fairweatherrunner

running blog


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Not a rest day

After a long run yesterday I, not for the first time, rather madly went to BMF for my recovery work out. I did however take the car because although my legs felt fine they drew the line at cycling in the cold. I thought it would be good to give them a chance of trying BMF without the warm up cycle to see if they fared any better. They didn’t. But I really think that a BMF class after a long run is very good experience of what it feels like to try and run on absolute empty. And when we were having that final sprint to the end I told myself it was like the last 6 miles of a marathon as my eyes went blurred and I came over dizzy. Fortunately today it was only a few hundred yards dash to a lamppost. I did get there first, but then all the faster runners had a handicap of having to do twice as many burpees than me before the dash to the line!

The good bit, as well as the hot chocolate afterwards, is that tomorrow is a rest day (from running) to look forward to.

Janathon day 27. 1 BMF class (3 miles run plus a few other forms of overexertion)


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Dogs…

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I love dogs and one day, when I spend less time in London and/or we retire I hope to have one of my own.

However. I hate dog owners (probably a paid dog walker who doesn’t care less) who do not pick up after their dogs in Hyde Park. I wonder if a loving dog owner would like to drop down and give me 5 (press-ups) and find their hand in their darling pooches business? And then be unlucky enough on the same morning to get a knee full?

Enough said. I got unlucky while doing too many burpees this morning! Fortunately there were lots of puddles to wash hands and knees in and wet grass to roll/wipe my knees on. I was also sensible not to touch my face for the rest of the class, and even after a hand wipe not to touch any food until I’d scrubbed and soaked in the bath!

So please think when you are out walking a dog.  It might be you, or even your children, sitting in, rolling in or getting a handful of poo if you don’t pick it up.

Rant over.

Janathon day 22.  1 BMF class (3 miles run) 5 miles cycled.


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New shoes

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The nice thing about marathon training is ‘having’ to get another pair of shoes so that I have two pairs to alternate and don’t get to marathon day and find my only wearable pair of running shoes are worn out.  When I noticed one of my current pairs, which I rotate for road running, was falling apart I took the opportunity of the Sales to get some new ones. (Yes, I know I’ve got many other pairs in the hallway – but only this model is right at the moment. As many of you will understand!)

I’ve worn them for short walks and cycling to wear them in this week but needed a suitable opportunity to run in them for the first time.  My midweek runs are beginning to increase in distance to make sure I get the miles in because I’m using BMF classes for 2 or 3 of my ‘runs’ each week. BMF is great for leg  strength (with all those squats lunges and burpees etc)  and for getting in some  flat-out sprints and fast paced short runs but the overall miles covered (about 3 miles a class on average) doesn’t give me excessive time on my feet in the marathon bank.

So today I bravely  went for an 8 mile run in my new shoes,  They were absolutely fine. They just felt a bit more cushioned and springy (can’t be a bad thing) but otherwise similar to my old pair which are pretty much the same model.

What I was worried about was forgetting to pick up my water bottle on the way out.  I needn’t have worried because plenty fell from the sky! (and the water fountains worked.)  At least running in the rain made me run at a good constant pace without really noticing.  I am now asking very nicely of the weather gods,  if they have any significant weather in mind for marathon day please can it be rain and not a heat wave!

Janathon day 16  8.21 miles run.


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Death by Burpees

And recovery by Latte!

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I don’t know why I felt that BMF would be a good recovery session after yesterday’s long run. But Monday BMF (and coffee afterwards) is a habit, which I like.

I woke up and my legs felt fine, (I think keeping moving yesterday afternoon and eating straight after the run helped.)  Anyway, I put on my compression tights, as a precaution, and got on my bike. Cycling was fine too, legs didn’t complain and I’m finding I’m doing the journey in a quicker time. (Might be more to do with taking a direct route and not getting off to walk across parks to avoid busy roads than increased speed!)

