Saturday, 21 November 2015

Picked up another injury somehow...

After narrowly missing out on a cold at half term I've now succumbed to an injury, barely a year after my last one that is one again preventing me from running without enduring serious pain in my foot.  I have no idea what I did other than it was sometime just over a week ago now.  In fairness I have had a 'good run' this year where I have been able to run consistently and build my mileage base.  Best I can hope for now after is a swift recovery to allow me sufficient time to start running again in preparation for the Yeovil half marathon in March next year.

In terms of the injury itself, I think it's just some inflammation on the bottom of my foot or to a tendon although nothing is showing at present.  Although I ran that day it was pretty uneventful and my new shoes have finally worn in so I don’t think it was running related at this stage.  It is more likely to have occurred during some spring cleaning at home where I probably manipulated my foot into an unnatural position which may have resulting in stretching the foot too far during some protracted cleaning activity.  The pain builds as I walk to the point that I have to take the weight off to relieve the pressure/pain.  It also feels that a hard lump forms under my foot which further adds to the discomfort.  Thankfully walking on the front portion of my foot offers some relief at the moment and driving is relatively painless and unfortunately fortunately as my work is desk based it isn't stopping me from doing that!

I think in the interim I certainly need to be careful in what I eat as I do not want to undo all the good I've done this year in getting my weight down.  This may prove more difficult though what with the silly season coming up as I already have 3 Christmas lunches planned in addition to my leaving meal at the end of this month as I transition to a new job.  At least when I do return to running I will have some new running routes to try out due to my upcoming new job; my first new job in over 11 years!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Plodding On

After a cracking two runs this week I thought it was high time that I actually get this Blog posted.  It has been in an unfinished state and in constant flux for a few months now in which time I have continued to just plod on running, building my base now to around 3 runs and 15 miles each week.  Since my last post in May I have managed to rack up 310 miles running and 103 miles out and about walking.

The main delay in posting this time around was due to the wait for the London Marathon 2016 ballot results to come out.  I entered it on some kind of whim earlier in the year to hopefully provide me with some direction concerning my next running goal.

Luckily, I was unsuccessful in the ballot, I say luckily because as the weeks came and went, the dread of undertaking months of marathon training and actually running 26.2 miles started to dawn on me.  Nevertheless, it has been a successful process as it has helped me to decide on the future direction of my running in that I will be sticking with distances of 13.1 miles and less that I know I can reasonably achieve and enjoy without the need to massively alter my running schedule.

I still need a goal, something to aim for to help keep me motivated and for the time being that will be my continued weight loss down to my target weight/shape.  I say shape because I'm reasonably happy as to how my weight loss is progressing coupled with a sustained effort of watching my intake but, now I would also like to loose the last of my spare tires.  This is currently being helped by some cross training routines with a Kettle Bell although this has slipped a little in the last couple of weeks.

I’d also like to continue improving my overall fitness and to that end I'm currently considering investing in a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) of some kind that should help me determine what zone I'm in and/or need to be in depending on what I am trying to achieve in a particular session.
Heart Rate Zones
When I decide on my training plan, probably in the lead up to a Half Marathon next year, I will ensure that it includes a degree of interval training as plodding runs can get a little boring, especially as I seem to be exhausting all available running routes in the vicinity.  Music on tap using Spotify helps as does the local running club although as winter approaches, the club is less appealing as they are confined to the dark streets of Yeovil and I don’t really want to pick up a repeat ankle injury as I did around this time last year.
Bakewell, Peak District, Aug 10
This post also broadly marks the 5 year anniversary since I decided to and actually started running back in August 2010.  I'm certainly fitter and leaner than I was then but there's still more to do as I’d still like to reach my target of comfortably fitting into 34” size trousers; a feat that I have never been able to achieve in my adult years.
Martinstown, Nr Dorchester, May 15
In terms of the future of this Blog, I'd like to continue its development to include insights from my other interests such as walking and photography which I see are complimentary activities to running; all relaxing and enjoyable in different ways. 
Fleet Lagoon, Chesil Beach
Fleet Lagoon, Chesil Beach, Oct 15
In terms of running gear changes since May, I have changed my shoes; moving from the ASICS GT 2000 2 to the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 2013 variant although the jury is still out as to whether the latter are any better.  I still haven't got the fit quite right and at the moment after about 60 miles or so I'm leaning towards a return to ASICS for my next pair although I hope to get at least a few hundred more miles out of these Brooks.  I am currently trying out the Runkeeper app on my runs as opposed to Endomondo as the former seems to provide for free a lot more motivational information, functionality and better end of run summaries.

