Archive | March 2015

Spring Forward

Please tell me I’m not the only one who thought they’d overslept for their early morning long run today… anyone… no… really? (waits as a huge tumble weed blows slowly across the bloggy sphere…) Ok, so It’s just me then.

After bailing out on last weekend’s final long run before the taper, I’d planned to get up extra early this morning for a slightly-shorter-long-but-won’t-quite-kill-me-run instead. So needless to say I was a bit disappointed when I woke up at 8:15 instead of my usual weekend time of something between 6:30 and 7:30.

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Still, once I realised that it was really only 7:15 if I ignored the fact that everyone, including the people who control my phone, computer and Garmin, had decided to steal an hour, I started to feel much better. At least it was Sunday, so I could still pretend it was early and, since it was cold wet and drizzly outside, the chances were that not too many people would be venturing out to block and congest the later part of my route.

The plan was to run something between 15 and 21 kilometres. I wanted to make up for missing my last long run but at the same time I didn’t want to leave myself feeling completely exhausted two weeks before race day, so I’d see how it went.

I didn’t really have much of a route planned and decided to start with a couple of laps of Hove Rec to get some shelter from the wind and rain. After the third lap, I realised that the path was going to get a bit busy as more and more kids started arriving for their rugby practice, so I headed back out to the streets again and ran up Shirley Drive as a long way round to Hove Park.

When I reached Hove Park, however, I saw another much larger group of kids running around the paths. It looked like some kind of organised event as they were all wearing yellow tops and, as I turned the corner to the long straight stretch of the path, I realised that there were dozens more of them gathering at the parkrun start line. Junior parkrun perhaps? I wasn’t in the mood to find out, so I cut back out of the path and decided to stick to the roads instead.

Not in much of a mood for people dodging, I decided to explore some of the quieter streets around Poets Corner before heading back down to Portland Road and route that I’d been using for my last few shorter runs.

I decided round about then that I wasn’t going to do the 21K, but that if I ran back along Portland Road and took some detours down the streets that run adjacent to it, I could probably manage about 15K without killing myself. So that’s what I did.

2015-03-29_Route

In the end it was 16K and, despite falling asleep for an hour while watching Netflix this afternoon, I feel pretty good. My legs don’t feel too bad and I wore my ankle support which seems to have helped, but most importantly, I feel more mentally prepared than I did this time last week.

Yes, missing my final long run is a worry; yes, the marathon is going to be hard and it’s going to hurt; but either way I know that I want to do this, so I will.

How’s your training going? Do you have to plan or adapt your routes to avoid congested streets and paths? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Taper Time

Circle HopI’m officially tapering now. Or at least I think that’s what I’m doing.

I was supposed to do a longish run (20K or so) this morning but changed my mind and decided on a 5K instead – I guess I just wasn’t really in the mood for a long one.

Of course, I know that’s not the right attitude. When it comes to the marathon, I’ll have to get out and do it whether I feel like it or not. So, I made a deal with myself (I seem to be doing that a lot lately) and decided to do the longish run tomorrow instead.

Even though it will be less than half the marathon distance, I’m going to treat it as a mock race day by making sure that I eat well and rest properly today. That way, there can be no excuses.

Today’s 5K went ok. I set out nice and early, before 8:00 am, for a short run to Portslade and back again. The weather was cool and drizzly, which was pretty nice to run in, and there wasn’t much traffic to bother me at the road crossings.

Although it was a slow run, it felt more ‘moderate’ than ‘easy’ as I found myself checking my GymBoss more than usual to see how much longer I had to run. That hasn’t happened with a 5K in a long time, but perhaps it was just because I wasn’t really in to it.

Still, it felt good to get the run done and I’m feeling positive about tomorrow’s longish run too. Only two weeks to go! Yikes!

This post is part of the Virtual Running UK Blog Hop. Click here to sign up and join the fun!

Bouncing Back

I know I should be tapering for the Marathon now, but after having to wimp out of my final pre-marathon long run at the weekend, I decided to make my midweek runs a bit longer than usual to compensate.

Normally, I just do a couple of 5K (or thereabouts) sessions during the week to keep things ticking over. I like these runs because I know that I can make them as easy or as challenging as I like, and they don’t take up too much of my evening. I can get out, get it done and be home in time to have some dinner, write up my blog post and still have time to chill out for an hour or before bedtime.

