RideLondon-Surrey Training Week 2


For those of you who didn’t read last week’s entry I related how I’d made two basic errors during the week:

  1. I moved a training day thus forcing me to cycle three days in a row;
  2. I ran 5 km as well as cycling on the second of those three days leaving me far too tired to complete the final weekly session on the third day.

So this week I was determined to stick to scheduled days and not to run on any of them!

On Monday I had a complete rest day. I hate rest days but after the abortive session on the preceding day I decided that I’d give my ageing legs a bit of a rest. My exercise was limited to walks with the dog. Still nearly 10 km of walking according to my Fitbit but no running or cycling.

On Tuesday I was due to do a one-hour session so I decided to cycle to Richmond Park and back. A 20 mph wind was against me for most of the way there but that made for a much easier and speedier return journey. I managed 20.58 km in just over the hour and was fairly please with that. At an average speed of 19.7 kph I worked out I would complete my 100 mile race in just over 8 hours. That’s assuming I can keep up 19.7 kph for over 8 hours of course!

Wednesday was a cycling rest day so I went for a slow 5 km run.

Thursday my schedule demanded a 90 minute session so this time I cycled to the gates of Richmond Park and added the 10 km or so of the park’s internal roads to my route. In total I managed 30.04 km in 1 hour 32 minutes this time averaging a slightly slower 19.6 kph.

Friday was another scheduled cycling rest day so like Monday I stuck to walking the dog. I still managed 8.5 km according to my Fitbit but on looking back over past records that’s the lowest total distance I’ve walked and/or jogged for many moons.

Saturday is Parkrun Day. I decided I wasn’t going to make the same mistake as last week so I volunteered to help out at the Fulham Palace event. The only role left (many runners were resting before the London Marathon and had volunteered before me) was run report writer so I cycled to Bishop’s Park up and over Wimbledon Hill and watched (my run report is the blog entry before this one). The cycle there and back more than satisfied the day’s scheduled session although ideally it should have been done all at once and not as two separate journeys.

Today (Sunday) was the acid test. After duly resting for two days of the preceding week and not running on the Saturday, could I complete a two-hour cycle? Well I managed 37.9 km in just under two hours at an average speed of 19.3 kph. There were multiple hills on the route and I am happy now, if I keep up the training schedule and remain injury free, that I will be able to get round the 100 miles in the prescribed  8.5 hours.

Thanks for reading. You can sponsor me at my Just Giving page.



The 188th Fulham Palace Parkrun

2015-06-06 08.32.58You can always tell when there’s a ‘big race’ on a Sunday – the volunteering schedules at Parkruns are full or nearly full. For the uninitiated, the reason is this: Regular Parkrunners who have entered the aforementioned ‘big race’ often do not wish to risk getting injured and such is there dedication to Parkrunning that they volunteer to marshal, funnel manage or time at an event instead. So this week, when I decided to volunteer at Fulham Palace Parkrun, I completely forgot that the London Marathon was the next day and found that Run Report Writer was the only role left for me to fill. The London Marathon isn’t my excuse for wanting to volunteer and not run by the way – some months ago, in a moment of weakness, I decided to enter the 2017 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 mile cycle this July so at the moment a 5k run doesn’t sit comfortably with my mandatory Saturday cycling session.

Having settled then for Run Report Writer, I nearly forfeited the job when I saw a tweet by the BBC’s Sophie Raworth saying she wanted to volunteer at one of her local runs (Fulham Palace being one of them) and she had found that all roles had been filled. As, unlike me, she is a bona fide journalist I though it only right to offer her the task of writing this but she politely declined. I doubt it was because she felt eclipsed by any of my well-articulated and witty previous efforts. Firstly, I suspect that she hasn’t read any of my earlier reports (Has anyone?) and secondly, she probably just decided to have a lie-in on the Saturday before running 26.2 miles the next day.

Those of you who regularly run at Fulham Palace will know that it is notoriously difficult to judge attendance numbers. The arena in which we gather is very large making a head count difficult and to make matters worse not everyone intending to run attends the briefing (Tut! Tut!). However I got the feeling, when the Race Director ask first timers for a show of hands, that we had a bumper turnout. Well I was right! This week the 188th Fulham Palace Parkrun was run, jogged or walked by a record number of 485 people of whom 106 were first timers.

In fact, the first runner over the finish line (there are no ‘winners’ in Parkrun) was a ‘Fulham Palace First Timer’ himself. It was Aidan Johnson of Rotherham Harriers (in London for the Marathon?) running his ninth Parkrun who managed 16 minutes 12 seconds (that’s 3 minute 14 second kilometres or 18.5 kph if you were running on a gym treadmill!) Ben Morrison came a creditable second, over a minute behind Aidan, running his second Parkrun in 17 minutes 19 seconds a new PB. Third was Stuart MacDougall of Fulham Running Club (our ‘home’ club) running his 250th Parkrun in 17 minutes 21 seconds. Well done to all three and massive congratulations to Stuart on completing 250 Parkruns.

The first female runner to cross the line was Sarah Johnson of Trentham Running Club crossing the finish line in 17 minutes 52 seconds. Alice Riddell-Webster of Fulham Running Club finished second in 19 minutes 24 seconds and achieved the highest age grade score of 86.43% (for a detailed explanation of Age Grade scores, ask someone who understands them – not me!) Third female runner was India Weir of Thames Valley Harriers who finished in 19 minutes 41 seconds. Congratulations to those three too.

The runner with the most Parkruns under their belt was Andrew Byram who was running in his 253rd event.

