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. :) 

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