Ferriby 10

Now that was a surprise, let me back up a little.

Prior to the race, I’ve done 100 miles for week 1, 106 miles for week 2. Ferriby 10 falls in week 3 with the aim of doing 75 miles including the race.

Raceday and I didn’t feel that great, the two cups of coffee helped, however, confidence wasn’t high. Particularly as I had also been feeling sluggish the few days before the race. At least the rain had missed us and a largely frost free morning with a glorious sunrise gave the runners an almost perfect racing day.

Danny Wilson, one of my club mates and training partners was racing this one and his target time of 63 minutes sounded good. My PB for 10 miles is 64:14 (slow considering I have a 37:35 10k PB) therefore I’d definitely take something in that region.

Ferriby 10 Course Profile
Ferriby 10 Course Profile

As for the race, I positioned myself in my now customary position of just behind the “fast” lads. The race starts with a super fast downhill before a sharp right turn. This makes for a fast and manic start with the race luring you into a false sense of security. Ferriby 10 is well known for having a hard first half with an easier second half.

I went with the early pace as I knew what was to come. Although 5:48 for the first mile was maybe a little too rapid!

After the relative ease of the first mile, it’s then a long slog up to Little Weighton Road. I dropped back a little from the group I was running with, as ever I wasn’t too worried as I struggle on the uphill sections. The second mile completed in 6:28 which is to be expected.

A short sharp descent into Little Weighton allows you to pick up the speed before it rises steeply again past the pubs in the village. A right bend and the course carries on rising for the next mile along a quiet country road. At this point, I had to tell myself to dig in and push on. The 3rd mile in 6:19 with two more undulating miles to come. At the time it felt awful but I had no idea of the pace.

The 4th mile takes you along Westoby lane towards Riplingham, the start of which was the only part to remain icy. My choice of very low profile racing flats didn’t help matters! 4th and 5th mile in 6:34 and 6:30 respectively.

Ferriby 10 2017
Losing touch with Danny about halfway in

Finally just before Riplingham at the left turn is the 5-mile mark. Before the race, I wouldn’t allow myself to look at my watch until the half way point. Thankfully all the hurt was worth it as I passed halfway 31:42, a good two minutes better than ever before with the best section to come. Danny had gapped me at this point but I had hoped to catch him back up once we got to the downhill.

As mentioned we turn left at Riplingham for the long descent to Raywell (with a little bump for good measure). 5:49 and 5:58 for miles 6 and 7. Just before the 7-mile mark, there are a few bends and some of the drivers are complete morons, overtaking when they have no idea what is coming and having to pull sharply in almost taking out a couple of runners ahead. Is being delayed by 20/30 seconds that big of a deal?

Back to the race and another left turn brings you onto the long run for home. I never enjoy this section as I’m always in a world of pain and it goes on forever. 2 and a half miles before the next turn with the windmill in site once you hit a mile to a mile and half to go can be very demoralising. However this year I was having the Ferriby race of my life, therefore, it was a case of banishing any demons and digging in. 7th and 8th mile in 5:51 and 6:03, perfect, I even got delusional and thought maybe a sub 61 was on the cards. Also by this point any thoughts of catching Danny were long departed and the focus was on form, pace and getting to the finish.

Ferriby 10 - Skidby Mill Climb
Skidby Mill Climb

However, Ferriby is the race that just keeps on giving and with half a mile to go you take a left turn and head uphill. When warming up I ran down and up and it didn’t seem as steep as I always remember. How foolish was I, with 9 and a half miles in the legs it was a real slog. I don’t normally pay attention to segments on Strava but for this one I did and it was my best ever, yet it still felt so slow!

One last push for a 61:36 finish, some 2minutes 38 quicker than my 10-mile PB and that was on a flat course. I was 31 out of 708 finishes.

Target 2:50:00 – Week 6 (6th to 12th February)

Another solid week of training and racing. Again it’s not 100 miles but still just over 90.

