Sunday, 29 March 2015


I've read the last post here about quitting running and it still reads as wonderfully lucid.  It is consistent  and makes perfect logical sense.  But I am back.

After a while I missed the social aspect of running.  I love my running club and the camaraderie it brings.  At an event among thousands of people, you bump into a fellow Petts Wood Runner and you stop and chat.  If they know you, they know what is a good time for you, whether you are happy or sad.  They know whether you are fit or on your way back.

Without running I become obsessed with other (possibly more destructive pursuits).  Keeping an eye on my running tempers some of my more unhealthy habits.

My time away from running has left me much less of a runner but still healthy.  I now realised how far I had come with my running.   I want to get back and go beyond.

I've started running the works 5 mile handicap time trial the Cat and Canary.  Alas my handicap is based on when I was fast.  So the last two times I have finished the last runner by about 4 mins.

I am back running at the track every Thursday night.  I cut a forlorn figure at the back, off the pace of my previous level, struggling by myself.

My first race back was a 10k back in the Autumn which despite no training, I finished and enjoyed more than I expected.  I had only entered it on a whim.

Today I ran a the Paddock Wood Half Marathon.  My wife ran the Reading Half last week.  At half way I looked at my time, 56 minutes.  I started to worry she may beat me if I blew up (which I felt like doing)  I then gained some focus and dug deep.  In the end I cross the line in 1:52 with a slight negative split (very proud of this negative split)

The fact that I have changed my mind after being so vehement in my assertion that I had quit running troubles some people.  Not me.  I am minded of the quote by the Economist John Maynard Keynes:
“When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?”

So, I'm back.  But there is a lot of work to be done to get back to where I once was.

13.1 Miles (21km) 1:52:01

Monday, 7 April 2014

End of the road

I hated running at school.  I've always thought running would be bad for your knees.  But I believe you can achieve what ever you want.  So 5 or 6 years ago I decided to see how good I could get at running.  I've always struggled with my weight and thought that maybe running could be a way to be healthy and slim.

I've dedicated a lot of thought effort and time to running.  I've run barefoot, I've bought gadgets, kit and sought out experts.  I've done long runs, intervals, tempo and fartlek.  I've read books, gone to talks, read blogs and listened to podcasts.

To me the greatest sport scientist is Tim Noakes.  He wrote the book "Lore of Running".  He stands by everything he says in that book apart from one thing.  The diet section.  He now believes firmly in a high fat, low carb diet.  When I first read this I was cynical.  The more I looked into it, the more it made sense.  As I switched my diet, cutting out bread and pasta I found that my weight was not related by the amount I executed and flogged my body.  I had unbelievable levels of energy and my fitness improved.  In terms of weight control and fitness, flogging yourself with exercise is not the way.  Good quality LCHF diet drives your fitness.

As a species we aren't mean to run continuously.  We have the ability to run, to escape predators and survive.  But to do this you have to stress yourself.  When I race, I hate it.   I want to stop and quit.  The way I keep going is by pushing and stressing myself.  Doing this continuously is unnatural.  You are literally flogging yourself to death.  As creatures, we work in bursts.

 Running is more about talent than hard work.  I believe in hard work.  Most things in life is the last man standing.   VO2 max, running efficiency is dominated by genetics.  It's like Heavy Weight Boxing.  However hard Ronnie Corbett trained he would never be Heavy Weight champion of the world.  I utterly believe that most things in life are NOT like that.  But running is.  I have never ever run sub-45 for a 10K.  I have heard of people in their first race going sub 45 without training.  Look at chess.  No one would ever beat a reasonable Chess player on their first attempt.  Even golf is like that.  In the end what limits people is their desire to commit further.  I could not have committed any further to my running yet the results were not getting any better.  (I am committed to the concept of the Growth Mindset as described by Carol Dweck, google for more info)

For my birthday I got my own copy of Tim Noake's Lore of Running.  In it he predicts race times based on set physical factors.  This cemented my opinion of running unnatural focus on talent above hard work.  This goes against my ethos and I believe that I am now banging up against my physical/generic constraints.

Do I regret my running?  No. I do not believe in mistakes.  I have learnt so much.  But now time to take the lessons in to something where I am not constrained by genetics i.e. everything else apart from Running and Heavy Weight boxing

Will I still run?  Possibly, but not racing.  I think we are built to move. And potentially long distance.  But we are not built to run 8 min/miles for 26.2 miles.  We walk, we jog, we sprint.  We stop and we burst.  I love being in the countryside and this is what I see myself doing.  Moving and exploring.

