Fartlek-inspired Thinking Fever

13 01 2012

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/141373794

I certainly overdid it today, no doubt about it.  Having done hills on Wednesday and planning a long one for Sunday, today was obviously easy day.  Nope, not for Neil.  I decided to do some fartleks, which as far as I’m concerned means running fast for a short period of time and then running very easy in between.  I ended up doing a km easy, 4 x 400m at about 90% speed (probably my target 5km race pace?) with 100m ridiculously easy (but not walking) in between, 1km very easy, 4x400m again, but not so quick since I’d already outdone myself (proabably at about 70% speed?) and then after 100m walking a very easy almost 2km back home again.  

I survived and even enjoyed it, but could feel many a twinge as I hobbled back up Santa Fe to the flat.  Lots of ice now and let’s hope it feels good tomorrow with lots of swimming.  There wasn’t much time for thinking with all that change of pace going on, but I had a few random thoughts as the blood pulsed through my brain:

I could try writing a workshop called ‘Being a Dogme DoS’ about how to encourage student-centred, materials-light and emergent language-aware classes from your staff, without smothering them in course books and assessment etc. 

and

Polls! I’d forgotten about polls.  I should have stuck some polls in the Who needs Dogme blog post to see who thinks they do.  Is it worth adding one now?  Or should I do a whole new post based on different polls? 

and

I’m going to do a Dogme-stylie Delta session next week on classroom management – they’ve all managed classrooms for a couple of years at least so they should be well aware of the issues.  Let’s just have a clinic to fine tune our weaknesses once we’ve celebrated our strengths.  My experimental practice as a trainer…

and 

My Delta IT session is going to take place completely online, with the instructions and tasks going out through twitter…Could be lots of fun or it could be a shambles, but learn through doing and all that.  Time for my PLN (do I actually have one?) to stand up and be counted…

So quite a lot of thinking in the end really.  





Hitting the Heights

11 01 2012

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/140804295

Having tried my best to ease myself back into the running routine without overdoing it after injury, I decided it was time to start mixing up the training a little more, time to hit the hills.  or in my case ‘The Bridge’.  Starting down the hill from Dorrego to Campos, easing past the polo grounds and then the racecourse, the idea is to cross the bridge over Dorrego at Alcorta three times with a minutes’ rest in between crossings, rest five minutes, repeat the three laps of the bridge and ease back home again.  

It was hard but enjoyable work and the body and the various suspect joints responded well.  Running in the morning definitely helped, once I had got the joints flowing I was full of energy and eager to push myself.  And this evening the body is finally starting to feel like I’m a runner again.  starting to feel a little lighter, a little more compact, which is pleasing but there’s a long way to go yet. 

Trying to sprint up and down the bridge leaves little time for thinking of anything other than body mechanics, but the rests in between allowed a few thoughts on Delta and Dogme and my running goals for the year.  Reasons being yesterday the IH Delta crowd all said they started their lesson planning from the materials, which would have been music to the Dogme disciples ears and makes me think maybe they do have a point (but thankfully I’m one of the lucky ones).  it will be a challenge to develop their planning to put the students at the centre of it – I’m determined to get them to do it within the Cambridge criteria (shouldn’t be too hard actually). 

And then I remembered I’d told one of the Deltees I was planning to do the marathon this year.  Getting ahead of myself as usual.  But what would be a realistic aim for him this year?  Perhaps rerunning the half marathon is a more realistic goal?  10km in under an hour?  I prefer the first of these because I think distance is more important to me than speed.  Since I run to try and find some shape (wish I could say stay in…), the more I run the better shape there’ll be.  So perhaps a half marathon is the aim for the year, be it in Rio in July or here in September, with one eye on the marathon in October if all goes well and I miraculously manage to stay injury-free this year.  Inspiring thoughts indeed…





A good long run and starting to think again

8 01 2012

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/140178720

Having had a lump of fat chopped off the top of my head on Friday I was torn between running the long I like to run on Sundays and taking it easy again with the excuse of not wanting to risk an adverse reaction.  Once I got going, the adrenalin of this morning’s blog post and the litre of Mate I drank this afternoon while correcting IH DoS Skills and IH CAM homework assignments kicked in and long it was.  

A pleasing long it was too, since I managed to keep the pace up, enjoyed weaving in and out of the throng you get at the Palermo lakes on a Sunday evening and I was even able to do a little thinking too while I was at it, which makes a change on my previous post injury runs.  

Thoughts centred on the Delta Intensive course starting tomorrow and how I would reply to the comments on the blog post:

Should the Delta course be more Dogme oriented in teaching style?  Well, it will have plenty of Q&A opportunities and I’m happy to let the candidates lead what they want to discuss during the sessions I lead.  Time will tell how free and easy things become since it depends a lot on the candidates and their learning styles as much as anything.  

