Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Got some new running shoes today!!

As well as doing a really good run this morning (despite the snow and ice!) I also purchased some new running good old faithfuls the 'Asic Kayano'....I started wearing this model just over 8 years ago and as long as they make them I will not change. They have been the best running shoe out there (for me) and I am looking forward to wearing these new ones in: although I don't think they will be here until the new year now (I bought them online as they were a lot cheaper!!) but due to the Christmas holidays I don't think they will get delivered for a good few days, possibly a week?...but its something to look forward to!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Well here I am again; back blogging...recording the highs and lows of my running - I am sorry for being away for so long!

It took me quite some time to get over my foot injury from earlier in the year but I am pleased to report that I have now been running solidly for the past 7 months and I am really enjoying it. It has been hard work building back my fitness levels (and I am still quite away from where I want to be) but I am getting there, slowly but surely. My aim after Christmas is to take my training to the next level and really focus myself for the marathon in April.

I have had a good running weekend; on Saturday I did a good 4 mile run around Willen Lake, which at times was rather scary due to the ice but thankfully I managed to stay on my feet and then yesterday I met up with the CYM ( running club, which is an informal group based here in Milton Keynes (and a charity that I hope to work more with next year). There were only four of us running yesterday (I think the cold weather may have put a few people off) but we had a great run and the views from high up in Campbell Park were stunning (blue skies, sunshine and snow)....

This coming week I am not at work so I hope to be able to get in a few extra runs (in between final Christmas preparations!).

Happy running everyone :-)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Running again - hurrah!

After a break of just over 2 weeks from running due to an ankle/foot injury; this morning saw me venture out again and start back on my running journey. It was great to get out and be in the open air. I have tried to maintain some of my fitness by cross training over the past two weeks, using both the cross trainer and exercise bike but there is no substitution for running (well there isn’t for me anyway!) and today it felt really good pounding the pavements of Milton Keynes again.

It is clear that I have lost some of my running fitness but I was pleased with the 5 miles that I did this morning and I am looking forward to building it up again over the coming weeks in the hope that I can still partake in the Flora London Marathon on the 26th April. It will mean that I will have a shorter taper period than is ideal but I am happy with this compromise if it will see me safely to the start line on the 26th. I am also going to have to live with ‘just finishing’ and not getting carried away with aiming for a specific finishing time.....

Anyway, I am running again – today, this is all that matters!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Update on my cross training

As I haven’t been able to run for just over 2 weeks now I have turned to cross training on the cross trainer! The idea being that this is the only way for me to maintain my fitness levels without running. The pressure on my ankle/foot is a lot less on the cross trainer as the trainer itself bears a lot of the weight and therefore there isn’t as much pressure on my damaged ligaments.

It has been OK, although a little boring doing long endurance sessions. It also ‘obviously’ uses different muscles to running but hopefully it will allow me to return to running (almost where I left off) next week some time.....I really miss ‘just running’.

In terms of training this weekend; I didn’t manage quite as much as I had hoped to but I did manage a good 90 minutes on Saturday morning on the cross trainer followed by 30 minutes on the bike and then another 60 minutes on the cross trainer (3 hours in total). I had planned to do another session on Sunday of around 2 hours but unfortunately I didn’t feel so well in the afternoon, so I dosed myself up and had a very early night instead.

My only concern is that I still feel some pain when I ‘jog to catch the bus’ during the week or as I did on Saturday afternoon, jogged down the aisle at Tesco’s to get some bread whilst my daughter was waiting in the queue....even with simple things like this it still hurts (not excruciating pain but noticeable) which makes me concerned that 26.2 miles will just be too far....I am however staying in a positive frame of mind and hopeful that this week I will see a vast improvement....the good thing is that I feel a lot better ‘health wise’ this morning and my sore throat and aching limbs have gone this morning, so the early night seems to have done me some good. Although I am still popping the I don’t want something else to have to deal with!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Its a thumbs up from the physio!

Well thankfully it is good news. Although I have damaged 2 ligaments, a muscle and a nerve the physio thinks that with treatment that I will be back running by the middle of next week and that the London marathon is still on....hurrah!

