Parkrun

Preparing for the BHF Warwick Half Marathon

As promised, here is my updated on the final week of training prior to a weeks minor taper before the BHF Warwick Half Marathon.

A couple of weeks ago, I ran 10 miles in 71 minutes (I think?). So I felt like my speedwork was in the right place, balanced nicely with my endurance training. I had also ran a 5k PB on 19:51 so I was quite confident going into this race.

I didn’t want to put too much on it as I definitely prefer the summer and will find training much more enjoyable when the sun is out. This race would be a good picture of where I currently am and what steps to take next.

Spin classes have become a staple of my training in recent weeks and I give them a lot of credit for improving my cadence and leg turnover. However, I may have been over doing it on the exercise slightly because the week before the race, I was unable to complete my local Parkrun due to hip pains.

I limped in through the front door and temporarily became a google doctor. Reading up about runners with similar pains I suspected I had Bursitis. An inflammation within the hip which was making each step a misery.
The only cure – rest. A runners nightmare.

I tried to look on the bright side… I needed a few days break as part of a taper before the Half Marathon and this could give me the motivation to resist going out for a cheeky 5k one evening.

Damn it’s tough not running. I’m pretty sure the sun came out every evening just to tease me. But I persevered. And ran the following weeks parkrun in 24:37. I felt like I had won the race. Not the shabbiest time and no hip pain.

I had also swallowed incredible amounts of anti inflammatory tablets throughout the week.

Also, I read avocados can help reduce inflamed areas. So I ate hundreds of them (well, kinda).

In summary:
I’m too young to get hip pain
I like avocados
Not running is harder than running

Have you ever struggled with an injury?

Do you know when to take a break or are you guilty of pushing through the pain too much?

1 last thing – I have started making protein pancakes. They taste amazing.

Protein Pancakes.jpg.jpg

1 more last thing – afternoon tea at Vinteas in Leamington.

Afternoon Tea.jpg.jpg

Hill Repeats are your Friend…

It sounds incredibly obvious, but when runners find getting up those long hills a strain – they go out and practice running up and down hills. This is a favourite workout of mine and I try to incorporate hills into the majority of my runs. They are unavoidable periods of pain within a race, so it makes sense to prepare your body for these whenever possible.

Once a week I have a focussed hill repeat workout. This entails finding a hill approximately 5 km from my house and using the jog there as a warm up. I then proceed to look like maniac sprinting up the hill (normally for between 1-3 minutes) before jogging / walking back down to the bottom. After roughly 6-10 attempts (and several moments where I think passing out and rolling to the bottom would be easier) I will take a small break then use the jog home as recovery.

This workout would be specifically suited for improving my VO2max and increasing the amount of strength I have in my legs. In addition, running up hills forces you to lift your knees higher than when running on a flat course. This is very desirable for runners as we can pick up more strength / speed this way.

Not only have I found hill repeats to be of physical benefit, but there is a positive mental effect. Now when I run a race, I see each hill as a small challenge. I remember the times I ran up the same hill 10x in training and I know I have the power in my legs to take me up the hill as quickly as possible.

It is important to remember that when competing in a race, it would be very unusual to find a course which consists of ten equally sized hills. It is more likely that you will face several prolonged uphill segments which sap your energy. This is why I try to incorporate the odd hill into all my types of training. After all – variety is the spice of life… or something like that :s

Note : Remember not to push yourself too hard when trying out a new training method. Start with a lower amount of reps and build up slowly.

Also : I found this on another blog (Ive forgetten which blog – Im so sorry…)

Once in a blue moon

I thought it was brilliant – hope you can relate 😀

My New Running Partner

This weekend, I met my new running partner for the first time…

I was so excited to hear the doorbell ring and couldnt wait to go for a run.

Yes I am talking about my new Garmin Forerunner 210.

Boxed Garmin forerunner 210

I took it to Parkrun on Saturday morning but hadnt got it quite figured out (Basically I ballsd up the start of the race and instantly gave up trying)

So today I took it on its first 10K. It found the sattelites very quickly and gave me all the information I wanted to know. I cannot fault it at all.

