Sunday, 9 February 2014

Mad Dog 10k

Today was my first race of the year, the mad dog 10k in Southport. Throughout January my running has been going really well, running 4 times a week and fitting in long runs and some park runs too. I ran 80 miles in January which is more than I ran altogether in 2012! I was feeling really ready for the 10k this Sunday, until I felt terribly run down with a sore throat this week which resulted in me skipping 2 of my planned runs. Not exactly perfect planning for a race!

Luckily I felt better by Sunday and ready for my race. The weather however...was not ideal. Winds of up to 30mph! When I saw the forecast that there was no rain, I decided to forego wearing my running jacket and just pin my number to my t-shirt. I quickly regretted that when I realised how cold the wind-chill was! The race was really well organised, with buses from the car park to the start line. The race started prompty at 10.40 (pretty reasonable race start time too, no bleary-eyed wake up calls!). 

The first 3 miles were along the seafront at Southport, straight into the wind. Oh gosh, the wind! My hands were red raw from the wind and at one point it felt like we were being sandblasted by the beach. Luckily we then looped around into shelter and the sun actually came out. I was then glad I made the choice to leave the jacket at home! I reached 5k in about 28 minutes and calculated that if I kept up this pace, I could possibly make a 56 minute 10k - 2 minutes off my PB! That spurred me on for the next 5k. 

By now, we were running with the wind rather than against it and I started to get in some faster miles, 8.43, 8.34 and 8.16 to be precise! I was running towards the finish line and to my amazement the gun time clock had just ticked over to 55 minutes. 

After - looking a bit windswept!

My final chip time was 54 minutes and 51 seconds. I was so so so ecstatic. I remember when I was about to run the Manchester 10k in May of last year and my running group leader asked what time I was after. I just said below 59 and he said that he reckoned I could get below 55 minutes soon. I scoffed and laughed at the idea, but he was right!

The race overall was really good - great organisation, good medal and goody bag. I would like to see races do ladies t-shirts as the small sizes are still always huge. I usually just end up wearing them as pyjamas!

Now I've come down from my endorphin high of getting a pb by 3 minutes, I need to re-focus on marathon training. I've got the Liverpool half marathon at the end of March also, so I'll be ramping up the length of my long runs and trying to build in some speed work to try and get a new half marathon pb (aiming for below 2 hours).

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Marathon training kit

Like I ever need an excuse to treat myself to new running stuff? A few of these are Christmas presents to myself and a few from others. I bought this h&m running jacket after seeing Leah post it on instagram. I had been eyeing up both Nike and Sweaty Betty's reflective jackets but they are both ridiculously expensive. At only £35 (actually £25 after a few online voucher codes!) I am pretty impressed with this. The only down side is that it doesn't have zipped pockets on the front, but one big zipped pocket at the back. But that is where my bumbag will come in handy!

While doing the parkrun, I keep my car keys and phone in my jacket pocket but my old jacket only had mesh pockets and the keys would work their way through them and everything would jangle around irritatingly as I ran! Plus when it gets warmer I can't be wearing a jacket. So, the bumbag will be perfect for parkrun and longer runs too. I don't usually take my phone with me on runs but on longer runs I think it will be useful and I can also store gels in it for mid-run fuelling. 

I also asked for a hat for Christmas to keep my head warm and dry when running in the rain. The peak will also keep the rain out of my eyes which is my pet hate when running in the rain. I won't have any excuses for avoiding runs now!

Running clothes

I also got some of my favourite nike running socks and nike running leggings. When I first started running, I would just buy whatever was cheapest from Sports Direct. Whilst I do still like a bargain, I definitely like to get some better quality pieces now. These nike leggings are my favourite, I have a plain black pair that have seen me through the last 2 winters. Compared to cheaper ones from Aldi or Karrimor, you can definitely tell the difference. No fraying or thinning anywhere and they actually keep me warm! They are so comfortable too, nothing worse than uncomfy running clothes. 

And to show you all how awesome and reflective the jacket is, I took a photo with the flash on. Everyone will be able to see me coming while I'm wearing it!

Running clothes

So, now I feel equipped to train for my marathon. I am going to kick it off tomorrow with a New Years Day parkrun, fingers crossed I can get out of bed! Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 - a year in running

384 miles, 2 half marathons, 1 10k, 1 5k race and 3 park runs later...

