The Middle Ground

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19/03/2013 at 20:08

bob. the gig sounds excellent. love that first electronic album too.

funnily enough, i met johnny marr once at a pet shop boys album launch party and didnt know who he was.

even more funnily enough,  i knew the' quite one' from psb via some football hooligan friends!!

20/03/2013 at 09:29

Morning All. Vernal equinox today. First day of spring. Hurrah! Anyone noticed Thought not. 

Snow in the air in grim old Coalville and -3C forecast for tonight back at home in Notts, though we're getting off quite lightly by the sounds of it compared to Vellooo and Duck. Vellooo's pilates class tale made me smile, and good to see Duck is punching through the weather regardless; hope the weekend's meeting survives the icy blast.

You're probably right on my easy paced runs, Duck, but I'm judging them by feel at the moment, as well as using them to consciously try getting my weaker left leg to do a bit more of the work. I'm also working on the basis that if the easy paced stuff leaves my legs still feeling fresh, which they are, then there's probably no real need to slow it down further? From an average of 5 runs per week at least 3 are at 8:30 plus pace, so don't think I'm overdoing it? For reference, McMillan puts my easy pace in the 8:08 to 9:11 bracket at the moment based on my 21:57 parkrun time.

YD - Can understand your confusion, still sounds like more steps forward than back though.

Dash - Your Pet Shop Boys anecdote demands further explanation!!!??? His alleged, er, lifestyle choices wouldn't necessarily make you see football hooligans as his natural companions of choice!

20/03/2013 at 14:31

Snuck a 4 miler with a big hill in on my lunch break yesterday, kept it easy most of the time but definitely felt the speed sneaking up every now and then. Might have to set some limits on my watch so I'm not getting told off and following in BBB's easy but speedy footsteps!

I'm planning on some 1km intervals this evening at slightly quicker than target 10k pace for sunday's race. Hopefully this should help once the race begins and might mean I settle into the required pace sooner. I seem to struggle with this sometimes which means i'm constantly checking things on the way round as I find it pretty hard pacing by feel alone.

Duck - I think you're right with regards to training through the races left. not much choice otherwise. 'Racing myself fit' has worked so far to a certain extent but I want to do things properly for the next season. Hopefully i'll get something planned out that I can stick to over the summer and can then start to prioritise races I want to do and spread them out a bit more as opposed to cramming a load of different distances in over a short period.

WJH - It's merely to set a marker to improve on in the future and I suppose to compare myself to others over more than one race. It will be nice to do the ones I'd prefer to do next year rather than the ones I have to do! I agree with switching races round too, keep some mandatory ones maybe for championship races but change some of the others each year. Thanks, good luck to you too!

p.s. it's a thumbs up for The Smiths from me

20/03/2013 at 14:39
Bob, its a long story but it makes more sense than his preferred companions being page 3 models!
Think I may have gone through this with YD once but I was three sheets at the time!
20/03/2013 at 15:27

Dash - Yeah, you're right on reflection! Tried to reply to you BTW, both direct and sending you a fresh message - don't know whether either will have got to you though, as both appeared to be rejected, and didn't turn up in my Sent Messages.

Iower - Funnily enough I had an easy paced hilly run at lunchtime yesterday as well (though only 3 miles and the hills kept my pace down nicely) and am also out for a quality session tonight. Even paced 4 mile tempo in my case this week rather than intervals though. Looking forward to it - got itchy feet and a surfeit of energy sitting here at work, and want to get out there.

21/03/2013 at 17:57

Just got from the Algarve training camp today and had another really good time even though the weather wasn't as good as last year. Haven't had a chnace to read back yet but will do a skim later on.

Anyway I managed to knock out 66 miles without aggravating the injury at all. That included 3 quality sessions, although there were plenty of brisk miles done in the 'easy runs'. In fact most of the easy runs were progressive and there were a lot of miles knocked off in the 6.30/6.40 region in these easy runs during the week. I realised my fitness post injury isn't quite as bad as I thought it was. Perhaps the most intriguing session was a track session we did. It was a light session of 200,300,400,400,300,200. My reps were 30 and 32 for the 200s and 63 and 65 for the 400s (cant remember the 300 times). Now this was done on battered legs and was supposed to be mile effort so I had plenty more to give (though it was obviously harder than mile effort in reality!). I was told by the coaches (Bruce Tulloh no less!) that I'd probably be quite good at middle distance if I trained for it. He thought my build, form and style were all suited to it. Quite interested now in what I could run for a 400 if I a) went flat out b) did it on fresh legs and c) ran it once fit, especially with some shorter interval sessions in the bank. After all I'm still a long way from race fitness and havent really done anything faster than MP since last summer.

