Dublin Marathon: Decision Time

box-hill-walk

Gorgeous views from Box Hill last weekend!

I’ve drafted and re-drafted this post sooo many times, and then I dithered over whether or not I should even publish it. But here it is.

I have a habit of setting big goals, and putting quite a bit of pressure on myself to meet them. And I’m pretty hard on myself when things don’t go to plan.

So this decision was really hard.

A few weeks into my Dublin Marathon plan, I caught a nasty cold and was out of action for a couple of weeks. When I finally got back into my running shoes, things just… didn’t feel quite right. My breathing wouldn’t settle, my legs were heavy, and even the shorter ‘easy’ runs felt like a struggle.

I hate to say it, but I kind of fell out of love with running.

I blamed it on taking a break, I blamed it on the freakishly hot weather we’ve had, I blamed it on work… But what I eventually realised was that for whatever reason, my heart just wasn’t in it anymore.

I feel a bit crap admitting it, if I’m honest!

The thing is, when it comes to marathon training, it’s not enough to just tick off the sessions on your plan. As the long runs get longer, it’s that mental drive that will keep you going – pure stubbornness and determination. And somewhere along the line, I lost mine.

I love running. I love races, and I love big city marathons. Standing at the starting line of an event I always get butterflies, and crossing the finish line is the best feeling EVER.

But I think I need to listen to my body, and accept that maybe 2 marathons (plus that little hike across Exmoor…) are enough for me this year.

So I’ve decided to DNS Dublin, and postpone my sub-5 marathon attempt to 2017. I’m going to work towards a spring race, which means training will start again a little later this year.

I feel like a bit of a failure for giving up. But I’m not going to stop training completely – I’m going to get back into parkrun; I’m going to work on my swimming; I’ll be exploring more walk routes in the Surrey Hills (suggestions or company are both welcome!), and I’ll of course be spending some quality time with friends and family.

It’s time to take some of the pressure off, and get back into running for FUN, not for finish times.

Next month I’ll be heading down to Devon to join my lovely parents for the Great West Run. It’ll be my Dad’s first race since his accident last year, and I’m really looking forward to running it with him.

Dublin, I’ll see you next year.

Have you ever DNS’d or postponed a big race?

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Dublin Marathon Training: #runnersnotrunning

I have to say, I hate missing sessions on my training plan. For weeks 1 and 2, I ticked them all off – even on the hottest day of the year. But I’ve had a cold for the past week and a bit, so last week – and this week, so far – have seen exactly NO runs.

This is sooo frustrating, as I was just starting to see some real progress! To top it all off, I joined my local tri club last week, and was excited to get some cross-training in, too. However, a tickly cough and a stuffy head aren’t really that great to swim or run with. Boo.

But I wanted to get outside and do something, at least – so on Sunday, James and I decided to catch a train to London and spend the afternoon skating. It wasn’t quite the same as a long run, has to be said, but it was good fun and a pretty good workout – especially given how tense I was! (A master skater, I am not!)

We got the tube to Green Park, and walked across to Hyde Park from there. We passed lots of very tired looking cyclists (unfortunately, the Ride London ballot decided that this wasn’t my year – fingers crossed for next time!) and even saw one rider setting off for a run in his kit! As if 100 miles of cycling wasn’t enough for one day…

We sat on the curb, got our skates on … and then James had to help me up, because face-planting the pavement would have been a rubbish start 😀

Skating in Hyde Park

Step 1: skates on, and managed to stand up – with a little help!

The main goal was for me to learn to control my speed and be able to ‘t-stop’. Up until now, I’ve always just skated into poles/walls/the person I’m skating with, which has worked fine for me 😉 But James wasn’t standing for it, so I had some work to do…

Pokemon Hunting in Hyde Park

James made some new friends at a local PokeStop… 

After a wobbly start, I managed to pick up a little speed and could manoeuvre well enough to avoid the huge crowds of walkers, cyclists, skaters and runners. And then James realised that there were a ton of poke stops and lures about (and a gym), so he picked a route that would periodically take us past them all.

I was having enough trouble keeping myself upright, so my phone stayed in my bag for most of the afternoon. James, however, was multi-tasking like a boss, challenging gyms and catching pokemon and skating circles around me (literally). Sigh.

Skating in Hyde Park 2

The expert vs. the not-so-expert (but I didn’t fall over, at least!)

Hyde Park

Skating selfie! Whilst standing still and holding on to James for dear life…

But I’m pleased to say that I finally got the hang of the whole t-stop thing! I’m still not great at using it to slow myself down, and I’m still working out how to stop at short notice, but I’m hoping that after a few more practice sessions I’ll be able to join the ‘Sunday Stroll‘ – a weekly guided skate around London.

