Manchester Marathon Training, Uncategorized

Manchester Marathon

Manchester marathon was memorable for so many reasons. I headed into marathon weekend full of doubts and questions following a less than perfect taper, of little running due to a niggle I have been babying for a few weeks. The weekend started on Friday with the ASICS UK Frontrunner meeting which was coinciding with the marathon. We spent a lovely Friday and Saturday meeting new members of the team, doing a treasure hunt through Manchester, and lots of photos, presentations and of course all the food. Anyone who follows me on social media knows that I have a huge fondness for all things doughnuts and of Nutella. I was presented with a surprise birthday cake during the weekend which incorporated both of these things, and I’m sure was perfect fuelling day before the marathon!

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Race Day

I felt good upon waking on race morning. I stuck with the usual banana, porridge and coffee combo 2.5 hours before start time and the blood sugars were behaving. During taper I had accepted the fact that sub 4, or even any of my time goals were no longer an option thanks to the ankle. I had barely run and I could still feel it whilst walking. I taped up my ankle and stuck with lets just see how it goes. The only plan was to just run as much as I could and aim for a finish. It felt strangely comforting walking to the start line from our hotel in Salford Quays, knowing that the pressure was off. It is what it is. There is nothing I can do, so just go along with whatever happens next.

Getting into the start pens was straightforward and the usual mix of excitement of nerves hung in the air. You’ve only got to look around you at a marathon start line to see that you are all in the same boat. You are running your own races, but you are still all in it together. Matt @thewelshrunner had said he would start with me. Coming back from his own injury, it was a only meant to be a long run for him. Just run some easy miles alongside me, then drop out when he had done enough. That changed pretty rapidly.

The first few miles flew by in a blink of an eye. We just had fun, chatted, had a giggle. I felt pretty good all things considered, and the ankle, although not perfect, behaved. Mile 11 things started to change, as we dipped in to Altrincham. I loved seeing the faster runners coming back past as they came out, and spotted a few runners to wave hi to. But my glute was starting to seize up, on the same leg as my bad ankle. Before I knew it, it just went on me. Mile 13 onwards was an epic battle just to get home. I really struggled mentally and physically. I could of pulled out, and in all honesty, it probably would of been the wise thing to do. But all I could think of were the months of training that had gone in to this marathon. I was in it, I was doing it anyway, so I adopted the ‘head down, and bollock on’ approach.

It wasn’t pretty. I fashioned some sort of hobble run/walk combo. Even slight inclines were horrid, and the pain of someone stopping directly in front of me causing me to jump to the side or halt was enough to send me slightly crazy. The second half of the marathon was a huge pot of the above, tears (I became ridiculously emotional) and non stop encouragement and unwavering support from Matt. Whatever I was going through, he was there. He didn’t leave my side. He ran the whole thing with me, casually completing a marathon a few weeks after coming back from weeks off with a stress fracture. Not for himself, it’s obviously less than ideal. But for me. It’s quite hard to put into words the emotions and feelings that you go through when doing something as intense as a marathon with another person. I wouldn’t of done it without him. Although, being honest, I did hate him slightly at points, bouncing around grabbing the majority of Manchester’s sweet and Jelly baby supplies from the amazing supporters out on the course. Having that much energy is unnatural. I was done by this point, and couldn’t face another gel or sweet, and this probably led to being incredibly confused towards the finish. I actually dug my heels in like some sort of golden haired mule at mile 25.5 stating I couldn’t finish, I wanted to pull out now, even though I could see the finish just up ahead! Don’t ask.

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I loved Manchester, and will certainly consider it again for next years spring marathon. The crowds were wonderful, the atmosphere electric. I didn’t seem to notice many quiet bits. There were a few dotted here and there, but they didn’t last that long. It hurt (marathons do) it was emotional, and it was far from the original goal I had set myself at the beginning of the year. But I crossed the line with a 24 minute PB. I was elated. I still am. I don’t care I didn’t get the time I trained for, or felt that I deserved considering the training. I am just over the moon to have finished, to have won the battle. A PB to go alongside it, is just the icing on the cake. It taught me a huge amount about mental strength. I’ve absolutely loved my training for it, and cannot wait to go through it again once the summer of ultras is over. Chip away, and go again.

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First though, I have the small matter of another marathon this week, in Paris on Sunday as part of the International ASICS Frontrunner meeting. Again, I’m heading in, with no expectations. This one is about sightseeing whilst tacking 26.2 miles one bit at a time. Hopefully.

