Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Different 127.0.0.1

Dear reader,

Please visit me at my new blog location at:
http://paranoidandrunning.wordpress.com

I look forward to seeing you there!
Best regards 0x5f

Thursday, 11 June 2015

New habits to improve my core

All new habits start with the first time you do something.

Two factors are important if I am to make a new habit stick. The first is - obviously - to repeat the actions in the new habit. How many days an action needs to be repeated is still under heavy debate (check this article), but the habit must become part of a routine. The second factor is that it needs to be only a small deviation from the stuff I normally do. The greater the deviation from my existing habits, the smaller the chances that the new habit will stick. Today, I started forming a new habit.

The reason for my doing this, is that in my preparations for doing a whole marathon in 2016, I need to work on three things. I specified these in an earlier post. These things are Food, Core Strength and Sleep. Food and sleep are subject for a different post.


Improving core strength is a well-documented process on the Internet and many blogposts and Pinterest pins deal with the way to work on a six-pack. All this documentation shows the great number of ways to strengthen a runner's core. The most obvious way would be to use body-weight exercises (such as sit-ups).  Because I am not a very strong swimmer, I decided to spend more time in the swimmingpool and work on my core, while improving my swimming skills.

This started last Wednesday. Instead of doing my long-ish (12K) steady distance run, I ran to the local swimming pool (3,5K) and incorporated a 16 minute swim in my morning-routine. After the swim, I ran another 5,5K on my way back home. I loved the experience and doing a relatively early swim (I was in the water by 8:40) allowed me the space of a near empty pool.

There were just two points of improvement. For one, I did my run to and from the pool with my towel in my hand (yes, I do realize that it is important to at all times know where your towel is, but running while holding it is hardly relaxing). The second point is the fact that I lacked swimming goggles while trying to do freestyle swimming. As the trick of this stroke is to keep the body level with the water, it helps to be able to see under water.

To remedy these two minor points, I visited the local all-sports-shop and invested in two items. A pair of swimming goggles and a running pack to help me carry the stuff I need for the swimmingpool and allow me to do a medium-length run. Though there are many excellent and very expensive options for both products, I decided to go for cheaper versions first to see how well I like them.

Once I was in the pool, I was amazed at how good the swim felt. The first thing I need to work on is my freestyle stroke. The laps I did were in breast-stroke and though this works well, I assume (and need to figure this out) that freestyle swimming has greater corestrength benefits.

Obviously, adding a different leg to my workout regime offers excellent new stats. My Garmin impressed me by automagically determining the laps I did (with an error-margin of two, because I altered my stroke at two moments). After sixteen 25M laps, I left the pool to continue with my run. The fact that my legs were somewhat heavy from the swim and my body was tired added something to the run and I enjoyed it more than I usually enjoy my morning runs.

Coming wednesday, I will be trying out my goggles, to see how hard freestyle stroke swimming is. To be continued.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Five years in barefoot shoes and some new gear

Going the distance
Nine years ago, I picked up running in an effort to get a little fitter than I was. My weight was not too healthy and it would be good to loose some of the belly-fat I had accumulated over the years. Though I had tried to get into the habit of running years earlier, I had never found the right method to make it easier. That was until the Couch 2 5K programs hit the internet. Doing one of those programs, I went from 0 to 5K in about 13 weeks.

It was in the first two to three years of running, that I started to read increasing numbers of blogposts on barefoot shoes. Many were sparked by the McDougall book Born to Run. Obviously, I had to read the book - reading opinions is good, and it is even better to know the material that these opinions are based on - and I found it an excellent and inspiring read (watch the TEDx talk by the author here). It inspired me to such an extent, that I visited both my physiotherapist and a doctor specializing in feet to see if there was any reason why I should not give minimalist running a try.

In the summer of 2010, visiting London with the Missus and the young Padawan (peacefully sleeping in his pram), I bought my first pair of Vibram Fivefingers (KSO). Over the next nine months, I steadily built up the number of K's in those shoes, resulting in my throwing out my no longer comfortably overpadded Asics Kayano 15 shoes. While doing this, I realized that migrating back to 'regular' running shoes would take the same amount of time as it did getting used to running with only a thin layer of rubber below my feet.

