10k

Hill Repeats are your Friend…

It sounds incredibly obvious, but when runners find getting up those long hills a strain – they go out and practice running up and down hills. This is a favourite workout of mine and I try to incorporate hills into the majority of my runs. They are unavoidable periods of pain within a race, so it makes sense to prepare your body for these whenever possible.

Once a week I have a focussed hill repeat workout. This entails finding a hill approximately 5 km from my house and using the jog there as a warm up. I then proceed to look like maniac sprinting up the hill (normally for between 1-3 minutes) before jogging / walking back down to the bottom. After roughly 6-10 attempts (and several moments where I think passing out and rolling to the bottom would be easier) I will take a small break then use the jog home as recovery.

This workout would be specifically suited for improving my VO2max and increasing the amount of strength I have in my legs. In addition, running up hills forces you to lift your knees higher than when running on a flat course. This is very desirable for runners as we can pick up more strength / speed this way.

Not only have I found hill repeats to be of physical benefit, but there is a positive mental effect. Now when I run a race, I see each hill as a small challenge. I remember the times I ran up the same hill 10x in training and I know I have the power in my legs to take me up the hill as quickly as possible.

It is important to remember that when competing in a race, it would be very unusual to find a course which consists of ten equally sized hills. It is more likely that you will face several prolonged uphill segments which sap your energy. This is why I try to incorporate the odd hill into all my types of training. After all – variety is the spice of life… or something like that :s

Note : Remember not to push yourself too hard when trying out a new training method. Start with a lower amount of reps and build up slowly.

Also : I found this on another blog (Ive forgetten which blog – Im so sorry…)

Once in a blue moon

I thought it was brilliant – hope you can relate 😀

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Two Castles

On Saturday, entry opens for my favourite race of the year: the Two Castles Run between Warwick Castle and Kenilworth Castle.

It would also appear to be everyone else’s favourite run because places sell out with about 3 hours!!

The website describes it as a ‘Ten kilometre run between two of England’s most beautiful castles’. They are not wrong. It is a winding hilly course through some beautiful countryside which makes a pleasant change from my normal inner city training routes.

Check out the course elevation below :

2 castles

My official result from 2013 was 00:49:29

I have recently ran a sub 45 minute 10K so I am hoping to replicate that in a race environment (If not better it!)

I will post more information about the two castles race nearer to the event but if you have thought about entering before and not got round to it, I strongly urge you to get up early on Saturday and enter.

What’s your favourite race?

Do you prefer a quick course or a scenic course?

My New Running Partner

This weekend, I met my new running partner for the first time…

I was so excited to hear the doorbell ring and couldnt wait to go for a run.

Yes I am talking about my new Garmin Forerunner 210.

Boxed Garmin forerunner 210

I took it to Parkrun on Saturday morning but hadnt got it quite figured out (Basically I ballsd up the start of the race and instantly gave up trying)

So today I took it on its first 10K. It found the sattelites very quickly and gave me all the information I wanted to know. I cannot fault it at all.

First 10K with a Garmin below : not too shabby…

garmins first day out

I cant wait to try some longer runs with it this week!

Recently, Chloe wont let me have my shake in the mornings without also shaking it. She is very helpful.

chloe shakes

Also – check out the mini cheese biscuits with cheese spread I had yesterday. Amazing.

cheese crackers

Do you use a Garmin or another brand of GPS device?

Do you use Strava or another brand of fitness tracking software / app?

Hope you had a good weekend of running!

Dont forget to log your Jantastic runs!

Mid-Week Magic

My previous post discussed how I found running music and coupled with a focus on cadence I was able to run a few PBs midweek.

Recently, I have focussed on speedwork and hill repeats. It had been a while since I really pushed myself so felt on Wednesday night, equipped with an army of running songs, I would see what I had in me. Like a pulse check on my training to date…

A quick mention that I have also taken up spinning classes to which I attribute a lot of the credit for my times below.

10Mile Times

For those that cannot view the picture:
1 mile : 00:06:49
5K : 00:21:45
10K : 00:44:02 PB
15K : 01:06:52 PB
10 miles : 01:11:41 PB

To say I am pleased is an understatement…

Now I need to carry on with my plan and introduce a bit more core work over the coming weeks.

Have you signed up for any races?

How is your training going?

What’s your main motivation?

