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!


Three hours (success)

Last week I did not manage to run for three continuous hours on my Saturday long run and I was a bit disappointed.

My training schedule (I am still religiously following The Cool Impossible plan) for this week was a lot more relaxed with only 3 runs before the long one in the week end, plus I was not recovering from a race so I was pretty confident I could do the 3 hours run.

I did 10 easy kms on Monday, 13 easy kms on Wednesday and 10 more easy ones on Thursday. Nothing special to report, apart from catching a cold and having a sore throat all week.

Then the big day arrived. Saturday’s long run. The weather was perfect. Not too cold, but not as hot as last week end. I left slightly earlier than the previous attempt to avoid clashing with the parkrun in Bushy Park or the one in Richmond Park. I made sure to add 5km at the beginning of last weeks route, to avoid arriving back home too early and then not finding the will to continue to complete the 3 hours.

This time I also took with me not only the hand-held bottle but also 2 gels. I have to say, I am not used to running carrying a pint of water and I find it very hard to carry it with my left hand so I always carry it on the right. After a couple of hours I can feel my right shoulder complaining a bit. I also think 2 gels were probably too much. One and a couple of gel blocks are probably enough for this distance.

Everything went well. After an hour of running I entered Richmond Park where my friend Omar was waiting for me on his bike. We did the counterclockwise route and an hour later at the 24th km we said goodbye. I was still feeling strong and I had my second gel (I had the first one at the 14th km). At this point it was mostly a psychological battle. The legs were ok, the heart was perfect and I was basically just trying to run at around 4:45 min/km while my body was always trying to settle at 5 min/km. I arrived back home after 2 hours 50 minutes and did one extra lap around the neighbourhood to try to get to 3 hours, but then felt I had done enough and stopped at 2:55, for a total of 36.5km.

It is not the full 3 hours I wanted to do, but I consider it a victory nonetheless. I’ve never run for so long and it felt pretty good. I now feel like I could “easily” do a full road marathon, which is something 2 months ago I could definitely not do. I also think I could do it in under 3 hours and a half which I think is good.

See you on the road!


Three hours (failed)

It has been a tough week. The race on Sunday was amazing, but took its toll.

Monday I had some rest after the race. I was ok but my right foot was not perfect, luckily the issue only lasted one day.

On Tuesday I did an easy run with 20″ fast sprints every 5 minutes. I still was not in a good shape (the first 20 minutes my legs and abs were shouting “running again!”) so I did only 10km in a sort of fartlek.

Wednesday after the usual 20 minutes warm up I was supposed to do 5 intervals of 3 minutes each below 3:40 min/km (with 2′ rest) but I only ended up doing 4 and then run very fast home for belly problems.

Thursday: 13km easy. I was feeling better.

Friday: my favourite training, hilly intervals. Again I went to Kingston Hill (very quite at 5:45am, no one is around) and did 7 one minute uphill sprints followed by 2 minutes downhill rest. After those kind of training I usually go home very happy, ready for a nap on the train to work.

Saturday was the big day. I planned on doing 3 hours of straight running, aiming to run at least 35km. Sadly it did not happen. It could have been because I had a couple of beers the day before or the fact it was a surprisingly hot morning. I even bought a brand new UltrAspire hand held bottle and I felt really professional, but no, I failed in my intent. I think I was still very tired from the race and had not allowed for enough recovery time. I ended up running 2 hours and a half, for a total of 31.5km, suffering from the sixth km to the end.

Next week is going to be a more relaxing week, with only 4 days of running so I will try again to run 3 hours on Saturday. Check this blog next week to see if I succeed!



New distance record

Nothing special happened this week. Training went well, I ran a total of 83.6Km this week. It has been a week with a bit more speed than the others, which I enjoy.

Monday after the warm up I did 3 x 2′ fast repeats (3:45 min/Km). Tuesday was warm up and then 8 x 10″ super fast sprints (faster than 2:40 min/Km). Wednesday was an easy day, 13 slow kilometres.

Thursday was a lot of fun as it was all about repeats again, but this time going uphill. I went to Kingston Hill just outside Richmond Park which unfortunately is closed at that time on the morning (and it is now too dark anyway). I only managed to do 5 instead of the 8 I had to do as I woke up 15 minutes too late and I was running out of time, but I really enjoy those kind of training days.


Friday was terrible. I don’t know why, but the GPS was all over the place. Luckily the training was based on running 20 minutes fast, the distance did not matter, but I hate when I cannot collect data from my runs.

And then today was the long run. Fantastic day. It started very sunny but by the time I was home it was raining (I love running in the rain). I did 30Km in 2 hours 20 minutes. I took it easy as I never ran that distance (28Km was my previous record and it resulted in a plantar fasciitis). So I ran at a an average pace of 4:40 min/Km, trying to keep the heart at around 140bpm as suggested by the training plan. There were something like 3 different races happening at Richmond Park and it was the 10th anniversary of Bushy Parkrun so it was a very busy day in both parks, runners everywhere.

Now I am going to rest and eat like a pig to get back those 2Kgs I burnt today. I also bought a foam roller, so I will try that this evening.

Next week I will run a bit less to have more energy for Sunday, ready for the Garmin Kingston Run.

Have fun!


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.