Sub 17 5k – Week 28 training diary

This was going to be a very short blog to say I was taking a break from blogging! Its been a pretty negative few weeks for me running wise. I have a tendency to view the glass as half empty and these last few weeks have been particularly bad for me and my running.

Its not anything like an injury. I’ve just not enjoyed it. I feel mentally exhausted. Its strange that I’ve posted two weeks of my highest ever mileage leading into this one and yet I feel like I’ve plateaued and indeed started to lose it somewhat…

Moving into this week I had another week long work trip away in Naples and in the end training was very difficult to get in. I ended up getting two 35 minute treadmill runs in which felt poor. Sleep, diet and nutrition suffered and I just felt crap. The SOS message was sent to Coach Dave Tune. We had a chat on Friday evening which helped a lot.

The truth is I’ve felt like packing running in over the last two weeks. I’ve gone from riding high after the Blyth 10k to not quite nailing the sub 17 which I wrongly took badly… The goal of running the sub 17 5k by the end of April 2015 passed me by. Since then giving up has been a common thought, especially on the harder training runs. But I won’t be quitting and I just need to focus on the mental side of things.

Last night I started reading The New Psycho-cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. Its a pretty old self help book, originally written in the 1960s and used by athletes and sports people since. I am a fan of self help books. I doubt I’d be writing this blog if I had never read self help books. I doubt I’d have ran 5k in 17.10 if I hadn’t read self help books.

So its back to self help books I turn in my quest to get back on track with my running. I’m hoping for a quick turnaround as I don’t want to miss the Blaydon Race but I’ll see how the next few weeks go.

Weekly totals

Running ~4hrs


Sub 17 5k – Week 27 training diary

So this week my Blaydon Race pack came through the post reminding me that it isn’t long until the 9th of June…


Not long til I gan doon the Scotswood Road!

I finally made my debut in this iconic race in the North East running calendar in 2013. I was delighted with a finishing spot around 150th at the time.

Last year I entered the race again but illness forced me to drop out.

I’ve been looking at my training from 2013 versus what I am doing now and it is quite amazing how far I’ve come.

Back in 2013 I was probably training about 12-20 miles per week. My 5k PB was 18.23 and I managed to complete Blaydon in 35m 16s which was just over 6 minute miling for the 5.8 mile course.

Fast forward to 2015 and I am now training 30-45 miles per week. My 5k PB is 17.10 and I’ve debuted over 10k with a time of 35.37 (5.40-5.45 miling).

If I can at least translate my current form into a performance at Blaydon I’d be looking at a predicted finish time of somewhere around 33 minutes (Authors Note – it sounds like there is a course change this year so just a guide).

Looking at the race results from 2013 and 2014 I would finish as follows –

2013 74th
2014 80th

So my target of a Top 100 looks realistic and if I can get back mentally strong I think I could surprise myself further. I need to get in the frame of mind to try like I’ve never tried in a race before in this one…

And with that I look to train well over the remaining weeks to Blaydon…

Training Diary

Plan – 45min recovery

Went quite hard and ended up with 10k in 40mins averaging 160bpm which is getting close to the top end of my “recovery” zone of 152-163bpm. All well and good but might lead to tiredness for tomorrows threshold run.

Plan – 45min threshold

Made a note on Strava that conditions were very windy. As a result I ran slower than yesterdays “recovery” run. My threshold heart rate zone is 163-181bpm and managed to average 166bpm here. The wind always makes it a challenge. For some reason my Garmin lost GPS signal around 6 miles so the run data is off. Got at least 29 minutes in my threshold so ok.

Plan – 45min threshold

Change of plans due to work commitments so down as a rest day. Did get to watch Barcelona annihilate Bayern Munich though.

Plan – 50min recovery

After missing yesterdays threshold decided on a steady run with a 1 mile hard effort in the middle. Ticked off the first 3 miles in 6.45, 6.26 and 6.49 and felt bloody good about it. Felt the 4th mile was as good as any for the mile effort and went off like a bullet.

I had my Garmin displaying lap pace and could see after about a minute I was averaging 5.05. Heart rate was only up to ~178bpm. Felt comfy. Hit the bridge to get over onto the Town Moor and obviously pace affected and started working harder. Got onto the moor and pace had dropped to ~5.20-5.25. Set about getting the pace back on on the nice flat pavements of the Town Moor. Was working nicely and HR was into tempo at 184bpm.

Was getting ready for the mile to click and so it did with a 5.15. Got back into a jog and finished off with a 7.07, 6.54 and 0.8 miles at 6.54 average.

Total for the run was 45mins with 6.8 miles completed. Enjoyed the slight variation in the middle.

Plan – rest

Got out for the easy 50mins from yesterday. 7 miles averaging 7.06/mile and HR of only 147bpm. Very easy ready for tomorrows harder effort.

Plan – 2 x 10mins tempo

Was looking forward to some faster running but my chosen location of Town Moor soon turned the excitement to trepidation based on the wind, rain and mud…

I decided to do 4*5mins hard with 2m 30s rest. I was aiming for a pace of 5.30/mile for each 5 minute effort. The first rep was completed on plan. Then turned into the wind which made the rest a decent effort! The 2nd rep was about 3/4 ok then the rest through mud and into the wind. As a result I averaged 5.40/mile and felt like I was blowing out of my arse at the end. Two more reps to go… I decided to lengthen the recovery to get back to the start to make the last two reps as per the 2nd. Averaged 5.41/mile for the 3rd rep. Was relieved I was onto my last rep which was done in 5.42/mile.

