80/20 Running into Practice

80/20 Running into Practice

I have been putting the 80/20 running rule into practice. The principal is simple. Instead of running to your max you run at a comfortable pace for most of your running instead. Instead of pushing yourself to be fast, you push yourself to have endurance. You train at a pace that is 80 percent or less of your maximum, to perform better when you race.

Train for Endurance, Not Speed

The concept is rational. You could train to your max but by doing so you tire yourself emotionally, physically and mentally. Instead of improving you hit a wall. The 80 percent rule builds on the idea that by training consistently at a lower intensity 80 percent of the time you build stamina and endurance.

With the Garmin program by Greg I find myself having to slow down, rather than speed up. I find that I need to run at a pace that is easy, rather than strenuous. With other coaches they say “do 150-200 steps for 30 seconds, then do glides etc.” Others say “Run this distance” and “Now run that distance”.

I prefer the coaching I have now. “Run at this pace for that duration” It isn’t about distance, and it isn’t about duration so much as it is about pace. I have to consciously tell myself to slow down, to take it easy. It isn’t that far from running pace. I know I can run faster. I need the discipline to slow down.

I am avoiding speed because I want to keep my knees from hurting. I want to strengthen them gradually, by training at a lower intensity, to give them the time to adapt and toughen up. This isn’t about speed. This is about being able to run sustainably for longer distances, without discomfort. Today I felt that I am getting to that goal. I felt that I could run for longer.

A Dog Chase

I actually stopped running because a dog, that was not kept on a lead, showed interest in me, and then charged me. I left the road and it followed, so I stopped in a field. For an instant I was convinced that I would be bitten today. It felt that way. I thought it had finally happened again.

Normally I would avoid a car, especially one that stops there, because usually dogs jump out and tend to charge. I didn’t turn around and change route. My habit of turning around and choosing another route, is justified after what happened. I hate that I keep being attacked. No, the dog didn’t bite me, but it did run after me. Dogs do that. That’s why I walked with hiking sticks before. That’s why on one route I picked up a big branch.

Dogs scare me. They threaten me several times a year. If I had continued running it would have bit me. I had to stop, so that it would stop. I am tired of overcoming my fear of dogs on every walk. I am even more tired of having my fears confirmed by these attacks, several times a day. I class a dog that threatens or runs after me as an attack.

Next time I will walk the other way. I will not walk towards a car that is stopping. Once again my fear is justified.

The Last Thing I learned

The Last Thing I learned

What is the last thing you learned?

I am currently learning to run five kilometres again. I’m one week away from completing the training program. This isn’t learning in the conventional sense of the word. It’s about fitness and endurance. About pacing and stamina.

I have run five k in half an hour in the past. I managed to run 10k and more. I stopped because my knees disliked my running. Now I am running again. In less than eight days I will have completed the challenge and I will be able to move on to something else. I ran 5.6km two days ago. The next runs are one or two short runs, and a 5k run.

The biggest challenge today, with the 4k run was running directly into the wind. At 21km/h according to Strava or 28km/h according to Garmin connect it almost stopped me when I ran into it. You just push forward, until you’re facing a different direction.

Today it was raining and I wore glasses anyway. They steamed up at one point so I took them off. Running in the cold and rain isn’t too unpleasant, until the rain blows onto wet trousers and you start to cool. I wore quick drying hiking trousers and I changed when I got home. It’s more comfortable than wearing rainproof layers and a winter jacket.

When it rains I usually wear the cycling rain coat. It has no hood but it’s light and practical for these conditions. For half an hour to fourty minutes it is fine.

Recently I have been running on rainy days, and having rest days on days with nice weather. I am getting to run in sub-optimal conditions.

Summer is almost back. I Hope that this year will be more interesting and inspiring than “I walked, ran and cycled in circles.”

Mischievous Shoelaces

Mischievous Shoelaces

Today I went for a run earlier than usual and had to deal with mischievous shoelaces. They decided to come undone at least three times during the first three kilometres before I finally got them to behave.

I went for a run earlier than usual because rain is forecast for this afternoon and if I go after lunch then I get rained on. I prefer not to run in the rain, if I can avoid it.

It rained anyway, but light rain. The type that doesn’t soak your clothes and you down to the bone. It was rain that is noticed, but doesn’t stick around. It evaporates by the time you’re done with the run.

