fairweatherrunner

running blog


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A good long run

I was rather late getting out for my long run today.  It probably had something to do with the box of empties which I put out for recycling this morning!

When I did get out I had a really good enjoyable run and was thankful for many things today…

  • My delayed run meant the rain was easing when I left home
  • The cool light drizzle during the first half hour washed away the last of my thick head
  • A group of youths cycling on the pavement actually apologised that I had to detour to avoid them!
  • The peace and quiet of 4 (more empty than normal) London Parks on a wet Sunday
  • Only being asked directions by 2 sets of tourists
  • The loo attendant letting me in at 2 mins past 4pm when she was about to lock up
  • A good feeling run on what ended up being a beautiful afternoon when the rain cleared.
  • Getting to my door and my Garmin reading 12.01 miles!  Job done.

Janathon day 26.  12 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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The long and the short of it

I’ve written about my dislike of long runs before. I often dread them, sometimes find them boring and regularly have a problem finding time to fit them in (I’m not a morning person). But they are a necessary evil if I want to improve my running at any distance. So whether it’s my laziness, impatience to get a run over or whatever I have to get over it and run some log runs.

I’m half way through Juneathon and my longest run so far is 10K and I’ve not run more than that since a half marathon in April. Time to get on with it I think! So full of mojo from a good run yesterday I got out of the door easily today. It also helped that sensibly I was only planning to run a ‘short long run’ too build up my mileage gradually and avoid injury. (I guess the definition of long run, short long run, long long run, etc, all depends on whether you are a sprinter or ultra runner.)

Juneathon day 16. 8.4 miles run, a good one. Yes I enjoyed it!


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It worked

Since I wrote about hating long runs earlier this month, most of my running has been at flat-out pace or at least one that requires a lot of effort.  From running a half marathon to bashing out mile or kilometer intervals at BMF run club. I’ve also pushed myself back up to the faster group for BMF classes where they take off at a hell of a pace with my little legs screaming ‘whatever happened to the warm up?’

This Thursday, half way around my second mile repeat at run club, I turned the corner into the wind, and thought something like “this is blooming hard work” and “wouldn’t it be nice to go for a nice easy long SLOW run on a warm evening instead!”

My calves and achillies are aching and definitely telling me to ease off all the high intensity stuff and add back a few easy paced runs.  I’ve also found myself adding songs to my iPod shuffle because I thought they’d be great to listen to out on a long run.

Looks like I have invented my cure.  Just as well because I have entered Brighton Marathon 2014.


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I hate long runs!

I have been thinking recently about how I feel now that Spring Marathons are in full swing and that I have pulled out of the Milton Keynes Marathon.

I am full of admiration for everyone who has made it through marathon training this winter. The weather has been foul and the cold has certainly contributed to some of my niggles.  How anyone finished a 20(+) mile run in the sleet this March with the added wind chill is amazing.  I didn’t even manage to get out for one lap of my 20 mile race let alone 5!

I am a little envious of everyone’s successes so far and that wonderful feeling of achievement that many friends will get when they complete their marathons over the next few weeks. It all takes hard work and putting the hours in on long runs. It was trying to fast forward and catch up my long run distance after injury that made me admit I was over doing it and postpone my marathon number 2.

I am tempted looking at other marathons later this year or for next and still hold ambitions of improving my marathon time but I think too much about the ‘whens’ and ‘ifs’ of the training and best timings with other commitments.

So my thoughts always come back to long runs and I have to admit that I just don’t like doing them. I can’t help but think that maybe if I liked them a little more I might not have been so quick to drop out of my marathon training.  I am happy to run 8 or 10 miles (and race a half marathon) but over that and I get a bit of a mental block and dread them before I start.  It was at the 12 mile point (or maybe it’s the magic 2 hour curfew) of a long run when I admitted to myself I was bored, cold and fed up and probably trying to push myself to hard too soon after injury (so got on a bus) and made my decision.

I then had a bit of a running slump week.  I cross trained and went to BMF where the runs are short before picking myself up with thoughts of shorter races.  I did manage to force myself out for a long run last weekend because the odd long run is still a necessary evil for half marathon training.  However even with a pre planned 12 mile route my legs somehow brought me home after 10 miles!  I dragged out another mile looping the block before I had enough muscle aches and pains to justify calling it a day.

