Berlin Marathon Training Week 6

Well this post is a total contrast to my last marathon training update. I have done zero running this week, apart from two runs abandoned at 0.9 and 0.4 miles. My calf/knee injury has flared up yet again, and I am slowly reaching the end of my patience with it.

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Berlin training has been very stop/start, I feel like I’ve missed more weeks of training that I’ve run so far. This is the 2nd week out of the last three that I’ve done absolutely no running, and it’s super frustrating. I’m not so much worried about the distance, as I know I have that in my legs, it’s just that this problem keeps flaring up and I wonder how I’ll get through the rest of training if it continues.

 

I’m having to reassess my goals, as I really wanted a solid training period and focus on this marathon so I could go for a massive PB, unfortunately I’m missing so much training, that I think I’m going to have to settle for just getting round the course, and I’ve kind of accepted that. What difference does it make if it’s slower than I want to be, I’m going to be running a marathon in one of my favourite cities! I missed several weeks of training in the run up to Manchester, and it was painful, but I still got round!DSCF3982

I was hoping this week the injury would gradually improve like it did the week before last, but actually it doesn’t seem to be. I’ve been doing a lot of walking and stretching, but haven’t tried to run again since mid week. I know earlier in the year I would have probably run through the pain and carried on instead of taking a week off, but I’m just not in a place mentally where I can push through it any more, especially as I know I’m just going to make it worse, and risk being out longer. What is most frustrating is that I’ve been running for 5 years and I’ve barely had an injury problem before this year! It’s like everything has come one after the other, and I’ve never been fully right since the injury in Feb/March.

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Today was my first ever DNS for a race, I was supposed to do the National Lottery Anniversary run having won a place on Twitter, but I had my sensible cap on and decided against it due to the knee pain. I was annoyed not to run the race, but I would have been more annoyed if I had paid for it- and may even have dragged myself round which would have been incredibly stupid.

I’ve taken a week off TFBR this week also, I did one workout earlier in the week, but I didn’t want any jumping/leg weights to aggravate the problem, so I thought I would take a week off exercise completely. I usually get burned out around week 8 or so of a weights program anyway, so I thought taking a week off at the half way point (week 6) might see me finishing the program stronger as well.

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I think what’s most annoying about this injury is that I’m not even running that much or particularly big mileage compared to earlier in the year. If I hadn’t already paid for Berlin (race, flights, hotel) I would most definitely pull out as I need some time away from running, to let my body rest and repair whatever is going on. Hopefully I can get to the bottom of this soon, and it starts to improve, or this could be a pretty grim training period in the run up to Berlin.

Healthy Vegan Snacking

I’m a major snacker, whether I’m out and about, studying, or just at home I love snacking in between meals. I tend to have smaller meals, and I do get hungry in between, so like to have a snack to keep my energy up through the day. I sometimes snack in the morning and I almost always snack in the afternoon, and if I’m marathon training then I’m snacking all day!

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Some of my favourite snacks are pieces of fruit/dried fruit with a handful of nuts, veggie dippers/oatcakes with hummus, avocado with hemp seeds, home-made energy bars/balls, chia pudding and smoothies.

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I like to make home-made snacks, but sometimes that’s not always possible, or they are difficult to transport, or I forget to pack one, in that case I know there are great brands like Nakd that I can rely upon when I am out and about and need to grab something quickly. I love food with simple ingredients, and these really hit the spot. They are super easy to transport, and don’t get all mushed or squished when they are in your bag for weeks on end either. I usually have one hiding in a bag somewhere just in case! They have a great website which usually has some good offers and also has a great little guide on Veganism for beginners. When I first discovered them, Cashew Cookie was my favourite, then I went onto a Berry Delight phase, then Rhubarb and Custard and now Cocoa Mint is my new fave! Do you have a favourite?

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I recently won a whole box of these Cocofina bars on Claire’s blog, and they are so delicious, again super simple ingredients: oats, dates, raisins and coconut and they are easy to transport. Win!

chia podsOther favourite snacks to grab when I am out and about are chia pods, kale chips, coyo and of course what could be simpler than fruit! There are plenty of healthy options to grab on the go, and that means if you haven’t already packed a healthy snack you should easily be able to find one!

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Being in the middle of a house move I am going to be relying on more shop bought snacks for a while, and it’s safe to say I have enough bars to get me through it! I think I could open a shop ha!

What are your favourite snack foods?

 

Disclaimer: I was sent the Nakd bars in exchange for a review, all opinions are my own.

Loxley Sports Kinesiology Tape

I got quite a bad injury in Feb/March time and I couldn’t walk without severe pain for about 6 weeks or so. I finally paid a trip to an awesome sports physio, who immediately told me I had damaged the muscle which was putting pressure on the sciatic nerve thus causing the unbearable pain. During our first session he taped up my calf with kinesiology tape, and in the space of the hour consultation I was able to walk pain free, it was like night and day compared to how I had limped in.

