alex_h's training

Hi all, deep breath here and a jump into the unknown. Well, not really the unknown, as I've been lurking around for a few weeks (with a post here and there image)

I've decided to come out and share my training story with you. Hopefully, we can track how I go along the way. I'm prepared to share a lot of information with you, but won't bore you all with a full on background of me or my sporting history right now. If anybody wants to know anything they can just ask! I'm pretty thick-skinned and ready to take on all advice and constructive criticism! So, some headline bits to get you all started with me...

Age: 30

Height: 5'7

Weight: 14st 4lb

Running for approximately 1 year


HM: 1:56:47 (27/03/11)

M: 4:51:35 (22/05/11)

I plan to provide updates from each run I do. Sometimes, I may cover a few runs in one post (don't want to spam the board!).

Following advice from a previous thread, I'm going to spend the forseeable future concentrating on the 10k. I found that when I was doing the training for the marathon I was generally running slowly and when I skipped sessions I was skipping the speedwork. I followed the RW garmin-ready schedule for 4:30.My focus was running (jogging/shuffling) for longer, rather than focusing on quality. I now know why more experienced people on here sometimes frown on the "holy grail" of running a marathon to get round. Having rooted around the boards, I wish I'd have found all the advice on here sooner. I think I would have approached the marathon completely differently!!

So, since the marathon I've taken pretty much 3 weeks off. I feel like I'm starting all over again with a fresh approach but will need some help along the way. I'll provide as much/little info as you like from my runs/days. If you want a full breakdown on everything that I eat etc. then you can have it!

No, I'm not very quick. Yes, I'm very heavy for my height (rugby!!) although not as heavy as I was! Yes, I enjoy a bit of banter and invite you all to get on board with this and see where I can go.

My current plan (plagiarised from advice on another thread) is to get back into running for the next 4 weeks and build my mileage back up. First reports coming up!

Thanks for reading and hope to speak with you all soon image



  • OK first run done.


    4.02m - 36:31

    Just went out for a comfortable run. Averaged 9:05 min/m. 2nd half is mostly up a gradual incline and found it hard towards the end. I'm a bit out of practice!! I know that was probably too quick based on my PBs, but I did feel reasonably comfortable, could have gone to 6 miles at that pace (thinking about 10k).

    Today was the first run I've done without my iPod. I wore it all through marathon training (360 miles) and thought I couldn't run without music. Thought I'd try without...well, it was nowhere near as difficult as I thought! I found I concentrated much more on the run and on my form (important due to my, ahem, largeness!). May still break out the music every now and then...but was really happy without it! I also refused to look at the Garmin. I became a bit of a slave to it on the marathon schedule, so was pleased to not be extremely too quick/slow.

    Interesting thing I saw: A line of ants carrying what looked like fly eggs from dog poo into a crack in the pavement when I was stretching! (I'll drop these in when I see something that I deem "interesting"!! image)



  • alehousealehouse ✭✭✭

    OK, let's not mess about! You are carrying too much weight: I'm 5'6 and 10 stone and consider myself overweight, so I reckon your main target must be weight loss...and for that I would suggest lots of long slow runs. I'd forget the speedwork totally at this stage (and no doubt someone will be along shortly to tell me I'm wrong).

    "Where will I end up..." Thinner, for sure!

    Love the thread and look forward to your progress. Where are you based? Have you joined a club?

    Think positive thoughts, banish negative ideas and visualize your success
  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    Hi Alex

    I agree with alehouse with regards to speedwork and to your main priority.  With the latter in mind I would do a bare minimum of running (sorry!) and do the vast majority of your fitness work as non-weight bearing cross training.

  • alehousealehouse ✭✭✭
    Hi Moraghan...would not disagree with you...however, if Alex were to run, it would be as I said! And if he were to cross train what might this entail?
    Think positive thoughts, banish negative ideas and visualize your success
  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    Yes agreed, nice and slow.  Anything that will increase overall training load safely, but with a preference for cycling.
  • Hi all, thanks for the responses. I just have a few queries that I will get to in a moment.

