Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Dusty, fusty, rusty

It's been a while.

My last post was a week before I ran VMLM. I ran it in 4 hours and 27 minutes, which was pretty impressive considering I walked a good 3 miles (miles 20 to 23) and didn't train well. I swore I would never run another marathon, and 3 years later I haven't run further than 10 miles in one go, so I did keep that promise to myself.

After a few years of running for enjoyment rather than training, I'm now back challenging myself. Last year a friend convinced me to join her Thunder Run team, so that is my challenge for 2018. Thunder Run is a 24 hour relay race of a 10K course in teams of 8 people.

I last ran a 10K race in October (Standalone), managing to scrape under an hour but with some walking, so one aim for this year is to run 10K non-stop. I've so far managed a 7 mile run-walk and a 4.7 mile non-stop run, so the potential is there.

Coming to the end of January 2018, I've managed just over 100 km distance on foot (walking and running) earning myself a Virtual Runner medal. I've also (so far) completed all except 2 days of Janathon without injury except sore hamstrings and a feeling of constant tiredness.

Monday, 20 April 2015

1 week to go...

It's my last week of training before I run the London Marathon. I plan to do very little this week. On Wednesday I will be at the Expo with my friend Ralph, to pick up our race numbers and see how much free stuff we can blag. I also have a leg massage booked for Wednesday evening.

Last week I did a lot of walking and had a great midweek swim while my daughter had her swimming lesson, followed by my return to Pilates after 2 weeks (I felt so stiff so it was great to have a stretch). The cross-training I've done these past few weeks is definitely helping keep the injuries away.

I ran with my son Tuesday evening, a very slow first mile (run-walking) followed by me chasing him home after he decided to run back "at his own pace". My son needs to learn about pacing (or run with someone faster/not me).

Thursday was a mish-mash of fast short runs on my own to and from and around club, and 2 miles very slow run-walking with a new starter.

On Sunday it was my last "long run" before the marathon (I like how I no longer view 8 miles as a long run...). I decided to run in the afternoon while my daughter was at a birthday party in Letchworth, and I hit the Greenway for some off-road running. I took a bottle of Lucozade Sport with me again to make sure I can stomach it, and I was fine throughout the run, which is great news! Unfortunately my shins and calves felt tight and sore after only a couple of miles; I'm hoping the massage on Wednesday will help ease this tightness, and I will do a lot of stretching daily too.

After the 8 miles/birthday party, I joined some club friends up in Langford to film a promotional video for an event we are organising. So that was a 2 mile walk (up a hill) to the location and another 1.7 miles of running around.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

2 weeks to go!

Just 2 weeks to go now until the London Marathon, it's all getting rather exciting. The medal was unveiled today, and it looks a beauty!


Training this week has gone fairly well. After a frankly disastrous attempt at a long run on Monday in Blackpool (it was raining and I was tired so I went home after 5 miles!) I managed a 6 mile tempo run on the Tuesday; midweek runs are the sessions I've been missing from my training so it felt good to do this. I also got out on my bike with my children; it was probably the slowest cycle ride ever recorded. I could have walked faster than we cycled, in fact I had to push my bike most of the way because my daughter is still not very confident. The club run-walk on Thursday was really good, my group ran for a longer period and at a faster pace, which meant they covered more distance :) Finally, I squeezed two walks with my daughter into the week, 2 miles on Friday evening and 0.75 miles home from her football training on Saturday.

Today's long run was planned to be around half distance (12-14 miles) at a fastish pace. I'd read earlier in the week about how you should do some speedwork if you're feeling sluggish during the taper, and I've been feeling unwell the latter part of this week (sore throat and headache, nothing major!). What better cure than a quick half marathon? The first 6-8 miles were great, but I began to slow noticeably from mile 9 onwards. I didn't eat breakfast though, so that is probably why! I also tested Lucozade Sport (mango and passionfruit) during miles 6-12, because that will be the drink on offer during the marathon and I needed to see if it would affect me adversely. I had some slight stomach cramping almost immediately, not sure if that was just a coincidence, but otherwise I felt fine and tolerated the drink OK. I will feel confident taking it during the marathon.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

3 weeks until London Marathon

3 weeks to go to the London Marathon means the first week of my taper. The plan was to try to maintain the mileage but still do a longish run at the weekend.

For the first few days I was still recovering from Oakley 20, so I actually found my foam roller and used it on my sore legs. I had a gentle jog on the treadmill on Tuesday, which started as a brisk walk and turned into a bit of an interval session because I wanted to finish within 30 mins! On Wednesday I took my children swimming and I swam 800 m, another good recovery session.

From Thursday until Monday we were in Lancashire visiting family. We had two slow family walks on Thursday and Easter Sunday, keeping my mileage up! I wasn't sure when to attempt my long run, whether to do a tough 15-16 mile hill run around Pendle or an easy flattish 18 mile run in Blackpool. Knowing how rubbish the weather can be in Blackpool, and secretly wanting to run up a steep hill or three, I opted for the long hill run.

I ran my usual hill route, which is about 9 miles, but I tacked on the Whalley Nab climb that I have attempted before but failed at because the Nab is almost impossible to run up! I then planned to add on a loop around my old hometown.

