Holiday miles (and miles, and miles)

Good morning runners! I am still on holiday in sunny Portugal. We were staying in fabulous Club Med up the road, where my training was fuelled by a dangerously good all-you-can-eat buffet, constant snacks and a permanently open bar. I did plenty of miles, but also tried some new things: archery (loved it) golf (fun but not sure I'll be rushing to the driving range again any time soon) and even an aquafit class (hilarious).

Now, though, we are spending our last couple of days in the Victoria hotel down the road. This is where the 2:09 training camp is based, which means I have the advantage of knowing every local running route, though it's rather lonelier on the track or the cross country course without the company of other runners. There's time for one more hard track session tomorrow, though, before it's back to the UK. Someone turn the temperature back up for me, yes?

 Then again, it's only a matter of days before I'm hopping on another plane, this time to Prague. I've been wanting to do one of the RunCzech series of races for years - after all, Prague is my maternal homeland. And the races all seem to get rave reviews, which probably helps explain why every single one of them gets IAAF gold label status (something only a handful of races in the entire UK have). Yet somehow I've not managed to get one in the diary before now - but this Saturday night I'll be running the Birelli Grand Prix - an all-womens 10km. Bring on the Czech beer (it's carb loading AND refuelling) and the dumplings.

So, what did your weekend hold? It's starting to move into half marathon season in the UK, anyone out racing? Talking of which - I will end with a shameless plug for my own club's new quarter marathon race- anyone who fancies it, come and join me and the Wombles on the common on 29 September.

Comments

  1. Hello!

    After a summer of laziness & a holiday last week in Amsterdam where I ate my own weight in stroopwafel and frites (and washed it down with beer) I have accepted that I am desperately out of shape. But you know what, that’s ok, autumn & winter are where I get my best training miles in. (Always impressed by people who manage to run on holiday.)

    In short I only did 5km this weekend, it was harder than it had any right to be, but this is hopefully the start of being back in a routine. I have a HM booked in but not until March, I have plenty of time to get the mileage up.

    It’s been great seeing so many people on Strava by the way!

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    1. Mmm, frites and beer. I'd struggle to resist that for breakfast, lunch and dinner

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    2. It’s a city of potatoes & beer - I’m definitely carrying some extra weight but struggling to regret it!

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  2. "all-you-can-eat buffet, constant snacks and a permanently open bar." Oh my god, I wouldn't be able to move never mind run.

    The Prague half in April was superb, I can't imagine you'll have anything other than a great time. And that's before considering the beer and soup in bread.

    I had a minor set-back on Thursday when I literally fainted after giving blood at the doctor. Thankfully I was sitting down to begin with and my face broke the fall on a conveniently placed filing cabinet before any damage could be done but it still seemed wise to skip the club session at night. Friday's and Saturday's efforts went fine, however, so it's all systems go for the next crack at a sub-45 10k on Sunday - though given the collective sniffling in the flat this morning, I fear the Handsome family is about to be struck by a Kindergarten-induced lurgy. Pah.

    Well done to everyone getting out and about.

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    1. Ouch. I hope your face isn't too battered.

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    3. "my face broke the fall on a conveniently placed filing cabinet"

      Ouch! Glad to hear all seems ok. I'm also going to be attempting a sub-45 10k soon - good luck!

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    4. Ruby - critics would say it can only help!

      Rachael - Ta, you too!

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    5. Will you need to change your name to 'Temporarily Less Handsome Devil'?

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    6. My inner handsomeness remains strong.

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    7. Good luck on Sunday HD - I want to see a 44:xx next Monday from a full 10k course ;-)

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    8. I hope your face is feeling better! I once fell over on my face and my cheekbones felt it for weeks.

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  3. Had a week of ups and downs, all of which mostly came at the start of the week in a cycling sportive but it had an impact on my running. The blog for the sportive is linked to on the Facebook group but long story short I did 53 miles of a hilly sportive in dreich conditions last Sunday and learned a lesson about fatigue and recovery.

    I rested up on the Monday and swam in the evening with no obvious side effects so felt ready for running club on Tuesday. The fact I had to stop during the warm up was the first indicator I wasn't firing on any let alone all cylinders and after 2 miles of the club's snake run I had to pack it in. My thighs were solid and every footstep sent more pain up through my legs so I did the sensible thing and bailed out.

    Cycling still felt fine so I did that for the rest of the week and only put my running shoes on again on Saturday for Parkrun. I had no intention of trying hard, I just wanted to see how my legs felt and complete the distance. The Ayr route is always tough for dome reason (I've moaned about it here before) but despite my best intentions I actually turned in a PB for that Parkrun 😆 which set me up nicely for my main target which was the NAAC 10k on the Sunday.

