Current PB's

  • Marathon - 3:54:26
  • , Half Marathon - 1:27:41
  • , 10K - 42:32
  • , 5K - 19:47

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

My Mojo

My running mojo has gone. It's official. It's almost as if my appendix contained my running mojo and when it was removed on the 7th of February so was my love of running. :(

I ran twice last week, a 2.5 miler and a 4 miler. Both runs were pretty horrible. The 2.5 miles was my first post op run so I was understandably wary. I came through it unscathed though. A days rest then it was time for my next run. I wasn't really feeling up for it, but that's nothing new! The run was terrible though. It started badly, tailed off in the middle and ended poorly.

Since then I've not even felt like running again. The Lochaber marathon is 4 weeks on Sunday and the way I feel at the minute there is no way I'll be running it. It may be better for me to take a bit of a break and come back to running once I'm 'feeling it' again. I'm just not sure what to do.

Friday, 11 February 2011

The (stupid) Appendix

The stupid appendix. A completely redundant body part that has no discernible use in the human body....... apart from getting infected 9 weeks before my spring marathon.

On Thursday of last week I actually cut my run short by a mile as I felt like I had a bit of an upset stomach. A bit of the 'gingerbread men' if you will. Well the upset stomach didn't go away and got gradually worse over the weekend until I had to call NHS24 on Sunday morning. By Sunday afternoon I was lying on a hospital bed hooked up to some IV antibiotics awaiting a slot in surgery to have my (stupid) appendix removed. I finally had the operation at around lunchtime on the Monday and now I'm going through the slow process of recovery from abdominal surgery.

For the next month or so this blog probably should be called Running Less.

Thankfully I had the less invasive, laparascopic, procedure. According to the surgeon I should not expect to be back running for around 4 weeks. I'm fully prepared to take this time out but depending on how I get on I might try something a bit sooner. I know the perils of coming back too soon after a lay off so won't be doing anything silly though.

As I was writing my last blog post I compared where I was this year in relation to last years training and was commenting on how good I was feeling. I had managed to avoid all the bugs that had been going around and my use of the gym had meant that the really bad weather didn't affect my training much. I was really looking forward to the next 6 hard weeks before I had start my taper for Lochaber.

So the problem now is what to do about the Lochaber marathon. If all goes well I could theoretically be back running for 4 weeks by the time it rolls round. Should I just run it with no specific goal time? Should I set a modest goal for it? Should I bypass it all together and find another marathon to focus on? Should I give up running and take up knitting?

You see, I'd kind of set my self a two year target of running a sub 3 hour marathon at London in 2012. The first stage of this was to qualify for London next year by running under 3:10 for a marathon by August of this year. This would secure me a 'good for age' entry which would give me a pretty good chance of running a fast time at London as I would get to start right behind the elites.

So what to do? What to do? Over the next couple of days I'm going to have a look at what alternative marathons I could consider and take it from there. If anyone had any advice I'd be really glad to hear it.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Lochaber Marathon Weekly and Monthly Review

So January has come and gone and I'm right on target with my training for the Lochaber Marathon. Here's last week's planned and actual numbers;

Monday - Rest - Rest
Tuesday - 4 - 4.13
Wednesday - 7 hills - 7.14 inc. 10 hill reps
Thursday - 6 - 5.80
Friday - Rest - Rest
Saturday - 8 - 19.05
Sunday - 17 - 5.99

I'm quite happy with the week's training. A last minute realisation that I wouldn't have time to complete 17 miles on Sunday led to me swapping the weekend runs about meaning that my long run was on Saturday this week. There's a good reason that the long run is usually on the Sunday. When it got to Sunday I really couldn't be bothered with a run but dragged myself out for six miles. Two miles shorter than planned but then again my long run was two miles longer than planned.

