Tag Archives: marathon training

Sawston, Trumpington and Stapleford

I With less than a week to go until the London Marathon the urgency to complete my roundup of my 100 mile run around the diocese is increasing.

This run took place on the 18th March and was a relatively short run which was a bit of a relief before the last two humongous runs of 18 and 20 miles. It was a mere 9 miles.

Non the less enjoyable though. For those of you that don’t know the area this run took place on the outskirts of Cambridge.

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A quick photograph at Stapleford before I set off.

This route, on paper, looked relatively easy. Despite this I managed to misread the directions on my watch which ended up with me running through a park and ride car park. I then managed to get a bit lost in a large development of new houses when my planned route seemed to take me to a dead-end. Eventually I managed to turn up at Trumpington church where everyone was busy tidying up the church yard. When I arrived most people were taking a coffee break but we managed to persuade these hard workers to stop for a moment to have their  photograph taken.

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I then ended up retracing my steps a bit to go back to Stapleford where there was a lovely crowd of people waiting to meet me at a coffee meeting. Despite having to find a community building off from the main road I managed not to get lost at this bit!

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The lady in the check trousers is the lovely Sylvie who has run 17 marathons, including the London Marathon several times. I was very privileged to be able to see her medals and photographs. What a true hero she is. I just wish I had more time to pick up more tips to help me get around on the big day. 1 more run to go!

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Willingham to Impington

Oh dear. Time seems to be flying along and I am not keeping up with these posts. I am so sorry. On the 11.3.17 I had the enormous task of running 18 miles. If last weeks run had been on home territory this week came a close second as I actually lived in these parts for several years. At that time however, I would never have contemplated running 18 miles!

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This is Willingham.

 

I then ran along the road through the village that I used to live in, Cottenham and on to Waterbeach. If you look at a map it would be a lot easier to run straight to Milton which is where I would be going next and I was very tempted…..but being a good girl I stuck with the plan and ran to Waterbeach.

IMG_6363Look at that amazing blossom. You cannot tell from this photograph but the person taking this was taking his life into his own hands and actually standing on the road! I was glad that I didn’t miss this out, everyone was sp encouraging.

Another reason for not taking a short cut was because the next bit of the route took me along the river Cam, something that I had always wanted to do but had never had the opportunity. Unfortunately I didn’t stop to take photographs but I realised that I don’t tend to go to the river at this time of the year and therefore miss the daffodils along the banks and brilliant green on the weeping willow trees as they start to come into bud.

IMG_6370The next stop was Milton, a church that is really tucked away and I was very pleased for my planned route on my watch. That, along with the tall spires are really helpful! Just a short bit left until the last stop (and lunch) at Impington. Unfortunately I had to add another mile on which is absolute torture for a runner. Reaching your destination to find that you have to add-on more completely messes with your brain. I did it though!

IMG_6375I look a bit more tired in this one, also a bit wetter! Hey ho, I quick change of clothes and I was ready for my lunch. A great ending to a lovely day. A few more miles ticked off. 🙂

 

Chatteris to March

Sorry for the complete silence recently. We have a family member that is really poorly. That has taken priority as well as a lot of emotional energy. Hopefully the emotional rollercoaster has stabilised a bit.

This run came close on the heels of the previous 2 but was no less enjoyable. It was also in a part of the county/diocese that I had very little knowledge of as it is not somewhere that I go very often. Unfortunately I did not have any volunteers to run with me this week but instead I had some very detailed directions as to the route I should take.

IMG_1651AI set off having had the obligatory photographs. I am constantly amazed that people turn up at 9ish on a Saturday morning to wave me off.

As I had done three of these runs this week it meant that I had missed out on some of the other training runs that I do in order to fit them in. For some odd reason I decided that instead of just completing the distance today I would include intervals within it. I did 1 mile warm up and then started to run 0.25 of a mile at a faster pace followed by a recovery of the same distance. I figured that I would probably end up walking the recovery section but in reality I was surprised by how good I felt. I managed to run them all, and at a pace that I was pleased with.

