Will do fartlek for pie

I need to  tell you about a fabulous couple of days of running in Northumberland but I haven’t sorted the photos yet so for now – here’s today’s fartlek session. What possessed me to think it would be a good idea to do this after a night in Manchester with theatre and wine and a day looking at the People’s History Museum fuelled by mostly coffee and cake? Nutter! However, I will run for rhubarb and apple pie and it seems I will even do fartlek for that! I had a bit of a meltdown in the 4 minute section and briefly stopped and then got my act together and got on with the job (slowing down a little on the 5 minute section might help with that!). Quite happy with this really – previous attempts in brackets

  • 10 minute warm up: 11:47 (12.27, 12.20, 12.43 pace);
  • 5 minutes:  9.43 (10.37, 10.26, 10.27);
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 4 minutes: 10.50 (10.30, 10.11, 10.18) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 3 minutes: 10.11 (11.03, 9.56, 10.18) pace;
  • (then 5.5 minute rest);
  • 2 minutes: 9.51 (10.17, 8.56, 9.52);
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 1 minute 30secs: 9.07 (9.41, 9.09 ,9.47) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 1 minute: 9.01 (8.41, 9.28, 9.29) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 30 seconds: 8.03 (7.39, 9.17, 8.37)  pace;
  • 1 minute rest
  • 30 seconds: 7.49 (7.38, 8.28, 7.39) pace.
  • 10 min cool down 12.34 (14.23, 14.17,15.16) pace

Overall 4.24 miles and an average of 12.08 pace  –  and coming home to this (made by Kath) wasn’t at all bad!


Hills and speed and some continuous running

So I managed to get out in spite of the ice the other day but then Monday and Tuesday there were the usual excuses – to dark, too tired, too late now, too full from food.

Wednesday I got home earlier so we went for a run. We went uphill. Up up up towards Ilkley Moor. I forget how relentless it is but Kath took us from landmark to landmark run/walking. My calves held up ok but were tight by the time we got to the top. We turned round and ran all the way back down. It’s a lovely run down. It’s undulating but down all the way if that makes sense. It means that I can run faster than I usually do and sustain it for longer which helps me get used to what a higher pace actually feels like. It was a good session.

Thursday we did our speed work for the week. I don’t like speed work. I find it mentally really hard. I’m actually sure I could physically run faster but somehow I can’t make myself sustain it. Most types of speed work make me really miserable and grumpy. However, the runners world fartlek session which I have blogged about before is sort of ok. This was the 4th time I’ve done it. I could feel the hills in my legs from the day before and I was quite tired. I was fairly sure my pace would be awful. I was therefore pleasantly surprised that I was actually in line with previous attempts. With some more consistent running, hill, speed and strength work I may even improve a bit! (previous attempts in brackets)

  • 10 minute warm up:  12.46 (12.27,12.20, 12.43 pace);
  • 5 minutes: 10.35 (10.37,10.26, 10.27);
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 4 minutes: 10.09 (10.30, 10.11, 10.18) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 3 minutes: 10.23 (11.03, 9.56, 10.18) pace;
  • (then 5.5 minute rest);
  • 2 minutes: 9.37 (10.17, 8.56, 9.52);
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 1 minute 30 secs: 9.05 (9.41, 9.09 ,9.47) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 1 minute: 8.50 (8.41, 9.28, 9.29) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 30 seconds: 7.54 (7.39, 9.17, 8.37)  pace;
  • 1 minute rest
  • 30 seconds: 7.36 (7.38, 8.28, 7.39) pace.
  • 10 min cool down 18.38 (14.23, 14.17,15.16) pace

The worst section of this is always the 3 minute run, always. It’s when I nearly give up every time. 3 silly little minutes. Well, I’ll have another go in a couple of weeks or so.

My legs welcomed rest day Friday!

Today we were originally going to do 8 miles at Bolton Abbey but we had a lazy morning instead. We switched our days around and did our 1 hour run today. We set off at the same time but went in different directions – Kath turned back because she wasn’t feeling great – I think I must have passed on my non-distinct crappy feeling from yesterday. I had been running for about 15 minutes when my ankles seemed to just set and my calves went tight. I kept going a little bit but then stopped to walk a little bit. It didn’t ease so I stopped at a bridge and stretched my legs out a bit. Running continuously obviously wasn’t a good plan. I re-set my watch to run/walk and to 5k. That went fine, in fact I was pleased with the relative ease of that run/walk. At the end of the 5k I reset the watch again and walked the 3/4 mile home. 5.6 in total and I have now done more miles than I did in all of January last year.

I’m not getting flu – is that clear?!?

