Total Miles: 50 Miles
Average Pace: 8:27 min/mile Longest Run:12 miles – 24% of total Speedwork: 4 miles – 8% of total
I’m back. My legs have returned. It took until Saturdays run but I’m feeling like I can get back into consistent miles again.
I don’t think I’ve quite got the balance back, the tail end of my week was pretty loaded but that’s just the way it went. I will try and split and scatter some shorter runs in my schedule going forwards.
“Something that comes in sixes?” – “EGGS!” shouts my wife in a fraction of a second. I tell you what, if Family Fortunes ever come knocking, she’s got it down.
That’s how the name of the workout came about and whilst it kind of makes sense here, written down, I’m pretty sure people at the track were scratching their heads and wondering when they were getting their sandwich rewards.
To make it tougher, I split each Threshold Effort into two 5 minute sections, with the 2nd half being faster.
The idea of the session was to run the final 10 minutes of the session at the same pace as you’d run the first 10 minutes. The 6×200’s in the middle are thrown in the middle to produce a bit of lactic acid making the final threshold a bit tougher. This final effort trains the body to clear the Lactic acid, returning it into the energy system, whilst running at a strong effort.
This is a particularly good training session for triathletes as the last effort mimics the feeling of running straight off the bike.
Thursday came along and I was in good mental shape to tackle the run/swim/run session again. I find I’ve got to be really psyched up to do this one otherwise none of it happens at all. I also have to really control my pace on the run to the pool knowing that its a good 3 hour training session. I took a slightly shorter route this week which meant 7 miles each way and just under a 1min negative split.
The swim was tough as always, Sprint intervals interspersed with recovery pull. I cramped up in my right foot in the final 25m all-outs and missed the final 100m or so. But overall, another good session.
Favourite Session of the Week
I got out on Saturday evening to do my long run. This week I’d targeted 12 miles @ 7:30min/mile but as it was a really sunny evening I thought I’d take it off road. I ran up and round Cissbury Ring and then off up Titch Hill to the farmers grave. I felt like all the tiredness disappeared from my legs during this run, I was able to let fly on the downhills and to really put some power down going up.
I knew I was on for a decent average pace which turned out to be 7:26min/mile with an elevation of 1366ft. Pleased as punch with that, and really pleased to have got out in the hills.
Team profile time – 7 weeks to go until Breca Buttermere. Here’s a couple of guys who look like they’re going to be pretty comfortable in the mountains. Experienced triathletes, wandering adventurers, and a cause for celebration. Lets get to know them.
Team Name:ODSODR (One Doesn’t Swim, One Doesn’t Run) Team Members:Glenn Tait & Tony Rafferty Team Motto:“We should start training properly soon…”
Who are you, where are you from and how do you know each other?
Tony/Glenn: We are Tony Rafferty, a 32-year-old from Edinburgh and Glenn Tait, a 32-year-old Geordie exiled in Edinburgh. We first met when studying at Heriot Watt University, which seems like ages ago now. Anyway, 10+ years on and we now live in the same area on the outskirts of Edinburgh, which is proving handy now we’re both into doing these silly events. It’s good as we can motivate each other to get out and train, then head to the local to plan the next training session or come up with crazy ideas like signing up for SwimRuns. Was beer to blame for this one? Who knows…
What do you do outside of daft adventures?
Tony: By day I’m a Test Automation Engineer for a software company. By night and at the weekends I’m a keen swimmer, reader of books, watcher of F1 and consumer of coffee. Glenn: I work for a Hospitality Solutions Provider on the IT side, and spend a lot of time in pubs and restaurants – both when working and not working. My main interest is running. I prefer to run silly long distances but I’m normally up for any type of adventure and usually make videos of them, which I share on my blog. (which is a link well worth clicking on by the way!)
What’s going to give you the edge over everyone else at Breca Swimrun?
Tony: As you can tell by the team name we each have our individual strengths. If we could do this as a relay we’d possibly do pretty well. We have a distinct ability to compete with each other without either of us realising it. You should see us walk home from the pub together – it’s quite the footrace.
