Sunday, 28 June 2009


Disaster struck this week as I attempted to shave my head using some clippers - 8 months without a visit to the barbers appears to encourage birds to nest. Unfortunately my idiots guide to electricity was unavailable and so I burnt out the motor on the clippers halfway through. Finding a maggot in your food and equipment failure mid hair cut - both better not started than half finished. I would like to thank all the people who waited until my hair was cut before they told me that they liked it the way it was before. Thanks for nothing.

I managed to get in 33 miles of running this week and the knee problem seems to have cleared up. Don't get me wrong they still hurt like buggery, but only in the usual way. Assuming no further accidents it looks like all systems are go for the British Veterans National Track Championships next weekend.

Since my last post I've fallen off the waggon repeatedly and, as is typical, had a really good time each and every time. Can something that is so good be so bad, I wonder. When it comes to serious training it's definitely true so I will be reverting to my monk-like behaviour from now on. Apart from the night out on the 10th of July perhaps....

Friday, 19 June 2009

The Insanity Of The Sensible

No point getting old without getting wise I suppose, so I haven't run since last saturday. After a couple of days rest the knee actually got worse - a strange form of sod's law if you ask me. Since then it has gradually improved to the point where I'll start running again on sunday assuming I haven't succumbed to the inevitable beforehand and drowned myself in ale.

Many would argue that an enforced mid-season break is a good thing - they of course being idiot soldiers of the silver lining brigade with their leg in plaster. Personally, I have found it incredibly frustrating - to the point where I almost applied the universal rule of "fuck it" and laced them up anyway. The Veteran National Championships are on the 4th and 5th of July so this break has come at just about the worst time possible. Still, maybe an enforced mid-season break is a good thing.......

In the meantime I have given some thought to some alternative forms of income as it seems that my tenants believe paying rent is a contractual option and the sponsorship / prize money will take a while before it is rolling in (a while meaning never, of course). So, I have decided to do some tennis coaching - a few hours a week being sufficient without actually feeling like a job. As an extra supplement I have also started some "private equine investing" which keeps a bit of cash flow rolling in, just like the old days.

I'll confess there was a brief moment this week where I considered an adult occupation once again, just after I'd got out of the passenger seat of this thing:

Friday, 12 June 2009

Wagon Sores - 6 Months On

Wednesday was a day of note for a couple of reasons. Firstly I ran my first track 1500m and secondly it signified 6 months since my last alcoholic drink.

While the latter seems little to celebrate the achievement has to be measured against the fact it's the first time I have gone that long since my first proper drink at 15 - which involved half a bottle of Teachers whisky and a tour-of-the-town pukefest. My reason for stopping was purely to facilitate training and because I was getting a bit fed up of 4 day hangovers. What started off as easy, just got easier until the nice weather arrived. Just lately however, there has been a bit of the green-eyed monster as I walk past beer gardens. Unfortunately I come from the Magnus Magnusson school of drinking - I've started so I'll finish -and I'd end up being wheeled out of there.

Good job I have the running to concentrate on. I ended up having 4 days off running because of my knee injury, at the end of which I had developed a nervous tick and a bad case of tourettes. It was a case of run or go insane so I did an easy 4 miler on tuesday and raced the 1500m on wednesday night. Initially I had planned to run the 400m also but felt that would be pushing my luck.

The race itself posed an interesting challenge. I have done no VO2 max or faster training yet my natural 'talents' lie towards the faster end of things. I decided to play safe and ignore the other runners and try and run an even paced 4:25 to open up the season. Unfortunately, in my ignorance this meant the humiliation of trailing at least 10 metres behind the other 12 runners for 2 laps. The good news is that I ran the last 800m in about 2:11 and worked myself up to a semi-respectable 7th place in 4:14.10. Pretty happy with that, particularly as in hindsight I could have afforded to go a fair bit quicker in the first half of the race. Now it's out of the way I can aim for more aggressive splits in the future.

Now it's a case of waiting to see what the knee decides to do next as it's behaving very strangely!

Friday, 5 June 2009

2009 Split Into Pieces

In 2009 I arrived late at the party with regards to running - fortunately not wasted and covered in sick like I would have a few years ago. So this year, although I am following a plan that periodises my season, it is one that's necessarily abbreviated starting in February and ending in September.

The concept is the same as a full season in that it's split into blocks, each building on the previous and each introducing a new training emphasis while maintaining the previous. The theory behind this being that it will lead to an utterly heroic peak come the end, while reaching said peak in a safe and progressive way. Let's ignore the fact that I appear to have fucked my knee up yesterday and temporarily ignore the slings and arrows of real life which get in the way of cunningly planned theory.

The season is divided as follows:

Phase Length Emphasis

Prep: 4 weeks. Conditioning body to volume
Base 1: 4 weeks. Building mileage, maximise long run, slow tempo work.
Base 2: 4 weeks. Maintain mileage, slow / medium tempo work.
Base 3: 4 weeks. More medium tempo work, greater emphasis on basic speed.
Threshold: 5 weeks. Fast tempo work and increasing basic speed, some repetitions.
VO2 Max: 5 weeks. Intervals and repetition work.
Peak: 4 weeks. Heaviily reduced mileage and races.
Post: A Few Days. Getting wasted and eating McDonalds.

It is advisable to modify your training paces every 4 weeks or so as the body will frequently take that long to adapt, and also to take advantage of increase fitness. To do so I run a race at least every 4 weeks and derive new training paces from those performances (based on a 5k time or a 5k equivalent time).

Needless to say none of this matters when you are sitting with your heavily iced knee, overdosing on anti-inflammatories with your leg elevated on a beanbag. What do I know....