Today’s run was meant to be a 5.6km run and I did run most of the distance, except for the three stops to retie shoe laces, and a short walk when I felt I didn’t have much energy after yet another climb. A run that should have taken half an hour took fourty minutes. I did not feel as energetic as sometimes and this wasn’t helped by having to stop and start a few times.

I’m on week 11 of 12 of this training program so when next week is done I will be able to try another training program. The aim will still be 5k, but with a better time.

And Finally

I am trying to develop a running habit but I still don’t enjoy it. I still struggle to run the required distance. With cycling I struggle to go at a certain speed, or over a specific distance but I don’t find it as hard. Walking comes naturally to me. I don’t struggle. Walking and cycling feel natural. I haven’t reached that, with cycling. The day that I can daydream whilst running is the day that I will have achieved my goal.

Cycling and Running

Cycling and Running

I like cycling, hiking and climbing rather than running but I read an article that makes me think that cycling and running are incompatible. In one sport the leg becomes a spring and as you run it becomes fine tuned to reflect the energy back into forward motion whereas in cycling torque is key.

Why Do Cyclists Have Bigger Legs explores the physiological difference between running and cycling. Specifically a runner wants muscles that are springy and provice forward motion whereas as cyclist wants to provide torque and downwards force to propel the bike forwards. Apparently trail running and cycling are better friends because both require more strength and power to “raise” the body.

Any cyclist who has ever tried running will know, those first few runs can lead to quite a bit of discomfort in the Achilles tendon and lower gastrocnemius (calf) muscle.” As I type this blog post I can feel that pain in my achilles tendons. I can feel when I’m running, compared to cycling and that’s why I try to increase the distance I run gradually. I know that my heart can cope with running, but I don’t want to strain my tendons, ligaments and joints too much. I don’t want to end up injuring myself.

The article explores the need to generate a lot more force in cycling than in running. This is especially true when climbing steep gradients. When you’re on a steep gradient you need to be able to press down with a lot of force, for extended periods of time to get to the top so it makes sense not just to have good cardio health but also the muscle strength to follow.

This shows that although cycling feels like a cardio sport it isalso about building the right leg muscles to cope with the demands of the sport. I often trained my upper body for climbing when I went to the gym but I didn’t train it for cycling. For cycling I used Zwift so I didn’t notice whether my legs changed in shape or volume.

I read this out of curiousity and interest.

Running In High Winds

Running In High Winds

Yesterday I tried running and walking in high winds. I have cycled and walked in high winds but I had not yet had the sensation of running in high wind and it is quite interesting. In cycling you feel that the wind pushes your bike to the side, and you counteract the wind.

With running in high wind I found that if I ran with the wind then my body behaved as a sail and I could feel the wind pushing me faster than usual. Of course the legs and cardiovascular system need to keep up. It’s when you turn perpendicular to the wind that it becomes interesting. As the feet lift the ground the wind pushes them laterally so that the right foot bangs into the left leg. I had to avoid tripping.

wind speed and weather information
wind speed and weather information

According to Strava the wind speed was 40km/h. According to Garmin the wind speed reached 59 kilometres per hour. Coping with the cold is the second challenge. In such conditions you want to be dressed warmly. The more of you is covered, the warmer you remain.

Before the run I went to take video of the waves by the lake. I got hit by a few waves and my core body temperature fell. I then went for a slow walk where I could really feel the cold again. I didn’t expect to run. I was cold. Staying home made more sense.

I ran. I expected I would turn around and give up. I didn’t. I turned and my back was to the wind, and that’s when the wind eventually started to push me forwards and I had to fight it from pushing me too fast. Usually I reach a river, I run beyond it, and then I run down to the village and continue from there.

Yesterday I reached the running goal, and turned to head home. That’s when I turned into the wind, and had to walk into it. I stepped forward, but sometimes I had no inertia due to the force of the wind. I had to wait for the wind to slow, before being able to continue my walk.

This was the type of wind where only eccentric people, and dog walkers, walk. It’s the type of weather where you want to be wrapped in layers and protect as much as possible from the cold wind. I had a cagoule and a cap. I tilted my head downwards, and used the visor to protect myself from the wind, and to prevent it from blowing off.

I will leave you with this: an article about the consequences of the high winds.

A Four Kilometre Run

A Four Kilometre Run

Today I ran four kilometres, after walking fifteen kilometres yesterday and my legs felt tired. They felt heavy and I thought that I wouldn’t make it to the target distance. I did, but it was a game of will.

