Bad start, new PB

This week started pretty bad. I was not feeling too well on Sunday afternoon but despite the nausea I ate a lot of pizza for dinner. 30 minutes later I was regretting it big time. I spent half the night in the toilet and then Monday I was KO and spent most of the day sleeping. A real shame as last week’s 80+ km were something I really wanted to build on.

Tuesday obviously I did not run as I was still not 100% fit.
Wednesday I wanted to do the 1 mile test as suggested by the plan in The Cool Impossible. I went out even if I was still a bit weak and after 5k or so of warm up I tried to do 1 mile as fast as I could. Disaster. Last summer before starting this training regime I did the 1 mile in 5:22. This time it took me 5:37.
I then ran back home sad and beaten. I was so weak that I really struggled on the last 2k. The fog was coming up but it felt like my eyes were getting foggy and I was going to faint. Not a nice situation to be in.
I then took two decisions. The first was to ignore this 1 mile test and the second was to rest a bit and only run again on Saturday.
I though that there was no point in doing the 20 minutes test either. It would not have been indicative.

I decided to do the Bushy Parkrun on Saturday. I went to do it with my brother in law who was visiting us for the week end and I wanted to show him all the nice places I run in and how friendly the parkrun people are.
We warmed up for 2k and I then did the race. I like parkruns. I don’t do them often as on Saturday I prefer to do a long run, but if there is a good occasion I do one.
My previous PB was 18:30. I am glad to say I smashed it by 20 seconds! I really gave it all I could and finished 13th overall (3rd in my category).
We then ran back home via the river, 7.5 more kms, slowly recovering from the speedy 5k.

Not much running this week but with a new 5k PB I cannot complain.

I decided to use those 18:10 as my 20 minutes test. Last time I did it I had an average of 159 BPM. This time 171 BMP! A lot more. I always thought that the first test did not come out well and the resulting heart zones were too low. That’s why I tweaked them a bit. This time the heart zones are more interesting and I am sure come next week the second part of The Cool Impossible training will see me running a lot faster!

The marathons are getting closer!


Full Throttle

After a couple of weeks of intense running but not for long distances this was the week I wanted to go back to running every day. It was also the last week of The Cool Impossible training part 1. So even in the rain and the cold I managed to run 6 times this week.

Monday I took it easy, 10km of recovery run (at 4:37 min/km). I needed it after Saturdays’ race.
Tuesday again, 10 easy km at 4:28 min/km. The legs were recovering and I felt full of energy again.
Wednesday it got serious. 15 minutes of warm up and then 5 four minutes repeats at 3:45 min/km (or faster) with 3 minutes rest. Quite tiring.
On Thursday I was really sleepy but managed to go for a 10.5km run at 4:33 min/km and then Friday I went for another interval training. This time 8 twenty minutes sprints with 2 minutes rest. I enjoy those quick sprints. Actually I enjoy any type of running, from long slow runs to 10 seconds sprints. I did most of the sprints under 2:50 min/km which feels very fast for me.

Then the big day arrived. Saturday is the long run day. I wanted to run at least 3 hours and maybe aim to beat my 38km records. Unfortunately I had to be home at 9 to take my youngest daughter to an event. So I had to leave home very early and that meant I could not run in any park for most of the run as it was too dark. I ended up doing a long road detour so that I could get on the river side by the time there was some light and then went into Richmond park so early that I almost met no one. Which is a good thing. On Saturday it is always packed with runners while at that time in the morning it was just me and the deer.
Everything went fine until the 20th km. I started having some really bad cramps then but managed to run them off. They re-appeared a bit later again but I was already on the way home and as I really had to arrive by 9 I could not stop. I ended up doing 34 km in 2:45. I whished I could do more, but the race the week before and the 5 training days really sucked all the energy I had left in my legs. I had one gel sachet and drank most of my pint of water (with added salts), but I should have had a bigger breakfast. Well, you always learn something.

I am happy of the week as a whole. I ran a total of 87.6km which is my weekly record.

Next week I will take it easier and probably do the Cool Impossible tests to fine tune the second part of the training and maybe take part in the Bushy Parkrun on Saturday. There is also th eoffice Chirstmas party, that will make me less sporty.

