Ready for the off?

[Originally posted on Bristol Running Resource, 29/08/11]

We’re now less than two weeks away from the Bristol Half Marathon. If you’re running then I hope your training has gone well and you’ve managed to stay injury free. As Ben mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago, the conventional wisdom is that if you can run 10 miles then you should be able to manage to get around a Half. I think that’s right, although the last mile or so may present your quads with an interesting challenge.

If your preparations have fallen a bit short of what you had hoped for then it’s a good idea not to try to catch up by cramming in a lot of extra training at the last minute. That’s a good way to get injured. And it’s not really a hugely effective way to increase your fitness – the rest periods between runs are integral to improving endurance. Even if you avoid injury, the chances are you’ll be knackered when race day arrives. Read more of this post


Keeping it honest on the run

[Originally posted on Bristol Running Resource, 21/11/10]

Do you prefer your running solo? Or would you rather a bit of jostling in the pack? They are very different experiences, and both can be enjoyable. But I guess I do most of my running these days with a partner. There are many advantages to running with a partner, the most obvious is having a bit of company on the way round. Even more fundamentally, it creates a sense of mutual obligation to get you both out the door in the first place.

But partnering up for a run can be fraught with difficulty. Read more of this post

To hill and back …

[Originally published on Bristol Running Resource, 10/10/10]

I’ve been out and about this weekend, visiting the in-laws in south Wales. Managed to squeeze in a run this morning.

We ran north out of Beaufort on the road to Llangynidr. Within five minutes you’re into Powys and the Brecon Beacons National Park. You’ve got moorland, babbling streams, free roaming sheep and horses, and fantastic views from one of the highest points around. And given you’re tracing the (not particularly busy) B4560 you don’t have to go off-road to enjoy it – unless you want to.

An hour’s run basically involves running uphill for 30mins. Then turning around and running back down again. A pretty good workout.

That got me thinking about runners and hills. Anyone who runs any distance in Bristol can’t go far without finding themselves on terrain that’s less than flat. But do you love it or hate it?

Running hills is often considered to be strength and interval training in disguise. I always think that hills I’m including in my regular runs tells me a lot about how the training’s going. Whether I approach them with enthusiasm or trepidation tells me even more!

So I composed my personal top 10 list of ‘uphill bits’ of north Bristol as they feature in my training runs – in order of increasing difficulty. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Redland Hill
  2. The Promenade (plus the Observatory)
  3. Jacobs Wells Road
  4. Parrys Lane
  5. The zigzag path in Ashton Court
  6. Stoke Hill
  7. Bridge Valley Road (Clifton Down and on to the top of Blackboy Hill)
  8. From the towpath near Paradise Bottom, through Leigh Woods to North Road
  9. Nightingale Valley
  10. Offroad up Castle Hill to Blaise Castle

At the moment I’m feeling pretty positive about tackling Stoke Hill regularly. So things aren’t going too badly. But I know that I’m going to have to step up to something a little more challenging to move the training on. Something to look forward to!

Would any of my regular uphill routes make it into your top 10? Anywhere else you think I should be venturing for a change?