running blog


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!


Long run with an old firend

A couple of old friends actually.

First I found my favourite running gloves in the pocket of an old coat  (now you know where to look for yours) which are not only cosy but more importantly small so when they come off after the frist mile they are compact to tuck in my bra. I also grabbed my Thunder Run buff from this summer for the first time to keep my hair back, ears warm and stop me going out totally dressed in black from head to toe.


But  my most successful choice of old friend was putting Audiofuel back in my iPod.  I haven’t run with music recently but now I’m starting my marathon long runs I wanted something to listen to today for 10 miles round and round Hyde Park.  Most music bugs me over a long run with it’s changes in tempo and lyrics so I decided to plug into a continuous long run training mix and see how it went.  It went really well.  Maybe too well as I probably ran at too fast a pace for a long run.

Audiofuel was just right, it’s a smooth continuous couple of hours at a consistent tempo (starts easy, builds, then cools down) the regular beat gets you into a nice long run rhythm and the absence of many lyrics means it doesn’t interfere with your mind’s wanderings while running. A bit of coaching gives you just enough motivation every 10mins or so you don’t feel alone and forgotten! And it was great to hear after an hour or so that my training was helping me to run a good time in my marathon! I hadn’t listened to this one for a year or two (over-did it when I first got it) and really enjoyed hearing some of the tracks again. I even turned back on the way home to loop around Round Pond when my favourite came on. And because some are 10 minutes long a whole mile or so can fly by before you know it

Janathon day 5. 10.37 miles  in 1.37.50



Janathon day 4, part b

After I’d had my hissy fit, sulked, been to B&Q (as you do on a wet day), I engaged brain.

We were heading back to London fairly early so if I stayed in my run kit I could get dropped off on the way and run the last few miles home.

So this evening I jumped out the car onto a dark wet Hammersmith Bridge and finally finally ran! Nothing very far nor glamorous but enough to shake my legs out ready for a long run tomorrow, log something on running free to start Janathon properly and make me feel sooooo much better.

Janathon day 4, a run, at last. 2.52 miles.


New Year!

Help!  When did New New Years eve creep up on me so fast?

Janathon starts tomorrow and I’ve still got loads of unwritten posts from December to get round to posting!  I guess at least it might give me something to write about in January.

And who’s idea was it that I should spend the New Year finishing off the painting and decorating in our holiday home?  Oh, that will be me booking the new carpet for Friday 3rd…

Anyway, Happy New Year and Hello bloggers (or non bloggers) new and old. I’m looking forward to a January of running (or exercising) and blogging (of some sort) everyday!

I’ve had an unusually good preparation for Janathon this year because I’ve (actually been running) been building up to and started marathon training for the London marathon so have run or cross trained 3 to 5 times a week since November.

A couple of weeks ago I got a bit of the parkrun bug back when I went to Fulham Palace parkrun to help Louise celebrate her 100th different uk parkrun venue and a couple of weekends ago ran a great 10K at Regents Park with Alma.  Both runs ended up being surprise good runs where I ran good times feeling I was getting back on form.  Looks like the training is beginning to pay off! It’s also thanks to the power of running buddies to get me up, out and motivated.

That’s one of the things that I’m looking forward to about Janathon.  I might be running on my own many days but I will imagine I have a date with each and every Janathoner for every parkrun or run so will just  have to get out there and join you all.

Janathon will be a bit diferent for me this year.  I won’t be running every day nor chasing a target total mileage or competing on the ”table of doom”.  I will be following my marathon training plan, cross training  and using my total rest days for much neglected stretching to avoid injury. Plus there are the other many creative forms of exercise to consider, not to mention the famous Dressing Gown dash!

Bring on Janathon and 2014.


Marathon training

This time last year I ran my first marathon at Rutland Water and this week I finally started training for my second.

It is just as well I’ve got 5 months until the London Marathon because it gives me time to get back in shape having lapsed my running a bit recently (not to mention gained a few pounds) and as many marathon training plans are for 16 weeks it also gives me a month to build up gradually and to try out my own ideas.

I’ve thought a lot about my training. What parts of training for races have I found difficult in the past? What are my barriers? What do I find easy to stick to and most enjoyable? Which bits do I find hardest or require a lot of self-determination and effort to get on with and how I can avoid situations that I will find hard to complete?

I’m not over keen on long runs, less so when I have get out of bed on a weekend morning to run them (or anything really) and even less so to run them by myself. I am good about getting to BMF classes regularly, even when I am totally unmotivated to do any other exercise because it’s sociable and fun, I (quite) like shorter speedy runs, I can motivate myself when there is a bit of self completion involved or a self or social commitment to fulfil. Some of the traditional training plans with 4 or more days running fill me with panic and dread about being able to keep up with them after many weeks.

So where does that all get me to?

