Shiny new shoes

After a week of relative rest after the last marathon I started running again with more intensity and it has been a good week.

On Monday I could not run, but it was fin. I’ve decided that from now on Monday will be my rest day (maybe my swimming day) so that I will be able to do two long runs back to back on Saturday and Sunday.

On Tuesday I went out for a relatively easy start of the week. 12k at 4:26 min/km. Nothing special to report, apart from the fact that running on the river is now possible. Bring on the spring!

Wednesday I went out for a short 10k run with the idea of trying the new Zealot and taking it easy. I was so excited about running with new shoes that the “taking it easy” part was soon forgotten. Even the first warm up kms were done faster than 4:25. I ended up going faster and faster (I ended up doing 10k with a 4:04 average). The shoes felt good, almost like not wearing them. Very light but still very cushioning. They are definitely shoes that want you to go fast but hold your form. The only thing I don’t really like is the colour scheme. A bit too garish for me. So much so that when I left them in the garden after this first run a magpie came straight to peck them.

zealotrun

On Thursday I took a relatively new route via Richmond. The hill in the middle was fun and the big full red moon I saw when at the top, with the river below, was breath-taking. I did a total of 14k at 4:26 for just over one hour of running.

In the next couple of months I need to be careful and prepare a nice training schedule. Otherwise I will end up running every day at this sort of speed. I need more variety, slow days, fast days etc. Otherwise I will not improve if I keep on running at this pace every day of the week. To remedy this issue straight away I did some speed work on Friday.

To feel like a marathon runner I did three 2km intervals at 3:45 with two minutes rest. I was aiming for 3:40, but I was a bit tired. Not too bad anyway.

On Saturday, armed with just one gel, I went out for a long run (not too long as I have to keep some energy for next week’s race). I tried to keep the heart as close to 140 bpm as possible. It was not easy as I went to Richmond park which is a bit hilly. It was a wonderful day. Running in shorts with no hat/buff, no gloves etc, feels so much better. I did 26.5km in 2:02 (4:39 average pace).

And then on Sunday I went out again! It was even sunnier. I went around Bushy Park and then explored a new part of the river for me, the one that goes away from Hampton Court but in the other direction, towards Molesey. I think it goes on for a bit, but I had to come back after a while as I was feeling a bit tired and I had no water and no gels. I also did not want to overdo it. I ended up doing a precise 21.1km at 4:30 average. I will definitely go that way again as it is also another very nice soft trail with nice views of the Thames.

Overall it was a very good week. Went out running 6 times for a total of 96.5km. I am also very excited for having discovered a new pair of shoes. I feel this will not be the first pair of Zealot I will own. I don’t want to be too optimistic, but I have run 80+ km in 5 days in the Zealot and I never felt the usual right foot plantar issues once. Could they be the solution to my little niggles?

week

Now it is time to take it easy for a week and then run my third marathon in 3 months. This one is flat and while it is not on the road I would not consider it a trail marathon. I will try and do it in less than 3:30. I have done 40k of that route and I know that in a good day I could do the whole 42k in 3:20/3:25 so we’ll see. I hope I will not overdo it in the first half as usual.

Keep running!

Easy week

There is not much to report from last week. As it was a post marathon week I had to rest a bit (and eat junk and drink beer).

After three days of rest I was restless so on Wednesday I went out for a 10k easy run. I was hurting everywhere. First my feet were complaining, especially the toes. Then the Achilles’s tendons for a couple of kilometers and finally the hamstrings. Anyway I was happy to be back in action.

Thursday was a very strange day. It was almost 11 degrees at 5am! I went out in shorts and run 10k again but this time I tried to put some speed in. I could not. I was still too tired.

Friday was going to be the last run of the week as during the week-end I had decided not to run as my mum was visiting. So I tried to run for a bit longer. I did 14k, it was raining, but I enjoyed it a lot. The light is starting to arrive early in the morning and I can finally run on the riverside again. At least on the way back. Soon it will be possible to run inside Bushy Park! I cannot wait.

