Post 10k Laziness

I have hardly done anything to help my Great North Run training this week. If fact, I think I’ve sent it backwards a bit. This is what I’ve done (and not done) since last weekend.


My train got me into New Pudsey a little after 6pm on the day of the 10k run. Sarah collected me from the station (bless her) and we went to McDonalds for tea. Had an early night as was tired from the run. Also, my head hurt a bit.


For my dinner I had left over chinese food that was in the fridge. I had the day off and Sarah was at work so I played on my PS3 for most of the day. In the evening I had a couple of beers. No exercise.


Family birthday party so loads of family and friends were round. I drank a bit too much. Also, I ate too much. No exercise.


Bit hungover. Went to the cafe for lunch (had a full english) and a full fat coke. In the afternoon I went to the cinema with Steven to see Batman (brilliant!) and ate a full tray of Nachos. With Salsa. And a large coke. (Coke was seperate, didn’t mean that I dipped my Nachos in or anything.) No exercise.


First day back at work, snacked a bit most of the day on crisps. Had a healthy lunch of steamed veg, but I don’t think it quite cancelled out the crisps. (Or the Twix.) No exercise.


McDonalds breakfast before work because we had a bit of spare time. Also, Andy at work said that he fancied chicken burger and chips from the Take Away up the road. I joined in because I hadn’t had one for ages. It was lovely.

I got home and decided that I’d slacked off a bit in my training so needed to go out for a run. I mapped out a route that would be a few laps of the neighbourhood and would be about 3.5 miles in distance. A mile into the route I was knackered (couldn’t think why!) and so cut it down to 1.7 mile. Didn’t feel brilliant.


Walk to work (2 miles.)

Tuna Salad for lunch.

No junk food.

Back on track.

Great North 10k – 22/07/12


My alarm went off on my phone. I pressed snooze.


My alarm went off on my phone. I considered pressing snooze again, but though it’d be best to get up and ready for the run. I had a quick shower, then got my kit on and went downstairs to where Martyn was getting his shoes on. I put the kettle on and made us both a coffee, and then some instant porridge. I knew that I needed to eat because I wouldn’t have chance before about half 12, so I tried to force the porridge down but it wasn’t happening. I think I had about 3 mouthfuls. The coffee was a big help though! Martyn ate his porridge and a banana. Greedy git.


We got on the Metro to Gateshead Station and talked tactics. We both agreed that getting to the end would be a good idea, and so decided to take the run at a nice steady pace. No point sprinting off into the distance if you have to walk the rest of the way. I was a bit nervous, but also excited for my first ever run. More and more people in running gear and race numbers got on the Metro at each stop, and all those that made eye contact gave a little nod or a smile. It was the friendliest train ride I’ve ever been on.


We arrived at the station. Not knowing which direction to go in, we did what anyone would do and followed the crowd. On the walk down we got talking to a nice bloke from Newcastle who said that he’s done this and most other Great Runs for the past few years for charity. I made a mental note of his number so that I could check his time after the race, but forgot it.


We made our way down past the stadium which would act as the finishing line, went and used the toilet, then had a look around. There were loads of people already milling about, some looking nervous, some looking excited, and one dressed as a giant rabbit. “What ever happens,” I said to Martyn, “We have to finish in front of that Rabbit.” There was a clown too, and he must’ve had about 20 finishers medals around his neck. He was trying to get the crowd worked up by shouting ‘Oggy Oggy Oggy’, but only a few people shouted back so he gave that up quite quickly. It’s not easy being a clown I guess.


Picked up a free bottle of Powerade from the powerade stand and they said that if we get weighed before and after the run, we get a free Powerade sports bottle. Both agreed, so went on the scales and got measured. I was exactly the same weight before and after the run, which they said was good because it meant that I had been drinking properly on the course. They mentioned some other stuff too, but I was only there for my free sports bottle so didn’t pay much attention. Went to the toilet again.


The group warm up session was about to begin when Martyn said that he needed the toilet again. I asked if he was joking, because we’d been twice already and he said ‘We’ve been twice already, but could still do with going.’ We left our place in the line up, went to the toilet, came back and got into our section again but a bit further back and then did a bit of warm up.


The first wave of runners were off. A few minutes later so were the next wave, and then the next. After each wave we all moved closer and closer to the start line and Martyn said he needed the toilet again so I ignored him. The Rocky theme tune was playing as we approached to pump us up, and everyone around us had a smile on their face. The Rabbit was stood right in front of me.