All I have to do now is to start some cross training; he suggested that I either use the cross trainer or the bike and do what I would be doing running wise on one of these (or a combination of both) so that I can keep my fitness levels up. Apparently, although there will still be some pain using these it won't be damaging like the full weight bearing of running! So thankfully I have both a seated bike and a cross trainer at home, so tomorrow morning (early!) I will be up and getting myself back into training. I have also got to do an ice treatment twice a day and do some strength exercises.....and then go back to she the physio on Thursday for my next lot of treatment.

It is such a relief to know that the marathon is still a possibility - wonderful!
I have got a physio appointment this afternoon...

After speaking to someone on the FLM helpline yesterday they have confirmed that I could defer my entry to next year; all I have to do is sort this out before the 25th April. So yesterday I booked up a physio appointment at a local sports injury clinic to see if I can get to the bottom of what I have done and whether I can expect a speedy recovery. I am still very much hoping that I can run in the marathon but at least I now know that if I can't then I can defer my place and guarantee getting a place again next year.

My main concern at the moment is my fitness levels and trying to maintain this whilst not running. I am also a little worried that I won't have put in the required number of long runs before the race. I had planned to run 16/17 miles last weekend and 18/19 this coming weekend and I have registered for a 20 mile training race for the weekend after that (5th April) and then I was possibly going to do one more long run of 20+ miles before starting my tapering...but at the moment I can't see anyway that I can do next weeks long run and then will I be fit enough to get through the others, if indeed my injury will allow this??

Monday, March 23, 2009

A really good Half Marathon race at Silverstone on the 15th March followed by disaster!!

On the 15th March I competed in the Flora London Silverstone Half Marathon and what a great event this was. The organisers did a great job and it was a fantastic race. For me, it was especially good as I put in a strong performance and got a new PB of 1:52:30 (and all this still feeling like I could have gone faster, wonderful!). I finished the race and felt on top of the world; however later in the day my left ankle/foot started to ache and initially I assumed it was just the after effects of my exertion during the race (after all my legs ached a little too!). However come Monday morning I wasn't able to walk without significant pain and it was clear that it was something more serious. Anyway, I decided that the best course of action was to take a few days rest from running to see if it would go of its own accord (hoping of course that it was just a minor strain or something similar). So after 3 days of no running at all I ventured out for a short run last Thursday morning but unfortunately I could only manage 1 mile and a very slow mile at that before my foot was throbbing too much and I had to I decided to not run at all for the rest of the week and over the weekend to see if I could get back on track this week. In the mean time I have been wearing a support and treating it with both ice treatment and heat treatment trying to speed up recovery. This morning was the next test, so I headed out early this morning with it all strapped up hoping that I would get at least a good 30 minute run under my belt and that the injury wouldn't be a problem.....however after just 4 minutes I was in a lot of pain and in my heart I knew that I was not going to be able to do the full 30 minutes that I had set out to do. I carried on and did 2 miles, but I had to stop at this point because of the pain and I feel that by actually running on it (even though it seemed to be getting better) has now inflamed it again! I am feeling very anxious as I know that this could mean the end of my London Marathon challenge and this is something that I have been working hard towards and of course looking forward to. Also, if I don't run I will feel very bad about letting everyone down that has pledged money for my chosen charity. I feel this morning as if I am in a quandary, not sure if I should give it a few more days or another week or so and see if it is OK; or whether this is really leaving it too close to the marathon deadline, without the required amount of training and then it would be silly to run anyway...or maybe I should just accept what has happened and now try to defer my entry to next year (not sure when the cut off for this is?).....oh what a disaster...I think the best course of action is to speak to the FLM organisers today to see what my options are and take it from there..........I am feeling very disappointed :-(

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another early run!

This morning I did another early morning run. Unfortunately when I am working in London and commuting this is the only way to get a run in for the day; as I am too tired (and it is really too late) when I get home. So at 4:30am the alarm clock went off and I reluctantly got out of bed, put on my running kit and headed downstairs to the treadmill. All of which I did in a ‘sleepy trance’! Anyway the result is that once I set off and got into my rhythm I did a good, solid run; nothing outstanding, just a steady and controlled 60 minutes. Although it is tough getting up at this early hour, I am always really pleased with myself once I have completed the run; it does set me up for the day and I do start the day feeling a lot more energised – the down side of course is that by about 3pm I am starting to flag a little more than usual!