Usually I go for a run, and then I walk. Today I did the opposite. I went for a walk, and then I went running. Part of the reason I felt tired is that I ran across a grassy field uphill. Grassy fields are fine if you’re used to them. It’s hard work. You have to work to keep your feet stable, to avoid sliding, and to make more effort.

After being winded by the field I had to run upwards. My legs felt tired. I felt that I would run out of power, that I would slow and that I would stop. I wanted to stop. My breathing was more strenuous than usual.

In the end I did make the distance that I had set out to achieve, but it was hard. I also had to walk fast, but walk nonetheless. My run ended on a steep climb. Even walking up it takes some getting used to, and I speed walked up it. I didn’t want to slow too much.

I’m tired because of yesterday’s walk and today’s 2km morning walk and afternoon five kilometre walk before the 4km run. I made it, and after the run I felt tired but I recovered relatively well. I was in zone five for 16-17 minutes depending on the tracker.

Originally I had planned to do this run on a flat loop around a small lake. I had expected to do about one and a half laps. I did not intend to make such an effort today. I wanted to make it easy for myself, and did the opposite.

And Finally

The run started with a flat bit where it’s by fast cars and I wanted to get out of there. I then turned right and had a climb, and then I had a climb through a grassy field. These winded me. I struggled for the rest of the run, rather than stop and recover. If I had not encountered that walker I could have taken my intended course and warmed up more before making a bigger effort.

Tomorrow I rest and then Friday I run just 2.4km. That should be easier.

The Sunday Run

The Sunday Run

This morning I decided to go for a run, rather than studying or doing other things. I ran along one of my usual routes thinking that it would be quiet but it wasn’t. Groups of people walking two to three abreast, or more were blocking different roads so I deviated through fields, turned around or rerouted.

Out of pandemic I would have spent weekends doing things with people so I would have been one of those people doing something with others. In pandemic I do things alone. I have been doing things alone for five years now. One year because I had no car, the second because of a broken arm, and for three years because of the pandemic. Three or four years ago I lost the ability to walk by couples or groups of people without feeling deep sadness, so I found routes that made it possible to avoid people. With the pandemic I had an excuse to do that openly.

The pandemic never ended, so I never reverted to normal behaviour, and now my people avoidance is who I am, what I have become.

If I passed by single women, and single people then I wouldn’t deviate so much. I’d be inclined to say hello. It’s because it is a reminder of my solitude, that I find solitary paths and routes. I like to forget about my isolation, and enjoy my solitude.

I like my daily walks and runs, but Sunday is one of the days where I struggle to find routes with very few people. That’s why I usually walk extra big loops, compared to normal week days.

And Finally

The weather is warmer now. Not warm enough to run without a hat and gloves, but warm enough for snow to have melted, and for the frozen pond/lake I walked on to become a place for birds to rest.

Running Again

Running Again

At the start of this year I started running again. This wasn’t a new year’s resolution. I just decided that I wanted to start running, so I did. For five years I have been walking around in circles. Some take me above the A1 motorway and others take me below it. The walks are all familiar and I do them so regularly that I see the changes from week to week.

I thought I would take up rollerblading but this landscape is not friendly for rollerbladers until they are comfortable stopping. There are downhill slopes in three out of the five possible directions I can take. Every single route has downhill sections.

The advantage of running, in contrast to cycling is that you can go for a run straight from home, from the car, bus, train or even scooter. No need to put anything on the back of the car, or improvise a carrying solution. You just wear appropriate shoes and go.

My challenge isn’t cardiovascular fitness. Walking and cycling ensure that I am in good physical form. According to Garmin my vo2 max is 45 and my fitness age is that of a 20 year old. The limiting factor are my legs and joints. I can run and push further than my body wants to be pushed, and if I am not careful I will damage my joints again, and have to stop.

My running goal, for now, is simple. I want to get to a place where I am comfortable running for five kilometres without stopping. I then want to repeat this until I feel comfortable building speed. I can also increase running frequency, from every two to three days, to every day. It’s only later that I can consider running further.

With Strava, Garmin and other apps it would be easy to give in to temptation and to run further than others but that is not the goal. The goal is to run comfortably, without injuring myself, without paying beyond what is comfortable.