21/03/2013 at 20:33

I agree with Bruce Tulloh Mr V, I think I may have made the same point to you myself. Get to Gateshead Harriers and join the MD group!
Good to hear the mojo is back and in good order

Edited: 21/03/2013 at 20:36
21/03/2013 at 21:50

Welcome back Mr V.  Sounds like an incredibly successful and productive way to spend time in the Med.  63 for 400 reps??  Way quicker than I've ever run, and I guess Mr Tulloh knows his onions.  Good stuff.

I've been quiet most of this week. Took Mon/Tue off completely with the back end (hopefully) of the cold, but good excuse to recover after Finchley.  Then 7 miles easy last night, throat still slightly raw.  This evening I got back to the long tempo stuff.  14.5M w/ 10M @ 5:49/m, on the face of it bang in line with recent MP runs, but HR was a fair bit elevated. I'm happy that this is the tail end of whatever I've got, but I can't see it adversely affecting training for any amount of time, and the legs were feeling strong.

21/03/2013 at 22:03


Sounds like a good week in the Algrave, Mr. V. Bruce Tulloh was my first athletics' hero! Not sure why! Why don't you get yourself down to Gateshead...?

Nice training, Phil, considering. "Jogging" at around 58 mins for 10 miles as a vet when not well is good news. And it is also a good time to be slightly under the weather: better now than in a couple of weeks time.

Ran for 20 mins very slowly this evening: no issues (don't speak too soon!). Now looking for some consistent consistency and an injury free period.

22/03/2013 at 09:55

"Emigration, emigration, emigration; that's what you need." Think that's what Roy Castle used to sing anyway.

So, the snow has arrived in the East Midlands, with several inches more forecast for later. Been running for 4 months now, and apart from 2 'warm weather' runs in Lanzarote right at the beginning, I've managed precisely two runs so far that could remotely be described as having been in 'pleasant' conditions. Good job I enjoy it anyway! Any thoughts of a 5k PB at parkrun tomorrow look to be out of the window though - will be lucky if it's even on. Summer had arrived by this time last year...

Good to hear that Mr V enjoyed his own warm weather training in the Algarve. Hitting some impressive times after the lay off, and some impressive name dropping too! Another stonking session from Phil despite the ailments, and more progress from Alehouse. Good news all round - weather apart.

Easy 4 and a bit miles for me last night, all a second either side of 8:41 pace, following on from 6 miles including 4 miles at tempo on Wednesday. Was really looking to test my recent progress on this run and get as close as I could to my previous 10k race pace (7:21) over those 4 miles. Started off ok, aided by some predominantly downward undulations the first mile came in at exactly 7:21. Started to struggle to stay smooth and retain the pace through miles 2 and 3 with the undulations heading the other way for the most part and slipped out to 7:34 and 7:31 respectively. A nasty stitch at the start of mile 4 so nearly saw me bin it, but gritted my teeth, and saw it through though the pace faded out to 7:38. Average of 7:31 across the 4 miles, so not what I was hoping for but probably a lesson learned that I'm not ready for 4 miles close to 10k pace in training. Will try the 4 miles at a more realistic pace next time I do this sort of session, attempt 3 miles instead, or perhaps split the 4 miles into 2 x 2 with a jogged recovery between. Mentally, this was the toughest training run I've done for some time though, particularly whilst battling through some cold sleet, and should stand me in good stead next time I need to push through similar discomfort in race conditions I'd hope.

Have now clocked a new weekly record of just over 26 miles since last Saturday, up from 24 last week, which in turn was up from the 22 I'd reached in the last full week before my previous 10k race. Will taper off a little after Sunday's long run ahead of my next 10k race on Easter Monday. Quick question - after getting my long run up to 9.6 miles last week, is it too close to that next race (8 days) to be looking to extend it to 10 miles this Sunday, and if so, should I stick at around 9.5 miles, or perhaps even reduce it a little? Or am I overthinking again, and should just see how I feel before I head out?!

22/03/2013 at 10:55

Another stonking MP session Phil. I would have thought 5:49/m should feel very doable at VLM. Have you more plans to add in MP at the back end of some more long runs or was the 20 miler last week your only attempt at that type of run?

Alehouse – good news on the 20 min run, if anyone deserves a clear run it you, fingers crossed for you.

Bob – go for the 10 miler if you feel up for it, plenty time to recover for Easter, just make sure you keep the pace EASY!

