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Monthly Archives: December 2012

As its New Years Eve I couldn’t really let it pass without throwing i  some resolutions for the new year. Usual problem is to be realistic. It’s easy to end up with a list as long as your arm and see most forgotten within the first week.But here is a list of achievables which I am aiming for in 2013, all of which are based around running, although they may well have other life benefits as well.

  1. Lose weight. I will do a weigh in tomorrow and set a target weight to come down to. The bathroom scales (which I think are pretty accurate) showed me on 12 stone last week, which is 168 pounds or approximately 76kg. I am 5’11” tall (180cm), which doesn’t make me a porker, but I would run a fair bit quicker at 11st 7lb (73kg) and an ideal racing weight would be 11stone (70kg). So resolution number one is to hit 73kg by end January and aim to crack on towards the 70kg by March.
  2. Enter more races. At the moment I have the Brighton Half in February and Brighton Marathon in April and that’s it. Need to get in one or two more before the Marathon, including one long one, probably the Spitfire (20m) or Cranleigh 21m). Something to do tomorrow afternoon perhaps? And maybe a 10k in January?
  3. Keep to the schedule. Very easy to let “pressure of work”, “feeling slightly off colour” etc get in the way of training, especially with the dark nights and atrocious winter weather. It’s important to stick at it. Not necessarily every session on the plan – in real life you need to be versatile – but generally doing the right number and type of runs and miles over the week.

That’s it for me. I could add giving up alcohol, becoming a better person, writing my novel, moving to a smaller less time-consuming house, as personal objectives and then start in on business plans for 2013, but thats when it all starts to get silly. I think I’ll just stick to the measurable goals listed above and if I can follow those through, everything else will flow from there.

Good luck to all with their resolutions and let me wish you a happy New Year.

 

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It’s a well-known phrase or saying. “In the long run we will all be better off” is the sort of comment which trips off the tongue of Government Ministers, usually when they are trying to justify the parlous state the country is in now. Never mind that you can’t afford to eat, think of the feast that awaits once we have sorted out the current problems. The draw back with this argument was succinctly put by the great British economist John Maynard Keynes who quipped “In the long run we will all be dead”.

For runners the phrase has more literal meanings. It’s true that in planning for distance races a lot of what you do in early training is really for the benefit of the ultimate goal, the race itself. So its fair to say that the pain now will bear fruit in the long run. But usually we are just talking about running a long distance in training. Most marathon schedules have a long run as part of the programme, usually on a Sunday (On the basis that this is the day you are most likely to have the time to fit it in.) The key concepts behind this form of training are:

  1. By building up the long run distance week by week you can condition your body to running for long periods. On runs of 18 miles plus you tend to run out of usual glucose fuel supplies (Although there is a whole nutrition thing that you can look at to prevent this from happening) and start to burn fat, which is less efficient and causes pain. However if you run a number of 18 mile plus runs pre marathon, you can start to condition your body to accept that this is OK.
  2. Long slow runs build muscle and endurance.
  3. Psychologically you get to believe you can do the distances.

So today was my first long run at the end of a first week of training. The schedule said 8 miles. The group of us that met at the Pheasantry in Bushy Park had mixed objectives and speeds and most wanted to run less distance. We set out fairly slowly and ran across bushy Park to Kingston, then alongside the River to Hampton Court. On this stretch which is probably just short of 3 miles we started to spread out, but to keep the group together the front runners circled round and joined the back of the group every mile or so, then worked their way forward again. This way we all finished  more or less together and everybody had a chance to fulfill their objectives.

Back in Bushy Park I said goodbye to the group to add on a couple of additional miles to make the 8. Jackie, another marathon runner who is also doing Brighton, joined me and we ran another two miles or so chatting about marathon training. So, a pleasant first long run for the campaign, which will hopefully benefit us both in the long run.

Total distance 8.75 miles on my Garmin (including the back and forth running on the towpath). Total time about 1hr 23 minutes. Average pace 9.32, but faster in reality as this did not take account of various stops.

Week one marathon schedule called for a total of 24 miles over 5 runs. With the Christmas break I did six runs and 32 miles, but its felt OK and a good start. Next week I am down to run a similar mileage with a long run of 9 miles on Sunday.

The Richmond 13.1 Half Marathon has had another 26 entries over the weekend and is now up to 207. If you are looking for a spring marathon check us out at www.perseverance-events.com

 

 

 

 

Gathered with 64 other lycra clad souls on the banks of the Thames at Ham this morning, a stiff cold wind ripping over surging brown floodwater, I briefly reflected on the joys of winter running.

Its getting out thats the difficult bit. From indoors where it’s (hopefully!!) warm and snug, the external weather rarely looks inviting. Depending on the winter we are having it will probably be raining, bleak and grey, dark, windy or snowing (And sometimes a combination of the above). Rarely will it be cold and bright with a light blue sky and a watery sun shining through. Such days do occur and are magical, but pretty rare between December and February, the deepest winter months.

