Category Archives: insanity

I Quit…and it’s Ok

I like to pride myself on having a ‘never say die’ attitude, I’m stubborn as hell, and I usually push through things regardless- hence my love of long distance running and journey to my first ultra marathon this year. That’s why this week I have struggled and felt guilty about my decision to quit following Insanity.

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I quit Insanity. 1 week before I finished the program. 1 measly week.

I started following the program late last year as my mileage was pretty low at the time, I was without a gym and wanted an effective at home workout I could do alongside my running. So I stumbled upon Insanity, and I fell in love with it. It’s tough, I think it features some of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done, and they never get easier as you just push yourself harder as you go along. I got on a roll with it, and it just became part of my daily routine. I also noticed a huge difference in the fit test moves and my endurance as I went along.

Month 2 was where the program got really insane, the workouts jumped from 40 minutes to around 60-80 minutes of high intensity cardio, they were draining, and putting a lot more pressure on my body, especially as my mileage was increasing at this point. There is a hell of a lot of jumping throughout the program, and the last week or so I really felt it was causing issues with my knees, which is no bueno for running.

My issues with the program at this point weren’t only physical but mental as well. The problem with Insanity is there are only around 4-5 workouts each month, and you just repeat these, which means it can get very repetitive after a 4 week period. I started to feel mentally drained by the program and stopped enjoying the workouts too.For me workouts are something that really need to be enjoyed and I just lost that with Insanity over the last few weeks.

6 days a week of high intensity workouts (even the recovery workouts aren’t really recovery!) is just far too much to continue alongside heavier mileage (40mpw+). I thought about maybe just dropping down to a couple of sessions a week, but right now I’m not in the right place physically or mentally to do that. I stopped enjoying the workouts, and I feel if I push through them then any potential niggles could turn into full blown injury’s.

Insanity clearly is a program designed to be followed on it’s own, and following alongside a marathon program is stupid as well as almost impossible-well it is possible, but at what cost- burn out, injury etc.

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I would love to look back and say I completed Insanity, but it’s just not viable for me to finish the program. I need to listen to my body, and my mind, be sensible and admit that quitting is actually OK. It’s for the best, running has to come first now. I have a hell of a long training program to get through and a lot of miles to go, and I can’t jeopardize that for the sake of one more week of a workout program. Insanity has been a great program, and I’ve learnt a lot about myself during the time. This is one of the few things that I have quit and come around to the fact that actually, I’m perfectly OK with that.

Ultra Training Week 2

I am writing this post from the comfort of my sofa which I can’t remove myself from because the last week of training has left me sore, achy and drained. It’s been one of my heaviest mileage weeks in a long time, if not ever.

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my routine outside of running and the time has come-or the mileage has been reached-where I can no longer continue doing Insanity alongside, this is a shame as I am only just over a week from completing the program, but the time has come to put running first.

Insanity is too much of a drain on my energy, too hard on my knees and it has begun to affect my running too much. I also have stopped enjoying it, which makes it difficult to push yourself through one hour workouts just for the sake of it. I’m not sure whether I’ll just carry on and do 2-3 of the workouts a week to finish the program, or I’ll just stop here. I miss weights and I really want to get back into doing some lifting around my running program.

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Last Monday started with the penultimate Insanity Fit Test, again my numbers improved in most moves. This was then followed by Max Interval Circuit which when you are knackered after the Fit Test is even tougher. I baked some delicious energy bars to fuel this weeks training, they were kind of a cross between a granola bar and flapjack.

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Tuesday I went for a gentle 4 mile recovery run, I was actually feeling a bit off, and nearly stopped due to nausea, but I carried on to finish. I then did Insanity Max Interval Plyo which is my least favourite workout ever. I cooked a delicious root vegetable curry for dinner.

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Wednesday I combined a tempo run with a hilly route for 8 miles which meant it wasn’t as quick as usual for a tempo run, but it was much harder with running all the hills. I just dropped a few quicker miles in the middle. This was hard and my legs didn’t feel there. I did Insanity Max Cardio Conditioning followed by Insane Abs, I think the back to back of these workouts is insane, and I think that abs workout is the hardest I’ve ever done. I got a massive Sainsbury’s delivery as we were in desperate need of healthy supplies! I could barely get all the fruit/veggies in the fridge!

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Thursday was interval day: 4 miles with 3 miles of intervals, this was slower than last week, again my legs were tired, and I had a slight niggle in my knee which I think is down to all the jumping in Insanity. I was going to do Insanity afterwards, but was struck with my monthly visit of cramps, fever and nausea. No bueno. I’ve started doing a smoothie challenge by making smoothies from Kathy’s book 365 Vegan Smoothies. I felt in a smoothie funk so this has massively helped. You can follow my challenge on Instagram: @LaurenRutter88.

