Enigma Need for Speed – 10 weeks to a half marathon PB (Week 9)?

The start of a two week taper period. This week reducing my mileage from just short of 80 to 50. Training as follows:

Week 9 – 49.3 mi ( 6h 13m)

  • Monday – PM:  Easy 5 mi
  • Tuesday – PM: 10.8 mi (0.7 mi warm up + 9.4 tempo + 0.6 mi cool down)
  • Wednesday – PM: 12.1 mi LSR
  • Thursday – Rest Day
  • Friday – AM: 11.3 (3 mi warm up + 5.9 mi – 8 x 800m with 400 m recovery + 2.3 mi cool down)
  • Saturday – Easy 10 (Norfolk)
  • Sunday – Rest Day

As it’s taper time I’m no longer doing double days. Only two key sessions this week and a midweek LSR but none at the weekend as keeping mileage down plus I was at a party on the Saturday and in Liverpool all day Thursday hence 2 rest days.

The Tuesday session was super tough but happy to do just short of 10 only 2 days after a race at an average pace of 6:30.

Fridays intervals were a little slow for each 800m and it was a tough one but as it was midday in the heat I was still happy with the session overall.

Next week is race week so fingers crossed I’m on form come Saturday afternoon.









Enigma Need for Speed – 10 weeks to a half marathon PB (Week 8)?

The second of two 80 mile weeks, just fell short due to two races in one week but still as a solid weeks 75.5 miles training. Training as follow:

Week 8 – 75.5 mi (9h 42m)

  • Monday – PM:  Easy 7.8 mi
  • Tuesday –
    • AM: Easy 5.7 mi XC
    • PM: 7.3 mi (2.2 warm up + 3.1 mi race + 1.9 cool down)
  • Wednesday –
    • AM: Easy 6 recovery run
    • PM: 14.7 LSR
  • Thursday –
    • AM: Easy 4.8
    • PM: 13.1 mi (2.1 mi warm up + 9 mi strength workout: 2 x 4 mi @ 6.30 pace with 1 mil+ 2 mi cool down)
  • Friday -Rest
  • Saturday – Easy 5 pre-race day
  • Sunday – 10.9 mi (1.5 mi pre loosener: 2 hours before + 2 mi warm up + 6.2 mi race + 1 mi cool down)

Several key session if you include the two races which if they aren’t target races then they are classed as very hard tempo efforts (although happy to get a pb or a good performance at least).

Tuesday was the return of the Phil Johnson 5k and after the last race I was confident with more training that I’d hopefully pb. That was the case and a 18:19 during heavy training is very pleasing.

Another big day Wednesday before Thursdays reps which this week was only 2 as they were 4 miles long. With the aid of some music it was very pleasing to be abe to stick to the 6.30 average pace and finish very strong.

A couple of easy days so I was at least a little tapered before the Hull 10k hence packing the miles in at the start of the week. I’d have loved a sub 38 and knew I shoudl be low 38 at the very least. On a twisty course (somebody said there was over 60 turns) and cobbles I was pleased with a 38:05 showing (of course a small part of me wished I’d have been 6 seconds faster).

2 weeks, 1 5k PB, a season’s best 10k (and second fastest ever) and over 150 miles means everything looks like it’s going in the right direction. Now two weeks to taper, next week is 50 miles before a very low week in the run up to the half.







Phil Johnson 5k Series (Race 2)

Getting There

Leaving East Hull around 5 to go across the city to go is never the best idea but the journey to the race should only take 45 minutes and it was due to start at 7 so you would think it would be plenty of time, wouldn’t it? However the old rocker himself Rod Stewart was playing the KC stadium but the bigger issue was the closure of the Humber Bridge due to a to a accident earlier. It started so well leaving at 5 I arrived at Kingston retail park by twenty past for my usual stop of coffee and cake. However it was then that getting back onto the  A63 I realised something was amiss. Checking on Facebook (while stationary I hasten to add) there was messages about the Humber Bridge being closed, it was re-opened again but the knock on effect left lots of stationary traffic. At least I had some substances while it took the 45 minutes to get from English Street to

The race

Phil Johnson 5k (race 2)
Just coming into the finish of race 2 of the Phil Johnson 5k series

Just like the Otley 10 I’d record the race but not look at it until closer to the end. After a short briefing we as off, possibly even a couple of minutes early. There was a lead  group with club mates Robert Weekes and Steve Davey  and unlike the previous I’d try to keep closer order. Although I didn’t hold on for that long it did result in a 5.42 first mile (possible my fastest ever during a race).

