Health

BHF Warwick Half Marathon

I did it…

Target Time : 01:42:00
Chip Time : 01:36:44
A new Half Marathon PB!

Results link – http://www.chipresults.co.uk/

Wow – that was a tough race.
I have never ran so many hills before in my life.
You can see the elevation in the below picture with my mile splits.

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Screenshot_2014-03-24-16-41-28

I started off really well, hitting a 21 minute 5k and to be honest I was feeling really good at this point. Then my headphones stopped working. Not a big problem, but the music helps me to keep my cadence at 180bpm when my mind wanders throughout a race. Still – worse things could happen.

Towards the half way mark I started to struggle. The hill climbs weren’t too bad. I’m used to them. Running downhill was started to take its toll on my quads. I could feel the ache throughout each downhill segment.

I had one approx. target in my head for the race. I wanted to hit the 10 mile mark on roughly 71 minutes. I was about 600m off that point which was not too bad considering there were some long downhill stretches to come.
But again, they were wiping my quads out. After mile 12 it was a downhill sprint which flattened towards the finish. But I was spent, with no energy left to sprint the final hundred metres.

Despite the negatives above, I ran a PB and was incredibly pleased with my time. I also had a bit of a stomach bug so perhaps I could shave a little more off on another day.

BHF Half - smiley1

You might notice I have replaced my strained, agonizing expression for a smiley face. It would be nice if I could cross a finish line that smiley. But I can’t. It not physically possible!

I had my first coffee in a week to celebrate the PB – this is nearly as incredible as my PB. Coffee helps me live…

Did you race this weekend?

Do you have a favourite post run treat?

How photogenic are you race pictures?
I look like I am dying a slow agonizing death – and they are the pictures from the first 5k

Warning – Blog Imminent

You may have noticed that I have been a bit quiet on the blog in the past couple of weeks. A small large part to that is laziness; the rest is down to actually running (ish).

As it has been a while since my last blog I have done two posts which will follow this. One which describes the two weeks prior to the half marathon, and one which describes the race and results.

I know there were a lot of races this weekend so let me know how you got on… Any PBs out there??

Also, I haven’t neglected the twitter machine, so if you missed me – follow me

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 😀

Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn

A quick post to say I have just finished “Running with the Kenyans: Discovering the secrets of the fastest people on earth” by Adharanand Finn.

This was the first book about running I have read (I have been reading a lot more now I have an E-Reader).

The book was a great read from start to finish. From the decision to pack his bags and move his whole family to Kenya to running the great Lewa marathon. All the characters he meets along the way make you smile and the small running tips the book provides give a continuous insight into the secrets of running a marathon.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in running and the sacrifice people make to be the best.

running with the kenyans

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?)

Supplements

Since I first began to take a more serious interest in my health, I’ve heard people whispering in corners, obviously plotting and scheming to take over the world, discussing how to mug old ladies and worst of all… talking about supplements!

That’s right. Supplements. To some people a dirty word linked to the world of performance enhancing drugs and cheating. In other circles they are used to supplement diets. In my world, they are used to recover and provide health benefits which *may* help with my running.

I use may because despite using some products for several years, its difficult to attribute all the success to the supplement.

To clarify, I think the most effective way to lose weight, build muscle, get stronger / faster / fitter is hard work. As a runner, this means putting in the miles coupled with decent speed work. The supplements (for example whey protein) help me to take on what is required to help my body recover. This way I can run more often (because runners are crazy and want to run more… Right?).

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Supplements + Running = Cheesy picture.

So what supplements do I take?

To be honest. I dont take many on a regular basis but I will discuss the benefits of what I do.

Please comment with your thoughts. Many people have differing beliefs on this subject and I welcome everyone’s opinion.

Protein

For general use, whey protein is a great way of providing your body with healthy nutrition. It is low in fat, carbohydrates, lactose and cholesterol and helps to keep you fuller for longer, reducing cravings for sugary foods! I have a scoop of protein mixed with water each morning. It helps me start the day and (although this may be all in my head!) it genuinely does help to reduce my cravings.

After long and/or intensive runs I also have a scoop of protein. I definitely notice a reduced recovery period when I do this and this is the main reason for my use of this supplement.

Creatine

The research on creatine has been extensive – studies have shown that creatine supplementation in increases lean body mass, strength, power and repeated sprint ability.

I notice that after a few weeks of use,my legs do feel more powerful. I find myself striding up hills which previously filled me with dread. I did initially have concerns that this may increase the size of my muscles (which was definitely not my intention) but by keeping my mileage up I have not noticed any increase in muscle mass.

I am aware that this is a supplement which is normally associated with gym monkeys who are equipped with arms disproportionate to the rest of their body. But my experiences have not left me with the upper body of Stallone… Yet.

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Dont mess with John Rambo.

Beta Alanine

Using Beta Alanine will help increase the production of Carnosine. This is vital to athletes as Carnosine can increase the ability of your muscles to work harder and perform for longer. It may also prevent lactic acid build up during intense exercise, thus reducing fatigue.

I have only recently started taking this and it can give you quite an uncomfortable tingling sensation all over your body (I mean ALL OVER your body!). I recently read an interview with Mo Farah who listed this as a key supplement alongside protein (If I can find the link to the article I will update the blog).

What are your thoughts on supplements?

If any, what do you take?

Change of subject…

I’m looking for some healthy meals which are suitable for freezing.

Any freezer friendly meal suggestions would be very welcome!!

A New Year

I have been running for over a year but struggle to couple that with a healthy lifestyle.

There is one problem. One delicious, tasty and amazing problem. Food.

Food to me is a hobby. Just like running. This brings be nicely back to the point of my blog… More run, less eat.

I am aiming to post at least weekly but I may surprise myself if it proves easy to blog off my phone.Enjoy!