The day after the weeks before

 

For the last two weeks I’ve been …. plain stinkin lazy a little more unproductive on the running side. There were reasons for the break, but I didn’t expect a two week hiatus!

 

Even when you have the most valid of reasons not to run, sometimes not going can feel like a cop out, or like you’re cheating. Even thoughthis was a semi-planned break for me, I found myself going on a bit of a ‘runners journey’ which I will detail here for your pleasure:

 

  • Days 1-3: decided to rest knee after Stampede. Felt good about my choice, and mature that I knew when to put my body first. Running positive rating: 4/5
  • Days 4-7: focused on cross training. Got some serious pole, metafit & abs action in. Kept my running crave happy via reading blogs, Born to Run and Runners World. Running positive rating: 4/5
  • Days 8-10: traveled with work (read early mornings, delayed trains, late dinners). Came down with a cold, and experienced knee pain after two days in high heels. Read my running stuff, felt frustrated for not going running. Consoled myself with KFC and cupcakes. r Running positive rating: 2/5. Comfort food satisfaction: 5/5
  • Days 11-13: got over cold, and mum came for the weekend (mothers make everything better). Started to wonder how I fitted running into my days. Read my running stuff for interest, knew I had to be careful not to lose the mojo in a serious way! Running positive rating: 3/5
  • Day 14: Went for a run! Did a small run with my dance/running group. It blew away the cobwebs, and …. SUCCESS! My knee didn’t ache. It wasn’t long way, or amazingly fast, but it was a pain-free run for the first time in months. Celebrated with some foam rolling and dinner out. Running positive rating: 4/5

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As you can see, it was deep stuff. I was pretty hard on myself when I couldn’t run, and started playing the comparison game (comparing yourself to every single runner who is faster/stronger/better than you). Believe me, it’s not a great game to play! As soon as I started running yesterday, my mojo came back. It reminded me of the pleasures to be had from running that weren’t related to your maintaining goal-pace, or trying to make up for lost training time: fresh air, those fabulous endorphin highs, and the knowledge that I can eat more cupcakes.

Quit Run

I’m going on a run tomorrow to make the most of this gorgeous Autumn weather. It won’t be a long one, or a fast one, but hopefully another pain free one……

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And finally, if you get the UK Runner’s World magazine this month, you may see someone familiar….. only my good pal George Nicholson!!

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SB has recorded The Shining and keeps trying to put it on. This is the third time he’s tried ….. I am going to see how long I can watch before I huge scaredy cat and run upstairs to watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians. A different type of scary family.

 

Pace Yourself…..

This week Gilly asked me my aims for the race this weekend. When I told her, she said ‘how will you pace yourself?’ I thought about it and …. I had no clue. Other than that I would run the race and see what happened.

My approach to running events has always been a bit reactionary: I’d check my times during the event, and work out how I’d finished based on what I saw. I’ve always been a ‘push when I can, slow when I need to’ kind of runner. This is for two reasons:

  • I don’t have a Garmin, I use Strava on my iphone. Which makes checking pace regularly a little tricky, trying to wrestle it from my back pocket without dislodging my headphones
  • Maths escapes me. Unless I’m mid-run, and then it’s a good distraction technique. It takes me longer to work out when I’ll finish that it would take you, I promise.

So, to those readers out there who are familiar with pacing and are thinking ‘are you kidding? A running blogger who doesn’t know about pacing?’, I apologise! And fellow bloggers, I hope I’m still allowed to be a member of the club.

But for those of you who aren’t familiar with pacing, join me on an excursion through the wonderful world of timing your races.

Preparing your Pace

The basic idea is that you work out what time you want to finish your event in, and then work out how long each mile/kilometre should take. You can then keep that in mind when training for the event so you’re used to that pace by race day. It will also help you keep your pace consistent throughout the event.

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Um… yeah. Could be more consistent. Can you tell where the hills were?!

Take a look at the course map, and identify any areas where you may need additional time, like hills. Make sure you factor that into your over all pace!

This should give you a pace plan which you can use during the event. Standard pace plans will show you what time you should reach 5k, 10k, 15k etc so you can check to see if you’re on track.

Practicing your Pace

Runner’s World sugests that you find a course which is 3/4 of your event distance, and practice at your goal race pace. Run it once a week, and take note of how your body/breathing/mind feels with each one so you understand how your body responds.

