Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Another year nearly over

Well, 2011 is drawing to a close, only a few days left... It is at this time of year we all start thinking of what we have done over the last 12 months, the highs and the lows, as well as what we would like to achieve over the next 12 months.

This year I ran my first ever half marathon... And then went on to run another 3 ! During that time I have knocked 24 minutes off my PB.... I have run several 10k races, again with a new PB and several other shorter races as well.

I have gained a few t-shirts from races, as well as a shot glass, microfibre cloth and a collection of medals :)

The highs ?? Well, I think one of them was finishing the Surrey Badger, a wonderful HM and when the chap who finished just in front of me turned round and shook my hand (we had taken it in turns passing each other all through the race) it made me realise how in general runners are a really friendly bunch.

The lows ?? Well, as far as running is concerned there haven't really been any low points, I suppose my attitude towards running isn't all out competitive and even if I don't reach my own target time I have never seen that as a failure, just a "not this time"

Looking ahead next years challenge is Brighton marathon; I have another couple of halves lined up before then but I'm planning on treating them more as part of the training rather than races if that makes sense.....

I don't know if I will run any other marathons after Brighton, it really does depend on how I recover afterwards..... I would like to.... I have one or two that I have been looking at for the end of 2012 and in to 2013.... but I'm not going to make any real commitments yet... but I am tempted !

I'm going to carry forward my goals from this year to next year.... I want to run a sub 2hr half (I'm only 3 minutes out at the moment) and a sub 50 minute 10k.... That one may prove slightly harder... I need to knock 2:25 off my current best.....

So, hears to a good 2012, may the snow stay away and everyone enjoy their running :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Being visible....

This time of year I am doing a lot of running in the dark.... or "twilight".... I have a couple of dayglow yellow running tops but some of my favourite warm tops have tiny little reflective strips on and to be honest I'm wary of running in them in the evenings because I think I may not be seen.

So, I put some thought in to this and have "customised" my favourite running jacket to make it a bit more visible... this is the first customisation and I have a few more tops lined up for the treatment.

I looked online and bought some iron on reflective patches from Cyberglow. I emailed them first to find out how hot an iron I needed to use, and checked the washing instructions on the jacket to make sure it was safe to use an iron on and wouldn't melt !

So, after spending about £8 I now have a jacket that is unique as well as being far more reflective.

These are the before and after photos....

There is also the added advantage in that no-one else will have a jacket like it so it will be very easy to identify at the end of a club training session !

Sunday, 18 December 2011

The mud is back !

Well, after all the rain we have had the mud is well and truly back. I skipped the training group run this morning (opting for a bit longer in bed) and went for a run on my own over the Downs instead.

Some of the puddles were frozen over, and some of the mud had a "crunchy" top coat..... I had also forgotten how much harder running through mud can be, the first four miles are not only all up hill but are also the muddiest section of the route...

I stopped to take a few photos on my phone of the views....

These views make it all worth while :)

So, that is week 3 of a 20 week marathon training plan done... I'm a bit above my mileage this week but my plan is a bit flexible... for the next two weeks I have Christmas and the New Year so I'm not quite sure how I will fit in the running. I also need to mark on my plan the dates when I know I'm working away and may very well not be able to get out running; hopefully it won't impact things too much...

So in 17 weeks time the marathon will  be over... strange though that...

Thursday, 15 December 2011

One from today's run

Just thought I would post a photo from today's run... Quite chilly in
the wind but there is something about winter sunshine that is really
quite nice:)

Monday, 12 December 2011

Diet and Weight Loss

Since I started running I have lost nearly 3 stone in weight.

This isn't just through running but from a few other changes to my diet as well... Over the years I have tried just abut every sort of diet going, from diets that you mean you seem to leave off milk shakes and other meal replacement "stuff" to weight watchers, low fat diets etc etc.

On each of them I have lost weight only to gradually put it all back on again over the coming months. For me this has been the main problem with "diets" in that yes, they do help you lose weight but unless you change your underlying eating and exercise patterns you WILL put the weight back on again. 

There are many reasons that people eat too much or the "wrong" things.... I tended to eat as a reward to myself... or to cheer myself up if I was feeling fed up... there are so many reasons, the list could go on and on.... including not enough time to cook "proper" food etc, etc. But a basic fact is that if you want to lose weight you need to consume less calories than you use. You can do this by either changing the food you eat to versions that contain less calories, cut down on the amount you eat or by increasing the number of calories you use through exercise (or a mix of all three).

There is no magic answer. The real downside is that you have to keep up with these changes to keep the weight off. You have to make lifestyle changes.

When I started running I did this because I wanted to lose weight. I also started looking at what I was eating.. as well as what I was drinking ! I kept a food diary and wrote down literally everything that I ate and drank. To be honest I scared myself a bit, I wasn't aware of how many calories were in the snacks I was having or in the alcohol I was consuming.

Did you know that a large (250ml) glass of average strength red wine is approx 214 calories ? or that one pint of "premium" larger is 330 calories ?? Did you also know that you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1lb of fat. Yes, when you start a diet you may lose far more than that to start with but that may just be extra fluid that you are losing and not just fat......