Cadence, Music and PBs

Recently, the topic of cadence has been cropping up when I have conversations with friends about running. To be honest, when the word was first used, I didn’t even know what it meant…

Cadence : is the total number of ‘revolutions per minute’ (RPM), or the number of full cycles taken within a minute, by the pair of feet, and is used as a measure of athletic performance. It is very similar in respect to cadence in cycling; however it is often overlooked in its importance in the sport of running.

I have do a speed workout every week and over the past few weeks have been trying to increase my footfall so I reach a higher count. Then, through measuring my own times seeing what effect it had on my performance.

But what ‘RPM’ should I be running at?

According to Jack Daniels, 180 steps per minutes is the Holy Grail. This is the target that athletes should aim for in order to achieve an RPM which will reduce the landing shock and provide a more efficient use of energy.

My first experience of 180 steps per minute came on my 5K Parkrun attempt last week (see : Parkrun PB). I started with a short sprint to get into some space near the front and in my head began counting… 1 Mississippi… 2 Mississippi… 3 Mississippi

By aiming for 3 steps per second I would (roughly) achieve the 180 steps per minute required.

The positive to this : I ran my fastest 5K ever. A new PB!

The negative side : wow… counting Mississippi over and over again in my head is draining. And dull…

I had heard that some runners listen to music of a certain BPM (Beats Per Minute). This would allow their strides to fall in time with the beat (which would be at approx 180BPM). This would allow me to subconsciously fall in line with a stride pattern that would be in line with my goal.

And so I tried it… I created a playlist using JogTunes and headed out for a run. I wanted to go for a race pace 10 mile run as it was almost 1 month before my half marathon (I also wanted to listen to all the songs I had selected!).

I found the first mile quite tough. I am a slow starter when it comes to running and like to ease myself into the tempo, but the pace of the music was teasing my legs into moving a little quicker than normal at this point. As I passed the 5 mile mark, I suddenly became aware that I was on for a decent time and my legs were feeling quite spritely for a Wednesday night. So on I pushed, feet still falling in time with the music, occasionally scaring passers by as I sang shouted the lyrics to the playlist below.

Fast forward to the end of my run… PBs. Lots of PBs. I was over the moon. I had somehow found the motivation to get me through a tough run, and come through it in record time!

Now, I’m not suggesting improving your cadence will result in PBs instantly. I have been putting a lot of work into running recently and this was my first test for quite a while to gauge my ability. But I would highly recommend thinking about cadence and how you can reach the legendary 180PM.

I will publish my times in a separate post and will also write about my new running partner.

Cadence

Keep yourself busy checking out my playlist…

N*E*R*D : Rock Star
Five Becomes Four : Yellowcard
If I Had Eyes : Jack Johnson
99 Problems : Jay-Z
Imma Be : Black Eyed Peas
Show Me How To Live : Audioslave
R.O.O.T.S : Flo Rida
Monkey Wrench : Foo Fighters
Feel Good (The Prototypes Remix) : Modestep
Bye Bye Bye : N Sync
Of All The Gin Joints In All The World : Fall Out Boy

What would your ideal running playlist be?

Which song makes you want to push harder when running?

Yasso 800s

Last summer, I first heard about Yasso 800s and thought it sounded like a great way to try and prepare for my first marathon. I was already doing a long weekly run, some fast 5ks and hill repeat training so this could be the speedwork supplement I was looking for.

My personal experience was extremely positive and I found myself getting faster and I also enjoyed the running my Yasso loop (I can get quite competitve, even against myself!).

Since last summer, I have read several articles in support of Yasso 800s and several which do not believe the hype around this type is training is warranted.

After rummaging around on the web, here are a few artciles for and against the Yasso…

What is a Yasso 800?

Thanks to the folks at mcmillanrunning, here is a very simple explanation of what they entail:

“The theory behind Yasso 800s is that your time in minutes and seconds for a workout of 10 times 800 meters (two laps of the track) with equal recovery time is the same as the hours and minutes of your marathon time. For example, if you can run 10 times 800 meters in three minutes and 20 seconds with three minutes and 20 seconds recovery, then this predicts that you can run three hours and 20 minutes for your marathon. Run 2:40 for the 800s and you can run 2:40 for the marathon”

In my experience (and from discussing this with other runners) it’s better to aim slightly quicker, for example: If I want to run a 3:30 marathon aim for a 3:25 Yasso.

What are the pros behind Yassos?

This is a very easy piece of training to fit into your schedule. Find yourself an 800m loop and run it at the desired pace.

It’s very simple and personally I have found after 5/6 loops my legs start to really feel it! Speed work isn’t an exercise I particularly enjoy but these make the most of a tough evening.

What are the cons behind Yassos?

