Saturday, 23 December 2017

Training Log | Take me to the mountains: Week 8 Ultra-Training

11th December - 17th December

Monday 11th December
Finish work at 11:30pm in town. So walked the 5km home. I'm not breaking my streak!
Walking: 5.2km | Time: 53:01 | Av Pace: 10:09/km | Elev Gain: 15m

Tuesday 12th December
Manage to run to and from meetings in town today to sneak in 5km with some hill repeats. Strava goes mental so I've no idea on the ascent my hill reps actually is but don't care. I've found 5km where I should have just been sitting on a bus and in meetings.
Running: 5.3km | Time: 31:41 | Av Pace: 5:57/km | Elev Gain: 76m

Cycle (commuting): 14km | Time: 50:31

Wednesday 13th December
Run to work. Tired this week. But clocking up that mileage. 
Running: 7.7km | Time 43:37 | Av Pace: 5:36/km | Elev Gain: 27m

Thursday 14th December
It's Thursday - it's Beigel run! We're dressed as elves this week because, well obviously, it's nearly Christmas! Great gentle miles. When you're with company it's amazing how 10km just vanishes without thinking about it. Also really good practice in slowing down which is so vital for the ultramarathon training. 
Tonight we take the train to the Lake District for 4 days in the mountains. I can't wait. 
Running: 9.3km | Time: 57:48 | Av Pace: 6:11/km | Elev Gain: 51m
Cycle (commuting): 29.7km | Time 1:34:26

Friday 15th December
LAKE DISTRICT! Woohoo! We're staying at YHA Ambleside so plot a route from the YHA all the way up to a beautiful ridge of Wainwright mountains. The snow is insane from 400m+ and in places is knee deep making it hard going. Incredible strength training. Beautiful day. 
Hiking: 19.9km | Time: 6:36:55 | Elev Gain: 903m

Saturday 16th December
We manage to persuade some of our friends to do Fell Foot parkrun in Newby Bridge. Very frosty underfoot so really tough going especially on tight legs after all of yesterday's ascent. 
In the afternoon we take our friends out on a hike up to another Wainwright. Gorgeous views from the summit and a lovely crisp day. 
Running: 5km | Time: 24:50 | Av Pace: 5:00/km | Elev Gain: 35m
Hiking: 7.5km | Time: 3:08:25 | Elev Gain: 349m

Sunday 17th December
Started the morning with a quick, very muddy, fell run up the hill behind our house. 
Fading light in the evening made it tough going when at 2pm we suddenly had the time to go out for a hike. Great speed on the ascent and decent and an hour walking in the dark got us another Wainwright bagged. 
Running: 3.1km | Time: 19:23 | Av Pace: 6:28/km | Elev Gain: 70m
Hiking: 11.1km | Time: 2:35:37 | Elev Gain: 383m

Week Eight Totals
Running: 75.7km | 9:53:00 | 1,870m
Cycling: 44km | 2:34:00 | 207m
Swimming: 0m

Thoughts: I feel like myself again mentally after some time away in the Lakes. Looking forward to another big day tomorrow of ascent in particular. Pretty scared about how much ascent will be in the Transgrancanaria 64km race after the mileage on Friday's hike didn't even constitute a third of the total height! Must work on those hills.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Training Log | Finding my groove: Week 7 Ultra-Training

4th December - 10th December

Monday 4th December
For Advent Running I am commuting to running at least 5km every day. Armed with my running rucksack I commit to running home from the first Christmas party of the season. While I nail the outfit, I’m not so clever when it comes to the non-alcoholic options and, turns out, trying to run 5km home with a stomach full of OJ and coke and sherbet is not so fun.
Running: 5.1km | Time: 29:22 | Av Pace: 5:43/km | Elev Gain: 43m

Tuesday 5th December
Still feeling slightly sorry for myself after last nights grim run but meeting Libby at the top Primrose Hill to run her commute puts a smile on my face. Gentle pace, easy distance and the joy of finally getting myself back in the pool the other end after 6 weeks off. 
Feeling on top of the world I then make it out at lunchtime to the gym to practice some S&C.
Running: 13km | Time: 1:15:24 | Av Pace: 5:47/km | Elev Gain: 76m
Swimming: 750m | Time 29:39 | Set: 50m BS WU, 650m FC MS, 50m BS CD
S&C: 23mins
Cycle (commuting): 15.8km | Time: 56:18 

