Exploring the footpaths and bridleways around Crosspool

In between the horrendous weather that the UK is having, I managed to go for a run in sunny and not so windy weather. Once again, my Garmin decided obtain signal about a km into my run, but I suppose that was my warm up anyway.

I decided to explore some of the footpaths between Crookes and Crosspool, so I ran towards the Bole Hills and then looped back through some allotments. Because I was not feeling particularly great still, I aimed to run around Z1/Z2 and really level out on the inclines. I think I kept to that for the most part. I didn’t feel like I expended that much energy and my pace certainly suggests that I was taking it easy! My average heart rate was right in the middle of Z2 and I often was in Z1.

It is quite frustrating running so slowly, and feeling like my cardio fitness and running pace is slipping backwards, but I made the conscious decision to focus on climbing and try to maintain my running. I’m still completing 2 runs per week, and my distance has not decreased that much during a 1/2 hour run. I also think that I’m fighting a cold or virus because I’m feeling a bit drained.

On the plus side, I’m slowly putting together some shorter routes that are off-road almost straight from my house, which is great. As much as I enjoy street-running, I do miss off road. Now that I’ve found some footpaths and bridleways very close to me, I’ll actually be able to get off-road more easily and quickly!

Some stats:

  • Distance: 4 km
  • Time: 36:57
  • Pace 9:23/km
  • Elevation gain: 187 m


  • Distance: 97.9 km
  • Time 11:50:00
  • Elevation gain: 1876 m
  • Runs: 17

Covering Steep Terrain at the Foundry

On Thursday I had a double training session. I went for a 30 min run and then had a short but sweet session on the training board at the Foundry because the Wave was being reset for F-BO 2014 and was off-limits.

My training aims were:

Zone 3/4 on Steep Terrain

Warm up: ‘wrong handed’ climbing and no hands climbing
Main session: Steep terrain (Z3/4) keep feet on wherever possible, explore foot position, hip position, and body rotation to keep feet on (over and above trying to top a problem)
Warm down: Easy problems, dynamic, missing holds.

 What I actually did was:

  • Warm up: traversing, and using the bottom of the lead climbs in the Furnace. Did cross through and used holds the ‘wrong way’.
  • Main session: Played on the 45⁰ board. Mainly focused on linking moves rather than getting to the top of the board.
  • Cool down: Did big moves and swung around on big holds in the traversing corridor.

I warmed up traversing around the Furnace and in the traversing corridor – there wasn’t really an opportunity to climb wrong handed as there weren’t the problems and holds. That said, having to warm up on the bottom of routes in the Furnace did mean that I was using holds the ‘wrong’ way.

A warm up problem on the training board.  Photo: CanadianKate

I was aware that I only had an hour to train, so I finished warming up on the steep board. There are some pretty big holds on either side of the board. These were the only problems that I actually topped! But that isn’t the real point of the session, so it didn’t bother me that much. As Diane keeps telling me (and I keep telling myself):

Remember that trying really hard on moves that I ultimately fail at/fall off on will make me stronger!

I tried 3 different problems, using features for feet rather than holds. This meant that I could only link 4 moves max before getting tired, or forgetting where I was going. I tried to use the centre of the board, but mainly played on the sides.

One of my problems on the training board. Photo: CanadianKate

I definitely felt that my core got a work out and better at thinking where to put my feet. Although, knowing the features of the board would really help! I also had to remind myself to keep resting between tries. This really helped and after 3-4 goes, I could link the holds that I had chosen. Next session, I might even make it to the top of the board!

I also went for a maintenance run during the day which meant staying in Zone 2 heart rate for the whole run. Unfortunately, my Garmin decided not to join the party and spent most of the run trying to find signal. I think the really crap weather probably didn’t help. Anyway, I felt really good and quite light on my legs other than the fact that I really needed to pee for most of the run. That is such an uncomfortable feeling and really put a dampener on the run. I ended up having to split my run into two separate recordings because Garmin finally got some signal after 20 minutes. I did 4.01 km in 29:46 min (give or take). For the last 10 minutes which Garmin actually tracked, I had a pace of 6:44 min/km. Pretty pleased with that!

By the end of the day I was pretty damn tired, but really pleased with my training. I felt like I had balanced the strength/steep session to keep some in the tank for Friday’s training session, but still had something to go for a run as well. I’m so excited for Font!

