XC 2015/16 | Training Diary | Week 4

XC 2015/16 | Training Diary | Week 4

Key aim for the week –

My attention turns to the first Cross Country on Saturday at Tanfield. It’s not a course I have ran before and the key focus this week will be to get another solid week in. I won’t be tapering as such as this is only week 4 and essentially the XC fixture is seen as the first hard effort. As the season develops I’ll want to see my strength and fitness increase.

This will be the first time I have run from the Fast pack. So I will be giving a 5 minutes head start to the main slow pack and 2 and a half minutes to the Medium pack. In that regard it’ll be a fact finding mission to see where I’m at. Excited to get stuck in!

Weight on Monday morning –

???kgs

Didn’t check this week. As I mentioned in Week 2, not something that it essential to measure week in week out and overall I feel like I’m getting into race shape.

General mental state –

9.0 – things never get easier, you just get better. And so I feel coming into this week. Last week was a weekly high for me duration and mileage wise and I’m feeling the effects. I’m also walking the tightrope of training / working / living and trying not to fall off! That said I am focused on what I want to achieve – another improvement on last years cross country season and, of course, the sub 17 minute 5k! Mental strength and its importance cannot be underestimated. Giving up is an easy option.

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being exhausted need a break and 10 being 100% motivated and raring to go

Monday
Plan – Easy run, 45mins

Work was crazy today with an all day meeting that didn’t finish til 8pm. I considered canning the run altogether. For right or wrong I got it in. This is where things get stressful, squeezing runs in and feeling fatigued. It’s here that you start asking yourself questions. Why am I putting myself under this pressure etc?

I completed 6.5 miles in just under 47 minutes and an average HR of 153bpm. Despite my tiredness nothing seemed out of order and a “strong” easy run. First run in the dark which felt odd. There are a lot of those to come this winter!

Tuesday
Plan – Threshold run, 40mins

Planned to hit a threshold pace of maybe 6.08/mile which is equivalent to 60 VDOT with the appropriate adjustment for 40 minutes. I measure pace on my Garmin as the TomTom is unfavourable! Lol.

Pretty much completed the run to plan. Had issues with my heart rate monitor but the average was ~170bpm at most and overall my heart rate is coming down on these runs. They aren’t getting easier though! 6.3 miles completed in 40 minutes.

Wednesday
Plan – Recovery run, 50mins

Slightly longer recovery run. Sometimes I feel the lines between these easy runs and the threshold runs become blurred. Reason being I feel strong pushing to the top of my easy zone (163bpm) and I can run sub 7 minute miles at this intensity. Pretty much all my easy runs are around the 7-7.10mins per mile pace now (lower on the Garmin!). When I run a threshold run I usually average ~170bpm and 6-6.25mins per mile. Often I think I need to run my easy runs a bit easier and my threshold runs harder. That said, when the threshold run duration goes above 30 minutes in duration its hard to contemplate pushing harder than I already do.

Overall on this run 6.9 miles were completed in 50 minutes and an average HR of 153bpm.

Thursday
Plan – Threshold run, 40mins

The last couple of weeks have been XC runs but this time I stayed on concrete. Thursday runs can often be testing because it is the 6th run in a row (Sat-Thu). This was no exception. With one eye on Saturdays race I dialed the intensity back to 58 VDOT and an adjusted pace of 6.16/mile (on the Garmin).

Felt tough from start to finish and also felt a little niggle in the outside of the left knee.

Got it finished and overall felt like the heart wasn’t working as hard (as expected due to lower intensity) but the run did feel hard. In my mind I knew this was more than likely because of the impending race and general fatigue. The culmination of 3.5 weeks of decently hard training and the thought of the season coming a bit too soon = tired run + niggles. I’ve been here before. I know I’ll be fine.

6.3 miles in 40 minutes and an average HR below 170bpm I think overall. I pretty much hit the target pace average on the Garmin.

