running blog



Thank goodness for routines that have me getting on my bike and going to BMF on Monday mornings before my brain registers too much and thinks a day off might be a good idea or I should maybe do some work or chores (which I never do when I miss exercise ) because once I decide I’m feeling sluggish I definitely am.

So I cycled and got rather warm, got to BMF where I got very warm and then sat in the sun with a coffee afterwards to recover before cycling home adding an errand along the way.  No aches and pains nor weary legs so not much to moan about other than the humidity.

Exercise done for the day


Juneathon day 9 (or is it 8 because I started a day late?)

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



Beautiful day!

I was sort of planning to go parkrun today but the weather forecast looked good so last night OH suggested a bike ride. It worked out well because I managed a bit of a lie in to 9am and made it out the door by 9.30!

I was glad that the roads and park were quiet because OH took me on a route using roads I wouldn’t use when alone and doesn’t listen to ‘I’ll get off and cross the road by foot’. All good experience for me and increased confidence at certain junctions! We went to Hyde Park for a loop and then crossed under Wellington Arch and down round St James Park for a bit of sight seeing in the sunshine.

My hybrid bike is fairly light and fast but I was having to pedal away like mad at times to keep up with OH! In the end I sent him the long way round on the road at times while I took the cycle path. I did suggest that I’ll have to progress to a speedy road bike at some stage to keep up, he suggested better gear selection!

Janathon day 11. 12.28 miles cycled.




On my bike

I realised I was missing cycling yesterday  when I saw Cathy’s Facebook posts of Janathon bike rides.   I’ve not been out on my bike for a few weeks because It was away in the shed over Christmas to get it out the kitchen!  Fortunately it is now free from its shackels and I whizzed out on it to the shops yesterday.  It wasn’t far but it felt good.

I couldn’t face a run first thing this morning. I couldn’t settle down to do any work or chores either.  Only one thing for it, get out on my bike!

It was a great ride, no rain and the sun was shining making me wish I’d worn my sun glasses.  It was a bit windy (the weather not me) so I had an extra workout on some sides on the park battling into the wind. I cycled to Hyde Park and did 2 laps in the Sunshine with a big grin on my face before heading home full of energy.

I continued to feel good for the rest of the day and was (a bit) more productive.  I was still feeling bouncy this evening and as it was not raining for a change I went out to run my tempo run which I wimped out of yesterday.

Janathon day 9.  1 hour cycling (9.7 miles) and   3.15 miles run.

I cut across Holland Park on my route (where I have to get off and walk).  Holland House was looking good silhouetted against the blue sky so I took a photo just to prove what a lovely day it was!


Look – Blue sky!


Being Sensible


The tell-tale mild burning sensation down the outside of my legs from hip to knee made me realise this morning that I have neglected my ITB and need to get back to foam rolling, strength exercises and stretches regularly. I must use my foam roller after long runs!

I decided that today should definitely be a rest day, according to my plan, and I shouldn’t even think about doing an extra day or so to make up for my lack of miles last week. My overall miles may be on the low side for a week or two but, as I’m always reminded, it’s better to get to the start line under trained rather than injured or not at all!

My exercise for Janathon day 7 therefore has been 50 squats, 10 press ups, 50 lunges and a plank. I was rather impressed with myself for managing 4 mins. 1 min on front, 1m right, 1m left, 1m front again in one go.

I am also half way through foam rolling my legs. Don’t worry about how horrible the blue one looks – I haven’t needed it because the green one is more than painful enough!


Back to my roots


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…


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)


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.



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.


Shuttle runs and jumps

We have two groups at the BMF classes I go to, which means we are split into a harder class and a less hard class, and the reds (intermediates) are divided between the two groups. At the beginning of the week I force myself not to be lazy and make sure I join the faster (green/red) group and do some work. On Friday’s, after run club the night before, when my legs are aching, I make very sure I am in the slower group (red/blue).

Some days I just stand in the middle as they count out numbers and let fate decide. Today was one of those days and I stood in the middle of the line, in a daze, yawning and just made the cut… into the red-greens. Aghhhh. I woke up very quickly as we ran off and I realised I was at the back and needed to wake up and get a wiggle on, sharpish !

(For those interested, the main difference between the two classes is the pace run at and the distance covered during the hour, the exercises being the same. All groups still have a mix of abilities, some people are stronger and others good runners. Very fast Greens or very new Blues need not worry because within the classes the instructors are very able to pitch the class to the group’s ability. They give different reps for exercises and normally know who’s not stretched and needs an extra little run before catching up! So it shouldn’t matter which class you’re in.)

