Sunday, February 23, 2020

The dreaded marathon training cold...

Manchester Marathon Training 

8 weeks to go and 7 weeks to go (double blogging this week)

Key: 
Both of us - Blue 
John - Orange 
Kelly - Purple 

After having quite a 'heavy' weekend, we ran out of time for blogging so this week's will cover the last two weeks of training. Unfortunately, we have both come down with a cold. Nothing too bad but enough to have an impact on training which, at this crucial point in the plan, is very annoying. 

8 weeks to go 


Monday 10th February 2020

Rest day for me today. PT session first thing this morning; lots of arms and hanging exercises. 

I also cycled to and from work. It was a bit windy but not too bad. 

I'm feeling really fit and strong at the moment so going to try and up the mileage a bit this week and attempt a few double days to push training to the next level. 

Feeling poorly - So just yoga and strength work for me!

Tuesday 11th February 2020

Up early for my first run of the day. 3 miles nice and slowly (9:08mm). Then cycled to and from work (6 miles total). In the evening, for my 2nd run, I went to the track session - 6 times 500m and then 200m. I ran there and back as well so my total was 10.5 miles for the night. It was pretty rainy and miserable so took me a while to warm up which meant my first efforts were a bit slower but I soon warmed up and managed to pick up the pace. My last efforts were the fastest which is always a nice way to finish. 

Still poorly so making sure to give myself the best chance to recovery quickly - another day off of running but still keeping up the daily yoga and strength routine.


Wednesday 12th February 2020

Club night tonight and I really enjoyed a speedy 10 miles. 7:34 average pace - brilliant! Really pleased with my progress on this route the last few weeks.

Feeling better so I went to club to! I ran the Winter 6 Mile route which is a tough one. Good to run and catch up with club mates I don't get to see much and  nice way to ease back into running after a couple of days off. 


Thursday 13th February 2020

Another double day today. Up at 6am for 7miles this morning. I did want to run slowly by 9:28 average pace was enforced by my rather tired legs!

I also cycled to and from work today. Then, in the evening, I did 4 miles. Surprisingly, my legs felt loads better - really refreshed. I think double days could work for me. 

Not wanting to push my luck - I took ANOTHER day off of running as I wanted to properly get rid of the cold! (Same yoga and strength work routine... I know it's boring to read but these days essential after starting the year injured!)



Friday 14th February 2020 - Happy Valentine's Day!

Another early start - 5:20am today to get a 10 miler in. Felt really comfortable and averaged just over 8mm for the whole run. Cycled to and from work as well. 

In the evening, Amy (my sister) and Josh came to stay. We had a lovely evening - a curry for dinner and then went to a valentines special event at 'We the Curious'. 


Great to see J-Amy for the weekend and a good start to a busy weekend of socialising! Happy Valentines Day to all :-)

Saturday 15th February 2020

Lie in today - lovely. We had breakfast with Amy and Josh so we went out a bit later for a run. Did the first few miles with John but then carried on myself on the Portway (didn't fancy trails today). 7 miles in horrible conditions - really stormy weather 40 mile an hour winds and heavy rain - yuk!

In the evening, it was Jayne's 60th Birthday party at Ashton Gate. We had a brilliant time - lots of drinks and dancing. 

Feeling properly recovered and the legs feeling very fresh indeed I was keen to take advantage of the recent horrible weather and hit the trails. When road running, wind and rain is pants - but - go off road and it can just add to the fun. A couple of miles up the Towpath and then several more running around Leigh Woods - absolutely lush! I covered the ground well and felt great throughout - My longest run of 2020 so far.

10.5 Miles @ 8:36MM <3136BPM


Sunday 16th February 2020

After the fun of last night, I wasn't expecting today's long run to be easy. It wasn't exactly enjoyable either - 21 wet, cold and windy miles on the cycle path with huge puddles. I did average 8:15mm pace though and it felt alright. Nice to bank another long run. 

A steady recovery run for me - legs feeling yesterdays efforts for sure. Steady pace throughout up and back down Ashton Court's parkrun hill.

