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Half Marathon Training | Week 6 | Diary of an Injured Runner

We welcomed the ‘Beast of the East’ this week and I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty relieved I didn’t manage to get into the Bath Half Marathon this weekend as it didn’t go ahead which is a shame! England was pretty much at a standstill on Friday and Saturday due to the high volumes of snow and I ended up having two days in the house because it was just too dangerous to drive anywhere.

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Monday| Week 6 | Rest Day
I was working away from the office today and after a good few hours in the car I was knackered. That and having a poorly pup, I’ve been missing out on some sleep these past few days. I welcomed a lovely early night with the heating up watching some Friends on Netflix.

Some photos went up on Facebook of the Slay the Dragon 10k race yesterday and I have to give massive credit to the photographers because they were so encouraging! Usually at a race I don’t even see a photographer but on Sunday they were shouting out things like ‘come on ladies, let’s have a massive smile, you’re doing great’! It was much appreciated and I actually ended up with a photo of me running and smiling (alert the elders this has to go down in history).

Tuesday | Week 6 | 30 Miles Spin Bike
It’s beginning to look a lot like…. spring will never get here! What’s with all this snow??

I’m not one who shirks away from running in the cold weather but I just didn’t have it in me today so I went on the spin bike while I watched Derren Brown’s The Push (he’s my not so secret crush, I just adore him).

I perhaps didn’t push myself as hard as I should/ could have but my legs were still a little weary from Sunday’s race and I’m still tired from getting up with the dog in the night. So. Many. Excuses.

Let’s have some real talk here, I was this close to sitting on the sofa and eating snacks…. but I’d weighed myself this morning and did NOT like what I saw staring back at me and that was a massive incentive (let’s ignore the fact that for dinner I had some party snacks and a cider)!

Wednesday | Week 6 | Reflection Day
I always enjoy analysing weeks and months gone past and try and work out how I can make the following months better. I’m a stat nerd and I write everything down and pour over where I went wrong and what I did well. You’d think that I’d be some kind of planning genius and have my life together right…. well not exactly.

This month I feel like I did pretty decent mileage considering how my legs have been. The change up in running shoes I think had helped massively and I did many more miles than I had planned.

I’ve also not been neglecting my stretching routine after running and it’s made a huge difference in my opinion as my foot pain is zero while running and nearly zero the rest of the time. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

My problem is (and always has been) my diet. I know exactly what to eat as I’ve eaten healthily pretty much my whole life and have managed to maintain my weight easily. However, lately I’ve had an appalling diet and this habit has been hard to kick and the scales are showing that. It doesn’t help that I HATE cooking… with a passion. It brings me zero joy except for the fact I am doing one of my favourite things at the end which is eat… and that lasts all of 5 minutes and then it’s gone. Maximum effort with minimum reward is not my style (don’t come at me with all the health benefits etc I know it’s not logic but it’s my logic). So that’s a goal for March for me to do better at.

Thursday | Week 6 | Snow Day!
In all of my years on planet earth, I don’t ever remember a time it was this cold and don’t even get me started on the snow (thanks Storm Emma + Beast of the East)! I had to take the Labrador to the vet in the evening and I was the only one there, with the exception of a spaniel and a little boy rolling around the vet car park (we don’t see snow often, it’s a novelty here). The Labrador also loves snow as much as that little boy…

While today was never a planned workout day anyway, it was so cold, we got in bed with the electric blanket on and watched Netflix which was perfect. Oh and I also had to fix the loft hatch that flew down last night and scared the living days out of me and subsequently had cold air blasting down into the house all night!

Friday | Week 6 | Snow Day #2
Snow is such a novelty that I couldn’t resist trying to take some photos of my lovely new running shoes in it (I might not see any for some years!). Friday is usually a run day for me but there was no way that I was going out running in this…. although could have tried out the trail shoes that are too small for me, my toes may shrink in the cold and they may fit perfectly… or….?

I didn’t leave the house all day which meant I also didn’t eat properly as I didn’t have enough food in the house which meant I couldn’t workout in the evening which means I suck! Apparently milk and bread and other essentials were out of stock in a lot of the shops (not that I eat either of those things) because everyone was panic buying.