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Since then I’ve been absolutely sold on kinesiology tape and I use it whenever I feel a niggle. I’ve been taping my calf/knee lately following instructional videos online and it’s definitely made a big difference. It helps to ease the pressure/swelling on any injury and helps with circulation to the area as well. Loxley Sports kindly sent me some pink and black tape which I’ve been racing through, with my current rate of injury problems!

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For those of you not familiar, kinesiology tape is an elastic tape used for muscle, ligament and tendon support and pain relief. It can be used in varying applications all over the body to help with pain. It’s like an external support, and it helps me to continue on with activity without being bulky or restrictive like other tapes/braces.

It’s not irritating or itchy, in fact it’s like a second skin, I never really notice it’s on my leg at all. The Loxley kinesiology tape isn’t precut so you can cut strips to the length you need. It’s sweat and waterproof and I get about 4-5 days out of it before it starts to peel away.

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There’s not a massive amount of evidence behind kinesiology tape, but I’ve experienced the benefits first hand so I know it works. Whether it works on a physical level or has a placebo effect I’m not sure, but I’m not going to argue with something that is incredibly effective.

You can get kinesiology tape at Loxley Sports at the reasonable price of just £4.95 a roll, it also comes in four different colours. They also sell strength training equipment including TRX trainers, which look awesome!

 

Disclaimer: I was sent the kinesiology tape for review, all opinions are my own.

OkoBay Coconut Water Ice Review

You may have noticed that I am a huge coconut water fan, I usually use it after really tough sessions and during/after long runs. I’m a big fan of it’s excellent mineral profile which makes it perfect for rehydrating after exercise.

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Coconut water is awesome, but coconut water ice pops are even better!  These OkoBay ice lollies are a new discovery for me and they are delicious. They are full of natural ingredients, and use baby coconuts to give you a hydration hit. They are dairy free, gluten free, soy free and Vegan. They are also free from artificial colours, preservatives and sweeteners.

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During this pretty hot summer we are having, they are totally hitting the spot. I love having one after a long run to cool down. They have quite a strong coconut flavour, and they are quite thick in texture rather than very icy, almost like sorbet. I tried the plain flavour which was lovely and hydrating, and I bet the pineapple flavour is delicious too.

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You can find them in Tesco’s and health stores, where you can get them individually or in multi-packs of 3 in plain, or pineapple flavour.  Keep an eye out for their coconut milk ice cream which should also be coming soon!

Surrey Badger Trail Half Marathon 2014

I made a pretty last minute decision to enter this event, having never even heard of it until reading about it on Jen’s blog. I immediately set to googling it, and finding as much about it as possible before deciding I was going to run it.

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It was a pretty early start for me at 5.30am, taking around 2 hours to get to the Denbie’s Wine Estate in Surrey and register on the day, which was fuss free and for £25 seemed like a bit of a steal too!

The first mile or so took us around the estate, on the grass, this was relatively flat other than one short sharp incline. We then headed out of the estate and onto the main road for a relatively flat section, with a downpour of rain thrown in too!

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After a short while we were heading off road, and what I had really come for- some serious trails! From 4 miles on the serious hills began and there was a really long climb from miles 4-6, I had a little walk for 3o secs or so somewhere around the 5 mile point, when my legs could no longer run up the hills. If this was a longer race I would have walked the hills, but as it was a half I gave it a shot to run as much of them as I could, which given that I hadn’t run up anything resembling an incline for the previous 2 months was a bit mental!

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Mile 7 was downhill- thank god, the legs and lungs were seriously burning. I had a Nakd bar at this point, and it was the only fuel I had during the race as it was so hot/humid/muggy and I felt a bit sick and I was either gasping for air going up, or gasping for air coming down when trying to speed up! It took me a while actually to get into a rhythm with my breathing, as I couldn’t quite catch it on the flat after the huge effort on the hills.

The next section was undulating along a really nice wooded trail before it wound up to a savage hill around mile 9-10 point, I had another little walk towards the end of this one. My tactic on the hills was just to run as much as I could, until I couldn’t any longer- simple really!

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Mile 11 was largely downhill and my knees really started to niggle here- I always find running downhill so much worse on the legs. Around this point, we came out into an open area, the views were amazing, and I just looked around me and started smiling- this is why I run, and this is why I love trail running.

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The final hill was leading up to mile 12, and then there was a downhill/flat stretch back into the estate for the finish. I had absolutely nothing left to push hard on this final section, and thankfully it was one of the only sections out in the direct sunshine as it was very hot- the humidity was enough to deal with on it’s own! I finished in 2.17.55, which I was quite pleased with considering the course/conditions.

Credit to Jen for this

Credit to Jen for this

I absolutely loved the race but I was more than done by the time I reached the finish, I was delighted with the Badger t-shirt, beer, mammoth fruit platter and the handshake at the finish! It was such a friendly event, incredibly well organized, and the marshals were amazing all around the course.

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After reading some hideous recaps of the London 10k which was on the same day, I was happy to have made the decision to make the trip to Surrey for the Badger. Races like this are what running is all about for me, small, friendly, well organized, amazing scenery and course. I will definitely be back in the future, and I’m jealous of everybody doing Bacchus which is also organized by Events to Live.Picture 3