Monday, 28 December 2015

Getting Ready To Run Again

It's been a really busy few weeks for me, so I apologise for the lack of the lack of blogging. There has also been very little running or training from me this month, so you haven't missed much in that respect. I have, however been very busy drinking, eating biscuits and chocolate, and generally doing everything that a proper runner would not. But there's no point dwelling on what has been.

So let's quickly get to the positive stuff.

I got my first Garmin watch.
I got handed a voucher for a running shop that will pay for new running shoes.
I got a new running book.
My weight has peaked, leveled and is starting to go back down again.
I got quite a few tips at work and am currently not broke.
I'm ready to start looking for a half marathon to enter.
I have ran two (very slow) 3 mile runs.
New Year's Eve is approaching and I have hundreds of resolutions in mind.

That makes for a "better than nothing" December, and if I make a few preparations over the next few days I could start making 2016 a very successful year. But I'm getting ahead of myself, so here's the story since my last post...

My First Garmin Watch

I finally bought a Garmin, which has been on my wishlist for a long time. Up until now, I have been using my smartphone with the RunKeeper App. The advantage of RunKeeper is that is free, so I would still definitely recommend it if you aren't ready to spend the money on a running watch.

But there are also downsides, especially if your smartphone is starting to mess around (which mine very much is). Too many times I have found myself at the starting line of a race, only for it to either not get a GPS location, or hang up, or my arm strap decides to fall off. A few times it also just inexplicably stopped working, meaning that I lost all run data.

Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS Watch
Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS Watch

I don't feel like I am qualified to give a proper Garmin review at this early stage, but so far I have been delighted by it. I bought the Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS Running Watch which you can get at Amazon UK if you click the link. It currently has £30 off the normal price. It's the cheapest good watch I could find...

I know a few people (including my brother) who have used the Garmin Forerunner 10 for all their runs, and they recommended it to me. It doesn't have a heart rate monitor, but I don't need a watch to tell me my heart is working overtime. Not yet, anyway. For now all I want is to run an to be able to record my runs.

It has a pacer option which I haven't used yet, but should help me with my tempo runs and races. This lets you select a pace, and then the watch lets you know if you are running too fast or slow. I'll do a proper review at some stage, but after two runs I don't know enough about it.

So far it seems very easy to use, the GPS has been good and it's nice not having to wear an armband when I run. I am very pleased with my purchase, which was a sort of early Christmas present for myself.

Christmas Running Presents

The other thing that has been on my wish list for a long time is new running shoes. So getting a voucher for a running shop in Belfast was very much appreciated. Thanks Mum.. I haven't managed to get up to it yet, but hopefully sometime this week I'll have a brand new pair of running shoes.

My niece Scarlett with her Christmas jumper..

I'll also be able to get my running gait analysed (I hope I've spelled that correctly..), something which I have never had done before. The result should mean that I will have running shoes that will fit me, suit the way I run ,and also not have holes in them which seem to let every possible stone into my current shoes.

The other gift I got was the book 80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster by Training Slower which I have only just started to read. You can check it out at Amazon UK by clicking the link, but I am not in a position to recommend it at the minute. It seems to promote doing lots of easy miles (80%) and few fast or hard runs (20%). I'm always open to new ideas, so I'll read it anyway. I know that at 37 years of age I won't be able to keep running at a high tempo all the time, so maybe this will be the concept I adopt at some stage.

Christmas Tips Mean I Have Some Money

I work as a binman, which isn't the most glamorous job in the world, but it does have some advantages. We are pretty good with the people on our routes, and they seem to appreciate the extra things we do for them. It might be going round to the back of their house if they have forgotten to leave the bins out, taking a bit of extra rubbish, or just talking to them every week. And they like to give us something back at Christmas.

Random picture of my Christmas dinner starter.. 

This means that I get given beer, chocolate and biscuits, but I also get a bit of a cash boost. So I currently have enough money to buy lot of healthy food for next year, to enter a few races, possibly buy some new running clobber and generally stay on top of my bills for a while. I suffer from depression, so not having to worry about money troubles for a month is a big bonus.

Getting Ready For A Year Of Running 

With all these positives, I am really looking forward to running in 2016. I'm going to spend a lot of time thinking about my goals during the next week, but I am in a positive mind. My body however, is not just as ready. After giving up smoking I put on a lot of weight, and a busy few weeks has meant that I have let my fitness slide. I went for a couple of 5K runs and just about managed to complete them.

Not my Christmas Dinner, but it is a turkey meal I made that I was quite pleased with. So here is a picture.

One thing I really need to improve on is my blogging. I want this to be the year that my running goals are met, and this blog was started in order to follow my improvements and progress. I want next year to be the year that my blog proves itself to be worthwhile. That all the work has not been for nothing. That when you read it or follow it you can see that my training is working. That a fat man from Ireland who drinks and eats too much can become a healthy, faster runner.

I want this blog to be a "must read". And to do that I "must write"...

Happy Christmas


Did you get any running related presents this year? Have you managed to keep your fitness during the holidays?


  1. OMG, that sweater is adorable on your niece!! Well, she just looks adorable anyways, but that sweater is awesome! My new Garmin watch doesn't have a pacer option anymore (boo!), but I really liked using that on my old watches a lot. I think you will really like it too. Except when the run goes bad and that little pacer dude is out way, way in front of you, then he's just irritating!! haha!
    That book likes quite interesting. I'm trying to keep in mind that I need to run my longer runs slower, not worrying all of the time about my pace. I need to focus on keeping myself away from injury, and I think that would help. Good luck on your start (back) to running!!! (oh, but seriously, not need to stop eating chocolate... I would never consider doing that!!!!)

    1. Thanks Lisa, yeah she loves that sweater, she was proper excited for Christmas this year. I'm looking forward to using the pacer, but my brother was telling me he turned his off most of the time, as it kept on beeping (or whatever is does..) when he wasn't going fast enough. And then you can't turn it off when you run?

      I'll try and get into the book as soon as I can and let you know if it's worth reading or not :)

  2. Another great blog, I love how honest you are - it's inspiring and already on my 'must read' list! I love my Garmin (Forerunner 220) but haven't tested out the pacing option yet so would love to hear what you think of it.

  3. Merry Christmas! I got a pair of running gloves from my mom, but unfortunately I have huge hands so they don't fit me at all. I don't really like wearing gloves anyway, so I'll return them for a pair of shoes :) I used to wear that same watch all the time and I loved it! Cant wait to hear your thoughts as you wear it more. Good luck with your running and blogging goals this year (p.s. this blog is a must read for me, but I will be happy when you post more!)

    1. Thanks Gretchen, Merry Christmas!! Yeah, it seems to be a good watch so far, although I still have to use the pacer feature.

      I got eGloves as a present last year, but I love them.. Maybe I just have very average hands lol ;)


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