Category Archives: Running

April Training Update

After a couple of weeks of not wanting to go anywhere near my running shoes after the half marathon, I got back into a bit of running thanks to a new favourite 5K sunset running route along Brent River (uphill all the way, downhill all the way home – my favourite type). It’s amazing the difference longer evenings make to my willingness to run or really do anything after work.

The spring weather (which seems to have promptly disappeared) has also helped me with trying to convince Jason that hiking is a fun way to spend a Saturday, and we had a nice little trip to Devil’s Punchbowl in Surrey a couple of weeks ago. It’s a super pretty place to walk and enough hilly sections that it’s better training than my local West London walks along the river.

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So here are the stats for April, not including general walking to the station and around and about:

Kilometres run: 24km
Kilometres walked: 20km
Other workouts: 3

Coming soon: a weekend in Snowdonia and a trip to Ben Nevis – feel like I need to up those kilometres!!

Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon

Last Sunday was the long awaited Silverstone Half Marathon and I’m pleased to report I managed it! Nice medal hey?

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I had targeted myself to finish in under 2.5 hours, and my final time was 2:23:56 – nothing that could be described as fast but a good start for my first half marathon. I wasn’t overly confident of even finishing, having not run further than 11.5km in training, but as usual the atmosphere and adrenaline on the day was enough to get me there. May have been faster and easier with a little more training though!

Sunday was a pretty cold and windy day and when we arrived at Silverstone  James, Byron and I all had a ‘what are we doing here?’ moment at the thought of running in the rain. Luckily the rain never materialised but it stayed cold enough that removal of coats and outer layers was not a fun experience and I kept my windproof jacket on to run.

I started the race near the 2h30 pace marker with the strategy of staying between that one and the 2h15 marker, although I overtook them both near the beginning in a reckless burst of enthusiasm. I really enjoyed the first 10km, I felt great and it went quickly; according to Strava it took me just over 1:00:40.

Kilometres 10-13 I will refer to as the thirsty section, as I kept expecting there to be a water stand and there wasn’t. I wish they had offered the choice of water at the Lucozade stand. The second half of the race was much more of a struggle (and much slower) than the first half. I had foolishly thought that the last few kilometres, a lap of the race track, would feel like the home straight and wizz by, but by that point it was horribly windy and I was knackered so it seemed to take forever and it was a great relief to finally see the finish line!

I’ve only got a couple of pics as we didn’t have any spectators and the official photos, while good, are very expensive, but Byron did get a good snap of me near the finish – he and James both finished fast enough that they’d been chilling out for a while before I was anywhere near the end!

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Carbs and Course Map

imageIn preparation for tomorrow’s Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon I’ve been upping my carb intake over the last few days with some nice big plates of pasta and extra helpings of pitta and hummus :)

The weather forecast for tomorrow is looking a little wet, but after my wet weather running practice in January it should be OK. Just making sure I take spare socks this time as that was all I wanted after I finished running!

Looking at the course map is getting me quite excited for the run, but also a little scared as it’s a fair bit further than I’ve ever run before… But having been to Silverstone to watch the Grand Prix a couple of times, at least the track is vaguely familiar and as an F1 fan I’m hoping the fun of running through the pit straight will keep me going!

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Wish me luck!!

Adidas Half Marathon – one week to go!

One week today until the Adidas Half Marathon at Silverstone! My race pack has arrived, in fact it arrived about a week ago but I’ve been busy moving house… that’s a good excuse right? As well as the race number and timing chip they also sent a magazine with loads of info including the course map – I’m super excited to run around the Silverstone track (in terms of F1 geekiness this is only tempered by the fact that the F1 season starts at 6am on the same day as the run).

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I went for a run yesterday and am now very slightly concerned as the sore knee I developed in January hit me again at 7km in. I carried on until 11.5km and it feels OK the following day, so I’ve just got to hope it’s going to hold out next weekend!

In other news, my trainers are looking a little worse for wear after I took a slight wrong turn during my first run from the new flat – cutting across a park to get to the canal I somehow ended up in a boggy field and had to finish the run with soggy feet…

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February Training Update: Breaking in the Boots

So February has come and gone in a blur of work, illness and one amazing holiday in Iceland. I’m slightly behind my training schedule for the Silverstone Half Marathon due to all of these things but I’ve done a few runs this week so hoping I can at least finish the Half Marathon even if it takes a few hours!!

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I did get a chance to fit in a Box Hill walk with my Dad at the start of February, and we picked a lovely day for it with crisp air and winter sunshine. Our route was a modified version of a loop we did for 2014’s annual  Christmas Walk, a total of 7km and 275m gain. Pleased to report comfortable feet all the way after a couple of boot relacings.

I also dragged Jason on a more local walk in the closest thing to countryside near West London, Colne Valley Park. While not very hilly, there are lots of different walking routes and it was muddy enough to stop my boots looking new anymore!