 

 

 

 

Manchester Marathon Training, Uncategorized

Invisible Weight

Week 12 and the penultimate ‘hard week’ before taper, and didn’t it kick my ass. I had put a lot of pressure on this week. The big 20 mile race was looming, and I was going to smash it. I was going to pace it wonderfully and would be filled with all the confidence heading into the marathon. About that.

This week had started off well enough, I felt good after The Big Half, then comfortable easy miles, trail miles and a nice bash at a 5k which left me super happy as it was the quickest in a long. long time!

Week 12

  • Monday – 3.1 Miles Recovery
  • Tuesday – 9 Miles Easy
  • Wednesday – 10 minute WU, 5k, 10 minute CD
  • Thursday – 10k Easy
  • Friday – REST DAY
  • Saturday 20 Mile Race (fission 20/20)
  • Sunday – REST DAY

Total Miles – 43.3 Miles

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I cried a lot after the race. Just an outpouring of emotion. It was one of those, where nothing went right. I mean nothing. I didn’t feel great to begin with. From the off, my legs wouldn’t move. I couldn’t get anywhere near target pace heading straight into ridiculous winds again. The wind was on another level ,and seemed like the majority of the two ten mile loops had all the headwind with little tailwind to compensate. But even so, my legs just wouldn’t move. By mile three I needed an emergency portaloo stop. Damn, that was early on. The last 9 miles were a sorry affair, convinced I could feel pain in the old stress fracture site. Which of course is extremely unlikely. Everything hurt, I struggled every step.  But I finished. I still completed 20 miles. Who cares it wasn’t the time or race I was hoping for. 20 miles is still a bloody long way, and in horrid weather conditions. Of course now I am not sore, tired and emotional, I can think about it all rationally. The race itself was wonderfully organised with amazingly cheerful and supportive marshals every 5k or so manning water stations or significant turning points. I couldn’t help but admire them as we passed, we were at least moving in the weather. They were at its mercy just waiting for us runners to pass by. However not being a big commercial event it was a predominately very lonely affair on quiet country lanes, with no crowds to cheer you on, and as it wasn’t a closed road event, no headphones meant no music or podcasts to distract from the task ahead. I guess this is also why I started thinking. Why I got even more emotional. The chips were down, it was quiet and my mind drifted of to the invisible weight I carry.

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We all carry some. We are all going through one thing or another at some point in our lives. Sometimes it’s more significant than at other times. It weighs heavy on our shoulders. Running is an amazing source of release, of escapism. Enormous benefits both mentally and physically, it can leave us better equipped, more ready to tackle problems we may be going through. But it’s still a weight. Running is my escape, yet I have found the personal stresses of the last few months alongside marathon training has at times left me drained. Sometimes I feel like I can physically feel all the worries and stress perched on my shoulders. Adding lead to my legs,  it makes my heart beat faster. Sure mostly its a benefit to run your stress away.  But marathon training is a huge challenge in itself.  It’s time consuming. It’s physically and mentally tiring. Recovering well, being mentally in the right place play a huge part of  training for your marathon, yet these have all been put out of kilt. We forget, I have certainly forgot how much impact stress has on our physical and mental wellbeing. Couple that with marathon training, and it can slap you in the face. It comes as no shock that two of my three races this year, the two bad ones,  have immediately followed highly stressful or emotional situations.

I don’t tend to share much personal information. Of course, like any other person, I share what I feel I need to. If I posted on social media the ins and outs of my personal life, I would give any soap opera a run for it’s money. Sometimes I feel like a fraud, that I should share more. Stop the smiling, stop the ultimate filter. But that’s my defence. That is, how I greet the lows in my personal life. Even after losing my son, I was back in the office in a matter of weeks, back to being the joker. That’s just who I am. That’s me.  I wouldn’t shake a strangers hand and introduce myself  ‘Hi, I’m Kelly, I’m now a single mum, going through a very difficult separation after a 10 year relationship’ We all naturally hide our problems, wanting first impressions to be positive.

Divorces, moving house, pressure at work, money problems, new babies, fall outs, family issues, you name it there are stresses a plenty to add on that invisible weight.

Sure the stress has caught up with me on many an occasion throughout this training block. That’s inevitable. I’ve had far too many naps. Far too many occasions of hiding under a blanket not wanting to deal with a single thing. And I’ve spent far too many times crying. But I have also slowly found some coping mechanisms to try and recover properly and to minimise the negative impact of stress.

