Enough shoe reviews to make anyone happy in 2020

If you want to have some help finding the right selection of shoes for all the different types of running you could imagine then there’s a good chance that this link might just give you what you need

www.runnersworld.com/uk/gear/shoes/a776671/best-running-shoes/

The benefits of trail running

I am a massive fan of trail running and this explains some of those reasons that trail running is a great past time.

www.thefitnesstribe.com/benefits-of-trail-running/

January 2020 Training Update

2020 has begun and before you can even get to the end of Auld Lang Syne the first month of the year is already coming to a conclusion. January has raced by for me. Busy at work, busy home life as ever and a new approach for me to my running.

Goals

January saw the start of marathon training, as it does for many. My 2020 goals include taking part in new events, new races and new challenges. I also have a couple of time goals: a sub 3:30 marathon and a sub 1:30 half marathon. The marathon I am targeting is Brighton. The half I am targeting is Bournemouth in the Autumn, but also Reading in the Spring (if Reading doesn’t work out then I will review the training for Bournemouth!).

Training

My marathon training plan is 16 weeks and started on the 1st Jan, no time like New Years Day to start training for a marathon! I have the added complication that I currently have 3 ultras on my calendar: Isle Of White by Ultra Challenge (106Km), Race To The Tower (84Km) and The Temple Trail (50Km). So a normal marathon training plan for me doesn’t;t give me the mileage for that. So I have decided to work to the training plan structure and training types, but adding a mile or two to the short easy runs, plus extending the long runs (trying to peak at 30/32 miles as I did for Race To The Stones in 2019).

My training has followed the Runners World sub 3:30 training plan. This has meant training at a higher pace than I ever really did in 2019 – on a consistent level that is. A lot of my training runs are conducted in the 7:20 to 7:40 minutes per mile, thats faster than I was previously training, but it is a pace I enjoy training at and feel I run well at. That helps make the training enjoyable and easier to approach. Last year I did try a lot more low effort training much slower than this. It never quite felt right, I kept to the approach for around 9 months and I never really felt it. This year is different. I feel much more capable at this moment in time. Much stronger and really on track to achieve some good running this year.

New Things

To be honest not much, I am currently training in Brooks Glycerin 16 shoes for road, Brooks Cascade 13 for trail and mixed terrain, and occasionally Brooks Levitate 2 (my current preferred event shoe) just to ensure they are comfortably broken in and ready for race day!\

I’ve retained my previous nutrition plan when running. Up to 10 miles I run without any fuel/water (unless very warm – It’s January soo yeah right – don’t think I need that water!!). Over 10 miles I often will carry water. If I’m pushing up over 15 I’ll probably have tailwind (Raspberry buzz flavour) and I’ll take a bit of food (usually chia charge bars or mini malt loaf). If I take gels it’s SIS gels. I’ll use the Inov8 ultra vest for small loads and if I think I need a jacket or something else I’ll use my Kaleji bag from Decathlon, bargain basement but genuinely a great bit of kit!!]

Kit wise, I’m tending to prefer Balega socks at the moment but most other items I’m preferring Ronhill. Not sure quite why but I like the designs and the fit, as well as the comfort and moisture wicking.

Memorable runs

Usually this encompasses those long runs I mange to get on a Sunday. In January I pushed up to 20 miles and I had a great run early on the 19. Out in the dark, head torch on to light the way and I was out onto the footpaths around the Ridgeway and South Oxfordshire countryside. A beautiful sunrise too. It was cold, wet and windy and conditions a bit grim, but a lovely run. In those conditions and those times of day (started about 6am) you often feel like you have the world to yourself. Those times are just glorious, so revitalising, so refreshing, so easy to leave everything behind and spend the time with just yourself and the nature around you. These are one of those things that have really become so part of me now I run. I spend a lot of time running around the local town on weekdays, getting short/medium distance runs in for training purposes, but if it wasn’t for those long Sunday runs I’m not convinced I could find the motivation to put those other hours and miles in.

