Category Archives: Off-season Updates

Fartlek’n good shoes


I had to ditch my ancient Salomon trail running shoes as they were giving me blisters on the arch of my foot. I bought my new Asics Lahar 4’s from Go Outdoors in Gloucester for a bargain price of £50 (they’re priced at £85 on John Lewis’ online store). They sport the Goretex tag, are fully waterproof, and nice and warm for the coming winter months. I’m sure I don’t need all these winter features for the Stroud Half-Marathon, but I have my eyes on the Bristol Off-Road 10k at the end of October, and I’m sure the trainers will then come in handy in the Alps this winter.

I had planned a monumentous 10 mile run this weekend, from Gloucester’s Warehouse Climbing Centre back to Cheltenham, however my schedule has quickly filled up and I had to resort to a shorter session. I have been reading about “Fartlek training” and am intrigued to see if it can improve my running pace. After a 10 minute jog to warm up, I alternated between a 1 minute walk to 30 second sprint until 15 minutes later when I thought I was having a heart attack. and jogged back to the house.

It’s a short and intense training method and can quite easily be squeezed around my hectic regime of working and rock climbing. The proof will be in the pudding. I’d like to see my average speed on a longer training run move above 6.5 mph. In the mean time, I can confirm that my new shoes haven’t hurt my feet, or knees for that matter. Quite a delightful revelation.

The Battle Continues

As tweeted:

With my warm-up and cool down walks, I fell short of completing the task in one hour, but I am delighted that my cardio-vascular system seems to take all this in it’s stride. My legs, on the other hand, are about to give up the ghost. My quads and calves especially, feel like lead.

I’ve been doing my cool down sessions while watching youtube and have found some great material, for example, I just did this one:

I’ll manage to get a couple more stretch sessions in today, but I’m sure I’ll still struggle to walk downstairs tomorrow.

Stroud Half Marathon

I’ve had a pretty active summer so far. Learning to rock-climb is the activity that has given me the most pleasure, and continues to interest and challenge me. I am near the end of a lead-climbing course, and within a couple of weeks I should be “signed off” as lead-climbing competent. A good friend of mine, James Boosey, will be taking me sport climbing soon which will make a good blog post when it happens.

By far the most physically demanding challenge I have ever undertaken happened to me last week, when I tackled 100 miles off-road cycling. The route, which took us 14 hours, from Windsor to Bath, for the largest part followed an old Roman road called “The Ridgeway”. I’d heard the it was pretty flat and dull, at least that’s what the hardcore mountain bikers had told me previously. Well, unfortunately, the Ridgeway is no gentle cyclepath, but endless farmtracks rolling across the English landscape. I just couldn’t believe the pain we had to endure, and how raw my bum was feeling by the end of it.

In the wake of the torture that was this cycling event, I pondered how much punishment my body could take. Could I re-invent myself as one of those super-healthy middle aged blokes, who, as they get older seem to get fitter and fitter? Well, only one way to find out… I’ve signed up for the Stroud Half Marathon 2012. I have 30 days until the big event, and having previously never run before, this may be a bit of an undertaking!

I jogged for 40 minutes today and found that I averaged about 6 mph, so if I can keep the same pace through my training then an event time of 2 hours 10 minutes isn’t out of the question, I just need to practice running that long. Next training Sunday.