500 FOLLOWERS, 50 MILES!

I recently passed the 500 follower mark on Twitter and therefore asked myself the question “Why are all these people following me?” I almost feel guilty that I haven’t done anything special to deserve this many followers and so thought “What can I do to mark this occasion and show why I should be followed?” The first thing that came to mind was obviously running, the second thing was for every follower I could run a 10th of a mile and therefore do 50 miles in a few days. I would like to thank @UKrunchat for helping me reach this many followers and all of you that have followed, retweeted and interacted with me recently about our running.

Last week I didn’t run a huge amount due to other commitments and therefore wanted to get a fair few miles in on Saturday morning before work. This turned out to be at 3 o’clock because I just so happened to wake up then and felt ready to run (probably due to the two rest days prior). So because I decided to do 50 miles within the space of three days I set off on a bit of an adventure, I started on my normal route, so in to Tower Bridge and then thought why not head along the Thames Path for a while. This was amazing at 3 in the morning because I was there running along one of if not the biggest tourist spots in the UK all on my own in the “running zone”. I ran along the Thames Path for a fair while and ended up at Chelsea Bridge, I then ran back to London & Tower Bridge on the other side of the River past Westminster which was awesome. I felt good on this run and did the 23 miles in what I think is a reasonably good time, see pic below.

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Obviously not quite sub 3 pace but I was happy with this considering I only got about 5 hours sleep and this was one of only 3 or 4 runs i’ve been over 20 miles. I think this is a good base to work from in the next few weeks and after Reading Half on Sunday I will look to up the speed for the marathon distance.

To do the 50 mile challenge I set myself I split the miles up into three runs, I also decided that Sunday should be a rest day for injury prevention and recovery/rest reasons! ha The next part of the challenge I completed this morning. I did a similar route to Saturday but instead this time I did a couple laps of Battersea Park. This then also meant when I finished my run at 20 miles I was amongst some great places for food near the London Eye. I really enjoyed this mornings run, it was perfect weather, not too hot or too cold. The route is also a wicked route and to take in Tower Bridge, London Bridge, The London Eye, Westminster, Battersea Power station, Battersea Park all in one run is awesome. Running is definitely one of if not the best way to explore London and i’m aiming to get to Richmond Park, Hyde Park and Hampstead Heath etc in the very near future.

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The third and final part of this mini challenge was to do the remaining 7 miles. I did this by running 3 or so miles in to Boxpark and then running with a group for the remaining 4 and a bit miles. This was a good run and has done the job in keeping my legs moving so that I wont seize up and my legs hopefully wont feel horrendous tomorrow. It’s always a great laugh running with these guys even if it did start raining, but then again as some of you that read my latest Ukrunchat blog http://www.ukrunchat.co.uk/whats-your-excuse-2/ will know, that’s part of the challenge!

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I am pleased that I achieved this 50 mile challenge and would like to thank all my Twitter followers for inspiring me to do it!

I am now tapering for Reading Half and look forward to seeing some of you there hopefully. Good luck to all of you that are doing Halfs or various races in the next few weeks!

Happy running

Steve

x

The RunThrough Greenwich Park 10k

Hi, hope everyone had a wicked weekend. Before I get into the nitty gritty of the 10k that I did yesterday I want to give everyone that I have been interacting with on Twitter and Facebook, about running, a big shoutout. Thanks for helping keep me motivated and giving me tips etc. I’m sure some of you have seen my participation in the UKRunChat #fastesthouroftheweek on Twitter and I have been thoroughly enjoying chatting to you all about yours and my running. I love the UKRunChat community and really like the fact that athletes such as Jo Pavey and Shona Thomson have been involved recently and offered advice.

