Double Bubble Running

Blisters.

 

I’m sure that many of you runners out there have spent some time gazing at your feet in a mix of repulsion and awe, looking at the big, bubble blisters which are the sign of a good run. I know I have, and I hope I’m not the only one!

 

My whole attitude towards feet has changed since I started running more regularly – gone are the days with soft, pretty feet. These days I have to apologise to my pole class in case they glimpse the soles of my feet when I’m upside down. At least my nails are always painted a nice colour to make up for it….

 

Anyway. On Saturday, after a 14.5 mile run, I came back to find a very angry blood blister on my left foot. I felt it from mile 8, and tried not to let it interfere with my rhythm & speed too much. I will post a picture at the end…. I’ve softened it with the magical powers of Instagram, and I like to think it now looks more like a red rose petal than a fugly blood blister.

 

Blisters are the result of friction between your shoes/socks and your skin. As a result of rubbing together, a neat little bubble is formed between the top layers of your skin which fills with liquid. Heat and damp will exacerbate any symptoms, so doing a long and/or hard run is really the perfect recipe for blisters.

 

So here are some preventative tips to save you from joining the Fugly Feet Club Rose Petal Appreciation Society:

 

– Make sure your shoes fit correctly to minimise your feet moving unnecessarily inside the shoe

– Get some socks which absorb moisture and which provide a thick enough layer between your feet and your shoes

– If necessary, double your socks up and get a shoe size that’s half a size bigger to create enough of a buffer

– Lubricate your feet before you run. At Gilly’s recommendation, I now slather Vaseline over any blister prone areas. Lubrication has never been so attractive 😉

– You can also get special protection to guard your feet. My podiatrist recommends Fleecy Web: you just cut a piece off and stick it to your feet before you put your socks on

– Keep your feet moisturised. Before bed, rub some moisturiser into your feet 2-3 times a week to reduce the friction when you’re out running

blister

And then, when you get a blister, what do you do?? Generally, it’s thought that large blisters should be drained to prevent infection and small blisters should be covered and left alone. On the advice of my podiatrist, I always leave them alone because he reckons your feet will generally heal themselves. So I won’t advise here how to drain blisters, but if they do burst, it’s good to make sure the area stays clean. Plus, I will always wear those special blister plasters for a day or two afterwards to make sure I can walk pain free!

 

So. Here is the promised picture, a warning to all those who don’t yet use half a tub of vaseline on their feet:

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Is it just me, or does this post make lubricating and protecting your feet sound sexier than it really is???

Maybe not after seeing the picture…

 

Ellie B

 

 

Living on a Prayer

Whooaaaa I’m half way there…….!! In the middle of week 8, with another 8 weeks to go. It just seems like yesterday that I was chowing down on mince pies and mulled wine, maybe contemplating a run in the December air. These days I hardly recognise myself. I mean, right now, I’m chowing down on some mini eggs and coffee, contemplating my run tomorrow… oh wait. Apart from mileage, nothing has changed.

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This week I have been thinking a lot about running safety, and running safely. It’s still dark when I run in the evenings, but routes that I’d leave alone in Winter due to their isolation are slowly becoming more accessible.  Running alone can be pretty creepy – in the early morning, at night, in the city, in the country. Recently, I have started to tell SB where my routes are, especially on the longer runs. I also carry my drivers licence with me – and this post by Goldilocks Running highlights how carrying your phone might be beneficial to you, but may not be to anyone who is trying to help you if necessary (that is, if you lock your phone…).

 

I am also noticing an increase in bravado on my part when I’m running. My current gripe is roundabout indication – use your indicators, drivers!!! This week I scared myself as I dashed across the road at a roundabout as a car who wasn’t indicating tried to exit the roundabout. I was in the zone, aiming for a certain time for a certain run, and had I not been more aware, things could have been different. I’m embarrassed that I thought it was ok to go for the time rather than practice good road safety.

