Monday, 8 January 2018

Training Log | Lots of DOMs vs Little mojo: Week 11 Ultra-Training

1st January - 7th January 2018

Monday 1st January
My New Year's Day started exactly the same way as yours I'm sure: Double parkrun! New Year's Day is the one day of the year where parkruns can change their start time by up to 90 minutes in order for people to rush between parkruns and run twice. It's great fun and a really silly game. In previous years I've only ever done the New Year's Day double in Cambridgeshire so as we were in London I was excited to try the tube double. First the 5 laps course of Highbury Fields at 9am chatting the whole way round followed by another chat round the 3 laps of Southwark. A brilliant way to start 2018.
Running: 5km | Time: 24:16 | Av Pace: 4:50/km | Elev Gain: 43m
Running: 5km | Time: 26:31 | Av Pace: 5:23/km | Elev Gain: 23m

Tuesday 2nd January
Wow my legs hurt a lot after the 10km race on Sunday. Major DOMs. Rest day today.

Wednesday 3rd January
Bit of a lack of mojo today so at about 9pm I finally persuade myself out and run to the gym to go swimming. I'm treated by no-one else in the pool. Great fun swimming bang in the middle of the pool for 750m before running home. 
Running: 3.7km | Time 19:43 | Av Pace: 5:20/km | Elev Gain:13m
Swimming: 750m

Thursday 4th January
Today is the final long run before Country to Capital next weekend and I'm still not really feeling it. Training plan says 39km but training plan also says my ultra next week should be 50km and my race is 72km so I figure the shorter run is better than no run. Adidas Runners has all changed for 2018 with no more Friday morning sessions and they're launching their new Thursday night session down in Fulham. As Fulham is miles away I figure this is the perfect way to scrape the mileage together and run to Fulham, do the AR session and run home. The last 5km or so are hard but it is pretty late by that point and I've not eaten as much as I probably should have done. But pleased to have got some mileage in. 
Running: 27.4km | Time 2:43:57 | Av Pace: 5:59/km | Elev Gain:247m

Friday 5th January
To make up for last night's slightly shorter long run I've committed to doing a back to back session. Last night finished at 8:30pm and this morning I'm out with Advent Running's new Fast Fridays group at 7:15am. Wow my legs are tired. My calves are totally solid and I have to really cajole them in to moving. Buddy up with someone who pushes the pace the whole way but from 7km I'm really flagging. So much harder than usual and therefore pleased to have got it in. 
Running: 11.3km | Time: 1:04:17 | Av Pace: 5:38/km | Elev Gain: 58m
Cycling (commuting): 13.3km | Time: 47:53

Saturday 6th January
If this week were to be classified by one thing only it would be DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness). Once again I wake up and my legs are dead. It takes a lot for me to miss a parkrun so I still bike up to Cambridge parkrun enthusiastically but my legs are not so keen so I take it easy and jog round with a friend. Even the sub-30 pace feels tough going but my legs definitely feel better at the end than they did at the start.
Running: 5km | Time: 29:06 | Av Pace: 5:56/km | Elev Gain: 4m
Cycling (commuting): 10.8km | Time: 44:54

Sunday 7th January
Manage to scrape myself out of bed before church for a run. The plan says 16km but too much snoozing means I've got time for about 12km. My legs are still quite sore but I've treated myself to some new calf guards which I hope will hold them together. I head off out in search of the only hill in Cambridge and as it's pretty icy it's much harder than usual. Commit to running up the whole things without stopping which I achieve. It's slightly further than I thought which inches my distance back over 70km for the week which I figure is a good first week back on after last week's cutback. 
Running: 13.3km | Time: 1:13:39 | Av Pace: 5:32/km | Elev Gain: 83m

Cycling (commuting): 12.5km | Time: 44:22

Week Eleven Totals
Running: 70.7km | 6:41:00 | 471m
Cycling: 36.9km | 2:17:00 | 212m
Swimming: 750m

Thoughts: I wasn't really feeling it this week so I'm really pleased I still managed a long slow run and a back to back session. More strength work needed and that hill was harder than I thought so post next week's Ultra going to take to the hills a bit more to practice ascending and descending. 

