Hello...and a few questions

Hi All

Hope all's well - I enjoyed this mammoth beast of a run this morning: mapmyrun.com/workout/994175135 which got me thinking about running related stuff, so I've got a few questions for you all - I hope you can help.

Firstly, this will be the last time I do my weekly long run on a Thursday morning. Next week I'll be up to 20m, and that's too much to do before a day's work, so I'll switch my long run to Sunday and my Sunday intervals to Thursday. It seems to be quite common advice that you should never run more than 20 miles in training, so I'll hold it there and concentrate my building up the distance on my other runs. Is that advice still considered sound, or can I (were I bonkers enough to want to) go out for a 22 or 23 miler?

Secondly and I admit this sounds like an odd question but have I ever actually run up a hill? All the training guides suggest that running on hills is a good thing and I like to think I'm not bad at it (I tend to pass people going uphill at parkrun who are quite a bit faster than me on the flat) but what level of elevation, gradient and distance actually counts as a hill. Does this run (http://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/961541257) for example count as having a hill in the middle?

Thirdly, is it normal for a grown man, half-way through an out-and-back run to a famous London landmark (All Souls, Langham Place) to mark the halfway point exactly by bounding up the steps of the Church and tapping the column in front of hundreds of amused London pedestrians?

Finally and most importantly, where is the love? I know from this website that runners are a mutually supportive, kind and generous bunch of people but when I'm out pounding the pavements of London I get plenty of waves, hellos and nods from people waiting for buses or driving vans (contrary to stereotype, white van drivers are the most courteous motorist for letting runners through, I find) but though I smile and nod at every runner I meet, very, very few other them ever acknowledge it. Without wishing to sound like a total hippy, a bit of love from a fellow runner can lift your spirits immensely.

Keep smiling and keep enjoying your running,



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22 Replies

  • Hey AHS.

    Can't help you with the training stuff I am afraid - that is waaay in advance of my level of competence.

    I would, however, opine that the only acceptable reason to bound up steps is to do the Rocky thing.

    The lack of acknowledgement from other runners is a strange one. I have to say that I can't remember any occasion when that has happened to me, there is always, at the very least, a knowing nod. Maybe it's a London thing! ;)

  • Hi Dunder - I did think about Londoners' natural reticence about interacting with strangers but then it does seem to just be a runner's thing. Maybe it's just me?

    I do like the idea of bounding up the steps of All Souls church and then bursting straight into some shadowboxing moves - although maybe not on a Sunday morning.



  • Must be a London thing... Other runners, even the grumpiest, always at least nod when they pass me, but then this is Ireland... and there is a huge amount of ex and not ex hippies around :)

  • Ah well, I'm still not going to stop smiling at people. Maybe next week I'll try a run through Irish London - Hanwell down to Hammersmith and then up through Kilburn and Camden and enjoy the difference!

  • Now, I'm no good at calculating hill gradients - what I know is that the hill I am trying to conquer has a elevation gain of 90 mt in 2.3 km - The hill at the HM was a slower climb, but much longer and even the hardcore runner found it hard. Well, I see I'm not of much help here! But I noticed that hillwalking at a good pace (on kind of mountain paths) had a good positive effect on my running - so steep hills have to be good for you :)

    On the distance front, I think that if you feel you can go a bit further just do it, not a race pace though.

  • Thanks Pigivi - I'll have a look at what 93m/2.3km is like. The biggest hill on my run was Scrubs Lane which is about 34m in 2.4km.

  • I've not seen the proscription on running more than 20 miles, other than for marathon training. If your goal is 26 miles it probably makes sense. Ultra-runners regularly go well over that distance in training though. I would say run as far as you want and don't worry about what the books say.

  • Thanks Rignold - I would like to run a marathon next year (preferably London) but no plans at the moment. Mind you, I entered a HM in September thinking it would take me that long to get confident running that distance - I've since ran over 13m seven times and have entered one in June!

  • Definitely a london thing. I never get a nod or a smile anywhere running around SW18! all different back on the Coast, so much so that it put me off the first few times aha

  • I wonder if it's something to do with the urban environment - lots of runners, especially women instinctively don't want to engage or make eye contact with a large man moving relatively quickly towards them.

    It's a separate (and non-running-related) issue I know but I've generally always found the Londoners-are-unfriendly thing to be a bit of a myth.