BMF however was the real test. Legs were knackered! High knees, squats, lunges, lots of stopping and starting and changing direction and bending down. Oh help! Ouch. My pace became a shuffle. An Instructor pointed out that I was wearing a red bib and there were blues in front of me! Couldn’t do anything about it, poor little legs were moving as fast as they could, other than offering to swap bibs!

I improved as the class went on and I warmed up but although I could move better I still felt rather lacking in energy.

The bit that finally finished me off was the Burpees. While my partner did 10,  I held the plank then we swapped and continued doing so until the Blues had reduced their number of burpees to zero. The first 10 pulled at my  hamstrings , after 20 I was struggling to hold the plank for the rest phase and after 30 I found lying face down, flat in the mud the preferable position!

A post class Latte and catch up restored me enough to enjoy the cycle home where, after eating half the fridge, I felt like sleeping for a week (at least).

Janathon day 13.

1 hour BMF class (3 miles running)  plus about 5 miles cycling.


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Is it that time already

Friday night and I’d better write my Janathon day 10 blog before the glass of red takes effect and I’m snoozing on the sofa in front of a film which I will not even remember the name of tomorrow morning!

After yesterdays enthusiasm I was a bit shattered today.  Maybe it was also the combination of a first week back at school and early mornings plus a bad nights sleep last night. So it was a slow start for us this morning. I found it hard work getting myself up let alone getting both Sons up and off to school. (I know, I know, it’s well soft driving sixth formers to school but I assure you some days it’s the easier option than getting them out of bed to the bus stop on time!)

I was eventually awake enough to get on my bike and enjoy the ride to Hyde Park for BMF and enjoy a good class before pedalling home where I spent the afternoon, after all that fresh air and exercise, fighting an overwhelming sleepy feeling!

Zzzzz

Janathon day 10.  1 BMF class (3 miles run), 5 miles cycling


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Back to my roots

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British Military Fitness is where it all began for me.   BMF classes got me back into regular exercise 9 years ago and into running. All these years later I’m still going regularly and the classes are what I can always manage to drag myself to when all motivation for running or anything else is waning.

So it is always so good to get back to classes after a break, even if it’s pouring with rain.

Us BMFers are a hardcore bunch and we jump out of bed at the crack of dawn in all weathers to fuel and limber up well before jumping on our bikes for a brisk warm up cycle to get to Hyde Park.

Something like this…

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Although I was tempted during the conversation to wimp out and run back to bed I had already stated on twitter that I was going so I was committed. My friend waivered but did turn up at the last moment (excellent turnaround from duvet to class in 20 min!)  and after a last heavy shower we were rewarded by blue skies and very sodden grass.

BMF classes the day after a long run can be  a bit brutal at times (tight hammies don’t like burpees) and today was one of the hard ones. I was slow and aching for the most of the class before finally warming and limbering up for a burst of decent effort in the final 5 minutes!  At least I’m all recovered and ready for tomorrow.

Janathon day 6  1 BMF class (average class 3 miles run)


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Cycling in London

I’ve lived here for over 20 years but it wasn’t until yesterday that I finally cycled on the streets of London. And what a time to start. Cycling in London is very much in the news at the moment after a bad week with 5 cyclist deaths in 9 days. As I planned to go out for the first time I read and listened to the news, hearing about vigils, campaigns and views from all parties about dangerous drivers, busses and lorries, bad road designs, reckless cyclists and so on. Whatever the reasons, with the huge growth in cycling in London lets hope some solutions and actions are found and acted upon soon.

So maybe not the best week for me as a novice (or returning) cyclist to be pushing my shiny new bike out the door. Or maybe it’s a good week because the more ordinary Londoners who take to two wheels the better for increasing understanding and communication between pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers (many of whom are users of all). More cyclists to create the demand for an increase in safe cycling routes and help to break down barriers between different road users as we learn to adapt to our congested changing city and make it better and safer for us all.

I have to add that I will be cycling in London in the mildest sense. I will be mostly cycling off-peak on quiet roads and cycle paths through the park. I’m lucky I have that option and won’t have to cycle anywhere in a hurry at busy times because I don’t have to commute nor take my exercise at peak times or after dark. I am happy to be the one you will see dismounting and using the pavement across a busy road junction before I go on my way. For now anyway while I build confidence and experience. Who knows where my cycling journey will take me.

