Attitude, Running, Training

Week 21 Training

This week was a pretty good week for training, everything now is about building my confidence up and feeling strong for the big day – just 20 days to go until the first York Marathon!

When I was doing my long run on Sunday a lady came up behind me and we chatted for a while.  She’s doing the same marathon and has already done 2.  It was nice to spend a little time with her before our ways parted.  Sunday’s long run was early and it seemed like we runners had the whole of York to ourselves.  I exchanged a hello with every other runner, and a few early bird cyclists too.

Here’s how week 21 looked:

  • Monday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (legs), 10 minutes home
  • Tuesday: sprint 75 seconds, jog 3 minutes x 6 – this was tough
  • Wednesday: walked 7 miles on rough terrain at Bolton Abbey
  • Thursday: fartlek 70 minutes
  • Friday: sprint 60 seconds, jog 3 minutes x 6
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: should have been 16 miles, instead did 12.5

Sunday was a lovely run but I lost it a bit on the distance.  This was supposed to be my last, confidence building long run before the marathon so now I’m trying to decide whether to do a long run next weekend instead.  I think getting a steady 15 miles in will really help me, although if it goes wrong I’ll get the proper collywobbles!

I’m still getting the ankle pain I’ve been getting through most of my training, but it only has to last 3 more weeks…come on ankle, then you can rest!

Enjoy your training this week!

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Attitude, Diet, Race Review, Reviews, Running, Weather

Race Review: Great North Run 15.9.13

Sunday 15th September was the Great North Run, the world’s second biggest half marathon.  56,000 people (including Mo Farah!) descend on Newcastle to run through to South Shields.  This year was my seventh Great North.  I ran it for the first time in 2006 and I’ve only missed one since.

The atmosphere is fantastic and even though this year was a bit of a disaster timing wise, it’s still an amazing day.

Getting there

Public transport is the best way for me to approach the GNR – we drove the first year and the traffic was HORRENDOUS.  The 7.10 train from York gets to Newcastle in plenty of time, and is full of people in running gear.  It’s a 10 minute walk from the train station to the start and don’t worry about getting lost, there are always plenty of people to follow.

Facilities

The GNR has to be well organised, it’s too big not to be.  There are lots of loos around the start, expect to queue but not for too long.  Runners put their bags onto numbered buses, and then you go meet your bus at the finish line.  The bag label on your bag and your race number are cross-checked when you collect your gear, so the security is good too.

The start

As with most big races, you’re put in a pen according to your estimated speed.  I was in my pen an hour before the start, but there are big screens with lots of stuff to watch and you can chat to fellow runners so I didn’t get bored.  We watched the elite and wheelchair races go on the big screen, and the Red Arrows did a fly over – brings a tear to my eye every time!

Once the front runners go you’ll be walked forward slowly – it took about half an hour for me to get to the start line but there’s no pushing or shoving.

It’s tradition for the person starting the race to try and high five every runner – I’m very proud to say I touched Christine Ohuruogu!

Top tip: it’s cold stood around, so grab a charity shop fleece to wear while you wait.  These are collected by another charity from the start line where they are all dumped.

The route

GNR isn’t a hilly route, but it’s not flat either.  There are lots of inclines which can creep up on you if you’ve not done any hills in your training (like me!).  There are bands every mile and the locals and supporters are flipping amazing, what other run do you get people handing out biscuits and ice pops on?

Watch out for bus stop Elvis at about 11 miles – he’s a GNR legend.

The last mile of the route is along the sea front at South Shields – it’s tempting to sprint as soon as you see it but it can feel like a very long mile…

The finish

Once you reach the finish, you collect your goodie bag and t-shirt and head off to your baggage bus.  There’s a changing area, and buses or the metro back to Newcastle if you need them.

The goodies

GNR has a great goodie bag – lots of snacks and some energy drink samples, and rather randomly a mini tube of toothpaste.  I do wish they’d include a technical tee rather than a cotton one though, as I don’t really train in cotton

My time

Well this is my tale of woe.  I was running fine until about 7 miles, when I became aware of some…rumblings…from my stomach.  I tried to ignore them, but a loo on the route at 8.5 miles saved my life!  I won’t go into detail but I was in there for some time, feeling so cross with myself.  After that whenever I tried to speed up, I got stomach cramps so the rest of the run was very patchy.