Ok, so as some of you will have already seen and heard I did the RunThrough Greenwich Park 10k yesterday. I was incredibly lucky to get a place in this race as I had left it a tad late, but thankfully I managed to get entry on the Saturday night, thanks Matt. I was incredibly keen to do this 10k as I had ran around Greenwich Park once before and knew it was “hilly”. Some of you are probably thinking thats a good reason to stay clear but since moving up from Devon I have had limited resources in terms of hills and actually enjoy running them for some reason, bizarre I know. Also I know that I need to run a few hills because i’m pretty sure Reading Half and the Manchester Marathon aren’t “London pancake flat” and that doing hills can only make you stronger and fitter (unless you push it too far and get injured of course!) Image

(I’m Ryan Giggs no.11 in this pic by the way!!)

So I rocked up to Greenwich park, I was pretty buzzing because I knew about the hills and the “slight” wind which would be a good challenge, more so than the Regents Park and Brixton 10ks that I have done previously. Taking this into account I knew my time would be slower and therefore I was really relaxed. I was thinking of it as more of a training run than giving it 100% and knackering myself out for the rest of the week or even getting injured. The course around Greenwich Park was really good, it was two laps which I liked, as after doing the first lap I could gauge what I could give it in the second lap. Liking hills and running a few beasts down in Devon definitely came in handy on this one! Another really good thing about this race was the 5k or 10k options, so if you were training for various races you could pick one accordingly and just do the one lap but maybe faster etc.

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(This hill was so long and boring I fell asleep running it!! And yes my cheeks do match my shirt! And yes I do need a haircut!)

This race was nowhere near as exciting as my 3rd place finish in the Brixton 10k where I enjoyed a good sprint finish with a guy called Alex, who finished 2nd in this race. This race I paced myself on feel, so not too push it too much up the hills and get anywhere near having a chance of picking up an injury. I enjoyed the challenge of the hills and wind and managed to come in 4th with a time of 38:19. I’m reasonably happy with that and glad I now know what Greenwich Park is like so I can go there for some training runs and I also look forward to doing more races there in the future. Image

(I ran so fast my number almost came off! ha and I am not quite as good at pinning my number on my shirt as Mother!! ha also note the time clocked is 0! seriously quick ey!!?? ha)

After I had finished Billy Rayner (Trump Street Sweatshop) appeared out of nowhere, he completed the testing course and finished 15th so well done on that quality result mate! You definitely need to sign up to a few more races and I look forward to our London Marathon Store vs Trump Street races we are going to be planning in the near future which will most definitely include Sean Hodgesosaurus (Trump Street) and Amy Hughes (London Marathon Store and London Marathon runner).

A few of you are probably thinking “does this guy Steve just run and not do anything else!?” Well you’re pretty close if you’re thinking this but I am currently trying to keep things balanced and mix things up by doing various things in London. Last week I may have lost a table tennis match to the mighty Oli Sly Radio. I would like to add it was close but I cant! However, the loss was made bareable by the epic burger and curly fries from Adventure Club in Clapham and also the fact that I was better at table tennis than Aurie (Trump Street, LMS, Stratford etc)

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(Note: I’m not wearing running clothes in this picture!)

Right this post has been a bit of a beast again, sorry for stealing your time. Now get those trainers on and go for another run so that when you get to race day you end up celebrating in style, queue  epic finish line photo!!

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See you around

Steve

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Getting up to speed

Ok, so I would like to begin by apologising for my lack of activity on the blogging front in the last couple of weeks and therefore this blog is aimed to keep you guys up to speed. Not blogging much has mainly been due to being busy at work and also running a fair amount.

A lot has happened in the last few weeks really but one of the most important things for me, aiming for that sub 3 marathon in Manchester, is that I seem to be picking up speed. One of the reasons I believe this has happened is because I set challenges in January and February to do 300 miles in both months.Picture 21

Although that may seem a bit excessive it has worked well in giving me a really good, what I would call, base fitness to work off. Some of you may ask how have I had the time to do those miles and the simple answer is I tend to sleep a little less and run early in the mornings before work. The fact I can now run to and from work probably helps and I also take the run club for work, so ran 8 times last week through that and all the miles soon add up!