By this point we had a good pack of runners and I was shielded  behind 2 Barton runners. Just before the 2 miles point (completed in  5.59) we was joined by City of Hulls Sophie Lee, it now felt like the place was slowing  and I wanted to kick on. I think Sophie at the same thought as she picked up the pace. I tried to go with her but I wasn’t strong enough. However  it did result in a final mile of 5:56 and the final 0.1 mi increasing to a pace of 5:29 for a 00:18:19 PB and 16th place and a new PB. As part of some big miles it’s a very pleasing result.

Hats off to my club mates Robert Weekes finishing 4th in 16:29 and Steve Davey finishing 8th in 00:17:10.


Enigma Need for Speed – 10 weeks to a half marathon PB (Week 7)?

Back on track, I’m looking to do back to back 80 mile weeks. Training as follow:

Week 7 – 82.2 mi (10h 50m)

  • Monday –
    • AM: Easy 4 mi
    • PM:  Easy 10 mi
  • Tuesday –
    • AM: Easy 5 mi
    • PM: Easy 7.7 mi
  • Wednesday – PM: 12  (1.5 mi warm up + 10 mile race + 0.5 mi cool down)
  • Thursday – PM: 10.2 mi (4.2 mi warm up + 4.7 mi hill training + 1.3 mi cool down)
  • Friday -PM: Easy 12.2 mi
  • Saturday – PM: 16 mi LSR (3 mile warm up + 4 x convoluted loops of East park getting faster each loop + 3 mile cool down)
  • Sunday – PM: Easy 5 mi recovery

Week 7 saw the start of my two highest mileage weeks before I begin the taper. The start of the week was all about easy mileage with one eye on Wednesday’s race.

Talking of Wednesday it turned out to be a epic day which you can read about in my Otley 10 race report, to summarise I’m still chasing a 10 mile PB but happy with the race and experience despite traffic and a 18 hour day.

On Thursday for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to do my clubs hill training, probably because I’m not normally in Hull on a Thursday for the club’s session and because my wife was doing hills. Anyway I surprised myself by setting one of my best time for the first 15 minutes completing 9 reps in 14:35  – the really fast lads can do 10 therefore it gives me confidence that one day I might be able to crack 10 in 15 minutes. For the full session I covered 4.7 miles inside 25 minutes which isn’t too shabby even if I do say so myself.

The next key session was Saturday afternoons progressive LSR, after a short warm up, I did loops of our local park getting progressively faster for each loop and even doing a 6:20 mi at one point before a good cool down. The timing of the run and the loops wasn’t by chance but to replicate the 2.30pm start for my half marathon at Milton Keynes consisting of 3 and half loops of a park.

All in all a good week, another couple of them and I’ll be very happy with my form going into the race.





Otley 10

Otley 10 2016 - Start

I ended up doing the Otley 10 as I was looking for a fairly local 10 miler. At the time the Gilberdyke 10 had not been announced and the closest I could find was the Otley 10.

As it turned out on race day I’d be working in Liverpool. At the time this seemed like a good thing (more on that later) as I could come back home via Otley from Liverpool. However it would  mean being at the Liverpool I.T. head office for 9am (so I could leave by 3.30pm). That meant making sure all kit, food etc. was sorted the night before and  alarm set for 5.30am. As it turns out I was up with the birds from around 4.10am eventually giving up and getting up at 5am. The positive side of this I was on the road by 5.30am arriving in Liverpool after a fairly pain free  journey just after 8am.

Fast forward 7 and half hours to start the journey east to Otley. I had 4 hours to travel the 75 miles, surely that would be ample time? I was even hopeful  that I’d have time to try and have a quick nap in the car. As the saying goes “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” ….. I never factored in the 1 and half hours to travel 20/30 miles along the M60. In the end I arrived (admittedly after a coffee and cake stop) in Otley just before 6.30pm.