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January Training Update

Get ready for some excuses…

I figured the first month of 2015 would be a good time to start logging the training I’m doing for Kilimanjaro and for the half marathon in March. With only a couple of months to get to a state where I can run 21km, it’s time to get running! I started off well with a 10K run round Dorney Lake, but it kind of went downhill from there with a mysterious dodgy knee following the 10K, a busy couple of weeks at work that seemed to reduce my enthusiasm and energy for working out, and then I got hit by a bout of flu and suddenly it’s February! I’m fully aware that these are all just excuses and I should just “man up” etc etc so I’m sharing the stats anyway to shame myself into doing better next month:

Kilometres run: 19km
Kilometres walked*: 6km
No. of other workouts: 3

So I think it’s time to write off January and start anew with February. I’ve planned out all the runs I need to do this month and started today with 5km that only left me slightly wheezy, though I’m hoping that’s just the remnants of the flu and not a reflection on my fitness.

With eight months to go until I’m halfway up the mountain, I feel I still have plenty of time for Kilimanjaro training, it’s the thought of a half marathon in exactly 6 weeks that is giving me slight palpitations at the moment.

* Kilometres walked only includes times I’ve gone out “for a walk”, which in this case was once. I have, in fact, walked more than 6km this month if you include general everyday walking…

First Run of 2015 – Votwo Eton 10K

I decided to enter an organised 10K as a beginning-of-year training incentive / halfway to half marathon assessment. The Votwo Eton 10K jumped out as a good choice mainly because the course is pretty close to completely flat and also I hadn’t been to Dorney Lake since rowing there when I was a teenager when the lake had only been dug out to 1500m.

Early January seemed a good idea at the time but Saturday wasn’t quite the cold, clear, frosty day I had envisaged and instead turned out to be a typically English, wet, grey one.

The run itself was actually quite enjoyable, even though I started off with numb feet and hands the rain was not too heavy and became quite refreshing. It’s a great course, starting at the far end of the Dorney Lake (the end where rowing races start), heading along a path through the fields and sheep next to the lake and then back along the “island” in the middle of the lake. Each lap is 5km so it was two laps for me, and surprisingly I found the second lap easier even though it was slightly slower.

With my distrust of Strava’s timing I wasn’t paying much attention to the timing updates, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the official timing chip recorded 59:27! While that didn’t rank very highly amongst the other runners, it’s over 4 minutes faster than the last 10K run I did, and I had wanted to do it in under an hour, so I was pretty pleased. Strava recorded a time of 58:20, proving that it thinks I’m quicker than I am (I think this must be to do with the auto-pause function that I assume stops the timer but not the distance if you walk for a short distance).

I have to say though there is no way I could have managed another 2 laps, which tells me I have quite a lot of work to do before the half marathon in March! But still, it’s a nice feeling to get home on a Saturday afternoon having braved the wet weather and set not only a new PB but a precedent for an active and challenging 2015. To top it off, this run earned £30 towards my fundraising target, thanks to my Mum who text me in the morning after seeing the weather to incentivise me £10 to start the run, and Jason who promised £5 for every minute I knocked off my previous time. That takes me to 3% of my target with nine months to go – time to ramp up the fundraising activities!

End of Year Update

Quick update on what I’ve been up to:

I joined a gym. I made a half marathon training plan. I signed up for a 10km run on 3rd Jan. Christmas happened, which distracted me from my training plan. I went on two walks over the Christmas period, one more of a ramble through woods and the other a frosty 5 mile loop of Box Hill (this year’s location for the annual Christmas Walk).

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I’ve been trying to run a few times a week and it’s getting slightly easier and more enjoyable with every run, even on a treadmill which I used to hate. I’ve switched from listening to music to listening to podcasts and discovered is makes time pass so much more quickly! I’ve also been trying out the Strava app instead of Nike Running but don’t completely trust Strava as it seems to think I run a lot faster than Nike does…

My mission for January is to purchase hiking boots, something I’m a bit nervous about as the comfort of my feet over the next year will depend on them…  And once my feet are in some good boots I can start planning some training walks!

From next week I will try and post weekly training updates, mainly to guilt-trip myself into making sure I don’t miss any workouts!

Run Before I Can Walk: Training Plan

As mountains go, Kilimanjaro is not a “technical” climb, it mainly just involves a lot of walking (a LOT of walking). Tens of thousands of people climb Kilimanjaro each year, and people of all ages and fitness levels have reached the summit – reliable sources on the internet and in real life have said that you do not need to be ultra-fit to succeed and it is actually best not to over-train.

However, there will be plenty of other obstacles to contend with during the trip, mainly altitude acclimatisation, and I don‘t want a lack of fitness to even cross my mind while I concentrate on things like breathing and walking and staying warm.

Also, while I do make the effort to walk whenever I can, I rarely walk very long distances or up hills, so this is going to take my legs and lungs a bit of getting used to. As well as plenty of local training walks, I am planning the following walks / mini challenges throughout next year:

Snowdon
3 Peaks Challenge (Snowdon, Skafell Pike and Ben Nevis)
Alpine hiking (if I really have to, I think I could put up with a trip to the Swiss Alps ;o)

On top of that, I have somehow been talked into running the Adidas Half Marathon next March. This is an altogether different and rather horrifying challenge, made exciting only by the fact that the run is on the Silverstone race track. The furthest I have ever run is 10km in April 2013 (Parkinson’s UK Run Highclere event) and this is just over double that… I’m already pretty terrified but for now I’m taking it one run at a time and hoping I start to enjoy it soon!

So it looks like I will be spending the winter running, running and more running (with a few walks thrown in), before switching to walking, walking and more walking in the springtime.

For now, it’s off to the gym!