Friday, 26 April 2013

Friday 26th April: testing legs and energy

After last night's poor run I decided to run early, after school drop-off, to see if perhaps yesterday was down to food intake.

Three weetabix for breakfast (didn't want to take any chances), about 3 hours before I ran, and a bottle of water about an hour before.

I didn't look at my Garmin until I finished, and I'm still not sure of the mile splits, but I ran just under 4 miles at roughly 9:20 pace. Felt that I really had to push myself, could easily have given up and walked home. Verdict: better but not great.

Thursday 25th April: lethargic legs

Back to running club tonight, chest has finally cleared, so it was a tentative "see how I am/blowing cobwebs" sort of run.

Began with a 2 mile run-walk with three ladies just starting out running. We ran 2 minutes and walked a minute. Route was lovely, along the River Ivel. Felt good and it was great warm up.

The advanced group run was the first mile time trial of the year; we do these to get an idea where runners are and to gauge improvement. On the mile warm up to the start of the trial I started to feel slow and shaky. I wasn't sure if it was nerves or lethargy, but by the time we arrived to start I didn't feel up to anything. Since a lot of runners didn't know the route, I offered to act as "halfway marker". Managed 7:21 pace for the half mile, then 7:50 on the way back. Definitely wasn't up to a sprint.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Wednesday April 24: return to circuits

I've not done any training for almost a week, and no circuit training for over 2 weeks, so I was a bit nervous about tonight.

First though, swimming. Took my children to their lessons and had a quick 15 minute swim myself. Managed 14 lengths, which is 450 metres. I didn't push today though.

Next, circuits. Layout was 4x4, with every "4" repeated (so 8x4 really). Started with side planks, jogging, and inverted row; next, ab curls, star jumps, tricep dips, and lunges; then Russian twists, calf raises, kettlebell swing (16 kg), and bicep curls; finally, skipping, press ups, back extensions, and plank.

Focused on technique tonight rather than progression or speed, but was pleased to discover I hadn't lost that much fitness.

Exhausting. Sweating profusely from jogging onwards. Really must remember to take a towel... But I burnt 300 odd calories at circuits and around 100 swimming, not too shabby.

I've started logging food and exercise on myfitnesspal again, and I've lost 3lb so it's definitely useful.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Monday April 22nd: return of the cough

Blinking cough has returned. Decided to immediately visit the doctor. She told me I'm not infectious but I have to stop running this week to make sure the exudate (great word) has chance to clear. Lots of fluids and I should be fine to run on Sunday. I told her about my upcoming half marathon. She did that "hmm" noise which means "that's not a good idea" but very kindly told me I would probably be OK. New favourite doctor.

Thursday April 18: birthday run club!

After not running or training for what feels like 2 weeks I decided I had to go to run club today just for my sanity. My chest felt a lot clearer (slight congestion but nothing major) and my sinus blockage had gone. Also, I'd baked 42 cakes for my birthday and they needed eating.

Beginners group did a 30-minute interval session at the Norton Rd underpass. I jogged mine with a newcomer and then did a few sprints on my own, finishing with a slow jog with another new starter. Nice warm up.

Cakes successfully dished out, then it was the turn of the intermediate group. I decided on a slow-paced 4 mile run around the Greenway. It felt comfortable, but I was glad I hadn't pushed to 5 miles.

Total run today, just over 6 miles.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sunday April 14: resting

I've not trained for a week now, cough has gone to my chest and I daren't push myself and risk it turning into something horrible. (Whatever I've got, it's horrible enough as it is.)

Hopefully I'll be better and back running in a few days. Else I might have to take up cycling or something.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Tuesday April 9: Pilates love

Pilates tonight. I have a love-hate relationship with Pilates.


First, I go to the class under duress (Physio instructions), so it's not my choice.

Second, it's blinking expensive (£7 a session!). I could join a gym for that.

Third, I still don't breathe properly, and I'm not sure I'm "aligned".


But, I like the instructor (I used to go to her aerobics class years ago, when I was Fat Sarah).

I'm not actually that bad at it, despite what I think.

And I am improving with respect to leg strength!

Plus I'm more aware of my posture now. It's definitely helped my running and other training.

So, even though I spend the hours before Pilates thinking "I'm not doing this class next term" and wishing I were at running club instead, I actually do like it really.

Tonight we did lots of leg work. (Possibly why I'm on a Love high at the moment.) I can do the leg stuff. And the back exercises. It's just the advanced core work I struggle with. And we didn't do that today :)

Other stuff: ankle/heel is OK today, only hurts if I press on it. I can't go to circuits tomorrow now so another rest day will be good for it.

Cough is chesty and now I'm sneezing everywhere too. Blinking cold! I blame the children. Does mean I'm allowing myself "medicinal whisky" in the evening. Cheers!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Monday April 8: circuit training

Woke with slightly stiff calves this morning but they soon loosened up. No running planned today, just an hour of circuit training.

