Week 12

Ups and downs, physically & mentally, but this week has seen a mileage peak and some good speedy runs as part of that. Didn’t quite split the mileage as the plan specified, but it all evened out by the end of the week.

 

Monday: Cyclebox for the cross-training day. Legs felt strong & weren’t burning during the cycling, which was good as I was hitting the levels each track. Left shoulder is still a little sore when boxing, which has also happened when shoulder pressing/push pressing/anything involving arms over the head. This niggle moved down my back over the next couple of days & was mostly fine when easy running, but I could feel it a bit when going faster. It seems to have resolved itself but back injuries scare me so I am keeping a close eye on it and stretching a lot.

Tuesday: 10x400m sprints with 2ish minutes recovery in between and a 1 mile warm up and cool down. Did this on the skillmill as my recovery time can be really variable and I don’t always want to faff around with the treadmill settings. Skillmill solved that, but 45 minutes of me being VERY LOUD in the middle of the gym was probably not ideal for the morning crowd. Worked for me, though, and the sprints were at a good pace.

Wednesday: Working in London, & the intention had been to hit up London Frontrunners for their Regent’s Park loop, as it’s my favourite run of theirs & my favourite social afterwards. The last few times I’ve been it has been too dark to take in the Primrose Hill views, so I wanted that. But circumstances happened & work was very busy & I would have struggled to fit everything in, so I moved rest day & went for dinner with my dad instead.

Pumpkin & sage gnocchi: nice work

I did get stressed again about changing the plan at last minute, but managed my expectations/got over myself quite quickly. Also made sure to turbo-charge rest day by having a very early night. Spending time with my loved ones was awesome too.

Thursday: 6 miles steady, & the impromptu rest gave me the energy for a bit of fartlek to keep it interesting. Needed the company & good chat of GFR to keep a decent steady pace, & it worked.

Friday: lovely rest Not a proper rest day, but kept the should-have-been-Wednesday’s 8 miles very easy. Ran home from work, with daylight & podcasts all the way, and I made it home before the rain started AND dinner was ready when I got home.

enjoying the lighter evenings too

Saturday: 7 miles, split into 4 miles easy & 3 miles of parkrun at race pace. Pleased with the parkrun time of 25:49 – it felt nicely challenging but not flat out, which bodes well for a sub-25 soon when I am less tired.

Sunday: The second of three 20 milers in this plan. Last time I did this it was livened up with a race as well as a hailstorm, but I was happy for this effort to be a steady plod and not feel too exhausted by it. Time on the feet is more important.

Apprehension for this distance sets in quick but the run turned out excellent, mostly because of the company and a good route through the Southside. I’ve not been very adventurous with running routes for various reasons so exploring some different bits of the city is always nice.

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team thumbs up

Kept a pretty good pace, slightly slower than what I wanted but there was a lot of rain & headwind so I’m knocking off a few minutes for that. Cake at the end, obviously:

Total miles: 45.6. I definitely have the energy for a 400 yard jog…

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On Sundays we run far

Nutrition: very good, even when travelling. Made aneffort this week to stay off the trash snacks, & it’s been good – lots of pasta and lots of protein. As always, prep is key.

I had no resolve when invited to Stack & Still, though I did choose the protein pancakes.

Exceptional pancakes

Feeling: good enough. Achy calf, shoulder & back at various stages of pretty much every run, but I stretched lots, slept well (although not always enough hours) & work was so busy that getting out & running was always a relief. Rooted to the sofa binge-watching Fleabag for a couple of evenings was good for resting too.

I got really down for a while on Wednesday when I wasn’t able to go for my planned run because of travelling for work, but was able to get through it OK. Being away from routine and home in a high mileage week isn’t good, but things improved. Mood swings are a bit too frequent at the moment, & tiredness is probably compounding it.

With 5 weeks to go, I also got new trainers. A few easy treadmill runs will be necessary to settle these in, but I am fairly brand-loyal & have never had any problems with Brooks.

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These are the updated version of my current shoes which have done nearly 500 miles. I like the colour the way these feel so I’m sticking with them. Great service at Run4it, as usual.

Next week is more speedwork and less mileage again, and fitting in more strength sessions will be good too. Meticulous planning is required.

Running is a cheap form of exercise

Unless you have no self control when it comes to buying gym gear, and a huge IKEA wardrobe.