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Half way I passed through a place called Doddington where I was met by some more lovely people (I was a bit more sweaty than normal but nobody seemed to mind.)IMG_1653A

I didn’t stay long which always feels a bit rude seeing how these people have made the effort to come out and see me but if I hung around I would get too stiff. A bit further on and I completed my last interval (narrowly missing out on being tripped over by a dog!) and then I entered March. When I don’t know a place and I arrive I think that the run is nearly over and today, of all days I was ready to stop. Unfortunately it was one of the occasions when I had quite a lot further to go. I passed a church near the edge but this wasn’t where I was headed. I had about another mile to go. This is really cruel as my brain had thought I was finished, only to have to carry on. Pure torture. I was in fact, headed right in the middle of the market town.

As always it was worth getting there. I was presented with a medal which always has to be worth it! I think this medal was almost more appreciated than the one I will get once I complete the marathon as it was so unexpected!medal

There was also a coffee morning (tea is always very welcome) and we sat around and had a really lovely chat (well I mostly chatted and everyone listened but there was some discussion!).

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All in all another lovely run. I ran in a new place, met some amazing people, surprised myself with how well I managed to complete my intervals and got more miles under my belt.

 

Ely to Littleport

In complete contrast to the previous Saturday this morning was bright and sunny, cold but sunny. Today, being half term I had my lovely boys with me. It is on days like this that I really appreciate how good-natured they are as not all boys of their age would happily tag along to something like this.

Today’s schedule started with a phone call to the press! How exciting. This was followed up with photographs outside the cathedral.

img_1625All by a professional photographer! The pained look on their faces was due to them having to crouch down. Apparently their legs are not really strong enough. (It doesn’t look sunny but it was, I promise.)

I then had a gentle jog along the road to Littleport. Only 5 miles but really beautiful in the sunshine. On arrival (I beat those following in the car) I was greeted by some more lovely ladies with lunch all set up.

img_1627Some really lovely leek and potato soup which just happens to be my children’s favourite! We had a lovely chat.

Tour number 2 done and very pleasant it was too!

Comfortably Hard

My plan says 3 miles at tempo pace for today. Not my favourite as it means working hard and running just out of my comfort zone or “comfortably hard”. As far as I am concerned those two words do not belong together at all. To top it all off the weather was foggy.

Luckily for me I realised that the club run tonight was a 5k timed run. Perfect. I knew that I would try harder and keep going for longer at a harder pace with other people around than on my own so I opted for this option.

The timed runs at club are sort of handicapped with the slower runners setting off first and the fastest last. There were 4 in my group. When we set off I quickly went to the front but then immediately realised that this was maybe not the best idea as setting off too fast ends in tears. I slowed down a bit. After a bit one man went off. I tried to keep with him and did quite well.

Each mile seemed to go on forever, so long that I began to wonder if my watch had gone wrong and wasn’t going to buzz at each mile. But it did….it just took it’s time. About half way I began to catch the group in front of me which really spurred me on (it is nice to have someone to aim for). I was then promptly over taken myself!

During the last mile I really began to struggle. I kept trying to relax and forget how far I had to go. Luckily the final stretch is downhill which was just as well as I was very reliant on gravity at this point. I had a lot of people over taking here and was literally hanging on for dear life.

I came 18th out of 40 something runners which I was pleased with and the time on my watch showed 26.31 for the 5k. This is really close to my personal best which I achieved in the summer. I also didn’t slow down that much however I felt: mile 1 was 8.27, mile 2 was 8.29 and mile 3: 8.42. Not bad splits at all. My heart rate is another story however – it got up to 172 which for me is extremely high. Even the average of 160 is higher than normal (my easy run on Friday had an average of 139!) I was definitely working hard.

I hope this is true!

Yes it hurt but I feel really pleased for doing it. That is the thing with running – once it is over you feel glad you have done it. I could so easily have found an excuse to stop. No pain no gain!

 

And so it begins….

My Aims

I met with a personal trainer last week. He asked me what my aims were. That was a simple question:

To get through the marathon training without getting injured.

Ever since I got my first ballot place in the marathon 3 years ago I decided that I needed professional advice when it came to training for a marathon. My initial fear was the dreaded runners knee. I knew from reading various magazines that running doesn’t use all your muscles on your legs and imbalances can create all sorts of issues. The PT that I had used previously had moved onto other exciting adventures hence the new one. After a bit more chat (actually after the session) I also added that I would like to better my personnal best time for a marathon. I am delighted to say that he has taken up the challenge. Apparently he likes a challenge as much as I do!

