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Weeks 4 and 5 Training Report

It’s official, the heatwave is kicking my ass and killing my training.  But it’s lovely and sunny which is nice 🙂

I set off on my runs full of enthusiasm, but within a mile I’m wearing a soaking wet t-shirt and sweating a weird white goo as my sun cream comes off. My legs don’t work and my brain is shouting at them.

What to do? Cross train!  I’ve decided to focus on maintaining my fitness and will have to get some big miles in when the weather cools down a bit.  So, spin classes and cross trainer are the order of the day – I still end up a in a soaking wet t-shirt but at least my sweat looks normal.

We had a long weekend in Llangollen, Wales this weekend and I did manage to do one run.  1 mile of uphill to the fabulous Castell Dinas Bran, at 7am when I was the only person around.  Absolutely magical. 

My stress levels aren’t too high this year as I know I’ve done marathon distance before, but I still need to get some long runs banked before I can feel too confident.

York 10k this weekend, I’m aiming for sub 60 minutes so come on clouds.

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10k, Race Review, Reviews, Uncategorized, Weather

Race Review – Leeds 10k 20th July 2014

The Leeds 10k is an old friend of mine – I’ve done the race on quite a few occasions now and I know the course pretty well.  It’s a fairly flat (and supposedly fast) out and back along Kirkstall Road.

It’s not the most exciting route, but I love watching the people who are ahead of me when I’m running out and those behind me when I’m running back.  It gives me something to focus on and takes my mind off the road.

Last year my time at Leeds was 57.31.  Could I break the magic 60 minutes again this year?  I hoped so, but the weather had other ideas.

We are in a HEATWAVE in the UK at the moment. I’m not complaining, but it’s killing my running 😦

Sunday morning was foggy, but the sort of fog that says “very soon it’s going to be toasty here”.  Sure enough, I was sweating on the start line before we’d even gone anywhere. I tucked my t-shirt up into my sports bra (apologies, those of you who had to watch my belly running) and off we went.

Up to 5k…not bad.  Post 5k…are these my legs??  I just couldn’t make my feet work!  I switched to 3 minutes running, 1 minute walking and then to 1 minute running, 1 minute walking.  The last mile was rubbish and I just wanted it all to be over.  It’s always nerve racking seeing other people collapsed by the roadside, particularly the man wearing the same running outfit as the husband.  Best wishes to you all, I hope you’re all okay.

Scores on the doors? 1.05.37.  Not good, but not terrible either.  York 10k is in 2 weeks so I have chance to redeem myself.

Even the husband was 6 minutes slower than last year – and he’s not impressed.

Route – 8/10

Goody bag – 8/10 – loved the Kitkat Chunky

Congratulations to our friend Richard who was completing an Ironman while we were complaining about the 10k.  Nice work!

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Week 3 Training Report – York Marathon 2014

I felt like I started to hit my groove a little bit this week. The long run side still needs some work but I’m starting to get back into a routine with training and getting used to the idea of regular runs.

This year the husband is also training for the York Marathon. We don’t run together as he’s a lot faster than me, but it’s nice we’re going on the same journey. He keeps coming back from training and saying “you know those runs where you just feel amazing!?” …erm no… “you know when you’re just running and you feel like you can go forever!?” …also no! Some of us are born to run, and some of us have to work hard at it.

Here’s how week 3 looked:

  • Monday – personal training session doing weights
  • Tuesday – run 4 miles
  • Wednesday – sprints – 200m sprint with 2 minute recovery x 5
  • Thursday – yoga session – learning that I’m as stiff as a board
  • Friday – rest
  • Saturday – rest
  • Sunday – training plan says 8 miles, I managed 6. In my defense, it was super hot and I crumbled on the route

Overall not too bad and week 4 is going okay so far. If I can get a good long run under my belt I’ll start to feel almost confident.

Leeds 10k is on July 20th so I’ll file my race report soon. Last year I did 57.31 so there’s my time to beat.

Enjoy your training this week!

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Attitude, Positivity, Training

Week 1 and 2 Training Report – York Marathon 2014

If you read my blog last year you’ll know I followed a six month marathon training plan because I was nervous. It was great because it made me feel like I had forever to prepare.

This year now I’m a super duper experienced marathoner with one under my belt I’ve chosen a four month training plan.  Less time to fall off the rails, but the marathon does feel like it’s coming towards me very quickly!