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(this is as bad as it gets – I  refold everything about once a week…)

Honestly, I have ridiculous amounts of gym kit. It mostly mixes and matches, but I do have preferences for different kit for different types of training – when I started getting into serious lifting, I wore sleeveless tops and leggings more often so I could see the muscle tone & movement in my back and shoulders, as well as to minimise deadlift shin (long socks also work for this). Also I am too lazy to get changed after evening workouts, so clothing that keeps me warm enough on the walk home is better when it’s cold. For outdoor running in the winter I don’t like having both my arms & legs covered, unless it’s really chilly, so I have a pretty big collection of exercise clothing.

Trainers: these days it has to be Brooks. My current pair are Ravenna 9, but I’ve worn Vapor 2 and Vapor 3 in the past and also Saucony Omni, when I first started running & got shin splints. I also have a cheap pair of Karrimor Caracals for trail running or very wet weather. I’ll run shorter distances on treadmills in more basic trainers but for anything over four miles or so, I need my proper runners. I am lucky enough to rarely get blisters, but I am down to nine toenails.

I get my gait analysed in run4it’s RunLab every couple of years, they’ve always been incredibly helpful and do not do the hard sell on expensive gear.

I do not have a lot of time for ‘women’s trainers’ (& women’s kit in general) because they’re mostly pink/purple and have flowers on. I wear a size 7/8 shoe so I can quite often get mens’ trainers, which is good.

Bra: I do not compromise on sports bras. Like a lot of women, my running improved a huge amount when I found a sports bra that fitted well and was right for me. I like the Shock Absorber Run, but the way the back straps work mean that once it’s stretched a bit the support isn’t as good. Current favourite is the Brooks Juno, despite the expense – fits well, feels nice, looks good. I haven’t run long distances in this bra though so things may change as training progresses – I still have scars on my back from a 3 hour training run in 2017 where it rained heavily and the back clasp chafed me really badly. Never had that with a Shock Absorber so we’ll see how this winter’s training goes.

Tops: meh. A lot of my workout tops are race finisher shirts, most of which I can’t bring myself to get rid of even though I only wear about half of them on a regular basis. I like the idea of having them made into a blanket/throw type of thing, but I’d probably just keep that in a cupboard too. I guess it would save space. I will mostly train in whatever’s there; races are invariably in GFR club kit. I prefer a t-shirt to a vest.

Leggings/shorts/etc – one day I’ll find ones that fit nicely and perfectly and I will buy six pairs and that will be the end of it. Current favourites are some Ronhill long reflective leggings I picked up in the run4it sale, some 3/4 length mesh Nike tights that were also in the run4it sale, and some adidas supernova half-length leggings with reflective strips at the knee which are my fave for night-time running. I almost always race in the same pair of Nike shorts I’ve had for several years.

Jackets: I used to wear running jackets a lot more often, because I wanted to cover my body as much as I could. Nowadays I usually cba unless I need the pockets. Jackets don’t keep the rain off, and if you’re going out for a run in the rain you might as well wear short sleeves and get wet. I have a nice Ronhill jacket which is very reflective, has a decent pocket, and has a LED in the back, which comes in handy jog leading. This year’s London Marathon rejection jacket is also nice, although mine is a bit tight at the moment. Hopefully it will fit better soon.

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Rejection jacket 2019 & the Nike shorts

Socks: Cheap 3-packs from the Nike outlet store most of the time. I have a couple of pairs of Hilly twinskins & I also like Feetures. I find compression socks or sleeves are really nice for longer distances – I have a pair of bright pink 2xu compression socks which are good for getting noticed but the foot of the sock is less comfortable and bunches up sometimes. I also have a pair of less ostentatiously bright Hilly calf sleeves and a cheap pair of red compression socks that I bought to match the GFR club vest. After a 3-4 hour training run, compression socks do really make a difference to calf ache or discomfort, so I’ll be wearing these a lot in training.

Accessories: I have a flipbelt and a Nike waistpack with a bottle carrier, as well as a soft armband to carry my phone if I’m not using a waistpack. The door key and £5 can fit in the tiny stupid zipper pockets in shorts/leggings. My watch is a Garmin 235 and I’ll probably do a specific post about that and the statistics it tells me at some other point. For music, I have Urbanista Boston wireless earpieces and Skullcandy running earbuds, mixing & matching depending on length of run. I don’t always listen to music or podcasts when running, though

So, quite a lot of exercise gear. Too much. Another 2019 commitment will be to not buy any more new gym clothing. I will need a fresh pair of trainers between now and April, but nothing else. Let’s hope I stick to that…