We were off! The chip on my trainer pipped as we passed over the start line, and I was ready to run. It took a minute or so for everyone to go from a mass huddle to getting into their own space where they could start to run at their own pace. As I thought, a few people sprinted off around the corner as fast as they could but we were sticking to the plan and going steady. There was a slight hill to start with, and as we approached the 1km sign there was a woman who was out of breath and had slowed down to a walk. As we passed I heard her say ‘I’m not running all the way.’ Not sure if she meant all the way to the end, or all the way to the first kilometre sign, but I thought it best not to ask.

We chatted quite a bit as we were running, careful not to trip or be tripped as we went. I was suprised that we seemed to be over taking quite a lot of people, but as we were in the last wave of runners, it’s not like we passed any olympians. I was keeping track of the kilometre markers that we passed against my watch to see if I could guess some sort of finishing time. The 1st marker we passed in 6 minutes, which put us on an hour run. Obviously we’d started steady and didn’t expect to keep this pace for the whole route, but it was a good feeling. When we got to the 3km marker, we were on 18minutes, still running 6 minutes a km. Not bad!

There were a few hills and a few ups and downs on the run, but we hadn’t encountered anything too difficult as of yet. As we got to the top of the steepest hill so far, I noticed that Martyn had dropped back. I looked behind and he was walking a bit, but quickly caught up. I asked if he was OK, and he said he was, so we carried on. A few minutes later, he’d gone again. I waited for him and he told me that his knee was playing up. (He’d injured it a couple of years back after tripping over a cobble when tipsy.) He looked in pain so we walked a minute or so, then picked up the pace again. We were nowhere near the first to have a little walk so we weren’t bothered. We passed a bloke who was doing the run in jeans and with a coat tied around his waist, so knew we wouldn’t be last.


We were now doing about 80% running and 20% walking. It helped us both, because it meant that Martyn didn’t have to strain his knee too much and also that I could have a breather without saying I needed a breather. We’d run along the side of the river and under the bridges that pass into Newcastle. Picking up a bottle of water each, in the distance we could see the turn around point and the 5km marker. ‘Look!’ I said. ‘Halfway done! Almost back now!’ My enthusiasm was soon downtrodded though, because as we were running TOWARDS the turn around point, coming AWAY from the turn around point, and a good five minutes in front, was the Rabbit. ‘Bastard.’ I said.


We’d gone past the turn around and had my name shouted my a radio bloke on a loudspeaker. I was feeling quite good about the race, now that we were on the home stretch. We were still walking a bit but we were still running more. The sun had come out for a bit and so we were very happy to see a shower stand set up in the road that you could run under. We decided to walk under instead of run, to get as refreshed as we could. A bit further on there were a couple of hills which we got up, and as we rounded the corner we ran past quite a lot of people cheering on the runners and waving and clapping. I didn’t wave back or anything though, because I didn’t want to look like a tit.


I figured by looking at the markers and keeping track of time, that we would be able to finish somewhere around 1 hour 10 minutes. Before the race, we said we’d be happy with 1 hour 20, so we were pleased. Even better than that though, was that we were getting closer and closer to the Rabbit. I was planning to say something clever like ‘I bet you’re bunny boiling in that suit’ or something, but couldn’t get the words straight in my head. Decided to just overtake him instead.

We approached the last hill in the race, and though it wasn’t a long one, it was quite steep. They were playing ‘Hearts on Fire’ from Rocky IV so I said to Martyn that we should run up the hill. Suprisingly, he ran off at a right pace and started sprinting up, so I followed, running as fast as I could. Even more suprising was when I looked to my right, there was a lad that was ALSO sprinting up the hill. I only sprinted because Martyn did, and I’m guessing that the lad just wanted to join in. Bit weird. Anyway, at the top we were gasping for breath and I said to Martyn ‘Why did you sprint?!’

‘Because you shouted ‘RUN!’

‘No I didn’t, I said we should run up the hill like Rocky, not that we should sprint!’

‘Who shouted RUN then?’

‘I have no idea, it wasn’t me.’





We were back on the road where we started the run, and the barriers had been changed so that it lead into the Gatehead stadium instead of where we ran at the start. The course finished on the track, which meant that you did almost a full lap on the running track of the stadium in front of the crowds in the stands. It felt good, and I was so chuffed that we were about to finish. From our side of the track I could see the Timer above the finish line and realised that we were VERY close to finishing in just under 1 hour 10 minutes. I shouted to Martyn that we should run to make sure, and we did. We both crossed the line at exactly the same time and headed straight for the people handing out water, then for the people handing out the T-Shirts and Medals.

Our official finishing time was 01:08:53.

10k Run Tomorrow!

