Wednesday, 7 May 2014

It's the Pace that Kills..

Running is relatively easy. Most people who have a general level of fitness can start to train and very quickly be running 5k, 10k, or even longer runs.
How quickly they complete those runs is another matter entirely. The difference in a 5k run taking 30 mins. and taking 15mins is all down to Pace.

I have been running for many years and when I was younger, keeping a steady 6 minute mile was quite easy. Fast forward to today and that pace has dropped to 9.30-10 mins. per mile. Quite simply, I cannot run at the same pace as I used to.

In some of the bigger races, especially marathons, you will often see three or more runners who are only in the race to ensure that the same pace is kept throughout the various miles. This helps the elite runners to judge their run and enables them to put in very fast times.

The way different runners can handle various ranges of pace comes down to a mixture of factors. One is natural ability and others are the amount of training done, the amount of oxygen they are able to consume and the level of fitness achieved. All these things, when they are at optimum level in the body will give runners the ability to run at fast pace which is something every runner wants to do.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Parkruns are Popular..

Went to observe my local parkrun this morning and to take some photos as well. It is well attended with around 200 folks taking part. It invites all types of runners from the fast to the slow - some cover the 5k course in around 17mins. while others take around 35mins. It does not really matter because everyone has a good time and for many it is just a case of seeing if they can better their Personal Best time.
What surprised me was that there was someone running with their dog tagging along and a man pushing a double buggy all the way round - he finished in a reasonable time too..
There is a nasty little hill around the 2 mile mark, it is not long but quite steep and it was interesting to hear the breathing patterns of the folks as they passed. The first guy breezed up it whereas the next few were labouring a bit, but they were the leaders and would all finish in good times.
It is important to get into an easy breathing cycle - try too hard and it becomes a real effort and can put extra strain on your lungs. Overall, I really enjoyed my visit and have posted some pics. below of the event.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Here We Go Again..

Since writing my last post in January I have been forced through ill health to stop running. However, in the last couple of weeks I have managed to make a start again....
My first target is to get up to 5k and then take it from there. I have had a few runs of 1 mile and 2 miles and everything seems ok just now. As I get up to 3 miles I will see how my body copes. When you have been a runner for any length of time having to stop does not sit well with you. This is different from injury and is quite perplexing when nobody can pin down what causes the enforced rest. I acknowledge that I am no spring chicken, but I expect to be able to run 5k or 10 without too much effort considering the experience I have had.
Time will tell....

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Injury Layoff

There is nothing more frustrating in your running than a forced layoff because of injury. I am getting more mature by the day - 60+ yrs old now, but I still want to run. I was doing well in the latter half of last year and was looking forward to completing my first 5k park run at my local town. These park run events have become really popular and a typical Saturday morning race will see 200 or more taking part. However, as I approached the time for my debut, I found that I felt really tired after each training run and every effort was really difficult. This caused me to evaluate where I was at and I decided to take a break for a while to allow my body to get back to normal. It is now over three months since I ran and I find that I am getting increasingly frustrated in my layoff, not being able to get out and run. In my case it is something that is not a direct injury and many find that they have to stop because of various things like pulled muscles, shin splints, achillies problems etc.
Whatever has caused your injury and subsequent layoff,  you have to try and remain focused and remember that in 9 times out of 10 people will recover and get back to running in a relatively short time. To keep positive and focused will help a great deal and help you to recover and get back to running as soon as possible.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Pure speed

The recent news that Mo Farah had smashed the British and European 1500 mtr. record lets you see how fast middle to long distance runners are going nowadays. To see them run at around 4-5 minute miles over distance is quite staggering. Put them in a shorter distance race like the 1500 metres and they can even break the records in that. As I mature - get older - I have observed the times of the top class athletes getting quicker and quicker while back at base camp, ie. my own running efforts, I seem to be getting slower and slower !! Still, as one who continues to enjoy running whatever the pace, I am happy just to be able to get out and enjoy a steady run. I trust that these faster runners will inspire you to go out and push the boundaries of your own particular running journey.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Preparation for Running a 5k: 1 - What Distance to Cover in Training

