Attitude, Running, Training

Tapering

Well, this whole tapering thing is a bit weird isn’t it?  I feel like I’ve stopped training before the event, I’m even one day late with this blog post!

My training schedule for this week and next is very cut down, with fairly short runs.  I’m throwing in some yoga and spin sessions as well to make sure my feet and ankles are rested before the big day.

I’m trying to stay on track with my eating and keep the training mentality going but it’s just…odd.  I feel like I’ve lost my goal and my direction, my focus.  It’s a taste of what’s to come after the marathon too I suppose.

I hope my body is taking advantage of this rest period and will be ready to go, strong, fit and healthy on the big day.

9 days to go!  Have you done a taper before?  How did it make you feel?

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Diet, Running, Training

Week 22 Training

My last proper week of training before the taper begins!  I feel like I’ve been preparing for this  marathon for five minutes and for ever at the same time.

This week I was a bit uninspired as I mentioned in my last post, but a break and some cross training have actually done me a lot of good.  The pain in my ankles is much better for having taken a rest period – funny that eh?

Here’s how week 22 looked:

  • Monday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (legs), 10 minutes home
  • Tuesday: run for 1 hour
  • Wednesday: have nightmare day with the builders, sulk, do nothing – rest day?
  • Thursday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to yoga, 1 hour 45 yoga, 10 minutes home
  • Friday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (chest), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: rest day – shovelled a skip full of soil until my back hated me
  • Sunday: 16 miles

Overall not a bad week!  The 16 miler on Sunday went well, I had a few little walk breaks but apart from that it was pretty consistent.  Yoga was phenomenally hard but did a good job of stretching out my battered hamstrings.

My focus now is on eating perfectly for 2 weeks and doing little bits of training to keep me going until the big day.  No booze either, and I’ll be keeping my mitts off the builders biscuits.

Happy training this week!

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Attitude, Positivity, Running

Uninspired

This week I’ve been completely uninspired – uninspired about running, blogging…doing pretty much anything.  With 2 and a half weeks to go before the marathon, it’s probably not the best state to be in.

I’ve blogged before about  my tendency to self-sabotage, whether it’s going out drinking the night before a long run or eating a massive chilli pizza 2 days before, I don’t seem to be able to help myself.

It occurs to me looking at my life now that I’ve embarked on my biggest self-sabotage exercise yet.  At the same time as training for my first marathon, the husband and I have embarked on a huge extension build that has turned our home into a filthy, undesirable place to be.   Dust and dirt is exacerbating my asthma, and we’ve had no kitchen for 2 weeks so I’m trying to cook healthy meals in a microwave and will be doing so until after the marathon.  What was I thinking!?

I do wonder if the front of my brain (I can do a marathon!) is in complete conflict with the back half of my brain (no I can’t, and I’ll make sure of it too!).

So, where do I go from here?  I’ve taken a little break to nourish myself.  I had a rest day yesterday and I’m going to do yoga today with only a very short run.  Saturday will also be a rest day before I do one last longer run (about 15 miles) on Sunday.

After that, I’ll follow my taper plan for the last 2 weeks and eat completely cleanly.  No booze, no pinching biscuits from the builders…my front and back brain are going to have to get used to the idea.  I CAN DO THIS.

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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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Running, Training

Run o’clock

I’m lucky enough to work from home which means I can run when it’s right for me, rather than squeezing runs in around a 9-5 schedule.

The best time for me to run is mid-afternoon.  In the mornings I’m quite productive at work, but from 2.30pm onwards I find myself zoning out, staring at my screen or playing on the internet, and it’s easy to lose a couple of hours.

If I strap my trainers on around 3pm, I can have a good run and then come back to work for a few hours with my brain re-charged.

Running in the morning works okay for me, but evenings aren’t so good.  If I leave it too late then I don’t have enough energy late afternoon, then it’s dinnertime, then I’ve sat down…it’s too easy to make excuses in the evening.

I was a running club member for a while, with a club that did 7.30am runs on a Sunday.  I did it, but I always needed a nap when I got home afterwards!

It’s important to find your optimal running time.  You can get the best out of your training, and be prepared if you’re entered into a race that isn’t at your best time of day.

The York Marathon starts at 9.30 so I won’t quite be home for lunch, but I should be home before tea time.  I’ll have to throw in some morning runs to test my breakfast strategy and make sure it’s not too much of shock.

Breakfast strategy…and other idiot phrases you never thought you’d say before you started marathon training.  Reminded me of this most excellent video, which never fails to make me giggle:  Sh*t Triathletes Say

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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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