Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 review

Coming to the end of 2013, I've looked back at every month to remind myself what I did and give myself some ideas about challenges for 2014.

January 2013
I took part in Janathon for the first time, a running challenge to exercise every day in January and blog about it. It was quite snowy in January, but I managed to exercise daily and I ran more than 100 miles in total.

February 2013
I ran Baldock Beast Half Marathon at the end of February. I trained hard and was hoping for a PB, but in the end my hips and knees weren't up to the pace and I had to slow down after 10 miles because I was in a lot of pain. I took some consolation from the fact I'd been quite badly injured at the end of 2012 and the race was the first proper test of my physio rehab. Plus I ran 1:51, which was a course record for me :)

March 2013
The week after Baldock Beast, I was up in Blackpool to race in the Stanley Park 10K (with my parents-in-law). I was hoping for a PB, but didn't count on how fatigued I'd be after the half the week before. I nearly passed out after 3K. Needless to say, I didn't PB, but I did run sub 50 minutes, which I was fairly happy with (although I discovered afterwards that the course was short-measured...).

April 2013
A poor month from a running point of view; I was unwell for a large part of it with a chest and sinus infection. A lesson learnt: don't train when you're unwell, it just makes everything worse.

May 2013
At the beginning of the month I raced in the Greenway Challenge, an off-road self-navigated half marathon around Letchworth. I'd been hoping for a PB after my disappointment at Baldock Beast, but my illness in April meant I was only just recovered in time. The weather was really hot, and in the end I decided to run to enjoy myself, and finished in a PW of 2 hours. More lessons learnt.
The day before, I'd run in a local 5K with my children, my son (age 7) finished in 38 minutes and my daughter (age 5) in just over 40 minutes. I'd had to carry her for about a mile, but still, that's pretty good for a 5-year-old!

June 2013
I took part in Juneathon, the warmer version of Janathon. I didn't have such high expectations this time round, no aims to run daily anyway, but I failed with 2 days to go when I injured my shin during an interval session at running club. What a noob.

July 2013
I ran 12 miles during the whole of July. My random leg injury (and lack of funds to pay for physio) meant I had to increase the cross-training and take up cycling and swimming. I quite enjoyed the cycling if I'm honest, although not enough to take it up seriously. Swimming was OK; it's never going to be something I look forward to, but I can do it to an adequate level. I signed up to an aquathlon (Freedom Tri's Duck N Dash, 400 m swim and 6 k run) and began to train for it at Letchworth Outdoor Pool with some friends.

August 2013
I finally got back to running, but I only managed about two runs a week because of the summer holidays. I took part in a training day with Freedom Tri for the Duck N Dash, which made me realise how rubbish I am at swimming! But it was valuable training experience.

September 2013
I took part in my first aquathlon, the Duck N Dash, and enjoyed it so much I might do it again in 2014, mainly so I can improve on my woeful transition time (about 2 minutes). Later in the month I ran the inaugural Baldock 10K, which was a training run for Standalone 10K. It was such a tough hilly route that I was completely put off ever running that route again! Which is a shame because the 10K was one lap of the Ashwell Half Marathon that I quite fancied doing. But a lesson learnt is a lesson learnt.

October 2013
This month began with Standalone 10K. Yet another PB attempt foiled by circumstances conspiring against me (a family event the day before meant I was tired and not fuelled properly). Nevertheless, I ran just over 50 minutes and learnt not to give up even when I think all is lost. A good lesson. (I discovered later that Standalone was my fastest 10K race in 2013.)
I decided to push on and put in some serious training for Stevenage Half Marathon the next month. Lots of focus on heart rate training and proper interval sessions. I ran over 100 miles in the month.
I also passed the 1-year anniversary of running my first marathon, which coincided with me signing up to run my second marathon (MK) in May 2014!

November 2013
I finally achieved a PB for the year, running an amazing 1:45 at Stevenage Half Marathon. My training plan paid off, which proved to me that having a plan and sticking to it is really important. I began to plan my training for MK Marathon, with my aim to reach 14 miles in training by the end of the year and continue with quality interval training. I also ran another 100 mile month.

December 2013
I ran in the festive First Saturday 5k wearing my Santa hat, and put in a lot of miles to round off the year with another 100 mile month, and 900 for the year.

Plans and challenges for next year:

January 2014
I'm aiming to complete Janathon again, and I've signed up to Jantastic, which is a longer term challenge (January to March). For January, my Jantastic challenge is to run 4 times a week. I'm also racing in the Folksworth 15, which is a new race event for me, and NHRR's First Saturday 5k.

February 2014
I'm taking part in Baldock Beast again, but as part of a long run for marathon training (17 miles). Perhaps a course record won't be on the cards this year, but it will be good to run the race for enjoyment. Another First Saturday 5K is planned too, with my aim to beat January's time. My February Jantastic challenge is to set a weekly long run target, which with marathon training will be fairly straightforward!

