Monday, 1 April 2013

Consistency counts...

That's my new mantra. Just keep on training and eventually you'll get faster. So Saturday saw me doing 16km (10 miles) which was meant to be at an 'easy' pace. Considering I decided to do most of it on the fells - and that the route involved 298m (984 feet) of climbing - this turned into 'grovelling' pace. I ended up doing 16.8km  at an average pace of 7:03 mins/km (11:38 mins/mile). I was quite pleased at this. I always reckon that about 12 minute miling on the fells is about what I do, so to dip under it was good. It was a beautiful bright cold day. The grass was lovely; firm but yielding and very close-cropped by the sheep. It was like running on faded snooker table baize.
Smileyrating 8/10 - it was great to be running on the hills again

Today, I was hoping to go to the track to do some 1000m reps. But the track was shut! This seems odd as you'd have thought there might be more people wanting to use it on a holiday day. So I substituted my tempo run which was 5km at 5 min/km. I did this on the back lane to Staveley and, to be honest, my heart wasn't really in it. Still consistency counts.... Just get out and do it.... So I did and did 5:04 / 4:58 / 4:55 / 4:55 / and 5:00. In the end, a satisfying raining session with the added advantage that lambs are starting to appear in the fields....

Smileyrating 8/10

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Runner versus lorry. Runner wins!

Life got in the way of running this week, what with bodying for the Search Dogs and shredding piles and piles of pruned shrubs to make compost. However, I did manage to do a cross-training session in the gym and to get out for a relatively decent tempo run (3km easy, 5 x 1km at 5mins/k, 2km easy). I actually managed to run the tempo bits at a steady(ish) pace, 4:58 / 5:00 / 4:48 / 4:54 / 4:48, on an undulating course around the lanes.
We've had very little snow here, near Kendal, but many flurries of snow, with big flakes dancing about like clouds of white midges in the breeze. It was uncanny how many of these flakes managed to find their way behind my specs and onto my eyeballs as I was running along. This run was also memorable for me causing a massive lorry (of the sort that carries steel bars up and down the motorways) to reverse up the lane to allow me to squeeze past at a gate entrance. Quite what a lorry of that size was doing on a tiny country lane I'll never know. Blame the sat-nav.
Next up: a 16km easy run. I think I'll try and do this on the fells somewhere. I'm getting fed up with the pounding of tarmac.
Smileyrating 7/10


Saturday, 23 March 2013

A good week's work...

Last Thursday I did a good tempo run (1.5km easy, then 8km @ 5:10 min/k, then 1.5 easy) in the squally snow.
On Monday this week I did a steady 14km at a pace of 5:32 mins/km - which was cold and squally with snow.
On Thursday this week Mrs HF and I had the Salt Ayre track to ourselves on a bright cold morning (and no squally snow!) where I did 6 x 800m in about 3:20 per 800, with 90 seconds rest between each rep.
Today I went for a swim and - brilliantly and very unusually - had the pool to myself for 750m of lazy freestyle. I used this session as a stretching / strengthening session and thoroughly enjoyed it.

A good week. The running programme I'm following is a '3 plus 2' programme with three runs (a long run, an interval session and a tempo run) and two cross-training sessions. Life, of course, gets in the way a bit, and the cross-training sessions often slip. I'm hoping that, when the weather warms up, I'll be able to get out on my bike a bit more. We'll see.


Thursday, 14 March 2013

A glorious discovery....

Salt Ayre Leisure Centre lies between Morecambe and Lancaster and is about 45 minutes drive away. It is picturesquely located on a reclaimed landfill site, opposite an industrial estate next to an Asda. Nonetheless it is excellent with a 33m swimming pool and, joy of joys, a reasonably sheltered running track. On Tuesday afternoon Mrs HF and I had it all to ourselves. My programme was an interesting pyramid: 400 / 600 / 800 / 1200 / 800 / 600 / 400m - all to be run at a certain pace, broadly speaking at 1:47 for 400m. All went well for the 400, 600 & 800m. Then I got confused by the giddy prospect of counting all the way up to three laps, and by talking to Mrs HF as she was doing her programme, and ended up doing 1600m instead of 12. Doh! So I finished off with the 800 and 600 and ignored the final 400! For each of the intervals I was pretty much on time, if anything a little quicker than expected. It was a really enjoyable session in the cold wintry sunlight on a very nice track.
Smileyrating 9/10