And so to my final marathon.  As you can see from the run up to this it's been a struggle.  The actual day was surprisingly enjoyable.  I was feeling rotten the night before.  Bit of a cough and niggly ankle.  Come the day I put together 5 or 6 years of running experience and executed to the best of my ability.

I ran as hard as I could without looking at the Garmin.  And I ran well and hard up until about 20 miles when it all became too much and faded.
 I picked it up again about mile 23 but was no where near the target of 3:30 despite being only 9 minutes short.

I can't conceive of a way that I could have made up those 9 minutes.  I am a 3:40 marathon runner.  No shame or glory in that.

I sprinted vigorously over the line.  Further evidence of my fast-twitch rather than slow twitch make up.  Thought I would be more relived I guess it will take a while to sink in,

The weather was absolutely cool and perfect, and yet I felt hot at points and I sweated badly.  Makes me realise that I am sensitive to the heat and how well I did in other marathons when it was hotter.

It's been a journey in many senses.

26.2 Miles 3:39:10

Friday, 4 April 2014

Final Beckenham Assembly League

My last assembly league.  I meet up with the rest of the club.  Marathon on Sunday and I still haven't decided how I am going to run tonight.

As I start off, I decide to push a bit as it's not feeling to bad.   I take lots of people on the hill.  I battle with Steve Brooks for a while before dropping him. 

Past the McDonalds, I see Martin ahead I start to close him, but then he slips away.  I take more runners up the hill.  Some try and fight back but I don't yield on the effort.

Towards the finish I see a runner I think I can take.  I go wide and then go over to the other side of the road to try and take her on the inside.  She suddenly veers that way and I only just squeeze through.

Perhaps because the pressure is off, I enjoyed the event.  Was a great social afterwards.

2.98 Miles 20:24

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Back from Grove Park

It is done.  There is no training to be done for the final marathon.  I have this strange feeling of almost wanting to run.  I think this is how I will feel once the marathon is done.

It's light because of the clock change and beautifully so.  Perhaps I should move to the equator where I would not suffer such winter torment.

Knowing I don't have to push or train (strain) it feels easier but still a slight burden.  Feel good afterwards.

4.5km 27:00?

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Final and Best Park Run

73 Park Runs, and now my final one.  My training lately has been lax.  But it's my last Park Run.  I'm in full racing kit and go for it.

I push, push.  The people I've always considered faster than me are left behind.  Down the back straight I almost catch Mike Reeves.  But he edges away.  I start to suffer but keep going.  It's a mob match so I am running for PWR and not just myself.  So at the finish I drive myself.  I get myself into a five way sprint.  There's no way I'm going to lose probably my final sprint.  I win.  The time is a PB.   By a long way.  Not just a Park Run PB but a 5km PB.  20:22.

 I don't think I could ever drive myself to get under the 20 minutes.  Anyway, that is an arbitrary target.  An arbitrary distance, arbitrary time.

I push myself beyond believe and finish 51st.  I got overtaken by someone ten years older, in jogging bottoms and a top.  Most things in live aren't like that.  The winner is the last man left standing.  Running isn't like that.  80% talent, 20% effort.  I'm a last-man-standing kind of guy.  Bloody-minded my wife would say.  It's worked well in everything I've done.  Except running.  Which is about physical talent.  That and heavy weight boxing.  Not much else.

20:22 5km PB

Forgotten Back From Lewisham

I forgot to write this up and so have not much to say.  Think it was back from Lewisham, probably hated it.  Nearly there

5.2 Miles 48:00?

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Last Cat and Canary (Hare and Hounds)

I checked the stats and I am the 4th most persistent Hare and Hounds (Cat and Canary) runner with 24 entries.  This is the 5 mile time trial at work.  Today my final run.

I start off and a guy in yellow who starts behind me  by 20 seconds zips past me.  I follow him until half way when I take him and then push on.  I'm running well but it is windy.  I know I will feel great at the end but I hate every minute.  I can feel last nights track session in my legs. But even then. this is not fun.  It is ego boosting bullshit.

Towards the end, I don't appear in any danger of being caught but I put together some kind of sprint.  And then I am done.  The time is not to ad, givin the wind.

5m 26:28