On a side note, I have been shopping for new shoes. The Asics Nimbus have more than 700k in tehm and it is time to change them. I decided to try something new and bought the Adidas energy Boost 2.

adidas

They have very similar stats to the Nimbus. Unfortunately I was so silly I ordered them from the web without trying them. I probably bought them half a size too small. In general I think they are tighter than the Nimbus. So after using them for a week to go to work I decided not to use them for running. I’ll use them as “normal” shoes.

I then watched this video (as always the Gearist is very informative):

and decided to try the Saucony Zealot. I am interested in seeing how a smaller drop affects my running. I went to the local shop but they were not selling them. They were nice enough to let me try the Kinvara for size and then I ordered the Zealot from a web site.

They arrived pretty quickly:

Saucony Zealot

The first thing I did was weight them on the kitchen scale (don’t tell my wife). They seemed so light! And they are: 100g less than the Nimbus (each one). I cannot wait to try them. I hope to get used to them in time for the next marathon in a couple of weeks time.

Ciao

Follow the river

Last week I did not run much so I had to go big this week.

Monday I did an easy run. With the new heart zones calculated last week things got a little bit faster. 13km at 4:16 min/km.

Tuesday was more intensive. After the usual 15/20 min warm up I did 5x(3′ at 3:35 with 3′ rest). It was fun and tiring. It also marked the end of my Brooks Glycerin. At 800km it was time to retire them. I ended up liking them a lot. I did not think any shoe could beat my favourite Asics Nimbus, but they are not that different, a bit harder but definitely a lot longer lasting. I might get a new pair when the current Nimbus get to around 400km, to alternate them.

Wednesday I did not hear the alarm clock and woke up too late to go out running. 😦

Thursday I did 40 minutes at a steady 4:19 min/km and then 8 ten seconds sprints between 2:50 and 3:30. Seven minutes of cool down and I was home happy. It was definitely getting colder and colder each day.

Friday was a lot of fun. I did 4km of warm up and then 6 fast km at 3:47. Two cool down kms and then home for a big recovery protein smoothy.

Saturday’s plan was to run more than what The Cool Impossible training schedule suggested. I need to put more kms in my legs to get ready for the next months of marathon running.
It was crazy cold, zero degrees at 8am and it did not get better, it was 1 degree when I got back home. I decided to follow the river and run away from home as much as possible and then turn back. I fist did a couple of km towards Kingston and then followed the river until I had run 21km and then turned back. The idea was that if I felt like it I could do the same route back and end up doing 42km like a real marathon runner or if I felt tired I could stop earlier, skipping the initial loop to Kingston. That’s what I ended up doing for a total of 38km, which I think is still good as it is the longest I have ever run.

The trail on the river is all flat so I could keep a good pace and I ended up running with an average of 4:48 min/km. The story really changed after 32km, keeping under 5 min/km was a struggle. The freezing cold did not help either. The trail was either frozen hard mud or slippery ice. At the 24th km I even slipped on a downhill wooden ramp and fell like an idiot. Luckily I did not hit the ground too hard as I was quite far away from home. It actually helped as for the next 4 or 5 kms I was all energized by the fall.

I had a gel at 15k and one at 25k which really helped. I also ran for the first time with my new Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest 2.0. I loved it. I only carried one bottle and drunk very little as it was very cold and, I have to admit, I only understood how to drink from it once I got home (I should have tried it before starting running). Once I got the strap in the right configuration for my body it really felt comfortable and did not hinder the run at all. I might try and get soft bottles to replace the ones that come with it. I have not tried carrying anything on the back as I did not need to, but I am sure I found the right vest/backpack for my future trail marathons and for the NDW50. As always the Brooks Cascadia did their job. As my experience teaches me, only ice can beat them.

Overall it was a very good run, I enjoyed it a lot and it took me to places I had not been in ages, like my very first office in Mortlake.

longSaturday

I will probably do another long run just after Christmas and then taper until my first marathon.
Here are the next challenges:

I think that should be enough for the first half of 2015.

Overall, good week: 5 runs for a total of 88.2km.

Ciao!

Back in action

It has been quite a crazy week. Very tiring for many reasons, so my running suffered a bit, but I still managed to clock in a total of 65 km.

