Tag Archives: training

Out of adversity comes opportunity and the best week of marathon training ever…

So as I reflect on week 3 of training for Edinburgh Marathon I can’t help but smile. This week has been a week fuelled with emotion from anger to laughter, wide smiles to tears; it has been tough however running has been my salvation. I have been challenged to the point of breaking recently but through support of those closest to me and a bit of mental toughness I have managed to get through the other side. A week that could have potentially sunk me turned out to be the most successful week out on the roads I’ve had training since I started running back in 2014. 

This is the second attempt I’ve had at writing this week’s entry as I’ve decided to change direction from what I initially planned. After a few weeks of fighting off the negatives I’m being positive, I’m celebrating the week’s success.
For this years training cycle I stepped up the impetus I have gone from 4 runs a week for last years training to 5 runs this year as I have a plan, a goal which I feel is reachable. I follow the free marathon plans from Virgin Money for the London Marathon and even though I resent the way the London Marathon is drawn and filled I do find the training plans are a great guide. For Liverpool rock and roll marathon in 2015 I used the beginner plan, my goal was 3:59:59 and I crossed the line in 3:50:24. For Vienna Marathon in 2016 I used the intermediate plan as a guide. My goal for this was to beat my dad’s best ever 26.2 time of 3:39:40 which I not only beat comfortably I also smashed my own previous PB by near enough 25 minutes crossing the finish in 3:25:26. Not one to stand still and rest on achievements I wanted to give myself the best opportunity of breaking my 26.2 PB again this time in Edinburgh, Berlin or both!! With this in mind I decided I was stepping up to using the advanced marathon plan for my 2017 races. 

As I stand just shy of 5 foot 6inches and now weighing around 11 stone 9 I am not built for running long distances fast, I’m built for explosive power over 10/20 yards . This power was beneficial when I was a fresh faced 16 year old lad living the dream and playing football as a YTS apprentice at my home town club, a premier league football club. I was athletic but never a runner, I was determined and left all I had out on the pitch, a trait I have taken into my long distance running. Team mates hated preseason in my football days however I always secretly loved it. In the long distance running sessions I was always in the top 3 finishers, not because I was one of the top 3 runners but because my heart would push me on when everything else gave up, I was determined. I’m not saying others weren’t I’m just saying they weren’t as determined as me! So fast forward to 2017 and 22 years later I am still taking that determination into my running and striving to be the best I can be. Some people run to finish and I have massive respect for anyone who runs but I am now in the realms of running to finish as quick as I can. 

This week started with what should have been a rest day however due to the fact I rested on Sunday I decided I would do my threshold/hill run around the streets of where I work. You don’t have to look too far for hills around Bolton so this made sense. 55 minutes of easy running, threshold running and hill repeats saw me cover 7 miles at an average pace of 7:53 minutes per mile. It hurt as Bolton is not flat but I felt brilliant and it set me up for a tough 4 days without a rest.

Speed work across a bridge 6 x length of the bridge sprints


If I thought the success of Monday couldn’t be topped I was wrong. Tuesday was planned to be a steady 40 minutes. Now the only criticism I have at the moment of my running is my discipline at times however in my defence I think I have broken through a plateau from my last serious training cycle. I am now comfortable at cruising along around 7:20-7:30 minutes per mile and I am running strong which I can’t quite put my finger on. I am slightly heavier than I was in the lead up to Vienna last year but I am more efficient, I’m carting more weight but running quicker, a strange one but I am not complaining. Tuesdays steady saw me cover 5.8 miles at a pace of 6:54 minutes per mile…I found a pace, sat at it and really enjoyed going sub 7 minutes per mile.

