running blog


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.


Progress towards Bupa London 10K

Not too bad actually.

I had a good weekend, running 4 miles on Saturday and 8 miles on Sunday.  Saturday afternoon taught me not to run in the afternoons on sunny weekends because Hyde Park was so busy.  I was almost taken out (twice) by small people going at lightning speed on scooters (not their fault), numerous tourists on Boris Bikes and once by a stupid grown up stopping still in the path in front of me talk on his mobile (that was his fault).  Anyway I was also grumpy because at 4pm it was also still too hot. Fairweather works at both ends of the temperature scale.

Sunday morning was much better.  I was aiming for a longer run so didn’t push my pace and enjoyed the quieter and cooler park.  Most importantly while plodding around listening to audiofuel I was thinking about and planning for the Bupa 10K race and my final week of training.

The truth is, I havent done as much training as I would have liked.  However, I  reckon I’m not in too bad a shape.  I’m able to run further than 10K fairly easily, I can maintain my target race pace for about 2 to 3 miles (OK, OK, I was a puffing, red quivering heap by the end) and I’ve already run more times in May than I did last year AND been to the same number of BMF classes.  Over the past 12 weeks I’ve run or BMF’ed (sorry don’t suppose that’s a real verb) 44 times or on average 3.6 time a week.

So I’ve started to feel a little more confident that I can have a good race.  I also got to thinking, on that beautiful morning,  that I can’t always expect to run a PB at every race and should concentrate on enjoying running the race, taking part and just give it my best shot and I should stop beating myself up about being faster than the year before.  I am getting old after all!

So, a good weekend running.  I’ve got my head ‘sorted’ and a plan for this last week before the race.

Now I’ve just got to decide which running shoes to wear on the day …

At BMF on Monday morning, thankfully, the emphasis was on upper body, core and strength work (push ups, crunches, squats and lunges for the uninitiated) rather than running.  Here’s the view while we were having a coffee afterwards at the Serpentine, Hyde Park.


Just when you thought it was safe…

to venture into blog world…. its back … and its Juneathon, relative of Janathon and a festival of activity and excuses!

Run or exercise and blog about it every day in June.

So, having fallen off the blog wagon its time to get going again!

I won’t list all the reasons why I havent blogged for 8 weeks.  Needless to say all or any of those excuses you can think of probably apply.

I didn’t fall off the exercise wagon.  I’ve continued to go to British Military Fitness at least twice a week, because even when motivation is in short supply,  its easy to turn up meet up with a great bunch of people and go with the flow, letting the instructors do the motivating!

I’ve also kept up a bit of running.  Not crazy mileage like Janathon, not great focussed training for a race, but just enough to keep the legs moving and lungs panting and fill in the gaps when I couldn’t go to BMF.

So now its very exciting  to have the motivational buzz back, looking forward to Juneathon and warm light evening runs and beautiful mornings rather than the dark cold of January.

But.. Two days before Juneathon starts there is the small matter of the Bupa London 10K and this week my race pack arrived.  Suddenly I’ve got enough motivation for everyone and am trying to do 12 weeks training in 12 days… oops. Too late as usual!  Even matching last years time is looking too much like hard work.

This week so far… 2 BMF classes, 2 mile run  at 10K race pace (knackering) and a 4 mile run today.  We shall see!


Race pace? Help!

May is getting nearer and its only 10 weeks until the Bupa London 10K in which I’d love to be able to keep up my record of getting a new PB each time.  As most of my runs, whatever the distance, are at a similar steady pace of around 9/9+ish  min per mile I decided it was time for a bit more speed and to get used to my ‘race pace’, whatever that may be.  Last year I ran the race in 50.38 which was an average pace of 8.08.  (I’m not sure how that happened, maybe my friend and pacemaker really did carry me as I dreamt!).  So if I am to beat last years time I need to run it at an average pace of 8 min per mile or faster.  Errm help?

