Tag Archives: training

Uh Oh!

Up until now training has been going really well. I am noticing a huge difference in my twice weekly gym work and am really enjoying it (which for me is huge – I tend to get really bored, really easily.)

Today I went on a solo 10 mile trail run in the rain:

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I passed 2 people within the first mile and then no-one for the next 9! Perfect me time. When I got home I was freezing. I had a shower but couldn’t get warm. Luckily a lovely meal in a pub soon did the trick.

You may have noticed that I started this post saying that training has been going well. Notice the ‘up until now’ phrase? I shouldn’t have run today. When I got up the ball area of my foot hurt when I walked on it. This is not that unusual for me so I didn’t think much of it. (I have expanding ligaments in my feet.) When I started running it was a bit sore and I contemplated turning back but I had 2 days off running, it didn’t hurt yesterday and I could think of no reason why it would hurt, also the pain wasn’t too bad. 10 miles later and I am hobbling.  Uh oh. I should have rested. I will now be resting this week and finding cross training to do in its place. Guttted.

On the other hand I have found a ‘new’ challenge for yoga:

It is a 31 day course with Adriene and you can sign up here. I did the first one yesterday. The thirty minutes went so quickly. It was fairly gentle (apart from some of the stomach ones) but it is meant to be restorative. I have signed up and will keep you posted.

PS: I have managed to do yoga everyday for a over a week!

 

The day before

I ma writing this blog post mainly so I remember how I am feeling…… slightly on edge, stressed, excited, nervous, worried……all of those things and more. I cannot really relax and am wondering what an earth I have done….I know that tomorrow it will all be OK but today??? Not so.

I have done lots of distraction type activities that can also come under getting prepared e.g. painting nails:

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(A huge thank you to my wonderful friend nnotsogranny).

I have also painted my toenails in preparation for the day after where open toed shoes will no doubt be the only option! My tag is on my shoe, my label on my bag and some essentials packed. Then I have been on social media and made a little film 🙂

Devices are all being charged fully to ensure that nothing fails on me during the big day. I am, of course also eating and drinking well (chocolate and biscuits count right?) to ensure I have the energy for it all.

I really want this day to be over but to go on forever all at the same time. One thing that I have noticed is that I feel different to how I felt before the other long runs. I am not worried that I cannot do it because I know that I can. I am just dazed by the whole thing. It seems to be everywhere, on the radio, TV, everyone I meet wishes me luck.

The local support from family and friends is amazing. Yesterday I had a big donation to my fundraising page which brought me to tears. The worst thing is, that I don’t know who it is from so I cannot even tell them how much it has meant to me. I am humbled by everyone’s generosity and kindness.

This time tomorrow it will all be over, I cannot decide if I will be excited, relieved or sad.

 

 

Stronger and stronger.

It may be Sunday but there was still an early start for me this morning, it was still dark when I first surfaced. Most runners would be up this early to go for their long slow run but I was going to the gym.

At the moment the gym is what is keeping me going as I can see some real improvements in my strength, mainly my upper body but that is mainly because this had the furthest to go.

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Forgive the poor photo but I am using this weight to perform dead lifts. This is the heaviest dumb bell in the gym. Chuffed – I should say so!

This week I also managed 3 sets of 8 full press ups with a weight on my back and more pull ups than ever before. I may not have been too impressed when I arrived but when I left I was on top of the world!

Oh and if you are wondering, yes I did go for a gentle 40 minute run this afternoon. I just couldn’t help myself!

In case you are wondering my gym session was along the lines off:

  • 3 sets of 5 single legged squats off the side of a bench paired with 5 pull ups.
  • 3 sets of 5 dead lifts paired with 5 bar lifts (above the head weight lifting style)
  • 3 sets of 5 arabesques (with 10kg weight) paired with 12 reps of seated rows and 8 weighted push ups.
  •  2 sets of 8 seated twists using a weighted ball with 6 ‘get ups’ using a weight with a slow release back down.

 

TAPER Time!

A week today and I will have finished the London Marathon (fingers crossed). It will leave a big empty hole in my life. 16 + weeks of build up, the culmination and then ……The running will obviously continue (as long as no injury occurs) but hopefully there will be a bit more time left for crafting. In reality however I suspect work will quickly fill any gap left.

The journey so far has been amazing. I have ‘met’ and conversed with a lot of amazing people on social media. I am already a completely different person (better obviously ;)). I have also learnt an awful lot more about running than I would have ever believed possible. I suspect I will learn an awful lot more about me next week!

As for this week: TAPER Time.