This years winter has been wetter than most and we have yet to see any significant snow in the south. In fact only a few weeks have seen frost and ice. This makes training fully possible. A few winters back running became almost but not quite iout of the question at this time of year with snow slush and ice for the first week of marathon training. That was a true test of resolve and ingenuity, finding routes that were actually runnable. The outer track around Richmond Park was brilliant on the first day of snow. By the second day it had turned into a dangerous rutted ice ring. December 2012 is all about mud and puddles and dodging the rain.

Todays Kingston Parkrun was no exception. Once underway I soon warmed up and overall it was not a bad run. The time was slow at 25.17, but although I’m going better now, its taken a while to recover from the calf injury and I need to work on speed. That said it was my best time on this course in two months (October 27th, 24.28). Hopefully by the New Year I will be getting back into the 24 minute band again.

The best thing about winter running is how damn good you feel after you have done it. Strip off the wet kit and get into a warm shower, sit down to a coffee and toast. Stretch out and enjoy the rest of the day. So remember, running in winter is rearely as bad as you think. Get on the right kit and go for it. It’s not winter running that’s the problem, just the anticipation.

Kingston parkrun #143. Time 25.17 (average pace 8.11). 24th place out of 65 runners, age grade 64.01%. My 176th park run to date.

Meanwhile the interest in the Richmond 13.1 Half Marathon continues to build and we now have 189 entries, 13 weeks before the race. See the website if you are interested and do spread the word!

 

 

 

Its very easy to get carried away with enthusiasm, and this time of year structure becomers tricky with holidays weirdly falling midweek. If you read the top tips blog I did recently you will see one of them is not to run two hard sessions back to back (on consecutive days). Another (and if its not there it should be!) is “Don’t up your mileage too quickly”.

About halfway round Bushy Park last night chasing a small pack of quicker runners from the Stragglers as they receeded into the darkness, pushing hard so as not to lose sight of them altogether, I found myself reflecting on these nuggets of running wisdom.

Not long back from an injury which was causing concern, this was now my third consecutive day’s running in the first week of marathon training. Yesterday was a 4 mile race and today will be getting on for six and I must be at around race pace! The calf is not niggling but a slight ache lets me know its there. I definitely should have more sense!

Fortunately all ends well. I catch the runners stretching outside Mark’s House in Wick Road which is conveniently located opposite the Lion, a good if marginally expensive Gastro pub buried in the side streets of Hampton Wick. We cool down and change before heading over the road for a good selection of ales. Mark likes Naked Ladies; I stick to a more traditional London Pride.

The conversation is varied and not all about running. Arthur is talking to me about time. Not in the sense of how long it takes to run a mile, but on a cosmic scale. If the Universe began x billion years ago, then what preceeded the big bang? Was there still time or did time start then? I suggested maybe looking for a start and finish was perhaps too limiting. Is looking for the start of time like trying to find the beginning of a circle (or more interestingly a sphere?)

Having forgotton the cardinal rules of running I at least remembered those of drinking and made a point of leaving after the third pint, probably just as well judging by a slightly erratic cycle back through Kingston, although in fairness not helped by my trouser let catching in the chain at various inopportune moments!

Rules are there to be broken and runners achiever personalities may push us to do so, but its wise to heed the Cardinal’s rules, particularly at this time of year.

A little slow to start after a very pleasant Christmas afternoon eating and drinking with the family. Today I was heading over to Twickenham for the club annual boxing day race – the Cabbage Patch 4. Registration was at the famous Cabbage Patch Pub near Twickenham station. Setting out later than planned I had a fairly brisk 4 mile cycle ride before arriving a10.50 for an 11 oclock start. I was not alone in setting out late and there was a queue for race numbers. Eventually everyone was registered and we jogged down to the river front at Twickenham just beside the Church. The good news was it was not raining and quite mild.

A field of around 85 runners took off and we were soon following the swollen waters of the Thames downstream towards Richmond Bridge. I got into a stride and overtook a few people and had a few come past me. Then the race settled and i don’t think there were any changes to my position in the second half, although I was running really hard over the last mile, convinced I would be caught and outsprinted on the run up to the finish. The course came up short on my watch at around 3.8 miles.

Afterwards I had a pleasant warm down run with Dave Olsen, probably .75 miles, so about 4.5 miles in total. We went back to the Cabbage Patch and had a pint and a chat. One of the traditions of the race is that everyone brings a wrapped present of approximately £3 value, which goes into a tub. I donated a large bar of Toblerone and came out with Ferrera Rochez, so a pretty fair swap. Then the four miles cycle back for lunch. Getting in some reasonable miles towards the first weeks marathon training tally. Entries continue to move steadily for the Richmond 13.1 with another 6 today making 161 to date. How many by March 31st?

No results available for the race, but my Garmin stats were 3.83 miles in 31.40. Average pace 8.15, with last 0.83 miles run at 7.53 pace.

Runners at start Bushy parkrun Christmas Day

Runners at start Bushy parkrun Christmas Day

Woke up around 7am while still pitch dark outside,but Stella said it was raining when she brought up a tray of tea. I had already decided to do the Christmas day park run in Bushy Park which is a real essential if you are in the area, so it was really a question of what to wear. By 8.37 when I left the house the rain had stopped but a steady stream of water was running down Kingston Hill. I was on my mountain bike with off road knobblies and no mubguards and was pretty soon wet with roadspray.

