Archives for Season’s Best category

A soaking wet 10 miles! 1 Hour 45 mins

Posted on May 12, 2013 under 10 Miles, All Weather Running, Long Runs, Milestones, Season's Best | No Comment

Have neglected this running blog of late, my running has been on and off with injuries but thankfully more on lately!

Got up to 8 miles last week, then a long walk on Monday, followed by some pretty hard running at SRC Hyde which I only occasionally get to with work at the moment.

Had planned to do 8 miles today, it was pouring and cold, at about 6k my right hamstring started tightening (it was the left I pulled months ago!), I gave it a rub and was ready to turn back, but a jog round a park and it was Ok so I headed back on my planned route through Reddish to Belle Vue. It did keep tightening when I sped up but fitness wise I felt great, very happy to be running and looking like a madman in the rain! As I neared home I was at 14.5k and thought why not go the long way round and make it a nice 10 miles, so I did, and it’s been a long time since I ran so far and really didn’t want to stop at the end as I could have gone on all night, but I don’t think my legs would have thanked me for it in the long run 🙂

5k Time Trial – 26:05

Posted on Aug 23, 2012 under 5-10k, Season's Best, Time Trials | No Comment

Been a while since my last time trial, and wanted to see where I was at after all the hard running and work at the Sweatshop running club, etc.

Had been an exhausting day mentally so really needed to get a run, set off gently for a 2.5k warmup and was surprised that my legs felt a little niggly as they had felt so strong yesterday! Felt ok but warm at a gentle pace, then walked around for a bit to psyche myself up for the time trial, as I know 5k time trials often mean one thing – PAIN!

Set off on the usual route so it could compare to the last outing. Glanced at the Garmin and was doing about 4:40 to start off with, and the first km ticked over in 4:53 – so far so good! But I was starting to breathe hard and wondered how long I could maintain that kind of pace! The inclines hit my pace slightly to bring in a 5:09 second km, and then the third ticked over in 5:01. I was feeling very puffy by then and working hard to try to maintain that pace, but once the inclines took their toll I ended up with a 5:18 4th km. As I took the slope down Town Lane towards St Anne’s Road, I felt a little stab of pain in my right calf, and not wanting to risk an injury, I had to slow a little, and as much as I tried to increase cadence with shorter strides, I felt pretty done in by that point, knew I wasn’t going to get near sub 25, and ended up with a pretty slow last km.

Still, it was 50 seconds off my last time trial, and a season’s best, and I probably still had some of last week’s miles in my legs! At least I know I have the pace to run at sub 50 10k pace, I just need to work on the speed endurance now!

15.1km – or 9.38 miles – Hilly Long Slow Run in 1 Hour 49 minutes in lovely evening sunshine

Posted on Jul 27, 2012 under above 15k, Long Runs, Milestones, Season's Best, Slow Runs, Trail Running | No Comment

After the hill reps on Monday, an easy/recovery run midweek, and another session with the club looming on Monday (wonder what the demon coach will have in store this time?!), I wanted to try get a long run in, as that’s the kind of run I’ve been missing lately, not having done anything over 10k really since my 13.5km run before the City of Manchester 10k, which was a while ago now.

So, after what turned out to be quite a stressful day with one thing and another, I decided to leave it all behind and headed out into the early evening sunshine. It felt warm, but the sun was dropping (about half six when I set out) and I was determined not to make the mistake of long runs in the past – set out slow and end up running faster and faster, defeating the object of a long slow run!

I certainly did set off slow, my calves felt tight which was a bit worrying at first, especially as the 2nd and 3rd kms involved ascents towards the Transpennine trail I found near Hyde which is old railway lines converted into a path. I had walked this on Monday, so knew my way around a little, but took the odd detour to see where I would end up on the way! It was nice once I got to the railway lines – flat, and in the shade. I went to the far end, then on running back ran round what seemed to be a cul de sac before going back over this little bridge and heading up a dirt track which went on for quite a time and was quite an ascent. Once I got to the end of it and a main road, I noted it was called Green Lane. I didn’t have a clue where I was by that point so I figured the safest bet was to go back the way I had planned to begin with, along the railway tracks through to Haughton Dale.