This is a map of the course, as stolen borrowed from the Bupa website. Doesn’t look too bad like that, does it? Nice and steady course, with a handy shower and water station on route, looks lovely! Of course, I know slightly different. I know that the furthest I’ve run so far is 3 miles, and that I’ve tried twice (and failed twice) to do hill runs. The Great North 10k is more than twice my best distance (6.2miles!) and ends with a hill. On the plus side, it also ends with a lap of Gateshead stadium so I might feel like an actual athlete!

My biggest worry is getting a stitch or tripping up (and causing loads of others to domino over me) somewhere along the route. I’ll be fine though, probably just worried because I’ve never entered a race before, have only been running six weeks, can’t run the whole distance and have more than likely forgotten something. I’ll be fine…

Actually, the BIGGEST worry is being exposed as a non-runner. I can see us all lining up at the start, waiting for starters pistol/klaxon or whatever it is, and for someone to shout and point at me. ‘He’s not an actual runner! He’s only been running six weeks and can’t even do the full distance!’ Then everyone will look at me, and laugh, and I’ll have to own up to being new and unready, and someone will throw a tomato like in the films, then I’ll skulk off with egg on my face. (Egg and tomato. Chuck me a sausage and a bit of bacon and I’ve got a breakfast!)

Nah, I know that there’s more than likely others there that are even less prepared than I am and that are just doing it for fun, or for charity, or for both. I’m just seeing it as a kind of warm up the the Great North Run in Sept, a chance to get used to a bit of distance and running in a crowd.

Straight after work I’m on a train to Leeds, then one to Newcastle to stay over at Martyns house so we’re ready for the run in the morning. Chicken and Pasta for tea (to ‘Carb up’) and then Porridge for breakfast. Best stop off somewhere for some Powerade or something too, to keep up energized… It doesn’t start til 10:30 so plenty of time! My group sets off about 10:48 (Pink Group, last Wave) which means I might be one if the last over the line. If I am, I don’t care, just so long as I get over the line! Then I’ll have a few hours rest, before doing the return train journey with a finishers T-Shirt and my first ever medal. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable sleeping in it… (The medal, not the T-Shirt)

If you see either of these, there’s a good chance that it’s me. (Especially the one that has my name and number on.) So please be kind as you race past, and try not to kick up too much dust.

Good luck to everyone involved!

10 Days to 10k’s

The ten day count down has started to the day of the Great North 10k. I didn’t even realise until I saw Martyn’s Facebook update. It said ’10 days.’ He didn’t mention the run, but I figured he meant the run and so put the rest together myself (I’m clever like that.)

We’ve been texting backwards and forwards most days about our training and how we feel afterwards, plus keeping an eye and a helpful comment on each others Sports Tracker app so I know that we’re pretty much on equal footing training-wise. (He’s also a new runner.) We got our race numbers and info packs through the post on Monday (Very exciting!) and as it turns out, even though we both put the same approximate finishing time, he’s in the Green Zone and I’m in the Pink Zone. (Pink?!)

We also got a timing chip each, which measures from when you cross the start line to when you cross the finish line so very accurate. As he’s in the Zone in front, we’ve agreed that he’ll drop back into mine (you’re allowed to move back before the start, but not forwards) and then we can race the whole thing together. (Or, as Martyn put it, ‘more time to slap each others bottoms for motivation’…)

Yesterday myself, Ironman Tony, plus Joe and Riley (Cousins) went out for a three mile run together. It was a big circuit which I’d never run before that took in a few hills and inclines, and more distance than I’d previously run. My legs were aching slightly from the quick mile the day before, but I was quite confident. It didn’t take too long before I didn’t think I’d be able to manage the whole three miles, though. It was probably about a mile into the run. However, I didn’t want to quit and so pushed on. Blimey, the sun was hot. And I was thirsty. And excuses excuses excuses, but I tried to carry on.

Coming to a road, we stopped to let a car past (didn’t fancy getting run over) but I could feel the pain in my legs whilst stood still. I knew that we’d be running past a pub (No, go PAST the pub!) and then up a hill before going the last mile home. I told myself that there was no way I was stopping before the top of that hill, and that’s exactly where I gave in. Or rather, my legs gave in. I shouted to Ironman Tony that I’d have to walk for a bit, but my God it was painful!

Joe and Riley jogged off (no point us all walking) and Ironman ran a bit further. He turned round further down the road and saw how far back I was, so he waited for me to hobble upto him. I explained that my legs were on fire and that I’d done running for the day. I figured out that I’d run 5 days out of the past 6 and he told me that there was the problem, I should be resting at least a day between each run especially being a new runner. Too much too fast!

