Running, Training

The Yorkshire Marathon…it’s getting close!

Not next Sunday, or the Sunday after, but the Sunday after that I’ll be stood…waiting…nervous…on the start line of the Yorkshire Marathon.

It looks like the husband won’t be able to join me this year due to an injured calf.  The therapist did suggest he could rest and then make the marathon his first run for 3 weeks, but that’s not comfortable position for a first-time (or any time) marathoner to be in.

Last week I was in Italy having a lovely time, eating cheese and sausage and drinking prosecco while not even thinking about running.  When I got back on Sunday I did 15.5 miles, that’s 8 laps of the service road on York racecourse!

If I’d trained better this year I’d be thinking about tapering now but I’ve still not broken the magic 20 mile mark that will be so important for the my confidence on the day.  It doesn’t help that this year has coincided with a very busy time for me at work so even this weekend I have no time for a long run.

The plan is:

  • Long run Monday (break 20 miles!)
  • Then start to taper.

I’ll keep doing between 9 and13 mile runs between now and the big day after that, pray for cool weather on the day and wish myself luck.  Honestly, I’ll be glad when it’s over 🙂

Happy running this week!

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Marathon tips, Running, Training

Getting there – 16 miles done!

The one thing I need to give me marathon confidence is distance.  The one thing I’ve really failed at this year? Yep you guessed it.

This weekend I knew time was running out and I had to get some big miles done.  Slightly hampered by two things – one, a wedding the day before, and two, a big chunk of my normal running route shut because of a SkyRide.  Thanks Sky!

Rather than try and work out a new long crazy route I went for a boring mental challenge instead.  I ran to the race course (2ish miles) then did 6 laps of the service road (also 2ish miles per lap) before running home.  It was pretty dull but at least I knew where I was going and I saw lots of nice dogs.   I chose an audio book rather than music and it worked quite nicely.

When I got home, I had 16.25 miles in the bag.  Hooray! I took one bottle of water and one caffeine gel and there were some walk breaks, but I’m expecting to have some walk breaks on the marathon so I’m not too stressed about that.  As long as they’re managed and structured rather than an elaborate collapse I’m happy.

I find thirst and carrying enough water a massive problem on long runs – to the point where I’m looking at other people with drinks and wondering if they’d mind if I asked them for just a little sip? The husband suggested next week I drive to the race course and load up the car with water and snacks so I can keep replenishing when I run out.  Sounds like a plan to me!

Marathon training…plus picnic breaks 🙂

I’m off to Italy for a few days now so no training AGAIN, but next weekend I plan to do 20+ miles.  That’s a lot of racecourse laps!

Happy running this week.

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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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