was the long slight drag towards the hills which felt dead into the wind. As is always the case the wind seemed to get stronger with each lap.

I was a little disappointed to get dropped by a good group of 4 or 5 coming to the hills on the second lap. It left me isolated but strangely it gave me a chance to gather my thoughts. Today I felt mentally strong. It was as if all the whinging this week was deliberate. I wasn’t seeking excuses, just trying to feel sorry for myself or something. This running game is tough. There are times when you wonder what’s it all for.

I think it’s important to attach your thoughts to something that means something to you. It helps get in the zone. I don’t know why but I thought a lot about my mams dad, my granda Tully. He’s no longer with us but he used to take me on walks up the Waldridge Fells. The Cow Hill climbs took me back to then for some reason. It pushed me on today when I’d normally allow myself to slow down.

Coming to the all important last lap I felt strong and positive. I’d noted that I hadn’t really conceded any places and a few in front were coming back to me. The plan was to reel them in as much as possible and give it everything on the two last hills. I felt like I had held something back first two laps. I know how to run a decent pace uphills. It’s arms and feet, quick and short steps.

I had at least 3 runners in front of me as I looked up for the last time to the top of the first hill. I set about getting the feet and arms moving. Unbelievably I dropped the 3 before I was half way up the hill. I couldn’t stop pushing now. At the top I would usually lose momentum as I heave for air but this time I put another spurt on down the hill.

The bottom of that hill and before the next was probably the muddiest part of the course. I spotted one or two in front meandering around to try to get a better line. I took the decision to plough a straight line. It was tough but it paid off and I picked up a few places.

I was on a roll and loving every second. For the first time I wasn’t keen on the finish line. I felt like another mile would help my finishing position. I looked ahead for any remaining targets. There were two but at least 100m ahead and probably only 300-400m left. I pushed on.

I could hear the crowd cheering for someone pretty close behind so I was aware I wasn’t safe from being overtaken.

Coming round the last corner I tried for a sprint. Again the crowd was egging someone close behind to take me. I got into the sprint and just got over the line in front. I almost trampled a runner just ahead of me in the process.

Cue the runner behind to try and get in front of me in the line! Fair play to the official he sorted it out but in the heat of the moment I said a few words I probably shouldn’t. I was fired up!

I knew I had run well. I finished 67th and this has to be my best run to date.


On route to 67th in Northern Eastern Counties XC

Things are going great and I’m really on a good course to keep on improving.

I’m looking forward to keep on ticking over the festive period and come back to the remainder of the NEHL season really strong. I’ll then be ready to smash a 5 and 10k in the spring as per my plan to run a sub 17min 5k by April 2015.

Plan – Recovery Run 60mins

Committed the cardinal sin of trying to get out for a run too soon after my Sunday lunch.

So spent the whole run trying to keep it down. Otherwise was an ok run but kept it to 40mins.

Laughably the heavens opened on the Town Moor, scene of the race yesterday, and the wind was blowing again. I had to chuckle, this is what it’s all about.

Weekly Totals

Running – 33 miles
Cycling – zero

Very pleased with race performance despite a very whingy week training wise. Hoping to put the winter blues behind me and where to next???

Sub 17 5k – Week 5 training diary

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Overall last week was a bit off target training wise. The motivation wasn’t quite there and the focus was elsewhere in my private life but I ended well at Wallington Hall with a good performance, in the top 70 of >500 so that has galvanised some confidence and put a spring back in my step.

Going into week 5 I’m looking to re focus and I have one eye on a little time trial at the weekend if conditions suit.

Training Diary

Plan – 45mins recovery

As always seems to be the case on a Monday I went out full of running and bagged 6.4 miles in 45mins averaging 157bpm.

These runs are still hovering around the 7min mile mark and feel like they are energizing rather than tiring which is the purpose here. Pace isn’t really important, sticking to my recovery zone is.

Plan – 45mins threshold

Got out late for this run but felt absolutely full of running. I had one eye on the Norman Woodcock 5 miler at the weekend but as I started ticking off the miles on this run I started to become aware that I might be on for a PB on this training threshold!

Kept on strong and went through 5 miles in 30.45ish which is a pb versus the 31.16 I did in 2012. All in all very happy and only averaging 168-9 bpm.

Plan – 45mins threshold

The weather was very cold so decided to move this indoors to the gym treadmill. I’ve always liked the idea of treadmill running and if it’s good enough for Jack Daniels its good enough for me. The reality in the past though has been that I’ve never really enjoyed it.

It’s been a while and actually I did enjoy this session. I started steady and then put the machine to 15kph and kept banging out the miles. I was tracking pace on my Garmin foot pod which was recording average 6.08 miles and therefore faster than the treadmill speed. Heart Rate got up to a max of 178 although averaged 171. Ran slightly further than yesterday’s 45min threshold, was soaked in sweat and generally felt ace. Things definitely coming together strength wise.

Plan – rest

Plan – 30mins recovery

Just nice and steady and nothing to report really.

Plan – 30mins tempo

Having effectively PB’d over 5 miles in training on Tuesday I lost interest in the Norman Woodcock and my mind was made up that I wanted to try a 5k. My coach agreed so got down to Newcastle Parkrun. The only concern was the frost on the ground. Indeed it was hard to get full purchase with the footing but I set off strongly in a group of maybe 4 behind a runaway leader.

Went through the first mile in 5.44ish. Wasn’t aware of the split but felt we weren’t running hard enough so I pushed on into clear second. First place was away so felt I could give a good go for second.

Second mile was done in 5.35. I was aware of one runner right on my heels but still felt like I was pushing on strong. Pace dropped off beginning of third mile which is normal but picked up again before being taken into 3rd a little way past 4km. I was also aware another runner was sniffing around as well. This was all good as I needed the incentive to keep pushing. I settled into 3rd and waited for a chance to go again. About 600m from home I pushed back into second before fading slightly back into third. Again about 250m from home I put it on the line, got a nose in front but didn’t fully commit. The other guy seemed to picked it up without full effort and I didn’t try again for an all out sprint. Still from 3 miles to home I averaged 4.50/mile so a strong finish.


Finishing off at Newcastle Parkrun

With that I was able to hold onto 3rd and crossed the line in 17.44. Strava is reporting 17.27 for 5k and 5.37/mile average pace overall.

I had planned to average 5.38/mile based on my recent threshold pace of 6.08/mile on the treadmill and it’s incredible how accurate the Jack Daniels VDOT training tables are.

A great result and line in the sand and it’s still early days in my continued progressive training with Dave as coach. Really happy.

Plan – 60mins recovery

Was feeling a bit tired and not too keen in the morning so left it til later in the day. Was quite chilly and windy.

Deliberately kept it sensible although turned into a bit of a battle against the elements in the second half up hill into the wind. Just over 8.4 miles in the hour.

Weekly Totals

Running – 36.6 miles
Cycling – zero

Very happy with how this week has gone and moving strongly in the right direction towards my big goal of sub 17 for 5k.

I think this is my highest mileage week and also the quickest in terms of average training pace as well.

All eyes now on the North Eastern counties cross country championships next week. I’m not going to lie, this is going to be a really tough one and more than anything I just want to give it my best shot.