Have fun!


Dirt Running

This has been a very nice running week.

I did not train much during the week as I was getting some rest for Saturday’s race.

Monday I did an easy recovery 11.5km run. It was also the first run with the new Asics Nimbus 16. It is early to say if they are still the best shoes for me but they felt really good. I am going to alternate using them and the old ones for a while now.

Tuesday I rested and then Wednesday I did a bit of warm up and then tried to do a 5k fast run. I felt really good. In my old way of training I never did slow recovery runs like the one on Monday and I have to say, that was a mistake. You really feel energised by those easy days and Wednesday I felt really good, no pain anywhere, and did those 5k at a pace of 3:50 min/km which is not amazing, but it was all about feeling good for the race. Plus I had two pints of beer the evening before! I know, I broke my rule of “no alcohol 2 weeks before a race”, but I had to.

Thursday I did 10 easy km and then after work went to the pub again! I know, big mistake, but I was invited to a party, I had to drink.

Friday I rested, had pasta for lunch and dinner and went to bed early. This was the plan:


The race was a bit far from home so I left quite early, good thing the start was at 10am. It took me a lot less to get there than expected and had to wait a long time. I ate a banana, an energy bar and used the toilet before the usual massive queue formed. I hate waiting.

The day was perfect, cold and dry. The location seemed very nice too. On the way there I passed a lot of nice little old villages, all of them made of a couple of old houses, a church and a bridge. Loads of tiny bridges over little canals. Really nice.

When it was about time to start I went to take my place on the starting line, in the group that aimed to do it under 90 minutes. I was confident. My half Marathon best is under 85 minutes and I was hoping the trails and hills would not affect me too much. The plan was to run at a steady pace around 4:10 min/km but as always the pull of the other runners made me start faster.
After a couple of km it was already possible to see the leading group forming in front and gaining distance. I stayed in the second group. Last of that lot, maybe 25th.
The first half of the race was on flat, on a very nice towpath on a canal. It was not a trail but it was very slippery, especially under the many bridges. Being very narrow the path made it hard to overtake but after a while I was feeling so good I started running well under 4:00 min/km and started gaining places until after a while I was the first of the second leading group. At that point I went crazy and decided to give it all. I was not even halfway through the race and decided to dig in and run fast. All the time I kept on thinking it was a mistake. I could see the people I was overtaking thinking the same. “Where does he think he is going? Doesn’t he know the hard part is still to come?”. No, I did not know and did not care. In these cases ignorance is a good thing.

Finally we left the canal and went into the fields and after a while the path started climbing and I thought “OK, this is the end for me. I overdid it and now I will pay for it”. I was wrong. All those hill training on Kingston hill paid off. I slowed down a bit obviously, but not that much. I was not looking at the road. I just looked at the feet of the people in front and one by one I overtook five of them and found myself at the top of the hill and, cheered by the small crowd, I started running down. This is where the best part of the race was. Up and down this hill in the mud, skipping roots, jumping between puddles, running through cattle gates, in the wet fields sometimes with the feet completely under water. It was exhilarating and as I knew I could not catch the leaders I, at least, ran as fast as I could to avoid being caught up by the people behind. Really, I could have not run faster and I did not care that there was still quite a bit to go.


I was so into it that at one point I missed the correct trail and started bombing down a tarmac road. Luckily one of the marshalls shouted at me “Ehy! It’s a trail race not a road race!”. I laughed but had to go back up. I only lost probably 25 seconds, but one guy behind me caught up and we were entering the small path at the same time. I have to thank him for being such a good sportsman. He stopped and waited for me to get back into the path and run ahead of him. Very nice stuff. It was the highlight of the event for me.

We then run all the way to the end together. After a bit more wet fields and slippery wooden bridges we rejoined the towpath for the last 4k of the run.
Here the competition started between us, or at least I felt like it. We ran close to each other at around 4:10 min/km pace. Going faster was either not possible because we were too tired or we both were waiting for the other to do his move. We ran together until we were 500 mt from the end. There was a small slope there, very muddy and slippery and he lost his momentum and slowed down a lot. I overtook him and he shouted “Go go! You won!”
I saw another guy in front but it was impossible to think to accelerate at that point and just enjoyed the feeling of crossing the line and finishing my first trail race.

