Just Because


I got an extra run in today just because… I’m not sure why, but I kind of just felt like it.

I was going to run outside, but unfortunately the Garmin isn’t working very well. I thought it had died completely until I rubbed the contact points with an eraser and it jumped back to life! But it’s still not charging properly, so I ran on the treadmill instead.

It was a bit of a challenge after yesterday’s run. The old legs were pretty tired but still managed to get me to 5K in 32:02, so another good improvement.

Also, I’ve decided to do a Virtual Running UK 100 Mile Challenge this month. The idea is that the first person who gets to 100 miles will win a free medal. I know I won’t be first, and as I’m supplying the medal it would be a bit wrong to win it, but it will be fun to have a bit more of a goal this month.

If you want to join the challenge, just click the link above to get started. It’s totally free and anyone can join.

How’s your running going this weekend? Are you taking part in any on-line challenges to keep your running on track? Please share your thoughts in the comments.



Running For Fun

It’s so nice not having a race to train for at the moment. OK, so I still have a goal and a plan to reach it, but the pressure is off and, strangely, my lack of upcoming races is giving me the motivation to get off my backside and run!

Under normal circumstances (i.e. having a race to train for) I would feel guilty about running on the treadmill instead of going outside, but not today. Today I was supposed to have a 5K run outside, but I didn’t feel like it, so I ran inside instead.

My goal was to run 5K in under 35 minutes, so I upped my ratio to 5:1, keeping the pace nice and slow. It felt good and I could have done more and could probably have gone faster, but I knew I would pay for it later. So I stuck to the plan and finished on pace at 34:46.

How’s your training going? Are you running for fun or working towards your next race? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Easy Means Easy

I had to adjust the training plan this week due to a social event at work, so I ran this evening instead of yesterday. It should have been an outdoors run but I wanted to eat first and then it got dark, so I opted for the treadmill instead – a bit of a cop out, I know, but at least it was still a run.

In this phase of the plan, the idea is to run easy to make sure that I have enough time to recover before the next one. I still aim to do a bit better each time, whether it’s reducing the ratio or improving the average pace, but ultimately I need to make sure that I can run every third day.

The aim for tonight was run 3:1 ratios and to try to hit something around the 36 minute mark. That would be a huge improvement on my last run, but with the treadmill it’s much easier. Apart form the fact that there’s no wind, hills or obstacles in the way, the fact that the machine controls the pace makes it much easier to keep things nice and even.

In the end, I completed the run in 35:50 and felt pretty good afterwards. Of course, the next run will be tougher as it will be outside, but it’s still good to get it done.

How’s your training going? Do you keep your ‘easy runs’ easy or are you tempted to push harder each time? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

South Coast Challenge – 54K


After months of training, I finally completed The South Coast Challenge 54K from Eastbourne to Hove. This wasn’t my longest race, but given the heat and the hills, I can honestly say that this has been the toughest one so far.

I arrived in Eastbourne on Friday evening and booked in to a nice ‘cheap and cheerful’ hotel on the seafront. Although I had only booked a single room, they gave me a free upgrade to a double with a nice view of the sea.

As I arrived early, I popped down to the the race area to get myself registered. My start time wasn’t until 8:40 on Saturday morning, but I figured it would be one less thing to worry about, so I collected my race number and other bits and pieces and enjoyed a nice stroll along the seafront before heading back to the hotel.

The Start Area
The Start Area

I slept well and got myself up in plenty of time so decided to go and watch some of the other waves of runners head off. There was a safety briefing followed by a zumba warm up to get us in the mood for the hike ahead, and then we were off!

Eastbourne Seafront
Eastbourne Seafront

The weather was warm and it was only going to get warmer as the day went on, so I refrained from running along the seafront in order to preserve some energy for the hills. And boy were there hills!

The first 11k before Birling Gap involved a climb of 232 metres, but it wasn’t too bad as it meant that there was the same again in descent. Running downhill on this section was a lot of fun and helped me to get a good pace going to the first rest stop. Not that I stopped for long. Just enough time to grab some more water and an energy bar, and reapply some sun cream before heading off again.

