For my groups we will complete the following cycle over the winter months:
Week 1 – Town Fields Time Trial – more info here – Meet at the sports club on South Parade
Week 2 – Carr Hill loop – Meet at the track
1 mile easy, then 4 miles hard including going up Carr Hill, then 1 mile easy.
Week 3 – Cantley Lane > Warning Tongue Lane > Cantley Traffic Lights – Meet at the track
1 and a bit miles easy to Bawtry Road, then run hard along Bawtry Road > Cantley Lane > Warning Tongue Lane and back along Bawtry Road, finishing at Cantley Traffic Lights. Then jog back to track. Approx 9.6km of hard effort. Short cuts available check the map.
Week 4 – Leger Way > Thorne Road > Town Moor Avenue > Racecourse Roundabout – Meet at the track
Warm up to Racecourse Roundabout, then hard up Leger Way > Back along Thorne Road (near parkrun), and down Town Moor Avenue finishing at Racecourse Roundabout. BAout 4 miles of hard effort. Jog back to club.
Virtual Event this season – we are not timing or marshalling the route
The course is around the Town Fields as per normal and the standard distance is 3 laps (4.8 miles). Runners are invited to run the course anytime they like, starting in October through till March 2021. Runners will need to self time.
Each time you run the course please use this form to submit your time and a monthly report will be produced. Run it as many times as you like. You might want to run it on a club night, its up to you. You can start and finish at any point on the course, but the start and finish must be in the same place. You can run either clockwise or anticlockwise.
All welcome, it is not an official event just a training run so it is run at peoples own risk. We do have younger people taking part who may do 1, 2 or 3 laps. It is up to parents to decide if children should take part.
As a club, through lockdown we have taken part in many excellent virtual challenges. These have been a great success from the and all abilities took part which is what its all about. It kept us motivated and active. We have done virtual miles up to half marathon and then peaking at the 30km Round Donny Run.
Anyway, the Sheffield Run, Jump and Throw series came to Doncaster on 20 August 2020 so a chance to do some real racing. I entered the 800m with the aim of running a PB, which at the time was 2:30. I was in heat 6 out of 7, the fastest heat being heat 1.
The plan was to go with the flow and kick in the last 200m, I was twice the age of the other runners in race 6. The gun fired and a couple of the other runners were fast. I got slightly carried away at first but soon slowed down as you can see on the below graph. I hit 200m in 3rd place and moved in to second. At about 450m I was chasing 1st place down and took the lead at 500m. I felt ok and cruised in to the last 100m, I could hear 2nd place chasing me down and I accelerated slightly just doing enough to take 1st place in 2:24.
This track and field meeting was a great success and the Sheffield Run, Jump and Throw series returned to Doncaster on 20 September 2020 and this time it was a toss up between having another crack at the 800m or getting a time for the 1500m. I had not got a time for the 1500m since 2018 which was 4:51. So the 1500m it was.
This time I had some Masters athletes to run against as well as lots of young people.
I had a chat with Chris Ireland, we would race together and he would take the 1st 400m and I would take the 2nd 400m. We started at the back, they young people were off at serious pace. At 150m which you can see on the below graph, Chris surged from the back to 2nd and I followed him. At 400m I passed Chris which took some effort and paced the second 400m, we went through 800m in around 2:29. Chris then took me and I tired, I tried to chase him down and my pace increased slightly in the last 100m but Chris beat me by just over a second. I finished with 4:51 which I am pleased with. Slightly quicker would have been better 🙂 Thank you to Peter Badger for filming the race, its interesting to see where a runners strengths and weakenesses are 🙂
So 2 great events at our home, Doncaster AC. Our volenteers set up the site and the event was run by Sheffield Run Jumps and Throws.
I am always modifying my training to fit in with my life and goals. No one knows me like me and I take the best bits that I see / learn from other people and put it all together in to a package for me. I mainly use HR training to run slow, running slow is harder than running fast in terms of mental discipline.
My resting HR averages 47bpm.
My maximum HR is around 180bpm (might be lower tbh).