Some stats:

  • Distance: 4.01 km
  • Time: 00:29:56
  • Elevation gain: ?
  • Pace: 6:44 (roughly)

Year to date:

  • Distance: 89.8 km
  • Time: 10:37:00
  • Elevation gain: 1588 m
  • Runs: 16

Janathon Day 31 – my 5km race, which wasn’t that racy

I’ve been feeling very tired in the last week or so. It’s partly been insomnia related and partly because I may have been doing too much – trying to follow both a 10 km training program and also pulling hard, quite often on the same day is exhausting. So, I’ve pulled back and had a proper rest in the final week of January. This meant that I felt fairly fresh when I got out of bed on Friday to go for the last ‘real’ run until after I get back from Font.

I decided to follow a run that I did right back at the beginning of January and compare my timings. It’s not a direct comparison, because I didn’t use a heart rate monitor when I first started running after my physio said that I could start back again.

Here’s my stats for the first time I tried the same(ish) route back at the end of 2013.

  • Distance: 5.01
  • Time: 32:01
  • Pace: 6:23 min/km
  • Heart rate: mainly Z3, high-end

I had some errands to do as well, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and started with the same route as my original 5.1 km but then added a little bit more so I could do my errands. This involved a horribly steep hill (Conduit Road for anyone who reads this from Sheffield) and that really didn’t help maintain my heart rate in Zone 3. Also, I broke my phone by dropping it in coffee and I couldn’t rely on my Spotify playlist and had to use my iPod which has good music, but not necessarily at the correct tempo.

I’m not entirely sure that I can see a difference or improvement in my running or cardio fitness. I ran my 5.7 km ‘race’ in 35:25 minutes, with an average pace of 6:13 min/km. This is faster than back in December, but I would have liked to see more improvement. However, my HR was much lower in general – in the lower end of Z3. I think my average would have been much lower if I didn’t have the usual issue of running in the cold – my HR monitor kept giving anomalous readings because I was cold so there was a poor contact. According to it, I jumped from 131 bpm to 178 bpm in less than a minute. Both when I was running at an easy pace. I also ran a hillier course, too.

So, here are the stats of my final Janathon run:

My 5km ‘race’

  • Distance: 5.7 km
  • Time: 35:25
  • Pace: 6:13 min/km
  • Elevation gain 97 m

My running errands/warm down run:

  • Distance: 0.8 km
  • Time: 7:48
  • Pace: 9:56 min/km
  • Elevation gain: 51 m

I have really enjoyed Janathon. It’s made me get out and actually do something everyday and establish a routine rather than the more ad hoc training that I usually do. While there wasn’t that much improvement between my final 5 km run in 2013 and the 5 km run at the end of January, I have improved my pace in Z3, and can maintain a lower heart rate as well. However, what this month has really taught me is that doing less is more. Running in Z2 and occasional Z2/Z4 intervals and hill reps are more effective than going out for ‘long’ runs at max heart rate. I didn’t feel as fatigued after each run and could happily run 2 days in a row. In terms of training for a race, I could definitely maintain this approach. I also managed to log a significant distance (for me):

My running stats for January:

  • Distance 85.7 km
  • Time 10h 7m
  • Elev Gain 1,588 m
  • Runs 15

This means that I have run on at least 1/2 of the days in January and could have run to Hathersage via Buxton and Bakewell (86.7 km) caught the train home:

In terms of trying to combine climbing and running training, it didn’t work so well. I found I was still quite fatigued when I was climbing – probably because I was trying to do two very different types of activities – often on the same day. Towards the end of January, my energy levels really dipped and I had to take the hard decision of pausing my 10 km race training in order to focus on bouldering. I’d accidentally timed my race 3 days before going to Font, and I wouldn’t be able to give my full effort to both at the same time. That said, I am going to continue to run, and try to fit at least 1 ‘maintenance’ run in per week, but climbing is my main focus between now and March. 

So, my aim for the next 2 months is to get fit for Font. I’ve written a training plan which I’ve uploaded under ‘Training Plans’ and thus far, I’ve stuck to it. Although, it is only the 2nd day!

Janathon Day 28 – Rest Day

And you know what that means?


Photo via @emergencypuppy

(or in this case: kitten)

…and maybe some puppies too:

Photo via @emergencypuppy

Janathon Day 27 – Recovery run

After the epic failure in training on Sunday, I wanted to have a nice run to try and feel better about myself. It wasn’t a particularly nice day, and I wasn’t particularly psyched – in fact I was shattered and really couldn’t be bothered. But I sucked it up, and went for a run. I felt pretty good when I was out, but once again I couldn’t control my heart rate.

While running, I finally decided to pause my training plan for running a 10 km ‘race’ until after I return from Font. As I’ve returned to work, and now have to put the hours back into my PhD, there is no way that I can commit to both achieving my running goals and properly training for Fontainebleau. In my next post, I will outline how I intend to maintain my fitness until the 2nd of April and my training schedule for Fontainebleau.