 

 

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To be precise I have really been on taper for the last couple of weeks. This means that my running mileage reduces right down having been ridiculously high (nearly 40 miles Easter week). The longest runs were 12 and 10 miles during the last couple of weeks.  It is a bit of shock to think that 12 miles is now considered to be a short run! For this last week I have only a couple of gentle runs to do. Nothing long. Nothing fast. The idea behind this is to allow your body to recover and replenish all the stores of glycogen so that you get to the start line in tip-top condition (well as best as is humanly possible!)

All the training is done. Nothing more can be done on the running side (eeek!). I can however rest and eat well. This week I shall be going to bed early (for me that will probably mean 8 O’clock!), trying to drink more than normal (water obviously) and eat well. Towards the end of the week I will be increasing my carbs.

I have prepared well:

Chocolate and carrot cake!

Chocolate and carrot cake!

The only problem is trying to stop everyone else eating these before I can get to them!

The down side to this tapering is the side effects:

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We are used to running. Not being able to run is hard on the mind. You are aware of any minute aches and pains, convincing yourself that you have an injury or illness that will completely scupper your marathon plans. Add nerves to this and well….lets just say it will probably not be very pleasant for my poor family.

At least it is short-lived! In case you are wondering I have booked a few races for after the marathon just to give me something to aim for.

 

Thanks for reading. Sorry for babbling on about running, AGAIN!

Downs and ups.

I have been hiding, again. Stupid I know but there are times when hiding is the only way I can cope. Fortunately I have come out the other side and am now able to explain all. …..

 

 

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2 weeks ago was the Cambridge half marathon. It is fair to say that this is my least favourite race for many reasons:

1. The first year I ran it I fell over and cut my knees.

2. The next year it snowed and I had an asthma attack.

3. The following year I had not recovered sufficiently from a chest infection and hated every step.

I have finished every year but for a race that is in my local city and a beautiful scenic one at that  it is far from top of my list. This year would be different though, wouldn’t it?

NO!

On the Wednesday before I got a sore throat! I increased my intake of vitamin c, had early nights and tried to be sensible. By Saturday my asthma was beginning to play up but I convinced myself it was only asthma therefore the below the neck rule was not applicable. (The general rule when running is that if you have symptoms above the neck you are OK to run. Below then not.) I woke up Saturday to a lovely sunny morning. Deep down I knew that I probably shouldn’t be running but I needed to get the miles in.

The first half was fine. I kept to 10 minute miles and was happy to plod along. The atmosphere was good, the weather was good and I was going to take it easy. All was great until about half way. I took my inhaler, once, twice and a few more times. I eventually had to walk a bit, and then a bit more. By now I was not feeling so great. The crowds were lovely and encouraging, as were the marshalls but there was no escaping that I was feeling rough.

As I looped back through the city centre for the second time I began to look forward to the next fuel stop – water and gels. Unfortunately there were no more gels….OK I can live without those but the killer was the water. They had run out of water and so were offering runners discarded bottles with the lids taken off. Ummm thanks but no thanks!

By this time I knew that even if I walked I would get round and so I kept plodding on. A puff of the blue inhaler every other step or so!

I did complete it, in 2 hours and 20 mins which is OK but my slowest ever time. The worst bit was that I felt no elation at the end at all. I literally had nothing left. I felt no elation, no achievement or even relief.

The medal however, never fails to impress.

The medal however, never fails to impress.

I got home and slept. The next couple of days were horrible. My asthma was bad and my mood rock bottom. I honestly thought that all dreams of the marathon were over. I saw a doctor who, much to my relief did say that it was only asthma and not an infection and there was nothing else I could do. I plodded on. Disrupted sleep, lots of coughing and generally feeling low.

A week later I went back to the doctor, a different one this time. He was very sympathetic and gave me some steroids. He also said that I could run although it would not be very pleasant for me. I would do no harm. Thank goodness for that. (Deep down I think that I had blamed myself for being stupid and running when I shouldn’t have.)

The difference the steroids have made is amazing. I can breathe! As I can breathe I have energy. I can smile, laugh and am actually living rather than existing. On day 2 of the steroids I went to running club. I felt so much better than I had dared hope! The next day I managed to run 16 miles in 3 blocks. (It was the only way I could fit it in.) 6 miles at 6am, 7 miles in the pm after work and before pick up and then 3 after pick up. The boost to my confidence that this gave me was immense.

It seems that my marathon journey is still on! I have come out of hiding. I can now participate in Facebook and twitter discussions about running without wanting to curl up and cry. There is still plenty of time for injury and illness to strike again but for now, my dream is alive.

Thank you for reading my moans. xxx

Stop Running and Stop Panicking!

