Parky parkrunning


My aching legs told me that last Sunday’s hard  effort at the Dewsbury 10K took its toll – they felt heavy most of the week.  I couldn’t face the Club speed session on Tuesday evening, I was too knackered, so I shuffled around for the early part of the week, barely managing to break 8 minute mile pace.

I still managed to clock up a respectable 62 miles this week – running miles on tired legs is a fact of life in marathon training.

I treated myself to a day off on Friday, eager to have a go at a parkrun on Saturday morning. Cold rain and a breezy day erased thoughts of trekking off to one of the faster flat courses to the east of Leeds (York, Heslington or maybe even Hull) and instead I went back to my spiritual home at Woodhouse Moor.

Milling around in the throng before the start I didn’t notice many of the usual speedies.

I went off the start quite hard and freewheeled down first downhill straight. Amazingly, after 400 metres I was leading the field.

Often at Woodhouse Moor a few runners pass me on the drag up to the first kilometre marker, but not this time. I could hear other runners close behind, but I decided to get my head down and press on.

I went through the first mile in a smidge under six minutes and was still leading at the halfway mark.  Shortly afterwards, two runners eased passed me, though I managed to keep them in my sights, maybe within 10 – 15 metres.  They weren’t obviously running more strongly than me, I fantasized: maybe I can hang on and do them in the finishing straight.

It was a perishing day with a cheeky breeze. The course is nearly all tarmac, but there is a 100m muddy downhill section past the skate park on each lap. My Hoka Clayton shoes have about the same amount of traction as a bowling shoe and I almost came to a complete stop on the muddy slope undoubtedly costing me a few seconds each lap.

At the 4K marker I was still in third.  I gathered myself and tried to close the gap, but I was having to do a lot of weaving around other parkrunners.

With around 600 metres to go, a tall lanky young lad flew past from nowhere and surged ahead, going on to take the win. I caught the third placed runner at the final corner, but I couldn’t do any more and finished third in 18:26.

Given the conditions, I was pleased with that – third is my second best ever result at Woodhouse Moor (I once finished first many years ago on a snowy day when there were just 50 runners).

On Sunday, I dragged myself up to the reservoirs and ground out a dour 20 miler.  I didn’t enjoy it much, I was fatigued and a much of the running was into a bitter cold wind. It took me exactly three hours and it felt like a right old chore.

But I did it.


Comrades 2018 -17 weeks

11 stone 3.8 lbs

62.4 miles, longest run 20.1 miles. Woodhouse Moor parkrun : 18:26 (3rd)

RunBritain Handicap 3.0

Aerobic efficiency 1,047 heartbeats per mile


The Upstanding Member for Dewsbury


Even the Daily Mail got excited about the Dewsbury 10K this year.  It must have been a slow news day because Middle England’s favourite lie-sheet got it’s knickers all in a twist about the race T-shirt, of all things…

I was pleased because I had my best race in months. After a fab few days away skiing in France and finally freed from most of my injury niggles, I got to the start line of a race feeling eager to go out and give it a right good smash. I was hoping to duck under 37 minutes, any time under 36:45 I would have considered a really strong run.

It was a cracking day for it – barely above freezing, with nobbut a breath of wind.  It’s a quick course comprising a long very gradual 5K drag up Bradford Road, a turn around a traffic cone  at halfway, then the 5K blast back to the finish. They had even managed to put the cone in the right place this year…

I was confident enough to stand near the very front of the 1200 starters and went out hard for the first half of the race. I reached the halfway cone in 18:37, which matched my best standalone 5K in the last six months.

I was blowing hard, but felt strong and ready to try to run even faster for the homeward 5K. My head was in a good place and I tried to think only about maintaining my cadence and  surging to increase my speed when I felt my pace start to flag.  I looked to latch onto other runners that appeared to be running strongly.

I ended up following Alice Leake, the female winner of the recent 5K series at the Brownlee Centre and a GB international at Orienteering. I even went past her for a few metres with 2K to go but she soon put me back in my rightful place and surged ahead.