Today I made a date with myself to run 5K at ‘race pace’ or as near as possible to 8 min per mile.  I went to the park where I could run without worrying about crossing roads and wouldn’t bump (literally) into someone I knew red-faced and sweaty or half dead.  It was very hard work!  My legs felt heavy and I was gasping for breath.  It took me a while to settle into the right pace and my mile splits show I did my usual mistake of starting off too fast.  The fastest pace was a ‘full on’ run and 8 min plus pace didn’t feel much easier!  What did I drink/eat/inhale before last years race?

I could not have managed anymore than 3 miles at this pace and I had to really push myself mentally to finish my planned 3 miles (5K).   Working up to 6.2 miles is going to take a lot of work.  (…unless I can persuade Mo Farrah to run the race a second time?!)

So its time to get a good training plan and get on with the long runs.  I’m into new territory as up until now I’ve relied, as a beginner, on my increasing fitness from regular BMF classes and/or a couple of runs a week to make improvements in my race times.  To improve my times this year I will have to put in some hard work, train smarter and read up on interval paces and reps etc.  All advice gratefully received! Please!

This weekend I’m running the Military 10k with no stop watch or garmin to fret over my time (don’t want to ruin it).  Instead I’ll be watching my feet in the water, up muddy banks and over various obstacles and hoping to make it to the finish before lunch time and in front of at least 1 live person regardless of how long it takes!   It should be a laugh and I’m ‘sort of’ looking forward to it.  Hopefully I’ll have some suitably embarrassing photos to post afterwards.

March challenge update since my last post.   After killing myself last Wednesday I rested on Thursday and on Friday I let my social life take precedent.  Saturday 9.12 mile run and on Monday BMF class. Tuesday 3.1 miles tempo run.

March total.  15/22 days.   48.96 miles.


10K training plans.

A group of us Janathoners are running the Bupa London 10,000 at the end of May.  I’ve run this race three years in a row, getting a better time each year (56.30, 53.38, 50.38) but this year it will be very hard to try to go sub 50 mins AND run it without my brilliant friend, running buddy and pacemaker.  So I was very pleased to hear I will have some company after all in the form of some lovely Janathoners to share the post race highs and lows over a cool down and stretch  stiff drink.

We all got quite excited when we realised we were all going to run it together and Shazruns mentioned that she was looking for a training plan.  One that could deliver ‘a sub 40 10K without even trying’.  Great idea, thought I, I can either work hard and aim for sub 50 or try the sub 40 without trying route?  No brainer… So I promptly typed into google ’10k training plan without even trying’!  Trouble is the not trying bit looks remarkably like very very hard work in disguise.   Such as running 6 days a week, loads and loads of miles and intervals with alarmingly fast split times and some talk about impossible sub 4 minute kilometers!  All much harder than even Janathon itself.  Oh dear. 

I then sensibly looked up 10K plans at a more appropriate level and this time they looked a little less like hard graft and a bit more achievable in comparison.  Phew.  I will follow the last 8 weeks of a proper schedule from Bupa, running 5 or 6 days a week from the end of March.  Before then, in preparation for the Military 10K on the 26th, I plan to do 2 or 3 BMF  classes a week to train for the mud and ‘obstacles’ plus 3 runs, one of which will be a long run and another some audiofuel intervals, to make sure I can get round the course before lunch time.

Its half way through February and I was wondering, having run 125 miles in January if I could round that up to 200 miles by the end of February.  Having had that thought it’s sort of become fixed in my mind as a goal.  Problem (big problem) is, I’m only up to 140 (been overdoing the rest days)  and after re classifying yesterday as a rest day rather than a long run things are not looking too good…  Maybe 250 by the end of March? 

Janathoners running the race in May so far are… abradypus, fortnightflo, paulasposterous, runorgocrazy, shazruns.  Anyone else or I’ve missed?  Got any good training plans? Did anybody find the elusive sub 40 ‘no effort’ solution?