Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Shifting Focus

Having been away last week, I'm a bit behind on my emails (personal and work!) - I'm ploughing my way through them. As you know, I'm feeling a bit disheartened after my disastrous long run at the weekend, but I've just read last week's Fetch newsletter and wanted to share a few statistics (I'm a bit of a stats geek!) with you that has helped perk me up a bit:

"The Office for National Statistics have discovered that the most popular pastime for 85% of the people in the UK is watching telly. So if running is what you concentrate on the most, you're already in the top 15% of people, in terms of getting-off-your-bum-and-doing-something."

Watching TV is the UK's most popular pastime (source)

"Only 51% of people listed exercise as a pastime, which must make you all the more special. They go on to look at the sporting activities of those who have managed to crowbar their backsides off the sofa - and only 8% of men and 5% of women have listed running."

Sometimes it's just about getting out there (source)

"Compare this to a weighty 12% of men who list snooker, and 5% who list darts as their method of keeping fit, and you hopefully start to see that getting out for a few runs each week puts you into a pretty strong position. In fact, the average person exercises twice a week, for 25 minutes at a time, and there are literally thousands of you who have already busted your way past that."

Its very true how our perception of what is 'normal' shifts as we become friends with and read more about runners, ultra-runners, very fast runners, people who've completed dozens of marathons, have sub-20 5k times etc, and its easy to forget that actually, just going for a run is an achievement in itself. Its not always about being the fastest or running the furthest. So in an effort to re-motivate myself, my mantra for now is:

"Completing a marathon was the original goal, regardless of time, and the time it takes won't detract from the achievement"

Monday, 7 February 2011

Training Plan: Week 6

Back to the usual routine this week (mainly working all hours and trying to squeeze in some training!). I'm also re-starting the healthy eating - I fugure that the marathon will be slightly easier with less of my ass to drag round it!

M - Netball Match (60 mins)

T - 6 x 400m @ 10:00 with 200m rec (+w/u & c/d)

W - Rest

T - 7mi @ 12:00 (marathon pace)

F - Rest

S - 16mi @ 13:00 (slow pace)
After last week's 14 miler, I am not looking forward to this!

S - Rest

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Sunday Review: Week 5

Its been a few days since I posted, but I'll catch you up really quickly; training was rubbish last week (i.e. non-existent!) but Madrid was good - more for the break and the time with Carl than the city, but its always nice to have a chilled week off work, lots of reading, sleeping, long walks, good food, card games and relaxing :)

Overlooking the lake at Retiro Park

***Warning: the cheery mood stops here!***

So onto this week's training; I managed two runs in the four days I had at home:

Thursday: Plan 7 miles @12:15 (easy) / 4 miles @ 13:44 average
Yup, not only did I have to cut the run short, it was also completed at practically a walking pace :( My legs were very sore from the start - perhaps it was having not run for a week, or doing lots of walking/being on my feet lots in Madrid, whatever the reason it was painful (down the sides and front of my lower legs). I tried to run through it, but after two miles I had to turn back - I could tell that it wasn't simply tightness and the pain was worsening with running, rather than reducing as the muscles warmed up. Even walking was painful. :(

Saturday: Plan 14 miles @ 13:00 (slow) / 14.5 miles @ 13:35
Again, a very slow pace. Somehow, this run was even more horrendous than Thursday's! Legs felt crap for the first 3-4 miles, then things got a bit better (but only a bit!), but by mile 8 I was ready to quit (but determined to cover the distance) and by mile 11 my legs were dead - as in I can barely lift them high enough off the ground to not drag my toes. I thought that it would be a better idea to cover the distance and have 'time on my feet', regardless of pace or run/walk splits than to give up. So I slugged on until the end. At 14 miles I realised I had miscalculated my route, and was still about 1.5 miles from home, I carried on for another 1/2 mile, but then called Carl to pick me up - couldn't face another step! The first 9 miles were run at an average 12:53 pace, which was close to the target pace - I just need to get my legs used to these 10 miles+ runs.

So a PDR (Personal Distance Record) for me this week (my previous longest ever run was a half marathon), however there was no sense of achievement at the end, just an awful feeling of dread that I'll never complete the marathon. Even now, having had 24 hours to reflect, I'm still convinced that my chances of running an additional 12 miles is zero.

Fingers crossed for some better runs next week...