I resisted the temptation to glance at my Garmin much on the way back, though I’d set the watch to flash up the kilometre splits and mostly they were in the low 3:30s.

With a mile to go I was really suffering it, right on the jagged edge of nearly having to let it go and slow down, but I just managed to resist that temptation. The sight of the Viaduct just before the finish banner was a huge relief and when I spotted 200m sprayed in red on the road, I guessed it meant 200 metres to go and opened up my sprint, managing to nab a few places in the shadow of the finish.

I’d run 17:45 for the second 5K, for a total time of 36:22 which I was thoroughly satisfied with, only 16 seconds slower than my PB set a few years back at the pancake flat Salford 10K.

My Strava analysis showed 155 out of 156 points in the red – indicating that I’d run virtually the whole race right on, or even beyond lactate threshold. Basically, I rinsed myself:

Starva Dewsbury

As a wee bonus, I was the first finisher from my club, for some reason all the faster lads must have had other things on.  I was also third in my MV50 age category,  I might receive a voucher for a new pair of socks for that.

Despite the Daily Mail getting in a tailspin about Cock-gate, I was pleased with my morning’s efforts in Dewsbury.

The next target race is the Bath Half marathon in 4 weeks. Time to get back into grinding out some serious mileage



Comrades 2018 -18 weeks

11 stone 4.0 lbs

19.1 miles, longest run 6.2 miles.

RunBritain Handicap 2.9




Into the valley of death ran the 700

…so says the title of one of the segments that some wag had created on Strava after yesterday’s Northern Cross Country Championship race at Harewood House.

Boy it was muddy, and as I have mentioned before, I don’t do so well in heavy going.  I was too slow at the manic start, getting stuck too far back. I felt I ran strongly once I had got into it and I quite enjoyed the 12K slog through the mud.

They reckon the Nationals will be held there next year, it would be fab if they were.

Only a short piece this week, I off am on holiday skiing.

Comrades 2018 -20 weeks

11 stone 3.4 lbs

49.4 miles, longest run 9.2 miles.

RunBritain Handicap 2.9


Sliding Doors

A post on Twitter this week about a runner’s ten year anniversary of his first parkrun at Woodhouse Moor caused me to check back on my record.

His first parkrun in January 2008 coincided with my second – I’d made my debut the previous week.

I don’t believe in fate or any kind of pre-ordained life.  We have a good measure of free will and we are exposed to the fundamental randomness of the Universe in my humble view; however, I did muse on how that simple decision to take myself down to Woodhouse Moor to try parkrun has changed my life.

It led me on a path to become a serious runner, I’ve made many new friends, I have travelled to places and done events that I could never have even conceived of and it also led to great happiness in my private life.  Yes, digging out my trainers and dragging myself down to try out a strange new free 5K run over a decade ago is one of the best decisions I ever made.

After two high mileage weeks, I stepped it back this week. It felt the correct thing to do, I have been going OK and I still have 13 weeks until London and 21 until Comrades so there is no need to go mad with miles just yet.

The weather hasn’t been great in the North of the UK this week – with plenty of snow and cold temperatures leaving roads and pavements often ice covered.

I decided to have a crack at the fourth Peco cross country race in the series, a course of 4.8 miles around Middleton Woods in South Leeds.  It was undulating with not many ‘killer’ hills that usually find me out and a couple of twisty technical descents that I can usually run quite well.

In my last cross country I was asleep at the start and got stuck too far back, causing me stress and extra energy trying to work my way through the field.  This time I set off more purposefully, established a reasonable position in the pack and then just battled away for places.

Peco 18.4

A nasty short climb about half a mile from the finish sent my heart rate rocketing and I lost a few of positions.  Back on the huge finishing field, I gathered myself and unleashed my best sprint to take most of them back.  I finished in 63rd position, fourth in my age category, but overall I was satisfied with my effort. I’d kept focussed throughout the race and I don’t feel that I could have done much more.

