Sunday, 16 March 2014

Nearly a doubly serious runner

Earlier in the year I blogged about how I became a "serious runner" according to Runners World.

Well today I wanted to become a doubly "serious runner" at the Gainsborough 10km. I desperately wanted to complete a sub 50 minute 10km.

This meant I needed to better my current PB by over 4 minutes and 39 seconds.

Did I think it was achievable. You bet I did.

Did it turn out to be achievable.

In a word. NO!

There are many reasons for this but ultimately the fact I have barely run due to being injured for the last three weeks is to blame.

If I had been running consistently I believe I would have sub 50'd. However I still PB'd over 10km which I am thrilled with.

Today marked my first appearance in the club colours of Doncaster AC. Who'd have thunk it, me a member of a running club.

I woke up this morning full of nervous energy about my first race of the year and proceeded to get dressed really early. On Friday night I worked out that I owned calf guards in Doncaster AC club colours. It'd be rude not to wear them for the race wouldn't it?

Colour coordination
I drove over to Gainsborough with my Wife for company and made my way to the race area. I went for a quick warm up jog round the block to test my foot and was thankful that it felt okay.

I made my way to the start area and placed myself about half way back. No point getting in the way of faster people. The hooter went and were underway. My aim was to run the entire 10km in my tempo zone. This meant my HR needed to be between 168 and 186 bpm.

I was amazed that the first mile flew by in a time of 7:35. I just hoped I hadn't overcooked it. I do have a tendency of going off too hard when running.

After the first mile the headwind picked up and it was energy draining. I felt like I really struggled between 2 and 6km with the wind. As I reached 5km I felt exhausted and collected a drink of water. My time for the first 5km was 25:18. I was pleased with this as it was very nearly on pace but I knew the wind had drained my energy reserves.

I made an effort to check my HR every couple of minutes to ensure it was still in the correct zone. Most of the times I checked it was but occasionally it was too low and I then upped my effort to recover to the correct zone.

The 6th km took me a lot longer than I had hoped. It took me well over 5 minutes and because of this, I knew my hopes of sub 50 had disappeared with the wind. Instead I went to plan B and ensured my HR was in the right zone and just aimed for a PB.

With each passing km my dream of going sub 50 was slipping further and further away. Each km was taking me about 5:20 in the second half of the race and I was in a whole world of pain by this point. I was over the moon to see the 9km mark and knew I had only had about 5 minutes of pain left.

I decided to give it my all in the last km. There was some encouragement from friends and club mates during this last km and it was much appreciated. There were even some photos and from these you can see how hard I was working. I was well and truly "in the zone" and had no real recollection of who was shouting to me.

Not in a good place

I passed through the finishing gate in a time of 51:24 according to my Garmin and was pleased with this as it meant I had PB'd by over 3 minutes which isn't to be sniffed at.

Thanks to for allowing to use this image

It transpires that the scale of my PB was 3:19 as my official time for the 10km was 51:20.  Woohoo #PBKlaxon needed.

PB baby
To be honest with this only being my second road running race I didn't know how hard to push through the entire 10km as it was a gamble. If I went too hard I would blow up before the finish. If I didn't go hard enough I would feel I could have achieved more.

I think I judged it just right as I don't feel I had much left in the tank at the end. The fact I nearly fell over after the finish proves this. I think the wind played a part in me not going sub 50 but most importantly my injury over the past three weeks played the biggest part in me not achieving my goal.

There is always the next race.

The goodie bad from the race was really good. And the best part. There was a #shiney and we all know how much I love #shinies.
My latest #shiney
I would like to thank David Tune and Jenny Blizard of Blizard Physio for ensuring I was able to compete in todays race as it really was touch and go earlier in the week.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, 15 March 2014


Firstly apologies for not blogging for two weeks. I struggle to find motivation to put my thoughts down when I am injured in case I end up wallowing in my own pit of self despair. Instead I'd rather just do the training that I can and concentrate on the task at hand.

Injured and ill

So as I said I've been injured. Well in truth I haven't just been injured I also had a mild cold.

And yes it was just a cold. No #manflu in my house MTFU!

This cold didn't really affect training as I mostly concentrated on getting some miles banked on the turbo.

On the subject of turbo training. Some people have decided to give me grief about turbo training on social media.

Sorry but it's my training and unfortunately I'm time crunched so if I choose to spend time on the turbo then that's my decision. Does it affect you? No. Why are they bothered? I have no idea. If you don't like what I tweet or blog then don't read what I write.

My twitfriend @budjude17 summed this problem up really well.

Anyway I've digressed. Back to the injury. After my half marathon three weeks ago I managed to tweak a nerve in my back. This affected the nerves in my foot and led to me limping and seeking help from Blizard Physiotherapy. In total in the last three weeks I have been to two track sessions and both were affected by my injury.

I have been told by my physio that the pain in my foot is not running related but trying to convince my brain of that when it feels like there is a hot poker being shoved into your heel is not ideal.


After my second trip to the physio on Monday, I braved track again unsuccessfully and was fortunate that my physio was also at track and watched me run on Tuesday. After the session she messaged me with the below. By the way my nickname at track is "blogger"

The comment about trainers threw me a curve ball as I feel really comfortable running in Skechers. But if the trainers I wear are causing me to exacerbate my current injury by not supporting my foot then that is something I need to think about.

There is no point running in something which is causing me problems even if they are comfortable and don't give me blisters.

So on Wednesday I spoke to Dave Tune of Blizard Physiotherapy after my functional movement class. Dave spent a lot of time discussing running with me and I found it really enlightening.

