Monday, 30 January 2012

Spending time in the cold

Wow, winter is really biting.

I went out for a 5km run on Friday night (yes, yes, I know, what a great way to spend a Friday night) and took two new things with me.  The first was a rather natty florescent yellow long sleeved shirt, with some sort of weird fleecy liner ( to try and keep me warm. It sort of worked – I was still cold for the first 2km but then warmed up a fair bit and in the end had my sleeves pushed up as I was getting a bit hot.

I also took my new GPS watch – the Garmin Forerunner 110 (  The idea behind this new product was that it displays the distance run, time and pace. You see, holding a steady, constant pace has been a bit of a problem for me, as I tend to run pretty fast and then walk for a bit, which is hardly ideal if I am going to try and do a whole marathon.  Thus, by using this I can have a quick look down at my watch and see if I am going too fast/slow and then adjust.

I have to say, it worked a treat. I started off far too fast (probably due to the cold) and forced myself to slow down. I then got caught up in a load of people going down Upper St in Angel, which impacted my time, and then I knew to speed up at the end to still come in at a decent pace.  Not only that, but when plugged into the computer it pulls up a map of where I went, average speed, distance, and time per km, so afterwards I can see where I slowed down, and try and figure out why.

However, a sterner test was to come on Saturday afternoon.  It was a bit warmer and after the 1/3 marathon on Wednesday evening in the gym, I decided to go for the same distance in the real world to see if a) I could do it and b) how much slower I am.

It was much warmer than Friday night, so I ditched the long sleeves and just went of the bright yellow t-shirt. I also selected a route that included a couple of hills, something that you can’t do on the treadmill.  In fact, I did this route:

Well, roughly. I got a little bit lost in Shoreditch, and the GPS said I did 14.14km, which I suspect is more accurate. I managed this in 1 hour, twenty minutes, marginally slower than the 1 hour 18 it took me to do 14.2km a few days before.  However, Saturday’s run included hills, as well as having to stop at traffic lights a few times, which obviously impacted on my speed. I am pretty pleased to have done the distance, especially with the Windsor half marathon now less than three weeks away, although there is still plenty of work to do. So, tonight I am going for a 10km run after having yesterday as a rest day, although given how blooming cold it is outside (cold in Jan? Who would have guessed it!) I will be back on the treadmill, annoying the staff at the gym who only want people to do 25 minutes at a time. What is the use of that?

Remember, I am doing this to raise money for the Willow Foundation, as well as getting less fat. You can sponsor me at and to all the people who have already done, so, thank you, it is very much appreciated and is spurring me on to train, even in the cold!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Back up to speed

I know I normally start my blog with an update on what I have been up to recently, but this time I am going to start by saying a massive thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far.

So, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am 13% of the way to my fund raising target, but there is still some way to go so if you were thinking of sponsoring me to destroy my body and drive myself insane with training then you can do so at  Every penny really does count, so even if you can only spare the price of a beer, I am eternally grateful.

Right, onto the running and it has been going really well so far this week.  It is still too cold and dark to go running outside after work, so it was back into the gym after work on Monday. I only went with the intention of doing 5km and then some weights, pretty much as a warm down after Sunday’s 10.5km and the 7.5km I did on Saturday.  However, I was on the treadmill in front of the TV and the weekend’s football highlights were on.  Before I knew it I was up to 6.5km and still feeling good. At that stage I thought I might as well do 1/5 of a marathon, which is 8.44km (rounded up to 8.5km) and see how long it takes me.  The answer is 46 minutes exactly, at a pace of 5 mins 24 seconds per km. Not too bad. I also weighed myself, coming in a 99.1kg, which is decent progress in the right direction.

Tuesday is football and a slightly disappointing set of matches. We earned a hard earned draw in the first game but lost the second match 2-1 against a really filthy side. I might have got a little carried away in seeking retribution, going into tackles a little too hard and maybe not with quite as much care as I should. Ah well, I still had a good run around.

Wednesday was a different matter though. I am aiming to usually do my weekly long run on Thursday, but this week that is my Mum’s birthday, so rather than trying to motivate myself to go to the gym on a Friday night, I though Wednesday might be a better idea. The target was to run 13km, so I can then do 15 km next week, then 17km and then 19km as I build up to the half marathon on Feb 18.

As it turns out though I was feeling pretty good (despite a rubbish night’s sleep on Tuesday), and I didn’t need to slow to a walk until around 50 minutes in, at 9.3km.  I slowed down for a minute to take on some water and then picked the pace right back up. At this point I was thinking that if I am going as far as 13km then I might as well so 14km, which is a 1/3 marathon.

Now, I know I have done that distance before, just before Christmas but since then it has been Christmas, I have been to New Zealand on holiday and been through a couple of injuries, so I was not sure if my fitness was up to it.  When I did it before I did it in one hour 17 minutes, at a pace of 5.27.  This time I ran 14.2km in 1 hour, 18 minutes, with a marginally slower pace of 5.29, which is a little annoying!