Why has it taken me all these years to get on my bike? Fear (lack of confidence) and not having a reason to cycle until now when suddenly I find I have many reasons to get on two wheels.

Fear? Yes, London’s roads are daunting for many new comers, even in a car. I remember being petrified when driving for the first time in London as a student and it took me several years to get confident enough to drive where and when I wanted. Since then I have assumed that as an inexperienced cyclist (beast of a mountain bike in rural parts only) London cycling was not for me,

However these days, as a runner I notice that sooner or later many runners take to a bike. It follows that outdoor types will find that cycling makes sense as a form of cheap efficient transport. Cycling is one of the best forms of cross training for runners and the solace for many injured runners seeking a cardio fix. And road cycling has to be better than spinning class, hasn’t it? (Yes I hate treadmills too)

So when my OH told me he was buying another bike for training for a 3 day cycle ride next spring I decided that maybe it was time we had a joint activity (I’ll never make a runner of him) in preparation for our teenage sons flying the nest (wishful thinking) and he should buy me a bike too. I am one of the few people still driving to BMF classes and paying a fortune in parking charges when it’s only a few miles, much of which possible on cycle paths. Somewhere to start.

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So how has it been? Fantastic! I love it. As a friend said today there’s nothing like getting the wind in your hair to take you back to your youth. Straight out I felt good (yay for a bike that’s light and nippy). I have found the quiet roads far less frightening than I imagined and I have calmly coped with being passed by traffic of all sizes. I have used busier roads than I thought I would and have dismounted and walked less. I think my experience driving a very small car in London for the past year has helped me learn to be cautious of large vehicles and to adopt an assertive road position to indicate my intentions as well as learning all the back street routes.

I have new-found respect for cyclists. I’m reasonably fit and have even zoomed past Boris Bikes but have found many new muscles that other exercises haven’t touched. Today I discovered what triathletes refer to as a Brick Session. Trying to run at the start of my BMF class straight after cycling there, definitely a new wobbly legged experience! Next time I’ll leave earlier so I have a bigger rest between the two activities.

I start my marathon training proper next month. I don’t plan to use cycling as formal cross training but hope that commuting to BMF classes and running my local errands by bike will all add to my general fitness. All this extra fresh air is helping me sleep well too, which is essential for marathon training.


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Marathon training

This time last year I ran my first marathon at Rutland Water and this week I finally started training for my second.

It is just as well I’ve got 5 months until the London Marathon because it gives me time to get back in shape having lapsed my running a bit recently (not to mention gained a few pounds) and as many marathon training plans are for 16 weeks it also gives me a month to build up gradually and to try out my own ideas.

I’ve thought a lot about my training. What parts of training for races have I found difficult in the past? What are my barriers? What do I find easy to stick to and most enjoyable? Which bits do I find hardest or require a lot of self-determination and effort to get on with and how I can avoid situations that I will find hard to complete?

I’m not over keen on long runs, less so when I have get out of bed on a weekend morning to run them (or anything really) and even less so to run them by myself. I am good about getting to BMF classes regularly, even when I am totally unmotivated to do any other exercise because it’s sociable and fun, I (quite) like shorter speedy runs, I can motivate myself when there is a bit of self completion involved or a self or social commitment to fulfil. Some of the traditional training plans with 4 or more days running fill me with panic and dread about being able to keep up with them after many weeks.

So where does that all get me to?

Midweek training and long runs (unless it’s a race with buddies), keep up regular BMF classes with only 2 or 3 additional runs each week. Weekends for rest and recovery apart from when I can get myself to parkrun or have a planned race.

I will go to BMF classes on Monday Wednesday Fridays, Run my long run Tuesday (unless I have a weekend race) and a do a Tempo run or intervals session or go run club on Thursdays, I may swap a BMF class or the Thursday session for a Saturday parkrun when I want or if I need to rest tired legs midweek but otherwise plan to have my rest days at weekends.

