Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Running Resolutions 2018

It's the start of the year again, so time to make a small list of resolutions you may try to complete. This year is different for me, as it will be MY FIRST set of resolutions focused around running. I think some are achievable, and some a little tough....

Sub 20 Minute 5K 

During 2017 I went from 23 to 21, so I think it could happen. I just think the 19 minute club is very cool! But I would be happy entering the 20 minute bracket.

1.35 - 1.40 - Half Marathon

2017 I completed two marathons at sub 1.50 and they both felt okay so therefore I'll try harder this year and achieve a decent time.

Sub 4 Marathon

I'm running my FIRST EVER Marathon, so the goal is loose...but still not an easy target.

Run a total of 1,000+ Miles

2017 I stepped up my running schedule, and managed 550+ miles, the second half of the year was the bigger growth in mileage. Therefore this year should be another big change, especially with Marathon training in the first half the year.

I admit the only goal I really want to achieve is the Marathon, the rest will be a nice bonus :)

Do you have any run resolutions?


Thursday, 23 November 2017

Edinburgh Marathon 2018

For the past two years I have entered the ballot for the London Marathon, but of course not been successful, and it was only this year I found out how difficult this can be. One member from the club has been trying for 8 years!

I believe my running is going down a good path, so decided to really go for it next year and enter a marathon, and after many recommendations I've gone with the Edinburgh Marathon. I love Scotland, and Edinburgh is a great city therefore a clear no ballot, so guaranteed entry!

The race is end of May, so hoping the Scottish weather will be kind (fingers crossed until race morning).

Like I said, this is my first time running a marathon so a complete novice to what training program to follow. I've heard many tips and encouragement all over the place. My dad has ran a few marathons and his advice is to make sure I do plenty of extra long runs.

Currently I try to run 3 times a week. 2 club runs in the week, and then Parkrun or a little longer solo run on the Sunday. Therefore after reading this article in Runners World I'm going to try out the 16 Week 3 Day a Week Program. Looking through the schedule, I think it's achievable.

Of course the main worry is keeping it up during the winter months and around my freelance schedule, but no pain no gain...right? I will just have to research into speed sessions, and what are most effective crossfit exercises. Recently I've managed a few very early morning runs (5am!!!!), so If needed I will have to carry on that routine.

I'm excited to step up to this challenge, and look forward to see the miles clock up over the weeks...seeing the totals increase is always a nice achievement. After the race I'm planning to not drop off and back into low mileage again. I would like to keep the fitness going...and who knows enter a second marathon in October? I've heard there is a few good ones that month.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

My FIRST 10K Race

Squad Goals, before the race

Since 2016 I've completed many 10K runs, either out on my own or in small groups on a Monday night club run. But somehow I've never entered a 10K race, the shortest distance is 10 miles, and of course many Park Run 5ks...but they're just for run, right?
This has now changed, thanks to the club challenging everyone to train together, with individual challenges; sub 40, 50, 60 and get round. I decided to enter the sub 50 group, as my Park Run times are starting to speed up. I joined a few sessions during the 8 week training course. I admit my commitment was limited, due to work (typical). The training was a large build up to Ronhill Surrey Classic Series - Oxshoot 10K.

Race day arrived and everyone from the club was in a good mood, but with some nerves knowing we all have goals to smash. Some members in the club were of course asking each other what time they were aiming for. I always find this question difficult, as I never want to put it in my head. I just said ‘a good sub 50’ – However, in the back of my mind I was reminding myself of a 10K I ran at 5am (yep, other commitments!) earlier in the week. I completed it around 48 mins, and had to stop after approaching emergency services attending a call out (I promise, it was nothing serious). Of course, I wanted to beat this time, and was just curious whether I can pace myself at 7:15/mi – as I’ve never done this past 3 miles.

The race began after a big thank you to our club, as our turn out was over 30% of the field. And as all money taken from sign ups goes directly to charity, the organisers were very happy with us. A quick countdown, and we were off onto the unclosed Oxshott roads.

The first 1K was a loop, and I didn’t look at my watch until completing, and it was reading, 6:50/mi. Woops! As usual my excitement kicked in, but I wasn’t feeling strained as this is the usual for a Park Run. But I kept reminding myself, this is double, I need to hold out for longer at a slower pace. This worked, and I naturally eased back to 7:10/mi, and it was still feeling good.

