Friday 30 July 2010

Navigating the week

Fitness guru Joanna Hall uses an expression in her books; 'navigating your day', which basically refers to ways of fitting exercise into a busy day, making good use of any spare few minutes to do what you can, no matter how small. This week I've been negotiating a few obstacles threatening to get in the way of running.

I planned to get back into my pre-marathon routine of Tues, Fri and Sun mornings plus Weds evenings, but this Tuesday Pete had to go in to work early, which would have meant losing too much sleep and getting up really early to run. So I waited until he got home and went in the evening instead. This made me realise that I definitely prefer running in the morning. It's a nicer time of day, I don't feel as tired, and it gets it out the way so I can relax for the rest of the day. I felt very unmotivated as I left at 7.15pm, but it turned out to be a fairly fast 5k.

On Weds it's usually Jog Scotland night, but Pete was away on business. We usually do intervals or hills on Wednesday, so when Pete got back on Thursday night, I took myself off for a similar session. There is a long straight (but slightly hilly) road where we often do intervals, which I really like running on, so I ran the 1.4 miles there in an easy 13 mins. Then I ran as hard as I could for 1 mile. I turned round and ran back 0.5 miles slow recovery, then 0.5 m fast; then 0.25 recovery, and 0.25 fast, then just under 2 miles home at a steady pace.

I was dripping with sweat and totally knackered when I got home. That was a tough session. I ran the fast mile in 8mins03, and the fast 0.5 in 3mins47. Phew. Just when I was feeling all healthy and virtuous, Pete handed me a huge tub of rich, fattening chocolate he'd brought back from the airport. Yum.

As for this morning, I didn't want to run less than 12 hours after I ran last night, but this afternoon I managed to grab a spare half an hour between finishing work and picking the kids up, so I squeezed in a 2.2 miles recovery run. My legs felt tired after yesterday's pounding.

I'm hoping to get a long run in on Sunday before we go away for a week's holiday on Monday. We're staying with Pete's family in a holiday house in Shropshire - no doubt next week will need to be navigated carefully to get the runs in too...

Recovery nutrition

Monday 26 July 2010

A run, an ex-PM and a tooth

After a wee 2-mile run on Friday, I was planning a longer run on Saturday morning, but that plan fell by the wayside when I woke up with a dodgy stomach. The kind where you can't go for a run unless you wear a nappy. :-( Hopefully that was the last in this little series of illnesses...

Happily it didn't last long, and on Sunday I was aiming for 8 miles or so, as I haven't run further than 6 since a 10-miler five weeks ago, and I have got a half marathon coming up after all. We had plans for Sunday, including a family trip to the cinema, which meant I had to be back before 10am, and I realised I'd have to shorten the run a bit.

I started off feeling pretty crappy as usual, and plodded along at no great pace for the first few miles. I started to feel a bit better, and then came to a huge hill - I knew it was coming of course, but it slowed me right down. Then, at the top of the hill, I had run just over 6 miles, and finally started to feel really good. My pace sped up and I felt strong, and I sneaked in another mile.

It usually takes me about a mile to get into a run, and I'm used to feeling a bit uncomfortable for the first 10 mins, but the first 5 miles?? That's too far for a warm up. Hopefully I can sort this out with more regular running - I'm really hoping to get back to 4 runs a week from this week.

That was a 15-mile week, which is the most I've managed this month, and something to build on.

In other news - we saw 'How to train you Dragon', which was great, and Robbie got his first wobbly tooth during the film! We met friends for lunch, then went to a big park in Kirkcaldy, where we bumped into none other than Gordon Brown, whose kids were on the same slide as mine! I decided against approaching him with any political advice, and we observed from a polite distance, as 2 burly minders hovered nearby.

This morning, Robbie got out of bed clutching his tooth, which he had managed to poke out with his tongue. He informed us that the tooth fairy will be leaving him 'a gold coin'. We'll have to see about that...

Thursday 22 July 2010

Gettng there...

Finally I think I am regaining some fitness and ability to run!

After my last post, I tried a run on Sunday - it's about 4.5 miles to the swimming pool so I ran there to meet Pete and the kids for a swim (they took the car, of course). I ran pretty slowly (it was actually hot and humid for once), and I felt terrible. When I stopped, it felt as though I had run closer to 14 miles. This left me wondering whether I could ever run to my previous ability again, let alone go for a PB in a half marathon in 9 weeks or so.