Another shift in my, run by feel, “training plan” is that I realised I was tending to run within my comfort zone, so around the 7.30-8 min/mile pace for 10 or so mile runs and this was becoming normal. I think I realised this after doing the Regents Park 10k which made me push myself to race and run at 6 min/mile pace. Doing 5k Parkruns and 10k races has also definitely helped me pick up pace so my speed endurance is definitely improving.

The biggest indication that my speed is improving was my latest race result from the RunThrough Brixton Brockwell Park 10k which was last Sunday. I signed up to this race on the Saturday evening off the back of a 12 mile run that morning and so wasn’t expecting much. Something seemed to click that day and for some reason I felt amazing. It was probably a combination of getting use to race days and feeling really relaxed and not really worrying about a certain time that helped me achieve my 3rd place finish in a time of 37:09 which I was incredibly proud of especially having run what is an up and down course around Brockwell Park.

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Something else that was incredibly enjoyable about this race was that I could see the guy in 3rd position throughout the race. This led me to try and out sprint him for 3rd place on the mud at the finish line. I got incredibly close but he took 3rd on place but I got it on time, pretty happy with that! Sure it was fun for the spectators to watch to!

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Finishing 3rd out of a field of 389 people has given me good confidence in my running and I am now really looking forward to see what I can do in future 5ks, 10ks, Halfs and Full Marathons etc. The training seems to be paying off and I want to keep this momentum going now for the next few months and beyond.

Another reason I believe my speed is increasing is because I am paying more attention to the quality/pace of the miles I do. Whereas before I was layed back about that and just doing the distance, I am now focusing on running at sub 7 min/mile pace for as long as I can. I will do a run one day at this pace for so many miles and then the next run or two will be more relaxed and more of a loosener, so could act as a slight rest day. Today I ran probably one of if not my best run. I decided to go out and run at around the 7 min/mile pace and do a good few miles.

I really enjoyed this run and running at that pace felt reasonably comfortable and as if I could have completed a marathon maintaining a speed there or thereabouts. Of course the sights I got to take in, so Regents Canal, Victoria Park, The London Eye, Westminster, Tower Bridge etc made the run more enjoyable and the weather was immense!

Something that inspired me to run this far and fast was that I got to go to a London Marathon Meet The Experts day yesterday, so I was truly inspired by what was said by Richard Whitehead, Sam Murphy, Sophie Raworth and Liz Yelling, to name a few. I will maybe have to post a separate blog about this either on here or on the UK Run Chat website which I blog for aswell. My first blog for them with the topic “The Inspirational Nature of a Runner” is now up so if you want to read that or check that out then please do.

http://www.ukrunchat.co.uk/the-inspirational-nature-of-a-runner/

As always feedback, interactions, RTs, shares and such like are really appreciated!

Hope everyone is having a good Sunday Run Day!!

Steve

X

Running, Running, Running

Ok, so you may be asking “Steve why have you written running three times in the title to this post?” Well my friends the name of this post relates to how many times I managed to run on Saturday. Saturday was my first day off work for a little while and due to the glorious weather I decided running was a good way to get out there and explore some of London.

I had been scheming running a fair few miles on my day off, probably since my last day off. Previously, I had ran two times a day on a few occasions, participating in my local Mile End Parkrun, and then going along to the Nike Run Club from Boxpark near Shoreditch High Street. But this Saturday was like no ordinary Saturday, I wanted to take it to the next level.

So I woke at approximately 6 o’clock on Saturday morning feeling reasonably fresh and ready to run. However due to the Parkrun starting at 9 I chilled for a bit and listened to some, what I would call motivational Drum & Bass music. It was crossing my mind to take the Parkrun steady, however this do not materialise. Because I felt reasonably fresh having not run on Friday (shock horror!) I pushed it a fair amount and got round in a time of 18 minutes exactly, frustratingly 1 second off my 4th PB in a row for the Parkrun but I was happy as I knew I didn’t put everything in. I was also pleased with the fact I was the second person back in my age category of 20-24 and 7th overall. I love Parkruns because they are so well organised, there is a great community feel, and it’s good to get your times and is a great way to shake off the cobwebs from a long week at work etc and start your weekend.