An ok session and glad it was done but just a bit annoyed that the weather still hampers these faster sessions where I just want to get used to running at pace without fighting against the wind…

All that said when I got back and looked at the stats I’d only got my HR up to a max of 179bpm which isn’t even low end Tempo! I feel like I’m really giving it everything but heart rate says I’m not. Its something I’ve noticed over the last 6 months…

Plan – 80mins recovery

Didn’t look after the diet and nutrition on Saturday night and woke up not feeling up for a long run. Met Michael and went on a different route. In all honesty the legs were hurting after 3 miles. Was quite chuffed to stick in.

Managed to complete 13.4 miles in 1hr 32mins. I’d worked a lot harder for it than last week but the route had more elevation gain so overall wasn’t bad and good to tough it out.

Weekly Totals

Running >45 miles

Another weekly mileage total record. Decent weeks training despite some disruption to the plan. Now I’m back on the road travelling with work and the challenge of keeping things going whilst away… Naples here I come…

Sub 17 5k – Week 26 training diary

Since I ran 35.37 for 10k and 17.10 at parkrun I’ve been going through a bit of a mental and physical malaise. I’ve probably just lost my running mojo a little bit.

For me personally it’s probably more mental than physical. Just mental tiredness.

Its easy to forget the improvements you’ve made with your running over the last 12mths or whatever. But with that it’s easy to start getting unappreciative of what you’ve got and what you’ve achieved. They say you should celebrate your achievements. I think I’m guilty of not doing so. Because I feel I’m capable of so much more it’s sometimes difficult to take a step back and celebrate the successes along the journey.

But for whatever the reasons I’ve not been enjoying the runs and with that comes a bit of a slip in terms of discipline. Things like nutrition, hydration and other areas get sloppy and confidence starts to fade a little.

So this week I wanted to try to re-focus and not let things slip…

Training Diary

Plan – 45 min recovery

Ran a quite hard recovery with 6.9 miles in 45mins averaging 159bpm. Quite pacy and hoping it wouldn’t adversely impact the two nights of harder threshold running I had in the plan this week.

Plan – 45 min threshold

This was a gym treadmill session and to be fair it was very strong. From 30 minutes to 45 were tough as always but logged 7.8 miles with an average HR of 169bpm. Tough but good.

Plan – 45 min threshold

Busy at work with meetings and was out on the evening for a meal with colleagues so had to cut this down to a 5 minute warm up and warm down with a 20 minute threshold sandwiched in the middle.

Struggled pretty much from the off. I was using a 800m loop and it was pretty windy against on a ~200m incline on each lap. Stuck in but each mile got slower and ended with 3.4miles and an average HR of 169bpm.

On finishing I felt exhausted. Was disappointed but on reflection I’m running much faster (10-20s/mile) at a much lower HR (>10bpm lower) than June/July 2014.

Plan – 50 min recovery

One of those weird runs where you feel like you are hitting the wall after about 20mins but then you realise your heart rate is very low (for me ~150-155bpm) and you are ticking off miles pretty sharply. And then after halfway all of a sudden I felt strong again. Overall ran 6.7 miles in 45mins at an average HR of only 151bpm.

Plan – rest

Rested up and tried to get in some sort of mood for a decent parkrun but in all honesty knew I wasn’t in the mood for a sub 17 attempt.

Plan – Parkrun tempo

Got up and had a glass of beetroot juice. Decided not to have the recently customary shot of coffee.

Picked up Michael and made our way over to Riverside parkrun. Was glad to see it wasn’t as busy as last time. Overall was planning a different strategy. I was going to work with the Garmin with the plan to go through the first mile in 5.25-5.28 and then switch to heart rate and try to push to 185-190bpm to the end.

Got underway and deliberately didn’t go as hard as last time. As a result was hemmed in coming to the first corner. Got into 3rd place and checked the watch. I was around 5.30-5.35 miling. So I was aware I wasn’t quite on pace. The first mile was done in 5.34.


First mile...had a plan but not the motivation to carry it

Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling it and ditched the plan to even look at my HR. Despite not feeling it I had 2nd place in sight so focussed on him and probably had him about 5 yards ahead coming along the river the second time. But the resurgence was short lived. I’d actually slow 10s/mile in the second mile and let him go third mile.

It was hurting. I tried to deal with that by deliberately smiling. It does help but didn’t help me speed up.


Clearly it was hurting today

Coming to the last half a mile I sensed 4th place was gaining on me. It was enough to help me hold on for an ok finish. The 3rd mile was done in 5.46 and managed a little spurt to finish in 17.24.

I was a little miffed with the run but then again it was a little lacklustre but still sub 17.30…

I just need a kick up the arse for the final push.

Plan – Recovery Run 1hr 20

Woke up quite early. Could hear the wind and then the rain started against the window.

Strangely, rather than put me off I felt really up for it. Sent Michael a quick message and arranged to meet in 10-15 minutes.

Got suitably attired and headed down Kenton Lane. Michael said he had a good route for around 1hr 20mins and off we went. We chatted about the parkrun a day earlier. Michael had won in 16.35 and me 3rd in 17.24.

The miles were being ticked off easily. Some sections were particularly windy and rainy but I was loving every step.

We ended up running around the grounds of Newcastle racecourse which turns out to be a great place as the traffic is minimal.

We bumped into Ross Floyd of Morpeth who was doing a quick 30mins and was good to catch up.

Coming back for home I wasn’t sure how far we had ran. I said goodbye to Michael and had about a mile and a half for home… The 12th mile ticked off and I realised I was on for my longest ever run and also had the half marathon distance on so decided to do that.

I felt really strong and my last two miles were 6.20, 6.21 and heart rate was around 158-160bpm which is below top end of my recovery zone.

Ended up with 13.8 miles in 1hr 35. The HM was done in about 1hr 30. Felt like minimal effort and the kick up the arse I needed.

Time to get the finger out…

Weekly Totals

Running – 45 miles