Tag Archives: hills

Run 166 – Team Athens Monday

Date:  Monday 9th February 2015 6:15pm

Distance: [2.11] + 9.1 [+ 2.51] = 13.72km

Time: [13:17] + 1:00:56 [+ 14:32] = 1:28:45

Pace: [6:18] + 6:46 [+5:48] = 6:28 min/km

Description: This was a great run! Got the bus down to the Arches and had a gentle jog up Redland Road up to Whitetree Roundabout and my friend Ella’s flat. Then after a change of shoes from road to “off-road” (you have to say that slowly in a deep), “off-road” shoes, a check of headtorches and we’re both out the door. Two-thirds of Team Athens warming up across the Downs.

Nervous about the timing, had hoped to be out and across the Downs before 7, but still, running down a dark corridor of trees with head torches and a friend is pretty damn cool. First challenge, Bridge Valley. To balance the effort, I say that I’m gonna jog to the bottom and run all the way up, but that as she jogs down and sees me coming up she should start running at that point. The idea being we should reach the top at a similar time having started a different places.

I wanted to get this done and be outta here as soon as possible so the jog down was actually a pretty fast run, using my arm and lamp post to swing me back up for the powered ascent. I’d gone past a couple of runners on the way down, so they are something to aim for on the way up. Adrenaline and fear fired me up that hill, felt like immense speed. I pass Ella who’s taking a photo of the Bridge and the first runner about halfway up. Oh crap, only halfway up and my minutes reserve of superboost is gone and power is dropping like a stone. And then comes the steep bit. I still don’t want to be caught out on this, so I grit the teeth and carry on. As I near the last bit I’m catching up with the runner in front. A mixture of relief to have made it nearly to the top, and shear sickening exhaustion, I lift off the gas down to a jog. I’m coasting behind this guy and only just overtake him right at the end.

Getting back and looking at this “Bridge Valley Road” STRAVA segment I realise I really should have powered through ALL THE WAY to the top until something exploded. It’s fun looking at the leaderboard and seeing familiar names from SRC with their best times.

“Bridge Valley Road” 3:08 at 4:23/km rank 35th.

“Bridge vally rd Lights to Tree at Top” 3:10 at 4:33/km rank 40th on 16th Dec 2014.

“Hill Climb” 1:30 at 4:14/km rank joint 18th on 16th Dec 2014.

The last one is particularly satisfying, but I’m also thinking that that was not tonight, but actually a few weeks ago doing Bridge Valley reps with SRC and co. If I REALLY give it everything, I can be faster. I’d probably pay for that later on in the climb, but that may help get my overall time closer to 3mins. That involves cutting the pace down to a 4:00/km UPHILL! Call it a long term project. The gradient profile is also saying the gradient in the last 150m is 30%. Not sure about that, but seems fun!

Anyways, back to the run, once I reach the top, I turn round to check how Ella’s doing. She’s doing well, good effort. After that it’s time to get a bit more technical, so it’s in to the woods along the undulating Greenman Path along the cliff top. Then it’s back on to the verge of the swirly road that takes you to the dodgy bit with doggers and the icecream van. Not sure if those two are connected.

Anyways, I find the entrance, as it were, to the deer park valley that does down to the Portway, with the railway tunnel air shaft halfway down. We get through the gate, and my eyes light up like a kid in a sweet shop. Yes, it’s steep! Yes, it’s technical. Yes, it’s slippery. PERFECT! We walk down carefully and assemble at the bottom gate, the road and river just ahead. We turn around and look up. This is crazy/fantastic. It reminds both of us of the steep bit at Cheddar Gorge. I let her start and go on a bit before I start. It’s probably best to keep people within sight, as this place is really flippin creepy! I run up, and it’s great fun. I can try to sprint and use short sharp bursts that really demand power from my legs, which needs to be built up if I want to achieve my long term goals. I get to the top gate and feel sick. Good work. Ella’s still got a bit of a way to go, so I jog back down just past her and again try a second hill sprint up. I love this place! But we’re both happy now to just get back home.

Across the Downs, there are some marked football pitches, so after catching my breath I’m restless again and try some sprints. Out ahead, and returning to make sure I keep with Ella. I think it’s a great way of sharing a run. And it’s cool to be so close to home and civilisation, but staying just so far away from the roads to need a headtorch makes it feel more like a trail run.

9km in total for me, followed by some amazing chilli made by Ella and then a cool down down hill jog (complete with awful stiches) down to the bus stop. Job. Is. A. Goodun! I think Liam will enjoy these Monday runs as well!

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!




Being a fan of all things industrial, an article name with “The PowerStation” is gonna catch my eye! As part of the STRAVA Workout of the Week, when I read the article, it fit very nicely with last week’s revelation that I’ve been neglecting my hills over speed!


The PowerStation: 10km, with 8×30-second hill sprints @95% effort, walk down.

So based on 5:00min/km, that would be roughly 100m, which would nicely fit the A38 hill outside work that I’ve been eyeing up! I’d like to up this to 250m with a jog back, ten times to cover 5km. Perfect for right after work!

I’ve also been scoping out other hills. Bridge Valley seems to be really good. There are steeper, more technical climbs, and some short but steep road hills around. Also some just over the motorway near the house, so plenty to choose from! Also need to get back in to Ashton Court Park Run! (Once I’ve bagged my sub20 5k!)

Bring on the hill sprints!