    I've done it since it's inception and experienced all kinds of weather with last year being particularly brutal but apparently the forecast was better this year. True enough whilst it wasn't clear and sunny it was pretty warm and thankfully with no reaction to my Parkrun efforts I settled into a rhythm and wracked up the miles. I wasn't looking at my watch so had no clue how well, or not, I was going till I was back on the track for the 'sprint' finish.

    Crossing the line I stopped the watch at 54 and a few seconds (my chip time is 54 dead) and was bloody delighted. Not a 10k PB but a course PB and I was more than happy, now to take a well earned rest from events for a few weeks.

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    1. Well done BVP, 2 course PB's are great.

      It's always surprising how long you take to recover from seemingly innocuous events, but definitely did the right thing by bailing out early. I find that easy swimming helps me recovery better, especially from hard cycling.

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    2. Kudos on having the sense to rest up, it's hard to do at times, particularly if out with others.

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    3. Cheers Terald, first time I've done a sportive of that type so I know better for the future now. Thanks HD, I'm guilty of not resting enough before but I need to be more sensible and Tuesday's run was proof I can't push it all the time

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    4. Cracking running BVP! I find the bike OK on the legs, but can be caught out by how much energy it takes out. Even if the effort feels easier than running, you can be out for a long time and deplete the reserves. Well managed though, great results.

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    5. I've also been doing cyclocross and there have beenn a few spills with vivid bruising resulting, think that has contributed to a fair amount of the aches

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  4. Quieter week tapering for GNR this Sunday, short and quick runs Tuesday and Friday, and a very short and quick inter-club relay run on Wednesday. Have now decided that I'd rather do half marathons than 2-3KM short runs (why do they hurt your chest SO much?). Had a steady 10K in the warm weather yesterday, and hoping that the temperature falls by the weekend (forecast is set to a lovely 12° Sunday morning in Gateshead, I'm sure only runners will be looking forward to).
    My lower leg has been hurting for a couple of weeks now, so slightly worried about that, but I achieved my sub 90 minute HM target this year, so hopefully I can just have some fun with it.

    RE: 209 Training camps. I've seen these about a couple of times, has anyone been on them before? I've thought about going to one before a Spring marathon, but wasn't sure on the level that people going on them are at.

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    1. Give me a nice half any day over a short relay. We did a mile reps relay last week and were all coughing like hardened smokers after each lap.

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    2. We had a mile time trail with the club a month or two back, and it was absolute hell. How medium distance runners do that regularly baffles me.

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  5. Now Kate, which of those moving boxes did you put the PB klaxon in?

    It was indeed the start of my half marathon race season - a quick drive out to Maidenhead for a course that looked quick. This was my tune-up half for next month's marathon, but I felt like I was in shape for a good time and allowed myself a mini-taper, made easier by a hamstring niggle that needed a bit of TLC. Arriving at the village it looked like a pretty serious crew - lots of club vests including a very large mob from Serpentine for whom it was their club championship race. The only concern was the cloudless sky and rapidly increasing temperature.

    I was going with my now tried-and-trusted half marathon plan: 7 miles to a set pace, slight pickup through miles 8 and 9, pop a heavily-caffeinated gel then race it to the finish. Plenty of company through those first 7 miles though the group I was loosely running with started to break up around halfway - looking on Strava it seems like quite a few people blew-up in the heat. My hamstring was by this point complaining moderately loudly, but I pushed on and at the ten mile mark I could do the (thankfully simple) maths to see that a PB was on if I could finish strongly.

    It seemed less achievable after a slower uphill mile 11, but a cup of water dunked over my head woke me up and I found a good bunch of targets to spur me on over the last couple of miles. Home in 1:25:19, a PB by 30s, and though I'll definitely need a trip to the physio later, it was totally worth it!

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    1. Well done, great PB. I think I may steal your HM strategy! I usually struggle miles 8/9 so to have an enforced pick up may counteract that. Hope the legs ok today.

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    2. Excellent stuff, congratulations!

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    3. That's a storming time LB, huge congrats. I might steal your HM strategy too, albeit a little more slowly than you!

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    4. Well done mate on the PB! Great confidence booster for the marathon.

      As for the "very large mob from Serpentine", a good friend of mine from home (Sydney) who is living in London now was part of that large mob!

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    5. Congratulations on your PB! I ran that HM a few years ago - it can be tough going once the groups disband, well done on pushing through.