    I take on board the comments about being careful with the running. However, when I was marathon training I averaged 25-30 miles per week, spread over 3-5 sessions. I know that mileage was insufficient for a marathon, but, as the marathon was only on 22nd May (3 and a half weeks ago) surely this would give some sort of base to work from?

    I should add that I've taken great care to go and get the right footwear (fitted in a shop etc.) Indeed the stability shoes I currently have look like orthopaedic shoes compared to most of the shoes you see!!!

    I've been running now since Summer 2010 and haven't had any joint problems. I have had to build up slowly, as I hadn't done any substantial training for about 3 years before 2010. When I began I was nearly 16 stone and couldn't run at 11 min/m pace for 10 mins. Now I've cracked my first goal (sub 2hr HM) and want to progress, but at the right pace for me.

    So, I plan to carry on running (carefully) and supplement with X-Training (swimming and stationary bike) and core and flexibility work.

    My queries (I knew we'd get there eventually) - Given the above, do you think I have some sort of a base to work with, provided I am careful and don't rush into anything?

    Can I spend the next 4 weeks doing at least 3 runs per week (short 4-6 miles) as that will roughly equate to the training I was doing before (albeit not as intense)? Supplementing with other work as described above.

    Sorry for rambling on, I just wanted to give some context to where I've come from over the last year. I also wanted to show that I'm not just shunning your advice if I still go out for runs!! image I know that my body can handle 25-30 miles per week but will be careful and keep this at the lower end for now. I will weigh myself every Monday morning and keep you all posted.

    Does this sound reasonable? Moraghan - I know this isn't exactly what you have advised, but I love the running and hope the X-training and core work will find some middle ground with you!!!

    Alehouse - I'm based in Chepstow. There is a local club (Chepstow Harriers) see them out on Tuesdays and thursdays. Look to be a popular club, but I have no idea how suitable they would be for me. I've looked at their website and they look friendly enough with a wide range of abilities. Just not sure if that's a road to go down just yet...I don't mind running alone either!

    Keep the feedback coming and thanks for your support!

  • Sorry, I cross-posted with you both! I'm in work and doing this sneakily! image

  • Today's workout - 14/06/11

    Stationary Bike - 45 minutes total

    10 mins warm up - level 1 - HR 86bpm

    7m30s warm(er) up - level 2 - HR 94bpm

    22m30s - level 3 - HR 125bpm

    5 mins cool down - level 1 - HR 105bpm

    I think that the units of measurement on my bike are km. So I allegedly did 17.6km. HR readings are taken from my Garmin HRM, not from the ropey one on the bike! I also allegedly burnt 654 calories. How it works that out without knowing my weight and other vital stats I do not know! haha image Such a gimmick!

    I'll be honest, I hate the damn bike. It is uncomfortable and gives me pins and needles in the nether regions! Hence the 5 minute cool down - I thought things were going to go blue and drop off! image

    Finished off with a good stretch and a bit of core work.

    Although the bike and I have a mutual dislike of each other, it was actually an OK a good sweat on.

    Today's interesting workout sight: 2 sleeping greyhounds - 1 of which was upside down on the sofa. I was jealous. They didn't move for the entire workout...lazy gits.

  • Just a quick update on what has happened since my last update on Tuesday.

    Wed - no training, work and then Take That concert for the wife's birthday present (ahem) image
    Thursday - no training, work, then driving lesson (30 and can't drive! image) then off to the in-laws for dinner and look at Wedding photos.
    Friday - pretty much always a rest day as we pick my kids up for the weekend and then drive to West Wales.

    So, that is why there's been no update. Fortunately, Take That and wedding photos are pretty much one-offs and not part of my usual week!!

    Plans for the weekend - a good swim session, a few miles easy run, and some core and flexibility work. So, by the end of the week I should have had 4 sessions - 2 runs, 1 bike, 1 swim.

    Despite the lack of training, I've been focusing on my diet and tried to cut out the little things this week, such as my mid-morning snickers and a beer in the evening. Have also cut out the crisps at lunchtime. Small steps at this stage!! Luckily, we generally eat reasonably healthily. So I don't need to revolutionise my diet, just cut out the crap at first, then improve certain things I eat as the training increases.