Liverpool half marathon

March - Liverpool half marathon - 2.15.08

Chester half marathon

May - Chester Half Marathon PB - 2.05.05

May - Manchester Great 10k PB- 57.48

June - Knowsley Active Challenge 5k PB - 26.37

2013 is the year I really felt like a 'runner'. I've done a few races before but when I look at my mileage from previous years, I've never even topped 100! Looking back at my training logs though, I'm really proud that I have ran 384 miles in one year. I know it's not much compared to some and I wish I had made it to a nice round number like 400, but for little old me who hated PE and breaking a sweat, it's almost amazing! I'm even a member of a running club which would amaze any old PE teachers. 

I'm a bit sad I didn't do more races in the second half of the year but I had entered the English Half Marathon but didn't end up doing it because of being too busy planning a wedding (what a shame!) and then time and money prevented me entering more. I started going to my local park run in November and enjoy that though (when I can get myself out of bed that early on a Saturday morning). 2013 has been a challenging year at times and running has given me the opportunity for 'me' time and to switch off. I always feel so much happier when I have been running regularly and noticing the small improvements from week to week, whether it's going further or faster, give me the motivation to carry on. 

I have enjoyed my half marathons the most this year and since returning from honeymoon in October, I have been debating my 2014 race targets. I've entered my very first MARATHON! Absolutely terrified on the one hand, but really excited to get stuck into training on the other. Scott is running  it with me too so it will be nice to have some company on longer runs. 

I've picked the Rock n Roll Liverpool marathon as my first marathon because what better than one on home turf? The route actually goes past the bottom of my street! There are some killer hills on the route, but it's also very scenic and hopefully I will be able to round up some good moral support. I'm also looking at a few races in the build up to this to enter, but running races can end up being quite a pricey hobby! So far the Southport Mad Dog 10k in February and Liverpool Half Marathon in March are on my shortlist. I will share more about my marathon training plans shortly, I'm going to update the blog a bit more regularly throughout training so I can look back on it after my first full marathon.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

First week of training

Well, it should be first 2 weeks of training but the week of the 1st July turned out to be a bad one training-wise! I had an extremely busy week at work and a conference that I was presenting at and lots of things to finish off before I had a week off. I ended up quite run down and had migraines all week so decided against any exercise and even skipped running club. I knew in the long run it would be for the best so that I could enjoy my week off work.

I rested all day on the Saturday and felt great by the evening. Training is as follows:

Sunday - 5k run
Monday - 45 minutes at the gym (30 minutes cardio, 15 minutes weights)
Tuesday - 6 mile run in 57 minutes
Wednesday - 1 hour in the gym (45 minutes cardio, 15 minutes weights)
Thursday - Running club - 4.6 miles
Friday - rest
Saturday - rest
Sunday - not been yet but a 7 mile evening run is scheduled!

Birthday runBirthday run

Birthday run

These photos are from my run on Tuesday morning. It was my birthday on Tuesday and yes, I decided to get up super early and go for a run before it got too hot. It was such a nice run. I ran around Sefton Park, down onto Otterspool Prom and then through Otterspool Park. I have been loving the hot weather but it does make running hard. I went to running club on Thursday evening and suffered quite a bit. I'm pleased that I managed just over 4 1/2 miles though. 

This week I am back in work but I'm hoping I can up the mileage a bit. The heat does slow me down but I'll have to get used to it as I think it's here to stay. 8 weeks to go until my half!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Half marathon training plan

So, after my last post I decided to enter the half marathon anyway. I think I had already made my mind up and I've been itching for a new challenge really. Plus, to have run 3 half marathons in 1 year will be pretty awesome considering that last year I only ran 2 10k races.

So, on the 8th September I'll be running 13.1 miles throughout south Warrington. It's only 9 weeks away so training will start in earnest. I've just drafted my training plan. I'm no expert really but I've made this to fit in with my schedule and my current ability. Every Thursday I'll go to running group where we run around 4-5 miles but sometimes change this up. This is also just something to aim for - from previous half marathon training plans I know that sometimes life gets in the way and that I have to skip a work out. But the important thing is I never beat myself up over it. I still managed to finish both races. I'd like to meet a runner who follows a training plan exactly to schedule (other than elite athletes of course!). My main focus will be the long runs, as without building up this distance each week it will be hard to finish in a good time. 