Friday
Plan – Rest

Saturday
Plan – North East Harrier League: Race #1 – Tanfield

I have a little routine on the Friday night before a XC race to get my kit bag sorted. I decided to have a sort through my running box which has all my kit, race numbers, medals etc. For some reason I had it in my mind that this was my third full North East Harrier League XC season. But sorting through my race numbers I realized it was my fourth!

Can't believe this is my fourth full season!

Can’t believe this is my fourth full season!

So I had a look at my performances over the last 3 seasons. I easily forget the improvement I have made –

2012/13

Average mens field size – 399 | My average finish position – 143 (Power of 10)

2013/14

Average mens field size – 487 | My average finish position – 189 (Po10) Note – 1 DNF and running anaemic negatively impacting performance!

2014/15

Average mens field size – 522 | My average finish position – 69 (Po10) Note – started being Coached by Dave Tune Oct ’14

2015/16

????

My progress last year was very very pleasing and I think I downplayed my achievement of getting into the Fast pack in the last race of last season. This finally hit home as I stood on the start line of the opening race of the season at Tanfield. There were some very talented runners still starting from the Medium pack, here I was watching them go with a 2 and a half minute head start.

Without doing myself a disservice I deliberately held back from the start line here. I’d been researching and reading a lot on XC race strategy and I had decided (especially since I didn’t know the course) that I would use the first lap to settle and not worry about most of the fast lads dropping me. After the first lap I planned to build with the knowledge of where I could attack and dig in.

And so the race got underway and it didn’t take long for me to settle in joint last place! A Crook runner who was by my side actually said “so it’s between me and you for last place!”. I couldn’t help but laugh. But strangely it automatically quickened my stride and away I went.

I didn’t feel out of my depth. I didn’t worry about being embarrassed. I didn’t feel embarrassed. I’d earned my place here and I was going to give it my best shot. That said the first lap was tough. I deliberately didn’t wear my GPS as I race better without the distraction. But the first lap felt well over 2 miles. I’d settled in ok but said to myself – this is going to be tough – dig in.

I felt like I made some good progress on the second lap. We’d already started taking slow pack runners and the crowds were getting bigger. The course overall was quite narrow with the odd muddy spot and so picking the best line and injecting extra pace to overtake was essential. This is what I excel at I think. I like taking a few risks. I like putting a bit of pressure on myself at various points.

It was impossible to really tell how I was doing. I was aware that I was in general running with a Tynedale Harrier and a Saltwell Harrier that had started from the Fast Pack. I think about 3/4 through the 2nd lap I managed to drop them both. However, I felt a bit overcooked as a result coming into the 3rd lap and I think I let them go unfortunately. So it was then just a case of hunting down as many slow pack runners as possible.

Starting to build on the 2nd lap

Starting to build on the 2nd lap

On the 3rd lap I got a definite second wind and felt really strong, especially on the little down hill sections. Wow, some strength and confidence at the business end of a XC race! This was not normal. I like to think I got my tactics right. It was still tough on the inclines but I kept my technique in check and just dug it out, keeping the feet quick.

On each lap there was a water crossing which had proved quite easy on the first two laps but low and behold on the last lap it felt like my feet were weights coming out the third time! Not to worry the end was in sight…

I was fully focused on just keeping moving as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Every part of you is wanting it to end and with that you naturally tighten up and fight. The best thing is to relax and just push from the core.

Coming onto the final straight a few lads were finishing very strongly including a couple of team mates from Elswick. Getting over the line I was spent but overall I was really pleased with the effort.

I finished 171st out of 590 runners from the Fast pack. I was the 38th fastest on the day which is my best finish ever, my previous best being 43rd fastest at Wrekenton at the end of last season. Pleasing and I know I will come on for this run.

Sunday
Plan – Long run, 80mins

On my warm down after XC yesterday the niggle in my left knee was noticeable so I wasn’t overly looking forward to a long run. So I went out a little later and kept it very easy the first half hour. Actually got into it quite nicely after that and was pleased to complete my usual Sunday route pretty much on pace as per previous weeks. 10.8 miles in 1hr 18 at an average HR of only 152bpm. Very pleasing I don’t feel tired.

