Posts Tagged ‘training’


Monday, 21 November 2016

Last Thursday I went for my longest run since the Yorkshireman Half a 14-mile run over Haworth and Stanbury Moors. I’ve decided to up my mileage now so that I have plenty of rest days and time to taper nearer the race.

I set off from Penistone Country Park on a typical November day, wet, cold, and windy perfect weather for training in! Setting off on the Withens Skyline route it was business as usual, mud, mud, and more mud! It’s a steep climb up to the top of the moors but you are rewarded with some stunning views before setting down the Pennine Way towards Walshaw Dean reservoirs.

The sky was dark grey and the atmosphere around the reservoirs bleak and foreboding. I felt as if I was the only person alive around here if not in the whole world! Places like this can be very scary sometimes! After finding a new hill to run up and down and then running around the reservoirs I saw a path splitting the hills at the top of the reservoirs and decided to take a chance and see where it went.

After about half a mile I found out. Going left I knew it would send me off course so I took a chance, went right and up a steep hill with no path and a lot of long grass to get through! At this point I wasn’t too sure where I was but sensed I was heading in the right direction to get home.

After ten minutes or so I began to see get near the top of the hill and saw some familiar views which was reassuring. As I crested the hill the Top Withens house came into view and while I still had a way to go to get to the Pennine Way I knew I wasn’t far away now.

Once on the Pennine way it was the well-trodden path back to Penistone Park. Arriving back at the park my Garmin told me I had done 12.5 miles so I decided to go the long way back to my car to make it up to 13.1 and get a nice half marathon distance in the bag for the day. I ended up doing 14 miles in the end so managed to get another mile in due to my ability to miscalculate distance!

It was a very good day training out on the moors. Some decent mileage in, plenty of running through mud and bogs and nice climbs too. Not every run will be like this, most will be a lot tougher but it’s always a good feeling to get a good training run under your belt.


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Went for a run round the block and tried some slow sprints on Old Guy Road. Nothing in the tank and didn’t enjoy it. Hard work today but you have to take the bad days to appreciate the good ones. Still I’ve got my first sprint session out of the way and I’m hoping they’ll get easier and faster in the future.

But every cloud has a silver lining. A friend texts me to say that whilst the run might not be fast my times for miles are quite consistent. This puts a different light on my run and I feel a lot happier about it now. I’ve got a nice little route to train on for speed and I’ve set myself a decent benchmark. This will be hard work but I can do it and get faster.


Monday, 14 November 2016

The day after the final YVAA vets race at Spenborough and I have the usual aches but nothing I haven’t had before. I want to rest but I know I have to get out and run however short it may be. I choose a new route, short just 2.9 miles but hilly with 512ft of climbing. I want to see how hard I can push myself over a short distance as I need to increase my speed.

This will help with my training for the Trigger Race too, a tough 21 mile fell race from Marsden to Edale in the middle of January. Strangely I’m not worried about the distance although that may change when I start doing some serious long runs! However I feel that doing some short runs and going as hard as possible on them will increase my endurance and give me an edge. This edge is not to do with beating anyone but toughening me mentally in preparation for my biggest running challenge to date.

After the run I feel good and ache in different places. This is what I wanted. Getting my body used to different demands so that I’m more of an all-round runner and not just an endurance athlete. Running fast on road again will hopefully give me an extra something and improve my trail and fell running too!


Well it’s July at last and that means race day the 5th July isn’t far off now. Thoughts are turning to have I done enough training? Have I done the right training? Will I get to bed early enough to get to Eccup for 8.00am in the morning? Am I eating the right food? Am I drinking enough fluid? Will we still be in a heatwave on Sunday morning? Yes I am taking this seriously!

I got out on Sunday and did 9 miles round the local roads. The route was a good one with around 1100ft of climbing involved and on the way back I did 3 ½ miles without stopping which I was pleased with. It’s a very satisfying feeling when you run that far at the end of a run and you feel ‘in the zone’, your legs feel good and you have rhythm. It was an evening run and still warm but not too warm to be stifling and suffocating. I did 9 miles in around 1:48:21, so my target of 10 miles in under 2 hours is achievable depending on the weather conditions!

Tuesday night was a very different matter. I had been at university for around 11 hours doing assignments, having meetings and emailing people. I was tired when I got home but I still went for a run. And even though it was late evening it was hot, very hot! The first mile didn’t seem too bad but after that it was struggle. A real struggle to get going and keep going but I did for 4 miles. At the end of the day you can’t give up just because it’s warm and you’ve had a hard day. You have to keep going and do your best on the day and realise that you’re not going to have a good run every time but when you do have a good run it more than makes up for all the bad ones. I still ran 4 miles in 47:28 so I suppose it wasn’t quite as bad as it felt but at least it was another bad run out of the way.