As for how to balance your week, once you have your long run at 10 miles I would think about getting some of your other runs up a bit in length, try to balance the week out a bit before you look to increase your long run again. A general, but steady mileage increase is what will reap the rewards for you for a while yet I would think.

With regards to your tempo run, good effort. Just play with the format and pacing a bit each week, all the different variations are good, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. So next week try 2 x 2m, then the week after go back to 4miles, then try 3 x 1.5mile or 3 x 2k, they will all get you fitter. For someone who has been running 4 months, pretty much any running will improve you, don’t sweat the details so much and just play about with it and keep it enjoyable.
Once the improvements dry up, then start to think about it some more. By that point if you have played around with different sessions and tried different types of training, you should have a better idea of what works for you and how much you can handle etc.

I have decided to take a weeks complete rest from any form of exercise and rehabilitation. I have seen zero improvement in almost 5 weeks in what seems to be a minor injury. But one thing I haven’t done is take a total rest, I know running aggravates it and maybe all this strengthening work is aggravating the injury as well. Worth a try.

22/03/2013 at 11:32

BBB - What YD said.  10 miles is a nice milestone to hit and you're virtually there. Also agree about the mid-week stuff; add in a slightly longer run (keeping it all easy pace obviously) and feel vaguely smug that what used to be a long run (6/7 miles) is now well within your comfort zone.  As well as providing a bit more progress on the endurance front, they make the LR in turn feel easier.

alehouse - Touch wood, looks like you're well into the start of a spell of consistent running build-up again.  Long may it continue.

YD - Good idea. Some genuine rest is bound to have some positive effects one way or another, and the pressure's off to be anything more than 95% fit in the near future.

Re: MP training, I'm feeling very satisfied to have broken the back of marathon training now (Finchley being my hardest single session) and this includes MP runs.  So I've got one more MP run over 10 miles planned (the first week of the taper period) but I also plan on fitting in some cheeky MP sections here and there.  The last remaining 20 miler before taper will be partly made up of the Richmond HM that I'm pacing (sub-1:30 = 6:52/m) so there won't be any MP there, but possibly the LR which is VLM minus two weeks (16 miles), so maybe 7/8 @MP there, and I'd also like to add sections to a couple of remaining interval sessions on a Tuesday evening, e.g. do the usual 10x800 (or whatever) at 90% usual effort, followed by 8 laps/2M @ MP.

The session I'm really looking forward to is the final "quality" session, three days out from the marathon, a short hop over to the park once the evenings are lighter (and winter disappeared??), then 3M @MP.  Ooh, that'll be like a breezy stroll! 

22/03/2013 at 12:13
Ales, out of the woods now or is it too early to say?

Bob, tempos can be the hardest session so breaking it down into manageable chunks is a good way to go. As YD infers , you can monitor your progression easily enough that way.

Phil, blemish-free marathon training is a rare thing. You seem to have accomplished that.

YD, enjoy your handicrafts. Given the current temps, can I request a wooly hat and mittens?

I will be DNSing this weekends comeback 10k as I'm a southern softy ( sorry, but -9.2 wind chill out on the open fens is not my idea of fun) but will be doing a hillier and hopefully warmer one on Good Friday instead.
And as if to emphasise my manliness further, I'm now off to join the gym bunnies on the where's my sports drink, clip board, protein bar....
22/03/2013 at 12:54

Perfume Ponce Dash, 10 points if you can name the film where I got that insult? 
As for my new hobby, I was thinking about making you a Harry Hilly TV Burp style Middle Ground knitted character, that ok?

Phil – 3m@ZLMP* more like.
Looks like you have all the bases covered then. I suppose if you want to add in more quality to a long run you could tag on a progressive 4 or 5 miles onto the back of the Richmond Half to make it a progressive steady to MP effort, but probably not nessesary with the work you have done so far and with the other stuff you have planned.

*  Zen Like Marathon Pace

Edited: 22/03/2013 at 13:01
22/03/2013 at 13:51

YD, Phil, Dash - Thanks for your thoughts, fellas. What you're suggesting on the tempos seems to be about where I am at the moment. No hard and fast rules, don't look more than a week ahead, and slot in either a progressive or an even paced tempo, or some intervals of a group of miles or kms as I fancy. 

Just the answer I was hoping for regarding Sunday's proposed 10-miler too. It's a landmark I've been looking forward to cracking for a few weeks now, and was already of the mind that I'd then look to consolidate elsewhere having got there rather than take it on any further yet.

