3 down, 13 to go!

According to my Nike Plus Coach Programme, last week was about “Laying the Groundwork” for the remainder of my Paris Marathon training by increasing distance and taking on the longest run of my training so far.

Paris Marathon Training Week 3

The highlights of my week’s running was my tempo run with the BeaRCat Runners on Wednesday… and my long run on Saturday. Both were tough. But both were great for that very reason. Unless I feel as though I’ve gone through some kind of pain barrier, I don’t feel I’m making progress with my running – supporting that “no pain, no gain” theory!

The tempo run involved 5 x 300m at 85% effort (or Park Run pace) along the river between Richmond Bridge and the rowing boathouses, parallel with Petersham Road and past Gaucho and The Bingham, with recovery runs in between. These kind of runs can’t be done as successfully alone – so thank you to the BeaRCats for pushing me through it.

Richmond Bridge

My long run of 12 miles took in the 7.5 miles perimeter of Richmond Park with a few miles either side to get there and back. The weather on Saturday morning was not ideal with blustery winds and torrential rain at the half-way point, but again, that adds to the feeling of satisfaction when you get home and jump in the bath (hot one for me… I haven’t quite reached ice bath status).

Running with the deer in Richmond Park

Richmond Park is always a beautiful place to run around with lots of wonderful views and wildlife to take in – and none more so than last Saturday – when a herd of deer decided to make a mad dash for it across my path. It was a magical moment, which I was happy to capture on camera.

My 200th run completed

The other highlight of my week was hitting my 200th run in a year – and with it completing a total of 1336 miles – I wonder if I can beat that this year?!

Happy running!

x

If you’re familiar with marketing, you’ll recognise the 4 Ps as the Marketing Mix of product, price, place and promotion.

Just as a marketer would plan the perfect launch of a shiny new product, I’ve applied this thinking to my campaign to successfully realise a Personal Best (PB) at the Paris Marathon on Sunday 12 April 2015.

Paris Marathon

  • Product – in this case, I’m trying to develop/realise the perfectly formed PB. How do I turn my running into a sub 4 hour reality?
  • Price – how much is this going to cost me, both physically and mentally (not to mention financially), and how do I find the optimum combination of the two so I don’t burn out too early, by getting injured or all-consumed, to the detriment of day-to-day life?
  • Place – on the big day the PB will be attempted/realised in Paris, but the training will take place around London over the next 16 weeks, with a few ski resorts thrown in too!
  • Promotion – and we all know that you’re more likely to achieve a goal if you visualise it, and commit it to writing – better still publicly – through a plan, which is where this blog comes in…

I’ve been reading many different programmes, taking advice from some seasoned runners and fellow BeaRCats, as well as reflecting on my own previous experiences of running the London Marathon twice… And the overriding consensus is that there’s no one-size fits all plan. As Dominic from Sporting Feet, Richmond said “It’s about intelligent running” and Caitlin, founder of The BeaRCat Running Club added “Think quality if you are looking for a time…

We all lead busy lives, and therefore need to be flexible in our approach to training for a big challenge such as this, otherwise we are only setting ourselves up for failure. It does however need to start with a plan, and yes expect to deviate from the plan, but you still need to have a starting point from which to focus and somewhere to return to, when you do go off-piste.

My programme begins tomorrow – Christmas week – a prime example of having to juggle busy lives with running…

My plan is a combination of a Hal Higdon programme, Nike Plus coach, and various other contributors, including Caitlin of the BeaRCats. If you’re interested in reading it, you can view it here: Paris Training Programme.

You can also follow my progress to Paris right here with my weekly review, tips and tricks. And of course, if you’ve got any words of wisdom, I’d love to hear from you.

Happy Christmas and happy running!

x

Well actually three half… marathons, a 30km trail run, a 10-miler and a 10k.

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I can’t quite believe it but tomorrow is December. 2015 is suddenly around the corner. Festive lights and decorations adorn the streets. We wore Christmas jumpers to work last week. And all the talk is of Christmas parties and holidays. So as is tradition at this time of year, it is only right to review the year, and what I’ve learned ahead of another year, and another year of challenges…

In January I set myself a number of running goals and last weekend, I ticked off two of them. I achieved a PB in the Norwich Half Marathon (taking a whole 2 seconds off my previous PB set at Richmond in March!) and at the same time I completed my sixth and final running challenge of the year.

Norwich Half time

The conditions last weekend were pretty nasty. Even Steve Gill (who we met taking part in his 31st of 52 half marathons in as many weeks, on behalf of the RNLI) said it was the wettest he had run all year! And my pre-race preparations hadn’t gone to plan… I had a cough and a cold in the few days running up to the event, so was feeling decidedly nervous. Especially having followed a 12 week training programme in an attempt to try to slip under the 1:50 mark. But, as I was to learn, training programmes don’t always go to plan.

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So while I was pounding through the puddles in Norfolk last Sunday, I began to think about my greatest take-outs and learnings from my running this year. And, I think I can summarise them as follows:

  1. Set a plan, and then plan for the plan not to go to plan… Caitlin (founder of the BeaRCats) said this in a marathon motivational talk a couple of Sundays ago. Whatever plan you set, you can be sure something will crop up to disrupt it, whether it’s a holiday, a cough, or an injury.
  2. Listen to your body. If you are ill or injured, take it easy. It can be the most frustrating thing to sit still and not to don those running shoes, but in the long run, it will pay off.
  3. Run your own race. When training or discussing target race times, try not to compare yourself to others. Running is so relative, and we all have our different strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Know your strengths and weaknesses. And plan your training accordingly. I know my weakness is speed, so I need to mix up my training a bit more – by doing more hills, speed training, and strength training.
  5. And most of all, have fun and don’t put too much pressure on yourself! 

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While I reflect on a year of great running, I think of all the new memories (and medals!) I have. Running is about staying fit (and sane), but it’s also about community, and my running year would not have been the same had it not been for my running buddies – Nicky and Sion, and the BeaRCat Running Club.

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It has been such a source of support knowing that I’m surrounded by a group of like-minded people who are all as passionate about running as me… and as I enter 2015, and embark on the next challenge, in the form of the Paris Marathon, I do so in the knowledge that I have a great support network of running friends. And this makes me very excited about next year and the adventures to come.

Happy Running, Happy Christmas and all the best for 2015!

G x