Running, Training

Week 11 Training

I knew it had to come…week 11 was the first week where I wasn’t able to properly complete my training plan.   Work took me to London last week, and I had long days, most of them with dinner at the end of them so it was tough to find the time to get my training done.

I stayed at the Thistle City Barbican which has a great gym, but sadly no air con for anything except deluxe rooms.  I had to  power through the week on very little sleep and lots of bad buffet food!

I did as much as I could and finished off the week with a half marathon length training run.  I got a personal best time of 2.10.03 which I tremendously proud of, hopefully the Great North Run will be a breeze this year (hopefully!).

The final route for the Yorkshire Marathon has also been announced – I need to get out and drive it now and look for any sneaky hills.  Coming up to the half way point of the training, I can’t believe how fast it’s going.

Week 11:

  • Monday: jog 30 – I did this on a cross trainer as I’m not brilliant on treadmills
  • Tuesday: sprint 60 seconds, recover 3 minutes, sprint 30, recover 3, sprint 60, recover 3 x 5 – done on an exercise bike
  • Wednesday: jog 20 – treadmill
  • Thursday: fail!  I didn’t have time to do the sprints I was meant to do
  • Friday: rest day (should have been Saturday)
  • Saturday: jog 10 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (chest), cave in and get lift home from the husband
  • Sunday: 13.1 long slow distance run

I did the long slow distance run with the husband.  It’s great to have him there keeping me going, but 9.55 minute miles isn’t really slow for me, it’s quite fast 🙂  It will be interesting to see how I get on when the mileage rises and the husband drops off, he wasn’t intending to train past 6 miles!

Hope you meet all your goals this week.

Positivity, Running, Training, Weather

Week 10 Training

Heatwave!!! Summer arrived with a vengeance in the UK this week – time to pack up the thermals and bring out the suncream.

Here’s how week 10 looked:

  • Monday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (legs), 10 minutes home
  • Tuesday: should have been fartlek 75, ended up run 60
  • Wednesday: jog 10, run 10, jog 15
  • Thursday: sprint 75, recover 3 minutes, sprint 60, recover 3 minutes, sprint 30, recover 3 minutes
  • Friday: jog 20 – 1o minutes to the gym, 1 hours weights (shoulders), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: rest up and a visit to York Races
  • Sunday: Leeds 10k

Tuesday was the first day in 10 weeks that I’ve not completed what I should have done – I went to a friend’s house to run with her as she has more hills than I do, but the heat was punishing and I called time after 60 minutes.  I’m proud of the 60 minutes I did though!

Saturday at York Races was great, I spend so much time running round the access road there it’s nice to see what it looks like when it’s being put to proper use.

Leeds 10k on Sunday was another hot one, but I PB’d and will write the review this week.  Happy training!

Diet, Kit, Reviews, Running, Training

Kit Review: Sis Go Isotonic Gel

Running can be an expensive sport once you start looking at all the kit and accessories available.  There is a whole industry built around offering more and more sophisticated options to runners, all with a price tag attached.

When I set off for a run with my Brooks trainers, Garmin watch, Nike capris etc…I’m probably wearing the most expensive outfit I own (just to sweat in it!).

One area I’m very sceptical about is runner’s nutrition.  I’ve seen people at 5k runs taking energy gels, clutching sports drinks, they are probably taking on more calories than the burn in the 30 or so minutes they’ll be running.

My rule of thumb is that I don’t need anything extra if I’m doing up to 70 minutes of exercise.  Beyond 70 minutes, I might need more fuel.  For up to 70 minutes, a piece of flapjack before I head out and a bottle of water are fine 🙂

When I’ve done half marathons in the past, I’ve faded at the 7/8 mile mark.  For the marathon, I’m working on strategy of taking on some fuel every hour, and I’m incorporating that into my long runs now so I don’t get any tummy related surprises on the big day.

I’ve been using SiS Go Gels.  The marketing blurb says “concentrated carbohydrate energy in a convenient fast-flow gel, Science in Sport (SiS) Go Gel is the world’s first and only isotonic energy gel with unique patent-pending formulation.

Each handy palm-sized Go Gel sachet contains 25g of isotonic carbohydrate energy, which is enough energy for 20 to 30 minutes of exercise, and because it’s isotonic, it will still deliver energy without the need for extra water.”

SiS Go Gel

SiS Go Gel

I say “they don’t taste too yucky, seem to hit the spot and don’t give me any digestive grief”.  Tropical is my favourite flavour, the blackcurrant isn’t too bad either.

There’s another version of the gel that contains a hit of caffeine as well, but I’m trying to avoid caffeine as part of my training regime, so I’ll be giving that one a miss – if you’ve tried it, let me know what you think in the comments.

The sales websites suggest 3 gels per 60 minutes of exercise.  I’ll go for 1 per hour in the marathon with one for an emergency, so I’ll be carrying 5 in total.  My next challenge is to find a way to transport them.  I don’t really like running with belts or backpacks but I’m going to have to try a few options, another kit review will follow when I find something I’m happy with.

How do you fuel your long runs?  Gels, jelly babies, just water?

Running, Training

Week 9 Training

Here’s the log for week 9:

  • Monday: jog 20 – 1o minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (legs), 10 minutes home
  • Tuesday: swapped a session of sprints and recovery for a 40 minute spin class
  • Wednesday: jog 45 – but see my notes below
  • Thursday: run 75
  • Friday: jog 20 – 1o minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (shoulders), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: supposed to be a rest day, but had an impromptu weight session instead
  • Sunday: 11 mile run

So I made some changes to the plan this week, not all of them intentional!  Wednesday was meant to be a 45 minute jog.  I set off in an absolutely foul mood after being utterly let down at work by an incompetent supplier, so it was more of a run than a jog.  I then paused my Garmin while I waited at traffic lights, and forgot to turn it back on.  Garmin time – 29 minutes.  Husband recorded time when I got home – 55 minutes.  Maybe rage is the best accelerant.