Waiting for the green man. A scourge of urban running



Wednesday – Today was a day of high emotion as it was to be the day we laid to rest my grandma. The plan was 50 minutes steady but due to my head space not being great and also time being pushed I managed a reasonably quick 5k around the local streets of home. It gave me a bit of a release and some thinking time on my own to gather my thoughts for what was to be an emotional day. I don’t remember much of the run however one thing that made me smile was my running picture. Throughout my running journey I have taken pictures, I have documented my progress and I have found it has helped to see the pictures back when I have been struggling for motivation. So when I decided to sign up for Instagram in May 2016 I did with the thought of documenting my runs in a public forum and connecting with likeminded people. This has been great for me I’ve have taken enjoyment in taking pictures of my runs, micro blogging about them and seeing others inspirational stories so with that in mind I decided Wednesdays picture would be a bit different. One of my sons favourite tv programmes is Peter Rabbit who Mr McGregor chases through a cabbage patch well in honour of my son, my driving force, Wednesdays picture saw me become Peter Rabbit!!! A bit of fun and a distraction from what was to be a tough afternoon.

I managed to escape Mr McGregor wasn’t happy. Cabbages!!!!!!

Thursday – A workman like performance for a threshold session saw tired legs and me ready for a rest. I enjoyed getting out on the road and releasing some of the frustrations I felt from the previous day. A tired body not helped by a skin full of beer the day before. As my run ended I just so happened to do my stretches to cool down in a no ball games area…I promise there were no ball games being partaken in…I was simply stretching my groins…

I was simply doing my cool down routine officer!! No ball games here



With Friday a designated rest day and to be honest one well received but I had one eye on my weekend long run the day after. I set my alarm for 5:30am on Saturday and got an early night ready for my third 75 minutes long run. I have extended a 17 week training plan to give me some slippage time in case anything unexpected happens.

Rest day do not disturb


 I have been running 10 miles recently in around 74 minutes so I knew 10 miles was to be the target for my longest run of the week. So as I set out at 5:45am to run another 10 mile I changed my route but one I know from my last training cycle. For the first 2 miles on Saturday the cold weather was biting even for me who was layered up to the eyeballs but I ploughed on and soon I’d found a pace and was enjoying it. The route I’d chosen for saturdays run was by no means flat with a big hill around the 3.5 mile mark and a gradual climb from around 6 to 10 miles. As the run progressed and the miles fell I began to realise I was running well 8.4 miles in an hour and my 10 miles is going to finish well before my 75 minutes allotted time!! Brilliant. So as my Garmin buzzed to symbolise 10 miles ran I was chuffed to see I’d got round in a time of 1:11:39!! Wow!! not one mile under 7:16 minutes and averaging 7:10 minutes per mile. This was pivotal, this was massive as I’d made it into double figures of a training run, feeling strong, feeling as if I could go on and all in a great time. Now I’m not naive to think if I run 10 miles at 7:10 per mile can be sustained over 26.2 however to reach my goal time this year I need to be running around 7:20 minutes per mile. Saturday shows me I have it in me, it’s possible but I mustn’t become complacent. As I sat on a bench at the end of my run at 7am I couldn’t help but smile and be satisfied, a job well done. 

Slow I don’t like slow!! Satisfyingly brilliant today


Sunday – As I head out the door on Sunday morning for the second Threshold/hill repeat run of the week I was sitting at 31.6 miles ran in the week. I knew what I had planned would bank me around 6 miles However this would leave me on 37.6 miles…my OCD senses started to twitch!! I decided I’d extend the threshold parts of my run, still incoprate some hills but I’d get to 8.4 miles so as to take my weeks total to 40 miles. That wasn’t to happen as I ended up banking 9 miles and running 40.6 miles for the week. I enjoyed the leg stretch, I was able to release some frustrations and I also had a chat whilst running side by side with a fellow runner who was out for 3 hours as he was training for a triathlon. My legs were tired at the end of the hill repeats but I was the most satisfied I’ve been after this weeks running than I’ve ever been. 

I LOVE HILLS!!!!