Here’s how the training has gone so far:

Week 1:

  • Monday – should have run 4 miles, but there was a road closure on my planned route so did 2.5 miles
  • Tuesday – rest – I can these 🙂
  • Wednesday – should have run 4 miles, did a 45 minute spin class and some weights
  • Thursday – rest – getting good at this now
  • Friday – cross train – did some weights
  • Saturday – rest – oh yes
  • Sunday – run 6 miles.  I did it!

Week 2:

  • Monday – rest – my technique is amazing
  • Tuesday – should have been hill training, but I read the wrong week on my plan and did sprints.  Oh well
  • Wednesday – rest
  • Thursday Friday Saturday – go on a training course to London and don’t do anything
  • Sunday – should  have been 7 miles but I managed 4.5

Reading back, it’s not an awesome start 😦   If anything is holding me back I think it’s my attitude (and also my sore knees, ankles etc.)  I need to get back into a routine with this and get serious.  I’m a stone heavier than I was this time last year so upping my training and improving my diet should help me lose weight and therefore run faster.  In theory.

 

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Training

Time to run

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.

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Running, Training

Oh hai!

In 2013 I ran the first York marathon.  It was my first marathon too.  After the marathon, I made some ambitious promises.  Of course I’d keep running regularly.  Of course I’d keep blogging, why wouldn’t I?

So, 7 months since my last post, here we are.  I haven’t been running regularly and I certainly haven’t been blogging.  In 2014 I’ve done Leeds and Sheffield Half Marathon in average times (for me) and some training runs, but nothing I’d describe as structured training.

But then (but then…..) dun dun duunnn…there was a little note in my diary on June 22nd that said ‘start marathon training’.

Yep, not only did I enter York again, it’s in just 4 months time.

So, running resumes and regular blogging resumes – every Wednesday, I promise.

This year I’m following the Women’s Running Improver Marathon Plan.  It’s 4 months compared to the 6 month plan I followed last year and comes recommended by a runner I respect who blogs here.  The plan will give me plenty of time to cross train (I’ve kept up the weights and am doing regular spin classes) and I hope to avoid the overuse pains I developed towards the end of my training last year.

I was thwarted on my first training run by the railway tunnel closure on Hob Moor (thanks, running gods!) but things can only improve from here.

See you on the streets.

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Diet, Marathon tips, Training

Marathon Training Diet

My approach to marathon training wasn’t just about running.  I approached it holistically and tried to make changes in all areas of my life, from how much sleep I was getting to what I was eating.

I worked out a diet plan with help from my personal trainer.  It required some quite significant changes but the results were amazing.

My previous diet was usually based around:

  • Breakfast – porridge or granola
  • Lunch – white bread and cheese sandwich
  • Evening meal – pasta, or beans on toast, or casserole
  • Snacks – cakes, yoghurts, chocolate bars, some fruit, lots of tea and coffee

I thought this diet was okay – maybe a bit too much sugar but nothing too hideous.

My new diet looked like this:

  • Breakfast – porridge or wholemeal bagels and honey, banana
  • Lunch – couscous and mackerel, chicken salad wraps
  • Evening meal – wholemeal pasta or chicken, rice and vegetables
  • Snacks – fruit, yoghurt, one cup of coffee a day and then fruit tea

The initial change was stupendous.  I had a couple of woozy days as my caffeine and sugar intake reduced, but after that I found I had much more stable energy to use for longer as I wasn’t peaking and troughing.  I also slept much better.  I was eating a lot so I didn’t feel like I was being cheated or starved, and I still ate out one night a week with wine if I wanted it.

My weight went up when I was marathon training but I wasn’t too worried about it – since the marathon finished 2kg has just fallen off.  In the week after the marathon I ate horrendously, but I’m getting back to a happy medium now.  Basing all meals around a mix of protein, carbs and veggies is a simple way to get what you need – and get to the right weight for you.   It’s surprising how much fuel you need when you’re training, and I think the number one top tip is don’t be hungry!

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Diet, Marathon tips, Training

Marathon Training Tips

It’s been a long journey to my first marathon.  I trained for 6 months, following the Virgin London Marathon intermediate plan but adding much longer runs than they suggested each Sunday.

These are my top 5 training tips:

1) Use a plan and stick to it

At the start of each week, I wrote what I needed to do in my diary so there was no chance of me forgetting what I needed to do each day.  If there were some runs that didn’t quite fit (for example a long run on a day I knew I’d only be running to the gym and back) I swapped them around so that I still did all the days, not necessarily in right order.