Midweek training and long runs (unless it’s a race with buddies), keep up regular BMF classes with only 2 or 3 additional runs each week. Weekends for rest and recovery apart from when I can get myself to parkrun or have a planned race.

I will go to BMF classes on Monday Wednesday Fridays, Run my long run Tuesday (unless I have a weekend race) and a do a Tempo run or intervals session or go run club on Thursdays, I may swap a BMF class or the Thursday session for a Saturday parkrun when I want or if I need to rest tired legs midweek but otherwise plan to have my rest days at weekends.

As I planned this out I had in the back of my mind that by December I would revert to a ‘proper training plan’ will lots of runs. However the more I researched the more I felt confident with my schedule. The runners World Smart Coach gives me a marathon plan with just 2 key runs per week (a long run plus a speed/tempo/pace run) with cross training or rest on other days, no different from may own plan. I’ve also had a look at the FIRST training program (Run less, Run faster) which has 3 key runs (track repeats, tempo run, long run) and two cross training sessions. Effectively I am following the Smart Coach plan and its mileage and pace details (which I will check are in line with those from the FIRST plan for my target marathon time).

My plan starts properly 16 weeks before VLM so in the meantime I’m getting accustomed to my 5 workouts and building up my total weekly mileage gradually in preparation.



Hello World!

Getting back into training again after a summer break usually takes me a couple of weeks in September while I adjust to Autumn routines, get my act together and dig out my mojo. This year it’s taken me nearly 8 weeks, Oops!

Excuses? Yes lots. Since the start of September things have been rather full on with work, home, family and life plus my OH has had a stressful and disruptive month work-wise so my focus has not been on running nor blogging.

I did get a bit of focus when I received this in the post…



And then some more focus when trying to find something to wear recently. I had to admit to myself that my clothes were not the problem but my lack of running and therefore expanding muffin top!

I haven’t been totally sedentary. I might not have made it out of my front door once on a run since the summer but I have been to BMF 2 or 3 times a week which has maintained my general fitness. I have also run a couple of un-trained half marathons. The first was Run to the Beat at the start of September, enough said about that the better! My record slow finish time wasn’t just my complete lack of training as the race crowding (standstill at one point) and a long loo queue added a good 15 minutes.

The second was the Ealing Half Marathon . A great race again, like last year, which I treated as a long Sunday run (with added bonus of water stations and support along the way). I was very pleased to find that I had maintained my fitness enough to be able to run the whole distance, at an easy pace, without getting puffed and only 9 minutes slower than last year. My legs however, having not had many miles in preparation, were feeling quite painful for the last 3 miles.

My final focus was to pay for my London Marathon ballot place this weekend so I’m committed! I already have a Brighton Marathon place for the week before London so I have some thinking to do before then.

I’m going to start training on 1 November. I have 5 months so have time to try out my idea for a training plan during the first month and see how it goes. But more about that later, time for me to get out that door…



I am pleased to report that I am on the road to recovery following a recent bout of ‘Can’t Be Arsed to Run’ disease. After 16 days of no exercise whatsoever I started my recovery by dragging myself to Medina (IOW) parkrun on Saturday morning. Well it was my birthday and I had to prove I’m not completely over the hill (yet) although I am obviously getting into that really annoying middle-aged ‘can’t work out technology’ stage because I failed to press ‘Go’ on my garmin.

Just as well really because I’m not in a big hurry to see my split times after an ‘interesting’ run. The combination of fresh legs, feel-good effect of running again mixed with what 16 days inactivity had done to my cardiovascular fitness left me red-faced, huffing and puffing after a rather optimistic fast start. After a mile or so I was feeling somewhat breathless, light-headed and queasy. I carried on at a more appropriate pace and recovered to have a few chats with overtaking runners and finish in a respectable enough time, not quite my slowest parkrun.

CBA disease affects me once or twice a year. Usually in school holidays at Christmas or in the Summer, when I am out of my normal routine, there are friends or family to hang out with and drink wine with or too many teenagers moping around causing chaos. It’s normally when we are staying on the Isle of Wight and symptoms include much winging, whining, moaning and gnashing of teeth accompanied with complaints about not wanting to run on too busy twisting country roads, the wrong sort of weather or lack of nearby BMF classes.

The decent summer weather in the UK made it particularly bad this year and although I hung out on the beach and even went in the sea the few moments when my feet were not touching the bottom can probably not be classed as exercise or swimming!



Kingsbury Water parkrun

It was great to find a new parkrun event within commuting distance of Thunder Run. So on Saturday morning 4 of us made the half hour drive south from our camp site for the second Kingsbury Water parkrun.

A great one lap, flat parkrun course which was scenic, run on hard trails and a bit of tarmac. It was narrow in places but by then the 117 runners had spread well out so overtaking wasn’t a problem and it made the course interesting and attractive.