Hoping this little niggle which wasn’t an issue really today will not feature next week.

Weekly totals and Summary

Duration – 4h 55m

Mileage – 43.1 miles

Reduced duration / mileage versus last week but natural to take account of the first race of the season. Reflecting on the performance I’m pleased and hoping to build as the season progresses.

This week I have been listening to –

SLEAFORD MODS – I owe my run on Saturday to the song Fizzy from the album “Austerity Dogs” which is their first album. This came about by complete chance. I had been conscious of the band but not really aware of how much I like them. I was out on Friday night for a catch up with mates. We were sat in a bar when my mate noticed the two blokes from Sleaford Mods walking past! They had a gig in Newcastle that night. My mate had waxed lyrical about them so when I got home I listened to the first album. Wow! The tune Fizzy stuck out like a sore thumb. I listened to it about 50 times on Saturday morning. It was lodged on my brain and accompanied me all the way round the course. Whenever I got tired I just had “FIZZY” shouting in my brain. Thank you SLEAFORD MODS.

This week I have been thinking a lot about –

Am I cut out for this? Yes, the negative thoughts have come into view this week! What a surprise – it took until the fourth week to start wondering why am I doing this and can I do this? Mental strength is essential here to keep going. I will keep going. Running is my passion, it slept dormant from the ages of 12 to 30. I won’t let it go now. I’ve given up too soon too many times on too many things. Not this time, my opportunity is now.

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XC 2015/16 | Training Diary | Week 3

Key aim for the week –

More of the same and probably an increase in load. Last week I ran 45 miles (5h 9m) total. Actually that’s not far off a weekly record for me so it could be that this week sees me set a record, all depending whether I am able to effectively manage my time given that things are starting to get hectic on the work front.

Really keen to keep everything moving along and ready for the first XC fixture at Tanfield on 26th September. Want to hit the ground running.

For the planned 30 minute tempo run on Saturday (183-189bpm) I might get another parkrun effort somewhere.

Weight on Monday morning –

73.5kgs

Actually I weighed myself after my Monday run and a pint of water and small snack. Getting back towards race weight of 73kgs but need to focus on diet and nutrition to ensure I am getting what I need in terms of vitamins and minerals.

General mental state –

9.5 – a little bit fatigued on my Sunday long run and private matters building up outside of my training and just need to show strong determination and keep these motivation levels high. I feel like I am at the start of a journey now. The last 3 and a bit years (since I started running) have of course been a journey but I feel like I have a platform to step up from. I want to find a big breakthrough in this winter training period.

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being exhausted need a break and 10 being 100% motivated and raring to go

Monday
Plan – Easy run, 45mins

A really hectic day work wise and was pleased to get out for a run to clear the mind. Typically the heavens opened as I got out but I didn’t care.

The run was fairly strong overall apart from a little midway lull. If anything I maybe pushed a bit hard for an easy run but overall completed 6.6 miles in just over 46 minutes and an average HR of 157bpm. Need to sleep well for an earlier than usual 45 minute threshold before work in the morning. Busy day tomorrow.

Tuesday
Plan – Threshold run, 45mins

Wow, this was a tough run. And I got absolutely soaked through again, becoming a bit of a theme.

So what made it tough? To be honest it only got tough in the second half. The second half is uphill and I felt like the elements conspired against as well.

It all made the extra 5 minutes versus last week seem like an extra half hour! In the end I only ended up with 41 minutes. I was aiming for something like 6.13-6.18/mile for the full 45mins but ended up with 6.18/mile for 41.

Not massively concerned. It wasn’t a confidence building run, far from it. It was a reminder of how tough training can be. A lonely slog in a close to torrential downpour. Good for the soul if nothing else. Looking forward to a recovery tomorrow before doing it all again on Thursday.