This May marked the 5-year aniversary of my barefoot running habit. Looking back, I am amazed at the fact that I have been running for 9 years of my life. I am amazed even more, that it has been five years since I went through this major change in running habits and that I have been running 'barefoot' longer than I have been running in regular shoes. Gradually, running without padding has shifted from this novelty that I used to read about in blogs to a 4-runs per week habit. I never expected to, but I seem to be able to stick to the habit and go the distance in barefoot shoes.

New gear

Some time ago, my age came to stand for the answer to life, the universe and everything. In this year I am going to train for the same distance as my age in K's and this has serious consequences for my running gear. It is always good to buy new gear and over the last couple of weeks, I have bought several pieces.

The main bit of kit I bought are my shoes. My previous shoes, a pair of Bikila's that I have retired upon completing my last half in the beginning of March, lasted approximately 1600 K's. In the three months that I have been running in my new Bikila's, I have done approximately one third of that distance.

Today, I received the my two pairs of VFF Komodo Sport in the mail. Among other things, they enable me to alternate between pairs of shoes when required - e.g. in situations where they have not yet completely dried because of the upcoming warm weather.

In an effort to better my ways in three areas of life (food, core strength and sleep), I have been taking several (mini)steps. One of these is the effort to get a better idea of how much (or little) I currently sleep. To get a better view on this, I decided to invest in an activity tracker. Though there are many options in this respect, I went for the Garmin Vivofit 2. This type and brand nicely integrates with the Garmin Connect webapp I use to track my runs with my - eternally great - Garmin Fenix 3.

Looking at the trend of the previous four weeks, I realise the need for more sleep and this has led me to attempt two things. Though I do not always have the possibility, I try to go to bed earlier. In addition, wherever possible, I try to take the opportunity to take naps. These count for the total sleep-time in a day.

Finally, as increasing the number of K's per week is an essential part of marathon training, I found that it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the balance between running the K's and recovering from them between runs. Though their effectiveness is still under debate, and - more importantly - though the Missus seriously refuses to walk anywhere near me when I am wearing them, I have invested in a pair of compression socks. As soon as I have experimented with these a bit, I will post my experiences. Possibly, I am overdoing things by subconsciously limiting my ideal of minimalist running to the thickness of my with soles, rather than taking things simple and going running with just my shoes and my Garmin.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Running through Paris

One of the great things about running, is that you get to see the places you visit on trips from a different angle, than visiting them in the regular touristy way. You are no longer the tourist that joins the flock to gawk at one single site, while wading through the obligatory groups of street-vendors and other helpful people trying to separate from your belongings. No one can tell you are a tourist - the shirt from any large international (half) marathon says nothing about your nationality. In this way, I try to collect all sorts of international tracks in my GPS logs.

These past couple of days, the Missus, the young padawan and I have been in Paris for a touristy trip. Main goals of this trip was to take in the sights, enjoy the food and further the traveling-skills of our little one. Having done the most obvious spots on days one and two, I went for a run in the morning of day three. In our walks of days one and two, I got to know the streets a bit and based on these scouting missions, online-research and the Missus' invaluable knowledge of the city, I was able to piece together a route.

You need to have a route in mind before you start your 14+ K run in an unknown city and plan to leave the house at 6:00 in the morning, so as to have the rest of the day to explore the city some more.

I left the place we stayed in and ran on the almost empty streets toward Pont de Sully to cross from the north bank to the south, across Ille Saint-Louis. From there, I followed the south-bank towards the Eiffel-tower, passing famous landmarks enjoying the morning-rest and bathing in the morning-sun. Not far after passing the Notre Dame cathedral, the road that is level with the river Seine is reserved for pedestrians - and paved - and becomes ideal for runners. Needless to say, I was not the only one running at that ungodly hour. Just before I would reach the Eiffel-tower, the dedicated pedestrian path ended and I decided to return to our apartment (Continuing my trip would probably end in injury if I unwisely increase my weekly number of K's too quickly.

