Running. Again.

Posted on

Last time on I was in the middle of a training program with the aim of upping my time and pace. Which it did! And also gave me a horrible bit of hamstring trouble. Completely my fault for an overly ambitious increase in distance and effort while being, quite frankly, a bit old.

So I haven't written here for a while but right now? I'm in the middle of a mini-renaissance and quite enjoying a bit of running again.

I'm still carrying some niggles on my hamstring it still twinges a bit. However a switch from the Nike Free Run's I usually run in to the lower drop New Balance Minimus Trail seems to have helped a lot. I've done 15km this week so far and the shoes seem to have traded hamstring ache for calve ache. And I can deal with that. It's happened every time I've gone back onto zero drop shoes and soon goes away with a bit of perseverance.

The runs have been good too. Even the slow times in near storms of a few weeks back put a grin on my face and hopefully helped build back some base stamina.

I feel incredibly lucky to be able to run in this part of the world. Recently I added Tentsmuir Forest to the small set of routes I use and it's been lovely ambling through am amazing pine forest sitting on the edge of the Tay. And even when the weather isn't all that helpful, which is quite often, it's impossible not end up with a massive grin after battling through the elements.

Aiming for a long slow, 10 miler this weekend which will bring me up to 30km for the week.

Flattered By My Phone

Posted on

Definitely got the hang of running a slow 10km again after another stressless run back from work again on Friday.

Got an amazing (for me) pace of 5:18 m/km too! Except it was cobblers. I'd left my garmin watch at home and resorted to the strava Android app. Unfortunately the ropier phone based GPS seemed to think I was staggering about like a pissed idiot so the run came in at 10.6km instead of the actual 10km distance. Bugger.

See here! The first kilometer of both runs. First of all a rock steady account of events from the Garmin 620

fig(i) Fine!

And a rather more eratic record of my run from Strava on my Galaxy Note 4

fig(ii) Not so fine!

Back of the fag packet calculation relegates me to around 5:35m/km. But that's okay, it's faster than the previous day, seemed to take less effort and second of two consecutive 10k-ers. :)

EDIT: That all said the run route for the 620 at the start is pretty nonsensical as well, the first K has me taking shortcuts through houses which isn't right either. In short: I DUNNO!

That Was Nice

Posted on

That Was Nice

I was supposed to run yesterday but for various tedious reasons it ended up a rest day. Cycled in to work this morning but left the bike in the office in favor of a gentle 10km run home; along the East Dock Road and then up onto the A92.

It's nearly Spring now ad leaving at the still light 5pm gives you a nice amble through the descending twilight past Baldovie's wind turbines as the sun sets :)

Not too cold or windy and no sign of rain either. Lovely :)

I'm happy with an average of 5:37 mins per km from no pushing up a mostly uphill route wearing around 4kg of backpack. Good opportunity to concentrate on finding good form while having a laugh at The Infinite Monkey Cage podcast.

20km so far this week but no attempts at anything involving any kind of pace. I'll have to sort that out, maybe a faster 5km on Saturday.

It is taking a while but I'm feeling like a runner again.


Posted on

Ha! What a gurning idiot. But I'm pretty happy :D

That was pretty good.

Original goal was to try and improve on my current 5km time by pushing as hard as possible. A catalog of errors got in the way of that though:

  • Forgot the heart rate monitor
  • Realized watch wasn't on a kilometer in
  • So promptly gave up

The giving turned out to be the best bit. After a sulky second kilometer decided to try and get something out of the run by concentrating on form, specifically paying attention to:

  • Moving my landing foot to more mid-sole
  • Getting my trailing foot of the ground quicker
  • Going through the POSE position
  • Leaning forward from the ankle
  • Not hunching

Like last time it was a bit of a fight against habit and natural instincts with a lot of oscillation between over thinking and finding a bit of flow. But also like last time everything seemed to click on the final couple of kilometers.

Happy with that. Also quite happy that my 'giving up' pace is still on the right side of 5:30m/km

Onwards and upwards, enjoying this a lot right now. Got some goals to hit for the end of the month and I -seem- to be making some progress towards them :)

Fun Stuff

Posted on

That was an early morning start with a pleasant surprise :) I'm slowly easing back into regular running and the current plan is to try every other day with a minimum of 30 minutes a session. The order of the day is to pace sensibly, slowly re-build my skills and avoid any injury like the plague.

So today I kept to the plan but counter to expectations my pace wasn't an utter disgrace. 5:16 minutes per km. That's not too bad for me and a good base to build from.

