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)

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 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)

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Increasing the mileage...

Manchester Marathon Training 

9 Weeks To Go!

Blue - Both of us 
Kelly - Purple 
John - Orange 

Monday 3rd February 

I usually start the week with some strength and conditioning work but my usual PT session was cancelled so John and I did some squats and lunges at home using his resistance bands. 

I cycled to the Victoria Rooms on my way into school to check it out ready for a Science Challenge I'm organising so I ended up with 9 miles of cycling for the day. 

It's mental health week so I also did lots of yoga in school with the kids today. 

Great progress today... Inspired by last weeks successes I decided to go for a run for the first time on a Monday in months - this lead to my longest streak in a while as well - 3 days!

Up early doing the (now) usual strength session with some stretching followed by a steady 5K blast round the block.

3.2Mi @ 9:16MM Pace 126<3

Tuesday 4th February 

I cycled to work again today. Then, after school, we had staff yoga. I was clearly tired as I fell asleep during the final relaxation! 

In the evening, I went to the Bristol and West track session. On the menu today was a pyramid of 1500m, 700m, 300m, 300m, 700m, 1500m. It was pretty hard work but I managed to keep all of my efforts at sub 6mm pace. There was another girl in my group who was a similar speed to me so we pushed each other which really helped. 

On the way home, I ran to the pub to meet John and Luke for a drink and dinner - best way to recover!

Keeping the streak going... 4 days now! Did last weeks hill session again. Headed over the Bridge Valley Road - roughly half a mile from bottom to the top with 20-or-so lamp posts evenly spread. Effort 3-up - recovery 1-down - all the way to the top. Improvement on last weeks effort: 6:53 Vs 6:58 - marginal gains! After the warm up and doing the workout I was feeling confident and so decided to add a few extra miles to the usual loop - the weather was lush and the sun was just starting to poke it's head up around 6:30 and I ran into Ashton Court - it's been so long since seeing Ashton Court and taking on the big hill! My injury prevented me the most from properly going down hill so this would be a proper test! Just over a mile with a drop of 100+feet - success - hip, ITB, Knee etc held up well! A good run and a great start to the day.

7.24 Mi @ 8:16MM 137<3

Wednesday 5th February 

A really great running day today. Decided to join the 10 mile group tonight. I wasn't sure how my legs would feel after the efforts at track yesterday. However, surprisingly, I felt great! Happily chatting away and didn't even realise that, at one point, I was running at marathon pace! I ended up running my 2nd fastest time on that route. A great confidence booster but I hope I haven't ruined my legs for cross country on Saturday. 

Club night and my 5th day of running in a row... Running has caught up with me... On the back of the last few days successes, I had briefly contemplated my first 10miler of the year... reigned it in a little and decided it was more sensible to run an 8miler... couldn't be arsed with that either so just ran a really lovely, steady, chatty 4miles with a big group - lush and just what I needed. No injury, no stress and a good time to stop and have a couple of days off now. 

4.36Mi @ 10:24MM (Forgot HR monitor)

Thursday 6th February 

Up at 5:45am for a 7 mile recovery run this morning. Felt super easy and had to keep reminding myself to slow down. I wanted to keep to 9mm pace to give my legs a proper recovery before the weekend. 

I also cycled to work which ended up as 6 miles total for the day. 

In the evening, John and I went to Hatha yoga. This was a step up from John's usual Yin yoga which is much more gentle. I always love doing classes together but it was especially good to do something more challenging. 

Day off from running for me. The last few weeks I've been going to a Yin Yoga class. Really relaxed and steady and very beneficial I think to getting stronger and fighting the injury. Feeling a bit more confident the last couple of weeks I booked in with KD to do the slightly more difficult and enduring class that is Hatha - a lot faster paced with much more technical stretches - I got through it - just about - I felt great benefits from having done the class - definitely a step up in effort though!

Friday 7th February 

I had a bit of a lie in today as I was on a course which didn't start until 9am. This was great as I could do my run at 7am which meant it was light! Another 7 mile recovery run and all felt good. 

A lovely chilled evening with our, now standard, pre-race meal of pasta, sweet potato, walnut and feta. 

Another rest day from me - other than the daily strength workout routine and the usual cycle to and from work - very little exercise to report on from me.

Saturday 8th February 

Cross country today! It was extra nice as firstly, it was a beautiful day and secondly, it was in Chepstow so only a 30 min drive away. Sadly, we didn't have a full team of women which means it's pretty much guaranteed that we'll get relegated but I tried not to let that have an impact on my race. 

When we arrived, we walked the course; it looked really good. A few short, sharp hills but then some lovely, long downhills. It wasn't muddy either and the grass felt really nice to run on. I was looking forward to getting started. 

