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Running Scared....

Getting going.

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Ok so where was I?

That's right, stretching lots and starting out on my route to running fit...

I'm in the somewhat lucky position unlike many people where I don't have to find the time to exercise. It's provided for me.
At work we have PT sessions 15:30-16:30 Mondays and Wednesdays and generally a longer session 10:30-12:30 Fridays.
I also get opportunity to do extra phys Tuesday and Thursday afternoons IF I can spare the time from work.
This obviously makes life much easier when it comes to fitting in a training program around work and the associated clag of life.
Initially after the rehab course in November I started with a gentle 3 miles jog Monday, another slightly quicker one on Wednesday, and a tab on Friday of 4-6 miles (keeping the weight down tho as I didn't think it wise). On the weekend I was spending one day hillwalking (8-15 miles) in the Dales or Moors. And of course my running partner for all this was Charlie my Westie. Apparently he isn't allowed on parades tho.

Once I was comfortably plodding around my 2 runs, 1 tab and a hill walk per week I started to slowly up the speed and distance. Never more than a mile at a time and only upping the distance once a week, IF I was pain free (joint wise, clearly muscles is another matter) the week preceding it. I was soon running 4-5 miles easily under 10 min miles and that's where with hindsight things started to go a little awry.
I started chasing an 8min/mile pace for 5 miles so my runs started to stagnate a little bit, running 5 miles consistently, looking for the elusive 40 min finish time. I realised my legs were getting tired as no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't make the 40 min mark, turning in run after run at the 42-43 mins, so I decided a few days off would be a good idea.
I had been using my iPhone and a running app to time/map my runs. But an iPhone banging around in my pocket isn't ideal and it also (from looking a the map it traced) wasn't that accurate so during my down time I purchased one of these:
Forerunner 110 GPS-enabled Sport Watch | Garmin
Much lighter, accurate and the added bonus of a heart monitor.

My next run 5 days later was 5.01miles in 38:41 giving an average pace of 07:43 min/mi and breaking the 40 min mark by quite some way.

So I got to thinking...
Maybe running as fast as I felt I could and doing the same sort of distances each time after time after time wasn't the best approach?
I obviously needed a plan, and part of that plan needed to be rest.
I searched the net for some inspiration, and mostly everything seemed geared towards competitive running, which wasn't really what I wanted. But then I found this fantastic site:
Running for Fitness which is the online version of a book written by Owen Barder
As the blurb says:
If you are one of the millions of people who enjoy running but who don’t want to become a professional athlete, this book is for you. Running for Fitness recognises that we run for many reasons: to lose weight, to control stress, or just to get a bit of exercise in a busy week. If you want to get the most out of your running – whether to stay healthy, improve your race times or lose a little flab, this book is for you.
I gave it all a read and it seemed to be talking sense without getting too technical, and there seems to be plenty of glowing recommendations around, so using the calculators and guides on the site I devised my training programme.

Owen recommends for general fitness to follow a half marathon training program, as the mileage and intensity is high enough for good fitness levels, but not so high as to cause/exacerbate issues. So the basic programme I decided to follow is HM training programme: intermediate | Running for Fitness
I could have gone for the beginner programme, but decided with previous experience/standard and progress made already that the inters programme would be closer to the mark.

For the geeks amongst us the building blocks of the programme are explained here:
Training phases | Running for Fitness
Components of the week | Running for Fitness

There are four basic paces for the runs, as described in the above link.
Long slow runs, easy runs and threshold runs and interval pace for speed work.
Using Predict VO2 from race | Running for Fitness and my 38 min 5 mile run time my VO2 max is worked out, and then my VO2 figure is used to work out my Paces from VO2 | Running for Fitness
This gives my approximate paces as:
Long Slow Runs - 09:20 min/mile
Easy Run - 08:20 min/mile
Threshold run - 07:50 min/mile
Interval Pace - 07:30 min/mile
With the GPS watch I can see what pace I am maintaining at a glance of my wrist, making it a damn good buy, taking the guess work out of things.

So the middle of March saw me starting the Base training phase, building up the solid footings from which to build upon the strength, speed and endurance that should come from the following weeks. As I wrote this I am approaching the end of the phase, with next week being my monthly "rest" week (knocking off the mileage and speed to allow the body to recover) before starting the strength phase (bring on the Yorkshire hills!).

Already I can say that following a programme is having a big effect on the quality of my training. I am mixing up the run pace/distance to shock the body into working and improving. I know what the aim is of each run before I start it. I am running at paces that don't leave me knackered but are doing me good. I have enough rest time for my body to recuperate between runs.
All things which were a tad hit and miss before.

Then my Mum said, "Great North Run?" one night on FaceBook...

My immediate reply was don't be daft, I'm only doing it to get fit, not run races.
But a couple of hours idle thought and I changed my mind. It's good to have goals isn't it?
So I entered myself to run for the MS Society, and the next day entered myself to run the Run For All – Events to run, walk, wheel or jog » York 10K for shits and giggles.

Watch this space for training progress....
I may even join the local running club.

Anyhow, you sponsored me yet?

Please sponsor me to run the

on behalf of the

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  1. Bonners's Avatar
    Good stuff, as we both know, a plan is the thing and mixing it up is also great. You are taking a slightly more scientific approach to me, but I'm happy with my semi scientific approach. Couple of things I thought about that you might want to consider. Get a running belt if you havent already got one. I got one from these people. I just got the running one, but if running with an ipod you might want to consider the trail one:


    Sounds stupid, but it has really helped my running, I need to take on lots of fluids when doing my long runs and wasnt doing it enough as I hated holding stuff. Took about three or four runs to get used to it, but now wouldnt run without it and is not uncomfortable.

    Also, you might want to consider running vests rather than tshirts, again it is only a little thing, but the arms do feel easier in a vest. I got a couple from these people:

    Running Shoes | Running Clothing | Running Sport Watch | Heart Rate Monitors - SimplyRun

    One final thing, what socks are you running in? ANother minor thing, but I got a free pair with my last pair of trainers, far more padded than my normal running trainers. Didnt think too much of it until I ran with them. The next day I went and bought three more pairs (as they were on offer). Just looked at a pair and unfortunately cant find the make of them, but the principle holds. I think they might be 'Hilly' socks.

    All the little details count, I want to be as comfy as possible on my runs and not think about clothing or where the next drink is coming from.

    Another thing to consider is fuel on long runs. I use an energy bar and drink, my brother uses gels and drink and my wife only uses drink. It might be an idea to try a couple and see which suits you best.

    Good luck, enjoying the blogs, I fully expect to be a further £20 lighter in the pocket come the Autumn
  2. Adam's Avatar
    Yeah I use hilly padded training socks. Very comfy.
    I'm equally happy in my M&S hillwalking socks when it's chilly tho.
    I have some run365 ones too but they aren't as good.

    Vest and belts are not for me.
    Call me vain, but the belts are one step up from a bum bag and vests are not a good look string or otherwise.
    My shorts/trousers have a big enough pocket to carry my iPod.

    I've got a small camelback that will do for longer runs, but tbh until it heats up a fair bit anything under 1.5 hrs I can do without.
    There's good advice on fluid intake here:
    Drinking while running | Running for Fitness

    You only really need fuel on runs over 2 hours long, which I don't intend to do many of tbh.
    Energy while running | Running for Fitness
  3. Bonners's Avatar
    Yeah, I look like a fat bloke in a string vest with a bum bag when I run
  4. Adam's Avatar

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