Category Archives: running



After randomly deciding, for reasons only known to my subconscious, to run for ten miles on Saturday it now transpires that i may have injured my knee.  Idiot!  I haven’t run since so don’t know for sure but it’s been feeling a little odd ever since.  i’m going for a (gentle) run tomorrow to see.  Watch this space.


don’t run at dusk. on an empty stomach.


Photo via Tomi Tapio on Flickr

ok, so i went all out yesterday to see if i could run ten miles.  The reason i’ve done this is to see if i can stick to this training routine, which sounds great.  It consists of three runs a week (one speed, one tempo and one slow paced, long distance run) in addition to a couple of cross-training sessions each week too.  For someone like me, who doesn’t run a great deal and gets bored quite easily, this is really appealing as you never do the same workout twice in a week and you get to mix in a gym, swim or cycle session.

So i went for 1o miles and just about made it by going really slowly.  I felt fine running home, wasn’t too out of breath although my body was starting to ache.  However, as i came in from the cold to a warm flat i suddenly felt really weird; my eyes were all blood shot, my arms and face was still really cold despite running for nearly and hour and a half, and i just didn’t really feel right.  Mrs MJ was rather concerned and immediately procured a cup of tea and hot bath.  Now, aside from running further than i have run in a number of years i think there are a couple of reasons for this post-run oddness.

As usual i put off the run during the day because i couldn’t really be arsed.  i’d had a good lunch with plenty of carbs and protein but didn’t leave for my run until about two hours later, and as i left i was starting to feel a little peckish again.  So the first mistake, as pointed out by Katy and Danny at dinner last night was going for a run without enough fuel to get me round AND keep my body warm.  The second mistake, which was exacerbated by the first, was running at dusk.  The first third of the run was crisp and fresh.  Primrose hill wasn’t too busy, the sun was all bloodshot as it set and the edge of the park was fairly deserted.  So it was all poignant and lovely.  However, after about 45 minutes of this poignant loveliness the sun disappeared, and it very quickly got dark and fucking baltic.  So i was hit with a lack of fuel and lack of sun one-two combo which basically sent me a bit doo-lally.

Today’s (or yesterday’s) lesson then, is firstly to run earlier in the day when going for my weekend long run (logically midday seems best) and secondly to make sure i’ve eaten at least an hour and a half before running.  i will cross reference this last lesson with the running bible, as it seems rather important.

music or not music?

Just completed my third run in five days.  which is good, i think.  Nothing longer than five miles but so far so good.  I’m running.  Now, as a rule, i don’t really like running to music.  I feel it gets in the way, either of good conversation (for there are few topics out of bounds when two men are running) or of the opportunity to let your mind wander.  A good solo run, neither too taxing nor too comfortable, is a precious opportunity for the rumination of topics usually suffocated by the pressures of daily life.  Like where to find a good reading chair.

However, if i were to listen to some sort of aural stimulus while running, it would ideally be something like this episode of the today programme, guest edited by Zadie Smith.  It’s like a selection box of interestingness, including Jonathan Franzen, Alain do Botton AND the School of Life, and obviously Zadie herself.  Shazam!  It’s also got a cracking wee tribute to David Foster Wallace by Franzen and George Saunders (who i’d never heard of but sounds like the mack daddy of short stories).  I’ve been meaning to read his book Infinite Jest for some time, especially since being in the States earlier this year just after his death where every bookshop i went in to had a mini book-shrine going on at the front of the store.

Annnyyyy-hoo.  Run number three in the bag, music bad quiet pondering of life’s problems good.  Radio 4 rocks.  I’m off to get a post-run thai-tea at the local.

and again

same run as last time, 5 miles or so, but a little less hurt.  possibly something to do with my snazzy new running tights.

i can’t yet work out how to embed my run on wordpress, which is most annoying, so i’m going to have to just post a pretty picture.  done on 28th december.

5.24 miles

i like to think i’m this poetic when i train.

first official marathon training run


Joe Frazier in training for the 1971 fight against Ali. Image from Google’s new archive of LIFE photos here.

And so it begins.  On Christmas day.  That’s right.  Yesterday, while everyone else was watching happy feet or madagascar or Sinbad and the eye of the tiger i went out and ran around one of the largest urban parks in Europe.  Well, not the whole circumference.  Just a short festive jaunt.  But people were still impressed.  It was obvious.  As i jogged past the local harvester i could see the look of awe in their eyes.  They were thinking about my dedication as they filled up their salad bowl (as many times as they wanted).  Even those keen outdoorsy families who were walking aorund the park were impressed.  their eyes said, “wow, he’s fit, he’s in shape, he’s probably some semi-professional athlete of sorts, running on christmas day and all that”.

I just nodded, acknowledged their silent praise, all stoic like.  Masking my true feelings with a look that said, “yeah, this is what i do.  i run.  on christmas day.  what’s the big deal?”.  What i was actually thinking as i ran around the park, and which i think i hid quite well beneath a veneer of athleticism, was “OH DEAR GOD THE BURN! THE BURN, IT’S SO DEEP MY LUNGS HURT SO MUCH WHY HAVE I DONE THIS I WANT TO STOP SO BADLY I’D GIVE ANYTHING FOR A CUP OF TEA AND A BISCUIT NEXT TO THE FAUX-FIRE IN THE FRONT ROOM READING MY BOOK HOW IN GOD’S NAME AM I GOING TO RUN FOR FOUR AND A HALF HOURS ARRRGGGGHHHHH I’M GOING TO HAVE TO STOP SOON, JUST AROUND THIS CORNER ONCE I’M OUT OF SITE OF THOSE KIDS.”

But thankfully, after about half an hour or so, that feeling ebbed away and i began to, dare i say it, enjoy the run a little.  My tunnel vision disappeared and i began to take in the rather stunning surroundings of the park, which i had the adolescent audacity to take for granted while growing up.  Towards the end of the route i even “opened up” my stride a little (as i imagine one does when one is a serious runner).  This lasted for all of two minutes before exhaustion forced me to walk the final half mile home, but it felt good and satisfying and deserved.

So that was training run number one.  Hard, cold, a little daunting, but beautiful.

Courtesy of BigTallGuy

Courtesy of BigTallGuy and Creative Commons