Running all year round.

January 5, 2012
by Colin
Comments Off

Janathon 2012 – Day 4 & 5 – Club Run and a minor setback

My run for Day 4 of Janathon consisted of my usual Wednesday night club run with Poole Runners. I enjoy running with company, so look forward to the 7-10 mile club run which we do at a fast “chatting” pace. Last nights run was 8.3 miles altogether and was a bit faster than usual (I think the average pace was 8:06), but it felt really good despite the fact that I’ve already covered quite a lot of miles already this week… The route was down to the centre of Poole via Holes bay and back (there is a longer 10 mile route through Poole park, but we decide to do the slightly shorter one), and it was blowing pretty hard down by the harbour.

Today’s run was supposed to be intervals… which I wasn’t looking forward to. I haven’t really done any interval training at all (apart from the occasional session at running club), but I worked out how to set up my Garmin watch to guide me through the 8 x 90 second intervals and off I went. It all started well, and I was quite enjoying myself, but by the 4th rep I had started to get a slight niggle in the bottom of my achilles where it joins the heal. I’ve had lots of injury problems with this particular part of my leg (and am probably a bit hyper-sensitive about injuring it again), so I decided to call it a day and head home at a gentle jog. I’ve done lots of stretching and icing and it feels OK, now so fingers crossed it’ll be fine after the planned rest day tomorrow. I still managed to do 3.6 miles so all was not lost :-)

January 3, 2012
by Colin
Comments Off

Janathon 2012 – Day 3 – A quick 5 miles at the end of a busy day…

Just a quick post tonight, as today has been ridiculously busy! I was back at work after a 2 week break and ended up working late trying to fix a broken email server… once I had finished fixing things,  I then had to fit my run in around walking the dog and looking after the kids while the wife went out to her pilates course.

The training plan for today said to warm up with a slow 2 miles and then do a quick 3 miles. I sort of managed to stick to this, though I didn’t really plan my route very well and ended up with the first 2 miles being mainly downhill and with the fast section being mainly uphill. The last mile was hard work!

Hope everyone is enjoying their Janathon challenge so far…

January 2, 2012
by Colin
Comments Off

Janathon 2012 – Day 2 – Cross Country

Upton Heath

View over the harbour.

According to my marathon plan (see yesterday’s post for details) today was either a rest day or an “easy” 4 miles. Seeing as Janathon only started yesterday I decided to take the 4 miles option and go for a gentle cross country run on Upton Heath. The heath is one of my favourite places to run as it has spectacular views over Poole Harbour and the Purbeck hills, and as a  Site of Special Scientific Interest it is full of rare wildlife (especially reptiles). The heath was devastated by fire back in June (see the BBC – and is only just starting to recover in some areas.

Today’s run was very, very, muddy and the ground was wet and slippery… which was fantastic fun. I came back tired, covered in mud, but with a smile on my face.

A section of the heath that has not recovered much from the fire.



I don’t have a song-of-the-run today, as I didn’t take my MP3 player with me… I just quiet enjoyed the sounds of the heath, and the splashing of puddles!

January 1, 2012
by Colin

Janathon 2012 – Day 1 – The Bells

Last year my friend Rich (@reikanphoto) persuaded me to join him and his sister Niki (@sanemezza) in a New Year challenge to run every day in January (min 3 miles) and then write a brief blog post about it. It was great fun and I loved doing the running, though I found the blogging to be more of a trial!

This year I am hoping to do my first marathon (Brighton) in April, so while I was quite keen to do another January challenge I was a bit unsure whether running every day in January would be a good idea. However someone then told me about Janathon which is a larger, more organised, version of our challenge from last year  and I decided that I would combine  Janathon with my marathon training program. The program (I’m using the Runners World “intermediate” plan) includes at least one rest day a week, so I wont be running every day this year, but on the rest days I will do some gentle exercise and stretching so I think that still complies with the rules! I’m expecting the challenge to be at least as tough as last year and the mileage should be considerably more so I know it’s not going to be easy.

Wimborne Minster

Anyway… today (1st January 2012) was the first day of Janathon, and the first real day of my marathon training program (I should have started it last week, but was suffering from a nasty cold). The program said I should run a slow 9 miles… so that is what I did. A nice half trail, half road loop around Wimborne and back. I had to consciously watch my pace to keep it slow (average was 8:40) as I have a tendency to  always run at the same speed. I didn’t do much running last week (and am possibly still suffering from the tail end of the cold) so I struggled a bit towards the end of the run, and was glad to get on the home straight. Unsurprisingly there was very little traffic on the roads, but it was good to see that there were a lot of runners out…

I’m going to try and take the odd photo to liven up these posts – today’s is of  Wimborne Minster. The bells were ringing loudly as I ran past – such a great traditional Sunday morning  sound!

I also thought I would also include a “song of the run” on each of my posts… today’s standout random track was U2 – The Fly. I’m not much of a U2 fan, but I love the Achtung Baby album and this song with it’s distorted sound and soaring chorus is my favourite track from it.

Tomorrow’s run is 4 miles… looking forward to it :-)



December 16, 2011
by Colin
Comments Off

Quick review of my new Ronhill Men’s Vizion Windlite Jacket

My running addiction (and the fact that I’m always talking about it!) seems to have rubbed off a bit on my Dad, who has recently become a semi-regular runner (well done Dad!!). I don’t get to see him that often (the journey involves getting on a ferry), but when I do it’s great to be able to go out for a run together.

