Attitude, Kit, Running, Training

The final furlong

York Marathon are being very good about emailing me EVERY day to remind me how many days there are left to go now…like I can forget!

In 3 days time, I should be coming towards the last few miles of my first ever marathon.  This week has been more tapering and little bits of mental nagging.  I mustn’t forget this…I must be careful to…I should do…

I’ve got my number and my pins ready to go, and I’ve got my outfit prepped as well.  Unless snowpocalypse arrives, I’ll be running in shorts, a compression t-shirt and an asthma UK vest sent by my charity of choice.  Ipod, sunglasses, baseball hat, Spibelt, garmin will then be added on top.  I’ll have some timings written on my arm too so if I fall below my 5 hour goal pace I’ll know and can recover.

The biggest thing I need to do now is sleep!  I need to get lots of rest because I’m pretty sure I won’t be sleeping the night before.  I also need to charge all of my gadgets and gizmos – nothing worse than a flat garmin when you set off on a run.

Have you got any pre-marathon rituals?  Is there anything I should remember or do?

Attitude, Positivity, Running, Training

Week 23 Training

I’m still not sure I’ve got my head round the whole ‘tapering’ thing, but week 23 was okay.   I’m struggling with tapering because it feels like a chance to relax, when my brain wants to carry on at fever pitch until the big day.

On Sunday night I thought ‘this time next week it will all be over’.  Looks like I’ll need a new goal after that.

Here’s how week 23 looked:

  • Monday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (legs), 10 minutes home
  • Tuesday: run 25 minutes
  • Wednesday: run 55 minutes
  • Thursday: walk 20 minutes, 10 minutes to yoga, 1 hour 45 minutes yoga, 10 minutes home
  • Friday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (shoulders), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: 10 mile run
  • Sunday: rest

I swapped my rest day to Sunday because I had a lot to do.  The 10 mile run on Saturday went brilliantly and I’m so pleased about that, just what I need to boost my confidence.  I’m having no booze until the marathon is over and I’m eating fairly well, although a few cakes have crept in to my mouth 🙂

This week I’ve got minimal runs to do but I’m keeping my two weights sessions and my one yoga session.  Yoga helps me to stretch out and I’ll train my back on Friday so it won’t affect my running.

I’m very nervous and very excited!  Obsessive checking of long range weather forecasts will start soon…

Attitude, Running, Training


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?

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!

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!

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

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!

Running, Training

Week 18 Training

From the weather reports, it seems like week 18 was the last week of ‘summer’ training – it’s definitely feeling more autumnal now.   Good news, as it means I can run for longer without running out of water and panicking.

Here’s how week 18 looked:

  • Monday: should have been a 70 minute run, instead was a 5 mile walk as I was on a short break at Malham.   We did hike up the 500 steps at the side of the cove so I got a pretty good sweat on!
  • Tuesday: another 5 mile walk
  • Wednesday: fartlek 55
  • Thursday: fartlek 22
  • Friday: jog 10, 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (shoulders), got a lift home as it was monsooning
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: 22.2 miles!

Sunday was interesting.  I’d planned a 3 x 7.5 mile lap circuit, but realised at the last minute that York Races were on.  My lap route included a half circuit of the racecourse, so that was never going to work.

Instead, I ran to Bishopthorpe (4 miles) and then got on the cycle path to Selby.  I kept going until I hit 11.1 miles in the village of Riccall, and then turned round and headed home.

The first 11 miles were great, but on the route home I had some walk breaks.  I ran out of water and found myself at one point eating brambles from the hedge – not really classic long run behaviour!

I did the 22.2 miles in 4 hours 14 minutes, which is an 11.44 minute/mile pace.  If I can maintain that, I will just squeeze in under my 5 hour target.  That’s the longest run I’m going to do, so my focus now is on speed work to make sure I can keep going on the day.

I used my Spibelt to hold 3 gels, once I got it settled comfortably it worked perfectly.

I’m doing the Great North Run next Sunday, it’s weird to be viewing it as a shorter run rather than the longest run I’ll do all year.

Happy training this week!

Running, Training

Going Clubbing

While I’ve been training , I’ve been wondering whether to join a running club.

I trained with a club for the second Great North Run that I took part in, and it had some positives but also some negatives for me.

The first (and biggest) negative was the meeting time – 7.00am every Sunday.  I  made it to most of the sessions, but it didn’t do my social life much good.

The second negative was that even though running in a group was good, I never really found ‘my place’.  There were runners who were much faster than me and runners who were much slower than me, but no one was really plodding along at my pace.   I used to try and run with the faster runners, but usually ended up burning out around 10 miles as the distances got longer.

On the positive side, I did like how definitive it was – I was running at that time on a Sunday, no excuses, no drama, just do it.

I also enjoyed chatting to the other runners, and sharing stories with them about kit, fuel and general running experiences.

I’ve not joined a club for my marathon training because it felt important to me to get out and go it alone.  I’ll be running the marathon alone so I can’t rely on anyone else to pace me or get me through.

My thoughts are turning now to what I’ll do after the marathon, and I might join a running club then.  Knavesmire Harriers are close to me, and their running times are a bit more realistic than first thing every Sunday.

Have you run with a club?  Did you enjoy it?

I found a great Oatmeal cartoon online this week – this rings very true for me:

I’ve ordered my Blerch t-shirt, it will make me smile as I run.

Running, Training, Weather

Week 17 Training

Aaargh it’s getting closer!  Less than 50 days to go now, I’m equally excited and terrified.   The York Marathon will be my first marathon, and I’ve got no idea what to expect from my body.

Sunday’s long run was into a headwind this week which really set me back.  It occurs to me I’ve got to toughen up or I’ll have a rubbish marathon if the weather’s not absolutely perfect.  At the moment I will whinge quite happily about sun, rain and wind but I can’t really on a perfect, still, not too hot not too cool day in October 🙂

Here’s how week 17 looked:

  • Monday: rested after my 19 miler on Sunday
  • Tuesday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (legs), 10 minutes home
  • Wednesday: sprint up a hilly bank, walk back down x 10
  • Thursday: jog 55
  • Friday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (chest) , 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: rest (and waaaay too much gin on a night out in York)
  • Sunday: a rather dehydrated 15 miles

The only major change to the training plan was the extra rest day on Monday.   I’ve added the long runs to the plan myself so I’m happy to fit in some extra rest when I need it, I was exhausted after the 19 miles!  Next weekend is my longest run (21 ish miles) so I’ll definitely need an extra rest day after that, and then the distances start to come down again.

I used my lap technique for the 15 mile run and called home at 7.5 miles to refill my water bottle – this worked much better than worrying about water on the route.

Happy training this week!