Thursday, September 13, 2018

10 km PB improved after 2 years

My best performance in the 10 km distance dated back September 2016, when the watch stopped at 47 minutes and 17 seconds. In the last two years I've been busy with several projects around the world, which did not allow me to train regularly. Finally, after an overwhelming assignement in North Africa, I had the chance to fully enjoy 2 summer months of freedom and I decided to make the best of them. I started to train every day from August the 1st till today, alternating one day of running and one day of exercises (crunches, pull ups and push ups). Constant training pays: after one month and a half I resumed my old good shape, even if I am still far from my 5 km PB (21:21) - my best timing this year in the 5km is 22'51''. In the mean time, I improved my personal best in the 10 km distance: benifiting from today's perfect weather conditions (25°, no wind, cloudy with scattered drizzles) and from my new super-light Nike Zoom Streak lt 3, I completed the distance in 47' 11'', that is 6 second faster than my previous best performance. The improvement is not that significant (the pace is the same: 4'43''/km), however it is encouraging to know that I can run faster than 2 years ago, although I am 2 years older! Now, my aim is to break the 47 minutes wall and I am pretty confident I can make it. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

First pair of "technical" shoes


As I repeated many times in this blog, I am not a Nike fan. I don't have anything against their shoes, the fact is that this company represents to me the typcal drawbacks of capitalistic society: conformism, desire to show off, bad taste. However, I swallowed my pride due to "technical" reasons (which I will explain here below) and eventually bought a pair of Nike Zoom Streak LT 3. Actually 2 pairs. Being an old model, it is impossible to find it in shops. I ordered a 9.5 US pair from Ireland (white and yellow) and after testing them I decided to send them back: unfortunately my second finger is a few millimeters longer than my allux, and in this kind of ultra-light shoes such problem might become quite annoying in the long run. While waiting for the refund, I ordered another pair from an Italian shop, this time size 10. I received them on 30 July and tried them on: perfect!
Now some comments about the shoes, after a first 2-km run:
PRO
- Extremely light, I ran like the wind
- Effective grip
- Comfortable
- Nice color
- Reasonable price (69 euro)
CONS
- I guess that they won't last more than 6 months. The material is really too thin!
- The sole is very comfortable but very soft as well. I wonder how long it will last...
- Strange feeling during the first run. I realised that part of the internal sole doesn't lay on the ground! After 2 km, I got used to it.
- I detected imperfections in the stitching
- Made in China, hopefully not in a sweatshop

These Nike Streak are my first "technical" running shoes. I pondered many months before purchasing them, and all in all I am satisfied, as I have what I was looking for. I got some information before taking my decision: they were used by professional runners and received a positive feedback, though some runners complain about their "short life". I can feel a real difference between them and my old Reebok shoes, that in comparison seem heavy, less accurate and less stable, mainly during the fast sprints. Moreover, I wanted to try running shoes with a "contact" to the ground. These Streak LT3 are really "flat" and ensures you a good stability while running.
I will keep you posted about the future performances with my new shoes, hoping to break new records soon!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

One year after: cholesterol down

More than one year has passed since the day of my last blood check. Many things have changed during this period: I spent 13 month in Paris, now I am back home. During my staying in France I was not able to check my values (I obtained my health card just before I left the country!), so I was curious to know what happened to my cholesterol levels. At the beginning of this week I went to the hospital and this morning I picked up the results...surprise: both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol values are within the normal range. What can be the cause of this (positive) change? I'll list them here below:
- during my staying in France, I stopped eating pasta every day. They say that a large amount of carboidrates might be responsible for high cholesterol values;
- although I stopped running regularly, I was always on the road: walking, running (to catch the metro!), and jogging when I had the time;
- I avoided drinking alcohol and eating junk food, even if I did not have a full control over my meals;
- one month before taking the blood test, I started running again (4 times a week);
- last but not least, I started taking rice red pills, a natural statine highly reccommended to fight cholesterol.

Here you can see the results, compared with the previous values.

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.