Glenn loves to buy shiny bits of kit so I’m really hoping this may give us an edge… wishful thinking perhaps? Glenn: Tony is right, we have individual strengths. I’m always running away from him and he always swims away from me! We’re really going to have to get a tether. We’ve done a lot of work on the hills, spending most time running in the Pentlands, but I’d say we’re still amateur compared to some of the fell runners. I think my shiny new wetsuit will give me the edge – if only to keep up with Tony!
Are you happy with your teammate or are they the only other idiot you could find? Any amusing stories about them you can share?
Tony: It’s a bit late in the day to say no to being happy with my choice in teammate, isn’t it? In the water, yes Glenn may slow me down, but I’ll do the same on foot so fair is fair. If anything each of us can encourage the other one to keep going in their weaker sport.
I know plenty of idiots but none that share the same appetite for wrapping themselves in neoprene and lycra as I do. Glenn: No, but he’ll do….. *jokes*. Tony moans too much on the run. To be fair I did recently drag him out on a 32km run when it was only supposed to be 25kms, so I think I might have lost his trust and it certainly didn’t help with the whingeing. I’m just glad Tony can’t hear me moan when we’re swimming as sound waves don’t travel that well in swimming pools. Any amusing stories about them you can share? Glenn: Tony once thought a lamb was a white rabbit just merrily sitting next to a sheep.
What attracted you to this race?
Tony: In 2014 I did a middle distance triathlon, which was great fun. Then, in 2015 I did the Edinburgh Marathon, which I found plain old boring. I was looking for something to do in 2016 without doing a full distance triathlon and SwimRun ticked the boxes. I’m hoping the scenery makes up for some of the suffering. Glenn: I’ve done an Ironman, and the cycling is just too long. I wanted something different – some other challenge – and I like the simplicity of this type race. I was glad to finally persuade Tony to do this after sowing the seed quite a while ago! Plus, the Lakes is an awesome area so it’s going to be stunning and epic no matter what the weather!
Is there anything making you nervous? Tony: Definitely the elevation profile and the overall pace we’ll be expected to go at. I have heard that getting the body to transition from swim to run and vice versa multiple times can be a killer too. Glenn: Yes, Tony’s wife is due to give birth three weeks after this race and I think I know where his priorities will stand when the day gets nearer. It isn’t wearing Lycra with me… Tony, shouldn’t this make you nervous too?
Whats your racing experience like? Tony: A couple of sprint and Olympic distance triathlons. A middle distance triathlon, lots of open water swimming and last year the Edinburgh marathon. Glenn: Was Fat. Got not so fat through running in 2010. Went on to do some marathons. Got forced into a sprint triathlon and then forced that person into doing an Ironman with me. I then decided cycling for 8 hours was too much so did Aberfeldy Middle Distance with Tony in 2014, did my first Ultra around Tiree in 2015 and now just keep on running further. My biggest achievement was Ironman in 2013 but I’m especially proud of my 3hr 30 marathon time!
How’s the build up going?
Tony: I was planning on doing a couple of fell races but I’ve not found anything that tickles my fancy yet. Suggestions on races in central/southern Scotland on a postcard please…
The training has been in fits and starts to be honest. We’ve been in the pool twice a week and running three times a week. We’re planning on doing some SwimRun specific sessions in the run up to Breca to work out the logistics of transitioning from OW to running up hills. We’re super lucky to have the Pentland Hills only 10 minutes from our door step. Glenn: I’ve been building up my running to run the John Muir Way Ultramarathon, but I’ve nothing after that until Breca. I agree – we do need to find some local fell races. Training is haphazard really. I swim once/twice a week when I can be bothered to get out of bed early, and run 3 times a week as Tony says. More recently I’ve been trying to complete the 255km John Muir Way trail coast to coast since 1st April and I’ve just done that so been putting some decent running miles in! I think when the reservoirs in the Pentland hills reach a warmer temp we’ll be up there getting some SwimRun practice in!
Will you be making a weekend of it?