Fortunately my recent saviour of my running mojo has been BMF run club.  I’m lucky that BMF Hyde Park is one of the BMF parks that holds a run club for members.  I’ve meant to go ever since I’ve been a member and after 6 or 7 years I finally ran out of excuses! (Dark won’t kill me and being home at 7pm for dinner and bed time for my sons, now 16 and 14, isn’t an issue anymore.)   There I have really enjoyed running some fast intervals.

It’s hard to describe the buzz I get from it which I don’t get from long runs.  I know it’s going to be hard work beforehand but don’t get that feeling of dread.  It’s amazing how you can blast out a km or more at best effort, thinking you’re ‘all-in’ but after 90 seconds recovery bounce off to do it all over again, and again. Running in the dark doesn’t bother me and it’s great to be running at my pace but within a group.  Fortunately both times I have found myself well placed mid-pack where there is the challenge to chase the front-runners and comfort of not being at the back.

The tired feeling after speed intervals is better too!  I sleep so well afer a tough speed session and my muscles feel happily tired rather than being painful and stiff after long runs.  Speed is giving me a spring in my step.  It’s great to find some pace again and my legs are feeling lighter now that I am leaving the slow shuffling heavy legged long slow runs behind me.

Good luck and well done to everyone who has or is about to run a marathon in the next few weeks.  If like me it’s not happening for you either this time, our time will/may come!  Or maybe as with many things in life, each to their own, embrace our differences and maybe admit we are more suited to other distances.


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Long Runs and Buses

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At times my long runs are much less reliable than buses but when I’m marathon training I (usually) manage to do them a bit more often.

Sometimes frequent buses are just what you need when fatigue sets in, it’s getting late, cold, you’re feeling knackered and just want to get home.

That’s what happened to me on Sunday. Thirteen plus miles on my feet and I had just plain had enough.  Trouble was I was at least 3 miles from home.  Stagger on? Walk and take even longer? or phone a friend (OH)?  A that moment a bus came round the corner.  I have never ever been so pleased to see a 295 bus in all my life! (and for my habit of always carrying my oyster card and some cash).  And so I was rescued from deepest Fulham.

After last weekend’s Half Marathon I had gone out on my planned long run.  It turned out to be a step up in mileage too far having had time out with injury and 16 miles was just a bit too much for only my 3rd long run post injury.  Either that or I have thought too much recently about Half Marathon being the perfect distance and my current favourite race.

So I have had to make a few more adjustments along the road towards my marathon.  I will do 16 miles next week and not run the first of my 20 mile races on Sunday as it just feels too soon.  I will save that distance for the week after and maybe again during April.

Top tip for other would-be bus hoppers during long runs.  You can’t stay on the bus too long before you cool down and start to get chilled.  I did get off the bus in traffic nearer home and run (at a much faster pace) most of the last mile home rounding my run up to 14.4 miles.


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Ouch

I planned to do my marathon long run today. With all the fuss about the weather forecast for this weekend I thought 9 miles plus on Saturday or Sunday might be difficult so I sensibly decided get it in the bag today while doing some nifty work, housework and ironing pile avoidance.

However I failed to take into account the 200 squats I did yesterday at BMF. I had quite achy legs and glutes this morning but assumed the run would help loosen my muscles up and help get over the DOMS.   I set off mid morning, starting very slowly as I tried to warm up and loosen my legs. However it was so cold that my legs never warmed up and my muscles got stiffer and more painful. I tried to run through it thinking that by 3 or 4 miles I would feel fine but when I stopped to crouch down and take a photo of birds on the frozen Serpentine I had trouble getting up again! At this stage I abandoned my 10 mile plans and waddled home.

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For those of you who have asked, I’m following The Runners World improvers marathon training plan to train for the Milton Keynes Marathon. (RW’s January 2013 issue.)  For the first 3 weeks during Janathon I am making sure that in running every day I at least cover the plan.  I will then follow it closely, give or take.  It’s a 16 week plan, assuming base mileage of 25-30 per week and starts at 25 miles a week building up to 50 miles at peak.  I also find the Runners World online smart coach very useful for giving target paces for speed intervals and long runs based on past race times or target marathon time.

Janathon day 17.   7.65 miles at long slow run pace (less some)!


