Summer Runnin’, Had me a Blast

And we’re back to running again, after yesterday’s random foray elsewhere. I felt more cultured just writing that post – hope you felt cultured too ūüėČ

 

So! Today is the 31st July. On this day in 1856, Christchurch was chartered as a city in New Zealand. In 1928, Halina Konopacka of Poland became the first woman to win Olympic gold in track and field. In 1987, Guns n Roses release ‘Appetite for Destruction’. And in 2014: it’s the last day of #100MileJuly.

 

Working in London this week meant I had to be prepared in the face of this important deadline. Here’s how my final week went down:

  • Wednesday:¬†The Clamber, 5.2 miles
  • Thursday: 6 miles
  • Sunday: 10 miles
  • Monday:¬†3.9 miles
  • Total: 25.1 miles

 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, puts me on 100.7 miles for July!! My self esteem is largely grounded in the satisfaction of crossing things off lists, so this week was a biggie: being prepared and reaching 100 miles. #winning

 

Even my ponytail is happy about this.

Even my ponytail is happy about this.

I really liked doing this challenge. Well, that’s a lie – there were many times this month when I wished I didn’t have to go running, many more times than usual. There’s something about having a target hanging over my head that makes me want to both smash it with exceptional prowess and run away at the same time. Do you ever get that? Lucky for me, the weather this July has been glorious, and it¬†has¬†been good to really sweat up a storm. Reminds me of my Sydney running days…..

 

What I did¬†enjoy about the challenge is the variation: instead of running my typical 8-12k for ‘fun’, I was getting in any distance I could whenever I could. This meant short, long, fast and slow runs over more varied routes. It was fun to run 3.5 miles and really sprint it out, and also to go for 5 miles and chill out. As a super competitive person, this month reminded me that not every run has to be a race against myself. It’s true, you guys, it’s actually possible to enjoy running even when you don’t beat your last time. All miles are good miles. And maybe the biggest pro of the lot: my Summer running collection has had excellent exposure this month. ūüėČ

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My legs were tired for weeks 2 and 3 from running more frequently. I don’t remember feeling like this during marathon training – maybe it’s like childbirth & I’ve blocked it….?

 

As we get tired when we run, we tend to just slap our feet down without proper form, which makes you vulnerable to injury and makes it harder overall. When I find myself doing this, I ¬†concentrate on each muscle that works through the step: the hip flexor when I push the leg forward, the quads as I plant, and the hamstrings as I pull the leg up, and make sure that each muscle is working as effectively as possible. That helps me to resist dropping my form, and soon I’m able to carry on. Just a little tip to help you if you find yourself slapping your feet like you’re in clown shoes!

 

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Sooooooo that’s that challenge… next month I will be in London, Stockholm and Berlin for work, so I’m¬†really hoping to get some running on all those places. Stay tuned for photos…….

 

I hope your week is going well!

 

Ellie B

 

100 Mile July week 3

So we’re down to the home stretch in this 100 mile July thing. There is exactly one week to go from here. Here is how last week went:

  • Thursday 17th:¬†3.5 miles
  • Friday:¬†6.9 miles
  • Saturday: 4.5 miles
  • Sunday:¬†Color Run, 3.1 miles
  • Monday:¬†11.1 miles – on a¬†MONDAY¬†I tell ya!
  • Total: 29.1 miles!

 

That’s 75.6 miles overall for July, and only 24.4 to go this week.

 

Now there’s an overall mileage goal – as opposed to a specific goal for that individual workout – I’ve got a different approach to training. When I only ran 3.5 miles on Thursday, for example, I knew I’d have to do a mammoth run at some point to make up the miles. So I’ve had to plan out the week rather than just running what I want, or doing what my training plan tells me for that day. And weigh short & long runs vs more consistent, evenly spread runs.

 

By Saturday’s run I was tired. I had done nine days in a row, with only one rest day in the middle. Which, to be honest, is unlike me. I like two or three runs dispersed with rest days. On ¬†Saturday morning, Durham experienced some classic Sydney-mugginess: the sky was grey, and the air was heavy and warm. I was dripping with sweat, and my legs felt like they were made of concrete.

 

I also think that I’ve not been eating properly for all this – I was still on my post-marathon, calm-your-carbs-woman diet, which is fine for more infrequent running, but not this. Luckily on the weekend we had both a wedding and a BBQ of immense proportions, so by Monday’s 11 miler I was on top form again.

 

My Color Run posse and I have just signed up for the Neon Run in October! I am verrrrry excited about this one. I am excited about the novelty of running a race at night, and being covered in neon lights. It falls under the same category as the silent disco in terms of ‘Things I Had Never Imagined, Yet Bloody Love’. If they could make the neon run a silent disco as well, I think my head would explode.

 

Our running party planner is a pal of mine called Jow Baby. She comes to my Monday night running group, and is also an instructor at the pole school. She always makes me laugh on a Monday because – during the runs – she doesn’t always have the best time, and isn’t shy of telling me. But then afterwards I always get a text saying how much fun she’d had. The reason I mention her is that she’s a fine example of how hard it can hurt when you’re in the middle, but the satisfaction and runner’s high you get afterwards makes up for it (At least, I hope it does…)! All you have to do is keep going.

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And also, props to her for being our running-party-planner, and encouraging everyone to actually run during the Color Run. :)

 

Happy Thursday! Remember to eat right before you run, or your legs will feel like concrete! #LessonOfTheWeek

 

Ellie B

100 Mile July & Intro to Intervals

Well hot damn if we’re not already in the middle of July! When did that happen?

 

In my last update, I lamented the 7 missing miles which stopped me from reaching my goal. As penance, I set myself the target of 27 miles this week. ¬†Admittedly, that might have been a little optimistic given that I had a trip to London for work. When in London, the allure of dinner and drinks with friends is strong competition for going home early to put my runners on….

 

So here’s how I went in week two:

  • Wednesday 9th: 3.5 miles with the JP Morgan Challenge
  • Friday 11th: 5 miles
  • Saturday 12th: 3.5 miles
  • Sunday 13th: 6 miles in the Great North 10k
  • Monday 24th: 6 miles (3 miles with Tempest Runners, 3 miles running home)
  • Tuesday 15th: 4.5 miles
  • Grand total…….28.5 miles!!¬†(46kms)

 

This puts me on a total of 46.5 miles for the month, and only 3.5 miles short of where I need to be to hit 100. I am feeling strong at the moment, which makes it a pleasure to run. It is a challenge to find the time to run and log the miles, but a weekly goal means that the odd 3.5 mile run isn’t something to be scoffed at, but contributes to the whole. Which is a very different way to my approach to running, where distance is what matters.

 

This week I was VERY excited as it was SO HOT that I had to wear shorts and a hat

This week I was VERY excited as it was SO HOT that I had to wear shorts and a hat

On Monday night I introduced my running group to the wonderful world of interval training. We did a warm up, followed by: 1 min fast, 1 min recovery, 2 mins fast, 2 mins recovery, 3 mins fast, 3 mins recovery, and then decreased it back to 1 min again. At the end the group said that they didn’t mind them, so either we did them wrong or I didn’t work them hard enough. Or they’re lying to me, and the next time we do intervals, I’ll have an empty running group.

 

Why does interval training help? I wrote before on the benefits of high intensity training, and intervals are similar in that your body still feels the effects after you stop exercising. So, as you’re sitting on the couch eating your reward chocolate cupcake, your body is still working away = bonus!!

 

Intervals are typically two parts of a whole: the fast bit and the slow bit. You may also have heard them referred to as Fartleks, though I can’t quite bring myself to say it because I don’t appreciate anything even remotely related to with the bathroom. Sorry, I am a prude. Anyway, here’s a summary of what happens:

 

The Fast Bit

  • Your body relies on the anaerobic system for energy, which means it’s not using oxygen but glucose as it’s energy source (read calories)
  • The side effect of this is lactic acid, and as you work harder, the body can’t remove the acid quick enough. This is why it hurts so much!

 

The Slow Bit

  • You return to the aerobic system, and burn fat to help with the recovery process
  • Your body can start to remove the lactic acid buildup in your system

 

Why it’s a good workout:

Aside from the aforementioned fact that your body will be working long after you stop running, there are a few reasons why interval training is a good thing to do:

  • Your muscles learn how to work effectively at a faster speed
  • Your body becomes more efficient at lactic acid removal
  • Mentally you get used to powering through when you feel tired and sore
  • Your typical pace will feel easier after challenging yourself to run faster for a prolonged period of time
  • The variation will help you over-use muscles, and contribute to injury prevention
  • Over time your general speed will increase

 

This is how you should feel at the end of intervals.

This is how you should feel at the end of intervals.

