Speed training: Back on the track!

Speed training: Back on the track!

It was my return to the track after a bit of a break last night. Predictably, if I am going to hit my sub-twenty minute 5k target, there is more to it than tempo running and losing a bit of weight.

Today’s session (Thanks Coach Sam and Waverley Harriers!), after the usual warm-up was:

  • 5 x 2 minute fast runs (30 second recovery breaks)
  • 8 x 1 minute fast runs (also with the 30 second recovery breaks)

The expectation was that every run should be faster than your usual 5k pace, with the second set being faster than the first set.

The ‘After’ Photo!

Although I am still working on regaining speed, I felt pretty strong on this, particularly on the second set where I regained a lot of lost ground. This included feeling my ‘kick‘ was returning on the second set.

I need to keep up regular speed and hill training as part of my goal. At the same time, I must not neglect slow runs (Thanks Dave for pointing this out!) as they are a key part of training as well…

Week 3 Review: Time trial and Cross Country!

Week 3 Review: Time trial and Cross Country!

This has been a good week, both in terms of sustained weight loss and a step-up in training volume without breaking anything! This included taking part in a club Time Trial and a local cross-country race.

Scores on the doors:

Weight change: LOST 0.6 kg (Remaining: 6.1 kg)
Training: Tempo 8.5k, Tempo 10k, Time Trial 1.5k, Walking parkrun 5k
Events: MABAC Holmwood XC 7.6k
Total Training Distance: 39.2 km

Weight loss

It has definitely been an ‘on the wagon’ week, and as expected, the rate of weight loss has slowed as the initial shock to my body is now over. There was also plateauing during the week where everything was just standing still a bit. It’s really just a case of keeping on with it!

Tempo Runs

These were pretty straightforward. The 8.5k run featured some of my ‘favourite’ hills in the area which highlighted my distinct lack of hill training over recent months. It will get easier! The other was a very flat London based 10k. The weather for both of these was excellent so it was easy to get myself out there.

Time Trial

My running club (Waverley Harriers) are running a monthly handicap time trial at the moment, which is great for assessing progress. Your starting time is based on your previous time (so the fastest people start last). The intention is that you should all end up finishing at the same time!

It was my first entry this year, so I declared my best recent 5k time. I was happy to therefore overtake several people during the race as that indicates improvement. It was also good practice for running at the pace I would need to to hit my 20 minute parkrun target…. although this was only over 1.5 km so more work needed…

Cross country

MABAC Holmwood – The start!

Another benefit of my running club membership is the option of doing various local cross-country leagues, of which MABAC is one. They are also FREE and run in a ‘turn up on the day’ basis.

I popped along to the Holmwood Common event, and it was a fairly straightforward two lap course without any particularly evil hills. As mentioned earlier, I still have a lot of work to do regarding hills, but I enjoyed the experience complete with a burst of speed at the end!


I’m really happy with how the week has gone. Strava is reporting my training effort to be ‘Well above weekly range’. Although that means I am stepping up, I also have to be cautious to avoid anything breaking. Hence today is a well-earned rest day before getting back to training tomorrow…

Roll on week 4!

Week 2 Review

Week 2 Review

A solid week for weight loss (and the diet to support doing that properly) but not as much training as I would have hoped for.

Weight change: LOST 1.3 kg (Remaining: 6.7 kg)
Training: 1 x Tempo 8.5k, 1 x parkrun 5k
5k Benchmark: 22:29

I’m happy with the continued weight loss, especially as it had to be done amongst the ‘challenges’ of going out for our Anniversary meal, and going away for several days to participate in the UK Games Expo. These changes in routine are always where it can be a little too easy to go off the rails.

However, I only put in one training run (Tempo) and a parkrun (c/o Arrow Valley). The parkrun was valuable, as I ran this one solo without the toddler in the buggy, so was able to get a benchmark 5k time. It’s not very pretty right now but helps me understand where I am.

This coming week I need to step up the training a bit (still mostly concentrating on baseline fitness) so that I am working on both sides of this challenge.

401 marathons in 401 days… and beyond!

401 marathons in 401 days… and beyond!

I had the opportunity to go and see Ben Smith of the 401 Challenge last night, who was speaking as part of his USA 2020 Talk Tour. I went into this pretty blind, only knowing that Ben had successfully run 401 marathons in 401 days, during 2015 and 2016!