Wednesday
Plan – Recovery run, 45mins

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday was raining cats and dogs and the wind was a factor. Today was bright and sunny and everything felt good with the world again.

As regular readers will know I like my run stats. Couple of months ago I bought a TomTom runner cardio GPS watch as I was interested in the on the wrist heart rate monitor. As it happens, despite early doubts, I think the heart rate monitor is pretty good. It has a wobble from time to time but overall no worse than a strap. So the benefit of not having to wear a strap is a definite plus point for me. That said the distance measurement (and therefore the pace measurement) is significantly different to my old Garmin 610.

I’ve done a few experiments and I reckon the TomTom is at least 7-10 seconds per mile slower than the Garmin 610. That’s huge. Basically, if I do my usual 6-6.5 mile loop the Garmin reports it as further than the TomTom and thus I run faster with the Garmin than the TomTom.

At first I wasn’t really bothered but I have to admit that over the last couple of weeks it has annoyed me. Reason being I use Strava to log my run history and there is a feature on there that allows you to see your progress and trends over the same routes over time. Also, the segments can be compared each time you run them.

So the problem with moving to a watch that is telling me I am slower is leading to Strava telling me I’m getting slower! I know I shouldn’t be concerned with this but I am tempted to jump ship and buy a new Garmin!

Anyway, enough ranting and raving this was a great run and I completed 6.6 miles in 45mins at an average HR of 155bpm. My pace on the TomTom was 6.52/mile and 6.44 on the Garmin! Just a reminder – an easy run for me is a reference to my expected lactate response to a heart rate of 153-163bpm. Pace has nothing to do with it for me. Of course I want to see pace improve but overall the pace could differ from one easy run to the next. The key point is my average heart rate stays within the range. Strictly speaking these runs are high aerobic runs.

Thursday
Plan – Threshold run, 45mins

This was my weekly XC type run to get me off the concrete and prepare the legs for the impending season. I thought a lot about how to structure the session. I felt I wanted to break it up a bit rather than a straight non-stop threshold.

I’d decided to try running lap intervals at sub 6 minute mile pace. Each lap would be about 4m 30s with a 30s rest in between. I got stuck into it. The first couple of reps averaged around 5.45 miling. Then the 3rd lap was a bit of a disaster where I struggled to keep below 6 minute miles. With hindsight I think I was getting more into a VO2 max type session which wasn’t the plan.

So rather than slog on and become further demoralized I changed tact and completed a 30 minute threshold around 168-170 bpm. The Garmin had me at 6.14 miles and the TomTom 6.26. Restored a bit more confidence overall.

Friday
Plan – Rest

Saturday
Plan – Tempo run, 30mins

I haven’t had a regular tempo run in my schedule so again I thought hard about how I would structure it. I was either going to do 3x 10 minutes with a short rest or maybe a parkrun and then add on the extra at the end.

I decided on Newcastle parkrun because the weather was great and there was an unusually calm day on the Town Moor with little wind to speak of. I knew I’d complete that in 17-18 minutes leaving an extra 12-13 minutes to add on solo at the end.

Tempo running feels for me a tough effort. Its not 5k race effort. More like 10k race effort but it is a great help doing it in a parkrun environment where there are others around you to feed off. My Tempo zone is 183-189bpm so I had a plan to average 176bpm in the first mile, 186 in the second and then just maintain above 186 to the end.

Newcastle parkrun tempo

Newcastle parkrun tempo

I was pleased to pretty much nail the plan. I used my TomTom and my first 2 mile splits were bang on 5.38-39. I weakened in the last mile but ended up only 4 seconds off a course PB in 17.35. I was pleased as well because I managed it as a solo run as I was alone in 4th place pretty much all the way around as 3 lads were well ahead running sub 17s and 5th place was over 20s behind me.

Its always sobering seeing how far ahead the sub 17 lads are. I want to be in that company at some point but really I know I need a proper 5k race to nail the sub 17 myself.

Got out again in the afternoon for 12 and a half minutes at 10k pace (5.44) as a top up. Felt tired but completed to plan with a 5 minute warm up and cool down.