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Training Log | Merry Icelandic Christmas: Week 10 Ultra-Training

25th December - 31st December

Monday 25th December
Happy Christmas! Christmas morning means one thing in my family: Christmas parkrun! Lovely time at Brueton parkrun and even though the Speedster tried to pace me out I just didn't feel it today. However - considering I was having a 'meh' day I was thrilled to finish with a sub-24 minute time still. The perfect Christmas start and the official end of Advent running.
Running: 5km | Time: 23:25 | Elev Gain: 39m

Tuesday 26th December
Back to London for our second Christmas with my family and pre-Boxing Day lunch we go for a great walk up Primrose Hill & back. Test out one of the new outdoor gyms and my mum destroys me on the knee up machines. Go mum!
Walking: 5.5km | Time: 1:12:48 | Elev Gain: 69m

Wednesday 27th December
Christmas is officially over this morning when I wake up: it's sleeting. Eugh. My brilliant Dad comes out with me to smash out Primrose Hill reps. I'm testing out some poles to see if it helps my ascent at all. They really make a difference but will take a bit of getting used to. Some research shows how expensive they are so I'm not sure yet they're worth the investment. Only 21 times more that ascent for the Transgrancanaria race. Gulp!
Running: 6.4km | Time 41:08 | Av Pace: 6:24/km | Elev Gain:148m

Thursday 28th December
Fly to Iceland today so it's rest day!

Friday 29th December
Beautiful run in Iceland today in very cold temperatures. We run out and back to see a fantastic crashed plane on a beach. As ever - we're on holiday chasing experiences, not the perfect photograph. 
Running: 7.7km | Time: 41:43 | Av Pace: 5:23/km | Elev Gain: 50m

Saturday 30th December
Another beautiful day in Iceland. Morning hike to a glacier which involves some good climbing and is fun in the pitch black. Lunchtime hike up the Skogafoss waterfall adds to the climbing. Not just one but two swims in the afternoon: firstly at the abandoned open water swimming pool of Seljavallalaug and later swimming our way round the Secret Lagoon rather than simply bobbing up and down. All great fun. 
Hiking: 5.1km | Time: 1:01:31 | Elev Gain: 201m
Hiking: 1.1km | Time: 13:52 | Elev Gain: 84m
Swimming (Seljavallalaug swimming pool): 300m
Swimming (The Secret Lagoon): 1,170m

Sunday 31st December
What else would you do on New Years Eve than run a 10km race in Iceland in -6 degrees? No? Just us?! The Speedster and I had been really looking forward to the annual ÍR Gamlárshlaup (gamlárs meaning New years and Hlaup run). I've not raced a 10k in ages so was quite excited to see what would happen but more than anything was looking forward to simply enjoying the tourism of running round Reykjavik. Went out well although was jolly cold initially. As it was an out and back course had great fun cheering & photographing the Speedster as he went flying past in the top 25. I knew I was running well but was delighted to come in with a new 10k PB and 36th woman out of 535. As well as that, the race helped me finish my running tally for the year on exactly 2,500km run. 

Happy New Year!
Running: 10km | Time: 48:32 | Av Pace: 4:51/km | Elev Gain: 200m

Week Ten Totals
Running: 41km | 5:02:00 | 789m
Cycling: 0km
Swimming: 1,470m

Thoughts: So pleased with the new 10k PB and pleased with a fun Christmas/holiday week which still involved some exercise. Think my legs were ready for a 'true' cut back week to make sure I wasn't overtraining and they've definitely been treated to that. Looking forward to the final home straight on training with just 8 weeks to go now until the Transgrancanaria and only 2 weeks until my practice race (and first ultra) at Country to Capital. 

Thursday, 4 January 2018

How to run a marathon

My brother told me recently he was running the London marathon. I'll be honest: I was gutted! I've been trying to get in for years and consider myself the runner of the family so to be beaten to the London start line by Jon was, well pretty annoying! But then I found out he is running for Crohn's & Colitis. My nephew battled some pretty grim things when he was younger and the research that C&C do as well as the support they offered my brother's family was pretty amazing.