Around 8 weeks ago my right hip started giving me pain, bit that much during running but after a run and when sleeping on that side it hurt. Running on consecutive days really set it off, but it eases right off if I don’t do anything. It does not usually hurt that much, just an annoyance, but sometimes it is quite painful.
I have tried self massage, icing, anti inflamms and some exercises. Don’t feel it is getting any better or worse.
Strategy from today:
Ice 4 times a day for 20 minutes
Take anti inflamms more regularry
Self massage the sift tissue above and below the bone where it hurts.
Stretch by laying down, pulling the knee into the chest and then over to the opposite shoulder. And Kneeling lunge stretches. Several times a day, hold for 20 seconds.
I got these in September 2019. Those that know me know I am always looking for a bargain and I could not believe my luck with these.
Lots of my running friends were telling me how good these were, people that had previously done most of their running in Asics, Mizuno, On’s etc. I had only tried Nike shoes once before and I did not want to pay £130+ to find I did not like them.
I was browsing ebay one day and I found someone selling them for £30 (delivered), advertised as brand new with all sizes available and lots of colours. Why I ordered white I will never know….
The catches were, they did not come in a box and I had to order them from a ebay seller in China. So I ordered a pair, got a tracking number and followed them across the world to Doncaster, they arrived after about 10 days. I put them on and they were too small, I was gutted, I had not ordered UK size 10, I had ordered US size 10. So I sold these to Malc at running club for £30 and I ordered two more pairs of US size 11.
After a few days the two pairs arrived and I put one pair away and started running in the cheapest running shoe I had ever owned. Were they genuine Nike or a copy? Would they fall to bits? Would they injure me?
They are the best running shoes I have ever owned, I do not track the mileage I run in shoes, I just run in them until they wear out and the first pair is still feeling good to run in. The grip / rubber has warn out on the sole but until bits start falling off I will keep going, If I had to guess I would say I have done between 400 and 500 miles in them, and many races. They are good on road and off road.
The shoes seam to encourage you to run fast, so I would wear something else for recovery runs now like Mizuno or On’s. I am not sure if I would do a full marathon in them or if I would stick to Mizuno, I probably would give them a try though.
Unfortunately the seller is no longer on ebay, I would have got another 5 pairs if I could.
I am a total convert to Nike now after being a Mizuno runner for 16 years, I do still run in other shoe brands but if I want to feel like putting a great shoe on for a run, I pick these. I have not yet tried the 4% or newer carbon plate shoes.
I did recently pick up some Pegasus 36 shoes for £52 delivered, and these feel good. So a years worth of running shoes (three pairs) cost me around £112.
So I am in the rather unique place to have a pair of heavily warn shoes V brand new unworn shoes to compare.
Other bands do exist such as Suunto and Polar and they make some great looking watches, but I have only ever owned Garmin watches so I am only able to write about these. Once you have used a particular brand you get locked in to their ecosystem much like the Android and Apple ecosystem and it is difficult to change if you want to keep all your historical data and future data in one place. I will write about Garmin Connect another day.
As a minimum you need a sports watch to be able to tell you how far you have run, how fast you are currently running, time elapsed and average pace. Anything else is a bonus and even the most basic sports watches will tell you a lot more.
Sports watches have to be durable and able to take hot, cold, wet weather, you might even go swimming with it on if it is waterproof. If you are in to triathlon then get a tri watch. Ultra runners need a watch that offers great battery life and the option to recharge on the run as well as mapping ideally. Runners will not go wrong with the Forerunner watches, they are brilliant. The vivoactive watches probably offer the best value for multisport and general lifestyle.
My first Garmin watch was the Forerunner 205 which I purchased on 31 July 2007 for £105 from Amazon. At the time just about everyone had this or the 305 which was red, the 305 was slightly more advanced which allowed the user to connect a Heart Rate Monitor.
The watch was very bulky but you did not really notice it, it had very similar functionality to what we have in today’s watches but without the refinement and you would not wear it to the pub.