I planned to try and run strong but not worry too much about speed and position as my focus was on the marathon. However, all of that went out the window once we got started! I got off to a great start and felt really good so decided to push on for a good position. I've not really had any particularly impressive cross country performances yet this season so when I realised that I was pretty close to the top 20, I really pushed on and picked up the pace on the downhill sections. I managed to overtake a few people and finished really pleased with a 22nd position - my highest for this season. My average pace was 6:57 which I was pretty please with too. 

In the evening, I went to a work colleague's party. The food was AMAZING and after being on my feet all day, I really tucked in! As I new I had a long run to get in the next day, I decided against drinking and drove instead- running dedication! 

Back racing! Cross Country in Chepstow. Awesome setting and course. Fast, not too technical but a little bumpy at points. Perfect underfoot - soft, but not boggy. Went out with good intentions with a plan to try and hold a similar effort to last weeks parkrun. Feeling a little bit coldy, heart rate reflected this. Working hard throughout I kept the pace respectable. A long way of proper race pace but still nice to maintain a proper effort for 30+ mins with no knee/hip pain whatsoever.

5.3Mi @ 6:38MM <165 - Results TBC

Sunday 9th February 

I wasn't sure how I'd feel after cross country so I'd planned to do a slow 20 miler. John had planned to meet up with Sam and James so I decided I'd tag along and probably plod along a bit behind them. As it happened, my legs weren't actually feeling too bad. I took the first few miles steady and let John and Sam run on ahead but, at the 5 mile point, when John turned around, and the ground flattened out a bit, I found that I was able to keep up with Sam and ended up with 20 miles at an average of sub 8mm pace! We were expecting a rather more challenging run what with the storm but it wasn't too bad; a bit of wind and a few showers...until the last 2 miles when the wind really picked up and the rain started to get heavy.  

Really pleased with today's run after all the faster miles I've done this week. I really feel like marathon training is working. 

Apprehensive about this one! Planned at the start of the week to run my first 10-miler of the year but wasn't gonna put too much pressure on myself and wanted to make a decision on the day. Still feeling a bit coldy I was a little put off... but... after a strength session and some stretching, my legs were feeling pretty good. KD & I met up with Sam at the start of the B2B cycle path. We did the right thing choosing the path as it's well sheltered and we probably had the best conditions available without being on a treadmill inside. Legs felt great and we were ticking off the miles at a decent pace. We got to 5 miles out and I was feeling good - but sensible - I said goodbye and turned around for home. I made sure throughout to test myself but making sure to not go too fast. Trying to hold a good technique throughout the run. It was awesome! Was so nice to hit double figures! I finished the week with my longest streak of 2020 = 5 days. My biggest miles = 32 and my longest run = 10miles! Great Progress!

10 Miles @ 7:41MM 145<3

60 miles total for the week - consistent training. 

32 Miles total for the week! 

Sunday, February 2, 2020

We're Back (again)!

Manchester Marathon Training

 10 Weeks to Go! 

Blue - Both of us 
Purple - Kelly 
Orange - John 

We're back! 

We've not blogged for a while but, with 10 weeks to go until the Manchester Marathon, we've decided to leap back into the blogging world and update everyone on what we've been up to. 

The last 8 weeks...

Training has been going really well for me. I've had a pretty consistent 8 weeks of training (bar a couple of lower mileage weeks when I picked up a tendon injury in my foot - now fixed). I've been averaging around 50 - 60 miles a week which has been working well for me so far. I've done 3 runs at 20+ miles and 2 runs with Marathon Paced efforts (a block of 4 miles and a block of 6 miles). I'm feeling strong and my endurance is good so my focus this block has been on speed. I've attended a number of speedwork sessions at the Bristol and West track and have really enjoyed pushing myself over shorter intervals. Going forward, I need to do more Marathon Paced long runs and more tempo runs. 

I've had a different kinda 8-weeks. I've been suffering with a bad knee-ITB-glute issue. Initially I was running through it, trying to manage the pain and hoping it might just go away. It didn't. So I've spent the last couple of months mainly getting physio, going to yoga classes and doing some strength work whilst also enjoying a diet mainly of crisps and beer! My mood and fitness has deteriorated greatly but I've had a really positive last couple of weeks and an even more positive last couple of days - I can see the light as the pain has subsided and starting to do some proper training again - yay!

Week 10 of training:

Monday 27th January 2020
For the whole of this training plan, I am taking Mondays as rest days from running. That doesn't, however, mean that I don't do any exercise - far from it! Every Monday so far in this plan, I've been up at 5:45am ready for my personal training session with Jules Taylor at 6:15am. Today's session was pretty light with a focus on upper body as I have a race tomorrow. 