Sunday
Plan – Long run, 75mins

I got to bed later than ideal and had a few beverages (not overboard) so I wasn’t feeling amazing for the long run.

This is always the toughest run of the week for me and so it proved again. Not much to report other than I was glad when it was over. Did 10.7 miles in about 77 minutes which was a bit slower than last week but no worries.

Weekly totals and Summary

Duration – 5h 28m

Mileage – 49.2 miles

A record week in terms of duration and distance so I’m hoping I can take the benefits into the first XC race next weekend.

This week I have been listening to –

Strangely haven’t listened to music once while out running this week! I have been listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in the car though. The first album “Fever to Tell” is great and I’m a big fan of the track “Maps”. Still makes the hairs on my arms stand up.

This week I have been thinking a lot about –

Keeping a work, life, running balance! Quite hard to do but with proper planning and discipline it can be done! But it’s a never ending process!

Contact me

Follow my training on Strava –
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Training Diary | XC 2015/16 | Wk 2

Training Diary | XC 2015/16 | Wk 2

Key aim for the week –

Following a pleasing first week back last week I’m just looking to continue and the message from my coach is to bring some more threshold work back into the plan as we turn attention to the first XC race later this month.

If everything goes to plan I’ll expect to get back to around 5hrs of running and >40 miles.

It’s a big week in the North East running calendar this week with the Great North Run on Sunday. This time last year I ran the 5k race on the Saturday, finishing 13th in 17.53. Of course it would be tempting to enter again but it’s not the focus and would be pointless at this stage. I’m not a compulsive “race enterer” and I’ll be keeping my eye on the prize of the cross country season first and foremost. The blog is called sub seventeen dream but my goals and objectives aren’t exclusive to that.

Weight on Monday morning –

??kgs

Totally forgot to measure which is no bad thing. Overall feeling a bit lean already and I suspect I was at race weight on Saturday following my usual pre race routine of eating small. No need to measure every week, I’ll do it as and when.

General mental state –

10 – still buzzing being back. Let’s see how a week of harder threshold running leaves me!

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being exhausted need a break and 10 being 100% motivated and raring to go

Monday
Plan – Easy run, 45mins

As usual, felt a bit tired on the drive home from work but when I got out for my usual Monday loop I felt great.

When I got in the house there was an Underworld tune on the radio. So I downloaded an album to listen to on my run and it was great to run to.

The weather was great and everything clicked into place. To be honest, I probably got a bit too in to it given that I have 3 threshold runs lined up this week but I went with how I felt.

In the end it was 6.6 miles in 47mins at an average HR of 155bpm. Pleasing all round.

Tuesday
Plan – Threshold run, 40mins

Straight back into the longer duration thresholds and I was looking to target miles in around 6.11/mile and just see how my heart rate was. I didn’t want to push into the top end of threshold, i.e. >180bpm in my second week back.

I was pleased to settle in nicely to the run and every was going to plan. My heart rate stayed pretty much in the low to mid 170s all the way round barring a few little tougher sections. The main thing is I really enjoyed it.

Feeling really strong and I feel like that’s one of my strongest 40 minute threshold runs completing 6.4 miles at an average HR of 170bpm. Promising.

Wednesday
Plan – Recovery run, 45mins

Wednesday has always been called “hump day” and with my running its no different. But today was different. I was pleased to get out for an easy run and to blow away some cobwebs.

I deliberately kept it at the low end of my easy zone, with one eye on tomorrows second threshold run of the week.

Enjoyed it and completed 6.1 miles at an average HR of 155bpm.

Thursday
Plan – Threshold run, 40mins

I felt like this was an important training run as I planned it to be my first XC simulation run. XC threshold runs are tough, much tougher than running on concrete. I find it harder to get my heart rate up and, of course, harder to keep the average pace as quick due to the more difficult footing.

