5 excuses I’ve used for not running recently – and why they’re rubbish!

My parents really know how to pose for a photo… ūüėÄ

Dude, where has this year gone!? How is it December? How is it CHRISTMAS next week?!

The past few months¬†have flown by.¬†I’ve been to¬†Devon for some family time; to Nottingham to see some Uni friends; James and I went into London to see the Christmas lights and markets; I’ve been out and about to meetings and work events…

It’s been manic, and I’ve reached the point where¬†running has slowly but steadily been nudged out of my schedule. Fail.

Next weekend, my marathon training plan will officially start (you didn’t think I’d defer Dublin and not have another one in the pipeline, did you!?) and I’m determined to finally get that sub-5. I’m also working towards a very (!) optimistic sub-2 half, which my little brother is helping me to prepare for. He’s even going to pace me on the day, so I really have no option but to make it happen! Gulp! (I mean, I can’t let him get a better time than me all the glory, right!?) ūüėÄ

I’ve decided that it’s time to ‘fess up to my rubbish excuses, and get myself back into a proper routine. Here are the five I use most, along with some counter-arguments that I need to use more! Who’s with me??

1. I don’t have time.

Uuugh, this old chestnut. Back in October, my daily commute went from 20 minutes each way to 1h20 each way. This means¬†I now get up at 6h45 and get home between 6 and 7, and my days suddenly feel extreeemely short. But if there’s anything I’ve learnt over the years, it’s that there’s always a way to fit exercise into a work day – I just need to commit myself! Whether that’s getting up 30 minutes earlier (doable!), making the most of¬†my lunch break or skipping an episode on Netflix in the evening, I definitely have time.

2. I’m tired.

With a longer commute, lots going on at work, busy weekends and preparing for Christmas, my energy levels are pretty low. But ironically, whilst running is the last thing I feel like doing, I’m guaranteed to feel better for it – more energised, more positive, and more productive.¬†The tricky bit is just getting myself out the door!

3. I don’t have my kit.

Back when I was training for Barcelona, on busy days I would make sure that I had my¬†running/gym gear with me from the minute I left the house in the morning. This meant that no matter how hectic the day got (having to be in the office early, last-minute meetings scheduled over lunch, finishing late), I knew that I could fit in some sort of workout at some point around my other commitments. Since the office move, I haven’t packed my gym kit into the car ONCE, always telling myself I’d just ‘run when I get home’. Famous last words…

4. There’s no shower/lockers/changing facilities.

The office move didn’t just mean a longer commute – it meant switching from a tiny office with a dozen people to a huge open-plan office with over a hundred (most of whom I don’t know, and wandering past them in sweaty lycra isn’t the best first impression!). Stupidly, I immediately used it as a reason to not work out at lunch – something that I used to LOVE doing. But¬†I’ve hunted around and found a gym half a mile from the office, which means that¬†showers and changing facilities are sorted! ūüėČ

5. I’ve lost my fitness and it’s hard.

This is a vicious circle,¬†and I’m sure we’ve all been there. You skip a couple of runs, and suddenly it’s been 2 weeks and you’ve not laced up your trainers once. Then you go out and try and run your usual pace, but it feels way harder than you remember. You don’t enjoy the run, and put it off for another 2 weeks – at which point it’s going to be EVEN HARDER. You’d think I’d have learnt my lesson by now – consistency (regardless of the distance or pace) is key!

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Are you finding it hard to keep yourself motivated? What are your excuses, and how do you get yourself out there?

Dublin Marathon Training: Week 1

Hot 5k Run

Me and my smug lovely¬†pacer ūüėÄ

How’s your summer going, you lovely lot? Are you training for anything, or just enjoying the sunshine? I can’t believe the events that people have been doing recently! Such a motivation! ūüôā

As for me, today marks the end of¬†the first week on my Dublin Marathon training plan. I think I’d gotten so used to NOT following a plan – running where and when I fancied, cross training here and there, hiking a bit – I’d let myself slip a little when it came to keeping a routine (or any kind of structure or discipline, whatsoever).

Luckily, I’ve been able to rope James in to join me on a couple of my sessions. I say luckily, as I probably wouldn’t have pushed myself so hard if I’d been alone, but I’ll admit that I was naive enough to think¬†that¬†he might just take it easy on me.

HAHA nope.