Going back down this lane I realised what an ascent it had been, as it looked much steeper going down than it had felt going up! I kept my pace down and started toying with the idea of doing 10 miles, as I was already up to 9k by that point, but was aware my knees were starting to feel a bit sore with the uneven ground. I got back to the railway tracks and maintained a slow pace, sometimes very slow, though I didn’t feel I was going as slow as the Garmin said at times!

I reached Haughton Dale and almost went the long way round through the woods, but my knees were warning me now, so I took a little shortcut which still involved a steep climb which I powered up, and then it was a gentle jog back into Denton, with a few detours around random streets to make up my revised target of 15k. Was still a little far from my front door so jogged an extra hundred meters before gliding to a gentle stop. Didn’t make the 10 miles but there’s always next time, and this was a pretty hilly route in places so didn’t want to risk overuse injuries – again!

Made it my highest mileage week for as long as I can remember (almost 18 miles) and my longest run of the season.

I just hope that coach goes easy on Monday, lol!!!!

5k Time Trial – 26:55 Season’s Best!

Posted on Jul 13, 2012 under 5k, Season's Best, Tempo Runs, Time Trials | No Comment

Not done a 5k time trial as such for some time, with a proper warm up and going hard, so thought I would give it a go!

Managed to time it so I hit the school run, but it was entertaining. Did a couple of Km warm up, during which it stopped raining, then took a breather, turned off the fast pace alert on the Garmin, and set off hard downhill on the Town Lane circuit, which is pretty good for time trials, though not completely flat the slopes up and down cancel each other out, though I end up cursing the uphills by the end!

Did two laps and then took a detour so I could run the last couple of km flat. Was really hurting by 3km and had to dig deep, trying to maintain my running form even when my lungs were screaming at me that they couldn’t really give my legs any more oxygen. By the last km I was within the sub 27, only just, and went as fast as I could to make sure I didn’t get cheated by the Garmin missing a few metres!

Ended up with sub 27 in 26:55, hard work but a season’s best! splits were:


So fairly even paced, the slower ones were where I hit the uphills and the last one I was on the verge of collapse!

Did a very gentle 1km jog to cool down a little!

We Love Manchester 10k 2012 – 55:14

Posted on Jun 24, 2012 under 10k, Races, Season's Best | No Comment

After Wednesday’s adventures, where I ran 10k at race pace by mistake and got lost in the woods, I had been resting and had no idea really how my body would respond. I managed to get up, and get out on to the bus towards Ashton, where I would catch the 216 into east Manchester. As I got off the bus to make my connection, a young man asked if I was carrying the Olympic torch and what the route was. Turns out my bus route was the torch route, but thankfully the timings meant I missed all the fuss.

Got to Eastlands and my first task was to find a loo. Conveniently, a set of Tardis-like portaloo conveniences were scattered about the place, so I entered one of these and emerged some years later… Although the thing flushed, the wash water had run out, so I nipped into another one on the way, as I was in plenty of time. I had hoped to bump into Neil and Dawn or one of the runners off the forum, but it was like spotting a needle in a haystack so just went and lined up pretty near the back of the amassed mass of humanity about to start the race. It was pretty damn cold and some drops of rain started to fall just before we got underway, but it mostly held off.

The horn or gun must have gone off as we started to move forward. My plan was to start right near the back and just work my way forwards, rather than experience the burn of faster runners and then end up getting overtaken later! I set off at a very gentle pace, though was going past quite a few people already; I mentally checked out my ankles and feet, which had been a bit stiff and achey since Wednesday, but didn’t experience any problems, and coasted through to the 1k marker with no problem and with a big smile on my face. Had to laugh at one of the spiderman lads early on who said “not long to go now!” Although I had the Garmin with me I turned the display to time of day and barely looked at it, planning to just run how I felt and enjoy myself (if the discomfort of running a race can be described as enjoyment, it seems to be for me!). As we turned onto Alan Turing way I felt myself accelerate and took advantage of the slope, getting into a nice rhythm, and started to reel people in bit by bit. A few went past me early on, but not that many, and was to be expected in a field of this size, where faster runners might be a bit late and start at the back.