It’s the Northern Cross Country Championships next Saturday, held at Harewood House, only a few miles from where I live.  I might jog there and back to make it a long run day as well as a Championship race, we’ll see.  A top half finish will be my ambition

Comrades 2018 -2 weeks

11 stone 4.0 lbs

36.3 miles, longest run 7.7 miles. No parkrun (bad weather)

RunBritain Handicap 2.9

Aerobic efficiency 1,087 heartbeats per mile


Mojo Working

Another good week for the mileage log with no injury setbacks…things may be looking up.  For the first time in over nine months I experienced the elusive feeling of it feeling quite easy to run at a decent lick in training.  At last I am making progress rather than incessantly worrying about which bit of me might wear out or fall off next.

Seventy miles is my biggest week in almost a year.  Unsurprisingly I feel tired, but happy to be seemingly recording improvement.  I am hoping to run well at the Dewsbury 10K in three weeks.  I was on for a probable personal best time there last year only to be thwarted by a course that was more 10.2 than 10 kilometres.  I’m sure they will measure and mark it out right this year.

To get the mileage in, I’ve had to do some double days, which I find hard.  On Thursday I ran to work (5.5 miles) and for the return I took a longer route of 13.5 miles.  It was an unappealing run against a constant stream of glaring headlights on a cold, dark night.  However, I get a perverse enjoyment from completing this sort of run.  I wrapped up well, plugged in my headphones and caught up on my podcast backlog and drifted away with my thoughts.  I was home in what felt like no time, though it actually took me an hour and three quarters.

We tried a new parkrun on Saturday – Selby.  The course is around the bumpy perimeter path of an airfield, amazingly one lap of the airfield is exactly five kilometres. It was a chilly day and a brisk old breeze was scuttling through the windsocks.

The course was billiard table flat so I was aiming for a sub 19 minute time, hopefully nearer to 18:30. It’s quite a new parkrun (this only was the fifth event), the field was around two hundred or so.

Soon after the off, I was up in the leading group and after a kilometre I was off the front, running alongside a young lad in leggings and a club vest. I’d gone off hard, so my heart rate was up and I was gasping in the air, he casually turned to me and started chatting as if we were out for an easy walk.  I gasped out a couple of one or two word responses, which I expect were entirely incomprehensible.  He then asked me if I knew the way, “Erm, no, I was following you” I managed to blurt out.

Thankfully, it was hard to go wrong, we stuck to the fairly obvious perimeter path and didn’t head down the runway.

I managed to run the first (partially wind assisted) mile in just under six minutes, but the next was directly into the strong wind, we slowed to 6:30 pace.  Just as we were turning back towards the finish, with the wind again on our backs, another runner breezed past. I tried for a few strides to stick with him, but clearly he had been holding a lot in reserve and he zoomed away easily.

In addition to being bumpy, the path was covered in a couple of centimetres of mucilaginous mud. I had made a bad shoe choice and struggled for traction in the worst of it.

With around 400m metres to go I decided to have a dig to try to steal second place from the young lad.   I opened up my ‘sprint’.  I am pretty good at reading other runners body language in races and as he floated effortlessly past me, his body language was saying “don’t be ridiculous, you have no chance of beating me”.  He was right.

I finished third in 18:56, given the wind and the mud, I was satisfied with that. On a dry still day I am fairly sure I could have maintained sub six minute mile pace the whole way.

Next week – hopefully more of the same.


Comrades 2018 -21 weeks

11 stone 1.6 lbs

70.3 miles, longest run 17 miles. Parkrun (Selby, 3rd 18:56)

RunBritain Handicap 2.9

Aerobic efficiency on Long run 1,047 heartbeats per mile


Ponte Carlo or Bust

A new year and new plans for the year of running ahead, the deluded narcissistic coiffured lunatic on the other side of the Atlantic permitting.

It doesn’t bear worrying about, so I won’t.  Somehow, we’ll all muddle through and even if we don’t, worrying about it will not do you nor me any good.