This week hasn’t really gone according to plan, so I was thankful to manage today’s run. Tomorrow I am hoping (assuming that I am not working tomorrow – I am still waiting to hear!) that if I don’t have to venture into London that I can get an ‘easy’ run in sometime late morning. Last week before my half marathon I didn’t run on the Friday or Saturday prior to the race, but as I didn’t do my scheduled run yesterday I think that I will venture out tomorrow but just make it an ‘easy’ and ‘slow’ run. Then I will take Saturday as a rest day prior to the Silverstone Half Marathon on Sunday.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Catch Up; February Summary and the Nike+ Milton Keynes Half Marathon

I haven't posted for a little while but I do have lots to report, so please bear with me for the long post!

February Summary

Firstly I need to report on my overall running for the month of February; probably the best way to describe it is 'steady progress' which I am very happy with. I have continued to move forwards; I am definitely getting fitter and faster and my longest run to date now is 15 miles. I feel confident that I have got a steady base with which I will hopefully improve on even further in March. My mileage was pretty much the same as January, although obviously February was a shorter month. I did a total of 76 miles, with 12 hours 4 minutes 2 seconds 'time on my feet'.

In picture views the following is a graph of my running in February:

My graph

Milton Keynes Half Marathon

Yesterday I did the Nike+ Milton Keynes Half Marathon, this was my first race in approximately 5 years, so I was a little nervous and anxious at how it would go. In all honesty I had forgotten the routine and the drill of racing and this did play on my nerves before the race began and I need to apologise to my husband and daughter for being a complete pain during the morning – so, "sorry sweeties and thank you for putting up with me!" Anyway, as with most things that I worry about I needn't have worried at all as it all turned out really well, in fact better than I could have hoped for. I did a reasonable time for my level of fitness at the moment (1:58:07). I was pleased that I was able to finish strong and I ran all the way – I couldn't have asked for any more. The best thing about the race was the feeling that I got at about 7 miles; it was if the old running me had kicked in, I felt the exhilaration that I used to feel when I raced a lot (this was way back between 2001 and 2005!) and this if nothing else was worth battling with the crowds and the windy conditions. In fact I felt on a 'high' but without the drugs or after effects – wonderful!

This has made me feel a lot more confident about next week's race (Silverstone Half Marathon) and hopefully I will be a lot easier to live with because of it ;o)

This morning as I write this I am also pleased to report that I don't feel too achy or stiff; my legs know that they ran yesterday but they don't feel any worse than they normally do after a long run, so this is a very good sign. Some may say "well you didn't push yourself enough then"; which is possibly correct, but after all this race and next week's race are just part of a journey and the end race is the London Marathon so I have to be careful that I don't get carried away and get an injury.

Anyway, a good few weeks and a really good race under my belt, all I have left to say is "why, oh why did I ever stop"'s wonderful!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Early bird catches the worm

This morning I managed to drag myself out of bed early again so that I could fit in a decent run before commuting to London.

So by 5am this morning I was running on the treadmill. My aim was to run a steady 5 mile run but as I started the run I knew it wouldn't be plain sailing. I felt tired (not surprising I suppose given that it was so early!) but I also couldn't get into a rhythm, my breathing seemed heavy. Anyway, after about 20 minutes things sorted themselves out the run turned into a more enjoyable experience. I also added in a few walk breaks (4 minutes running to 1 minute walking) like I did during my long run last Sunday and this really helped me again.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Nike+ Milton Keynes Half Marathon 8th March

Got my instructions and race number in the post today - this will be the first race I have done since 2005 (wow 4 years, it doesn't seem possible that its that long ago!) and I am nervous and excited in the same measures! I am not really going to be 'racing' as such, but using it as part of my marathon training. Even so, I am looking forward to it. Also its at the Open University which is within a 5 minute walk from home so this makes it even better :-)

Half way there!

