Going for a #runstreak in December

Motivation is one of the hardest things to hold on to. Its a slippery devil.
How many times have you started a New Year full of gusto and verve to find that as January segues into February you’ve missed a workout here and there for the simplest of reasons?

Give yourself every chance by building momentum and motivation before you actually go looking for it.

Create a healthy and helpful habit by committing to join our December #runstreak.

Promise to yourself that 30 minutes a day is for you. It’s “me-time”. Get out and run for at least 30 minutes a day and by Christmas you will feel a million dollars.
Go on, do it!!

Here’s the spreadsheet:

AKW December Runstreak 

You will, you will, you will… 

Going for a #running streak.

Its been a week of nothing.

No training, no running, no cycling. Nothing.

After running the AK Clarenbridge 10k last Sunday an irritating, annoying niggle started in my left foot. It feels very similar to the one I had in the right foot the week before.

Unususal as I rarely get niggles or soreness from running. Even with my volume greatly decreased in the past month or so there would be less chance of a niggle developing. Anyway been a busy week, tiring and with a lapse in my normal well behaved diet, I feel low in energy and have developed a bit of a headcold. So a week of rest.

New month starting this weekend so going to have a bash at being disciplined and running for 30 mins each day through December. Be sure to join in.

AK Clarenbridge 10k – in aid of Irish Pilgrimage Trust

Literally on my doorstep so no excuses for missing this one!!

I was busy in the morning dropping down race banners and setting up on the route. Back up home, change and a nice easy jog back down to the starting area at Kilcornan pool. Meeting with some of the guys we arranged an quick warmup which would take in part of the middle section of the race.

The trails are lovely at this time of year, and with 5/6 km of the run being through the woods it is hard not to get too distracted by the woodland.

Back around to the start area and we lined up in a group of roughly 200. I’ve no idea how I ended up in the front row, but I wasn’t there for long! 🙂

Bang on time the race started and there was an explosion off the front with local man Timmy Glavey leading the charge out. Knowing I was in the wrong I moved to the side rather than blocking the much faster people coming through but still raced.

First km is mostly downhill to the entrance gate, turn left and there’s roughly 500m along the side of the road before turning left into the woods and up the main trail. From 1.5 you are running 2k on the rought uneven terrain of the woods with a bit of a sting in the drags (roughly 25m gain over 2k) before hitting the tarmac up and out the back gate.

Left onto the road after the water station, didn’t bother, and took back a place here. I’d planned to go hard for the 1st k, steady for the woods and settle into a solid pace for the roads where the surface twists and does a roller coaster for a couple of km. Found my solid pace but not as fast as I’d hoped to hold.

Coming back in 7-8k I passed the guy that I was hanging onto, he’d gone through me earlier and I managed to sit on his shoulder for a little bit. I could hear him behind me and from 2k I wanted to push hard going down the avenue to the estate again.

There was no push. I stayed ahead of him and pulled another runner in as we went over the cattle grid. Straight run down, skip over the few ramps, around the corner, your man came past me through the arch and the last 200m were a slog I just could not bring him back.

Over the line for 43:14. 4 mins improvement on my last time round this exact same race in the same conditions. I was hoping for closer to 40 but I could really feel the lack of fast speed work and effects of a long season plus the extra kgs that piled back on in the past few weeks.

Still & all I’ll take the positives.

25th November – Last Week in Review

An easy week of running last week. I’ve had a pain on the top of my right foot which is a new thing. Not sure if I tied laces too tight or what, but it’s uncomfortable, so sort of a semi rest week to see how it heals.

By Thursday I was fit to burst though & just had to get out.

So did one of my usual loops and back to meet Mrs. AKW for a second loop before heading to work. These loops through the woords are definitely one of my favourite places to run and they are always guaranteed to put me in good form.

Not much for the week.

Thursday – 12.3k (6.1+6.2)
Sunday – 16.2k AK Clarenbridge 10k run with warmup and cooldown
Total: 28.5k

What to wear for #running today?

I’m regularly asked advice on “what #running gear do I need for this weather?” The question pops up on +Twitter, +Facebook, Boards, Google+, you name it, I even get asked in +Amphibian King West the odd time!  🙂

I usually throw out a few suggestions; “one of these”, “some of those” and “if its doing this, wear that”.

I realised yesterday possibly the best way to answer this is to do a show & tell. So starting today I’m going to show you how I dress for different weather conditions.

November 21st – Cold, dry 92% chance of precipitation) and with a ‘RealFeel’ of -5°c (I presume some form of air wind chill guesstimate).