I've been cycling to and from work as much as possible too. Partly for fitness but also because part of our road has (literally) collapsed into the river so the road is closed for cars. Going the alternative route by car takes my 3 mile journey that was 8 minutes to 45 minutes - urch! 

In the evening, John and I attended our local Avon Athletics Association Committee Meeting. It's an interesting way to keep up to date with all the news in the running world. Tonight's meeting was especially important as we discussed (at length) the suggestion that women and men should run equal distances in cross country. Most people at the meeting were in agreement that the distances should be equalised and gave me some useful suggestions to help convince the Gwent League organisers at their AGM. 

A rest day from running... I cycled to and from work and did a strength session: 20 squats, lunges and some work with a resistance band.

Tuesday 28th January 2020

A great night's sleep today - a full 8 hours. Didn't wake up until 6:40am. No exercise at all during the day today as I had to drive to get to a meeting in the afternoon. 

In the evening, I drove to the Pomphrey 5k race. This is the 4th race (I think) in the series but the first one I've actually made it too. I was slightly worried about the lack of light in the race as it takes place on the cycle path which is pretty dark in parts. For once, the weather was pretty good - dry and very little wind. I warmed up with a few others from GWR and then we headed to the start. It was pretty busy and the cycle path isn't especially wide so we squeezed into a spot relatively near the front and braced ourselves. 

We got away fast (I was running with Will and Rob from GWR) but quickly settled into our rhythm. The organisers has put out some small lights but it was really quite dark. The first mile felt pretty controlled. Will quickly sped off but Rob and I ran together and pushed each other on taking it in turns to take the lead. After the first mile (6:17), I was still feeling good and tried to maintain the pace as much as possible. The first mile is more downhill then the second so I wasn't too upset when mile 2 beeped in at 6:26. In the third mile, something just clicked - there's only 1 mile left! When you're marathon training, a 3 mile race goes by super quickly. 

Rob pointed out that there was a girl not too far ahead so we decided to target her. She was clearly fading as we caught her pretty quickly. I wasn't sure, however, if she'd kept up with us so worked really hard hoping that we'd dropped her. As it was so dark, I hadn't really been able to count the women on the turns. On the final turn, I tried to count and thought I might be 3rd lady so really pushed in the last half mile to secure that bottle of wine! A 6:20 last mile with a time of 19:36. Pleased with that. 

I was third and did get wine!

My first workout in what feels like forever! My injury has meant that running downhill has been a real struggle - but uphill not so much. I've also read on various forums that whilst suffering similar symptoms to my own, it's good to try and rebuild some strength with hill work - this is what I did. 

A couple of miles warm up from home to Bridge Valley Road 
(BVR is roughly 800mtrs long with 100mtrs of climb)
There are 20 something lamp posts going up BVR - my plan was to run up and pass 3 off them at a kinda 10Kish effort and jog/recover back down 1 lamp post. Repeat until I got to the top.
The workout ended up being about 1200mtrs of effort which I completed in just under 8minutes.
A couple more miles warm down back home.
5.5Miles @ 8:30MM <3134 

Boom -It felt great to actually do some training, instead of lightly plodding the streets just hoping to not feel any pain a few miles in - result - a pain free run and I definitely got a sweat on whilst also raining my heart rate!

Wednesday 29th January 2020 - John's Birthday!

I ran 8 miles at club with the birthday boy tonight...although I didn't actually chat to him much as I got rather excited by the arrival of a couple of new speedy women in our club! 

Two days of running in a row for me! It was great to celebrate my birthday with my running mates doing my favourite thing.

8 Miles @ 8:30MM <3 135BPM

Another pain free run and the biggest distance of the year so far -  Yay!!

Thursday 30th January 2020 

Double day today. I ran 3 miles at lunchtime and then 7 miles in the evening at 8:26 average pace. All feeling good. 

Feeling a little sore and tired from the running. Keen not to overdo it or risk setting myself back, I wrote off going for a recovery run and did some strength work and stretching instead.
Still cycling to and from work every day.

Friday 31st January 2020 

Up early today to get a 7 mile recover run in. I wanted all miles around 9mm pace. It felt really easy so kept having to tell myself to slow down - a great feeling. I wanted to save my legs for parkrun tourism tomorrow! 

As we were driving straight from work to our holiday (for John's Birthday), I ran to work. 3 miles nice and steady. 

1 mile with running club at lunchtime made a total of 11 for the day. 

Another rest day. I'd planned for today to be a rest day anyway - keen to bank a couple of runs over the weekend I wanted to make sure my body was as rested as possible.
The last day of the month and through January I banked just 60 miles... my lowest mileage month since 2012!