A Long Climb
A Long Climb

The next section wasn’t so much fun though. While the cliffs of the Seven Sisters may look very pretty, the climbing was brutal at times and I was glad that I’d remembered to order a walking pole from Amazon the weekend before. I’m not sure how I would have coped otherwise!

Some of The Seven Sisters
Some of The Seven Sisters

I had hoped to have been able to enjoy some more downhill running at this point, but the gradient was just too steep and I would probably have gone arse over tit had I attempted anything other than a quick sideways shuffle down the slopes.

Needless to say, the pace slowed down quite a bit and it was 1:00 pm by the time I reached the next rest stop, but I was still feeling pretty good. I took a bit more time at this stop to have some food, check the old feet and change into a fresh pair of socks. No blisters to report, so all good for now.

The next section started with another massive climb that just seemed to go on and on. By this point my back was starting to ache a bit, so I applied a Deep Freeze patch, which helped a lot. There was a nice breeze at times, but the temperature was rising and really slowed me down. Luckily,not too far into the downhill section, we could see the next rest stop, which gave me a bit of a lift and spurred me on a bit more.

Again, I didn’t stop for too long. I ate a little, drank a little and set off again for the final stage. This, I knew, was going to be tough as we had 20K to go without a proper rest stop. There was a flattish section to start with and although the heat from the sun was getting stronger ground underfoot was not pleasant (a hard chalky surface with lots of loose stones) it wasn’t too bad.

The hill that came next, however, almost did me in. I wasn’t even that far into it when I just had to stop. It was a combination of heat and back pain, so I took a couple of pain killers and some water before pushing myself forward a few steps at a time, stopping and starting as needed. To be honest, I really thought about giving up at this point, but knowing that so many people had sponsored me to do this, there was no way I was going to let them down. That and the kind words and encouragement from others kept me going.

One of the things that I like so much about these challenges is the camaraderie. Everyone hits low points along the way, but whether walking alone or in a group, we all help each other through it, whether it’s with a bit of chat along the way, some words of encouragement, offers of help or just holding the gate open with a smile for the next person, even the smallest gesture goes a long way.

Another nice view before Brighton

Luckily there was a water station at around 44K, so again I took a few minutes to sit down and air the old feet before continuing on down to Brighton. This part of the route wasn’t bad at all but by that point I’d probably had more than enough heat as I was starting to feel a bit nauseous. Still, I was encouraged by more conversation, some bottles of ‘water for the walkers’ that some kind person had left on a wall and some ‘well dones’ from some random people on Hove seafront.

Finally, just after 9:20 pm, I reached the finish line at Hove Park, where I collected my medal, t-shirt and glass of fizz before throwing up outside the medical tent! Again, I was touched by the kindness of strangers as someone went and got me some water while another took me into the tent to make sure I was ok. Thankfully, it was just a case of too much sun as the paramedic took my blood pressure and checked my blood glucose levels (all of which were fine). The doctor gave me an energy gel and a sickness tablet and I was soon on my way home, happy to have completed the challenge in one piece.

SCC Result

So, the verdict? Well, I can honestly say that this is the toughest challenge that I have done. Even though it was the heat that finished me off in the end, the relentless ups and downs of the hills are not my thing – so I won’t be back for another go. However, if you like hills and want to take part in a brilliantly organised ultra event as either a walker or a runner, then I wouldn’t want to put anyone off. The camaraderie on route, support at the rest stops, the stunning views and the sense of accomplishment when finished make it all worth while in the end.

As for me, I think I’ll go for something a bit less hilly next time.

How’s your running going? What gets you through the low points in a race? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Getting Some Miles In

What with all of the excitement of the Euros and Wimbledon, I haven’t managed to get much running in this week and, with some big matches this weekend, I was getting a bit concerned about my already haphazard training plan. But then I remembered… I have a treadmill!