This week has been difficult, I’ve used the adversity to find opportunity but most of all I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time alone out on the road. Bring on week 4 of training…
 
 

It comes in threes, surprise competition and I love hills…

After what can only be described as a horrendous start to 2017 I entered into my second week of training for Edinburgh Marathon feeling the most down I have felt for a long time I was however determined not to be beaten. The last few days had been a blur and I was struggling to come to terms with the hand I’d been recently dealt. I was uneasy that in the back of my mind I was wondering where the third bit of bad luck was going to come from, as they say it comes in threes! As a family we had rallied, we’ve had some fantastic support from some good friends but my wife has stood by me being the shoulder to cry on when I needed it the most. Through the past few weeks we have both taken strength from our sons exploits. Our happy, loving and generous 19 month old boy was the light in the dark times, for him we are so grateful, he is my driving force when I start to struggle.

With Monday a designated rest day I took advantage of the opportunity to put my feet up but I will admit I was itching to get out on the road. After a decent sleep, which is few and far between for me, I was ready for my first run of the week a steady 40 minute plod around the undulating streets of Bolton. Where I work is close to the place my grandma and grandad lived for 57 years, a house I spent lots of time at when my mum was ill and a place that was a safe haven for a scared little boy…me. As I plotted my run I decided I was going to incorporate a fly past of my grandmas old house.

Grandparents old place. 57 years here and a lace I have fond memories of.

As I set out I was feeling good and running well and confident today was to be a good day. 7:12 for the first mile, 7:29 for the second and 7:25 for the third but then came a sudden spike. I trotted out of the town centre onto a straight road which I was to be on for around 1.5 miles I closed in on a runner on the opposite side of the road who after a glance across the road he saw me coming. I was running strong but he decided he didn’t want me to overtake him so started to match me stride for stride…challenge accepted I thought…bring it on. As we approached a downhill he decided he was to up the pace slightly and a sprint ensued down the hill however knowing the road well I stuck to the pace I was travelling at. Now as basic science dictates what goes up must come down and vice versa so the 400 metres or so climb on the other side of the downhill was inevitable. What my friend hadn’t anticipated was my love of hills, I turned on my afterburners, lifted my knees, lengthened my stride and the 20 yards he’d made on the downhill sprint had been cancelled out, a quick glance over my shoulder he was slowing I was running strong and as we hit the next downhill section he’d given up, he was walking and I plodded on triumphant. Now I always say I compete against no one but myself but that bit of competition on that day did me good, it focused me and made me think of tactics, just like in races, to shake off the competition. That run a random fella helped me more than he’ll ever know and I would like to think his desire of me not getting past him helped him as well. As I finished my run on my grandmas old street and a selfie outside a house I have many memories of I was happy with how I’d ran and most pleasant of all was the fact my Black dog has given over growling…for now.

As I returned home that night I was greeted with a hug and kiss from my wife and son who made a good day better however the good time wasn’t to last due to another phone call, the third of three. To cut a long story short our family cat had been in hospital due to what we initially thought was an infection in his tongue however after tests it was found to be an aggressive tumour they could do nothing about. We had to make a decision, one of the toughest you can make, to let Fluff cross Rainbow Bridge and join his friends, heart breaking. That night again the tears flowed it was roles reversed and I was the one trying to be strong for my wife as she’d been my rock through the recent tough times. As we said our goodbyes I really hoped that would be the run of bad luck ending for us as a family, emotionally we were drained and needed a break.

 

Unfortunately the previous nights down feeling carried over into my Wednesday run. The conditions weren’t the best for running on as the wind had picked up overnight and the 50 minutes steady I had planned was abandoned due to the conditions coupled with my head mash, my discipline when out the window.

Some times you have to stop, take a minute and restock.

With the original plan abandoned that dinner time  run became a mixture of easy running, step work, threshold running and hills! Wednesday wasn’t the most productive of runs but at least I ran.

Abandon the original plan take your anger out on the steps.

Thursdays run became more important to get back on track for me I looked at Wednesdays run, there was nothing to take from it but 5.1 miles in the legs, I gave my head a shake and Thursdays speed session was much better. The easy sections I was disciplined, the threshold sections I hit hard and sustained, the steady section was as the easy, disciplined and in 42:30 minutes I was able to cover 5.7 miles. On a final note todays Instagram running picture was me with a statue of Atlas, a man with the weight of the world on his shoulder, highly appropriate for this moment in time.