Felt pretty good after finishing. It's half a minute faster than last weeks first run back but unlike then my legs aren't completely fucked. Honestly I was hobbling about like an octegenarian for a couple of days after that :D But today was good, so good I rode in instead of going with original plan to bus to work. Ace!

And best of all? It was a lovely day again; sun was just up, crisp but cold and the Tay looked magnificent. Next run Thursday. There's snow forecast but that don't scare me :)

Back To Running

Posted on

No achievments with ths run? That's a tad harsh

Pretty happy with that. Nothing special terms of time or distance but it's the first time out since August, nearly three months.

There was a fair bit of trepidation, a good wodge of worry a mid run abort was on the cards if my knee trouble flared up but it was all good.

5:21km avg pace on just over 5.5km and a very comfortable run. Pretty happy with the first km at 5:02km/m and the same pace for the last half a k. Very encouraging. I've a few aches n pains now; upper thighs, glutes and upper calves but all standard rusty runner niggles a few more sessions will sort out. Importantly though my keens feel in rude health. Phew!

As an extra brucey bonus it'd be impossible to pick a better day to ease back in. Cold to point of frost but dry, bright and crisp. The Tay-side easy running route really shines on this kind of beautiful autumn day.

My legs could do with a little recovery time so I'll leave it until Tuesday for another go.

Blowing Out The Cobwebs

Posted on

After getting into running last year and hitting some real highs I've drifted out of it a bit recently. So I'm currently trying to get back into it with the ultimate aim of hitting < 50m 10k and 22:30 5km by the end of the year. It's tricky these days as I need to balance that with a new found love, riding my bike.

This is Week Zero, what have I learned?

  • I need a plan
  • Run Slow
  • I love doing this
  • Conclusions

I Need A Plan

I think a lot of people pride themselves on their self determination and individuality. We're masters of our destiny and no one is going to tell us what to do right?

Truth is the majority of us need structure and being told what to do even and for running that's certainly the case for me. I had a bit of abortive attempt to rekindle my running passion a month back but ultimately it didn't stuck.

Knowing I'm sucker for being told what to do this I selected a run for fat loss training programme from Runkeeper. I've lost a lot of weight in the last year and if I don't really need to lose a load of fat at this point however there's only a few plans on RK and of all of these this one most fitted a classic running training plan split between steady running, intervals, tempo and long slow runs.

Previously I've been an idiot and just run at the best pace I could every outing. Everything I've read about running has been quite emphatic that you'll achieve more over time with a more varied approach. So that's what I'm doing.

The commitment I've made (though really light, basically I've promised a web site I'll run regularly for 8 weeks) has worked pretty well. I've done every run and one extra on top. It's a big step up from the fallow last few months of all cycling and feck all running :)

Run Slow

Well. Run slower than you can, I'm in now way pretending my top pace is anything I can claim to be fast but a big portion of the plan I'm on is running at 70% heart rate max. What's that? Basically running at a pace that you're not out of breath and have a bit of chat without huffing and puffing.

What pace is that? There's some online calculators and they seem to agree given my recent 5km times it should likely be somewhere around the 6:20 mins per km mark. I tried this. It was really hard to do. It just felt embarrassing. So I've sped up a bit but been careful to keep an eye on how I'm feeling and slow down at even the slightest hint of weariness.

It's all new but I think I've managed to get there.

So over the week what's been cool is I've seen my run pace increase for similar amounts of effort. It seems to be working. I'm not close to pace I'd got at peak last year but it's good to say some of that level of running fitness come back over the last week. Last night in particular felt amazing so yeah that leads onto:

I Love Doing This

By around 7pm I had a stinking headache, was in a pretty foul mood and generally didn't feel great. It would have been really easy to not go out and honestly didn't feel like it in the slightest but because of the commitment I'd made to a website (I know) I dragged myself out.

And it was pretty amazing. Got a real groove going on and felt my form snap nicely into place near the end with effort going down while speeding up a bit. Big grin while getting back to the car, mood completely lifted and no more headache.

On top of that I was pretty refreshed managing to keep well within the bounds of effort the plan called for and ended up with a 5:41 min per km pace over 35 minutes including a slower 5 minute warm up. It was pretty windy too.

My first and start of the week run was stupidly at full on pace, left me knackered and was slower at 5:44. Nice seeing this improvement in a short time and brilliant to be enjoying it so much.


