On being too enthusiastic

Last week’s thought process any something like this:-
Hooray my niggle seems to have finally cleared up.
Fab I’m enjoying my running again.
Yay I’ve found a plan in a magazine to crack 2 hours in a half marathon.
Whoop I’ve run three times in three days.

Damn, my shin is sore.

On a lighter note, Tuesday’s run was in awful weather, incredibly windy with rain lashing down. A mile in, with hail battering my face I actually stopped in the middle of a field and considered turning around and going straight back home. It was only the thought that the second half would be more sheltered than the first that kept me going.

I was right -it was more sheltered, and as I stopped to grab my breath I took a quick selfie to see how wet I was. Not my most attractive photo ever, I think you’ll have to agree.


Update -I made it home safely and discovered the rain was so heavy it had even made it through my best ever running jacket. Boo!

Emergency Half Marathon Training Plan #2

After the upset and stress of the past week,  even my Emergency Training Plan went out of the window in a flurry of hospital trips and plaster casts.  Emergency Training Plan #2 needed to be brought out of the small dark place at the back of the wardrobe where I keep such things (behind the old running shoes and race t-shirts worn for going to the allotment).

This plan kicks off with a ridiculously long run 9 days before the race,  followed by some gentle recovery runs and a speed session if the long run hasn’t already killed my legs. A couple of days rest and I’ll be good to go.  (‘Go where?’ is a question I haven’t asked myself yet,  as I’m worried the answer might be ‘to the knackers yard’). Friday was the start of this plan, as it was the day I’d got the boy and his cast into school uniform and back to school. Breakfast at 7.30 was a rushed affair as it was interrupted by the boy needing a clean dressing on his knee,  and wanting a packed lunch making,  and needing help doing up his shirt buttons and putting on his socks.  We finally got out of the house and I delivered him and his sister to school.  I then returned home and tried to get myself in the right frame of mind for a long run, when I haven’t done a long run for weeks.

I suddenly remembered the Beet Shot concentrated beetroot juice I had to try before the race next week, so I grabbed it and slugged it down.  It didn’t taste as bad as I thought it would,  but next time I might try it chilled as ‘cupboard warm’ was a little strange.

I was finally ready to step out of the front door when my tummy gurgled.  I looked at my watch and saw it was 11.30 – breakfast had long since gone down but if I stopped for a snack now I’d never get out.  Exasperated with myself for taking so long to get ready,  I dashed back into the kitchen to see what I could grab to eat.  5 Veggie Percy Pigs seemed like a good compromise between a quick energy boost and something I could eat on the go, so that’s what I grabbed.

I set off on a route that I hoped would be at least 10 miles and hopefully more like 11 in order to really get my body ready to run half marathon distance in 9 days time. The sky was dark and it was threatening to rain as I set off,  so it felt great not to have to fuss about suncream or sunglasses. Of course, a couple of miles down the road the sun came out. This is a strange talent I seem to have, not so useful when out running though!

The Percy Pigs seemed to do the trick, and most of my run was okay.  I felt tired,  bits of me were aching by the end,  but with a Gel after mile 6 and some unusual tunes on my ipod I ran 12 miles. Yay!

So just a couple more runs next week and I’ll be ready for a half marathon next Sunday.  I’ll let you know then how well Emergency Training Plan #2 prepares your body for a race …

Things I spotted on this new route

What an inviting footpath …
All roads lead to Thingley
Miles of Fibre Optic Cable

If a huge drum of Fibre Optic Cable isn’t exciting to you, then you obviously don’t live in a village with snail’s pace broadband but with the hint of Fibre Optic Broadband coming this month *does a little happy dance*.

    Things I learnt from this run

1. 5 Veggie Percy Pigs are a good source of energy
2. Concentrated Beetroot Juice tastes better than expected, but sadly doesn’t give you ‘Barbie-Wee’ despite the warning on the bottle.
3. Dolly Parton singing ‘Jolene’ is surprisingly good to run to.
4. Dolly Parton singing ‘I will always love you’ isn’t.