 

So here are my top tips for running safely:

  1. Choose a well-populated route
  2. Tell someone where you are running, and how long you expect to be
  3. Wear bright clothing
  4. Carry your phone and some form of ID with you at all times
  5. Don’t wear headphones
  6. Remember the roads – don’t be cocky. If you have to run on the roads, run against traffic
  7. Don’t run on the same route each day – mix it up
  8. Work out your route in advance: if you need to aim for certain targets, choose a route that will have you crossing fewer junctions and roads
  9. Be aware when you share the path with cyclists – they are pretty damn fast
  10. If you are at all worried, don’t run alone.

 

And once you’ve taken all that precaution, the only thing left is to run like you’re …..

living on a prayer

Haha – full circle, see?

 

Have a good weekend!

 

Ellie B

Week 7 training – The Zone

One of the great things about running is the space it gives you. It’s like a time out from real life when you can think about whatever the heck you like.

 

Last week I had some stuff going on, and the best parts of my day was when I could get out and do my training. Have you ever had that? I love it when you can focus all your energy into running and feel the power and speed that it gives you. Happiness, excitement, sadness, anger – they can all make for excellent runing. And, ever the dramatic, I always have an appropriate playlist on to mirror what I feel/want to feel. It’s the perfect Zone. Doesn’t everyone have a soundtrack for themselves? 😉

 

Here is my run down on marathon training week 7:

  • Tuesday: 1 mile jog/strides, 10*400m with 200m recoveries, 1m jog – this was the best cathartic run
  • Wednesday: 6m/10km with the Striders
  • Thursday: taught 2 hours of pole
  • Friday: 7miles/11.6kms in 56:04
  • Saturday: pole play
  • Sunday: 16m/25.8km run in 2:21

 

I waited til the end of the weekend to smash out that 16-miler, and I don’t think that was a good idea. It was gorgeous running conditions when I finally went, but it felt like a piece of homework hanging over my head. Running on a Saturday morning means you feel like a superhero for the rest of the weekend, and can enjoy a nice meal on Saturday night without thinking of the digestive challenges the next day. Yep – it’s a glamorous life.

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It’s funny how quickly you move on from your goals and achievements whilst training: last week I was over the moon about running 14miles, but by Sunday 14 miles was old news. I’m already getting my head around 18 miles which is coming in 12 days time.

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I think it’s good because it’s made me realize they’re just numbers. Don’t get me wrong – last night I was knackered, and embarrassingly tipsy after a glass of wine that evening, but I’ve realized through this month that if you can get to one landmark, it’s not too hard to spring for the next one.

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But. When I finished yesterday, and tried to imagine going for another 10 miles, I wasn’t so enthusiastic. Let’s not try to run before we can walk (hahahahaha – running humor).

 

Ellie B

 

12 Things I’ve learned during Marathon Training (and other things)

Today’s run was a bit of a slog. 7 miles in 60 minutes, after a big Thai lunch. There’s a lesson there somewhere.

 

Speaking of lessons, I hear that marathon training is quote the personal journey. One of the reasons I’ve not done one til now is the commitment you need to make during training, and the impact it has on your life. As I approach half way through the training, and build to the dizzy heights in the next four weeks, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned already, and how I’ve changed. I’ve got a list of 12, and we’re not even half way through training! Cheapest life coach ever.

 

So here they are:

  • I prefer running in the dark and cold
  • My calf muscles are pretty big, and will soon be the same width as my thighs
Ok, this isn't me. But I think it might be by race day.

Ok, this isn’t me. But I think it might be by race day.

 

  • I have broken two personal records during training: for my 10k PB, and for the longest distance
  • Pushing yourself to break personal records feels amazing, and makes all the times you didn’t want to go running worth it
  • I am lucky in my work situation so I can stretch/strengthen/run during my lunch breaks.
  • There’s not really any time for pole or for anything unrelated to running. This is what I’m afraid of turning into by week 16:

marathon talk

  • I like hill running more than intervals on the flat
  • I hate the track
  • Generally I do one gentle run, one tempo run, one speed/hill session and one long run per week
  • My weight and figure hasn’t changed much at all since I started training
  • I am eating a heck of a lot more bread, peanut butter and nutella
  • Doing your long run on a Saturday means you can still go out on Saturday night 😉

 

How to celebrate a 14 mile run

How to celebrate a 14 mile run

What a wonderful collection of personal wisdom right there.

