Run, Run, Run, As Fast As You Can….

Hello and happy hump day to you all! We’re so nearly at the middle of the week 🙂

Well, I have been somewhat lax in my training diaries of late – the last couple of weeks have been mad! Full of stag do, hen do and wedding prep fun. I had my hen weekend a couple of weekends ago; decamped to a big house in Windermere for lots of food and drink in one of my favourite parts of the world. Couldn’t have asked for more!

Training for the Northumberland Half Marathon (in 4.5 weeks!) is ticking along nicely. While Long Run Sunday was disrupted a bit by the hen do; last weekend saw my longest run since 2014. That in itself is a very scary thing to write – I can’t believe it has been that long!

Having built a base in January, getting used to running again and regaining my fitness; I started injecting some Fartlek training into my runs in February. Generally speaking; I would do a 4 mile loop around the Town Moor with 30s – 1 min – 30s – 1 min – 30s bursts in the middle. Not only do you get to feel like The Flash – at least for a little bit – you can feel the benefits of a Fartlek run pretty much straight away. On Sunday, I went out for what should have been a 7 mile steady training run. However; because it’s been so long since I ran around Jesmond Dene, I managed to get a *little* bit disoriented and ended up adding an extra mile on the end. Whoops! Though, I was a little worried that I might really struggle with that distance; so it’s good to know that I was able to go a little bit further than expected!

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This weekend brings Alnwick Cross Country; the most scenic of all North East Harrier League fixtures (in my humble opinion); followed by 9 miles of Long Run Sunday goodness. Then it’s off to Sunderland for some Mother’s Day food 🙂

Happy running!

Getting back on the horse: a training diary

Sunday afternoons. Made for blankets, cups of tea and roaring fires. Unfortunately, we have to brave an Ikea trip this afternoon; so that winter bliss is about to be thrown out in the freezing cold….never mind; I’ll enjoy the next few minutes while it lasts!

This week has marked my first week of getting back on the exercise horse. In just under 12 weeks; I will be walking down the aisle in what I hope will be a beautifully fitting white gown. 12 weeks today; I will be running my first half marathon in about 2 years. Unfortunately though; I bought the dress a  year ago and I haven’t trained consistently since then; so both of these images are probably a little way from being a reality!

I am not one for excessive dieting. I love food too much and I can’t function on a few hundred calories a day, especially if exercising – not to mention that it’s not a healthy or sustainable approach! What I am aiming for instead; is a more conscious attitude to what I’m putting in my mouth, combined with regular and varied exercise. I have cut out mid-week alcohol; although I am allowing myself to drink on a Friday/Saturday night. I think this in itself will have a big effect – even one week in I can feel a difference. I’ve also been keeping an eye on my carb intake, just for the first few weeks – no bread, more veggies and less potatoes and rice with my evening meals. I am actually pleasantly surprised that I’m still feeling full after tea. Chocolates are always a killer, especially this time of year – the house is overflowing with leftover chocolates and biscuits – but I am coping OK so far! I have allowed myself little bits; but again nothing excessive.

I thought it might help me to do a weekly review of my week’s exercise and how I felt – firstly; because if I write it down I will have something to look back on and compare for progress; secondly because if it’s out there in the public sphere then there are more eyes on me to know if I’m slacking! Haha. So, here is week 1:

Wednesday 

I hadn’t run since the previous weekend; so I went out on a just-under 5K loop from our house. No alcohol since the previous Saturday. This run felt good; for the first time since I’d started getting out again. Steady pace at around 9.20/mile. I even managed a sneaky sprint finish!

Thursday

I did a Bodycombat class at my gym; my first one. I wasn’t really sure what to expect; I thought it was a circuit-style class – but it’s actually martial arts inspired. Lots of punching and kicking! I was a bit nervous to begin with but soon got into the swing of it – proved by the fact that I did an upward punch so hard that I jarred my elbow and spent the rest of the day trying not to move it! I’m no karate kid, clearly 🙂 next class booked for next week.