Plans

Very quickly (as in the next day) my plans were sent through. I have a strength programme to do once a week  and ….get this……a running plan. (I have never had one of these before.) No longer am I following a generic plan. I now have a bespoke plan written just for me. I am so excited, especially as it looks completely doable (so far!).

I have three weekly runs

– a tempo (which is miles in length rather that metres – gulp!) which is meant to be a relatively fast paced run.

-an interval run which is even faster than a tempo run but is over a shorter distance with short recovery breaks.

-a long run (starting at 7 miles!)

In addition to this I have a day for stretching and a day in the gym. The other 2 days can be rest days or active recovery of swimming or biking.

Considering I currently run on 4 days and try to fit in a gym session as well as biking this seems perfectly doable and a good fit for my busy life. It also gives me a specific day for my stretches which I really need to do more of. My body is not getting any younger and I need to look after it. I will focus on three quality runs a week, do my stretching and see how it goes.

Ahead of myself?

The plan starts from tomorrow. Most plans for the London marathon do not start until January so I am more than happy to start now. I run anyway so working harder than I would have but on fewer days seems to me to be a good way to get going. I am slightly worried about the accountability. Someone will be ‘watching’ my progress of my runs and I will not be able to make my usual excuses as easily. This is no doubt a good thing.

My first run will be Tuesday as I have completed a relatively tough cross-country course today (sand, ugh I hate sand).Tomorrow will be a rest day and then I have a tempo run. Please send me good luck vibes – I shall need them.

 

 

 

Running for charity

This post is a bit late in the day really but throughout the training people have been asking who I am raising money for. When I got the place in the marathon I decided that this time I would just run it for myself as I didn’t want to ask people for money again.

Following a week where I seemed to have rather a lot of enquiries I decided to undertake a quick pole on twitter. It  revealed that maybe I should sign up for a charity so people can give if they wish to. I decided that I would choose to run for Mind again as it wouldn’t cost them anything for a new vest (I already have one) and it is a charity that remains very close to my heart. There is no pressure to raise any money at all but if people feel as if they would like to give then they can.

Not a week doesn’t go by when you don’t hear of someone struggling with their mental health and my heart always goes out to them. My immediate response is that I want to help. Unfortunately I know that I do not have the skills required. Yes, I have suffered in the past but I have no qualifications. The charity does, so the best thing I can do is to raise money for the charity so they can help all these people that need their help.

Should you wish to donate then the link is here.

A bit of a booster

Just a quick post to say that I have just returned from my final long run. 7 miles. I really enjoyed it. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and I kept to my steady marathon pace. It was a great bit of confidence boosting before the next week. I wanted to do more but managed to restrain myself. Bring on next week 🙂

 

The awful Taper

I cannot work out if I am sticking my head in the sand and avoiding running or embracing it full on. The mileage has reduced and the running has got harder. I am supposed to have more time on my hands, except I haven’t. I am buried in the cyber world of the computer, searching like a maniac for……I don’t really know.

To put it concisely….I am out of sorts.

I cannot believe that in a week I will be running the London Marathon.

The running has been happening but it feels hard. My legs feel heavy and it is all a bit of an effort. The idea of running 26.2 miles is unthinkable despite knowing that I have am probably fitter than I have ever been. I also feel like I could sleep forever and I am constantly feeling as if I am going to get a cold.

Oh the joys of the taper! Tomorrow I have my last long run of 6 miles. Then that is it.

Once I had competed the Oakley 20, 3 weeks before the marathon, I knew that physically, there was not a lot more that I could do to prepare my body anymore. Training takes 3 weeks to benefit your body so no last-minute cramming (despite the monstrous urges).

I have instead turned my attention to all spending:)

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I love a bit of post.

One day this week I received my one in a million t-shirt. (This year the 1 millionth person to run London Marathon will cross the finish line and everyone who has run it since the start can get a t-shirt with their finishing number on.) I also received my magnetic race pins that say ” I completed the London Marathon”. I love magnets as they don’t put holes through all my best t-shirts and hold running bibs firmly in place. Of course I had to get some for my running partners too. As you can see the company not only sent them through really quickly but also gave me a lovely hand written note. Now I call that brilliant customer service. (For anyone interested the company is called Pinrace. No I have not been paid.)