Making it home, slowly, I had a few nice glasses of water and put some ice on my legs. It felt wonderful. I’ve learned my lesson about trying to do too much I think, and so will be taking it nice and steady in the days leading up to the 10k run. I need to make sure I can at least out pace Martyns ‘bottom slaps’!


UPDATED – Running Progress

10th July 2012 – After yesterdays furthest and quickest run, I was feeling good. My progress was coming along nicely, and I’m on track for my first 10k on Sunday 22nd July. I could feel a slight ache in my legs, but nothing compared to the other mornings-after-the-runs-the-night-befores. I felt so good infact that I thought I’d try do a bit of speed training, running the mile that I started off with when I started my training. (The mile that I couldn’t even do a 1/4 of before walking.)

My best average mile so far had been a few days earlier when I did an average pace of 00:09:08 a mile. I wanted to try and get under 9 minutes a mile on this run. I started out well, but started to feel it a bit before getting half way so slowed down the pace. On the 1/2 mile there I ran past a group of kids so did what any other runner would do in this situation. I sped up to make it look like I was a proper runner and pumped my arms a bit more. (Why? I have no idea.)

I then passed the same group of kids again on my return 1/2 mile, so obviously had to do the same again.

Also on the way back, I passed a runner coming in the opposite direction on the other side of the road. Glancing up to see how quick they were going I caught his eye and he gave me a little raise of the hand. I wasn’t expecting this level of comradeship (obviously he didn’t know I was knew to this) and so it took me by surprise, which meant that I didn’t return his wave until he’d already gone past and then wondered why I waved so late.

So if you were looking out of your house window at that point, (when he’d already passed) you’d’ve seen me, out of breath, seemingly waving to a  lamppost and then looking confused when it didn’t wave back. (At least I wasn’t air drumming.)

Anyway, I got home and stopped my app hoping for my first sub 9 minute mile.


It wasn’t just sub 9 minutes. Neither was it just a sub 8 minute mile. It was a sub SEVEN MINUTE MILE. 00:06:41 to be exact.

But my word did my legs hurt the next morning.

I’ll Just Leave This Here…

Today, not only did I manage my furthest distance to date, I also ran it at my best speed too. I love this sports tracker, because I doubt that I’d realise my speed was improving. Obviously I can tell that I’m going further, but not faster. Now though, I’m aching like a…. Er… Aching like a runner that’s got a new Personal Best!

(by the way, if the saying is ‘if it’s hurting, it’s working,’ then my legs feel as though they’re working like a cart horse.)


Musical Motivation


Now then, here’s the thing I’ve been wondering about. I love my iPod and love my music, but not sure if it’s helping me or hindering me at this stage of my running training. I can happily listen to it on my walk to and from work, and on the occasions I find myself in the gym (which are way too far and in-between at the minute!) But I don’t really know if listening to music whilst running as a beginner is a good thing.

Last Saturday I listened to my iPod for the first time whilst attempting to run home (less talk about that, the better) and I set off at too quick of a pace, so had to stop and get picked up. I’ve got a feeling that the pace I set was in time to the music I was listening to (The Almighty – Heavy Rock music) and so couldn’t properly judge my pace.

The day after, I attempted the run home again, this time without music and got a lot further. In fact, through a mixture of running and walking I got the whole way home. Is that because I could judge my pace easier without music, or is it because I was deliberately going slowly because of the day before disaster? Not sure.

On the Monday I went for a run with Ironman Tony and did my furthest yet, 2.2 miles, at a pace of 9:45 minutes a mile. No music.

The next run I went on was yesterday, Saturday, and was alone. I put on some Alice Cooper (Hey Stoopid – Brilliant Album) and ran 2 miles at a pace of 9:08 a mile. That’s quite a bit quicker than my best pace!  Is it because of the music spurring me on, or is it because of the music that I can’t judge pace properly? I’m sure that when I get more experience as a runner, I’ll be able to pace myself no problems, music or not. But I’m not sure that it’s the best thing for my training at this stage.


1 – You can get lost in the music and so the distance and time flies by.

2 – Favourite songs are a great pick-me-up when you’re at a low.

3 – You don’t hear kids shouting abuse (Look at him trying to run! LOL!) Or similar.

4 – You can push yourself to keep running to the end of a song, or the end of the next song, or the next.

Cons: (For me, in reverse order…)

4 – Can’t hear traffic if you’re running on the road.

3 – When the battery dies halfway out, it’s a proper downer.

2 – Hard to keep my own pace, until I practice some more.

But the number one reason, the reason that in part made me think of writing all of this is the following….

1 – …………..I’m an air-drummer.

