All posts by Martin

Fun, fun, fun …

Tonight was a bit of a departure for me, a social run with other members of the club in a non-club setting.

The usual Monday night session was cancelled because of the weather caused by Hurricane Ophelia so a few of us decided to postpone it 24 hours and go out tonight instead to make up for missing our usual weekly fix.

In the end myself, Judith, Iverene and Parveen turned up at the Park ‘n’ Ride (handy for me, my usual starting point). We had previously decided to enter a relay team into the Belfast Marathon in May (along with one other) so this was a good initial team bonding run.

Because it was on my patch I took it upon myself to set the route, so I took the group along the dual carriageway, through the industrial estate, down the link road past Tesco’s then into Harryville onto the Wakehurst Road and back upto carpark … a challenging enough route that had a good mixture of descent and climbs, although I did feel guilty taking everyone back up the Antrim Road but they stressed that it was good to have that test at the end which was a relief!

In all we did 4 miles which was a decent enough jaunt around the town, and at a very relaxed pace of around 12 minutes per mile.

I really enjoyed it. In fact, I haven’t enjoyed a non-race run as much for absolutely ages. Training runs are quite often soul destroying affairs because I’m on my own but this was fantastic … and even though I was running in a small group I felt absolutely no pressure whatsoever because the company was so good.

In addition to the Belfast relay, we have plans to do the Race Over The Glens on New Years’ Day, the Larne Half in March and then the big one, the Dublin Marathon, in October. From having trained on my own for so long it feels so good to have fallen into a little group of friends, to get the on the spot support from them and to hopefully give some back.

Bring on our future adventures!

Relive my run



parkrun 14.10.17

I’m a bit of a sucker for coincidences and a bit OCD too, and it was a series of loosely related coincidences that took me to Antrim parkrun today.

First of all, completing it would bring me up to exactly my 1000th mile since I started running. It would also have been my 10th parkrun and my connection with Antrim stretches back to when I moved to live there a long, long time ago when I was 10-years-old (ok, ok, I know I’m pushing it a bit now but things also have to come in sets of three! Right?)

I’ve considered doing a spot of parkrun tourism in Antrim for a little while now but when I noticed that all the above ducks were in a row it was a total no-brainer that I went today.

I don’t drive so despite Antrim being ten miles from home I could still get there quicker on the bus than I could by walking to my local parkrun, so off I popped on the 8:30am 218 Goldliner to Antrim, arriving at 8:55am and then another 20 minutes walk/run to the start, still quicker than the 40-45 minutes it’d take me to go local.

Getting to the start, it was heartening to see quite a few already there and more arriving by the second … in total 234 turned up which, I think, is the biggest parkrun I’ve been in.

I took a few pics enroute and a few more around the start area and after joining in with the newcomers briefing (a nice touch) I then made my way to the start, albeit a fair bit back. I didn’t know exactly where the line was so I just took an educated guess on when to start my Garmin … in the end I was only a fraction out, so that was good.

With such a large turnout and on a narrow path at the beginning things got a little bunched up but that was no bad thing because it stopped me from darting off too quickly. Things soon spread out, though, and I was able to get into my stride. I also ran past Parveen from my Monday night club training so it was nice to say a quick hello before letting her concentrate on her own run.

I’d only run along here once before – at the Centra Run Together event last year – so it wasn’t totally unfamiliar at the beginning but I was into uncharted territory once we turned left over the bridge and into the castle gardens for the first of two laps.

I wasn’t terribly worried about my time today, this was more about the experience, so I decided to take more pictures on the first lap before focusing more on my run on the second loop.

I lived in Antrim for seven years, leaving in 1987, so a lot of old memories came flooding back plus I don’t remember the castle gardens being as immaculate as they were today – the result being that I was stopping every minute or so to take a quick snap. It was all very pleasant … indeed the entire experience from start to finish was highly enjoyable, it was a very picturesque course.

After getting to the finish I waited for Parveen to complete her run and have a quick chat before making my way back to the bus station.

As I headed back one of the core team stopped me for a chat, I mentioned my history with Antrim and he filled in a little more detail on what has changed over the years. That was very kind of him and indicative of the friendly, relaxed nature of the entire event.

It was a great way to complete 1000 miles and to pop my tourism cherry. I’ll be back soon.

Relive my run

Intervals again … and hills!

Not content with doing my first intervals session on Wednesday night I decided to go out tonight (Friday) and do it all over again.

But just normal intervals wouldn’t do me, ohhhhh no.

Nope, tonight, I decided to mix them with some hill training. Well, sort of. I live on the Antrim Road which is a long, steady incline without being particularly steep but there are a couple of short, sharp climbs just off it that can be very easily incorporated into a run , so I included these tonight into a sort of loop at the top end of the road.

Following Wednesday night’s schedule, I programmed my Garmin with nine reps of two minutes running and 90 seconds walking/recovery and walked, as usual, to the top of the road.

The first two minutes took me almost exactly to the bottom – perfect. I then walked back up during the recovery portion before having to run up to the top when the next segment kicked in.

Then, at the top, there’s a sharp drop down to the left, so I ran down that … it worked out well because, in total, I went down five times and up four so I got a good workout lasting exactly half-an-hour – a chance for speed but also an opportunity to regularly test myself going back up.

It was tough, but also not impossible and I felt quite strong, even during the eighth or ninth rep. Hopefully a couple of weeks of this will start to have a positive impact on my running.

Relive my run