Tag Archives: SRT

Marathon Training Update & Nike+

Early mornings can suck sometimes. Especially when you have to run on a holiday. 

But then you come across a view like the photo above and it’s all worth it. Very few others saw this site. All of time waited for me to witness this. 

My Nike+ training plan gave me a relatively light week last week but is stepping it up this week. 

I had several speed runs last week which I still find tough to get motivated for even though only last for half an hour at the most. 

I had two speed workouts; one that was 12×200 and another that was 8×400. All with short recovery times because the mornings were chilly. 

The Nike+ Running Club app on my phone has now broken one of the nice new features! It no longer repeats the info from the phone on your Apple watch. Twice this week it crashed on the watch but kept running on the phone. In fact, it never really started up properly. 

I had to delay my Friday long run as we decided to have a family breakfast and I couldn’t run after that! So I ended up going out on Sunday morning for a 12.75 miler in the temperate weather that hit this weekend. 50F is rather surprising for February. 

Later that day, Nike+ asked me to update my run programme and when it did this it put down a 12.5 mile run for Monday too. What a cow! I think “Nicki” (my name for the voice of the Nike+ app) has got it in for me. 😦

This week is going to be tough with the 12.5 miler today, a benchmark run, a 6 mile recovery run and then an 18.5 miler on Friday. 

I’m going to have to increase my food intake as I’m starting to feel like my legs are very heavy and underpowered. 

Another Reason to Run

For the second time this week I’ve managed to find another reason to run other than ‘for the sake of running’. I like to think of these as illustrations as to how running can fit into your life to help get things done. Perhaps they will serve as a case to help persuade others that it isn’t all about running around in circles.

On Friday I got to ‘first foot’ as some light snow was coming down. This is always a nice thing and it was a lovely morning. The snow was quite wet but it was light and didn’t cause me too much difficulty with running.  

footsteps on the sidewalk

 On Saturday night my wife and I hired a babysitter and we had the chance to go out for Indian food with some friends and then had (many) beers at their house. We planned to use Uber to get us home and I would go and get the car the next day. 

Our friends live nine miles away and this isn’t really quite long enough for my long Sunday morning run, so I added a few extra miles and explored some new parts of the Schuylkill River Trial in and around Phoenixville, PA. 

The trail was recently extended to run right through the Center of town along the edge of French Creek, over an old railway bridge, and then out of town (via a steep hill). The run is really nice.  You have to cross a couple of roads but at that time on a Sunday morning they were quiet. The trail stays out of the main town areas and along the back of the Main Street shops. It passes the old foundry building which has been turned into a museum of the areas history. 

Once through the town the trail turns very rural very quickly gang through areas that are clearly old train yards and foundry works. It also heads up quite a steep hill for well over a mile. Fun.  

I ran the trail until I hit a point were I had been before, then turned off and head toward my car. Some of the roads weren’t ideal and weren’t familiar to me either, which always feels a little more risky to me. I tried to make myself as obvious as possible.

Three and a half miles later I was back at my car with 15.5 miles under my belt. My times weren’t great because of the hills, the late night and, probably, the beers too. I did enjoy the run and it felt good to run some new trails. The air was a cold 23F but the sun was shining and the world felt good.

Boxing Day Marathon #4

It is done. In the bag. Completed for another year. 

In the past I have had to run on icy trails while being pounded by hail stones and snow, but this year was an entirely different story.

Today it was the perfect weather for a marathon. 51F. Little wind. No rain. No sun. Just steady temperatures and a grey sky. 

I chose to base my routes around the Betzwood River Trail location as this gave access to fully functional toilets and ample parking, plus lots of other people on the trails (which is a good safety thing if the marathon attempt goes to crap).

This year I was joined by my Monday morning running buddy for the first six miles of the route. For this section we headed out towards Phoenixville along the SRT. The trail has a gentle incline out of Valley Forge National Historical Park and the dives back down to run right alongside the river. At the three mile point we looked for a trail marker (in this case a bridge), ran to it, and turned around.

All this meant that the time we got back to the cars we had 6.4 miles under our belts. I grabbed a hat and my headphones and started out. My friend, Ed, ran a little further with me, then bailed at the end of the Betzwood lot. It was nice having someone with me for the first part of the run.

My plan was to do the next ten miles as a five mile out-and-back run through Norristown. This part of the SRT is quite pretty and goes past lots of riverside homes as it passes through Indian Head. There have been some issues for people in the past as they go through Norristown but I’ve been fortunate enough never to have issues. In general, I would advise women not to run alone through this area, but there were a few doing that today (well done them). 

The five mile turnaround point was part way through one of my favourite pieces of the trail when riding a bike… A fast and gentle downhill out of Norristown Railway station. On a bike I can hit over 30mph on this stretch, but today it was a more leisurely pace.

By the time I got back to the car I had 16.4 miles under my belt and felt fine. At this point I switched out my water bottle for a mix of water and Gatorade, grabbed another Clif mint chocolate bar, and a spibelt with two extra packs of Clif shot bloks in case I started having issues with cramps.