I'm hoping with the next post, that I would have decided on a HRM and will be in a position to provide some comments based on my experience with it.  I'm also hoping that what ever gadget I buy to fulfil this HRM functionality will also help provide me with some more direction on what I should be focusing on in each run to help me improve my overall performance and personal bests in future races.

Saturday, 2 May 2015


I've been trying to write this post for a few months now, but all I seemed to do was just add ideas or notes that I wanted to mention so I thought it was high time that I actually composed the damn thing.


I have had a steady few months of running since my last Blog in March.  I managed 48 miles in March and 35 miles in April compared with a total of just 55 miles for November 14 through to February 15 combined!

Although I don't like running fast I have tried in the last few runs to lengthen my stride and increase my cadence (number of steps per minute) to try and start pushing myself a little bit more.
This should help reduce the amount of time on my feet for when I want to run longer distances and in reducing my waistline down to 34" although I need to ensure that I strike the right balance so that running doesn't become a chore and a slog each time.

I have applied this strategy to the last 2 runs so far; it was hard as I'm not used to sustaining that level of effort but its going well and it helped me to complete a 10km yesterday in under hour with times not seen since 2012.

Running Tech

I almost purchased an additional step counter in the first quarter of this year to count steps but as I'm already pretty active with running and walking I didn't see the point in the end.

Since March I have also tried to find whether there are any other running apps out there that are better that the one I currently use (Endomondo) which could provide me with more motivational audio cues like I used to get with Nike+ whilst still providing a similar amount of detail about my runs that I currently receive and like to review to see how well I'm progressing.

Over a few weeks I tried Runkeeper, Strava, Runtastic, Nike+, Micoach and then gave up as it seems that the features I would like are either on poor apps such as Nike + which its really inaccurate compared to the others or behind pay walls requiring monthly subscriptions to access; something that I'm not prepared to paid for.  So for now I'm sticking with Endomondo and if I wish to analyse my information further, then I can just add it to an Excel Spreadsheet and produce graphs like the following relatively easily:

I'm still using Spotify for my running music playlists as I'm still on a Student subscription but I'm almost at that point that I want to try something else as there are a couple of niggles with Spotify that I'm starting to find a little annoying.  These include its continued poor integration with local files, its inability at times to play sound and for some reason local files keep disappearing / become blanked out from my play lists.

At the moment though I'm waiting for Itunes to release their streaming service over here so I can try that.  If that fails I'm going to have to trial all the others I think until I find something that I'm happy with.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Lets try that again....

No sooner than the ink was drying on my first blog post of 2015 stating my aims and objectives for the coming year, I was struck down with not 1 but, 2 bouts of illness which after my first foray back into my running shoes basically set my progress right back.

In the latter stages of my recovery I was in the dangerous state of enjoying the fact that I wasn't running.  Thankfully though I managed to overcome that state of mind and start again.  However, if I can draw anything following the last few runs, it tells me is that its going to take a few more weeks until I am ready to tackle anything more significant.

I don’t know what it is but every time I stop for what ever reason it seems much harder than the time before to get back into running, to build stamina, to start pushing the distances and in getting my breathing back under control!  

It doesn't help that its still cold despite some early signs of spring and that the wind that has been around the last few days has really been punishing when running into it.  Bring on warmer and calmer weather!

Lets hope it doesn't take too long this time around and that I can remain injury and illness free long enough to accomplish the objectives I set myself at the start of this year at the very least.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Back to blogging

I completed my first run this year and my longest since Christmas Eve.  I know my better half told me to take it easy but when you are having a good run it’s hard to stop, well I was having a good run up until the point I turned back towards base; then it felt like a real slog to keep going.  

Anyway I completed the run and managed constant running for over 35 minutes so let’s hope I can keep the momentum up this time and remain free from illness and injury that plagued me in 2014 for long enough to at least allow me to meet some of my fitness goals in 2015 that I have had since I started this blog.

My main one being to reach a size 34” waist, then I can get into all the clothing I bought myself on the cusp of reaching this target before injury stuck probably sometime back in 2013.  Since then and due to Christmas, the resultant chocolate/cake stash that is still going strong and a glut of birthdays at work meaning lots of Cake, I have probably drifted to about 37”.  Still lower then when I started running but not where I want to be when I've got half my wardrobe devoted to clothing that's a little on the tight side.

Therefore, to help me with my goals and now that I have nothing to study following completion of MSc last year, I am recommencing my blog, hoping that they will provide me with added motivation in the coming months, especially through days like today when it was a nice temperature in my cosy office but bloody cold outside.