Tony/Glenn: Yes, we’re coming down on the Friday, staying Friday and Saturday (beer!) night then back home on the Sunday. We’re staying in Keswick because we didn’t get ourselves organised in time to get anything in Buttermere booked. It’s also Glenn’s birthday on race day so there’ll be some birthday celebrations once we finish. Please cheer us on and feel free to bring us cake!
Are there any questions you’d like to put to other teams/organisers/experienced SwimRunners? Tony: To the other teams: please don’t make us look too bad. To experienced SwimRunners: for fuelling, should we carry a couple clif bars in a pocket and eat going up hill or, struggle on without fuelling? Also, socks or no socks? Glenn: I hadn’t thought about socks – that’s a good question! Tony: I will let you store some cliff bars in my shiny new wetsuit (it even has a pocket – how fancy) if you drag me through the water, thanks! To the experienced SwimRunners: does a tether get in the way?
You can follow Tony & Glenn’s exploits on Twitter, just click on their names for profiles.
Want to read about some of the other teams involved on July 2nd? Here’s a list of profiles so far…
I arrived at Hill Barn Playing fields after my normal Sunday morning 0-5k group run. This served as a nice warm-up without taxing the legs too much, although I probably wouldn’t do it if was a serious target race.
The sun was shining and it was warm enough to strip down to race kit nice and early. I went through my normal warm-up routine and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere around the start-line.
An old family friend of mine, Andy (Wiggy) had come down from the Midlands to run the full, his first marathon and I found him looking nervous amongst the 700 or so people milling around. I reminded him of a 3k fun-run we’d done together, we must have only been about 6 years old. Our Dad’s then went on to do the 5 or 10k race afterwards but we weren’t allowed to do that one. Wiggy didn’t remember any of this and I don’t think it helped settle his nerves!
At 10am the full marathoners were off and the number of people in the field was reduced by half. I had a pre-race chat with Simone and Dom from my Tri Club (Tuff Fitty) and Simon, my wingman from ShoreFit run club. We were all in high spirits and really looking forward to having a nice run on the South Downs.
As we posed for a Tuff Fitty team photo, we suddenly heard the Town Crier ringing his bell and shouting GO! – for a moment we thought we’d missed the start of our race but he was only setting off the Cani-X runners! Phew!
With a few minutes to go, I made my way to the front row of the start line and got ready to go.
Another ring of the Town Criers bell and we were off, I found myself part of a group of 4 runners as we made the first climb up Cissbury Ring. 500ft of ascent later and we’d already put quite a gap on the next group.
We rounded the top and went full throttle into the chalky descent around the back. I’d opted for my retired Adidas Adios 2’s for this race as they’ve got nothing left in them for the roads but I thought they’d be OK on dry trails. Some of the chalk paths were baked as hard as concrete and I was kind of wishing I’d gone for something with a bit more cushioning left in them.
I grabbed a cup of water at the first aid station and failed miserably at getting any more than 2 drops into my mouth.
This section is normally pretty quick, I should be going at sub-7min pace along here quite comfortably……only I’m not. The guys in front of me are moving away and I’ve got a crippling pain trying to fold me in half.
I thought it was a stitch at the time, and I blamed/cursed those water drops a few moments earlier. With hindsight, I recognise that the effort I’d put in going up and down the first hill had given me abdominal cramps, it was nothing to do with the water and it wasn’t a stitch. I slowed my pace and as I tried to get control of my body again I was caught by the next group of runners.
Uphill…..Uphill…..then a bit more Uphill. Another 500ft upwards. Resulting in fine views from Chanctonbury Ring of both the North and South Downs. Managed to negotiate a couple of cattle grids at the top by running straight over them rather than waste time with the National Trust gates. One of the few benefits of size 12 running shoes.
Downhill, in varying degrees. Culminating in a quad-smashing 12% descent. All this sounds wonderful, and it was a great opportunity to get my breath back a bit, but it destroyed my legs just before I hit one of the hardest climbs of the race.
I was passed here by numerous runners, I muttered a “well-done” and felt like an extra weight had been added to my legs with each one that went by. The last climb up Cissbury ring reduced me to walking, although it was probably more efficient than my running at that point.
