Race Recap – Kingston Breakfast Run

So my final 20-miler of this London Marathon training cycle, coincided nicely with the Kingston Breakfast Run 20 mile event, and as I was staying in the London area the same weekend, it seemed rude not to enter! The event is organised Human Race, and as with all of their events, this one did not disappoint!

Human Race Events

Date: Sunday 3rd April 2016

Time: 8am start. Yes it is an early start,  and forcing porridge down you at 6am isn’t pleasant, but it is nice that the run doesn’t take up your whole day!

Weather: Warm, sunny, with a slight breeze. After the wind and rain of last week, this was lovely.

Course: This course is a fast flat, looped course. One loop is from Kingston Bridge to Hampton Court Bridge and in total is around 8 miles. The event hosts and 8 mile (1 lap) 16 mile (2 laps) and 20 miles (2 and a bit laps) You run along the River Thames and it really is pretty, especially when the sun is shining. There are some supporters around the start/finish, but very few on the actual course. There are plenty of marshals and they are very supportive and encouraging. There were frequent water stations, 2 which had SIS gels available (shown below). I didn’t use the baggage area, but have done in the past and was easy and efficient. There are toilets near the toilets, but with 15 minutes to go before the start of the race, the queue was huge. The 8 and 16 mile races started 30 minutes later, and I’m sure it was a lot of these runners in the queue. They really could have waited or let us 20 milers sneak in ahead. There is a toilet on the route, but once I have started I am very reluctant to stop!

The website says that they have pacers from 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, & 12 min/miles, but they were very hard to spot, as they had red t-shirts on, but nothing written on the back and no flag. I just stumbled upon the 11min/mile pace around mile 2, but I was running 10:30 pace. I went past him, but he caught me up around mile 20, and again I averaged 10:32 pace, so if you had planned to stick at 11 min/mile pace and kept with him, you would have worked a little bit harder than you wanted too.

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My race: I felt quite nervous about this race. I’m not totally sure why, as I ran 20 miles only 2 weeks ago, but I was worried as this was my last attempt and what if it all went wrong! London is only 3 weeks away and I really wanted this to be a confidence builder. Even though I was running this race on my own, I met up with some of the lovely RMR and UK Run Chat communities before the start. I also met one of my fellow RunMND runners, which was such a great surprise; she even stayed around at the end to see me 🙂 Thanks Maxine

I spent most of the early miles making myself slow down. I really didn’t want to start too fast, as I knew that it would hurt at the end of the run, AND more importantly it would make me worry about my ability to pace myself sensibly at London. I was pleased when the mile pace clocked 10:18 and 10:47 for mile 1 & 2. Around 2 miles, I  linked with a group of people and we chatted away about marathons and training. I ended up staying with one man from this group for the entire race. It so good when you run with new people, and you know that you both helped each other going!

I practiced my nutrition strategy, changing it slightly from my last 20 miler. I still had  a torq gel at 3 miles, but then extended it to every 4 miles. I missed my mile 19 gel as it didn’t seem worth it, but will take one at 19, and 23 miles too on marathon day. Around mile 19, I started to feel a little tired and was ready for it to be over, but really pleasing was that my final 3 miles got progressively quicker, and my final mile was 10:19 pace 🙂

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Lesson learned: I need to get to races earlier, this was a little too close for comfort, and did mean that I started the race needing a wee! Good pacing makes running a lot nicer. I need to stop making stupid faces when I see a photographer, otherwise I get silly pictures like this!

Silly faces for races

Pros:

  • Running 20 miles as part of an event is much better than on your own.IMG_9188
  • Great awareness for MNDA, as the official photography took a picture of me and a team-mate, fully MNDA kitted out.
  • The marshals were brilliant, and very supportive.
  • The photographers got lots of picture due to the smaller field, and they did not cost too much!

Cons

  • Toilets – there can never be too many toilets
  • Pacers – they were not easy to spot, and I’m not totally sure they stuck to their prescribed pace.

All in all, it was a confidence booster, and now it’s taper time!!

Beware Taper time

If you would like to donate funds to support MNDA you can do here: www.virginmoneygiving.com/ruthwebb10

 

#VMLM2016 training – Week 12

Monday – Mile repeats at club. My legs were heavy from the weekends 20 miles, so these were completed at a steady pace, and to be honest the pace slowed considerably as the reps progressed.

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Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – 8 miles steady run. I still felt the miles in my legs, and I constantly remind myself that I am training on tired legs. The run felt quite tough, but when finished I realised that  we had pushed the pace quite a bit, so I was happy with it.

