Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Doggie Doo Dodge

This morning was my first 30 min easy run of the week and the last run of 2013! Sounds easy enough and it was.....by the time I got out out there. First of all, I popped my head out of the door then had to go back in to get my rainy running gear on as it was tipping down plus a bit windy but this is England and that's what happens so had to go with it! 

The run itself was fine but the one big thing that bugged me is the amount of dog poop everywhere. I'm a big lover of dogs but unfortunately they can't be trained to clear up after themselves so sort it out people, only takes 2 minutes and a doggie doo bag! What makes it worse is that it's wet, slimy and smeared all over the pavements, lying in wait around corners for clumsy runners like myself to slide around in it!   Luckily I just about managed to avoid most of it. Tomorrow is a 25 minute run, and, from past experience, a new years day run involves avoiding piles of vomit too woo hoo!

If only this happened....

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Take it Indoors

After a week of eating my own body weight in unnecessary cheese and chocolate, it was not particularly easy to haul my butt out of bed to go for an early morning long run.  The Long run is only up to 50 minutes so it's not very far yet but considering the fact I simply 'forgot' to go for a short training run on Friday It was important to me that I got out there and did it. 

Winter this year has been a bit all over the place, so i'm never quite sure what to expect when I get out the door but this morning I was greeted with a shimmer of ice over the cars and a slight frost on the grass.  Undeterred by this, I carried on with my warm up walk and began to notice that the pavements were a little slippery too.  Now, to a normal person this would not pose a problem but to someone like myself who falls over on a perfect summer's day on a flat road the thought of running on slippery pavements and the damage that could cause does not bear thinking about!

Before I started to head back and admit outdoor defeat, I quickly checked the opening times of the gym on my phone and as it was open, went home to grab my gym stuff, change out of my thermals and resign my self to 50 minutes of boredom on the treadmill instead. It was horrible and  it dragged on forever, but at least my run was done so it's on to week three for a little bit more of the same! 

Time for the weekly dose of motivation and i've found that this way of thinking has helped me a lot during my training so far..


Sunday, 22 December 2013

Christmas pudding




I have made it to the the end of the first week of marathon training still intact.  Had a slight problem this morning when I woke up still under the influence of last nights silly juice and was in no fit state to go for a run but a day of intense hydration and resting got me back on track and I somehow managed the scheduled 40 minute run. 

While I was mooching around today I came across a great article from Runners World about pushing through mental barriers.  Perfect reading for this time of year when it seems easier to come up with a million excuses rather than getting out there. Have a look if you need a bit of inspiration -  http://www.runnersworld.com/the-starting-line/5-mental-barriers-smashed?cm_mmc=Twitter-_-RunnersWorld-_-Content-Training-_-SmashMentalBarriers

On the subject of mental barriers, next week is going to be a bit of a challenge as I will have to do battle with the perils of Christmas indulgence.  There is also some nasty stormy weather on the way combined with the gym closing early, making an indoor run impossible - So it looks like i'll be making the most of my thermals.  Bring on week two!

Must be time for some motivation again to prepare for next week....


Friday, 20 December 2013

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire??


Frost bite!!

All corny Christmas cracker jokes aside, I didn't attempt to cross breed any inanimate objects with fantasy beings but I did go for a run in the cold and wasn't sure whether my fingers or ears were going to fall off first!

The reality of winter training is starting to hit home and it's not even properly cold yet.  In the summer I jump out of bed, it's light and balmy outdoors and all I have to worry about is getting too hot on my morning run.  In the winter it's hard enough open my eyelids let alone the front door to go for a run.  This morning, wasn't that bad once I warmed up a bit (and actually enjoyed it in the end) but it has made me think about investing in some winter running gear as a Christmas present to myself...



Tuesday, 17 December 2013

So it begins....



Eight months ago I had the genius idea that I would run a marathon.  The day has finally arrived that I begin 16 long weeks of intense training for that very event!  (Officially, it began yesterday but as the first day was a rest day there's not a lot to say about it - I rested, that is all.)

This morning's task was a 20 minute easy run.  Well, it sounded easy yesterday when I was perusing this week's schedule.  But then I got up at 4:45 am today and looked out of my cold, condensation covered bedroom window to see an uninspiring chilly, dark, wet December morning.  I did have the option of going for a run later when I got home from work with the boy, but knew deep down that there was no way I would do it after a day at work so I just had to bite the bullet and get out there.  

It lived up to my expectations of being dark, cold, damp and uninspiring but I just used my imagination and visualised all those lovely summer mornings that I went out running and got on with it!  

The schedule this week is very kind, considering it's marathon training. The first week is designed to get me back into a regular running routine with another 20 minute easy run on Friday morning then a 40 minute long run on Sunday (that will be fun after an Xmas party on Saturday night - ha!)

I am using the Bupa beginners training plan as that is what I followed for the half marathon and it seemed to suit me.  There are so many training plans out there and some look horrendous to be honest and I know that I have to have a schedule that's simple and flexible or I know that there's no chance I will follow it! Here's the link to it if any beginners out there are interested in training for a marathon http://www.bupa.co.uk/running/training/training-programmes/beginner-marathon/

The start line of the Brighton Marathon  - the place this training will take me to! (ITV.com)

Monday, 2 December 2013

Two weeks until the real work begins!

