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Manchester Marathon Training Recap – Week 2

Manchester Marathon recap week 2 has been a fairly good one. The miles are creeping up and I actually enjoyed pushing the pace in the session this week. If you missed last week’s recap, click here. Make sure you are subscribed too so you don’t miss any other posts.

Monday

Last week at run-club it was so wet and so cold, I really didn’t know if I could face another session being freezing. I spent most of the early evening trying to decide if I was going to run club or not. The one thing that I am definitely going to try this cycle is to use Monday sessions as recovery sessions. I think in the past, I have worked too hard at these sessions, especially after long long runs and then wonder why I can’t hit the paces in the speed sessions. I need to give my body time to recover. Not every session has to be flat out.

So, as Storm Brendan raged, I hit the treadmill. Frustratingly my watch never records correctly on the treadmill, so I set the pace at 9.0 km/h and ran 4 miles. The pace should have been easy, but it felt far from easy. I wanted to give up many times but just got on and got it done.

Manchester Marathon training on a treadmill
All smiles once it was over!

Tuesday

Now that I am back to trying to work a bit more now, fitting in training is more challenging, obviously!

Friends were meeting at 4:30 pm and it was touch and go if I would make it home in time. With Storm Brendan blowing, I knew I would struggle to get out on my own, so I was home, upstairs change and out of the door in about 15 minutes!

We were lucky that it was only drizzling, but the winds were strong. At times you had to really work hard running into the wind and on occasions, it helped me along too! We kept the pace slow, yet it felt far from easy!

5 miles banked and I am looking forward to my rest day tomorrow!

Finish selfie trying not to get blown away in Storm Brendan.

Wednesday

Rest day – yippee!

Thursday

I genuinely loved this session. I had just completed my first full day of teaching for a while and was shattered. The weather was shocking as per! I really contemplated not going. But throughout this training cycle, I had decided that Thursday’s session would be my ‘hard’ session. Whether that be hills or speed, I had to attack full throttle.

The session was mile repeats. We were supposed to go at our 10k pace, which I thought was around the 9-minute mark. We set off and I was with Dem. I pushed the pace but was still able to talk intermittently. When we clicked the first mile at 8:38, I said ‘well that won’t continue.’

We set off on the second mile and I did feel this was a little harder – I could tell by my breathing, but I assumed that was due to going out too hard on the first rep. Well, that mile clocked in as 8:17 😱

I was convinced I didn’t have the third mile in me, but when we were told to go again I just kept working hard. I was definitely finding this rep the hardest, but I tried desperately to keep up with Dem. He pulled away at the end, but the mile still clocked in at 8:19. I was SO chuffed. I know that this isn’t my 10k pace, but it was nice to push the pace a bit and clock some miles with an 8 at the start. Even the rain and wind couldn’t take the smile off my face after that session.

Friday

Rest day!

Saturday

What a beautiful morning! I am loving having a Parkrun so close to home now and it helps that it is such a pretty run. It was supposed to be a slow run and we started at the back so it started that way.

Girl gang prior to the start of Irchester Parkrun.

It was a little muddy, but it was a really lovely run. We got faster as we ticked off the miles and I did worry that I would regret pushing the pace during tomorrows long run.

Sunday

The weather forecast was for it to be cold and icy. Trying to be smart, I suggested that we meet at the local park early so we could run on the trails. I thought it would be less slippery. Well, that was true, it wasn’t slippery. But it was flooded!

Just a little bit of flooding on our long run route

With a slightly adjusted route, we ticked off the miles. I felt remarkably good and we had to keep checking pace and slowing down. There was so much flooding, but some beautiful views.

We finished at Junior Parkrun. I ran the last mile with my daughter. It was bitter cold, but she did amazingly well, running the entire course. It was a great way to finish week 2 of marathon training.

Overview and Stats

I have still been rubbish with stretching and strength work! I am now back working more days than previous, so I need to keep consistent with train, even though I know I am going to be more tired.

Garmin showing weekly mileage from week 2 of Manchester Marathon.

26 miles banked for week 2

And on to week three, we go…

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Manchester Marathon Training Recap – Week 1

Here we go again. Marathon training cycle number six for the Manchester Marathon has now started. Each week I will recap my training, highlighting the highs and lows of training for a marathon. As this is cycle 6, you would think I would remember what I am letting myself in for, but as with childbirth, your memory erases the pain.

I like writing these weekly recaps, as it gives me something to look back over when I am having a wobble. I have also categorised these recaps so that I can just scroll the week 1 of marathon training and it will bring up week 1 from all my other cycles. Great way to compare where I am in comparison to previous cycles. You can look at all week 1 recaps here. You are probably not that interested, but I know I will look! hehe

Monday

Travelling so no running.