Thursday – Drills at club. Lots of our club are running the local 10K on Easter Monday, so this was a light session. We completed some running drills, squats and light running. Probably just what I needed and lots of fun. I also had the best post delivery today too.

Friday – Rest – travelled to Cardiff Expo to collect my running number.

Saturday – IAAF Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships 🙂 It was amazing, and a full race report will be posted very soon.

Sunday – Rest.

Anyone else #runtheworlds ?

#VMLM2016 training – Week 11

Monday – I went to club and my group were doing mile reps! My legs told me, I was NOT doing mile reps, so I joined the group below and chatted my way around a recovery run. My legs were tired and at times this run felt hard, and I was averaging 11:45 pace! I completed 3.5 miles and it was just what I needed.

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – 10 miles. I met 2 of the ladies from club to complete our usually 5 mile loop. My legs still felt quite heavy, and about 2 miles in I thought I was going to be lucky to make it to 10! For my second 5 miles, I was running with one of the men from club, and during mile 3 I was really worried that I was going to slow him down too much and struggle. Then, just after 5 mile mark, my legs seemed to switch on. It was as though they had warmed up and realised that they needed to run. The second 5 miles was really nice; we picked up the pace and I actually felt quite comfortable. The route finished almost right outside my house, yet I felt I could have kept going easily!

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Thursday – 400 reps. Everyone at club was pushing the pace, but our coach suggested myself and a few others that were racing this weekend, should just jog the reps. We ended up running for around 2/3 minutes and resting for the same amount of time. Even though I was running very easy, my shoulders were very tight. I was told to run, imaging that I was holding a crisp between my thumb and finger, that I was not to break. As soon as I adopted this position, my shoulders did relax, so I need to remember this.

Friday – Sports massage – I was lucky to get an extra appointment in this morning, to work on my shoulders, ready for tomorrow!

Saturday – 20 MILES! My amazing team mates at club helped me organise a route, and then come out to run with me. It was a bit of a tag team. I ran 5.5 miles with Rachel and Tracie, then 0.5 of a mile on my own, to meet Sam, Keith and Andy. They then took me on their normal 10 mile route, which was a little undulating, but I felt pretty strong throughout, and the hills that had previously annoyed me on this route, didn’t feel too bad. Finally, Tina met me to run my last 4 miles. It was amazing, they were all so supportive, all could have run much quicker than I was running, but stuck with my pace to help me. I had planned to run around 10:30 pace, but I ended up averaging a 10:21 pace. The only negative was that when my watch flashed up 20 miles, I stopped and saved it straight away. I don’t usually do this, but for some reason, I was worried that I would delete it. Once it was saved, I noticed the watch said 19.9 miles!! WHAT….. As I had saved it, I couldn’t just add it on the last 0.1 of a mile!!

Sunday – Rest day – although I have to report that I am so surprised how good my legs feel today, I think the football my daughter made me play yesterday afternoon, and the game of tag this morning, really helped my legs recover! Let’s see how they are tomorrow!

This time in FIVE weeks it will all be over!!!! I can’t believe how close it is!

#VMLM2016 training – Week 3

Monday – Speed session at club. 800 metres X 5, with 2 minutes recovery. This was a toughie! I was aiming to run at 8 minute/mile pace, and I did stay close to it, but having only completed my long run yesterday, I did slow down on the final lap! I am also battling a cold at the moment, so at times breathing was interesting.

Tuesday – rest, but with some foam rolling! I could feel some niggles from yesterdays session, so I’m hoping 10 minutes of pain in front of the TV should help.

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Ouch!

Wednesday – Rest day as ill.

Thursday – Rest day as ill.

Friday – rest

Saturday – Long run – my plan said I should have been running 13 miles, but I only managed 11.3 miles! I am still not 100%, but I had this strange idea that perhaps as I had extra rest days this week, this run would be good; How wrong could I be? I wanted to give up after mile 1, mile 2, mile 3 and every mile after that! I was lucky that a club mate was running with me and she pulled me round. I found it hard to get my breath at times, and every part of my body ached. My shins were sore at the start, then my hamstrings were tight and towards the end my hip was aching; all in all it was a run to forget. Onwards and upwards.

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Not the prettiest of stats, but its miles banked!