My long run on Saturday turned out to be a great run and was probably the highlight of the week again. It should have been rubbish for so many reasons but it wasn't! I missed the train I was going to get to the start of a route I'd mapped out, I was wearing my new hydration belt for the first time and it kept riding up so I had to keep stopping to re-adjust it. I managed to get a small stone inside my sock that I had to stop and remove. But none of this seemed to matter. I knocked out 5 miles in the middle of the run at close to 7 mins/mile and it didn't kill me. Just to prove the point I picked up the pace again for the penultimate two miles and managed them at round about 7 mins/mile as well. I also didn't set out to do 19 miles, that was down a miscalculation! One other pleasing thing was that I managed the 19 miles and felt like I could have done a bit more if I had to.

In terms of the month I'm quite happy with where I am. I ran a total of 133.72 miles in a total time of 16:44:51 for an average pace of 7:30 mins/mile for the month.

I've been looking back over last years training log and I'm much further ahead this year compared to last year. In January 2010 I covered 96.25 miles and it wasn't until the 7th of March that I would run over 18 miles in a single session. My pace is also much quicker this year. The 18 miles I ran on the 7th of March last year took me 2:32 and my 19 miles last Saturday only took 2:26 in comparison.

One of the main reasons for the increase in mileage and faster pace was my decision to join the local gym for a month. In January alone I had 7 runs on the treadmill and I know if I hadn't joined the gym then it would have been all too easy to skip some sessions due to poor conditions. I actually grew to like the treadmill throughout the month. The quality that you can get for sessions like half mile or mile repeats is excellent. So much so that I might even consider continuing attending the gym for these sessions, although probably just on an ad hoc basis.

So here we are in February and it's only 9 weeks on Sunday until I'll be toeing the line in Fort William, which also means that it's only 7 weeks until my taper starts! The main challenge I see for February is that I'm going to Disneyland Paris for 5 nights. I've juggled things about a bit so that I only need to run twice when I'm there; a 6 miler and a 12 miler. However, I'm not sure how keen I'm going to be to get out running early in the morning when I know I've got a day of walking round the theme parks ahead of me!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

First Milestone of the Year

Tonight's hill session meant that I've hit the first milestone of 2011. I've run over 100 miles since the start of the month which is putting me right on target for my goal of 1200 total miles for the year. Here's hoping I can keep that up for 11 more months!

I was making some amendments to my training program for the Lochaber marathon today to take account of some nights out and our upcoming holiday to Disneyland Paris (3 weeks today in case you're wondering!) and I was somewhat surprised to find that it's only 10 weeks on Sunday until race day. That means it's only 7 weeks until I have to start my taper!

To be honest this took me back quite a bit. It seems to have sneaked up on me somewhat. I'm happy to report though that training has been going really well over the past 4 weeks and if I can just maintain that for the next 10 weeks the hopefully I can post a really impressive time for the marathon.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Lochaber Marathon Week 3 Round-up

So the plan for this week was;

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 4
Wednesday - 7 Hills
Thursday - 6
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 7
Sunday - 15
Total - 39 Miles

What I managed was;

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 4.20
Wednesday - 6.10 (8 hill reps)
Thursday - 6 (4 x mile repeats on the treadmill)
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 6
Sunday - 15.21
Total - 37.51 Miles

I'm really happy with how this week has gone. The weather is slowly improving so I've gradually been doing more and more of my runs in the big bad outdoors! My gym membership also expired on Sunday so unless there is another major downfall of snow then all of my runs from here on in will be outside.

I have to say that when I first ran on a treadmill I hated it. Absolutely hated it. The problem was that it was just so boring. When I decided to join the gym due to the weather conditions I decided that I'd need to mix it up a bit to break down the boredom. When I first ran on the treadmill I just set it for a distance or time and just ran. Now I always do some sort of interval or hill session so the pace or incline is always changing. I have to admit that over the past month I've grown to enjoy the treadmill. The quality that you can get from it for sessions like the mile repeats I did this week is incredible. If you think you're getting tired then the fact that you need to stretch your arm out and press the (-) button to slow down often means that I didn't. If I was trying that session outside I would probably have just slowed down a bit.

I know I was a bit short on a couple of the runs this week but I'm still listening to my body and I don't want to increase too much from week to week for fear of picking up an injury.