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    6. Brilliant effort LB, congratulations on that PB. Hope you come out of it ok when you get back on the road. I'm another who struggles around the 8-9 mile mark so I too will be having a look at that HM strategy before you copyright it.

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    7. Amazing time, congratulations!

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    8. Great run, and great race strategy, might also steal it. Think a caffeine hit would have helped me around mile 9 the other weekend.

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    9. Excellent showing, congratulations!

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    10. Great run lb - well done on the impressive pb

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    11. You'll have a brilliant run at Chester with that under your belt, well done!!

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    12. Liking the sound of that strategy too...., I have a half coming up a week on Saturday.

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  6. Phone call from son-in-law on Saturday evening. "Hey Chuck, (that's what my grandchildren call me, therefore my alternative name!) Whilst your over with us so you fancy doing the Twilight Trail marathon, it's a relay." So now I've got two races within 10 days of getting over to the USA. Looks like I'm going to have to dig my head torch out for this trail race!

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    1. Only 2? 😆 Scope for them to sign you up for more I'd say

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    2. Somehow, I think there will be more BVP!

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  7. I managed a sub 22 minute (21.43) 5k on Wednesday in the DHL 5x5k relay. That was about 1:30 faster than the previous PPPB set 4 days earlier. Pleased? No.

    I realised after 500m that I was clearly only improving at running on one leg, not two - and compensating is not recovering. Forefoot striking one foot, heel striking the other, hips badly aligned and knees taking all of the impact. So for now I'm putting the running comeback back on the shelf and concentrating on the exercises instead.

    I'd rather take a year out and have a crack at being a decent (age-graded) runner again than teach myself how to limp to a 19 minute 5k and be stuck looking like Jack Sparrow chasing a bus and feeling uncomfortable/off-balance for the rest of my life.

    On the bright side, my final race (for now) did see me line up alongside the former 800m world record holder Wilson Kipketer...and I managed to keep him behind me for just about that distance!

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/spartabilleder/29424616737/in/album-72157699175590271/

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    1. The image of Jack Sparrow chasing a bus made me chuckle! However, I think that's a very sensible approach, the exercises are intended to get your body working the way it should, once it's back in place, you can work on the speed again. Although I appreciate it's difficult to try and stop doing what you enjoy, even if it's better in the long term.

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    2. This sounds like an unusually sensible approach to full recovery. Are you really ok?

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    3. Wise words asta and I’m sure the sensible plan for the better long term PPPBs. (As an aside I’d love a sub 22 min 5k a la jack sparrow or not). Hope you have a good and full recovery.

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    4. Wilson Kipketer? You do mix with the A-list of athletics, don't you!! Best wishes for your recovery.

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    5. That's tough - but you're right, you shouldn't make do with running with badly aligned hips. Stop running for a while and get fixed/aligned. You want to get back to the 16s.

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    6. Very sensible plan Asta (even though you're still significantly faster than me on one good leg). Regarding realignment, my physio now swears by vimove which, he maintains, will revolutionise my running. Apparently it will collect tons of data while I run around the park and then suggest what I can do to improve my running form and with it my times. I remain somewhat sceptical but I'll give it a go post marathon.

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    7. Struggling to see that photo of you and Wilson, but I'll keep on persevering. Maybe you can take up something else in the meantime

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    8. Good luck with your sensibly protracted recovery Asta, you know it makes sense!

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  8. Morning everyone.

    I see you've done a few treadmill runs, Kate, are you sure we need to turn the heat up? It's pretty much perfect at the moment (in and around London at least).

    No running for me this week, back and legs still not right, and have my first PRP injection in my calf on Wednesday morning.

    However, I did go into the Peak District for Trekfest, a 50km (ish) hike around Kinder Scout, with a group of colleagues for charity. My Garmin clocked it at 59km, however I know it randomly added 5k at the first checkpoint for some reason, but evne so, still quite long. We had a wide range of fitness and experience in the group of 12, and tried to stick to a couple of smaller groups, and finished the walk in times ranging from 13 to 16 hours. Very pleasing as some of the group were really struggling at times.

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  9. The plan let me off with an easy week this week: a 9, a 5, and a 9, and they all went well, especially the second 9 on Sunday morning, when it was beautifully cool and wet. We’ve got the biggest typhoon in 25 years arriving tomorrow (although to the west of Tokyo), and after that it’ll be back up in the 30s, so I’ll no doubt be struggling with my running and whinging about it on here.

    For some reason I’m putting on weight too, despite the increasing kilometreage. Why is food so nice??