I felt I was going pretty quickly, and was feeling it at 4k so just eased off a little, knowing the minor hills at the end can be a problem if not accounted for! Just after this I saw a bloke dressed in a sort of bear costume and took a moment to pat him on the back and say I liked his costume, which he appreciated. And then it was into the serious stuff, and the second lap, I got some water at the water station and seemed to lose my way a little bit, but took on water, regrouped, and then knuckled down for the last 3k. Although I was breathing really hard and struggling ever so slightly, I was still passing people which was a good sign, on the second trip down Alan Turing way I had a brief chat with a bloke who said he wanted to beat his age, who told me to go ahead but then sped in front, not long after we hit the uphill and I powered up this and left him behind, also taking over a few people. I was hurting now, but was just in the zone knowing the finish line was close. I took the next hill and then we were almost in the stadium. The crowd noise as I entered really gave me a lift and I kind of bounced along the athletics track and put on a real burst of speed, burning away some people in front of me, then promptly almost dying, and a few got their revenge until I got another burst of something and did a final sprint for the line. Garmin ticked over in 55:17 but for once the chip time was a few seconds quicker at 55:14 – not bad considering my exploits midweek, and thankfully my legs felt fine, no sign of any niggles or problems!

I looked around to see if Neil was around, and got a bit confused about where the goody bags were as there were no people around and I had to ask someone, then a 15 minute queue to get inside the indoor bit ensued, they must have set it up inside expecting the worst rain, but thankfully that held off.

One I got my goody bag, thankfully with some water in it, I headed back out and applauded a lot of the later runners into the stadium, before heading to the finish line to watch the presentations. It was there I spotted the chap from the Sweat Shop run, Tony, and indeed he won the 1st prize in the VM60 category. My friend Neil’s name was called out but he didn’t appear, so he must have run it but had to dash.. Pity as he won 2nd in the VM50!

I then stuck around for the little toddlers race which was fun, and then headed off, bumping into another chap from the running club as I paused to admire a presentation display of Usain Bolt’s run in Manchester a few years ago.

All in all a great day, my goal now is to see how close I can get to 50 minutes, it amazes me I was running around 51 minutes pretty regularly a few years ago, seems I need to work harder as I get older, but I hope another sub 50 will happen one of these days!

Looking at my splits I was around 5:30 or thereabouts most of the race, though one km there was a lull, 5:58, while the last one I managed to do in 5:11 but that was pure endorphins and adrenaline by the end!

A Flying 5k Season’s Best – 27:20

Posted on Jun 12, 2012 under 5k, Season's Best, Tempo Runs | No Comment

Had an odd afternoon and did some bits of decorating (mainly trying to get a bit more of border off the room I am converting in a therapy room and trying out my new paint!), and needed a run to clear the cobwebs away, but not having eaten properly earlier decided a fast 5k would be the best option rather than a medium to long run.

One of my left toes was a bit painful so trimmed he nail, then got out into the cool evening air. Set off at a brisk pace, wary of going too fast but not wanting to go too slowly either, and felt fine, with the first km ticking over in 5:37, which is pretty fast for me these days, and I just aimed to keep that going, figuring if I ran around 5:30 per km I could come in at around 27:30, although not having done a fast 5k for a bit, couldn’t remember what my season’s best actually was at that point.

Second km ticked over in 5:33 and I was on target, though just slightly starting to wonder if I could maintain that kind of pace for another 3k. While my intention was just to maintain pace, when I felt good I just seemed to quicken up, and this was revealed in the splits, as the next kms were 5:30 and then 5:19. By the last lap I was starting to struggle just a little and really breathing very hard, and was really glad to peter out to a well deserved stop, clocking 5:17 for the last km and 27:20 for the 5k, which is a season’s best by some margin. I checked through the Garmin history to see if it was a season’s best and came across a 26:33 5k in February, which puzzled me until I realised that had been an intervals session and I had been running those 1k intervals pretty flat out, so to be under a minute away from that on a continuous run seems a good sign of progress!