  • I’ve discovered an unhealthy obsession with Epsom salt baths. Bliss. Super hot and therapeutic. great physically for the muscles, and just as awesome to lie there and drift off for a while. If they are not incorporated into your training schedule, they should be!
  • If I’ve felt that tired, that wiped, I’ve taken an extra rest day, or swapped days around. I won’t allow myself to feel guilty for having an extra rest day. Just the opposite. I’m pleased I’m listening to my body, and not starting another unwanted argument. I love the Banksy quote. If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit
  • Taking time to foam roll, to stretch. I imagine the tight spots are little balls of stress. Just as I am working out the physical knots, I’m also releasing little bits of stress.
  • Make time for yourself away from training, away from your role as being there for another person, whether that be work, personally or family. I thoroughly enjoy going to a coffee shop on my own. People watching is a favourite. It distracts me from what is going on in my own life. I love shutting myself away and getting lost in a book in an evening. Find the right book, put your feet up, and you soon disappear to a far more relaxing place
  • Finally, I am learning to prioritise. What actually needs my attention first and foremost. Concentrate on that first, don’t over complicate it, or add additional stress by thinking of too much all at once. Deal with what you have to deal with, then move to the next thing.

If you are going through something stressful, and training at the same, don’t forget the impact it has. Sure you are carrying invisible weight, and that will have an effect, but you can shift it some, you can manage it. You know it’s there, you know it’s having an impact, but hopefully by being aware of it, you can compensate for it. Being aware of it’s effect is half the battle. And as always, be kind to yourself.

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Phew, that got a bit deep there. I’m off to look at some funny kitten videos on You Tube. Final hard week before taper. Lets do this!

Manchester Marathon Training, Uncategorized

Getting Over The Hump

The weeks seem to be flying right now, and it’s another double catch up! Weeks 10 and 11 of Marathon training.

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Week 10 saw yet another attempt of a 20 miler, beautiful weather and the feeling of starting to fall apart in a bigger way. Queue a week of backing off any intensity, and banking all the easy miles. I needed it. I didn’t recover well after Brighton half, which surprised me as it really wasn’t a great run. Anyhow, the 20 miles turned out to be the worst day weather wise. I ran 19.65 miles and not a step further, finishing at a pubs front door for a well earned pint after battling in horrid winds. The run had been great up until mile 12. I then had a complete wobble, the wind had picked up, a hard section of trail, and a little switch went off in my brain. I can’t do it, this sucks. The difference in that run from that moment was astonishing. The run of two halves, yet again completely ruled by the mental side of running.

Week 10

  • Monday – 3 recovery miles
  • Tuesday – 7 easy miles
  • Wednesday – 4.2 easy miles (and a lovely catch up with a friend)
  • Thursday – 5 easy miles
  • Friday – Rest Day
  • Saturday – 19.65 miles long run
  • Sunday – 1.6 recovery miles – abandoned due to niggles.

Total Miles – 40.4 Miles

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Week 11

I really felt the benefit from an easier week. The niggles I was beginning to feel backed off again, and I felt like I could ‘crack on’ a little more.

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  • Monday – 5.6 easy miles
  • Tuesday – WU, 3 x 2 miles at MP, 3 minutes recovery, CD (8.1 Miles)
  • Wednesday – 4.6 recovery miles
  • Thursday – Rest Day
  • Friday – 4 easy miles
  • Saturday – 3.1 Shake out miles
  • Sunday – The Big Half

Total Miles – 38.6 miles

Ah, the big half. The week finished with a road trip to London to participate in The Big Half. The winds also decided to show up and the yellow weather warning wasn’t nonsense for a change. The differences between this race and Brighton, were huge. I didn’t get the time I was hoping for, I’m still far off my PB. I still went off a little fast. But I was over the moon finishing this race, because I did actually run it better, and some confidence was restored. It also felt extra badass as the wind was horrific in places. Tailwind is great, but turning into sections of the course with rip your face off headwinds was hard. I was astonished to hear of so many PBs, extra kudos obtaining those in the conditions of the day.

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I’m going to be honest. My struggles the last few weeks haven’t been physical. I’m putting the miles in, staying consistent, and generally feel really good for it. I certainly couldn’t have asked for better especially coming back from the stress fracture. Sure I’m tired, my legs are fatigued, but I’m running. I’m putting the effort in. My struggles are mostly in my head. For some reason, I’ve become a little doubtful, Brighton knocked my confidence a lot, not hitting paces I should be hitting, and struggling to run full stop left me feeling a little negative. Just feeling tired, makes everything seem a little harder. But two weeks later, it was a different story at Big Half. 6 minutes off my time from Brighton, feeling strong. I didn’t push it as I could have done, I just needed a solid race to get some confidence back. It’s getting to that crunch time, where you question your goals, paces. Can I really run a whole marathon at that pace, when I struggle to hit it even for a short time in training? I’ve been questioning my abilities, rather than thinking logically about the whole cumulative build up of marathon training. About poor preparation for long runs or races. Or even about difficult weather conditions. Or even if I haven’t had a doughnut that day. Whatever. Point is, there are so many factors, and it’s all about going through these, learning, adapting, ready to put it all together on the big day .