Today I managed to drag my sorry butt out of bed for an early morning run and it felt good - only did 30 mins but it's still the longest run i've done for well over a month.  I have been going out, just at night and for 20 mins at a time so it was reassuring to know I can still manage 30 mins without stopping for a break!

The reason i'm making an effort to get back out on the early runs is because marathon training starts two weeks today. Woo hoo....AND i'm looking forward to it like a nutter!  There was a bit of doubt as to whether I was going to go for the marathon this year or postpone it until 2015, as last week I managed to bag myself a new job - on the other side of the country! This will mean training around a whole life move but I figured that as long as I get all the long runs done everything will be fine and to just go for it. After all, I have spent the last 6 months telling everyone i'm doing it so i'm as sure as hell going to give it my best shot! 

This is so true......

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Getting back to it, again!

Ok, so the last few weeks haven't exactly gone to plan. It's been difficult getting back into running again what with wisdom tooth extraction, late nights, nasty weather, and bad sleep (I could go on with the excuses for ever) but am glad to say i'm finally getting back into it.

Had my first spin class for 6 weeks last week and I survived that so have been out for a couple of runs,  slowly trying to build up the distance again - it's not easy.  Even though i've maintained a decent base fitness, it's amazing how just the thought of long distances has become incredibly hard.  This morning was extremely chilly compared to recent weeks with a bitter wind, but it surprised me how quickly I warmed up and totally forgot about the fact that my ears felt like they were about to fall off due to frost bite!  

It's only a few weeks now until the big marathon training is due to start so have to just bite the bullet and get back out there no matter how cold/windy/rainy/snowy etc. it is! 

This is going to have to be my mantra for the coming months....

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Back to it!

Finally got out again this morning for my first run since the half marathon. Only did a slow-ish 1.5 miles, partly because it's been so long and partly because I'm breaking in a new pair of luminous salmon pink trainers for all that dark winter training! 

This is the longest break i've had since I started running and was beginning to wonder if I would ever get the motivation to get training again, especially as the mornings now are dark and getting increasingly chilly.  It is so much easier to lay in bed for that extra hour thinking up a million and one excuses why I don't want to run but I had to get tough with myself. I will be running a full marathon in April and if I want to stand any chance of getting through that then I have some serious training to be getting on with!

Going to spend the next few weeks aiming for at least 3 runs a week, two 5k and a long run of minimum 10k at the weekend - plus the odd spin class thrown in for good measure!  Need to have a closer look at training plans and see if I need a longer one to get me through because training for a half marathon is nothing compared to a full one so I had better do some research now as that clock is ticking away...

Found this little quote that is a good motivator to keep going though...

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Half Marathon? Done!

Ok so this blog is a couple of days late - I have been busy recovering from a rather long run followed by some particularly painful dental surgery!

On Sunday, I completed the Folkestone Half Marathon!  I was one of the last across the line mind you but I did it.  The race started off pretty well for me and as the first 3-4 miles went by I was averaging a speedy (for me!) pace of 10:30 mins/mile, and amazingly, I managed to beat my previous 5k time by 30 seconds and my 10k time by 3 minutes! 


Unfortunately, this speediness did not last, and the course was pretty hot down by the sea and although there was a bit of a breeze, it didn't seem to reach me until the last couple of miles. My energy levels began to gradually drop off after mile 9 I started struggling and found myself doing a bit more power walking than I would have liked. I kept going though - didn't once come to a complete stop and was spurred on by words of encouragement from the race marshals and the good people of Folkestone out for a Sunday stroll (I even had one little boy offer me his half melted ice cream as I looked hot, bless him haha!) I finally made it up the never ending hill 12.5 miles in and over the finish line in what I made as 2Hrs 42 mins but the official time published was only 2Hrs 39mins  and 16 secs, so i'm happy to call it that ;) 

Overall, it was a good experience, the whole event was really well organised and there was a great atmosphere - the encouragement and positivity from people all around the course was second to none.  Considering I have only really been running seriously for a little over 4 months, I was happy with my time but can see how I need to work on my speed and stamina if I have any chance of making it to the Brighton Marathon finish line! 

Now the plan is to have a week off while the hole in my mouth heals then keep on running 2 to 3 times in the week with a long run at the weekend to maintain my fitness for marathon training which I've scheduled to start in mid-December following an 18 week plan.  I must use my weekly training for tempo runs and really get to grips with them if I ever hope to improve my speed, oh and lose a bit more weight too because carrying round the equivalent of a full set of month old sextuplets with me all the time does not make for an efficient runner!!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

One day to go!

It's finally here!  This time tomorrow I should be over half way through the run and on the home straight.  My training this week has been terrible, I have only been out for one run due to a late finish at work and a night out in London but hey ho, the training of the last 12 weeks should hopefully be enough to see me through. 

Today is supposedly all about relaxing and getting my body ready for the onslaught of 13.1 miles as well as trying to stay well hydrated as I know how important that is for tomorrow so a couple of litres of water is the order of the day!  I say 'supposed' to be relaxing, I have found myself going through the results from previous years and i'm looking at being one of the last to stumble over the finish line but as long as I finish then I can take me 3 hours and that will be a good result for someone who struggled to complete a mile just a few months ago!

