80% Food, 20% Run

I spent the last week in Italy for Christmas. This meant eating a lot and running very little. 55k in total.

I still managed to go out and run 3 times, but I took it easy as I was weighted down by the many panettoni and wine.

On Monday I went for a run with Marco R. (my wife’s uncle and my running pen-friend). It was very cold and foggy (Torino is really grey in the winter). We did an easy 13km on the river Po and in the Valentino Park. It was good to run in the old places again after so many years. It was also a pleasure to run with Marco after talking about running together and giving each other tips for a year. As it was not enough I decided to do a quick 5km run by myself. It was also an excuse to go and check out my old house and neighbourhood. I ended up doing 5k at 4:02. Then it was time for more food and celebrations.

On Wednesday I went out for an early run (again in the ice and fog). I did my former favourite loop, running on the river up to Sam Mauro and then back on the other side via the Colletta Park. I stopped at 20km (4:21 average). I have to sadly admit that running in Bushy and Richmond Park has spoiled me, they are unbeatable. It would be nice to go back to Torino once in a while and see some improvements. Sadly I have seen none and I am glad we left years ago.

Then it was Christmas day. It was probably one of the best. As usual it was a massive lunch with 20+ relatives. It was good.
I also received a lot of running related presents. New kits and new books.


I read Marco Olmo‘s book in a day, he is such an inspiration. Strangely there is no English wikipedia page about him.

On Friday I went running with Marco R. again and this time we were joined by Marco O. (my wife’s brother). We did the same route as I did on Wednesday but without a bit at the end. 17km in total. We did not care about the speed as we spent most of the time chatting. It was a lot of fun as I never run with other people any more.

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In the evening I finally managed to go out for a pizza with my old friends Abba and Davide G. (@unknowndest). See you at the NDW50!

Then the holiday in Italy was over. On Saturday we said the final goodbyes and and Sunday we flew back to London. Next week I am still on holiday and will run quite a lot. Then I will rest for a week, getting ready for my first marathon on the 10th!

Enjoy your holidays!


Before the festivities

It has been another good running week. The weather has been relatively good and I felt good the whole week. It was the last week of serious running before the rest and all the crazy eating for Christmas.

I started easy on Monday with a recovery 11km run. It was the first winter day cold enough to wear the full thick winter gear.

On Tuesday I did some interval training. The usual warm up and then five 2′ run at around 3:30 with 2′ rest. Quite tiring. Strangely it was around 10 degrees at 5am. I ran with no gloves and hat with my medium gear and was still sweating like crazy.

On Wednesday for the easy recovery run went on a new route on the other side of the river on the Kingston bank and then up to the Teddington lock on the road instead of the usual towpath which was too dark. It’s nice to change once in a while. I was very happy after 11km. Again super warm for December.

Thursday was cold again and it was time for interval training again. Warm up and then four 6′ run with the heart at 155/158bmp and 3′ rest. A lot of fun but at the fourth I was ready to go home.

Friday unfortunately the alarm clock did not wake me up and I slept until the second alarm, the one that says it is time to go to work.

This meant that Saturday I was full of energy and very keen to go out. I did 30 minutes to Richmond Park and then 5 one minute repeats on the hill going uphill as fast as I could. Then when I was tired enough I went all around the park and then back home for a total of 25km.


It was a good run. The hill repeats were a killer and until I had a gel I could not really get some speed back in the legs. I tried a new flavour, banana. I loved it. I have a big stash now and I am trying different flavours. So far I have to say that my former favourite, green apple, has been beaten by the banana ones.


Overall it was a good week. I ran a total of 70.5km and now it is time for some rest. I will run a bit during the holidays next week but not much. The last week of the year I will start seriously again.

Have fun and have a nice Christmas!


Steady diet of running

Another solid week.

Monday was an easy recovery day. I did 10Km at 4:33 min/km. Nothing special but I felt really good. Running long distances during the week end (38km was a lot for me) really adds to my confidence and going out for a short run where I do not have to worry makes it really fun. Also running more kms per week has definitely made me a lot stronger and I can feel it in my legs. I am not as tired as I used to be the first month of waking up at 5am every day. Now it is a routine and the body is ready. Whether it is ready for a trail marathon in a month time we’ll have to wait and see.

Tuesday was again an easy run day. I decided to do more kms than I usually do in the week days. I’ve read somewhere (I think in this old Roberto Albanesi’s book) that a training session needs to be at least one hour long. Most of mine are 10/12km during the week so they last less than 50 minutes. On Tuesday I did 15km. For an exact total of an hour. It was a good run but it was extremely cold, below zero. I could hear the crick crick that the shoes did on the ice on the road. I challenge my friends @unknowndest and @manuontrail to run in shorts in those conditions! (We have an ongoing discussion about long tights and pants).