I jogged round to Blakelaw park which is my XC training ground for this season. Last year I used Kenton Dene a lot but it’s quite a short loop and I figured it had contributed to a few niggles I suffered last season – probably just too much repetition going round in circles.

Anyway, Blakelaw is much bigger and actually running round the perimeter is quite good and mimics a cross country lap quite well.

I ended up doing about 8 laps in the 40 minutes and it was tough because the wind was dead against on the long home straight of each lap.

I was pleased with how it went. My average mile splits were between 6.18-6.27/mile with an average HR of 170bpm which is low/middle of my threshold zone. I worked hard for it though and I’m looking forward to a rest day tomorrow. I’ll come on for this type of session and a few more will have me ready for the first Harrier League fixture later this month.

Also picked up a Strava segment which I didn’t know existed so can use this as a benchmark for future sessions in the park.

Friday
Plan – Rest

Saturday
Plan – Threshold run, 45mins

Before I went on holiday I’d done a few threshold runs where I’d broken the runs up into 2x20mins and included a parkrun as the 2nd portion. I felt like it had worked quite well and doing parkrun 2nd helped keep the intensity top end.

So I had a similar idea but today the rain was lashing down. I got in the car and drove to Riverside parkrun in my home town. Unfortunately the weather was no better. I decided to run the parkrun after a warm up and then add a further 25min threshold on the end.

I didn’t get much of a warm up in and my heart rate was a little low on the start line. Still we started running and I flew off too quick. I was with the front lad for about half a mile. Then a lad passed me. Then another two. One of those two went on to finish first in 16.12. Talk about overcooking a threshold.

Unfortunately my heart rate monitor was reporting me as 130bpm! Sigh. Sometimes this TomTom on the wrist HRM can be tempremental.

I always go off like a rocket at Riverside and then proceed to hate my life for another 15 minutes!

Anyway, I soldiered on. With hindsight I didn’t have a proper plan for this run. Was it going to be a threshold or an effort?

When my HRM finally came to life I was trading at 180-185bpm which was getting into my tempo zone. That said the highest I got working was 187bpm but I couldn’t really say I had much more to give. The 2nd lap included some thoughts to pull over.

Ah negativity. I don’t know if it was the early morning blues or the weather. Running early doors has never suited me. But I’ve always quite liked running in the rain…

Anyway, I got over the hump and set about getting the 3rd lap over and done with. I think I’d been dropped into 7th by this point but I could see a lad coming back to me so I tried to focus on his ankles and see if I could reel him in. I felt like I got him closeish but then he went again.

Coming towards the end I couldn’t resist a sneaky look at the clock. I was on 17.01 already. Ah well, I hadn’t exactly planned to really go for it and the weather is crap I thought to myself.

A little bit of a flourish and I was over the line in 17.32 according to my watch.

Not bad. After that I tried to get straight back into 25mins of threshold. It took me a good mile to get back going. Nothing special in terms of pace but each mile got faster and heart rate stayed in the 170s.

When I finished I was soaked through so I quickly drove up the folks for a cup of tea and eggs, bacon, beans and tomatoes.

Job done really! Bloody good fun!

Sunday
Plan – Long run, 75mins

I can hardly say I felt the GNR fever when the alarm went off at 7.45am. I thought there was a rave on in one of the neighbours houses but as I came round I realised it was the tannoys warming up at the start of the biggest race in the North East running calendar.

Anyway, I got out about 8am and at first was grumbling about the cold. Didn’t take long to warm up.

I had 75 minutes in the plan but to be honest I was feeling a bit tired from yesterdays exertions.

The first 3 and a bit miles of my usual long run route are downhill but then its all uphill to home.

My heart rate spent a little too long in threshold for my liking. I lost count of the runners I passed who were on their way to the start line. I crossed a bridge over the A167 that I pretty much run over every day. Today I was forced to walk it as there were that many runners anxiously limbering up for the race.

Got it finished and got home and hosed with 10.7 miles in 1 hour and 16 minutes. I know I need to strengthen on these runs. I really hate long runs and I know they are my weakness. But I also know they probably hold the key to unlocking some big improvements down the line.