Only few things taste better after a longish run than a freshly baked croissant and a home-brew cup of coffee.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Ishmael call me you can

-= Tempting fate =-
Being a literature-geek, I cannot help but read and re-read Moby Dick. However, the complexity of the book makes me realize that I in no way thoroughly know the book. Yet, references to aspects and lessons in the book keep surfacing in everyday life. In fact, I often realize that I need to keep my big mouth shut as soon as I recognize a Moby Dick reference in real life that I do not want to bore the people around me with too much. (I guess I learned my lesson in the pub, when friends kept telling me to shut up about Shakespeare and drink the beers that were still in front of me.)

Yet, there is one Moby Dick reference that struck me some time ago and stuck with me over the last couple of weeks. As it is a running-related reference - I cannot wait to describe it here.

Over the previous years, I have experienced a variety of minor and not so minor injuries. These have had various causes, many of which have in some way to do with training too much or to heavily. At least one occasion was thanks to my own stupidity. Starting in December, I gradually increased the number of weekly K's and have kept up building after having done the race I started preparing for. I am currently testing if I have found my "sweet spot" at approximately 42 K per week.

Looking back at the build up in number of K's, I realized that I have not been injured once in over six months - OK, that's jinxed to sh.t in one sentence. This realization reminded me of chapter 23 in Moby Dick, where Melville describes how the greatest danger resides just off the lee shore, where a ship is in danger of great damage. Being on land - comparable to not running at all - is the safest option (but then, who would want to be safely on land?). Being just out of port - doing a limited number of K's and only just getting your body used to the activity - will cause the most injury. Being out in the gale, away from rocks that might split the hull of the ship - having passed the point where your body needs to get used to doing larger distances - might be safer than taking it slow and going for short runs.

Now I totally understand if you are not up to speed with Moby Dick and/or have trouble following my train of thought. The idea I tried to explain just now is  phrased in slightly different words by an other great character - who approaches Ishmael's greatness in a different type of classic.

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back 

Obviously this is a totally far-fetched figment of my imagination, but I enjoy relating everyday trivialities to literary classics.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Minimalism


-= Only my Garmin =-
Last weeks trainings were wet - a medium-heavy shower was a common sight during my runs - so most of the time, I chose to leave my phone at home. The only thing I had with me was my Garmin. It felt very refreshing to not have to drag around a ton of additional gear. No HRM-strap, phone, phone-armband, and headphones. No waiting for Runkeeper to find a satellite fix, no spoken hints telling my my average pace and heart-rate and no music. Though I love Zombies Run Game to bits, it is good to run without the distraction of the full cast of the game in my ears for an hour or somewhat less. With just my Garmin on these runs, I ran empty-handed, and I loved it.

Last week, when I started running with my new Garmin (Fenix 3), I added my MIO strap to my running gear and it still was very minimalistic running.

-= Fenix 3 =-
There are currently some signals (specifically on the Garmin forums and the
DCRainmaker comments pages) that the Fenix 3 is still somewhat inaccurate in
keeping location and pace. This is - in my view - a problem that is common among the latest and greatest gear published by a technology vendor that will be solved with upcoming firmware updates, no doubt. At any rate, it is the best piece of kit I have ever bought for running. Compared to my trusty old Forerunner 205, tracking is spot-on. In addition, the great features of the Forerunner are still there. The not so great features have been thoroughly improved.

With a view on the topic below, I will need to start ignoring the recovery time feature of the watch, as I will not be able to recover for 72 hours from today's run, with a 10 K LSD coming up tomorrow. I take some comfort in the DCRainmaker post, saying that it is recovery time between hard workouts. Tomorrow is a mellow (and even then overstating it) recovery run.


-= Change of schedule =-
Over the last two weeks, I have been doing four runs per week (tomorrow's run completing the two-week streak), rather than my customary three. This new schedule is to test how my body will hold up with doing runs without at least one recovery-day between them. As soon as I will start the marathon schedule - somewhere near the end of September -, I will need to do more than three runs per week, and I like getting used to things early.

My regular runs were on Wednesdays (easy runnings after having brought the young padawan to school), Fridays (a heavy run after having worked hard for a week) and Sundays (always time for a run after a good lie-in). In order to limit the number of evening-runs, my new schedule will consist of runs on Wednesday (daytime), Thursday (evening), Saturday (daytime) and Sunday (daytime). Should this plan come together (and I love it when it does that) this will allow me to prepare for the upcoming 42K run, without it taking over my life completely.