I finished in 14th place, 6th in my category, in 1 hour and 26 minutes. It’s a result I am really proud of as I gave it all and loved every second of it. I hope this is the first of many. I will definitely go back to do this one next year.

For some stats have a look at Strava.

Cannot wait to do more. My next race is a full marathon! Unless I find another race to do before then 🙂


Back in action

It has been quite a crazy week. Very tiring for many reasons, so my running suffered a bit, but I still managed to clock in a total of 65 km.

On Monday I had to skip training as we arrived home from Portugal at 2am. Three hours sleep is not enough to run and then work a full day.

On Tuesday I took it easy as I had not been running for 5 days. So I only did 10 km. I wanted to keep my heart below 140bmp but I forgot to check once in a while and went faster. It was fine, I needed to release some stress.

Wednesday was more interesting. After the usual warm up I did four 5 minutes repeats at 150-158bmp (around 3:45 min/km) with 3 minutes rest.

Then Thursday was the killer day (my favourite type). For two reasons, the training and the weather. It was really cold. The internet said 2 degrees, but I think in some areas it was closer to zero. There was ice on the street! My hands suffered the most, I should have worn gloves, but it feels too early for that! Good thing I covered my head with my new Buff. I am such a trendy runner!
Anyway, I did the usual 20 minutes warm up and then did four 2 minute uphill repeats at a relatively fast speed and then rest on the way down. The heart was racing! I always go up and down the same road when doing hills training when the park is closed. I find it fun to think about the people sleeping in their houses with a mad man running up and down their street.


Then to finish the day off I did five 1 minute sprints faster than 2:20 min/km with 2 minutes rest. It felt good.

Friday on the other hand I felt really lazy and when I woke up, heard the heavy rain falling, felt a little pain in my right leg/hip, I thought about the day ahead and decided to sleep more.

That was a good call as on Saturday I felt fresh and ready for my long run. I decided to run less than the last long run but do at least 30 kilometres. As I will be running the Dirt Running Half Challenge next week end I wanted to try and run a bit faster than I usually do in my long runs. I aimed to always stay at around 4:30 min/km. I did 31km, beating my 30km personal best, in the rain, mud, wind and then sunshine. The bit that hurt the most was my right shoulder. I am really weak if I cannot carry a water bottle for 2 hours!
It was a lot of fun, felt good and I did not suffer from my usual endless hiccups in the afternoon.

Next week I will take it easy before the race on Saturday, but I am very much looking forward to run with my new Asics Nimbus 16.


Yes, I went back to my favourite shoes. It is probably my 8th pair. I liked the Brooks Glycerine I was running in, but not as much as the Nimbus. Let’s see how they go next week. I am not abandoning Brooks, I still have my Cascadia for my long Saturday’s runs (where I try to run on trails as much as possible) and they will play an important role on next Saturday’s race.

Have fun!


40 40 40

40 years! Not kilometres! (sadly)

This has been a very short running week. I only trained three days as the rest of the week I was away.

Monday I did a fun interval session. After the usual 20 minutes warm up I did 3 x 8 minutes running with a heart rate higher than 150bpm (which translated to around 4:00 min/km) and 3 minutes rest. It was the first rainy day in months. Not that it never rains here (it’s London after all), but for some strange alignment of planets the last time I ran in the rain was last July. I actually love running in the rain, especially if it is not torrential.

Tuesday was an easy run day. 13km at 4:23 min/km. Nothing special to report apart form the fact that now that the clock has gone back one hour I can run on the river again (only at the end of the session and it will be too dark again soon).

Wednesday: again an easy run. 10k with some sprints at the end.

And this is all I did this week running-wise. A mere 36.5km.
Then we went to Portugal for my 40th birthday and completely disregarded any sense of diet and drinking restraint and enjoyed the holiday as much as I could. This is arunning blog so I am not going to bother you with stuff like quality family time, sunshine and bacalhau. Eh eh.

Have fun!