Weekly totals and Summary

Duration – 5h 9m

Mileage – 45.0 miles

Quite a big step up in terms of week on week but feel good and looking forward to keeping this going.

This week I have been listening to –

Underworld – 1992-2012 (2014)

As I said in my Monday diary entry I heard an Underworld track on BBC Radio 6 and felt compelled to listen to some tracks on my runs this week.

Perfect running music really. Good tempo, moody, repetitive, great lyrics.

May well turn to this as the winter digs in to keep the motivation levels high!

This week I have been thinking a lot about –

Getting the run5kfaster website sorted out! I wrote a blog about how I went from 22.39 to 19.44 for 5k in 91 days. Check it out!

If you enjoy this blog and think anyone you know would too – please share!

Contact me

Follow my training on Strava –
Kev Richardson Strava profile

For free running advice (and loads of other stuff!) check out –
RUN 5k FASTER

Training Diary | XC 2015/16 | Wk 1

Training Diary | XC 2015/16 | Wk 1

Key aim for the week –

Looking at my training diary since the Blaydon Race in June its been sporadic and without real focus. That’s symptomatic of not having a clear target. That’s probably being a bit harsh, the summer is always a lull for me race wise and I should just accept it and embrace it.

Now that I’m back from my summer holidays I’m ready to get stuck into proper training again with the aim of improving on last year’s Cross Country season.

That said, given that my mileage has been inconsistent and low since July I need to ease back in and not do anything silly.

So the aim this week is to get some easy mileage back into the legs and start conditioning myself for the long season ahead.

The only exception to this is the XC relay race on Saturday. This will be my debut for Elswick Harriers and, although not fully match fit, I’ll be looking to give it my all and see how I compare to last year.

I’ll be looking also to introduce grass work immediately to get into XC mode mentally and physically.

Weight on Monday morning –

75kgs

Weight should never be an obsession but I’ll be tracking mine on a weekly basis. My racing weight is around 72.5-73kgs.

Obviously a little out of shape following 2 week vacation in New York but expect to see that come down over the coming weeks.

General mental state –

10 – following a break I’m raring to go and, despite slight jet lag from return trip from New York, really keen to get stuck back in to training.

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being exhausted need a break and 10 being 100% motivated and raring to go

Monday
Plan – Easy run, 40mins

Still haven’t fully got back to normal eating and sleeping routines following my holiday. I couldn’t really get to sleep until past 4am and got up at 10am.

Anyway, felt fine so got out the door for a basic easy run around Kenton and the Town Moor. Felt fine and heart rate under control. Not much else to report but just over 6 miles in 43 minutes and an average heart rate of 153bpm. Not worried about pace on these runs.

I haven’t had a lactate threshold test since March so still operating on the following zones –

Recovery/easy – 153-163bpm
Threshold – 164-183bpm
Tempo – 184-189bpm
Intervals – 190+bpm

Tuesday
Plan – Threshold run, 30mins

Since I got back from New York my sleep patterns are still terrible. I’m going to bed and lying until 3-4am and then boom out like a light. Fine on the Bank Holiday weekend but today my alarm was set for 6.30am.

So after work I felt tired.

Anyway, I felt up for a threshold still and decided to aim for 6-6.10/mile and see how the heart rate fared and ensure it stayed in the correct range.

Actually the run felt good and I was pleased to have no real issues keeping in the planned pace range (on my Garmin). Completed just under 5 miles in 30mins at an average HR of 174bpm.

Very encouraging first threshold in Week 1 and suggests I’m fit enough to run a 5k in the range 17-17.30 and I’ll definitely come on from there.

In other news I visited Elswick Harriers to pick up my club vest in the hope of making my debut on Saturday.

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But unfortunately England Athletics in Birmingham seem incapable of processing a form so it looks like I may need to wait longer…

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Wednesday
Plan – Recovery run, 40mins

Got out for an easy run and was looking to make it more on the recovery end than the max aerobic end. Reason being, although my sleeping patterns are improving I’m still feeling on the tired side.