Always good to have something to aim for, right!? 😀

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How did you spend your weekend? Are you training for anything at the moment?

Dublin Marathon Training: Week 1

Hot 5k Run

Me and my smug lovely pacer 😀

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! 🙂

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 – by 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 8/16

Week 8 started off brilliantly. After last Sunday’s 14 miler I was straight into a Body Pump class on Tuesday evening (140 lunges and squats, amongst other things – that class is no joke!) and I even managed a treadmill run on Thursday. I was well and truly on a roll!

But my main session was, obviously, the Sunday long run. I decided to head to Virginia Water lake this time, for a change of scenery – and was surprised to see that it was white and snowing outside as I got my kit together. Given that we had a bit of a drive to get there, we decided to stay home a little longer to let things thaw out a bit. But whilst the roads might have been fine, it was still super icy and cold (and snow had settled in patches where the sun hadn’t got to it yet).

Virginia Water Lake Long Run

Slightly wishing I’d manned up and got out the day before!

The lake was ridiculously busy, with tons of families and dog walkers milling about. It was an absolute assault course out there, and I had to keep slowing down (or stopping) to let people get by. The kids on scooters and bikes were lethal, too!

But the views were lovely, and I did enjoy running by the water, despite the crowds!

Winter at Virginia Water Lake

Unfortunately, my luck ran out at about 5 miles, when a labrador coming the other way ran straight into me as I lifted my foot up, causing me to stumble onto the other leg (the one with the semi-healed tendon, boo). I landed pretty heavily and had to hop a couple of times to get my balance, and my leg was NOT happy. I shouted as the dog hit me, but the owner simply glanced back disinterestedly and then carried on walking without a word! Bloody cheek.

On the bright side, the dog seemed fine…

I toughed it out for another .1 of a mile, but my tendon was throbbing so I walked the mile back to the start to meet James and grab a hot drink.

Walking Around Virginia Water Lake

How could that face not make me smile?

When I caught up to James, we grabbed a couple of hot chocolates and then decided to do one more loop of the lake, which brought my total mileage to 10 (5 run, 5 walked). As we set off I linked arms with him, and when he asked me why I didn’t hold his hand, my response was pretty blunt:

Well, I’ve been wiping my nose with that glove for 5 miles, but I’ll hold your hand if you want!?

Us runners are a sexy lot, aren’t we!?

Unsurprisingly, he declined 😉

Hot Chocolate at Virginia Water Lake

All the hot chocolate! And layers. Many, many layers.

And an obligatory photo (James made me) of the ice in my hair:

Icy Hair at Virginia Water Lake

Turns out, this is what happens when you run in the cold!

So all in all, my week was a bit disappointing:

Tuesday: Body Pump class (1h15).

Thursday: 6m treadmill run @ 9:48 average.

Sunday: 5m @ 10:24 average, plus a 5m walk.

Luckily, I’ve still got time to build up my distance, and will give the 16 miler another shot this weekend. I’ll be taking a quieter route this time though!

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Have you ever had any training setbacks/injuries? How did you manage them?

Barcelona Marathon Training: Week 4/16

Barcelona Marathon Training Injury

I learned last week that what I thought was a tight calf is actually something slightly more awkward. Thanks to weak ankles, over pronation and an increase in mileage, I overworked a tendon in my leg and have been paying the price for the past week and a half.

Last week’s training, as a result, was pretty minimal:

Tuesday: 5k on the treadmill. 1k warm-up, 3x sprints at 11.5, 12, and 12.5 kph, 1km warm-down.

Friday: Physio appointment! (I had optimistically booked a sports massage, but the leg had other ideas).

I’ve been told to take it easy for another week, and stick to cross training, stability and strength work; as well as keeping my runs short, slow and preferably flat.

It still niggles slightly, but is slowly improving, and I’m excited for my next run – which will be a steady 5k on Christmas Eve! I’ve told James he has to join me. That’s what you get for dating a runner…

Christmas spirit and all that, right? 😉

Fingers crossed that the stability work helps to fix the underlying problem, and will enable me to get back to my training properly after Christmas! I can’t wait to get stuck back in to my long runs and faster 5ks. My friends have set some pretty steep PBs, so I’ve got my work cut out for me!

It’s frustrating to be missing out on my runs, and I feel like my fitness is slipping away (silly really, as it’s been less than a fortnight). But the rest seems to be helping, and there’s no use in throwing myself back into training if it’s just going to cause issues again. I guess. (Grumble!)

Get it together, leg!

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Have you ever had a running injury? How do you keep your spirits up?