running blog


Happy Running

After my fantastic run on the Thames path last weekend, I’ve had another good week of running and marathon training.  Again, I’ve been to BMF 3 times but I also added a run on Thursday where I was happy enough to include 3 speedy mile laps in the middle of my run. My fastest was 7.42 which I will log for magic mile team GB, although I might try to have another go as I’m sure all out I can beat that!

Today I was back on the Thames path for another long run.  I ran downstream this time and on the south bank of the river where the path follows it closely.  My legs weren’t as fresh as last week after speedwork on Thursday and a harder BMF class yesterday but was happy to be only a bit slower paced than last week over my 17 miles.  Kingston to Putney then back to Hammersmith and home.  Very different scenery this week, at some times easy to forget you are running so close to London.

towards Richmond

Talking about happy running, Bupa Running are celebrating the world’s happiest run – the Bupa Great North Run, tomorrow.  (I’m going to have to run it now sooner or later!) They’ve set up a tumblr page where runners can share their pictures of their training and of race day and would love runners to have a look and send in their pictures via Facebook and Twitter using the #BupaGNR and #happiestrun hashtags.

As an added charity incentive Bupa will be donating £1 to their charity partner, Diabetes UK, on behalf of the first 2000 people to share their experiences on Twitter and Facebook with the #happiestrun hashtag.

Bupa Running are also highlighting some of the great charity work that people are doing, using distance races to raise money for so many great causes. For example comedian Patrick Monahan is running the GNR to raise money for Zoe’s Place, a baby hospice in Middlesbrough. Patrick has made a  video  of how he plans to make the race as much fun as possible! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EieJZaEjeDQ&list=PL58D9450B2C34283E&index=1&feature=plpp_video

Good luck to everyone running the GNR tomorrow and to everyone else training and running in upcoming events.  Don’t forget to share your experiences with Bupa running #BupaGNR #happiestrun and spread the word if you are running for a good cause.  I won’t be joining you tomorrow but do have the Ealing Half and Royal Parks Half in 2 and 3 weeks time.

Happy Running!


On the up!

Many thanks for your comments, suggestions and support after my last post. I hope I haven’t put anyone off training for a first marathon too much! It’s a journey after all so there are obviously going to be one or two ups and downs (if it was easy, everyone would be running marathons!)

After last weeks down this week things are definitely on the up! I am now running in my widest fitting running shoes, going commando and strapping my rib cage with plasters to avoid chafing and I’ve bought myself a Camelbak so I don’t have to get angry with my water bottle. Most of all I’ve sorted out my head, which was the main problem.

This week I went to BMF three times, in place of my midweek runs, where we had some laughs and I was happy to realise that I still have some pace in my legs. We also had some great post BMF coffees sitting in the sunshine by the Serpentine where we put the world to rights. Thanks team, head sorted and motivation restored.

I also got some fantastic marathon training advice for long runs from Rosie. Get a train or get dropped off miles from home and run back. Then there is no way to take a short cut, miss out a lap or give up (unless you find a handy passing taxi!) and every step of the run is a step nearer home. She also suggested getting a train out to Teddington and running the Thames path back to central London.

So started my research into the Thames Path and on Saturday morning I got the tube out to Canary Wharf and ran the 14 miles of Thames path back to Hammersmith.

morning sun over Canary Wharf

Tower Bridge and The Shard coming into view

the end in sight at Hammersmith Bridge.

Plus an extra mile towards home by which time it was getting warm and I decided I was far too hot and knackered to make it all the way home so rang my husband to come and get me!

A brilliant run, my best long run and furthest distance ever. I ran alone and without music but didn’t feel all the miles because for 2 1/2 hours I was happy to view the wonderful sights of London, smile at other runners and dodge tourists.

It’s a fabulous route following close to the river all the way apart from a few parts in deepest Fulham. I am only sorry, as a runner and a Londoner, I’ve not run any of the Thames path before. Now I’m off to plan the next one!


Workplay fleetfoot II running bag

How do you carry everything for long runs?

Up until now I’ve always travelled light on my runs taking the minimum (just a key sometimes) and I stuff what I do take with me down my sports bra. A big ask for the poor garment which is already struggling with keeping everything still against forces of gravity! Also keys and coins are cold and I did learn my lesson that iPods don’t like to be warm and wet having killed a nano a few years ago!

Anyway, during Janathon, while training for half marathons this spring, I realised that I had to find a better way to carry some of the stuff I needed for increasing long runs. At one stage I had my gloves in my bra (with key, tissue and emergency fiver) and the combination of iPhone in the back pocket of my tights and my hat in the waistband was making the tights fall down! All hard to cope with while also trying to carry a bottle of water in one hand and run at the same time!

So when I was offered one of Workplay’s light weight female fit running bags to review I jumped at the chance. I will be starting marathon training in July and want to start experimenting with gels on long runs in preparation. Now where to shove them as well as everything else?

I have not got on too well with waist packs in the past finding all they do is bounce, wiggle up and down and not actually hold much. But I had seen an advert for Workplay’s waist bags which are designed to fit on your hips and was curious.

