Race for Life 2013

I hope everyone enjoyed the beautifully sunny long weekend! I ended up a little pink, but it was definitely worth it šŸ™‚

As I mentioned previously, on Sunday aĀ couple friends and I ran Race for Life, in support of Cancer Research UK. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, as I hadn’t done one of these events before, but it was fantastic!

There were hundreds of people there. There was music, dancing, and the sun was out in full force. (I’ll admit, I was very tempted to just lie on the grass and let the others run without me).

It was also extremely well organised. Race packs were sent out well in advance, with detailled instructions; start areas for runners, joggers and walkers were clearly indicated; there were TONS of portaloos (and no queues), and the organised warmup was great fun. I can’t believe how enthusiastic the volunteers were, either! All lovely, smiley and chatty. One of them even stood in the middle of the road at around the 3k mark to high-five every. single. person. as they passed him – this put SUCH a smile on my face!

Whilst the high temperature made running a little tough (I did most of my marathon training in sub-6 degrees over the winter ..) I really enjoyed it. To be fair, I did walk up a particularly big hill, and along a tarmac road that was reflecting some serious heat .. But I still finished with a ‘gun’ time of 32:40. No clue what my actual time was, but of course being an untimed event, it didn’t matter.

The supporters were fab – almost the entire way around the course they were cheering, clapping and encouraging us all. It was wonderful to see so many people taking part, and there was a real feeling of solidarity between runners, joggers and walkers alike. I really hadn’t appreciated before now just what a difference the crowd support can make whenĀ  you’re starting to flag. Thank you so much, you wonderful people!

It was really touching reading the signs onĀ people’s tops, as many were running for family members and friends that they had lost (a few quite recently). My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by this awful illness – I’m sure whoever you were running for would have been proud of you.

I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to the organisers, supportersĀ and volunteersĀ (you were all amazing!) and WELL DONE to everyone who took part. We all rocked it, and I can’t wait to see how much was raised!

Advertisements

Race for Life

I hope everyone enjoyed the beautifully sunny long weekend! I ended up a little pink, but it was definitely worth it šŸ™‚

As I mentioned previously, on Sunday aĀ couple friends and I ran Race for Life, in support of Cancer Research UK. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, as I hadn’t done one of these events before, but it was fantastic!

There were hundreds of people there. There was music, dancing, and the sun was out in full force. (I’ll admit, I was very tempted to just lie on the grass and let the others run without me).

It was also extremely well organised. Race packs were sent out well in advance, with detailled instructions; start areas for runners, joggers and walkers were clearly indicated; there were TONS of portaloos (and no queues), and the organised warmup was great fun. I can’t believe how enthusiastic the volunteers were, either! All lovely, smiley and chatty. One of them even stood in the middle of the road at around the 3k mark to high-five every. single. person. as they passed him – this put SUCH a smile on my face!

Whilst the high temperature made running a little tough (I did most of my marathon training in sub-6 degrees over the winter ..) I really enjoyed it. To be fair, I did walk up a particularly big hill, and along a tarmac road that was reflecting some serious heat .. But I still finished with a ‘gun’ time of 32:40. No clue what my actual time was, but of course being an untimed event, it didn’t matter.

The supporters were fab – almost the entire way around the course they were cheering, clapping and encouraging us all. It was wonderful to see so many people taking part, and there was a real feeling of solidarity between runners, joggers and walkers alike. I really hadn’t appreciated before now just what a difference the crowd support can make whenĀ  you’re starting to flag. Thank you so much, you wonderful people!

It was really touching reading the signs onĀ people’s tops, as many were running for family members and friends that they had lost (a few quite recently). My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by this awful illness – I’m sure whoever you were running for would have been proud of you.

I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to the organisers, supportersĀ and volunteersĀ (you were all amazing!) and WELL DONE to everyone who took part. We all rocked it, and I can’t wait to see how much was raised!

Regaining running fitness

It always amazes me just how much fitness you can lose after just a couple of weeks of not regularly running. Granted, it serves me right for not sticking to my training plan – but life really has been crazy lately. I’ve been handed over more than 20 clients at work (lots of those are very quiet accounts .. but even so), I’ve had birthdays, work events, meetings .. And I recently started driving lessons. Phew!

I have to admit, the feedback from the biomechanical running analysis kind of knocked my confidence a little. Having someone demonstrate how bad you are at something that 1) you don’t feel you’re that great at, 2) you kind of thought you miiight be getting better at and 3) have enough trouble motivating yourself to get out there and do it already .. Well, it doesn’t really make me want to get out there and give it a go.

I sometimes wonder whether my half marathon actually happened. Did I really run 13.25 miles in the torrential rain, for a creme egg? Did I really push myself through a 3-hour, 16-mile training run in the bitter cold, on the verge of tears, nearly throwing my last half a gel at a horrendous little boy?

Was I really a runner?

Am I even a runner now?

I tried to adjust my running posture this evening. I tried to stop my arms from crossing my torso and making it twist – and my torso defiantly twisted even more. I tried to take smaller, quicker steps to reduce the amount of time my feet were on the ground – my feet moved faster, but I’m pretty sure I’d still be classed a ‘shuffler’.