    Now, a question. What do you do when you get home from that long, hard Sunday run, and you’ve had your shower and you’re sitting down feeling all virtuous but lacking something to do? Well, I’ve got just the thing. Mosey on down to the website Words Without Borders and feast your eyes on short stories, poetry, extracts from novels, and fascinating articles, all translated into English from literature all over the world. What’s more, this month they’re doing a special edition on Georgia, and if you look closely, you might just come across a few pieces translated by li’l ole me :) *

    * Kate, it’s not a gratuitous plug, it’s genuine post-run advice, honest!

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    1. TD I will be going over there as soon as I've finished here. It sounds like my idea of heaven.

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    2. Fantastic! Thanks Ruby. It’s a great site, regardless of my translations:)

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    3. Love that you took up learning Georgian 'as a hobby'!

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    4. It's interesting to see what other people do after their long runs. I don't seem to have much mental capacity after mine, I tend to do a decent amount of lying around and watching telly. Maybe I'll try something a little more useful next time, inspired by your example!

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    5. Got to have something to do when I’m not running, Lucy. Figured learning Georgian was as good as anything :)

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    6. After my Sunday long run, I shower, eat a huge lunch and then ride my horse! It's sometimes not what I feel like doing, but really helps my legs recover - my hips and knees get some movement but without the concussive weight bearing impact of running. And DOMS is much reduced too.

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  10. Well, bit of a funny week for me with a 2-day trip to the Philippines throwing a mild spanner in the training works. Managed some reasonable runs on the treadmill at the hotel (wasn’t venturing outside in humidity and past the bomb checkpoints at 2200). But felt slightly epic doing intervals off the plane in Heathrow after 18 hours of travelling.

    Weekend less good - ended up running laps around Centre Parcs for my long run. Goodness it was dull. How on earth do people do track workouts with even less variety? After the 5th 5k lap I was ready to crawl into a hole. 30k done in the end, bit short and slow. But should have been 35k so a bit behind.

    Next week Philadelphia so more squeezing in the hours... not long till Richmond half and I can see what shape I’m in for Abingdon.

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    1. I'd have been a gibbering wreck after that much travel and time zone malarkey. Well done!

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  11. Stung by a wasp on the back of my hand, for no reason at all other than that wasps are evil, 4 miles in to a 2 hour run on Saturday.

    Allergic (mildly, no anaphylaxis), so since then it's been getting more swollen. The whole of the back of my hand is red and excruciatingly itchy. Hopefully that's the peak, and it'll get better from now on.

    Nothing more to report than that. And that I hate wasps, just in case that wasn't clear.

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    1. Wasps are agents of Beelzebub. Hope your hand clears up soon.

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    2. Mr hathycol is allergic to wasps so I sympathise by proxy! Little gits.

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    3. At work, bouncing between dopey (recently taken antihistamine) and itchy (a while since the last antihistamine). Trying to hold off on taking another until after my run home so I'm clear headed, but it itches so badly!

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    4. Your wasp sting looked unpleasant Caragh, did it affect your running? Funnily, I was out on my bike and something with a sting got blown into my mouth the other day. The result was a sting on the top of my tongue! Very uncomfortable!

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    5. Didn’t affect my running (other than being a little bit sore). Reaction doesn’t flare up until the day after. Bit uncomfortable biking on it, but was on the MTB, only one finger needed for braking! Tongue sounds much more unpleasant!

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  12. Hey all,

    Had Friday off work, and was looking forward to a lazy day so walked up to get a coffee in the morning when out of nowhere my calf went into spasms - felt like being shot in the back of the leg.
    Nearly cried in frustration at yet another calf problem, but the spasms died away and left a dull ache, so figured parkrun was still on, although at a reduced pace.

    A beautiful Saturday morning in Gunnersbury Park, and the large turnout left me feeling more equitable, so jogged for the first couple of kilometres in the throng, then moved through the field until I was almost at threshold, and finished feeling I had indeed dodged a figurative bullet.

    Managed 5 miles of SE London hills this morning with no ill effects, so hoping it was just a random attack of cramp and not a sign of more damage!

    Planning on doing Second Sunday next week over the lovely (in a mud bath kind of way) Wimbledon Common, will have a think about the 1/4 Marathon, sounds like the perfect distance for a pre-10k outing.

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  13. Not much to report this week. I went for a 5km run with my 13 year old daughter on Thursday evening, which I loved. My daughters don't run with me very often and I love it when they do.

    Saturday was taken up with watching said daughters netball commitments but I managed an 8km run late in the afternoon.

