January Training & Snow Running

Well January is almost over, so I wanted to let you all know what I’ve been up to this month in terms of running…

 

This month was about getting back on track after a slow December. To start with I was doing 5-6kms, and then worked my way up to 8kms 3 times a week, but LAST NIGHT I DID 10.5KMS! It’s the longest I’ve gone since 14th December, and it felt goooooooood. Actually – for the first 2kms it felt good, and then it began to snow. Big, fat, angry snow that flew up and down and in every direction. Then it wasn’t so easy.

photo-153

I haven’t been able to push it hard, which has been weird. To keep myself from trying to go too fast too soon, I listened to all my calm music. Out went the Iggy Azalea, Plan B and Rudimental and in came nice acoustic songs that you want to have a cry to. It made every run feel like I was in a movie about personal growth and development.

 

So. Running slow took some getting used to, and that’s why I came up with this ‘be kind to yourself’ motto. I’m a very competitive person, and I don’t like feeling that I’m not at my best, so whenever I start to feel frustrated, I chant ‘be kind’ in rhythm with my feet. Such a change from when it was all about ‘main-tain’ and ‘keep-going’! Those days will be back though.

 

On the whole it’s also been really nice. There’s time to appreciate things more, and without the focus of trying to reach a certain pace/distance, you can let your mind wander more. Also: it doesn’t hurt as much, and the recovery is much quicker!  And  – I’m not going to lie – there’s more time to look through the windows with open curtains. I’m always soooo fascinated with what people do with their spaces. I promise you I’m not some freaky stalker, but if you’re running past an open window, sometimes it’s hard not to take a quick look….Tell me I’m not the only one!!!

 

But last night I did 10k, which was awesome. Running on snow is better than running on ice, but even so last night wasn’t the easiest of conditions. Here are my top tips for running in the snow and ice:

  • Wear trail shoes that have better grip than usual runners
  • Wear a hat! Don’t try running without a hat, or at least a headband to keep your ears warm
  • Keep your fingers moving! Don’t let them get cold
  • Layer up , but not too much. Don’t let the temperature deceive you: you will get warm.
  • Make sure you’re wearing bright, reflective gear – especially if it’s snowing
  • Start your run facing the wind, so that you finish with it at your back – you don’t want a blast of wind to hit you when you’re sweaty
  • Take it easy. Don’t go out there with any expectations, just see what the conditions are like and how you feel in them
  • When you’re finished, get warm quickly!!!
I mean, this is what I tell myself. It gets me out the door I guess. I'm not sure it's 100% true….

I mean, this is what I tell myself. It gets me out the door I guess. I’m not sure it’s 100% true….

Last night, encouraged by my chilled, acoustic soundtrack, I tried to watch the snow in the street lights. It was really pretty, and you could see how the wind would come and change their direction, swirling around each other. I’m sure I was on the verge of having some kind of epiphany about how we’re all just floating snowflakes, trying to make our way in the streetlight that is the world. But then the wind changed, and the very same beautiful snow flakes threw themselves in my face with such force: it was like someone was throwing sand. So that was that, and I remain unenlightened about our snowflake-state-of-affairs.

 

In summary, I would say January has been: slower, chilled, a time for re-prioritising and a time for patience. It’s been a good month after a month where I hardly ran at all.

 

Ellie B

 

The Run-Walk

Well well well! That was an unexpected break! I didn’t intend to stay away so long, but other things have kept me pretty busy. Yes, I am a surprised as you, apparently it’s normal to maintain some kind of life outside of running.

 

Anyway, today I want to talk about walking and running. When I first started, I thought that as long as you kept running, you were a Serious Runner. My goal for the first race I ever ran was to finish without needing to walk, and this is something that’s been consistent in my running since.

 

I knew the run-walk was a great way to build up running strength and stamina, I never considered it for my own training. Not that I’m some ultra-speedy running machine, but I was part of the ‘Walking’s Cheating’ club. It’s similar to the ‘Eating’s Cheating’ club for nights out (of which I am not a member), in that it can work for some people, but can also be a bad idea if you push it too hard.

This isn't related to the article. But it's snowed here, which means Cool Runnings!!

This isn’t related to the post. But it’s snowed here, which means Cool Runnings!! I already used that joke on instagram, and I’m very pleased to use it again. 

But if last year was all about building a base for my marathon training, this year is all about being kind and chilling out. It turns out you can do that without compromising on standards. Sort of. I mean, you can’t go hardcore intervals while taking it easy, but you can run distance and relative speed.

 

So I’ve introduced some walks during my runs: once I reach the top of a hill, or after a block of running. At first it took a bit of getting used to, but now I like it. It keeps the stitches at bay, and I also noticed that I finish stronger.

 

It turns out I’m not the only one who’s come across this gem: today one of my Facebook friends posted this article, which noted that those who incorporated some walks during a marathon not only finished at a similar time, but also had similar heart rates, and finished feeling better:

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 19.51.52

 

One of my favourite bloggers, Shut Up and Run, wrote this post about marathon advice, and number 7 on her list is to walk through the water stations. Not only can you drink your drink without pouring it all down you, but she also says it also gives you some time to regroup. If there’s one time you should be kind to yourself, it’s during a marathon, so giving yourself time to hydrate and chill (even if it’s for a minute – when you’re not running, you’re not thinking about maintaining your pace!).

 

After more research, I found this article on RunnersWorld.com which really highlights the benefits of the run-walk, and looks at some triggers to use it effectively. Personally, I’m guilty of pushing through leg pain at the end of a long run, and for losing form as I get tired. I’m one of life’s high achievers, and it’s great to know that it’s ok to walk during your run… you’re not being weak, you’re just being smart!

 

On a completely separate note, has anyone seen American Horror Story? I’m only on episode three, and it’s soooooo creepy. But I can’t stop watching! I have it on now, and SB is out, so I’m trapped in my living room until he gets home. Because I am too scared to go into the kitchen. Yes, I’m in my thirties, people.

Even this is scary. Don't try and tell me it's not.

Even this is scary. Don’t try and tell me it’s not.

 

Ellie B