So far so good is probably the best summary :) The running has been a lot of fun and despite concerns previously it's not been a stretch to balance that with my cycling. On top of the 25km or so on my feet I've managed to clock off nearly 250km on the bike at some of my best times.

I'll do another update next Sunday and it might be a different story. It's been all easy runs so far, next week there's intervals and tempo runs too. But I'm optimistic and kind of looking forward to it. We'll see how I do.


Posted on


Yesterday I went out for a run, it was really nice, down by the Tay. Bright brisk day, bracing but ultimately exhilarating. I'd not done that for a while and it felt strangely familiar. Struck me that was where I'd run my first probably about a year ago.

So I checked Runkeeper and yeah, today is the one year anniversary of my first run. Ever.

It's weird looking back as right now I don't feel too great about my form having laid off running in favor of cycling the last few months. But even so I've just knocked out a 26.5m celebratory 5km. My first run was 33m and and for a paltry 3.7km :) Look at it here:


The idea of running 5km under 30m a year ago would have just been science fiction. But since then I've run 921km, a duration of 86 hours in total! That's two working weeks. Crikey. Personal highlight is getting just over 50 minute 10km at the very hilly Bupa Edinburgh Run.


I've been remarkably lucky not to have picked up any injuries beyond tight calves and the odd bit of cramp from time to time. Atypically for me I actually planned a bit before starting and got some decent kit. I'm convinced going the minimalist trainer route has helped me avoid the usual damage new runners are prone to do to themselves.

It's not all been a bed of roses, I've really enjoyed cycling lately and that's seen my running trail off quite a bit. But overall I'm doing more cardio than ever and it's the running that's started that and something I'm very thankful for.


yellow: walking green: running reddish: cycling

So have I learned anything? Hell yeah, bullet list a go-go

  • Starting is the hardest thing That kind of applies to all aspects of running, well for me anyway. Beginning at all was completely daunting. Even once that hurdle is clambered over it's a repeating pattern that rears it head every time before I go out. If you push yourself it's kind of hard work and the it's that memory that can come to the fore when you're trying to psych yourself up to go out. But!
  • Running, it's awesome! And it is! Post every run I've been completely exhilarated, often in complete proportion to the reluctance to get going in the first place. Rained on, snowed on, frozen by bitter wind? Those things? For me they're THE THINGS that slap a great big grin on my face.
  • You can do it! Probably. I mean you need legs and a fitness level that means you can use them but the barrier to entry is far lower than I ever suspected. Couch To Five K (C25K) is the way I got in, easy to start with but coaxes you along a path that'll get your running 5km straight within 6 weeks. Very simple, brilliantly structured.
  • The Stuff You've Decided You Don't Like? You might actually like. You might actually love it. The only standpoint with any credibility is one that speaks from experience. I mean I spent years slagging off Avocados without trying them. I have no idea why but this up-swell in physical activity over the last year has me scoffing them down like there's no tomorrow. And just over a year ago the idea of running was utterly repellent. Turned out it's now an important part of my life. This last point is a bit muddled. Just eat more avocados I suppose.

Have I done as well as I'd liked? No, I really wanted a sub 50m 10km and 22 something 5km. After some time off I'm quite a way away from hitting those goals but that's still possible, yeah? This morning's run, realizing I'm at an anniversary and writing this has given me a bit of spur. Maybe sometime this year :)]]>

My Legs, They're Giving Me Evils

Posted on

Man my legs are calling me an idiot. What was good was I went for a run on Saturday. Not a long one, just 5km on a local course up and down some of the not so gentle hills of Monifieth and came in around 27m. Which isn't all that terrible given the lack of running so far this year but kind of disappointing how much your form will just ebb away if you don't tend to it by keeping a hand in. Or a foot in. Or whatever.

It was hard though and left me a little wheezy though definitely exhilarated. That exhilaration is what I blame for the decision to celebrate with a 45km bike ride to Arbroath and back. And it was ludicrously windy, an hour and 11m to get there, around 20m slower than my normal pace. It cuts both ways and wind propelled return journey was stupidly fast. I even got a NUMBER ONE SPOT in a pretty hefty Strava Leaderboard.