First 10K with a Garmin below : not too shabby…

garmins first day out

I cant wait to try some longer runs with it this week!

Recently, Chloe wont let me have my shake in the mornings without also shaking it. She is very helpful.

chloe shakes

Also – check out the mini cheese biscuits with cheese spread I had yesterday. Amazing.

cheese crackers

Do you use a Garmin or another brand of GPS device?

Do you use Strava or another brand of fitness tracking software / app?

Hope you had a good weekend of running!

Dont forget to log your Jantastic runs!

Mid-Week Magic

My previous post discussed how I found running music and coupled with a focus on cadence I was able to run a few PBs midweek.

Recently, I have focussed on speedwork and hill repeats. It had been a while since I really pushed myself so felt on Wednesday night, equipped with an army of running songs, I would see what I had in me. Like a pulse check on my training to date…

A quick mention that I have also taken up spinning classes to which I attribute a lot of the credit for my times below.

10Mile Times

For those that cannot view the picture:
1 mile : 00:06:49
5K : 00:21:45
10K : 00:44:02 PB
15K : 01:06:52 PB
10 miles : 01:11:41 PB

To say I am pleased is an understatement…

Now I need to carry on with my plan and introduce a bit more core work over the coming weeks.

Have you signed up for any races?

How is your training going?

What’s your main motivation?

Cadence, Music and PBs

Recently, the topic of cadence has been cropping up when I have conversations with friends about running. To be honest, when the word was first used, I didn’t even know what it meant…

Cadence : is the total number of ‘revolutions per minute’ (RPM), or the number of full cycles taken within a minute, by the pair of feet, and is used as a measure of athletic performance. It is very similar in respect to cadence in cycling; however it is often overlooked in its importance in the sport of running.

I have do a speed workout every week and over the past few weeks have been trying to increase my footfall so I reach a higher count. Then, through measuring my own times seeing what effect it had on my performance.

But what ‘RPM’ should I be running at?

According to Jack Daniels, 180 steps per minutes is the Holy Grail. This is the target that athletes should aim for in order to achieve an RPM which will reduce the landing shock and provide a more efficient use of energy.

My first experience of 180 steps per minute came on my 5K Parkrun attempt last week (see : Parkrun PB). I started with a short sprint to get into some space near the front and in my head began counting… 1 Mississippi… 2 Mississippi… 3 Mississippi

By aiming for 3 steps per second I would (roughly) achieve the 180 steps per minute required.

The positive to this : I ran my fastest 5K ever. A new PB!

The negative side : wow… counting Mississippi over and over again in my head is draining. And dull…

I had heard that some runners listen to music of a certain BPM (Beats Per Minute). This would allow their strides to fall in time with the beat (which would be at approx 180BPM). This would allow me to subconsciously fall in line with a stride pattern that would be in line with my goal.

And so I tried it… I created a playlist using JogTunes and headed out for a run. I wanted to go for a race pace 10 mile run as it was almost 1 month before my half marathon (I also wanted to listen to all the songs I had selected!).

I found the first mile quite tough. I am a slow starter when it comes to running and like to ease myself into the tempo, but the pace of the music was teasing my legs into moving a little quicker than normal at this point. As I passed the 5 mile mark, I suddenly became aware that I was on for a decent time and my legs were feeling quite spritely for a Wednesday night. So on I pushed, feet still falling in time with the music, occasionally scaring passers by as I sang shouted the lyrics to the playlist below.

Fast forward to the end of my run… PBs. Lots of PBs. I was over the moon. I had somehow found the motivation to get me through a tough run, and come through it in record time!

Now, I’m not suggesting improving your cadence will result in PBs instantly. I have been putting a lot of work into running recently and this was my first test for quite a while to gauge my ability. But I would highly recommend thinking about cadence and how you can reach the legendary 180PM.

I will publish my times in a separate post and will also write about my new running partner.

