Category Archives: running

nine pic collage

2018 goals – running

All of the books about achieving your goals (running or otherwise) say that formalising, writing down, and telling people about them make you much more likely to succeed. 2017 was a pretty good year, running-wise (and my nine most liked instagram photos were all running related). I set PBs at 10k (40:35), half marathon (90:19) and marathon (3:31:19) distances, and ran my fastest ever 5k (19:25), albeit not on an officially measured course.

I’m hoping aiming to make 2018 even better (it’s certainly going to be more expensive, with 3 overseas races but at time of writing these have all been paid for). I have, as all of the books recommend, set myself A, B and C goals and organised my training around these.

My A races:

  • 22nd April 2018 – London Marathon. I set a big PB in 2017 despite hot conditions and this year I am aiming even higher and training to go sub 3 hrs 20.
  • 16th September 2018 – Berlin Marathon. If London goes well (and even if it doesn’t, so long as I don’t injure myself in training) I am going to train and aim for a sub 3 hr 15 marathon, the championship time for London. In the past I have increased speed over the summer when taking in more rays, so expect this to be true again. Berlin is also notorious as a PB course unlike London with its crowded streets.

My B races:

  • 4th March 2018 – London Big Half Marathon. I didn’t quite manage to get my sub-90 last year, so I’m going to have one more go at the London Big Half as part of my London marathon prep. I am sure that there will be other half marathons scattered throughout the year (indeed one of them is one of my C races) but this will be the first targeted attempt at the sub-90.
  • 7th October 2018 – Chicago marathon. This comes just 3 weeks after Berlin so I won’t be racing it as such, but it is an Abbott World Marathon Major so just attempting to complete it marks it down as a B race. It will be great to see how the city has changed since I was last there in 2003 and if I come out of Berlin OK I think I might be able to manage around 4 hours (but really the aim is just to finish, as a victory lap for the year).

My C races:

  • 11th March 2018 – Lisbon Half Marathon. This is a week after the London Big Half, but was booked in beforehand and is a bit of a jolly with some other Bristol runners. Now that I have set the previous week’s half as a B race this will likely be more of a training run, but it will be my first overseas race.
  • The remaining Weston Prom 5 mile races. I should be able to keep these fairly competitive as marathon tempo runs (with warm ups and cool downs) within my marathon training, to help out with whichever club team I am on (I think it is ‘Bristol & West South Westerlies’).

I would also like to set new 10k and 5k PBs but have not factored them into my existing plans (I get a week or so off after London before starting training again for Berlin) so they will have to be as a consequence of my marathon training if they come rather than anything specifically tailored towards those distances. As such I have not booked any races of this length into my diary yet. I am sure more races will be added during the year (such as the Bristol & West 5k series and the GWR 10k series) but I won’t be adding any more A races, two marathons in a year is plenty to focus on.

Week 19, day 2 (T-5) – final threshold run

I spent yesterday afternoon following the Boston marathon via twitter and their app, cheering on friends who were tackling the course in some nasty high temperatures. I think that left me a little bit emotionally drained for this morning’s final threshold session as my first rep was terrible (4:47 min/km though it was uphill and the GAP was 4:25 min/km).

The second and third reps picked it up to more respectable paces 4:34 and 4:20 min/km as I revelled in the bright sunshine but cool temperatures. That would do me just fine for Sunday. Just a couple of gentle jogs left now to keep the legs turning over (and stretching, lots of stretching).

Week 18, day 7 (T-7) – final dress run

The final long run a week out from the big one and a last chance to test out all of the kit, including eating what I intend to and starting at about the same time. This was just 50 minutes of marathon pace after a quick 10 minute warm up and followed by a 10 minute cool down.

It was just enough time to squeeze in the 10k version of the Zombies, Run! spring race, which was confused by Staple Hill tunnel again, but which awarded me a time of 48:13 for the race portion of the mission. I also managed to finish off the rest of the 5k mission (the race part was already over), so I can open up my goodies now and hang my medal.

Trying not to think about next week too much now, I have put the training in but don’t want to get over anxious or over excited before I cross that start line and see what I can do. Fingers crossed the weather holds much as it has been today, not too hot.

Final dress run for #vmlm next week #bigmarathonchallenge #ukrunchat #thisgirlcan

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Week 18, day 6 (T-8) – post-parkrun pootle

I was RD1 at Ashton Court this morning, which featured TV and radio as well as an incident to report (all well, just overdoing it on the hill), so had to do my 30 minutes of easy running after parkrun and after processing the results.

The cloud had cleared by this time, though it was still a little chilly, but I got to crack out the sunglasses for a gentle run along the riverside. I maybe shouldn’t have used my marathon playlist as I went out a little fast (plus the extra adrenaline from being RD), but settled down into a nice rhythm once I hit the flat. One more parkrun to go!

Week 18, day 4 (T-10) – sleep-deprived threshold intervals

Sleep-deprivation mounted up over the week of the BJC, but after reuniting with the kittens and unloading the car I still had a threshold interval session to do so I headed out to the good old railway path which has been much neglected while I have been away. The zombies, run! Spring virtual race was also live so I decided to start the 5k race after my warm up.