This morning we ran, stopping for the odd press up or burpee. We ran round circles of trees doing more burpees while our partner ‘rested’ doing squat thrusts. And when I was fully awake and sure I was not going to be sick we got to a new stretch of grass and I prayed for a rest and some situps. They came later, but first we did shuttle runs and a few more shuttle runs before some nice tuck jumps, squat jumps and burpees all rounded off with a 200m sprint to earn our swig of water. I wasn’t last, just. Actually I was being nice to the greens who had to be in before all the reds! Honest.

Juneathon day 10. 1 hour BMF class, about 3 miles run.

10 days done, 20 to go!


The wine won


My gym this morning. I can’t complain about that, nor the fact that is was a lovely warm day, even if I was wilting in the sun at 9 in the morning. It’s amazing the power of very simple exercises, burpees (again), squats and shuttle runs put together and performed in sets of intense blasts of 45 seconds with only 10 seconds rest between to reduce me to a quivering wreck. Some very simple Pilates core exercises were equally innocent looking but had me melted into the grass.

I was thinking of adding an easy run around the block tonight, after a boring day working at my PC, but distractions by my sons, both taking exams, and both in need of encouragement to do a little preparation led me to a glass of white at 6pm instead. I will make up for it tomorrow. Famous last words.

Juneathon day 4. 1 hour PT session. (Some running involved.)


No running, no blogging

Oops it’s been a while since I last blogged.

It’s because I haven’t been running and when I can’t run I get grumpy and listless and don’t feel like writing, nor much else for that matter.  Anyway, if I did blog it would be pretty dull and all about my whinges, whines and injury woes so you haven’t missed much.

So I’m all cured and back running?  Not quite.

I haven’t run for over 2 weeks and a painful test mile last weekend made it clear that I shouldn’t run 3 miles let alone 13.1.  No Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon for me this weekend.  I had hoped to be able to run it slow as a training run but there’s a big difference between being under trained and unable.  This race must be jinxed for me! I entered it last year and never made it because of family commitments.  Better luck next year – I really do intend to run it one day!

I’ve kept busy with cross training to keep up my efforts to lose weight as well as keeping up some level of fitness.  I’ve swum, had some  TRX PT sessions and made it to my first ever spin class.  Now I know why I run and don’t cycle! I’m uncoördinated enough on a static bike!

I’ve treated my injury, (piriformis pain) with sports massage, ice, heat and stretching plus my PT sessions have concentrated on stretching and strengthening my hips, glutes and legs.  The exercises have certainly helped. The day after a particularly tough PT session I foolishly took my wobbly legs to a spin class.  Afterwards was agony! However the more all the other muscles in my bum and thighs hurt the less pain from my piriformis.

My next Half Marathon is now Bath in 2 weeks.  I was beginning to panic about being ok to run this one as well, especially after a bad mile run test on Sunday.  Today, however, suddenly the dagger pain in my bum has been replaced by a dull ache.  I don’t know which of the various treatments has been useful or even if it is just my piriformis has finally relaxed after time but for a few easy warm up runs things felt better and I’m feeling optimistic.

Don’t worry I won’t do anything foolish, like dashing out a 10 miler or anything.  I still plan to swim and spin this week and start building up the running slowly.

Hopefully for the second time I will learn my lesson and start doing all my stretches and strength exercises regularly. AND keep doing them when I get back on form and not waiting until I’m injured again.


Mixing it up

This Janathon has not gone as well for me as the last two. I’ve not run as many miles and for the first time I’ve not run at all on some days. This is partly due to a silly rib injury, the snow and ice, recently having a cold and now a bit of a glute muscle pull. Excuses aside, the main reason is I’m in a rut. My running is feeling stale, plodding out the same old routes at ever decreasing speeds and coasting along in my comfort zone at BMF.

I’ve enjoyed running with friends and have entered plenty of races to have goals and outings to look forward to and keep up my motivation. However I need to change my exercise routine and think a bit smarter about training for my next marathon. I’m also struggling to shift a half stone of excess weight and know that unless I challenge my body with something different and push myself a bit it’s not going to be easy to lose.

I thought about re-joining the gym or getting a personalised running program but in the end I decided to get some 1 on 1 PT sessions where I get pushed and have no opportunities to slack off and go get a coffee. We are going to work on my strength and flexibility, which hopefully along with loosing a few pounds will help me get faster. We’re also going to have a look at my diet and see if I need to make any changes. I know I could do with some help for nutrition when training because I either under eat trying to diet, so can’t run well, or overdo the carb loading and gain weight. (Oops time to write my food diary and own up to all those glasses of wine!)

Janathon day 29. PT session. 1 hour including plyometric exercises and TRX, with no hiding, resting, or excuses, definitely being moved out of my comfort zone.