Hatfield Broad Oak 10k

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I had been looking forward to the Hatfield Broad Oak 10k for weeks. I hadn’t run this course before but was told by club members that it was all road and had potential for a PB. After my last PB effort a few weeks back this had been my next aim and attempt at getting close to it again. From the outset of the day travelling over the weather was perfect with a clear blue sky, sunshine and a light breeze in the air. I met up with my friend who lives in the village, he was also taking part and was his first organised 10k that he had signed up for.

 The Hatfield Broad Oak 10k were the winners of the BARR (British Association of Road Races) award in 2012, which shows what a well organised and fantastic event this is. The event was also a sell out with 1500 entrants taking part some coming from as far afield as New Zealand and Barbados! This will be a definite in my race calendar for next year.
 The race was due to start at 11 am so about 10.30 am we changed and headed down to the start area. Having a walk around i managed to catch up with quite a few runners from the Saffron Striders. After talking with the chairman Nigel Coates he didn’t think the club had much chance of ending up in the prizes such was the high standard of the entrants. That was saying a lot as we have a number of runners who can run sub 40 minutes and a few who regularly run around the 35 minute mark! We were soon at the start time and the race was started by the British hockey team player Chloe Rodgers who won bronze at last years Olympics.
 The course winds its way around country roads that are closed to traffic. There are some hills throughout the course but none that i would say really kill the legs, mainly gentle inclines over a few hundred yards. The weather on the day ended up being really hot and i think this is what slowed me down a little. Had it have been slightly cooler i think i may have gotten closer to my PB. I resisted the urge to take on a drink in a bid to save a few seconds. Although i sometimes feel like taking on a drink over 10k or lower i have never bothered, you should really be plenty hydrated enough before the start for this distance. Due to the heat i felt a little slow through the middle section and didn’t want to push too hard and come to a grinding halt. I settled into a good and comfortable pace and waited until i saw the 8k marker and then began to pick up the pace again. I managed to finish quite strongly but left my sprint a bit late and didn’t pass anyone. Although i didn’t get any better than 43.27 set a few weeks back i did manage 44.10 which is still a great run and is my second fastest time.
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Once the race was over i waited around near the finish for my friend. We then went and handed in our chips and collected our t-shirts. Over the past year i have had some lower left leg problems and have booked in for a sports massage with the sports injury clinic. They were at the 10k giving out free massages so thought it would be a good idea to take advantage. After going over my left calf muscle she found a point that was quite painful and set to work on pressing and massaging the area. If anyone thinks sports massages are nice and relaxing…think again! After having a conversation she said that i have quite large calves and thinks i may have compartment syndrome. This is where the muscle is too large for the sheath of skin it sits inside of and can cause inflammation and soreness. So apart from the regular stretching i do it will be a good idea from now on to get regular massages  as finances allow.
 I highly recommend this race to everyone! you should look it up and if time and cost permit seriously think about travelling over and taking part. You get to run all on road in a pretty village. The roads are closed to traffic. The pub does an amazing hog roast out on the street and there is also a village fete and flower show to coincide with the 10k. They have a 1 mile race for children under 15 as well. All in all one of the best 10k races i have entered over the past year.
Happy running, Baz.
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Running And Conditioning The Mind

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In my daily working life i see thousands of people going about their daily business. I read magazines, books and websites and i wonder..”what is it that makes those people so different from me?” if it be educationally, employment or in this context their physical fitness. We see and hear all the time about the role of genetics and natural ability. While this may be true to an extent (after all someone who is 15 stone is going to be stronger than someone who is 10 stone) the divide between people of a similar stature, who eat healthily and live a healthy lifestyle is going to be minimal.

After spending some time reading and thinking i have drawn a personnel conclusion that it is their mental approach to their training and eating habits that helps them to excel. What are these attributes? How and why are theirs better than mine? Physically we know that if we live a healthy lifestyle and exercise regularly we will make gains in our physical health. The mental qualities needed to set out on the path to physical improvement and to stay on this path long term i think are as follows.

Will Power

Tenacity

Stubbornness

Acceptance

Courage

Defiance

Passion

Persistence

Conviction

Self Belief

Each of these mental attributes are key to getting out the door, undergoing strenuous physical activity and continuing to do this week in week out. There are many different reasons and catalysts that put us on the running path but these mental qualities are what helps to keep us there when we are in the thick of it. Just as we need to physically exercise our bodies to improve we also need to mentally exercise so we can be mentally fitter and stronger, which will in turn improve our physical progression.

We need regular positive mental reinforcement to strengthen our mental resolve. This can be by gaining motivation and inspiration from the writing of others or their own physical endeavors. Simply collecting quotes can be a great way of mentally inspiring and strengthening ones own self belief. When in the middle of a run, tell yourself, “don’t stop!” , “keep going”, “i still feel fresh”, “i have energy”, “i can do this!”.

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When things are really tough going slow down but DO NOT STOP!  Use mental tricks such as telling yourself the quicker you move the sooner it will be over. Affirm to yourself the majority of the run is done, you’re on the home stretch. If you stop now you’ve still got x miles to get home, so keep moving!