Tuesday

Arriving back from Australia at 6:35am this morning meant I had know idea what time zone I was in. I did think about running as I thought it would help stay awake longer and then sleep well, but I was so COLD, I couldn’t pull myself away from the fire!

Wednesday

Jet lagged and weary, I met with Christine to run today. A little apprehensive as I didn’t know how the run was going to feel. I knew I was tired and my previous runs had felt quite hard, so I had constantly said to Christine that the run had to be slow paced and not too far.

It was COLD. Well, Christine didn’t seem to think so and was in shorts, but I was certainly feeling the climate change. We ran and chatted, I chatted a LOT. Reliving my holiday stories and before I knew it we were at the turn around point. We stopped to discuss whether we should carry on for half a mile to make the run 5 miles in total. Even though I felt ok, I was worried that I would struggle towards the end of the run if I pushed to far too soon, so we stuck with the 4 miles. We chatted all the way back too and I am happy to report that I didn’t fade with pace.

With out actually intending too we run a progressive run, which was very pleasing when I looked at the stats after. After running solo for the last few weeks, it was so nice to run with Christine. It certainly makes the run much easier and I enjoyed it.

I like the look of those stats!

Thursday

My first session back at my running club. I was hoping that I would be able to stay awake for session as I had been awake since 3:30am! I knew it was going to be cold, but then I had the added fun of it raining too. It had been a while since I had run in the rain and leaving the house was a struggle.

We were doing a short hill session and when the heavens open just as we finished the warm up, I did question my life choices! I actually felt quite strong running up the hills, but my lack of running certainly showed towards the end of the session as my pace dropped dramatically. As much as I moaned about being cold and soaked through, I know that these are the sessions that are going to make Manchester Marathon manageable. It would have been easy to stay in and blame jet lag, but marathons don’t run themselves. They also do a good job of making you pay for it on race day if you don’t put in the hard work.

Friday

Rest Day.

Saturday

My running club were doing a parkrun take over at Irchester Country Park. I had originally thought about running there and back to get the miles in, but was fortunate to be given the role of writing the run report. This meant that I could still run.

Irchester is an undualting course, but VERY pretty. I ran with Christine again and didn’t once look at my watch. The course was very busy, so I knew we were going fairly slow at the start. We chatted all the way round, the hills didn’t feel all that bad at all. I loved seeing all of my club mates on the marshal points and they were giving lots of encouragement.

I had to stop to take my jumper off at one point. I have still been struggling with the cold since returning from Australia so I did have MANY layers on! When I stopped my watch at the end, I was pleasantly surprised by the average pace. I was expecting it the start with an 11!

The when I looked at the whole run it brought a smile to my face. Who doesn’t love negative splits!

Not fast, but very a very pleasing graph.

Sunday

You always no when marathon training starts, as your weekend alarm becomes earlier than during the week! It was an early start, but jet lag has been kicking my ass this week, so I didn’t actually need an alarm!

I was running with Brems as we were due a well overdue catch up. It was still dark when we started the run and we had agreed to keep the run slow. We chatted the whole way and to be honest I looked at my watch very infrequently. We stopped occasionally to take photos and just really enjoyed the run.

We ran to meet my daughter at Junior Parkrun and ended up running it with her. 7.72 miles banked in total and a run that I really enjoyed. Our pace and stats were not too bad either.

Overview and Stats

So, it’s a start but there is SO much more hard work to come. I need to add in strength workouts and some stretching routine. I am not young anymore and additional things other than running become much more important. I am hoping that my sleeping will return to normal soon as well as training will need to ramp up.

Onwards and upwards!

18.38 miles banked for week 1

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Running and Travelling

So, I am currently sat in the airport in Singapore waiting for my final flight back to the UK. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that I have been on the most epic trip to Australia. So, here are my ramblings on running and travelling.

Aeroplane called Big Fella Fella
Only in Australia would a plane be called Big Yella Fella 😂

We stayed in Brisbane, Sunshine Beach, back to Brisbane and then finished in Burleigh, on the Gold Coast. It was truly amazing and I am sad to be heading home.

Beach view
That is Surfers Paradise in the distance

Running when you are in a new destination is amazing. You get a feel for the area and some of the views that you get to experience are amazing. I love exploring new areas; it is best when you are with another runner, but solo exploring is good too.

I have to admit that I only got to do a very small run at Sunshine Beach as I was ill for the first section of our travels. Nothing serious just coughing and spluttering, but enough to choose to give running a miss for a few days, especially as the Christmas Festivities were in full swing too.

This didn’t mean that I wasn’t active, I made the most of swimming and hiking through Noosa National Park. I wrote about our first walk here, but I did actually complete the walk twice. The second time we set off earlier in the day and boy was it hot! But the undulating walk, steps, and walking on the sand built up a good sweat and made the post walk beer so much more enjoyable!

