Jeffing It 60/30

After losing my running mojo over the last couple of weeks I knew I needed to do something. Not necessarily something drastic but just something to mix things up a little, to get my confidence back.

My instinct was cut it right down, to go back to basics if you like. Most runners will have heard of Jeff Galloway and his run/walk/run training methods, so I decided to give that a try.

First of all I determined what my ‘Magic Mile’ is – a time trial where you run a mile as hard as you can as long as you don’t die or puke, and based on that you follow a run/walk split strategy.

My ‘Magic Mile’ time came out at 9:33, so I was presented with a choice of 90 seconds/30 seconds, 60/20, 45/15, 60/30 or 40/20. I wanted to be cautious but also didn’t want to run for anything less than a minute at a time, so I opted for 60/30 on this occasion.

I’ll admit to be very sceptical as to the merits of adopting this approach. Surely it’ll have an adverse effect on my times but I also read that it spreads the energy used throughout a run more evenly leaving you with more left for a strong finish, so it was worth a try at least.

In order to give it a good test I decided to go for 10k, a decent distance and also good preparation for London next weekend. I also decided to run back and forth alongside the dual carriageway – it’s long, straight, uninterrupted and with a little incline in places, perfect for a test such as this.

Setting off I knew it was going to be frustrating having to stop every minute when my instinct would be to run on but I wanted to stay true to the schedule, so after 60 seconds – which felt like no time at all – I forced myself to walk for the next 30 seconds, before running again for another minute … you get the picture.

I’ll admit to finding this quite difficult in the beginning, mostly from the pain in my legs. Surely this couldn’t be good for them, all this starting and stopping? They felt grand running but having to slow down and then speed up again wasn’t really agreeing with them. I stuck it out, though, I needed to see what would happen.

The first real indicator came with the first km split – 6:55 – which was reasonable enough, a little slower maybe than normal but still below 7 which was ok, likewise with the first mile. Maybe this wasn’t going to be too bad after all.

Of course, with any trial such as this, the actual km/mile splits depends very much on the number of run/walk splits within each distance – some might have more walking breaks than the one immediately before and after it, and this will skew the results.

It worked out, over the course of the run, that one in four kilometres was considerably slower than the rest – but each of these slower ones were consistent with the others, with the non-slow kilometres all being of a similar time to each other too.

Perhaps this method does work after all. It’s supposed to lead to be a more consistent run, and it certainly appeared that way tonight.

So what about my legs? How did they cope? After the initial discomfort they actually settled down quite well and felt fairly strong throughout, which was a big positive.

Overall, for the 10k, my time was 1:17:31 – not my fastest, but far from being my slowest either. I was tempted to abandon the 60/30 splits towards the end and just run for home in an attempt to improve on my time but I wanted to test it all out completely.

Next time I’ll go up to 90/30 or 60/20 to see what difference that makes. Obviously this method isn’t really suitable for club runs or shorter distances but certainly for anything 10k or over it’s something to really consider.

And, more important than that, it’s the first run I’ve been happy with for quite a while, so I’ll chalk this off as a success.

In other news, as I hinted at the other day, I’m absolutely delighted to announce I’ve been made an ambassador for the National Running Show in January 2018 at the Birmingham NEC.

I feel so honoured to be given this role, and will be doing what I can to promote the event not only because that’s what I’m required to do but also because, looking at the list of speakers and exhibitors already announced, I’m convinced there’s something there for runners of all confidences and abilities. For more information on the show click on the link on the top right of the page.

Relive my run





Time to wrap up my London Marathon fundraising for Asthma UK and to say quite a few thank-you’s!

First of all, the amount raised (inc. Gift Aid) came to just over an amazing £2050 – and there are still donations trickling in so that’ll rise a bit over the next few weeks.

A huge thank-you to every last one of you who donated via my Virgin Money page, attended one of my fundraisers or donated because they couldn’t, took part in my Virtual Run, contributed via easyfundraising, slipped me a few quid when they saw me out and about, gave me items to raffle and auction or supported me in other ways.

I’m pretty sure I’ll have forgotten someone but here goes, in no particular order …… Sheila, Michelle H-T, Ros and Wally, Barbara, Stephen, Johnny, Thomas, Sam, Leslie, Joel T, The Front Page Bar Ballymena, Stephen, Michael, Mairead, Dawn, David (Irish FA), Danielle, Isobel, Chris (ClubSportNI), Kyle (Playing Style), Agnes and Steppin’ Country Linedancers, Michelle, Alastair, Andrew (NI Football League), Cake and Crust Bakery (Paul), Roy and Linfield Football Club (Official), Stephen and Cliftonville Football Club, John and Ballymena United FC, Mark H, Jennifer S, Elaine and Mid Ulster Ladies FC, Jonny, Louise, Sam and friends, K&G McAtamney Butchery & Deli, Style N Sport, Stirling Trophies.

I’d also like to publicly thank my anonymous supporters – I know who some of you are so I hope I thanked you privately but also those whom I haven’t a clue about, one in particular …. all I can say to you is wow!

I really, really hope I’ve left no-one out, sincere apologies if I have. You have all helped raised a fantastic amount for a charity and cause that affects so many people, including a few very close to me.

Thank-you all from the bottom of my heart.

It’s just a moment, this time will pass

Ok, I’ll admit it. Running isn’t fun at the minute. For a long, long time I’ve enjoyed getting out and about, I’ve enjoyed pushing myself, challenging myself and finding out what I can do.

But, now, I’m just not feeling it any more. I don’t know what it is. Am I expecting too much of myself? Do I think I should be better than I am? Have I lost the mental battle that helps me push through the pain? Are both my body and mind just tired?

Maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m tired. I’ve already done more miles so far this year than I did in the entirety of 2016. Compared to others my mileage will look like chicken feed but I’m not comparing myself to others, I’m comparing to the last year me.

Or is it all in my head? I’m convinced a large part of running is mental because if you believe you can do it then you will, but lose that inner strength and you’re in trouble.

Whatever it is I need to get out of this slump. I’ll not give up, I’ll just need to show some patience.

So what has brought all this on? Tonight’s club run, that’s what. I went with the 45-minute group and maybe approached it with the wrong attitude, most likely with a sense of dread given what my last few runs have been like.

We headed off towards the Peoples Park, which meant a steady rise going up the Ballymoney Road, onto the Circular Road before turning back to go into the park. The park has several fairly steep climbs and most of the group tackled one of those. I would have liked to but I knew it wasn’t going to go well for me so myself and a few others went the other direction on a flat section before meeting back with the main group.

After that we went up Thomas Street and then Parkway, another steady rise before going back to base at the Leisure Centre. I struggled the whole way, so I must apologise to Yvonne for bearing the brunt of my moaning and to thank her also for refusing to leave me behind.

After the usual cool down at the end of the session I stood for a few minutes, deciding whether to walk back home or run it. I’m pleased to say I decided to run it. It would have been so, so easy to just give up and dander back home but I wanted to try to salvage something from an otherwise poor night.

Perhaps that shows there’s still a little fight left in me, or maybe it shows that I’m slowly on my way back because last week I walked it. In the end I did 10k, which wasn’t too shabby.

Maybe I should leave it at that, on that positive note.

Oh, and on another positive note, I have some exciting news to impart …. but I’ll hold fire on that for a little longer. Onwards and upwards!

Relive my run