As a warm up for what was to come over the weekend (2 or 3 tough 10K trail runs) all 4 of us were adamant that we were going to take it easy and run a nice slow pace starting out at the back. But, a nice flat course with new changing scenery and my legs felt like they wanted to run. One of the good things about a field of 100 plus runners is that there are many people running at whatever pace you go for so it feels easier keeping up with the crowd than running on your own and before I knew it I was half way round maintaining pace just a bit slower than 8 min mile pace. It didn’t feel too hard so I kept it up finishing in 25.12. The others also came home a good couple of minutes faster than they intended!

A good parkrun venue with toilets and a café plus playground, miniature railway and other activities for families and if you show your barcode you can get into the car park free.

kingsbury water parkrun


Pontefract parkrun

On our journey up North last weekend we stopped overnight on Friday at Pontefract Travelodge which is less than 10 minutes by car from Pontefract parkrun. This was not a coincidence but the result of this comment on my blog…


I’d got back to parkrun in Juneathon and Abradypus had sown the seed so it had to be a full house. I started researching parkruns and travelodges close to the M1/A1 on our route north.

The nice thing about parkruns is once you’ve done a couple you get to know the routine and the same format everywhere is reassuring whatever venue you go to. Once I was there it was easy to follow the stream of runners to the start and the sight of the parkrun banners, the finish pen and fluorescent jackets of marshalls make you feel at ease and before you know it you’re standing in a huddle with other runners exchanging parkrun chat.

The course is at Pontefract racecourse. I learned that the term flat racing describes the lack of jumps and not a lack of gradient changes. However the ups and downs were gradual so it was far from hilly. The course starts with a lap of the boating lake before running a lap of the race course on a path (tarmac and hard trail) on the inside of the rail followed by a quick second lap of the lake in the other direction.

A good course which I liked. Even with 140 plus runners it wasn’t busy apart from the very start. It was interesting, green and attractive even though so close to the motorway. The out stretch round the race course was fast and gently down hill and the return stretch a little slower as the course gradually climbed up toward the lake. At least that was flat for a nice quick finish.

I had a great run, a new attractive venue did wonders for my Mojo. I now understand what motivates people to get to parkrun week after week and some people travelling all over to different venues. I think I could get to quite like parkrun tourism. Bug caught!


Juneathon day 29. 5th of 5 Juneathon parkruns.

3.13 miles in 24.19 mins, parkrun PB.


Pre run fuelling with egg custard tarts

Is not recommended. (Or maybe it was excess red wine from the night before?)

Warning… This blog post will probably contain ‘too much information’.

We were up in Northumberland this weekend for a party. At some point over countless glasses of champagne the conversation turned to running. Like why we stopped overnight on the drive up at Pontefract. To parkrun of course! (parkrun blog for Juneathon day 29 to follow, I’m behind due to lack of internet access in the far NE of England, and spending 7 hours of Sunday driving home again.)

I was asked what time I run 5K in and at some stage before the red wine started flowing I had ‘agreed’ to go for a Sunday morning run (my time must have been acceptable for me to be invited). I carried on and enjoyed the evening and plenty more red wine and dancing in stupid heels until after 1 am.

Next thing I know it’s 7.30am and OH has brought me a cup of tea and a large glass of water. He seemed rather too keen for me to make the 9am run. Next time he wants to engage the competitive nature of friends he can go and run with a hangover himself!!

Anyway, I said I would be there so I had to get up and go. I felt fine after plenty of fluids and looked around for something to eat for a little light fuel for my run. We were staying in a cottage in the hotel grounds and had bought food for the boys’ DVD night so I went in search of leftovers. In the absence of bread, malt loaf or bananas I hovered down an egg custard tart (pretty much all there was) with some more water and hoped for the best.

We were joined by another party guest and set off on a square loop on quiet country roads. Mr Competitive was true to type and set off expecting us to follow on. I hung back a little as I could hear the other guy was already breathing hard and for the first mile we ran three abreast with a little conversation. We turned onto a larger road where there was some traffic so started running in single file. At this point the pace increased and I kept the distance behind Mr Competitive consistent ony easing off for an uphill climb and a steep downhill.

After a couple of miles the other guy had dropped further behind me. I sympathised because I was also beginning to feel the effects of the wine. We were running along a straight road with fields either side and I started to get those tell-tale stomach pains and I hoped I was going to make it back to the Hotel. At what stage do you know a running companion well enough to say you’re going to nip over the hedge for a quick “Paula”?!

I toughed it out and continued at reasonable pace making it back to the hotel not too far behind Mr Competitive with my dignity intact and after brief post run pleasantries returned to our cottage and managed to get younger son out of the shower and only bathroom just in time.

Juneathon day 30. 3.18 miles.