Perhaps for shorter distances the principle of Yassos can be applied more accurately, but those training for longer distances, such as a marathon, may be better served by doing longer repeats (i.e 1600m).
You may also be conned into performing a particularly quick first half to a marathon, only to find the second half a very difficult and tiring struggle.

Will I be running Yassos?

Absolutely, whilst the evidence is there for and against Yassos, it’s a type of training I enjoy and helps me to better myself at shorter distances. I will be doing them every week for the next 8 weeks leading up to the Warwick Half Marathon. Perhaps I can judge their effectiveness based on how I perform?

By ensuring I put in some longer distance runs (with a few sprint finishes) then I hope to have the basis to beat my current PB.

Do you do a different speed workout?

What are your thoughts on Yassos?

Junk Miles

Can there really be a benefit to running without a specific fitness goal? After a gruelling session of hill repeats and a well-deserved sleep. Is there any evidence to support going for a gentle run to tick the mileage over?

I have read many blogs / articles which suggest that there is no positive contribution to running fitness and performance by completing such an exercise. That a run of this calibre ‘doesn’t count’ because there is no challenge in this…

What’s wrong with clocking up the miles and going for a long Sunday morning run? It’s always nice and quiet and I find it quite relaxing to escape on these runs.

I don’t particularly view any miles as ‘junk miles’. Every time I go out for a run, I feel proud of myself. It leaves me with a sense of wellbeing and pushes me on to achieving my running goals.

In my opinion, (as someone completely unqualified to give advice), speed workouts are very important to running faster times. They are my absolute must in training. As long as I can complete these workouts with 100% effort – there is no junk…

In addition, I would hasten to add that ultimately, I run to keep healthy (and to enjoy food without guilt). I would never criticise someone whose primary goal is running to keep healthy.
I suppose, what I’m trying to say is:

1 : Enjoy your running. We all do it for different reasons
2 : If you want to get faster, fit in your speed sessions
3 : Make sure you can take something from a run, on either a personal or physical level (Otherwise you could fall out of love with running)

Let me know your thoughts :

Junk Miles : What are they to you?
What’s your favourite run session?Mine are probably hill repeats (Crazy right?)

6 Questions…

Ok, I was a little bored but found these on FueledbyLOLZ

Where were you born?
Easy… Coventry

What is the most unique place you’ve been?
Amsterdam… A strange place

What is your favorite type of workout? (running, yoga, p90x..)
Running : Hill Repeats. I always feel proud once I have finished them

What is your favorite food?
Toughest question ever… Pizza / Chinese / Sausages / Steak… I could go on…

What are your plans this weekend?
4th anniversary of Coventry Parkrun so I will be attending dressed in my Iron Man Onesie!

Do you have any February Plans or Goals?
I have drafted a schedule of my training runs (which I hope I can stick to). These lead me up to a half marathon on 23/03. I also intend on trying out some local spinning classes.

Feel free to copy the questions and post a link to your blog in my comments so I can check them out!

– – – –
Where were you born?

What is the most unique place you’ve been?

What is your favorite type of workout? (running, yoga, p90x..)

What is your favorite food?

What are your plans this weekend?

Do you have any February Plans or Goals?
– – – –

Parkrun

Last night I tweeted / blogged about “the rain” (to be pronounced in an ominous voice…).

A few people got back to me telling me to brave it commenting that once your out running its not a problem. So today I took that advice and immediately retreated back inside. Only joking. I went to my local 5k Parkrun in the rain and after running a 23:18 I returned home looking like the monster from the Black Lagoon. Muddy is an understatement.

So in response to those comments last night. I agree. Its not that bad when your out in the rain. Dress appropriately and it shouldn’t be a problem.

The downside… I now have to clean my trainers (volunteers welcome).

image

To reward myself for my triumph over Mother Nature. I enjoyed a Starbucks with a Jam and Coconut Sponge. Wow. Just wow.

image

Tomorrow I’m hoping to run over 10k for the first time in 3 months. Wish me luck (or sunshine)…

The Rain

Sometimes I find it difficult to go for a run. Maybe I’ve had a long day at work and want my bed. Perhaps its another one of those occasions where I want to indulge in a bucket of KFC (not a pretty sight…). But there is one thing I cannot stand. It demotivates every part of me. Rain. The wet stuff falling from the sky. Rain.

So tonight I failed to complete. In fact, I failed to start a 10k. I feel bad. Not that bad. But still a little guilty.

Any tips on motivation, leaving the house or waterproofing myself?

Help…