5.3Mi @ 8:29MM <3 141BPM


KD Weekly Total - 73 miles  - feeling really good! :) 

JC Weekly Total - 21 Miles 

8 weeks to go 

Monday 17th February 2020 

Half term! Hooray! And the best bit, John decided last minute to take today off :) 

Today we went for a Bio-mechanical Analysis from the Running School. We were given a selection of drills and exercises to do on the floor first of all - lots of single leg work like squats, steps and jumps. After that we got on the treadmill and the coach filmed us running. 

I found the whole thing really interesting. I already knew that my balance wasn't great so Jules often gets me doing single leg exercises in PT. Today showed how important that is so I need to keep going. I also need to work on running with my arms going backwards and forwards rather than side to side - quite an easy fix I hope. The other elements are going to be harder to change so I'm not going to make any drastic changes before the marathon. After Manchester, I might book in for some more sessions with the Running School to try and improve my running form and minimise future injuries. 

The Bio-Mechanical Analysis was somewhat revealing! I assumed I had the greatest running form of all time and was sure I'd at least be offered a job or at least some money back? Not to be! It seems that there are some improvements to be made... Similar to KD - My quads are doing the majority of the work and I'm not utilising the biggest most effective running muscles we have: glutes and hamstrings. Also on the back lift my legs aren't going back straight, they're crossing - which could put a lot of pressure on my hip flexors. AND although it looks like I'm properly swinging my arms, it seems that I'm just bicep curling as opposed to properly swinging from the shoulder... All sound like simple issues but when added together and over the course of 50+ mile weeks and 5+ years of running these issues can take a tole. 

Feeling somewhat demoralised and ready to retire I decided to take the results on board and try and deal with all of my issues positively. I've been doing a lot more strength and flexibility work lately and I'm hoping that this and trying to correct my running gait issues consciously on my own for now should offer some improvement and prevention from any short term future injury. We shall see!

Tuesday 18th February 2020 

Made the most of half term by starting the day off with a yoga class. Such a lovely way to start the day; I wish I could do this more often. I met my Aunty Jill for lunch which was great. Then, in the afternoon, I headed out to do a medium long run - something I've not done many of during this campaign. Felt pretty easy aerobically and my heart-rate was controlled but my legs felt quite tired still from the long run.  

Speed work for me!! First off I did my usual Bridge Valley Road hill rep workout - Effort running up the hill 3 lamp-posts and job back down one, repeat until at the top. Afterwards I made my way to a flat, well lit and reasonably sheltered bit of cycle path and initiated a new speedwork session (I cam across after a recommendation from clubmate James) It's kinda like a tempo run but with added recoveries - Ideal for me at the moment as I'm still trying to get back to full fitness and proper running. 3 X 3min @ Sub-Half Marathon Effort with 50% (90seconds) Recovery
The workout went really well! I felt strong and controlled throughout and really enjoyed running full flow for the first time in a long while. 
I managed: 0.4 Mi / 6:12MM Pace, 0.5Mi / 5:55MM Pace & 0.55Mi / 5:51MM Pace
Good going. Preogressing and down to Half Marathon PB pace in the end. 
A couple of miles steady recovery ti finish off and I went home feeling really pleased to have banked a proper marathon training specific workout whilst finishing pain free!

7.25 Mi @ 8:06MM <3 139BPM 

Wednesday 19th February 2020 

Yoga again this morning and then I did a little 3 mile recovery run. Had a bit of a sore throat today...hoping that's not the start of something. Went out for lunch again with work friends this time before popping into school to get my classroom together. In the evening, we went to running club but just did a steady 7 miles as we have prom tomorrow. 

After last nights session and with Prom Run planned for tomorrow I ran a steady 7 miler with KD and club mates.

7 Mi @ 8:07MM <3 134BPM

Run felt good and we were all in good spirits so stayed on longer than usual having a great laugh in the bar - Great run and awesome social!