Like most people Jon's plan was start training the first week of January. Well January is here people! If you're training for your first marathon it's totally possible to start now and run at the end of April but you do need to start now.

Berlin marathon 2017

So first and foremost you need to get a good training plan and I've got three suggestions:

1. Nike+ Training App
The Nike training app is really good - it takes your specific info (like when the London marathon is) and builds you a custom plan - and it's all free. You can also 'go for runs' through the App with the likes of Mo Farah. Great inspiration!

2. Non-Runners Marathon Trainer
When I signed up for my first marathon 7 years a go, I couldn't run even round the block! I got this book recommended to me and it got me through that first marathon - it looks at everything from training to psychology, helps you set realistic goals and makes you write everything down which is pretty vital as a form of accountability with yourself.

3. London Marathon guides
The London Marathon have a series of 17 week long training plans it calls 'No nonsense guides'. My amazing colleague Louisa used the beginner one last year to get her to the finish line of her first marathon. They're clear, simple and well put together. The beginners one is here and the others are here.

How to get motivated
I firmly believe that one of the best things you can do is arrange to go running with other people. This way someone else is checking you made it and you'll get the fun of being out with a group even if you don't necessarily enjoy your run! Whether that is your friend cycling along side you once a month on a long run (my Dad did this for me when I was starting out) or being part of a running club it makes all the difference.

Local running clubs often have friendly new runners groups you can join. Parkrun is INCREDIBLE. Or see my blog post on a guide to free running clubs.

Kent Costal Marathon 2017

Should I do things other than just running?
Yes. If you want to reduce your chance of injury then definitely.

Strength and Conditioning
Truthfully when I did my first marathon I did pretty much nothing else than run. But I got really injured too! Now I do strength and conditioning once a week (should be twice but hey ho) and I try and swim once a week plus I cycle about 50km a week. All that hard work meant I ran 2 marathons in 6 weeks in Sep/Oct including Running sub-4 in Berlin. And I haven’t been injured this year!

It’s a bit cheesy but I really recommend Casey Ho’s videos on YouTube - she has a challenge you can sign up for for January that’s all about core work - it’s reaaaaaally hard work but it’s designed for beginners and tells you what to do. If you can commit to doing it every day in January you’ll be so strong come February. I did the January challenge last year to launch my Ironman training and it worked a treat.

What about my diet?
Eating better and getting your diet right is really helpful. I’m a lot lighter than when I ran my first marathon and I swear it’s made such a difference. Studies have shown time and time again that if you're overweight and you lose weight you have the potential to really see a difference in your speed.

What's your ideal weight? Runners World

I’d really recommend trying to eat well. Focus on eating some protein after you run. You’ll also need to look at proper nutrition while running over 15km. This means normally entering the scary world of energy gels. I'd really recommend Science in Sport's range. They have a nutrition calculator online that helps you work out how much you need to take on.  But you need to practice. And research. And find out what works for you.

I love SIS Re:Go for easy recovery after a hard run

And of course: Stretching
It’s dull but vital. Stretch after you run. Hold everything for 30 seconds. Take it seriously. There are loads of guides online: this one from Runners World is pretty good.

I also use a foam roller and have sports massages. I've struggled for many years with back problems and both these things have really helped. Foam rollering is cheap and can relieve a tight niggle post-run but it does take some getting used to!

To encourage you: I ran my first marathon in Edinburgh 7 years a go when I was overweight and went from not being able to run for the bus to crossing the finish line. If I back then can do it, then anyone can do it. You just need a training plan and to commit to the training a bit. You'll be great!