Wednesday 6th December
Early morning breakfast and tired legs lead to an early and tight run. Hamstring has flared up in my left leg which makes my planned hill repeats see, daft so I stay low and keep it easy.
Running: 5.0km | Time 32:25 | Av Pace: 6:23/km | Elev Gain: 19m

Thursday 7th December
Thursday is obviously beigel run and in the run up to Christmas we are dressing up differently each week. This week was Christmas tree decorations so dressed as a candy cane I hit the streets. Hamstring still tight so grateful for the gentle pace. 
Running: 10.6km | Time: 1:09:08 | Av Pace: 6:28/km | Elev Gain: 60m

Friday 8th December
Adidas Runners on a Friday morning is my favourite way of doing intervals. Chilled progression run this morning trying to take it easy ahead of long run tomorrow followed by some time in the gym working on some S&C.
Running: 9.3km | Time: 54:43 | Av Pace: 5:51/km | Elev Gain: 30m
S&C: 30mins
Cycle (commuting): 9.8km | Time 40:13 

Saturday 9th December
The biggest training run of my life: running the full distance of the Circle Line including running Wormwood Scrubs. 46km in total. Gulp. Run with my brilliant friends Heidi, Libby and the Speedster and taking in regular coffee breaks and photo ave the best time. Looks like the training is paying off!
Running: 46.3km | Time: 4:12:55 | Av Pace: 5:27/km | Elev Gain: 441m

Sunday 10th December
Delighted to report my legs aren’t shredded when I wake up. Easy recovery 5k in the slushy snow from a friends house to Christmas carols and mulled wine. Perfect end to the week.
Running: 5.1km | Time: 31:33 | Av Pace: 6:08/km | Elev Gain: 20m

Week Seven Totals
Running: 96.7km | 9:50:00 | 468m
Cycling: 29.4km | 1:51:00 | 138m
Swimming: 750m
S&C sessions: 2

Thoughts: I am so proud of myself for this week. Great mileage, good listening to my body to keep easy days easy and work through twinges and found some time in the pool and to do S&C. Delighted with the progress I’ve made in order to feel the way I did on my long run building in breaks and eating real food. Onwards!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Training Log | When work & training collide: Week 6 Ultra-Training

27th November – 3rd December 

Monday 27th November
Walk to work first thing (30 mins). Diary a total blur. Evening board meeting. Home by midnight and successfully managed no exercise. Exhausting rest day.

Tuesday 28th November
Tiredness from the night before leads to a tube commute. This has the advantage by lunch time I’m keen for some time outside and runch club with work is back on. Warm up jog to Highbury Fields then freedom parkrun time trial at a great pace. Cool down jog back. Another evening working but pleased to have had some time outside.
Running: 7.3km | Time: 38:46 | Av Pace: 5:17/km | Elev Gain: 60m

Wednesday 29th November
Double Day! Early morning hills before bills by commuting to work. Surprisingly pacey which is pleasing when I check my watch at the end. Leave work bang on time to run to Camden Town Brewery and smash out Run Like Hells. My first time taking on Highgate Hill and I love it. Post-hills, post-pizza run home and I’ve snuck in my long run for the week without any stress on my body. Boom.
Running (commute): 7.6km | Time: 40:02 | Av Pace: 5:15/km | Elev Gain: 80m
Running (Run Like Hells): 10.6km | Time: 59:19 | Av Pace: 5:35/km | Elev Gain: 120m
Running (commute): 4.3km | Time: 24:55 | Av Pace: 5:42/km | Elev Gain: 51m
Total mileage for Wednesday: 22.5km

Thursday 30th November
It’s Thursday - it’s Beigel day! Legs are tight as I run to the tube and I’m literally running late so meet the gang on route. As it’s nearly Christmas I’m wearing one of my best Christmas jumpers for the occasion. As ever, London is beautiful at 7am on a Thursday morning. 
Running: 9.6km | Time: 54:24 | Av Pace: 5:38/km | Elev Gain: 185m
Beigel bagels eaten: 1