It’s about personnel endeavor. Don’t think about others ability during a run. Don’t try and keep up or run as fast as others. Run your run, run your race. In training choose to improve time or distance, not both in the same training session. Always push the boundaries, you’ll surprise yourself! Don’t fear the discomfort, accept it! It will be uncomfortable but should never be painful, if it is, stop!

Do these mental processes often and your mental resolve will strengthen. You will go further and faster sooner than you think. When under physical stress and tension, you ache, your muscles are tired, mentally argue with yourself and beat your subconscious voice down. Lock the negative subconscious voice in a box, you can guarantee it’s the best escape artist that ever existed! but learn to beat it down and put it back in the box. In time and with some determination and persistence improvement will follow. When improvement doesn’t seem to be forthcoming , exercise your determination and persistance to keep you on the path towards your goal.

Run far, run fast but above all run fearless!

Henham 10k Sunday May 19th

Henham 10k Route
Henham 10k Route

 

Another 10k in the diary had arrived. The week really hadn’t been great. I have previously had gait analysis and know that I am a severe over pronator yet In my wisdom I thought I would get a slightly lighter shoe for runs upto 10k. Mistake…I had another flare up of shin splints due to the lack of support in the shoes. I have spent the week massaging and stretching the legs in an attempt to alleviate the pain and discomfort. I went into the race with the worst pain having subsided but still with an uncomfortable dull nagging ache on the inner side of both shins.

I haven’t previously run the Henham 10k but know the area quite well having grown up in the neighbouring village. The weather was dry, warm and a little humid, Pretty good for a 10k run. After traveling down there and meeting up with other club runners it was soon time to get going. The first section was out via a main road but soon after we were onto farm tracks. It’s not my favourite surface to run on and at kilometre 3 with my shins hurting I knew I wasn’t going to be able to compete with those that have slightly better ability than myself. I had to settle into a comfortable rhythm knowing that at around kilometre 8 the course would change back to tarmac road for the final run to the finish.

The first 1Km passed the Church
The first 1Km passed the Church

 

The country tracks were heavily rutted in places and it was a real task to keep an even and comfortable pace. Once the tarmac road appeared beneath my feet I felt much more comfortable and started to increase the pace managing to catch and pass 2 other runners in the final 1500 metres. I tried to sprint the last 200 metres and catch the fella ahead but my legs just wouldn’t have it today. I timed myself at 45 minutes and 9 seconds it would have been nice to get a sub 45 but I am really happy with the time while my legs aren’t in perfect shape. As long as I can get over the sore legs I’m sure going into next Mondays Hatfield Broad Oak run I will be determined to get closer to my PB of 43.27.

Happy Running, Baz

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Motivational Music Lyrics When Running


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I have previously written about the types of music i listen to and how some of those tracks relate to running pace. I find the lyrics are just as motivational as the backing music a lot of the time. It’s great when you’ve got a kilometer to go and that great track comes on that can give you a boost to finish of that run. I have gone through some of the tracks i listen to and pulled out the lyrics that stick in my head when running. I hope you like what i post here and let me know what your motivational running tracks are.

Godsized – Walking Away    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-13O68sg96c

” Never again will we be beaten down, we’ll take everything you’ve got and turn it round “

Metallica – Broken, Beat And Scarred   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7eRiAnZt24

” You rise, you fall, you’re down and rise again. What don’t kill ya make ya more strong. Rise, fall down ‘n’ rise again “

Deftones – Headup   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I2Aba-BYF8 

” Think of this as the sun and the mind as a tool, but we could bounce back from this one with attitude, will and some spirit “

Brand New Sin – Black And Blue   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDaMbJItGFg

” I know you don’t believe it, damnation’s almost through. I’ve almost lost what’s all me, we’ve battled hard, we’re black and blue “

Iron Maiden – The Age Of Innocence   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9J3rHHVk94

” So we only get one chance, can we take it and we only get one life can’t exchange it. Can we hold on to what we have, don’t replace it “

Disturbed – Indestructible    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWxBrI0g1kE

” My motivation an oath i’ve sworn to defend. To win the honour of coming back home again. No explanation will matter after we begin. Unlock the dark destroyer that’s buried within. My true vocation and now my unfortunate friend you will discover a war you’re unable to win “

Ozzy Osbourne – Fearless   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuhbvUptzuo

” I’d rather die on my feet than live a life on my knees. I am warrior, i feel it, no pain, no mercy, no weakness “

Last but not least you can’t be mentioning motivational lyrics without  including the main one everyone knows!!!

Iron Maiden – Run To The Hills   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oa3Oa4t2j4A

Run to the hills, run for your lives! “

Let me know what you think and what your favourite tracks or lyrics are, thanks.

What A Difference A Week Makes!