Thursday 20th February 2020 

I treated myself to some new shoes today! I've decided that the new Nike 4% shoes, that I bought before Christmas, don't work for me; they make my feet hurt. It could be because they feel a bit small (even though I went up a size!) so I've decided to sell them and buy some new ones. I've quite liked my Saucony Kinvaras but found that, after about 16 miles, they hurt my feet. Consequently, I'm on the hunt for something similar but with a bit more cushioning for the marathon. 

I've seen lots that I thought I might like online but wanted to try them on so I popped into Moti on Whiteladies Road. The staff there are super helpful and very knowledgeable. I tried on lots of different options but decided on the Saucony Trimph 17s which have had great reviews online too. Fingers crossed they work for me! 



In the evening, I had the chance to put my new shoes to the test at the 6th Prom race of the season. Our Ladies team are currently top of the table and I'm in 3rd position in the individual competition so I'm keen to put in a good performance tonight. My aim is to run a consistent 6:15 - 6:20 pace, get under 32 minutes and I'd like to place if possible - but it is often a competitive field. 

In the warm up, it was clear that sustaining a constant pace would be almost impossible; the wind was really strong and blowing side on so there would be wind in all directions! Great. 

As soon as we started, I felt in good shape. It was really blustery so I got into a strong group and tried to tuck in. My watch was a bit all over the place but I was still aiming for 6:20s so was a bit disappointed when the first mile beeped at 6:27. The next mile wasn't great either - 6:29 but then, when we turned around, we had a bit of a stretch with the wind behind us and I managed a 6:17 for the next mile. Mile 4 was 6:27 - back in the wind! In the last mile, I decided to push on. I could see that one girl was slowing down so decided to really put my foot down and see if I could catch her. I was really close with about 200m to go when I got a stitch! It was all I could do to push myself over the line a couple of seconds behind my target and in 4th (my least favourite) position. To make it even worse, I finished in 32:09 - so close! 

Prom for me to! After Tuesday session and the last few weeks of getting back into it I'm keep to still run sensibly and not yet race flat out! Conditions still not great either so I opted for running within myself... First couple of miles I stuck to the plan and everything felt fine... So I decided now mught be a good time to test myself a little more than usual. Clubmate James (who was also taking it steady with a target race coming up on the weekend) wasn't far ahead so I decided to use the next couple of miles to catch up with him. I ran progressivly faster and eventually caught up with him and a good group of guys.  We ran on together and turned into the last mile. I'm feeling pretty good and like I'm probably still holding a bit back... With win behind I decided I'll go all out in the last mile. James and I push on, catching up and overtaking a couple more guys - more points for the team! With 500mtrs to go I'm starting to stuggle a bit and feel myself slowing down when I hear a shout out from James just behind me to get on with it basically - enough inspiration and I found a last burst of energy and managed to overtake another guy meaning another point for the team. Finished the race gasping for air but really chuffed as it's so good to be covering the ground at a good pace again and almost properly competing - Loved it!

5Mile @ 6:07MM <3 160BPM (Official time: 30:51 = 43rd position)
Mile splits: 6:20, 6:14, 6:07, 6:07: 5:47!!!!



Friday 21st February 2020 

So...I have a cold. Really not feeling great so decided to be sensible and take a day off. 

Not wanting to push my luck - day off from running! Lots of stretching/Yoga and a little bit of strength work. I definitely no longer have a cold :-P


Saturday 22nd February 2020 

Cross Country Nationals! Up at 5am today. We had hired a coach to take us to Notthingham for the Championship. I was slightly apprehensive about the day. Firstly, I wasn't feeling 100%, we've had a lot of rain recently and I was slightly worried about the state of the course and I wasn't sure if cross country racing really helps my marathon training. 

We arrive and the weather isn't too bad. It's windy but not as bad as it's been in recent days. It's dry - phew! We put up the tent and, because we've arrived nice and early, have time to walk the course. It's similar to the course I ran in 2017 but does seem a lot muddier. There were also a number of huge puddles to run through and a number of trees to jump! 

Jenny is excited...me less so!
Eventually, it was time for our race. Jenny and I did a little warm up and headed to the start. With the winds, we got pretty cold pretty quick and the starters kept us waiting for quite a while. As soon as the gun went, we were off and straight through a giant puddle. My main focus for the race was not to fall over or twist an ankle - not do anything to spoil my marathon chances and ideally leave my legs in a good enough condition to be able to run tomorrow! 