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Part 2 of my Saturday challenge as such was to do a 10k with the Nike Boxpark group. This was a really nice 10k, running along Regents canal and around Victoria Park once. It’s great to run with different people and discuss your running and see what everyones been up to throughout their week. Plus Victoria Park is a really nice place to run around in the sun. Another great thing about this Nike club is the community feel and how everyone wants to talk about running and help each other or recommend events/races. This run was also really nice to loosen my legs up after the Parkrun.

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The final course of my epic running feast was a 10 miler with a friend of mine called Paul that has run a sub 3 marathon in Chicago, and therefore I knew this would be a good challenge. It’s quite ironic I’ve described my running on this day as a feast because I literally didn’t have time between runs to eat, which isn’t ideal but I guess good training for doing a marathon and not being able to really eat then. I also think it’s good to break up the amount of miles and run with different people to keep motivated. This run was really good for me because I picked up a few gems from Paul and look to use them in my training to try and get sub 3 at Manchester in April. It is also good to get running at goal marathon pace for a change because recently have been running on how I feel and I have been running comfortably and not at a challenging speed. This run was definitely the most beneficial out of the three because we ran at sub 7 minute miles for the 10 miles and I was really pleased with this as could manage it after 15k of running and having not eaten. I think this should stand me in good stead for the rest of my training and will look to run at goal marathon pace more often if only for around 10 miles or slightly more and we are possibly planning to get nearer 6.30 minute miles on one of our next runs just to give us some leeway on that 3 hour time.

Paul had also completed his local Parkrun that morning in a time of 17.59 so pipped me by one second, I was not happy with that! ha I would like to think my course had a couple more hills/pulls haha. Paul finished in first place in what was his first Parkrun, not too bad really. This run we did was pretty muddy and wrecked my new bright yellow Adizero Adios 2s, but there are a lot of things much more important than how clean or what colour your trainers are right!? Catching the tube back, “the train woman” thought I had tattoos on my calfs, due to the dirt I had cumulated throughout the run, would be typical me to do that… not!!

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All in all a reasonably productive Saturday/day off, so I treated myself to a Drum & Bass night at Plan B in Brixton. This was a Spearhead Records night and was the icing on the cake for me as I love the Drum & Bass community nearly as much as the running one!

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This was the epic line-up, if you haven’t heard of many or any of these artists I definitely recommend checking them out on youtube etc. Drum & Bass is the music to run too, just saying!

To finish this monster of a 3rd blog I would like to give a shout out to some of my new running friends. Rachel is running her first half marathon, the Great North Run this year and has been smashing her running. She completed a 9 miler today, of which I am incredibly proud, because she wasn’t going to go out at one point! I am claiming that I have I inspired her, of which she would totally agree of course!! She’s aiming for a sub 1:30 i’ve heard and will be doing the Marathon des Sables with me at some point in the near future.

Another shout-out goes to Aime and Farid (of which he does not know yet), my flat-mates, because they are going to run their first Parkruns on Saturday and blitz it!

Third and final shout-out goes to Laura White, my new music maker  London running friend, who is running the London Marathon this year whilst focusing on her music. She completed a 10 miler today and I know she will absolutely love and smash the Marathon, good luck (you don’t need luck though!)

If you’re reading this final sentence you have a great attention span and I salute you for sticking with this particular post and reading till the end because I know I couldn’t or wouldn’t want to! haha

Keep running, running, running (any one of those three options!)

Hope you enjoyed the read, feedback and retweets etc greatly appreciated! Till next time!