I know how you feel cocker

Friday brought a well-received rest day and also with it being Friday 13th and with my current luck it was probably best I didn’t go out on the road, who knows what could have happened!! An early night Friday to close down a hard week was in order however  I did set my alarm for 5:30am Saturday due to the fact it’s Long run day! The plan for Saturday was the same as the week before, same route, 75 minutes but see if I can be a bit quicker. I have a few goals for 2017 and one of them is beating my 26.2 PB that currently stands at 3:25:26. This has played a big part in my choices of marathons this year. I intend to give Edinburgh and Berlin my best shot and to get what I want in my head I need to be averaging between 7:20 and 7:25 minute miles, its more than doable and I am determined to do all I can to get there. As I stepped out the door on Saturday it was a colder morning so with my hat, gloves, tights, base layer and head torch all on I head out down a well-trodden route. 10 miles later and an average minute per mile of 7:25 I was home, showered and sat with a brew all before my wife and son had rose from their pits. Saturday was a good run, I enjoyed it and most of all I felt strong running at that average pace, the question is can I now carry that on to the longer long runs? They say it’s a marathon not a sprint however the reason I run is I get there quicker so will see where my training takes me and as we get a few more weeks into training I’ll have a better idea of my capabilities.

 

To finish the week off I was meant to be out on Sunday hill running however due to me being tired and the lack of hills around home I decided to rest and spend some time with the family. I decided I would run my Sunday session on Monday around the streets of Bolton due to you never being too far from a hill! Off to Matel Play in Liverpool we went to meet Thomas the tank engine, Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam, my son loved it and so did we. To finish the week on a positive note on Sunday night I received an email from mapmyrun, which I used to track my runs when I started running in January 2014. I now however use Strava ( Matt Bowman) on the recommendation of some friends who run triathlons competitively, I only run but it works for me. When I logged on to my mapmyrun account I found a 10 mile run recorded on 11th January 2014, the same run I ran on Saturday 14th January 2017 I was pleasantly surprised. I felt really proud when I compered the two times and splits from the two runs. I knew I had made progress over the last 3 years but seeing it in black and white gave me a massive confidence boost, running is a slow burner and there are no short cuts. With hard work, persistence and determination you will see results, listen to other runners and be true to yourself you’ll improve just don’t expect it overnight. Stick at it and safe running all…Thanks for reading.

Same run 3 years apart. Progress

Hills, a comedy road sign and a mental battle 

8:30 am Sunday 14th February 2106 as I am sat writing this entry it is 8 weeks out from my first big test of this year, the city of Vienna marathon. On the weekend where I ran the furthest I have for 9 months I find myself in quite a buoyant mood however I know not to get to carried away, I’m keeping my feet firmly on the ground. 

In the next 7 months I will be taking part in 18 races, over varying distances, to get me up to speed for  3 main races which will push me to breaking point both physically and mentally. I am however giving myself the best chance at success by training well and reasonably disciplined. Success for me will be on various levels. Finishing the Vienna and Loch Ness marathon in a reasonable time close if not slightly better than the 3:50:24 I ran in my first ever marathon last year will do for me. Success in the biggest event I have pencilled in my diary, race to the King ultra marathon, will just be completion! Time isn’t an issue for me on that one. 

  
Running wise this week I’ve been receiving confirmation on races, reminders of impending race registration closures and a training plan for the ultra marathon. I’ve also bought a second pair of runners to help me through the next few months, something I’ve meant to do for a long time just never got round to it as my new pair from Christmas have done close to 200 miles already. All the previous aside this week has been quite a defining one running wise, I’ve felt strong recently however I knew that would be tested this week with my long run. Due to race commitments in the coming months I’ve had to shuffle the pack on how I do my long runs in my training as psychologically I want to know I have the miles in my legs. I’m 10 weeks into my plan and 7 weeks left of it but with the races coming up I’d struggle to get the 3 longer runs in 2 x 20 miles and 1 x 22miles. With my first race of the year coming next Sunday, the Great North Western Half Marathon in Blackpool, I had to adjust this weeks planned 18 mile long run to a 20 mile run. Even though this is only a 4 mile jump up at that distance it’s a reasonably big step mentally and physically and could have been problematic for me, needs must. 