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I’ve had some niggly injuries recently and think i have managed to shake of the worst. I had been working on getting the miles in again and also trying to find a bit of speed. Last Bank Holiday Monday (6th May) i had Ashdon 10k in North Essex. I had been for warned by club members that this was a hilly course…an understatement if ever i heard one! The route felt like one permanent hill, my legs were struggling and it was a real grind. If you can imagine the start was on a street about 100 feet lower than the finish point higher up on a hill. So from the start you were slowly but surely making your way around a loop finishing at a higher point. The time for Ashdon came in at 47 minutes 46 seconds, which seems slow against my previous times but for the route wasn’t all that bad! I felt disappointed at the time as i felt sluggish and slow and not particularly fit, in hindsight it was a good run. I didn’t stop at all even though my legs quite often were telling me to. Also the course was a good tester of mental strength as well as putting some good miles in the legs.

During the week i had a six mile run and a 5 mile run much closer to my average times i achieve. My lower legs have still been aching quite a lot and i really need to book in for a sports massage to get some of the slight tightness out and help them feel more relaxed. The diet hasn’t been completely strict, i have been eating all the good stuff as usual but with plenty of the  junk added along the way. It hasn’t affected my weight but i do think it may add to my sluggish race feeling. This last week i have been making a bit more effort on that front and have started drinking beetroot juice again which i feel helps even if it is a placebo effect. Heading into Sunday just gone i was feeling quite good. The Clapham Common 10k in South London which i took part in yesterday (12th May) is fairly flat. It is a mix of tarmac paths and grass tracks and only has a very slight elevation rise. I went into this in two minds, one knowing i had run a slow time last week but also that it was flat and i could get a good time if i could summon up the effort. A perfect day for running with it being dry, warm and breezy i got of to a good start and was almost unsure as to how i should pace myself. I decided to try and warm into it for the first couple of miles, it was a two lap course so as soon as the first lap was completed i began to push harder and found a good rhythm. I tried to catch someone that had been about 30 yards ahead of me for the whole race but i just couldn’t get them. It was a good way of sticking with a high tempo pace though and i was rewarded with a time of 44 minutes and 49 seconds which is my second fastest time finishing in 37th of 311 runners. It was really pleasing to have such a good run and i have more races soon as well. Henham 10k in North Essex on Sunday 19th May and then Hatfield Broad Oak 10k Essex on the next May Bank Holiday 27th which i am told is a PB potential course. So all being well that will be the race i will try and improve on 43 minutes 27 seconds.

 

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Hope you’re having some great runs in the warmer weather, Baz.

Stretched For Time

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With the fantastic current bit of dry, warm and sunny weather i have got behind again with my latest blog post. I have written up and submitted my shoe review on the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 which should be posted on the bug this week. As well as running i always have other things on the go that keep me busy. As well as working, sparing time for my two children and helping with their homework i also have an original 1983 Raleigh Burner i am stripping and rebuilding. Nostalgia for me and a collectible bike for my son. We also have an allotment to tend so we are right in the thick of planting, weeding and watering. My employment means i am a signed up trade unionist and i am an elected Union Learning Representative. In this role i give up my time to help employees find educational opportunities. So what has all of the above got to do with running? The simple answer is time management. We all have busy lives and all too easily can give ourselves the excuse of being too busy to fit in a run or any exercise for that matter. If you sit down and literally write a timetable of your daily schedule somewhere there will be a gap. It may only be 15 or 20 minutes but that is enough! O.K., some days really are chock a block busy but don’t let that be the excuse for the next day or the day after that!

 My general work type day will usually run as such:
 
07.00am Get Up…
07.15am …Actually Get Up!
07.30am Help Get Children Ready For School
08.00am Banana And Coffee
                 Daughter Leaves For School
08.15am Feed Pets
08.30am Wife Leaves With Son For School, She Then Goes On To Work
08.45am/09.00am Go For Run
09.45am/10.00am Return From Run
10.15am Cook Breakfast – Porridge
10.30am Eat Breakfast – Watch News/Go Online
10.45am/11.00am Shower And Change
11.30am Wash Dishes/Tidy/Washing In Or Out To Dry.
 
Depending what time i start work i may even now have an early lunch. I can start work anywhere from 12.00pm to 17.00pm. If i start later at 16.00pm or 17.00pm this would give me an opportunity to either nip to the allotment or answer emails etc. I then go to work and am typically home at 23.30pm but can be home as late as 01.30am! Then repeat the above. Tuesday and Saturday are my usual rest days from exercise if not from work. I also work quite a lot of over time so booking races well in advance means i am committed and also force myself to have the time off and away from work. So although having a busy and full lifestyle it is still possible to fit in three or four runs a week. If i am off from work on Tuesdays then i attend the Saffron Striders running club then depending how i feel the next day i will either run or give myself the day off knowing i put in some good effort at the club.
 The only next issue once you have sat down and worked out where and when you can fit in your runs is self motivation. Believe me getting home at 01.30am on a late finish day and then getting up at 07.00am can be a real struggle! Getting into a regular routine it becomes second nature to go through the motions of getting up, getting ready and heading out of the door. Most will agree that getting out of the door is the hardest part and that once the run is under way they feel great and really glad they gave themselves the little push to get going. Even if on a tired day the session isn’t the best, the furthest or the fastest. Your body will be thankful of the extra miles put into the legs and the stamina this will create for future runs.
 If you are keen but feel you are struggling for time i hope this gives you a little insight in how it can be done. Sit down, be methodical and see what you can do for yourself.
 
Happy Running, Baz.