When it comes to races, I always have to have my nails painted and London is always a special race. My friend last year did my nails for me and has again volunteered. I recently saw on Facebook some ideas for nails and so went hunting online for transfers:

I found these and look forward to getting them on my nails.

This weekend I have been researching shoes to wear for after the marathon as well as gels and things to take with me to help me get around in the first place.

Anything to keep my mind off what I am doing!

YAY

Sunday was Oakley 20 – a 20 mile event that takes place in an undulating area. I was not looking forward to this at all. I have run it twice in the past and have hated it both times. In addition I told someone from the club that I was running it and he basically said it was a bad idea. Me being me convinced myself that it would be a good idea as a good confidence builder for me should it go well. If it didn’t then……….(lets not go there!)

Bad omens

As I was getting ready to leave I managed to slice my finger on a blade as I was getting something out of a cupboard. Not a good omen.

My Garmin watch strap has broken. Then I left it in the car……so I had to go back for it, I left it in my bag after handing it in…….I had to go back for it. My finger started bleeding everywhere……..no-one had a plaster. Nothing was going my way at all. (Well it wasn’t raining I suppose!)

Demons

I am hoping that I am not the only one who remembers bad parts of runs in minute detail? Once we arrived and parked (on the verge of a road) we made our way down to the start which was quite a walk. All I could think about was how it was all down hill which meant that we would be running up it, twice. It was one of those hills that I had given up on previously.

Saving grace

One thing in my favour was that I was lucky enough to have the lovely company of my brother. He is a lot faster than me normally but he very kindly decided to run with me. This was so awesome of him. He is completely mad (like me?) and so was very entertaining. He also had loads of stories to tell me about running the super challenging marathons that he runs and would like to run. This all passed the time well.

Letting it all slip away

About a mile in 2 St John’s ambulance men passed us on their bikes. I will go and get a plaster for you he said as he sped up to catch them. They were lovely but it did seem to take quite a long time to get a plaster on my finger (about 2 minutes) and all the time I was standing still people were streaming past. I began to think that we would be so far behind everyone else they would all have gone home. Of course they hadn’t in reality.

The good thing about it was that once we started up again we were actually overtaking a lot of people as their pace was that much slower than ours. I also hadn’t realised that there are some people who set off with the idea of walking up all the hills, right from the start and not just when they can no longer face is as I usually do. This made me feel a bit better as I knew I was strong enough to tackle most of the hills.

Waiting for the tumble

It was quite a hot day and there were water stations every 3 miles which we took advantage of. Early on the miles ticked by nicely. I was still quite stressed as I was waiting for everything to come crashing down, specifically I was waiting for particular areas in the race to come up and bite me.

The race consists of one long loop of about 13 miles and then one shorter route. I knew that I could get around the first bit Ok. It is the second loop where I have trouble. As we approached the end of the first route I kept telling myself that it will all be fine. I am strong…..Eventually I passed the first hurdle, and then the next. I am not saying that it was easy but I was still running. I was determined to get further along this year before stopping. I wanted a PB.

As we entered the part of the race where I had never before managed without walking I began to dare to think that I could do it although I was getting a bit tired now. My brother kept singing you can do it, you can do it….(from the film and reminded me to pick my feet up, all of which helped.

7 miles to go was the worst bit as it is still another hour of running to go and I was also beginning to tire. My mind began to play nasty tricks on me. As we got down to 6, then 5 I began to wonder if I was going to make it. I knew that there were some killer hills in the miles 16-18 and kept thinking that if I could get through these I would be OK. My family had come to support me and kept trying to ring me….I had no energy to answer their calls in this race but at mile 19 did manage to pull my phone out. I had not stopped yet…..

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No medals for this race but a hoodie is the reward. A different colour and design every year. This is my favourite yet.

Nor was I going to! I ran the whole way. How I managed it I don’t know but I was so chuffed. My watch said I did it in 3 hours 23 with my official time being 3 hours 25 (that plaster!!). That is a PB of over 20 minutes. Chuffed? You bet. Stiff? Absolutely. 🙂

The gamble had paid off. I am now in a really good place for the London Marathon but for now…..TAPER time.