Intervals are pretty intense. If you’re not a big runner, don’t over-do it, but stick to shorter times and recoveries. One of the hardest things for me is to know when I’m pushing myself the right amount, I figure as long as I feel like puking by the end then I’m on the right track. But – you heard it here first guys – I’m¬†not an expert, and so don’t take that as an authoritative opinion! Plus, it actually takes a lot of commitment to get to that point in the first place.

 

I had the company of this guy when I arrived at work today:

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Happy intervals everyone!!

 

Ellie B

100 Mile July Update, and some Bright Lights!

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to Gilly because she did a 10k race on the weekend and came first in her category: AMAZING! Well done ūüėÄ

 

Week 1 of 100 Mile July finishes today, and my grand total for the week is…… 18 miles! Damn it annoys me to write that. I wanted a clean 25. The over-achiever in me is hanging her head in shame. ¬†Here’s my activity breakdown for the week:

  • Tuesday: 6 miles
  • Thursday: 6 miles
  • Saturday: taught pole 1 hour
  • Sunday: 2 hour pole training
  • Monday: 6 miles

 

For the first time in about a thousand years I did more pole than running on the weekend. It was my first proper training session for me in about 4 months! I was a little rusty, but it was sooooooooooooo good to be able to climb, spin and invert for fun again. And I was training with someone who could show me a thing or two, which was awesome.

 

However. It did mean that I didn’t get a fourth run in, which would have topped up my mileage. This week I am going to aim for 27 – I’ll try for 6 tomorrow, 3.5 on Wednesday (event), 10 on the weekend and 8 on Monday. We’ll see how that goes….

 

On Wednesday I am running the JP Morgan Challenge in Battersea park with my colleagues, which is 5.6k. I have no idea what time to aim for – last year I did it in 25:30. So if I can beat that time – and ideally a few of the boys too – then I’ll be peachy.

 

And in other news.

 

You know how when you’re growing up you are convinced that you have amazing talent and will one day be famous for something? Or is that just me? I’m convinced an Oscar-worthy actress inside of me, if only I’d let her out. So I have a friend from uni who is a musician. We’ve not really kept in touch over the years, and since then, he’s been working hard at being a musician. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve followed his career, bought his tunes, and he is now supporting ELTON JOHN on his tour. Pretty frickin cool, right?

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Last week my friend and I were lucky enough to go see both acts – Bright Light Bright Light, followed by Elton – courtesy of my friend Rod aka lead singer. It was amazing. Even though we’ve not been the best at keeping in touch, I was still so proud to see Rod up there on stage singing in front of everyone. I don’t imagine that music has been an easy path, and what separates him from oh, let’s say me, is that he had the guts and energy to take the risks and put himself out there. And now he’s seeing the fruits of that. If you wanted to find a running analogy (is this the most tenuous link ever?), it’s like marathon training: you have to put in the slog for the high at the end. Except the end of a marathon gives you blood blisters, cramps and dehydration, where as Rod’s path will give glamorous after-parties, collaborations with the world’s most talented musicians, and probably some dehydration too.

 

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There’s Rod. Just singing on an arena tour, no biggie.

 

His album is out today – it’s called Life Is Easy, and it’s on iTunes if you fancy some new chooones.¬†His sound is ¬†electro-pop, with a bit of disco thrown in too. It’s light and fun and great for getting you in the mood to go out (his older album is a fab soundtrack for pre-night out champers). But I am¬†not¬†a critic, so probably have gotten that whole sound thing wrong. But you should definitely trust me when I say it is bright lights in music form.

 

Elton was pretty good too. ūüėČ He has some MAD piano skills! I couldn’t believe what he was able to play whilst singing. I may have embarrassed myself once or twice by shouting ‘Yeah! Rocket man!’ and ‘Is this Rocket man?’ when it wasn’t (I maintain that ‘Tiny Dancer’ sounds¬†like ‘Rocket Man’). And then not recognising ‘Rocket Man’ when it came on. What can I say? I wasn’t there for Elton. But I did like that in between songs he was a big fan of the double fist pump (not that – stop being so dirty. I mean the universal gesture of awesomeness).

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Oh, hey Elton. Fancy singing Rocket Man for your biggest fan?

 

That’s all for now! I’m off out for dinner with SB because two years ago today we tied the knot, so we want to celebrate by eating a lot of food and drinking good wine. That 6 miler tomorrow is looking promising….

 

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Ellie B