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Why do I need a coach?

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Good morning, and a very happy new year. I am not big on resolutions generally, but the fact that the start of January is usually the start of marathon training does mean that it's usually a time to reluctantly push aside the panettone (if I had any left to push aside, that is) and start focusing a bit more seriously on training. It's not that I ever really stop as such, but I am quite definitely a runner motivated by specific targets, and therefore tend to drift slightly when I don't have a deadline looming. 
Many will be in the same boat. (It's a boat made of kale, quinoa and spinach and the sails are made of old copies of the Guardian, and it prefers to go by a gender nuetral pronoun, ok?) and are perhaps thinking about training plans or coaching advice. A clubmate, who also coaches, was writing recently against the 'tyranny of the training plan' and essentially saying they are mostly worthless. I think I disagree with this, because it presupposes a great d…

We need to talk about dogs

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Now look. Dogs. Can someone please explain this to me: aren't they supposed to have better hearing than us? I very nearly got taken out by on four separate occasions by four different canines during my long run today, and I really don't think I'm so light on my feet (I wish) that I floated up to them at sub-canine hearing levels. Who needs iPhone zombies when you've got mutts distracted by specks of dust, or making a sudden dash for that fascinating patch of mud right under where your right foot is about to land?

Of course, they are only doing what dogs do, and I'll save any actual ire for dog owners who set up a nice little trip wire with one of those extendable leads across the busy bike/walk path. Or the woman who - I swear this actually happened - once shouted at me "MY DOG GOT HUMAN RIGHTS TOO!" when I protested about it jumping all over my terrified daughter. People eh? You ought to have a licence to, err, be one.

Saturday's weather was unspeaka…

The finest faceplant into mud you'll see this year

I think I shall just start - and possibly finish - this brief Monday debrief by pointing your attention to this video - surely the finest finish in cross country history. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why XC should be an Olympic sport. Sure, there may be some other reasons, possibly even some serious ones. But this is the big one.

Incredible pic.twitter.com/jhb7elQqpn — Chris Chavez (@ChrisChavez) December 9, 2018
Marvellous, no?

In fact I have a nagging feeling that sliding on the knees before going face first into mud is some kind of metaphor for my running in the last week. Post-Valencia I had a real slog of a week. The following few days my legs seemed fine, then I made the serious error, running-wise, of spending an entire day sitting down. Barely took a step, just drove four hour round trip and spend the rest at a table. Cue hamstrings like concrete. I don't know if that's really all it took, but my legs have felt like lead weights ever since. Send your stretches/ pres…

Valencia Ciudad del Running

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As I sit and type, I can feel my vitamin D levels rising. A few days in sunny Valencia (300 days of sunshine a year, which makes me wonder why on earth I chose to live in a city that feels like it manages about 12 some years) and I might just make it through the winter.

Yesterday was the Valencia marathon and 10k - I did the latter, and enjoyed supporting others straight afterwards in the former. There were some brilliant performances - my particular kudos to Georgia for 37:14 (with a nine month old baby!) in the 10k, and to Nick Harris-Fry in the marathon, who put in a 15 minute-odd PB to finish in 2hrs 38min. Nick's amazing run of PBs at every single distance in the last few months is testament to the effect working with a coach can have.

My own 10k race was somewhat scuppered by spending the week in the run up breaking the world sneezing record. I've had nasty colds, but this one was definitely in the running for the all time top five. "Oh god" said my husband on T…

Getting buffed up

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Last week, we were making a video for the Running Channel on Christmas gifts for runners - coming soon to a certain youtube channel near you.. So if the sky is the limit, then there are GPS watches and other gear galore to splash the cash on. However,  if there's one handy gift that you could pick up for a couple of quid, it's a buff. Or a Buff. Buff is like sellotape or hoover, I think - a brand name that's turned generic. (Which always reminds me of the annual festival time email-from-lawyers we used to get at the Guardian chiding warning against using the tradename Portaloo as a generic rather than only to refer to the specific portable toilet made by Portakabin Limited..) 

Anyway, buff or Buff - they are brilliant. Plenty of us probably have a stash that were free too - races sometimes give them away in place of T-shirts or in a goody bag - but I do love my 'proper' original Buffs which tends to last a long longer, wear better (as in, not lose elasticity or di…

Friends make miles go by faster, even if the miles themselves are slower ...

I do a lot of running. I also do an awful lot of miles by myself. Mostly, it's a necessity of timetabling rather than a deliberate choice - fitting runs in around family life and school pick ups and weekend activities and the like. I hardly lack for potential running buddies, given so much of my life actually revolves around running: I'm co-captain of the Windmiler's ladies team, I coach track sessions, I volunteer at junior parkrun or the Hercules athletics sessions my kids have just joined, oh, and yes, I write about it.

View this post on Instagram Chasing Sophie round #Fulham10k today as the middle bit of my long run. Great way to break it up, flies by in company! and yes I was absolutely frozen at this point 🥶🥶🥶🥶 #runnersofinstagram #alwaysrunning #Repost @sophieraworth with @get_repost ・・・ 10k - brutal distance! Made it onto the “old persons” podium. The upside to ageing....😉#fulham10k @cityrunsldnA post shared by Kate Carter (@katehelencarter) on Nov 18, 2018 a…

Mud mud, inglorious mud

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I've been staring at a blank screen far too long this morning already - feeling distinctly under the weather and Monday-ish. I suppose not every weekend can be spent in New York, though the contrast between hanging out in Brooklyn and sloshing around a muddy field in Surrey does seem a little stark. Yes, it was a cross country race again. And yes, I am still terrible at them.

So this will be short and sweet and thrown right back over to you guys. Come share your weekend triumphs and woes below the line - and your plans for the rest of the year.

One of the things I love about December (sorry, but is quite close now) is the mini running traditions. I've got Valencia 10k to look forward to at the start of the month, the family Christmas day run, the Boxing Day club run ending in mince pies and mulled wine, the New Year's day parkrun double. 

Generally, if you profess to loving Christmas you end up fairly swiftly being berated for celebrating a holiday of consumerism. Well, r…