On the four days, I plan to be doing the following runs. Should this not work as well as a prepared schedule, I will follow the schedule instead.

* a short tempo-run (6-8 K),
* a short-ish recovery run (10K),
* an interval run (8-10 K)
* a Long Steady Distance on a Sunday, starting at 10 K (and increasing this as the schedule progresses).

Tomorrow marks the end of the second week I tried this schedule and I am very positive so far. The only slight discomfort I had was in the sides of my calves and that disappeared with a couple of evenings with a cold pack.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Saying Bye to the old and Hi to the new gear

-= The old =-
In October 2014, I began to consider replacing my Garmin Forerunner 205. I bought this watch in June 2008 and it was an old model at the time. After almost seven years of medium-hard use and wear, it was time to replace my old companion of approximate 5500K's worth of runs. At first I felt guilty about replacing something that was still good and functional enough. Over the last couple of months, I noticed that the rubber buttons on the sides had become so worn that they were no longer water-proofing the watch. In addition, - and I am not too certain if this is a defect of the Forerunner or a different issue - I found that in the last couple of weeks, several runs did not fully upload to Garmin Connect and Garmin Training Center (only partial tracks were uploaded, though the data was present on the Forerunner). I got used to the idea of replacing my trusted Garmin with a newer model.

-= The New =-
I am not one to spend money lightly or to buy things on a whim. Having many chats with many runners about many sports-watches and reading all the relevant reviews on the excellent DCRainmaker blog, I found several options. One of these was the Polar M400 watch that was to be released later in October 2014.

In January 2015, I got the opportunity to test the Polar M400 for about a month and thoroughly enjoyed using it. However, I could not get used to the completely different logic of the watch, as opposed to the way my Garmin worked. What was more pressing was the fact that at that time I could not train the way I was used to: using pace-zones. The Polar Flow webapp did not allow pace-zones to have less than 1K between them. This resulted in a huge differences between my slow pace zone and my fast pace zone. After I had decided to again go for a Garmin, rather than a Polar, this issue was fixed in the Polar Flow web app.

After another extensive search on various manufacturer's websites and the DCRainmaker Blog, I decided to go for the Garmin Fenix 3 watch. This was yet to be released, but the specs, robustness, features and the fact that it is a Garmin, made me decide to order it as soon as it would be available. The price is much higher than the Polar watch I had earlier identified as serious contender. In fact, I could get approximately 4 M400 watches for one Fenix 3. Still, it ticked many of the boxes on my wish-list.

Today, after a long wait, I went and collected my Fenix 3. It is a very sleek watch that is very easy to configure, pair and adjust. Because I had already had my run today, I could not go straight outside and do a test-run. However, though the weather promises to be blustery, I will do my first run with it tomorrow.

-= Plans =-
On one of my long runs, not too many weeks ago, I got to talking with a fellow runner. It was obvious from his pace, gait, the location where we were both running and the gear he was carrying that - like me - he had been running for a while and was not nearly finished with his training. He told me that he was training for a half Ironman in Australia this May. This got me inspired and thinking about this type of event. Should I ever feel the itch to do something similar - way out of my comfort zone as I am not a very strong swimmer - I will at least have the multi-sports watch to help me train for it :-D.

However, should I ever get around to doing that, it will be years from now. My plans for 2015 and 2016 are slowly becoming clearer still. As I discussed earlier, I will be doing the Amsterdam Half in October. Possibly I will sign up for the Haarlem Half in September. This will have resulted in two to three halves in 2015. The Amsterdam Half will hopefully mark the start of my marathon training - I will try to get into the 2016 London marathon or else the 2016 Shakespeare marathon in Stratford. In addition to these races, several runner-colleagues and I are getting enthusiastic about forming a team to participate in the 600+k relay RoParun 2016, going from Paris to Rotterdam in three days. This will be a major project and we are not sure about the feasibility of it, Still, it will be good to see how far we will get preparing for it.