After work, we headed straight to Bude for our weekend away. Our Air BnB apartment was lush. Really modern, clean and spacious. After unpacking and eating dinner (John cooked our new favourite - Chilli Non-carne), we headed out to explore. As luck would have it, we were about 100 meters from a fab little pub with live music. After chatting to the owner, we discovered that he had a the same Birthday as John and so all weekend he had booked loads of bands and entertainment to celebrate. This quirky little place (that didn't allow mobile phones!) closed at 9pm so, after getting advice on where to go next, we assured the owner that we would be back tomorrow!

Saturday 1st February 2020 

Today, we decided to do a spot of parkrun tourism at Tamar Lakes parkrun. Our friend and clubmate Dan often runs this (and was first finisher last week!) so we were hoping to bump into him. After arriving pretty early, we got chatting to a few friendly locals and did a little warm up. With a few minutes to go before the start, Dan, Sarah and Biscuit arrived. 

Having already raced this week and done quite a lot of miles, I wasn't sure how my legs would feel today. My aims were to finish as first lady and in the top 10 overall. It was really windy but I felt strong and enjoyed the course. It was relatively flat with a few gentle bumps here and there and ran around a beautiful lake. 

I was really pleased to finish at first lady and 7th overall with a time of 20:49. 

WHAT A GREAT DAY THIS WAS! We're away for the weekend so it was always gonna be awesome but running wise today was the best thing to happen for a very long time. 

We got to Tamar Lakes parkrun nice and early and got a decent warm up in. Legs felt stiff but loosened up and definitely no niggles. Initially I'd planned to take it very steady and just get round... maybe not.

On the start line with KD and Dan from club who's a similar pace to me, I thought - I'll try and keep up with these two for a bit; what's the worst that can happen? So I did. 500mtrs or so goes by and KD is not long behind me and I'm level pegging in 2nd/3rd place with Dan. We have a brief chat about the surprise of the pace I'm running and I'm loving it, let's keep going. After about a mile, I've got my watch set to HR and I can see that I'm working hard - beep - 1mile = 5:55 - I am working hard.

At this point I can see the leader is about 50mtrs ahead of me and I'm gaining on him pretty easily and steadily, still running reasonably within myself... I get level and the guys pulls up - his hamstrings gone! I check he's OK, tell him to take it steady and then push on into the lead! 

Beep - 2miles = 5:53 this time! HR is high - the highest I think I've ever seen it 173+! The guy who's not long pulled out is on my mind - I'm thinking as much as I'm enjoying the pace and being in the lead, it's getting tough now - don't do anything silly - so I back off, a little. This is the fastest I've run in a very long time so I am well and truly blowing out of my ass by now... 

Beep - 3 miles = 5:57!! Woohoo - 3miles all at Sub6MM pace - nice! I'm done now, cooked. I haven't seen or heard from anyone for at least a mile and the last couple of hundred metres have a tough little climb so I slow right down, making sure I don't look to much like I'm about to collapse, not wanting to worry any of the volunteers. 

Crossed the finish line in 18:27, first finisher!! Well chuffed. 5K, flat out, pain free - it felt AWESOME! Running a cool down, we reflected on what had just happened. KD was first lady so it was Cox-Dicks domination. The last 3 weeks have been great progress from how last year finished. I've managed progressive weeks of 15, 20 & 25 miles and I'm starting to run freely now - covering the ground well. 18:27 for a 5K is 2mins off my PB - but it's an awesome time and it's flat out. I was breathing throughout like I was being chased by a tiger and my heart rate told me that was my biggest effort in 5+ years but I'm running again - yay!!!

Number 1 token!

We're winning together again (yes I know it's not a race...)

Morris Dancers!
We 'properly' celebrated tonight with a curry and lots of alcohol at our favourite bar. 

John with the owner! 

Sunday 2nd February 2020 

Today marked day 63/ 126 of the training plan for me - half way through! 

Due to John's injury, I wasn't sure if we'd be running together but I was delighted when he decided that he would be up for exploring the coastal path of Bude with me today. I decided to drop the long run this week in favour of some run trail running with the Birthday Boy! 

7 muddy and fun miles! 

Sunday - long run day - 7 Miles @ 10MM <3 126BPM

After yesterdays efforts and last nights festivities I was very keen to take this one easy. A decent stretch out before the run and steady pace throughout with plenty of stops for photos and taking stock. It's so good to be back running. Two days in a row - totally pain free!!

A good week of running and a fantastic weekend away - thanks so much KD for being there for me through this very tough last 6 weeks - my mood has been up and down - mainly down and you've been very patient throughout. You did a great job of spoiling me throughout the week for my birthday as well :-) <3

Onward an upwards. Steady progress planned for next week. Maybe 30 miles and maybe 2 x 3days in a row - but - I'll make the decisions day by day and make sure to keep the rehab going - plenty of stretching, strength work and yoga!

We finished off a successful week of training with a Yin Yoga class together. :)