Steve

x

 

 

The PB chase

As I mentioned on my first post there are a number of reasons why I run. One of the main reasons is to push myself to my limits and keep on improving race after race. Running is, I think, one of the best sports to participate in because everything relies on you, and your results will be determined by the decisions you make on running gear, training, nutrition, sleep and other things.

Running is challenging both in the mind and for the body, and testing both of these things is something that I enjoy. Your mind may tell you to give up on a number of occasions throughout a run but your legs can still keep moving, so the challenge is to get your mind in line with your body. I guess it depends on the motivating factors for each runner as to when or if you decide to stop or walk in a race or on a training run. Currently when out on training runs I sometimes ask why am I doing this (mainly when it’s blowing a gale and tipping it down with rain!!) but the thought of a sub 3 marathon pops straight to the front of thoughts. Yesterday I was speaking with a customer, whilst I was working at Teddington, about our running goals and I started to envisage or imagine that feeling of crossing the finish line, near Old Trafford, in Manchester and achieving sub 3, picking up that medal, and that is what is driving me on! Also, as I previously mentioned, knowing I would have a guaranteed spot for London next year would mean the world to me!

This year for me is mainly about chasing PBs. I believe chasing a PB is probably one of the biggest reasons people run, they want to better themselves and see that improvement in time, health, or fitness etc. This is something that I admire in all runners, the fact they want to improve their lives and I think running is definitely one of the best ways to do that. This year for me is mainly about PBs and improving my running. However, I still hope to keep things fresh and enjoyable and not become to bogged down in the, “I absolutely need to do this time” stuff. This is why I don’t tend to use training plans at the moment. I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or not but currently I run based on how much time I have in the day and also how good I feel in terms of being recovered (via decent food and sleep!) from the day before. So far this has seemed to be working and I think as long as I get the miles in and then work on goal pace I should be able to do the times I am going for, but we will see. Training plans may become a big part of my life after Reading Half and Manchester Marathon!!

I had recently been looking for races in and around London and the other day I stumbled across the Mornington Chasers 10k around Regents Park. Of course I decided to enter, having the day off work, because I need to work on some speed, Regents park is awesome to run around and I haven’t raced in a 10k for ages and this is flatter (than Devon!!).

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This photo is dedicated to all of those people that on a Sunday morning either had a hangover, had a lie in, or decided to run at the gym because it was cold etc. Just look at what you missed! 🙂

This was the scene for my stroll to the start line in Regents Park. Due to the miles I racked up in December I was hoping for a PB, if not near, even though a lot of those miles were nearer 7 to 8 minute miles. My previous PB for a 10k was 38.27. However this time was for a rather undulating course in Bude, Cornwall running in the wind and rain so thought a PB would be possible today.

Luckily for me on the start line I was chatting to another guy about his running and he said he was aiming for sub 36mins in the race. This was perfect for me as I was aiming to do the same ideally, so I had found my pacer! I let him go off a bit faster than myself but knew because there were some slight inclines that I could gain on those and  would try to pick up speed on the last 3kmish lap. It worked a treat and my pace was good for the first two laps, just sub 12 minutes for each so it was on. Some of the other guys started to slow a little but I tried to keep steady and pushed it up hill (thanks Devon hills!!). It was definitely a challenge to run at 6 minute per mile pace after doing longer slower runs but I just about managed the speed. I gained on “my pacer” along the last lap and managed to out sprint him on the finish to his disgust. “That was cheeky!” gave away his competitive nature!!

I sprinted in just under 36 minutes I believe (awaiting time confirmation) and he got there aswell which was good as by sprinting I probably actually pushed him on a bit on that final stretch. So i’m going to claim that I helped him get sub 36! Overall the race was perfect; excellent weather, beautiful park, route well marshalled, good atmosphere, good support and this all cumulated in a PB which I am well chuffed with.

Now to try and find a few more races but also up the miles again and try and get nearer to goal pace. This run has given me good confidence in my running to go forward with and now I know how much work needs to be put in to get nearer 1.15 for a Half and then Sub 3 for a Marathon.