When replying to the blog comments I should be as thankful and conciliatory as possible – I don’t want to get myself a reputation for being a gruff critic now, do I?  But at the same time I’m still amazed at how so many Dogme supporters feel the need to comment and use overexaggerated examples to protect their darling (Who would ever take five course books into one class?).  This is the thing that really grates about the whole phenomenon.  There I was trying to convince myself that Dogme might be quite a useful reflective tool after all and then they go and get my goat up for no reason.  Are all revolutionaries like this?  Is it because it won’t be televised?  

Perhaps my next step will be a follow up blog post on my second year of teaching – The Prague School.  I was lucky, very lucky indeed with the teachers I had around me, the people who came to watch me and the students’ responses to me as well.  Time to pay tribute to all these people?  Might be readable.  

No running tomorrow, but the three Ds lie ahead – Delta, diet and (hopefully) more Dogme debate. 





Easy Kneesy

4 01 2012

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/138985578

A quick and easy 5k today since the back of the right knee felt tight and after humming and hahing for a while about whether to go at all I decided to just run an easy and see how I went.  I went fine enough, once I got going the tightness loosened up, although the knee is very tight now as I cool down.  I’m really enjoying the atmosphere of these balmy summer nights down at the lake though, so I really didn’t want to miss out, although I really don’t want to get injured so I miss out even further. 

Thinking wise I was running through my talk at the IH DoS Conference tomorrow morning, which I’m really looking forward to as it’s the first time we’ve done an online link up and we’ve got lots of interesting ideas to share.  Let’s hope the tech holds up, especially my computer which with its dodgy battery is able to turn itself off without warning at any moment – and I’ve left the netbook at work so no back up to rely on!  Let’s hope it goes well so that the focus is on the ideas and plans rather than tech hitches.  Time will tell. 





Easy start to New Year of running

2 01 2012

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/138485417

First run of the new year and the easies just got a little bit harder.  Which probably means I’m increasing the workload too quickly and will no doubt pick up another injury soon.  But after the walk home from work, even though it was getting on (and was already dark) I was really in the mood for a run.  Couldn’t decide wether to do hills, fartlek, fast or easy, so went for Easy, which is a concession to slowly, slowly at least. 

I ran a bit further than I’d intended though, since I ended up going out the other wat down Dorrego and then back up the hill again to finish, only because it was very windy and dusty so I was trying to keep the debris out my eyes by hiding behind the car park between the hippodrome and the small lake. 

A good solid easy run, not as quick as last time out at all, but sets me up for some hills or fartlek on Wednesday hopefully. 

Thinking focused on all the work I should have been doing as IHWO coordinator over Xmas, some of which I was scrabbling to put together to deadline this morning and more of which remains undone with ASAP as a deadline (so why am I writing this you might sensibly ask).  I also spent rather too long relishing Arsenal’s last gasp loss today, which makes up for their win on Saturday (thereby gaining two points on the Mighty Spurs) and gives us a great opportunity tomorrow once again to show we are more title credential nurturers than competitors for fourth place.

Happy New Year everyone! 





3 Xmas runs, 2 lingering injuries and a target for the New Year

30 12 2011

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/137579309

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/137127240

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/136205653

Three runs over Xmas including a pretty decent 7.5km today (relatively speaking).  The new insoles are treating my feet well, although they strain the knee muscles a little as they get used to them.  Heel blisters are the new enemy, since my feet are in different places in the shoe with the new insoles, need to re-break them in – actually buying new shoes would be a good move.  But then what to buy – now they say that the cushioned shoes of today aren’t as good for running as flat feet – Zola Budd had it right apparently…

The back is the second lingering injury – think that’s down to too much time on the sofa in the fortnight leading up to xmas (working of course) but it doesn’t affect the running at least, just got to be careful when stretching not to do it any further harm.

Thinking has unfortunately taken a big back seat recently.  My mind on these runs has been on nothing, concentrating on moving the body well and enjoying the view of the lake and the Portenos accompanying me on their evening exercise.  Well and a little savouring of the current situation Tottenham find themselves in, playing sublime football and keeping themselves in contention for the league while cementing themselves solidly into the top four and Champions League qualification.  It’s good to empty the mind every now and then, and I’ll need it fully rested for the challenge of the Delta Modules Intensive starting in ten days time.  Eek!





Long in Montevideo

30 11 2011

Long in Montevideo by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

Another late entry and unfortunately it’s going to stop here as far as running roads is concerned for a couple of weeks.  It was a hot, hot afternoon as I plodded up and down the lovely promenade of Montevideo after my morning exertions for Macmillan (Feedback Fiesta and Correction Celebration at IH Montevideo). 