    Sunday was Father's Day in NZ, and all my good work was undone by going into Auckland city with the family and having a massive brunch, followed later by a huge icecream. We then watched Rampage on Sky and ate homemade brownies. A great day :-)

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  14. This week I started my new training programme, which I'm really excited about after a summer of injury and general laziness. It starts pretty slowly which I know is a good idea, but part of me is crying out for terrifying sessions. Yes, I know I'll regret saying that!

    Was supposed to be doing the Great North Run next week, but due to not being up to par, I've decided to defer until next year when I can have a proper go at it. Otherwise, the long build continues. My first session was an easy 6km yesterday, and it felt pretty good. Here's hoping that that continues!

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  15. Hello everyone. I've re-emerged from a couple of weeks of blog-less land, and here is my first post on the Monday Debrief :-)

    Short on time for a proper race report, but I ran a 10km race early doors Saturday. Unfortunately, despite feeling really good during the warm-up, I only managed a 36:36, admittedly semi-tapered and on a course that was twisty and undulating. That said, I was expecting better, given I ran a 17:09 parkrun the previous Saturday off the back of several glasses of vin rouge. Hmmmm...maybe that's the secret?

    Oh well, I have bigger fish to fry in the next couple of months. And I'm determined to prove I'm a better runner than what my 10km race time indicated.

    Well done eveyone for getting out and about!

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    1. Hi lm, glad to see you here. After a few glasses of vin rouge this evening, I'm hoping that tomorrow's run isn't anti-climactic!
      Your 10k may not have impressed you but the standard of your running and commitment to it is exemplary. On top of it you seem to have a great bunch of mates to run with and I really like it when you post pictures of them. It's funny that as a cyclist I'm very sociable but my running tends to be more individual. I need to get running mates like you!

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  16. I'm over on the FB page but keep putting off posting here though I don't really know why. Anyway, my weekend run was pretty rubbish, which I'm blaming on the late night and wine on Friday and it being hotter than expected on Saturday morning. Temporary excuses aside, I am still trying to work out what is 'hilly' or not, or if it's just me finding excuses... Is there a rule of thumb for this, or just how hard the run feels on the day? My local run at the moment is down the lanes near my father-in-law's house, and none of the hills are individually steep, but it is rarely flat. On a 5km version today (2.5km out, 2.5km back), my GPS tells me I did 12.06 mins of ascent, 11.24 of descent and 5.13 of flat. That's only 54m ascent, 64m descent, but it just feels like hard work! And certainly keeps me about 90 seconds off previous PBs on very flat courses. But I'm nowhere near the level many of you are at so perhaps I should just keep plodding along with regular running and worry about times and stats at a later stage.

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    1. Have you tried doing a regular session of hill reps? Blast up a hill then jog down and repeat for 20 minutes - it'll feel like the worst thing in the world but it does pay dividends. It may also be that you're trying to run up the hill as fast as you run on the flat during your longer runs. If you slow down up the hill and just focus on getting to the top, that might help until you're stronger and can up the pace.

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    2. Thanks, Ruby. Hill reps sound like my idea of hell, but might be worth a go. I do seem to find myself talking to myself on uphills, telling myself to slow down and just get to the top without walking, but that's usually towards the end of the run and perhaps I just need to reduce overall speed and pace myself better if I know there's going to be a lot of undulations.

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    3. Yes, I would agree that you should definitely pace yourself if you know there are hills. I think a lot of it is training yourself to be stronger, but also training your mind to think about hills differently. I can't avoid them where I live - I don't think I've run a flat race more than a handful of times - so I make myself think about them differently. I also make myself seek them out and deliberately run up them hard. It's taken a long time, but I do feel differently about them now. I also get a lot of satisfaction from overtaking people running uphill, even if they then trash me on the flat!

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    4. I don't think you need to worry about it too much or think that you're finding excuses. In my (very limited) experience, I think there is a significant difference between a 50m ascent 5k and a 10m ascent 5k. I certainly find that my heart rate climbs on the hills even though my pace has dropped a bit - in other words it does feel tough. It may also have felt tough if you were running when it was a bit hotter, with direct sun, and/or with higher humidity. I would just concentrate for now on doing more runs to gradually increase your fitness.

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    5. Thanks, Paul. At least it means when I have a flat run, it feels much easier...

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  17. Hi All! I did a spot of parkrun tourism on Saturday - a visit to Dulwich to check my 5k speed ahead of the Berlin Marathon. I managed a small (2s) parkrun PB - 16:50 in spite of a woeful inner monologue through maybe 2/3rds of the run. The strangest part of the run was being overtaken approximately halfway round by someone jogging along with their mouth closed. I found out afterwards that he was racing the Ladywell 10000m the following day - PB'ing with a sub-31. I had a tough 17 mile run on Sunday morning - ran the first half with too high a HR, body rebelled after 12 miles and I staggered home. Looking forward to this week as the taper gets going in earnest now. Only one session this week - 3 x 1 mile on Thursday.