Since my last post, after the aborted Chester marathon, my running has been decidedly lacklustre and my performances mediocre.  I’ve turned  51 years old,  advancing age is undoubtedly dulling my speed and it has taken me ages to shake off some niggly injuries.

The stiffness in my right ankle, specifically posterior tibial tendonitis is better; however, I still feel it on every run.  Since October, I have sought help and treatment from physios at the Coach House in Leeds and, on the advice of my podiatrist neighbour, an excellent running-specialist podiatrist on Street Lane, Lee.

Lee diagnosed me quickly.  He is also a runner and after filming me shirtless  running  on his treadmill (I was shirtless, not him, I hasten to add), it was easy to see how problems with my gait and running form were manifested in lower leg pain.

It is difficult to analyse oneself objectively, but even allowing for this, I looked poor – shoulders slumped, hips weak and falling inwards leading to the right knee collapsing inwards, pressurising the tendons on the inside of the ankle.

If David Rudisha resembles a gazelle when running, then I looked like a hyena – a hyena that was constipated and had been knee-capped.

Despite my awful running style, Lee thought that I didn’t look too bad.  He stressed that I needed to engage my core muscles and lift everything up by a couple of centimetres.  I should try to look forward and not down and work my arms backwards and forwards rather than across my body.  He said it was amazing I could run as quickly as I do because I was wasting lots of energy working across my body rather than propelling myself forwards.

To my detriment, I have never been especially dedicated to physio’s exercises, but I did try to take his advice.  During my easier runs I have been focussing on holding my core firmly and lifting up.

To be frank, I hadn’t felt much had changed, but when I went back for my last visit, Lee said that my form was much better. He filmed me again and I could see that my hips were more stable and different muscles in my back were firing.

Since Chester, my level has dropped significantly.  During one of those slow days between Christmas and New Year, I took some time to trawl through my weekly mileage records on Strava from the previous three years.  It was easy to deduce that my best race performances came after blocks of heavy mileage.  When the weekly training mileage dropped, so did the subsequent race performances.

It ain’t brain surgery – you get out what you put in.

Feeling better, I have set some plans for 2018.  The highlight will be a return visit to South Africa in June to run the Comrades marathon for the third time.  As I missed last year, I will be partaking in another down run.  I won’t be setting any time goals this year.  I already possess a Bill Rowan medal (sub 9-hours), the next best medal is the silver – however the required standard of under 7 hours 30 minutes is well beyond me.

I’m blogging again for selfish reasons – just writing the blog provides focus and makes me train harder.  Since I began writing the blog I have managed at least two personal bests each year.  I would be delighted to keep this streak going, but that will be very tough,  I might well be over the top of the bell curve, we’ll see.

The first day of the year saw me attempt (and fail) the now customary Valley Striders parkrun double.  In a change from the usual format, we ran Woodhouse Moor followed by Rothwell (rather than Temple Newsam).  After the second parkrun, my ankle was sore so I ducked out of the slow 6 mile trudge back, opting for a lift in a nice warm Citroen C1 instead.  Much Kudos to my hardy teammates who completed the challenge.

Yesterday, I gave it a dig at a new parkrun for me – Pontefract.  It’s a great course, basically a lap of the bumpy ambulance track inside the longest flat horse-racing course in Europe, bookended by two laps of a boating lake.

It was a teeth-clenchingly chilly day – a glacial northerly wind nipped into our faces for the first half of the big lap.  I was soon isolated – a small pack of speedies zoomed off and I spent most of the race vainly chasing the lad in fourth place. I was disappointed not to duck under 19 minutes, but I gave it a fair effort, which is all you can control.

Sunday morning saw us side-step the Peco cross country race at Roundhay Park and head up to the reservoirs for the first long training run of the year.  It was a divine midwinter day – a clear blue sky illuminated by a blinding low sun.

I wrapped up and ground out three laps and 20 miles, not made any easier by fatigue and ever-increasing throngs of dog walkers that I had to manoeuvre around.

