Tag Archives: strength training

Change of Routine

It’s been a long while since I posted, so I thought I would do a little update on all things fitness, food and life, and try to get myself back into the swing of blogging a little more regularly and putting a little more time and effort into the blog.

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Running

Running has been fairly non-existent of late. I’ve taken a really long break after the SDW50 in April, there was a few weeks with no running whatsoever and some weeks where my mileage has been around 6-9 miles. I’ve been going out with the other half for some shorter jogs here and there, and doing a bit of interval sprints on the treadmill too, but mostly my legs have just been recovering. I didn’t want to rush back and force myself to train for something and I wanted to wait until I felt ready to get back into it. As of now I have no races on the calendar for the rest of the year and it might well stay that way. Until last week I hadn’t run over 3 miles since April, and it has been hard to get back into it, but with a few short runs over the last few weeks I can slowly but surely feel a little bit of fitness coming back, and a little bit of the love for running creeping back in. I don’t think I’ve ever been at a point in the last few years where I don’t have any events planned and I’m not doing any long distance stuff, but I’m enjoying changing things up, and I know when the time is right, I will be ready to get back into it.

Strength

What I have been doing quite a lot of is strength training, it’s something that I’ve always had a big passion and interest in, but I’ve never quite be able to strike the right balance between running and lifting. I tend to do it as more of an injury prevention during endurance training, but over the last few months I’ve really got back into it, and I can feel such a big difference in my strength since I started training more regularly. I’m hoping to carry on training hard in the gym for the rest of the year and seeing where that gets me, hopefully it will stand me in good stead for any running events in 2017.

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Food

Nutrition has been up and down, we have had a super busy few months, with what seems like visitors all the time, so we’ve been eating out a lot. I think there was a 2 week period where I literally cooked one meal, we were just constantly eating out. Hopefully we will have a quieter few weeks ahead, so we can get back to some simple eats, and focus on wholefoods, with the occasional, rather than frequent Vegan treats. I really would like to drop some weight over the next few months, as I’m just carrying too much for me right now- probably should have stopped eating like an ultra runner when I stopped running in April!!

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Life

Other than that, Baxter now is one! I can’t believe how time has flown, and I am absolutely smitten, I can’t imagine being without him! I have nearly finished my nutrition course, just got one more client to finish with, and a load of work to write up and sort out so hopefully in the next few weeks once I qualify, I can get focused on starting up my nutritional therapy business. I’ve started a new job working for a wholefood supplement company, which I am really enjoying. The highlight of my summer was going to the Wimbledon men’s final with my mum, I’ve been pretty much every year over the last 8 or 9 years, and had good tickets before from the ballot for semi’s/quarters etc but never a final, so when my mum got tickets in the ballot we knew it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity so had to go. We were incredibly lucky to see Murray lift the title, and it was an amazing day.

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That’s about all from me, I’m going to try and update here more regularly so we shall see how that goes!

What’s next?

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It’s been two weeks since Berlin and I’ve now had time to reflect on the race, and I guess my running year as a whole. In some ways it doesn’t feel like I’ve just gone through another marathon training period due to my enforced lack of training. This is nice in a way as I’m not fed up with running at this point, but in another way I actually really missed doing those long training runs!

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Berlin was not a race I really had on the agenda for this year, with the main focus the Ultra and Manchester marathon earlier in the year. Had I not got into the ballot, I don’t think I would have been rushing up to sign up for another autumn marathon. I am now realising that 3 marathons and an ultra within a 6 month period is pretty tough on the body, and mine has broken down several times throughout this year which reflects that.

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That’s not to say I wouldn’t consider doing the same again, I’ve learnt a lot from all the different races, and up and down training periods, and injuries to deal with. If anything it has taught me to focus more on run specific strength training, as well as my pre/post run routine. It’s something I’ve always just taken for granted, but I realise now-especially with all the longer distance stuff-I can’t really afford to mess about, and keep avoiding these things. I’ve also come to realise that I can’t follow tough training programs like the Fat Burn Revolution, or Insanity alongside marathon training, and I’d say doing so was largely to blame for my injuries too. Trying to cram in too much causes my body to break down, and I end up knackered all of the time as well. I will be looking to try and fit in programs like this during the time I am not training for long distance races to build some strength, and then focus on running and more run specific strength stuff during race training.