We set off for my third 5k of the week yesterday (it was meant to be 10k, but heat + humidity = nah), and I managed to persuade him to start slowly Рby his standards, at least. Unfortunately, this meant that he then ramped things up for miles 2 and 3, taking the pace from 9:39 to 9:13 by the end. Ouch.

No pain no gain, right!?

Dublin Marathon Week 1 Training

Highs and lows: Enjoying a mocha frappe after Sunday’s cycle, and ready to keel over¬†on Saturday’s 5k…

As I cut Saturday’s run short, I decided to get some miles in¬†on the bike today to make up for it a bit. We found a new route along¬†a trail we’d never heard of before (the ‘Christmas Pie’ trail, apparently!) and followed it to Farnham.

This only gave us 14 miles, but after fighting our way through brambles and nettles and hugely overgrown wooded bits (parts of which we had to walk our bikes through), we decided against an out-and-back, and got on the train instead.

We weren’t complete cop-outs, though! We jumped off at Woking, and cycled the last 6 miles home¬†on a lovely smooth stretch of road, rounding us up to 20. Not too bad!

Surrey Cycle Finish

Enjoying the sunshine after 20 tough miles.

Overall, I’m just glad that my legs seemed fairly happy with 3 runs and some cross-training! And I’m looking forward to adding on some miles next week. Though looking at the weather forecast, I think I’m going to have to force myself out of bed a little earlier. The heat isn’t my friend!

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Week 1 summary (weeks to Dublin: 15)

Planned sessions: 3 miles easy + strides / 3 miles steady / 6 miles easy

Sessions completed: 3 miles easy + strides / 3 miles steady / 3 miles progression

Cross training: 20 mile cycle

Barcelona Marathon Training: Week 7/16

I’m baaack!

These weekly training posts have disappeared for a little while now, thanks to a tendon injury I’ve been trying to recover from. This was my first full week of training after a 2-week break (which still included a bit of running, but at a gentle pace and nothing over 5k). Quite frankly, I haven’t really been doing enough for a weekly summary!

Today, I cut the scheduled¬†17 miler to 14 miles and re-jigged the¬†plan a bit¬†(thank goodness for cut-back weeks giving me some wiggle room…) and I’m officially back on track! Come at me, Barcelona!

Barcelona Training Run With Head Torch

I got a running backpack for Christmas, and a head torch a few weeks back, and today was the first time I ran with them. (Yep, I’ve been skipping my run commutes – ooops!)

I felt slightly dubious before I set off. Having used a belt and water bottle for my¬†last 2 marathons, I felt like a bit of a wannabe with my new kit! But it made my run SO much easier. I’m never doing a long run without the pack ever again, ever ever ever! ūüėÄ

Barcelona Training Run With Head Torch 2

The head torch was seriously fun, too. Now that I can see where I’m going, the possibilities for run routes are ENDLESS, and thanks to the backpack they’ll¬†be made even better¬†with ALL THE SNACKS! (Oh, and I can now run home without faffing with my belt/tripping over tree routes. An added bonus).

Sooo, without further rambling, my week looked like this:

Tuesday: 5k @ 9:29/mile. I took it easy as I didn’t want to shoot off and have to walk home (the physio had told me to go easy on both speed and distance until my leg was better). It was tough after a break, but given that my 5k PB was 9:40/mile back in¬†August, hitting 9:29 on an ‘easy’ run felt brilliant. And no pain, either!

Thursday: 4m @ 9:40/mile. This was meant to be 7 miles, but I ran out of time and cut it short. I also accidentally recorded the first half a mile as a cycle, rather than a run, but as a result I discovered the funky ‘multi sport’ option on my Garmin – so there’s that!

Sunday: 14m @ 10:16/mile. I also clocked a half marathon ‘moving’ time of 2:15:07, which is a PB of 7 minutes and 3 seconds! Woop woop! And miles 13 and 14 were my fastest, at 9:57 and 9:39. This isn’t counting the breaks I took to stretch, adjust the pack, put the head torch on, cross roads etc. but it’s pretty awesome regardless!

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Do you have a spring race you’re training for? How’s it all going?

Barcelona Marathon Training: Week 2/16

I’ve decided to document my marathon training properly this time round, both for accountability and as an easy way to track my progress (or lack thereof, as the case may sometimes be…)¬†And¬†2 weeks into my Barcelona Marathon training plan, I’m starting to remember why I don’t enter them more often!

Nah, I’m kidding. Sort of.