Week 6 – 91.2MI (11H 47M)

Rest Day!

AM: 6mi – Base Mileage
PM: 11.6mi – Tempo ten with club plus short warm-up and cool down

AM: 5mi – Base Mileage
PM: 12mi – Base Mileage

PM: 8.7mi – 6 x 1k plus warm-up and cool down

AM: 5.1mi – Base Mileage
PM: 9mi – Base Mileage

AM: 13mi – 7mi Winter League race plus warm-up

AM: 20.5mi LSR

In the end, Monday became an unplanned rest day. Seeing as I hadn’t had one since Christmas Day, I’ll let myself off.

That meant going into Tuesday’s tempo I was much fresher than normal (particularly after an easy Sunday the previous week). I ran with the club and in all fairness was a little slower than I would have liked, ideally closer to 6:30 average. However, it was good to feel so comfortable running a 6:44 average for 10 miles.

Due to family commitments Thursday I drove to work and then stopped by the track on the way home for a quick session as I had to be back at 7 pm. After a decent warm-up, it was 6 x 1k reps targeting 3:30 per km, splits of 3:31, 3:31, 3:32. 3:32, 3:29 and 3:29 off a 400m recovery. Pretty pleased with those splits and considering I was being snowed on at one point.

Another reason for keeping Thursday’s session short was my club’s Winter League on the Saturday. I’ll have a full report shortly but another strong winter league showing placing 2nd on actual time. Admittedly it wasn’t a stacked field with only 52 runners but hey you can only race who is there.

Sunday’s long run was a real tester, not only was it a proper LSR aiming to run around 8-minute mile pace (sometimes I find longer runs challenging mentally just because I’m out there for a long time), the weather was the worse it’s been for a long time. However, it could be like that race day and I got through it. The best thing was how comfortable the pace felt and if need be I could have run further (although my hands may have a different opinion).

Target 2:50:00 – Week 5 (30th January to 5th February)

After the high of last weeks Ferriby 10 and the welcome relief of a lower mileage week it was back to the grind this week.

Week 5 – 90.9MI (12H 14M)

AM: 9mi Easy (Commute)

AM: 11.7mi – Strength: 3 x 2 mile @ 6:20 plus 3 warm up + cool down

AM: 5.8mi – Base mileage
PM: 12mi – Midweek LSR

PM: 11.4mi – Base mileage

AM: 9.1mi – Base mileage
PM: 5mi – Base mileage

AM: 18.5mi – Fast long – 3 x 3 mi, 1 x 2 mi @ MP with 1 mi recovery with 3 mi warm-up plus cool down

AM: 8.1mi – Base Mileage

As usual, the first key session of the week was Tuesday. After the previous weekend’s race, I took it easy Monday and due to having a class post work on Tuesday I attempted a strength session on the morning. 3 x 2-mile first thing with a decent headwind was never going to be pretty and that’s how it transpired. Of course, 1 bad session doesn’t matter and it was still a decent 12-mile session.

The rest of the week ended up being base mileage. I had planned to do hills on Thursday but to save time I ran home from work and with one eye on Saturdays long fast run kept it steady.

As we were off away for the weekend I made sure I got out the door relatively early Saturday, this time for a fast long run. I didn’t like the idea of doing tempo/MP pace for 12 to 16 miles therefore instead did a long strength workout. The 3-mile reps went well with only the first 3 slightly off the pace. The final quick two were added in last minute as the run was still on the short side even with a cool down.

Overall I may not have hit triple digits for the week, however, 90 miles is still a good amount particularly after a hard race the week before and being away the Saturday and Sunday night at the end of the week.

EHH Club Cross Country Champs 2016/2017


Who doesn’t enjoy 8 miles off road through muddy fields, across ditches and navigating around fences?