Most beginner 5k running programs and schedules include a steady build up of distance over a set period of time. Typically starting from walk/jog for a time and then increasing to jogging or running without the need to walk at all. This will usually be set over a time frame of between 6 and 12 weeks. When starting out, incremental steps from a few hundred yards up to a mile can be set as a primary target. As fitness levels and ability to run increase then greater distances can be attempted.
Many programs will set the training so that only the required distance of 5k is reached in the specified time. While this is adequate to enable the distance to be run, a better plan should include runs of a greater distance before the 5k is attempted. This can be done by setting out a longer period of training initially.
The following distances in training would be an effective program over 12 weeks to enable a competent first running of a 5k race:
Week 1  up to 1.5k
Weeks 2-4  up to 3k
Weeks 5-8   up to 5k
Weeks 9-12  up to 8k
The running after the first week, which should have included running for up to 10-15 mins. continuously, should be set out in a way that allows different lengths of run to be completed in the suggested weeks. This would mean that a 3 times a week training schedule will consist of :
3 Runs from 1.5k, 2.0k, and 3k in wks 2-4, 
3 Runs from 1.5k, 2.0k, 3k, or 5k in wks. 5-8  
3 Runs from 1.5k, 2k, 3k, 5k, and up to 8k for wks. 9-12
By including runs that are over the required distance then a 5k race can be run with the certainty that the distance can be achieved comfortably. Also, another benefit is that the body is used to running longer distances than the 5k and that can mean that the effort required to complete a 5k is less. This can be the difference between finishing fresh and being glad just to finish the race.

The importance of an slow build up cannot be emphasised enough. Any attempts at trying longer distances quicker than the schedule allows for is sure to end up with tiredness, fatigue and a greater possibility of an over-use injury. Another thing to note is that if a gradual build up is not adhered to then muscle stiffness in the days following exercise will be accentuated. It is always better to cover the distances set out in the training program in a gradual, methodical way. This will ensure a smooth transition from complete beginner to someone who is properly prepared to run the 5k distance.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Four Essentials for Success in Running

Running is a part of life for everyone at some point. When time is limited and you want to get somewhere quickly you run instead of walking. So, everyone can manage to run in this way.
However, when it comes to running as a hobby or more importantly as a sport that you want to participate in regularly, it takes on a whole new meaning. For this type of running one of the most important things is to have is a passion for what you are involved in.
To have passion means to care greatly about something. It means that whatever that passion is, it will take up large amounts of your time. In some instances nothing else will matter. The amount of passion you have for what you do will determine greatly how far you will progress. When involved in running regularly, having passion is a must.

When running regularly your body is put under a great deal of stresses compared to someone who does not run. To be able to maintain a running programme, you need to ensure that your body is in a good state of health. This is done by following the correct diet, exercising regularly and avoiding illness and injury. Following these three things is very important in respect to being able to run consistently.

Having a Goal
When embarking on any kind of schedule of running you must have a goal to which you are aiming. This can take many shapes or forms, but the important thing is to have one. Just to complete a race of a certain distance can be a goal. To run a race in a certain time is another. To achieve specific things in your running career can amount to a list of goals. This is ok, as the important thing is to have something to aim for. This will act as a driving force to help you achieve what you want in your running.

This can be the difference between just taking part in a race or winning a race. Just taking part will mean that you will do some training and remain reasonably able to get some result. On the other hand, if you can maintain a disciplined approach and set in the things that you need to ensure that every essential is covered, not only will you take part, but you will also have a chance of winning.
This is far more desirable and many more things are likely to be achieved in your running when a disciplined approach is adopted. To be a successful runner you need to have great mental strength and to be able to discipline yourself is a big part of that.

Article taken from my book - Tips for running