I finished with an 11-minute mile, shuffling around the car park willing my Garmin to tick over to 20 miles. I have a long way to go and many miles to run.



Comrades 2018 -22 weeks

11 stone 3.8 lbs

65.1 miles, longest run 20 miles. Parkrun (Pontefract, 5th 19:02)

RunBritain Handicap 2.9

Aerobic efficiency on Long run 1,080 heartbeats per mile



We’re playing for England…

Chester Marathon 2017

…I look at my watch, 11.4 miles into my first and probably only ever race wearing an England vest. I’m running on a pleasant country lane somewhere near the English/Welsh border. I can tell I’m either in or near Wales because they have just started writing “Araf / Slow” on the roads.

I pull over to the right hand side speak to a marshal, “I’m stopping, my race is over”.  It’s the first time I have ever DNF’d in a proper race. Just my luck, it happens on my international debut.

I think to myself, you should be more upset, maybe you should be in tears. But no, I’m fine with it.  I’m a runner, and like most runners I know my body pretty well. My right ankle hasn’t been good for months, if it wasn’t for the vest I wouldn’t even have started. I knew it was a long shot and the pain is now too bad to run without limping.

If it had happened at 20 miles, then I would have hobbled on to the end.  With over 15 miles to go, that seemed pointless.

The marshal advised me to walk back to the previous village where there was a water station and first aid, they will be able to sort me out.

My team mate Ian saw me and very generously stopped and gave me his mobile phone so that I could contact my supporters. Thank you Ian, that was very kind of you. He must have been stopped for well over a minute with me and I was gutted to hear later that he missed a London Good for Age qualifying time by about a minute.

I walk the half mile back against a tide of fellow runners. It feels a bit like a walk of shame.

Lots of runners express words of condolence and sympathy. Some I know are readers of this blog, so thank you for your concern, I’m genuinely grateful that you felt for me.  Runners are a kind bunch no doubt.

Quite a few ask me if I’m alright. I know they mean well, but I can’t really think of an appropriate answer. I’m obviously not OK, otherwise I’d be running in the opposite direction. I shrug or just mutter vague words of thanks.

I knew during my short warm up that I was going to struggle. My ankle felt quite stiff and uncomfortable and from trying longer runs over the last few weeks I knew that the pain would only get worse during the run. I hadn’t managed to run more than 15 miles since May, so it was a very long shot that I would be able complete a marathon.

The teeny red shorts didn’t make it to the start line…

Knowing that I was chancing my arm, I expunged all time targets from my head and copied the Steve Way method and set my Garmin display to show only heart rate, with the autolap flashing up splits every mile. I aimed to keep my heart rate at around 145, which I know to be reasonably comfortable for racing.

I happened to be miling at under 7 minutes, comfortably inside 3 hour pace.  That would be fine I thought, keep going like this, I’d take any sub three time.

At about eight miles in I was engulfed by the three hour pacing group.  I felt a little crowded for space and I edged gradually back in the group, but all of a sudden my ankle was really hurting and I was drifting back in the group. I dug in to try to stay with them, but I knew that it was a forlorn effort.

A mile later I was off the back, all alone in the vacuum behind the pacing group.  My race was run.

I was disappointed but not surprised.  On the upside, I got to spend a lovely weekend with some truly fab people, including fellow Valley Strider England vest wearers Tim, Jerry and Steve and also my mate Jock who ran a storming 3:27 (whilst definitely not wearing an England vest).

Jock Chester

Jock must have been chuffed because he even paid for a slap-up meal later that evening, quite something for a Scot.

Tim ran a fantastic PB on a course that wasn’t as flat and fast as many expected. Well done buddy, you should be very proud.

It felt good to be part of the first ever England Masters marathon team. All didn’t go smoothly with the build up, or the event itself, England Athletics admitted that. However, its a great scheme to give relatively average runners like me a chance to wear a National vest. There were lots of smiles and proud people there yesterday who had trained very hard to earn that right.

So in summary, a fantastic weekend with great people, let’s just forget about my run…

I think this blog will have a wee rest whilst I (hopefully) find a solution to this pesky injury.