Isn’t it always nice when you get a little reminder that actually you can’t run. Just something to bring you back down to earth and stop you being a cocky little shit. Yeah. Useful to keep you focused and on track with training. The thing is, I’d quite like a run that doesn’t include a little reminder like that. Helvellyn was as awesome as it was tricky and yes I did it but there were only about ten people slower and they were all walkers. I’m ok with that really but wouldn’t it be great to actually have run more than I walked on that.

Wednesday I did a Fartlek session and nearly threw in the towel several times. I did ok-ish in the end and I know I don’t have to go faster every time I do it etc etc but running for 3 minutes at a pace that actual runners use to warm up or cool down or go up really steep hills felt impossibly hard and I am grumpy about that (Previous 2 sessions in brackets).

  • 10 minute warm up: 12.27 (12.20, 12.43 pace);
  • 5 minutes: 10.37 (10.26, 10.27);
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 4 minutes: 10.30 (10.11, 10.18) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 3 minutes: 11.03 (9.56, 10.18) pace;
  • (then 5.5 minute rest);
  • 2 minutes: 10.17 (8.56, 9.52);
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 1 minute 30secs: 9.41 (9.09 ,9.47) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 1 minute: 8.41 (9.28, 9.29) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 30 seconds: 7.39 (9.17, 8.37)  pace;
  • 1 minute rest
  • 30 seconds: 7.38 (8.28, 7.39) pace.
  • 10 min cool down 14.23 (14.17,15.16) pace

Today I managed a mile. A whole fucking mile. It was a gorgeous gorgeous run. It was stupid o-clock but I wanted to get up and run. We’re in Scarborough, we left the hotel at about 5.45, it’s not really cold, it’s still dark. We set off gently jogging towards the sea and onto the seafront. I didn’t feel great. A bit sort of sluggish and vague. The first little stretch had streetlights but out to sea was pitch black and I love the rhythmic noise of the waves hitting shore which was amplified by the darkness. Running wasn’t feeling great at all but this run was meant to be stunning so onwards. The streetlights ended and we ran side by side in darkness. My ankles felt a bit stiff but they’d settle. I liked running in the dark with the sea to my left and imagined nothingness to my right, the lights of the North Bay behind me and limitless possibilities in front – for a while anyway until we’d round the headland and see the lights of the harbour and all that goes with it. But I am getting ahead of myself. I didn’t get that far. I felt dizzy, sick and had wobbly legs almost bang on mile 1. I also felt really cold all of a sudden. Not fucking happening. I kept going a bit. Just a bit and tried to convince both myself and Kath that I was ok. That didn’t really work so we stopped and I had a little cry and then, when the wave of dizziness was over I wondered if I was just being a wimp and was actually fine and just panicked about running. Maybe I was. Who knows.

We agreed I would walk back and Kath went on. I walked back quite slowly stopping every now and again to persuade my wobbly legs to keep working. I’m fine now that I’m back and sat down (although either too cold or too hot). Kath won’t be long and I can’t wait to hear about the run. I want to try again but I also want to curl up in a ball and cry and hide. I’d like a solid run, just a run where I leave point A, run a loop of whatever distance and arrive back at point A without anything happening, without any drama or event. Just a run.

I think I’ll try for those limitless possibilities of running on the seafront, and maybe even the beach, in the dark again tomorrow morning because, just to be clear, I am not getting flu, I do not have a bug and I can run!

Running with (a) purpose

I’ve had a few good runs but haven’t blogged about them yet. I’ve been busy working on my book, clearing out the study, moving furniture and organising the sale of remaining sheep equipment. I feel like running has been good really. After the Simon’s Seat adventure last weekend, the next run was awesome. It was meant to be our long slow run. Initially we were meant to do back to back runs but I needed a rest day so we went out on Tuesday. I quickly settled into a really nice steady paced rhythm and just kept plodding. We saw 6 herons along the way and a kingfisher at the end. When we saw the first two herons I thought ‘I’ll run a non-stop mile for each heron I see’ and then I kept bloody seeing them! I didn’t stop plodding though until I had reached the bridge to come off the canal and walk up the hill. I even managed to speed up a little in the last half mile and I never felt like I wanted to or needed to stop. We did a total of about 7.3 miles and I ran 6.6 miles of that without stopping. I was (still am) excited about that.

We then had another couple of rest days (well I did, I think Kath went out) and on Friday went out for a little potter round after work. We ran down to the canal, along the canal bank and then up the golf course and home. 3.6 miles I think. Saturday got busy with IMG_6910sorting furniture and books so I didn’t run. We’d got all geared up to do parkrun with our new bar code thingies (technical term that!)  but in the end we didn’t go to parkrun because the fair was in town in the park making the course narrower in places and just not very nice. So today the plan had the fartlek session on it. I don’t really like any sort of pressure of having to try and go fast but I was also sort of intrigued to see if I’d improved at all. We took some furniture on to a friend’s in Bingley yesterday and forgot the screws, nuts and bolts so I suggested we could run on this morning and drop them off. So the plan was to do the Fartlek session going towards Bingley, drop the stuff off and then run/walk back.