I’ll tell you what, though – the weather¬†hasn’t helped! I’ve pretty much had a¬†choice of either gale force winds or heavy rain (or yknow, both).

But at least it hasn’t been cold, right?¬†With the exception of Thursday evening, I’ve been out in capris and short sleeves every run! What’s going on, December!?

Barcelona Marathon Training Week 2

Looking like a drowned rat after Thursday’s blustery, rainy gym trip.

For my last 2 marathons, I’ve followed a plan that had me running 3x a week, and it suited me pretty well. But this time round I really want to focus on improving my speed, strength and running efficiency – which means running more often.¬†So this time round, I’m running 4x a week, and one of them is a 5k speed session. Ouch, but effective!

My week 2 looked like this:

Tuesday: 5k @ 9:37. Windy, hard work, heavy legs! Quite a bit slower than planned.

Wednesday: 7 miles @ 9:50, with a strong last mile @ 9:11!

Thursday: 1 mile to the gym, 1 mile on the treadmill, 1hr weights session, 1 mile run home. Windy, wet, and horrible! But I left the Garmin at home, which was quite nice.

Sunday: 12 miles @ 9:55. My Garmin had a bit of a meltdown at mile 10 and made me run an extra .3 (ish) after deleting part of my route, so I’m taking this with a pinch of salt!

Bring it on, week 3!

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How’s your running going? Any events on the horizon?

Bushy Park 10k: The sub-60 attempt

I’ve been working on improving my running pace since the summer. Back in August, my 5k PB was 29:59 (9:40/mile), and had been exactly that for nearly 2 years. A couple of weeks ago I finally got myself into the 28s, and decided that it was now¬†time to work on my 10k. Gulp.

My last 10k race was at Bushy Park back in 2013, where I crossed the line in 1:01:59. My goal was to average sub-10:00 – nailed it! But I decided that I really wanted to get down to sub-60. This would mean running at an average pace of 9:39/mile, which was a pretty daunting thought.

I have a very understanding boyfriend. (Also, I might have paid for his place and then bribed him with stew). Whatever the reason, I managed to persuade him out of bed at stupid o’clock on a Sunday morning, to run 5k in the freezing cold, and then wait another half hour for me to finish the 10k (at which point it was STILL freezing cold). He got a medal, a protein shake, and a lot of cheers for his sprint finish, so I think it did him some good ūüėÄ

Bushy Park 10k Final Stretch

The final .2 was SO hard. I couldn’t even muster a smile – all James got was a half-hearted thumbs up. But it waaas an 8:17 sprint finish, so I’m sure he’ll let me off!

As usual, I set off too fast at the start, but managed to slow myself down and hit 9:38 for the first mile. I then accidentally stayed at the slower pace, clocking 9:45 for mile 2, so I had to get a bit of a move on for mile 3! This hurt, and keeping it up through slippery mud and a thick layer of leaves was pretty hard work. I think I did the first 5k in over 30:00 (at which point a lot of the people around me headed off to the finish – not that I was jealous, or anything!)

Mile 4 was my favourite, and I settled into a comfy pace that I managed to keep up until about 8k. This was when I hit the muddy leafy bit again, at which point I wanted to cry and/or walk/sit down on the floor and strop. But instead, I channelled my inner adult, and got the f*** on with it. And then I nearly ran into a gorgeous stag, who chose that moment to wander into the path about 2 feet away. Pretty good time for a distraction, to be fair!

Bushy Park 10k Sprint Finish

The elusive mid-foot strike! It exists!

My inner adult got me through mile 6 in 9:26, which made me glad that I hadn’t walked or stropped, after all. But then I discovered¬†that pushing yourself through 10k at what was recently your 5k PB pace can REALLY hurt. When I saw the finish line I¬†pushed a little bit harder (I think I stopped breathing for a second or two), crossing it with a sprint finish of 8:17. Result!

Bushy Park 10k Medals

D’aw, isn’t he lovely? And the medals have Christmas puddings¬†on!

After I caught my breath a little, and decided that I wasn’t going to throw up (it was a close call), my smile came back. And then a few happy tears, because 59:23, you are (provisionally but I’ll take it) MINE! (Edit: The official results are in, and I did it! 59:23!)

I wangled a 2:36 PB. Yes, I did.

Bushy Park 10k Bobble Hat

And then I broke out the bobble hat. Because, bobble hats. And it was still freezing.

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Did you run this weekend? How did it go? ūüôā