Good luck to all you runners out there.  I’ll be back.


La Dolce Vita

As Rod Stewart (sort of) sang It’s late September and I really should be back at work. Well, after  12 weeks of summer leisure time, reality has been restored and I am back at the coalface.

Smugly, I confess it was a pretty brilliant summer. I travelled to great places with some of my favourite people in the World, climbed the highest free-standing mountain in the World, ate lots of lovely food and generally had a fab time.

The final week of the Sabbatical was spent cycling around the Cilento and Amalfi regions of Italy, south of Naples.  Our party of 16 like-minded souls got on famously, guided by our fantastic leader, a simply lovely Italian gentleman named Paolo.

In stunning September weather, we enjoyed Italy at its sumptuous best. The cycling was brilliant on generally quiet roads with reasonably considerate drivers.

Then there was the coffee (divine), the gelatos (scrumptious) , oh and the food in general…mmmm yes – the food was about as good as it gets.

The only aspect of the summer that didn’t live up to my hopes was running training.  I thought that with free time galore, I would be able to run lots of miles, put in extra speed sessions and get myself into the shape of my life.

Unfortunately, I have been pestered by a niggling injury in my ankle – specifically posterior tibial tendonitis, or in English, inflammation to the tendon on the inside of the lower shin. It’s a bummer.

Last Sunday, after a week off running, my ankle felt not too bad and I joined a gang of team mates up at the reservoirs for the Sunday long run. I thought that if I could complete a solid 20 mile run, then there might still be some hope of a reasonable performance at Chester a week on Sunday.

Ressies Sept

All went fairly smoothly until the 15 mile point when the insidious pain returned.  I slowed, was dropped by the group and then shuffled and hobbled my way back to the car, completing 19 miles in total.  However, only 15 could be described as proper running.

I went back to see the physio yesterday – at the Coach House practice in Leeds. They are well regarded among elite sports people with a clientele that includes a legion of Olympic gold medallists and World Champions.  If they could patch up Kelly Holmes well enough for her to win two Olympic gold medals, then I might as well give them a try.

I half expected the Physio to say that I would be foolish to run at Chester – that I would do lasting damage and I should expunge all thoughts of running it from my mind.

Clearly, she was used to treating obsessive athletes, because the after the initial assessment, she said “You have quite severe inflammation in the tendon – your ankle and foot is really stiff and stuck, but lets just throw everything at it and let you give it a go”.  Just what I wanted to hear.

So, the plan is to take lots of Ibruprofen (against my normal principles), treat it with lots of ice and/or ice and heat, do some gentle remobilisation exercises and then go back for more physio next week. I won’t be running at all until Chester, but I can do non-impact cross-training like cycling and rowing.

I have set up my turbo trainer at home and I will be giving Zwift some real hammer over the next 10 days.

My gleaming new England kit arrived in the post this morning. The shorts are a little more ‘racing cut’ than I would usually go for, but I’d like to think that red and white quite suits me:


I can’t lie, I’m disappointed that Chester won’t be the best  marathon of my life, I’ll just be aiming to complete it without embarrassing myself.

Then again, I’m very lucky. I can run. I am healthy and have great friends. I have nothing to moan about. Life is good.



CM- 1 week 5 days

11 stone 3.4 lbs

19 miles


Putting my Foot in it

Only a short report this week, mainly because I’m still struggling with injury and I don’t want to sound like a moaning sod.

I wanted this to be a real big mileage week of at least 70 miles, culminating with a race on Sunday – the Vale of York half marathon. I ran for about an hour on both Monday and Tuesday and then drove up to the reservoirs on Wednesday morning hoping to run at least 20 miles, maybe even 24 if I felt up to it.

My ankle didn’t feel too bad for the first two hours of the run, but then the pain returned and quickly got worse and I was forced to stop after about 15 miles and hobble back to the car.

