by mphcrawley

There are times, when for example you’re running your second hard four mile run of the day on a sunny Edinburgh evening, surrounded by the smoke of a hundred barbecues (and, perhaps more problematic from a performance perspective) almost as many spliffs, when you wonder whether there aren’t more relaxing ways to spend your evening. And then you finish your run and after a couple of minutes of light staggering around you realise that no, that was the best way to spend a third of an hour. You’ve turned the unforgiving twenty minutes into 1,200 seconds worth of distance run, and you feel good. The vast numbers of people playing football in the Meadows since the sun has finally come out probably demonstrates why the Spanish tend to make the English look a bit under-practiced on a football pitch – they’ve got plenty more hours of sunshine to build up those 10,000 hours which Malcolm Gladwell claims in Outliers to be necessary for success. While there are more runners out too, I’m not sure it’s as true for us. My mate Mark says that at this time of year he tends to start looking forward to winter training. ‘It’s better when it’s dark and wet and cold though isn’t it?’ He is, it should be pointed out, from Forres.

The Great Manchester Run didn’t go as well as I’d hoped but it was definitely an improvement on BUCS, so at least things are going in the right direction. While I was in Manchester I had a couple of runs and a few more beers with a good friend of mine who I haven’t seen enough of in the last six years. He was at Durham Uni when I was in sixth form, and was my coach’s first project, back when he insisted that he was an ‘advisor’ and would never get involved with ‘proper’ coaching. On Sundays he’d pick me up from my job in a cafe at 3pm, and we’d drive up to Hamsterley Forest, listening to the Clash in an old Vauxhall Agila (which would, as the tallest, narrowest car in existence, sway wildly in the wind), then run until it got dark or usually just slightly, unnervingly, longer. He hasn’t been running properly for a few years now, but has decided to try to try to break 32 minutes for 10km by this time next year. We’re still in the process of finalising a complex incentive scale (bet) whereby I have to buy him a bottle of whisky of the quality of which will correspond to the quality of the time he runs, e.g Tesco’s blended for sub-35, into the single malts for a sub-33, and something a bit extravagent for sub-32. We haven’t discussed what will happen if he gets into 30.xx territory, but I hope I can find a decent job when I move to London just in case. After an initial probationary period where I determine whether he’s going to stick out the first few weeks I’ll post a link to his blog!

I’m back to running a similar volume to that I was doing before I picked up the virus, so hopefully that will pay off in the two races I’m running this week. Dermot (a club mate from Edinburgh) and I are driving all the way from Edinburgh to London tomorrow (I say we’re driving, really Dermot is driving – what a hero) for the Highgate 10,000m, and then I’m running the Blaydon Race on Sunday afternoon. The races are probably a bit close together, but the 10,000m is one of a few chances to run a fast track 10km this summer and I don’t like to miss Blaydon (


Number ‘2’ for Blaydon. No pressure then…

I’ve posted a couple of weeks of training below as comparisons for anyone interested. The days of two hard four mile runs are really good both for aerobic and psychological development – you finish the day thinking that you’ve worked harder than more or less anyone else that day, which is a good feeling. The 400m sessions on the track are to try to get me to turn my legs over a little quicker – especially the most recent one where I had a bit more recovery than usual but ran them in 62/63 seconds.

My training – two of the last three weeks.

Sunday: 14 miles in 90 minutes.
Monday: AM 5 miles steady PM 5 miles steady.
Tuesday: AM 5 miles steady PM 6 miles including 12 x 400m in 65/66 (1 minute recovery).
Wednesday: AM 6 miles steady PM 5 miles steady.
Thursday: AM 6 miles including 4 miles hard in 20.32 PM 6 miles including 4 miles hard in 20.24.
Friday: AM 6 miles steady PM 6 miles steady.
Saturday: AM 5 miles steady PM 5 miles steady.

Sunday: 10 miles including Great Manchester Run.
Monday: 9 miles steady.
Tuesday: AM 6 miles steady PM 8 miles including 8 x 400m in 62/63 (200 jog recovery).
Wednesday: 8 miles steady.
Thursday: AM 6 miles steady. PM 6 miles steady.
Friday: AM 6 miles including 4 miles hard in 20.16 PM 6 miles including 4 miles hard in 20.24.
Saturday. AM 5 miles steady PM 5 miles steady.

My coach’s training, an equivalent week in May 1981.

Sunday: 22 miles.
Monday: AM 4 miles in 20.18 (hard) PM 7.5 miles – very tired.
Tuesday: AM 8 miles PM 4 miles.
Wednesday: 10 including 5th at Silksworth Road Race.
Thursday: AM 8 miles PM 6 miles.
Friday: 8 miles.
Saturday: AM 6 miles. PM 5 miles.