March 2014
Lots of long runs on the cards this month, but I hope to race NHRR First Saturday 5K and beat February's time. March's Jantastic challenge is to set a flat-out time target over a specific distance. Since the 4-week period for this challenge is after the First Saturday 5k, I'll have to either run the route on my own or do my first ParkRun

April 2014
This is marathon taper month (for my last marathon I "tapered" for 2 months due to injury!). I'll be focusing on shortish runs (<10 miles) that incorporate speedwork, and staying healthy. 

May 2014
I'm running MK marathon on May 5th, my main challenge for the year! I'm hoping to run near 4 hours. Afterwards, I plan to recover with short runs, easy bike rides, and swimming (when Letchworth Outdoor Pool opens).

June 2014
I hope to have recovered from MK Marathon so I can take part in the Herts Hobble, and I might do Juneathon again, with half an idea to train for a late summer half marathon (there is a rumour of another half marathon around Baldock in the summer).

July and August 2014
Summer holidays! I have no plans other than to run (maintain half marathon fitness), cycle, and swim when I can, and not be injured! If I decide to do the Duck N Dash again then I'll be training for that event, and in August I'll start to think about Stevenage Half Marathon and Standalone 10K training.

September 2014
Duck N Dash possibly, maybe Baldock 10K if the weather is good beforehand. And training for Standalone 10K.

October 2014
Running club's focus event, Standalone 10K, is at the beginning of October. And I'll be training for Stevenage Half Marathon.

November 2014
Never let it be said that I'm a creature of habit, but I'll be racing Stevenage Half Marathon.

December 2014
No plans to do anything except the First Saturday 5k and maintain my fitness.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

MK marathon: week 8 training plan

On Sunday I was supposed to run 15 miles, but a combination of time pressures, niggling gastritis, and horrible rain meant I only managed 14. Which isn't all that bad really! I met a few friends and we ran just under 10 miles, we had planned an off-road route for the back few miles but had to go on the road because it just didn't get light. After we got back to Stotfold we added on another 4 miles, making 14 in total by the time I got home. 

Monday was a rest day, but I managed a windy walk around Blackpool. Not personal wind...

On Tuesday I ran just over 10K around Stanley Park in Blackpool. I've run a few races here so followed the approximate route for the first 5K, then found a hill to run up fastish, before running the reverse 5K route back. 

Wednesday and Thursday were taken up with Christmas food and family celebrations. No time to do anything but drive around Lancashire and eat roast dinners. 

On Friday I ran 12 hilly miles around Pendle in East Lancashire. I ran 2 miles on my own to test out my new headtorch, then met up with my sister to run 9 miles through Read and Sabden, up and down a lot of hills! I finished by running up the hill behind my mum's house, testing it out for a hill training session another day.

On Saturday I dodged hail showers and went out for a hill training session. I fancied finding the steepest hill I could, just to show off on Strava really ;-) Ran 4 loops of the local steep hill behind my mum's house, then did 4 short sprints up a shallower hill after. Was a good session. In the evening I was at a party, but spent time chatting to some of my sister's friends who cycle in the area, and they told me some challenging areas to run next time I'm in Lancashire. I can't wait to try them out :-)

Next week's training plan...

Sunday (Week 8)
Rest day (did the long run on Friday)

Interval session, 0.5 mile alternate fast/slow


8 mile run

Rest day

7 mile tempo run

Rest day (or Tabata workout)

NHRR First Saturday 5K

Saturday, 21 December 2013

MK marathon: week 7 training plan

On Monday last week I was supposed to go to circuits but had to cancel because of work. Tuesday I missed running club because I had to drive to Luton to collect my husband because the trains were screwed. I did make Pilates though.

On Wednesday, in honour of missing running club, I ran 8.6 miles after school dropoff, into Letchworth and back. Was a gentle plod and I quite enjoyed it. When I got home and was warm again. 

Thursday was running club's Christmas do! Wooo, much fun was had. 

Friday I delivered Christmas cards around my town. I managed to find 5 miles between my friend's houses. 

Nice rest on Saturday ready for...

Sunday (Week 7)
15 miles (slow and steady, might do 3x 5 mile Greenway runs taking in the Big Hill)

Rest day


10K run (AM), fastish



Week 8's long run, 12 hilly miles (cutback week)

0.25 mile sprint intervals, for about...3 miles (until I get bored)

Saturday, 14 December 2013

MK marathon: week 6 training plan

Last Sunday I ran 13 miles with Barry, Scott, and Ed. I'd planned to run at near marathon pace, which I'm hoping will be around 9 min/mile on the day. Managed an average of 9:30 but did hit 9s for miles 8 and 9, which is quite good considering it was over halfway through my run. I was struggling towards the end though so there was a bit of a mental battle to keep myself going until the end.