Going to need a lot of motivation for the morning so here goes....
  

Sunday, 22 September 2013

One week to go!

I have finally made it through 11 weeks of half marathon training to the final week.  Which, if I'm honest find very hard to believe! It's been hard at times, I've been totally knackered, battered and bruised but overall it has, so far, been the best thing I have ever done in my life! 

This last week has been really enjoyable, only did two training runs and replaced one run with a bike session to keep my body guessing.  On the morning runs, I finally found myself feeling relaxed, strong and happy when running and not wanting to stop once the 40 minutes was over - this all being at 5:30 am remember! I knew I'd lose it eventually haha!  This morning was the last of the long runs before next Sundays big one, it was only 6 miles but as usual the first two felt like wading through treacle in an old timey diving suit but the last four felt great! Just need a longer warm up I suppose! 

Next week's training schedule is quite relaxed as I'm tapering before the final big race! Not sure if I'll stay relaxed myself as I've already having weird dreams about standing at the starting line with no number/trainers/clothes etc. and the whole thing going horribly wrong! Keep telling myself that all I have to do is make it over the finish line in under 3 hours and not try to be competitive because it WILL end badly then, most likely in the back of an ambulance! 

As it's only a week to go, I'm also stepping up the fundraising  so please pay my donation page a visit if you can.  I am raiding money for Kent Association for the Blind , they are a local charity who provide invaluable support for visually impaired people all across the county.  

The link is - http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CarolineGower1 

Please donate as little or as much as you can afford - it will all be much appreciated! x

Before I go, I must find plenty of motivation to get me through those 13.1 miles ..


Sunday, 15 September 2013

12 Miles...almost there!

  Today was long run Sunday again and boy was it a long one today.  Finally made it to the big 12 miler which must mean it's only two weeks today until the big day!  It has taken 10 weeks of training to get here so far and I have to say it feels rather good.  I think it was back in May that I ran a whole mile without stopping for the first time, so to be running 12 only four months later feels like quite an achievement.  

I do ache though, but it's only my left groin that feels a bit stiff so far, not sure if I will be saying the same in the morning when I expect my entire body will be crying out in pain!

This week was not quite as hard as I expected, though I did miss out one training run but managed two nice early morning 3.5 mile runs in the dark! The days are starting to get shorter again so i'm out well before sunrise now.  I really need to invest in a headlight to see where I am going.  I do stick to routes that are well lit but I cant expect the council to keep all the street lights going can I?! Other than that, the reality of winter training is starting to become apparent, I know this is nothing compared to what I will have to cope with but come mid-December I will be starting my full marathon training which will undoubtedly be cold, damp and devilishly un-motivating but it has to be done if I ever hope to survive 26.2 miles!

While I was recovering from this morning's training I managed to catch some of the Great North Run.  It was amazing to see the speeds that the elite women runners were achieving - speeds I could only dream of, they could do the course twice and have half hour rest before i'd waddle over the finish line!! What is really inspiring is to see all those people running for different reasons and, for once, having a good idea of all the training they have gone through to get there.  There's gonna be a few thousand sore legs up in Newcastle tonight that's for sure!

The next fortnight I will be tapering my training and getting my body ready for the 13.1 mile extravaganza that is the Folkestone Half  Marathon.  At least after today, I definitely know I can do it as I probably could have managed another 1.1 miles earlier today.  

Need some motivation to get me through it...




Sunday, 8 September 2013

Cross Training

This week has been quite difficult from a training perspective because, as you know I took a tumble last week and have had a bit of pain and swelling on my left knee as that took a lot of the impact.  I spent the start of the week with some RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) therapy with my knee up in the air with a pack of frozen veg balanced on it! It seemed to be just soft tissue injury, but still I didn't want to go running on it until the swelling had subsided a bit so I took to the bike instead as I couldn't just sit around doing nothing!  

This week my training consisted of a 16.5 mile ride with the boy on Tuesday  rested again until Friday when I did a spin class, did another 20 miles on the bike Saturday and finally back to the training schedule with a 5 mile long run this morning.  The run went well, although I did notice a difference having not actually run for a week, it was tough at first but I soon settled in to a nice pace and was able to relax and enjoy the gorgeous sunrise out in the country lanes. 

Next week is a tough one. Got some long shifts at work coupled with three hard training runs, building up to a 12 mile run next Sunday the longest run before the half marathon....definitely going to need some motivation for that!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

10 Miles...

Wahhooo! I've finally managed 10 miles of running in one session and apart from falling over in spectacular style (surprised it didn't happen sooner) I feel pretty good for it!  I now know that the 13.1 mile half marathon is well within my reach.  Not bad for someone who was struggling to run a single mile just a few months ago, even if I do say so myself ;) 

As you know, last week I got myself a bike so I can get a bit of cross training in. Went for a 12 mile ride yesterday morning which was 6 miles uphill and 6 miles downhill on the way back so not too taxing but good to get out and stretch my legs.  

Because I have been doing all my biking through the local country roads I thought I'd swap my long run route from the long, straight main road through town out to the country lanes instead. This is a good idea in theory as there are more hills and it gives me a better challenge in training as I know that the route for the half marathon I'm doing is pretty flat except for two short, but steep hills. 