Saturday | Week 6 | Snow Day #3
Snow. Is. Annoying. I went for a walk this morning to the shop to try and pick up some supplies but when I got there, it was closed! So I went home empty handed and only ate some chicken dippers and supernoodles all day #facepalm. Unfortunately I’m not the most forward planning kind of person which meant I’ve been super hungry all day and I’m THAT person that cannot workout unless I’ve eaten plenty. So I had yet another rest day today which isn’t ideal as I’ve only managed to get one cardio session under my belt so far this week.

Sunday | Week 6 | Oh Gosh, it’s ANOTHER Rest Day
Although, to give myself some credit, I wasn’t ‘resting’ all day! I got up early and walked the Labrador in what is now just horrible slush after all of the snow and I’ve been working hard on Belle’s Running Blog things. I actually think I’ve been staring at the screen for far too long because a line, which I know is straight, is looking suspiciously curvy! This does mean that I’ve missed out on another workout day today though so I’m pretty disappointed in that. I still have the ‘food issue’ where I’m working my way through the cupboards of anything I have left which isn’t particularly nutritious.

Weekly Summary
So I didn’t do too well on the running / exercising front this week but that wasn’t intentional I think it just required a bit more forward planning on my part and the snow didn’t help either as there was no way I was risking twisting my ankle! My next race is on the 11th March and it’s a nice close one. I’m actually really looking forward to this race, I feel like I might be able to pull a decent time out of the bag (I’ve gone and jinxed it now haven’t I!).

How was your training week this week? Did the Beast of the East stop you from getting out and running?

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Half Marathon Training | Week 5 | Diary of an injured runner

I’m up to week 5 already! This time last year I’d done my longest ever training run of 10 miles and I felt great! Fast forward a year and I’m nowhere near running 10 miles and my half marathon is just over 6 weeks away (insert tears to blog post). But I have had a great week in running this week and I’m feeling much more optimistic for my half marathon! Hooray!!

Monday | Week 5 | New Trail Shoe Run 5k

I was super excited to come home to my new trail shoes! I opened the box, took a ton of photos of them and then literally shoved my feet into them. They didn’t feel comfortable like previous running shoes have but they were just a little tight across the laces. I loosened them up and they felt much better.

I did a little bit of running on the spot and lunges and they felt ok so I took them out for a short 5k run. To start with, they felt absolutely fine and I thought ‘hooray I’ve found my best running shoes’ but after about 2 miles I was suffering. Badly. My toes went completely numb and I mean can’t-feel-a-thing kind of numb. Now, I know that I’m supposed to wear running shoes a size bigger than my normal shoe size… but my last Brooks pair are 5s and I’ve suffered terribly with blisters on my heels and pain down my legs. So sensible me (!!?) decided I’d order these new trail shoes at my actual size 4 as clearly 5s are just too big for me… logic right…. WRONG!

I have never been in this much pain from trainers before and somehow I managed to smash my fastest 5k of 2018, most likely because I couldn’t wait to tear them off of my feet and put my toes on the cold grass!!

So now, I’m stuck with 3 pairs of running shoes (one of which I was professionally fitted for) that are agony to run in…. which leaves me with NO running shoes to wear! Excuse me while I go an sulk in the corner.

Please can someone tell me that I can stretch these out and that I’ll actually be able to run in them??

Tuesday | Week 5 | Rest Day
My poor toes… they’re still really sore from my run yesterday and I’m starting to think that perhaps I’ll never be able to wear them and I most likely will have to sell them, which is devastating because I love them! I’m not sure whether I’ve done the sensible thing here but I went online and found some really cheap Asics… I mean half price kinda deal. I ordered the Asics Endurant Grey/Coral (in a 4.5) and the Asics Patriot 8 Black/Pink (size 5) because I just can’t afford to waste any more money on a pair of running shoes that don’t fit me or are too uncomfortable to wear. Let’s see how we go with these

Wednesday | Week 5 | 2 Mile Hard Run
After Monday’s terrible run I felt like I needed to redeem myself and get out there again. I put on my really old trusty orange Nikes and pushed myself like I haven’t for months. I originally set my paces for around 9:15 – 9:30 but I felt so good I pushed myself to go faster and did an average of 8:56. I felt like I was finally getting back on track! Although I’m nowhere near as far in my training as I’d like to be, I’m running (fairly) injury free and am liking that I can get out and do even shorter runs, even if I’m a little disappointed that I’ve lost so much fitness from last year.