Anyway, it feels good to get back up to speed and now hopefully I can do a 16 or 17km run next week. In between now and then is the weekend, where I am aiming to do a 13km run on the streets of the City of London, so I will let you know how that goes in due course.

And if you missed it at the top, you can sponsor me for this wanton destruction of my body at 

If I don’t blog beforehand, have a great weekend!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Running out of time!

There are now only 89 days to go until the marathon and 26 until the Windsor half marathon, so this weekend I decided that I really needed to step up a gear and push forward, especially after my work out on Friday.

I hit the gym after work, but only managed 2.5km as I was exhausted after a week of work coupled with the remnants of jetlag.  Indeed, on Friday night I slept for a massive 10 hours, way more than my usual 6.5 and awoke feeling fresh and full of purpose, which was lucky as I still have a lot to do!

So, I set out for a 7.67km run, hoping to do it in sub 42.30, the time I achieved last time I did the same course. And it was lovely to run on the flat, to be able to breathe in the non humid air and to run in the sunshine without getting burnt. In fact it was so lovely I smashed it out in 40.58, two minutes quicker and getting an average pace of 5.20 minutes per km, a little faster than marathon pace.

But this was not enough, no! The half marathon (which is my immediate goal) is still closing in, so despite feeling a bit tired from my exertions the day before I set out to do a ¼ marathon on Sunday afternoon. Although the opening 15 minutes was fairly hard work I managed to get from Shoreditch park all the way up and Manor House tube and back (via Stoke Newington) in 57 mins, 34 seconds, with a race pace of 5 mins 27 seconds, just inside the 5.30 I am looking to hold through the main race.

So, overall a good week’s work, with a total of around 32km done over the week and 18km on the weekend alone. This week I am doing just a 5km today as a warm down from yest but with a gym session on top, before football tomorrow night. Then hopefully I can beat my 10.5km on Wednesday as I start building up towards race distance for the Windsor Half, before Mum’s birthday on Thursday.

If you are training for the marathon as well then I hope your training is going ok, and that your fund raising is also progressing. If you would like to sponsor me (and see a picture of me totally knackered after the Run To The Beat last Sept) then you can do so at


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Four out of four

See, I said I would be blogging more often now I am back in the UK!

So yesterday I marked my fourth consecutive day of exercise as I ramp up the training ahead of the really big scary race that is just 93 days away.

I didn’t actually go running on Tuesday, and regular readers (hi Mum) will know that I play football that day. This feels like a very difference sort of exercise for me, as it involves sprinting and turning, two things that don’t happen on a treadmill!

We played two 17 minute matches, drawing the first one nil-nil and losing the second 2-1. I didn’t play too bad, especially since that was my first set of matches for around a month, although I did make a hash of a couple of decent chances as well as feeling knackered.

Back to running after work yesterday and although I should be doing 10km I only did 6.5km as I am still not totally over the jet lag and was feeling drained after work.  Indeed, if I didn’t have the marathon on the horizon then I may well have not gone to the gym at all and just gone home, had dinner and then bed.

As it was we had a tasty curry and watched the Inbetweeners move, which is pretty funny but if you were not a fan of the show then it would probably fall a bit fl. Still, I didn’t have anything to drink, so I reckon the curry is allowed.

Having a night off tonight as I am meeting friends for a few drinks but it is back to the grind tomorrow before going for an outdoors run on Saturday morning.

I have also entered the Silverstone half marathon, which is on Mar 11. The race is round the actual British GP circuit, so that should be fun, although I doubt I will be taking the chequered flag. This is on top of the run your pace half, near Windsor on Feb 18, which is only 30 days away! Training needs to be longer and harder next week.

Please remember why I am doing all this and give whatever you can to the Willow Foundation at
I am trying to raise £1,600 and have got £50 so far, so £1,550 to go!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Back in the Saddle and now comes the hard part

Morning all,

Once again, sorry for the lack of recent blogs, I was dealing with a 51.5 hour trip back from New Zealand and the associated jetlag. Yes, that’s right, 51.5 hours, including an overnight stop in a random city in Korea. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t manage to get round to any training during the trip and then gave myself a day off on Saturday to try and deal (unsuccessfully) with the jet lag.

However, come Sunday morning, there I was, in my Skins running tights (with shorts over the top – I am not a sicko), new marathon running socks (thanks Mum!), new running trainers (thanks Mum!), new bright yellow running shirt (thanks Mum!) and sunglasses. And I was off!

And it was wonderful. You see, although NZ is a country of great beauty, friendly locals (so friendly I married one of them) and a laid-back attitude, it is also a country of sodding massive hills. Now, I know the marathon is not going to all be flat, but it is also not going to be run on the side of a sodding mountain, with my start and end point somewhere near the top, meaning a nice downhill stretch at the start and then uphill all the way home. So it was nice to run around Stoke Newington, in the dry, on the flat and without massive humidity making every breath seem like hard work.