Some stats:

  • Distance – 4.1 km
  • Time – 31:45 min
  • Elevation gain – 88 m
  • Pace – 7:45 min/km


  • Distance – 79.3 km
  • Time – 9:24:00
  • Elevation gain – 1440 m
  • Runs – 13

Janathon Day 23: Recovery run in the rain

Thursday didn’t start very well. I was wide awake at 1:30 am. After moving upstairs so the OH would still get a good night’s sleep, I gave up for a while and read my book. Everytime I tried to close my eyes and settle down, my heart would start race and a cyclical series of thoughts would race through my head. Eventually I fell asleep, although I’m not sure what time it was.

When my alarm went off at 7:30 am, I really, really didn’t want to get up. So I didn’t. I had another 30 minutes in bed and then hauled myself upright. I knew that if I didn’t go for a run before breakfast, I probably wouldn’t have time later in the day (or energy).  One issue with working from home is that it is so easy to just stay indoors like a hermit for the whole day, especially if I’ve had trouble sleeping the night before. So I pulled on my running stuff, gathered up my various bits and bobs and stumbled out the door. Straight into a horrible, howling rainy morning. Fun.

Thursday’s training session was another recovery run. It was wet, and quite cold and I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. My Garmin started to play up as well, so I warmed up slowly as I had to reset the thing a couple of times. I probably lost 1/2 km off the length of my run. Luckily, I was warm enough that it didn’t matter I was stopping and starting towards the beginning.

That said, I ran fairly steadily. I seemed to keep my heart rate in Z2, apart from 2 glitches and my legs felt pretty good. I started to get a small ache (really small – almost not even there) in my right knee, so I backed off the pace a bit and concentrated on being both ‘floppy’ and quiet on my feet. That seemed to help, but in doing so, my HR shot up above L2. It’s really hard focusing on two different things at once, when it really shouldn’t be!

I was very strict with myself, and limited the run to 30 minutes. Because I’m keen to start to train for my Font trip in March, I don’t want to burn myself out. So, limiting the amount of time that I am out running and being strict with keeping to the sessions is a good way of doing that.

A rather rainy run. Photo: CanadianKate

I took this photo over the Rivelin Valley. It definitely was wet and windy out there!

Some stats:

  • Distance – 4.1 km
  • Time – 30:48
  • Pace – 7:34 min/km
  • Elevation gain – 80 m


  • Distance – 75.2 km
  • Time  – 08:52:00
  • Elevation gain 1353 m
  • Runs – 12

Janathon Day 20 – yet more intervals…but faster ones this time

As most of my friends know, I really hate early mornings and I really, really hate doing exercise first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, now that I’ve started back at work, the only time that I have to do exercise is in the morning. This meant that I dragged myself out of bed and straight into running tights and shoes on Monday morning. Luckily the weather cooperated and it was a glorious sunny and crisp day. My goal for the day was:

Warm up, 15 minutes. Run, Z4, 2 minutes. Run/Shuffle Z2, 2 minutes. Repeat 3 times. Cool down, 15 minutes.  Stretch

It was cold and crisp when I stumbled out the door. I was not psyched for running and I think I’m hitting one of the many stumbling blocks that will dot the 12 week training path. I digress. It was cold and crisp – well actually freezing when I left the house. I started the slow warm up with gloves and ear warmers on. The pavement was frosty and a week bit slippy. This worried me because I was supposed to be hitting Z4, which would involve me running more than a shuffle pace. I decided to stick to the sunny, relatively flat roads to try and limit the potential for landing on my ass.

Originally I didn’t intend to stick to the 15 minute warm-up, but 10 minutes hit and I still didn’t feel ready to go for a lung busting sprint. I also learnt that coffee really does mess my heart rate around. I could easily keep in Z2 warming up and in recovery during this run. Clearly, I need to train before coffee. That means doing exercise early. Hmmm

After my 15 minutes warm-up, I still wasn’t keen on the idea of pushing my heart rate but went for it. It was so nice to run faster than snails pace – at least for the first 50 seconds. I managed to get my heart rate into Z4 relatively easily and it did hurt a bit to keep it there. I was happy to slow back down to Z2 for the 2 minute shuffle. After 2 reps of this, I started to run out of road. I had to take a diversion and ended up running down a hill and doubling back on myself.

I got some fairly odd looks by sprinting/shuffling, but I felt so good by the time I finished. I did cheat on the warm-down though. I only did 10 minutes.

Some stats:

  • Distance – 5.01 km
  • Time – 30:18
  • Elevation gain – 157 m
  • Pace – 6:03 min/km


  • Distance – 71.1 km
  • Time – 8:21:00
  • Elevation gain – 1272 m
  • Runs – 11