At 2 pm on Saturday 14th, you’d find me just about to start the third race in my running Clubs Winter League Race Series. This race for the men is the longest (but not the hardest) and as the added kudos of being our cross country championship race. A trophy is up for grabs for the winner as well as the first new member to finish. I’m unlikely to ever win the race outright but I can at least console myself with the fact I did win the latter trophy when finishing 5th in 2015.

Anyway rather than reminiscing, onto the race. As ever I had a cheeky look to see who was there. Likely candidates would be Danny Jones and Jeff McQueen. However, both are generally quicker and DJ has been running very strong lately.

The first section runs alongside the drain and leads to a fast start. I had the added motivation of wanting to get some space between me and the mass of runners behind as there is a gate to negotiate. A fast group broke away with me in the second group with the aforementioned Jeff and Addie.

EHH Club Cross Country Champs 2016/2017
3 miles down, 5 to go!

After about half a mile the course takes a right turn skirting a football field and the outer perimeter of Loglands. This is the most runnable section which is probably why it felt good at this point (and we were still in the first mile). A short sharp climb before a nice descent to finish off the first mile, passed in decent 6:23.

After the first mile, the course takes in 2 fields, the first of which as a decent grass edge and isn’t too muddy except for the first right-hand corner making the going reasonably ok. However, the majority of the second mile takes in another field with very soft mud that no matter what footwear I use my trainer grow to twice their size. At this point, I started to loose contact with Jeff who is a demon at traversing the mud. However the second mile was still completed in 6:36 and third in 6:46, for me that’s pretty good. Hopefully, I could keep that up or at the very least stick to under 7 minutes per mile.

The third mile brings you back around Loglands before run back along the drain, a short section to cross a road and back along the other side of the drain before joining the Hornsea Trail (and a section of tarmac) just before the 4-mile mark. 4th mile in 7 minutes which wasn’t a good sign, the gap to those in front increasing all the time.

The relief of the trail and tarmac is short lived as another field beckons with a left turn. It’s normally one of the bad ones but this year although it was still very sticky in places, thankfully there was an edge of grass in places which you could run on. By the end of the 5th mile, completed in 7:08, Jeff had a commanding lead which I was unlikely to bring back. The only consolation I couldn’t see anybody in the field behind me.

EHH Club Cross Country Champs 2016/2017
I think the face says it all, about 7 miles in

A little jump over a drain, around another field before the more runnable section as the course takes in a farmers track. Another drain to negotiate, this time while holding onto a fence. I would have expected to make up some time but in fact, it was the slowest mile completed in 7:13.

Finally the long drag to the finish following the drain, back over the trail and road. The 7th mile in 6:49, and final 0.8 in 5:22 to finish 6th in 53:18, a full 50 seconds behind Jeff. However, I was 3:42 in front of 7th. It was tough although some of the miles were over 7 minutes, my average pace of 6:50 per mile is pretty good for me when it comes to cross country.

Target 2:50:00 – Week 4 (23rd to 29th January)

A reduced mileage week with my eye on the weekend’s 10-mile road race. The aim would be to do approx. 75 miles and I only came up half a mile short so I can live with that:

Week 4 (23rd to 29th January)

AM: 6mi recovery

PM: 8.5mi easy

PM: 11.5mi – Strength: 4 x 1mile with 0.25 recovery + 3 warm-up + 2.5 cool down

AM: 4.4mi Recovery XC
PM: 8.3mi – Base mileage

AM: 7.5mi – Base mileage XC
PM: 9.1mi – Speed: 4 x 1k, 5 x 200m off 400m recovery plus warm up and cool down

PM: 5mi – very easy pre-race day

AM: 13.9mi – 10mi race plus warm up and cool down

The first key session after I had recovered from previous weeks fast long run was on Wednesday. A shorter strength session easily managing well under 6:20 per mile. All the miles are starting to pay off.

