My road to the NW50

I have almost planned all the races I will do before taking part in the NDW50.

This is my schedule so far:

I think there is still room for another half marathon or a 10/30 Km trail race in December, early January, but I have not yet found any close enough to my part of London. Any suggestion is welcome.

I am very much looking forward the Kingston Run Challenge in a couple of weeks. Half of the route is on my usual training grounds, on the Hampton Court side of the river. I’ve done it last year (in 1:54) and did the very similar Whole Foods Market Breakfast Run (basically same course) in March (in a better 1:46). They are usually very well organised races. Plenty of participants, but not too crowded to make it problematic. Humanrace are top organisers and I suggest anyone to take part in their events whether is a running, cycling or swimming one (or all three together).

I don’t think this time I will be as fast as 1:46 as for the past month I have trained at a much slower pace, but I will still try.

Training this week was a lot more relaxing than last week. I am still following The Cool Impossible schedule and I have just finished the fourth week. It was a mostly recovery week, with 2 days of rest. In total I did 67.7 Km.

Monday was the usual 12.5k easy run.

Tuesday was a recovery day. 8 easy km. I did not feel like needing to recover, but I trusted the book.

Wednesday on the other hand I did not follow the book. I was supposed to do half an hour in Speed Zone 1, which is even slower than the slow days speed. After a recovery day and before a rest day? That did not make sense to me. Plus there were no speed training in the whole week. So I decided that the book was wrong and was supposed to say Speed Zone 2 and I aimed to run 30 minutes at a bit above 4:00 min/km (after the usual 15 minutes of warm up + sprints). I ended up running 7km at 3:57 min/km. I enjoyed it a lot. I used to basically do all my runs at that speed before deciding to train for longer distances and I was missing the feeling.

Thursday rest. Nothing. It felt strange to spend an extra hour and a half in bed. I still fell asleep on the train on the way to work.

Friday I did the same as Monday, my usual 12.5k route. Soon it will be so dark I will not be able to run on the river.

Today, Saturday, was the long run day, but as this is a rest week I was not to run more than Week 2, so I did 22.5 Km in Bushy Park and then Richmond Park, coming back via the Ham river side. As always: beautiful.

Next week it will be more challenging and then I will rest a bit before the race.


Week 3

Training is going very well, this week I ran a total of 82km which is a record for me. Now I only have to be able to do the same in a single day in 8 months time.

I am very happy I managed to stay consistent for the whole month (as the image below shows). So far increasing the distance I run has made me want to run even more, no negative side effects.


Monday I did 13km of fartlek alternating easy sub 140bmp (my heart rate zone 2) sections with 20″ sprints roughly every 5 minutes. It has been fun.
Tuesday was nothing special while Wednesday was a killer. 15 minutes of warm up with some sprints and then 8 x 2′ at 3:45 min/km with 2′ rest. By the fifth one the rest interval seemed too short but I managed to always keep the right speed (except in the one before last, due to some movements in the belly 🙂 ).

If doing speed training on Wednesday was not enough I also decided to do some cross training and went for a swim in the evening. I am not a good swimmer at all, but after my eldest “semi-pro” daughter told me how to fix my head and breathing problem I feel a lot more confident and powerful. I have always finished a pool length feeling like I was dying. Now in the bits where I breath in I feel like I am really pushing well into the water. Anyway I did not do much, 30 lengths (6 breaststroke and 24 front crawl).

Thursday was the recovery day. I only ran 6.5km and quite slowly. So as I had more time before leaving the house I did some abs work: 2 minutes plank, 1:20 side plank (each side), 100 crunches, 100 bicycle crunches. I do abs every morning as part of my warm up sequence (not as many as on Thursday) and it is really helping me keep the correct running form in the long runs. I think I should do more exercises, but I really cannot find much time left in the day.

Then Friday arrived and I realised that Wednesday was not the week’s killer. Friday was! After the usual 15′ warm-up plus a couple of sprints I then did 5 x 1′ at a speed between 3:20 and 3:30 min/km, which is fast with 1:30 rest between them and then (and this was the fun part) 5 x 30″ at a speed between 3:00 and 3:20 min/km plus 2′ rest. I like speed training a lot.