The centre of Kingston is quiet, although approaching the bridge the pealing bells from Kingston Church by the marketplace herald Chistmas morning. Over the bridge and into Bushy Park by St Johns Gate. I notice that the leaves have long gone along the avenue leading into the park proper, but beside the skatepark many pairs of shoes knotted together dangle from the bare winter branches.

As soon as I leave the path and start following tracks towards the Heron ponds I am cycling through mud and puddles and clean leggings become spattered with the wet earth. The sky turns ominously dark and the rain begins. By the time I reach the meeting point by the Diana Fountain car park it is raining heavily.. I park and lock the bike and stuff my jacket into the small rucksack I have carried, just in time to join the exodus across to the start by Chesnut Avenue.

Wearing trail shoes again proved a good shout. The grass is inundated after days of heavy rain and there is much mud on and alongside the path. Despite the weather and it being Christmas day (or I suppose for some of us that’s a really good reason to be there!) its a very well attended run with a crowd of 500 or so participants (actual confirmed figure was 670 finishers!). I go off well but lose places on the second half. Have I slowed down or are a lot of people just running negative splits?

The rain at 4k is now so hard I can barely see. Probably the worst conditions I have ever run in. At the finish chat to a few people but it’s not a day to hang around. I get the bike and cycle back to the Ham side of Teddington Lock where I left the People Carrier last night. Load the bike into the cavernous space of the Galaxy and drive home for a hot shower and an excellent breakfast. of scambled eggs on toast, crisp bacon and salmon.

I am then taken aback when the family decide that they do after all want to go for a swim at Hampton Open Air pool. This, along with the Carol service, is another Wedderburn family tradition. Liv plays a sick card but offers to clean and prepare for dinner. Alex asks to drive and weaves us down to Hampton Court. and on to the pool. Does he always drive like this or is he still pissed from last night? I am glad no breath tests are involved.

The pool is great. Pretty warm in the water, lots of people, good vibe. I haven’t swum in ages and feel pretty rusty, but put together five lenghts then chill with Alex and Vix.

So overall, by the time Alex has sketchily chauffered us back home in the Jag (does he have to steer the car with just one hand?) I am able to claim all three tri disciplines (Running, cycling and swimming) on Christmas morning, although its got to be said, not in full on race conditions. And a very merry Tri-Christmas to you too!

Bushy parkrun stats 25.12.12. My 175th parkrun in a time of 25.41. I cam 264th out of a field of 670 park runners and was 10th out of 20 V60 men.

The mountain bike is a fairly decent Marin I bought second hand after a season at club Vass windsurfing club, Lefkas, Greece. Great bike, but need to get the brakes looked at again despite a service at Evans earlier this year.

The people Carrier is an average Ford Galaxy, 2.3litre petrol engine, 5 speed manual, seven years old and 90,000 miles. Great workhorse and has done sterling service on the Welsh Castles, Green Belt Relay, Joggle 2011, Skye Cuillins expedition and River Relay.

The Jag is a 2001 Jaguar XJ8 with a 3.2 litre turbocharged petrol engine, auto box, and 118,000 on the clock. Beautiful car to drive. Not frugal on petrol but I bought it cheap and have had a great year with it to date.

Christmas day and still runners out there sorting out spring races. Five entries so far today, bringing total field at Richmond 13.1 Half Marathon to 155 to date!

Fortunately, being a Monday, Christmas Eve coincided with a rest day on my programme, so I didn’t have any running planned. Just as well because plenty of last minute preps for Christmas Day (Admit it, Christmas day really needs to be brilliant for all the effort that goes into it!)

In the evening the whole family (thats me, wife Stella and children Alex, Victoria and Olivia) all drove down to Ham and walked over the footbridge at Teddington Lock to the Parish Church of St Mary with St Alban for the five oclock crib service. We are not regular churchgoers but have been attending this service for 25 years since the birth of our first child Alex, and all three children were christened here. Its a very pretty church with a lot of history and worth taking a look regardless of faith.

Suitably uplifted, we then took a short walk to the nearby Anglers pub which sits on the river alongside the bridge. A large pub and very popular, with a big garden which fills up in the summmer. Next door is the smaller but also very worthwhile Tide End, a regular Thursday haunt for dissident Stragglers.

A couple of pints of London pride and then a bus to Teddington where our friends the Pages were hosting a Christmas Even drinks party. Very well attended, Interesting to see though how the dynamic changes. The “kids” are now all young adults,. The parents and all definitely into “middle age”. Stella and I left about 9pm and walked over Kingston Bridge and through the shopping centre past Bentalls to the bus stop, where we picked up an 85 which whisked us up Kingston Hill to home. Kingston was pretty quiet. A few lary youths having some sort of altercation at the bus stop but that was it.

Fell asleep on the sofa watching “The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo”. Read the books but not seen the movies. So all in all a good run up to Christmas and excellent rest day.