Yesterday I did a really good 13.1 mile run.

I was determined this weekend just gone to get in a really good long run to finish my running week off well and thankfully that is just what happened. I was a little apprehensive before I set out as this is the furthest I have run for some time but I knew that I needed to up my running to the next level this week and start to get some decent longer runs in (after all its only 2 months now until the marathon!). I also tried out Galloway's run/walk technique during this long run and I think this really helped me both physically and psychologically. I did just over three miles before I started to introduce the walking breaks and then I did 4 minutes of running to 1 minute of walking and it worked out really well. I think the fact that I was concentrating on the clock was also a valuable added distraction!

I would be lying if I said the run was easy; it was a challenge and physically my legs did start to ache at around 10 miles but I am so pleased that I persevered and finished it. I felt relieved but extremely pleased with myself when I got home! It has also given me more confidence, knowing that I can do a half marathon distance, so hopefully the two half marathon races that I am aiming to run in March now won't be so daunting. The first race that I am doing is the Nike+ Milton Keynes Half, this race is on the 8th March and the second one is the following weekend and this one is at Silverstone (running around the formula 1 race track!).

My pace and finishing time for my run yesterday wasn't great, but I was pleased that during each of my 4 minutes of running I managed to up my running pace to slightly faster than a normal long run pace. The question I am asking myself at the moment though is, if I continue to get on well using the run/walk technique should I use this in races?

Anyway this week has been another successful running week and to summarise, below are the runs I completed for the week:

Wednesday: 3.84 miles, 34:52

Thursday: 5.23 miles, 49:43(treadmill)

Friday: 2.35 miles, 21:13 (did feel very well on Friday so had to cut my run short!)

Sunday: 13.1 miles, 2:09:50

Total of 4 runs covering 24.5 miles for the week with 3 hours, 55 minutes and 38 seconds 'time on my feet'.

Ideally I would like to see my mileage increase to over 30 miles per week this is the aim anyway!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Trading my cosy bed for the treadmill

This morning I traded my cosy warm bed for an early morning run; and I do mean early (4:45am!).......the reason it was this early is that I am working in London today and I had to get a train at 7:14am. Ordinarily if I cannot run in the morning then I try to get out at lunchtime or early evening, but being in London all day means that I won't get home until late too (the joys of commuting!) so the only option was to get up and do my run before the day began. Anyway I am really pleased that I did and it reminded me of a few years back when I used to do pretty much all of my running early in the morning. Somehow, once you have got yourself up (obviously this is the hardest part!) everything else just seems to fall into place and as well as achieving the run that you set out to do, you also feel as if you have achieved so much more (well this is exactly how I felt this morning). I think this feeling comes from the fact that you have done something very worthwhile whilst most others around you (in my house definitely!) are still giving it big Z's!

To the run itself; I did 30 minutes at a steady pace (around 6.2mph) then I decided to try the Galloway Run/Walk method for the final 20 minutes; doing 4 minutes running to 1 minute walking, with an increased pace (around 7mph) when running, and it worked out really well. I have been reading up a little about this method and think that it is something that I will investigate further. I especially think it may be useful for my longer training runs. Anyway this week I thought that I would trial it on a few of my runs and see how it goes; as they say 'nothing ventured nothing gained!'

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Touch and go for a little while!

This week has turned out well although it was touch and go in the middle of the week as due to the way things panned out during the first half of the week, by Thursday I found myself with only one run under my belt! However, I managed to claw everything back on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and ended my running week on a high, with my longest run to date.

So all in all everything has turned out OK, but I am still a little concerned that I am not getting the longer runs in and realistically I should be running a lot further than 9 miles as a long run at this stage in my training; so I think this coming week I need to really up my training to the next level. I also feel as if I need to get a couple of races lined up to get me used to racing again, as it has been a few years since I did a 'proper' race.