It's actually quite difficult for me to pick out a highlight of the week for this weeks training. The hill repeats on Wednesday and the mile repeats on the treadmill on Thursday were pretty good, but the top session for this week had to be my long run today.

I had no idea how the run was going to be today as today's was outside. The past 3 weeks long runs have been on the treadmill where there is no weather, cars, inclines, declines etc. to disrupt your run. I decided to split the 15 miles into a 10 and a 5 mile route so that I could take on some water and a gel. I also wanted to do some sections at race pace so in the first 10 miles I wanted 6 miles at race pace and in the final 5 miles I wanted 3 of them at race pace. I didn't manage that exactly in terms of pace but it was probably not far of a race pace 'effort' for the 6 and the 3 miles.

Splits: 7:51 7:33 7:14 7:28 7:07 7:04 7:02 7:16 7:28 8:48 7:14 6:50 7:20 7:14 7:31 1:39

(I should probably mention just now that I'm not really sure what my 'race pace' is going to be. When I do race pace sections in my long runs I'm looking for somewhere around 7:10/mile. After my long run in week 8 which is my first 20 miler I'll try to nail down a pace more accurately)

Mile 4 was pretty uphill, mile 10 included the water/gel stop and mile 11 was actually a lot faster than I wanted it to be and mile 12 was much much faster than it should have been! It was quite interesting around mile 13/14. I really felt like I was struggling but I though back to the Marathon Talk podcast with Prof. Tim Noakes. He has some very interesting theories and basically says that if you have two marathoners in a sprint finish, then one of them will 'choose' to come second. Well when it was feeling tough today around 13 or 14 miles I decided that I was going 'choose' not to feel bad. And do you know what? It worked! So that's one of my marathon strategies sorted!

Sorry for rambling this week, but it's been a good one!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Week 2 Round Up

The plan for this week looked like this:

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 4
Wednesday - 7 (hills session)
Thursday - 6
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 6
Sunday - 13

This is what I actually did;

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 5 ( treadmill hilly)
Wednesday - 7 (treadmill interval session)
Thursday - 3.88
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 4.67
Sunday - 13 (treadmill, inc 2x4 miles @ 7:04 mins/mile)

I didn't quite manage to hit the mileage for every run but for the first time in what seems like forever, I've managed to run 5 times in one week. I think a couple of smart decisions I made to cut the runs on Thursday and Saturday short have helped with this. Although training has been going ok over the past 3 or 4 weeks, this is the first time I've run over 30 miles in one week for a long time so I didn't want to push it too much. I was actually feeling pretty tired before I ran on Thursday and decided then that I was going to cut the run short. I think it's really important to listen to your body and if you feel like you need extra rest or need to cut a session short then you shouldn't be afraid to do that.

Highlights of the week were the treadmill interval session on Wednesday and the treadmill long run on Sunday. I really quite enjoyed these runs in a strange sort of way and I'm beginning to worry that I'm growing to love the treadmill too much! Will I be able to run my 15 mile run next Sunday outside???

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Delayed Blog

I've been trying to make this post all week but have been having difficulty copying and pasting my training program from Google docs to here (if anyone can help with that it would be much appreciated) I was planning on posting a copy of my training program and comparing it to what I had actually managed.I've finally given up on that idea and will just tell you now what I had planned and how I got on against that plan.


Monday - rest
Tuesday - 4
Wednesday - 7 (hills)
Thursday - 6
Friday - rest
Saturday - 5
Sunday - 11


Monday - rest
Tuesday - 4

Wednesday - no running but 9.32 miles on the exercise bike
Thursday - 5.55
Friday - rest
Saturday - 0
Sunday - 11

Up until just now when I've been looking at these figures I was quite disappointed with last week's performance. I only ran on 3 days instead of 5 and instead of running 33 miles I only managed 20.5. However I did cycle 9.3 miles and I couldn't run on Saturday due to Helen's dad being taken into hospital. (he's ok now!) So all in all in wasn't that bad a week. 

One of my aims for 2011 was to blog a bit more and one way I intend to do that is by doing a weekly round up of my training. For this week and for coming weeks I am going to try to get a round up done for Sunday evenings, so stay tuned!