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?

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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 ūüėČ

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? ūüėČ

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? 

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?

It’s marathon week!

I’ve run 235 training miles this year. 235!! And with just 3.1 more to go before the big day, I’ve spent a lot of time over the past couple of weeks giving in to the maranoia, and questioning whether I trained often enough, ran far enough, pushed myself as hard as I should have, whether my fuelling strategy will work and whether I should have done more cross training, more foam rolling, more strength work…

Realistically though, whilst my times have been¬†a bit slower than last year, I’ve managed to stick to 3-4 runs a week, along with a weekly 2k swim, pilates, personal training sessions, spinning, cycle commutes, and even a few¬†threshold and progression runs here and there. My recovery times are improving, and my body feels stronger, with none of the niggles I had to deal with last time round. It’s been a pretty epic few months!

There have been frosty run commutes:

runcommute1

Cold, dark, wet cycle commutes and muddy river runs:

darkwetmiles1Some of the long runs were TERRIBLE Рtorrential rain, strong winds, thunder and lightening during one Рbut some of them were also epic fun (with medals at the end!)

badgoodrun1Lots of miles were run alongside my favourite people, and were full of smiles, chatting and laughter:

runtogether1

There were moments I asked myself why on earth I was running at all, and moments that made me wish I could run every day:

awfulbrill1There were plenty of early-morning gym sessions where I desperately wanted to just crash out afterwards Рand evening sessions where I did just that!

sleepearly1It’s been a bit of a mixed bag,¬†and just like last year, a roller-coaster of emotions! But I can honestly say that I feel fairly well prepared for my marathon on Sunday. As for whether I get my target time, who knows? But I can definitely give it a good shot!

And at the end of the day, it’s PARIS – and the forecast is for glorious sunshine! If all else fails, I’ll stash a few macarons in my belt, enjoy the sights and have a bloody good time.

Who else is marathoning this weekend? Good luck, and ENJOY!