Achievement

Conclusion

January has been a good start to the year. 2019 started well though and by mid year was looking great. However I hit an injury in September and that really impacted the last 4 months of the year. I learnt from this that you can’t take things for granted and even when you think things are going well something can always surprise you.

I believe that managing an increase in mileage, being sensible on the effort you apply and ensuring you incorporate rest or low effort training will build a stronger runner. This is my aim. improve strength to build more resilience as well as improved performance and abilities.

I think 2020 could be a great year for my running with some great adventures and many more miles to travel along the way.

Why?

For no particular reason this year I’ve started with one word in my mind far too often…

Why?

I’ve run for 2 1/2 years now and have run races up to 100km. I regularly train and feel that I’m in a position to call my self a competent runner. But since The start of 2020 I’ve had this nagging in the back of my head asking me why I’m doing this.

In the past, and especially when starting out the reasons were easy:

1. Need to get fit

2. Need some exercise

3. Need something to do rather than be being lazy

4. Need to find a body I’m happy being housed in

And now …

Well I think I’m pretty fit, I do far more than the recognised minimum exercise for a male my age, I’m rarely ‘lazing’ around and I’m actually happy with the body I’m currently living in.

Why?

So that brings me back to the question of ‘Why?’ I don’t need to train so much, build plans for the types of run I do and the distances. I don’t have to run a mile in a certain time or run a half marathon before I have ‘earner’ my breakfast. I don’t. But in so many ways I do. I’ll explain.

So many of us live the same life. So many of us could smudge the name or the face of somebody else’s life and find it hard to distinguish their own from the anonymous strangers. Life is busy, family, work, commuting, housework, shopping, trying to keep all the plates spinning, the scales balanced… whatever is your preferred way of saying it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we don’t have each have our own amazing lives with families, kids and partners we love dearly, jobs we love/hate experiences and memories we treasure all that’s true for me and I’m sure most other people. But blurt the edges and squint and we lose distinction, we lose indiciduality

I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the answer. This is the answer to my recurring and monotonous noise in my head.

Why?

Because it makes me who I am. It distinguishes me from a lot of the normality. It makes me still seem different even if you smudge the name and blur the face. I used to to think I was the kind of person that would prefer life in the shadows and never seek to be different in a way that made you identifiable. A ‘nothing to see here!’ person. Maybe I was wrong. Putting everything about my running out there for all to see. Leaving nothing out and allowing myself to be judged, encouraged, questioned – that’s what I do now.

I am not hiding in some wonderland that makes me think I’m the best or that I’m in some way more talented than anybody else. That I am very aware of – but I can be the best I can, given all the others pieces to my puzzle.

Running just ensures that the collection of puzzle pieces that makes up my life makes up my own personal picture and not one that I share with so many people.

I am me

RR

This is not a training plan!

So the bit before the Brighton Marathon training plan started today.

Brighton training starts on the 30th December. So what to do in the meantime. Well good question the options:

  • Eat mince pies
  • Drink mulled wine
  • Eat some more mince pies
  • Eat the chocolates that are meant to be for Boxing Day!
  • Pretend it’s not Christmas and just carry on as usual!

It’s a good question. I’ve signed up to a 16 week plan so have two limbo weeks. So have decided to take a 2 week section of a sub 1:30 half marathon plan to fill these weeks. The plan is:

This is not a plan! It’s a pre-plan 🤣

So I started with a little over 3 miles today (16 Dec) and actually wasn’t really disciplined enough to run at 8min/miles. Must work on hitting target speeds better – slower ones just as importantly as the fast one ☝️.

And there it begins. 2 weeks with a planned total of around 81/82 miles to the 29 December.

Brighton training starts in earnest on the 30th December and I’m still working on the idea of targeting training for a sub 3:30 marathon come April. It’s not going to be easy but the journey there will be one interesting challenge. See you on the other side!