Although it’s no fun on your own, try to incorporate interval training, hill runs or fartleks into your weekly runs. These will help you adjust to your goal race pace if it’s faster than normal, and will also get you used to pushing yourself when you’re tired! You’ll also see a big difference when you go at a consistent pace after a few months of intervals.

When practicing your pace, you may want to try negative splits, which are big talk in the running world: this is where you start slower, speed up throughout, and finish at a faster pace than you started. Many runners start too fast in races as the adrenaline kicks in, and this will help you avoid that!

run-your-own-race

Race Day Pace Day

For my race day, Gilly suggested I write the 5K split times I’m aiming for on my arms so I can quickly check where I’m at. I am going to try to save my brain from working on running and division at the same time on Sunday.

The second half of your event will most likely be tougher than the first, so prepare yourself for this. All your interval training will come into play here and you can push yourself through it!

I find that focusing my eyes on something in the distance, and my mind on the rhythm of my breathing really helps in those moments where you’d prefer to give up and stuff a donut in your face at the earliest opportunity.

Another good idea, and one to help you pick up the pace towards the end, is to pick one person and focus on ‘reeling them in’. Then as you pass them, select another. This will break down the last few miles into easier chunks, and will keep your pace up so you finish strong!

So thank you Gilly for encouraging me to use this more logical approach! It sounds like it’ll be much better than my previous one, which was: ‘can you run harder right now? well bloody go on then!’ This already feels like a much better mantra:

pace-well-and-finish-strong-3

I’ll let you all know how I get on, but in the meantime, pace out, man! Haha.

Ellie B

MetaFit? MegaSweat!

Last night I tried something new. I went to MetaFit.

I am not a ‘class’ kind of girl: I’ve never been into BodyPump or Pilates or YogaLates or StepAerobicsTilYouPassOut. But some girls from SB’s work have been going, and they said it was really hard. The clincher for me: it only lasts 20 minutes, and is 5 minutes from my house.

So I went to my first class last night, and I had that new girl feeling where you’re convinced everyone’s looking at you cos you don’t know anyone. But I sucked it up, and prepared to get my ass kicked.

Metafit 2

20 minutes? It can’t be that bad surely….?

The next 20 minutes were INTENSE! The class was broken down into different rounds, with 4*30 second exercises and 30 secs rest in between. The first three exercises in a round repeated themselves, and the last was always a plank.

The exercises included lunges, squats, sprinting on the spot, and burpees. It sounds ok, but by the final round of each one I was knackered. You know you’re working hard when plank is a break!

During the class I had sweat dripping down my face, which is unusual because I’m not generally a sweatter. SB is: he says that the more you sweat, the fitter you are. Not sure if that’s true, or if he’s trying to convince everyone that sweat is cool. Anyway, today I can really feel my upper legs have taken a beating, so I’m going to go again! Walking upstairs is overrated, right?

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I know, selfies aren’t cool, esp extreme close ups. But now you can see what we’re dealing with.

Coming back from the class, I felt like I’d received enlightenment, so I went online to get even more enlightened. Metafit works on the premise of HIIT: high intensity interval training. The MetaFit website says it’s the ‘metabolic workout that lasts 24 hours’, which comes from the idea that increasing the metabolic resting rate will help you burn more calories.

HIIT is also a great way to make sure you get your exercise in when you’re busy: according to Runner’s World, 15 minutes of HIIT can have the same impact as three hours of long, slow running. HIIT does favour the fast-twitch fibres, but these will support you on longer runs when your legs start to feel the burn.

So that was my first foray into the world of MetaFit! It’s really hot in England at the moment, and there’s loads of classes to choose from. Plus I like any marketing campaign that makes me feel like I’m a marine.

Hope you’re all having a good week!

Ellie B

Yasso!!!!!

This morning we had Yasso 800’s – my first time doing this workout. You can read a detailed description here but essentially they are a “predictor session”. And a very difficult predictor at that! I am shattered all day.

The name “Yasso” comes from Bart Yasso, the chief running officer at Runner’s World magazine, who popularized this workout. Here’s how to do Yasso 800s:

  • Take your marathon goal time in hours/minutes and convert this to minutes/seconds. For example, if your marathon goal is 3 hours and 10 minutes then convert that to 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
  • Try to run 800 meters in your converted time (3:10 in this example).
  • Repeat 10 times at this same pace. So you need to make sure you don’t go out too fast to keep your pace consistent.
  • Run an active recovery for the same time (here 3:10) between each 800M
  • Simple!