    Weigh-day is Monday morning, so we will see if there has been any effect. I'm hoping for a little bit of loss, I've only gained 2lbs in the 3 weeks since the marathon (lost 10lbs in training) so I'm not piling weight back on, despite only 1 run in those 3 weeks and eating like a pig the week after!! So generally, my diet isn't ridiculous, hence the cutting out of little things intially. image

  • So, update from the weekend...

    Sat - 4 miles easyish

    Sun - 45 mins stationary bike...ugh

    Mon - 4 miles easyish

    Sunday's bike was squeezed in late evening, but I was determined to get it in. 

    So, Monday morning was weigh-in time image Did not go according to plan! weighed in at 14st 3.6lbs. So lost a paltry 0.4lbs. Thought I would have had 1lb at least. I'm not overly concerned as I only cut out some snacky things and had a bit of a manic week. See how it goes next week now with a little more effort on the food front, and some more structured training.

    Most interesting thing I saw on my run: Saturday - a shed snake skin on the coast road...probably a young adder or grass snake. Something different eh? image

  • alehousealehouse ✭✭✭
    Stick with it/us Alex! Cut out the snacks! What are the running plans for the next7 days?
    Think positive thoughts, banish negative ideas and visualize your success
  • I agree with alehouse - long slow easy runs will take the weight off and you can push yourself on some short runs.

    Running makes you a better runner, x-training seem to keep injuries at bay.

    You did need some down-time after your marathon, but if you start another build-up, and include a few short races, they will be good indicators to whether you are improving or not.

    Well done on the sub-2hr half.
  • Evening Alehouse!

    Have a trip to London tomorrow, so see what time I get home. If I'm not too late then 45 mins bike. Then Wed will be another run.

    Otherwise the bike may get put back to Wednesday and run on Thursday morning.

    So I'm planning for a total of 3 runs and 2-3 bike sessions.

    The runs are only going to be 4 mile efforts, possibly a slightly longer, slower run on the weekend.

    What do you think?

  • Thanks NZChristine! Appreciate the advice! Just trying to build back up now and be patient!
  • alehousealehouse ✭✭✭

    Time permitting I would run 2 x 45 mins and 1 x 60, but slooow. Personally not very keen on the bike sessions, so if there is a chance to substitute one for a run I would**. Remember that you are in a base training/weight loss phase, if I am right! And don't forget to enjoy whatever you are doing! We sometimes forget that!

    **Edit: I know Moraghan may disagree slightly here!

    Think positive thoughts, banish negative ideas and visualize your success
  • After my 12 and a half hour day trip to London and back I had a cheeky stationary bike session. Only 35 mins today. 10 min warm up - 20 min hardish - 5 min cool down followed by a good stretch and a bit of core.

    I do enjoy my training...I even didn't dislike the bike earlier!! That's progress for you!

    I do need to step back on my runs a bit in terms of pace I think. As you can see from the previous runs I've put in I tend to go along at 9-9:30 min/m. Although I've had the Garmin on, I've actually been very good and completely ignored it during the run. Just used it to log everything really and get used to running more on feel. However, as my HM time was 1:57 (just under) @ 8:55 min/m I guess I need to rein in the pace a bit if I am going to increase anything safely. 

  • Hi Alex,

    If you have a hrm with your Garmin it is worth working out your HR zones and then running most of your runs below 70% effort. There is lots of useful info on HR training on this site including how to measure your max HR..

    The formula I use to calculate the 70% is ((max HR - min HR )*0.7) + min HR the min HR is easy to measure when you first wake up in the morning... The max HR is slightly harder but there are a few formulas you can use to guesstimate it while you get a more accurate measurement.

    This will help you run at a slower rate and it will help burn the fat !

    With a few diet changes and running for less than 20 miles a week I managed to lose 2.5 stone in about 8 months.... One of the biggest diet changes was to more or less cut out alcohol..... It is also worth keeping a food diary for a few weeks and writing down everything you eat and drink, for me this highlighted a few things that I could easily change that had quite a big effect on my calorie intake.

    Good luck and keep going !