By Friday I was a little short of miles, ideally, I would have done a lower overall total but I did keep the reps fairly short and only 3 miles for the hard part. The target time of 3:30 per kilometre and 35 seconds per 200m rep. I was a little slow but not by much so I’ll take that. Plus with only two days to race day, I didn’t want to overdo it.

Come race day and I felt pretty sluggish. I won’t go into too much detail as I’ll have a full report but to summarise, a 10 mile PB by almost 3 minutes says it all.

Next week back to the 100-mile week, oh joy

Target 2:50:00 – Week 3 (16th to 22nd January)

Back to back 100-mile weeks, 6/7 years ago when I started training I never dreamed I’d be writing that. So without further ado here’s the training:

Week 3 – 106.7mi (13H 41M)

Target 2:50:00 - Week 3 (16th to 22nd January)

AM: Recovery: Easy 4
PM: 14mi – Strength workout – 2 x 4mi with 0.5mi recovery plus 3mi warm-up and 2’ish cooldown

PM: 10mi easy (but felt shocking) to work

AM: 3.9mi Easy XC
PM: 13.4mi midweek LSR

AM: 6mi Recovery XC
PM: 12.2mi – EHH Hills workout – 15 minutes, rest, 10minutes, rest, 5 minutes

AM: 6.5mi Easy
PM: 6.2mi Easy

PM: 10.2mi – Clubs XC Pack Run

AM: 20mi – 3mi up + 15mi @ MP pace (6:30 per mile) + 2 mi cool down

After the previous week’s long run I expected the Monday strength session to be hard work. Obviously it was but actually felt pretty good which is reassuring.

The next key session was the hills workout. This is a club session with whoever turns up running up and down one side of a flyover in East Hull. Each loop is about 0.25 miles. I hadn’t done this session since the start of December and I could tell my fitness as improved massively. The 15minute section wasn’t much faster but felt more comfortable and the other two sections were much faster.

After that a couple of easy sessions before the mammoth LSR @ MP pace (or I should say hopeful MP pace). I can’t argue with 15 miles at 6:28 average, 2 seconds under MP pace. Yes it was hard and I couldn’t have done that much more but I won’t be doing 100 miles marathon week and the 5 loop I used is fairly rolling, technical with lots of divots etc. A nice smooth road will make a massive difference.

Next week is a recovery week with reduced mileage. I’ll do a couple of recovery weeks to coincide with races. This one is the Ferriby 10 (report to follow).

Target 2:50:00 – Week 2 (9th to 15th January)

Wow, my first ever 100-mile week (and by the way first over 85). And it felt surprisingly OK on most of my runs.

Training Log: Week 2 (9th to 15th January)

Week 2 (9th to 15th January):

PM: 13.4mi (3.2mi warm up + 8mi cut down starting at 7:10 and taking 10 seconds a mile off each mile + 2.2mi cool down)

AM: Easy 10.2mi commute to work

AM: 6.2mi Recovery XC
PM: 13mi Midweek LSR

AM: 3mi recovery XC (as getting the bus to work)
PM: 12.4mi – 6 x 1mi @ 6:20 with 0.25 recovery (plus 3mi warm up and cool down)

AM: 5mi slightly snowy half run, half bus to work
PM: 6mi steady

AM: 4.2mi Recovery XC
PM: 10.8mi – 8 mi Club Cross Country Champs 2016/2017 + 2mi warm up + 1 mi cool down

AM: 16mi LSR

The key sessions are Monday’s cut-down, Thursdays mile repeats and the club championship race.

After a fairly light weekend due to the 5k race and being away Mondays cut-down felt surprisingly good. However, I still didn’t quite hit 6-minute mile pace at the end. As a side note, the run to work Tuesday felt shocking as usual. I was hoping to do closer to 12 miles but I couldn’t get much under 9-minute mile pace.

Wednesdays were all very much run of the mill therefore onto Thursday. The mile reps were done running back from work. They felt pretty hard and dodging pedestrians, dog walkers, traffic always adds to the difficulty. Happy to hit the 6:20 pace even if they were harder than I’d like.