The first 4 miles were constant climb, and I took some walk breaks, telling myself that I was not out to kill or injure myself. Looking back at previous attempts of these hills on Strava, I ran my quickest time on this route; good stuff! The next 5 miles were flat, with a quick descent at the end, and I enjoyed this section before reaching the Nab. Last time I attempted this run I walked as soon as I put my foot on the steep incline; this time I managed to run about 25 metres before giving up. Whalley Nab is truly impossible to run up! I walked on the road for the next mile, only starting to run again when I got chased by two dogs! If I ever attempt this route again I think I will skirt the Nab and take a local bridleway, which should be easier to run (albeit still hilly!). By the time I reached my parents' house I was shattered and in no mood to carry on for another 5 miles, so I headed home, 11.5 miles in the bag in 2 hours. Slightly disappointing, but I thought I would recover for a couple of days and then perhaps attempt a run of 10 miles on Monday along the prom in Blackpool.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

4 weeks until London Marathon

It's now 4 weeks until the London Marathon. I've more than doubled my fundraising target and have just received my race pack; I'm looking forward to the big day!

However, training for London hasn't gone as I intended. I wanted to work hard on my core and leg strength from January onwards, to do a quality speed session once a week, and another longish run midweek. However, I've struggled to fit in the midweek runs that keep my fitness up, and quality speed sessions haven't happened regularly. However, I've done Pilates once a week and managed a weekly long slow run. I've also had a couple of leg massages to ease any tightness.

VLM 2015 training, weeks 1-12

I delayed the start of my training for London because I didn't want to do too much too soon, like I did last year when I peaked too soon for MK Marathon and got a hamstring injury. But, I feel like I've done the polar opposite and not done enough training this time. I've also struggled with stomach problems, which has made long slow runs tricky. And I'm still bordering being overweight despite my efforts to lose a few pounds.

Long runs are the hardest part of marathon training; they are both mentally and physically tiring. Finding someone to run with you even some of the way can help with the mental aspect. This year I've had a few great social runs with friends. However, I've mainly tried to avoid having company because of my dodgy stomach, so I can feel comfortable knowing I can do my own thing if I need to. Not everyone wants to run loops around my house!

After taking advice on my diet, I decided to try a new meal strategy last weekend, aiming to eat a large carbo-rich meal on Friday rather than Saturday, and just having something small on Saturday evening. It was a good week to test the strategy because I was running in the Oakley 20 mile race on Sunday!

The race went OK, I didn't have stomach issues, despite taking two gels during the run. The difficulties I had related to a stiff hip, which made the last 7 miles very hard. But I persuaded myself to run most of the way, and I only walked briefly to take on fluid at every water station (they were roughly every 3 miles on the route), and up one long hill that I decided would be quicker to walk up than attempt to run up. I finished 20 miles in 3:16, which puts me on course for a 4:15 marathon, which is my aim.

The next 4 weeks will be a gentle taper towards the marathon itself. I say gentle, because I'm planning to run 16-18 miles at the weekend!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015


Just joking, there is no such thing as Febathon. I'd have failed it by now anyway since I did no exercise on Feb 1st. I had planned to do a 14 mile long run, but I was hungover in the morning after a 40th birthday party on the Saturday evening, and I was scuppered in the afternoon because some friends came round with wine and taunted me until I gave in.

On Monday I decided to complete the 14 miler out of sheer stubbornness. I dropped my daughter at school and then planned a route in my head. Initially I thought I would run two laps of the Standalone 10K route, with a loop of Mill Lane/Malthouse Lane added on to make the distance 14 miles. However, after stopping to make a phone call (I suddenly wondered if I'd booked myself onto my regular circuit training class and had to check) I decided I would do a loop around Astwick, then perhaps run to Arlesey, cut through Fairfield Park, and then perhaps run around Letchworth.

As I ran around Astwick I wondered whether I really wanted to run all the way to Letchworth, thinking about possible injury or school emergencies. I had almost decided to do three figure-of-eight loops around Astwick and Stotfold Mill when I bumped into my friend Becca, who is training for Brighton Marathon. I tagged onto her heels and we ran around Astwick again for 4 miles. After that, I just decided to run laps of Astwick with the odd Mill loop added on, until I'd done 14 miles. It was tough after Becca went home (I'd run 7 miles at that point), my legs felt really stiff, and the temptation to call it a day after 12 and 13 miles was strong. But I did it! A great mental and physical workout.

I resolved to book a leg massage when I got home, and I'm off to see my friend Jane tomorrow evening, should be relaxing/painful.

Tonight I ran with my son around Stotfold, just 2 miles, like we did last week. He did a lot better, and would've been much quicker than last week if it weren't so icy on the last stretch. Still, it's a nice habit we've fallen into, and I love running and chatting with him.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Football training: Janathon day 31

It's the final day of Janathon, I feel quite emotional about it! I've exercised every day, and only two days were something I'd consider "weak" (a short walk and some sit ups).

Today I took my daughter to football training. She cycled there and I ran alongside. Unlike 2 weeks ago, when I spent an hour stood in my running gear talking, today I ran around The Green where football training takes place. A lap is 0.25 miles, and I did 13 laps, turning after 8 so I didn't go lopsided or dizzy. I should've done another 5 laps because I still had 30 minutes of training to watch and get cold during.

We ran home a lot slower because we were both cold, and got home just before the snow started. And now I'm in the bath defrosting!

Check out my 4.7 mi Run on Strava: