A Long, Slow Run/Walk

With ten weeks to go until the South Coast Challenge, I figured now would be a good time to start increasing the distance on my long runs.

My plan for today was to run/walk 12K on the trails, but after consulting my legs, they told me that a hilly run was not a good idea today. So, I opted for a nice flat route alone the seafront instead – well, you’ve got to listen to your body, especially the old legs.

I set out at about 7:30-ish. It was warm and sunny and there was plenty of space to run along the promenade, so I headed East towards the Marina. Knowing that I had no chance of running the entire route, even if it was mostly flat, I opted for a flexible run/walk ratio with a one minute walk break after each kilometre.

As I approached Madeira Drive, I realised that there was an event going on. In addition to the open air cinema on the beach (for the European Football) a large section of the road was cordoned off with British Heart Foundation banners. As it turns out, this was the finish line for the London to Brighton Cycle Challenge, so I figured I might pop down later this afternoon to have a better look and cheer on the finishers.

As it was though, I was only 3K into my run, so I didn’t want to stop there and then, and plodded on towards the Marina and up the switchback to the road above the cliffs. I’d forgotten how long the inclines were on that road, so I took a slightly longer walk to keep myself going and managed to complete the 6K in 42:34 before turning round for a nice long downhill section.

Typically, however, as I started the descent, my stomach started to grumble and I realised that I was going to have to find somewhere to sort myself out. As it happens, there was an ASDA at the bottom of the hill, so I took a short detour to see if they were open.

Unfortunately, they weren’t, so I had to press on until I was back on Madeira Drive. I figured no-one would mind if I used the porta loos that had been set up for the cycle race, but in the end I didn’t have to as there were some public toilets in between so I used them instead.

After that, I felt much better and started to enjoy myself again as I ran past the banners and saw a couple of the cyclists finishing their race. They looked surprisingly fresh considering their long journey, as did the volunteers who (we were told via the loudspeaker) had been there for 8 hours already to greet the finishers and present them with their medals.

Before long, I hit the 10K mark and realised that my detour meant that I would hit 12K a bit sooner than expected, so I decided I to carry on to 13K, which would take me just beyond the starting point. Of course, when I finally reached 13K, I figured that since the roads and streets were still quiet, I might as well plod on for another kilometre to get me a bit closer to home.

In the end, I managed a total of 14K in 1:44:15, which isn’t bad at all for me at this stage. And, when I got home I also realised that the first 5K was the fastest 5K I’ve done in a long time, even with the walk breaks.

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So, all in all, it was a pretty good session. Now I just need to figure out what’s going on with my stomach before I do my next long run.

How’s your training going? Did you see anything interesting on your run this weekend? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

30 Minute Dash In The Drizzle

2015-05-31_OverviewOk, so perhaps it was more of a shuffle through the puddles, but it was good to get a run in this morning.

To be honest, I’ve been feeling a bit lazy about getting back into running. I’m not a fan of running in the heat, so the lovely weather that we had been having on the south coast this week wasn’t doing much for my running mojo.

Usually when I’m following a training schedule or am in a routine, it’s not a major problem and I’ll make myself get out early before it gets too warm; but as I’m coming back after a break, it was all a bit too easy to put things off.

Luckily when I got up this morning though it was lovely and grey and drizzly, with a nice cold wind to stop me from getting too hot and bothered. So, after a quick breakfast and playing around on the internet for an hour or so, I headed off to the park for my 30 Minute Dash for this month’s Virtual Running UK Bonus Race.

I soon realised, however, that my less than sporadic training over the last month and a half has taken its toll, so I decided to use a 5:1 run/walk ratio to get me round. I usually do 3:1, but as I’m wanting to get back to running 5K without walk breaks again, I figured it would be a good idea to step things up a bit.

In the end, it was a pretty slow shuffle but it was nice to be out running again and (fingers crossed) my niggly leg doesn’t feel too bad either.

As tomorrow is a new week and a new month, I’m hoping to use this as a springboard to get back into some proper training again. A few more days of wind and rain on the forecast should help too!

How’s your training going? How does the change in weather at this time of year affect your running? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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

UK Run Chat May Virtual 5K

UK Run ChatI realised this morning that today was the last day to get my Virtual Race done for the UK Run Chat May Virtual Race Series, hosted by Virtual Running UK. After yesterday’s run being cut short, I knew that my best bet would be to go for the 5K this month and that to achieve it I’d have to go back to using the run/walk ratio.

Yes, I know, I want to get back to running without ratios again, but knowing that using the ratio would make it more more achievable gave me the incentive I needed to get moving again this morning, so that’s what I did.

The weather has warmed up quite a bit and, even at 8:30 this morning, I knew that I’d better take a drink out with me. I never used to bother with taking water on anything under 10K but, after having to bail out on yesterday’s run, it seemed like a good idea.

It was fairly quiet down on the seafront, which is one of the main reasons that I like to get down there early. There were quite a few runners around as usual, which is always nice to see. I even spotted a family out running together, with a very small boy jogging with his parents while his younger sister cycled along side them.

2015-05-24_OverviewThe run itself was fine. I took it nice and slowly, enjoying the early morning sunshine and a nice warm breeze coming in off the sea, and my leg didn’t give me too much grief. There’s still a bit of numbness there but not much pain, so I’m hoping that a bit of exercise will help to loosen up what I’m assuming is a trapped nerve, but time will tell.

My time was 34:19, which is quite a bit slower than usual for me, but I’m happy that I got it done and am feeling much more confident about getting back on track again over the next few weeks.

How’s your training going? Do you use virtual races as an incentive to get out the door? 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.

Not Every Run Has To End With A PB

The weather was looking quite good this morning, so I decided to do a slightly belated Birthday Half-Marathon – well, it’s only two days late and I’m still on holiday, so I reckon it still counts.