It had to be connected to a computer using a cradle and wire, this could be very hit and miss and the contacts required frequent cleaning to get rid of sweet and dirt. You connected it to transfer the data to the Garmin website, and you could sync the Garmin website to transfer the data to 3rd party websites such as Fetch Everyone which I still use today. This was the equivalent of Strava up until around 2013 when Strava realised they should support runners a bit more.
The 205 allowed runners to view up to 4 data screens, and as you can see, the data was easily readable, it auto lapped every mile and could be programmed to do interval training or to show a virtual runner. The GPS accuracy was as good as what we have today, possibly even better. Using the watch became second nature, you could use it without looking at it, you just remembered where the buttons were. I think Garmin have always been good at making products with easy usability. I used it for five years (in all weather) before I decided to upgrade, it was still working fine and I ended up giving it away to Carl Ryde.
My second Garmin watch was the 410 which I purchased on 16 May 2012 for £140 from Amazon. My previous watch was still working well but I wanted to try a watch that looked less bulky and it came with a heart rate monitor chest strap. The watch had 2 buttons and a touch screen, this compared with the 205 which I think had 7 buttons.
The technology was not quite ready for the reduction in size, the screen became less easy to read, cluttered, low resolution and could show less data. You could set the screen to scroll between screens but that was no good for me, I wanted to see the data I needed without waiting for it to scroll.
The 410 was wireless for the transfer of data, this used a protocol called ANT+, Bluetooth was not ready for Garmin watches. You had to plug in a USB stick that looked like a memory stick which was a bit hit and miss. I was wanting to be able to upload data without having to use computer and you could do this with a USB OTG cable, the ANT stick and an Andoid phone running some dodgy software. Not an easy solution but it worked sometimes.
To charge the watch Garmin developed a new cradle but again, this was not great and the contacts required regular cleaning.
The touch screen could be temperamental, and I remember when fell racing on a very wet night at Castleton the screen went mad.
I kept the watch until around March 2015, the watch was still going fine and it had got me through my first 3 marathons but I had seen a new watch that looked like a watch you could wear as a normal watch all the time so i decided to upgrade. We actually had 2, 405 watches (Rose also had one) and these were given away to Wayne Martison and Joe Wade and I am happy to see they are both still going strong.
I left the Forerunner series when I got my third Garmin watch, the Fenix 3 from Gooutdoors (the day it was released) for £400. The first 50 people to get this watch got a free backpack worth over £50 which is a great piece of kit. At first I thought the watch was amazing but not for long.
I had a nightmare with the watch, Garmin had moved to a MTK GPS chip from some other manufacturer. I am not sure if this was the cause of the errors I kept getting but the GPS tracks were not as accurate, in addition sometimes when I ran past mobile phone masts my Garmin would teleport me a few hundred meters away and then back, which had the result of crazy inaccurate data. I had expected better from a £400 investment.
I contacted Garmin and after a couple of emails they agreed to replace it. Brilliant service from Garmin but i was dismayed to see the new watch did exactly the same. I probably persevered with it for 6 months, waiting for software updates etc but they did not fix it. I reached out to Garmin again, and they agreed to replace it again. I was pleased to find my 3rd Fenix 3 worked well and did not give me GPS errors, finally I could enjoy the watch. I had been running with my 410 and Fenix 3 at the same time as I could rely on the data from the 410. I was very pleased that Garmin had replaced the watch, I can not fault their customer service.
The watch connected to by phone via bluetooth, and it connected to my home network. Brilliant. I could install different watch faces, different data screens and widgets to get weather forecast and control music on my phone. The watched tracked my activity levels, it had a step counter, it knew when I went up stairs, it tracked my sleep. I never took it off. The battery was incredible, I could get a week out of it at a time, the screen was good and colour.
No question, it is a big watch but it never bothered me when running. It does not have an optical HR sensor, the Fenix 3HR came later.
I was starting to do ultra races and I was able to produce my own GPX routes and get them on the screen for me to navigate.
Garmin had designed another cradle for the watch, mainly used for charging but also for data transfer to a PC. The designs were getting better and you could wear the cradle whilst running to charge the watch which I did.