It will be a challenge this week as I am going to be working in London a few more days than normal and I think this will be the case for the next few weeks, so I don't think I have any other choice than to start getting up earlier and getting some running done before the day starts! A few years back I used to do all of my running early in the morning, I had no trouble getting up as early as 4am if I needed to get a decent run in before the day began, but these days (perhaps this is an age thing?) I find it a lot harder to get up earlier! However, I do remember the feeling of satisfaction of getting a good run in and completed before most others had even risen for the day; it gave me a real sense of achievement and did set me up well for the day ahead!

In summary, my runs this week were as follows:

Monday: 4.59 miles, paced run on the treadmill

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: Rest Days

Friday: 4.55, steady run on the treadmill

Saturday: 3.33 miles, easy run outside

Sunday: 9.07 miles, easy/long run outside

Total of 21.5 miles for the week, with 3 hours, 17 minutes and 4 seconds 'time on feet'

Monday, February 09, 2009

A really good ‘paced’ run

This morning I did a really good treadmill run. I felt strong and in control the whole time, which is good as I had set out to run a 'paced' run, trying to maintain my speed at between 6.8 and 7mph for the duration and I managed this for the 40 minutes quite comfortably. For this run my overall pace was 8:46 per/mile which is the fastest pace I have achieved this year for a run, so I am really happy with this. A superb start to the running week!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Lots of snow....

...which although it is lovely and I do in fact enjoy the snow, it isn't good for marathon training; however I am lucky enough to have a treadmill at home and this past week it has been a life saver in terms of my training. The red ways, paths and roads are today still covered with patches of snow, but more dangerous now is the ice. Anyway, it looks as if I will have to resign myself to treadmill training again for most of the coming week too.....oh well, as I say I am lucky, but I will be very glad when I can venture outdoors again.

This last week didn't go quite as I had planned it; but this was mainly because I was using the treadmill for every run and mentally I couldn't bring myself to do more than an hour on the treadmill at any given time. I did do two one hour sessions during the week, a 30 minute interval session and a 40 minute cross-country programme, so I feel I at least did some good training, but I missed my longer run this week and this is a little disappointing. If I do have to continue to use the treadmill all of this coming week, then I think I will have to dig out a really good DVD to watch that will enable me to pass through this mental 'hour' barrier that I seem to have with the treadmill. I haven't always been like this, as for previous marathons I have often had to resort to the treadmill because of bad weather or because I am travelling; and in the past I have done runs of up to 17 miles on the treadmill (insane I know!)...oh well maybe it's just because I have been so used to the fresh air over the past couple of months that it will just take me a little longer to get used to the treadmill and its limited surroundings.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Weekly round-up

I have had another good running week although my weekend running was a little disappointing and didn't exactly go to plan. However, I am happy with the progress I am making and as long as I am making progress each week I don't mind the odd disappointment! I did a really good long run this week too (8.59 miles) and a good interval session at the beginning of the these made up for the low mileage at the weekend.

Again I am not planning any major changes for my running this coming week, I'm just going to ensure that I get one longer run in and that I run at least 4 times (5 would be nice, but......).....however due to the weather forecasts I think most of my running this week maybe on the treadmill!! I am not a fair weather runner and don't mind venturing out in the cold, wet and windy conditions but I'm not so sure about running in the snow!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

January Summary

So, I have now completed my first 'proper' month of training and its been a really good start to my marathon campaign. Each week I have seen progress and I am starting to feel stronger and fitter. My pace also seems to be improving so all in all a good month.

To sumarise, I have completed: 83 miles, with a total of 13 hours, 21 minutes and 16 seconds 'time on my feet'.

My graph

Sunday, January 25, 2009

End of the week round-up

Another good running week where everything pretty much went according to plan. I did a total of 20.7 miles this week (over 4 runs), with a total of 3 hours and 11 minutes 'time on my feet' so I am pleased with this.

This week I am going to try to do 5 runs over the course of the week, I know this is going to be hard but I think that if I am going to get my fitness levels up to the standard they need to be for the marathon (and in time for the marathon!) then I do need to squeeze this extra run in each week, or most weeks. I am also going to try to increase my longer run again, pushing to 80 minutes this week compared to 70 minutes last week. I am happy with the general format of my training so I don't want to change too much; I will just try to increase my longer runs each week, not major amounts but enough to keep pushing my endurance levels.