Saturday was the long run. I was supposed to run 15′ longer than last week. I ended up doing a bit more, for a total of 25km. I tried to keep a steady slow pace, but my heart settled to <140bmp only after 20km and I was running faster than the first kilometres! I stayed on trails (Richmond and Bushy Park) as much as possible, wearing the Brooks Cascadia. The more I use them the more I love them. Today I ran on roads, mud, gravel and grass and in all these conditions the Cascadia have a fantastic grip. Plus they feel like having the right amount of cushioning and protection for me and have no fear for my right foot old plantar fasciitis pain residue, even when running on pebbles which is usually something I suffer on.


Overall it has been the best week of training so far: 2 fast days, 3 slow/recovery days and a very nice long run. I still have to understand my heart beats. I think I am running too slow compared to what I used to do. I really hope it will help in the long run (no pun intended), but for now I am struggling to keep in the heart zones I should be in and I hope all this slow running does not affect my speed in the road half-marathons I am going to do soon.

Keep reading this boring list of things I do if you want to know how it all ends.



No turning back!

There is no turning back.

I now registered for the North Downs Way 50 2015. I was afraid not to get a place so I registered at 10am as soon as it was possible to do so.

This is it, my target for next year. My challenge for my 40s. Uncharted territories. I will keep on following the 6 run a week schedule, run more half marathons, a couple of marathons and definitely a lot more trails. It will be fun! I can now schedule all the races from now to May next year. I have 2 already in the calendar, I will add more.

Training this week went well. I ran a total of 75km. I had a cold for the first couple of days but nothing serious. Mornings are now all of a sudden a lot colder.

Monday was an easy run ending with 5 very fast 10″ sprints. I felt like Bolt. I managed to go as fast as 2:48 min/km which is a new thing for me. For 10 seconds only, mind you.
Tuesday easy. Wednesday was the interval training. First part on hills. The second on flat. Finding hills here is not that easy. Especially close enough for me to go at 6am. Richmond Park has some and Kingston Hill is the best I guess. So that is where I went. When the park is closed I will run on the roads close by. They are less steep but better than nothing.

It was a lot of fun. Bushy and Richmond Parks are beautiful every time of the day, but in the early mornings they are the best.

Thursday easy run again and Friday a mix of easy run, 2′ intervals and sprints. I like those days where things get mixed up. I just wish I still had my Garmin 405, but after 2 models with failing battery I opted for a cheaper Garmin 210 which does not allow you to program your sessions with the details of the 405.

Today after registering for the NDW50 I went for a long run in Richmond Park. 21.1km. Should have gone slower than 140bmp but did not manage to.

See you on the road/trails 🙂


Week 1

So I survived the first week following the Cool Impossible training schedule. 6 runs in 7 days. 75km ran.

It was not too bad. I felt like a king for most of the week. Even waking up at 5:10am every day was not as hard as I imagined (I had to cut my evening videogames sessions a bit).
At the start, on Monday, I realised that the 20 minutes test must have gone wrong. I cannot run with that sort of BPM. It is too slow for me. I am used to run at an average of 4:00-4:08 min per km. To keep in the heart zone required by the easy runs in the schedule I would have to go slower than 4:45. Too boring. So I adjusted the tables and added 4bmp only, but it made it more manageable. I still think it is too slow but I’ll see how the next weeks pan out.

HRZone 1 HRZone 2 HRZone 3 HRZone 4 HRZone 5 HRZone 6 HRZone 7
121 130 131 140 141 145 146 149 150 154 155 158 159 163

On Wednesday I did some speed training which I love. That was probably the most fun day of the week.
The other days were mostly slow days running around 10/12km.

On Friday I was glad I’ve ran slow the whole week. I had some belly problems and I had to cut the training short to run quickly home.
I spent all day in bed with super nausea.
I slept most of the day and 13 hours at night. Some people (my wife) might say that it is the result of running too much, but I prefer to think it was something I ate.
Anyway I was not going to fail on the first week. On Saturday I woke up weighting 2kgs less than usual and very weak so I waited until the afternoon to go for the long run of the week.
I went around Richmond Park. I tried to stay off road as much as possible as I was wearing the Cascadia and I wanted to feel like a trail runner. I suffered quite a bit and run 19k quite slowly (4:33 min/km average) but I am happy I completed the week.

Next week looks like more fun as the schedule is quite diverse. Next Saturday morning the NDW50 opens the registrations. Let’s hope I get a place.

Today I am going for a relaxing walk with the girls on the South Downs. One day I will run there too.

Run and Have fun.