Now, I don’t check my phone to see how to dress. I was out at the bins and the foggy breath and snap to the air told me enough.

This one is easy to address:

Those tags in the image may not be clear enough, so.

Hat – a 7 year old promotional beanie from +Polar that everyone wants to buy from me. No way, never!! 
Neck scarf – buff type from Amphibia Sport. Perfect to keep the headphone cables from flapping around, and my chin nice and warm. 
Upper body – Outer shell is a +Saucony Kinvara Nomad Jacket over an inner layer comprising of a long sleeve thermal top. 

Aesthetic FlexFilm details make our Kinvara Nomad Jacket a pack leader, while the windproof front panel, thermo-regulating sleeves and side panels, and the ultra-breathable fleece back vent make runs in any weather a breeze! 

Lower body – Saucony Omni tights with a NGOI base layer (to prevent brass monkeys) keep the leg muscles warm and cosy.

NGOI Base layer shorts.    

The main issue is the windchill factor. You are still sweating in the winter time and clothing that prevents the wind passing through will stop your trunk from getting cold. If your torso gets chilled you are going to be miserable in no time at all.

So, dry weather but cold: thermal base layers, windproof top or jacket, hat, gloves (off for positioning camera), long leg tights.

That’s how I dress today.

Eddie Murphy Memorial – Sixmilebridge Half Marathon

I got a call during the week, reminding me that my name was not on the entry system for the BMOH Eddie Murphy Memorial run at the weekend.

Maybe it was an oversight & I had forgotten to enter it?

Such are the privileges of working in a running store and being involved in the local running community that organisers sometimes call you to remind you that you are meant to be running!! 😀

My first experience of running in Sixmilebridge was this summer during the 10in10 (Ten marathons in ten days) in blistering heat. Literally the tarmac was blistering & sticking to your footwear,31.5°C would do that to you. Anyway, back then I had the honour of running alongside some of the participants, I was running a half and it was a humbling experience to say the least to be in the company of people who were doing a full marathon every day for ten days.

That humbling experience returned on Sunday. In such esteemed company and among the hardship that some people were going through, one would feel like a fraud just doing a half marathon. At least that’s how I felt as I passed some people with ‘The miracle is not that I finished…its that I had the courage to start’ on the back of their shirts.

We met at the marquee tent where registration took place. A no-frills event in that there are no goody bags, T-shirts, or any other fancy race items. There was water available and coke and presumably the long course runners had their own aid stations and needs looked after.

€20 entry fee and every penny of it going to Milford Hospice in Limerick at the request of the Murphy family. From the BMOH website:

BMOH are proud hosts of the one of the most unique marathons in Europe which also includes Half marathon , 30 miles & Double marathon options all on the one mile loop with the infamous heart break hill to be tackled on each lap.
Due to tragic and Ultimately passing of Eddie Murphy , BMOH AC hold a multi marathon event each November in Sixmilebridge in Honor of Eddie which takes place on a unique one mile loop.
About Eddie Murphy: For those of us lucky enough to have known Eddie, he represented what endurance running is all about for many of us, Pushing towards new personal running goals while enjoying & making new friendships along the way.  Eddie, before his untimely Death in April, 2011, had completed over 45 marathons

The one mile loop is a challenge, from the start you run downhill through the timing mats and down to the village of Sixmilebridge, left and left again brings you to the bottom of the hill which drags all the way back up and around again.

I bumped into a few familiar faces at the starting area, its not a race but you still check your markers 😉

Chatting to Frank, John & Chris among others and we were soon given the clear road and away we went.

I ran with Chris, chatting to the bottom of the first climb and I let him away on after that. He stormed up the hill & I knew I wasn’t ready to go that hard just yet! I trotted around the next few loops, passing people and congratulating them on their efforts. ‘Welldone 10in10’ that kind of thing. Its hard not to sound like a tosser, congratulating people are you start lapping them. As I say, its a fraudlent feeling and humbling.

After 4 or 5 laps I heard a wheezing and panting behind me, Ah! that must be Mr. Wiggle!! 🙂

No, in truth he glided up alongside and we spent the next miles talking life. Bertie got a bit of smack talk going with the MC and there was a surge to the mat on each lap.

We got given out to for chatting on the hills, but honestly, I ran to the finish with a smile on my face the whole way round. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the company was great and with no real pressure I ran one of my best half marathons.

We decided / agreed to finish together along with Charlie whom I met on the route (a friend of Frank) the three of us crossed the line together, the times show that. A great day out, hats off to those who ran before us and to those who were running behind us.