Tuesday – 60 minutes interval run – 10min Easy run, 2 x (2min IR, 1min ER, 3min IR, 90sec ER, 4min IR, 2min ER, 5min IR, 2.5min ER), 10min Easy run.

As I’m running from home this week I decided to follow part of a route I know well from my longer runs however to keep things fresh I reversed the route. I left with the plan to head out 30 minutes in one direction turn round and head homeward on a slightly different route. This gave me a loop and that way I wasn’t re-seeing things even if I generally see the same things using similar routes today was a new day and a new route. I made the decision to do the stated easy 10 minutes as they should be, easy, and off I went.  The weather was threatening and the black cloud hanging over head didn’t take long to begin to shed its rain, hail and sleet which coupled with a biting wind made for a psychological battle. One which I’m glad to say I won showing decent form and secretly I thoroughly enjoyed the intervals which did surprise me. I was pleasently surprised I also stuck to actually running the first and last 10 minutes easy!! Is this me learning?? Probably not!!  But 8 miles covered in 1:01:56 will do for me and more miles in the tank. 

Thursday60 minutes steady

I like the less pressurised element of these runs. No need to keep an eye on the watch for interval time change. The weather for this run was lovely a crisp day with few clouds in the sky and a bright blue sky! ideal in my opinion to hit the road. 

  
Again I chose a route I know as I just wanted to run and more importantly enjoy it. The run was uneventful and not much to write about however I did throughly enjoy heading out on the road. 8 miles completed in 1:01:24 with my minutes per mile being consistent. A job well done which left me quietly confident for my 20 mile run on Saturday. 
  
Saturday – 20 miles Long Run

After dropping off my water bottles and some lucozade at 3.5 mile intervals across my route the night before I was ready for the inevitable pain the next days 20 miles would bring. With my wife out early for a weekend shift at work I made the decision to get up the same time as her and head out of the door early, this would mean the the run is done and dusted early and I have the rest of the day to do with what I wanted. After a normal breakfast of biscuits and bananas I also had an energy drink and a carbohydrate gel and I was on the road for 6:40 am. The route I’d chosen was a development on my previous weeks 16 miles however I had adapted it due to the fact part of that run I resented and it mentally was difficult for me to run it, the 2.5 mile long road  past edge hill university.From Rainford I was to head again through Bickerstaffe and into Aughton two very quiet and quaint places especially as the sun is rising. 

 
As I hit 10k(6 miles) I was feeling good and confident however I was continuously telling myself ‘run the mile you’re in!’ I couldn’t allow myself get ahead of where I was. The downhill into Ormskirk was a welcome break from the slight uphill terain I’d experienced for the first 6 miles however I knew this was to be a temporary respite as I knew from driving the route the night before when I hit 8 miles the next 5 miles would be a big test. This was to be a battle of wits with myself as the terain became undulating, long steady climbs with slight downhill parts every so often. There was only one solution for me head down, concentrate on the few feet in front of me and breathe. Although the route was scenic it became difficult at times due to how exposed the road was to the elements and there was a slight cross wind not helping my situation.   