Warm Up

After a quick change and a look around the HQ (Otley Cricket Club), it was time to get into “race mode”, that meant some dynamic stretches and a 1 to 2 mile warm up. I wasn’t expecting anybody from Hull therefore I was a little surprised when I heard my name being shouted. It won’t come as surprise to many that the originator of the shout was none other than serial racer Rich Harrison (KUHAC).  After finishing my warm up I was able to catch up with him back at the HQ. Also there was another regular racer (now of York Knavesmire Harriers) Stephen Maddison. It was good to see some familiar faces and have somebody to chat to while walking to the start, which was approximately 10 minutes walk away.

Race Time

Otley 10 2016
Racing to get into position at the start of the Otley 10 2016

The Otley 10 doubles up as the Yorkshire 10-Mile Championship therefore I expected some fast times at the pointy end and it was best not to get too carried away with those at the front. Having said that although the start is just off the main road up a slight incline, the route quickly turned left onto the rough track at the side of a busy A road. For that reason it would be a good idea to be quick out of the blocks to ensure a good position once we made the the turn and to avoid being stuck behind slower moving track.

Having checked the course profile briefly (only after Steve Taylor mentioned it might be hilly – it had not occurred to me prior to signing up!), I knew there was too nasty climbs but not entirely sure when. Therefore due to my inability to run uphill with any kind of pace the pre-race plan would be to run as hard as possible (shouldn’t it always be…) and probably crawl up the inclines. Also I decided that I’d record the run but not look at my watch.

Otley 10 Course Profile
The two hills as part of the Otley 10 course
Otley 10 around 3 miles
Looking strong before the hills started

Back to the race and after the initial first left we hugged the left hand side of the busy A659 (Pool Road) for the next 2 miles before thankfully a left over the stunning River Wharfe onto a marginally quieter country road. It wasn’t long before another left turn onto the much rougher but very welcome leathley Lane. The first 3 miles in a fairly decent 19 minutes, not that I knew this at the time. At this point I was wondering where the first incline was as I had expected it by now.

The stunning River Wharfe
The stunning River Wharfe

However I didn’t have long to wait, the inline starts from 3 to 4 miles (slowing to a 6:44 mile) but the real kicker is from mile 4 to 5 and half (you know you’re in trouble when you see a sign that says 16%). At points I was well over 10 minute mile pace. One positive was the glorious view we was rewarded with at the highest point in the race  (just a shame about some very impatient drivers – overtaking in some very dangerous places).

Otley 10 - Second Water Station
Not looking as fresh at the second water station

As the saying goes “what goes up must come down” and for the next mile we can free fall and get back some of the time lost. Around 6.5 miles the second water station was a welcome site before another steep  incline. Again though the reward would be a great view and a mile long descent, probably my favourite part of the race (and fastest mile 5:55) with a group of 4 of us all strung out flying down back into Otley.

The final mile seemed like a real slog with a tricky couple of 90 degree turns before we came back onto the path along the main street through Otley. I would recommend making yourself aware of the route to the finish as I made a school boy error. I could see the ASDA and cricket club which I thought would lead to the finish therefore I started to pick up the pace aware that there was a runner not too far behind, however we went past the entrance to the cricket club before a left turn afterwards and then around the field (similar to Walkington 10k) to the finish. After my false kick this time I made sure I saved a little and didn’t kick too soon to make sure the runner just behind stayed there. Happy with 67:18 for 42nd place out of 367 place. Excellent runs by Stephen Maddison (16th in 62:55) and Rich Harrison (137th in 77:40 ).

Each runner received a fine bottle of Ale (it was a blonde which isn’t my favourite so the welcome recipient was my wife) plus with the cricket club bar and a BBQ outside what more could you want.






Enigma Need for Speed – 10 weeks to a half marathon PB (Week 6)?