Me and my battle

Around the 2K marker the field stretched out, and everyone found their zone. The familiar faces for the race were now around me, and a fellow club member was in front. I overheard his finishing goal before the race, so I decided to chase him down. For the rest of the race, his back and footsteps were a familiar sight and sound. We were pulling each other round the course, and taking it in turns to go slightly ahead. This could have been a battle, but it worked well. At one point, a lady from another club joined us, and got into our rhythm, which was great. At this point I really noticed my running technique has come a long way, and I was loving it!
Approaching the middle of the race, I decided if I felt okay at 9K, I was going to push on harder until the end, and get that negative split. The 9K marker arrived, and it happened, leaving my battle with the club member behind. Turning the final corner, I just about managing a sprint finish into the funnel with the official time keeper. I completed the course in 45:33 – and I could not believe it! Finishing 42nd overall and 37th male.
A great morning with the club, and look forward to doing more and more. In fact, next Sunday some of us are in the Nonsuch 10K, which is part of the same series. My unofficial plan is to try and beat this weekend’s time, and see I can keep at 7:00/mi. At Oxshott I was out there going quick, however I wasn’t pushing extra hard as I didn’t want to totally fail the sub 50 mark and feeling like the training hadn’t paid off.


Friday, 20 October 2017

Throwback - Great South Run 2016

Last year my running journey moved forward into entering official races, and end of the summer I  entered the Great South Run in my hometown, Portsmouth. This matched my previous and only other race of the year, the Dorking 10. Which I ran with little training and no expectations. Therefore this time round, I had better idea on how to tackle 10 miles, and a PB to beat.

I took on the race with my dad, and it was actually the first time we had ever ran together, so it was really nice. 

We arrived in the morning with good time for parking (19,000+ participants) and a warm up, which was needed as it was a cold morning, with extra help from the Portsmouth seafront breeze. My dad showed me the trick of wearing a bin liner, to keep in the heat whilst wearing your running gear, it worked perfectly. I'll definitely use the technique every winter. 

We ran around the whole course together, and due to me still being new to running I didn't have a watch, therefore my dad was pace and time keeper. And I still didn't properly know my ability, so the pacing was up and down. I think around 9 - 9:30 minute miles. 

Towards the finish line our pace gradually picked up, resulting in a strong finish, and leaving my dad behind (ha!). Every race, I always try and make a strong sprint to the finish line.

The finishing time was 1hr 27 mins, beating Dorking 10 time by 2 minutes. 

I highly recommend the course, as a good winter race. You run round a lot of the dockyards, and see a good amount of Portsmouth by the seafront, and some of the crowds are very big and energetic. I will admit the price is a little expensive for a 10 mile race, and mainly for me as it's my hometown. Paying to run around where you grew up little is a little odd to accept. But I promise, you will enjoy it!

I'm not entering the race in 2017 due to other commitments, and I have plenty of other races to take on throughout October and November. But I will enter in the future, always fun to break a course record and PB. And after writing this, I realise my strength and speed has increased a lot within a year, so I would be very intrigue to see what my new time would be.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

My First Cross Country

This weekend I ticked off another new category of racing, Cross Country. 26.2RRC are participating in the Surrey League Cross Country, and the first race of the season was Wimbledon Common, I had to join in with everyone as I wanted to try something new.

Like I said this was my first attempt at Cross Country, so I had no idea what to expect. A few people from the club chatted to me about it all, saying it's all good fun. No worries about timing, simply go out and a race. Plus I was informed we were in a lower division, so less extreme runners?

Race day arrived, and it was a mild October afternoon, so I already knew I wasn't going to get the true Cross Country experience of cold, wet and muddy. After arriving, everyone started to warm up, and started to chat about what sort of race they are going for. I kept my answer simple: 'see what happens, just going to enjoy it'.

We then walked to the starting line, which was downhill. So of course we all knew a hill was going to great us right at the start (great). We get into position, I'm standing near the back, with a few other members from the club. And then bang, we were off racing!

However, due to the large field (332 runners), the start was very staggered. We kept getting funnelled into small gaps, meaning we had to stand, wait and even walk a few small sections. I wasn't expecting this, but I heard after the race, that this can happen a lot. Even at the front of the field with the serious runners!

The whole race was good fun, a lot of up and down small hills, and then a large one at the end of the lap which we had to climb 3 TIMES! The weather was very humid, so everyone was sweating a lot at the end. One moment a guy was running back against the crowd with a huge gash in his forehead shouting 'watch out for low branches!!!' I wonder what happened there?

Like I said, it was a very humid day, so no muddy legs. Some of the guys shoes were actually cleaner after the race. I did say I wished it was a little cooler, but some of the guys said I wouldn't be saying that once we get to the races deep into Winter, so I'll bear that in mind.

The 2 lap course was 4.6 miles, I finished 247th and completed it in 37:54, which I'm happy with and of course plenty of room for improvement. After our race whilst we were calling down we watched the runners in Division 2 take on the course, and that was great to see. The different level of fitness and speed was very noticeable. But I'm happy with the slightly lower league, with less pressure.

I had a great afternoon, and look forward to the 2nd race. It's in Epsom Downs, I've been hearing a mixed bag of it being shorter course, or very hilly. So who knows....but I am starting to enjoy hills! I would like to break into the 100 positions next time...!
I'll let you know.