All was going well, I hated the first two miles ( as I always do on a long run) but soon got into a nice pace and kept going along the floor of the valley for a just over 3 miles until I attempted my first hill.  That wasn't too bad but slowed me down a bit and I caved in about 20 yards from the top but I felt as I was only 4 miles in at this point I needed to conserve energy.  Once I was at the top though it was all a bit easier going and I carried on with a decent 12:30 training pace until I decided to take a 'short cut' through a recently harvested field.   This was going surprisingly well until I lost the amongst a sea of sharp, unforgiving stalks of freshly cut oil seed rape plants that started tearing my legs to shreds (this was to be the least of my worries further down the road!) so I ended up walking most of this part and wasting a bit of time.  

I finally found the road again and headed off back down in to the valley and was on the home straight.  I had upped my pace to 11:30 and all was going well until I got to 8 miles, distracted by some bunnies in the field next to me I managed to catch my right toe on what was probably a bit of tarmac sitting 1mm above the road and over I went.  Now, most normal people when they fall over put their arms out to break their fall, graze their hands and land on their knees.  I always try that, but as usual ended up with one hand pushing my whole body over so I skidded along the asphalt on my left shoulder and the left side of my face.  It was a bit of a shock but I soon realised that I was lying face down in the middle of a dark tunnel of trees on a country lane so I had to get up pretty quickly!  I stood up and other than a bit of stinging and a few blue birds and stars flying round my head I carried on walking and rang the bloke to let him know that I was walking wounded and if I didn't return to come looking for my body.  My first though was for him to pick me up but part of me didn't want to quit with only 2 miles to go and thankfully the determined part of me took over and I soon started running again and made the two miles home.  It felt damn good to have completed the 10 miles and I know that if I had given up I would have been very fed up as well as horrendously sore for the rest of the day and that just won't do!!

Now that I have completed 10 miles it is probably appropriate for me to start pushing the fundraising for the half marathon, which I am doing for Kent Association for the Blind. More details here:
http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=CarolineGower1  

I understand that things are tight for everyone right now, but anything you can give would be greatly appreciated towards what I feel is a very worthy cause.


Luckily next week I am mostly off work on annual leave and the training is quite light as i've not got another major long run until 2 weeks today which will be 12 miles but i'll try to stay vertical for that one!

It must be time for some pain inspired motivation from Jillian Michaels....




Monday, 26 August 2013

Recovery Week

Just over half way through the half marathon training now so this week has been all about taking it a bit easier as the long runs have got longer! So, it was only 5 miles this weekend and some short training runs in the week in preparation for a 10 miler next weekend.

I finally got myself a bike so I can do some proper outdoors cross training and went for my first ride today.  Only 10 miles but it's good to get out there and will become part of my regular training, plus it is something I can do with my man friend! 

From tomorrow it's more running: a couple of early morning 5k's, a bit of swimming and a spin class in preparation for the long run next Sunday!

Definitely need some motivation....

Saturday, 17 August 2013

8 miles and Sugar Free!




In the last 7 days I have run just over 22 miles and worked a very full week. I should be completely knackered, but I'm not.  The only thing i've done differently this week is completely cut sugar and white bread from my diet and i'm reaping the benefits already.  

Not wanting to sound like a North American infomercial but this simple change has revolutionised my training and every aspect of my life!  I have always been a sugar junkie and suffered the happy highs and sluggish lows (Not to mention massive weight gain!) that go with that on a daily basis for most of my adult life.  I would think nothing of chowing down on a few strips of dairy milk or a bag of fizzy jelly sweets pretty much every day! A couple of weekends ago though, I had an overdose and felt rough as a badgers bottom so decided to try to give it up as I can't carry on training and eating like this - my body can't repair itself with fat and sugar alone. I was fast becoming a sitting duck for diabetes plus I have to start seriously sorting out my weight cause I'm still 3 stone over what I should be so lugging all that fat around with me can't be a good thing!

Last week, I started to cut down and this week I totally removed all of the nasties from my diet by having a ready supply of frozen fruit in the freezer which I could add to a bit of yoghurt in the evening if I felt the need for something sweet.  I have also been having a few nuts for snacks and eating plenty of nutritious salad, and vegetables with a good serving of Quorn or eggs for protein. This has helped my blood sugar stay on the level and stopped the cravings.

So, the results after just one week are astounding! I'm not tired at all (until bedtime, also sleeping better) my groin strain has almost disappeared, I don't crave sugar any more (watched Andy watch a whole bag of jelly beans and I was not remotely tempted to have even one!), I'm seem to be more mentally alert plus I have shifted 6lbs in weight this week :)

As for the training, I have had to move things around this week due to going out all day tomorrow so had to shift the long run to this morning which was an 8 miler. I felt a lot stronger today and it seemed to go quicker with a lot less stopping for stretching along the way, plus I had more energy at the end of the run and ran around doing shopping and housework for a good few hours afterwards before I collapsed on the bed with my kindle! 

Next week is a recovery week, so no long run as such just 3 40 minute sessions and a 60 minute one next weekend in preparation for the big 10 miler the weekend after - might need some motivation......

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Seven Heaven



Good morning!