Cadence

Keep yourself busy checking out my playlist…

N*E*R*D : Rock Star
Five Becomes Four : Yellowcard
If I Had Eyes : Jack Johnson
99 Problems : Jay-Z
Imma Be : Black Eyed Peas
Show Me How To Live : Audioslave
R.O.O.T.S : Flo Rida
Monkey Wrench : Foo Fighters
Feel Good (The Prototypes Remix) : Modestep
Bye Bye Bye : N Sync
Of All The Gin Joints In All The World : Fall Out Boy

What would your ideal running playlist be?

Which song makes you want to push harder when running?

More Blog Less Run (and more…)

I have been struggling to find time to update my blog over the past 2 weeks.

At the end of January I set up a training plan leading up to my half marathon on 23/03 and strangely enough I have been sticking to it.

Unfortunately, due to a lot of strong winds where I live, it’s proving a little difficult to see if the training is paying off but fingers crossed for a strong run this weekend.

I am determined to run a decent time in my half marathon which should set me up well for various races over the summer.

Currently my normal week of running currently consists of:

Sunday : Long & slow run (minimum of 10 miles)
Monday : Rest Day
Tuesday : 1 hour spinning class / core workout
Wednesday : Yasso 800s (with 2 mile warm up / 2 mile cool down)
Thursday : Hill Repeats
Friday : Rest Day
Saturday : 5km Parkrun

If you have any suggestions on improvements to my general plan feel free to comment below 🙂

I have been trying to slowly change my diet, making sure I take on the right foods when necessary so I can recover quicker.

Also I have recently tried scraping (Gua Sha). I picked this up from another running blog – Hungry Runner Girl. I do not have the correct tools yet but I have been using a spoon as recommended in the YouTube video HRG links to. It has really helped with my recovery and the little aches and pains you pick up whilst training.

Here are some photos from the past week or so which need to be shared!

I took Chloe shopping with me and she tried her best to look cute in her white coat. “It’s So Fluffy!!”

IMG_20140201_155631

I found a very strange recipe for Cucumber Noodles! Wasnt very filling but was worth a try.

IMG_20140202_194916

And finally, Chloe has decided she really likes celery! (Although she did find it funny to smear it on the walls!)

IMG_20140205_212301

What healthy snacks do you enjoy?

What is worse to run in.. Wind or Rain?

Are you taking part in Jantastic?
My team (Hampton Magna Harriers) were ranked #34 a few days ago!

Yasso 800s

Last summer, I first heard about Yasso 800s and thought it sounded like a great way to try and prepare for my first marathon. I was already doing a long weekly run, some fast 5ks and hill repeat training so this could be the speedwork supplement I was looking for.

My personal experience was extremely positive and I found myself getting faster and I also enjoyed the running my Yasso loop (I can get quite competitve, even against myself!).

Since last summer, I have read several articles in support of Yasso 800s and several which do not believe the hype around this type is training is warranted.

After rummaging around on the web, here are a few artciles for and against the Yasso…

What is a Yasso 800?

Thanks to the folks at mcmillanrunning, here is a very simple explanation of what they entail:

“The theory behind Yasso 800s is that your time in minutes and seconds for a workout of 10 times 800 meters (two laps of the track) with equal recovery time is the same as the hours and minutes of your marathon time. For example, if you can run 10 times 800 meters in three minutes and 20 seconds with three minutes and 20 seconds recovery, then this predicts that you can run three hours and 20 minutes for your marathon. Run 2:40 for the 800s and you can run 2:40 for the marathon”

In my experience (and from discussing this with other runners) it’s better to aim slightly quicker, for example: If I want to run a 3:30 marathon aim for a 3:25 Yasso.

What are the pros behind Yassos?

This is a very easy piece of training to fit into your schedule. Find yourself an 800m loop and run it at the desired pace.

It’s very simple and personally I have found after 5/6 loops my legs start to really feel it! Speed work isn’t an exercise I particularly enjoy but these make the most of a tough evening.

What are the cons behind Yassos?