I did feel the watch could have had a better processor in it, at times it was quite slow particularly when using it on long navigation races. With regards to Garmin putting out software updates, I still get them today, not bad for a 5 year old watch.
It died when I went open water swimming, it was ok in the water but when I got out the watch started randomly switching between screens and the buttons stopped working. I was gutted and took the watch to bits to try to see if I could dry it out. The buttons did not start working again unfortunately.
Fenix 5s plus
My fourth Garmin watch was the Fenix 5S plus from CeX for £299. I had been without a garmin for a couple of weeks and after a bit of research I decided to stick with the Fenix series. I had always wanted a watch that had internal memory for the storage of music. The watch was used but condition looked good.
It had the same button layout as the Fenix 3 and it was operated in a very similar method so I had no problem getting use to it. It has a more intuitive menu system, better screen and optical HR sensor.
I went for my first run with the watch and noticed one of the data screens showed a map, I was blown away, I have not loaded any maps on to the watch but as you can see below the detail of mapping is brilliant.
Unfortunately the battery is quite poor, I need to charge it every 2 or 3 days and if I use Bluetooth earphones with it the battery drains very quickly, not sure if I would get 3 hours out of a full charge. It may be that the watch needs a replacement battery and I will change it at some point if I can find a new one.
I am very pleased to see Garmin have adopted a standard charging cable for their watches now, hopefully they will stick with it, it seams to work well.
Garmin make amazing watches although I do think the high end prices are getting a bit silly. You do occasionally find amazing discounts so keep your eyes open.
Fenix 3 resurrection
After trying to fix the Fenix 3 many times over the last 6 months I did it! I had been taking it to bits and spraying the switches with contact cleaner. This would get them working again for a day or two before they packed in working again. As a last ditch attempt I just sprayed some standard WD 40 on the switches and 2 weeks later the watch seems to be working fine.
The family of Garmin watches
From left to right – Fenix 5S Plus, Forerunner 245 Music (daughters), Vivoactive 3 (Roses) and the Fenix 3.
We are all different, but these training intensities have always worked for me. I never really intentionally followed them, I just did them when I was running anyway but when I look back at sessions I have done over the last decade these were around the pace bands I ran to (and still do). Check out the Daniels’ Running Formula book if you want the in depth version of the below.
On the below calculator (at the bottom of this page) , Select Event Distance and input your time, then hit calculate.
The Race Paces just shows you how fast you need to run your splits in to run the time you input.
The Equivalent tab is a race predictor based on the time you provided.
The Training tab is the interesting one, it tells you how fast to undertake different types of running.
Easy – most of your running should be spent doing easy running, it helps the body to recover, builds up resistance to injury, develops the heart muscle. You should do a minimum of 30 minutes when you do an easy run.
Marathon – This is your estimated marathon pace. For those training for a marathon it is obviously useful to do some long runs at around this pace. Personally, when going out for a long steady run my pace will be between Marathon pace and the top end of easy pace.
Threshold – If you are in top condition and ready to race hard, threshold running is the pace you can sustain for 60 minutes. In reality, in training this is difficult to keep on pace for more than 30 minutes, its tough running and you will be pleased when its over. This is also called Tempo running. You do not have to do a Threshold run in one go, you can break it down in to sections of say 5 or 10 minutes, have a short rest and go again.
Interval Training – typically you run at around your 5k pace for distances of between 400m and 1000m and have a break between efforts. The length of the break will depend on the length of the interval. You don’t have to run to distance, you can run to time or on irregular circuit. You might also incorporate hill work.
Repetition Training – Very high intensity running with longer recoveries. Typically shorter reps of 200m, 300m, 400m and perhaps 800m. Recovery would be 2 to 3 times as long as it took you to run the effort. Or slow jog the recoveries of the same distance as the effort.
A typical weekly plan for me might look like
Monday – Easy running for 50 minutes (right at the slow end of the pace band).
Tuesday – Interval or Repetition training (usually interval training for me).
Wednesday – Easy Running for 50 minutes (near the fast end of the pace band).
Thursday – Threshold Run – Typically 1 mile easy, 5 miles of hard effort, 1 mile easy.