Today's run was a tempo run: 1.5k easy then 8k @ 5:10 min/km. I did this on my local undulating roads and my km splits were: 5:00 / 5:11 / 5:03 / 5:05 / 4:56 / 5:04 / 5:10 / 4:58. This averages out at about 5:04, so I am quite pleased. 'Twas hard though. I need to do some work in the gym to strengthen my legs and core to protect my knees and hips. It was cold and crisp out, coming on to drizzle just as I finished. My homemade banana/kiwi/blueberry recovery milkshake was delicious!
Smileyrating 7/10

Monday, 11 March 2013

On judging pace

My programme today called for 12.5km (8 miles ish) at 5:32 mins/km (roughly 9 min miles). At my current level, this is not easy, but should be doable. So I set off in the freezing wind (the Garmin said 1 deg C, feels like -6. About right.)  and snow flurries this morning and headed down the road to Staveley, through Staveley, and back again. And I realised that I am absolutely hopeless at judging my pace. It was all over the place. Some kilometres were 5:07, some were 5:40. It didn't seem to matter whether it was up or down hill, whether into the wind or ahead of it. I just cannot run even paced. Does anyone else have this issue?
Ah well. Sod it. It's not as if there aren't more important things to fret over.  I did the run in 1:08:23 at an average moving pace, according to Garmin, of 5:26 min/k. As close as I'm going to get! And the good news is that I felt pretty relaxed the whole way. Not unduly stressed. The 10k came up in about 55 mins, which is only a couple of minutes off my best pace this year. I think there may be more to come.
Should have a rest day tomorrow but, diaries being as busy as they are, Mrs HF and I are going (weather permitting) to a running track near Lancaster tomorrow. I have a pyramid session: 400 / 600 / 800 / 1200 / 800 / 600 / 400 to do. Trouble is, they all need to be done at a particular pace.... We'll see.

Smileyrating 8/10


Saturday, 9 March 2013

A week outdoors...

Not a bad week this week:
Monday: A bike ride with Mrs HF.
Tuesday: Sketching outside at Arnside in the morning. 12 x 400m intervals session in the afternoon - all run at 6.18 mins/km
Wednesday: Gardening at Holehird, shredding and making compost from 0930 - 1530.
Thursday: Walking all day with Mrs HF around Watendlath, near Borrowdale.
Friday: Digging a soakaway at Holehird. Levering out boulders and ferrying stone chips about to fill the hole. Took all day.
Saturday: Out on the hills helping train the Search Dogs until 2pm. 5 x 1km intervals at 5mins/km run in the sleet this afternoon.
Tomorrow: The plan is to run 12.5km 'Easy'. I might just have a rest day and do this one next week...

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Down to earth...

I've been running quite well since our warm-weather training trip to Lanzarote. But I think fatigue might be beginning to catch up with me. I went out yesterday for an easy 4-5 miles, following a lovely, gently undulating, off-road route and my legs felt heavy and listless. Mind you, I did spend the day before yesterday digging a soakaway at Holehird gardens which involved getting through a 15cm layer of tree roots and then levering out boulders the size of typewriters, so I might well have been tired from that.

For the record, I plodded 4.57 miles at a pace of 9:52 mins/mile with 86m of ascent/descent; Max heart rate was 162, average 142 which is about right for this run. I always reckon that, for me, anything less than 10-12 minute miles is an OK pace off-road, but it felt very hard.

The land here at the moment has a bleached, washed-out look because it has been dry for ages and cold enough to stop the grass from growing. On top of that, the farmers have been out spreading muck leaving broad brown stripes contouring over the fields. You just know that, as soon as it rains, it'll all turn lush and green. There are hardly any sheep in the fields. Presumably they are all in sheds somewhere getting ready to lamb.

Smileyrating 5/10