Monday, 27 February 2012

Rain and rabbits

I think it is fair to say the last week has been interesting, a bit of a mix of ups and downs.

After having to stop and walk on my last long run I seriously doubted my ability to complete the marathon and if I'm honest that really upset me. I have been gearing my training around this one race for months and suddenly, with a few weeks training left, to think that I may not be able to run it was quite a blow.

But, after sleeping on it I revised my training plan. I think I was trying to train too hard. I went back to the plan in the book the non-runners marathon trainer and I will be following that until the marathon and trying to resist the temptation to do just that bit more.....

The problem with my knee ? Well, I think that is a muscular problem in my leg. My knee is not swollen and when I'm not running it doesn't hurt. So, Tuesday I went out for a very short 2.5 mile run, quite slowly to see how it felt.... And all the time I keep the speed down it is fine. I went out for a 7 mile run on Wednesday and then out with the club on Thursday. At the end of Thursday I could feel it again but that was self inflicted.... I just couldn't help "racing" Matt at one point :) and yes, it made my knee hurt so I know it is speed related.

I have spent my evenings this week stretching and using the dreaded foam roller and it does seem to have helped so on Saturday I went out for a long run on my own.

Looking at the forecast I did hope that the weather was going to be better than it was...

I also took the opportunity to try running almost immediately after eating breakfast. Up until now I have always left about two hours between eating and running. This means that to be out by 8:30am I have to be eating about 6:30am... So, I set the alarm for 6:30am but made sure I was out of the door as soon after 7am as I could.

I kept the pace right down, at least a minute a mile slower than normal and set off. In the rain.

It was one of those mornings that just has that fine soaking rain and the visibility isn't wonderful. But it felt so good to be out and running !

For quite a bit of the run all I saw was rabbits... I think most sensible people were still tucked up in bed :)

I ran a total of 16 miles, I stopped and walked to drink to make sure I did drink enough....

At the end of it I could feel that my leg still wasn't quite right but it felt so much better than the previous week.

I am planning on continuing to run the long runs on my own. I quite enjoy it. I can run it at my pace without feeling that I am slowing anyone down or trying to keep up with a group.

I also re-read part of the book I have been using as a training plan.... One thing in there struck a real chord with me... To run easier not harder... And that I am doing this because I WANT to not because I HAVE to....

So here's to rain and rabbits :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Why exercise is good for you...

I found this chart produced by Cancer Research and I found it quite surprising in many ways...

It shows how many cancers are preventable and the proportion of preventable cancers with their different causes such as being over weight. So the message from it seems to be; give up smoking, cut down on alcohol and maintain a healthy weight.

You never know, it may help you live longer :)

If you click on the image it will open up a bit bigger so you can read it :)

Something went a bit wrong on Sunday....

Well, after the previous weeks record breaking half marathon and a week away with work and no running I thought Sundays 17 mile run would be quite straight forward.... I was wrong...

I'm not sure where things started to go wrong, I decided to run with the marathon training group, something I haven't done for awhile, because the route they were following almost matched the one I was planning on running anyway and I thought it would be good to have the company.

I suppose the first mistake I made was the pacing group I joined. I normally run my long runs at about 10:30 min/miles.... I had a choice of joining the10 min group or the 11 min group... I joined the 10. Why I did I'm not sure, most probably because after running a half marathon at nearly 9 min miles I thought I could do it. The 10 min group were running faster than that so I slowed down a bit and let them get ahead of me... I was still running faster than 10 min/miles though.... After about 5 miles I could feel a slight twinge in my knee, the same twinge I had when I was running the HM the week before. I must admit I thought a week without running had fixed it.

I slowed down again and made it to about 10 miles... At this point the faster runners were coming back the other way passing me. One of them stopped to ask if I was ok (did I look THAT bad ???) at which point I said no and burst in to tears. He stopped, gave me a hug, turned me round and got me going again, slowly though... I managed another few miles and then needed to walk the last 3 miles back.. One of the other marathon ambassadors stopped and walked with me to make sure I was ok and to keep me company.

I'm still not sure what the problem with my knee is/was, all I know is that is was quite painful to bend and put weight on it.... But today (Tuesday) it seems fine.... I have been stretching it plenty and doing some foam roller exercise on my IT band (and that DOES hurt !)

I don't know if my week away wasn't as restful as I thought it was, after all I was on my feet lecturing for 8 hours a day and the travelling every evening... I know I don't sleep very well in strange hotels and each night was a different place and thanks to Chiltern railways I ended up standing in the train for most of the way home...

I don't know if I just pushed too hard to start with at a pace I couldn't maintain.... I don't know if it was just a tight muscle or if it is some other problem.

So, where does that leave me ?

I'm going to cut back on the running this week, a nice gentle 3 miles today to see how things go, keep up with the stretches and foam roller exercises... If today is ok then 5 miles tomorrow, 4 on Thursday with a long run of less than 10 on Saturday....