Ran over to the class with the kids who were on their scooters. It's the Easter holidays, but Pete allows well-behaved children to come along to his class. Not sure why he lets my two in!

The circuit today was eight stations, which we repeated four times.

• Inverted row with TRX (probably managed fewer than 10 per round -- rubbish!)
• Lying hamstring curls (single leg, alternating after 6 reps)
• Abdominal curls with 7.5kg kettlebell (5kg last round)
• Squat jumps (using a box to jump on and off to aid the squat)
•Press ups (full to begin, then three-quarter. Earned a 'Loser' comment from my son for my poor attempts)
• Single leg squats (right leg only, to strengthen the dodgy knee. Some progress made on avoiding the "wobble")
• Back extensions
• Skipping (attempted double jumps but instead managed to whip myself with the rope on my arm and bum!)

Warm up and stretch after cool down. Learnt a new "trust" stretch for upper back, involved a partner holding the other while they leant back and stretched.

Ankle/heel today feels stiff and bruised. No running until Thursday to see if that helps. Cough has worsened too so definitely no running.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sunday April 7: long run day

I'm currently training for the Greenway Challenge half marathon, on May 5. I ran this last year with a friend and set my current half marathon PB. I'm not expecting to get a PB this year, I just want to run it and feel comfortable, without knee pain or anything else arising.

Training today was 12.5 miles, split into two 10K loops. The first 10K was run in 1 hour, which I am happy with, it was a very steady pace. The second was slower (about 1 hour 9) because I was running with some of our Club's newer intermediate runners (or those returning from injury). All in all, 12.9 miles (including running home) in 2 hours 13.

The back of my right ankle is feeling sore. I've alternated ice and heat for 20 minutes and have done some ankle rotation exercises.

Wore my New Balance 1080s today, I really notice the reduced cushioning in them, although they feel supportive. Longest run so far in them, which could explain the ankle pain.

Slight cough and sore throat, nothing major.

Running history: aiming for another PB

Hello, I'm Sarah, one of the running coaches at Stotfold Runners. This blog will be my daily training diary, and will prevent my personal blog becoming full of dull running posts (now I can fill it up with dull family stuff and posts about what we've eaten).

After 6 months of gentle persuasion, I finally started running in January, 2011. My aim was to run to lose weight (I was about 14 stone at my heaviest, now I'm about 10 stone). However, my competitive nature soon took over, and before long I was running to race and to get faster.

First year

My first race was in April, 2011, the Flitwick 10K, which I finished in less than an hour. I was hooked on racing! I spent summer 2011 training for my first half marathon, which was in Fleetwood. (It was in August and hailstoned, not the best weather!) I ended the year with my second half marathon, which I finished in just under 1 hour 50.

Personal bests

10K:  48:54 (Autumn Breaker [Blackpool], October 2011)
Half: 1:49:54 (Stevenage Half Marathon, November 2011)


During a run after Stevenage my left knee seized up and I couldn't walk let alone run. Sadness indeed. But a couple of weeks of rest and I was back moving again, tentatively.


Two pairs of Asics 1180.

Second year

Year 2 of running; I finally ran some 5K races and trained for two other half marathons (my favourite distance). A second shot at Flitwick 10K meant I knew what to expect (hills), and I ran one local half with a friend (which I have to say is a lovely way to endure something quite painful). After watching several friends take part in the London Marathon, I decided my next challenge would be to run a marathon. I signed up to Preston Guild Marathon, which is held once every 20 years. My time was not quite what I hoped for, but I can at least say I have run a marathon.

Personal bests

5K:    22:44 (Marston Forest 5K, June 2012)
10K:  48:16 (Flitwick 10K, April 2012)
Half: 1:46:31 (Greenway Challenge, May 2012)
Full: 4:58:46 (Preston Guild Marathon, October 2012)


Oh yes, this year I got injured "properly". The other knee decided to give up during an 18 mile training run, and with a marathon looming I finally conceded that I needed to see a physio. I was recommended a great guy in Stevenage, who got me back on my feet.


Asics Gel Cumulus 13, Saucony Ride 4.

Third year

Currently in year 3, what plans? Mainly to remain uninjured... I've run a half marathon as a knee-tester (leg pain after 10 miles saw me slow down but finish with a course record), a 10K (run the week after the half, I nearly collapsed through fatigue), and several 5Ks (enjoying these immensely!). No PBs so far, I'm still building up leg strength after my injury last year. I have a half to come in May, then a summer of speedwork, hill reps, and short runs with the aim to PB at Standalone 10K in October and either Ashwell half or Stevenage half in November. Possible local 10K in the summer. Who knows what will crop up? And I'm looking forward to coaching at the club a bit more and helping our beginners group gain confidence to perhaps run Standalone 10K (our local race) at the end of the year.