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!

– – –

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


Winter running

This time of year makes me so happy! It’s cold and crisp outside, I get to snuggle up indoors in the warm guilt-free, and Christmas decorations are starting to appear in shop windows. (I wish they would leave it a little later for all the Christmas stuff, but I have to admit it’s looovely wandering around in the evening when it’s all dark, and seeing all of the pretty lights everywhere!)

Plus, all the coffee shops are serving their seasonal specials! Yay! The salted caramel mocha in Starbucks was a little disappointing (too sugary, and not a whole lot of flavour), but the Black Forest hot chocolate in Costa was the tastiest hot drink EVER!


Today was perfect running weather. Freezing cold, dry, and lovely bright sunshine. As I had an 8-miler on the schedule, and hadn’t run more than 10k in MONTHS, I decided to head to the gym and run it on the treadmill instead. (Yeeeah, sucky idea).

The run itself went really well – I had a couple of slices of toast beforehand, and took a bottle of water with a citrus Zero tab, and felt pretty good. I’d have enjoyed it much more if I’d manned up and run outside, though – I can’t believe how hot and stuffy the gym is! It doesn’t seem to matter what temperature it is outside, what I wear, where in the gym I am .. It’s nuts!

I did get to walk home along the river though (and after being passed by 4 runners, I REEEALLY wished I’d made the most of the weather), and got to enjoy the beautiful scenery:


I’ll definitely be heading outside for next week’s long run!

In the meantime, I’ll be sticking to the treadmill for my shorter, mid-week runs, and my boyfriend is determined to get me on the weights machines in between! (Given how little upper body strength I have, this will be really helpful).

I’m excited to be increasing the distance! Next step, 10 miles! It’ll be awesome to get back into double digits. Tough, but VERY satisfying 🙂


Too much, too soon

I enjoyed the 10k on Sunday so much that I thought I’d gotten away with the lack of running I’d done in preparation. I got home, had lunch, went shopping, had a nap, pottered about for a bit and at the end of the day I went to bed with slightly achey legs – totally standard.

My body got me back on Monday.

I woke up with ridiculously stiff and sore quads. Mistake number one: I didn’t stretch OR foam roll when I got home. D’oh. I hobbled to work, but even though I took the train instead of cycling in, there’s a 2-mile downhill walk to the office on that end. And downhills are NOT your friend when you have sore quads.

I must have walked funny to compensate, because by the time I got home on Monday evening my quads AND shins were extremely painful. My quads were tight and aching (clearly overworked them), and my shins felt inflamed. Mistake number two: don’t race off-road when you haven’t run outside for nearly 6 weeks. It’s hard work at the best of times, but 2 gentle treadmill sessions just won’t cut it as ‘training’!

I worked from home yesterday, as I didn’t want to aggravate things with that steep 2-mile downhill walk. I rested, I stretched, and I applied anti-inflammatory gel. By the time I went to bed, I felt achy but better.

This morning, my quads were almost back to normal, but my shins still hurt when walking. Every time I moved my foot upwards (as during a calf stretch) I felt a sharp, shooting pain along my shins. It was worse on the bottom of my left shin, and the top of my right. I slowly made my way to the office, trying to take it easy, but the pain continued throughout the day.

The thing is, I skipped my 4 miler yesterday, and I had an ‘easy 3 miles’ on the plan for today. My brain was like ‘it’s only 3 miles – and an EASY 3! The quickest, easiest workout you’ll have all week!’ And I’ll admit, I took my gym stuff to the office with me with the intention of stopping at the gym on the way home.

I know, the worst thing to do when injured is to run – but I reeeally wanted to. And I figured that if I had my gym stuff with me, I at least had the choice – if I felt better I could go, and if I felt worse I could head straight home for some more RICE action.

Well, I went to the gym. My shins still hurt on the way there, but it was more of a dull throbbing pain. Perfectly manageable ignore-able. I got on the treadmill, and slowly began to jog.

Here’s the shocker – for the entire time that I was running, there was NO PAIN. Absolutely none. My lungs, on the other hand, weren’t happy – the gym was SO hot and stuffy, and I found it really hard to catch my breath. I also made the mistake of leaving my water in the changing room. I figured that I didn’t need water for a little 3 miler – but it turns out that in a hot stuffy gym I could do with some water for anything over a mile! Whoops!

