Running with friends

The past couple of days I have started to up my training with the aim of getting my miles up as well as keeping the quality sessions in. I have been getting up and doing a 4.5 mile easy run before going to work and then doing either a long run back home from the office which is approx 10 miles or heading to Pitreavie AAC to train on the track with the squad. Either way, I have been running twice a day for the past 4 days and I am feeling pretty good. Yesterday was meant to be a 7 mile run on the treadmill at 6 min/mi pace but the January rush of people trying to get fit has hit the gym so I went outside instead. I would say yesterday was probably the first day I really felt tired doing my double session.

Tuesday evening was a track session, 4 x 1 mile efforts. I was really pleased with my times, each was around the 5:30/mi pace which is an improvement for me as I usually get a good first mile in but then get slower on each rep so my strength is getting there. My coach is wanting to get me to run a 1 miler some time soon to see how my time is doing when I have to just give it my all for the one rep. Should be interesting as I haven't done a flat 1 mile for a while.

On Tuesday lunch time I went out for an easy 3 mile run with some work mates and I really enjoyed it. This is going to be key for me and my training, I need to continue to enjoy my running as well as getting in the key runs for my training. If I'm not enjoying my running then its going to make it harder to go out when the weather is poor or energy levels are low.

The pace was about 9:40/mi pace so was able to have a conversation with them and the time flew by. I also ran a different route than I have done before which also made a nice change.

Many of my routes near my work take me on to the Union Canal, which is nice but sometimes its all a bit boring. It's flat and usually requires me to run out and back which is never that enjoyable.

Running with friends is one way I will be keeping the enjoyment in my runs, running with Mandy will also be high on my priorities. I would like to get out maybe once or twice a week and just enjoy a nice relaxed run with her. It's been ages since we have both gone out for a run together. She has also suggested that on my long runs she could cycle with me which would be great. It's always nice to have some company on a long run and it helps with motivation and pace. The time flies by when you are running with others.

Christmas Day Edinburgh parkrunOver the festive period I headed down to Edinburgh parkrun 5k on Christmas day which was also really enjoyable. I sort of got dressed up for the occasion. Club vest, shorts, elf hat and reindeer antlers!
Thanks to Bob Marshall for the photo!

The only thing I hadn't realised was the antlers had bells on them so for the full 5k I was ringing my way round the course, which I'm sure gave others an advantage as they could hear me coming up behind them and they put a bit more effort in to the run to keep me off their heels.

This weekend will be the first long run of the training plan which I am also really looking forward to, think I might go for about 18 miles and see how I feel, I just need to find an 18 mile route to do. As I said, I'm not a huge fan of out and back routes so if I can find 18 miles around Edinburgh where I don't need to go over the same path twice I will be happy.

Tomorrow I will be just doing the one run as I want to get my legs a bit fresher for Broxburn XC on Saturday. I've ran this course a number of times now but it looks like they have reversed the course this time which will make an interesting change and they have added a new field for us to run around by shortening another section. Should be good and I will just go out and enjoy that as well. Cross Country for me is difficult, my pace really suffers as soon as I go off road which is annoying but at the same time, I just go and enjoy the mud and use it as strength training. Every cloud has a silver lining!

With my increase in training my diet has also taken a hammering. I use a website called which allows me to track the number of calories I have consumed and how many I have spent by simply breathing but also by running. It does mean I need to weigh everything if I am making my own foods but it is important to monitor. I found I was under eating by quite a bit which was making me quite tired after runs, simply because I didn't have the fuel in my body to do what I was doing. Just now I am needing to eat, on average, 3500 calories a day! To give you an idea of how much food that is, here is what I ate on Monday this week:

2 slices of toast with peanut butter
200ml of Orange Juice, watered down to a pint with water
Half a banana
a Yoghurt topped flapjack

Mid-morning snack:
100g Organic Houmous
6 Nairn Oatcakes
1/4 loaf of Soreen Malt loaf

Homemade Leek and Tattie soup
Bread Roll
Thai Sweet Chilli Rice with Tuna

Afternoon Snack:
Seeded Flapjack
1/4 loaf of Soreen Malt loaf

Homemade Chicken and Mushroom pie with mash tattie

Evening Snack:
2 Crumpets with Jam

and I still had another 309 calories to eat which I didn't! The Flapjacks were bought and were approx 200 calories each but they were a good source of energy before and after my runs. On Monday I did a 4.5 mile run in the morning and then 10 miles home.

I sometimes take milkshakes after runs as well which are also a good way for me to get calories in to my body but also rehydrate and keep the sick feeling away after a hard session. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings I training at Pitreavie but then need to drive back to Edinburgh which takes about 30mins, a quick milkshake before the drive means I get home without getting the need to stop at Morrisons on the way home and pick up some food! The reduced aisle is very tempting on those nights!!

Overall I am really pleased with my training, my times are becoming quicker and just today I went out for an easy 4 mile run up to the canal and down along the water of leith then back to the office. Its a route I have ran a number of times and gets me off the road for a nice change. My pace was very suprising considering I was finding it quite comfortable.

Mile 1: 6:58/mi
Mile 2: 6:55/mi
Mile 3: 6:44/mi
Mile 4: 6:08/mi

That final mile felt no harder than the second or third! So much for an easy run! I may regret this tonight when I am doing 10 x 300 metres with 1 min recovery!! Wish me luck!



Owain Williams

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