Is that fair? No :D But I like it. Today not so much, my legs are very achey. There's a still a touch of sting from last week's accident to top it off nicely. Cycling in today was pretty hard, lots of snow and leaden limbs. But again, once in I was pretty exhilarated. Just hope that doesn't spur me on to more stupidery :)

But yeah, the takeaway is really I need to run more. I'm currently trying to do 500km cycling this month and balancing that with more running is tricky but ultimately worth it. I get a buzz from running that's quite amazing, it's good for me and I'd like to keep the form I worked hard to gain last year. Thinking of trying the David Lloyd Running Club that meets up on Tues / Wednesdays.


saturdayrun todaysride barry2monifieth bangcrashwallop

So what did I learn today?

Posted on

Arbroath is further away than it looks on the map

Managed to clock > 50km in a day cycling (Ride 1, Ride 2 and Ride 3 ) for the first time today. A small 5km in the morning coupled with a 45km round trip cycle to Arbroath. The intention had been to to cycle there, coffee shop code for a bit and then come back. That'd have worked fine if I wasn't the sort of idiot who leaves the keys for their bike lock at home. So after 5 minutes of cursing I just cycled straight back.

Must admit I'm still enjoying this, only started in earnest 4 weeks ago but I've now built to a pretty solid with daily commute round trip of 20km per day coupled with a longer run at the weekend. I can feel my legs getting and times creeping up. The ride today ended with the longish climb up Grange Road and the big surprise? It was my quickest time so yet :) A jump to sixth in the segment leader board. In your face Vicki Maclean! :D

Cross Domain AJAX Calls - Empty Calorie Learning

I know about this sort of thing now and kind of wish I didn't. After quick change in how I'm organising my home project I hit a bit of a brick wall with this nonsense. Basically if your page is served to your browser from machine A then your web client can't make an AJAX request to a different domain.

Only it can through the horrid bodge that is JSONP which I got working. But then you find out all requests have to be PUT which breaks the idea of using http verbs to implement a [RESTful interface][REST. So I binned that and have ended up using OSXs built in install of Apache as a proxy to the game that all IO is done through.

And this is great as I'm not getting a better level of separation between my game app and the browser editor client with game only have to handle the REST api. Only the other thing I learned is Apple removed easy access to the Apache server they bundled and in turn had to learn a load of rubbishy rubbish on re-enabling it again and then how to set it up as a proxy.

Also I learnt some stuff about manipulating headers in Apache to allow CORS and also setting Chrome up so it won't moan about trying to do this kind of thing.

And did that move my home project along? No. Gnnnng. It's a shame in some ways, I had a fair bit of energy this weekend, used it up and don't have a lot to show for it development wise.

But On The Plus Side

There's always days like this I suppose and I did learn some a few awesome things. Had a brief look at various bits of JS middleware out there. This thing? it's an excellent thing! I want to eventually have some live shader editing and this will be perfect for it. KickJS already does that kind of thing and it works really well.

As the JS code I'm writing gets beyond a few hundred lines it's apparent some structure and organisation that the language doesn't naturally support. The way different bits of Javascript can know about each other is by polluting the global namespace with a a load of mess. There's a few formalised approaches to packaging things up which I found after playing about with my own solution. It was interesting reading about these, I'll likely go for CommonJS or RequireJS not sure which yet. In turn lead me to an introduction of the upcoming Harmony and tangentially about the imminent Coffeescript 2 release and its exciting Kickstarter journey.

I learnt a bit more about nice development environments for Coffescript and Javascript. After experimenting with have Guard auto compile things for me last week I'm now using Cake (yes, every language seems to have their own build environment, there was make, Ruby's rake so there's also cake of course for Coffeescript) after wholesale ripping off the really pleasant setup in this lovely demo app of Coffee Physics. It's so cool all of this stuff is easily available as source and so easy to learn from. So much great stuff out, just found a port of bullet to JS!

Actually when you write it down, on top of the cross domain nonsense I learnt a lot of good stuff. Not so bad then.

I Learnt I Don't Like Old Naked Men Commenting On The Fancyness of My Goggles

Went for a bit of swimming with Suzey and the boy at the local gym. Which was ace. Charlie's really come along and close to swimming completely solo. Right now he's just got a float to help him along but he's kicking away in the water and putting his head under with a boat load more confidence and verve that the last time we went.

In the changing room after a naked old man looked at my googles and said they were 'fancy'. And I really didn't like it.


Strava ride 1 Strava ride 2 Strava ride 3 Up Grange Road leaderboard JSONP Cross Domain AJAX Module Approaches Common Js Require JS Harmony Cake make rake Coffeescript 2 Coffee Physics KickJS Ace Code Editor Coffeescript2 Kickstater JSBullet CORS Chrome CORS Lion Apache REST