Banana Bread Smoothie

Friday was a rest day and it was well needed. I started my nutritional therapy course, the first year of which is biomedicine. It was a full day of science based lectures so I was feeling pretty tired by the evening. I had a nice long walk home from the course to clear my head though.

On Saturday I headed out for 18 miles and it was one of those where you just aren’t there physically or mentally, it was a struggle from the word go and I never reached a comfortable zone. My knee niggle was bothering me and I felt laboured and slow. I chose the hilliest route I possibly could, running through Highbury, Finsbury Park, Parkland Trail, Highgate, Hampstead Heath, Regents Park and the Canal Towpath. I ran up Parliament Hill and Primrose Hill as well as a massive hill in Highgate which pretty much did for my legs and made the rest of the run a real struggle. The run took me 3 hours 16 minutes which is a bit slower than my normal long run pace, but considering the elevation I suppose it wasn’t too bad. I was glad to get it done, and hopefully that will be the one awful run of the training plan. I think I learned a lot during that run, and I was really proud that I was stubborn as hell and pushed through it despite not really feeling it.

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Sunday I wasn’t too sore so headed out for my longer trail run of 8 miles. I met my brother for two loops of Finsbury Park with me running on the grass to save the knees. Then I headed off to the Parkland Trail for a few miles and finished with another loop of Finsbury park again on the grass. It was muddy as hell but again I loved it.

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We went for a lovely walk to Hampstead Heath in the afternoon, I got Nick this 50 walks to do in London book for Christmas, so this was our first one, probably not ideal after doing 26 miles in 24 hours but alas. It was a beautiful walk, undulating, but so enjoyable. We watched the sun set from Parliament Hill and then headed home for a chilled evening. By which point I could barely move off the sofa as the combination of the weeks training had hit me!

I will be aiming to do some stretching, foam rolling and yoga today and hopefully be ready to spring back into action tomorrow. I have an easier running week this week which I am looking forward to!

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Ultra Training Week 1

The week has arrived: My official ultra training plan is underway! I have been building my base to 30+ miles for the last 6-8 weeks, so I am at a solid starting point to go forward from. I am also still powering through Insanity, I just about made it through the workouts this week but I am wrecked!

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I kicked off the week with an interval run: 4 miles in 37 minutes 0.5 miles to warm up and cool down and 3 miles alternating 1.30 mins fast with 2 mins recovery. It has literally not stopped raining all this week, and on Monday the canal path was actually more puddle than pavement! I did Insanity Max Cardio Conditioning in the afternoon, which I really enjoy- I prefer the ones with no rest and more variation, than the more repetitive ones.

On Tuesday I did Insanity Max Interval Circuit which I am still finding tough, the first circuit is just a killer, but once you get past that the rest isn’t so bad! I started to read the No Meat Athlete book that I got for Christmas, some good recipes so far, and looking forward to the running section.

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Wednesday was tempo run day, I did 6 miles in 57 minutes with 1.5 slow to warm up and cool down and 3 at tempo. The tempo miles were in the 8 min/miles. I’ve no idea where they came from as my legs were pretty heavy and tired from Insanity- I’ll take it though! I followed it up with Insanity Max Plyo, which is still my least favourite workout of the whole program. I also got out for a nice walk in the afternoon, while I ran some errands. We went to see American Hustle in the evening which I thought was brilliant.

Thursday I was struggling a bit as I’d had my third or fourth night in a row of rubbish sleep, I was wide awake from 4.30am and could not get back to sleep, I was feeling less than stellar. Thankfully I’m back to my normal good sleeping routine over the last few days! I did 4 slower recovery miles and threw in a few hill repeats in the middle. I’m trying to run hillier routes, after seeing how hideous hilly the Longman 18.5m trail run is. I did Insanity Max Cardio conditioning again in the afternoon, this time followed by a new video for the first time Insane Abs- which is crazy! I thought I was actually going to be sick at one point and I couldn’t even do some of the moves!

Friday was finally rest day, although I did walk over 5 miles, it was a nice day so it was good to make the most of it. I signed up for a 3 year nutritional therapy course at CNM which I am starting this coming Friday-eek. Need to get my study cap back on! It’s been a while! I met my brother for lunch at Planet Organic, I just went for a simple country vegetable soup and we shared some Inspiral kale chips.