  • Hi Alex,

    I'm sure the DTT will help you with your goals  image

    I'm also trying to lose a few pounds at the moment - not a lot, but enough to get me racing a bit more comfortably. Like you my weakness is the snacks... I visit the vending machine at work almost every afternoon without fail. Although today I've thwarted the sugar cravings by making sure I didn't have any change on me... so far it's worked.

    I think it's a good idea to concentrate on shorter distances for a while - your marathon time was slower than your HM time would indicate, which suggests you weren't quite ready for the distance. Yes, this would be because you weren't putting the mileage in - but even so, what you were putting in would have given you a decent base and you can build on that.

    Good luck and keep us posted image 

  • Hi Muddypaws/MadameO, thanks for the input.

    I've discovered that my resting HR is 61bpm, which I was quite pleased about. I've been tempted to do HR training,but at the moment I'm just going to build up time on my feet. My HR when running tends to be quite high anyway and I've been able to sustain a high rate for longer than I should be able to, according to the "rules of thumb" that you see. When I was marathon training, my long slow runs (for example) often had a heart rate going between zone 4 and 5 on the Garmin. So you could argue that I should have stepped back, but I was completing the runs comfortably. Maybe I don't fit into the normal parameters!!

    Quick summary from my last update

    Wed - short run - 3.43 miles in 31:51 @ 9:17 min/m. Avg HR 165 (max 185)

    Thur - 45 min stationary bike

    Fri - rest day

    Sat - 5 miles - 45:13 @ 9:03 min/m. Avg HR 169 (max 189)

    Sun -  6.21 miles - 1hr @ 9:40 min/m. Avg HR 168 (max 187)

    So, that is 2 weeks of rebuilding my base done. Another 2 weeks to go and I can assess where I am.

    Nutrition-wise, I've resisted the vending machine. Only had 2 cans of beer this weekend too. Although I don't drink much at all anymore, I do usually have a bottle or 2 (literally) on a Friday and Saturday. So cut that in half this week. I've eaten more fruit when I've had sweet cravings...but need to eat more really. For next week I plan to drink less coffee (I drink loads) and more water. Try to eat less bread too, because I worked from home 2 days last week and snacked on toast a bit. Maybe I should do as recommended and keep a food diary!!

    Weighday tomorrow! Let's see how we get on!

  • OK, so an update on what's happened over the last 2 weeks...let's call them weeks 3 and 4 of base building.

    First...weighday 27/06 =  lost 0.6lbs - total weight loss = 1lb - weight 14st 3lb

    Week 3

    4 runs - 19.55m

    1 bike session

    Lost 1.2lb - total weight loss 2.2lb - weight 14st 1.8lb

    Week 4

    5 runs - 23.99m

    lost 1lb, so now 14st 0.8lb and have lost 3.2lb so far. So, I am getting there!

    Now I am building up the mileage and aiming for 30 miles p/w. I plan to build up to this over the next 3 weeks (starting yesterday)

    Contemplating when to enter a race...just to get a 5/10k time. I'd like to do one before the baby arrives at the beginning of October (11 weeks this Sunday). But will be struggling to train for it adequately (i.e. a 8-12 week plan). Thinking that I need another 2 weeks after this week to build up to target mileage (30 miles) then 4 weeks maintaining that mileage and adding strides.

    Is there merit in just getting a time recorded? Say in 7 weeks time? (after the targets above are achieved) so that I can structure goal times etc around that in a training plan. My Marathon time is an inaccurate benchmark, due to the injury, so only have my HM from March to go on. I just feel that I'm in a completely different place to where I was and should be starting from scratch! 

    Any advice?
  • Bluenose74Bluenose74 ✭✭✭

    Hi Alex..... It depends on what you want.... Some people are happy just to run without ever considering doing a race... And others like the challenges running brings...

    I would recommend geting a 5k under your belt, plenty mid-week events and parkruns knocking around at the moment......  With the training your doing you could quite easy knock out a 5k this week, most are enter on the night....Also consider joining a club, most do monthly time trials which would also be a benifit....

    Once you've got a 5k time.... Then use the "Training Pace Calcalator" on this site, which will give you the pace for the session you are doing.....

    Good Luck in what you decide...

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