 

And, because it’s Friday, here are some things that I’ve enjoyed over the week:

If you ever want some insight into the Brits as a people, here you go!

22 Venn diagrams only British people will understand

 

This woman went to the gym every day for 100 days and made a time lapse video showing each day:

Amazing Gym Woman 

 

So I am a huge Facebook addict. And today I saw this and it made me want to call everyone I know and talk to them:

What Facebook is doing to your brain

 

And to finish up: what does everyone think about the #nomakeupselfie? Has it made its way to Australia, or is it just a UK thing? I think that at first, it was a bit weird to create awareness  for Cancer without trying to raise money. But now that everyone has decided to contribute just a little, everyone has raised an amazing amount of money together.

 

Plus, it was a grass roots movement (I think): it wasn’t sponsored by a particular charity at first. And on a purely non-Cancer related topic, I think it’s really amazing to see all these wonderful fresh faces on Facebook without makeup. The Selfie is one of the most self-absorbed things ever (and one that I am 100% guilty of many, many times), and is basically designed for that perfect makeup, perfect hair shot which can then be improved by Instagram. So the No Make Up Selfie, in it’s own way, is a stand against that and a celebration of the natural beauty we have. At least, that’s what I think. So… without further ado… here’s mine!

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Have a great weekend everyone!!

 

Ellie B

Marathon Training Week 6

6 weeks into training! And still I feel like a novice. 6 weeks in also means that it’s only 10 weeks til Race Day, which will fly by. I’ve gotten into a nice little habit of 3-4 runs a week: a gentle run, a tempo run, speed/hill work and a long run. Usually I can’t meet the full requirements of the training schedule, but I’m balancing it by doing strength work too…

 

On Saturday I broke a personal record of mine: I ran the furthest I’ve ever ran in my life. In all the years on this earth! Here is how my training went during the last week:

  • Monday: 2.5m/4k tempo run to Tempest Runners, 2.7m/4.5k gentle with the Runners
  • Tuesday: Lunchtime Lunges & hill repeats
  • Wednesday: rest
  • Thursday: 6m/10k tempo run
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 14.2m/22.8k in 2:03

 

It’s been a long time since I had race day nerves, but they were there for Saturday’s run…. On Friday night, poor SB  was trying to watch Predator, but had to deal with a truculent, vicious creature of his own who jumped out of nowhere and made misery.  On Saturday I just wanted to get it started. I don’t know why it was such a big marker for me – it was only 2 miles longer than I had done the weekend before – but I was bricking it.

 

And then once I started, it was fine! Thankfully the time I had to do it in made for a really relaxed pace, but I soon found myself speeding up a little. It seems my natural pace, if I was to run and not track anything, is around an 8:30 mile.

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Running in Durham’s old streets

SB ran with me for the first 3 miles, and then I was on my own for the rest as he went to the gym. Strangely enough it was much easier than the run the previous week, and I think it’s down to two things:

  1. I was running in a strange place the week before – we were in Birmingham, and I didn’t know the roads, so I had no markers or familiarity on the route
  2. I fueled properly – this time I had breakfast before I ran, and two gels on the way around. Last week I had a lucozade and a banana before I left, and that’s it. Not the smartest move!

 

The last four miles were in some really strong wind, which made it so much more fun that I could have run for another 4 miles. Not really – the wind was awful, and I was glad I only had to contend with it for the final stretch.

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The nicest view to run beside: Durham Cathedral

By the time I finished, my legs were starting to feel tired, but I could imagine myself being able to run on. Whether I could manage another 12 miles is a different story, but I could have done another mile or three for sure. And this has done loads for my confidence! I’m not kidding myself that the final 12 miles in a marathon will be easy, but if I can get to mile 14 feeling as ok as I did on Saturday, then hopefully that will bode well :)

 

I made sure to finish my run at Sainsburys so I could get my favourite post-run treat: a chocolate For Goodness Shakes.

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Nothing tastes as good after a long run as one of these bad boys, and they contain the perfect combo of protein and carbs to help you recover. I just can’t say enough about them.

 

Ellie B