So for a Sunday long run recently I loaded up the Fleetfoot (keys, iPhone, tissue, gel, money, water bottle) for a full trial and set off to run 10 miles.

I have to admit that at first I thought oh dear… maybe I have to go back and take it off. I was feeling a bit self-conscious un-used to carrying much and I was fiddling with it round my waist and it was bouncing a bit. But a test is a test so I carried on to give it more time.

I’m glad I did because after a mile or so as I settled into my run it settled down on my hips, into the small of my back and became more comfortable. As my run went on I noticed it less and less, apart from each time I pulled it round to retrieve my water. Top tip. Don’t fiddle! I realised that I didn’t have to constantly push it down and tighten it. When left well alone it settled comfortably on my hips as I ran and didn’t bounce so I was able to run practically unaware of it.

Another top tip is to watch the video from Workplay bags to see all its features. The bags have useful separate compartments to keep items such keys, money, iPods or credit cards separate and the video shows how it holds a water bottle or running jacket which would have taken me a few outings to work out if I hadn’t known!

I’ve used it a few more times and the more I run with it the more I like it, even fully loaded with a water bottle.

A well planned, thought out bag with some great attention to detail and some important small touches such as a flap to thread your headphones through and a loop to keep the end of the strap when tightened tucked in is elastic so its easy to thread back on the move.

So I’ve got the bag, found the gels and now I’ve just got to do the long runs!

But first I’ve got to survive Juneathon!


Recovery run

I do like doing my long runs on Saturdays because it leaves me free to chill out, relax and enjoy a few glasses of wine on a Saturday evening and look forward to a lazy Sunday with no long run hanging over me.  So after yesterday’s long run I did chill out, have a good supper and enjoy watching a movie with a bottle of red!

After 14 miles yesterday I expected to have very achy legs today but  they were fine,  (I’ve had far worse problems walking down the stairs after a tough BMF class than I did today) but I did have  a thick head!  Normally I’d have a rest day after a long run but, “This is Janathon!” No rest allowed! I finally got going towards lunch time and decided to go for a short recovery run.  But what is my self-imposed minimum distance for Janathon?  I’ve logged 2.5 miles running for BMF classes and my shortest run distance so far this month has been 2.5 miles – so that’s what it had to be today.

I set off on my 2 mile local loop (which I ran a lot of in Juneathon) taking last nights DVD (The Hangover, rather appropriately) to drop into the post box back to Lovefilm. For the first mile my head hurt but my legs felt absolutely fine.  For the second mile my head had cleared and my legs felt absolutely knackered!  Can’t win. I added the extra half mile by a nip into Tesco and got an extra arm and shoulder workout running the last half mile carrying a bag of potatoes, clotted cream and a loaf of bread.

By the time I got home my head and legs felt fine, so recovery run it really was! I attribute my happy legs to the fact that I’ve run most of the time in compression tights and wore my long pair after my run yesterday.

2.5 miles, (2.5kg of potatoes, clotted cream and a loaf of bread), 25.01 mins.

145 miles run  2 days to go.


Long Run

Having used up all valid excuses yesterday, It was long run day today. One of my running rules (along with not having more than two rest days in a row) is when not in training for a particular race, I have to continue to do at least one long run (I’ll think I’ll make it 10 miles minimum) every two weeks. My two weeks were up today! Having missed a beautiful day for running yesterday, I was pleased that this morning was still dry and not too cold and I wouldn’t be punished by a cold and rainy run.

I set off for my usual London route, running to Hyde Park, running the perimeter of the park plus once around the serpentine before heading home. Not too much tourist pavement rage today although I did have to give a little sign language feedback to a silly woman trying to run me over by driving the wrong way down a one way street when the pedestrian crossing was green! Honestly, I looked out the right way for idiots jumping the lights but coming at me from the wrong way was slightly unexpected!

A good run. Since my last race I’ve relaxed for December and am running for enjoyment. I still take my Garmin (well it doesnt count if you can’t log it) but I’m looking at it a lot less and not worrying about pace. Being relaxed and just running to my music is obviously working because todays 10 miles felt relaxed but was only 4 minutes slower than my Great South Run!

I’ve recently been sent a Jabra headset. Great stereo sound for music and good for iPhone with its microphone and controls on the cable. I decided to test it out running, once I managed to find it attached to the teenagers iPod under his pillow! I wasn’t sure about it being a serious running headset, having long since abandoned apple earphones (which fall out) for a sports neck-band. These are in-ear but came with 3 sets of ear buds so I worked out which were best for me. The sound is good, the first thing I had to do was turn down the set volume on my iPod! I was impressed that once screwed in hard to my ears they pretty much stayed put and they were a bit more discrete than my bright orange neck band and wont fight with sunglasses or wooly hats (neither required today). They do cut out more external sound than my sports ones, but once aware of this I removed one ear when running where I had to be more cautious of my surroundings. And when I got fed up with music I just had to stuff them in my pocket. The best bit was having controls on the cable to click to skip a bad track (feet dragging) or repeat a good track (I’m flying) or take a phone call. I even by mistake discovered that sliding the control gave me voice feed back of the song name and artist, not that I need it because I’m still stuck in my 80’s running loop from Juneathon.