I have revised my training plan to drop one run a week... I guess I'm having to admit that I'm not 19 anymore :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 13 February 2012

A new PB and one of this years targets broken :)

I didn't set out to get a PB at yesterdays race... it just seemed to happen !

The Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon is not one I have run before and when I left home it was -4C and I did wonder if it was a good idea... it would have been so nice to stay tucked up under the duvet !

Normally before a race I would reduce the miles run in the previous two weeks and make sure that I started without any aches and pains and general tiredness. With this one I didn't. I could still "feel" a few muscles from Wednesdays circuits session (not to self: skip circuits on Marathon week...) and I have still been running my training runs for the marathon.

I decided to leave my heart rate monitor at home and just run on feel. I also bought my own water with me and my own "fuel" to have on the way round, more as a practice for the marathon than anything else.

So, I lined up with nearly 900 others on a very cold morning on Southsea seafront.... and shivered.... I did a bit more of a warm up than I normally do, more to try and stop hypothermia before I started running than anything else ! Then the sun came out and if you were out of the wind it felt a bit warmer, especially on dark coloured clothing but my feet still felt like blocks of ice...

The race was chipped timed so I did my normal thing of starting about two thirds of the way down the field and set off with what felt like a comfortable pace that I thought I could maintain. I didn't look at my watch for the first five miles and then just glanced at the pace and it was showing 9:35 min/miles so I wasn't too worried thinking that I was well outside the 2hrs. It was only a bit later that I realised I had looked at my pace at one of the slowest points over the shingle... when it got to mile 9 I looked at the elapsed time and I started to realise that I was running faster than I had thought and that I may just beat my previous PB of 2:02:57, i still didn't think I could get under 2 hours until mile ten when evern I could work out that by maintaining a 9 min/mile pace I would *just* break the 2 hours...

So, I did my best to maintain a steady 9 min/mile pace until mile 12, knowing I only had just over a mile to go I increased my pace and ran the last mile in 8:30...

And yes, I finished in 1:59:06 (chip time) so I was a VERY happy bunny.

Things I learnt yesterday.

1. I didn't drink enough on the way round - I didn't bother stopping at the water stations and drank my own water but I know it was not nearly enough. On a HM I could get away with it (especially with the cold) but in the Marathon I must drink more...

2. I need to start re-fuelling from 20 mins in... - Again not a problem with the half but I did suffer from cramp in my feet and one leg afterwards, not something I have had happen before but most probably due to the lack of water & re-fuelling

3. Everyone is really friendly - It doesn't seem to matter which race it is, when you are at the start line you are all equal !

4. People that run with headphones and talk to each other are REALLY LOUD - Don't they realise they are shouting and everyone around them can hear their conversations VERY clearly !

Anyway, these are a couple of photographs taken by a fellow photographer, James Musselwhite, yesterday :) and a link to the Garmin data for the run. I'm even smiling in one of the photos !

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Last weekend...

Well, last weekend was another long run, just over 16 miles and I was quite pleased to complete it in 2:47... If I can keep this pace up then I *might* be able to run the marathon in 4:30.....

I have started practicing the mental element of the running as well. I know there will be parts that I find difficult, especially the section running along to the power station and then turning round and running back to the pier. I also know that I find it difficult when I can see my destination miles and miles before I get there and it just doesn't seem to get any closer..

So, I have mapped out some out and back routes so I get used to having to turn round and head back... and some routes where I can see the turning point and/or finish point miles before I get there..

I am also running these on my own, without music / talking books / radio etc  so that I get used to running like this. I will be running the marathon on my own (even if I'm surrounded by a few thousand people) so I need to get used to pushing on when I would quite like to stop for a bit !

I have also been working on my re-fuelling whilst running and have worked out quite how early I need to start the re-fuelling. I can now eat and drink from a bottle whilst running, something I didn't think I would be able to master a few weeks ago !

All I need to do now is keep the miles up. I'm running a half marathon on Sunday and then I'm away for a week with work, I won't have the opportunity to run so I'm looking at it as a rest week with lots of stretching and some strength exercises (all easy enough to do in a hotel room !).

Anyway, this is a photo from last weekends run... I must admit it is quite handy having a camera on my phone !

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Places I love to run....

Most of the photos on this blog have been taken with my Iphone or with a little compact camera. I don't normally run with my "proper" camera because it is a bit big and bulky. However last week I went out to take some photographs of the areas that I run through.

It was freezing cold (-2C) and getting dark... I just wanted to capture some of the sunset...

Anyway, these are a few photographs that show the areas that I love to run through taken with my "proper" camera.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Something a bit different

Just thought I would post one of my favourite poems :)

Stopping by woods on a snowy evening by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Just seemed a bit apt with the weather we have had, and somehow makes me think of the areas that I love to run through.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
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