As I planned this out I had in the back of my mind that by December I would revert to a ‘proper training plan’ will lots of runs. However the more I researched the more I felt confident with my schedule. The runners World Smart Coach gives me a marathon plan with just 2 key runs per week (a long run plus a speed/tempo/pace run) with cross training or rest on other days, no different from may own plan. I’ve also had a look at the FIRST training program (Run less, Run faster) which has 3 key runs (track repeats, tempo run, long run) and two cross training sessions. Effectively I am following the Smart Coach plan and its mileage and pace details (which I will check are in line with those from the FIRST plan for my target marathon time).

My plan starts properly 16 weeks before VLM so in the meantime I’m getting accustomed to my 5 workouts and building up my total weekly mileage gradually in preparation.


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Focus

Hello World!

Getting back into training again after a summer break usually takes me a couple of weeks in September while I adjust to Autumn routines, get my act together and dig out my mojo. This year it’s taken me nearly 8 weeks, Oops!

Excuses? Yes lots. Since the start of September things have been rather full on with work, home, family and life plus my OH has had a stressful and disruptive month work-wise so my focus has not been on running nor blogging.

I did get a bit of focus when I received this in the post…

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And then some more focus when trying to find something to wear recently. I had to admit to myself that my clothes were not the problem but my lack of running and therefore expanding muffin top!

I haven’t been totally sedentary. I might not have made it out of my front door once on a run since the summer but I have been to BMF 2 or 3 times a week which has maintained my general fitness. I have also run a couple of un-trained half marathons. The first was Run to the Beat at the start of September, enough said about that the better! My record slow finish time wasn’t just my complete lack of training as the race crowding (standstill at one point) and a long loo queue added a good 15 minutes.

The second was the Ealing Half Marathon . A great race again, like last year, which I treated as a long Sunday run (with added bonus of water stations and support along the way). I was very pleased to find that I had maintained my fitness enough to be able to run the whole distance, at an easy pace, without getting puffed and only 9 minutes slower than last year. My legs however, having not had many miles in preparation, were feeling quite painful for the last 3 miles.

My final focus was to pay for my London Marathon ballot place this weekend so I’m committed! I already have a Brighton Marathon place for the week before London so I have some thinking to do before then.

I’m going to start training on 1 November. I have 5 months so have time to try out my idea for a training plan during the first month and see how it goes. But more about that later, time for me to get out that door…


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CBA

I am pleased to report that I am on the road to recovery following a recent bout of ‘Can’t Be Arsed to Run’ disease. After 16 days of no exercise whatsoever I started my recovery by dragging myself to Medina (IOW) parkrun on Saturday morning. Well it was my birthday and I had to prove I’m not completely over the hill (yet) although I am obviously getting into that really annoying middle-aged ‘can’t work out technology’ stage because I failed to press ‘Go’ on my garmin.

Just as well really because I’m not in a big hurry to see my split times after an ‘interesting’ run. The combination of fresh legs, feel-good effect of running again mixed with what 16 days inactivity had done to my cardiovascular fitness left me red-faced, huffing and puffing after a rather optimistic fast start. After a mile or so I was feeling somewhat breathless, light-headed and queasy. I carried on at a more appropriate pace and recovered to have a few chats with overtaking runners and finish in a respectable enough time, not quite my slowest parkrun.

CBA disease affects me once or twice a year. Usually in school holidays at Christmas or in the Summer, when I am out of my normal routine, there are friends or family to hang out with and drink wine with or too many teenagers moping around causing chaos. It’s normally when we are staying on the Isle of Wight and symptoms include much winging, whining, moaning and gnashing of teeth accompanied with complaints about not wanting to run on too busy twisting country roads, the wrong sort of weather or lack of nearby BMF classes.

The decent summer weather in the UK made it particularly bad this year and although I hung out on the beach and even went in the sea the few moments when my feet were not touching the bottom can probably not be classed as exercise or swimming!

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