Friday – Rest or Easy running.
Saturday – Parkrun at threshold + a bit more easy.
Sunday – Long steady run somewhere between easy and marathon pace. Typically 90 minutes or 12 miles.
21 February – Rest day and meeting with Amie Knott. Biked 5 miles commute to work.
22 February – National Cross Country Championships. Nightmare trying to get to the venue, better planning needed. Took 50 minutes to travel about 400m causing grid lock on the local roads. The queue vanished after you had paid the parking marshals. Got the tent up, made a mad dash to get the teams race numbers and we were good to go. Some of out athletes had to make their own way to find us as their parents were stuck in the traffic.
Doncaster AC took around 20 athletes to the event and we made use of a gifted tent, thank you Jody.
The event was good, very tough underfoot for perhaps a quarter of the course, but that is a long way when for the senior men we had 8 miles to run. Very muddy in areas and pretty much slowing down to a walk (reflected in the pace of 7:11). Took a dive in one bog. I was 3rd man home from Doncaster. Well done to all out junior and senior athletes who took part.
I finished in 733rd place, 1716 runner finished. I hope this shows the standard of the race, I am running around 36 minutes for a road 10k on the right day. Some of the best runners in the country racing against club runners of any standard. I binned my spikes after 4 years of action.
23 February – The rescheduled Scunthorpe Valentine 10k. Not ideal being the day after the cross country but at least the event still took place. The wind was brutal making the fist half of the race difficult, then a couple of miles of tailwind (but the damage had already been done), then a mile of cross wind not helping much and a finish on the running track. A great turnout form Doncaster AC with times from 36 minutes to 70 minutes showing how inclusive we are.
I worked as hard as I could, running with Simon Wright until about 2.5 miles, then I pulled away and passed Peter Badger and Connor Anderson (who finished 1st U20 I think). When we had the tail wind both Peter and Simon were able to catch me and pass me, Peter picked up the pace and beat me by 53 seconds. I tried to go with Simon but he had the edge and beat me by 4 seconds (finishing 1st M55). My wife, Rose ran a PB and finished 1st F40!
24 February 2020 – Bike to work, bike home. Steady recovery run of 10km length running at a pace of 8:25 minute miles with Todd.
25 February 2020 – Bike to work, bike home. Doncaster AC Track session, opted to pace Shaz as my legs were still battered.
2 x 2000m – 8:22, 8:21
1 x 1000m – 4:06
2 x 400m – 1:30, 1:30
2 x 200m – 0:38, 0:36
26 February 2020 – Bike to work, bike home. 6.6 miles from club, started steady (7:28) and built it up to fastest mile of 6:32.
27 February 2020 – Rose went away with running club to Bennidorm for a long weekend of fun and racing.
I ran with beginners who did 10 minutes running, 3 minutes walking and 10 minutes of running. The beginners are nearly at the end of the course and will make an amazing addition to the road runners at Doncaster Athletic Club.
After beginners I led a group 1 club run from the back of the group covering 7 miles at around 7:30 pace.
28 February – Was not sure if I could be bothered to run, got the day off so decided I could not waste the opportunity. Most of my running club including my wife Rose James Was Thompson are in Benidorm for the weekend so they are getting some warm weather training and racing Saturday night. Got my shoes on and set off, no music, water, gel. Got thinking as you do, how far should I go? No route planned or pace planned. Thought got to get a long run in sometime, just do it, 20 miles in at around 3 hour pace. Rained all the way, last 5 miles were rubbish with strong headwind, at times hail. Got home, could not get my keys to open the door, my hands were like ice. Eventually got in and had a coffee. Really pleased to have got my run in. That’s 201 for Feb miles so I get my 200 badge from Fitwins and have a day off tomorrow to recover for Norton.
29 February – Got my first volunteering badge at Cusworth parkrun after volunteering at Doncaster parkrun 124 times. Took photos which can be found here.
