running blog


Bupa London 10K

On Monday I ran the Bupa London 10,000m for the 6th time. I’m very pleased with myself, even though it wasn’t a PB, because I ran with my head and it was one of my better races.

I think I’ve finally grown up (running wise) and learned from my countless mistakes. Like following an 11-year-old round a parkrun. (Flat out sprint which gradually slows to a plod and leaves your lungs on the first corner!)

Last week’s 10K race was a good practice run where I ran a too fast first mile and then struggled by half way. So older and wiser, on Monday I was determined to run a more measured race. I wanted to enjoy it and not struggle with ‘mind over-matter’ during the last miles after trying too hard at the start.

My friend, and usual Bupa 10K running buddy, had been unwell the previous week so planned an easy run/walk strategy and left me to go off on my own. She has paced me and encouraged me in the past (and is responsible for my PB in this race in 2010) so I was given strict instructions not to go off too fast (she knows me well). And I did, (do what I was told). I knew from last weeks race and from my fitness and training (what training?) exactly what I was capable of and told friends at the start that I would probably finish (all being well!) in about 53 mins (same as last week).

So I set off. It was busy and I maintained a steady pace aiming for around 8.30 min miles. It become a little slower than that and I worried about starting too slow but I was moving with the crowd and determined not to over tire myself by dodging in and out of the pack to try to run a slightly faster pace. We all slowed slightly around 3km to cheer on Mo, Scott and the front-runners passing in the other direction and then went though the congested water station where, although I didn’t stop, had to take care because of discarded bottles all over the road.

After half way I started to make myself pick off runners ahead to hold pace. My new Garmin 210 gives a lot less information than my old 450cx model and I am finding this is a good thing! I was less distracted by it, looking at it only occasionally to see average pace and check that was falling but otherwise I am getting better at running by feel. For the rest of the race I just concentrated on holding pace. I was comfortable and happy to see my average pace slowly drop back to 8.30 and then below. The fact that I didn’t have a flat-out sprint left in me for the end suggests I paced it about right and hadn’t taken it too comfortably. I felt strong the whole race and enjoyed it.

My prediction was spot on! With a very good negative split to boot. I’ve finally got smart and learned how to run a good race. Now if I can just add in some smarter training and put in the miles….



As always the race was impeccably organised and well staffed with volunteers/marshalls . Other race organisers should see how this race works and take note! The baggage drop always impresses me with no queues on the walk through system with 11,000 runners. It is a busy race, but if you’re in the right start pen (and hopefully so are most other people) you don’t get held up too much. Plus you really can’t beat running through the streets of London on a sunny Bank Holiday Monday.

This is what makes it my favourite race. See you all next year!


Leave a comment

Free places for first time runners at Bupa Great Run events

If you are (or know someone who is) a new runner thinking of entering your first race then this is the opportunity you may have been waiting for. Bupa, sponsors of my favourite 10K, the London 10,000m, is offering free places to new runners at their 5K Great Run events…. See their press release below or find Details here.

Thousands of first time runners are being offered free race places by Bupa as part of its quest to inspire more people in the UK to be physically active. There are 2,000 free race places being offered across the Bupa Great Run 5km events. This includes the Bupa Great Edinburgh 5km (Sunday 14th July), the Bupa Great North 5km (Saturday 14th September) and the Bupa Great South 5km (Saturday 26th October).

The race places are being targeted specifically at first time runners of all abilities who have never previously taken part in a Bupa Great Run series event, to help prompt them to get and stay active. Regular runners are also being encouraged to sign-up friends and family members who have previously spoken about their desire to start running to inspire them to get started. Healthcare company Bupa, have supported nearly 2 million runners since 1993 when their Great Run series sponsorship began.

Paula Franklin, Bupa Medical Director said: “Running can have a very positive effect on both your physical and emotional health. We really want to encourage as many people as possible to try running, as lots of people experience great joy and reward from it. A 5km event can be a great place to start and has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. There is no pressure to run and those who prefer can walk some or the entire race. Either way we believe that taking part will give you a general feeling of wellbeing. We hope that by providing free places for first time runners we will encourage more people to be active going forwards.”

Individuals can apply for a free race place by visiting www.bupa.co.uk/myfirstrun and submitting their personal details, with 2,000 winners being selected at random by Bupa.



What is it about May that dampens my mojo? Is it the long anticipated arrival of spring and summer that never happens? Or is it that I wake up and find myself almost halfway through the accelerating year with all plans and deadlines squashed up against the long summer holidays. Panic!

So here we are in May again and I’ve lost my way with my running a little and have no enthusiasm for work, blogging or domestic organisation. This year I’m also a bit of a cat on a hot tin roof with elder son home on ‘study’ leave whose idea of revision is a little short of mine. I guess he’s no different from me at that age and my source of stress is seeing him make the same mistakes as me. I just need to take a chill pill and leave him to choose his own path, it’s his life.