Happy running everyone :-)

Friday, January 23, 2009

'small but steady steps forward'

I did a good run today although after just 30 minutes into it I didn't think that I would manage the full 60 minutes that I set out to do, my legs felt heavy and I was struggling a little with motivation...but somehow I got through and I am really pleased to have completed it, after all they do say that running is as much a mental battle as it is a physical one, and today I had to contend with a little of both!

All in all though it's been a good running week (and I still have the weekend to get at least another run in!). This week I have started to see (and feel!) the progress I am making, especially in terms of my increased fitness (being able to run further) and also the increase in my's not a major increase but its noticeable, perhaps the best way to describe it is 'small but steady steps forward'.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


What a fantastic run today; it was cold and frosty but the skies were blue and the sun was shining so I headed off to Willen Lake and set off on my 70 minute run and what a great run it was. I felt strong and controlled throughout and even my pace was faster than I had expected. The sun shining on the lake was a lovely sight and it was great to see so many other people running or walking.

Today I also used my new running shoes for the first time (Asic Kayano 14); these are the make and model that I have had for many years now. They are Asics flagship shoe and unfortunately it also makes them the most expensive, but they are the best shoe I have found for me so I don't mind paying the extra. In fact I managed to get a pair of last years model in the sale as the new model has just come out, so they were only £75 rather than £115!

I am also getting more used to my Nike+ iPod kit and today it really helped. As I set off I set it to a 'distance' challenge of 70 minutes and then I got a voice over every 5 minutes giving me an update on how far I had run. Then, after the half way point he (my voice over is male!) counted down e.g. '25 minutes to go', '20 minutes to go' etc and I found this really helpful and motivational. I am also enjoying listening to more audio-books with it. Since I last posted about audio-books I have finished one other: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, which was fantastic and I am now listening to The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman which is actually a children's book, but when I read some of the reviews on, many were from adults who had also enjoyed it so I thought that I would give it a go. I haven't read/listened to anything like this before but I am really enjoying it.

Happy running everyone :-)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

End of the week round-up

The end of another good week; the only change to plan was today's run, as I had planned to do a longer run but in the end I only managed 30 minutes. This was mainly due to lack of time, but to be honest I was also struggling a little....I felt tired and my legs felt heavy, so I decided to call it a day after 30 minutes.

So, I achieved my goal of running for longer and managed a total of 18.9 miles and a total of just over 3 hours 'time on feet', so I am really pleased with this. The individual runs were as follows:

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 60 minutes, steady (outside)
  • Wednesday: 30 minutes, steady (outside)
  • Thursday: Rest day
  • Friday: 60 minutes, easy (outside)
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: 30 minutes, easy (outside)

Next week I am planning a similar set of runs, although as I am working in London on Tuesday this coming week, this will be my main rest day and I also want to include at least one speed interval session on the treadmill. So hopefully the week will look something like this:

  • Monday: 30 minutes, interval run (treadmill)
  • Tuesday: Rest day
  • Wednesday: 60-70 minutes, steady/easy
  • Thursday: 40 minutes, steady/easy
  • Friday: 60 minutes, easy
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: 30-40 minutes, interval or paced run (probably on the treadmill)

Also next week I will hopefully be running in new running shoes, as I am really in need of a new pair; so I am heading off to get these on Monday sometime!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Running in the rain and with my new gadget!

So today I planned to head out the door for an easy 60 minute run and 1pm this is just what I did. It was fine when I left the house, but after 20 minutes into my run the clouds started to loom and within the next few minutes I was running in the rain, and quite heavy at that! Never mind, it was refreshing and although it may sound sad, I do enjoy being out in the rain and it didn't last that long.