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Tourist at Margate Park Run

Over the weekend I was at By The Sea Festival with a few friends and my girlfriend, we were staying in a lovely Airbnb right near the coast. And since my bug for Park Run has grown over the last year I had to find out if there was one, and thankfully there was! The course was just under a mile jog from our Airbnb, perfect!

Friday night was underway, and I kept it steady. I've participated in a few Park Runs with a mild hangover, in particular Brighton's Hove Promenade Park Run. There was a lot of clammy alcohol sweats at the end of that one....Margate was not to be the same!

The alarm went off at 8am, and I felt fine (thankfully). I jogged down, and as expected I was a little early, the keen beans had already arrived. Of course I was wearing my 26.2 Road Runners Club T-shirt, I had to show my colours. And hoping to make it easier to spark conversation with rest of the group. 

Once it got a little busier, the Run Director walked over pointing at me (what had I done?). As he got nearing he explains "I recognise that top, the best running club in the UK" - Guessing I looked baffled (or looking more hungover than expected). He tells me he's a member of the club! We  chatted about Surbiton and how he used to live round there, but now lives in Margate, and returns to the club for the Grand Prix and other races! The group started to get larger, so his duties began so our chat had to finish. 

The run was lovely, a good stretch right next to the coastline, to really take in the sea air with two loops either end, and a surprising large grassy section. Thankfully, the wind was very low so my pacing kept up. I was fully expecting side-winds to push me around.

I completed the course in 23:38 which is way off my PB, but I didn't care the whole point was to explore a new course and just enjoy it...and now with the added bonus of meeting a club member! I am proud of the time as I kept my pacing around 7:30/mi which has taken me a while to achieve, and approaching the finishing line I felt good and not too exhausted (considering the mild hangover). I remember when I first started Park Run in 2015, at Wimbledon Common. I was consistently pulling in 23-24min times whilst feeling shattered. But this weekend, it was all good. 

My local Park Run is now Kingston, and recently I've been clocking some great PBs. I think that will stay as my base to really work on my technique...everything else is for fun. I of course will be there this weekend for Park Run's 13th Birthday. I was thinking Bushy Park, as I haven't ran it yet, but I bet it will be even more busy with the extra spotlight. 

Happy Park Running. 


Friday, 29 September 2017

26.2 Road Runners Club

I briefly mentioned in my welcome post to the blog about being part of 26.2 Road Runners Club. Today, I wanted to chat about the club a little more, what we get up to and how it's helped me improve. 
Me and my girlfriend moved to Surbiton in January 2017. Once we got settled I wanted to get back on the roads/parks to really make an extra effort with my running. My dad and a friend had recently joined local running clubs, and they both said their technique and strength had rapidly improved. Therefore I wanted to do the same. Secondly, I thought it would be a great way to make some new friends in the local area.
After a quick Google search I found 26.2RRC, and thought they looked really approachable. Explaining despite the name they're not here to cover Marathons all the time (a big relief). One of the selling points, was the HQ. A 2 minute walk from my flat (no exaggerating) - So now I can never have an excuse!
We meet up every Monday for a social catch up run, covering around 6 miles. It's always a scenic run, which sometimes covers Bushy Park, running alongside the local deer. Wednesday's varies from; Track Sessions, Long Runs, The Club Handicap (which I'll cover in another post) and the dreaded hill sessions (although I'm learning to appreciate).
On top of the weekly meets, we have the Club Grand Prix, which is a lot of fun. Over the year we meet up for 12 runs (I think), and attempt to place in a decent position at the end of the year. So far the runs been great, in particular the Reigate Half Marathon (again I'll cover in a future post).  Last time I checked, my position was around mid-table, but we're 4 races in. So could go either way. 
Everyone is very friendly and approachable. This is what  I needed as a boost, to get out and explore my local area for my solo runs.

It seems their club ethos is to make it a social club first, then runs to follow. Of course there is some serious runners clocking in staggering PB's which I am way off.  

Although my performance has greatly improved, which I have seen through achievements in long distance and Park Runs. 

Who knows what will happen next year? 
MH x

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Welcome to My Running

Welcome to my personal blog about running. My plan is post articles about my personal accounts on runs, in races and perhaps reviews and ideas on stuff associated with running. Like my running experience I don't have a real plan/goal for this blog, so who knows how it will evolve.

A little about me as a runner.

I started running in 2015, with the intention to keep myself fit and active, due to a desk job. It went well, getting out on my own after work and sometimes on the weekends. I of course joined Park Run and got really into competing on a Saturday morning. However was never consistent, until 2017.

After moving to Surbiton in January 2017, I decided to join a local running club and take things a little more seriously. Luckily I discovered, 26.2 Road Runners, with their meet up point being literally 30 seconds walk from my flat. So no excuses!

Since joining my technique and strength has improved dramatically, 2017 has been amazing for my running. I'm still improving, and would consider myself an amateur, but occasionally I surprised myself with PBs and impressive (for me) pacing.

That's all for now, keep checking back for more articles, I have lots of ideas already.

Happy Running,