It’s another May when my Bupa London 10,000m race pack lands on the door mat and I think ‘Oh hell, I’m sure I was going to do some focussed training and for that’. I’ve run this race since it started in 2008. The first 3 years I got progressively faster with my 10K PB in 2010. Since then it’s become a bit of a pyramid and I’m going back the other way! I really hope I don’t complete the pattern for the 6th race next week.

Fortunately I got lots of inspiration at Write This Run on Sunday. A super day with great speakers. I was inspired and moved hearing about their experiences of Ultra Running, overcoming debilitating illness to compete at triathlon and setbacks to run a marathon a week and raise awareness of mental health. I am inspired to ‘get on with it’, run further, smarter and get back to parkrun. I was inspired, informed and encouraged to write and blog more, follow my instincts and have picked up new ideas and confirmation of things I am already trying to do. We had an informative and entertaining day and then we went for a run with an Olympic marathon runner! Well done and thanks to Laura and Liz.

It’s a great morning here today, there is a beautiful blue sky and I think I’ve shaken off my cold. I even managed to drive all the way around Shepherds Bush without stopping (small pleasures from simple things) which must be a good sign! Time to dust myself down and act on my inspiration.

Thank goodness that Juneathon is around the corner.


Bupa London 10K

It was hot, blooming hot!

On Sunday I met up in Green Park with my good friend Kirsten (returning to racing after injury) and with Alma and Louise.  We met in the pleasant surroundings of Green Park and while we pinned on numbers and attached timing chips I realised how hot it really was.  It might have been a much better idea to stay there sitting on the grass for a chat and a picnic!

As usual for this race it was really well organised, plenty of loos and very organised baggage drop so it only took a few minutes to get ready before heading to the start.  The course had been changed this year to reflect the Olympic Marathon course starting on the Mall.  A very slick start and all waves were moved forward very promptly to get the start cleared for the elite runners to finish at the same point!  It was a busy race and there was a bit of weaving to keep up pace and having to wait to pass people and some elbow bashing at narrower points but there was a good atmosphere and lots of noisy spectators cheering us along.  As my 5th running of this race it was a nice change to run it in reverse!

Kirsten who has suffered with an injuries recently told me to go ahead at the start as she had promised her Physio to walk if her legs were tight.  However she caught up with me not long after 1Km and we ran the rest of the race together.  As I predicted, injury or no injury, Kirsten has one pace (quite quick which she can carry on for miles and miles!) and it was me who was the weak-link suggesting in a few places where the heat was really getting to me that we ease off a bit! Having a good steady pace maker helped me maintain a reasonable pace and I’m sure that left to my own devices I would have been far slower. I really struggled in the heat and almost stopped to walk just before the 9k point but managed to force myself on having got so far.  So I was happy to scrape in under 55 mins at 54.53.  My slowest 10K for a long while but by far the hottest, the reported temperature was 28 degrees!

The highlight was just before 3km when the front group of the mens race passed us on the other side of the road on their return leg and we all shouted encouragement to Mo Farrah to continue his winning streak  My olympic athletics experience! Who needs tickets?  We also saw the stands in place at Horse Guards Parade for the volleyball and crossed the finish line where the olympic marathon will in front of a crowd of spectators.

A great day,  finished with lunch out for Kirsten’s birthday with her partner and my family.  I have signed up for a sixth Bupa London 10K in 2013 when I hope to break my ‘getting slower and slower’ streak!


Saved by the Llama

Viceathon (one mile run for each glass of wine in April) came to an end and I finished like most participants with debt (10 miles) carried over into May. However it was still a success!  I ran 67 miles in April, a period when I was feeling very unmotivated, distracted, busy and weary which is at least double what I might have run.  It also made me think about how much I drink when I had to own up to every glass of wine.  A useful exercise.

Now we come to the Llama.  Somehow or other during Viceathon and many conversations on Facebook it came about that salvation (and the erasing of all debts) could happen if we could report that we’d seen a Llama whilst out on a run!  So I was very glad to discover this fine Llama while running on the Isle of Wight at the weekend!

It’s just as well because I had begun to notice, and worry about, a recurrence of my hip/glute niggles towards the end of the month on a long run.  I have probably run a few too many ‘junk’ miles just for the sake of it (a glass of wine or two) and have neglected my exercises, stretches and sessions with my foam roller!

So my approach for the rest of my training for the Bupa London 10K in a couple of weeks is to train smarter.  Rather than bashing out the miles I’m now combining BMF classes (where there are plenty of opportunities for short sprints) with shorter more focussed runs with race pace intervals.  I will still do a longish run each week.  I’m using the 10K training plans from Bupa Running as a guide, using the structure of the intermediate one, running 4 days a week so I take 3 important rest days but am using the long run distances from the advanced plan because I am already running that sort of mileage.