However, you've also touched on a bit of quandary I've been wrestling with over the longer midweek runs. Over the last 3 midweeks I've run a 5.5 miler, one at 6.5 and this Wednesday's 6 miler. Thing is that whilst these midweek runs have all been my longest apart from the LSR, they've also included my one quality midweek session. It's quite difficult to fit any meaningful quality work into anything much shorter than that, if also including a thorough warm up, and a closing warm down. Might the compromise here be to try to ensure that these sessions never extend over 6 miles, but look to introduce an easy paced 7 miler in addition? The other problem is family politics - including some quicker stuff in the current longer midweek run gets it over with more quickly and helps keep the very patient Mrs BBB onside! A 7 miler that keeps me out of the house for an hour in an evening will be a more difficult sell, and it's just not possible at lunchtime. A 5.30am start once per week to get the run in early doesn't much appeal, but might be the only answer here - gulp.

YD - Hope the rest does the trick for you. 5 weeks now? Must be driving you nuts when you don't really have any answers as to the precise problem nor any improvement. 

Dash - Can't say I blame you regarding the weekend's bail out. It's a really unpleasant weekend in prospect out there. Whether parkrun is on or not, I'm erring on the side of giving it a miss given the conditions. Have relatives with us this weekend and I'm fancying a few beers and a late night port with my uncle far more than abstinence and an early start to go hunting for an unattainable fast time in the snow at this stage!


Edited: 22/03/2013 at 13:52
22/03/2013 at 14:57

Dash: ...i-pod, headphones, garmin, sweatbands...
And no, not out of the woods yet, but I feel I can see a little light at the end of the tunnel. It is rather a long tunnel though. I need to focus on the light, not the dark bits!
Don't blame you for not racing this weekend either.

BBB: hope you are getting in plenty of stretching as well...injuryproof yourself as far as possible.

YD: not sure what to advise. Lots of warmth (fat chance!) and I would maintain the stretches, strengthening, but minimise the weight-bearing.

Edited: 22/03/2013 at 15:13
22/03/2013 at 15:17

Bob – welcome to trying to fit in running in to busy family life, imagine trying to fit 60 miles a week in with a 2 year old in the house! You had better set your alarm nice and early!
Actually, a weekly mid week long in a fasted state (i.e. pre breakfast) has some good training benefits. Getting up early to fit in a run gets easier the more you do it.
Keep the volume of the tempo as it is one evening, then the rest can be as much short and easy as you can fit in. 

If you ran the following runs:
Tempo 6.5m - evening
MLR 7m - morning
Long 10m - weekend
2 x 3.5m easy (1 with a set of strides) – morning or lunchtime

That’s 30 miles, with loads of scope to fit more in on mornings or lunchtimes without upsetting the Missus.

Alehouse - I will still stretch the quads (not the hammie) and will foam roll this week.

Edited: 22/03/2013 at 15:26
22/03/2013 at 16:49

Alehouse - Yes, indeed. I am now a stretcher extraordinaire. Religiously stretch when I get back from a run, and fit in plenty more throughout most days and evenings when I get chance. I'm also fitting in as much of the core/glute strengthening stuff discussed on here recently as I can. Squats, lunges, planks, bridges and knee drops all added from time to time to the press ups and sit ups I was already doing. Much less grumbling from the calf recently, and (touch wood) no other niggles other than some occasional DOMS after the quicker sessions, so I'm hoping they are having an effect. Thanks for the tips on those all. 

YD - Yes, a 4yo at our spot as well. The missus sorts the bedtime routine for the young 'un, and I cook our dinner - thus dinner is later if I'm running, much later if I'm running long! That sort of schedule looks doable on the whole though - thanks. I'm a bit of a nightowl, so would really struggle to get out for more than one early morning run a week (that's going to kill me to start with!), but with a Saturday run (either easy or a parkrun) as well as the Sunday long, I should be able to get good and regular mileage in with only two evening runs per week. Interesting what you say about the fasted state exercise too. Read quite a bit about that when I was doing my 5:2 diet. Important to make sure you get a good breakfast in on the back of it though I guess.


23/03/2013 at 09:09

YD – Withnail - Can I have my 10 points in beer tokens please. Hope the week off works for you. You are right that sometimes too much stretching, rollering, strengthening etc can agitate an injury.

Alehouse – Great news. Hopefully its consistent running from now on.

Back to reality yesterday, battling the freezing winds for a 9 miler. Working this morning then will run later but am not looking forward to it all that much! Wish I was back running in the warmth..

23/03/2013 at 11:10
Breaking news - it must be cold, Kelly actually ran with a jacket today

YD - can you keep me apprised of Thirsk weather watch in the morning?
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