Anyway, due to Pete being away, I didn't manage to run again until last night, which was Jog Scotland night. Just like last Wednesday, it was pouring with rain. This time, instead of a straight run, we were to do a hills session, with a couple of miles there and back.

I started at the back with the pregnant runner again, but this time I managed to increase my pace to a good speed after a couple of miles. I did the hills and jogged home, which was about 6 miles altogether, with an overall pace of around 9.30 min/miles. Not mind-blowing, but better than the last few weeks, and it felt quite fast considering the heavy rain, the hills, and the slow start (and also the fact that I forgot to turn off the Garmin for about 5 mins after I'd stopped...)

So thank goodness for that. Hopefully I'll be back to normal soon!

Soaked. Again.

Saturday 17 July 2010

Slowly slowly...

Thanks for the supportive comments on my last post about my problems with illness and toddlers! I know these sleep problems are temporary - it's just a question of how long they last... As for the cold, it's mostly gone, but left behind a nasty postscript of sinus pain and horrible headaches. On Tuesday I felt ok, and when I got some unexpected free time that afternoon, I thought I'd better grasp the opportunity to get some exercise. So I went out for an hour on the bike and did 10 miles up and down hills in the wind. It was great to do something at last and get some (very) fresh air.

Then on Wednesday it was Jog Scotland night and I'd missed so many weeks that I knew I had to go - despite the pouring rain. I ran at the back of the pack, with a 19-weeks pregnant runner! Just the pace I needed after a couple of weeks off. The rain got worse and worse as we ran, and by the time I got home, I had to peel my clothes off, wring them out, and dump them in the bath. I don't mind a bit of rain, but it was so heavy, I can't really say I enjoyed the run.

Then on Thursday, I was struck with the terrible headaches all day, so I skipped a Friday morning run. I felt better during the day though, and managed a pretty slow and uninspired 3 miles in the afternoon.

So at least I'm getting back into it gradually. Providing the headaches stay away, I'll attempt a longer run tomorrow, and then hopefully next week I can increase the miles a bit. I'm still a bit frustrated, but I'm trying to be patient (not my strong suit...).

Drying off after rainy runs

Sunday 11 July 2010


My last post finished with the words 'Half marathon training starts tomorrow'. Such wishful thinking. There are a few reasons why I haven't managed much running (or other exercise) this week.

1. A heavy cold.
2. A hacking cough.
3. Constant rain.
4. Gale force winds.
5. A wakeful 2-year-old.

But the cold was the main culprit. To be honest, I'd been expecting it since the marathon - I haven't really had a cold yet this year, and I know that all the training and the 26.2 itself can have a detrimental effect on the immune system. Not to mention sleeping in a tent for a few restless nights. So it wasn't much of a surprise when, after a heavy-legged, slow 3-mile run on Tuesday, I started sneezing, coughing and spluttering into the void of a stinking cold. Gah.

Once that improved, I was left with the hacking cough, which I don't want to aggravate by trying a run too soon. The rain put me off doing much walking anywhere, and I was all be-tighted and ready to cycle this morning, when I realised the winds were strong enough to be dangerous, especially as I planned to take Emma on the back.

Added to that was Emma's fun new sleep routine:
7pm -1.30am deep sleep;
1.30am wake for a drink of milk;
1.30am - 2.15am pretend to have gone back to sleep;
2.15am - 3am climb out of bed and scream and shout while pair of exhausted and unamused parents take turns to carry her back into bed
3am - 6/7am ish temporarily give up the fight and concede to sleep

This delightful behaviour led to a tired and lazy morning today, and we never quite had time for our planned swimming trip.

So the only exercise I've had all week was a crappy 3-miler, and a few larks on the Wii Fit this morning. At this rate the Great North Run is going to be for fun only - I really need to get started on some consistent running if I'm going to get a decent PB.

So here I go again - half marathon training starts tomorrow!

July's training so far...

Monday 5 July 2010

Back from holiday

Well that was a lot of holidaying and not much running! Had a great time camping in Wales, and then visiting family and friends in England. Too much to say in words, so I'll leave it to pictures.

Our tent!

The beautiful town of Betws-y-coed

Capel Curig

Caernarfon Castle

Picnic in a field in Anglesey

Borth-y-gest beach

Fairy Glen


The weary travellers

Half marathon training starts tomorrow!