There are just two more big weeks of training left to get through. Then it’s a two week taper. Just enough time to freshen up, and get ready to go go at Manchester. Then again at Paris the following week. Nothing like a marathon to recover from a marathon.

Hang in there folks!

Manchester Marathon Training, Uncategorized

All The Ps

Another week in the bank, one littered with errors. I’m hoping the bad dress rehearsal superstition also applies to marathon training. It does feel a little theatrical at times. However the beautiful, and unseasonal weather we are having right now has certainly helped take the edge of it.

Week 9

  • Monday – 3.6 recovery miles
  • Tuesday – 7.9 Miles Interval session
  • Wednesday – 2.6 Easy Miles + Strength Training
  • Thursday – 18.2 Miles Long Run
  • Friday – REST DAY
  • Saturday – Missed run – REST DAY
  • Sunday Brighton Half Marathon

Total Miles – 45.7 (If you have a little OCD like I normally do when it comes to rounding up to whole miles, I apologise. This looks messy)

The week began with a speed session interrupted by a hypo (low blood sugar) Fortunately these don’t appear too often now, I seem to have mostly gotten to grips with controlling my sugars and running. (If you are a type 1 diabetic looking for some tips, check out an earlier blog post Type 1 Diabetes and Long Runs But this is Diabetes. It doesn’t always like to play ball, and sometimes a spanner can be thrown into the works, just because.

Thursday saw another attempt at a 20 mile long run. I decided to try somewhere new to try and keep things interesting. It was a lovely route, 10 miles out and 10 back along the Gloucester to Sharpness canal. Again, beautiful weather, everything was set up perfect to get at least one decent long run in. It wasn’t to be. This time tummy gate. I’ll talk openly about it, because lets face it, if you are here, reading this blog you are more than likely a runner, and have more than likely encountered this problem at least one time or another. If you haven’t, consider yourself very, very fortunate. Around 7 miles in my stomach started cramping up. I hadn’t done anything different to normal. As I tried to continue running along, I prayed it was a bit of trapped wind, alas releasing hurricane kellogs did nothing to help. The cramps got worse, until the inevitable happened. The alarm went off, and I had around 10 seconds max to find somewhere discreet. I will add, that discreet poo stops were far and few between along an open canal route. It is amazing, how inventive one can be when it really is an emergency dash. Did you know you can almost make it look like you are just taking a breather and pausing for thought whilst crouching with your ass in a thorn bush. I think I carried it off anyway. So poo gate ruined this one. It didn’t get better, just much worse. I don’t know how I managed to get back (and to 18 miles) without shitting myself.

Anyway time to move on from that. Time to look forward to the first race of the year, Brighton half marathon. Saturday preparation for the half was far from ideal, but I was still excited to get to Brighton and give it a good bash, see where I am at. A good bash I gave it, and chucked every rule book out of the window. I ran like a knob. I dashed off, running the first half mile quicker than my 5k pace. What on earth was I doing. I slowed a little, giving myself a good talking to. I then slowed more, and more and more. I pretty much POSITIVE split the whole race. I literally ruined any chance of running a good race in that first mile. I know I was keen to have a go at it, but that was just stupid. Even as I was out there running, the 5 Ps were whirling around in my head (Proper Pacing Prevents Poor Performance) in fact even the old army adage of 7 Ps might have been apt (Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance) even the fact that I had been told only a few hours earlier, go out, run the first few miles easy, then pick it up. I have to say, it was lucky it was such a beautiful day, a lovely route with lots of support, and an overall wonderful race. Because without that, I think it would of just been miserable. Lots of distractions meant I actually enjoyed the race despite the above. A well earned ice cream on the beach was also worth it.

 As with every other week, lots to take on board. Still trying to work out what gives me a tummy flare sporadically, and I really do need to work on pacing. And planning. And preparing. And not being piss poor.

Have a great week!

Manchester Marathon Training, Uncategorized

Toddlers, Tantrums and Treadmills

Is it even called marathon training if you don’t start to fall apart at the seams a little? No, I didn’t think so. The last week of training has involved the spotty chicken pox toddler needing a week in confinement, unable to go to pre school (A whole week off before half term even starts) Many a tantrum on my behalf, not hers, and having to resort to mostly treadmill running in order to maintain any sort of consistency with my weeks training. Joyous. I missed another session. Still wiped from sinusitis. A quick granny nap, turned into a mammoth sleepathon, and the planned hill session on Tuesday got binned in favour of my dressing gown and junk food. I had no regrets. It was the right call. You’ll be pleased to know my tantrums over trying to fit in training and feeling like poo on a stick have subsided. I/m feeling much better.