On Monday I ran 3.5 miles after school drop off. I was intending to run my 5K route to Arlesey and back but got out of school 5 minutes earlier than usual so decided to go off-road. Took the footpath behind Etonbury, which I'm still not confident about remembering (until I get to it). Muddy shoes for circuit training, just as well Pete is friendly. I felt tired before we even started so I don't think I'll run before the class next week. Perhaps afterwards. Anyway, I was a bit wiped out by lunchtime and had to have a 15 minute power nap. Circuits itself was four groups of four stations, and we did each group of four twice before moving on to the next. 

Tuesday night was beginners run club and I took a group out and back along Valerian Way. We walked for a bit because a lady got cramp in her calf, but she was OK once we started running again (cramp is a strange thing). I had my Pilates class afterwards, there was a lot of arm and ab work tonight, which my legs were happy about. We did a new exercise, side push ups, which worked our triceps. I must have good triceps because I managed ten each side, whereas everyone else struggled to do one. Arms of steel *flexes*

On Wednesday I was supposed to run but was so busy with work I missed my chance, plus I was really tired. :( I wasn't planning to run on Thursday (I knew I couldn't run with the club because my husband was out on his work Christmas do) but because of the missed Wednesday run I made myself go out for 7 miles. I ran the first 3 miles at an easy pace and then pushed hard for the next mile, recovering for a mile and pushing hard again. Last mile was a cool down. I didn't want to run before I started, and during the run I was cursing myself for being a fool and signing up to another marathon. But once I'd finished I was glad I'd gone. After about 3 hours of thinking about it...  

Friday was a rest day, I ate lots of cake for some reason.

Today I ran my long run for next week, because I can't go tomorrow. 14.5 miles in total. The first 3 were out to Arlesey and back with Maare and Paul. Once back in Stotfold we picked up Tracey and Graham and ran another 10 miles around Letchworth (Graham dropped out after 10 km, he said we were too fast!). Poor Maare had cramp after she'd run 10 miles in total, so she walked back on her own from Baldock (she got home fine, but insisted we carry on without her). Once we'd run 13 miles, Paul went home and Tracey and I carried on across Mill Meadows for a mile and a half. It was a bit muddy and full of happy dogs, but we didn't get chased by any so that was good.

Calves and knees and hamstrings are really aching now and I'm considering a trip to see my physio for a chat and a massage. Perhaps in January *hopes for Christmas money*

Next week's training plan...

Sunday (Week 6)
Rest day

Circuits (AM)

Running club (PM); a 2 mile run or speedwork


8 mile run, easy pace (AM)

Running club are out on the town for Christmas!  


Fast(ish) 10K 


Rest day 

Saturday, 7 December 2013

MK marathon: week 5 training plan

Last week was cutback week and I ran 10 miles with some of the club. It was a good long run, nice and slow, but the route wasn't ideal. After meeting a bin lorry and a bus on the road to Ickleford, I vowed to only plan routes on roads with a pavement.

I did a quick 5K on Monday in between school drop-off and circuit training, just to give myself something to do rather than sit at home looking at the dishwasher and thinking about work. Circuits was pairs, I was with Duncan and we did OK I think, apart from when I kept forgetting what number I was on. Poor Dunc holding a plank while I'm muttering "I think that's six, I'll do some extra".

Tuesday was another club run, 2.5 miles with the beginners, followed by an extremely difficult Pilates class. My abs and arms were not happy.

On Wednesday I took myself out for a 5 mile run, alternating slow and fast 0.25 mile intervals (instead of my planned 0.5 mile intervals). I was a bit rushed for time really, not my best mental state (although I read in Runners World this month that running when mentally fatigued is good marathon training). Anyway, the run felt terrible, I thought it was slow and I definitely could've gone faster. Plus my right leg felt huge compared to my left leg, a very odd sensation. I have retrospectively put this down to not eating lunch. 

I had to miss running club on Thursday for various reasons. I did manage to catch everyone at the end for a chat though, so that stopped me feeling too sad at not being able to run 5 miles in the freezing cold...

Friday, I dropped the car off in Arlesey for my husband and ran home. Not a long distance (2 miles) but miles none-the-less. Slightly odd sensation of running with no feet after I lost all sensation in them because of the cold weather. Bit like running on stumps. I imagine. 

Today I ran in NHRR's First Saturday 5K, a festive Santa run. I wore my Santa hat and finished in 25:20. Quite happy with that, I didn't push hard so it's a sign I'm getting more comfortable running at 8:30s. 

Next week's training plan...

Sunday (Week 5)
13 mile run (@ marathon pace, 9 min/mile)

5K run after school drop (AM)

Circuits (AM)

Running club (PM); a 2 mile run or speedwork


Tempo run (AM); 6 mile run with 1 mile alternate fast/slow

Can't make running club! Sadness indeed. I'll do a home workout if I can be bothered. 


Thursday's run, after school drop off, 7 miles or so.

14 mile run (slow)