Onto Saturday the clubs cross country was a war of attrition, to say the least. Anyway I’ll have a full report on the race on the blog, therefore, I hung in there and for cross country posted a fairly decent time of 53:18

Sunday was a good gentle run with a couple of club mates. Legs were pretty heavy but after a massive week, it was good to get another one in the bank.

Week 3 is another 100-mile week and no races.

Great Winter Run 5k

Another 6 days later and another road trip, this time to Edinburgh for the Great Winter Run 5k. For those that don’t know this is one of the now many Great Run events (the clues in the title). This one is the mass event on the roads around Holyrood Park in Edinburgh before the elites take on the XC live on the good old BBC. You may have heard of a certain Sir Mo Farah was taking part. Personally, I was looking forward to seeing Callum Hawkins and Laura Muir in action.

Sensibly I had recce’d the course the day before, however not so sensible was not checking which direction the loop of Holyrood Park the course went, therefore, I had ended up doing two laps the wrong way round!

Great Winter Run 5k, Edinburgh
Flying the red flag in my new vest at the Great Winter Run 5k, Edinburgh

Unseasonably mild conditions for race day making vest and shorts the order of the day. Runners started in waves and being one of the “Faster Paced Club Runners” ensured I started at 10.

The first quarter of a mile is flat before the race goes uphill to over 300ft by the end of the first, therefore, it’s critical to get a fast start. I made sure I did my best greyhound impression shooting out the blocks.

I don’t view myself as a very good uphill runner as anybody who has raced with me will verify. However, something strange happened. As the race went uphill I kept passing other runners. I had expected the exact opposite but apparently, I had entered a parallel universe. First mile in a not too shabby 6:37.

The course flattens out after a mile and I already knew from the day before that once you’re at the top you get a spectacular view of Edinburgh and the river. However, even during the race, it was still equally as impressive as the day before.

Approaching 2k (the course is marked in kilometres) I could hear the distinct sound of bagpipes. A nice touch by the organisers is that at the 2, 3 and 4k marks the air was punctuated by bagpipers in the full regalia giving you a little boost as you knew another k was approaching.

Taking advantage of the flatter section the second mile passed in 5:57 – it’s always good to be back in sub 6 territory. Something which I need to do in all races and especially those of a longer distance.

Great Winter Run 5k Course Profile
Excellent screenshot showing the Great Winter Run 5k Course Profile

“What goes up, must come down” is a well-worn saying in running circles but it’s so often apt. Today was no different and in a reversal of the uphill section it was me that was being passed by a few other runners. My short stride just couldn’t up the cadence to take as much of an advantage as the other runners.

However, the combination of downhill, chasing other runners and the crowds along the finishing straight meant the last mile was covered in 5:23. Job done in a fairly respectable 18:43, as ever I’d like a little more.

To finish off, I’d recommend a trip up north as it’s a well-organised race, with great crowds and a brilliant setting of Holyrood park plus the benefit of watching the elites in the afternoon. And not forgetting all the tourist things to do in Edinburgh.

Cleethorpes New Years Day 10k

1st loop - Cleethorpes New Years Day 10k

Just 6 days after the EHH Boxing Day 10k , Katy and I were on our way at just gone 8 am on New Years Day to Cleethorpes. I’m sure most of you know I’m mad but this must be new levels of lunacy even for me.

However, the case for the defence is Katy (wife and also EHH member) is pregnant with our first child, hence I thought I’d take advantage of this fact. Unlike previous New Years Eve’s Katy wouldn’t be drinking, therefore, I stuck to a couple of glasses of wine allowing me to take on the New Years Day 10k at Cleethorpes.

Race day rolled around and the forecast had me questioning this decision. We arrived at The Beachcomber with plenty of time or so I thought. The car park was full but with plenty of side streets, parking wasn’t an issue. It was obvious once we got inside most people must know how busy it is as with almost an hour and a half before the race there was plenty of runners already there.