Today’s session was 6 reps of 5 minutes at threshold (heart rate zone 4) with 60 seconds recovery. The first rep was a bit ropey as my legs seemed somewhat uncoordinated, but I soon warmed up into the session and my pace improved going from 4:40 min/km to 4:30, 4:25, 4:31, 4:24 finishing with 4:20. The Zombies, run! app always gets confused when I go through the Staple Hill tunnel so I actually ran further than 5km to finish the 5km race, but was given a race time of 23:47 (though I stopped the mission at 30:12, after I was instructed to stop running). I’ll try and do the 10k race on Sunday in my final bit of marathon pace before London.

Week 18, day 2 (T-12) – recovery run

I had a day off yesterday, though this being a juggling convention I was considerably more active than I would be on a normal rest day (I even attended two workshops, which is virtually unheard of).

This morning I managed to have a lie-in, and when I did emerge in my running gear I attracted the attention of my tent neighbour, friend and fellow runner Paul. Since I was only going out for a recovery run he decided to join me and it was lovely to have some company for a change. We had a lovely bimble round a little nature reserve, comparing innacurate wrist heart rate readings.

Week 17, day 7 (T-14) – hot and sunny marathon pace run

Marathon training stops for nothing. Even though I am away at a festival, which means I am eating too much crap whilst not getting enough sleep or drinking enough water, I still had a marathon paced effort to do. The weather was not my friend. I have a highly efficient cooling system (aka I sweat a lot) so hot and sunny weather is pretty much my worst nightmare and why I spent the last three miles of my first marathon feeling like I was going to throw up every step I took.

I usually make sure I take on water every 10 minutes on my long run, but today under a cloudless blue sky I drank every time my brain thought ‘water’ which was closer to every 5 minutes. Having plotted my route on google maps there were a couple of wrong turns as I made my way to and then round Wollaton Park, but I managed to maintain my marathon pace for the full 90 minutes and was grateful for the many trees along the route offering shade. I can only hope it’s not as hot in London.

Week 17, day 6 (T-15) – Forest Rec parkrun & core

A spot of parkrun tourism at the BJC, though we very nearly didn’t make it as the gate that was supposed to allow 24-hour access was locked and we luckily found an alternate route out to make it just in the nick of time. If there was any important information in the briefing we didn’t hear it, not because we were late, but because the megaphone was feeble. A lovely little two lap course that went around a series of football pitches then up into a wooded area. I spent the time chatting to Polly with a little sprint at the end.

Back on site I squirelled myself away in a squash court with my yoga mat to get some core work done. At one point the staff came in to make the court bigger, but they didn’t seem to mind me so I just let them get on with it without interrupting my workout. Long run tomorrow, I think I have my route planned out.

Week 17, day 4 (T-17) – sunny Thursday threshold intervals

I was woken early by the kittens who wanted to play fetch, but as I intended to use the railway path for my Thursday threshold intervals I bimbled around a bit at home before heading out so that most of the commuters will already have moved through. This meant I had time to read my coach’s email reassuring me that I shouldn’t worry about missing my marathon pace towards the end of my long run on Sunday as I ‘hit it for the most part on a hilly route and on a warm day off the back of some hard training weeks’. It amuses me that he thinks the route I have been using for my long runs is hilly as it’s the flattest bit of Bristol I could find without doing lots of little loops (I found a message in my Garmin Connect notifications this morning suggesting I find a flatter route after the previous week’s long run, but honestly, that’s the flattest one I can find, the elevation gain was only 132m which is nothing in Bristol).

Anyway, back to the railway path for some threshold intervals under glorious blue skies. It was almost the same session as last week, except the recovery was 60s rather than 90s. Last week my 4 reps of 8 minutes at threshold pace (aka heart rate zone 4) came out at 4:44, 4:44, 4:46 and 4:41 min/km. This week, off a shorter recovery (but not having raced a 5k two days previously), they were 4:36, 4:29, 4:29 and 4:19 min/km. Much better and I am much happier with the difference between that and my marathon pace (4:55 min/km). It gives me much more confidence with 17 days to go.

Week 16, day 7 (T-21) – last long long run

Today was the final long long run before starting the taper for London, and was another 2 hours 45 split into 65 minutes easy (heart rate zone 2), 90 minutes at marathon pace (7:55 min/mile or 4:55 min/km), with a 10 minute cool down at the end.

I started fine, and the first hour or so of the marathon pace felt good, but the final 30 minutes was a struggle to keep anywhere close to that marathon pace (though I didn’t slip out far enough to get the dreaded ‘slow’ warnings). I even walked the majority of my cooldown as my body just didn’t see the point of battering itself with a slow jog. Hopefully the session was designed to replicate the final 90 minutes of the marathon rather than the first 90 minutes, otherwise I’m in trouble. With a good taper (which starts now) and the crowd on my side I should be OK, I certainly feel in much better shape (those final 30 minute notwithstanding) than I did when I ran my first marathon 18 months ago (though not right now, right now I feel pretty much like I did when I finished that first marathon).