Saturday, 12 January 2008

The Fat Runner breaks records!

Yes, the Fat Runner has broken a record! Well a personal one only, but PB's are better than no PB's.

He decided not to run in the Wimbledon Common Time Trial this weekend. It has been raining heavily in London, and the tracks which the race are held on would surely be water-logged.

So instead, after a lie-in to let the sun warm the parks up a little, TFR headed out to run his standard Kensington Gardens route. The fastest that TFR has ever run this route is 28:57. The last time he ran this route, however, he was almost two minutes slower at 30:52. And only two weeks separated the two runs - it was rather deflating to say the least.

So anyway, the time that TFR posted today was......... (wait for it) ............. 28:43 - a full 16 seconds off his PB!!

So, again, TFR being a novice (and fat) runner, is learning a lot about how this running lark works. The only thing he can think about why the previous run was so slow (and his last run in the Wimbledon Common Time Trial too) is that he had a cold. What was surprising to him was that it could have such an obvious negative impact on his running speed.

Of course, one always hears stories of top end professional athletes who decide not to compete because they've got a cold. I never really understood it until now - it would simply knock too much off their performance and even with the best will in the world they would end up dead last.

Anyway, TFR's spirits are back up with his PB!

Even after he read one of the articles in the last issue of Runner's World which stated that it was impossible to improve by only running once a week. Take a quick look on the right hand side at TFR's latest runs section, and you'll see that that is all he has been able to do. Work has been hectic. Monday - 8am to 2am. Tuesday - 8am to 10pm. Wednesday - 8am to 9pm. Thursday - 8am to 11pm. Friday - 8am to 8pm. And he's about to start work again on Saturday afternoon for at least a few hours.

So when most running magazines say "you can always find time for more running" then perhaps they don't work the same hours as TFR. Running, while enjoyable, will always come second to his wife, and will mostly come second to work too.

That said, you might see him out tomorrow morning doing one of those "Long Slow Runs" you hear are the bedrock of training....

Anyway, TFR would love to hear from you about your experiences of running while ill. Perhaps with a cold or flu, or an upset stomach or something similar. How has it affected your performance?

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

The Fat Runner has High Cholesterol

Yes, the Fat Runner has high cholesterol.

Under pressure from his wife, he had a full blood screen just after Christmas. Apparently everything was fine (the doctor has promised to put the results into the post) other than Cholesterol, with a reading of 5.7.

Now the healthy level is, I'm told, 5.0. So there is a gap which TFR will need to make up. But TFR has done a little web research on cholesterol levels.

Firstly, the average UK cholesterol level is 5.5-5.7 (depending who you believe) meaning that the average man or woman in the street has unhealthy cholesterol levels. Equally, two thirds of UK adults have cholesterol levels over 5.0.

So the Fat Runner is a little less concerned than he was when he first found out. Although that doesn't mean he won't be doing anything about it.

So, he will be running more (how many times have we heard that) which increases the amount of 'good' cholesterol (HDL) and decreases the amount of 'bad' cholesterol (LDL).

Also, he will be paying more attention to his diet than he has over the last few months. Far more fruit, vegetables and nuts, as well as oat bran, which are apparently full of plant sterols and are key to reducing cholesterol.

We'll see!

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Cross country running in Wimbledon

The Fat Runner has completed his first 5k race of the year - once again, the very well organised Wimbledon Common Time Trial.

I really do urge all of you who run in London to try one of these events - they are very friendly and low key races, but so well organised! Within a few hours of finishing, you can log onto the WCTT website to get your 5k time, the time of everyone else, your age-graded performance and also photos of you and the other runners. And this is all for free! I have no idea how they manage to do this - of course they rely on some runners deciding to volunteer now and again, but that doesn't account for some of the basics like web-hosting charges etc. Anyway, TFR for one, is extremely grateful!

TFR was rather disappointed with his performance on Saturday though. He was about 1:30 slower than he was last time he did this event. And he can't put it down to the amount of mud on the course either. There is a reasonably clear 3 minute gap between him and the people he really should be running against. The only runners to finish anywhere near him were either young teenagers, or people almost (or in some cases over) twice TFR's age.

So what caused this poor performance? Perhaps it was the fact that he is still getting over a cold which has lasted for 3 weeks. Or it could be that he has only run a few times in the last month (mostly down to him having a cold). One thing is for certain. If he doesn't start training more regularly, then he will always be at the very back of the pack.

He's hoping that his cold is fixed, so (work permitting) he'll try to run a few mornings next week and then have another go at WCTT.

Watch this space to see how he does!