I rested until Sunday and went across to the Sherburn Aerodrome for the Vale of York Half Marathon.  I had a reasonably good race – finishing in just outside 82 minutes and apparently winning second prize in the MV50 age category.

Although my performance was OK, I wasn’t happy with my running. I was feeling the ankle throughout the run and I wasn’t able to run completely freely.  My gait was different – I was heel striking more than usual on my right foot, subconsciously I was trying to protect the injury. Unsurprisingly, I felt twinges in other parts of my body.

I finished quite lame and as I write this on Monday I can’t walk without pain.  Often it isn’t wise to self-diagnose using google, but this artcle:

describes my symptons accurately.  Worringly, it says that one should not try to run through this injury.  However, as Chester on October 8th is almost certain to be the only opportunity that I will have in my lifetime to wear a National vest then I am going to risk it.

There are four weeks remaining until Chester and I am fairly confident that I will be able to make the start line.  I am not so confident about making it to the finish, but we will worry about that on the day.

My plan from now until 8 Oct is to hardly run at all, allow my ankle to heal as much as possible and to try to keep as fit as I can by cross training.  I am going on a week-long cycling holiday in Italy next Saturday, so at least I will keep active and won’t have to think about running much.


CM -4 weeks

52.5 miles, longest run 18.3 miles

Parkrun – None

Weight 11 stone 3.4 lbs

Aerobic efficiency (HM 971 beats per mile)


Cor Baby, that’s Relay free

I treated my aching bones to any easier week, so there isn’t very much to share about the last seven days of running.  Although I am trying to compress a 14 week marathon training block into about 7 weeks, even I realise that it would be foolish to completely run myself into the ground, so a bit of rest and easy running is mandatory at my age.

In Iceland, Jock told me about his training philosophy – he has read a book by an author whose name I have forgotten, but the key point was that training runs for older runners should to be easy.  The best way to measure this is by using heart rate, which should never exceed 180 minus one’s age.  Therefore, I have been running to a target heart rate of 130, which feels quite easy, it equates to something between 8:15 to 8:30 mile pace.

It also requires one to run very easily up inclines and a bit harder down them.  As mentioned on Marathon Talk a few weeks ago, for even effort, nearly every one goes much too hard uphill and nowhere near hard enough coming down.  Hard runs should only be done occasionally – ideally not more than once a week.

I like this training philosophy, it accords with the Kenyan way – i.e. you should either by running very easily, or very hard, but hardly ever with medium effort.

Saying all that, I ran hard on both days at the weekend – on Saturday at Roundhay parkrun; and on Sunday for Leg 6 of the Leeds Country Way Relay.

The Roundhay parkrun course is tough, it includes a two+ minute hill which is climbed three and a half times.  I was leading the pack at the top of the hill on the first lap, but I was soon passed by Huw and a young woman whom I didn’t recognise.  I held third place until the finish, the young woman cruised round to finish first overall quite comfortably, pursued by a string of gasping old men like me.

I was reasonably satisfied with my time of 19:11 – on the same weekend last year I ran 18:34, so I am definitely a little way behind my form of 2016. Hopefully, I still have time to sharpen up a little before I start the taper.

The Leeds Country Way is a 6 leg race around a 60 mile footpath that circumnavigates Leeds, contested by most of the local running clubs.  It’s a great event, requiring excellent logistical management and navigation and wells as good runners.  The legs are run in pairs.  I ran the final leg for the Vets team with Kevin. We enjoyed a strong run, covering the 9.5 undulating miles of rough paths and roads in just over 69 minutes.


Valley Striders had a good day, winning the Vet’s category and finishing second in the main male and female classifications.

My aim for this week is to cover at least 60 miles, but to front-load the week so that I can be fresh(ish) or the Vale of York Half Marathon next Sunday. I will have to fit in my long run mid-week, probably on Wednesday morning.


CM -5 weeks

41.3 miles, longest run 10.1 miles

Parkrun – Roundhay 19:11 (3rd)

Weight 10 stone 13.4 lbs

Aerobic efficiency (LCW 1048 beats per mile)