running blog


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



Death by Burpees

And recovery by Latte!


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.


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!


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.


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.


Long Runs and Buses


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.



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.



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)!