I’ve found the regular injury Q &As on the Bupa Running Facebook page very interesting and a useful reminder of my need to stretch and do my exercises as well as getting some useful tips and alternative stretches from replies to questions.  Advice I have received is the importance of getting a Podiatrist gait assessment for my pronation issues, and not just self-treating with insoles from the internet. I’ve run 600 miles in the ‘temporary’ insoles I got last summer from the physio…oops! And all my niggles are coming back.

So please feel free to kick me if I don’t report that I’ve got that sorted out before Juneathon starts because otherwise running every day will mean there’s a high chance I will end up injured again and then spend the summer feeling sorry for myself and blogging about nothing but my woes and running injuries…Zzzz.

You have been warned!


My Favourite Race

It’s one month before the Bupa London 10,000, my favourite race. And this year however light I am on training (as usual) I am not panicked. No this year I am happy because more importantly my running buddy Kirsten will be back to run it with me. Thanks Bupa Running for the extra place.

It’s all Kirsten’s fault I got into running in the first place! We have been friends for many years and shared flats at university in the 80s. Back then Kirsten was a runner and I was a boozer (not too much has changed then) although I did sport for my college’s netball team, although we were difficult to lose against and could give the lads a good contest in the union bar after matches (can’t leave all the fun to the boys).

Fast forward a ‘few’ years and a couple of kids, several degrees and careers later, Kirsten and I are still good friends and living in London. I finally found a love of exercise with British Military Fitness and when I mentioned that I was enjoying running Kirsten, who was still running and had recently run the Great North Run, suggested we run a race for life together which later progressed to more 5K’s and to on to my first 10K

So began our history with the Bupa 10,000m. We ran the Bupa Great Capital run in Hyde Park in July 2007 (blooming hot if I remember) which was the precursor of the current Bupa 10,000 and have run it in its current form as the London 10,000m from Green Park in 2008, 2009, and 2010. We remember the first run in the pouring rain all too well! Each year we have run the race together and Kirsten being a faster, fitter runner than me has patiently run with me and paced me round to a new PB each time culminating in my current 10K PB in 2010 of 50.38mins!

Last year Kirsten couldn’t make it (was off climbing peaks in Norway) and although I had great company from twitter and blogging buddies, I missed her, having a less enjoyable time trying too hard on my own to meet or beat my pb without my pacer!

This year I’m simply looking forward to running the race. It won’t be about chasing PB’s. Kirsten has had a tough year, having recently lost her father and suffering various injuries so it might have to be me having to slow down and hold back for a change (although I doubt it) but I will be very happy to, because running this race together for our enjoyment, shared history and friendship is more important that a new PB.


The Marathon Bug

Has got me.

  • When reviewing my 2012 races I wonder if my planned 6 Half-Marathons in 2012 should maybe be 5 Half and one full Marathon?
  • I’m thinking that after 10 Half Marathons (will be by the Autumn) it’s about time I ran a whole one?
  • I’ve been looking at Bupa Running training plans for Marathons not 10K ones for The London 10,000 in 5 weeks!
  • The build up to Spring Marathons on twitter and blogs has left me a little green with envy
  • Last Sunday while out for lunch I was told off for following runners on the Brighton Marathon App on my iPhone under the table in a restaurant!
  • This Sunday I was told off for following twitter to try to find out how runners were doing in VLM instead of map reading!


I have taken the cure and signed up for my first Marathon in November.  The date fits well with my planned Autumn Half Marathons meaning I “only” have to fit in a 15, an 18 and a 20 mile long run becasue I’ll be doing all the other training anyway!

Anyone else for the Rutland Water Marathon?

Big well done to everyone who ran the Brighton Marathon last week and London this weekend plus a very well done to Jo and Steve who ran both!  You have all inspired me and shown me that with the right training and a large helping of positive attitude (and cake) it is do-able!

Good luck for everyone running the Milton Keynes and Manchester Marathons next weekend.


The April Lull

The April Lull, AKA over-long Easter school holidays has struck again and I find myself hassled and finding it difficult to find time to run, blog or even read other blogs with the distraction of having under occupied teenagers under my feet while having to keep all the other balls in the air!

However, worry not, because this years lull has not been as bad as last year when I only ran 27 miles and didn’t even manage to blog once! So far I’ve plodded out 45 miles and this is my second blog! Yay! My saviour this year has been Viceathon which skillfully works with my built-in guilt to keep me running (even when it would be a lot easier not to bother to try to fit it in) and thinking twice every time I’m about to have a glass of wine.