Hope all your PB chasing is going well!!

Steve

New Year, New challenges, New blog!

I’ve always wanted some sort of way to document and keep track of my running progress and write about what I encounter on my everyday runs, so I have arrived here. I will mostly blog about my running, the races i’m signed up to, the challenges I set myself randomly, and other things such as food, sleep, football, art, films etc etc.

I have signed up for a few races and have a few challenges in mind, they include; running Reading Half Marathon on March 2nd, Greater Manchester Marathon 6th April and then hopefully one of if not a few of the London 100k challenges, amongst other things.

My first aim is to get a Half Marathon PB at the Reading Half, which means bettering my 1.22 from last year in the Bideford Half. Ideally I would like to get nearer 1.15 however this may prove one step too far (pun intended!) as I will also be training for the Greater Manchester Marathon at the same time and therefore don’t know whether to push myself at Reading for the PB or use it as a training run and run at target Marathon pace!? hmmm (help/tips appreciated!)

My next challenge is to try and go sub 3 hours at the Greater Manchester Marathon. I would love to do sub 3 because that is “the golden time” to achieve and to do that for my first full marathon would be great. I also want to beat this time so that I can get a “good for age” place for London in 2015, good motivating factor that! I’m in the middle of upping the miles, and did a 22 miler on Xmas day and a 23.5 miler today so will then try and go the full distance soon and then work on goal pace throughout the next few months. I don’t have a specific training plan at the moment but I will tend to do longer runs now, as was mainly doing 10 or so milers mixed in with a few 5k & 10ks in December. I will also be helping other people with their training plans and be taking part in the Adidas 26ers through working at the inspiring, one and only London Marathon Store.

I’m going into 2014 in probably the best shape i’ve been in after completing a little challenge I set myself for December. To keep myself motivated through the last month of the year I decided to attempt 300 miles running, so almost 10 miles a day on average. I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge, mainly because it made running a big priority for me and also made me appreciate how important eating the right food and getting the right amount of sleep can be etc. Making running part of my everyday routine has been fun and meant that some days i’ve had to set my alarm for 5ish to get the miles in. Having that target of 300 miles to do drove me on and in the back of my head I knew that this would be beneficial in getting base miles/fitness in prep for Reading and Manchester in 2014. I’m pleased to say I completed this challenge on the 29th of December with no injuries and not feeling as if it was a massive struggle. Another factor that helped me motivate myself throughout this challenge was some of the views I got to take in whilst running around my new location of London.

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My regular route is along Regents Canal, Victoria Park and I now tend to mix it up more on longer runs, so to go over London Bridge and Tower Bridge etc to take in the sights. The challenge was also made easier by running with people and to and from work, so getting miles in when I could. I have met some awesome people in London aswell, mainly through run clubs and work. Image

Meeting people that are; training for Marathon des Sables, doing 100s of Marathons, doing the first 6 London Marathons and coming 6th in one of them and now walking 6000 miles has been truly inspiring. I tend to listen to people talk about their running and goals and think they are crazy but in the back of my head I know I will be doing those same races/events at some point in the future. I love the running community and the way everyone wants to help each other reach their goals and/or better themselves in any shape or form. On the other hand I also like to go for a run on my own at times, listen to some music (normally drum & bass courtesy of Hospital records/Med school etc) and go into my own little world. There’s a certain euphoria about running at a certain speed and for it to feel comfortable and relaxing, you have no worries apart from putting one foot in front the other. I probably have a number of reasons for why I run but I will get into those on another occasion.

I have probably covered quite alot in this first blog and may not even need to ever blog again! ha but I would like to finish by saying that today whilst I was out on my run in the cold, wind and rain I was running along Regents Canal when a “hobo” saw me. He started mimicking running and was smiling, I gave him the old thumbs up and he laughed and smiled. I carried on running with a smile on my face and these interactions with people are what make running amazing, it was his way of showing support and this carried me on for the rest of my run!

Till next time

Steve