I’d scheduled this run into my training program for two reasons: firstly, I thought it would be a good way to spend my Birthday/ day off; and secondly, I wanted to make sure I could cope with the distance for the Brighton Half Marathon in February.

Of course, I had some goals for this run too. I wanted to see if I could improve my time of 2:28:02 from the Jeff Galloway Virtual 13.1 that I ran in December, but I also wanted to see if I could get under 2:25:00 – a bit of a long shot, I know, but it’s good to have something challenging to aim for.

I figured that I would have to average around 6:50 – 6:55 per kilometre to be in with a chance and was pretty much on track for the first half of the run.

I used my usual route (only slightly altered so that I could start and finish by the public toilets), heading East along Hove lawns to Brighton Marina and along the Undercliff Path towards Saltdean, and then back again. I had considered taking the hilly option on the road above the cliffs, but decided against it as the weather is still very changeable at the moment.

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Once I reached the wall at Saltdean (an actual wall, where the path stops, not the runners wall that makes your legs turn to lead and your brain to mush) I turned around and started making my way back. The wind was strong enough to give a bit of resistance but nothing to cause too many problems and, when I checked the Garmin at half way I was pleased to see that I was on track to achieve my goal time of 02:25:00.

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And then it happened. At 12 kilometres I felt that familiar shooting pain in my left knee. It wasn’t the full on kitchen knife to the outer knee cap pain that I had before; it didn’t go that deep and lasted for less than a second. But it was the same pain, a warning shot, and I knew that I would be in trouble if I didn’t back off.

So, for the next few kilometres I eased off and allowed my pace to drop until I felt that I was out of the danger zone. I wasn’t happy about it and made a mental note to myself to remember to do my ITB stretches every day between now and the Brighton Half, but I kept going and reminded myself that it’s better to slow down now than to create an injury I would be sure to regret later.

At around 16K, however, I realised that I could still be in with a chance of achieving 02:25:00 if I could pick up the pace again and keep it just under 7:00 minutes per kilometre. So I allowed myself to push a little harder on the running sections and reminded myself to walk a bit faster on the walk breaks. But it wasn’t enough. My pace dropped again and, as I approached the final kilometre, I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

2015-01-30_Splits 12-20

But then something else happened. Something good this time. I realised that, even at the reduced pace that I was currently running, not only would I be under 2:30:00, but I could still get a PB! This gave me a much needed boost, so I picked up the pace (still mindful of my ITB of course) and pushed for home, finishing in 02:27:18.

2015-01-30_Splits 21-Finish

Although I was delighted to achieve a new PB, I also realised that PBs aren’t everything. The important thing is to finish the run without injury and, looking back, I realise that I’m pretty lucky that I got a warning signal before my ITB seized up on me.

So, from now on, I promise that I will find time to do my stretches every day, whether I think I need to or not. Prevention is better than a cure, right?

How’s your running going? What injury prevention measures do you take as part of your training program? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Jeff Galloway Virtual 13.1

Circle HopAs today is Virtual Running UK blog hop day, I thought it would be a good idea to sign up for a virtual race.

I’ve been using Jeff Galloway’s run-walk-run method to get back to training after injury and, now that I’m back to running again regularly, I figured it would be interesting to see how close I can get to my goal half-marathon time using run-walk-run.

JG131It just so happens that Jeff Galloway himself is hosting a Virtual Half Marathon, so joining his race seemed like a good way of giving pay back for the help that his training strategy has given me over the last few months – that, and the fact that you get a medal and a t-shirt for taking part!

I plan to run the virtual half-marathon in December, which should be do-able if I stick to my current training plan, and of course I will submit my time to Virtual Running UK as well, just for good measure. I don’t expect it to be particularly fast, but it will give me an idea about how fast I can run using run-walk-run.

In other news, Virtual Running UK are hosting their first annual Blog Awards next month. Of course, I’m exempt from this as Virtual Running UK is my website, but if you want to nominate your own or someone else’s blog you can do so by clicking this link; or you can click here to join the weekly blog hop. Either way, it’s a great way to connect with more running bloggers and who knows, you may even win a prize!

So, that’s it for today’s post. No run for me today as I ran last night, but hopefully I’ll get one in tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

Back To Continuous Running

Circle HopUsually on a Saturday morning I’m pretty keen to get out the door and get my run in, but this morning I just wasn’t feeling it. However, as Saturday is now VRUK Blog Hop Day, I decided to spend the day getting my head together and eating well so that I could run this evening and get a blog post in for this week’s blog hop. And I was so glad that I did.

It has taken me a while to get back into a regular running routine and to be able to run without taking walk breaks, but this evening I managed to run my first non-stop 5K in months! It wasn’t particularly fast and I’m still a long way from my Sub 30 5K goal, but that didn’t matter. The important thing was to get the distance in.

Once I had completed the 5K, I was still feeling pretty good so I decided to continue back to my starting point, which would take me up to a bit over 6K. Of course, I had to take a short walk break to get that far, but I still did it and it felt really good.

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As far as run-walk-run is concerned, I’m still going to use the 3:1 ratio for my long Sunday runs as part of my marathon training, but in between I’m hoping to gradually build up my continuous running in the hope that I might be able to run the distance for February’s half-marathon.

I’m also thinking of taking part in the Virtual Jeff Galloway 3.1 in December. According to my training plan, I should be able to complete a half-marathon run-walk-run by the end of the year, so it would be a good benchmark to start from as well as a great opportunity to earn some bling!

How’s your training going? What do you think of run-walk-run? Have you taken part in any virtual races recently? Please share your thoughts in the comments and pop over to Virtual Running UK if you fancy signing up for a weekly running blog hop.