Saturday was my rest day, but the husband’s gym had a special promotion.  If Andy Murray won the Wimbledon semi-final, he could take a guest for free.   So Saturday morning we got up early and did some weights and core stability.  David Lloyd’s is a very nice gym, but I prefer Energise (and it’s half the price too).

Sunday was a fab steady 11 miles, the husband paced me again and we averaged 10.01 minutes miles so I’m well pleased with that.  It was super hot and I managed to get chafing where my arm rubbed against my vest – another area to smother with Vaseline next time.  My only ‘aargh’ moment was when I realised that 11 miles isn’t even half way!  More distance required 🙂

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!

Running, Training

Week 7 Training

My schedule changed around a bit this week so the runs I was meant to do didn’t happen when they were supposed to.  I mixed things up a bit and hopefully got the miles in that I needed to.

Week 7:

  • Monday: cross training – 40 minute spin class (interval program)
  • Tuesday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to gym, 1 hour weight training (legs), 10 minutes home
  • Wednesday: 60 minutes fartlek at York Racecourse
  • Thursday: jog 10, run 30, jog 20 minutes, cross training – rock climbing
  • Friday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to gym, 1 hour weight training (upper body), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: rest day, but did some hard work in the garden
  • Sunday: 75 minutes fartlek

Thursday was the most challenging run for me this week with the combination of jogging and running.  I only really have one speed, so I had to push myself to get a little bit extra in the ‘run’ section and I was glad when the 30 minutes were over!  The difference didn’t look huge when I downloaded the data from my Garmin, but it was noticeable and that’s good enough for me.

My average speed is 10.03 minute miles on the longer runs, up from 11 minute miles when I started training.  I need to start thinking about my time goal for the marathon now.

Sunday I ran 7.54 miles in 75 minutes.  That’s just over a quarter marathon distance.  From now on the Sunday mileage starts to build, starting with 9 miles this Sunday.

Running, Training

Week 6 Training

Another good steady week this week – I feel like it’s giving me chance to build my confidence for the longer runs that will start soon.

Week 6:

  • Monday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (legs), 10 minutes home
  • Tuesday: sprint for 75 seconds, jog for 3 minutes – for a distance of 2 miles
  • Wednesday: swapped a 45 minute jog for a 40 minute interval spin session
  • Thursday: 35 minutes run
  • Friday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (chest), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: Castle Howard 10k race

Apart from the spin class, my main alteration to the Virgin London Marathon training plan was to make Saturday a rest day.  The VLM plan had a 15 minute jog/10 minute walk session on Saturday with Monday as a rest day after the 10k race on Sunday.

I was feeling pretty tired though and ready for a rest so I took Saturday as a rest day as normal and will train on the Monday instead.

Castle Howard 10k race review post coming soon…

Running, Training

Week 5 Training

Week 5 was a great week (who knew it could happen!?).  The weather has finally turned, I didn’t have any aches and pains and I enjoyed my runs.  I enjoyed a massive pizza on my cheat food day as well, but that’s what cheat days are for.

Week 5:

  • Monday: 30 minutes run
  • Tuesday: sprint 60 seconds, recover 3 minutes, sprint 45 seconds, recover 3 minutes, sprint 30 seconds, recover 3 minutes x6
  • Wednesday: 45 minutes run
  • Thursday: sprint 70 seconds, recover 3 minutes, sprint 45 seconds, recover 2 minutes, sprint 30 seconds, recover 3 minutes x 3
  • Friday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, weights (upper body), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: 60 minutes run

My only deviation from the plan this week was Tuesday.  Instead of doing the sprints as runs I did them on a bike in a gym, as I was away for business.  The Winnersh Holiday Inn has a very nice gym, I can recommend it!  I don’t know if it’s because I’m heavy footed, but I find running on treadmills gives me shin pain so I stick to bikes if I can.

On Wednesday it took me four hours to drive home and then I had to leap straight out for my 45 minutes run.  The first ten minutes felt like I’d borrowed someone else’s legs, but if I’d sat down when I got home I doubt I would have got up again.

The training plan is doing a great job keeping me focused, and in a few weeks the mileage will start to build.

Running, Training


I’ve been running for about 5 years now and one thing I’ve had to accept is that I’m sloooooooow.  I run 11-12 minute miles (10 on a really good day), and my half marathon PB is about 2 hours 20 minutes.   There are people who run marathons faster than that!

Even when I’ve trained hard, I don’t get much faster so I just have to accept – I’m slow!  It’s my pace, and it works for me.

The only time I struggle with my pace is when I’m out running and I hear footsteps behind me.  They get faster…and faster…and another runner zooms effortlessly past me, bouncing off into the distance as I eat their dust.

Lucky them!  I envy the effortless runners.  I just have to take it in my stride and keep plodding on.  The only person I’m really racing is me.  Although I did overtake someone once…and I admit I got a buzz out of it.

Running, Training, Uncategorized

White Rose Runners

If you saw Look North news last night, there was a little feature on some women from York doing their first marathon this October.  Veteran  Look North presenter Harry Gration will be running as well – I see him training around York sometimes.

You can follow the White Rose ladies at their website here:

I might pinch some of their run routes in the future to help me mix things up in my training and make sure I don’t just keep running the same routes.

I was really happy to see there will be other first timers at the marathon.  It’s going to be fast and flat, so there were rumours the run would be full of seasoned marathoners looking for a new personal best.  Hopefully there will be some people running at my speed as well.

Good luck to the White Rose runners!