This post is for all those of you out there suffering from running related injuries. I know that there are a lot of you. I also understand how you are feeling but this post will hopefully make you feel a lot better and slightly more optimistic about any events coming up.

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On Christmas eve I agreed to doing a run that I shouldn’t have done. As you all know, the run up to Christmas is a busy time so runs had become the barest minimum. With a 10k race coming up on New Years eve I was keen to try to build my confidence.

On Sunday I ran a 10k

6..21 mi

Distance

8:57 min/mi

Avg Pace

55:35

Time

I was more than happy with that. My downfall really came when I agreed to run a paced run on Christmas eve with a friend.
6.21 mi
Distance
8:57 min/mi
Avg Pace

55:35
Time

I had pain from the beginning but I pushed through…….BIG mistake. From that day on it hurt when I walked. The next few days were horrid as I came to terms with what I had stupidly done. I knew that rest was a good idea. I tried anti inflammatories. I googled it (never to be advised). Finally I consulted a physio. I wanted answers now and I wanted to do it properly as I have a marathon to train for! If you haven’t read the diagnosis then you can here.

It was three weeks before I put on my trainers again. I did do swimming, rowing and biking as I need to get those endorphins from somewhere but nothing is quite like running. 😦

On the 14th January I took the executive decision that I could run/walk a couple of miles. I was very careful as I had not had the official go ahead from the physio so definitely did more walking than running but all felt good.

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The next day I got the all clear to go ahead and walk/run 🙂 This is what I did:

3.08 mi
Distance
9:53 min/mi
Avg Pace

30:28
Time

All still felt fine. I then did some more run/walks until finally on the 21st January I finally ran 3 miles, 5 weeks after my final run.
3.00 mi
Distance
9:10 min/mi
Avg Pace

27:31
Time

Look at the pace – not too shabby at all. I have now run 40 miles since then, gradually increasing the miles each week. (With a week off running due to a cold I might add!)

Last week I ran 8 miles in one go which is the furthest that I have run this year BUT and the best bit is that I did it in an average pace of 9.50 which I don’t think is too bad at all. The last time that I ran 8 miles pre injury was December the 8th and the average pace was 9.38.

So my purpose in writing this is that despite having had a total of 4 weeks out of 7 off running, my overall pace has not dropped anywhere as near as much as I expected. If anything I feel stronger than before. My body has had a bit of a rest, the pressure has been taken off me and I am enjoying running more than ever. Everytime I go out I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to go for a run.

lucky running

Original picture from here.

So if you have an injury my advice would be to cross train and to give it the rest it needs to repair itself. Your body will not go back to being a beginner runner overnight. All those miles and training really do count. So stop panicking and give your body the time it needs. Your body will definitely thank you for it.

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As for me I am continuing to add-on the miles as I build up for the London Marathon which I am running for Mind. To read my story click here. To donate click here.

My up and down running week

I am pleased to report that my new trainers have been getting a few outings. My ankle / Achilles has, so far been OK. I managed to complete 4 runs last week YAY. The pace was one that I am more than happy with considering the 3 weeks or so enforced rest I had.

And then…..this week I have managed to get a cold 😦 I am so worried about getting another chest infection ( as last year) that I am being very cautious. Early bed-times, limiting the amount of work completed (I have the type of job where the work is never, ever completed), taking in plenty of fruit and veg as well as doing a bit of socializing etc. Unfortunately life does continue; children need ferrying, work continues and the house needs to be ‘kept under-control’. Add into the mix a husband with ‘man flu’ and a child poorly an easy week is not that easy. Fingers crossed that I have done enough.

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On the plus side:

A visit to the physio resulted in me being allowed more running miles (when I get well) and 2 weeks before my next visit. It was also slightly less painful than the previous week.

 

 

 

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I was able to share my love for running with children. There is a cross-country event coming up soon and I volunteered to take them out for a ‘trial’ run. It was great. We did a little warm up, a few laps – with some top tips obviously, and a cool down. It was lovely to see them achieve more than they believed they could. One more outing before the event next week. I feel myself volunteering to run a club before long!

MINDful training

Thank you to all who have commented on my last post. It is definitely great to be back. Look at me 2 posts in one week!

At the weekend I did something that I am slightly embarrassed to admit. I went to London….on….my….own. I know that it sounds mad but it is true. I got dropped off at the station. Got on a train and sat down to crochet with everything…..quiet. Yep, no chattering children but a VERY noisy old train. Oh well everything couldn’t be perfect could it?

My reason for going was for a get together for everyone running the London or Brighton Marathon for MIND.  Amazing!