So all in all a good, fast hard run which left me breathless and shows my running is starting to get closer to where it was a couple of years ago!

A Rainy season’s best half kilomathon – 13.1km in 1:21:20

Posted on Jun 03, 2012 under 10-15k, Long Runs, Season's Best | No Comment

For a June day, the weather looked atrocious, and when I was getting ready for my run the floor was almost icy to my bare feet. Almost weather for thermals by the looks of it, rainy, breezy, grey. Stepped out and felt a shiver down my spine and my legs goosbumped straight away, so was keen to get going and shivered a few times before the Garmin found its satellite and I set off without further ado just to get warm.

At that point it was dry, but from about 1km in I was to be accompanied by a steady light rain, not too bad once I was warmed up. Tried to keep the pace down, as the intention was to run 8 miles/13.1km and if not run under 1 hour 20, at least beat the 1 hr 24 odd I did for this distance last time. The first 3-4km felt quite tough, though seeing a couple of other runners and exchanging waves gave me a little boost. The route I chose had some hilly bits (mainly motorway or viaduct bridges etc) which added a bit of spice, though I wasn’t too keen on the bit where I got to quite a few dual carriageway crossings that didn’t go in my favour, but I needed the extension to the route as I was somewhat too close too home going another way. I gather quite some pace in the latter stages including a 5:50 split for one of the kms, but by the end of the run I was really starting to flag and as luck would have it the most of the last km was up a long slow incline which not only slowed me down but also sapped the last of my strength, and as I manged to reach the 13.1km mark fortuitously close to my house, I was slowing down almost to a crawl and was relieved to hit the stop button on the Garmin and start enjoying the endorphins running around my system 🙂

A Garmin-Affected 5 Mile season’s best – 46:45

Posted on May 31, 2012 under 5 miles, Season's Best, Tempo Runs | No Comment

Had a few days off and have been quite sedentary, playing computer games and watching tennis generally, so felt I needed a workout!

Got my kit on and entered the cooler, cloudy air, and waited for Garmin to find a signal. Set off at a sedate pace and felt a twinge in my right calf, then an odd sensation, so stopped to give it a quick massage and then carried on, the first km ticked over in 5:50 even with the stop, so far so good! Felt the pace picking up and figured if I could maintain that kind of pace I would be in for a season’s best time. Felt myself getting quicker, and tried not to overdo it, then heard the Garmin bleep and checked the split – 5:26 for the 2nd km, but hang on, the total distance was 1.98 – and it stuck on that for a while.

The Windmill Lane hill was next but didn’t slow me too much, in fact I powered up it and continued my general paciness, so was a bit dismayed when the 3rd km ticked over in 6:30 – something had gone a bit wrong with the Garmin at some point. I figured I would just try to maintain my pace and see what I ended up with. After this glitch the kms seemed to tick over in more expected times, just around the 5:30 marker all the way through. I passed some runners none of whom seemed willing to acknowledge my smile or thumbs up 🙁 Though some drivers let me cross in front of them so they got the RoadrunnerRob thumbs up 😀

I was starting to slow in places but just tried to maintain form towards the end. The killer motorway bridge really took it out of me, followed by the Denton Rock incline, and then it was just keep going as best I could! Finally got near home and stopped the Garmin in 46:45. It was a season’s best, but only by 4 seconds; I felt I had run quicker than earlier in the month. Strangely enough, although my splits were on the whole quicker for this run, the total time was slower… So I think the anomaly was with that 3rd 6:30 km, the Garmin counted all splits as 1km but somewhere in there I seemed to have run an extra minute, or about 200m at my pace. So although I can’t offically say I smashed my season’s best, I think the fact I ran at a quicker pace more consistently is what I can take from it, and all is boding well for the next race, though I wish my calves would stop being so niggly!