Thursday | Week 5 | Rest Day
Another rest day for me today and I had to take Pupper to the vet again for a check up. Unfortunately she hasn’t improved since going onto her antibiotics so she’s having to have steroids to try and get rid of her skin infection. This also means that she’s going to be going to the loo a lot more frequently so I’ll have to try and manage that.

I got my new running shoe delivery today and I love both of them! I can’t wait to try them out.

Friday | Week 5 | 7 Mile Long Run
I was not in a good mood today, I was angry, sad and anxious for no real reason and I procrastinated this run for over an hour. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of trying on my new shoes!!! I picked my Asics Endurants and set out of the door, my only plan being to do a reallllllyyyyy slooowwwwwww long-ish run.

I felt absolutely great and like I could take on the whole world, which is probably why even though I was trying to run slow, I managed a 1:03 10k time! I was a little annoyed that today was my slow run and I had to try really hard to keep my pace low. I tried not to look at my mileage on my Garmin and was only interested in my heart race zone and kept it around the aerobic area as much as possible so imagine my surprise when I’d got up to nearly 7 miles. I did a really long cool down and tried to stretch out my foot as much as possible as it’s been feeling really good and I didn’t want to ruin it. I will say though, I was wearing a t-shit and it was FREEZING! I felt pretty warm while running but my arms were like ice blocks and I had real trouble warming up when I got home.

I’m feeling a lot more confident about my half marathon which is in around 6 weeks and I’m not far off of my 10 mile goal for training.

Saturday | Week 5 | Rest Day
Another rest day for me in preparation for my race tomorrow. I’m a little apprehensive about the race as it’s cross country and I’m really not good at cross country, I don’t really know why I sign up for these kinds of races! I’ll never learn my lesson!

I finally took my running shoes out of the back of the car that have been in a plastic bag since the Bath Skyline 2 weeks ago (why am I like this….??). They were still muddy and a little wet so I had to try and dry them out.

Sunday | Week 5 | Race Day 10k Slay The Dragon
It’s race day again, hooray! I’m driving to this race, with my muddy running shoes in tow, wondering how on earth I’m going to run this course. Although I am telling myself I’m not going to fall over, I’m not convinced!

We got there super early and managed to park on the field where the race started which was nice as we got to stay in the car for as long as possible (-2 degrees thanks to the cold snap from Russia they’re calling the ‘beast from the East’). It was a lovely sunny day though which made it not quite as bad, although I did wear a long sleeved top and ear warmers for the first time ever because y’know, sinuses.

The race started around the Village Hall field (by a town crier’s bell) and the second I started to run, I felt like my whole body was lead, which is never a good start. I turned my watch off of mileage and onto ‘effort’ so I didn’t have to look at the miles so by when I was clearly going to struggle. The ground was absolutely frozen which made running across the churned up mud very difficult to run across and my ankle went over so many times I was really worried about giving myself an injury and putting myself out of action! I honestly don’t know how people were managing to sprint across it, I really struggled and it’s not my first cross country race (any tips greatly appreciated here).

The race was across beautiful countryside and there’s lots of lovely little styles to climb over and there were cows, sheep, farms, farm smells and all of the marshals were really friendly and encouraging. There was one section in particular which was a real bottle neck going over a style and it took around 3 minutes of hanging around before it was finally my turn so definitely no PBs for moi.

The course was also fairly hilly but it was mostly quiet roads and I never really mind hills much. There were a couple of photographers for the race and usually I find I either don’t see them at all or they’re hiding out of sight but at this race they were really lovely and telling everyone to smile which was nice as I got to have a couple of photos of me actually smiling! #It’sAMiracle

The medal was cute and had a little purple dragon on it and I also treated myself to a piece of free cake at the finish line and a bacon butty afterwards.

Even though my time wasn’t my fastest and I didn’t enjoy the experience of the race much it was enjoyable and if I was a better runner I’d probably have loved it.

Next Week’s Plan: – I’m going to up my mileage on the runs a bit more (injuries permitting) and incorporate more stretching and cross training.