The body has recovered OK since Berlin, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, given I hadn’t run over 13 miles for months, and my training had been all over the place. My ITB has actually been pretty good, it’s the rest of my body and mind that have been struggling post race. Some days I’ve been suffering with ridiculous fatigue, I think it’s a combination of all the stuff we have had going on lately with the move etc, plus pushing my body to somewhere it wasn’t really trained to go! Some days are better than others, but some I can’t even haul myself up the stairs, I guess it’s normal to feel tired post marathon and it does seem to be easing as the days go by.

I don’t know what’s next, I feel like I want to continue the long distance stuff, but be a bit more sensible about it. The injuries this year and time out have made me realise how much I love running and that I need to do everything I can to minimize injury risk and look after my body so I can continue to do it!

There are two races I really want to do next year, but they are both around the same time, so I think I will have to choose between the two. I didn’t get into London, so I am still debating whether I want to do a spring marathon and probably won’t decide until early next year after taking a few months off of proper training.Muddy trail shoes

I am hoping to do a few of the trailscape events including the half in Essex this weekend. After 3 trail races this year I realise it’s absolutely where my heart lies with running, and is something I want to do more of. After that I have the Brighton half in Feb, and I would really like to train properly for that as I haven’t trained for a half since I dipped under 2 hours at Cardiff last year, and would like to have a crack at beating that again.

What events do you have lined up?

Berlin Marathon Training Week 9

Warning, this is just going to feature me moaning about being injured again, sorry! My new knee pain that flared up last week has continued throughout this week. The weirdest thing is that I barely notice it when I’m walking or doing other workouts, but it comes on about 2 miles into a run, and builds until I can run no longer.

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Mon: Rest 3.3 mile Walk + Yoga
Tues: 2.7 mile Walk + TFBR Upper Body Weights + Belly Shred
Weds: 4 mile Run + TFBR Leg Weights
Thurs: TFBR Upper Body Weights + Belly Shred
Fri: 6 mile Run
Sat: 8 mile Run + 2 mile Hobble + Yoga
Sun: 3.3 mile Walk + TFBR Plyo Blaze + Belly Shred

I took a few days off running at the beginning of the week after the horror of last week’s long run. On Weds I went out for a 4 mile run, I could feel the knee start to niggle about 2 miles in, so I called it a day at 4. It was so hot as I had gone out around midday that I had to stop at Whole foods on the way back for a coconut water ice lolly!

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We went to Le Pain on Wednesday evening and had a lovely meal, I had a meal sized salad 😀 featuring lentils, fennel and chickpeas and finished with the coconut milk chia pudding which was delicious. Although expensive, Le Pain is definitely one of my favourite food spots in London, there is so much great Vegan food on offer, and Nick can get his meat fix too!

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Friday’s run was the best I’ve had in ages (up until about 5 miles). I felt great, my legs felt fresh, and my knee was barely bothering me, until it gradually made an appearance and the last mile was pretty painful. I was so hungry by this last mile that I had to stop at the farmers market and buy some plums, which I demolished on the way home!

I was not overly happy about having to attempt my long run on Saturday (due to the hurricane forecast on Sun) as I’m trying not to run back to back days right now. I think from the outset I knew that it wasn’t going to go well, but I was trying to stay positive. I’d run less than a mile when I could feel the knee pain building, and by the time I’d got to Cardiff parkrun at 3.5 miles things weren’t looking good.

I stopped for a few minutes before parkun by which point my knee had totally seized up, I couldn’t bend it at all. After some stretching it felt much better, so I edgily headed off on a very gentle jog round parkrun. Unfortunately 1.5 miles in, my knee completely gave way (apologies for anyone who witnessed the cursing!) and I had to have a little stop and stretch, this then happened again and to be honest I probably should have stopped at either of those points but I carried on to hobble home about 8 minutes outside my pb. Not ideal.