Flying 5 Mile Tempo Run – 46:49

Posted on May 13, 2012 under 5 miles, Season's Best | No Comment

After the aborted run in the week, I wanted to get a substantial final run in before a quiet week leading up to the Bupa Great Manchester Run 2012. Weather looked nice and sunny so planned to run 5 miles, run how I felt and just see how it went.

Set off and did feel a little rusty, hoped I wouldn’t have to abort again. Just kept the pace nice and easy at first and eased into it, tackled the gentle inclines and began to pick up pace as I got into the run. Changed my mind about the route along the way, as I didn’t want to get stranded or have to run further than planned. Once I got to 4k I was feeling good, and knew all I had to do was run just under 6 mins per km to beat my season’s best.

Feeling really good, and noticing I was clocking 5:45s I started to realise I could be in with a shout of not just sub 48, but sub 47! I was really mindful of my calf and not wanting to risk an injury before the race, but also felt I needed to test running at pace out a bit more, so I maintained the pace while keeping my stride length relatively short.

1km to go and I was on target. Up to that point I had been paying attention to my breathing, taking in huge gulps of air as fast as possible, but now drifted into a state where I just let me body do the breathing, and I was basically running anaerobically as my lungs couldn’t get oxygen to my legs fast enough. Good practice for the last km of a race! Felt myself drift into a sort of zen state and just kept myself going, mindful that the end point was 8.05km and not 8, so I quickened up to make sure I got inside the 47 minute mark and did so with 11 seconds to spare.

Took a while to recover but felt good to hit another season’s best. Now I need to force myelf to do 1, and 2 at most easy jogs in the week, and be nice and fresh for race day!

A hard hilly 13.1km – 1:24:11

Posted on May 07, 2012 under 10-15k, Long Runs, Season's Best | No Comment

A rather grey May Bank Holiday Monday and I was ready for some running, having taken the previous week quite easy and had 3 days off.

Planned to do 8 miles and see if I had anything left in the tank for more, as this would be the last substantial run before The Great Manchester Run in 2 weeks’ time!

Set off at a light pace and found it quite chilly. My bladder spasmed a little and I wondered if I would be able to run for an hour and a half if it was filling, but figured it would settle down once I got into the run, which it did.

First km was quite quick in 6:09 so felt I would need to watch my pace, but this wasn’t a problem as I reached the snaking barriered path into the Bredbury industrial estate. This was the first time I had attempted this route since an abortive attempt last summer when it was too hot, but even now the incline seemed to get me puffed out.

At this point my legs started to feel very heavy, I slowed the pace, but either it was the cold or something else but they felt numb and sluggish. I knew some big hills and a lot more running were to come, so produced my secret weapon, a cereal bar, which I paused to munch down. I set off slowly, and felt a little better, and then came the next set of big hills. I took them slow and steady, felt it hurt, but carried, on, and took it easy on the downward bits.

At one point I crested a hill and could see Beetham towering over central Manchester spread out before me, which was quite a view, and showed how high up I had got! And then there was another incline before a series of gentle slopes taking me back down, however I resisted the urge to go hell for leather.

I got my breath back and got into a nice steady pace, then decided instead of taking the normal straight route back home, I could go via Mill Lane, which is easily the steepest hill for miles, leading right down into the Tame Valley. This was probably an insane thing to do, but I felt mad enough to do it, so I eased off on the descent before I started climbing, and climbing, and climbing. That hill is hard enough to walk up, but I made it to the top, and my legs, having come alive during the second half of the run, went numb again and almost on autopilot as I got my breath back. At 11.3km I wondered about going for an extra mile, but that last hill had really done me in and 8 miles was fine I reckoned given the hills, I didn’t need to push another mile for the sake of it, as I was close to home and starting to feel my energy levels drop, by this time I was jogging very slowly, and as I stopped the Garmin at 13.1km I was glad to stop and go to the corner shop for some well earned snacks and a sports drink before heading in for a relaxing afternoon!