This week was always going to be a rest week and with getting poorly the timing was perfect. However I did have two 10k races planned. Training as follow:

Week 6 – 50.1 mi (6h 24m)

  • Monday – Enforced rest
  • Tuesday – PM: 8.5 mi (1.8 mi warm up + 10k race + 0.4 mi cool)
  • Wednesday – AM: Easy 5 recovery run
  • Thursday – AM: Easy 6 pre work in Liverpool
  • Friday –
    • AM: Easy 4
    • PM: Easy 7.7
  • Saturday – PM: Easy 5 (pre race day)
  • Sunday –
    • AM: 11 mi (1.9 mi warm up + 10k race + 0.9 mi cool down)
    • PM: Easy 4.8 mi recovery run

Monday wasn’t supposed to be a rest day but after cutting previous days long run short I was substantially under the weather Monday therefore thought it was best to take a rest day rather than the 8 miles easy I had planned.

Summer Leagues returned on Tuesday with gale force winds forecast for the day. They never materialised however the wind was particularly prevalent for the first  3 miles. To say I was off form is an understement, finishing  in over 40 minutes – the full write up is available in my Leven 10k post.

After Tuesday I spent the rest of the week just getting the miles in. I was out in Liverpool Wednesday night anyway therefore training was always going to be curtailed somewhat.

Sunday was another 10k, this time Woodhall Spa 10k, I wasn’t feeling 100% but much better than I had at the start of the week. Hopefully I’d get a chance to redeem myself and set a better benchmark for the 10k. I wont go into too ,uch detail as you can read about it in my report. However a sub 39 showing was more like it.

Not my greatest week due to recovering from a cough, however a solid week in the end and looking forward to next weeks 80+ mile week.



Woodhall Spa 10k

MIke p, Me, Danny W at Woodhall Spa 10k 2016

After Tuesday’s sufferfest at the Leven 10k, I was hoping for redemption at Woodhall Spa 10k. I gave myself a few goals just to make sure I could be flexible come race time.

  • Sub 40
  • Sub 39
  • Sub 38
  • Dreamland would be a new PB

The last two were probably overly optimistic and I would have only been marginally happy with a sub 40. I really wanted 38 something and preferably the lower end but I’d have to see how I’d recovered.

Pre race day and training was getting back to normal, I scrapped Thursday hard session in a bid to be fully recovered for this race. Post runs I was still coughing but overall much better than Monday/Tuesday. One thing I did get enough of was sleep, Saturday night pre-race I was falling asleep pre 9 o’clock therefore asleep well before half past and waking up at around 5.30am. This isn’t that unusual for me although I normally go to be closer to 10pm.

Race day – pre race

Running gear was set up the night before therefore race day was the usual pint of water and porridge with berries and some sunflower seeds (and probably a little honey). The race wasn’t until 11:15am but we did need to travel the 1 and half hours to get to Woodhall Spa. Steve T was picking me up at 8:20am and then two others (Danny W and Mike P) making 4 from our club in Steve’s car. Thanks as ever for Steve who is one of my regular chauffeurs!

Warm Up

After parking up and a short walk to the park and caravan park it was a case of using the facilities and then waiting to warm up. It was still only 10:15am therefore I wanted to wait 20 to 25 minutes. Conveniently next to the toilets was a cricket ground and I was able to do laps of the field for a 2 mile warm up inc. a few drills and dynamic stretches (a proper warm up routine is something I need to work on).

Sufficiently warmed up it there was a short walk to the start. Out of the 4 of us, 3 would be going for around the 38:30 mark. I didn’t want to start to rapid considering the recent week therefore I was happy to let the others set the pace and just drop in behind (in hindsight was that ever going to happen!).

The first mile took us out to Reeds Beck before the first left turn, the three of us plus several others covered that in a decent 6.04. Ideally I’d keep this pace for the full race but with the greatest will in the world this seemed unlikely.

The second mile skirts Halstead Wood with a minor right curve. We were still on pace with a 6.08, however I could sense Mike P (and possibly Danny W) was struggling and the group was starting to splinter. Rather than sit in I made the decision to try and go with the group ahead (so much for going with the flow!). At this point I dropped Mike P and I thought Danny W. However after less than half a mile Danny was back and we ran for the majority of the race.

At 2.5 miles another left turn at to go past Stixwould Wood and on into Stixwould proper with the third mile dropping to 6:12 – not too bad but ideally I wouldn’t let it drop any further.

