running blog


Engage brain!

I swapped BMF for a mid length run today. I need to build my mileage (at BMF classes we run a total of about 3 miles of short fast efforts between exercises) and get my Jantastic runs in but don’t think 6 runs is such a good idea this week after only 3 last week!

I had planned to run to Hyde Park then do two mile laps at 10K pace and started out feeling fine but it was warm and I soon changed my plan into a steady 6 miler when I began to feel weary as I overheated in long sleeves.

So I plodded round the outside of the park and enjoyed the dry day and the sunshine, watching Winter Wonderland being dismantled (Yay!).  It’s so nice to have the place back to normal, free of crowds and be able to run some parts without running into a wall of people.  I did however do my good deed for the day and stopped for a couple of tourists to show them how to get to the tube. (Anything for a brief rest!)

Plodding on, finding it tough going  I looked at my watch and was totally dismayed to see my pace had dropped so dramatically.  Was I running in treacle?  Suddenly the blog post being written in my head completely changed in mood and my wandering thoughts of marathon pace and time became depressing.  I was sure I felt dizzy and hungry.  I had a drink and a talk to myself, mustered my best efforts and forced myself to push on towards home.

Part of the way home is down hill so feeling better and picking up the pace I glanced back at my Garmin.  Amazingly my pace had dramatically improved in a very short distance!  I normally display my average pace for the whole run but then I engaged brain.  I had changed it that morning to show me average lap pace which explained quite a lot!

Oh well lesson learned and a good exercise in overcoming the doldrums mid-run!

Janathon day 8,   6.5 miles run.


An amazing 16 days!

and review of Mobile Solar Chargers,

16 days ago I sat and watched the Olympic opening ceremony from a field in front of a big screen at the Adidas Thunder Run before a wonderful weekend. Such a fantastic atmosphere that has continued.  Tonight I have watched the closing ceremony and wondered where have the last 2 weeks gone?  Team GB have won 65 medals, I’ve run 60 miles and just about held the fort domestically, but done little else! Why?  I’ve been glued to the TV! Have been watching and enjoying sports I’ve never watched before and have been standing up shouting at the TV!

Well done London 2012 and team GB!

What I should have done is finish my review of Mobile Solar Chargers which kept me charged up at TR24 and tweeting through the opening ceremony!

These are basically portable back up batteries which can be charged from USB, the mains or by the sun which will then re-charge iPhones, iPods, smart phones, using micro USB, Nokia phones plus anything charged by USB, ie rather usefully my Garmin!

I was sent two models, which arrived rather appropriately the morning I left for TR24….

I pre charged both as much as I could before I left home.  The slightly larger unit with LED light (about the same size as an iPhone) charged everything from iPhones to my Garmin that we tried it on, keeping my iPhone going during the opening ceremony and then recharged very well from a sunny spot in our campsite and my car dash-board the next morning to go on and boost my Garmin’s battery for my night run and keep my iPhone going.

The smaller unit I was less impressed with at the time, only charging my teammates Samsung smart phone.  However since then I have  fully charged it from the mains or my pc a few times and it now charges both my Garmin via USB and iPhone perfectly, obviously needing its full battery charge, which can only be achieved after a few full charge-discharge cycles to work on these.

I think I preferred the slightly larger model, maybe because I had success with it from the start, but also because of the clear % charge indicators on the reverse plus the very useful LED light which was useful to make sure I’d switched everything on and set the right alarms in a dark tent!

These back up batteries work, are versatile,  being able to recharge them by several means and are perfect for travelling, camping, multi day ultra running, hiking or festivals for keeping your smartphone  (and garmin if you’ve got an old one with rubbish battery life) charged while away from civilization. They are definitely worth checking out and if your phone requires a different connection (if only phone companies would standardise connections) Mobile Phone Chargers are open to feedback/requests.


Mine is now a bit of essential kit to pack for races, events (TR24 next year!) as a backup for my iPhone, iPod  and Garmin and I have even had to promise to lend mine to my brother for the End of the Road Festival!



I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not very good at pacing. I might have learned not fall into the most obvious traps, like sprinting off at the start of a race, only to die round the first corner, but I realise that I don’t always judge my pace very accurately. I can ease off too much or push too hard for the distance, finding that there is not much leeway in my judgement between too fast and too slow! Maybe I am too reliant on my garmin or maybe I don’t use it properly, I don’t know.

I decided to try the virtual partner on my garmin and yesterday was keen to get out and run and give it a go. However life events took over. So today, determined to keep up my training for my half marathon I decided to make up the missed 4 miles by running to and home from BMF.

Today at BMF we did lots of leg drills, after a mad running warm up, so I guessed it was very good half marathon practice to try running at a set pace on worn out legs on the way home. (Not to mention feeling cold and decidedly wet and muddy). I wasn’t sure about the virtual trainer thingy. I need to run with it more and get more used to it. At least I’ve worked out which stick man is me (the one behind) and am working out what the small print stats below show (when I can manage to read it on the go!) The main problem with trying to keep up with the damn thing when running in town is that I have to pause, slow down and stop to cross roads safely and dodge pedestrians while Mr Virtual Partner gets away!

Hopefully my plans to run more races in 2012 will help me improve my times by more pacing experience in addition to regular training mileage and a few less pounds around my middle.

Forgetting all about pacing, on Sunday I had the most fantastic run. I was in an upbeat mood and set off for a long run. I plugged in my music and went where impulse took me exploring London on a lovely afternoon, passing new areas and going for a look at the Christmas window displays at Harvey Nichols. I was so ‘in the zone’ running felt wonderfully effortless and I carried on to do all 12 miles (of a planned 10 to 12), in 2 hours. That evening I discovered that long runs are also wonderful because I could have a good supper with half a bottle of red and apple pie and still be under my calorie allowance for the day. Result!