It’s a Sign

20100428-20100428-P1000235.jpgThe Bristol 10K is approaching. It’s on road signs now, so it must be official!

My plan to do a few runs in this penultimate training week is going well; I got out for another 5K this evening. I also managed to get to the other side of the river before the high tide and the bridge swing separated the north from the south, so it was out along the towpath and away from the traffic. Much more civilised.

Also, at the suggestion of a couple of friends on Twitter, I checked out Blacks for technical tops in large sizes, and at least found a couple claiming to be XXL rather than XL, with one that even looked as if it might not be in the desperately unflattering figure-hugging style they mostly seem to come in. Hopefully they’ll arrive in time for me to try them on, and try running in them before the 10K.

So, I’ll probably do one or two runs before the race, maybe getting out on Saturday and Monday, seeing as it’s a Bank Holiday. I’ll definitely check back in here before the race, whatever happens… See you then!

Built for Comfort

Welcome to the 100th blog posting on Matt Gets Running 🙂 To mark the occasion, here’s a video of my (Good) Friday run, along the Avon Gorge towpath, up the hill into Leigh Woods, around a little detour—to reverse out of some of the worst of the mud I ran into!—and then back to the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Today I was planning on blogging about weight, and watching this video really underlines why it’s something I need to talk about. Because, fairly clearly, although I’ve been jogging for nine months, I’m still quite lardy.

In fact, I’ve not lost much weight at all. Since I started running, I’ve come from around 17 stone 7 lbs (245lbs, or 111kg) down to 16 stone 12.5 lbs. That’s a drop of 8.5lbs, or a smidge under 4kg.

That’s not to say that running hasn’t had a significant impact on my weight. Because before I took up running, I was slowly but steadily putting weight on, rather than taking it off. Goodness knows what weight I’d be by now if I hadn’t effectively reversed that trend, and all by getting out and running.

But I’ve come to realise recently that absolutely the best thing I could do to speed myself up, and to avoid injury, and reduce strain on my joints and muscles, especially my occasionally achey hip, is to lose more weight.

Now, I could run even more, which would certainly burn some more calories. But that’s unlikely to be too effective. A pound of weight equates to about 3,500 calories (kcal.) The longest run I’ve ever done was the 12K I did a few weekends ago. And, according to the RunKeeper log, that burned 1,437 calories.

Which is the equivalent of less than half a pound of fat. So even if I did two of those every week, on top of my normal runs, and changed nothing else at all, I’d lose less than a pound a week.

So, that doesn’t seem like the most efficient way of doing things. It may be time to mention the dreaded “D word”: diet.

Now, my normal diet is actually not too bad. I don’t eat too much unhealthy crap. I have a tendency towards eating cake after lunch at the weekends, but apart from that, my calories are generally coming from quite healthy food choices. I don’t eat junk, I don’t drink alcohol, I hardly ever eat chocolate bars. I’ve not eaten in a McDonald’s or a KFC since the 1990s. And even then it was probably under protest.

No. My problem is, quite simply, eating too much. My portions are too big.

I’ve been gradually chipping away at that a bit recently, using some simple methods — buying Kellogg’s Variety Packs for breakfast, for example, so there’s a pre-measured amount that’s easy to stick to. And cutting extras out of my lunchtime meal at work.

I’ve not really attacked my evening meal yet, or addressed my latte habit. And, most importantly, I’ve not actually deliberately tried to restrict my calorie intake to less than I need. I mean, my current eating habits appear to be sensible and sustainable, in that I’m still, very gradually, losing weight. So I’m clearly not eating more than I need to eat.

But if I want to make running a half marathon in September as easy as possible, the best thing I can do, apart from keeping up my training and gradually building up my distance, is to attack my weight through diet as well as through running.

I think a sensible goal would be to lose around a pound a week. Given that the half-marathon is on 5th September, around five months away, that would mean about 20 pounds. To give myself a nice “round” number — albeit in the antiquated avoirdupois scale I still cling to to measure my body weight — I’ll call my target weight 15-and-a-half stone, which is 217 pounds, or about 98 kilos.

So. That’s my target. Fifteen and a half stone by 5 September. And I’ll be blogging my progress with my weight along with my progress with the running. Who knows, possibly accompanied by pictures and video, you never know!

Have a happy Easter. Personally, in the greatest tradition of diets, I’m going to start mine after the holiday. In the meantime, where did I put that Cadbury’s Easter egg?

Faster, faster!

No personal best for the 5K this evening — that still remains at the just-under-31 minutes I managed back in November, running as fast as I sustainably could all the way.

But tonight, I think, was the fastest since then, at 32:26. And considering I did a normal jog on the way out, then just did some speedwork on the way back, I think that’s pretty encouraging. I reckon a 30-minute 5K is not far away. I may make that my goal for February.

The way back definitely seemed a lot quicker than the way out, even though there probably was only a minute or so in it. The RunKeeper stats seem to be showing a gradual increase in average pace on these 5K runs as time goes by.

Anyway. That’s enough for now. I might just do a perfectly normal 5K on Friday, just to give myself a bit of a rest 🙂