Monday, 25 July 2011

Quite a good week really :)

Yesterday I had my second long run of the week, I ran from Steyning to Worthing Sailing Club, a total distance of 11.43 miles in a total time of 2:00:08.

The other good thing was that overall I came in dead on my 70% heart rate target. This has given me confidence that I may be able to break the 2hr half marathon target in November. Even if I don't break the 2hrs I should be able to get pretty close to it.

The last time I ran this route I had a really bad run. I seriously considered giving up at 4 miles..... And hated it for most of the route. Yesterday was a really good run, I have started using some of the mental training techniques from the book I'm reading and kept repeating positive phrases over and over in my head, interspersed with lines of songs that I could remember ( and the odd hymn from my childhood ! )

The last 6 miles of the run yesterday was in to a force 5/6 head wind. I just kept telling myself that this was a Good Thing because it was keeping me cool rather than a Bad Thing because it made the running harder.

I also tried having fixed water breaks, the first at 3 miles, to get used to drinking more water in one go and simulating the water stops on next years marathon. The only difference was that I had to carry all my water with me rather than having someone hand it to me ! It will take a bit of getting used to drinking more in one go and it doesn't necessarily make running the first half mile pleasant with water sloshing inside you but it wasnt as much of a problem as I thought it might be.

So, in total last week I ran 32.47 miles split over 4 runs :)

Thursday, 21 July 2011


Over the last few months I have been feeling increasingly tired, not just after running but in general. Early nights didn't seem to make much difference. I have just about cut out alcohol, made sure I am eating enough, drinking plenty of water etc but still felt tired.

I even cut back the miles I was running to see if that made much of a difference but it didn't.

I ended up keeping a food diary and using some software to analyse what I was eating and found out that although what I am eating is relatively healthy and providing the right mix of carbohydrates, fat and protein it was not providing nearly enough Iron (only about 10% of the RDA).

So, I have started taking a daily multivitamin tablet with Iron that should provide me with my RDA not just of Iron but a whole host of other vitamins and minerals.

I have been taking them for about a week now and havent felt as tired as I have been feeling... I also don't feel quite as cold all the time as I have been feeling (despite the rather wintry summer weather !)

So, I'll keep taking the tablets and rattle round my runs :)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Southwater to Steyning

I managed to swap my day off yesterday so that Holly and I could go running together.

It is only just over 4 weeks now until the Henfield Half Marathon.. so we need to start increasing the distances a bit..

The route we ran yesterday was down the Downs Link. For most of the way this follows the disused railway line. This has one big advantage in that most of it is flat ! There is still the old station at West Grinstead and it did seem a bit odd to be running below platform level... There are some great views in places, I didn't have my camera with me yesterday. I opted to take a bit more water in my bum bag and didn't really want the extra weight of the camera as well.

We are also using these runs to test various refuelling strategies that we will use for the Brighton marathon next year.

My aim for the marathon is to finish. That is it. Nothing more complicated than that, just get round the whole 26.2 miles.

Yesterday we tried running for two miles and then walking while we drank water, on the marathon the first drinks stop is at 3 miles and then every two miles after that. I know from experience that I find it very difficult to drink from bottles whilst running so I will need to walk to make sure that I drink properly.

I'm reading a very good book at the moment "The Non-Runners Marathon Trainer" that has loads of useful advice on preparing for the marathon mentally as well as a training plan. A lot of what they say seems to make sense so we have been starting to put the "mental" training in to practice in the build up for the half marathon.

We also tested out a couple of gels yesterday. My favourites are the Sis Go gels; they are not as sickly as the others I have tried, more with the consistency of unset jelly..... and because they are isotonic you don't need to take water with them....

So, yesterdays run was 12.37 miles.... It was more than I had planned to do yesterday so I'm taking today off :)

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Wet & Windy..

I know it is July but todays run was so wet & windy with sideways rain that stung when it hit you r skin. I think it has got to be one of the wettest runs I have had for a long time... When I got home I was soaked through to the skin and dripping wet..

Todays run was a total of 13.65 miles, the details are posted below. Not the fastest I have ever run parts of this route and I did take a slightly different way home to avoid the part of the river bank that is totally overgrown.

Even though the weather was atrocious there is something therapeutic about running in weather like this. Firstly you don't see anyone, well I saw one other person at Cissbury Ring until I reached checkpoint 6 for Trailwalker UK (I didn't see any walkers though!) From the setup at the checkpoint with large army tents, medical people and army catering it looked as though they were expecting a fair few people.

Although the weather was bad it wasn't that cold, the visibility was very bad but I do know the route quite well so wasn't really worried about getting lost.

I did feel sorry for the smaller birds, every time they tried flying they just went sideways !

Anyway, this weeks total is 30.21 miles.... and I now have 5 week until my next half marathon....

Monday, 11 July 2011

What a difference a year makes....