So here are the Fartlek stats from this morning – 4.08 miles at 12.37 minutes per mile average. Last time’s pace in brackets. I’m pretty pleased with that and as an added bonus I have earned myself the 3rd of the RunDisney virtual run series medal with that

  • 10 minute warm up:  12.20 pace (12.43 pace);
  • 5 minutes: 10.26 (10.27);
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 4 minutes: 10.11 (10.18) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 3 minutes: 9.56 (10.18) pace;
  • (then 5.5 minute rest);
  • 2 minutes: 8.56 (9.52 – I think, deleted it by mistake and can’t be bothered to check);
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 1.5 minutes: 9.09 (9.47) pace;IMG_6943
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 1 minute:  9.28 (9.29) pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 30 seconds: 9.17 (8.37)  pace;
  • 1 minute rest
  • 30 seconds: 8.28 (7.39) pace.
  • 10 min cool down 14.17 (15.16) pace

The first 5 minute faster run felt good, the 4 minutes was hell, the 3 minutes was doable, I needed the rest but recovered well, I liked the 2 minutes, I really struggled for the 90 second run, the 1 minute was ok and then I realised with complete terror that some of the next 30 sec run would be down the steep hill at 5 Rise Locks. Absolutely terrified I sort of flung myself down the hill for the last 15 seconds of the run. The next and final 30 seconds I felt like I was going really really fast so I’m bemused (and a little disappointed) to see that it was a fair bit slower than last time on that one. Oh well. The cool down took us right to where we needed to be and then we set off back.

The way back was 3.78 miles in 1 hour 6 minutes and 5 seconds. We walked lots -watching ducks, fieldfares, swifts, gold finches, sparrows and a blue tit. We also tried out a new footpath so came up off the canal earlier than we would and made our way along the path which is perfectly runnable with just a few tricky bits which might need a few walk steps.

I’m running purposefully and happy at the minute. Hope you are too!

Oh Sunday Weigh-In: I have lost just a smidge under 2 pounds.

Fiddlesticks Fartlek

Well well well. Today it said something a bit scary on the plan Kath has drawn up for me. It said: RW Fartlek. So that’s the structured fartlek I thought I’d outlined previously. I’ve just checked and I’ve outlined all sorts but not that session! Anyway, all will become clear below! I was a little apprehensive about it but I was also looking forward to seeing how I’d do. Kath has been doing fairly regular sessions and it seems to be helping her improve speed. So after a fairly lazy slow start to the morning we got up, had half a banana and set off. The first bit is a 10 minute warm up so we ran down to the canal taking it fairly easy. Then the first fast section is 5 minutes followed by a minute 30 secs break. I found that hard but ok, towards the end my tummy rumbled dangerously but was fine and then my mind went.

I walked after the 5 minutes and I started the 4 minutes but barely even did a minute before my mind shut me down. I just couldn’t make myself do it. I really wanted to do it and I really didn’t at the same time. There was the usual snot and tears of a meltdown and we sat on a bench for a while and watched some swans. Then I walked home with my tail between my legs. I wanted to just curl up in bed and ignore the world.

I hate that feeling of my mind getting the better of me in that way. It makes me feel weak and pathetic and quite a bit stupid. So I resolved that I wanted to try again later on in the day. We had a South American brunch and then I caught up on several back issues of Runner’s World and Trail Running Magazine. Eventually I was ready to go again. Apprehensive this time- well scared as hell that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I pulled my trainers on and off we went.

  • 10 minute warm up: 12.43 pace;
  • 5 minutes: 10.27;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 4 minutes: 10.18 pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 3 minutes: 10.18 pace;
  • (then 5.5 minute rest);
  • 2 minutes: 9.52 pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 1.5 minutes: 9.47 pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 1 minute: 9.29 pace;
  • 1minute 30 second rest
  • 30 seconds: 8.37 pace;
  • 1 minute rest
  • 30 seconds: 7.39 pace.
  • 10 minute cool down (mostly walked and stopped for picture with swans) 15.16 pace – yes I did sort of manage to get back up.


So what’s the lesson here? My mind is sometimes idiotic and stupid and sometimes I can’t do anything about that. My mind is also determined and focused and sometimes it can do pretty much anything. Anyway, that’s a total of 4 miles for the full fartlek session, another 1.5 miles from this morning and then the walking. It’ll be interesting to see how I do when I repeat this session in a month’s time. Funny sort of running day but it’s done and I feel good about having gone out again and done it. Black puppy dog put firmly in its place

Oh yeah, it’s Sunday – I was supposed to have a saintly week – I didn’t. The scales are still resolutely staying the same.