Friday 1st December
It’s 1st December- time for Advent Running! Last year I did advent running from afar - committing to running 3km every day. This year I’ll be joining in with lots of the activities in London. The challenge is to be healthy in the run up to Christmas by doing just 30 minutes exercise a day. This year, I’ll be committing to 5km running a day. 
Start Friday morning with Adidas Runners recovery week practicing drills to help increase cadence (the number of steps you take while running). In the evening the worlds most casual run round Primrose Hill for the launch of Advent Running this year in another Christmas jumper and Christmas leggings. It’s so important to have fun otherwise my training falls apart. 
Running: 5.3km | Time: 32:49 | Av Pace: 6:10/km | Elev Gain: 93m
Cycle (commuting): 10km | Time: 45:27
Running: 3.9km | Time: 25:55 | Av Pace: 6:29/km | Elev Gain: 53m

Saturday 2nd December
Up super early to catch the train back to Cambridge. My wonderful friend Michaela is celebrating her 250th parkrun (also my speedy friend Chris!) and I want to be there to eat brownies in her honour. Run from the station to warm up and the tight legs, early start and wrong shoes mean the 24:55 parkrun feels hard. Still pleased to have got it done. 
Running: 7.0km | Time: 37:39 | Av Pace: 5:22/km | Elev Gain: 15m
Cycle (commuting): 4.7km | Time: 19:20

Sunday 3rd December
Very reluctant about leaving bed this morning. The Speedster got me out and let me crash his run. Gentle pace. Crash in the middle where my mind just gave up. Sometimes running isn’t easy! 
Running: 7.4km | Time: 41:00 | Av Pace: 5:32/km | Elev Gain: 32m

Week Six Totals
Running: 67.7km | 6:23:00 | 742m
Cycling: 14.9km | 1:04:00 | 142m
Swimming: 0m

Thoughts: Good solid cut back week. Great to have got the same ascent as last week even though I ran a third less. Work has got in the way of the cross training and S&C again. Need to plan better especially as next week is even busier at work.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Training Log | Cracking through the miles: Week 5 Ultra-Training

20th November – 26th November

Monday 20th November
Bit of cycling and a really deep sports massage. Rest day.
Cycle commuting: 13.5km | Time: 47:37

Tuesday 21st November
Meeting Libby at the top of Primrose Hill again to run her in to work. Gosh she's speedy! Post-Beigels ran half way back home before stretching on the bus the remaining section of the journey home.
Running: 15.6km | Time: 1:33:13 | Av Pace: 5:57/km | Elev Gain: 148m | Beigel bagels eaten: 1
Cycle commuting: 6.8km | Time: 23:23

Wednesday 22nd November
Double Day! Early morning hills before bills with the Speedster. Easy commute to work. Nice way to get in the mileage. Finished work at 9:15pm and ran commuted home so that the evening wasn't only about work. 
Running: 7.4km | Time: 41:10 | Av Pace: 5:33/km | Elev Gain: 76m
Running: 7.2km | Time: 40:02 | Av Pace: 5:31/km | Elev Gain: 73m

Thursday 23rd November
Beigel beigel beigel. Rain. And wind. And bagels. 
Running: 10.2km | Time: 59:33 | Av Pace: 5:50/km | Elev Gain: 175m
Cycle commuting: 6.9km | Time: 23:42

Friday 24th November
The advantage of Adidas Runners having moved to Old Street is I basically have to cycle to get there. Alarm clock was not so successful so mad dash across town to get there in time for intervals. Hill felt AMAZING. Pushed really hard and thrilled to see the hard work paying off. Zoom zoom zoom.
Running (Hills): 8.9km | Time: 46:42 | Av Pace: 5:12/km | Elev Gain: 139m
Cycle commuting: 28.3km | Time: 1:39:19

Saturday 25th November
LONG RUN DAY! Ran to parkrun, parkrunned, little pause while I helped fix some messy results and then ran off to Waterbeach and back. 33km nailed. Tea cakes and coffee to recover. Really pleased with the mileage which was tough but felt gritty and determined. Long run banked. 
Running: 33km | Time: 3:09:40| Av Pace: 5:44/km | Elev Gain: 80m

Sunday 26th November
Tired leg and a really cold day made it hard to get out. Eventually persuaded myself out the door just before 8pm. Legs were too tight to make it past the 6km point to the 8km the training plan said but happy with the mileage I managed. 
Running: 6km | Time: 35:13 | Av Pace: 5:48/km | Elev Gain: 20m

Week Five Totals
Running: 93.9km | 9:11:00 | 771m
Cycling: 56km | 3:14:00 | 465
Swimming: 0m

Thoughts: Longest mileage ever! So proud of myself especially given my busy week. Pleased with some elevation too although could do with a bit more focus. Great to see how commuting by foot can help increase the mileage.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Training Log | Life gets in the way: Week 4 Ultra-Training

13th November – 19th November

Monday 13th November
Proper rest day. After yesterday’s mileage took it easy and walked to work (30 minutes) but then spent the rest of the day on the tube.