Well earned beers

When we arrived at the Gold Coast, the set up was too good not to run. A path along the beachfront, what more could you ask for! I was feeling better and actually really looked forward to getting out to run. The heat was intense during the day, so I had to get up early to run and was amazed at how many people were out running, walking and skating along the path at 6:30 am. Not only was the path busy, but the sea was also full of surfers. Australia really does appear to have an active lifestyle culture. The path that I ran on appeared to go on for miles. I was almost disappointed with myself for not being fitter to run longer, as I am sure I could have run to Surfers Paradise and back.

Trainers and sea

Tips

  • Plan a route. I just used my iPhone map to look for a route. Luckily I was with people that knew the area, so I knew it was safe and fine to run.
  • Set your kit out the night before. If it is out and ready you are more likely to get out of bed and go.
  • Set your alarm. I had been waking up early most mornings, but I still set my alarm. In Australia you need to run early or it just gets too hot, so you don’t want to miss your opportunity.
  • Tell people where you are going. I always take my phone as well. Mainly for photographs, but also incase I get lost!
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. The first morning, I told myself I could walk if I wanted too. As I hadn’t run for a while and had been unwell I ended up just run walking. Just getting up and being out was great.
  • I don’t wear headphones often as I like taking it all in. So I also made sure that I looked around listened and tried to take it all in.
  • I stopped to take lots of photos, catch my breath and take in the views.
  • Build up your runs over time if you want too, but really just enjoy the opportunity that you are experiencing.

My runs were not long or fast, but I loved them. I am so grateful that I am able to run and I got to run in such a beautiful part of the world.

Koala
How adorable do Koalas look?

Now it is time for the hard work to start. Manchester Marathon is fast approaching and I need to get stuck into training. The cold is going to be a bit of a shock I think, but I’m ready for you, marathon training cycle number SIX!

Are you training for something?

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2019 Running Reflections

So as we are at the end of the year, I have been reflecting back over my year in terms of running, well isn’t that what all bloggers do? Actually, does everyone reflect and goal set? I have been reading lots lately on goal setting and reflection and it has made me wonder if I am the only person that is a bit aimless. 

I used to set lots of goals and have plans, yet I seem to be drifting lately. Maybe I need to be doing a lot more reflection and goal setting in my life aside from running too! I digress!

Reflecting on my Chicago Marathon Race in Chicago.

Chicago Marathon was really my only goal/target for last year and even then I didn’t really commit to a big goal. I had casually suggested that I wanted to run around the 4:30 mark and the closer I got to 4:15 the happier I would be. But, honestly, I’m not totally sure that I was that convinced by that! 

At the end of the training cycle, I just wanted to get round it and enjoy it! Can you ever really enjoy a marathon? As you can guess, when you don’t commit to a goal or have the self belief that you can do it, it is likely to not be met. 

I didn’t really have any time targets for running this year. I just approach each race and then have this crazy idea that I may crack out a PB in that race. But by the time the race starts, I’ve usually let the negativity talk take over, so don’t even attempt the PB pace. On the flip side, if I have a crazy moment, I’ll probably go faster than the pace needed, thinking it will help if I fade at the end then crash and burn at the end instead! You’d think after all years, I’d be better at running by now! 

I am inclined to reflect on my running this year with some disappointment, as Chicago was nowhere near a PB. My training wasn’t all that good. I had a great plan, I just didn’t feel like I executed that well. Long runs felt so hard! I got bored doing them and didn’t enjoy the process quite how I would have liked too!

,Then there was my half marathon PB, surely that sounds like it should be positive! My 2:00:32 half marathon time was set back in 2009. It was my very first half marathon and I haven’t been able to beat it since. Well, that was until I ran the Bedford Half. I wasn’t supposed to be racing it, instead, using it as a tempo run, but when I knew a PB was achievable I couldn’t help myself. Yet, even though it was a PB, the elusive sub 2 hour finish time still escaped me. 2:00:01! ONE BLOODY SECOND!!! Yes I was happy to have knocked 31 seconds off my PB time, but really, could it not have started with a 1:xx:xx!!! So even with a PB, it was still tinged with a little bit of gloom, but that is ok. Running is more than just races, times and bling. 

I have NEEDED running this year! It has meant so much more to me than I may be able to put into words.

I haven’t hidden the fact that my mental health took an absolute battering this year. I quit my job as it was making me really unwell. I needed to seek help to try and help me work through my crazy headspace. 

Many times, I have felt like I have lost myself, yet running has always allowed me to feel normal, happy and find some clarity in my thoughts.

My fuzzy head has felt so full at times and completely overwhelming. My thoughts have been negative and at times very dark, yet running allowed me to escapes from these thoughts. It helped me clear my head and see how irrational some of my darker thoughts were.