Perhaps for shorter distances the principle of Yassos can be applied more accurately, but those training for longer distances, such as a marathon, may be better served by doing longer repeats (i.e 1600m).
You may also be conned into performing a particularly quick first half to a marathon, only to find the second half a very difficult and tiring struggle.

Will I be running Yassos?

Absolutely, whilst the evidence is there for and against Yassos, it’s a type of training I enjoy and helps me to better myself at shorter distances. I will be doing them every week for the next 8 weeks leading up to the Warwick Half Marathon. Perhaps I can judge their effectiveness based on how I perform?

By ensuring I put in some longer distance runs (with a few sprint finishes) then I hope to have the basis to beat my current PB.

Do you do a different speed workout?

What are your thoughts on Yassos?

Junk Miles

Can there really be a benefit to running without a specific fitness goal? After a gruelling session of hill repeats and a well-deserved sleep. Is there any evidence to support going for a gentle run to tick the mileage over?

I have read many blogs / articles which suggest that there is no positive contribution to running fitness and performance by completing such an exercise. That a run of this calibre ‘doesn’t count’ because there is no challenge in this…

What’s wrong with clocking up the miles and going for a long Sunday morning run? It’s always nice and quiet and I find it quite relaxing to escape on these runs.

I don’t particularly view any miles as ‘junk miles’. Every time I go out for a run, I feel proud of myself. It leaves me with a sense of wellbeing and pushes me on to achieving my running goals.

In my opinion, (as someone completely unqualified to give advice), speed workouts are very important to running faster times. They are my absolute must in training. As long as I can complete these workouts with 100% effort – there is no junk…

In addition, I would hasten to add that ultimately, I run to keep healthy (and to enjoy food without guilt). I would never criticise someone whose primary goal is running to keep healthy.
I suppose, what I’m trying to say is:

1 : Enjoy your running. We all do it for different reasons
2 : If you want to get faster, fit in your speed sessions
3 : Make sure you can take something from a run, on either a personal or physical level (Otherwise you could fall out of love with running)

Let me know your thoughts :

Junk Miles : What are they to you?
What’s your favourite run session?Mine are probably hill repeats (Crazy right?)

6 Questions…

Ok, I was a little bored but found these on FueledbyLOLZ

Where were you born?
Easy… Coventry

What is the most unique place you’ve been?
Amsterdam… A strange place

What is your favorite type of workout? (running, yoga, p90x..)
Running : Hill Repeats. I always feel proud once I have finished them

What is your favorite food?
Toughest question ever… Pizza / Chinese / Sausages / Steak… I could go on…

What are your plans this weekend?
4th anniversary of Coventry Parkrun so I will be attending dressed in my Iron Man Onesie!

Do you have any February Plans or Goals?
I have drafted a schedule of my training runs (which I hope I can stick to). These lead me up to a half marathon on 23/03. I also intend on trying out some local spinning classes.

Feel free to copy the questions and post a link to your blog in my comments so I can check them out!

– – – –
Where were you born?

What is the most unique place you’ve been?

What is your favorite type of workout? (running, yoga, p90x..)

What is your favorite food?

What are your plans this weekend?

Do you have any February Plans or Goals?
– – – –

Parkrun

Last night I tweeted / blogged about “the rain” (to be pronounced in an ominous voice…).

A few people got back to me telling me to brave it commenting that once your out running its not a problem. So today I took that advice and immediately retreated back inside. Only joking. I went to my local 5k Parkrun in the rain and after running a 23:18 I returned home looking like the monster from the Black Lagoon. Muddy is an understatement.

So in response to those comments last night. I agree. Its not that bad when your out in the rain. Dress appropriately and it shouldn’t be a problem.

The downside… I now have to clean my trainers (volunteers welcome).

image

To reward myself for my triumph over Mother Nature. I enjoyed a Starbucks with a Jam and Coconut Sponge. Wow. Just wow.

image

Tomorrow I’m hoping to run over 10k for the first time in 3 months. Wish me luck (or sunshine)…