1 March – The Norton 9 road race. Another poor weather forecast with stormy winds, great…. Did 2.5 miles warm up basically running from the race HQ and car park a few times. Had no real expectations of running a great race. I set off like a rocket (never going to learn), the wind was behind us and down hill, looked at the garmin and hitting 4:55 minute miles. Rapidly backed off the pace letting Peter Badger and the leaders go. The tailwind helped for about the 1st mile, then became a cross wind. I was running with Mariusz until about 4 miles and I had to let him go, at around the same time Jono passed me, looking strong and he went with Mariusz. I don’t think my position changed from 4 miles till the finish. Worked hard up the 1st hill in to the head wind, legs went jelly like at the top. Kept working as hard as I could, Graham Beardsley got a photo of me (below).
Working hard to keep my place, turned the corner to run down to Willow Bridge and got a shout from Chris Ward. This would be the toughest mile climbing up into a direct headwind. Survived the climb and turned left and started the best bit, down hill with a tailwind, time to up the pace and see what happens. Did not catch anyone but ran a 5:46 mile.
Nice to see my stride length is looking good and flying feet 😀 Over a minute PB on the 9 mile distance 55.10 😀 16th overall and proud NOT to be a team counter. 3 #DAC4ever 💙💚⚪ athletes ahead of me, a great team. Proud club captain delighted to see around 25 #DAC4ever athletes taking on the wind 👌 Check out my £30 Running shoes, love them @nikerunning
I was down to run a 10k race but this was postponed for a week due to high winds. So I did a rare treadmill run, I have one at home and I did not fancy running in high winds. I did a total of 6.5 miles and the pace varied from 7:45 to 6 minute miles.
10 February 2020
Went down to track but opted not to run, was not feeling great so took a rest day. I had to work Sunday night so was tired after that.
11 February 2020
Bike to work, bike home.
Doncaster AC Club run. Track session, short warm up 0.75 miles, then in to the main session of 4 x 1000m > 2 min recovery. 2 x 500m > 1 min rec. 2 x 300m > 45 sec rec. Splits were not amazing but ok (was very windy and we had some hale storms):
1000m reps – 3:52, 3:55, 3:49 and 3:46.
500m reps – 1:47 and 1:46.
300m, reps were 59 and 1:03.
So total volume of effort was 5.6km. Was a bit slack with my warm down, just one lap of track.
12 February 2020
Mid week marathon morning training run:
0.5 mile warm up
10k out running at 7:11 minute mile pace. 10k back running 6:29 minute mile pace (headwind all the way back).
0.5 mile warm down.
Evening run with Rose, 7 mile head torch run at 8:43 minute miles. This was a bonus recovery run for me, so giving me a total of 20 miles for the day.
13 February 2020
Bike to work, bike home.
Doncaster AC Club run, 1 mile warm up, then running a loop of just over 2 miles twice with a short rest between, 1 mile warm down. This was my first (sub)threshold run of the week with a total volume of 4.5 miles averaging 6:09 pace for the loops. 6.8 miles total run for the day.
14 February 2020
Bike to work, bike home.
Head torch recovery run with my valentine Rose into Sandall Beat woods (very muddy), total of 6.06 miles at a nice steady 9:20 minute miles.
15 February 2020
Frickley parkrun for the 1st time, did a short warm up of 0.68 miles. Then ran the parkrun, excellent course and wonderful volunteers. Nice post run drink as well. I know it is the day after Valentines day but 1st lady was my wife, Rose James 😍and I was delighted to have a good run with the inspirational Simon Newton, I was delighted to finish 1st overall 😀 Thanks to Jody Breeze Was Elders for cake and great to see a good turnout from DAC.
My mile splits were 6:35, 6:04 and 6:02. Taking the hills in to account, the GAP pace was 5:47, 5:56, 5:53. My second (sub)threshold run of the week. It was a bit windy and raining, trail paths which were water logged and a bit muddy.
16 February 2020
Quite a windy forecast, did a run from Cantley park with 4 other runners, did 9 miles at 7:28 minute miles. Was not that bad really so a nice easy recovery run.
Total for the week (10 to 16th) is 49.9 miles and my average pace has been 7:23 minute miles including 1 speed session and two tempo (sub) threshold runs and lots of easy running.