Sunday, October 23, 2016

First 10 km in France

This morning the weather conditions were ideal for a 10km running session in the field just opposite to the building I live, apart from a chilly northern wind. I put on my black running suit and there I went! Unfortunately during the previous weeks I didn't have the chance to train, so I was a bit uncertain about my endurance. All in all, everything went fine. At the 8th km I started feeling a slight pain in my legs and it was hard to keep the 5m/km peace, but I decided to bite the bullet and complete the session, with an encouraging last lap concluded in 90 seconds (tot time: 49:30). Not bad!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

400 meters challenge

Since I've been training in a running track (as I told you, I was lucky enough to find a "piste d'athl├ętisme" just round the corner) I tried different distances. Among them, I timed my performance in the 400 meters. The result? 1 minute and 15 seconds. I would like to improve by 5 or even 10 seconds, as I remember that when I was a kid I managed to run a lap in 55 seconds...but I am not 100% sure about that, because it was so long ago and I do not have any proof of it. I only remember that at the end of the run I felt like I was dying. 

My task will be a hard one, as last week I officially started my job, which will occupy a big part of my day. If public transports are not late and if there's no extra work to do at the office, I'll be able to start my workout in the evening between 19:00 or 19:30, which could be an effective way to relax after 8 working hours. I am just a bit upset about the French winter: will I stand zero temperatures while running? 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

First 5km in France!

On September the 26th I moved to Neuilly-sur-Marne, a small town 15 km away from Paris. I was really lucky to find a nice flat to share, which is just close to a wonderful public circuit. This morning I had my first 5km session after one week stop and my time was not that bad (23:15). It was a real pleasure to run among children, teenagers and adults jogging and practicing different sports. I expect the French northern weather to be less sport-friendly in the next months, but as long as the sun will shine I am gonna keep on running!

Monday, September 19, 2016

New PB on 10K!

Summer is about to end and I am proud to say that I've made the best of it: during the period starting from May till August I ran almost every day (I had only 15 days of rest out of 120) and I improved my PB on the 5K distance, thanks to interval training. Then I decided to have a long break (2 weeks) during which I stopped doing any physical activity, besides walking (and getting a new job, a performance that can be more exhausting than any running session). 

When I started running again, I was convinced that I had lost all the benefits I had strenuously achieved all over the last months. Like Sisyphus, I feared,  I was doomed to start all over again. But I was wrong. The hard summer training proved to be more long-lasting than I thought, as confirmed by my new PB on the 10K: 47:10 (4:43min/km). During the first 5 km I felt light and vigorous, filled with renewed energy. Conclusions: after a long period of training, it's always beneficial to stop for a week or two, in order to recharge the batteries and start again faster than before. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Last blood check: tryglicerides keep going down

Three days ago I had another blood test and this morning I picked up the results. No relevant changes to mention, except a decrease of the triglycerides level, which makes my HDL/Tryg ratio even more reassuring. LDL and total cholesterol figures are still high, but running mostly every day (after a break in March and April) has kept my HDL level quite high. All and all, that should mean: keep on running and eat healthy food! Regarding this last point, I have to give in that in August I indulged a little bit too much on tasty (and unhealthy) food, but it is really hard to resist to Claudio's lobster linguini (Claudio is a member of the family and fantastic chef) or to say no to "cheese cake ice cream" on the coast! 

To wrap up, after 18 months of running, physical activity and adopting a moderate diet, I have achieved the following results (without using any medicament):

Triglycerides:       - 30%
LDL Cholesterol:  - 13%
HDL Cholesterol: + 15%
Total Cholesterol: - 9%

Here below two graphs: the first is the usual overview of my blood values, the second shows the kilometer I've run so far (starting in May 2015).

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Interval training: it really works!

You can call me an "instinct runner". I never cared about schedules, methods, programmes...until this summer. Back in 2011, I ran 5 km in around 22 minutes and since then I've always wondered if that was my limit. Was there really any room for improvement? After 5 years, I finally made up my mind: it was about time to try interval training. 
Yes, it's boring. And yes, it requires discipline and commitment. But it works. In my case, it took three weeks to improve my 5 km pb by 1 minute. Unfortunately I had to stop because of job reasons (meaning: I got a new job and soon I am going to move to... more info soon!). Here below you will find a detailed schedule of my interval training in a 400 m track field. After completing each 400 and 800 m run, I jogged 400 more meters (very slow), whereas after the 1 km run I jogged 600 meters. Each week, I included a 10 km or more session (running at a 5 min/km pace or faster). As said, the results are satisfactory: if last year I could not run the 5 km distance faster than 4'30'' per km, now I improved my pace by 14 seconds, running 5 km in 21 minutes and 21 seconds (4'16'' / km). I think that I can break the 21 minutes barrier, but unfortunately the summer is over and I doubt I would be able to run 40 km weekly in winter...anyway, I will keep you posted!
2 August
5 km, track
22'24'' (4'29'' / km)
4 August
10 km, road
5 August
2 km jogging, exercises

6 August
Repetitions: 400 m. 7 times (tot: 5 km)
1'30'' (400 m)
7 August
2 km jogging, exercises

8 August
Repetitions: 800 m. 4 times (tot: 5 km)
3'12'' (800 m)
9 August
2 km jogging, exercises

10 August
10 km, road
11 August
2 km jogging, exercises

12 August
Repetitions: 1 km 3 times (tot: 5 km)
3'57''(1000 m)
13 August
2 km jogging, exercises

14 August
5 km, track
21'52'' (4'22'' / km)
15 August
5 km jogging, road

16 August
Repetitions: 400 m 7 times (tot: 5 km)
<1'30'' (400 m)
18 August
Repetitions: 800 m 8 times (tot: 7 km)
3'05'' – 3'12'' (800 m)
19 August
12 km, road
20 August
2 km jogging, exercies

21 August
Repetitions: 1 km 3 times (tot: 6 km)
4'00'' (1000 m)
22 August
4 km jogging

23 August
5 km, track
21'21'' (4'16'' / km)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Back on track

Summertime, and specially August, is a period of big choices: either you kick back all the time, doing nothing but eating, laying down on the beach (if you're lucky) and watching sport on TV (by the way, watching people sweating won't make you lose weight); or you can get back on track and use your time at best to improve your shape (or, if you are an ambitious runner, your personal bests). I made up my mind for the second option, literally. After many years of absence from an athletic track, three days ago I set foot in a 400-meter ring to run the 5k distance. I had forgotten how great it feels to run on tartan, even without spike shoes. The track is actually in poor condition (see picture below). I found it by chance inside an old structure, now abandoned and attended by a few local sprinters. However bad, it has an advantage: it is situated 5 minutes away from my summer-house and it is always open!

As said, I wanted to try running at first a 5K, as so far I've timed all my previous performances on a 500-meter circuit which is not completely flat, therefore my PBs cannot be considered "official". Moreover, a doubt has always been nailing me: how fast could I run in a real track? This month I have finally the chance to find it out! I concluded my first 5K in 22:25, not bad. But I can do better. My task is to run 5K in 20 minutes in a track by the end of August 2016. Will I make it? I'll keep you posted!