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Week 8 Training

  • Monday – 5.1 Miles Easy/Recovery
  • Tuesday – Rest Day (Binned Hill Session)
  • Wednesday – 5.3 Easy miles catching up with a friend and eating cake.
  • Thursday – 8.9 miles including 2 x 15 minutes at Marathon Pace
  • Friday –  5 Easy Miles
  • Saturday – Rest Day (Two in one week!)
  • Sunday – 15.4 Miles Long run. Should of been 20 miles

Weekly Mileage – 40 miles

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The drop in mileage this week, reflected the missed hills and shortened long run. The long run started out wonderfully but, life happens. Or in my case, stomach cramps (probably from over indulging in a lovely Mexican restaurant the day before) and a punctured tyre on the coach’s bike! But you know what, I was ok with it. Even with the best will in the world, sometimes it just goes a bit wrong.

One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…..Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist

Stephen Hawkin

Treadmill Running

About resorting to the Treadmill, commonly referred to as the Dreadmill for many of my runs this week. It’s not that bad. Shock horror. I love my trails, I love being outside, so probably sounds a bit strange for me to openly admit….. I quite like it. It serves a purpose, allows you to get the job done, and in many cases, can be a really helpful tool when it comes to speedwork or controlling your pace. I find my legs cope much better doing speed sessions on the Treadmill rather then hitting the roads. I get a lot of messages on Instagram about the treadmill. So here’s my little nuggets of wisdom when it comes to resorting to the hamster wheel.

  1. Change it up. Many say to me I can only do x amount of time and that’s my limit. Often it’s very short. I always change something every 5 minutes or every K. Whether it be change the incline a little, or change the speed. Short bursts of faster speeds every five minutes, work wonders, It doesn’t have to be for long, just a little pick up for 30 – 60 seconds. It breaks the monotony, and I also find it helps with making the usual pace feel a little easier again. Interval sessions are much easier to tolerate, but if you’re just plugging in some easy or steady miles, or eve a long run, do some little changes.
  2. Multi Task. Take advantage of being stuck in one place. Catch up on your favourite Netflix series, listen to an audio book or podcast, learn a language. The last one is great for easy runs to make sure you are still able to talk. Although you may get a few stares splurting out Spanish [phrases if you are in a gym and not in the comfort of your own home.
  3. Ah….Comfort. I have done a fair few long runs on the treadmill. one added bonus is comfort. You’ve got your own personal aid station right in front of you. Water, gels, and a toilet meters away. Makes a refreshing change to a mad dash to find a big enough bush al fresco. There’s no need to layer up. You know you’re going to sweat a bucket load so know how to dress accordingly.
  4. It’s not running outside. It’s a tool. It makes it much easier to think of the treadmill as a tool. You are not replicating running outside. There’s no wind, rain, traffic, stray dogs, potholes, you name it. It’s not the same in any sense. Some people run faster on a treadmill, some run slower. It doesn’t matter. The effort level of the session you are doing, matters. You can still put in the same amount of effort.

When it comes to either missing a session, or jumping on the treadmill at home, then I will always go treadmill. I use it, only when Mummy duties prevent me from going out. It’s amazing how much you can fit in whilst a toddler naps. Luckily, I am mostly out, and that is always the best way.  But when circumstances mean the tool needs to be used. Move over, and pass me the TV remote. I’m binging.

Now for this week, it’s survival of half term, and my first proper race since the stress fracture with a half marathon on Sunday, I cannot wait! See you on the flip side.

 

 

 

 

 

Manchester Marathon Training, Uncategorized

A Testing Fortnight

I know, I know…. I’m cheating. Catching up with two weeks marathon training in one post. It’s been hectic. I’m tired just thinking about the last two weeks. Or maybe I’m just tired. We are at that point.

Week 6

The one that brought all the artic weather, and a nice humdinger of a cold to go with it. This is the first week since October, I’ve missed a session. Not only did I feel vile, the cold settled on my chest. We all know the golden rule. Above the neck, go and try. On your chest? Hold it right there. I missed a session completely in favour of a rest day (if you can call constructing flat pack, rest) The idea being, I would benefit enough to still be able to attempt my long run the following day. I probably felt worse the next day, so decided to just go out for a few miles with Fred in the remainder of the snow. No pressures, just go for a pootle.