Yes, running while watching TV has become one of my favourite things to do. So, I set up the laptop on top of the ironing board and tuned in to watch McEnroe (the younger) and Bahrami take on Woodbridge and Woodforde in the Gentlemen’s Senior Doubles Invitation. Bahrami’s antics on court were certainly entertaining and gave me something to focus on while trying to complete my 10K.

My strategy was to run 0.9 miles and then walk 0.1. This seemed to work pretty well and I was able to stick to the ratio throughout the run, finishing the 10K in just over 1:08.

As I’m only 7 weeks away from Race Day, however, I really need to be getting more miles under my feet. So, after a bacon sarnie and a bit of bimbling around, I decided to watch the Women’s Singles Final with a second 10K.

My legs were pretty tired after the earlier run, so I decided to change the ratio to 0.45 miles running and 0.05 walking. The time would be about the same if I could stick to it, but I figured it might be a bit easier on the old legs.

The first 3 miles were a bit of a struggle, so I decided to take it mile by mile and see how it went. I even considered reducing the ratio, but then I remembered that saying about how running is more mental than physical and realised that what I really needed to do was to knuckle down and start training my mind to not give up.

So, again, at about 1:08 I completed 10K, and just in time to see Serena win the match while I was doing my cool down walk.

I also did another 5K on the treadmill yesterday evening, which gives me a weekly total of 25K so far. Not bad for a week without running! I may even do the same thing again for the Men’s Final, but I’m not making any promises!

How’s your training going? Did you get your running done this weekend? Please share your thought in the comments.

A Funny Old Run

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 20.42.39This evening’s run was a strange one. I have to start increasing my distance so I planned to step my mid-week run up to 6K instead of 5K. After last week’s improvements I figured I should be able to run at least the first half without a walk break, but it didn’t quite work out like that.

I started slowly with a couple of 1K laps of Hove Rec, but it was a struggle. It was warm and humid and there wasn’t much of a breeze to cool things down a bit, but I did manage to keep going without walking.

As I approached the 2K mark though, I decided to head down to the park.There was a nice little incline on the way, but once I was in the park I realised that enough was enough. I needed to walk, just for a minute to cool down a bit.

I wasn’t feeling great and even briefly considered ditching the run altogether, but I was on the wrong side of the park for that, so reverted to my favourite run/walk ratio – 3 minutes running and 1 minute walking.

This helped a lot and I started to feel much better, even extending the running sections here and there.

Once I started to get into my stride, I became more aware of the other people in the park. There were a few runners around, so plenty of smiles, waves and friendly grunts were exchanged as I made my way round a second lap and completed the 6K in 43:17, which isn’t too far off pace, all things considered.

How’s your training going? Did you get a run in this week? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Can you believe it has been three years since I started this blog? Three years since I made the decision to embark on a journey from Couch to 5K and then… well, I had no idea where it was going to take me.

At first, it didn’t even take me to the end of the road, but slowly, run by run, week by week and month by month, the distance started to build up and I ended up running (and sometimes walking) much further than I ever thought possible – 5Ks, 10Ks, Half Marathons, a Marathon and even a 100K ultra marathon.

OK, so the marathon and the ultra involved much more walking than running, but the point is, I never thought that covering that kind of distance on foot was possible – not for me anyway.

Of course, there have been a lot of ups and downs along the way. The past year hasn’t been great for running and it’s hard not to feel that you’re back to square one again when returning from injury. But with just over 10 weeks to go until my next big race (the South Coast Challenge 50K), I’m not going to let that put me off.

So, this evening, in celebration of my Blogiversay (which is also the day before my Runiversary), I decided to get my backside out the door for a nice little 5K around Hove Park. It was slow, and there were walk breaks, but I managed to complete the distance in bang on 35 minutes, which is an improvement on my recent efforts, so I’m happy with that.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 20.37.13

I plan to get a couple 5Ks in this week, maybe a longer one too, but I also need to get a long walk in this weekend to build up my distance for the 50K. My recovery time isn’t what it used to be, so we’ll see how it goes. The important thing is just to keep moving.

How’s your training going? Did you get a run in this week? Please share you thoughts in the comments.