2015 Weekly Summary – Week 06

Number of Runs: 3

Total Distance: 45.2 km

Total Time: 4h 7m

Average Moving Pace: 5:28 min/km

Total Ascent: 315m

Summary: So, first week of Feb. Had a bit of time for last week to sink in. My response? What happens when the headwind strengthens? You grit your teeth and go all out! So this week I’ve spread the net. Monday – Joined the gym. Tuesday – Went for a hill run with Town and Country Harriers. Wednesday – did some proper drills and speed work on track with Bristol & West AC. And then I wrapped it up on Saturday with an 8k PB followed by hill sprints! Hit. Back. Harder.

The only problem is my calves. They feel like they have been ripped to shreds, malfunctioning! I’m not sure I can carry on at this intensity if I don’t get them sorted. BUT! Welcome to the next level. Shit just got serious in a practical way. The biggest boost is having a gym to go to for cross training and some more structured training with Bristol and West. This should hopefully start to level the playing field.


Run 164 – B&WAC WISE Pyramids

Date:  Wednesday 4th February 2015 6:30pm

Distance: [2.1] + 7.3 [+ 4.0] = 13.2km

Time: [12:03] + 14:54 intervals only [+ 24:35] = 51:32

Pace: [6:01] + 3:37 [+6:09] = 3:54 min/km

Description: After getting changed at work, it’s a gentle 2k jog with the hoodie and Camelbak rucksack to WISE track. Turn up early, and the guys on reception suggest I go round the back where the track is. I’m there, but no one else is around. Then an older chap turns up, who turns out to be Chris, the gentleman who sent me the email after Aztec West 5k inviting me along.

We have a good chat, telling me about the lie of the land with regards to other clubs (particularly Westbury). Happy for people to come along from any club or not and pay the £2 to support the use of the track. Happy, as long as there’s no poaching or hypocrisy. Sounds fair.

Other people slowly turn up, it’s not a huge group, but he introduces me to each person as they arrive, which is really nice. There’s a sub20 group, but considering the 21k I did last night and how I’m feeling, I’ll start with the 20-25 group.

The warm up exercises are just what I’ve been after, something more structured. And it helps, because it’s bloody cold tonight with a slight breeze that goes right through you. After that it’s simply 400m, 800m, 1600m, 800m, 400m intervals with 400m recovery in between. Unfortunately I haven’t got the Garmin optimised for intervals, and hence only recorded the speed sessions and not recovery. Full distance was 7.2km including track warm up and cool down and recovery laps. Each lap is 400m.

[400m 1m26s 3:35/km]

[800m 2m56s 3:40/km]

[1600m 6m14s 3:54/km]

[800m 3m03s 3:49/km]

[400m 1m15s 3:08/km]

I really enjoyed it. I found the recovery laps perhaps too leisurely at first, but I wasn’t at the front, just trying to keep up with the front runners. Particularly remember a great battle on last 200m. And the pace trace is very telling! I sped up and over took one chap. Then, as we enter the corner he seems to take back the place. My trace clearly shows a sharp drop in pace, as if I’m giving up once I see him overtaking me. This out-psyching often happens during the end of races. Fascinating. But then when we rounded the corner to the final straight I had to give it my all.

Running, focusing on a point far in the distance, arms swinging, head and chest up, trying to kill thought and emotion in order to run faster, further. The legs are robotic, and what’s left is becoming too. Faster! Accelerate! Faster! I start to overtake him. I’m not letting up. Accelerating. It’s like the end of Blaise again. Come on! I shoot past the finish line ahead. Too fucking right! I stop the Garmin. Damn good pace on that one. I feel the time killer rising up in me again, blood boiling. It is in THIS moment, that I’ll become faster in training. I NEED this competitiveness. Racing is the best sort of training, as is being demonstrated!

I tell the guy well done and thank him for a tough finish. Any runners that I passed I said well done in the SRC tradition. Jogging around on the cool down, it was nice to hear feedback on SRC how we cheer on runners from all clubs, particularly at the Towpath.