Tuesday 14th November
Never before in my life have I been invited to meet someone at 7am on the top of Primrose Hill. But there Libby was waiting when I dragged myself to the summit ‘I’ve only had to do one hill rep waiting for you’ she said. Joined her on her run commute in town finishing at the Thursday morning classic of Beigel bake on Brick Lane – cue huge confusion from the staff.
Running: 12.7km | Time: 1:15:47| Av Pace: 5:55/km | Elev Gain: 79m | Beigel bagels eaten: 1

Wednesday 15th November
Write off of a day thanks to work and an evening at the Opera House. Saw an amazing opera. It’s all about balance.

Thursday 16th November
Despite of the midnight arrival home post-Opera, I still scraped myself out of bed for Beigel run. As I’d had my Beigel fix on Tuesday I carried on post-10k up to the gym to shower before a 9am meeting. Pretty chilled pace this morning.
Running: 11.6km | Time: 1:14:22 | Av Pace: 6:24/km | Elev Gain: 166m

Friday 17th November
A WHOLE WEEK WITHOUT CYCLING. Whoops. Adidas Runners has moved to a new base in Old Street and Madia Vale – Old St is one of those journeys in London that’s pretty impossible without a bike. So hauled out the racer and pegged it through the city in freezing weather. Good interval session this morning of 6 out of 10 efforts then 8 out of 10 efforts. Really pleased with the pace.
Running (Intervals plus 2km WU): 6.8km | Time: 35:27 | Av Pace: 5:10/km | Elev Gain: 16m
Cycle commuting: 16.3km | Time: 53:44

Saturday 11th November
Refused to get out of bed so ended up sprinting on the racer bike up to Cambridge parkrun making parkrun an almost run off the bike. Pleased with the pace all things considered.
Running (parkrun): 5km | Time: 23:54| Av Pace: 4:56/km | Elev Gain: 12m
Cycle commuting:  11.7km | Time 34:15

Sunday 12th November
Long run day. Church at 9:30am today and got in from a birthday party at 1:30am but had told a friend I’d meet them on the busway which meant, even though it was 1°C outside I made it out before sunrise. 21.1 crisp kilometres later with my friend Thom for company from 14km onwards felt joyous. Beautiful morning running. Great pace too – really pleased with the progress I’ve made.
Running (long run): 21.1km | Time: 1:54:32 | Av Pace: 5:24/km | Elev Gain: 48m

Week Four Totals
Running: 60.5km | 5:42:00 | 339m
Cycling: 28.3km | 1:27:00 | 204
Swimming: 0m

Thoughts: Well the swimming and cycling never happened. Sometimes work and life just get in the way. Missed a 10km run so bit low on the total mileage but ready to pick up the mileage next week. Someone tell me off if I haven’t done any S&C next week!

Friday, 17 November 2017


Just over a week a go my friend Elaine stood up at the front of church and challenged me: What distractions are getting in your way?

For a while now I've not been quite my usual self. Slightly overwhelmed about everything and underwhelmed by everything. I think this endemic is pretty normal in our current fast paced, ever demanding society where more is more and less is radical.

About a week a go it all got to a head and it felt like something snapped. In the last week I've had a choice: do I allow things to stay like this or do I pause, recalibrate, refocus and balance my life once more.

It's not easy finding the 'norm' tough. But I have a feeling it is normal. When did it become cool to be normal? So I'm putting my hand up and confessing: I'm in a bit deep and I'm donning the uncool lifejacket.

How am I going to do that?

Well for starters I am coming off Facebook and Twitter for a while. I don't find them helpful and as much as I'm sure I'll miss out on a few things they actually aren't my whole existence. Remember when 'brb' on Messenger used to be a thing? I want some more brb in my life.