Should my body still function by that time, and should I then not be reduced to tears every time I think of running, I might want to sign up for the Amsterdam whole in 2016. If I am fortunate enough to finish the 2015 half in October, I will have done this race three times. It might be fun to make it whole by adding the 21K to the AMS half, that - on the map and in the stories and blogposts - look mind-numbingly boring.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Don't Panic

-= 42 =-
Coming June will mark the 9 years anniversary of my running habit. It will also have marked the 42nd year of my life. This year also marks the time when I become part of the elite group whose age represents the answer to life, the universe and everything. This combination of factors has made me decide to go and try a race that incorporates this answer - to which there is no question yet - in 2016.

-= Which race? =-
One of the first things someone will tell you on this topic is that you will need to just sign up for a race and work towards it. There are only two races that I could possibly choose between for a first marathon.
The problem is that I will need to choose between the two as they are held at the same time,  approximately 108 miles apart. The one is the London marathon. The other one is the Shakespeare marathon - though this sadly appears to have no link with the person who gave the run its name. Both have obvious advantages and disadvantages - availability of starting positions being one of them.

-= Work to be done =-
With the training I had so far and the races I have done and planned for this year, I feel that at least one of the aspects - the running bit - is covered. I will be taking about six months to build up to the distance. There are three additional areas that require serious work before I am ready to do the required 42K.

- Food
With the number of K's I have been doing in the previous months, I have lost more weight than I should have. Though my BMI is still well on the healthy side, the fact that I will increase the number of K's will require attention. Besides the fact that I don't want to end up looking like an emaciated junkie, I will need to train my body to do some stuff - burn fat while running, digest particular types of food during a run and retaining energy and using it over a distance of 42K.

I look forward to trying all sorts of foods - as long as it's more than I am taking in now.

- Core strengt
The emaciated junkie look is not too far away off at the moment. All around I keep reading that core strength is extremely important when running ridiculous distances. Additionally, the Missus will not mind a slightly more chiseled body on her husband :D. There are plenty so-called short-cuts to a stronger core, so I will just pick a couple of exercises and work them into my schedule.

- Sleep
I love sleep. I need my sleep. That is why I have no clue as to why I end up with 5 hours of sleep per night. Preparing for a half with the short nights I have had so far is not a problem. I am guessing that building up from 40 K's per week will require me to sleep more than I do now.

The last three topics will take me longer to change than the distance. In all, I will take a year to prepare. Assuming that the race I will be doing is at the end of April 2016, I will start serious preparations around that time this year. It goes without saying that I will bore the readers of these ramblings to tears with my preparations. Like the ancient mariner, it will help me in my journey.

Friday, 13 March 2015

New Plans

-= 1600K =-
Having done 1600+ K's in my old VFF's (that is 500 more than I did in my old VFF Speeds some time ago), they became weary old things. With the sole of my little toe worn through - and the rest wearing dangerously thin, I decided to send them off to the eternal running grounds. Two years ago, they were shiny and new (and rather over-sized for the young padawan in the pic to the left). Now, they at least have the memory of having done a (and unfortunately only one) half marathon.

-= KCALS =-
I noticed two extremely open doors, that I will need to beware of during future running plans. Firstly, I will need to keep listening to my body very closely. Any sign of pain, stubborn tiredness or decreased motivation, signals the need for attention.
The second topic is the need for more food than I am currently taking. During the preparations for my The Hague half, I noticed an ever-present hunger. I also noticed the scales indicating a decreased weight - though a still resulting in a very healthy BMI.

In order to steer clear of the obvious ways of gaining weight (my colleagues love buying people all sorts of cake with empty kcals in them), I will be using the weekend to dabble with a Runners World recipe for oatmeal energy bars. That should help me fueling during the daytime and during long runs.

The recipe (source) contains all sorts of usual suspects, such as
* bananas,
* rolled oats,
* chopped walnuts,
* dried cranberries

More on this later.

-= Increasing distance =-
On Wednesday, I did my first run in the pair of blue Bikila's I had bought a considerable time ago. The run was a relaxed 10K recovery run from the half on Sunday. Though it was a cold and misty morning, there was no wind and the avg. 6 min/K pace helped to make the run a good start of the day. The only challenge I faced, was keeping my pace low. This is something I will need to work on, especially with my goal to steadily increase the number of K's I run per week.