The bit that I had been dreading the most was the final downhill section. Its a single track chalk trail that I always avoid in training. Its rutted with a deep uneven groove where the rain drains away and you have to zigzag down it, leaping over the chasm, praying that you don’t turn an ankle. A chap in a yellow vest flew past me with the ease of a mountain goat, I honestly don’t know how he could be so sure-footed here, fair play.
I finally emerged onto the playing field where it all began, ankles intact, and mustered up the strongest finish I could manage. I heard my name being called by the commentator. I could see literally 10’s of people clapping and cheering. I crossed the line in 1:42:24. Not bad. (The winners time was 1:27:xx for an indication of how tough the course is – his marathon PB is 2:46)
The mayor put a medal around my neck and I promptly fell over. The medal wasn’t heavy, it wasn’t like an anvil, I just couldn’t stand up anymore.
I looked over at the massage tent and decided to crawl over and get a post-event rub down whilst there was no queue.
My wife and son came and found me on the table, and then we all went and cheered on some of the finishers until the boy got restless.
I wanted to see what my limitations were with this race and to try and get in amongst the leaders. I very quickly found out that I need to do more hill-work, and perhaps some more core-work if I want to put myself near the front here.
I’ll definitely be back to race this one next year and aiming to better my 18th position.
Out of my pre-race goals (see here) I missed both A (Top 3) and B (Top 10), but pleased to not come away injured which was my C goal, should probably make this a general life goal.
I had slight tingling in my feet at the end which I’m attributing to my shoe choice, simply not enough cushioning for hard packed descents. Grip wasn’t an issue though and it was nice to give them a farewell race.
A great race over a beautiful challenging course, with cheerful marshals, well stocked aid stations and excellent post-race facilities. With under 1000 runners across the 2 events, the organisers still lay on free (charitable donation) massage and all the cakes/pastries you can eat as well as a finishers medal. We were blessed with fine weather this year which made it all the more enjoyable.
Total Miles: 18 Miles
Average Pace: 7:54min/mile (approx best guess) Longest Run: 13.2 miles – 3 Forts Half Marathon – 73% of total Speedwork: 0
Sometimes life just gets in the way of all the miles you’d like to put in.
My wife has been running a wellbeing retreat this week, its the first full one she’s set up and hosted and I’m massively proud of what she’s achieved. She’s done everything from finding the venue, setting up the website and making all the bookings, to delivering Pilates and Health Coaching sessions. Not to mention all the cooking that went with it. She landed features in some greatmagazines along the way and importantly learnt some valuable lessons to take forwards into the next one. (which is running from 11/7/16 to 15/7/16 if you’re interested!)
Whilst she was out doing this, I had my ITEC Sports Massage Level 4 exam to work towards (And also a folder full of case studies and assignments to submit). So every evening after the boy was in bed, I had time to apply myself fully to this task. The first half of the week went by in a bit of a desperate blur, I think there was a 3am, a 2am and a 1am finish on consecutive nights whilst I put the finishing touches to my folder.
Saturday morning arrived and I was a bag of nerves as I made my way over to Brighton for my practical exam. I was comfortable with the client assessment and the treatment but I was really stressed out about the questions that the examiner was going to ask me whilst I was working.
My client helpfully through a few curveballs at me before the exam started by telling me that almost every part of her legs had some sort of niggle. This gave me something else to think about rather than the stress.
An hour later, and I was told I’d passed – I am now a Level 4 Sports Massage Therapist.
I went home and ran the final 2 miles I needed to get me up to my target for April. Boom! Thats 2 goals in one day!
My week finished with the 3 Forts Half Marathon on Sunday – which you can read about in my race report. Unfortunately, my watch won’t upload the data so I guess that means I’m just going to have to go out and run it again, I’m glad its on my doorstep.
I normally keep my race goals to myself, that way I don’t suffer embarrassment if I don’t meet my ambitions.
But…..in my March roundup I set myself and published some race goals for the 5k I did last week. I set A,B and C goals, all of which were better than any time I’d ever run before – and proceeded to surpass all of them.
I’ve never raced a Half Marathon before, so I’ve got no official race time to beat. In training, Strava tells me that my best HM time is 1:28:31 so maybe I should aim to go quicker than that? It was last Feb after all.