The chap is also telling me some really interesting stuff, particularly about the possibility of joining Bristol & West as my second club. Any races where Southville have a team, I’d enter under Southville. But if not, such as the Gwent and Midlands Leagues, I could be competing with Bristol and West. That would be fun! It was also interesting to hear that Bristol and West train on a Monday at Whitehall, Tuesday and Thursday at Combe Dingle and Wednesday at WISE. Hang on. Yup, apparently it’s Bristol & West coaches taking the interval sessions on a Thursday at Combe Dingle. Other clubs are welcome to use them of course, and do, it seems. Noted!

So, post Aztec, February is bringing a new phase on the war on time. Even more determination and focus, gym membership and recovery swims, track sessions with Bristol and West, hills with TACH. Thinking back to all those positive comments I received following my first sub20 5k, they were very similar to things I first thought when I first started seeing sub20 race results. “Fuck that’s fast!” “How is that even possible?” I’ve just to think back to how I thought exactly that about a 1:43 half marathon time…just before I smashed that by 5 minutes. It’s just a function of time and effort!

Happy with tonight’s session for starters, considering the 21km last night and how unfresh my legs are! Despite the perceived effort tonight, the heart rate says otherwise. Remember, if it’s not 100% anaerobic, I’m obviously not trying hard enough! Go hard, or go home! Next week, I’ll change to a Monday run with a Tuesday recovery (swim/yoga or gentle SRC run?) before I’ll go with the faster group next Wednesday. I wanna see those times fall! According to Chris, if I want to be sub40, I need to be running a 5k in 19:25. Sub32 8k, Sub18 5k.

Gentle 4k jog back to Patchway. Legs and feet huurrt! Recovery day tomorrow I think before this all catches up with me.


Run 165 – Brighton 8k

Date:  Wednesday 4th February 2015 6:30pm

Distance: 8.0 + 4.0 = 12.0km

Time: 32:43 + 23:05 = 55:48

Pace: 4:05 + 5:47 = 4:39 min/km

Description: Got in to Brighton last night and watched Ex Machina. Good film, but not sure I enjoyed the ending. It’s a cold night, but still and I have plenty of layers. I decide to walk back along the top of the seafront, watching the moon on the sea…and thinking…thinking. I get to the marina and decide to check the height and distance of the ramp down to the east end of the marina. It’s 200m and descent of 20m. That was at half midnight.

Today, after helping to sort through my late mothers things with my brother, being tired and with it being cold outside, I was not at all fired up for this run. To make it worse, my calves are still iffy. They have niggles all over the place, with the occasional spasm in the odd spot. They are not fresh and healthy.

The marina wall is closed, so I warm up under the cliff behind the marina. I start walking, then a gentle jog, then a quick burst, back down slow, then back to a walk. My calves are not going to enjoy this. It’s only 4k out, but it still seems daunting to be about to run 4k away from home along the coast. Lets get this over with.

I start out and try to get a good balance of being steady and being quick. The pace is over 4:00/km, so I certainly haven’t achieved the 3:50 I usually start my fast Brighton runs with. First km down, 4:04/km. OK, need to speed up. 4:07/km on the next. Damnnit I’m slowing. Oh well. Just focus, keep at it and it’ll be over soon. 4km. Thank God I can turn now and get home! 5k and time is…woah 20:36! Only 12 seconds slower than my perfect Christmas 5k. Okay, maybe I can actually do this. I focus. And I push. There’s quite a few people out today, families and other runners. But I’m not out on a jog, I’m here to do a job. If I look shit and that I’m hating this, it’s because I need to be fast. Am I anywhere near getting a sub32 8k or a sub40 10k anytime soon? What will happen when I get past 5k at this pace, will my body just give out? The next few km are not sub4, but close enough for this to be close. I make it to 7km, the marina seems so near but this is feeling tough, but if I can force myself to push more on this final km. I’m aiming for 32mins. That comes, and goes. But I reach 8km only 43secs later.