It didn't take long for everything to start hurting. The constant running through mud, long grass and puddles meant my feet, ankles and calves were working really hard to stabilize causing significant pain and discomfort. Then, out of the blue, I was suddenly on the floor having tripped (I have no idea what on) and fallen on my knees. My legs were hurting so much from the race anyway that I didn't notice any extra pain so just jumped up and carried on! 





At this point, I decide to slow down, try not to do any more damage to my legs and 'try' to enjoy the race. I didn't enjoy the hundreds of women overtaking me while I waded through seemingly endless quagmires of mud. But I tried to see the funny side. Despite considering pulling out on a number of occasions, I decided to push on to the finish. It was a lovely downhill finish on which I thought I'd be able to put on a spurt and overtake a few people. Nope. Yes the finish was at the bottom of a hill but the ground was so churned up that I just had to focus on not falling over...again! I waddled across the finish line relived that it was over. 

As I finished, one of the marshals suggested that I pop into the first aid tent. I was rather confused by this as I didn't see a problem. She pointed to my legs and I saw that there was blood running down them! Ooops! I went into first aid and was met by 3 very puzzled looking men. They seemed unsure of what to do about my bleeding knees (slightly worried how they would have coped if they'd had a serious issue to deal with!). I suggested that maybe a plaster would be a good idea. They then proceeded to spend about 5 minutes trying to find a plaster (surely a key element of a first aid tent!?). After they found two plasters, the gave them to me and sent me on my way. 






Cross Country for me to - EPIC! On the start line with nearly 2000 other runners including some of the very best in the country. The gun goes off and we stamped up the hill with cheers and roars when we hit the first almost river like obstacle! After the way the year started and the tough workouts I'd already endured this week on Tues & Thurs I was never gonna push this one too hard. You've gotta be in really good shape to have a proper good go at Cross Country Nationals - this I am not! I ran steady throughout and with a smile on my face the whole time - mud everywhere, even on my face by the end! There was a little bit of a competitive feel when I realised club mate Jack wasn't far ahead of me at half way. I ran the quagmire bits and the hills steady and put a bit of extra effort into the flats but could not get near him - hats off and fair play to him he was first GWR man home. It was a real tough course! Very wet and boggy throughout and properly turned up by the 5000+ runners before us on the day. Logs to jump, rivers to wade and bogs to trawl though! If you've never run Cross Country before and don't even particularly want to please do add The Nationals to your bucket list, there really is nothing quite like it!

8.1 Miles @ 7:30MM <3 160BPM Official Time 01:01:13 = 920th


Sunday 23rd February 2020 

Still wanted to do a long run today. Headed out the door with John planning on running a few miles with him before carrying on on my own. I didn't take long, however, for me to realise that this would be a bad idea. I still wasn't feeling great and my legs and feet were really quite painful. Made do with a gentle 5 mile recovery run in the beautiful sunshine. 

Initially, I had thought about nipping out again in the evening for a double day but I spend the afternoon and evening coughing and think I need to give myself a day or two to try and shift this cold. 

Poor KD - properly poorly and now dealing with the fact that she DOES have a cold! 
Get well soon :-)

I'm knackered after yesterday but can't resist the first Sunday without rain in what feels like forever. A VERY steady job out to Ashton Court and back - lush! Loads of people out and about enjoying themselves including us two!

5.5 Mi @ 9:09MM <3 131BPM


KD Total for the week - 42.7 miles 

JC Total for the week - 35.4 Miles


A big drop from last week. I hate being ill. Especially annoying after having such a strong week the week before. Hopefully I can shake this cold quickly and get on to the last 6 weeks of training with the focus being on marathon paced efforts. 

My biggest mileage week of the year AND 3 big efforts AND no pain - yay!
(KD is in VERY good shape and should do very well come Manchester in April - hopefully this cold doesn't linger too long and with a bit of a tune up now before tapering that Sub3 dream should become reality!!! XXX)