Dave analysed my gait and advised that I was right to be running in neutral shoes but I need some stability in the trainer to limit my hypermobility in my ankles. He watched me run on a treadmill in the first pair of trainers I ever bought (Asics Gel Cumulus) and advised that they were more suitable than Skechers as they have some mild stability.

The positive of this is that I don't need some more trainers. Woohoo. The wifes pretty pleased about that too.

Now for the bad news.

While analysing my run. Dave asked why I run the way I do. I said it just felt natural. He then said I was wasting energy by flicking my feet after each step. Now for someone who has been congratulated on being efficient at running i.e. with my feet landing under their body. This confused me.

Dave then went on to explain that my stride length was quite short and the foot flick was not required as I was not off the ground for a long period of time and that I was wasting energy and raising my HR unnaturally by flicking my feet with every step.

He counted my running cadence as part of the analysis and advised that my cadence was too low and if I increased this then I would not have time for the foot flick which could also increase my run speed. So now with Austria looming, I have to reinvent my running style.

Anyway after chatting with Dave I managed to go for a quick 2 mile run in preparation for the Gainsborough 10km race tomorrow to see if I could run after my injury.

This went really well as I completed the 2 miles in under 17 minutes and was running below my zone 2 threshold. I did this in my "new" old trainers and made a conscious effort to not flick my feet with each step. It felt weird but I had no issues with my foot so Gainsborough is a go for tomorrow.

Other Training

Even though the last two weeks have not gone to plan. It hasn't been a complete disaster. I've managed to get outside on my bike a few times. I've even taken #Rinnie out on her maiden voyage.

I need to tweak my position to find comfort as I had neck ache after 30km the other night. But I felt fast on my new TT bike.

I also went to have my swimming stroke analysed by Dave Akers some more and got to meet some people off Twitter.  I learnt a lot during the two hour swim in the pool of dreams. I loved my first dip in a long course swimming pool and took away some useful pointers on my stroke. I can't wait to put these into practice.

Meeting Dave Scott

The other week I was fortunate enough to go to TFN to meet Dave Scott. It was amazing listening to the 6 time Ironman World Champion discuss things including answering my question on Kona Pro Rankings. I also spent some time talking to Mark from TFN and am looking forward to helping him out with something in the future.

No Smoking Day

Since my last blog I have also been revealed as one of the faces of NoSmokingDay for 2014. I feel privileged to be chosen to hopefully inspire smokers by showing what is possible when you kick the evil habit. I had to travel down to London to be photographed and interviewed for the campaign. I found the video interview nerve wracking but still felt proud to be chosen to represent the ex smoker.

This blog and my Twitter is only meant to inspire people to quit smoking. And as I have said previously if I have inspired one person to give up the evil habit then I will be amazingly happy and the exposure granted by British Heart Foundation and NoSmokingDay allow me to hopefully do this.

On NoSmokingDay Iw as interviewed for Real Radio in Yorkshire as well. It's weird hearing yourself on the radio.


If you're feeling generous I'm swimming 5km for SportRelief next weekend. This is further than I have ever swum and I am treating it as a long training day. It's for a good cause after all so a bit of pain doesn't matter. If you feel generous use the link below.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, 2 March 2014

Week 13 - Unlucky for some including me


Had to get that out of my system. Just when I was starting to make some real progress, I have had a bugger of a week.

Last Sunday I ran my first ever half marathon.  And I mean ran, I didn't walk for one step.  It was a training run and I felt strong. The run was scheduled for two hours on my plan and I secretly hoped I would get 13.1 miles completed in 2 hours. I just missed this target by six minutes but I was so overjoyed with this as my PB for 13.1 miles was 2:27.

I set new PB's for 15km, 10 miles, 20km and 13,1 miles. And I just felt strong.

However just when I was starting to feel good. I got up on Monday and I had a niggle in my foot. I hoped this would ease through the week but it hasn't. I tried to go to track on Tuesday to see if it was just muscular but it wasn't. I only managed a portion of the main set.


Again I hoped it would improve over the week but it didn't.

I went to the physio and while I was there it felt better but when I got home the pain on the outside of my foot had returned. It wasn't as bad but it was still there.

I've decided I'm not going to run until this pain has gone. If I need more physio I need more physio. I hope it just goes naturally though.

Also this week I've been struck down with a head cold. It's not stopped me training per se but it has hampered progress slightly. Take today for instance, I should be doing a 2 hour turbo session but I neither have the energy or the inclination.

I have made some positive gains elsewhere however.

One of my swimmers had a breakthrough. This is always enlightening as a coach and is such a good feeling. I used some of the drills from my Swimsmooth course last weekend.

I've also made some positive gains on the bike. When I started using TrainerRoad in December the first workout I did was an 8 minute test and after this test the software estimates your FTP.

FTP is the theoretical power you can maintain for one hour.

In December my FTP was estimated at 205 watts. Following my lactate test with Blizard Physio I upped this in the software of TrainerRoad to 211 watts.

On Thursday I repeated the 8 minute test and got a new FTP of 246 watts.

Thats a 20% increase in power output in 10 weeks. Yes I realise this is theoretical power and is based on a turbo trainer but it is a benchmark for me to monitor myself against. This means my power output per kg has also increased and is now above 2.5 W/kg for a period of one hour.

I now need to take these gains I have made and turn them into real world gains by cycling outside more.

There is one downside to this increased power though, the TrainerRoad workouts are going to get harder. Progress is progress though.

This afternoon I have a coached swim with Dave Akers and he is going to do some video analysis of me. Last time I went to see Dave I managed to maintain an average pace of 1:33/100m through the entire set. So hopefully after two hours in a 50m pool there will be some gains to be made.

I am super excited about this as I have never swum in a long course pool. I hope that the depth and temperature mean quicker swimming from me.

Thats all from me, thanks for reading,