Week 6 training

  • Monday – Rest Day
  • Tuesday – Easy 10k. Strength and conditioning session.
  • Wednesday – 5 miles Steady
  • Thursday – 15 minutes warm up, 20/15/10 minutes (Increasing pace each time) with 3 minutes recovery between each) 15 minutes cool down
  • Friday – (Snowmageddon) 1 hour Easy
  • Saturday – Missed Session/Rest Day
  • Sunday – 7.5 miles easy paced (Pootle with Fred)

Total weekly miles – 32.5 miles

Aside from being knocked sideways by the being poorly and the snow issues, it was a productive week, learning more about strength and condition under the guidance of a local gym. I have previously, worked on this by myself. At home, When you fling a few weights around or swing a kettlebell trying not to take out the TV (or small child) but felt like the time was right to get more running specific workouts, under guidance to make sure that my form was correct and that I’m not actually doing more damage than good! I will be delving into this a bit more in a separate post.

Week 7 (I think it’s probably actually more like week 8) 

I’ll be completely honest here. I think I should of taken more time off to recover from the nuclear cold. Total rest, instead of rollocking on with easy miles and continuing with training. I’m still not 100% and I do wonder if this might have shifted totally by now had I just stepped back. But anyway, as it is, I didn’t and the week wasn’t too bad, although I have felt pretty much wiped from every run! Add into that lack of sleep from trying to study towards my PT qualification in the evenings, and I’m on the edge! The week finished with the youngest sprog being struck down with Chicken Pox. Did I mention that I hate this time of year? Spring marathons are definitely the hardest to train for. Anyhow, poorly child meant a confined one with her little spotties. Which also meant, that if I wasn’t to miss a second long run, I would have to fit it in around her. Cue Netflix and Treadmill. 18 miles split between nap time, and bed time. I can’t say I hate the treadmill, I can’t say I would ever want to run 18 miles on one again either. But its a good tool. And a far better alternative to missing out on a run altogether.

Week 7 Training

  • Monday – 9 Easy Miles
  • Tuesday – Alternating Miles. 1 Mile Warm up, 4 x mile on, mile off, 1 mile Cool Down. I bailed on this one, The head was just full of cold and I struggled. I do almost all of the miles, but bailed on the last off and cool down. Oops.
  • Wednesday –  Easy 10k
  • Thursday – Easy 4 miles. Wasn’t feeling great after lunchtime chorizo. Learning something new every day.
  • Friday – 10 minutes warm up, 20 minutes MP, 5 x 2 Minutes 5k pace, 20 minutes MP, 10 minutes CD
  • Saturday – 3 recovery miles
  • Sunday – 18 miles Long Run

Total weekly mileage – 57.2 Miles

 

 

So that’s pretty much summed up the last couple of weeks. It’s been full on, and just get along with Marathon Training as best as I can. There are a few things I know that need improvement, and rapidly if I’ve any chance of getting sub 4 in Manchester. The lack of sleep is something that needs to be addressed, and also incorporating more strength and conditioning. So this week, along with just trying to fit it all in, I need to pay more attention to what my body needs right now! Mini goals, one week at a time.

For us mere mortals, just trying to train for a marathon alongside everyday life, work, family and commitments is a tough ask. It becomes all about the juggling act. Inevitably something gets out of kilt, something is sacrificed, or put on the back burner. Tuning into your body, what it needs most and prioritising that, is all we can do, so we are not feeling totally overwhelmed or that we are failing. You never know when a spanner will get thrown into the works, whether it be illness, or being missing a session in favour of something else that is more important that day. It’s part and parcel of marathon training.

Have a great week you guys. If you’ve got this far, you rock!

 

 

 

 

Manchester Marathon Training, Uncategorized

Some Week Into Marathon Training

Another week has passed, without any dramas or significant news. That’s a good thing. Time to recap last weeks training, week number (I don’t actually know) of Manchester Marathon training. I say I don’t know, because I’m not sure when I consciously started training towards this marathon. It was all about building back up from the stress fracture. Lets call it week five. Makes sense as it’s been five weeks since the long runs started up again. ok, so now that’s established, time to stop waffling.

Week 5 looked like this

  • Monday – 1 hour recovery run
  • Tuesday – Hill intervals (6 reps + 6 Hill sprints)
  • Wednesday – 1 hour easy run
  • Thursday – 90 minute medium long run
  • Friday – Easy 3 miles
  • Saturday – Progressive 10k
  • Sunday – 16 miles LSR

Weekly total – 50 miles

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This week was a bit of a slog and had it’s usual highs and lows. Some runs I thoroughly enjoyed, In fact all of them minus the long run and Hill intervals. I lacked any kind of umph for these.