The problem here, is that the 3 Forts route is very hilly, and that time was set on a very flat run. So I look back at my training and find….. this. I’ve run the race route before in training, and very nice it was too. My time back then, Boxing Day of 2013, was 1:48:17. Why the hell was I out running in the afternoon of Boxing Day 2013?
Whilst I’m confident I can beat that, I’m not so sure about going under 1:28.
Ha! You’ve got to be kidding me – not sure I’m in that sort of shape Jack!
So I’m just going to go out and RACE
And I mean Properly race, not looking at my watch, not worrying about going too fast in the middle section and not fearing blowing up at mile 11. I don’t care if the wheels come off as it will show me where my limits are. Maybe watching my pace is holding me back and I should run to feel a bit more. Or maybe I’ll report back here next week describing how I went though all sorts of delusional pain just to maintain a walk of shame.
So, following on from a 4th place finish in my last race, I figure that my A goal should be to improve on that.
Top 3 (even I’m not stupid enough to aim for the win)
Top 10 (I think even this will mean a tough run)
Goal C Survive the race without twisting an ankle!
Lofty goals there, but as you can see from the last one, I’m really just planning on enjoying the race. I really enjoyed being at the pointy end of the action in my last outing and I want to recapture that feeling in this one.
I want to be surging up hills, making breakaways, and collecting prizes. I realize that I’m probably not quite there yet but hey, I can see how long I can hang on in there for!
I wanted to post a few thoughts I’ve been having recently on Long Runs.
I’m not saying these are right, or indeed wrong. But they’ve been making more and more sense to me and I wanted to write them down so I don’t forget them. Also I hope I can get a few people’s thoughts on them, let me know if you think I’m onto something, or if I’m missing something completely.
In particular I’m addressing the Long Run which is usually a staple part of a Marathon training plan. Most plans will have you go up to 20 miles, or further, at least once. Its become a magic number, one that must be reached in training regardless of how many times you might run in a week, or your overall mileage.
I’ve been there myself, the 20 milers loom large on that plan stuck to the fridge. They fill you with dread at the start of the cycle, but they’re set in stone. You have to do them if you want to be able to run 26.2 on the day.
And actually, these thoughts apply if you’re not running a marathon too.
My experience with 20+ mile training runs is that they knock me for six. I run them at the right pace, I fuel them right, but they still bugger up my training for the week ahead. And that goes for 18 milers too.
In fact, I’ve found my limit where I can consistently maintain training week in/week out, and its 2 hours. I did a 2 hour Time Trial last week and at current fitness levels thats just over 16 miles for me. As soon as my sessions start going over this threshold, fatigue creeps in to the point where I have to start missing training.
Funnily enough, that coincides with what I’ve been reading in Hansons Marathon Method. The long run in their plans goes up to 16miles, but the whole plan is consistent high mileage. They do suggest taking the long run longer if your overall weekly mileage is up around 80+, but I would guess this correlates roughly with a 2 hour session anyway.
I wonder what the elites do? They’ll be planning to be out on the course for just over 2 hours so why would they want to run training sessions that go way over that, its just not specific to their goals. Its not beyond the realms that they might do a 20 mile run in 2 hours several times in preparation is it?
It strikes me that this golden figure has rolled down from the top performers, back in the 80’s running boom when there were loads of runners out there running 2:40 and quicker, and become a target for everyone.
Interestingly, without me mentioning any of these thoughts, a club-mate approached me with a research paper he’d read that said no positive adaptations occur in the Mitochondria after 2 hours. In fact, the muscles begin to break down at this point, actually causing damage, essentially causing more harm than good. (wish I had a link for this, it sounded really interesting)
He said that the biggest adaptations to the Mitochondria occur when running for shorter periods at higher intensity. For example 15mins at 5k pace will bring about more increased Mitochondria function than a 90 minute run. Of course, this doesn’t solve the issue of specificity if you’re training for a marathon.