Ronhill Windlite Jacket

Anyway, as he lives next to the sea he often has to contend with very windy runs along the seafront, and he was asking my advice on a windproof jacket. I’d been thinking of getting one myself and noticed that Sweatshop had a 2 for 1 offer on Ronhill gear, so decided to get a Ronhill Men’s Vizion Windlite Jacket for each of us (he’ll get his as a Christmas present).

My first impressions of the jacket were that is was extremely light – almost flimsy, so I was a bit worried about how good it was going to be in stopping the wind. However I’ve now run in it a number of times in a variety of windy winter weather conditions and it does the job of keeping the wind out admirably. It’s a high-vis jacket so that’s a definite bonus for dark winter runs and it has a small zip pocket which useful (I can never have enough small pockets  – mp3 players, key, gym cards, gels etc ). I haven’t yet run in the rain, so I can’t say how good the waterproofing is – it’s supposed to be water resistant, but only for light showers – I’ll update this post if I have anything useful to say on the matter! But basically if you’re looking for a very lightweight windproof hi-viz jacket then I can recommend this one.


December 14, 2011
by Colin
Comments Off

New Challenges

I haven’t updated my blog in ages… and I’m feeling very bad about it! However I’ve got two big challenges ahead – firstly there is Janathon ( which is basically a more organised version of the “running every day in January” challenge I did last year. And secondly there’s the Brighton marathon… this is my first marathon, and I’m shortly going to be starting on my marathon preparation so will hopefully have some more stuff to write about! Also if Father Christmas brings me some more running gear I’ll probably write some stuff about reviews too.

June 21, 2011
by Colin
Comments Off


The last 3 weeks have been really difficult (in a running addict sense) as I’ve been having physiotherapy on an old achilles injury that re-appeared after a speed session with my local running club. The nice physio has assured me that she should be able to get rid of the problem completely, but to do so I had to stop all running until she said otherwise :-(

I have another session tomorrow, and am hoping that she allows me to do a at least a little bit of running. I can’t wait to get back out again. Fingers crossed!!

June 15, 2011
by Colin
Comments Off

Camelbak Octane 18X Review

I’d been considering buying a lightweight backpack for a while to use when I run down to the gym and for longer training runs, so when I decided to do the 26 mile Walk The Wight last month it seemed like a good opportunity to go ahead and get one.

Camelbak Rucksack

My criteria where relatively simple – it had to be lightweight, comfortable, and large enough to hold a towel and a change of clothes. I wasn’t originally looking for a hydration system to be included, but after looking at what was available I decided that it would be a definite bonus, and as a minimum it must be designed so that I could add one at a later date.

I spent a few hours trying to get my head around the different makes and reading recommendations on forums, looking at Camelbak, Innov-8, Berghaus etc and even some of the cheaper own brands available from Supermarkets.  In the end I went for the Camelbak due a large number of favourable reviews and for this particular model (Octane 18x) because it was designed for running, was expandable via a zip system and had a hydration system built in.

The Octane 18x dually arrived and had its first use walking the 26 miles across the Isle Of Wight where it totally lived up to the expectations I had for it. It was very comfortable, light, held my wet weather gear and had a number of useful pockets (including some clever ones in the waist straps). The hydration system worked extremely well and the large opening on the reservoir made filling and cleaning very easy.

I have used it a number of times since, running down to the gym and on a couple of cycle rides and have been extremely happy with it! I have yet to go out for a long run (as I’m recovering from an injury) but I have no doubt it will prove a success. While I can’t compare it with any other backpacks, I can highly recommended it if your needs are similar to mine.

May 25, 2011
by Colin
Comments Off

Walk The Wight

WalkersA couple of weekends ago I did the 26.5 mile “Walk The Wight”  across the Isle Of Wight from Bembridge in the East to the Needles in the west. As I’ve entered my first marathon next year (the Brighton Marathon),  I thought it would be interesting to see how covering 26 miles on foot would feel… I guess I was hoping it was going to be relatively easy and would set me up for my marathon training come the winter. However I found it a lot harder than I was expecting, and I was surprised  how much will-power was involved in keeping me going towards the end!

I found it hard for a number of reasons:

  1. I’m relatively fit, and a regular runner, but as I spend the majority of my day sitting at a desk (writing computer code)so being on my feet for 10 hours without sitting down once was really tough.
  2. Blisters… ouch – by about 20 miles my feet were in real pain. I had three blisters on one foot and two on the other.
  3. The route itself was very hilly and the last 4.5 miles were all uphill into the wind, which along with the blisters added to the hard work.
  4. Nutrition – although we had lots of food and drink with us, because it was only at walking pace, I don’t think I realised how much energy I was using. I finished the walk with lots of supplies left, but totally out of energy!

Definitely some lessons to be learnt, but despite this I had a fantastic day. The weather was very kind to us, the scenery was beautiful and there was a really enjoyable atmosphere about the whole event. I plan to do it again next year…

Will it help with my marathon training? I think so. I’ve spoken to a number of marathon runners and they’ve all said it’s a very different experience (which I guess is kind of obvious), but I like to think that because I found the walk quite a challenge (which I successfully completed),  it will help fortify my will-power!