38:51 - Woodhall Spa 10k 2016
Sprint finish for 38:51 at the Woodhall Spa 10k 2016

However I obviously wasn’t fully fit (the post run coughing fit would be testament to that) and miles 4 and 5 were 6:23 and 6:26 – there is no way I’m not strong enough to maintain a better pace than that. The recent Summer League races with the exception of Leven prove that. At the 4 mile mark we passed   Stixwould  before another left turn to start heading back to Woodhall Spa.

It was at 5 miles when Danny started to pull away, this is normally when I can put a fast final mile in but today the legs just wasn’t responding. A final right turn around 5.25 miles leads us back to the park. Pace for mile 6 was 6:31. I did at least manage a final sprint for the line averaging 5:35 for the final 0.2 miles. It helped that the finish is just inside the caravan park with all the spectators.

Overall happy with 38:51 for 57th place out of just over a 1000 runners. Impeccable organisation and it helped that we had a gorgeous sunny day.






Summer League Race 4 – Leven 10k

With a 10k PB of 37:35 set on this course last year and decent results set at the previous 3 races I had high expectations for this race. However the story of this race starts 4 days prior.

A lesson in listening to your body

On the Saturday prior I had a tough session planned, 13 miles with 8 progressive (inc 3 at Parkrun). The day before I did seem to be developing a bit of a cough but didn’t think too much of it. Saturdays run started well with a good 3 mile warm up followed by the main part of session starting at 7:20 per mile and taking 10 seconds off per mile for 8 miles. For the main part regular training partner Danny Wilson had joined me.

The first 5 miles were pretty close to the required pace if not just a tiny fraction fact. However the final 3 miles was worked out to coincide with parkrun therefore after a short rest we forgot about pace and just went for it. I should be able to do sub 6:30 fairly comfortably but after the initial 6.11 I dropped off to 6,21 then 6.44. The slowest of the 3 coming last when I should have been going at my fastest. I just assumed that I was a little fatigued from the week and therefore didn’t think too much of it  – maybe the post run coughing fit should have been a clue!

Roll on Sunday the plan was 12 mile LSR with one eye on this race (Leven 10k) the following Tuesday. My legs did seem awfully tired but I assumed this was due to the previous days hard session. I’d just shuffle round and get the miles in. However after just 2/3 miles I knew something wasn’t right. By mile 4 I was barely under 9 minute miling when normally for long runs I’d be in the range of 7:30 to 8:00. I decided to call it a day and head home but of course the quickest way home meant running therefore I ended up doing 6.8miles instead of the 12.

By the end of Sunday the cough had developed considerably and only two days before one of my races of the year. On Monday I dropped the easy 8 in an effort to recover before Tuesday.

Race Day

On Tuesday it was clear that I still wasn’t right. Of course us runners are not can be a little stubborn and I decided that I’d run anyway and just try and get a half decent time (partly because for various reasons I haven’t run a 10k this year). Based on the recent 4 and 5 miler fully fit I’d expect somewhere around 38:30. Surely I could at least break 40?

The forecast also wasn’t being my friend with winds expected to be well into double figures, most people agreed this would be for the first 3 miles, at which point we turn around and head back to Leven. On the plus side it wasn’t cold.

The 1.8 /mi warm up didn’t feel too bad – maybe the legs didn’t feel as zippy as I’d have liked but nothing too untoward (apart from the cough after stopping!).

Onto the race and after a very short wait we was off. First mile passing in a fairly rapid 6:10, maybe a little fast considering the wind however originally I would have hoped to average close to 6 minute miling. The usual group was around and although nobody put their foot down I started to go out the back door. After a mile and half  you reach Brandesburton and the first left turn I was on my own and struggling.

The next mile and half takes you towards Burshill and although its a slight incline and with the wind, none of that would have woudl justify the drop off in pace. After mile 1 the next two were completed in 6:30 and 6:43.

I still clung onto the hope that once we made the next left turn and started back for Leven I’d be able to claw back something from somewhere. Alas even with a slight downhill and the better of the wind I could only bring it back to 6:30. Any determination and energy was long since gone. By this point I was willing it to be over. Around 4 miles I was passed by a couple of runners I’d normally comfortably beat these days. Miles 5 and 6 passed in a agonisingly slow 6:42 and 6:44.

