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!