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Bling.

This morning I received in the post a wonderful shiny gold medal from Louise.  She’d had them made for us after our 24 mile Kingston Challenge run last week where we were a little disappointed not to get a medal

Medals are very important to us runners, just ask any runner or fellow runner-blogger-Rachel Medal Slut, it’s all about the medal! It’s not only the collecto maniacs and magpies in us that want more and more shiny medals hanging and clanking like cow bells from our wardrobe doors.  Medals are the important physical token which represents the wonderful feeling of achievement and pride we get from running any race, from a first 5K through our longest runs and fastest races.  Last week was the furthest I’ve ever run and I ran it faster than I thought and Louise ran an amazing race so having such a wonderful medal to remind us of our achievements last week is fantastic.  No pressure Rutland Water Marathon in 2 weeks time!

Apologies if I’m gushing but I’m on the sofa drinking a glass of wine with my feet up watching Strictly after running 17 miles today. I have my first Saturday night in many weeks with a glass bottle of wine and a lie in booked for tomorrow because I’m not racing tomorrow and I have now run ALL my marathon long runs!  Only a taper and the Great South Run between me and Rutland Water Marathon.


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Kingston Run Challenge 24

Last Sunday was yet another Sunday morning, third in a row, when I questioned my sanity as I sat eating my breakfast at 6am and was de-fogging the car in the cold and dark to leave at 6.30. My third Autumn race in the build up to my marathon in 3 weeks time, only one more race before the BIG one.

The Kingston Run Challenge is a 8 mile course where runners complete 1, 2 or 3 laps or complete the 24 miles as a team relay.  Having to do a 20 mile long run we signed up for the 24 thinking that the extra mileage would give us confidence for the marathon, or me worrying that I’d bitten off more than I could chew!  Alma, not running an Autumn marathon sensibly moved down to the 16m distance so it was just Louise and I running the 24miles ‘3 short little laps’.  Well it really did feel like that when we lined up at the start, there was a distinct lack of enthusiasts nutters wearing the distinctive green bib numbers!

Louise is training for her second marathon and has done some really good focussed training from a personal plan from online running coaches. I’ve been a little more casual, for my first, using 2 training plans as a guide but have kept a beady eye on Louise’s training runs and recently she has been more than happy to share her schedule!  So I said I’d go along with her plan for this race to start out at 10.15 pace and work it down to an overall average pace of 10 min miles and target finish time of 4 hours.

My Runnersworld smart coach plan said 20 miles at 10.13 pace. Having run my long runs, over 15 miles, at between 10.10 and 10.30 pace I had in mind a finish time for me of about 4 hours 10 for this race which was so much further than I’ve ever run before, so thought I’d probably have to fall back from Louise’s pace at some stage.

We started off into the cold morning mist over Kingston bridge with the 8 milers and even starting at the back we were pulled along with their pace having to work hard to hold back but enjoying overtaking the slower 8 mile racers!  A busy first lap with the 8 mile race followed by a second lap being overtaken by the fast 16 mile racers who started 30 mins behind us.

During the second lap my calf muscles, which had been tight and given me heel pain the week before, began to hurt as well as with my heel.  After starting our 3rd lap (we knew this would be the hard point) every bit of my legs and glutes were getting increasingly painful.  I decided that I

  • a, wanted to be able to walk this week,
  • b, had to recover and complete the last 3 weeks of my training,
  • c, didn’t want to do any damage and
  • d, had to save my full effort for my marathon!

So between the 17 and 18 mile markers I decided to ease off and told Louise to go on and hold her pace.  Mile 18 was tough.  Two passing runners asked about the race and how far I’d run and told me I was looking good which really helped!  I told myself I had to keep running (slowly) until 20 miles and then I could walk.  I found a slower pace which was more comfortable and made it to 20 miles.  All alone on a nondescript pavement I couldn’t face 4 miles walking and carried on to the fuel station before mile 21.  I briefly tried a walk then but walking was actually more painful on my hips than plodding on. Next I caught up with and overtook a walker and checked he was OK. He had run the first lap fast with the 8 mile race (that’s youth for you!) and was now cramped up. He joined me in a shuffle and we chatted along together to the end.