I jogged back for about a mile post parkrun which was about all my leg could handle, as I then couldn’t bend it and could barely walk, although it had eased up by the time I hobbled home. 8 miles at this point in marathon training is just nowhere near good enough, I wouldn’t mind so much about the distance if I was running it comfortably, but I’m not, I’m in pain, and every step is a battle, which makes me wonder if I should bother trying to run at all before Berlin?!

I’m so aware and conscious of the injury now, and almost waiting for it to flare up, which I don’t think is a very good thing. I just don’t know how I can distract myself to not be aware of it before the pain comes on. I know pain is not a good sign, and I shouldn’t keep pushing through it, but I worry how I’m going to get round Berlin if I don’t get any kind of decent mileage in. Perhaps I would be better to just rest it, and actually be able to get round the race, regardless of running fitness. I’m not sure, I’ll probably regret whatever I decided to do.

Away from running, I started Phase 3 of the Fat Burn Revolution, the workouts have been shorter which is great, although they’ve been seriously tough! Incidentally I don’t feel any pain in my knee when I do these workouts, which I just find bizarre.

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I guess I need to decide whether to rest the legs completely again or carry on trying to run. My mileage is so low right now that it wouldn’t make much difference if I didn’t run at all anyway. I still have a little bit of time, but that is quickly ebbing away, and I don’t want to be still dealing with this a week or so before the race. I just got new trainers, switching from the Asics GT-2000 to the Gel Kayano so we’ll see if that makes any difference once I try them out! Fingers crossed!

Berlin Marathon Training Week 1

I am writing this post, currently unable to fully straighten my leg, with a bag of broad beans on my knee, so week one of Berlin training really could have gone much better!

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Mon: 1 mile run warm up + Total Body Blast Circuit
Tues: 6 mile Run to/from Spin + 45 min Spin + Hip Opening Yoga
Weds: Rest 3.6 mile Walk
Thurs: Lower Body Weights + 3.6 mile Walk
Fri: 4.4 mile Run to/from Spin + 45 min Spin + Upper Body Weights
Sat: 6.4 mile Run (inc Cardiff Parkrun) + 2.5 mile Walk
Sun: 10 mile Trail Run + 3 mile Hike + Hip Opening Yoga

So it’s been a fairly active week! I started to feel much better this week with the fatigue I’ve been dealing with lately, so hopefully that will continue to gradually improve. I’m not following a set plan for this marathon, I’m just running as and when I feel like it, trying to get 4-5 runs in a week and gradually increase my distance.

I’ve been continuing with the spin classes at Cyclebeat, using my 30 day pass. The class on Tuesday morning was absolutely brutal, probably the hardest one I’ve ever been to, it was so tough. Friday’s class I did not enjoy at all, my legs felt totally empty and weak so I just took it pretty easy instead. I’m enjoying weight workouts again, and definitely feel like that is going to help me in my marathon training.

My runs have been pretty solid as I ease back into things this week, I’ve been running to/from spin classes to get some miles in and save time in the process! On a positive I had a great run at Cardiff Parkrun on Saturday, clocking 26.01 (unofficial, think official was 26.19-shows how long it takes to cross the start line at Cardiff!) in pretty muggy conditions. It felt good to push it, but obviously that hasn’t helped the knee either.

The knee problem is a bit of a spanner in the works. It’s been lingering in the background since I started back running post ultra, it feels OK during runs but later when I’m in bed or the next day my left knee is really stiff/sore. It seems to be getting worse and yesterdays run was pretty awful.

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I thought it was knackered trainers causing the knee issue but getting new ones doesn’t seem to have helped either, so now I’m at a loss as to what it is. I’m getting a massage tomorrow so hopefully that will help a bit, as I have extremely tight calves which I think might be contributing. Sometimes things like this flare up and then just go away, so I’m hoping that is the case here. I’ll continue to ice it, and lash in the turmeric.