Monday, 24 January 2011

Training Plan: Week 4

Coming to the end of month one now - doesn't time fly when you're trying to fit lots of running into an already-crammed schedule! :D

M - Netball Match (60 mins)

T - 8 x 2 min hills jog/walk down recovery (+w/u & c/d)
Note to self - find hill!

W - Rest

T - 5mi @ 11:45-12:00 (marathon pace)

F - Rest

S - 14mi @ 13:00 (slow pace)
This will be my longest run *ever*!

S - Fly to Madrid!
Not at all relevant to my training, but something to look forward to, especially after those loooooong 14 miles! :D

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Sunday Catch Up: Week 3

M - Netball training / Netball Training (60mins)

T - 6mi @ 12:15 (easy pace) / 6 x 400m @ 10:13 (average) + 1mi w/u & 1mi c/d
Decided to bite the bullet and go for a speed session! It was tough. My calves are so tight recently - they were sore even during the warm up :(
My first 3 intervals were okay, but the last 3 were slower: 09:34, 09:28, 09:50, 10:31, 11:04 and 10:54 (these splits are the pace time, rather than the run time!)

You can see the effect the intervals had on my heart rate! (This graph excludes the warm up and cool down)

W - 6 x 400m @ (10:00) with 200m recover (+w/u & c/d) / Rest

T - Rest / 4mi @ 11:54
4 reasonably steady miles. Still struggling with my calves - its very frustrating that its my legs that cause me to walk - I think it was easier to deal with when it was because I was too out of breath!

F - Rest / Rest

S - 12mi @ 13:00 (slow pace) / Rest

S - Rest / 12mi @ 12:53 (average)
Urgh, another hard slog, and still not over halfway! Did a bit of number analysis with this run, as usual, my calves and achillies were very sore to start with and I felt I was struggling, but around mile 5, I felt as though I finally relaxed into the run (about time too!), I stopped to stretch just before then, and it also co-incided with me arriving at the canal, so I was running on softer ground - all of which helped I'm sure.

For the first half I ran/walked an average of 13:10/mile and the second half was 12:36/mile - this would have been a bit quicker, but I took a gel around mile 8, and couldn't run and take it, so that mile was 14:11. The last three miles were in the top four for pace, and the last mile was my quickest one of all - 11:17 (maybe I just wanted to get home!). So although it felt very tough at the start, it did improve, and makes me feel slightly more hopeful for the longer runs coming up - maybe I am made for distance? (I'm certainly not going to win any speed awards!).

There was a note on the bottom of my gel that made me smile; "Trash the competition, not the planet! Please don't litter." :D

Total Distance: 20.25 miles

Weight: Not sure - didn't weigh in this week!

Summary: Finally managed three runs this week, so I will mark that down as a success. Still much slower than I'd have liked, but hopefully the consistency in the running, and getting used to the longer distances will help the speed drop a bit (I'm not looking for miracles!)

Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working. (Not that I'm claiming my training as a 'great achievement', but I like the sentiment of keeping going :) )

Question: What do you do about drinks on a long run? I found I was having to ration my drink towards the end, and wasn't near any shops!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Training Plans: Week 3

The start of Week Three marathon training! My plans for the week look like this:

M - Netball training (60 mins)

T - 5mi @ 12:15 (easy pace)

W - 6 x 400m @ (10:00) with 200m recover (+w/u & c/d)

T - Rest

F - Rest

S - 12mi @ 13:00 (slow pace)

S - Rest

Sunday Catch Up: Week 2

Training: End of week two, slightly more miles and another missed run...

M - Netball match / Netball match
In the wind and rain - we won 21-16 :)

T - 5mi @ 12:15 / 4mi @ 12:12
After finishing work late, I didn't have time to do the full 5 miles, so focused on matching the required pace. Although my splits weren't very even; 13:23, 11:32, 13:03, 10:52!

W - 3mi fartlek / Rest
My legs were so achey after the first netball match since before Christmas followed by the run the next day that I was sore just walking, so didn't think a speed session was a very clever idea!

T - Rest / Rest

F - Rest / Rest

S - 10mi @ 12:15 / 10mi @12:30
A bit slower than planned, but felt okay with the mileage, and not too sore the next day!

S - Rest / Rest

Total Distance: 14 miles

Weight: 0.5lbs down :)

Summary: Still only two runs of the planned three, but I knew this would happen as training clashes with the busiest thre months at work, so I'll continue to prioritise the long run over speed work - my aim is to finish, not to be fast over the first 10km then collapse!

Thought: Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have now.