On Monday I had to skip training as we arrived home from Portugal at 2am. Three hours sleep is not enough to run and then work a full day.

On Tuesday I took it easy as I had not been running for 5 days. So I only did 10 km. I wanted to keep my heart below 140bmp but I forgot to check once in a while and went faster. It was fine, I needed to release some stress.

Wednesday was more interesting. After the usual warm up I did four 5 minutes repeats at 150-158bmp (around 3:45 min/km) with 3 minutes rest.

Then Thursday was the killer day (my favourite type). For two reasons, the training and the weather. It was really cold. The internet said 2 degrees, but I think in some areas it was closer to zero. There was ice on the street! My hands suffered the most, I should have worn gloves, but it feels too early for that! Good thing I covered my head with my new Buff. I am such a trendy runner!
Anyway, I did the usual 20 minutes warm up and then did four 2 minute uphill repeats at a relatively fast speed and then rest on the way down. The heart was racing! I always go up and down the same road when doing hills training when the park is closed. I find it fun to think about the people sleeping in their houses with a mad man running up and down their street.

tinyElevation

Then to finish the day off I did five 1 minute sprints faster than 2:20 min/km with 2 minutes rest. It felt good.

Friday on the other hand I felt really lazy and when I woke up, heard the heavy rain falling, felt a little pain in my right leg/hip, I thought about the day ahead and decided to sleep more.

That was a good call as on Saturday I felt fresh and ready for my long run. I decided to run less than the last long run but do at least 30 kilometres. As I will be running the Dirt Running Half Challenge next week end I wanted to try and run a bit faster than I usually do in my long runs. I aimed to always stay at around 4:30 min/km. I did 31km, beating my 30km personal best, in the rain, mud, wind and then sunshine. The bit that hurt the most was my right shoulder. I am really weak if I cannot carry a water bottle for 2 hours!
It was a lot of fun, felt good and I did not suffer from my usual endless hiccups in the afternoon.

Next week I will take it easy before the race on Saturday, but I am very much looking forward to run with my new Asics Nimbus 16.

nimbus16

Yes, I went back to my favourite shoes. It is probably my 8th pair. I liked the Brooks Glycerine I was running in, but not as much as the Nimbus. Let’s see how they go next week. I am not abandoning Brooks, I still have my Cascadia for my long Saturday’s runs (where I try to run on trails as much as possible) and they will play an important role on next Saturday’s race.

Have fun!

Holidays and Trails

I’ll try to post at least once a week with updates on my training and various news. I might be posting more often is something interesting happens.

The big news this week is that I decide to prepare for an Ultra (as mentioned in the intro post) and I want to do a Trail one. Also because I enjoyed very much the Wimbledon Half Marathon, which was basically a trail half marathon (finished 12th).

The plan is to try and get a place at the NDW50 in May 2015. There are only 250 places so I might not manage to get it. I will have to find another one, but I am so pumped for it that I will be very sad if I don’t get in.

The inspiration for this plan is my good friend Davide (4th place at the Lakeland100 2014). It’s all his fault. I hope he will come to the NDW50.

As I have always been a road runner (even if most of the time I run on trails in Bushy or Richmond Park) I had to get some trail shoes to get me started. I opted for the Brooks Cascadia.

twoshoes

Road or trail running?

This week I started my 10 days summer holiday and flew to Liguria in Italy. I’ve been running a lot here, but always on the same sea side routes. This summer, equipped with the Cascadia, I explored the hills overlooking the sea.

Amazing views and a totally different way of running. I have to get used to run at variable speed.

I have alternated one day road running / one day trail running.

A had fun on the road with another Davide, he is the guy that introduced me to running and got me into my first team. We went for a slow run on the cliffs, Slow because it was too early for him and we talked too much as we had not seen each other for 2 years.

The best trail run I had this week was this one, 20k with 986mt elevation.

I even saw a couple of deer, smaller than the Bushy park ones I am used too, but wilder. I also had to learn to run carrying water with me. I never had too, but it was very hot!

I am here for one more week. I intend to explore the hills more as I am sure that there are more trails to try.

Take care!