Having finished my half marathon plan last week, the distances and types of my runs this week felt strangely arbitrary. I have grown fond of following a plan that allows me to complete my goal of running the K's without having to check the weekly increase in K's. Re-doing the half schedule is not an option, so I decided to look up a plan for doing a whole. It is a 12-week 4 runs per week plan. To take things nice and slow, I will do each of the weeks in the plan twice before moving on to the next week. This should prep me royally for my next run in October (the Amsterdam half).

Who knows... It might lead to running the 42K somewhere in the future.

Monday, 9 March 2015

A run through The Hague

-= CPC =-
On Sunday, 8 March, the City-Pier-City drew approximately 11000 runners to run the 13.1 M in the half marathon race. The race ran through the lovely town of The Hague, going over to the history-filled town with the unpronounceable name of Scheveningen - running along the North Sea - and returned past the miniature version of the Netherlands in Madurodam.

The run in itself was good and my time was what I hoped and expected. Having prepared doing a 12-week half marathon schedule left me a bit anxious, as I had not run the full 13.1 M anywhere this year. Still the distance was not a problem.

What was a problem, though, is the number of people running the half with the limited capacity of the roads that were selected for the course. It was very difficult to maintain your own pace or even get in the flow during the first 5K. Too many people were taking their time warming up, talking to their neighbours and not feeling the need to complete the race before being mopped up by the broom wagon. In order not to step on any heels or toes - and not to make people angry while cutting in front of them - the runner is always slowing down when required and speeding up when an opening between two runners occurs.

The run went well. My calves did not bother me at all - this had been a weak spot during training - and only the blisters on the soles of my feet caused some minor inconvenience. This will be remedied by removing the calluses under my feet before long runs.

Speed10,727 k/hour
5 kilometers: 29:35 (29:35)
10 kilometers: 57:13 (27:38)
15 kilometers: 1:24:46 (27:33)
20 kilometers: 1:52:09 (27:23)

As to pace, there is a consistent negative trend to my splits and that is a positive thing. My official time turned out to be 1:58:00.

-= And now =-
 The next race I will be preparing for, is the Amsterdam half in October. I will not be starting the half marathon schedule afresh. Instead, I will alternate some speedwork during the week and long runs in the weekends. My goal is to slowly increase the number of K's I do per week to somewhere 50 or 60 - hoping that I can manage this.

The main change in the coming week is that I will throw out my grey/yellow Bikila VFF's, as the soles have now seriously worn down. I will be using the pair of spiffy, brand-new pair of grey/blue VFF Bikila's, that I still had unused. The old ones have seen their share of runs and after approximately 1600K's it is time to ship them off to the eternal running grounds.


Sunday, 1 March 2015

The one that looked toughest

-= Tough one =-
Currently, I am in week 12 of my half marathon schedule. The schedule works with a set of three pace-zones. I defined the zones completely arbitrarily at the first time I started using the schedule in 2009. With no clue about paces during longer runs over longer periods of training, I selected - and maintained - the following paces over the last seven years:

Pace zone 1: 6:22 min/k - 6:00 min/k
Pace zone 2: 5:45 min/k - 5:27 min/k
Pace zone 3: 5:15 min/k - 5:00 min/k

Each time I did the HM schedule, I have been slightly apprehensive of training 2 in week 11 (W11 T2). The week before the half, is a 50 minute run in my fastest pace. Because I am very stubborn and foolishly confident to know better than the experts that have devised the system, I have until my previous run never run W11 T2. Because I listen to my body every now and again, I had not done this training as it is meant until last Wednesday night.

After having had the day off from work to be with the young padawan - and consequently had no time to rest in preparation for my run. Still, the run went remarkably well (looking back on it, it felt different during the run). I made all the splits and survived to write about it. The avg pace was 4:54, resulting in my very first 48:58 10k. Needless to say, I am quite pleased with the results.

-= Missed a training =-
This Friday, the young padawan went to his grandparents for the weekend. The Missus and I went to London, where we did all sorts of cool stuff, such as shop for books, visit a museum (this took most of the Saturday), had some nice lunches and our caterer-chef landlady (we picked an EXCELLENT Airbnb) had brought some leftovers from her job earlier on Saturday. On Sunday, we did the Old Hampstead Village walk by David. We love London walks so much, that we almost missed our flight home because of it.