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    1. You parkrunning in Berlin before the marathon?

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    2. No - I'll be picking up my start number as early as possible on Saturday. My running on the Saturday will be limited to jogging a couple of miles and doing some strides, then (hopefully) rest. I would never trust myself to run the parkrun at the appropriate pace :-(

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    1. I feel OK atm LM, I'm hoping I can rest up well and get my head in the right place over the coming days. It doesn't feel like there's been any runs that are indicating the speed endurance is definitely there, well maybe one of the long runs - that might just be a side-effect of only going for a 10 week build-up.

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    2. You might surprise yourself ID8703. Especially if you get decent conditions, unlike last year!

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  19. Hi Kate, glad the Monday running blog is up and running! Went to my new rowing club on Sat and they did a 2k erg test and a 5k run test before an outing - evil. Was pleased with 5k result of 22.45 even though it was blazing hot, I'm not as lean/light atm and my groin has a bit of a niggle. Does anyone have any tips for evading groin injury? I've been lucky enough to never even notice my interior thigh, and now the IT bands are tight too. Not really sure why so any advice appreciated.

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    1. I think this can be if you suddenly do a 5k at a much faster pace than you usually do one. I have experienced it. I had the cardio fitness, but my running legs didn't half complain about it for the next few days (inner thigh/adductors). Fortunately, it cleared up after a few days - it was just something I wasn't used to. There are various adductor stretches you could try (e.g. Redefining Strength channel on YT), but be careful. But mostly, I think it's a case of doing running form drills and working up to the pace gradually.

      What 2k erg time did you get?

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  20. Out for two shorter runs this week - after four weeks enforced rest and earlier long injury breaks this year the fitness level is not what it used to be but being out early this Sunday, 14 degrees and clear skies, was beautiful. Hopefully can build up to the longer runs this autumn and book in a half marathon. I remember the 70s (not just the 90s :-)) and have learned to follow the the 10% advice on distance increases!

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  21. Put in a solid hour of running each day in 33C and humidity. Yesterday's outing on the trails was especially hot and a little rushed because when I got to the nature reserve, the signs were up to announce we'd entered fall hours and the trails would close an hour earlier.

    This is also the last day for the city's lovely outdoor pools :( . You'll definitely find me in my favorite 50m swimming hole this afternoon and I'll probably work in a run after that.

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  22. If kayaking and snorkelling in North Wales is cross training then I mainly did cross training last week on holiday with family and friends (one of whom has taken up cake making in a big way). As a result of the sugar and butter diet I forced myself out for a decent 14k on Sunday and felt pretty energetic. I'm not sure if that was down to the excessive carb loading, the holiday or the alternative exercise but with cooler temperatures and a cake baby to shift I feel an autumn/winter half marathon coming on. Not sure where yet and ideas welcome. Happy running, everyone.

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    1. Thanks Ruby, I’ll check them out. I’m a bit further North but a spot of running tourism could be nice.

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  23. I was surprised to clock up 30 miles last week without really trying. Did my long run on Monday, but the rest was made up of short, sharp blasts. I was at a festival this weekend so had to get all my training done by Friday evening. Wednesday was also our club mile reps handicap relays which was good fun but oh boy, give me a nice long half any time! At the end of each mile hardened ultra marathoners and 3 hour marathoners were puffing and coughing like 90 year-old miners. I also managed to squeeze in a track session somewhere along the line.

    Mind you today, after a weekend of sleeping in a wood, lugging hay bales and pallets from here to there and nipping up and down ladders to put up/take down lighting, I feel as though I've done a marathon.

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    1. Interesting how preference differs (and changes, I guess) - this year I've been doing only 5/10s and I've got to like the 5 more and more...even if the 10 (or 9.6, grrr....) I ran the other week seemed 'long'. I've just signed up for the Müggelsee half in October and it feels like it will be a right mission already!

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    2. I'll admit I do enjoy the track sessions, but I'll have to take your word for it on the 5ks as I will could never see myself doing enough to start 'enjoying' them!

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    3. Love it when a higher mileage week creeps up on you. You always make me want to sign up to a running club. Must investigate!

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    4. I squeezed in 7 miles on Friday morning and thought I had probably done about 24. It was a nice surprise to see 30 on Strava! Amazing how much mileage you can clock up just with speed sessions and warm-up and cool-downs.

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    5. Oh man, I keep forgetting to sign in with my other account. You guys all know who I am anyway.

