Winter running is coming

Winter training gear is on

Training this week has been fantastic! although I feel like my 3 runs since Monday have taken place in 3 different seasons with the temperature dropping here in the UK daily. I was up bright and early on Monday morning and did a 10k around Walthamstow Marshes which is simply beautiful. I held a steady pace between 8:30/8:40, I am generally finding I am enjoying the second half of my 10k runs more than the first 5k. It seems to take me a little while to settle into a nice rhythm. I did quite a bit of hill work which in Hackney is a challenge. I felt a real sense of achievement arriving back at the flat before 9:00 already having done 10k.

I then went for a lovely little run with Kasia around Hackney Downs park on Wednesday. This was a much slower run than I would normally do but I found it really useful. We did 3.48 miles at a leisurely average pace of 9:18. This was great for me as I got to try some drills and focus on form. One I drill I tried which recently read about in my book ‘The Cool Impossible’, was tackling hills with your hand behind your head. The drill helps with maintaining good posture and getting you to drive your knees through when powering up those hills.

Hackney Downs Park

We ended our run at the lovely new vegan cafe The Black Cat. The cafe is 100% not for profit and run as a workers co-op. They have a great range of tasty meals which are reasonably priced and they sell some great vegan products. I purchased the Zapatista coffee which I can highly recommend.  If you live in London you should check it out regardless of whether you’re vegan or not, I have already taken several friends there and we all love it.

Then today of a sudden I turned into Mo Farah, well if you believe RunKeeper. Apparently I ran 8.84 miles in 45.54, admittedly I forgot to switch over to my mobile data network before leaving the house which probably explains the crazy stats. When I got home after some initial excitement I mapped out the route of WalkJogRun and the actual distance was the 10k I thought it was. Meaning that I had ran 10k in 45.54 which still is one of my better efforts of late and leaves me feeling really confident going into my Bushy Park 10k on the 20th October. I am now starting to believe it might be possible to duck under 45 mins on the day especially with the adrenaline that comes with competing. The wind today was really strong here in the UK approaching gale force, obviously this may have helped when the wind was at my back but when it was blowing across it felt like hard work. Does anyone have tips for countering strong cross winds?

Whilst writing this blog Runkeeper got back to me about the stats, they actually think my stats were pretty accurate my trip at an accuracy of 10m. Apparently this shouldn’t have been enough to create a 2 mile discrepancy. So perhaps I did just run like the strong wind today. Perhaps the actual result is somewhere in the middle. In a few days I will run the same route and see what kinda stats I turn out then.

Below is the RunKeeper message to me:

Runkeeper reply

I also have some big news in my slightly running obsessed world. Today I signed up to run my first half marathon since 2010. I will be taking part in the Ashford Half Marathon on the 1st December in my home county of Kent. It is a new half marathon which starts and finishes in a stadium and involves a mix of terrains. I am going to be running it with a new friend of mine Nicola who is a good runner quite excitingly her target time is 1:38 to 1:45 which is in the same range as mine. The Runners World time predictor is telling me that I am currently heading for 1:41 but with 6 weeks until the race the chances are that If I keep improving I could do something below 1:40 mark.

I would love to hear how other runners training is going this week? In the UK how have you adapted to the change of seasons? I would love to hear suggestions for how to layer up because my top today made me feel a bit too hot. Also I would love to hear from people who have run half marathons, if you have any training tips or plans I should follow that would be great.

This week I have already ran 16-18 miles and I am not sure what kind of mileage I should be doing for my half marathon training?

Thanks for reading.

Damien x


5 thoughts on “Winter running is coming

  1. Good effort Damian! I too have had massive discrepancies with RunKeeper, telling me I’ve run 6 miles, when I know for a fact it’s 3. Are you using IOS 7, and have you turned background refresh on? In the end I reinstalled, as it was screwing up my training results.

    Good luck in your first half marathon. I did my first last Sunday – The beautiful and environmentally sound Royal Parks Half. The medal is made from felled trees in the shape of a leaf. You’d like it 😉

    I got round in a moderately-ok-for-first-time 2hours, 18 mins – which in my defence also included a pitstop for the loo. You sound like you run a lot faster than me though. I can sustain 9 minute miles for 4 miles, but 13.1 I was averaging 10mins 30 😦 But the best advice is to enjoy it. Once you have one under your belt, be competitive with yourself next time 😉 R

    • Well done on your half marathon, I actually did the Royal Parks Half Marathon in 2010 for Motor Neurone Disease. I got round in 2:17 I had a roadside pitstop for the loo after 1 mile, not ideal, I have since reshaped my running style not adopting a barefoot style and I have put massive effort into upping my fitness. I am hoping my pervious half marathon experience will help me although I am a totally different runner these days so we will see how it pans out.

      I am finding holding my pace around 8:30 miles on longer runs quite easy where as on shorter runs I can be sometimes in the early 7 minute mile pace. I found that focusing on lots of short runs has helped me get faster before I stepped up the distance.

      If you ever fancy going for a run and coffee afterwards let me know, I haven’t seen you in ages.

      And yes RunKeeper is under review. I am thinking about getting a Garmin watch but they are quite pricy.

      I hope you’re well? And thanks for reading, I appreciate every read massively.


  2. I meant Damien* typo

  3. I found Runkeeper terrible when I first started running (I was apparently doing 8k in 30 minutes and because I was new it took me a while to realise it was wrong!), so I switched to Endomondo and that’s worked fine for me. I also use the Intermediate Half Marathon training plan from the Royal Parks website – I highly recommend it! There’s an Advanced one too if you think you’re there!

    • So I did the same run today, actually slightly longer and it was 5.87 miles. Not nearly 9 miles. I think it is just about making sure I have a decent reception when I start. Thanks for the half marathon training plan recommendation, cycling home today I started getting the winter training fear, it was dark and cold.

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