The main changes I have made are as follows (in no particular order !):

1. Drastically reduce my alcohol intake
2. Eat more fruit and veg
3. Change to wholemeal pasta and brown rice
4. Reduce portion sizes
5. Cut out snacks or switch to a healthy option (dried fruit rather than biscuits)
6. Cook healthier versions of meals

These aren't just changes for the time that I am "dieting" these are permanent changes. They have to be or I will start putting the weight back on... So what is different for me this time ? Well, this time I am far more committed to the weight loss being permanent. It has taken me 18 months to get where I am today, I have seen the differences it has made in my day to day life. I am far fitter now than I have been at any time in my life. I don't worry that I won't be able to keep up with friends if we go for a walk (yet alone hire bikes and go for a ride !) Work has become easier, being fitter has had some real advantages.... I still eat chocolate, biscuits, cakes etc... just nowhere near the amount or frequency that I used to. It is a "treat" rather than the "norm" in my day... It hasn't always been easy, to start with I did feel hungry between meals but that has gradually gone.. but it has been worth the effort. I'm now training for a marathon, something that I would have though impossible 18 months ago.

Week 2 - done ! (only 18 to go...)

After a brief rewrite of my training plan all is looking good ( Is that cheating ??)

Sunday's run was a bit wet and windy.... We ran up to Devils Dyke and back, it is quite good running as part of a group, there is always someone to talk to and many of the people have run marathons before so there is a whole knowledge bank I can tap in to.

I have met some really interesting people that I wouldn't have met any other way and it is wonderful to see such a wide variety of people all with one common goal.

This weeks mileage is a bit less than last week, my plan is to build up for a few weeks followed by a recovery week....

I will be updating my training plan with my total miles run each week rather than posting them on each blog post.

Anyway, this is a photo of everyone's muddy trainers at the end of Sundays run :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 9 December 2011

All Change !

Well, I have made a few changes to my training plan.... (what is a plan for if not for changing !) and also put it in to a spreadsheet to make it a bit easier to update in future. So, as time goes on, especially over the next few weeks I am going to be "tweaking" it a bit. As you can see I have dropped the Monday runs, I may still run on Mondays but if it isn't in the Plan then I won't feel guilty if I miss it (hopefully that makes sense). I'm also putting the Plan on a separate tab to make it easier to have a sneaky peek at.....

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Brighton Marathon Route changed....

Well, it looks as though the Brighton Marathon route is being changed... http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/9403817.Brighton_Marathon_route_tweaked_to_draw_in_elite_runners/ I'm not sure how I feel about this, I have never run a marathon so I have nothing to compare it to. The only thing is I hope there is still some "scenery" to look at... My least favourite race was the Bupa London 10k, I'm not sure if this was just the heat of the day but lets just say I didn't really notice the historic landmarks I ran past.. just keeping on running was my main concern.. Personally I don't mind some hills, for very uphill there is also a downhill :) and because of where I live it is almost impossible to run anywhere without a hill of some sort being involved.. I do find it quite strange running on the flat; it seems to use your leg muscles in a slightly different way....

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Week 1 - Done !

Well that is the first week of marathon training completed.... The "Plan" said 25 miles, I ended up running 29.58.... This was mainly due to me deciding to run home (5.5 miles) and the group training run of 7.5 miles this morning. So, this is a break down of what was planned and what I actually did (actual distance in brackets):

Monday - 2.5 (2.48)
Tuesday - 5 (6.01)
Wednesday - 3 (0)
Thursday - 4 (2.92 recorded on my Garmin but I forgot to start it on one lap... So closer to 4)
Friday - 2.5 (5.18)
Saturday - 0 (0)
Sunday - 8 (13.09)

So, all in all not a bad week.

One thing I did find out this week is that my nice white Nike t-shirt really is see through when wet ! Quite glad I had a high vis jacket on top....

I am also quite glad I have started a couple of weeks early, I know I'm going to be missing some weeks so this does help a bit...

Next week I know I'm going to miss Mondays easy run. One thing I like about my plan is that it is ok to skip the Monday and Friday runs if either I just can't make it or if I need some extra rest. I'm now thinking ahead about Christmas, not necessarily the shopping but how to fit some running in ! (Am I becoming obsessive ??)

I met someone this morning who had been training for the Brighton Marathon last year until she injured herself in training in January. She went along to watch the marathon and said it was one of the most bitter sweet things she had ever done and gave her the added incentive to try again... I that come the end of march/ beginning of April I'm going to become a bit paranoid about injury, I can only imagine how heart breaking it must be to but so much work in to the training only to miss out at the last hurdle...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 2 December 2011

And here it is !

For the people that have asked to see it this link *should* take you to my Marathon Training plan The runs highlighted in yellow are the ones I know I will miss because of work commitments so I will be juggling those weeks around a bit..... Some of the easy 2.5 mile days may become rest days and I may swap some of the mid-week runs round depending what time I have available.... So although it is a plan that looks as though it involves running 6 days a week it is quite flexible and may not end up that way. I have also started it 2 weeks early to allow for the runs I know I will miss.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

I have a plan !

It is a very cunning plan. It is a plan that will get me round the marathon....

I have typed it out, added it all up and pinned it to the wall next to me desk....

It contains a lot of running.... But part of me is worried that it is still not enough because, if I'm honest, it isn't an awful lot more than I've been running some weeks over the summer anyway; the main difference is how the runs are split up.

Everyone tells me to trust The Plan because it isn't just having a plan, and sticking to it that will get me round this marathon, it is Believing in the plan... Believing that the plan will be plenty.... Apparently this is as important as the actual training.....

Do I believe ? It is a bit like asking me if I believe in Father Christmas.... I would love to believe... I really would, but I'm not sure that I do... yet....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
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