But despite hating every single second, and sweating ten times my body weight, I finished my 3 miles. It wasn’t as easy as it was supposed to be, but it felt great afterwards – and my legs feel ten times better now that I’ve warmed down and stretched properly.

Recovery run was a total win 😀

Marathon Training and a 10k Race

So I did my 5-6 mile treadmill run today! Wooo!

Turns out I look really attractive after an hour on the treadmill! (NOT). And this is AFTER the splash of cold water to the face, and 2 face wipes .. I did take a picture before that, too, but decided that putting my VERY red and sweaty face up on here and giving you guys no option but to look at it was a bit harsh!

I may or may not have set the wrong alarm last night, and woken up 20 minutes after I was supposed to have left for the gym. Boo. This meant that as punishment I got to lug my entire gym kit (along with my usual big heavy metal bike lock, work stuff, and lunch) all the way to work with me on the bike! The hills were OODLES of fun. As was the wind. My quads love me right now.

You might sense some sarcasm 😀

To be fair, cycling home after my run this evening (the gym is about 1.2/1.3 miles from home, so I had 6 miles to cycle to the gym from work and then a mile and a bit to get home afterwards) was extremely tough, and I probably would have struggled if I’d run this morning as planned! Better to struggle a mile from home than 7, right!?

On a more positive note (or rather, on another positive note, given that despite running at 6pm rather than 7am, I still got my run in!) I got a great deal on an awesome marathon nutrition pack from High5 recently. It’s a fun little box full of awesome running goodies (see the picture above), designed to get you through your entire marathon, as well as your pre-race fuelling and recovery afterwards. It includes:

It’s awesome! And the best bit is that it’s all assorted flavours (unlike the usual multipacks of gels etc), so I get to try out all kinds of things! I already have 2 tubes of the Zero electrolyte tablets (the pink grapefruit ones are my favourite), because they fizz up and turn the water funky colours and taste like Refreshers – winning – but the rest of the stuff is completely new, and I’m excited to test it over the next few months!

As (briefly) mentioned, I’ve entered the Bushy Park 10k race this Sunday:


This is the one and only 10k race I’ve done so far, and my current PB (which I got this time last year) was 1:02:47. I managed it with fantastic support from Mum (who inspired me to keep pushing by making it look effortless) and Dad (who was an absolute hero and held back to run with me the whole way, encouraging me when I wanted to stop). I think this race is going to be quite nostalgic, as silly as it sounds, as it marked the beginning of my running journey. It was my first ever race, and the furthest I’d ever run at the time. It’ll be interesting to see how fast I can finish it without the help from Mum and Dad! (I’ll be thinking of you guys!)

In an ideal world, I’d love to cut it down to sub-1hr, but I think I’m looking at 1:01:xx. To be honest, anything under 1:02:00 would suit me just fine. I’ve tentatively pencilled in another couple of 10ks (also Bushy, as it’s a nice location, has pretty scenery and offers a nice flat course) over the next few months, so I’ll have plenty of opportunities to improve. Maybe sub-1hr should be an end-of-2013 goal.

The thing is, whilst I’m a lot fitter than I was last year, the lack of running I’ve done recently has made me feel a lot less prepared than I’d have liked. The cycling has helped with breathing/heart rate, and I can maintain a faster pace over 5k, but I’ll have to wait and see whether my legs can cope with upping the speed for this distance. A sub-30 minute 5k does suggest that I shooould be able to wangle a sub-1hr 10k, but have I trained enough to get there this time round?

I guess the torrential rain they’ve forecast is a pretty good incentive to run faster ..


Early morning motivation

I’ve decided that I need a bit more accountability for morning sessions – otherwise, it’s all too easy to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep for an hour. Especially when I know I’m cycling 7 miles to the office and 7 miles back – that makes up for missing a run, right?

Not exactly. So, whilst my training plan has had to be reshuffled a tad due to other commitments, making it hard to get into a routine, my next run is tomorrow morning. 7am, at the gym, for 5-6 miles. It doesn’t matter how fast, but I have to get out of bed and get running. I KNOW I’ll feel great once I have – it’s just that initial push out of the door that I’m struggling with!

So I’m now officially accountable. If I don’t run tomorrow morning, there are plenty of people who’ll know about it – and that should be enough to get my sleepy self out of bed!