After a good strong coffee, it was time to warm up. The start is a mile away, therefore, I left Katy to run to the start and get my 2 mile warm up in.

After de-layering, it was time to get near the start line which is down a nondescript residential side. Although the race is on New Years Day the race pays out some decent prize money up to and including tenth place ( If I only I could find a 2 minute 10k PB!) therefore I was expecting it to be busy at the front end.

After a short residential section, the race takes in a short two loop, section. It’s worth noting that this can cause some confusion as the faster runners start lapping and finish loop two they go right. Make sure you go left if you’ve only done 1 loop.

On each loop, once we got back to the sea front I lost time going into the wind. Thankfully this section finished just before 3 miles (5k in 19:07) therefore I was hopeful I could claw some time back in the second half.

3 long roads make up the majority of the second half, not the most scenic but very flat. My only complaint would be a marshal standing next to a path pointing left and then shouting at us for cutting the course short meaning I had to detour back to the road. I know it’s sometimes a thankless task, therefore, I wouldn’t normally complain but all they had to do was stand away from the racing line and at the T junction 2 metres further along.

Cleethorpes New Years 10k FinishAnyway working hard to try and keep sub 6:10 pace before the final three-quarters of a mile back into the biting headwind. I managed to raise the pace for this final section, however, the second 5k was slower covered in 19:27 for a 38:34 fishing time.

Overall considering the unfavourable conditions happy to once again finish in the 38s and only 3 seconds difference between this race and the EHH Boxing Day 10k showing excellent consistency (if a little slower than I’d like!).

Next up Great Winter Run 5k in Edinburgh.

EHH Boxing Day 10k

After a 6-month blog hiatus, I’m back. I’ve been training and racing but for some reason, I’ve neglected writing about it. I’ll rectify that and talk about my racing and training plans for next year in a separate post.

However, for now, I’ll focus on my club’s annual Boxing Day 10k. What better way to burn off some of the Christmas excesses than a 10k right on my doorstep.

An unseasonably mild day greeted the 250 runners making vests the order of the day. The sting in the tail, though (as it often is with this race) would be the headwind down the track leading back to Hull. Having done a couple of miles warm up I knew which direction the wind was coming and therefore decided to go out as quick as possible anticipating the wind holding us back once we turned the corner at Ganstead and starting heading to swine. Also, the Hornsea trail is very exposed and generally as a headwind.

Back to the start and after a short race briefing, we were off. Having been penned into the side a little I managed to find some space and catch up with the second group behind the leaders.

A rapid first mile passed in 5:53, maybe a little fast but knowing this course it was ideal as I knew I’d slow down.

Leader of the pack!

Although the course isn’t uphill, the end of the first mile and second mile does have a slight ascent meaning you have to make sure you carry on working hard to stick to the pace. At this point, we had a group of 5/6 with me leading the bunch. The second mile passed in 6:10, a little off pace with the more difficult sections to come.

As suspected after the turn at Ganstead we were greeted with a wall of wind hence a 6:14 mile and the break up of our group. 5 became 3 with Steve Remmie, Darren Edge and myself.

Running down the Hornsea Trail Track is never my favourite and today’s race was no different. I was trying to share the workload with the aforementioned two however somewhere towards the end of the track I was a good 5 metres back. 6:27 and 6:25 for miles 4 and 5 respectively won’t have helped.

Sprinting for the finish

The last mile skirts past where I live therefore I know this area well. Also, the wind was now in a favourable position meaning it was time to put the hammer down. The final mile covered in 6:13 with the 0.2 in 5:14 pace with the help of a great downhill towards our clubhouse and a battle with another runner to the finish line. I never did catch up to the two ahead.

However on reflection a solid 38:31 for 14th place out of 249 runners is a good way to end the year.