I really wasn't up for it this morning, had a nice early night last night but was woken up to the sound of a rather inebriated young man effing and blinding at his 'friend' arguing over which hand he had hit his 'friend' with - oh the joys of living in the 'bourne! 

Anyway, as I know i have to do these long runs, I dragged myself out of bed at 6am, got my ever growing running kit together (it includes a kind of utility belt full of water and energy gels these days) and set of looking like some kind pink podgy superhero!  7 miles is the longest i've ever run in my life so it was a little bit daunting but I told myself to take it easy, just get out and run till it's done.  So, that's just what I did!  Had a couple of very short stops for stretching and sucking an energy gel but other than that, managed to knock a couple of minutes off my 10k time from last week and even managed a little sprint at the end after the hill to take me up to 7 miles.  

This week, I have been cross training again with a spin class replacing a tempo run and an hour of swimming on my day off, plus the usual recovery and easy runs.  I can really feel the difference that spin is making now as I know that a couple of weeks ago I know that I would never have managed a sprint at the end of a long run, but the training I do in spin is helping me to get that extra burst of power when I need it!

All in all, I really enjoyed that long run and also loving that camaraderie from other runners/cyclists/walkers that I go past with a breezy 'morning' or a nod from a cyclist!  Nothing beats the feeling of running while the rest of the world is in bed with a hangover :)





Sunday, 4 August 2013

Nearly half way there!




Hello, it's Sunday again, the sun is shining and it's cooled down a little!


This morning was long run day after a slightly different training week, but more about that later.  As you know, i've had a bit of trouble with my left hip/groin so this week has all been about cross training.  I began with a gym session to replace a 30 minute run then a spin class on Wednesday.  I haven't been to spin for a very long time and thinking how much fitter I am now I stupidly thought that it would be easier.  It wasn't.  After a couple of hills my legs turned to jelly and I was sitting down doing the sprinting as any kind of hovering would surely result in an ungraceful fall to the floor!! Despite this, I am booked in again for next Tuesday as I reckon that I need that variety in my workouts and only by doing something more will I ever get good at it :) 

Had a day off on Thursday and Friday morning saw the return of what was meant to be interval training but due to my dodgy hip area I stuck to a 30 min easy run as that is better than nothing. 

Saturday I came to realise that i'm really getting behind in maintaining hydration and that was never going to help my body repair itself! So I filled some big bottles with water and a green tea bag to cold brew 3 litres of the stuff and made sure I drank regularly throughout the day - I think it may have worked!

This morning, I was supposed to do another 5 miler according to my messed up training schedule but as it jumps to 7 miles next week, I though it best to do at least 6 this week. I also had a new running belt to contend with and started using energy gels as the distance is increasing.  I began my warm up and the belt was annoying me already and when I began to run, the bloody thing just kept moving around my lardy belly, getting in the way and making me growl.  I ran past a bin and toyed with the idea of chucking it straight in there but I thought it best to keep it as I would most likely need my drink and gel later on at the passing out stage of the run!  I'm glad I stuck with it though because after tightening it up a bit I almost forgot I was wearing it and boy did I need the drink and gel later on!  Having never tried energy gels before I had it just over half way through my run at just over the 5k mark as I though it better to have it before my energy levels dropped too much. It tasted ok but the consistency was erm...strange to say the least but it's just fuel so best to get it down and carry on.  

I got to 6 miles and was tempted to stop but still had a little way to go home so I added another 0.2 miles to take it up to the 10k mark.  That took me 1 hr 15 min and 17 seconds. Hip wasn't too sore at the end but i'm sure it will be a bit stiff later so more foam rolling and cold showers for me - joy!  Not broken any world records but i have proved to myself that I can survive nearly a quarter of a marathon.  Just got to do it another 3 times in the same day and i'll be laughing!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Off road.


As you all know, i've been suffering a bit with general aches and pains especially my niggling left groin which has been steadily getting worse and started to affect my hip. Started getting nasty headaches again over the past few days so last night I decided to do something about it and reassess my training and find a new strategy for dealing with injuries.  I know I should probably see a specialist sports therapist but (probably foolishly) i'm very independent (as well as tight when it comes to shelling out things like that!) so I want to know i've tried everything I possibly can on my own before I go down that route.



  




I started by having a warm bath to completely relax and try to clear my mind of any rubbish that has been going around it recently, then the last 10 minutes I topped it up with freezing cold water!  It took my breath away, but when i got out I found that the pain in my hip had eased a bit
This morning on my training plan was supposed to be a 30 minute easy run but I thought i'd give the running a miss and head off to the gym to give my body a rest from the same old movement.  I began with a 5 minute slow warm up on the cross trainer before upping it for 10 minutes before a 20 minute session of hills on the bike.  My hip was still a bit sore after this so I headed to the pool next for a gentle swim and some underwater hip stretches.  This did help a bit so I went for the foam roller when I got home - now, that really hurt! Concentrated all around the painful hip and a long session on both quads and hamstrings then jumped in the shower for some more freezing cold therapy.  But at the end of all that hell my hip felt a hundred times better so it seems that self torture is the way to go!

Tomorrow, I'm due for a 50 minute tempo run session but i'm going to do a spin class instead so that way i'll get the same cardio workout but without aggravating my hip too much! 


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Happy Hour.

Good morning! 