Then it was straight back out on the trail towards Phoenixville again, this time running all the way to the Reynolds Dog Park. I turned around when the trail hit the road and my legs were still feeling fresh. Distance-wise I was a little short at 4.8 miles out, but making up the last little bit by running around the car park is sort of a tradition on these… You don’t want to end up having to run further!

Through the last few miles my legs did start to tire, but they didn’t have any cramps or muscle issues at all. I think running with the Gatorade really helped on this front. As I spotted my car I still had another 0.7 miles to run, so I headed up to the far end of the car park, ran around to see the work on the new trail bridge over to Valley Forge (very nearly completed) and then turned back towards my car. As I reached the car I got the twenty-six mile announcement and had to go a little further to get to the final number. I did feel a bit of a lemon doing this, but I see other people doing this sometimes too.

Sitting in the boot of my Mini and drinking rather remainder of the Gatorade I felt really good. My legs weren’t too achy, I had some mild soreness from my shorts rubbing (my fault and not the shorts), I had only eaten one and a half Clif bars and six bloks, but I didn’t have any cramps or real fatigue.

I did run at a far slower pace (8:50) vs. the marathon I raced three weeks ago (7:50), but that was my plan so I don’t feel too bad about that. I didn’t use a music playlist but instead listened to podcasts for a more relaxing experience.

My weight before was 147 lbs and after was 146 so I think I did a good job with the nutrition and liquid intake. Here’s a recovery photo. Apologies for the unshaven wreck.

  
All in all, I finished in 3:51:44 and feel fine. Not a record run but the first time that I didn’t have to stop and walk near the end. Small improvements all add up.

There were a lot of people out on the trail today and most of the runners said “hi” and, in general, the cyclists also announced their passing and also acknowledged me. That’s nice.

Now to enjoy some of the xmas trappings that I had to avoid on Xmas day; bring on the wine and beer!

Level Up Your Crazy

Today I had a run/walk scheduled with my friend despite the light snow that was coming down.

We headed to a section of the Schuylkill River Trail that we hadn’t attempted before between Phoenixville and Royersford. There was about an inch and a half of snow on the ground so enough to slow us down and make surfaces slippery. It was about 20F.

For most of the trail we were the ‘first footers’ on the pristine snow. I always like it when I get the opportunity to do this. /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/5e7/55986753/files/2015/01/img_4150.jpgMy friend had injured his knee earlier in the week climbing over a fallen tree on another trail so we were trying to be careful with our efforts so as not to make it any worse.

However, we chose to up our intervals to one minute on and four recovery. This worked out well for us. But we were manually timing and didn’t do all the intervals. Oops.

The trail is quite winding and has some gentle rolling hills, but is quite picturesque, if you ignore the old power station that appears to be shutdown now.

The run was was good and represents another level of madness for my friend; going out running in the snow. Hehehe. There’s no going back!

5.5 miles done.

Introducing the Running Interval

After having walked with my friend for the last four weeks at distances up to six miles, we introduced running intervals today. This was a first for my friend and I’m sure that he thought I was trying to kill him, but I wasn’t. Honestly!

We went to Lower Perkiomen Valley Park and headed out towards Phoenixville and the Reynolds Dog Park along the SRT. This is a flat walk on a paved surface and is ideal for this type of workout. We did a ten minute warm up walk and then a thirty second high intensity interval for which we ran. After this we walked for four and a half minutes to cool down, then we repeated it. I configured mapmyrun to give us cues for the interval changeovers and this was very helpful.

As an observation, we were surprised by how long the thirty second intervals felt and how short the four and a half minutes felt for recovery. They seemed to come around very quickly.

After ten interval repeats we decided to stop them as my friend was experiencing some difficulties from his clothing. However, we covered over six miles in one hour forty five minutes which is a big improvement over our normal walking pace. The intervals bring the average for those miles down to around 16 minute miles, whereas normal walking is around 18:30 minute miles. Next week we are planning to do the intervals throughout the whole walk and will target the Perkiomen trail again as we both enjoyed that.

This was a major milestone and I look forward to doing more of these intervals and start to shift the balance for run/walk as long as my friend can keep with it. We are monitoring for foot and knee issues and taking it all very gently.

The trail was beautiful today and I watched enviously as a group of cyclists glided effortlessly past us.

Get On Yer Bike!

It is that time of year again when I have to cut back on my running and start to actually ride my bike. At the end of September each year I ride the MS society city to shore ride that is 150-200 miles depending on your route. And riding that distance over two days requires some preparation. Most years I would have ridden close to 2000 miles by this point but this year it is closer to 150… That’s what you get when you switch to focusing on your running.

So, today I headed out and did an 82 mile exploration ride to find the West end of the Schuylkill River Trail. I didn’t realise quite how long it was heading out that way as it is broken into sections that aren’t joined together. However I did get to the end and take a picture where it turned into a single gravel path that sort of faded away.

The temperature and humidity was high and I believe it officially was ‘hotter than balls’ as it made it up to 96F (qualifying range 92-94F). Also, I got rained on for the last 1.5 miles which was lovely!

I think that running has definitely helped me with my riding as my legs were very strong. The only issue is that I have to get my butt used to being on the saddle against these sort of distances that really matters. The only solution is time in the saddle and that’s what I’m going to have to put in.

I will try to do a few runs too but the focus has to shift a little.