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Half Marathon Training | Week 4 | Diary of an injured runner

I actually can’t believe I’m up to Week 4 already! I’m so far behind schedule due to injury and it feels like every time I run I end up with a new or an even worse injury!

Monday | Week 4 | Rest Day
You know one of those days where you’ve earned your rest days? Yep, that. While I didn’t particularly push myself in the same way I would usually at a race yesterday, I have this very painful bruise on my thigh. I’ve decided that this week I’m going to only do 1 run (a fairly easy paced 4 ish miler) and the rest of my cardio will be at home workout DVDs and time on the spin bike. I need to get my cardiovascular strength up if nothing else so at least I’m fit for the race (even if my injuries aren’t).

Hello Bath Skyline bruise

Tuesday | Week 4 | At Home Workout DVD
Happy Valentine’s Day from all of my red medals! ❤

I’ve been doing this Ministry of Sound Pump It Up Ultimate workout DVD for nearly 15 years now and I love it just as much as when I first bought it! It’s around 1hr 15 mins from start to finish which includes a warm up, two cardio sections, strength training and a long cool down. Usually I’ll neglect the cool down because it’s pretty boring but I made sure I did the lot.

I did have some pain in both of my legs pretty much the whole time I was doing this. It’s very high impact so much like running really but it’s not the same constant pounding of the pavements.

Can never stop the Labrador joining in too, I must look like I’m having fun and she’s left out!

Calories burned: 435
Time in Zone 5: 10:42
Time in Zone 4: 23:02

Wednesday | Week 4 | Felt the Burn
Definitely feeling my workout from yesterday, trying to raise my arms in any kind of fashion was more difficult than usual! I can’t even remember the last time I did a push up so I’m not surprised.

Thursday | Week 4 | Rest Day
Had to take pupper to the vets today, she’s got a skin infection so I had to pop her into the bath and wash her tummy. Even though she’s a Labrador, she’s no fan of baths so that was almost a mini workout trying to do that!

Friday | Week 4 | Unplanned Rest Day
So today I was going to go on the spin bike, but silly over here didn’t eat enough throughout the day and I was so hungry when I got home from work there was no way I could have done any time on the bike. Instead I put my feet up and had a nice relaxing evening. It works out better if I do my cardio tomorrow anyway because that means it will time perfectly for my race on Sunday…. right….

Saturday | Week 4 | Easy 4 Mile Run
I know I call all of my runs ‘easy’ but that’s because I cannot push myself because of injury. In other news, I picked up my parcel from the Post Office which was my new unicorn running leggings hoorayyy! Although, I actually felt great while I was doing this, I planned for 4 and nearly went for 5 miles but the sensible person in me said that I should quit while everything’s good. I had no pain in my legs at all or anywhere else which was just amazing. I was wearing my old trusty Nikes though which aren’t the best trainers ever as they’re well overdue a throwing out!

I cooled down with a short pupper walk but I could feel straight away that I was going to suffer from this easy run. My foot pain was back and nothing I did was making it feel any better. I tried stretching out my entire leg, doing ankle exercises and then had a bath but nothing eased it at all. This just sucks! My half marathon is in around 6 weeks and there’s no way I’m going to be able to get the mileage up in training to be even half prepared for it.

Sunday | Week 4 | Recovery Day
Let’s not call today a rest day as, lets be honest, I am totally in recovery today! It’s no big surprise to me that today I am suffering from the week’s workouts (and I even skipped a day!!). This morning when I woke up, my old friend plantar greeted me as I stepped out of bed. This just can’t go on, I need to see a physio ASAP.

One good thing about the week, I ordered some new trail shoes! I can’t wait to try them out, although, I did commit the sins of 1) not testing them out first and 2) ordering them in my actual shoe size. My Brooks size 5s are a whole size bigger than my usual shoe size (which I was fitted for and I know that’s the way it’s supposed to be) but I have never had so many blisters from a running shoe ever and that’s including all of the cheaper ‘fashion’ trainers I’ve owned over the years. EVERY time I wear them, I have terrible blisters on the back of my heel and I just have to accept that when I wear them, I’ll be bleeding all over the show and in pain.

I’m always really inspired by other people who have overcome worse injuries than I have and are stronger and better runners for it. It gives me hope. If you’re one of these people I’d love to hear what injuries you’ve come back from.