Learning stuff about running

And so I have now run 2 10Ks, and have seen an improvement of 5 minutes on my time. I have my next race in Sheffield at the BUPA Great Yorkshire 10K and then a month later up my distance to half marathon distance, or 21K. So what is going on now?

Well, I have realised that I am in this for the long haul so am planning next years runs. Already penciled in are:

  • The Marine Corps Marathon – half marathon in Washington DC in August – best medal of 2009.
  • The Charlotte Speedway half marathon – twice around a NASCAR track
  • Shakespeare 10K
  • BUPA London 10K
  • British 10K
  • Krispy Kreme Donuts 5K – starts with eating a box of donuts. Throwing up leads to disqualification.

I will also end the year with a marathon, but where? I wanted to run the Petra Marathon as it would have meant running past one of the wonders of the world, but that has been discontinued due to the accumulative erosion caused by people thumping by. Cape Town (or the 2 oceans marathon) is supposed to be amazing too.

All in all though, I would like to be in a position to buy one of these racks…

Running is progressing. I am running 3 days in the week and 1 at the weekend. This week I am trying the methods for the half marathon training program, so mixing up TEMPO and FARTLEK running. I have playlists for both.

TEMPO – this is running at race speed. Normally when you train you ease off the gas a little. When in the program it says Tempo, you are supposed to run under your PB for however long it will be. So you will likely have to do some mathematics to work out the pace from your time for a distance, then knock a bit off.

FARTLEK – literally this means faster and slower and is a great way of getting your body used to slowing down, and then speeding up around people, bursting through crowds, and then, if you feel tired, slowing down a little but still going. When you are running a big race like the British 10K with 25,000 people, you are doing nothing but slowing down and speeding up.

How I run these methods is – I have a playlist with 90 mins of songs. I run a song at 8.5K, then the next I run at 12.5k, or 13K, then slow down to walking at 6. I keep doing this until I reach my goal. Recently I changed by goals from time to distance. I now always run 10K at least.


When you run any of the big races you will start getting emails from a company called Marathonfoto. On race day they employ people throughout the course who are constantly snapping pictures of the runners. They then offer you the facility to download those high definition photos at a ridiculous premium (£50 per photo!!) on the proviso that half this money goes to the charity of the event. That still means that this organisation is getting £25 per photo for something that took a microsecond to take.

After I got the first email, showing me the two photos of me and asking for a fortune, I deleted it and decided to forget it. Then the spam started. Get it now. Discounts. Last offer. Another offer. I still get emails from them about the BUPA London 10K. And now I get emails from the British 10K where there aren’t actually any photos of me at all. Although for another £50 I could get a 5 second snippet of video from the finish line as I was finishing.


The Running Bug site

This is another inclusion in my running world. It is a site I stumbled upon when I was sick of Runner’s World spamming me constantly after registering with them and I spent a lot of time on there, being part of the Beginners Forum and helping people, and asking for help myself. It is a great little site. There are constant posts from other runners who are starting out, there are reviews and training and diet plans. It is a great little site and, if the t-shirt was better, I would get one.

A running club

Finding a running club was me listening to my own advice given on the Running Bug forums. When asked about motivation I suggested:

  1. Sign up for some races, especially sponsored ones. You will be inspired to run and motivated to not let the charity and your sponsors down.
  2. Get on Nike+ and look at your stats. As I have said before, even if you are not bettering time or distance, you can at least see you are logging time.
  3. Get a running partner, or join a running club. Someone by your side will push you along.
So when looking around I found these guys. They meet in the week and at weekends. They have three groups, fast, intermediate and me. And, well they are a social bunch. Even on their site they show them drinking and eating all the time.I like that.

Although, admittedly, I haven’t been there yet. I don’t want to be the worst runner there.

And then there was Panorama.

Now this was pretty huge, although when I think about it, it was all pretty understood anyway. Panorama is a British investigative news program. The show I am referring too looked at the sports science industry and in particular:

  • Running shoes and the science behind them. Or the marketing supposedly backed by science behind them. Including the basic shoes, the claims, the barefoot running movement and those weird shoes with toes on them.
  • Sports drinks and the claims they make including how lack of carbohydrates (just sugar) and electrolytes (just salt) can cause you to be dehydrated (not at all) and their drinks will make you a pro athlete (as if). In fact what was proven was that water would actually be better for you, as it would make you lose weight as well as rehydrating you, while the sugary sports drinks would not make you run any faster and make you fatter.
  • Sports food.Only creatine and caffeine do anything. Anything else is just a lie.
They had a group of Oxford University professors and experts around the world dispell all the lies from Coca Cola re their Powerade product, Lucozade, Nike, Adidas, and all these supplement providers and the marketing people lied ’til they were blue in the face.
It is worth seeing, if you have not. I especially liked the Olympic gold medalist who drinks water when he is thirsty, eats bread and jam before exercising, and more bread and pilchards/sardines and broccoli after, and one of the sports drink suppliers who cited references to a study from 1930 on the affects on rats of sugar in their bunf. Still people will swallow the marketing. I however will not. Water it is for me, and now a hankering for Jam on toast.

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