My mental health is still not 100% but I am working on that and will continue to work on it every day, but I’m ok with that. Even at the age of 42, I feel I am still a work in progress and for the first time in a while I am excited to see where the journey takes me.

I am still seeking ‘the’ job, which is scary at times, but who knows where I will end up??? I’m just glad that I will have running there with me as I go.

who knows where 2020 will take me!!

In some ways I am happy to see the back of 2019, yet I know it has, as always, taught me some great lessons. I haven’t got a list of definitive goals for the year yet, but I plan to sit down and have a good think about what it is I want to achieve in 2020.

So, as soon as I return home from my holiday, Manchester Marathon training will commence and I am really looking forward to that. Yes I actually am! 

What are you training for in 2020?

Some highlights from this year

Chicago Marathon

Brighton Half Marathon

Starting MNDAD@70

ASICS 10K

Remember to check out my upcoming races page to see what I’ll be doing next year. You will also be able to read all my race reviews from this year too.

How has your year been?

Christmas gift

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas​ for Runners

I’d love to say that I am the ‘super organised’ kind of person. That all my Christmas Cards have been written and are in the post already. That my Christmas presents are neatly wrapped and sitting decoratively under my tree. Well, I would love to say it, but that wouldn’t be true!!

So, if you are like me and need some last-minute gift ideas for runners, here are some suggestions for you.

Christmas gift

Runr

I am a big fan of Runr and love the fact that they have the option of getting e-gift cards. So, if you are REALLY bad, you could purchase this on Christmas morning and print it!

Runr are a brand that are for the passionate runner. They have both technical kit, leisure wear and running accessories so your recipient will be able to find things to buy, making sure that everyone knows that they are a runner.

Gins Running Stitch

I love the products that Gins Running Stitch offers as they are personalised and although it maybe too late to get an item made now, I know that gift vouchers are available.

All the race t-shirts that runners don’t know what to do with could be made into a rug, running skirt, ponchos etc.

Secret London Runs

I know I have spoken about this company lots, read here. but no runner would ever be disappointed if they got a gift card or signed up to one of their runs. Secret London Runs host themed running tours around London. You don’t need to worry about pace or distance as they cater for all. I missed their Christmas Lights run this year, but I WILL definitely make it next year. It looks SO much fun.

I am sure that there ar MANY other ideas for last-minute gifts, so please add to the comments below to help out those of us that are a little less organised!

Asics GT 2000

What have I learned​ since I started running?

So, you’ve decided to take up running, you are thinking of taking up running, or you’ve been running for a while. Well, this is my take on things you will find happen when you are a runner.

Running trainers

Early Days

  • You’ll find that one minute is SO much longer than your thought.
  • You make progress quite quickly early on, often surprising yourself frequently.
  • Every road, path, pavement near to where you live, are all uphill!
  • You know how far a mile is, in every direction, from your house.
  • Very few people look ‘good’ in running clothes!
  • You begin to set your alarm clock earlier at the weekend, than your weekday alarm.
  • You will become obsessed with stats and weather!
  • You notice runners everywhere; You even become a little jealous of them running, as you wish you were too.
  • You develop lots of BRF (Best Running Friends) some you have never met, thanks to social media.
  • You become an ‘Oversharer’. Toilet habits, mishaps, clothing malfunctions, injuries, etc.
  • You know all the road names of your local area.
  • For a cheap sport, running can be very expensive.
Running in a 5K
One of my first ever races – ‘Just’ a 5k!

Later on…

  • You are only ever training for a 5K, yet once you complete that, you find yourself signing up for a 10K.
  • You are only ever training for a 10K, yet once you complete that, you find yourself signing up for a half marathon.
  • You are only ever training for a half marathon, yet once you complete that, you find yourself signing up for a marathon.
  • You are only ever training for a marathon, yet once you complete that, you find yourself signing up for many more crazy adventures as possible.
  • People will tell you that running is bad for you. My mother-in-law once told me that I only have an allocated number of steps in my lifetime and I was wasting them all running.
  • You want to run ALL the races.
  • You have more running clothes than ‘normal’ clothes.
  • You can NEVER have enough kit.
  • Your mental maths ability disappears at the end of races.
  • You rarely get nice race photographs.
  • You need to take out a loan to buy race photos.
  • Whilst some hibernate in the winter months, you develop the ability to run in all weather.
  • You spend more money on race entries than you do on going out.
  • You happily get into bed by 9 pm (or earlier) on a Saturday night as you have an early start for your long run on Sunday.
  • Black toenails are a badge of honour.
  • Painting your toe skin, where the toenail should be, is totally acceptable.
  • Marathon nails are a ‘thing’.
  • Pizza is life.
Pizza order for #TeamMND at Endure 2019!

I’m sure that I have missed off many things, so please add them to the comments below.

What have you learned since becoming a runner?