I finally finished in 40:47 for 35th place (over 10 places higher than normal in what was a lower turnout than normal). It was however a seasons best therefore at least I’d have something to beat 5 days later at Woodhall Spa 10k.


Enigma Need for Speed – 10 weeks to a half marathon PB (Week 5)?

Just missed my target volume of 70 miles for the week, more on why later. First off here is this weeks training schedule:

Week 5 – 71 mi (8h 54m)

  • Monday – Easy  5.7 XC
  • Tuesday –
    • AM: Easy 4 mi For the
    • PM: 11.5 mi (10 tempo plus warm up and cool down)
  • Wednesday – 11 Midweek LSR
  • Thursday – Rest day
  • Friday –
    • AM: Easy 3.6
    • PM: Easy 10
  • Saturday – 12.5 /mi – 8 mile cutdown (2.8 /mi warm up + 8 miles starting at 7:20 and cutting down by 10 seconds every mile to finish on 6:10 + 1.5 /mi cool down)
  • Sunday – 6.8 /mi LSR – Cut short!

This week’s key sessions was Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday. The week started off well with my tempo run completed in 65:08 which for 10 miles is pretty much race pace. Plus the session was on my own without any music in the cold, wind and wet. On a better day with company I reckon that will be under 65.

Saturday started well but I had started to develop a cough, however like all good runners I decided to ignore it. For the “cutdown” the first 5 miles was close to the correct pace. The last 3 miles was at parkrun therefore after a short break it was a case of ignoring whatever the prescribed pace was (6:30. 6:20, 6:10) and just go for it. As it turns out what should have been the fastest 3 miles of the session were anything but. I was feeling extremely fatigued and by the last mile I went down the gears and strolled in (but not into the finish as I didn’t want to register a slow’ish time). The splits below tell the story perfectly:

  • 07:15
  • 07:06
  • 06:56
  • 06:47
  • 06:49
  • 06:11
  • 06:21
  • 06:44

It wasn’t until Sunday’s LSR that the wheel reallys came off. The intention was to do 12 miles, however within a few miles I knew the legs weren’t just fatigued. In the end I did 6.8 averaging 8:44 and decided that rest and recovery would be better than trying to finish the session.

Thankfully the coming week is a lower mileage week giving me opportunity to recovery. The only stumbling block is I do have two 10ks, 1 of which is a Summer League on Tuesday on the course when I set my current PB. I had hoped to set a sub 38 like last year.


Enigma Need for Speed – 10 weeks to a half marathon PB (Week 4)?

Week 4 and the mileage is stacking up. Another good week which you can see below.

Week 4 – 71 mi (8h 54m)

  • Monday – Easy  8 – run home from work
  • Tuesday – 8.8 (4 hard – Summer League  Race 3 – East Park 4 plus 2.7 mi warm up and 2 mi cool down)
  • Wednesday –
    • AM: 3.5 mi XC recover run
    • PM: 11.9 midweek LSR
  • Thursday – Hard 10.2 – tempo run (2 mi warm up + 7 @ 6.30 or faster plus 1.2 mi cool down)
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday – 13 /mi – Progressive 20s – 20 minute warm up, 20 minutes @ 7.00 Min /mi, 20 minutes @ 6.30 Min /mi, 20 minutes @ 6.00 Min /mi (yeah right!) plus cool down.
  • Sunday – 15 /mi LSR

A solid week’s training with some decent volume and harder sessions. The key workouts were Tuesday’s race, Thursday and Saturday.

Although I was a little disappointed with the race and not dipping under 24, I have to be pleased with the fact that I’m racing close to an average pace of low 6 minute miling for that majority of short races. This puts me pretty much back to the same place this time next year. I just hope that I can now push on and break some of the times I set last year.

The most pleasing run was Thursday’s tempo run. Run entirely on my own in wet conditions, it was tough but good at the same time.

Saturdays progressive run wasn’t quite as good. The first two faster 20 minutes went pretty much to plan but then the lack old sleep and fatigue kicked in.

Next week plan is pretty much a repeat of this. Hopefully I’ll break 140 miles for the two weeks.,