Sunday – I read an article in Runners World magazine about how important the hip muscles are. It suggests that most leg injuries stem from weak hips. They have a plan of action, so I thought it’s worth a try. Today I completed day 1, which was 10 reps of hip abductors (See photo below) and 10 reps of hip flexor strengtheners. I was not particularly good at them, so I am thinking it is very probable that it is a weak area of mine too!

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Hip abductor strengthening exercise

As you can tell from above, this week did not go to plan at all! Frustrating, as I had really enjoyed the first 2 weeks, but I suppose the positive is that, it is only week 3, and its better now that later in the programme.

So how is everyone’s training going? Please accept my apologies for too much leg photos in this post!!!

 

#VMLM2016 training – Week 2

Monday – speed session at club. 425 metres X 7, with 2 minutes recovery. It was tough. My legs felt OK, but the route had some slight hills in it and they zapped my legs. My coach had suggested to complete the laps in 2:05 and I’m glad to say I was pretty much there or there abouts on every rep 🙂

Tuesday – rest

Wednesday – 7 steady miles. Had a bit of a panic when my 2 running buddies couldn’t make tonight and I thought I was heading out alone! I even resigned myself to the possibility of 7 miles on the treadmill! Luckily one of the guys from club came to the rescue and I headed out with him and one other. They are super speedy and they made me work hard. But I loved it. We averaged 9.40 pace and the 7 miles flew by. Still amazes me that I can just go out after work and run 7 miles fairly comfortable.

Thursday – hills at club. We had to complete continuous hill; hard up a short hill for 15 minutes, then 3 minutes rest. Followed by 15 minutes continuous up and down a longer hill. I felt surprisingly good, legs allowed me to push quite hard on the short hill, the longer hill was tougher! In total we covered about 4 miles. My new runners had their first outing in this session.

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I am in LOVE!!

Friday – rest

Saturday – rest

Sunday – 12 miles LR – When I saw the snow had arrived on Sunday morning, I did regret leaving my long run until today. What made it worse is that I had arranged to meet the girls at 4pm. Not sure about you, but if I leave my long run till later in the day, I spend the whole day battling with my mind – It’s too cold! I’m tired! I haven’t fuelled correctly! Luckily, arranging to meet people means you can’t opt out. I layered up, ready to brave the elements.

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I do NOT like being cold!

I have had a toothache for the last 2 days, and have also developed a head cold, so I kind of felt this run was ‘kill or cure!’ I’m pleased to say that I completed all 12 miles and I’m here writing about it, so it definitely wasn’t kill, but I have sneezed numerous times whilst writing this, and my nose is streaming, so no cure either! I’m not going to lie, it was tough, but the miles are banked and I am on to week 3 🙂

So, how’s everyone else’s training going? Do you run when you have a cold? Anyone else hate hills as much as me?

 

Do you have to race? – Part 2

So last week I wrote a post about enjoying running and not needing to actually train for a race, read it here. I received this comment on the post from MrsB over at Mind over Matter.

I thought about this and it hit home a bit. I keep thinking how I would love to gain a place in the Berlin Marathon, but realistically, if I did get one, I’m not marathon fit now, and I’m not sure I’d have enough training time to do it justice.

I have been training pretty consistently, 3 or 4 times a week, and I have taken part in some intense sessions, but I realised I have lacked any kind of long run since the London Marathon. I haven’t run a continuous run of over 3 miles since March. If you read any training plan, they always say the long runs are the important ones, and the session not to miss, yet I have over looked it now for months!

So, on Sunday, after I had completed the C25K with my sister, I attempted to complete a long run. I wasn’t sure what kind of pace I would run or how far I could go, so I just set off. The route that I took starts with a steady hill, so when the first mile clicked up as 10:45 mm, I wasn’t too concerned. During the 2nd mile, my legs felt heavy and I didn’t feel like I was enjoying the run too much. The 2nd mile clocked in at 9.49mm. By the 3rd mile, I felt like the run was tougher than I thought it would be. I felt I should be running more relaxed, but I didn’t really want to slow down as I wanted the run to be over and done with. The 3rd mile was at 9:58 pace.

I had an option where I could have extended the run at around 3.5 miles, but I opted to head straight home. Not running long for a while was showing. I completed mile 4 in 9:49mm, and in total covered 4.33miles. Not exactly long, but when you haven’t completed a long run for a while, this was long enough.


Although I still haven’t technically booked any races for the remainder of this year (although I am close!) I still need to train like I am running an event. I think I have the easy runs covered in the C25K, and the intense sessions with my club, so now I need to start building up my long runs again.

So, long runs here I come and I’m now off to look at races again.