Diet wise it’s still very much a matter of trial and error, I been feeling overly tired and weak recently a combination of training hard and not eating correctly. Today I changed my diet and I feel a lot better already. I had a hemp protein shake in the morning and this feels like it’s done the trick already. I haven’t been feeling strong and after doing some research on the internet I decided to try hemp protein. I chose hemp because it is naturally occurring and seems to have the least amount of chemicals and other man made substances in it. it doesn’t look or taste very nice but I gave it a go and have felt better all day. The heat has been energy sapping but an early night and another protein shake in the morning and I’m hoping tomorrow I will have even more energy.

With 3 days to go before my first 10 mile race I’m looking forward to it and hoping for the best. The weather forecast is a lot cooler than it has been and with rain the day before the humidity should drop too which will make things a lot more comfortable to run in. On the day I’m hoping I have plenty of energy and strength to complete the race in a good time on the day. Tomorrow night is club run night so my last training run before the big day, my last chance to see what form I’m in or not…


Yesterday, Sunday 31st May I went for my first long training run, the first of many. To be honest I don’t know many places where I can go on a long run off-road despite living in a semi-rural part of the country. This is as much to do with my knack of just getting out there and running or walking but not taking any notice of where I’m going as anything else!

However I do know Haworth, the world famous home of the Bronte’s and the moors are said to have provided the inspiration for Emily Bronte’s novel, Wuthering Heights. I have walked these moors many times myself and so they are an ideal place for me to start my off-road training as I know the paths and trails and can vary my route every time.

So off to Penistone Hill Country Park in my car I went and soon I was sat there in the car park looking towards Top Withens on a wet and windy Sunday morning. The scene could have come straight from Wuthering Heights and I would not have been surprised to have seen Cathy or Heathcliff come walking by, hand in hand, two lovers forever trapped on the moors…

This is the view that greeted me as I parked up

Haworth Moor 310515 Wet and Windy

But I didn’t have time to sit there daydreaming; I had a training run to do! So off I set on a familiar path to the Bronte waterfalls, Top Withens, then the Trig point on top of the moors and finally Alcomden Stones. This is around 3 ½ miles but always seems a lot further. The route starts off on trail before turning to rock and mud and then finally open moorland above Top Withens and on the way to the Trig point and Alcomden Stones.

Today though extra care was needed as the route was slippy and muddy because of the rain but I still made good progress up to the Stones getting there in around 45 minutes. Alcomden Stones are an outcrop of ancient stones allegedly where prehistoric men worshipped. I think it is a spectacular place simply because it is one of the few places where you can go and experience freedom from all the stresses of modern day life. There is nothing around for miles and you can feel free here.

But when you get here you also have a problem. You can go back to Top Withens on the trail that is easy to navigate or you can try and get down to Ponden Kirk. The problem here is that the trail runs out and you are left on open marshland and bog with no clear path. I of course took this option and followed the stream as closely as I could. If you follow a stream you will eventually come out at a point where you will be able to make a more informed choice of route.

I knew though where this stream came out but this did not make the run any easier. My feet got soaking wet standing in water and covered in thick mud as I made my way as quickly as possible across the marshland. But I enjoyed this, far more than I enjoy running on roads. This for me is true, pure running, in the wilds with the elements against you and you need all your wits about you to avoid coming a cropper and taking a wet and muddy fall!

But I managed to avoid falling and after a lot of jumping around over embankments and avoiding muddy bog I made it to the end of the route and Ponden Kirk. Most normal people at this point take the path over the top of the Kirk down towards the reservoir. Me however being a bit mad go down the side of the Kirk, a steep and narrow path just so I can go back up it. Yesterday it was very slippy so I had to be careful or I might fall and if you fall here that could be it…

Back up to the top path and having avoided falling I ploughed on down towards Ponden Reservoir and on to the path that would take me back up to the waterfalls and the path back towards my car. Apart from getting a bit lost the rest of the run was uneventful but satisfying as I was building up my distance training now.

That was apart from on the path from the waterfalls back to Penistone Hill. The path is narrow in parts and strewn with rocks, but I had a group of older hikers in front of me that were slowing my pace. To get round them I took some risks and jumped over and off rocks with a pace and agility that surprised me! The best moment came when one of them said ‘there’s a fell runner, bloody idiot!’ I took this as a compliment! Nobody had ever called me a fell runner before!

And 9.3 miles later I was back at my car. Feet soaking, dripping wet, muscles already aching, tired but having an immense feeling of satisfaction and achievement deep inside me from having achieved so much more in my first proper training session than I thought I could. I already have a route in mind for next week. But that’s another story.


Today was quite a special day with the inaugural Horton Park, parkrun. I have many memories of Horton Park living near it in my youth from around the age of 14 to 24. Like anybody else I have good and bad memories, but most of my memories from Horton Park are good. It was interesting going back to the park. It’s in a lot better condition than I remember it, although some of the buildings like the bandstand have now gone. But all in all the park was just as I remember it, fond memories.