My current PB is 2hrs 5 minutes and while I would like to beat that, I'm also going to realistic as wedding planning will obviously be a priority in the final month also. 

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1st July Run 10 mins warm up, 10 mins threshold, 10 mins steady. Yoga Gym Running group Rest Rest Run 6 miles
8th July Run 5 x 5 minutes, 2 minutes rest inbetween Rest (Birthday!) Swim am (45 minutes) Running group Run 3 miles easy Rest Run 7 miles
15th July Gym (1 hr) Run 5 x 5 minutes, 2 minutes rest inbetween Strength training Running group Rest Rest Run 8 miles
22nd July Rest Yoga Run 3 mile intervals Running group Run 4 miles easy Rest Run 9 miles
29th July Gym 45 mins Run 7 x 5 minutes, 2 minutes rest inbetween Strength training Running group Rest Park run Run 10 miles
5th August Run 10 mins warm up, 20 mins threshold, 10 mins steady. Swim (45 minutes) Run 6 miles easy Running group Gym (1 hr) Rest Run 11 miles
12th August Gym/Run 7 x 5 minutes, 2 minutes rest inbetween Yoga Rest Running group Rest Rest Rest
19th August Rest Run 10 mins warm up, 20 mins threshold, 10 mins steady. Gym Running group Run 7 miles Rest Run 13 miles
26th August Gym Run 10 mins warm up, 25 mins threshold, 10 mins steady. Strength training Running group

Park run Run 6 miles
2nd Sept Gym Yoga Run 3 miles Running group Rest Rest RACE DAY

This week I also received this ace running tote I ordered from Nicola Rowlands. Yes, yes I do run hills. Lots around Liverpool, it's almost impossible to avoid them where I live actually. The route for the English Half Marathon is also apparently quite undulating so I'll try to incorporate as many hilly routes into my training runs as possible.

I'm actually really excited to start training again and upping the mileage for my next challenge! I'll be recapping each week here and letting you all know how it goes. 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Knowsley active challenge 2013 & a running dilemma

2 weeks ago I ran my first 5k race. Can you believe that?! I've ran 5k a lot in my training and quite like it as a distance as I can get it over and done with in half an hour. The coach at my running group mentioned this midweek 5k race to us and we all decided to enter. We even had our own t-shirts printed! Coach had made the mistake of not getting technical t-shirts though and it was very very sweaty. He also only order medium or large, despite us all being girls who are quite petite! Needless to say I don't have a photo of myself in my t-shirt but it was good to be representing our running group. 

The race was around the ground of Knowsley Hall, just outside Liverpool. It had been a bit of a wet day which I was relieved about because our last run at running club was in ridiculous heat and I felt terrible. The race started at 7.15pm on a Wednesday, which was strange but it also felt good (and smug!) to be doing a midweek evening race. I was aiming for about 27/28 minutes. I started running with my friend Holly and we kept up a really good pace until about 3.5k and Holly started flagging. It was a bit like Titanic! I started slowing down too but she said 'No! You go on!' so I did. I crossed the line in 26 minutes and 37 seconds! My friend crossed the line just 5 seconds later. We were so pleased! What an amazing PB to set in my first 5k race. All of the other runners in my running group finished in under half an hour which everyone was chuffed to pieces with. Our coach finished in 23rd place with a time of 20 minutes 46 seconds AND he was carrying an injury. Speedy. 

So, I have my first 5k medal. And now the realisation has dawned on me that I have no other races entered. I have been a bit lazy with my running lately to be honest, only running short distances. I have found a half marathon at the start of September but it is 2 weeks before my wedding. I feel confident that I will be able to train for it. My only worry is that I'll get an injury for my honeymoon, will be too tired during training or some other worse case scenario. It is the weekend of Scott's stag do as well so it would give me something to keep busy. I'll then have done 3 half marathons in one year! So, what do we think? Good idea to run a half marathon 2 weeks before your wedding? Am I overthinking it? Should I just bloody enter? Advice please!