I need to do the 8k along Weston Prom in under 32minutes, and I’ve done it today in Brighton in 32:43. What’s more, I did those 8km with a faster pace that I did the 5km at Christmas. Maybe if I’d have carried on to 10k, I would have been just under 41mins, which would be close! An extra 2km after 8 doesn’t seem like an impossibility. If the race boost effect works even half as well as it did at Aztec, I’ll be sub32. Surely it can’t be too long before I get my sub40 10k?! Come ON! I CAN DO THIS!

Comparison in HR effort between running 5k at 3:55/km pace and 8k at 4:05/km pace. Looking at around 7bpm.

An amazing result after how unconvinced I felt before starting. I’ve got my head on the wall and arms behind my head, gasping for air. But I want more! Those hill sprints are calling. So only a few short minutes after my 8k run I’m running up this road, 200m with 20m ascent. Apparently that’s only 7% gradient, but seems a lot more. I do five, which takes todays distance to 10km. But I need the ascent, so do another 5 to make it up to 200m ascent. I’m gasping when I reach the top. But I’m satisfied with today. Good work legs. As a reward you get a cold bath. Nooo…… But even after that, my calves are so painful to touch, that foam roller is killing me. Days after, my calves are not having a great time.

Brighton Hill Reps
Nice and steady increase and decrease in HR up and down hill.



Run 163 – TACH Purdown Moonlighting

Date:  Tuesday 3rd February 2015 6:45pm

Distance: 7.7 + 7.4 + 5.5 + 1.0 = 21.6 km

Time: 37:24 + 45:53 + 27:32 + 6:50 = 1:57: 39

Pace: 4:51 + 6:12 + 5:00 + 6:50 = 5:27 min/km

Description: Was planning on an SRC Towpath “race” tonight, or maybe just see what was there when I got down there. However, after recently joining the TACH Facebook group, a post about an evening head torch run around Purdown hills sounded brilliant. Something a bit different.

Run out to Purdown, was trying to be fast, but still too damn slow! But the heart rate never lies, and obviously wasn’t high enough! The run was different, past Little Stoke, past Parkway, round and through UWE, down the hill on Purdown. But under the motorway, this was familiar territory. Got there just before 7:20pm. No sign of anyone until 7:30pm. First run with TACH. Couldn’t resist the idea of a frosty headtorch run around the hills of Purdown. Reality didn’t disappoint. Small group of 4 to 5, great company. Fun exercises skipping up steps for balance. Some tough hill circuits. But running across the hills by moonlight, frost crackling underfoot, the city lights shimmering to the left: fantastic.

Attempt at fast run back. Felt more awake, but it’s easier when you’re going slightly downhill. Still ended up being stupidly slow. 1km cool down from the gym. Not swimming tonight, prefer the idea of a foam roller, dinner and bed!




Date:  Monday 2nd February 2015 7:15pm

Distance: 510m

Time: 20mins

Pace: 39:13/km

Description: What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. More determined than ever. February, joined the gym, went for a swim. Active recovery Monday. Beats resting. I’m a crap swimmer, so at this stage happy with 20mins and 34x15m lengths (510m total). Followed by ten minutes of “running”, which was difficult in such a shallow pool, and 10mins in the hot tub. Feel amazing! And probably the least self-conscious I’ve ever felt swimming. Hopefully this will be a regular Monday recovery swim and hope to fit in another one on a Friday. Great stuff!

Run 162 – Greenman Patchway Blaise Ashton

Date:  Sunday 1st February 2015 10:00am

Distance: 23.84 km

Time: 2:28: 54 [2:19:43 moving]

Pace: 6:14 [5:52 moving] min/km

Description: After a bit of negotiation, my originally planned Greenman Blazer (Patchway – Blaise Blazer Route – Patchway) simply became the Greenman Patchway – Blaise – Ashton route when Darran and Mark got onboard.