This evening though, I figured it would be worth taking an extra half hour of running to get myself back on track – if not physically, then at least mentally. My leg is feeling a lot better now and, while I can still feel a bit of discomfort in the hamstring and calf, it’s nothing compared to what it was. So, I figured it would be safe enough to head for the seafront for a nice easy 10K.

It has been a while since I’ve run 10K, so I wasn’t sure about pacing. In the end though, I just decided to go by feel, taking it nice and slowly to make sure I didn’t aggravate anything in my leg. I also wanted to make sure that I didn’t tire myself out too much as I’m aiming to do another 10K on Thursday and a longish run on Saturday – probably something around 15-20K, but we’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, the run was fine. I started early so that I’d have to slow down to cross the main roads and navigate the poorly lit uneven pavements. And it was slow. Very slow. But it did the trick. I completed the 10K route in just over 1 hour and 10 minutes and felt pretty good at the end of it. Ok, so the old leg was a bit tight again, but nothing that a bit of stretching couldn’t sort out.

More importantly though, I’m starting to feel more positive about the marathon again. After the weekend’s set-back and with less than three weeks to go until race day, I really needed a confidence boost and this evening’s run certainly gave me that!

How’s your training going? What do you do to help yourself bounce back from a disappointing run? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Taking No Chances

Yesterday was supposed to be my final long run before starting my taper for the Brighton Marathon. However, ever since my 36K run two weeks ago, my left leg has been giving me a bit of grief.

I don’t think it’s anything too serious, but there’s a dull ache that goes from the top of the leg all the way down to the ankle achilles. It’s probably just a case of having to stretch out the muscles as my calves are really tight.

In fact, the left one is so tight that when I felt a spasm last week and rolled up my trousers to have a look, I could actually see a long indentation along the calf where the muscle was tightening. It would have been pretty cool had it not been so painful. But it only lasted a few seconds. So, like I said, I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.

Not wanting to take any chances with another long run yesterday though, I decided to spend the day doing some stretching to see if it would be any better this morning. If it was, I’d get the run in; if not, I’d just do a shorter one instead.

As it turned out, my leg still didn’t feel great so I opted for an easy 5K to Portslade and back again. I’ve been using this route as part of my longer runs and quite like it. Although it does involve crossing a few roads, the roads are pretty quiet in the morning and it makes a nice change from the seafront. It also means I don’t have to walk as far before I start running!

In terms of missing out on the long run, I am a bit worried if I’m honest about it. Even though I’ve run more than the recommended 20 miles in recent weeks, there will be a five week gap between my last long run and the marathon, which is too long for a taper; and if I do the long run next weekend, then there won’t be enough time to taper and recover before the big day.

I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do, but I’m thinking that I might run 13.1 miles / 21.1 km next weekend as a compromise, and try to get a couple of 10K runs in midweek if I can get my leg to behave itself. But we’ll see what happens.

Either way, I know that I will complete the marathon even if it is slower than I would like – after all, I did manage to do a 100K last year on much less training! Ok, so I walked most of that, but still, when the chips are down you just have to get on with it, right?

How’s your training going? How do you deal with niggles and injuries when you’re getting close to race day? Do you stick to the training plan or take a compromise? Please share your thoughts, tips and ideas in the comments.

This post is part of the Virtual Running UK Blog Hop. Click here to find out more and join the fun!

Circle Hop

A Nice Easy Mid Week Run

In my last post I got a bit confused and said that there was a little over four weeks to go until the Brighton Marathon, when in reality it’s only a little over three weeks – scary thought when you think about it, so I decided that I’m not going to think about it.

Luckily though, my training plan is correct though as my final long run is on Sunday and the taper starts three weeks before race day. That means two weekends in a row when I won’t have to spend the whole of Saturday morning running, the rest of Saturday stretching, moaning and devouring the contents of the fridge, and the whole of Sunday watching Netflix and dozing on the couch.

Still, I will be doing that this weekend so I wanted to make sure that I got a decent run in this evening to get myself back on track after my less than consistent training over the last couple of weeks. The problem I had though was that while I felt I needed to up the distance a bit for this evening’s run, I didn’t want to tire myself out for Saturday.