Curse those long Summer Holidays

So September is here,  the children are back to school (hooray on behalf of all the parents!), and it’s Half Marathon season (again).  Oh hang on, it’s actually only 12 days until the Chippenham Half. After a lovely summer spent mainly waiting for children (with a couple of glorious weeks swimming and relaxing thrown in) my training schedule has been abandoned.  Time for an emergency training plan which looks like 9 days torturing my legs until they remember how to run,  3 days taper followed by race day. What could possibly go wrong?  (Sigh)

On a more positive note,  it was a beautiful morning as I set off on a 3 mile recovery plod.  I ignored my legs telling me they were tired after the unexpected 7 miles we did yesterday,  and enjoyed the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. I eyed up good patches of blackberries to go back and pilfer when they’re riper,  and enjoyed the ethereal draping of mst in the valleys.  Only this weather can make spiders’ webs photogenic!


Happy New Year 2013!

Finally made it out for a run in 2013! Well, squeezed in a quick 3 miles on January 2nd but that didn’t feel like I was back ‘in the routine’, more of a desperate “I haven’t run any miles in week 5 of my training plan!!!!” run.

So with the children still on holidays, I dragged them on their bikes as official photographer and out riders.

Looking remarkedly spritely for January
Still pretty bleak, but the outrider made it less lonely.
Hopefully I can now pull this training back on track, as scarily this is now week 6 of an 18 week schedule. Gulp! Hope everyone else’s training is more consistent than mine? Anyone like to reassure me??!

Schedule Juggling

Its so important to have a schedule for marathon training, and to stick to it.

So having found a good schedule, I promptly started at week 2 (to make the dates work).

Then I swapped weeks 3 & 4 around to try and make it easier to fit some running in next week (Christmas!). 

Then I swapped my days around this week because the children finish school Friday lunchtime and I didn’t want to try and fit my long run in before rushing to collect them.

So sitting here on Monday morning, I’ve just got back from my Friday 9 mile run.

As I say, its SO important to stick to your schedule.

Misty fields
Muddy stuff, that mist

Sometimes it goes wrong, but sometimes it goes well!

Last week’s runs went wrong. I have a very simple schedule but still managed to mess it up.

My LSR on Monday wasn’t long or slow enough. Wednesday’s intervals with 6 repeats somehow became 7. Saturday I set off for a quick 30 minute tempo run in the half hour before it got dark. Got back, saw I didn’t have a tempo run on my schedule for that week. Doh!

This week – a fresh start! I will read my schedule properly before I set out. I will believe my Garmin when it says its time to go home. I will stick to the paces I’m supposed to be running at.

Full of resolve I set out this morning for a MP run. My schedule says “Up to 1 hour. 10:44 pace”. Actually ran just over an hour, but average moving pace was ….. 10:45.

I’m not going to beat myself up over an extra 6 minutes run, nor my pace being off by 1 second a mile. I’m claiming this as a Successful Run To Schedule!

However, still no success in trying to photograph myself running.

I have a cunning plan….

So this week I was mentally prepared for another 4 day week. 1 tempo, 2 easy and then 1 long run. This is following the cunning plan (or training schedule, as some people call it) drawn up for me by a lovely chap I chat to online on a runners’ forum.

What a great group of people runners are – I’ve never met this guy but he took the time to work out a 2 week plan, with pacing suggestions and everything. All in the name of helping me improve my half marathon time.

Well AH (as I know him) I have been following the schedule, and we’ll see if it works come September!

What a beautiful place to run. Week 3 Complete!

Well if you have to run a Long Slow Run every week you might as well run it somewhere beautiful, I say!After a frosty start to the week, I am pleased to report I managed all of this week’s scheduled runs, including today’s Long Slow (their words, not mine) Run. Schedule said 1 hour 30 minutes of running, actually ran for 1 hour 54 minutes (but I took the Slow bit to heart!). Covered 9.24 miles, including running through Corsham Court. Camera on my phone is not brilliant, but hopefully you can see what a beautiful place it is. There is a lake you can just see in the distance, with a huge flock of scary Canadian Geese which I gave a very wide berth to. Plenty of mud and hills to slog through, which will all be good practice for next week’s scary race, the Slaughterford 9. More on that next week!Good news is that despite this being the furthest run I think I’ve done since the Chippenham Half back in September, everything felt fine if a little tired. My shins behaved themselves, a combination of a soft surface (positively squelchy in places!) and running with a short stride. Feels like trotting rather than running, but my legs seem to like it which is the main thing.