Today was also the first run I have done with my new running gadget; the Nike+ iPod Sports Kit. I am still not 100% sure about it, I like the idea, its neat and works, but I am a great fan of the Garmin, and have loved owning the Garmin Forerunner for about 5 years now. Anyway as I do listen to a lot of music and audio-books whilst training I thought that I would give it a go. I suppose only time will tell how I get on with it; the main thing is that I did a really good run again today. Happy running everyone!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

To run or to treadmill, that is the question

The main decision today for my run was whether to brave the weather outside, cold (freezing in fact) and very misty or to just opt for the treadmill. Well I braved it and this was definitely the right decision as although me and woolly hats aren't the best of friends and the run itself wasn't the greatest, it did feel good to be out in the fresh air. When I got back I felt revived – wonderful.

I still haven't decided on a new audio-book to listen to, so today I took my daughters iPod out with me on my run, as she mentioned to me last night that she thought she had some really good music on her iPod that would be good to run too. She told me to select one of her playlists and try it out; so that's what I did, and it was great. She is right she does have some great music (and some suspect stuff!). Including the artists Adele, Westlife, Amy Winehouse, Duran Duran, Gwen Stefani, James Blunt, Kelly Clarkson, Sarah Brightman, Doris Day, Elvis, High School Musical (!), Madonna, and Rihanna (I'll leave you to think about who the suspect ones are!)....but, all in all very enjoyable. Thank you Gracie x

As already mentioned the run itself wasn't that great. I felt tired today and after about 25 minutes my legs felt heavy; but never mind, I am just happy to have got out and completed it – another one ticked off the schedule!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A really good start to my running week

Today I headed out at lunchtime and managed a really good 60 minute, easy run. The weather was a little kinder too and although it was a little windy, I did also get a glimpse of some sunshine, lovely!

Today's run was also a little faster without me seeming to be putting more effort into it, so perhaps this is a sign that my fitness is now improving – I do hope so.

I have also started listening to audio-books again whilst I am running, and over the past week I have listened to two autobiographies (both of cooks/chefs - which isn't a surprise, as if you know me you know that I have a passion for cooking). Anyway, the first one that I listened to was called 'Spilling the Beans' and this was the autobiography of Clarissa Dickson-Wright; and what a good listen this was. It was abridged (I normally don't listen to anything but unabridged, but a lot of the biographies and autobiographies seem to be abridged, so I thought that I would give it a go). Anyway, it was gripping and so moving – wow, I am still thinking about it now, many days after finishing it. The second one, which I started yesterday and finished today, was Gordon Ramsay's 'Humble Pie', again what a great listen, you have to be prepared for the F-word, but most people who know Gordon Ramsay know that this is a word that appears in most of his conversations so for me it wasn't a problem. It was a gripping listen, and I would recommend both these books to anyone, and especially anyone interested in cooking. I think what also makes these books stand out from other autobiographies that I have listened to is that the authors are also the narrators; to me this makes a big difference with an autobiography in audio-book format. I now just have to choose something else to start now....I have a few to choose from, but maybe it will be fiction this time....

Anyway, tomorrow I am planning on a 30-40 minute steady run, so watch this space!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Another really good running week!

This week has been another really good running week. I have managed another 4 runs, which is what I planned, and each run was a good one! I also managed to mix the runs up a little, and it feels like this is paying off. I certainly feel fitter and stronger this week, so long may this continue!

To summarise, I have done 16.2 miles this week, over 2 hours 45 minutes and 32 seconds, and the individual runs were as follows:

  • Wednesday: 30 minute interval run (treadmill)
  • Thursday: 60 minute steady run (treadmill)
  • Friday: 30 minute easy run (treadmill)
  • Sunday: 45 minute steady run (outside)

Next week I plan to run at least 4 days again, I may try to up it to 5 days, but I will just have to see how the week pans out. The plan at the moment is as follows:

  • Monday: Rest (also working in London, so I have to be up early to get the train and I will get home late, so there will be no time to fit a run in!)
  • Tuesday: 60 minutes, easy
  • Wednesday: 30-40 minutes, steady
  • Thursday: Rest Day or slow, shorter run
  • Friday: 60 minutes, steady
  • Saturday: Rest Day
  • Sunday: 70 minutes

This is the plan at the moment, although the order of the runs may change, but I am aiming to up the time and possibly the days this week.

Have a good week everyone and happy running!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Interval, Steady, Easy

Three days and three runs, wonderful!

