Unlikely Speed

Yeah. Not entirely sure I believe the last few kilometres of RunKeeper’s log for today’s run:


Especially considering the pace over the last couple of kilometres measured around 1.5 minutes per kilometre. Although I suppose I would probably have needed that kind of speed to fly over the Avon Gorge and several tall buildings like that.

Still, not a bad run — I’m still doing the FitnessClass thing, which had me set to do just over 10K today, as an alternating run/walk. I reckon I probably did around 9K all told, but I was a bit stymied for knowing when to stop after the GPS gave out around the 7K mark. (It really died quite hard; in the end I had to turn the phone off and on again to get it back and working. Ho hum.)

In fact, I’ve just tried to correct the route manually in RunKeeper and it does seem to have worked out at about 9K. Good enough for me, especially as there was at least another kilometre of walk home on the end of that 🙂

This week I’ll really really try to do the two mid-week runs, rather than just the one I’ve been doing these last few weeks…

Into the Woods

Leigh Tree

A nice five miles through Leigh Woods today. It was another alternating walk/run according to the training plan thingy I’m following with RunKeeper, and that helped me up my running pace a bit. Well, apart from on the steeper hills 🙂

Today’s photo is from Leigh Woods. Leigh Woods is mostly National Trust-owned, and a National Nature Reserve, and therefore seems unlikely to be sold off (Sunday Telegraph article) under the upcoming flog-everything-that’s-not-nailed-down plans. But I’m definitely going to get there and appreciate the woods while I can, just in case.

Starting My Speed Training

I was in London at the weekend. I ate most of it. Well, it felt like it, anyway. My friend Kavey invited me along for the weekend to celebrate her recent birthday, and we went along to Chocolate Unwrapped, and also had a fab afternoon tea at the astoundingly stylish Bob Bob Ricard.

That meant that (a) I missed the start of the RunKeeper FitnessClass programme I’m meant to be doing, and (b) put on about half a stone in the course of two days. Although that may be an exaggeration.

Either way, tonight I tried to catch up with the FitnessClass thingy by doing day 3 of the programme, which I was meant to do yesterday. Then I’ll hopefully catch up with the schedule over the next couple of runs, and get myself roughly in sync with the other people doing the class across the world.

The main difference between tonight’s run and my normal weekday runs was that this was broken up into intervals — four minutes running, one minute walking, repeated six times. This means I can work on my speed a bit without actually killing myself, because I’ve got a chance to take a breather every now and again. It seems to work — I tried to up my pace significantly from my normal running, though not so fast that I was sprinting, and the log shows that I did okay. Even including the walking, my average overall pace was under 7 minutes per km, which is pretty good for me.

So, there will be lots more of this, plus some longer weekend runs with a slower pace, also with some walking breaks, over the next month or two. We’ll see how I get on…


Very quick catchup — did a simple 5K last night. I think I was a bit faster than my recent averages, but it’s hard to tell, as I added a timed walking warm-up to this, and RunKeeper still, annoyingly, doesn’t knock off the warm-up from its average speed pace calculations, so the five minutes of walking skewed the pace calculation.

Anyway. Enough wittering. This was just a quick checkin, as I’ve got a few busy days in a row right now…

A Return to Normal

After last Sunday’s disastrous couldn’t-even-run run, a happy return to normal this morning. I didn’t get out for a mid-week run — that plan got clobbered by a Flickr meet and going to see William Gibson at the Bristol Festival of Ideas. But I finally got out today, and did a very similar route to last weekend — just 5K up Bridge Valley Road, down Ladies Mile, and back to Clifton Village. Except this weekend I kept running.

So, who knows? Maybe I was tired, maybe I was dehydrated, maybe it was just Gyles Brandreth’s godawful performance on the News Quiz that I was listening to that put me off last Sunday. Whatever. I shall try to get out mid-week this week, as it looks like I’ll be too busy to run next weekend. So maybe I’ll do a couple of mid-week jogs if I can…


Well, that run was rubbish. In fact, it wasn’t even a run. For some reason, when I got to the top of Bridge Valley Road, I lost all motivation. It seemed partly physical, partly mental — I just gave up, really. I tried to push on and run again after I’d walked for a bit to get my breath, but it didn’t really happen. In the end, I alternated jogging and walking, and cut today’s route short at just over 5K.

I really don’t know why this should be. Sometimes, I’ve heard, you just have bad days — but this is really the first terrible day I’ve had, where I’ve actually given up and started walking. Looking back in the archives, even on a horrible day last year, I managed to keep jogging.

I found a couple of articles that talk about bad running days — one from HubPages, and one from Running Times. They cite possibilities including sleep, food, illness, hydration, shoes, mental health and the weather. And some of these are quite possible. I woke up with a bit of a headache this morning, feeling like I’d not slept that well. Plus my food intake’s probably been a bit excessive, and included a few more of the wrong things, since I went holiday. And who knows? Maybe I’m just coming down with something, or at least fighting it off — everybody around me seems to have a cold or flu at the moment.

So. Not much I can do about it, really, other than trying to live a little bit better over the next few days, perhaps cutting down on the caffeine a bit (another habit that’s crept back since the holiday), getting to bed early, and trying to wrestle my food intake back towards smaller, more healthy options. And hope my mid-week run goes okay this week. I’ll probably try Wednesday, but it’ll depend on the weather…

Winter Fitness Class

Just a quick 5K down the Portway for me this evening. After I got back, I signed up for one of RunKeeper’s new “virtual FitnessClasses”, which I’m hoping will give me a training plan to stick to through the winter.

My half-marathon speed was really quite rubbish — hardly surprising given that I’ve never pushed myself to go faster in training (and, of course, I’m quite lardy, and it was my first one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud and happy that I did a half marathon at all!) So I’ve signed up for the 17-week “Break a 2 hour 20 minute half marathon” plan.

I’m liking the idea of these virtual fitness classes, which I’m presuming will deliver plans straight to RunKeeper for iPhone to save me having to think too hard about what day I’m up to in the plan or what I should be doing on that day (though the blog post isn’t clear on exactly how it works.) The other nice aspect is the social one — I and a bunch of other RunKeeper users from all across the planet will be doing the training plan at the same time, and we’ll be able to see each others’ progress, too, which should give a good feeling of solidarity.

I don’t know how likely I am to increase my speed that much in seventeen weeks — bear in mind my time for the Bristol Half was 02:53:43, so I’d have to knock more than half an hour off! But hopefully the regular interval training that’s part of the plan will get me going a bit faster, at least. And it’ll be good to have a solid, three-times-a-week plan to take me through the winter.

One thing that strikes me as truly unrealistic about this fitness class: will I really get out for a 20km jog on Boxing Day? I’m pretty sure I’ll still be weighed down by turkey and stuffing from the day before!