Wednesday was the interval training day so after the usual 20 minutes warm up I did 4 x 4′ at 3:40 min/km with 4 minutes rest. 4×4+4. The day of the 4s. I ran a total of 14km in exactly an hour (Albanesi would approve).

Thursday I again went out for an easy recovery run. It was a bit of a suffering due to cramps. I went really slow, accelerating only at the end to go to the toilet as quickly as possible. 10km in total, but not much fun. Wind and ice did not help either.

Friday I woke up, saw that there was a storm outside with horizontal rain and decided to be lazy and went back to sleep. Obviously regretted it as soon as I woke up 2 hours later.

Saturday I was supposed to do around 60% of my longest run of the previous The Cool Impossible training plan part one, but as I skipped the day before I decided to do a bit more. I left home as the sun was coming out: beautiful clear sky, frozen ground, very few people around, a light fog on the river, perfect. Having rested the day before I felt really good and did a relatively fast 30km run (my new 30k PB) through Bushy Park, the Hampton Court’s river side, around the whole of Richmond Park, Kingston to Teddinton Lock and then home. When I stopped I still had a lot of energy. I am really proud of myself. In less than 5 months I went from running 21k to 30k with the same effort. Running 30k now seems really easy.

A good week then, 79.2k in total. One more normal training week and then I will rest a bit during the Chirstmas week. The first marathon is approaching!

Go outside and have fun!



Follow the river

Last week I did not run much so I had to go big this week.

Monday I did an easy run. With the new heart zones calculated last week things got a little bit faster. 13km at 4:16 min/km.

Tuesday was more intensive. After the usual 15/20 min warm up I did 5x(3′ at 3:35 with 3′ rest). It was fun and tiring. It also marked the end of my Brooks Glycerin. At 800km it was time to retire them. I ended up liking them a lot. I did not think any shoe could beat my favourite Asics Nimbus, but they are not that different, a bit harder but definitely a lot longer lasting. I might get a new pair when the current Nimbus get to around 400km, to alternate them.

Wednesday I did not hear the alarm clock and woke up too late to go out running. 🙁

Thursday I did 40 minutes at a steady 4:19 min/km and then 8 ten seconds sprints between 2:50 and 3:30. Seven minutes of cool down and I was home happy. It was definitely getting colder and colder each day.

Friday was a lot of fun. I did 4km of warm up and then 6 fast km at 3:47. Two cool down kms and then home for a big recovery protein smoothy.

Saturday’s plan was to run more than what The Cool Impossible training schedule suggested. I need to put more kms in my legs to get ready for the next months of marathon running.
It was crazy cold, zero degrees at 8am and it did not get better, it was 1 degree when I got back home. I decided to follow the river and run away from home as much as possible and then turn back. I fist did a couple of km towards Kingston and then followed the river until I had run 21km and then turned back. The idea was that if I felt like it I could do the same route back and end up doing 42km like a real marathon runner or if I felt tired I could stop earlier, skipping the initial loop to Kingston. That’s what I ended up doing for a total of 38km, which I think is still good as it is the longest I have ever run.

The trail on the river is all flat so I could keep a good pace and I ended up running with an average of 4:48 min/km. The story really changed after 32km, keeping under 5 min/km was a struggle. The freezing cold did not help either. The trail was either frozen hard mud or slippery ice. At the 24th km I even slipped on a downhill wooden ramp and fell like an idiot. Luckily I did not hit the ground too hard as I was quite far away from home. It actually helped as for the next 4 or 5 kms I was all energized by the fall.

I had a gel at 15k and one at 25k which really helped. I also ran for the first time with my new Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest 2.0. I loved it. I only carried one bottle and drunk very little as it was very cold and, I have to admit, I only understood how to drink from it once I got home (I should have tried it before starting running). Once I got the strap in the right configuration for my body it really felt comfortable and did not hinder the run at all. I might try and get soft bottles to replace the ones that come with it. I have not tried carrying anything on the back as I did not need to, but I am sure I found the right vest/backpack for my future trail marathons and for the NDW50. As always the Brooks Cascadia did their job. As my experience teaches me, only ice can beat them.

Overall it was a very good run, I enjoyed it a lot and it took me to places I had not been in ages, like my very first office in Mortlake.


I will probably do another long run just after Christmas and then taper until my first marathon.
Here are the next challenges:

I think that should be enough for the first half of 2015.

Overall, good week: 5 runs for a total of 88.2km.