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Yesterday I headed out for my 16 miler which I did in 2.51. It went pretty well, my stomach felt a bit dodgy at the start, but it settled down and I had no trouble at all. I felt strong throughout, the first half was a bit slow as I ran a hillier route than usual, but I picked up the pace in the second half. I listened to Marathon Talk for 1hr 45 mins and then went without anything for the last hour or so as I’m trying to get out of the habit of listening to something all the time.

I took both my Garmin and used Strava on my iPhone and Strava measured 16 miles 0.3 miles before the Garmin, not sure what to read into that?! I worked out this was actually my longest run since the Dublin marathon in 2012!! We went to a local Thai restaurant for lunch as I was famished after the run. We also had a nice walk around Angel and mooch in the shops. I find it’s good to keep active after a long run, rather than lounge on the sofa, I tend to just get really stiff doing that.

I did Insanity Max Recovery in the afternoon, and despite it not really being a recovery workout I didn’t hate it as much as last week. There is just a lot of holding poses/moves for a long time, and a lot of hip work!

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Today I headed out for 6 miles, for my first back to back weekend session, getting used to running on tired legs. They didn’t actually feel too bad, I ran a trail route from Finsbury Park to Highgate and doubled back a few times to make it up to 6 miles. It was super muddy, and my new trail shoes are no longer “new” but I loved it! I loved the shoes too, they are Inov-8 Trailrocs, and I had a great deal on them at Sweaty Betty, they were £110 reduced to £45 in the sale, I got an additional 15% off and I had a £25 gift voucher to use from Christmas, so I ended up paying just over 20 pounds which was a bargain!

I did a new Insanity video this afternoon which was Max Interval Sports Training. I actually really enjoyed it, although it was tough. It was a little different to the others in set up and had a lot of different moves, I thought it was quite fun and a great workout.

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We’ve been enjoying some lovely comforting eats this week, from burgers to curry’s and soups. This evening I made baked apples this evening as a warming treat! They are super easy to make, I’ll probably post the recipe next week..

This has been a tough, but good first week of official training. I’m also 5/5 for Jantastic, so I’m off to a good start. Next week was supposed to be an easier running week, but I’m switching the next 2 weeks around so I can have the easier week the week before the Longman Trail race.

I’ve not really been walking as much as usual mostly due to the inclement conditions, I’ve also done no yoga which is not good! I need to pick both of those back up next week! I’m just not sure where I’ll find the time!

Running “Recovery” Week

During training periods I like to work on a schedule of 3 harder weeks in a row, before a set back week where I drop my mileage significantly to allow the body to recover before getting back into heavier training.

Ideally I would just run during a recovery week, but I am trying to finish Insanity before my training gets even heavier. I have been continuing on with the Insanity schedule, although I will have to see how my body responds once my mileage is upped again next week, and may have to drop a few of the workouts per week if it gets too much. This week was the start of month 2 of Insanity, so the workouts are now almost an hour long, and super intense, it’s going to be a tough few weeks!

Monday started with Insanity month 2. For some insane reason they combined the 30 minute fit test with the max interval circuit. This was an hour and a half total, and pretty much showed me that this month is going to be hardcore! In terms of the fit test I improved in pretty much every category. I was already knackered after the fit test and then had to do the interval circuit which I found tough going!

On Tuesday I did Insanity Max Interval Plyo, which I think has to be one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done. I was pretty much drowning in a pool of sweat. I did a gentle 6 mile run in the afternoon, which was my last of 2013! We had a quiet New Year’s eve going to see Anchorman 2 before coming home to chill and watch movies, it was lovely to wake up in 2014 without a hangover.

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Wednesday I did Insanity Max Cardio conditioning which was a great way to kick off the New Year. We headed back to London in the evening, after a bit of a stressful journey with Megabus. My case was extremely full but I just about got everything in! We booked a Gold coach, which was downgraded to a regular service weeks ago, then when we went to get on the coach the driver told us we were booked onto the Gold, his coach was full and he couldn’t take us- how ridiculous! Eventually we got onto the coach as there were spare seats, but I was so unimpressed with the service, and the driver was so rude and unhelpful, I won’t be travelling with them again!

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I did my longer run for this week on Thursday as I wanted to avoid the stormy weather over the weekend. I did 10 miles. Nick came along for the first 1.5 miles for his first run in a little while, trying out all his new Christmas gear! It was an absolutely beautiful day, there were so many people out running/walking as well which was great to see. I also bumped into Laura on the canal path, although I nearly missed her completely as I was miles away listening to Marathon Talk!

I did Insanity Max Recovery after this. I’ve no idea why it’s called recovery, as it’s pretty much the opposite of that. Despite there being no real jumping around, it’s a really tough workout and I found it really hard going.