I'm also rebalancing my diet. I so easily self medicate with caffeine and sugar and junk. I'm reminding myself that treats aren't an hourly thing and challenging myself to live without the drugs of diet coke and haribo.

Finally I'm going to find that head space again. Space to run. Space to be peaceful. For me personally: space to pray. I need those things in my life to feel like I'm operating normally.

So if you need me I'm still around: I'll be on my blog still, at the end of an email, a text message or even, shockingly, a letter. It just might take us all a minute longer to know about each others lives: we might, for instance, have to actually have a real conversation, not just be a fly on the wall of our perfected versions of ourselves.


Monday, 13 November 2017

Training Log | Upping the mileage: Week 3 Ultra-Training

6th November – 12th November

Monday 6th November
Proper rest day. Could definitely feel the long run from Saturday creaking in my legs. Planned on getting to the pool post-work but disorganisation led to that not happening.

Tuesday 7th November
Training plan said 16km legs (and mind) did not agree. Managed to get out before work with the Speedster and get in 11km with some pace variance including Regent’s Park track (bumped in to the lovely Celia) and Primrose Hill. Also managed to lose and then find my keys.
Back on the racing bike with my cleats because a Press Night in the evening helped me gain some mileage easily. Still quicker than taking the tube!
Running: 11.3km | Time: 1:06:40 | Av Pace: 5:53/km | Elev Gain: 93m
Cycle Commuting: 18.5km (60 minutes)

Wednesday 8th November
Quick bike to work with a plan of running back tonight, running tomorrow and then cycling back tomorrow evening. Run Like Hells in the evening with AR Collective feels hard but racks up the distance. Manage to get left behind on Primrose Hill though which feels a bit bleak but never mind! More elevation than hills last week which I’m pleased with.
Running (inc Hill Repeats): 13.9km | Time: 1:20:42 | Av Pace: 5:48/km | Elev Gain: 210m
Cycle Commuting: 6.8km (21 minutes)

Thursday 9th November
Legs once again tired when I wake up so, as per last week, turn my long run plan in to a 1.2km run to catch the tube. Beigel family gets me round but it really feels like I’m dragging myself round this morning.
Biking around in the evening and have a rare non-lycra night with the running gang watching the Breaking 2 documentary at the Tribe Shake Shack. Kipchoge is beyond inspiring.
Running: 10.9km | Time: 1:08:59 | Av Pace: 6:21/km | Elev Gain: 48m
Cycle Commuting: 12km (48 minutes)

Friday 10th November
Adidas Runners sees us doing laps of the English gardens. Don’t feel I have much pace but make it round. Today my mind is definitely winning over my willpower and not in a good way. Commit to re-grounding myself and finding some balance again.
Running (Intervals): 8.3km | Time: 50:45 | Av Pace: 6:07/km | Elev Gain: 26m

Saturday 11th November
Double run day with Nonsuch parkrun (gentle) followed by my first ever cross country match. Turns out cross country is really fun! Legs are pretty stiff afterwards but some encouragement gets me to do a cool down 1.2km then a whole afternoon of wandering about and cheering on the boys match loosens them up.
Running (parkrun): 5km | Time: 29:15| Av Pace: 5:58/km | Elev Gain: 21m
Running (cross country race): 6km | Time: 29:12 | Av Pace: 4:55/km | Elev Gain: 34m | Placement: 79/269

Sunday 12th November
Long run day. Church in the evening today so time to get in the mileage in the morning. Need a journey so run to St Ives from Cambridge up the guided busway. Headwind most of the way which makes it tough and my mind keeps up the battle of ‘Oh you should stop now’. Confessed to Twitter & Instagram yesterday my planned distance so feel I can’t cop out. 25km in I find my old steely determination. 32km done. Hard but really pleased. Get pretty cold waiting for the bus back to Cambridge so don’t stretch (stupid) but in the evening instead spend some time foam roller-ing.
Running (long run): 32km | Time: 3:15:01| Av Pace: 6:08/km | Elev Gain: 61m

Week Two Totals
Running: 88.6km | 8:48:00 | 495m
Cycling: 37.4km | 2:10:00 | 173m
Swimming: 0m

Thoughts: Groan. The classic runner of all the running but none of the cross training. Next week must find time for at least one swim, one longer ride and some strength work in the gym. Pleased to remember that I can encourage my mind to think more positively.