It’s been a slightly stressful week. I made the mistake of having a Netflix and chill moment early on in the week, which led to me watching ‘Tidying up with Marie Kondo’ Wow. I hadn’t even finished watching the first episode, and I wanted nothing more than to empty my entire house of all its contents and spark my own joy by embracing black bin bags. I began, without thinking about the fact that life has to carry on as normal whilst you are deep cleaning your soul. Changing my entire house, has left me feeling slightly frazzled, because its being done in dribs and drabs. Though the parts that are done, do indeed leave me feeling joyous, living in the worlds must cluttered jumble sale does not. Add in to the mix starting a personal trainer course, poorly children (yes, all three of them in one go!) and its felt a little strained this week. I digress. I seem to be mentioning Marie Kondo in every other sentence right now. It must stop.

marie

I joke of course. My children always spark joy.

Long run Sunday was completed amid bone chilling winds. Just absolutely vile. I truly felt battered after this long run, just a constant fight against the wind no matter what direction I headed. I also, almost quit at mile 10. I had planned an out and back, then a 10k loop. Running past my car at the 10 mile point, was torture. It was safe in there. Dry, warm, sheltered. I finished the run, and actually felt pretty awesome for not bailing on it, despite the fact it was pretty shoddy running wise.

The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed there was no usual rest day on Friday. I felt that. Despite encouragement from coach to have the rest day, I ignored it, because I thought I was feeling good. Big mistake. I should of had a rest day even more so this week, with the tidying/poorly house stresses. It probably didn’t have a huge impact on my training, but I felt it on my long run. As much as I, and most runners hate the rest day, I do believe in the magic of it. Letting your body heal, rest, respond to the training you have been doing. I don’t really know why I was so bolshie about not having one this week, when I do champion them on the whole. You’ll be pleased to know, I’ve started this week absolutely missing a Monday and resting up ahead of another full on week. Thinking long term, not just about the current day.

On to week six (ish) and another jam packed week ahead. 9 weeks to go.

 

 

Manchester Marathon Training, Uncategorized

Hello 2019

Happy New Year! Yes, I’ m a little late to the party. But we are still in January, so it all counts. Right?

So it’s a New Year, which of course comes with new goals. I’ve broken it down a little year. Little segments. Seems much more manageable that way. The priority has been to make sure I’ve come back from the stress fracture that ruled out Chicago Marathon correctly. It’s been a long build up of mostly easy miles, trying to increase my mileage gradually and build up a base ready for the next event. All eyes on Manchester Marathon on 7th April!

 

The easy miles have worked a treat. I mean true easy miles. This meant investing in a chest strap to monitor my heart rate and switching off from Strava trap. Not literally, I love logging my runs on there, and achieving segment pbs as much as the next person but switching off from the fear of posting ‘slow’ runs. I have used Strava as long as I’ve been running. I love it, I like to see my accumulation of weekly miles, it feels good to receive Kudos for getting out there and doing your run. But switching off, and not caring about what my pace or runs look like to anyone else on Strava has been key to me finally slowing right down and approaching training the right way.

 

Running using the chest strap has been a revelation. Firstly, just how inaccurate wrist-based readings are. Secondly, that running to heart rate, and logging easy miles is a lot different to going a few seconds a mile slower, but still calling it an easy run. We’ve all been there. When I first started using it, it felt like I only had to shuffle in a forward direction, and my heart rate would rocket. So many walk breaks to bring my heart rate down, I actually felt like I couldn’t go easy enough to keep it low.

 

So this was my November and December. All the easy miles. Watching my heart rate. There has been a huge gain since the beginning of November though, and my easy pace according to heart rate is now around 90 seconds quicker per mile. I say around. There are other factors that determine the pace/heart rate. Days following sessions, tiredness, stress, a bit under the weather. All plays a part.

 

New Year has meant I’ve been in a good place to start marathon training and kicking it up a notch. This time under a watchful eye and new coach Matt Rees @TheWelshRunner The person who has instilled all the sensible training I previously lacked, and ensured the comeback from this injury has been done the right way, not my normal way! The last few weeks I’ve been able to incorporate track, hill, interval sessions. Obviously not all at once. Always followed by more of the easy stuff. Apart from the general stiffness that accompanies marathon training, all is feeling good, and I’m seeing improvements each week. It leaves me positive.

 

gower

 

So, what do I want from this year? Simple. Not to miss my marathons. Last year was soul destroying missing both my Spring and Autumn marathons. Hopefully, I’ve learnt from it. Time will tell. But my approach to returning from the latest injury has been a lot more sensible, and different from previous injuries, so hopefully, I have learnt something!