Following a bit of a mix up with bus stops, we’re making final adjustments before we’re off. As we set off, there’s some very interesting conversations regarding Fridays Beep test (which I didn’t go to in the end).

Over the M5, the muddy hill is relatively dry and easy to descend. I soon find out that initially, my “map” (Google Earth satellite print out, isn’t as good as an OS map! The fields all look the same. There’s a few wrong turns, but before long we’ve got to the juicy Spanorium hill, and I’m glad to see Mark isn’t walking this; I need the exercise up the hills. Overall the pace is good, not stupidly slow, and not too fast as to kill me. So comfortable. I’d still like a cross country run where I really go for it. But that wasn’t today. I suppose that’s why Blaise is there!

Talking of Blaise, Mark route differed slightly from the one we took on NYE. We follow it pretty well. It’s great to be running across Blaise again, can’t wait to get cracking on that course. Up over the back, and another plentiful supply of useful conversations on ultras, ice baths, recovery, training etc.

Ultra tip is to take a re-sealable bag, and at the stations grab a load of stuff, put it in the bag and eat as you walk the up hills. Also, apparently I need to be anerobic for the WHOLE of my 5k and 10k, not just half of it! He also tries to swim once a week.

Mark says he’s found real benefit of ice-baths after a hard run or race, and so have a lot of people. Talking to my friend Hayden last night, he swears by them as well. Looks like a cold bath for 10mins is perfect, followed by a warm shower. Mark also suggested doing something to distract you, like looking at your phone of GPS laps. More on that later…

There’s some beefy hills getting up to the Downs, but I manage to keep up well with Mark, and I enjoy listening to his story of how he won the Little Stoke Park Run. Once we’re on the downs and at around 17km, my legs are starting to feel a little tired around the knees but energy level and spirit are surprisingly high! Over the bridge, and it’s very windy, through the deer park, past the Greenman and through Bedminster. Mark veers off to home and Darran and me carry on. Then, I run past the RUNBS3 t-shirt shop and stop dead n my tracks. I go in and buy a small black t-shirt for £15, and then get back on the road running. Darren veers left home and I carry on, making it to the bus stop with 2mins to spare having done just short of 24k!

When I get home, I’m keen/dreading to try another cold bath. I have a foam roll before, managing my feet and calves. The back and sides below the knee seem very sore. When I get in the bath, this time I have my sealskinz socks to keep my feet less painfully cold. A bit more water to cover my legs better. It’s still agony at first, the sock really help with the initial shock. A hot chocolate and a browse of my Strava route later, I’m doing okay if I relax the legs, they shake. If I tense them a bit, they shake much less. 11mins goes, and it seemed a bit easier than the first time. I get out. Having accidently run a full hot tank before, thinking it was cold, there’s no hot water for a hot bath afterwards. The legs are cool, but it’s quite nice once you’re out and the top of you is still warm. I let them dry out naturally and were still cool during the warm shower. Not too unpleasant. Will see how I feel in a couple of days!


Run 161 – SRC Tear Away Ashton Blackout

Date:  Thursday 29th January 2015 6:30pm

Distance: 10.83 km

Time: 54:44 [53:16 moving]

Pace: 5:03 [4:56 moving] min/km

Description: Had enough of muddy fields and tarmac for this week. Heart wanted some hills and gravel tracks. Turns out I was the only one who did. So after starting out with another group, I had to pack it in and turn round. I think heart probably wanted to run alone tonight. Running at my own pace up to the top of Ashton Court through the deer park in darkness was what I needed. Avoiding puddles and hoping for no surprises. I reach the turning point once again. Full beam on for the stony descent.

Slower than hoped, legs burning up hill but with a push on the flat at the end. Very little energy tonight and maybe not the best stretching before. (Maybe that’s why the quads burn!)


Running. Hiking. Climbing