I had a couple of days rest at the beginning of the week, so I knew that come Wednesday I would need to get a run in. So as the weather was rather cold and still icy outside I opted for the treadmill. After clambering over all of the packed up Christmas decorations (still waiting to be put away in the loft!) I managed to get to the treadmill and I did a great run. I popped my iPod into the speakers selected the Serena Williams 30 minute Interval Run and off I went. I have used this training workout quite a few times (its one of the Nike+ selections, you can get it from itunes). I like it because she motivates you and also tells you when to up your pace and when to recover; but you can obviously still work within your own levels. I like it because it pushes me and it enables me to mix up my training a little and of course doing this type of training session builds fitness faster (and burns more calories!).

Then yesterday evening, I opted for the treadmill again, this time not because of the weather but because I didn't run until 7pm in the evening, and it was really dark outside. This was another great run; longer (60 minutes) and steady. I felt really good throughout.

Then early this morning, I did another 30 minute run, but just at an easy pace - I didn't really feel up to a run this morning, but I jumped on the treadmill and pushed myself to complete it. I am glad that I did and although it wasn't a great run, its 'time on my feet' and it all helps!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Last week was a really good running week....

....and it feels good to have a full week of running under my belt. OK, it wasn’t fast paced running, but at this moment in time I am not concerned about that – I am just concentrating on getting out the door and getting a regular routine in place. As the weeks build up I am sure that my pace will improve. It was just good to get out on a regular basis and complete four good, solid runs.

So to summarise last week, I did the following runs:

Monday: 26:16
Wednesday: 39:51
Friday: 33:33
Sunday: 41:21
Total of 4 runs, with a total 'time on feet' of 02:21:01

All the above runs have been good, but yesterdays was the best of the week; as I actually felt really strong after 40 minutes and if it hadn’t been dark I would have carried on for longer. It may have also been the fact that my daughter Grace came out with me (she was on her bike) and this is a photo of us just before we left.

As you can see it was a very chilly evening, so we had to get wrapped up! However, it was really nice having her company during the run and I think it took my mind off of the running a little. Thank you sweetheart, hope you can come out with me more often.

P.S. I know, its not the most flattering of photos (I have never suited woolly hats!) but at least we were warm!!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Another year is over, so it’s a time to reflect on the year that has just past and to look forward to the new year ahead.

In terms of the year just past, 2008 has been an eventful year for me in two key areas; my working life and my education. With regards to my working life, I had a massive change at the end of June when I decided it was time that I left my role as a Director of a services company and set up on my own as a Business Consultant. I had been with Merlin for 12½ years and I felt that the time was right for a change. The following 6 months have been challenging, fun, nerve wracking, educational and much more but I wouldn’t change it at all and on this front I am excited about the opportunities that I will hopefully get in 2009.

On the education front, I managed to complete my Open University degree – getting notification in August that I had passed my last course and that I can now have BSc after my name! Something I am very pleased to have done; in fact it’s something that I still cannot believe that I have achieved. I am looking forward to the graduation ceremony that will take place sometime in June this year.

In terms of looking to the year ahead, I have a lot of goals in mind, especially relating to my running. I am of course training for the London Marathon and hope that on the 22nd April that I will successfully achieve my aim of running in my 4th London Marathon. I also have more general running aims for 2009, as I feel that I need to get myself back into a regular running routine, like I had between 2000 and 2005. I have lapsed considerably with my running since completing the London Marathon in 2005, and I would now like to get myself back on track and start to build up my running fitness that will bring me up to fitness levels that I saw a few years back; I miss this a lot. In order to do this I do need to have some fixed targets, so the London Marathon in April is my first and over the course of the next few weeks I will be looking at adding a few more races to my schedule and who knows I may even try to run another marathon later in the year. I am leaving this one open at the moment, but I will let you know as soon as I decide!

I have documented my ten New Years Resolutions here, not that anyone else will be that interested, but for me it is a way of keeping myself focused on what I have set as targets for myself in 2009 and then this time next year I will be able to reflect and see how well I did!

Happy New Year everyone – and happy running!