 As the miles came and went I weaved my way down the country roads of west Lancashire and as I hit 11 miles I had to chuckle as I turned down here…

 
Now my sense of humour is as such that would make me laugh seeing this sign when driving so the fact I saw it after 11 miles of undulating terain on a 20 mile run helped me massively and enabled me to kick on up the mile long hill I’d forgotten was there. My hydration and nutrition plan was working with water stops well placed and the added lucozade bottles seemed to have an impact but I’m still wary of that. The jelly babies every two miles and dextro tablets when I feel I need them was working and although I was beginning to feel it I was still averaging miles under 8 minutes however this was becoming more difficult. As I hit 14/15 miles I found myself chasing the second half of each mile to keep it under 8 minutes, this isn’t  good I know but it’s my competitiveness coming out, however things started to change when I hit 16 miles. This is the furthest I’ve ran so far on this training cycle and I was now getting into the realms of pain. For some reason my shoe was hurting as if I’d tied my laces too tight, my clad was hurting and slight twinges in my knee but these were small things compounded by my mental state. The part of this point of the run which was the killer was running past my home road still with 4 miles to go! Psychologically this nearly broke me and something I need to address on my planning of my next long route. I also finally at 18 miles succumbed to a 8 minute plus mile (8:01) which prompted me to take my foot off the gas and as I plodded the last two miles home in over 8 minutes each I was hurting but it was a job well done, 20 miles in 2:37:12. 

  
This weeks long run has been a bench mark for me and I head into next weeks first race of the year confident I can do myself justice and get close to my PB of 1:38:05. I can also have some confidence In the fact that I have 8 weeks left till my first marathon and if I can continue the way I am going in my training my marathon PB could quite easily be broken in Vienna! That would be for me awesome and with my form and knowing the support I have in my close family and friends anything is possible!! 
 

Recovering from the previous weeks horrors. 

After what should have been an easy run on Saturday going horribly wrong I took a few days to collect my thoughts and rest. As Saturdays run left me with more questions than answers I decided that the thing that was lacking boiled down to two things 1) Sleep and 2) Routine. Sleep has been a problem for a while for me due to the fact I have been dealing with certain stresses at work and also a hectic personal life planning a wedding. I function best when running when I have had around 8 hours sleep, this I’ve found is when my body and mind feel most rested and ready to attack whatever run I have to face. My 8 hours needed has recently been around 5 hours and the deprivation of hours asleep has caught up with me in recent weeks/months so that needs addressing. This is easier said than done for me as I struggle to shut down my active mind so any suggestions are more than welcome for how I may continue to address this issue. Another decision I have taken off the back of the last weeks runs was that over the festive period I would limit my alcohol intake to zero! I made this decision due to the fact after even a few drinks my sleep is affected and the next day after drinking I am lethargic. I am not a big drinker, I don’t drink in the house and drink only socially when on nights out however with the festive period this tends to change as ‘It’s what people do’ For me to establish a routine I need to get back to being disciplined and cutting out the alcohol for a few weeks will enable me to be refreshed and able to get out on the road when I need to, a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things!!

 I’m now onto week 3 of my training plan my week on paper looks like this

 

MONDAY – Rest

TUESDAY – Threshold run – 10 mins easy, 2 x ( 5 mins threshold, 2 mins Easy), 10 mins steady, 10 mins Easy

WEDNESDAY – Rest, Core Work

THURSDAY – 45 Mins Steady

FRIDAY – REST

SATURDAY – 1 hour 20 Mins Long run

SUNDAY – 10 Mins easy, 25 mins Hill Run, 10 Mins easy

 

Again due to circumstance this will and has changed slightly but only the organisation of the days. So as we stand today (Christmas Eve) I have completed two runs and the plan was to do my long run today after a half day at work however due to the fact I awoke to tired legs today will be a focus on core work with me heading out tomorrow (Christmas Day) for a festive leg stretch inbetween presents being opened and eating a Christmas Dinner, ideal time for it!!

 TuesdayThreshold run ( 10 minutes easy, 2 x(5 minutes threshold 2 minutes easy) 10 minutes steady, 10 minutes easy.