Let me explain: I listen to a lot of rock music, Quireboys, Alice Cooper, Dog’s D’amour, Guns N Roses, Slash’s Snakepit, The Almighty, Gun, Love/Hate, Bon Jovi, the list goes on and on. What do all of this bands have in common? Guitar riffs and drum beats. Now, I’ve never been into playing air-guitar, but give me a set of air drums and i’m away. I can be walking home with my iPod in and if there’s a decent (or even half decent) drum beat or drum solo, my arms are away.

Worryingly, this seems to be the case whilst running too. When I was out yesterday, I caught myself air-drumming along to a few Alice Cooper songs before realising what I was doing, and more so, realising what the hell I would look like to passer by’s and the cars driving past. I must’ve looked like someone who only has control over two of his limbs at a time, or maybe they thought a wasp had gotten inside my T-Shirt.

I think I probably looked like Phoebe in that episode of Friends where her and Rachel go out running and she waves her arms about like a nutter.

As well as my running training this week, I need to practice pacing when out listening to music, and also to practice keeping my arms where they should be. I think I’ll have the pacing sorted long before the air drumming!

Run Home From Work Nightmare

Sat 30th June 2012

I decided that seeing as though I’ve got my fitness up a few levels from zero, that it’d be a good idea to try and run home from work.

Bad idea.

I spent the last half hour at work working out which route home would be best to attempt my first uphill-all-the-way run. I didn’t take into account that it was, in fact, up-hill-all-the-way. After my last run of just under 2 miles, I wanted the next one to be at least two miles, and so figured a route that would take me slightly away from the walk home that I would do (as that measures 1.8miles) and instead took a bit of a longer way round. Again, I didn’t take into account that it was going to be UPHILL ALL THE WAY.

I set off from work with the Almighty blasting out of my iPod. (Almighty the band, I wasn’t listening to God or the Bible or anything.) I crossed over the road and made my way up towards the round-a-bout where I stopped to cross the road. I didn’t feel good at all. My legs were aching that aching feeling that I normally get at the end of a run, and I could feel a stitch coming on in my side. It’s a steady incline all the way to my house, apart from a few big hills, and thought I’d at least get to the bottom of the bigger hill before having to walk.

I didn’t even get in sight of the big hill before having to stop and catch my breath. The pain in my side and my legs was getting worse and worse with each step, and this was at walking pace! I tried to job a bit, and couldn’t, so I walked a minute or so before having to do something drastic…

“Hiya, it’s me, can you come pick me up please?”

“Where are you?”

“Halfway home, getting towards the big hill.”

“O.K, on my way.”

I had to ring Sarah to come and get me, I felt in that much pain. I couldn’t understand why, I knew that it would be more of a challenge with the incline but I hadn’t encountered anything majorly hilly, just a steady rise since starting. I hobbled on a bit and finally got to the bottom of the hill, where I leaned on a railing and waited for my Knightess in a shiny Ka.

After we’d gotten home and I’d moaned about my legs hurting for a bit, I checked my sports tracker. I’d stopped it tracking me when I’d stopped to call Sarah, so it only had the info for the part where I actually ran.

Ah. There’s where I went wrong…

So far, the best average speed I’ve held up is 9 minutes 49 seconds for a mile. (6mph)

The run I’d just attempted was was an average 8 minutes 36 seconds for a mile (7.1mph!)

WAY too fast! And uphill all the way! At least I knew that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, just setting off to quick. My mood slightly lightened, I decided to try again the next day.


Sun 1st July 2012

Right. No setting off like a race horse this time. Nice and easy all the way. Good. Let’s go.

I decided that I’d run the normal route that I walk home, see how I felt when I got somewhere near home, and then I could extend my run to 2 miles if I wanted to towards the end. That way, if I got into trouble again, I should be able to walk the rest of the way. I set off at a much slower pace than the day before, and felt SO much better for it. In fact, I managed to get about twice as far as Saturday, and halfway up the first proper hill before slowing down and walking.

I got to the top of the big hill where I normally walk straight on, and decided that yeah, I may as well go the longer way round, then I’d make sure that I was over the 2 mile distance. Even though I was walking half of the time, I wanted to get some idea of what the distance looked and felt like.

Sports Tracker told me that by the time I’d gotten home, I’d done a distance of 2.1 miles, with an average speed of 4.9mph. (Just over 12 minutes a mile.) My slowest yet, but all uphill and my furthest distance, so I didn’t feel bad about it. I knew from when I left work that it’d be a slow time, and that it’d be a combination of walking and jogging, because I’m no where near fit enough to get all the way home, all uphill, by running the entire way. One day though, I will. And it’ll feel good and great, and be worth all the hard work.