 So my goal is 3.25. Which means I ran:

  • 800M in 3.25
  • Recovery for 3.25 (as slow as you like)
  • Repeat for 10 times.

 You obviously need to take it with a pinch of salt but my coach rates it. We used today as a base session to see where we were and will do it again 3 weeks out. Here are my laps from this morning. So I’m on track but not there yet!


 It’s a really tough session….I have been so tired and hungry all day! But they are the good ‘uns! 

I finally succumbed and bought some running gloves yesterday! It was 2 degrees on Saturday morning when we set off and my hands were numb until lunch time! It took me like 3 minutes to open the car door! I am that European person in Australia scoffing at all the aussies in their winter gear in 16 degrees. That’s Celsius. So my club compadres enjoyed laughing at me in my new gloves this morning. I got these ones in Lululemon…..I worship at the altar of Lululemon. My bank balance is not as big a fan. 


Guess which picture I took?

Franman thinks they look like washing up gloves…….he may have a point. The fact that they are TouchScreen is handy though……and obviously worth the extra coin.

I have a 17km Medium Long Run (4.45-5.15 pace) at 6am tomorrow; so just dying for that.  Thankfully I am doing it with a few of the club members so won’t be as bad as solo. Looking forward to a lie in (until 7am!!!) on Friday. J

I wish I had read some of this in my 20’s 

Gilly


Cement and Cadence – things to help you run!

Happy Thursday everyone!

This week I read an article about training your brain for races (note how all my posts start with “I read this somewhere”? Suuuuuch a geek). This sentence particularly struck a chord with me:

August 2013 Runner's World

August 2013 Runner’s World

I had never thought of it that way before. If you want to do well on race day, you better drink a ton of cement during your training and harden the *$%* up so you can handle yourself if you’re caught in the glare of the unforgiving enemy: The Wall.

Having not done a marathon, I myself have not met The Wall. Yet. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t huffed and puffed my way through races like I’m in the terrible twos at the age of 22*.

Mental strength comes into play at all times during your running career: during my first distance run in 2005 (City2Surf, Sydney), my aim was to finish the run without stopping. One training session I ran the race distance, was mortified at how long it took me, but I was definitely prepared on race day: I gleefully ran up the infamous Heartbreak Hill and achieved my goal. I may have been beaten by an old-timer with a t-shirt that read on the back “I may be old but I’m faster than you”, but that doesn’t matter.

Finishing line - pretty nice, hey?

Bondi Beach – Finishing line  at City2Surf Sydney

Now, whenever my hip starts to hurt, or my IT band, or I wonder why the heck I left my nice warm bed on a Saturday morning to run, I focus on a point in the distance, and concentrate on my stride and breathing rhythm. Or, as this lady puts it, I just shut up and run. It calms me down and distracts me, and before I know it I’m back in my little world of rainbows, glitter and pop music.

This week we did the final in our three week running technique course. We did 4*200 metres concentrating on the whole running technique of lifting, planting and pushing, whilst trying to get our cadence faster.

Cadence is the rhythm of your run, or how many steps you take in any given time. If you work on your cadence, you contribute to your energy reserves – for when you need to dig deep in those races. I upped my cadence from 103 steps in a minute to 110 steps, which doesn’t sound like much but I felt like I was literally flying across the path!

I’ve definitely found the course helpful – it has made me aware of how I naturally run, and what I can do to become more powerful.

Finally – for July I am participating in this thing I saw on instagram (follow me on ellieinuk), plus it fits in with my new years resolution.

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I wanted to share Day 2 with you because it’s ace:

1) Runners - need I say more? 2) L.K Bennett for when I need to channel Kate Middleton 3) Pole shoes - cos sometimes badass shoes are the only ones which will do.

1) Asics Kayanos – need I say more?
2) L.K Bennett for when I need to channel Kate Middleton
3) Pole shoes – cos sometimes badass shoes are the only ones which will do.

Everyone will have their own mental focusing technique – what’s yours? A mantra? Thinking of your reward at the end?

Ellie B    :D 

*OK,I admit it, I’m not really 22. I just liked the sound of “terrible twos at the age of 22”. And that Taylor Swift song. But don’t pretend I couldn’t pass for 22…. right?