Lots of big events coming up this year, and mostly I just want to remain fit, healthy, and not broken for them. I still have time goals. Sub 4 for Manchester! It still feels like a long way off, and I don’t know if I am being extremely ambitious, but I will be giving it a good go. That’s all any of us can do! Then I guess, it’s try for the original goal and the reason I started this blog in the first place. Sub 3:45 at Chicgao in October. We shall see. One step at a time.

Aside from the marathon goals this year, it looks to be promising with lots of other races and adventures. May will see Liverpool Rock n Roll Marathon, where I will be speaking at the RunFit expo. Cannot wait for this one, it seems like so much fun. I’m super thrilled to be a Threshold Sports ambassador also this year. This means returning to Race to The Tower, and Race to The King, and also adding in Race to The Stones. Cannot wait to go back, with the aim of improving my time for the first two ultras, and also completing the treble! Well hopefully. July will be time for fun and adventures after the Ultras, at a wonderful trail camp in Bansko with the Run Bulgaria team. Then Chicago in October! First goal – make the start line this time!

So there it is. A brief roundup, a catch up, and stage set for 2019.

Lets hope for a good one.

Uncategorized

All That Is Good

The last week has been amazing in so many ways. I have been more than quiet on the blog front, and I’ll be honest, continuous injury lead me to a horrible place. One where I was fighting daily to make something work, that wasn’t going to work. I was so desperate to make the marathon start line that I kept pushing, putting pressure on myself and my body that wasn’t needed and only had a detrimental effect. Which leads me to the start of the week. The moment of clarity.

I finally decided (a week out) that I would withdraw from the marathon. The decision came after what should of been a wonderful Easter trail run on the Saturday with fellow Asics Frontrunners, which ended up with me hobbling back after a mile. If I couldn’t run a mile, even going super easy for 26.2 would have been disastrous. I cannot even begin to describe the instant relief. The weight that I felt lifted from my shoulders. I had made myself so unhappy for weeks on end, that when the relief came from choosing to withdraw I realised the decision should have been made much sooner. It is an incredibly hard decision to make, when you’ve trained for, and been geared for that single event. Eventually (a little late) I realised that the first marathon was not my goal this year. A summer of doing my first ultras and going for GFA in Chicago Marathon IS my goal. It came down to looking at the bigger picture. I’ll be honest. Just to run carefree and pain free is something I had taken for granted, and something I desperately need back in my life for mental and physical happiness. There are plenty more marathons in the sea! On a little side note I did however, learn a whole array of useful cross training and strengthening work, which I shall detail at a later date.

It was also my birthday. A wonderful day spent with my family, which also saw the return of proper pain free 2.5 miles. Albeit incredibly cautious and unfit miles, but they felt wonderful. No pressure. Just go out and plod. Another 4 miles on Friday and a wonderful bit of fun Parkrun tourism with friends (the beautiful Ashton Court) chatting, giggling and messing about in puddles and the miles are creeping in.

Then Manchester Marathon. Cheering duties. A wonderful night and day spent with fantastic company, and being totally inspired by the wonderful runners. If you ever need a huge dose of positivity, to see determination and grit working across all types of runners, please do go support a marathon. Any race. If you can’t run it, support it. You never know just how much you may help someone, how you may just distract or encourage with 25 miles of pain behind them, the final agonising stretch so close, yet so far. I had wonderful hugs with many of the Instagram runners. All wonderfully inspiring, and such a pleasure to see! There were two who stuck with me for different reasons, and reiterated all that is good about running. The two Dans. I managed to catch Danny O’Reilly twice on the course (@the_running_dan https://www.instagram.com/the_running_dan) who was officially pacing a group of 3:30 runners. Brimming with positive energy, and making it look effortless, he stormed by with his pack all smiles. The type of running that made me want to hop in and join. If a pacer can make you believe you can stick with him, he’s the man! The second, Dan Cogswell (@the_marathon_dan https://www.instagram.com/the_marathon_dan) who’s face lit up when he spotted us, with a mile left to go. It was one of those hugs where you knew he was battling, he was giving it everything, he was hurting, but he was smiling….and that’s when it really hit home how much support is valued. Such a special moment, and actually really emotional.

It’s the start of a brand new week, and another new chapter for me. The start of working with the wonderful Team Project Run https://www.teamprojectrun.com who have already been extremely welcoming and positive. I’ve never used a coach before. After the fiasco of the start of this year, and with such a huge amount still left for the year, I’m trusting my training to the watchful eye of a coach. Hopefully safely tucked underneath a guiding wing, good things will start to happen in preparation for Race to The Tower and Race to The Stones, and even more so for Chicago marathon 😊.

So there it is, a brief (ish) round up. Normal service will now resume.