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I’ve been loving getting back in the kitchen and cooking again now that we are at home. Socca has been a big feature of this week, the above was a triple chickpea combo, stuffed with chickpeas and hummus! Can’t get enough chickpeas!

Friday I had a slow 4 mile recovery and that did Insanity Max Interval Circuit again. We were going to go and see American Hustle, but at Vue it’s only available in Vue Extreme (Bigger screen and louder) which is £15 a ticket! So we are going to go on Orange Wednesday instead.

Yesterday I did Insanity Max Interval Plyo again, and again I found it unbelievably hard. I had a short 3 mile recovery run in the afternoon for my final run of the week and managed to avoid the rain, although the Canal path was like a swamp- more puddles than pavement!

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Today is a glorious rest day, finally-it’s my first one for 16 days! I usually take one a week, but it’s just not worked for one reason or the other the last few weeks, as I’ve been trying to cram so much in! It’s a good job it’s a rest day as I’m pretty hungover after a great night out with friends last night.

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My ultra marathon plan starts tomorrow, so I’m just resting up and recovering today before the hard mileage starts!

2013 Recap

Well 2013 was quite a year: Lovely trips, great races, moving to London. The year has been a whirlwind, and there have been plenty of high points.

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Health wise the year has been up and down. I started the year in January with a juice reboot- I felt absolutely great throughout, with loads of energy to fuel my workouts- although I did manage to burn out the motor on my juicer half way through the week! In May I started the Conscious Cleanse to try and get to the bottom of a myriad of health issues I was having but it didn’t seem to have any impact. I did another juice week in July to try and get myself back to health following a few months of feeling under the weather, and it made a huge difference. I really feel like I’ve found a nice balance over the last couple of weeks and that I am in a good place right now. I’m really enjoying cooking and creating new snack bars and energy balls to fuel my runs.

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We had lots of lovely short breaks throughout the year including Cork and Galway, where we did some great day trips to Blarney castle, the Cliffs of Moher and the beautiful Connemara region. We also did a day trip to Belfast and the Giants Causeway which was stunning. We had a week in Gran Canaria in June which was a lovely relaxing holiday, I didn’t even run for the whole trip. We had a lovely weekend in Brighton in December and I can’t wait to visit again.

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We had a few big celebrations this year as I hit 25 in March and in November we celebrated our 10th year together, we had a lovely meal at The Gate in Islington and he treated me to a Vitamix, which was an awesome surprise!

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I started the year with Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp to mix up my fitness routine. I really enjoyed the workouts the adaptability of the program. In March I started doing the Live Fit program and lifting heavy weights again, I repeated it through the year. I changed my routine after the move to London as we are now gym-less and I refuse to pay 89 quid a month for the Virgin Active across the road. I started doing more at home workouts like Blogilates. I also started Insanity in November, and am now onto month 2, it’s a tough program but I am seeing a huge difference.

Running wise, I didn’t really get going with racing until June which saw my first race of the year, the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon, it wasn’t a great race for me, I almost had to stop and walk due to the heat but I did get a PB of 56.30. Being part of a field of 40,000 women was pretty inspiring.

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I had a great race in August at the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Dublin where I ran a new PB of 2.02.37 despite forgetting my Garmin and only training for 4 weeks due to illness. It was definitely my favourite medal of the year. I also went to my first Parkrun. I think I did 7 over the last few months in Cardiff, Dublin and London, scoring a PB for the year of 25.27. I ran the Cardiff Half for the second time in October, finally dipping under the 2 hour mark, for a PB of 1.59.09 on a roasting hot day.

In October we bid farewell to Dublin, our home for the last 18 months and moved to London. We feel very settled in our new home and area. I’ve been blogging a lot more regularly as I am currently on the job hunt. I had a few positive interviews before Christmas so hopefully something will turn up in the new year. I am also hoping to start a nutritional therapy course over the next few months.

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November came with the good news that I had got into Berlin marathon for next year, can’t wait to revisit the city. I met lots of lovely new blogging/running friends, attended the fantastic Write This Run conference. I also scored a new 10k PB of 55.30 at the Running Show on a tough undulating course after less than ideal preparation! I did the Cafod Nativity Run in December which was a tough race but great fun with the girls from Team Naturally Run.

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I had a lovely chilled Christmas with the family, plenty of vegan treats but not going overboard, has left me feeling great rather than sluggish. I’ve started to feel back in the groove with my running and my base building for next year. I’m also feeling in really good health right now, better than I’ve felt in a long time.

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2013 has had it’s ups and downs, but I certainly feel like I’m ending it in a good frame of mind and ready to rock 2014.