The confidence of going into a marathon knowing you have trained as much as you possibly can is invaluable

2) Cross train

As well as running, I did spin classes, weight training, yoga and even some rock climbing.  6 days of running every week left me with ankle pain, so I turned some runs into spins to give my body chance to recover.  Cross training helps you to be strong all over – running is about your core and upper body strength as well as your legs.

3) Set a goal, and be realistic

For my first marathon, I said I’d be happy with any time under 5 hours.  I could translate this into a mile pace and relate that to my training.  As long as I was achieving that pace in my long runs, I knew I’d be okay.  If I’d set an unachievable goal I would have hated my training and started the marathon ready to fail.

4) Do high miles if you want to

Most marathon training plans only take you to about 18 miles.  Because I was so scared, I did a 22.2 mile run as my longest training run, about a month before.   I needed to do it build my confidence, so it was right for me.

5) Approach your training holistically

I didn’t just run for my marathon training.  I changed my whole diet, slept more and boozed less.  The 2 weeks before the marathon, I ate cleanly and had no booze at all.  Changing my diet has led to long term benefits, both the husband and I are sleeping better and have more energy.

Training for a marathon can give you good habits that carry on into your future life.  My training plan gave me focus and strength during a very tough year, and I loved the training as much (if not more) than the  marathon itself.

What are your top training tips?

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Race Review, Reviews

Race Review: York Marathon 20.10.13

20th October was the big day and the one I’ve been building up to for 6 long months of training.  It’s been particularly tough with all the building work we’re getting done and having no kitchen for 4 weeks, but I think my training has kept me sane in a way.

Here’s how my day with 6500 other runners went.

Getting there

Oh I do approve of local races!  The husband had been able to book a parking space for us a David Lloyd’s gym (thanks David Lloyd’s!) which was only a stones throw away from the start line.  I was able to get up at 6.45, have a porridge breakfast and still get there with plenty of time to spare.

Facilities

The start line seemed very quiet compared to some of the other runs I’ve done, but the baggage area looked well organised.  There were lots (and I mean lots) of portaloos for pre-race wees which I’m always happy about.

We were put into pens about an hour before the start and did a mass warm-up, the start then got away on time.  I was at the back in Zone 5 so I had that odd disconnected moment when you know the race has started but you personally won’t be going anywhere for a while.

The route

For a marathon, the route is very nice and mainly flat apart from one steepish hill.  The first 10k takes you into the centre of York and then you’re out into the countryside and through the villages.  The spectators were great and so were the marshalls, really buoyant and cheerful which helps.

There were 2 sections on the route where runners doubled back on themselves. I don’t mind these normally because it’s good to reassure yourself that there are people still behind you. The first one was quite short so not too bad, but the second one went on forever and I could have done without it.  There was no timing chip at the bottom either, so I wonder how many runners were tempted to just cross the path?

The marathon featured Runner’s World pacers who wore flags on their backs for the finish time they were pacing – what a great idea and what great people.  I stuck with the 4.45 guy for about 10 miles before I had a wobble and lost him.

The finish

The finish line was downhill, hoorah!  The announcer read people’s names out as they finished, and then runners were herded off to collect their goody bags.  My only criticism of the finish is it’s a real maze in the York Uni buildings – had the husband not found me I might not have found him.

The goodies

The goodie bag was very good – a medal and a t-shirt with FINISHER in massive letters on the front.  Also some food, including a packet of cheese and onion Seabrooks which were amazing for salt replacement.

My time

My goal for the marathon was anything under 5 hours, and I got 4.57.55 which I’m delighted with.  Maybe I could have done a bit faster, but I finished well and uninjured and happy.

See how happy I am 🙂

The finish line

The finish line

I’ll post some thoughts on marathon training in general next week and then decide what to do with my blog – maybe I’ll keep it going for my next run as it’s really helped me focus with my training.

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Running, Training

Week 24 training

Last week was my final taper week leading up to the marathon on Sunday.  I’ll put a review of the race up on Thursday, but I finished in 4.57.54 – just inside my 5 hour target!

Here’s how my final week of training looked:

  • Monday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (legs), 10 minutes home
  • Tuesday: rest
  • Wednesday: run 55 minutes
  • Thursday: 20 minutes walking and 1 hour 15 yoga
  • Friday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (upper body), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: the Yorkshire Marathon!

The only note I’d add about my training was with hindsight I would have taken it a bit easier on Thursday and Friday.  I had some upper body muscle soreness on Sunday, I don’t think it affected my running much but it wasn’t a great way to start!

This week I shall mostly be taking it easy and eating some bad food, before I reassess my goals and decide what to train for next 🙂

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