It sounds crazy, but I feel like I’ve forgotten HOW to run. Suddenly, whatever I do it doesn’t feel ‘right’ like it did before, and far from maintainable! But how can I have gotten to this stage, when I was comfortably running 2+ hours just a couple months ago? I mean, I cycle 14 miles a day! It isn’t like I don’t do cardio!

It really goes to show that no matter how good a workout cross-training might be, nothing really maintains your running fitness and technique .. except running.

Has anybody else found this?

My shin/upper foot pain flared up before I even got 1.5 miles into my run this evening. I made it to 2.25 miles and ended up back at my house, with no desire to go back around the block for another mile.

Not even 3 miles. Where on earth did those other 13 go? And when will I get them back?

On a more positive note, myself and a few ladies from my office are running the 5k Race for Life on Sunday, in support of Cancer Research UK. If you’re interested in donating to a good cause, we’re Ā£50 towards our Ā£100 goal, and every little bit is greatly appreciated by all of us.

Now I’m off to stretch, and foam roll a few niggly muscles back into submission!

Biomechanical Running Analysis

The results of the running analysis I had done yesterday were pretty much expected, and support what the physio said about glutes, abs and hip flexors!

They took my running history, including injuries, and then set the treadmill to a 10k pace whilst they took a video from the back and the side. They were really lovely, and given that my session was a freebie I was really impressed at the time they took to discussĀ everything with me afterwards.

There were aĀ number ofĀ things wrong! (some of which I’d already guessed). Firstly, my torso rotates too much, thanks to my arms swingingĀ across itĀ rather than forwards and backwards. Of course, any rotation in the upper body is translated to the lower joints (knees, ankles) and causes problems.

Secondly, I overstride, meaning I heel strike (increasing the impact on my knees). I also don’t bring my feet up high enough, which means that I run really inefficiently as I’m not generating much energy at all with each stride. Apparently, the industry lingo for thisĀ is ‘shuffle runner’ – not a name I want to keep!

She explained that this is because I have weak glutes. When I mentioned I often ache in my calves, she said that they’re compensating because my glutes aren’t engaged when I run. Looks like it’sĀ going to be regular squats and lunges for me!

Thirdly, my left foot is rotated outwards as I land. The reason she gave for this was that I might have tight hip flexors. The physio mentioned this too, and it explains the shin/upper foot pain I’ve been having (and why this pain eases off a few miles into a run, once I’m warmed up and have eased into my stride).

The thing is, changing my running style is something I’ve always really struggled with. On the treadmill, if a niggle starts I can generally adjust and fix it (though once I start to get tired, it inevitably comes back, and I have to consciously re-adjust!)

I’ve given myself some goals for the next few weeks, to try and correct my running style beforeĀ my trainingĀ mileage begins to increase:

  • Strengthening exercises for glutes and core stability muscles
  • Stretch hip flexors and tight muscles regularly, including foam rolling
  • Work on landing under my centre of gravity, and not over-striding
  • Try to work on a mid-foot strike, rather than heel striking
  • Use arms for forward propulsion, and avoid swinging them across my torso
  • Pick my feet up higher with each stride, and increase cadence
  • Try and keep both feet in line! (Stretching hip flexors should help)

I’m hoping that as my running technique becomes more efficient, my injuries should reduce and my times should get better. We’ll see!

A parkrun PB and a rainy commute

Wow, it’s been a while since I posted! Where does the time go!?

In all honesty, I haven’t had much time for running over the past week or so (though I feel like I kind of made up for it by beating my parkrun PB by over 3 minutes last weekend!!!) I even ran home afterwards, pushing it to 4 miles – which was that weekend’s long run! Yay!

My weekends are going by crazy fast! On the training front, I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things from Wednesday, with a 4 mile treadmill session. I’ve missed far too many runs lately.

On Thursday I have a free biomechanical running analysis (normally Ā£125)! I’m really excited about this, as the physio told me that my running posture is the reason my shin has been hurting – hopefully I can get some tips on how to improve it, and finally speed up without a burning pain in my foot/shin! (Can always hope).

I chickened out on a couple of cycles home last week, due to ridiculous wind speeds – 24mph, at one point! Today, despite the winds creeping up to 18mph, I decided that as the sun was out, I would brave it. I headed off, and everything was fine until a few miles down the road. The skies started to cloud over and go a little grey, but I didn’t really let it bother me as I was on my way home, anyway.

A couple miles from home, the heavens opened. Great timing, too – I’d just gone under the A3 underpass (i.e. shelter from the rain!) and the light at the junction just beyond it chose that moment to go red. Given that it’s a huge junction with 3 sets of traffic lights, I was stuck there for a looong time, surrounded by commuters in their nice cosy cars whilst discovering that my trail running jacket wasn’t exactly waterproof. Sigh.

rain1Absolutely SOAKED, and my poor shoes are now on the radiator!
The jacket may take a little longer to dry ..

The lights finally turned green and I turned right, onto the main road .. Directly into an 18mph head-on wind. Turns out that torrential rain is even LESS fun when blown into your face! To make it even better, the rain turned to hail for the last half mile.

I’ll admit, I did start laughing at one point. In situations like that, you just have to!

The sunny weather was so promising, too ..