This was where we met… the London Marathon Shop.                                         Source

This is the entrance. The TV’s showed the race. I had no idea that there was such a place. Right by Liverpool street should you be wondering. The best bit was that MIND runners get 20% off all the goodies in the shop. How tempting is that?

Inside there are a lot of lovely things. Some really nice tops and lots of shoes…….

This was one of my favourite bits….examples of the medals for each of the races.             Source

Downstairs was amazing. There is a ‘locker room’ with showers. The doors were amazing as they were really well hidden.

When they were shut that is!                      Source

All this showers bit was very important because we were going on a training run before lunch and talks. Don’t want to be all smelly for the rest of the day! The run was a 10k which was great because I knew that I could do it. The worst bit was the worry that I may just get lost. There was someone at the front and someone at the back but I was unlikely to be at either of these points so needed to ensure that I kept a close eye on those in front. This was harder than it might appear because London is full of people. (I know, shocking concept!)

This is a picture of the route.

This is a picture of the route.

Reading the blogs of people lucky enough to run in London regularly (Lottie of London) this was a really big thing for me as I read their posts and wish. We went past the London Eye, Big Ben and the houses of Westminster as well as some lesser known parts.

One thing that I had not appreciated before Saturday was the problem that people cause. I run on my own more often than not, in quiet streets. The only time people are a real problem is when I run in organised events. Even then the people are generally moving in the same direction but in London there is no order whatsoever. I now have a great deal of respect of people running in cities. Dodging takes on a whole new meaning! I am also convinced that I ran a bit further than the 10.2 they said I did.

On an entirely different note, my Garmin took some adjusting to working in London and being surrounded by tall buildings so it didn’t record the full 10K as it took a while to find a reliable signal (at one point the pace was 03.00 minute miles!!) I do think that I did run quite fast – probably all that dodging about!

As far as my husband was concerned I actually came away without spending any money despite being very tempted!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running ups and downs

I have continued to run with varying amounts of pleasure…..I have learnt that running in the heat does not agree with me (and when I say heat I mean the 25 – 29ish degrees that we get in this country). I can’t do that. I have learnt that when I relax and enjoy the run it goes far better than when I get stressed and pressured about it! Non of this is surprising, or even that new. Instead it is something that I have to relearn every year or so. Are there things like this that you go through?

This weekend was really interesting, probably the most interesting for a long time 😉sat runI suspect that most of you will be yelling YES! especially if you are not a runner. I have to admit to being a bit odd but this week it was the best thing that I could have done. I had one of the best runs that I have recently. I ran 4 miles and for each of those 4 miles I got faster and faster ending with the fastest mile of them all. I came home feeling really good.Full of energy and really happy.

Stupidly I got up the next morning thinking that it would be a similar experience if I were to go running again. So off I went – for a nice 7-8 mile run. Hummm.

It….was……the…..most…….disastrous……..run……for long, long time.

Everything that could go wrong did. I started out really well (probably too fast). It had been raining but in my unrealistic state didn’t acknowledge that this would mean wet grass when I went off on a footpath.

Said footpath was a lot narrower than I remembered and more overgrown. The grass was long and my feet were soon soaked. I then turned off the footpath too soon, climbed over a gate only to run a mile before realising that I would end up in a farmers yard who may be cross with me for trespassing. I turned around.

On reaching the actual place where I meant to turn off I saw a van, back doors open with music blaring. This made me nervous and worried about loose dogs. I turned around to come back the way I came.

I arrived back home late for a family lunch date with scratches to my arms and marks all over my legs. On top of all that my time was SLOW. Disheartened is another way to put it.

Hey ho it will not put me off…I am just hoping that my next run is slightly less eventful 😉

 

The gruesome side of running.

 

WARNING – This post may cause distress if you are slightly screamish.

I know that I go on and on about the benefits of running and the achievements I manage but there is a darker side to it. Not everyone will experience this, and it is the first time I have (and hopefully the last!). On Saturday I suddenly realised that my toe nail was coming off. I have to say it turned my stomach to start with. My husband assumed that I meant a false nail (not that I have ever had false nails so where he got that from I don’t know).

When I stopped to think about it I am not surprised – it has had a ridge on it for ages. It never went black. I am pretty sure it was the long distances that did it – possibly the marathon last year or the 20 miler I did this year? Not sure which but most definitely a long race. The positive is that I do have a nail growing underneath, and it didn’t hurt. It was still quite unpleasant though.

I now have painted nails on 9 toes! Why oh why could it not have waited until the winter when my toes are nicely hidden away?

For those of you with a gruesome nature here is a picture:

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Running long d