I am typically living beyond my means having been in debt all Viceathon (blame the school holidays and visitors for leading me astray) and even after running 9 soggy miles this afternoon (thunderstorm cancelled the last mile) I am heading off for the weekend 8 glasses of wine/miles in debt! Might be some serious mileage going on next week!

Just as well because my next step is to catch up with the fact that it’s less than 6 weeks until the Bupa London 10,000m and knuckle down to some serious PB chasing training ….



For April I have a new challenge, Viceathon.

Thought up by Cathy (aka Jogblog, organiser of all things Janathon and Juneathon), or was it Shaun (Iliketocount), thinking it might be a way to get jogblog running?! Either way it’s a great idea, hopefully not as hard-core as Janathon or Juneathon but enough to get me motivated and running out the door again.

For Viceathon I have committed to running a mile for each glass of wine I drink. (Actually as my glasses are rather large I should probably make it more like a mile and a half or even two but judging from the debt I am already in on day one (after a weekend with visitors and no running) I think not! The miles don’t have to be run on the same day as the drinking, I just have to get to the end of the month with the number of glasses of wine ‘in’ equaling numbers of miles ‘out’ running!

(See Jogblog‘s blog for details if you’re interested! It doesn’t have to be wine (baked goods eating, soap opera watching and involuntary sighing have also been admitted to and other forms of exercise are possible.)

Viceathon will be a much-needed boost to my running motivation. I’ve been very busy with lots of other stuff over the past few weeks and felt in need of a bit of a break from running too. I even didn’t go and race a planned 10K this weekend because I couldn’t face it. My recent slacking has cut my mileage dramatically and last week I only went to 2 BMF classes (about 6 miles) but now its time to get going again.

Viceathon is phase 1 and phase 2 will be to start a good 10K training plan for the Bupa London 10,000 at the end of May.


Bupa 10,000m 2011.

I was quite nervous about today’s race.  I felt I had a lot to prove after running it in 50.38 last year…

Whilst this was my 4th run of the Bupa 10,000 it was the first time I’d have to run it alone without my good friend and running buddy Kirsten.  Kirsten is one of my oldest friends (in terms of length, not age, as she’s ‘very young’ like me although we will admit to being at uni together in the 1980’s, enough said).  Anyway, when I got into running 5 years ago, she encouraged me through my first 5Ks and has run all the Bupa 10Ks to date with me at my pace.  As a more experienced (and faster) runner and knowing me well she has brilliantly known when push the pace when I’m able and hold me back when necessary.

However, Kirsten was away this May and it was time for me to go it alone.  Aggh help…

So it meant a lot to me to be able to meet up with fellow janathon/juneathon runners,  abradypus, fortnightflo, shazruns, runorgocrazy and plustenner for a chat and a coffee and while away a few nerves before moving onto Green Park for baggage drop and queue for the loo before the race.

I was feeling grateful for the cloudy, dry, cooler day… but by 10am I had no need for the moth-eaten cardigan as a pre race warmer and was grateful for grabbing my sunglasses.  For what we all assumed would be a cooler day was turning out to be very warm and the sun was very strong!

I started in the red B wave so was lucky to start only 3 minutes after the gun, however even so there  was a fairly long wait in the pen trying to decide whether  to join the queues for the loo and whether to drink loads more or not to drink loads more!  I didnt do either but in hindsight should have done both…

As we went over the line I keep repeating the mantra I’d planted in my head, ‘I must not start off too fast… I must not sprint’ but my wave started at a conservative pace so going along with the pace of the group was pretty good for me without having to hold back a bit.

I didn’t feel horrible but I was certainly not flying and knew by 2 km that the 8.10 pace I was actually running was manageable and the 7.57 pace I dreamed about to beat last year was unrealistic.  By 4km I was questioning matching last years time as my km split times were dropping gradually each km. I went through 5K at 26m (a minute slower than last year) and at this stage gave up clock watching and relaxed into just running the race regardless of time.  The rest of the race passed uneventfully, there were a couple of good music groups which helped spur me on and a farily good crowd, I generally ran with the pace of the group.  Just after 7Km as we turned downhill to rejoin the embankment I  was very tempted by a large sign saying “PUB”  but just managed to force myself onwards! (next year I’ll carry some cash just in case!)  The stretch between 8k and 9k felt like a marathon had been squeezed into that long straight and hot stretch of the embankment. It was that part, mile 6,  where my pace slowed the most to 8.58 and I was aware of people passing me, regardless of how much I was trying to get mind over matter and push on for ‘just the last km’.

My finish time  was 53.06.  Average pace 8.21. (6.36 miles)

For the fourth year in a row it was a very well organised, great race.  I’ll be back next year chasing 50 or 49.  Maybe I might even do all the training I should and plan to do before hand!

Well done everyone who ran it yesterday.