Winter feels like it’s well and truly on us. I don’t mind running the trails at night, but I can’t risk running in Castle Eden Dene when it’s dark. It’s really slippery underfoot and the leaves on the ground hide all kinds of lumps and bumps that could send you flying. It’s a shame as I use the Dene to get elevation into my running week. I think I peaked at about 50,000ft of elevation in July. Octobers elevation was 19,000ft so a big drop. I have three big trail marathons coming up so fingers crossed I have enough leg strength from earlier in the year.
It feels like a long time ago now, but I have done three marathons since my last blog. York, Castles and the Mo Marathon. Although I’m still struggling with training hard I found all three marathons great. I ran York and Castles to heart rate and the Mo Marathon replaced my regular Sunday long slow run. I ran that with a fellow Sedgefield Harrier Ray who is recovering from a hernia operation. He never thought he would go the full 26.2 so a massive well done to him. I kept needing the loo! Pretty much every lap included a toilet stop. It wasn’t a great idea having a coffee just before the start, but I can never say no to coffee. Also, Ray kindly took us home via KFC and I finally tried the double down burger!! Anyone who knows me knows how much I love running and food. It’s usually junk food. Pancakes, cakes, fish and chips, burgers and anything else covered in sugar or batter usually gets me excited.
As I said I ran to a strict HR at York and Castles, but it was still a tough morning. My only goal was not to go into heart rate zone 4. I know if I keep just on the right side of my effort I can usually hold things together. It is tough, but not to the point of you fading badly towards the end. Both runs went perfect and I ran a course PB at both events! I even came 3rd at Castles. The most satisfying thing was I did no taper and no carb loading for either event and I ran pretty much as normal the following week.
York Marathon - www.strava.com/activities/1220762267
Castles Marathon - www.strava.com/activities/1241885096
I don’t want to keep banging on about motivation, but it is still a factor in my training. I just think I should have took the rest of the year easy after Lakeland so I would be ready for 2018. My goal for 2018 has now changed from doing the Hardmoors trail marathon series to trying to get the automatic entry time for Berlin marathon. The time I need to get isn’t a million miles off my PB so with a lot of graft and a bit of luck I might just do it.
Next up I have the South 2 North Peaks double ultra. It’s basically two runs just over marathon distance in the Peak District. You sleep on the floor of the village hall on the Saturday night. You can book a hotel or B&B if you want, but I thought it would be great to rough it. I’ll be gutted if I forget my ear plugs! I have been looking forward to this for ages. It just feels like a proper adventure. The weather could be atrocious which will add to the fun. Not many people remember the easy things in life so bring on the wind, rain and snow!
I get asked a lot about strength and conditioning. I keep it really simple. I can’t seem to get to any classes and I don’t feel the need to join a gym so I use YouTube and in particular a channel called Fitness Blender. They do 100’s of routines targeting different parts of the body and for various length of time. The three I use are…
Core - www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q89MwOlSuhg
Upper body - www.youtube.com/watch?v=GE6pwXWR450
Glutes & Thighs - www.youtube.com/watch?v=gF-nJkS_FjI
For about three years I struggled with back and groin pain. Sometimes it just hurt and other times it stopped me running. Back pain was the big problem for me. I needed a lot of physio to get me running again. Anyway, since I started doing the above routines I have been pretty much pain free and I have not been to the Physio once. I was listening to a Podcast just the other day and the ex-athlete said her career ended early because she neglected strengthening her core. Please, please, please do S&C!! I’ll do each routine at least once a week. They don’t last ages, which helps me squeeze them in easily. I know we aren't all elite athletes and not everyone runs marathons, but I'm 100% convinced that S & C is vital at any level if you want to keep enjoying running.
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Thanks for taking the time to read the blog. I’ll try and do another blog when I’m back from the Peaks.