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    6. Don’t break the spell ruby! Think I’m trying to follow you on Strava (eh) but remain in deep cover only just getting into the Strava lark! When marathon training I always had long warm ups and cool downs to up the mileage.

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    7. C'mon riceandbananas, I for one would love to see your running and swimming on Strava. I real life I'm Pete Barton on Strava.

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    8. Following! I’m dreadfully boring.

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  24. Yesterday was the final long run before Berlin, a very slow 24kms in the mid morning sunshine. I was hoping to find some sort of decent pace but my legs thought otherwise so it was just a case of lumbering through to the end. I won't miss spending 2-3 hours on the road each weekend. Anyway, the taper is well under way now. Time to get that race strategy in place.

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    1. You parkrunning in Berlin before the marathon? Could be a mini-meet up at this rate.

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    2. HD: Yes, I'm planning a gentle trundle round Hasenheide to add that one to my list. A meet-up would be good.

      Hathycol: Thanks :)

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    3. Excellent. I believe I'm pacing 30 minutes so should be easy to spot!

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  25. Did the Maidenhead Half Marathon, it was a beautiful race. The sun was shining (maybe a bit too much) and super well organised and got the 2nd fastest half time and didn't feel like I pushed that hard. Would highly recommend! :)

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    1. Second fastest time! Amazing job, congratulations :)

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  26. Hope your club's run goes well, Kate. (And your race, of course.) Wimbledon Common was one of my stomping grounds – literally – as a young child. I had whooping cough when I was five. When I was just about fully recovered, Dad said I should run round the windmill on the Common to prove I was better. And I did.

    Another tale of recovery today. An early slow run due to drinking at a wedding on Saturday. A useful reminder as to just how bad it is to drink too much! (Fun at the time, mind.)

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    1. Love that story! (The windmill one, not the drinking one).

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  27. I have been trying to run 32k every week for a while now and, although the runs themselves are all very different, it seems to be having the right kind of effect - which is I am losing a bit of weight and I am never feeling like it was far too much after a run.
    Having said that. _This_ week's 32k involved a huge climb on the mountain with the running club on Wednesday followed by an 18km road-run on Saturday. Since I rarely hammer it running down a 10% gradient and since I rarely run on the road at all I found this week's 32k a bit more of a challenge than usual but I feel ok today.
    Easy week this week coming since I am racing on Saturday in a steep, airy race that starts so high up I need to take a cable-car in order to get to the start.

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  28. Got my last long (for me) run in before the GNR next Sunday. A 10 miler (5 mile out, 5 mile back up and down the valley) at something, hopefully approaching my pace next Sunday. I'm looking to get as close to 2 hours as I can, but it's 30 odd years since I ran my last HM so I'm not sure what to expect. My 10k is around 52m and 5k 25m,so what's the chances?

    I preceded the 10 miler with an easy 4 mile Saturday run. Just doing my club night on Wednesday and a leg stretcher on Saturday this week before the GNR.

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  29. All moved in to the flat in Paris...first day in our new city and not even remotely unpacked and we go to parkrun after dropping the hired moving lorry van thing off. We got there literally as they said go...rolling start for me is a first. Managed to run the whole thing without back pain but could feel it wasn't right still. It's a nice course through the Bois de Boulonge in the West of Paris through shaded areas with a mix of concrete paths and trails. Bit hillier than the old London one but fewer tight turns and much much less busy...50 people instead of 600! We stayed around for a tea/coffee to chat afterwards as we don't know many people in Paris and I don't speak much French yet so was a good way to make more friends. Got speaking to one of the volunteers and turns out she paced the Brighton marathon this year for around the pace I ran (she wouldve gone past me when I had cramp)...Small world. Anyway that's all the running I've managed with the move (we're still unpacking) and my back wasn't happy after the parkrun so taking it a bit easy for time being. Trying stretching but not sure what else to do to encourage it to recover quickly.

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    1. Glad the move went well. Looking forward to seeing your routes around Paris! (Lucky you).

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  30. Last week was a nice cut back week for me, although I did do an interval session on Friday - 6x800m at around 4min/km pace. Couple of short/easy 2k loops over the weekend to keep the running streak going (247 days... When I get to 265 I think I'm going to start counting down :) ).

    Today was my normal Monday workout where I do a "tempo handicap race" against my running friend. We work out distances to give approx equal time for our respective paces then "race" - today I was doing 8.4k to his 7k and I was nowhere near on pace, he won by a good margin. Boo.

    I blame doing a hard workout like that after cycling to work - it was such a nice morning though I couldn't bring myself to go on the tube.