Last night, I realised that I've managed to totally balls up my training schedule so I'm actually a week ahead of where I should be - doh! So, to correct this I will have to re-do this week to bring me back to where I should be otherwise I'll be ready for the half marathon a week early.

This week has been pretty tough training wise.  The run times have increased a bit and I'm back to work full time now, so staying hydrated is a bit difficult as I can't just have a drink whenever I want to in my line of work so feeling knackered at the end of every day.  Starting to fully realise the extent of what I'm asking my body to go through after 10 years of inactivity, it is coping way better than I would have expected but I do have a new found respect for the kind of distances I'm planing to run!

The week started with a 40 minute easy run on Tuesday which all went nicely to plan - good start to the week.  Then came the dreaded 50 minute tempo run on Wednesday but only managed just over 20 minutes out of 50, which was disappointing.  Unfortunately, I had to succumb to the fact that at this stage of training, rest was probably the better option as I still had that niggling groin strain on the left.  I rested Thursday and did a 30 minute easy run on Friday and it is getting better slowly and seems to go whilst running, especially after 20 minutes or so. 

Sunday morning came around fast again and with it came another long run, this time it was 60 minutes. Surprisingly, it was a success with minimal groin pain and actually kept going for just over 60 minutes with no stopping!  It was a bit of a milestone too because for the first time I actually felt that I could carry on and happily do another mile at the end, which is good progress. 

Here's a bit of motivation for next week...
    


Monday, 22 July 2013

Running out of bloggy time!

It's Monday again and my training schedule is stepping up a bit from this week so that means my morning runs will all be a minimum of 40 minutes and that will take up the extra 10 minutes in the mornings that I normally use to write this blog.  From now on, I will only be blogging once or twice a week*, probably after my long run on a Sunday and on Monday rest day for a bit of Monday motivation! 

*Don't worry Mum, i'm still running, and if i'm not for any reason you'll be the first to know ;)

Talking of Monday Motivation....




Two things today.  I like the message in this one, but I must stress that my legs aren't quite as hairy as the ones pictured - i'm slow enough already, without all that extra drag!










One of the many reasons I run so early in the day...because I love this -


Sunday, 21 July 2013

In the Long Run....




It's long run day today, 3 weeks into the training and i'm up to 5 miles now for the weekend run.  I've "run" 5 miles a couple of times before but to be completely honest both times it involved a lot more walking. 

Today was the day I refused to walk. So, that meant running all the way, with the exception of two 20 second stops to correct a 'wardrobe malfunction'! I kept a nice average pace of 11:50 min/mile which is a bit faster than I should be going for that sort of distance at the moment but it felt the right pace for me - plus if I went any slower and I might as well just walk!! 

Saying that, the run was tough this morning and I really had to fight with the lazy girl in my head to keep going, especially up the hill on the last mile. Before, I have always walked that hill but I just kept using lamp posts, bus stops etc. as landmarks to run to then tell myself that i'll run to the next one and I made it, not only to the top but all the way to the finish and it wasn't half as bad as it seemed.  I'm glad to say the lazy girl lost that battle :)

Friday, 19 July 2013

Easy easy run.



Following Wednesday's tempo run debacle this morning was a breeze, a lovely little 30 minute run in the sunshine. 

The good thing about today is that I really, really enjoyed it. I didn't want to stop after 30 minutes but had to save myself for the 5 miler on Sunday.

I think the reason I enjoyed it so much is that i've finally come to terms with the fact that i'm not in competition with anyone but myself and I don't *have* to win any races. Anyway, it's important to go at my own pace to avoid injury - going out for a run beats hanging around indoors nursing sore limbs with packs of frozen peas any day! So it is OK to be 'slow' just need to keep plodding on and as long as I keep pushing every so often with hills/tempo runs/interval training etc. I will get better with time. 

Just the fact that i'm out there instead of lazing in bed is good enough for me! 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Allegretto Staccatissimo



Good morning! Tempo run time is upon me again and I have decided to describe my tempo runs in Italian musical terms. This is what happens when I don't zone out listening to music while i'm running...my mind tends to wander.

So, I should be going along at a nice lively allegro, I am mostly achieving a very detached (staccatissimo) allegretto, which I suppose is a great improvement from my usual largo!

As usual with tempo runs, I managed a barely respectable mile and a half before I knackered myself out and ended up having a little walk, problem was that I had 40 minutes worth of running to be done and I had managed a little over 16! I managed a few more trots to take me up to 25 minutes then I found myself wandering home.  

I suddenly thought to myself (and most probably muttered out loud)  "NO! YOU ARE NOT GIVING UP YOU LAZY COW! YOU WILL DO THE 40 MINUTES IF IT TAKES ALL MORNING!!"  So I did.  In the end, I got 40 minutes worth of running done at a pace of 10:44 which is only a couple seconds shy of what I should be running at.  

Just got to make the intervals shorter and be a bit more 'vivace' on these runs!



Monday, 15 July 2013

Back on it!

I'm not gonna lie, this weekend was a write off.  Those nasty, unwelcome visitors (hormones) came to wreak havoc in my life and those around me.  While everyone one else was out enjoying the sunshine, I was indoors, either in bed, eating, crying, moaning and sulking whilst every part of my body ached!  What joy.