Large amounts of coffee and cake were consumed after the run in Fulham Palace’s Drawing Room Café. At one point the queue nearly stretched to the door!

Thank you, as always, to the 29 volunteers who made Saturday’s run possible.




The Highs and Lows of Week One


Week 1 of 16 is over and as you can see from my Endomondo screenshot I managed to cycle 88.74 Kilometres (just over 55 miles) in 4 hours 42 minutes. I did this in four sessions on Tuesday, Friday (not Thursday as planned – see learning point 1 below), Saturday and Sunday. If I had followed my schedule to the letter however I should have done around 100 Km in 5 hours.

The statistic linked to the footprint logo is the website’s estimate of the distance I’ve walked this week (nearly 90,000 steps mostly with the dog). In my opinion this should be ‘taken with a pinch of salt’ as I don’t track the walks with GPS and I think the formula is potentially highly inaccurate. There’s just the one run (a gentle jog on Saturday morning – see learning point 2 below).

“So how did it go?” (You may be asking yourself if you’ve read further than the first two paragraphs!) Overall, although I didn’t cycle for the allotted time or complete the distance I expected to do, I did learn three important lessons this week:

  1. Stick to the scheduled days – For domestic reasons I couldn’t cycle on Thursday so I cycled Thursday’s allocated hour on Friday instead. As a result of this re-scheduling I had to cycle three days in a row and consequently couldn’t complete the two-hour session I was supposed to do on Sunday. I feel I would have been better off skipping Thursday’s ride entirely and thus completing, or even exceeding, Sunday’s;
  2. Don’t run on days I’m due to cycle – As a Parkrun fan, I couldn’t resisted the temptation to run 5k on Saturday morning at Fulham Palace. This was a big mistake! Later in the day I had to do a ‘test cycle’ to see how far I could get in one hour. Despite feeling ‘up for it’ when setting off, by the time I hit the last hill (around the 50 minute mark) my 61 year old legs were beginning to ‘feel their age’. I think volunteering at Parkruns is in order until after 30th July;
  3. Richmond Park is extremely hilly – My plan for Sunday was to cycle the 10k from home to Robin Hood Gate, circumnavigate Richmond Park’s roads twice (two lots of 10k), then finish off (albeit slowly) with a final 10k home. Sadly, for the reasons outlined above, I only manged one lap of the park but I did find out how outrageously hilly it is. According to Endomondo the two hills caused me to climb a total of 73 metres;
  4. Get a ‘Gel Seat Cover’ – When you haven’t cycled for many months and suddenly you find yourself ‘in the saddle’, as it were, for nearly 5 hours in one week…..

Anyway, I’m undaunted by this week’s minor set backs. I’ve resolved to comply strictly with learning points 1 and 2, I’ll stay out of Richmond Park until I get fitter and I’ve already ordered a gel seat cover (£9.99 from Amazon).

The only other event this week was the arrival of this:


Now the thousands of you who plan to line the route and cheer me on will know how to spot me.  Alternatively you might see the socks!


Thanks for reading!

RideLondon-Surrey Training (Week 1)


So Week One of my chosen training schedule has arrived. It involves cycling every week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and defines each session by length of time not distance. I like that. Whether a time-based schedule, where the longest cycle is five hours, will get me round a 100-mile course, that I have no doubt will take me at least eight hours, remains to be seen!

The sessions this week are: Tuesday 1 hour, Thursday 1 hour, Friday 1 hour test (i.e. see how far you can get in an hour) and Sunday 2 hours. So it’s just the five hours this week which at my current average speed will result it somewhere between 75 and 100 kilometres (or 46 to 62 miles). I have a convenient location for the Friday test – a local park is almost exactly one kilometre around its path. I can cycle round there without being stopped by traffic lights or inconsiderate drivers who pull out in front of me as if I wasn’t there.

The build-up to the start of this schedule hasn’t really gone as planned. I have had a weakness and pain in one of my knees for many years but recently I’ve been managing to keep it to a minimum by a combination of Superdrug’s Advanced Joint Care Capsules, the occasional wearing of a knee support and resting it when it really starts to niggle. However in the last three weeks, whenever I’ve increased my distance either running, walking or cycling the pain has got a lot worse. As a direct result I’ve rested far more than I planned to as Week One has loomed so it is with a certain degree of trepidation that I embark this week on more cycling in one week than I’ve done in the last four!

Although I haven’t done a lot of cycling I have now settled into using the cleats. Disappointed as my sister will be, I haven’t fallen off my bike or even come close since my last blog post. There is no doubt they increase the efficient use of energy when you cycle: They must do that as you get the benefit of pulling the pedals up as well as pushing them down. Sadly I haven’t really noticed my own cycling getting any easier of more efficient though. At present I’m putting this down to the lack of actual time in the saddle and I’m expecting to feel the benefit from this week onward as the miles start to rack up.

I did get another bicycle accessory fitted recently in the form of a mirror on my handlebars. I felt, my hearing not being what it used to be, that it would be safer if I saw vehicles approaching me from behind rather than waiting to hear them. Mark from Cycle Power was his usual helpful self and spent over half an hour fitting it for me only for it to fall off and smash during my first long cycle! I read some years ago that somebody had invented something to fit inside a cycle helmet that gave the rider a rear-view. I need to do some research on that.

Finally the fund-raising for the big event has somewhat stalled. If your reading this and you haven’t yet contributed to Prostate Cancer UK via Just Giving please consider making a donation however small. I know you’ve probably read other people saying this, but watching the pledges come in does inspire you to train harder and therefore increase the chances of you completing the task.

Thank you for reading