Yesterday was a bit of a landmark run really.

I took part in the 5k Race for Life in Worthing. This is almost exactly a year since my first ever race, also a 5K Race for Life. It made me think how much has changed in a year.

A year ago I really wasn't sure that I would be able to complete a 5k race, now I have run a half marathon and I'm working towards running the Brighton Marathon last year.

After completing the 5k I then entered a 10k race, again with no idea if I would be able to finish it, I put my estimated time down as 1hr 30mins...

I have gone from my size 14 clothes being quite tight but really not wanting to buy size 16 to wearing size 10 with plenty of breathing space ! For me this has been one of the biggest changes. I am 43. Last time I wore anything size 10 I was 14 or 15...... It has also meant that I have had to go out and buy new clothes. It started with a single pair of jeans.... then I needed to buy some clothes for work that fitted properly... and I have just had to buy shorts and swimmers in a size 10 so I'm not imagining it, it wasn't just a freak pair of jeans that were mislabelled and happened to fit me, I really am now a size 10.

Over the years I have tried just about every fad diet going. I always lost the weight but over the following months put it back on, and some extra...

Sometimes several things just come together at a point in your life and this provides the motivation that you need to make the change. I now can't imagine not running, so I guess I am well and truly hooked :)

I won't ever be fast. I won't ever win races. But for me it is so much more. Each time I complete a run I feel a sense of achievement.

I have my own personal goals that I want to achieve, sometimes we can be so busy looking forwards to the next challenge or target that we forget to take a moment or two to look back at where we have come from and the journey so far...

For me, yesterday was that "looking back" moment.

Oh, and I finished the 5k in 25:40....

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Ouch !

I've been experimenting a bit this week with the time of day that I go running, if I eat beforehand and how I feel energy wise...

The main reason for this is the level of tiredness I have been feeling... I know part of it is self inflicted and I really should go to bed earlier than I do but I also think that part of it could be down to what and when I eat....

Getting up and going running at 6:30am I find hard work, I enjoy it once I am going but I just feel so tired beforehand. So, I thought rather than running that early I would start work really early, eat breakfast and then take a break and go running mid morning.

Now this sounded like a really good plan but I had failed to take in to account a couple of factors. The first being the heat later in the morning, I know in England it doesn't get as hot as many other parts of the world but anything over 20C for me is HOT and any sensible person would tell you that it is far too hot to run in and you should really be sipping iced drinks by the side of a pool, or on the beach, in fact you should be doing just about anything other than running in the heat and sun.

The first part of the run was fine, I went my normal shade of bright pink and glowing... I reached the river and though that there may be a nice cool breeze. I was wrong, as I started running along the river bank I could feel the heat and humidity rising from the ground. In fact I am surprised that I didn't melt into a pool of pinkness on the ground.

The other thing that I didn't take into account was as the day heats up it brings out the insects. We are lucky in the uk that MOST insects we have are an annoyance rather than too painful but I found the exception to the rule and got bitten by some horse flies. If you havent been bitten by horse flies you may not realise but they hurt. Not only do they hurt but for relatively small things I think they must have enormous teeth because they left me with blood running down my leg. I tried wiping it away but it just kept bleeding. I gave up and just let it bleed (after all no-one has ever really suffered any substantial blood loss from a fly bite !)

The only other insect I have been bitten by that is more painful was a tsetse fly in Kenya..

So maybe the early morning runs aren't so bad after all !

Friday, 1 July 2011

26 miles 385 yards

I somehow think that this distance is already tattoed in to my brain.... And I have a sneaky suspicion that over the coming months (especially from Christmas until April) the thought of running a full 26 miles and 385 yards is going to start to scare the living daylights out of me. Do I think I can do it ? Yes, otherwise I wouldn't have entered, I don't know many people that deliberately set out to fail at something, but I know I have a long way to go.

Now that I have decided to run a marathon part of me wants to just get on and do it, but the sensible side tells me that the more training I do now and the better prepared I am before I start the "real" marathon training the more likely I am to succeed, at this point for me I see success as crossing the finishing line in one piece. I think I will start with that as a goal. If I can manage it in under 5 hours that would be great but for me finishing will be a result worth celebrating...

I have been looking at lots of different marathon training plans and they all seem quite different and it can make it hard to decide on what I should do.... Between now and Christmas I have three half marathons to run so I am concentrating my training on them... This means my long runs will be 14-16 miles one week and 10-11 miles on the other weeks and I feel quite comfortable that the training I am currently doing for these races is more than adequate and I should start to see some improvements in my HM times over the next few months.

When I look at the training plans for marathons the 14-16 mile long runs seem to kick in at about 8 weeks.... So do I just carry on doing what I'm doing or do I start to increase the mileage before that and just repeat the last two weeks before the taper to fill in the gaps ?? Any advice would be welcome !

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