Getting Back Into Running

Getting Back Into Running

I am getting back into running at the moment. I have run several times recently, irregularly enough not to feel pain in my knees or other articulations so this is a good sign. The advantage of running, over other sports, is that it’s easy to catch a bus, car, train, parapente or other form of transport and start running. The second advantage is that it is twice as fast as walking.

Six or seven years ago I ran regularly. I kept pushing until I reached over 10 kilometres in a run but I had to stop because I got pain in my legs that was so bad I sometimes questioned how I would get back. It’s not that I couldn’t run faster, or further, but that I didn’t reach training plateaus, and then improve speed and stamina. If I achieved A I went for B, and from B to C, without ever giving my body time to strengthen and adapt. That’s why I ended up injured, and why I paid the price for several years.

This time I sometimes ran only until the first feeling of pain and stopped. By doing this a few times I allowed my body time to be pushed right next to the limit, without overdoing it. As a result of this more gentle and understanding training regime I got back to running for seven minutes, and walking for three minutes, without feeling any pain.

The next workout will be seven kilometres of running and one minute of walking three times. I could try tomorrow, or Saturday. I think it’s better to do this workout on Sunday. This gives my body time to adapt to running, and recover. I want it to recover. I don’t want my progress to be blocked because I was too greedy to allow my body time to adapt.

Running is a good winter time sport because you can do it in the mud, on the side of roads, through fields or in other locations. You can also dress quite normally, compared to cycling and other sports. It is also flexible gradient wise, unlike rollerblading, where you need to learn to stop on steep descents in a landscape like this one.

And Finally

My goal is to run five kilometres, first, and then to keep running five kilometres, but faster, without pushing myself beyond a threshold. Eventually I may run further but I think I would run the routes that I usually walk. When the cycling season comes back I should be able to resume cycling in good shape.

A Frosty Morning

A Frosty Morning

Despite having a frosty morning today I still decided to go for a run in the morning rather than the afternoon. I mention the frost because I noticed that one velux had the usual frost fractals but the others were clear. This is curious.

Frost fractals on a velux
Frost fractals on a velux

I wore a thermal layer, a fleece, a t-shirt and some running shoes that were not waterproof. I would have run one route but a couple took the entire width of the road so I ran along the side of the road, and in the grass by the side of the road. Due to my wearing different shoes my feet and socks got wet and I could feel the dampness, a feeling that I usually do not get.


I am experimenting with running for two reasons. The first is that I don’t feel safe cycling on roads where drivers do not slow down, or give enough space when overtaking. I don’t like having to look behind me continuously to get drivers to slow down and give enough distance between me and them. I don’t know whether my fear is due to walking by the road every day for almost five years, and cycling for one and a half hours per ride. These might have amplified my sense of danger.

Easier to Dress for Running

The second reason is dressing warmly. Cycling is one of those sports where you dress to be streamlined, but by being streamlined it is easy to feel the cold. Warm cycling clothing is also expensive and although I can layer I am quite happy to walk.


The nuance of running, rather than walking is about time. By running I can cover the same distance in half the time than I would if I was walking. This means that what would take one hour might take half an hour. That is more time to do other things. It is also easier to play chicken with the sunset, or grab a break between rain clouds.

Full Body

Running is also a full body workout, rather than a lower body workout. Running uses the upper body and the lower body. You can feel the shoulders, lower back, and pectoral muscles working. You can also feel tightness in certain running muscles after a run.

Avoiding injury

The reason for which I am careful with running, and why I am working towards a 5km goal is body strain. I found that when I pushed towards running more than 10 kilometres it hurt my knees. I want to give my body time to adapt to running, before pushing beyond 5 kilometres.

Cheap and Light

If I grow comfortable with running then I have a cheap, light, versatile sport to enjoy year round. I do need to get comfortable with hills around here. If I leave the village where I live then I have two directions with hills, one that is too short and too busy to be a workout and the other that is towards a town and civilisation. The other routes take me to the countryside.


Aside from the points I have made above running is also a sport that you can do alone. Climbing, diving, via ferrata and other sports require at least one more person, and the relevant equipment. With running you need shoes and that’s it, if you want to be a minimalist.

And Finally

Walking and hiking for four and a half million to five and a half million steps per year doesn’t count as improving fitness after five years of routine. Cycling does, when I push myself, and so does running. I want to see my fitness go up, not down over the cold winter months. I want to feel that I am progressing, not stagnating. Running is a way of achieving this goal.