RR 16 Dec 2019

Working out how to run in snow and ice

My morning run was the first of the season to begin feeling like Bambi on ice. It can be a tricky challenge to run in freezing conditions and there’s obviously the risk of slips and falls which can cause big problems. This article is a good bit of reading for those of you wanting to try and continue running outside no matter what the weather!

www.runnersworld.com/training/a20822715/running-on-snow-and-ice

Planning for the future

End of November is upon us and before we know it the fireworks will be over, the champagne drunk and headaches will be battling with us to stop us going out for that New Years Day run. Time flies so fast, and when running forms a big part of your life, you spend a lot of that time travelling around on your own two feet quicker than many others.

Im at that point in 2019 when I’m pretty much done for events (01 December is my last) and ive gotten through the tricky bits of the year, with a few knee issues in February and September/October, lots of trying to stick with training plans, and taking part in a number of events, from half marathons to 100Km Ultras. It’s been a crammed year, but next year promises to turn the screw further.

Right now though I have a calendar filling with events and I have some goals I want to achieve. I want a marathon PB, I want a Half Marathon at sub 90minutes. I want to run around the whole of the Isle of Wight for Macmillan Cancer Support (May 2nd 2020).

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

So that isn’t going to be achieved without putting some structure to my running. There’s so many training methods and options out there and they all differ. They also don’t always marry up with my random selection of events – which invariably all happen close together at a couple of times in the year! So what do I do?

Since Jan 2019 I have been basing my training loosely on the 80:20 running theory using the book by Matt Fitzgerald as my guide. I very much subscribe to the basic premise that training needs to be a mix of easy runs and mixed effort runs. You shouldn’t take every run at breakneck speed trying o deliver a PB every time you step outside the door. That concept I’m onboard with. The book is based on that with 80% of running time spent at low effort and 20% at high effort. I’ve found he book has given me some great structure of run types and frequencies that are compiled in a week-on-week plan. that helps maintain my motivation as well as hopefully building up my strength and ability to achieve the overall target.

I want to continue with this general idea, but I want to also take it to the level of hitting that 90minute Half Marathon time, and my marathon PB would be great at sub 3Hr 30min. I feel I need plans to drive to these specific objectives.

As it stands I’m mainly thinking of using the Runners World training plans and training pace calculator to build my training plan.

https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/training-plans/

From here they have a whole bunch of plans around different targets/times at different distances.

So what do I plan to do?

I have selected my target races for next year – the ones I want to build the training plans around. They are currently the Reading Half and Brighton Marathon in April, as well as the Bournemouth Half in October. These are ones I think I can aim to be hitting those objective times. I hope!!

So I am building a spreadsheet with my races listed and then mapping out plans based on the Runners World training plans.

I also have to consider that 2 Ultra’s next year mean I have got to get plenty of distance in on my long runs, so those long Sunday runs will be done outside of the training plans, with me just spending as much time out on the trails as I can – up to 50Km once or twice if I can get the schedule right. The rest of the time I aim to fit in with the schedule of the training plans.

The two plans I aim to use mostly are:

https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/training/marathon/a776661/mission-marathon-training-plan-sub-330-hours/

For my 3:30 Marathon target.

and

https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/training/half-marathon/a760104/rws-12-week-sub-130-half-marathon-schedules/

For my 1:30 Half Marathon target.

I’ll be sharing bits of my journey over the coming months and I’ll be providing training feedback as we go through the year.

Next for me is to populate that spreadsheet with the details of the Marathon plan, then overlay the half marathon bits and see how this gels. That’s where the magic starts to happen!!!

Win a Maverick Trail Race Entry for 2020

Hi followers, some of you will have seen that I am doing a charity run around the Isle of Wight in May 2020. I am raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. To aid in my fundraising effort I have teamed up with the team at Maverick Race (maverick-race.com) to offer a fantastic raffle prize.

For a small donation of £2 to my JustGiving page and by following my webpage.

The prize is entry to the Maverick Original Oxfordshire event on 5th December 2020 at Stonor Park near Henley on Thames, UK.

I’ve run the last two events and have some write ups on ridgewayrunner.com

Entries are open until midday on the 14th December 2019, and the winner will be announced by midnight on the 14 December 2019. All times are GMT.

http://www.maverick-race.com

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nicholas-russell5

Feel free to share with friends, family and running buddies.

Good luck and thanks for your support.