The only issue was the cold. It is summer in NZ and so coming back into the depths of winter was a bit of a shock.  Indeed, so much so that after around 25 minutes I started to get cramp and so slowed down a bit. However this just made the cramp worse and it was too cold to then have to walk home, so I just ran the final 20 minutes to get back to the warm! Overall I did 7.6km in 42 mins and 32 seconds which is not bad at all, although I did feel quite stiff for the rest of the day.

Back to work on Monday and I also hit the gym after work. I had intended to do a 10km run (as I set out in my new training plan) but I was still a bit stiff from the day before, so just bit a standard 5km in 27 mins and then used some weights etc.

Speaking of weight, my holiday does not seem to have done too much damage, with the gym scales saying I am now at 100.2kg, not too bad considering the lack of exercise and massive increase of food and beer during the holidays!

In addition, I have now set up my fundraising page here.  Remember, I am raising money for the Willow Foundation, which provides days out for terminally ill young adults.  To date, Willow has provided more than 8,000 special days for seriously ill young people. For some pretty amazing example of what the money they raise is used for, see here.  So please please please can you help me reach my target of £1,600 and help Willow to help those who need it. Cheers.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Sorry for the delay, 10km on hills and New Years Resolutions

Whoops, been a while since I last posted as I have been away for a few days and then net access has been a little bit scratchy.

But in the interim I have managed to do a 10km run, outside, on super hilly terrain and in the heat. Get me!

I have also uploaded all my runs to a website called It is helping me to keep track of distances and times, so I can see how my training is going. You can see my training profile if you want, it is here. You can also follow me on Twitter if that is your bag, @runningfatbloke

Now, when I last posted I was struggling with the hill training and speed had dropped, but I was hopeful of getting back on track, and I seem to have managed that. I completed the 8.2km run I was looking to do, in 44 minutes, giving me and average speed of 5.22 mins per km. Not too bad, and slightly above the pace I want to try and hold all through the marathon. I followed this up with a 9.17km run in 53 mins (5.47 pace) .

I then went away for a few days and although I took my running gear with me, I slept in late each day and did precisely sod all, but it was good to have a rest and not really think about running for a few days.

But then I returned! I managed 10.17km in 58 mins 35 seconds, a pace of 5.53 in an area that is much more hilly than the marathon, and hopefully the race day will be a bit cooler as well!

Another day off and today I did head out for a run, but the heat and humidity meant I just did a 5km brisk walk, which was a bit disappointing but better than nout.

So, with 104 days left to go, I am at an ok stage of training, but from next week I will be stepping it up.

The aim is do do two 10km runs in the gym per week, one in the real world (at least until spring comes in, when I will swap the gym/real world) and then one run per week that will increase in distance by 2km per week, bringing my up to runs that are close to marathon distance. I will probably do these on the treadmill, so that if I have any issues then I can just stop and not be a million miles away from home. This on top of playing 5-a-side once a week for around 30 minutes.

It is also roughly in keeping with the marathon program I was following, but will hopefully fit around work better. At this stage I should be up to doing a half marathon, but I did pick a 16 week plan when I still had 22 weeks to go, so it is not really an issue I am slightly off that pace, and I aim to be back on track in a couple of weeks.

I am also going to give up ice cream, chocolate and bread between now and the race day, in the hope of actually losing some weight. I mean, I have lost a bit but not much although I am much fitter. The Christmas drinking didn't help either, but I am also going to cut back and only drink my home brew at home. Means I should save some cash as well, which is good as I have booked myself a little holiday for after the marathon as a treat!

I promise to be less tardy in the future as well and up date this a bit more often, esp now training is stepping up a gear! 

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Rain rain go away, and take my injury with you!

The hill training has not been going so well, and by that I mean not at all. This is due to two factors. First, I somehow managed to injure my shoulder. I have no idea how, but I ended up with a knot just to the inside of my left shoulder blade. It was about the size and consistency of a large marble, and pulled the muscles in all across my shoulders and the base of the back. As I am sure you can imagine, this made running pretty painful, not just with the shoulder going back and forth but also on the movement up and down as I jog along. But it has mostly cleared up now, thank goodness.

The other issue has been the weather. Now, I quite like running in the rain, it is refreshing and keeps me cool, as long as I remember to put some Vaseline on my nips. However, it has been raining with a vengeful intensity in the last few days, meaning that even if my shoulder worked then running would not be great. So I have instead been sitting on my arse, eating Christmas food and generally losing fitness.

The situation has improved somewhat in the last two days, as I have managed to get out and do two 5.2km runs. The first saw me with an average speed of over 6 minutes per km, well above my normal 5.30, but I managed to get it back down to around 5.40 today, not too bad considering all the hills!

So hopefully tomorrow I will be able to have a crack at a 8km run and keep that speed under 6mins and if that goes well I will increase it up to 10km after that.

On a broader note, Happy New Year to you all!