And it makes a great place for a parkrun. The course is challenging with half of it being uphill and the other half downhill. The start is uphill too before turning to the right and downhill back towards the finish before going uphill right to the top. You have to make sure you have enough energy left to get up the uphill, you do 3 ½ laps of the course although on the last downhill you can afford to give it a little bit more. I managed 30:43 which for the type of course is very good for me. This included my sprint finish which I am going to have to do every time I run this course now!

I was wearing some new shoes too, Brooks Ghost 7. I have been having deep muscle massage on my legs and the guy who’s doing it, Peter May, told me I was wearing the wrong type of shoes. Many years ago I went to a shop called Sportshoes Unlimited and had gait analysis done. I was told I needed to wear support shoes for running and have done so everysince. However Peter took one look at my legs and told me that I should be wearing neutral, cushioned shoes not support ones.

And the problem I thought was my Achilles wasn’t that, but a very tight right calf possibly caused by wearing the wrong shoes! Peter has sorted my calf out and I am running freer and better than ever. But I had already bought some new support shoes from a shop called Up and Running in Huddersfield. I took them back yesterday and they did a gait analysis on me and I am indeed a neutral runner. So I came away with a pair of Brooks Ghost 7’s and they performed superbly today. I felt so comfortable and at ease running in them, that I didn’t even notice I was wearing them. I’m quite sure the work Peter has done on my legs and my new Brooks have helped me to such a good time.

But what I was most happy about today was the fact that I could run after Thursdays club run. This was tough for me and took a lot out of me, but my recovery time is improving all the time and today was proof of that. And after the parkrun I still feel as good as before. This is boosting my confidence no end and my legs are feeling stronger than ever. This will be tested tomorrow when I go out on a training run over moorland. I’ve got a route in mind that will really test my abilities and allow me to see where I am in relation to the races I’ve entered.


Well reality hit home tonight. I decided to do a steady run down to my writing workshop from my home in Queensbury to Dean Clough Mills, Halifax where the workshop takes place. The route is mainly downhill, nothing too difficult and I managed to get 4.25 miles in by running round the car park.

However the run did seem harder than it should have been. To be honest I think the effects of having too much fun over the Bank Holiday weekend finally caught up with me and even for this run there wasn’t much left in the tank.

But training has to start at some point, putting it off means a day lost when you could have been out there testing yourself, seeing what point you’re at with your running and what you need to do to get to your goal.

Well I need to do quite a lot of hard work to get to my goal starting with being more realistic with my training goals. My next target will be building up to 6 miles on the canal tow path. Nothing too strenuous, just nice and steady and concentrate on doing the mileage first.

Nutrition is very important too and I’m sure a week off the beer will do me the world of good and get me back to my fighting weight and flying up the hills again. 5lbs is a lot to put on over one weekend!

Next training session is on Thursday at my local club Queensbury Running Club. I’m looking forward to it as the running guides always pick some interesting routes and because I live on top of a hill, hill training can’t be avoided. It will be interesting to see how I go compared to tonight.


I enjoy a challenge. The thought of a challenge keeps me going. However yesterday I may have gone a step too far because I entered the Eccup 10 race and when I saw 10 I assumed it was kilometres. However as my friend Nic kindly pointed out to me later on 10 was miles or around 16.5 kilometers, oops.

So what do you do? Back out and say you’re not ready for the race bearing in mind you’ve only been running seriously since March? Or do you admit your mistake and take on the challenge knowing it will be tough and painful but worthwhile at the end?

I decided to take on the challenge.

True I’ve only been running seriously since March and my 5k times have come down from 45+ minutes to 29:26. But 5k is as far as I’ve raced. I’ve entered the Pudsey 10k, another error on my part as for some reason I remember Pudsey being flat as a kid, but in the 40 years since I lived near it Pudsey has developed hills, quite a few by the sound of it.

My weight has come down too from 253lbs to 219lbs, a good weight loss but is it enough to run 10 miles in a decent time? Speaking of which I put in an estimated time of 1 ½ hours when it should be nearer 2 hours.

So I’m a moderately fit, slightly overweight, middle aged man with a poor memory who doesn’t read the large print and underestimates courses whilst over estimating his own abilities!

But I’ve decided to take on this challenge and I am going to do it. the race is on 5th July so I have plenty of time to prepare if I use it right. One thing I’m doing is cutting out alcohol. This will help with my fitness and weight loss goals. And there’s other goals I want to achieve in that time. Some are goals involving only me, others involve other people. But we will see which of these goals happen and which don’t.

But the hard work starts tonight with my writing workshop down in Halifax. Normally I drive but tonight I’m going to run down there and then run back, all the way uphill for around 3 miles. Should be interesting to see how I get on!