  • I've never had a problem with it, and agree it's a bit of a myth, probably from seeing train loads of people on the way to work!

    Conversely I had so man people stop me and say thank you at the Olympics (when I was miles from anywhere and just had my purple gear on) which goes against that idea too

  • Wow, that looks like a great run and then a bit. Nice one!

    I have recently started training for a marathon and thus have been reading a few books about the subject, and the max 20 mile suggestion still seems to be "gospel" for novice (which I consider myself) and intermediate runners. I think it's to reduce the risk of injury and the consequential demotivation which could ruin a targetted training programme. But if you're running just for the joy of running, then I'd say you should tear up the rule book and do whatever gives you joy (as long as it's legal).

    My experience (rural Yorkshire) is that runners are okay at nodding or responding, but cyclists!! They whiz around in their spray-on lycra, looking pained as they lean aerodynamically over the handlebar, always half a dozen of them abreast to ensure nobody can pass them, motorised or not. But can they smile or nor or say hello to a mere runner? Can they bugger! Aloof and elitist the lot. Cyclists on this forum (of which I know there are a few) obviusly excluded from this mild generalisation.

    But that moan aside, I totally agree with you taht a bit of love can do wonders for the mood, and I tend to always wave at pedestrians, runners, cyclists (always the optimist, me), motorists, and of course cows, swans, horses and sheep. Most wave back, although I got a wee bit worried the other week when a herd of cows started to wave at me. Maybe I was overdoing things!

    Happy running, and much love!

  • ...and love to the cows!

  • MAMILS... Never friendly, strange breed

  • From my limited experience of running in London, I would say that non-acknowledgement is definitely a London thing. I've done a few runs around Regents Canal (Kings Cross - Camden - Westminster type area) and I've found that I very rarely get any sort of response. I will have to exclude from this generalisation the girl I once met running towards me by the canal near Camden Lock (somewhere in the middle of Regents Park Zoo). I tried what I thought was a cheery "Good Morning!". Her response was to look at me in horror, execute a rapid about turn and then shoot off at a speed that would have left Usain Bolt standing. I never realised that I was quite that scary before :(

  • Never a nice feeling is it?

  • I never meet any runners on the treadmill so I have limited experience. But while running in Lanzarote (you have no idea how wonderful it is) I've nodded/smiled/thumbs up'd every runner I pass. I rarely see a response though that might be because of the sun and my eyesight isn't brilliant when concentrating on trying to stay vertical.

    Met a chap here doing IronMan on Saturday. We chatted a while and I mentioned I was a beginner runner and he was very enthusiastic. So the elite are not necessarily elitist.

  • They generally say with celebrities that the biggest stars are friendlier and the D-list are less so, don't they? Maybe it's the same with runners - although I'm a long way from an Iron Man triathlete and I'd like to think I'm pretty friendly.

  • I think it might be a London thing, though it could also be a you-being-male-and (if you're smashing those kind of distances) clearly-pretty-strong thing: d'you think you're a bit intimidating? I'm sure you're not actually, but people do make those kind of snap judgements - I definitely think people are smiley with me because I'm a dorky girl in glasses with legs like spaghetti and so obviously not a threat. And it adds extra joy to overtaking watching their expectations shift...

    As for the proper questions, you're way ahead of me but my inclination with most things is that you should do what makes you happy as long as nobody (including your knees) gets hurt.

    And of COURSE you have to tag the halfway marker. Otherwise it doesn't count.

  • I'd like to think I was the least intimidating 6'3" skinhead in London :) - but then I've never had to watch myself lumbering towards me on a towpath.

    Thank you for agreeing with me on the tagging thing - I now have visions of tagging landmarks all over London. I wonder how close I can get to Buckingham Palace or the Tower?

  • Lovely blog... Re the training, I am not an expert so I don't know. For me I trained up to 23 miles before the marathon but my weekly mileage wasn't that high...I think that is key as well as regular interval and hill sessions...what you are doing sounds good but I'm not an expert like others here.

    Nothing wrong with tapping the column... And I have always found serious runners a very unfriendly bunch indeed, unless they have a dog and then marginally more friendly. I always smile and nod, say hello etc but I generally get nothing back ;(

    A bit of love goes a long way!!!

  • "Nothing wrong with tapping the column" - now, if that's not an innuendo I don't know what is. :)

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