So this week’s runs went as follows:-
Monday – 3 miles Speedy. I talked about this in my last blog, so won’t again!
Tuesday – 4.9 Miles. Even COLDER this morning! Was supposed to be 50 minutes Steady run, but ended up being 57 minutes as when I got to the big bridge over the by-pass I couldn’t resist running up & over it and then back again just to see the pattern it would make on Garmin Connect
Thursday 2.66 Miles (30 minutes) Hilly – I thought I’d run about a mile to a steep hill, then down & up a few time, then back home. Turned out to be a bit further downhill to the steep bit, and the steep bit was steeper than I’d remembered, so just ran to the bottom and then turned and ran back. Hard work, but hopefully all good practice for the Slaughterford 9 hills next Sunday!
Friday 9.24M Slooooooooow, but beautiful.

Roll on Friday night now, and Week 4’s training next week!

2012 – Here I come! On your marks ….

Much as I love having a training schedule, I don’t think I’ve ever anticipated actually starting one as much as this one! I have studied so many different schedules over the last month, most being rejected for not enough running / too scary times and distances / too much walking. Finally settled on the Plan 2 “Getting Better” (!) schedule published in the official VLM magazine. This involves running 4 times a week, which is what I’ve been trying to do since September last year. I figure even if I miss a run, then 3 is still fine for a week.

First run was Monday 2nd January. “30 mins Easy” – not a bad start – even I could manage that! However, thanks to the time off over Christmas even this had me puffing and panting. Tried to run realllllyyyyyyyy sloooooooowly so my heart rate would stay low. I say tried, but there’s only so much walking you can do in a 3 mile loop.

Couldn’t run on Tuesday as the children were still at home, so then had to pack in 3 runs in 3 days. This is not recommended, and by Friday (“60 mins Long Run”) I was shattered. probably didn’t help that I actually ran “60 mins Hilly” as I’ve entered the Slaughterford 9 on 29th January, and reckon hill training might just come in handy!

But anyway – Week 1 DONE! And Ticked off. Roll on week 2!

So how did I get here?

I’m sat at my desk, with slightly achy legs, happy to have ticked off this morning’s run in my schedule. Schedule? Yes, my marathon training schedule for Virgin London Marathon on 22nd April 2012.

Those who know me will appreciate I’m a mid-40s mother of 2 who has never been sporty. Any sporting ambitions I might have harboured were shattered when I couldn’t undo the skipping rope in the Obstacle Race at school sports day, aged 10. Having led the race, I fumbled with the knot as every other child happily skipped past me. I finished in last place, tears tripping me, trailing my still knotted rope behind me. Hardly ‘Chariots of Fire’!

Fast forward to 2009, on returning from visiting dear friends in Canada I felt so fit I had to try and keep that level of fitness up. Pulled on old trainers and jeans (great running gear, designed to not look like I was running!) and set off. Much puffing and panting and walking breaks and made it back home – inspired!

Chippenham Half Marathon 2010

Over the following months my children kindly entered me into the school 10k race which was in a few months time. Serious training followed, including buying ‘proper’ trainers and even seeing me encased in lycra for possibly the first time ever. I was delighted to run the 10k race and as my son said at the time “you did really well Mum – even if you did come last”.

Since then, I’ve run further, entered more races (and have never been last in a race again – so far!). 2011 saw me run 2 half marathons in 2 weeks raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support, and also in a fit of foolishness enter the ballot for a place to run the London Marathon in 2012. After all, it takes years to win a place in London, doesn’t it? Ah – apparently not. I was gob smacked to learn I’d won place on my first time of entering.

The story continues….