Normally, I would rise above this, but it had me in it's grip this weekend and would not let go.  Yesterday morning I was supposed to do a 40 minute long run but when the alarm went off and I found I could barely move thanks to the colossal amount of pain killers/antihistamines (thanks hay-fever) I had consumed during the very restless, hot sticky night! 

Anyhoo, this morning marks the start of my third week of half marathon training.  I'm very glad to say I finally got my shizzle together and got out there.  It was hot, It was sticky, my joints still hurt like hell but I was going running if it killed me!  Not only did I complete my 40 min run, it was the longest I have actually run continuously without stopping for a little walk AND I conquered a long hill that has been bugging me since the days of school cross country (22 yrs!) so I am looking at this morning as a success. Oh and I did it without feeling the need to block the world out with headphones :)

Monday motivation (could have done with this yesterday!):

Friday, 12 July 2013

Rolling, rolling, rolling!

Today was another easy run session.  30 minutes at a pace of around 12:30 so of course I averaged 11:39.  The route I took today was all up hill  for the first half and I even managed to go as slow as 12:15 at one point, but that felt like walking so I had to speed up again!

Yesterday I invested in a foam roller.  I have been reading up about these as a way to maintain flexibility  provide deep tissue massage (self myofascial release) and help prevent injury.  Did a quick 20 minute session and it surprised me all the strange positions I found myself in and it was uncomfortable at times, particularly the IT band roll but felt better afterwards and i'm suffering no ill effects today!  

Here's a little guide I found to using it:

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Best laid plans....

This morning was a tempo run, a not very successful tempo run.  When I looked out the window, it looked very overcast and a little breezy, so, in my wisdom I decided that i'd wear a small-ish vest top under my running jacket today. Bad move number one.  

I started with a slightly longer warm up than usual then by the time I was ready to run, the Garmin had lost contact with the satellite so that put me off a bit. Bad move number two. 

Next, in my infinite wisdom, thought that was the time to do a mile speed test (seeing as I was a already sweating like a pig at the butchers (as it wasn't that overcast or breezy, just muggy) and I haven't done any speed work for a few weeks, it was a spark of genius!).  I set off on my mile with gusto and did manage a respectable (for me) 09:35 so this proves I haven't got much slower, but perhaps in better conditions I could manage a 09:25.  When I finished the mile though, 'bad move number one' came back to haunt me.  I was completely boiling but couldn't take the jacket off because I do not believe the good people of The 'Bourne are ready to see my pasty bingo wings flapping around at half six in the morning, so I remained in sweating pig mode for the remainder of my slow trot/fast walk back home to my sty!

So what was meant to be a half hour continuous run at a faster, but manageable pace of around 10:30 turned into a 20 minute disjointed mad run/walk affair.  The important thing is that I have learned two things today: take a bit more care when deciding what to wear; and stick to the schedule!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Easy does it!

Second week of half marathon training and I seem to be getting the hang of the easy run at last!  Managed to slow down a little more today to an average pace of 11:46 so I can tell the difference between easy and tempo runs now.  Still need to re-check my fast mile pace, but i'll do that tomorrow on my tempo run, just to liven things up a bit!

It was a little bit fresh this morning so I decided to try out my new bargain running jacket and it's great! Kept the wind out but I didn't feel like I was going to die from heat exhaustion at any point on my run and there was a fair amount of up hill running!

It's the start of another week so it's time for the Tuesday Tip:

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Hot, Hot, Hot!



There's a weird orange ball in the sky in the UK at the moment and i'm really not used to it!  As today is Sunday it is long run day and today it was only 3 miles so it wasn't too challenging but the heat was another thing entirely.   I went out at half six this morning, it was only 13 degrees C but I do tend to get a bit hot when i'm running so it felt to me like running through a jungle with the good old British humidity - and parts of the A2 are a lot like a jungle at the moment where the hedgerows have grown out of control!

Still having trouble with my pace. My long run pace is supposed to be a snail like pace of 12:30 but i'm having trouble going slower than 11:00 my average pace for today was 11:15 in the end.  I might pop out tomorrow and do a quick mile test to see if my target paces have changed in the last few weeks.

So that's the first week of half marathon training done and I've got to say, so far, i'm enjoying it.  Feeling so much fitter and stronger and it really hasn't had any impact on my day to day life either.  Other than getting up a stupid o'clock, but that's not too bad!  


Friday, 5 July 2013

Not so easy easy run!

Today was another half hour easy run and although the running itself was not hard, controlling my pace was.  I should be trundling along at between 11:30 and 12:30 for my easy runs but this morning my average pace was only 8 seconds slower than my supposed tempo run on wednesday.  Either I need to work a bit harder on my tempo runs or take it easier on my easy runs!  

Maybe I'm just getting naturally faster so will have to do another fast mile test to see if my guideline pace levels have changed. Who'd have thought running would be this complicated eh??

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Down Tempo

Today was supposed to be a tempo run which should ideally be at a harder pace for the duration (30 Mins this week).  It didn't go too well, I did go a bit faster than normal but boy was it hard going, about 20 mins in I felt like I wanted to stop, but just slowed the pace down for the last 10 mins and went at a slightly easier pace. My average pace at the end of the run was only 13 seconds faster than Monday's easy run.  I also had about 2 hours sleep in total last night and was wearing my stupid pink mac which is probably like running whilst wearing a bin bag which didn't help things much!