This was a very raw and emotional talk. No PowerPoint, just a very direct and honest account. The journey took us starting from Ben’s childhood, unhappy schooldays (bullied at boarding school), and suicide attempts. At age 39, weighing 17 or so stone, drinking heavily, and smoking 40 (!) a day, he suffered an incomplete stroke. This was a catalyst for a life change, ultimately leading Ben to running…

This was a great balance to the talk: Ultimately, I think it is more interesting to hear about motivation and overcoming adversity, than just the fact someone has run a lot of marathons. So kudos to Ben for being so forthright about his life experiences here.

Who needs PowerPoint?

Ben and his team are now preparing for the next challenge: Running in every state over 104 days. Oh, and cycling between each one in between! A total distance of 18,500 miles! The logistics alone make me come up in a bit of a cold sweat.

Ben has done great work for charity throughout all of this, as well as getting schools involved to feature the project as part of their education.

Perhaps I should actually do a marathon one day?

Thanks to Waverley Harriers for organising Ben’s attendance in Godalming!

Achievement Unlocked: 82.5 kg

Achievement Unlocked: 82.5 kg

The first weight-based milestone was hit this morning: I’ve now dropped to just below 82.5 kg.

It’s still early days, given that my provisional target is 75 kg. That’s the lowest weight that I have achieved and we will review how everything is at that point. It might be too high. It might be too low. We are going by feel here!

First week in review

First week in review

It is a bit of a stretch to have a ‘week in review’ posting after just a few days of being ‘back on it’ and this blog existing. However, start as you mean to go on! Sunday will be the end of each week.

I’m not really a believer in waiting until arbitrary points in time when starting something like this, e.g. “I’ll do it in the New Year!”, so here we are.

In summary:

  • Training: 10k tempo run, 5k parkrun (with buggy) and 6k additional buggy run to check out the local diggers! None of the runs are feeling what I would call natural just yet.
  • Diet: Goals achieved throughout. Not too shabby considering this included a takeaway night with the neighbours.
  • Weight: Only taken the starting measurement at this point, so this is firmly neutral!

I have also put together an Achievements page to track my progress against various sub-goals in this challenge. That’s still being fleshed out at the moment but it should give you an idea.

A parkrun visit to Cranleigh

A parkrun visit to Cranleigh

I’ve made it to Day 2 without falling off the wagon yet 😉

Saturday is parkrun day! This time it was a visit to Cranleigh, which combines hills with lots of bumps and long grass at times. This was particularly relevant as I was pushing the buggy with my toddler throughout!

When running solo, parkruns are the perfect way to gauge my process. It’s a little more difficult with the buggy. Today, I came in with an official time of 26:35. To put that into context, my ‘Buggy PB’ is 24:08, set about a year ago. We have to factor in here that my son weighed less then though!

I enjoy running with the buggy as it keeps things interesting, and at the moment I am happy to say that my son absolutely loves it. Enjoy it while it lasts, I think!

Day One

Day One

Hi! I’m Tristan and I want to hit a sub-twenty minute 5k run. This blog is to help keep me focused on this goal.

I’ve had this challenge in my head for a few years now, but have not worked hard (or smart?) enough to achieve it. My fastest time to date was in 2018 at Evesham parkrun, clocking in at 20:52. However, there’s a significant effort required to make up those 52 seconds.

Not helping is that I have put on some ‘baby weight’ this year due to a new arrival! Okay, that’s a pretty poor excuse: The reality is that I haven’t been disciplined enough. That has to change.

Here’s the latest running picture of me:

Running in 2019

And here was me at what I felt was my ‘best’ running weight:

Refereeing 2015

To be clear, it isn’t about the number here: It’s how I feel when running. Right now, I feel sluggish and without the best turning circle! I can definitely feel the difference when at my ‘fighting weight’.

The immediate goals are simple:

  • Diet: I will be on a 2000 kcal level. This works well for me for sensible and controlled weight loss. I ‘earn’ calories through exercise. I track this via the excellent MyFitnessPal. No binge eating.
  • Baseline Training: Establish training so that I am back to regularly running 10k training distances without it feeling a struggle at any point (Unless I am choosing to beast myself, that is!)

Once I am feeling a bit more stable with the above, I can progress to fitness training which is tailored more to the goal at hand.

These initial steps are pretty simple by design. Let’s have fun in the process too!