Not much to report other than about 5.4 miles in 40mins @ an average HR of 153bpm. Felt jaded overall.

Thursday
Plan – Easy run, 45mins

Finally got out for an off-road run on the grass at a local park which is basically a few football pitches. It took me a little while to get in to it but I felt better as the run went on.

It’s an encouraging first run and I was pleased to see the mile splits were very even at an average HR of 156bpm. Overall just over 6 miles in 45mins.

Rest day tomorrow and then get out for a good effort at the XC relays on Saturday. I rang England Athletics and I’m hoping to run as a counter for Elswick Harriers.

Friday
Plan – Rest

Saturday
Plan – Farringdon XC relays, 1.8 miles

In 2012 this was pretty much my first competitive race for Jesmond Joggers so it has a place in my heart. I ran 10.36 that day and was buzzing. Can’t remember why I didn’t run it in 2013. Then last year I got round in 10.10 which is quite a big revision for the distance. Coming into this year I was obviously not in tip top condition, this being my first proper week back training after a 2 week holiday. But despite that I still felt I could run faster than last year.

The fact of the matter is I am a better runner now. It was also my first race for my new club. I was a little nervous on the drive over but that left when I arrived as Frank and everyone else are so friendly and down to earth – good people and very welcoming. I was pleased to be given a place in the A team, running 2nd leg which I like.

The first leg had put us in a good position. I felt like we were maybe top 10 and I was glad to have two or three lads just in front to chase down. I think I passed at least two of those within the first quarter mile and only one lad passed me. I pretty much followed him around the course as closely as possible.

Coming to the famous stream crossing I had already done a recce warm up and had decided a one step in and out would be best as the exit on the other side was muddy and wasn’t worth risking a jump.

The lad in front had the same idea. It always takes you out of your rhythm whatever you do and its a case of knuckling down and getting the job done. Between then and the end of the race I think a couple of lads passed me, including Terry Scott who was gliding along, as I began to tire but I kept on and finished strongly up the last hill and into the finish. Thanks to Luke Adams who gave me some much appreciated support! In general, wearing the Elswick shirt I felt I received more encouragement than normally – it all helps for sure!

Having not worn my GPS watch I was unsure how I had faired but felt like I must have ran faster than last year. Sure enough I ran 9.49 (21s improvement on last year) which I am very pleased with at this stage. I know I can go faster still but the timing after New York wasn’t great but I can only take the result as a positive. At the time of writing unfortunately I don’t have any pics or team results to share but it looks like Elswick A team did ok and hopefully we have a Top 10 or close. We’ll see.

Sunday
Plan – Long run, 60mins

Got to bed a little late but felt fresh for my first longer run for a while. I ran down to Jesmond Dene and back round. I was feeling quite good and maybe just a few little muscle aches here and there. Bumped into Scott Armstrong (Jesmond Joggers Chairman) and was nice to chat. Scott has been really supportive with my move to Elswick and always good crack.

I did start to tire a bit heading back for home but to be expected. I’ll be honest I do not enjoy Long Runs but I have learnt the importance of them in building (and maintaining) strength and stamina. So over the next few weeks I’ll be looking to build back up to 1hr 30 (at least). To be fair, with the target of the North East XC Champs in December I need to build to closer to 15-18 miles but not sure that will happen in this training period!

Weekly totals and Summary

Duration – 4h 30m

Mileage – 36.6 miles

This week I have been listening to –

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away (2013)

I finally got round to watching the Nick Cave documentary “20,000 days on earth” and it got me back onto the album “Push the sky away”.

The title track in particular is a favourite of mine and the lyrical content can be imagined to mean pushing yourself to your limits no matter what. And for me in week 1 of my journey for this new training phase it’s important for me to focus on pushing my self to new levels of performance.

This week I have been thinking a lot about –

My future vocation!

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