All this London stuff is nice and well, and it needs to be done - believe me, it needs to be done to satisfy our family's appetite for that lovely city - but it does cut into my training schedule. My perfect 3-runs-per-week streak that started in week 52 of last year wats broken on Friday 27 February. Though I feel confident for the half that is just under a week away - and that I have just received the bib for - It feels like having dropped the ball after having thrown it for hours on end.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Gear

-= Gear =-
I did my first run in June 2006 and was not too certain, I would keep it up. Chosing one of the local couch-2-5k initiatives appeared to have been the right choice, as I have never been tempted to give up starting to run.

Though any man (and probably woman too) is fond of running-gadgets and other gear, I waited 2 years before getting a GPS watch. It would feel like a bad investment to buy stuff, I would only use for a year before throwing it out again. In June 2008, I bought my Garmin Forerunner 205 and on 2 July 2008, I did my first run with it. Never had I imagined that a piece of kit would be such an inspiration to a runner.

Having run with this bit of kit for almost seven years - aiming for 2 or 3 runs per week - it will soon be time to replace my 205. It is beginning to show physical wear and it will not be long before rubber of the buttons on the side will have   worn through.

Added functionality I am looking for in a new watch is that it will be able to register my heartbeat. As HRM sensor, I have invested in a MIO Link wrist band. Currently, I have this communicate with Runkeeper and as soon as I have a new Garmin, I will have it talk to that. The MIO is a great piece of kit, especially when compared with the traditional heartband. It is comfortable, does not move up and down on your wrist while running and is more than accurate enough for my requirements. More on this as my experience with this increases.

-= Training again =-

It's been a while since I ran and blogged, and ran and blogged, and ran, etc. Having had a streak of minor inconveniences to my legs, things started to go better at the end of 2014. In December 2014, I started training for another half and this has gotten me back into the good habit of doing three half-decent distance runs per week. Over the past couple of weeks, I saw a steady incline in Ks per week and I am currently in week 10 of my 12-week programme.

Week # of Ks
7 35.7
6 31.75
5 28.10
4 26.59
3 24.66
2 26.63
1 25.86
Tomorrow, I will be doing a 15K run, right after having brought the young padawan to his school. It will be good to have a 15K testrun, to see how my legs hold up. During my previous weekend run (15K snail-pace), the lower bit of my left leg gave me some pain. Provided that this run will be going according to plan, I will be doing a moderately paced 30 minute run on Friday (booohhhh for short runs!) and a relaxed 18k run on Sunday.

More to follow

Friday, 6 February 2015

Preparing for a run

-= It's been a while =-
again ;)
It's been a while since my last post. In the second half of 2012, I haven't run very often. 2013 was mainly about building up distance again and 2014 was about becoming a consistent runner again despite a number of small discomforts.

-= Stats =-

2012
# of runs:84
# of K's: 662,23

2013
# of runs: 103
# of K's: 737,59

2014
# of runs: 79
# of K's: 548,19

-= Plans =-
Over the previous two years, I have found that going on the same runs two or three times every week does take away some of the motivation. Even the eternally great Zombies Run games missions were not enough to keep me motivated enough. Gradually, in the course of 2014, I noticed the number of runs decreasing. Worse still was the fact that this bothered me less and less.

In order to keep motivated, I did one 10k run. One run per year is not enough to have the feeling that you are training for something. Additionally, a 10k run does not require any specific preparation plan.

In the end of 2014, I decided to start doing a half marathon schedule again. For a goal I picked the 2015 City Pier City (CPC) half marathon in Den Haag, the Netherlands. In addition, I signed up for the Amsterdam Half in Oktober 2015. The time between the two races will be a challenge - as I do not fancy starting the half marathon schedule over after having done the CPC.

My goal for 2015 is to (cautiously) build the number of K's I run per week and to remain at half marathon level from the beginning of March for the rest of the year.


To help me reach this goal, I will occasionally post some of my progress on this blog.



-= Gear =-
For more than one reason, I am in the process of selecting and buying some gear. I will post on some of these steps. Not because I think anyone can do a better job than various excellent bloggers on the topic. Not even because someone might be interested in my ideas on the topic. I will do this because it feels good to write down thoughts and testing them.

To be continued.