Sunday

‘Long Run Sunday’ as it is traditionally known in our house; or used to be back when we were both training well! Today’s ‘long’ run was just over 4 miles. Not far compared to what I used to do, but relative to my current situation. The run itself was horrible – it was cold and windy, I couldn’t get my breath and had to stop 2 or 3 times. Average pace just over 10/mile.

Weekly mileage total:  7 miles

Weekly workout total: 3 sessions

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday you lovely lot! Off to Ikea…..wish me luck…..

 

The World’s Happiest 5K

If you saw yesterday’s post; you’ll know that today I was running the Color Run in Sunderland. This has been in the calendar since the beginning of the year; but until the race pack arrived a few weeks ago; I have to admit I had almost forgotten about it!

Over the course of the run, you pass through 4 different coloured ‘zones’ – pink, blue, orange and yellow – at which points lots of willing volunteers stand ready and waiting with buckets full of paint powder, which they throw at the participants as they pass through. The idea is that your white event t-shirt comes away looking anything but white at the end! When you finish the race you are handed your own paint pack to make a mess with at the afterparty 🙂

The run was routed in the streets and land around the Stadium of Light; with the start and finish areas in the main car park. By the finish there was a stage with a DJ to host the ‘finisher’s party’, a couple of stalls selling merchandise and an area for photos. Sadly both James and I had left our phones at home so we missed our opportunity for a photo shoot with the Dulux dog 😉

I’ve been struggling a bit with my running of late and feeling a bit burnt out and out of shape; so the run today was just what I needed. The atmosphere was more party than run and you couldn’t help but grin as you watched everyone run past coated head to toe in paint! It wasn’t timed and there were so many people that you couldn’t really have taken it fast; even if you had wanted to. So instead, we had a nice, steady, gentle jog and just enjoyed it. We were also lucky enough to bump into a friend mid-way through the run who took the below photo for us.

At £29.99 all in the Color Run was a lot more than I would ever usually fork out for a 5k; however I have to say I think it was well worth it. It was a brilliant day and it’s also great to see events like this popping up in the North-East. There are other themed runs coming up over the rest of the year; such as the Neon Run in October; that I might just have to try out as well 🙂

Steph x

Me and James just after the Orange zone; looking colourful!
Me and James just after the Orange zone; looking colourful!
What I looked like at the end!
What I looked like at the end!

Tuesdays are training days!

Tonight was a running night – my club (the mighty Tyne Bridge Harriers) meets every Tuesday and Thursday evening.

Confession…. it has been a little while since I’ve religiously attended club sessions. Alright; maybe a bit longer than that. OK, OK. I cannot remember the last time I went to both club sessions in a week.

In fairness; up until the end of May I was training for Edinburgh Marathon Festival, my second attempt at 26.2. I might throw my race report up soon for you to read 🙂 Marathons are draining little buggers and do take a lot more out of you than you realise; as I found out on the few runs I did in the weeks following the event – I felt slow, sluggish, generally tired and not at all my usual running self. Add to that a spot of plantar fasciitis and I was often finding excuses to miss my training runs.

 

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My beloved Asics have been a little abandoned of late

Until, that is, last Tuesday, when we held our annual Bridges of the Tyne 5 Mile Road Race. The route is often used on club nights and for Long Run Sundays, so it was all familiar territory….but I just wasn’t feeling it. I ran my slowest race pace for over a year and felt absolutely awful throughout the whole thing. I had let my fitness slip a lot more than I realised.

Last week’s race was a wake-up call and has given me the kick I needed to get back into shape and back to training. Binging on unhealthy foods and skipping runs ‘because I ran a marathon a couple of weeks ago and I deserve a rest’ does not cut it any more. Cross training and regular and varied club sessions are the way forward!

I will keep you all up to date with my progress.. first up is the Color Run this Sunday, which will be great fun 🙂

 

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Color Run’s coming!

Steph x