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  31. I ran the Dingle Marathon!

    I've been training for the Dingle, my first marathon, since the middle of May. Training had its ups and downs (as it does), one of the most notable being the very bad summer heat in July and August of this year. A lot of my training runs got very hot, and I even had to cut one or two long runs short because of the heat. Higher intensity workouts were painful and frustrating, requiring pace adjustments. I was consistent as I could be, though, and it paid off.

    I finished, and I finished well. With a smile. Feeling well. And feeling proud, proud, proud. I was hoping for a 4:30 time, which I knew was very ambitious given that the Dingle course is quite hilly. I didn't get that, but I did keep up with the 4:30 pacers for about 31k. They were wonderful guys. I started to fall back around then, but never stopped, and finished at 4:47. I am completely happy with that for a first marathon on that course. I'll run faster times later, and I'm happy that I ran in a way where I was able to really savor the finish. What else can I say? I am just chuffed to bits, and already wondering when I will run the next one.

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    1. Well done! Great Effort! I love Dingle. Sounds idyllic - if hilly.

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  32. Hello folks, I’m pleased to see everyone’s here and enjoying the new environment. Talking of which, I’ve moved offices so am now based on the river on the Southbank (Thames). I haven’t run to, from or around work yet but as many of you will know, this is my training ground anyway so all is extremely familiar and closer to home. I’m also cycling to and from work now (6.5k each way) as motorbike parking is first come first served and I don’t fancy starting my working day at 7:30am! It’s not a taxing route so not interfering with my energy levels which I’m currently trying to preserve for marathon training….

    So I went charging into a 10 week plan, 4 weeks ago, in the knowledge that I had some serious work in front of me if I wanted to retain my previous goal of around 3:22 ish which would be a 5 minute PB. I felt the gaps in starting late but hopefully I’m into the swing of things now and have my longest run coming up on Sunday, followed by ‘the beast’ the Sunday after which is 20 miles at MP. Yuk, I hate that one.

    Things feel a bit different for me this time round, mentally. Although I’m motivated and have discipline, I don’t feel as driven as my reason for doing it doesn’t feel as valid. I only want to get back for the run I felt duped out of at VLM’s hottest marathon - ever. I seem to know deep down that I wouldn’t be doing this if I’d had a satisfactory go back in April and it’s affecting my mental steeliness during those tough bits of training. It makes it difficult to stay focused and hungry. Silly isn’t it! I need to talk myself into or out of something because I feel I’m not far away from saying feck it, but I know I’d regret that.

    I had so much fun running around in the summer, doing what I pleased and when, no injuries! Looking forward to having that back again, even if it will be in the winter.

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    1. Phew, and there was me thinking you might be injured when I saw your Strava! You're very good at staying focussed and committed so I reckon you'll get through this one. Perhaps after that a break from marathons? Something different? Trail runs? An ultra???

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    2. Definitely NOT an ultra! 42.2km is as far and as long as I wish to run. Trail appeals though, I really enjoyed the 10 miles I did by the hills and lakes in Rotorua NZ. Thanks for the vote of confidence Ruby x

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    3. These comments about going back to overcome an unsatisfactory outcome had some resonance for me - I did my only marathon (VLM) so far two years ago. I put a real effort into training but made some beginner’s errors that meant that I wasn’t to the level of coping with the last third well, and I came in more than 40 minutes over where I’d hoped to be. I’d like to do it again, knowing more about how to prepare, and give it a better shot.

      But in your case I’d say you have already performed heroics with the VLM in the heat that there was on that day - no need to remedy this surely! But all the same, good luck with the run and the PB.

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    4. Very late replying to this - I've also got 20 miles @ MP next Sunday and it's looming in the distance like a big looming thing...

      I get what you're saying about London and motivation for this one, but I have a slightly different way of looking at it: unless there's some seriously freak weather in York, you're basically guaranteed a better run and a better time than last time, even if you don't go 100% into every training session. I'm a lot more relaxed about following my plan to the letter this time as a result, so I may not squeeze every last second out of my time but I'm sure I'm going to enjoy the run.

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  33. I ran in Aberdeen and London last week, the latter whilst down on business. I did a nice loop of three parks - St James's Park, Green Park and round the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Lovely! Though I got caught up in some crazy cycle frenzy across the junction at Hyde Park Corner - felt I was in the midst of the Grand Depart.

    Weekend - my favourite eight mile loop from home - hills, river and forest. Dialling down now for Crathes half a week on Saturday.

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  34. Thanks LB, you’re right, and I do feel a bit more relaxed in my approach this time. Good luck for the beast run tomorrow!

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