My training runs

Sunday, 30 January 2011

They saw me coming

Highlights of the week's training

Well Monday's tempo run was a killer.  I was going OK until mile 3 and then lost my breath. I blame the fact that I had my 'small' running tights on that have always been a bit tight.  And when your ribcage is being crushed by the elastic waistband, it does make it harder to get that oxygen into the old lungs. But, that's just an excuse.  I'd gone right out of my comfort zone and my body wasn't going to let me ignore it.  Solution was to slow down, which I did and get the control back.  And I did.  Was pleased overall how it went.
Saturday saw me run 13.96 miles, which I've never done before.  Huge milestone and I know that from now on, they're going to keep on coming.  It was a really cold start but we had the wind behind us so it was OK.  Last week we saw lovely little Shetland ponies; this week we saw fluffy cows.  I know.  Sad.  But they were adorable and I don't warm to cows that much. It's their tongues - yuk! Anyway, moving on.  I'd made my drink with hot water but even half way round it was stone cold.  At the end, it was as if it'd been in a freezer!  The last mile was into a strong -5 degree head wind and was tough going.  I was really pleased I'd worn my thermal tights underneath, but even with them, my thighs were starting to freeze up.

The good news is Spring is knocking at the door.  We saw flowering snowdrops for the first time.  That always makes me smile.  That and the hot bubblebath that I jumped into when I got home.  Ahhhhhh ...... 

They saw me coming: Marathon muttering - or rant
Well, I hope they did.  One of the big dangers of running in the winter is the dark. And I make sure I’m as luminous as possible.  I wear a luminous top, hat and gloves with a reflector band around each leg and arm. If they did luminous running tights, I’d have a pair, but I make do with luminous legwarmers instead. Like the Great Wall of China, I can probably be seen from space!  I know I look ridiculous, but I want to keep running and you can’t do that in a wheelchair.
My running partner Sandra on the left with me on the right


So it always amazes me to see runners out there dressed head to toe in black. Unless they’re the Cadbury’s Milk Tray man and don’t want to be seen, they’re dicing with death.  A bit dramatic?  I don’t think so because I can see it from both the runner’s angle and the driver’s.

As a runner, I know that far too many cars/lorries/bikes squeeze past you even in daylight. I’ve had a friction burn or two in my time! I know that drivers back their cars out of driveways pretty quickly because they think there’s no-one about at night.  And I’ve even nearly run into people on the path because they’ve got black/dark coats on. I’m guilty of that too as sometimes I walk home from work with a black coat on, but I’ve got a white rucksack on my back.

As a driver, I know how hard it is to see the road ahead when someone’s headlights are shining straight at you. It’s even harder when it’s raining and you can hardly see the road in front of you. I’ve had to hit the brakes a number of times when the shape of a person looms out of nowhere because of their dark clothing.  It’s scary and makes my hair stand on end.

So if you’re a runner please forget what you look like and rig yourself out in luminous green or orange.  For runners, it’s always fashionable to be green and be seen!

And if you’re a driver, honk your horn at blacked out runners.  If they get enough honks, the penny may drop that they can’t be seen and they may go luminous.  Let’s hope so.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

The six Ps

Anyone my age will have heard of the six Ps, that being ‘Perfect Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance'. And I can’t think of a better mantra to see me over the marathon finishing line.

I did come across a more eloquent way of putting it recently:

Everyone in life has to face these two choices, the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.  The difference being, the pain of discipline weighs ounces, the pain of regret tonnes.

I know the marathon is going to be the hardest thing I’ve done in my life.  Fact. And I want to try and make it as painless as possible. I’m not kidding myself that it’s not going to be painful. I know it will be, but I want to make the pain the difference between getting your bare foot trodden on by a shoe and being trodden on by a studded football boot.

So I’ve got a training routine,which I know I can’t waiver from or I’ll suffer big time on the day. 

Here it is:
  • Monday – 5-6 miles at an uncomfortable pace.  This run will give me the extra legs when it gets really tough on the day
  • Tuesday – no training, although I may start doing the Ryan Giggs' fitness video (yoga based), but don’t tell Brian who I bought it for!
  • Wednesday – 9-10 miles steady comfortable pace (although there’s always a hill or two that gets me out of my comfort zone)
  • Thursday – 7am:  45 minute circuit workout followed at 6pm with interval training.  The circuits will give me a strong core, which will make running easier. The interval training will give me the extra legs for when I’m flagging. Both sessions are tough going but I know they’ll help me on the day.
  • Friday – 30 minute swimming lesson to strengthen my legs even more, but more importantly, strengthen my arms.  It’s too easy to forget how much your arms help with running.  And ‘yes’ I have tried running with my arms pinned to my side.  Comedy gold moment.
  • Saturday – long run at a comfortable pace.  This run is about time on my legs, not time on the clock. The marathon will probably take me 4-5 hours, which is a long, long time. I think about those long shopping days before Christmas when my feet are killing me at the end, even with a few coffee breaks thrown in.  I have to get my body used to being up and working for that length of time if I’m going to make it over the finishing line.
  • Sunday - rest day.  These bones need it!

The only change to that routine will be the miles on the Sunday run.  They’re going to go up!  I say that with fingers, toes, legs and arms crossed because I may get an injury or I may get the dreaded lurgy that everyone’s coming down with. But, I’m being positive.  I heard on the radio the other day that people who exercise for 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week are 46% less likely to get a cold than people who don’t. I've still got everything crossed though!

And in true Harry Hill style, I’m going to finish each blog off with………..

For the first time in my life, I swam one full length of proper front crawl (head in water, breathing to the side)! But it was just the one.  After that I drank most of the pool.
Heard a woodpecker on the long run.  The countryside surrounding Andover is full of wildlife.  No doubt wildlife will get lots of mentions on my highlights.  Here comes the next one.  We saw the most adorable Shetland ponies, which were only about two feet high. I wanted to stop and stroke them, but I didn’t think my training partner would’ve been too impressed if I broke our stride.  Instead we just made girlie gushing noises much to the embarrassment of Alan, her husband and our route guide.

That’s this week’s blog.  Hope you’ll come back again next week.

Friday, 14 January 2011

On your marks, get set, go!


Glad you've made it over to my blog to read all about my 'adventure' that training for a marathon is going to be. That's what my Dad would say it is, so that's how I'm going to treat it.

So why am I going to drag this 49 year old body around Brighton for 26.2 miles I hear you ask? 
Good question. I ask myself that all the time! If I'm honest, it seems to be the natural thing to do after running for about 18 years. It's also a huge challenge and one that will get harder as I get older. So I'm going to try and cross it off the bucket list as soon as I can.

How long's it going to take me?
I say I don't have a time in mind to finish it, but I'd break out the bubbly if I did it in under five hours.  Just to finish it is my real goal.

Why blog about it?
I'm doing this blog for a number of reasons:
  1. for those who have kindly sponsored me to see how I'm getting on.  I want to  give them something back for the money they've put in.  They can see that I'm earning their donation to the Winston's Wish charity;
  2. so I remember what it's like to train for a marathon - the highs, the lows, just in case I do decide to do it again (I'm told it's like childbirth - you forget the pain within a day or so and only remember the euphoria), and finally;
  3. because it's going to be one of the biggest achievements in my life.
I'll blog once a week and keep my posts fairly short as I don't want to bore you so you don't come back! 

Tell me how mad I am!
I'd love to get your comments so comment away.  That way I'll know I'm not talking to myself which we all know is the first sign of madness. In saying that, I must be a bit loopy to be doing a marathon!

Wish me luck and thanks for joining me on my adventure.