Got any questions about running your first marathon? Comment below!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Training Log | The Final Christmas Countdown: Week 9 Ultra-Training

18th December - 24th December

Monday 18th December
Final day in the Lake District and time to work on my climbing legs. A huge day mostly in the snow making for extremely achey legs! 5 Wainwrights climbed and 4 other tops. Really proud of how far my winter hiking has come.
Hiking: 17.9km | Time: 4:59:06 | Elev Gain: 932m

Tuesday 19th December
Back in London for the final working week of the year. Bike is back out, feeling bolstered by an amazing time away in the mountains. In the evening attempt a 5km treadmill run - oh my gosh it's so hard! How do people run on treadmills?!
Running: 5km | Time: 23:48 | Av Pace: 4:46/km | Elev Gain: 0m
Cycle (commuting): 19.5km | Time: 1:08:26

Wednesday 20th December
Run to work. Literally running late (haha). Can't even nip up Primrose Hill. Still that's part one of the day done. In the evening tear my way from work to the Running Works for their Run for Mulled Wine special event. Who thought starting running events at 6:30pm was a good idea?! This does have the advantage though that I run to the event, run round the veeeery pacey 'casual' paced event they do and then run home racking up some decent mileage for the second run of the day. Home for dinner literally in the bath. Don't even care.
Running: 6.3km | Time 35:52 | Av Pace: 5:37/km | Elev Gain: 57m
Running: 17.1km | Time 1:33:27 | Av Pace: 5:27/km | Elev Gain: 279m
Double day total distance: 23.4km

Thursday 21st December
It's Thursday - it's the final Beigel run of the year! Obviously as it's the final one of the year we dress as Santa in huge Santa suits. I don't know if it's the mileage of yesterday or a lack of water in the morning but I feel like I'm dying. Maybe Santa Suits and ultra training don't mix. Group are amazing and help ensure I get back but it's grizzly stiches the whole way. Don't pass out. Sometimes running is a bit grim! 
Plan a swim before work but the pool is only open from 10am-4pm because it's Christmas. WHAT EVEN IS THAT?!
Running: 10.6km | Time: 1:04:18 | Av Pace: 6:04/km | Elev Gain: 184m
Cycle (commuting): 10.2km | Time 45:08

Friday 22nd December
Final day in the office! Bike to work and then catch the death express AKA the train back to Birmingham with apparently the whole of the rest of London. Back in Cheswick Green, Graeme's home town in the evening I head out for a quick 5km before the Christmas feasting begins. This is one of the great things about the Advent Running challenge: I don't let anything get in the way of me carving out some time for my 5km!
Running: 5.1km | Time: 26:20 | Av Pace: 5:09/km | Elev Gain: 43m
Cycle (commuting): 6.5km | Time 24:18

Saturday 23rd December
Really nice to be back at Brueton parkrun and I don't know if it's the encouragment of Margaret, the oldest woman to reach 250 parkruns or the recovery post-Beigel-of-death from Thursday but I feel on it at the start. And I am. I run my second fastest time ever at 5km. And I'm only 2 seconds off my all time PB. Go me! 
Celebrate by finding a lovely local villager to borrow a foam roller off and spending a solid 25 minutes rolling. 
Running: 5km | Time: 22:54 | Av Pace: 4:35/km | Elev Gain: 39m

Sunday 24th December
Christmas Eve and my lovely Father in law is pretty excited by Strava flybys that I've just introduced him to so we set up a challenge which sees the Speedster running 14km, me running 11km, my father-in-law running 2.5km and my mother-in-law walking the dog 5km. It's fun to enjoy the lakes near their house and to repeatedly see them on the way round. 
Being back in Brum for Christmas also gives me the perfect opportunity to go cup chasing (Apologies: #stravawanker). The shiny Dambusters crown becomes mine just in time for Christmas.
Running: 11.7km | Time: 1:07:42 | Av Pace: 5:47/km | Elev Gain: 66m

Week Nine Totals
Running: 78.8km | 10:31:00 | 1,624m
Cycling: 36.8km | 2:17:00 | 357
Swimming: 0m

Thoughts: Really pleased with another good week of training especially in the build up to Christmas. Legs are pretty tired after the Lakes so next week will probably be a true cut back week as I've got a few days in Iceland so it will be harder to run.