After a mile on yesterdays run I was in so much pain with my leg that I actually cried, I was going to just stop (which I probably should of) but I thought if I got onto the trail it would be softer underfoot and the pain would ease up, which it did. Despite the pain, the run was a stunning one, I just don’t think there is anything as amazing as a good trail run. I took it very slowly (thanks knee) and just enjoyed the scenery. It was quite undulating, but I was pleased to get 10 miles in the legs, albeit injured ones. I probably shouldn’t have run at all, but with Hackney half this weekend, and having not really run over 3-4 miles since the ultra I wanted to get a little distance in them. Right now, I’m not even sure If I will be able to run Hackney unless the pain/stiffness eases up over the next week.

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I’m visiting my parents in Cardiff for a few days and we had a beautiful 3 mile hike yesterday. It was so peaceful and quiet, just the sounds of nature and barely anybody else around. So beautiful!

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The hike probably hasn’t helped my knee either, I think it just needs a little rest and sometime off my feet- I just struggle to do nothing though! I feel like I always put myself under immense pressure to fit so much in! Fingers crossed that this week is a better one, my knee magically heals and I can run Hackney this weekend!

Ultra Training Week 18

Less than 2 weeks to go now until Ultra D-day! This week has been a massive confidence boost training wise and I’m now ready to taper and head into the big day feeling fresh!

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Mon: Milton Keynes Marathon + 3 mile Walk
Tues: Upper Body Weights + 1.5 mile Walk
Weds: 4 mile Run + 4 mile Walk
Thurs: Total Body Blast Circuits + 3.6 mile Walk
Fri: 6 mile Run + 3.6 mile Walk
Sat: 3.5 mile Run + We own the Night 10k + 6 mile Walk
Sun: 8 mile Run + Lower Body Weights

Just writing that out, I realised I didn’t actually take a rest day last week, oops! The body has been feeling pretty good, especially after the marathon, I feel like I am recovering really quickly right now, highlighted by the fact that I didn’t even realise I hadn’t taken a rest day.

This week at 54 miles stands at my highest mileage week during the training cycle, I would have liked a few more weeks around that, but the injury put me way behind schedule.

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This week saw me racing twice, and somewhat unexpectedly setting two new PB’s at MK Marathon and We Own the Night. After that I’m in a sort of triumphant, nothing can stop me, happy running zone- I just need to ride that wave all the way to the ultra now. After all the injury problems in Feb/March I’m so glad to be back feeling strong.

Credit to Mary

Credit to Mary

This week was my final week of Phase 1 of the Fat Burn Revolution, I’ve really enjoyed this phase, although after 4 weeks I’m looking forward to some new workouts. I get bored very easily, so like to change things up quite frequently. I’ve noticed a big difference strength wise over the course of the month, and I’m sure that’s helped massively with my running too, I’ll have a more in depth post on it up soon.

Outside of racing, I’ve got in some shake out/recovery jogs, and have just been taking it pretty easy during these runs. The weather has been shocking this week, so I’ve got drenched a few times, as well as felt like I was moving sideways rather than going forwards due to the wind during a few runs. My hay-fever has also been atrocious again, making me feel completely exhausted on some days this week, such a horrible feeling.

The 8 miler I did yesterday was barely 12 hours after the 10 miler on Saturday evening, I felt pretty good and I went fasted on a longer run for the first time, so I was starving when I finished. I think the hardest part about the fasted runs is just getting myself out the door. I’m so used to eating something pre workout it’s a hard habit to break, especially as I don’t eat late at night so usually wake up reasonably hungry. I’m sure it will just take time to get used to.

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I’ve continued with my physio exercises and stretches daily- it’s just become part of my routine now, as has legs up the wall! I’ve also been walking loads this week which has helped with recovery. My new job is just under 2 miles walk from my house so I’ve been walking there and back most days. We also did a lot of walking in Greenwich on Saturday as we were viewing a load of houses. We’ve made an offer for one, so fingers crossed!!

This week my plan has dropped the runs from 5 to 3 which will be a bit of a weird shock to the system. Let the taper begin!