Little did I know that there was a 10km race planned for 5pm so I was surprised to see few if anyone out sharing my run with me and then the police closed the coast road for me to run on.  Having laughed at all the people running last Sunday in Puerto Madero after the Nike 10km (why didn’t they join the rest of us in the race?) I found myself unwittingly in the same boat.  I wanted to be wearing a t-shirt that said ‘I’m flying out of here in an hour otherwise I’d be running with the rest of you’.  

And unfortunately I felt a twinge in my right calf in the last of the 8km which I forgot about as soon as I stopped running but remembered as soon as I tried to go out again the following Tuesday – after a single KM I had to stop for the tightness.  Hopefully I stopped quickly enough and I won’t be resting for long, but I won’t try again until I get back from Sao Paulo to ensure I have a good rest of it before I go again.  Got to keep fit for the summer and make the most of the time I’m going to have to run as well as trying to keep the Christmas kilos at bay.  





The Easy After

30 11 2011

Post-race Easy by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

I’ve got a tad behind with my running blogs since the ‘glory’ of the WeRunBuenosAires 10km.  Probably because there wasn;t much to say about this run, just that I went with Mer and we both struggled terribly with leggy legs and lack of zest.  A definitely race hangover, but a very necessary run to keep the muscles honest.  Need to pick it up again soon – looking forward to a long run on Saturday in Montevideo. 





We Run Buenos Aires – Nike 10k

12 11 2011

Nike 10k by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Player.

So the big day arrived and we managed to arrive at the finish line in one piece and happy with our days work.  We arrived downtown early so were close to the start line when the race started, which meant everyone around me was running noticeably faster than my body was intending to go.

The occasion and my mind had other ideas though and I got carried along the early kilometres at under a 6min/km pace, which I haven’t run since before my right knee injury if I remember rightly.

When I saw I was running at 103% heart rate at about 4k, I tried to slow down a bit, but I was judging myself by the runners around me rather than my watch which seemed to be going haywire.  Most times I looked at it it said I was doing 7 or nearly 8min/km, but when the km lap time came round I was under 6 again.  I just tried to stay with the slowest person near me for a while before they trotted off into the distance and I chose a new hare.

Mer had gone off ahead of me after I’d sprinted to catch up with her after the first water station and then she got stopped by a diabetic on Corrientes who was about to faint.  Cost her two or three minutes as she had to help her while someone went to buy her a coke.  Apparently she waved at me but I never saw her, lucky for me because if I’d stopped my knees would have swollen up and not let me start again.

I can understand the poor diabetic’s problem though, Corrientes was a killer.  The afternoon sun was beating down on the back of heads and there was nowhere to hide.  There were three or four long stretches of sun which really went to my head, thankfully the legs never gave up.  The last three kilometres were pure mind and mantra and I was dead on my feet crossing the line, but very pleased with 1:02:41 for the race and 1:00:58 for my own 10km it seems according to the trusty old Garmin.  Looking at the map shows the problems I was having headwise since I was all over the shop – lots of squiggles.  Actually it seems I kept up the sub one hour pace through Corrientes but once I got to the Gatorade drinking station and had a little walk while I took some on I couldn’t pick the pace up again since it was sunny all the way home.  

An excellent result all the same and brings hope that on a cooler day and without this annoying chest cough I may get back under an hour for 10k, even with two dodgy knees rather than one.  Raring to go for another race now, but not much left between now and the end of the year, so the aim must be to keep in shape over Christmas and get ready for a fuller running season next year, still taking it easy and stirring clear of injury.  

 

Looking at the results now seems I came in 5730 out of 15 000 which is pretty flattering since it makes it sound like I’m almost in the top third of runners who go in for these street races.  What it really shows is how close to the start line we were when we took off, cos I bet there were plenty of people that finished with a slower official time but better net time.   Great to see I was right on pace at 5km, that could be another short term training challenge perhaps, to run 5km under 30mins.  But take it easy Neil!

If you ever wanted to see me being tortured and under duress, you can watch me cross the finish line here.  I appear top right at about 01:03:15 and make my way across the line and the screen to the bottom right hand corner by 01:03:28.  Sun makes it look like I’ve got blonde hair, but I’m definitely in pain and wobbling all over the place… 





Easy does it

10 11 2011

Easy by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

My last training run before the big day on Saturday.  My first 10k race since 2009?  It can’t be, I must have done a few in 2010, but perhaps I haven’t done a race since I fell of my bike at the back end of 2009? 

Anyway an easy 6k today to build on the long run of yesterday and get my legs feeling how the last few k might feel on Saturday.  Would like to go for a swim tomorrow but since we have to go and fetch our kits I doubt I’ll get round to it.  

Thinking wise I tried to concentrate on making a to do list for Sunday about what I need to do for the conference but my body demanded my full attention so I didn’t get very far.  Going to be a busy two weeks with Montevideo next weekend and then the conference on the 25th.  Exciting times. 








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