I crossed the line in 2 hours 27 minutes, a far cry from the 2.10 I was hoping for.  It was still a great day out but I was gutted about my time.  I’d had a pizza with lots of chillis 2 days before and that’s all I can think it was – an important lesson for the marathon anyway.  I wouldn’t mind so much if I’d self-sabotaged on a training run, but it’s gutting to do it on a day you only get once a year.

The weather on the route this year was supposed to be horrendous (the first ‘big storm’ of the autumn) but it wasn’t actually too bad – a bit rainy and windy but no worse than a normal September run.  I do wonder if the forecast had got my nerves going a bit too.

So, this week I’ve been focusing on re-building my confidence and getting my diet back on track.  It’s 4 and a half weeks to the marathon now and I don’t want any more disasters.

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Attitude, Diet, Positivity, Running, Training

Week 19 Training

Week 19 included some travel with work so it’s been a bit up and down for training.  I completed most of my planned sessions, finishing with the Great North Run on Sunday which was a disaster…but more of that in my race review in Thursday’s post.

I’ve lost my way a bit with both my training and my diet – I was sticking to a healthy diet and feeling great, but recently I’ve had more cheat meals than not-cheat meals.  These last 5 weeks have got to be focus, focus, focus.

Here’s what week 19 looked like:

  • Monday: rest day after Sunday’s 22 mile monster run
  • Tuesday: 30 minutes on a bike, interval training
  • Wednesday: nothing – I had a killer 5 hour drive and didn’t have time to train
  • Thursday: fartlek 52 minutes
  • Friday: jog 20, 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (shoulders), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: half marathon, 2:27 – not good!

I took the rest of Sunday to sulk after my dismal half marathon time, now I need to process the lessons and move on.  I’m still targeting a sub-5 hour marathon, so the next 5 weeks have to be about mental strength and physical readiness.

Enjoy your training this week!

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Attitude, Positivity, Running, Training

Week 14 Training

I got my head down this week and tried to get things back on track, with some success.  @YorkMarathon tweeted “10 weeks to go!” this weekend – it seems like a long time away and frighteningly close at the same time.

Here’s my training for week 14:

  • Monday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hours weights (legs), 10 minutes home
  • Tuesday: sprint 60 seconds, recover for 3 minutes x 6 at York racecourse
  • Wednesday: swapped a 30 minute jog for a 40 minute spin class
  • Thursday: ran 7.5 miles with some small fartlekking
  • Friday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (chest), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: 15 miles in 2 hours and 37  minutes

Sunday’s long run felt a bit ‘make or break’ after last week’s disastrous long run.  I did 2 laps of a 7.5 mile circuit and felt pretty good.  I ran with my iPod for the first time in years, and I think it took my mind off the distance so I’ll be trying that again in future.

Proper planning also helps for a successful long run.  I’ll blog about how that works for me on Thursday.

Happy running this week!

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Attitude, Positivity, Running, Training

Self Sabotage

Last Sunday I ran 9.5 miles in just under 95 minutes.  For me, that’s amazingly fast and strong.  At the end of the run, I felt okay and was able to run again the day after.

So why, in all of the half marathons I’ve done before, have I never managed to get past 8 miles without stopping and walking?  Physically I’m clearly capable, so maybe it’s time to think about my attitude to running.

I am a classic self-sabotager.  In all of my half marathons, I’ve never once followed a training plan.  I’ve run junk miles with no real structure, and told myself I’m slow, I’m not very good at running, I’ll do my best which is pretty poor.  I set myself up to fail, or to finish within the window that I feel comfortable in.   If I don’t push myself too hard, I can’t disappoint myself.

For the York Marathon, I’m following a training plan.  I’ve changed my diet, and the results are showing – I’m getting better.  But even now, I feel worried to say that.   What if getting better is too prideful?  Will I invite the universe to give me a smackdown and put me back in my place?

I need to learn to have a better mental attitude towards my running.  I need to believe in myself and what I can do, and stop telling myself I’m slow.   One of my friends that I’ve done many 10ks with told me I need to stop checking my Garmin and slowing myself down to what I think it ‘my’ pace – just run, she said.  I’m self-sabotaging by running as I think I should, not as I can.

To get through 26.2 miles, I need mental toughness as well as physical toughness.  That’s one of my goals to work on now.

By the way, the night before that 9.5 mile run?  I stayed at a friends, drank beer, ate curry and got very little sleep.  Classic self-sabotage!

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