I do tend to have moments when i'm feeling bad for not being fast enough then I just tell myself that i'm still really new to all this and my body still needs to adjust to this ridiculous exercise regime i'm putting it through.  I know that with practice and experience i will get better and after all, no matter how fast or slow I go, i'm still enjoying the benefits of running and that is the best feeling ever :) 

Monday, 1 July 2013

Half-Marathon Trainee

I've had a little break from running lately but it's good to be back!  Just returned from a week away in Cornwall where I indulged in a spot of pasty eating and cream tea consuming but did a hell of a lot of brisk walking over beaches, up hills and over rocks as well as a 17 mile bike ride so I've actually come back fitter and stronger from holiday for the first time ever!

This morning is the start of a new era for me.  Today, I began a half-marathon training programme as it is 12 weeks today until I challenge myself to a 13.1 mile run!  

The basis of the programme I'm following is 3 days of running up to 40 minutes in the week then a long run at the weekend, which starts at 3 miles then progressing up to 12 miles two weeks before the big day.  It looks like it will be hard work but I managed the first 30 min easy run this morning so as long as I take it one day at a time and put the miles in then I can only get stronger.

Monday Motivation.....



Friday, 21 June 2013

Groin strain




This morning was an interval training day and all was going well, had a good warm up walk everything feeling pretty good after yesterdays run despite the tiniest of niggles in my left calf and right groin.  As I launched myself into my first sprint, the tiny niggle in my right groin seemed to turn in to pain as it went in to spasm and I had to immediately slow down for a walk.  This did not please me and I probably should have gone home but I insisted on a slow run for a mile but that did seem to ease it.  

I may have to give the interval training a rest for the time being and find something else to do in the gym maybe to replace that session as my body does not like fast running for some reason.  I can happily do an easy run for a while which I suppose is a good thing as my goal is to run a marathon!  Running fast is not very important to me, it's completing the course that means the most, so as long as I concentrate on building stamina in my legs rather than speed then I should be ok! 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Learning

This week is all about learning how I cope with a full on training schedule and so far I have learned some important lessons about overdoing it.  Tuesday morning was  supposed to be an easy run, following my 5 mile extravaganza on Sunday but oh no I couldn't let myself run slow enough and ended up with hamstring pain on the right and a pulled calf on the left!  I also had a late night on Tuesday catching up with friends and although not a sniff of alcohol was involved I still awoke yesterday feeling wrong.  

So, part of the running learning curve is knowing when to give it a rest so I did and started again today with an attempt to crack this easy run lark. Started with a nice little warm up walk then fell quickly in to an easy, slow pace running along at just over 11:30 minutes per mile, which is exactly what I wanted and I happily kept that up for 30 minutes without having to walk and felt like I could have easily kept that up for an hour or so! Covered 2.6 miles running and took it up to a little under 3 miles with the cool down walk, followed by a good stretching session when I got home. Feel a lot more ready for my interval session tomorrow now.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Pre-training for training.

Although I don't officially start half marathon training for another two weeks I thought I might base my training this week on the first week of the plan. So today I went out for an 'easy' run for 30 minutes.  I purposefully took my pace down a notch and trundled along nicely at 11 miles per minute but apparently I should be going around 12.5 mpm according to the training pace calculator on RW website. 

http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/general/rws-training-pace-calculator/1676.html

Tomorrow is a tempo run so I will be back to my usual pace for 30 minutes with any luck, might even manage a sneaky 5k in that time if I step it up slightly :)

Monday, 17 June 2013

Week Nine!

The start of week nine and I can safely say I am now officially a running obsessed mad woman! 

Yesterday I ran 5 miles and loved it! What I love even more is that today i'm not half as sore as I expected.  Today is a rest day though but it's giving me time to sort out the training plan for my latest challenge - a half marathon!  

I have been doing a lot of reading lately and it seems to me that it would be downright foolish to train for a full marathon without having attempted a half marathon.  So from the 1st of July I will begin 12 weeks of training for the 13.1 mile race.  It's also a good opportunity to train for, and participate in, a serious race which will be great experience to prepare me for the full marathon next year. 

I will be running it for Kent Association for the Blind and have set up a fundraising page, which I will no doubt be shamelessly promoting nearer to the time, here:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CarolineGower1


I have lots to do so i'd better go and it's Monday, so you know what time it is......

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Just popping out to the shop.

It's Sunday, the day of rest and recovering from Saturday night!  Not for me any more, at half past six this morning I was starting what was to become my longest run ever.  I was only aiming to do just over 4 miles but when I got to two miles away from home, to the next town along the A2, I kept going for another half mile so I would have more time for walking at the end of the run. Before I knew it I was halfway through Teynham outside costcutters, which is exactly 2.5 miles away from home! Instead of making the most of the extra half mile walk at the end of my run I couldn't help but carry on running, the desire to push myself seems to get stronger every time I go on a long run.

As hard going as it was though, I did it and in just over 58 minutes so that puts me on course for just over 5 hours to complete the marathon, which is exactly what I'm aiming for.  Most definitely a rest day tomorrow!