 After a couple of days rest and a decent few nights sleep I felt ready to head out on what I anticipated to be my toughest run to date in my plan. Mentally I have been struggling with a loss of pace due to not doing any serious training for a good 4 months so today was filled with slight trepidation. Again I was at work in Bolton which meant one thing, hills!! I planned a run using the route builder on Strava and no matter how I tried I couldn’t get away from the fact there would be a few inclines in my run, what goes up must come down I suppose. As I headed out of town on my first mile I felt good and with Strava kindly updating me every half mile on my progress I was pleasantly surprised to be told I was running at a 7mins 53 seconds pace, this was meant to be an easy start and as I stated previously I struggle with easy!! After 1.5 miles I was at my first threshold push which coincidently coincided with a mile of a climb up the reasonable steep hill they call Bury New Road. I shortened my stride and got the arms pumping trying to push myself but concentrating on staying consistent and strong, this seemed to be working and as the half miles passed I felt my confidence growing. All doubt I had before the run was vanishing and mentally I was winning. I was enjoying this and miles 2/3 came both clocked at under 7 minutes 40 seconds per mile, I was happy. I won’t deny when the two threshold pushes were complete I was tired however I felt strong even though I still had one steep climb left in my run. Today was working for me physically as well as mentally and I began to ease back in the run around 4.5 miles even managing a smile. All my trepidation from the previous runs had disappeared and today was a job well done. 5.5 miles in 42 minutes with an overall pace of 7 minutes 52 seconds per mile I was happy however I won’t let myself get complacent, there’s a long way to go yet. Thought from today’s run – Running helps lose the frustrations of life…

https://www.strava.com/activities/454369717
 Wednesday (45 Minutes Steady) As I had a morning meeting not far from my base I decided rather than drive I would run and get my 45 minutes planned run for the week done and dusted. This is always a choice I make if I have meetings close to my work base however with it comes new challenges. No more so than having to carry my work gear on my back as I am not sure it is professional to sit in a meeting sweating in my running gear. Before I set off I decided to weigh my gear I was to carry which I am not sure was a good thing as it came in at 5kg, maybe that doesn’t sound much but when running every extra KG hurts as my previously fat frame used to tell me every time I headed out on to the streets. As my meeting was 2 miles away and that wouldn’t satisfy my time running time I decided to extend the run in one big loop from my base to my destination, upon planning I had no choice but to incorporate my nemesis from the previous week, Chorley Old Road in Bolton. A constant climb which I would have to run over a mile on, this coupled with my bad experience the previous week and 5 kg of extra weight on my back. It’s safe to say I wasn’t at all looking forward to greeting it head on however I had no choice. In my previous training I was able to monitor my pace quite accurately mentally as I knew my body and how my pace ‘felt’ however at the moment I am struggling to recover that ability so as I headed out to start my run I had no mental idea of what pace I was running at. This played on my mind as I was battling my previous experience of the hill I was shortly going to face as well as a slight worry my pace was in my eyes ‘slow’. As it happens I had no reason to worry I focused my attentions to attacking the mile climb strong and organised and even though in conclusion I was slightly slower up the hill I was feeling stronger, as I turned the corner off Chorley Old Road onto a slighter climb towards Moss Bank Way I was chuffed, the hill that had the upper hand the week before was now in retreat and I’d climbed it with 5kg on my back, I was feeling strong, happy days. From here on in the route down Moss Bank Way was undulating and the benefit of the extra weight was It pushed me down the descents!! Always a bonus let gravity do its thing, relax the body and have a breather. Mid run I felt stronger and that showed in my splits and when I reached my destination 5.5 miles had been covered in 45 minutes 36 seconds at an average pace of 8 minutes 10 seconds per mile. I was happy with this considering the clothes and files I was carrying in my back pack so today has been a success and something to work on. I am now looking forward to my next run without the resistance of extra baggage and more importantly not in Bolton meaning no HILLS!! Brilliant. Thoughts from today’s run – it’s not how fast you get there it’s the getting there that counts!

https://www.strava.com/activities/454851202

 As I said before today is rest day from the roads and core work will be done few sets on the ab roller and planking routine will be followed as I need to get the strength back into the abs to assist the running. Back out on the roads tomorrow and Boxing day for a festive plod and who knows I may even wear a father Christmas hat!!!! Merry Christmas every one and best wishes to you and yours.