The key points for me at the moment:
Long Run should equal 20-30% of weekly total
Long Run should not exceed 2 hours
Long Run should be a staple workout, regardless of distance training for
Long Run pace shouldn’t be set in stone: If it feels too fast for a given day, It probably is, dial it back a bit.
We’re all different and what works for me might not work for you, but one thing is certain, consistent, injury free running yields results. And this is my preferred approach at the moment.
In my own context, I’ve managed to maintain high mileage (50-70miles per week), and set a 5k PB within days of a 2hr TT so its working for me.
I haven’t yet gone into a marathon with this method, but I’m planning on it at some point and I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on.
Please remember, these are just my current thoughts on it, pick it apart if you like, tell me why I’m wrong (or tell me why I’m right!) – I’d appreciate any input.
So this week is the first in my training plan for the Sussex Trail Events Downslink Ultra in October. I’ve never attempted to go further than marathon distance before, and I’m not quite sure what’s possessed me to think its a good idea now. The Downslink is 38 miles from Guildford to Shoreham so I’m breaking it down into 3 half-marathon chunks. I’ve put a plan together based on a vague memory I have of someone telling me that a normal marathon plan would be sufficient to get me through this. And as its a relatively short Ultra (I keep telling myself) I think this advice should be good. I’m going to train as if I was going for a new marathon PB and then just slow it down come race day – now if anyone can tell me that this is a terrible idea, please do so now, don’t hold it in, don’t make me learn from my mistake, I’d rather hear it in advance…..anyone?
I’ll try and keep a training log up to date for anyone who’s interested, but mainly for myself so I can look back and see what worked and what didn’t. I’ll try and update it once a week, I’m sure we’ll see progress in my writing skills if not my running ability.
This weeks running started with a panic run on Tuesday morning, fearing that I was leaving training a bit late I thought I’d better start getting out there with some serious running, so 8 miles at 6:30am it was. This was pre-breakfast but I managed to average around 7.5 minute miles which was good as I’m not a happy crack of dawn runner.
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Then it was down to the track on Wednesday evening where I coach sessions for Tuff Fitty Triathlon Club. This week we kicked off with our usual warm-ups, dynamic stretches and technique drills before launching into our main set. 2×1200 followed by 4×800 all with 2min rest intervals. I flew into the first rep at a pace I can only dream of running a 5k in and adjusted quickly after that, 5:40 min/mile for the first 1200 followed by a slightly more realistic 6:00 min/mile for the rest of the session. I had to sit in the pack for the last 3 800’s though as my body/mind were telling me to stop on every lap. Its amazing what a difference it makes to sit on someone’s heels rather than lead out. Matt and Ollie kept me true in what was the toughest track session I’d done for quite a while.
After a nice rest day it was time to hit the Long Run on Friday. Time constraints mean that Friday evenings are the best time of the week for me to fit these in. I headed up onto the Downs for 14 miles in beautiful conditions. My route took me through the golf course up to Cissbury Ring, then over to Chanctonbury Ring as a warm up for the really hard steep sections. When I’ve run up here before, I’ve worked up to it over a period of time, running shorter routes up and down Cissbury Ring. To say my legs were underprepared for this at this point in time would be an understatement.
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My legs were on fire already and I still had a downhill mountain bike trail to run (The Lion Trail) and a brutal climb up Mouse Lane before returning back to Cissbury Ring. I did the sensible thing……I hammered the downhill with reckless abandon, arms windmilling like a child, leaping over logs, almost losing control at times but having the time of my life. I love this section as its not often you get to run like this, it gets a bit technical underfoot at some points and you’ve got to be careful over the tree roots, and there’s a couple of really steep bits that you need to be careful on but running a downhill like this puts you firmly in the moment, you can’t think ahead, you don’t have time to dwell on where you’ve just been, its just one foot in front of the other and plenty of hope and trust. Unfortunately the Mouse Lane climb was a write off after this and I walked the entire thing before picking my pace back up for the final 5 or 6 miles home.
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I finished my week off with a social run with the Shorefit Run Club on Sunday morning. This is a lovely run as you can choose your pace and always have someone to run with, this week I ran with Lisa for about 6 miles along Worthing seafront and along the Pier.