Delighted to be a part of this day and part of the memorial for Eddie Murphy.

15/11/13 – Diary Update

I’ve binned my #running Endurance Program.

I’m going to spend the next few weeks just getting out. 

I’m going to run as and when I want to, as far as I want to and as slow or fast as I want to. Same goes for cycling and, dare I suggest, possibly swimming! :O

It’s a long season, balanced with lots of long hard(ish) hours in work and I want to enjoy myself and avoid ‘having’ to train all the time. Gonna be plenty of runs in the woods and just chilling taking photos en route.

Having said that, half marathon on Sunday in SixMileBridge.

Be rude not to 🙂

Slow start back #training

No goals yet, other than just to maintain fitness, get stronger and hit 2014 leaner and in a better position than I was at the start of 2013.

Having said that part of it is doing weekly Strength & Conditioning classes with Limerick Sports & Fitness Clinic first class was on Wednesday evening. We also got to play with the +Polar Team app and H7 Bluetooth heart rate monitors.

Wednesday S&C
Class started with a bit of introduction by Paul, then onto the floor to do some ‘open the hips’ stretching. All dynamic stuff, inchworms, fire hydrant, squat jumps etc. Then onto the circuits which I was informed are ‘bilateral’ (whole new area of training for me) working both sides of the body in balance – barbell squats from a standing position, calf raises & reverse row (hanging off chains) 3 sets of 8, then deadlift (with a full tutorial on lifting technique), Romanian Dead lift and pull-ups (Yay!! :/ ). After this was some floor work, plank, side plank, Superman, alternating plank and just to wrap it all up 4 mins of pushups, tricep dips, burpees, and something else. HR drove through the roof with the burpees. I hate burpees!

Felt great afterwards.

Felt like I’d been hit by a car the next day!!


After a couple of runs where I really struggled to keep a controlled heartrate (I thought my strap was faulty until I ran with a double strap, one connected to my watch and the other to the Polar Beat App via H7 on the ipad, yes, I ran with an ipad, purely for scientific reasons of course) I realised my body was probably still in ‘shock’ after the marathon and any activity was causing an overreaction. As in, “you’re not doing this to me again!!”

With my ass killing me, my arms feeling like I was carrying a bag of spuds in each hand, I had to go for a run to try and loosen out.

Distance: 7.4k
Time: 40mins or so.
HR Avg: 146bpm

After a particularly stressful Thursday & Friday I did nothing on Friday and with Edel & the kids away for the night I wanted to go for a run after work. I ended up running in and out from Oranmore to collect a couple of movies. World War Z – grand; After Earth – pure sh1te.

Distance: 20.3k
Time: 1:44:15
HR Avg: 156bpm

Up early for my first spin in a few months with my buddy Conor. Haven’t been on a bike since the start of August so this would be entertaining!

Nice easy spin, good aul chat along quiet roads.

Distance: 45.2km
Time: 02:08:14
HR Avg: 126bpm

Plan for this week is to run x4 times, turbo x2 and do a S&C session.

#GearTip for Winter Training

With the Winter really on top of us now going #running requires a little thought and preparation to ensure that you are comfortable in all sorts of weather conditions.

Two items of gear which are invaluable in my book are:

Designed as a trail running tight, the material in the +ASICS Fuji Trail tight is stretchy and comfortable. The designers made the lower leg material slightly thicker and durable to help prevent tears and pulls when running through rough vegetation.

I find this lower leg material is water repellant and as a result keeps your legs dry when running on wet roads. The splash water is not absorbed by the fabric and you get no water creep on longer runs.

Perfect item for road or trail running in the wet.

ASICS Fuji Trail tight

Second piece of ‘can’t do without’ equipment is a fabric tube from +Amphibia Sport.

Lots of different uses from scarf to sweatband. Personally I find the best winter use is as a neck scarf. Bunch the material up, pass over your head and its sits snug around your throat, keeping your neck warm, zip your jacket up and the scarf prevents rain from running down the back of your neck.

Amphibia Sport – fabric tube

Strength & Conditioning for Runners

Heading to do a new first for me tonight.

I’m joining a class for Strength & Conditioning training in Limerick.
The program which will run right up to Christmas is specifically for runners:

Paul Harman: Strength Training for Runners: Research has shown that strength training is effective for providing muscular and neural adaptations that can prevent injuries..

I’ll be bringing along the +Polar Team app and a couple of H7 Bluetooth #HeartRate transmitters to track the efforts of the class members including myself.

Polar H7 compatible with iPhone and many Android devices

Looking forward to a new challenge.