Great to see Louise and Alma shouting me over the line! but very disappointed not to get a medal. (We got a mug).  I’d just run 24 blooming miles and I wanted a great BIG medal with 24 on in great big numbers!

Louise ran a brilliant race holding pace to the end finishing in 3.59. I wasn’t disappointed about having had to slow down when I saw my average pace… bang on 10.13 min miles… Just what the plan said with 4 extra miles to boot!  Many thanks to Louise for such a good run, just shows the power of having a good running buddy for pacing.


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Royal Parks Half Marathon

Today was the second of my autumn races in the build up to my marathon (in 4 weeks time Eek!), my 9th Half Marathon (yes, my 10th will be a full marathon) and the 4th time I’ve run this race.

Running two half marathons only a week apart at a decent pace is pretty hard work! Especially when you’ve banked 3 miles on the way to the second one because you’re not supposed to be running a Half Marathon but bashing out 18 miles of marathon training. The original plan was to race Ealing last weekend and then treat today as an easy training run, enjoy the event and scenery and add a few miles to make up my long run. But I’m afraid I just can’t run a race without trying, whatever I tell myself! Last year I ran this one with friends taking it easy, enjoying the atmosphere and sights because I was just coming back from injury so there was no way I wasn’t going to have a good race this time.

So I started out with lofty ambitions of attacking my PB or beating last weeks pace. I was a bit miffed that I was in the blue start zone (having been in the one ahead before. Am I the only one who puts an honest expected finish time down?) and I was preparing myself to be cross about the overcrowding. It was a very busy race and I did have to do a fair bit of darting in between gaps and had to be patient a few times where the course narrowed to get round people running slower in pairs particularly on slight uphill stretches.

My first wobble came early, around 8 miles (more like 11 for us reminded my militant legs) and because my legs really did ache a bit I had to get realistic and think about adopting plan c, to finish sub 2 and for the next few miles just dug in to hold my average pace below 9 min miles. At 11 miles I manned up with only 2 miles to go helped by a lovely marshal shouting ‘ just think how you’ll feel when you cross the finish line!’ and started to push forward weaving past and overtaking people around me.

I tend to race these days without music. I can concentrate on pace better and enjoy it more without being plugged into my iPod. But I decided to run with music today, knowing it would be harder work on tried legs and because it’s a big busy race where most people are plugged into their own music. I was listening to audiofuel and their Run Wild 2 hour-long run mix for the first time in ages. The timing was perfect, I started it just before the start line and the last 10 mins of the track was fantastic coinciding perfectly with the 12 mile marker and had me sailing across the line on a high. Absolutley delighted to be ony 58 seconds slower than last week.

I was prepared not to enjoy today’s race. I prefer smaller less crowed races where everything takes less time (baggage, loos…) and less crowding gives a better stab at pb pace. I expected to be cross about the crowding and too many slower runners ahead and spectators pushing into the course and the scrum at water stations. Yes there was a bit of all that but it didn’t bother me. It was a lovely autumn day running in a great capital city and beautiful park with great marshalls, many having great fun and encouraging us all along, and a wonderful atmosphere.

So, hard as it is to get into this race via the ballot, its relative high cost, it’s still only 2 miles from home and I enjoy it so I will keep trying to come back for more.

My run today was in 3 parts. An easy run, a half marathon and then I planned to run 2 miles home to make it up to 18. Well I planned to. My militant legs had other ideas… I sent them the message to start running home and the message received back was Pi$$ off! So I walked home trying many times a few pick up ‘jog/shuffles’ but every bit of my legs was agony. All good practice for what it will feel like at mile 25 of the marathon I’m sure!

I was worried, having mainly walked the last 2 miles home, that maybe I hadn’t run my full 18 miles long run. But when I thought about it (I do walk a bit now and then on long runs and am quite ready to walk some of my marathon) I added the time and distances all together which still gives an overall pace which I’d be delighted to run for my marathon! So I am still logging today’s shuffle/walk home as part of my run! I’m sure its time on my feet that counts.

Run 1, ‘Warm up’. Easy 3.11 miles in 32.40

Run 2, Half Marathon. 13.2 miles in 1.57.58

Run 3, ‘Cool down’. 2.16 miles in 33.59

So put it all together and….. Marathon Long run of 18.47 miles in 3.04.45.

RPHM splits