Sunday, 9 February 2014

Training update: head vs heart

I didn't feel like running this week. Despite my heart still being fully committed to marathon training my head told my body that this week was rest-and-be-thankful week.

I'd already cut down the number I runs I planned from 4 to 3 per week - scheduling a short speed session, a medium pace session and a weekend long run - but through the week I just didn't feel it. So I did yoga instead! Ahhh yoga - you make it all ok. 

That said, I had 15 miles on my schedule for the long run and, having ditched my long run last week in favour of a self-planned mini duathlon, I knew I couldn't bail again this week. 15 miles is uncharted territory for me, my longest run being 13.1 at Run to the Beat last September. I was nervous to say the least.

Fortunately, I had planned a trip to visit my good friend Sheila in Manchester for this weekend. Sheila has completed both London and Edinburgh marathons in sub 4 hours - this was the girl to get me through 15 miles!

Runners of Manchester:
I salute you!
A quick check of the weather forecast on Saturday morning suggested that we get out about 9.30 in order to avoid the rain wind and hail that was - as I found out later - presently battering London and the TNR girls on their 15 mile journey and was now Manchester bound. So we quickly got up, dressed and out the door.

The wind. Oh my the wind!! Bitterly cold and at some points strong enough to lean in to and say upright! My mantra in difficult conditions (wind, hail, stitches, skinned knees & hangovers - ideally not all at once) is that I might well experience these things on marathon day (well, hopefully not the hangover...) so I need to man up & plough through regardless. So that's just what we did! And can I just say - the runners of Manchester were super friendly, smiley and lovely. It made the run all the more enjoyable :)

My knees began to groan about mile 11 and by mile 13 my hips were tight and achey, but we made it. 15 miles: DONE! Reward was some retail therapy in Manchester with three bottles of Pinot Grigio & gluten-free pizza for dinner at Dough - delicious!

I'm super chuffed to have run my furthest distance to date, and not to have suffered from aches and pains too badly despite my lack of during-week training. I hope to get in some run sessions this week but have two spin sessions booked so we'll see! Regardless, I have 17 miles on my plan that I will have to see through next weekend. 

Looks like the territory is uncharted from here on out. Hoist the sail m'hartys - all aboard! We're off on an adventure...

Katy | City Girl Fit

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Training update: giving longs run a rest

As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, as part of marathon training I've just been running and running and - yep, you guessed it - running. This week, I decided that my long run would be left in the bank so that I could do something other than running with my weekend. 

Run commute success!
But I'm not about to turn my back on the mileage, oh no! After a short but speedy 3 mile session on Tuesday evening, I set the alarm bright and early on Thursday to do my first run commute: a 1.7 mile leg to the train station, 10 mins on the train, then 7.5 miles from the station to work = 9.3 miles total. 

Despite some 'puddles' to navigate and an incident with a mini swamp in which my shoe was lucky to make it out alive, I made it there in one piece! It was lovely to watch the colour of the sky change as the sun came up, and enjoy the peace and quiet of woodland paths versus the hustle and bustle of the train. I'll be doing that one again!

After a prosecco-filled Friday night I knew that a saturday run would be off the cards, so instead the boy and I decided to head out on a London adventure. I bought him a book called 'London's Hidden Walks' last year, and we had yet to go on one - what better excuse than a hangover and need to blow the cobwebs away?

Thames path out east - a quiet spot!
At new year we put together a bucket list of things we wanted to do in London, and on there was the Emirates Air Line cable car. So we picked the east Rotherhithe walk, with the plan to extend this along to the o2. It turned out to be a beautiful day, and a solid 7 miles of walking along a part of the Thames path that I'd never seen before - MUCH quieter than along by London Bridge/Waterloo. As in not a soul to be seen for miles!

At the end of our walk we boarded the cable car. I don't quite know how I managed to forget this, but I'm really scared of heights! When we hit the peak of the cable car ride it was very windy - needless to say I was not a happy bunny. I managed to get over this long enough to take a picture. Sorry it's a bit blurry. That's what shaking uncontrollably does to you....

Given that my Saturday was dedicated to walking off my hangover, Sunday should have been my long run day. However, I'd already booked on to one of the free classes offered up by BOOM cycle at their new site in Holborn. I decided instead to run there, do the 1h15 class, see how I feel and maybe run back. This surely is as good as doing a long run, right?!

I set off from home at 9.30am up towards Vauxhall, along the river, up to holborn - 5.6 miles in the glorious sunshine. It's when I run around these areas of London that I feel like a tourist again. It's easy to forget what is right there on our doorstep. There's no denying - London is a beautiful city.

Descending the stairs on Proctor street in to BOOM, it's clear that they've kept the same minimalist-cool vibes from the other site at Shoreditch. Friendly receptionists welcomed me in and I plonked my running backpack in the free to use lockers (it's the little things that count - free lockers make my day!).

I'd signed up for a 75 minute class with Mark Clarke - one of my favourite instructors at BOOM. He has such a calm nature and really gives you a good insight and instruction as to how hard you should be working at each point. Very useful to stop you going out to hard and dying half way through!! My runner friend Kiera had also signed up for this class - always nice to see a friendly face and catch up on training schedules :)

It was a tough class, some heavy, loooong hills and speed work with heavy resistance. But - as I always feel after spin at BOOM - it was awesome! Shared a 'how sweaty am I?' glance with Keira at the end. Answer: VERY! Ignoring the pleas from my legs, I thought a short trot down to Stockwell station would be just the ticket. A quick call to the boy and found out he was making us some soup for lunch - perfect! Should be ready when I get home... 

2.5 miles in to my run home I realise that weird sensation I'd been feeling was not the beginnings of a stroke but my phone frantically buzzing in my backpack. 5 missed calls from the boy. Uhoh. 1 picture message from the boy. If you're squeamish, look away now:

Soup-making is clearly a dangerous sport! I had to cut my run short and hop on the tube via tescos to pick up TCP and bandages. Nevertheless, as I realised on my tube ride home, I'd completed a mini duathlon today. Not too shabby!

Back to long running next weekend, but was pleased of the break this week. How has your training been this week? Are the long runs getting to you too??

Katy | City Girl Fit