Friday, 28 February 2014

Easy does it

I did a long run yesterday, 22km in fact, and did I have two short guided runs scheduled for today but both of those plans fell through. It would have been really easy to just do the rest of my work and then potter around for the remainder of the day, enjoying a surprise 'rest day'. But wait. The sun was shining, and my legs didn't feel all that tired. Amazing. I could feel overall tiredness in my body which you'd expect from a week with 37km running, three x30 minute sessions on the turbo, a very brisk 6km walk, plus walking to town and back about 5 times. But, I actually felt like going for a run.

So, I set myself a rough plan to go up to Wormstones, a small outcrop of rock above Glossop, and about 3.5km from home. If I felt good at the 2.5km mark I would have a steady run/walk up the incline to the crag. My legs felt great on the way up. Yes, I wasn't pushing, and yes I was enjoying the bits I walked. Isn't that what it's all about on days like today. 
A damp peaty boggy path
As I reached Wormstones I just couldn't resist going that bit further and onward to the trig point at Harry Hut...
The trig point at Harry Hut, Kinder plateau just visible in the background.
I contemplated carrying on upwards, picking up the flagstones then turning left, and soon after left again to bring me down via Chunal cabin....but I wanted to enjoy the downhill section I'd just climbed, back the way I came it was. After a couple of minutes soaking in the view and taking a few photos I turned and headed down. The ground was very wet, surprisingly so given last night was dry and my run earlier in the week on similar terrain had me trying to figure out how the ground had dried out so much. Not here though. Even on the mowed sections of heather the ground were sodden. Lovely to run on though, I will have to pop back up there more often, especially before the heather grows too much.

Wormstones crag just sticking up next to the path...with Glossop way down below.
I surprised myself with the time it took me, I'd had a very relaxed approach to the run today and still managed to cover 8.5km in just over an hour. I have the idea now that I could probably do this route in under an hour...if I take off the stop at the trig point, the stops to take photos, and push a little on the climbs it seems very possible. We'll see next time! I guess it will depend if I'm after a challenge or a steady run.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Running Research - Retesting

Back in early December last year we headed to Salford University to be testing at the start of a PhD research project - more details about on my blog over here. Today was retest day. This was supposed to happen about a month ago (8 weeks after starting the intervention), but the treadmill broke, and as such was out of order for a few weeks. There was then the inevitable scramble for students to get rebooked into the already packed lab schedule. A little frustrating for us, given that the daily exercises needed to be continued.

I have been really enjoying the barefoot runs I've done, and have gradually built up my distance to a mighty 5km last week. Which, just by chance happened to by my quickest ever 5km, clocking in at 24:10. Not bad to say I wasn't actually aiming for a fast time, and that I eased off at about 4.3km to cool down!

I've not had the raw data from the retests today but the general feedback was that my RPE (rate of perceived exertion) was lower, and my heart rate was also marginally lower than the initial tests. From my point of view the test felt much easier. I was able to forefoot strike the whole way through and was focused on keeping my foot strike light, easy and quiet. Tim said I was definitely forefoot striking, so the barefoot shoes have definitely helped me develop that technique - the tests were done in inov8 road shoes.  I was also prepared to have a go at the full test. If you read my previous blog you'll see I didn't make it to the final 5 minutes at 16kph. Although the final 5 minutes of today's test weren't easy (running at 14kph), I do think I would have got some way into the 16kph block of time. It wasn't to be though, since I didn't get there in the first test there wasn't any point for the retest. So I'll never know!

Now that my part in the research project is over I could just stop barefoot running. But to be honest I'm enjoying the runs in the fivefinger shoes. I don't have any grand plans to do massive distances in them, but the local loop I do on the road for recovery runs is about 6.5km so I'll carry on building up distance gradually until I get round that circuit happily. I reckon I'll be up to that by the end of March.

I'll post a few photos up from the test today, maybe a video, once we've got them downloaded.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Sprinkles of Snow

With a covering of snow on the ground I just had to go running on Tuesday. I was still feeling generally tired from my long run on Sunday plus a turbo session and strength session on Monday, but with rain forecast I knew I had to get out and enjoy the snow while it lasted. I really wanted to get up onto Bleaklow but knew I would be seriously lacking in energy and strength so I chose an easy loop with very little ascent. A wise move as I found even the short section up the A57 before turning on to the farm track quite an effort. The run was lovely, if a little chilly on my feet as I splashed through the slushy puddles.

The main A57 road as it climbs past Glossop golf course towards the top of the Snake Pass
Bleaklow is hidden in the snowy murk
Farm track plus very cold slush

Heading towards Old Glossop

Friday, 7 February 2014

Mizzle Meander

It looked dull and damp outside. My regular Thursday running partner's daughter is ill so there was no external motivation to push me to run. We normally meet just after 9am so I decided to keep the appointment with myself. Yes I could have procrastinated. I could have waited for clag on the tops to clear (the sun is shining as I write this), or the threatened rain to come and go, plus I have a list the length of my arm of things I could and should be doing.

But, I had a good old talk to myself and managed to muster up the motivation to go for a fell run on my own. So what if I didn't feel like it. It's never as bad as it appears once you're out. I told myself that I would have an easy run, no pressure to get to any particular place by any particular time. The worst bit was leaving the warmth of the house. Even our porch felt freezing. The best bit, being all alone on top of a hill in what Tim has termed 'mizzle' (drizzle-mist)...and then some haily-sleety-rain...hunkering down in a bit of shelter for a few moments to just listen. Hearing nothing but the wind and patter of moisture hitting the rocks around me. Beautiful. There photos may help you imagine where I was...

me at Cock Hill trig point - funny face as it was ch-ch-chilly