In the end, I decided to extend the distance to 8K instead of the usual 5K, but made sure that I kept things nice and slow. Starting the run early so that I would have to cross some roads before reaching the seafront helped in that respect and I completed my run in just under an hour. A very slow time for me, but it’s good practice for Saturday’s pace so I’m not complaining.

How’s your training going? Do you find yourself flagging on the build up to your final run before you start tapering? How do you keep yourself motivated to get out there and get it done? Please share your thoughts, tips and ideas in the comments.

Plugging On

With months of training under my belt and a little more than four weeks until the Brighton Marathon, I have to admit that I’m kind of looking forward to the taper. In the meantime though, I still need to keep plugging on and try to make up for my missing training sessions over the last few weeks.

Last night I wasn’t really in the mood for running, but I knew that I needed to get two mid-week runs in this week to make sure that I could cope with my final long run next weekend. So, when I got home from work, I did what I always tell other people to do when they aren’t feeling it – I switched off my brain, changed into my running gear and got my ass over the doorstep.

I decided to head for the seafront as usual but, as I was keen to get the run over with, I started running early so that I’d complete my first half kilometre before I even got there. This meant a bit of stopping to cross some main roads, but I didn’t mind. I couldn’t afford to risk a fast paced run anyway, especially if I wanted to get a second run done on Thursday.

By the time I got to the seafront, I was feeling pretty relaxed and started to enjoy taking it nice and slowly. There were a few other runners around and a couple of dog walkers. Nothing unusual there. But then I spotted a man sitting on a bench, listening to headphones and typing on a laptop. Now, I know that some people like to work on their laptops outside, but in the evening on the seafront when it’s already dark? Maybe it’s just me, but it did seem a bit odd.

The strangest thing though, was when I reached The View, a small bar/club on the seafront. I noticed that, as well as there being a lot more people than usual enjoying a drink outside, there was a large group standing by a row of campfires along the beach right next to them.

I wasn’t sure what was going on as there were a lot of young children around too. Perhaps something to do with Saint Patrick’s Day? Or just another one of Brighton and Hove’s many quirky gatherings? Who knows? But when people are hanging around the beach in the evening, it’s a sure sign that spring is on it’s way.

As for the run, I turned back at the campfires, past the man with the laptop, returned to my starting point and added a bit more to make it a full 6K. Not too bad for a Tuesday evening.

How’s your training going? Are you starting to notice the first signs of Spring? What unusual sightings have you spotted on your running adventures? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

It’s A Bling Thing

JG 13.1With all of last week’s running avoidance, I completely forgot to mention that I finally received my Jeff Galloway 13.1 race medal!

I ran the JG 13.1 back in December and it has taken this long for the medal to arrive, but it was well worth the wait. The medal is pretty big compared to any of my other medals and has a really nice silk ribbon too. My only gripe, however, is that the t-shirt is massive! I ordered a men’s medium because women’s t-shirts tend to be fitted and I like my clothes to be fairly loose, but this is more like a tent than a t-shirt. Still, I suppose I can always use it as a night shirt.

Talking of bling and virtual racing, I’ve also been developing my virtual running website and recently partnered up with UK Run Chat to host some virtual races for them. I even designed my first Virtual Running medal! It’s not as big and colourful as the Jeff Galloway medal, but it’s certainly very shiny and I think it looks pretty cool with the white ribbon too.

UK Run Chat MedalAlthough the medal was designed for the February Virtual Race Series, we’ve still got a few left so we’re keeping it going for March and April too. If you’d like one, all you have to do is visit Virtual Running UK, sign up for the UK Run Chat Race and then run 5K, 10K or a Half Marathon before 22nd March.

Shameless plugs aside though, I really need to find a better way of displaying my race bling. At the moment I’m using an old canvas covered in red fabric which is sitting on a shelf above the fireplace in my bedroom. I think it looks ok, but the medals keep falling off every time I try to add a new one, so any ideas about how to display medals would be much appreciated.

Medal Display

How’s your training going? Have you ever taken part in a virtual race? What’s your favourite race bling that you’ve won so far? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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