Week In Review – A Busy Week!

There’s something about this time of year. Even before the festivities truly kick in, it’s really busy at work as there are parents’ evenings to attend, assessments to mark and the beginnings of other events to opt into. This past week was a fine example of one where I might have been better just sleeping under my desk For a couple of nights, but at least I knew it was going to be like that so just buckled up and went along for the ride. I even managed some training along the way!

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles + PT session with Steve
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – form drills
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles. Again!

After a couple of fairly rocky weeks recently, Monday this week was really good. It was one of those days when everything just ticked along nicely and I felt calm and in control – more of those please! It meant that I was in a great mood when I left that evening. I even managed to leave fairly sharp (in the knowledge that I would have plenty of time to spend at work later in the week!) and did a little more festive decorating. I wrapped new lights around my wreath which I bought at a school event a few years ago and added lights to our still upright, but largely empty, Christmas tree.

I also added an LED candle that projects Christmas pictures onto the ceiling (Smokey was captivated by this one!)

And after all that I headed to yoga in a great mood. It still felt nice to take that time for myself, especially given that the remainder of the week was set to be pretty busy.

I was up early on Tuesday for my run. It was my standard 4 mile recovery run and a mild day so I was still in my shorts! I’m quite enjoying being able to wear my shorts in December!

I managed to leave work sharp again as I had evening plans (more on that in a moment) and Steve was able to fit me in quite early for a session. We used the TRX for a variety of press-up based exercises, including the pike. Ooft!

After that it was a quick dinner and change of clothes before my parents picked me up to head into town to join my sister in seeing the pantomime. It was quite early in its run, but that’s when my sister gets her comp tickets, and with my parents heading off to sunnier climes imminently, it was an evening that suited us all. This year’s offering is Sinbad the Sailor, and while that’s not normally one of the first stories we think of for a pantomime, I enjoyed it and felt it was a good example of traditional pantomime in Scotland (and I worked in that theatre for a number of years so have seen a fair few!).

Thankfully it finished at a reasonable time so not a late night. And a good thing too since Wednesday and Thursday were going to be the busiest days of the week. Wednesday may be my rest day from training, but after leaving for work before 8am, it was over 12 hours before I arrived home again so a pretty long shift!

The reason for the late night was that I had (stupidly?) agreed to be part of a staff act in the now annual school talent show. That’s right, I succumbed to the pleas of the nice group of senior girls who were organising the event as a fundraiser for their yearbook. Of course the staff act is not there to compete, more to find new ways to embarrass ourselves publicly and hopefully help the seniors to raise some money. This year we were to be embarrassing ourselves through the medium of dance and some other girls had put together a “straightforward” dance routine for us to perform to “We’re all in this together” from High School Musical. I put “straightforward” in inverted commas since there was little to no dance experience between us and our one and only rehearsal just over a week prior was unlikely to see us through! We did manage to run it a couple of times right before going on stage and thankfully a couple of the girls stood in the wings to call the moves out to us so we could get through it without incident. Our aim was to look like we weren’t taking ourselves seriously whilst still avoiding looking like total idiots. I think we managed to pull that off, and the fact that the stage lights meant we couldn’t actually see the audience made it all much easier. Mind you, there is inevitably a recording of it doing the rounds but so far the feedback has been positive. Phew!

Unsurprisingly I was pretty tired when I got home so simply had some food and headed for my bed fairly sharp. I think I fell asleep before I had even read a page of my book!

I still managed to get up on Thursday morning for my run and decided it was high time to change up my intervals so this week increased the distance of my form drills to 600m and cut the number back to 6. It was definitely an invigorating way to start the day (and yes, still in shorts).

But that was it for Thursday as a parents’ evening meant another late stay at school. Actually, I was away earlier than the previous evening as we began at 5pm and I managed to stick pretty well to my 5 minute slots, thus getting away before 7pm. I was still tired but thought I would have slightly longer to myself that evening before bed.

Thursday was also Steve’s birthday so when I got home his brother was there dropping off a gift and we chatted for a bit before he headed off. And then, disaster! Just as I thought I would sit down with some food to watch The Apprentice, one of our circuits tripped and we couldn’t get it to reset. There are actually a couple of electricians who live in our street but both were out so we couldn’t get any advice. The circuit was the one controlling pretty much everything downstairs plus the lights, heating and WiFi. So no cup of tea and no WiFi – Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was NOT being met! We ended up sitting upstairs where we had lamps plugged in, eating our dinner off trays (at least we got that organised before we lost power) and having a bit of birthday cake and glass of wine before deciding just to head to bed.

Despite my doom-laden expectations of no shower or breakfast in the morning (I had already made plans to head to the nearby Costa to grab something on my way to work) we awoke to find that giving the circuit switch “a little rest” had resolved the issue and we were able to reset the it. It’s actually been fine since and we still don’t know what caused the problem, probably an overload of some kind that caused the circuit to trip. Either way, a drama I could have done without!

Still, Friday ended up being another good day to end the week and this time I was away pretty sharp-ish after spending more than enough time there over the previous couple of days. My first port of call was the studio, where Steve gave me a press-up based workout again, but this time with the added peril of being balanced on a gym ball, a piece of kit around which I have even less grace than normal so I will be forever amazed that I managed to do the pike on it without killing myself 😂

As usual, we went out for some food at the pub down the road and since it had been Steve’s birthday I suggested that we have steak as a special treat. I’m actually quite fussy about where I will order steak from, but I really like this one so it was a great meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once home, we FINALLY managed to watch The Apprentice whilst enjoying a slice of unicorn cake (yes, I did buy Steve the cake I like for his birthday. I promise he does actually like it too haha!).

It was still mild on Saturday but I kept the shorts in the drawer as I wanted to break out the Christmas leggings. I suspect it won’t surprise you to learn that I have more than one pair, so this week opted for my Mr Men ones.

It was pacer week but I hadn’t been able to get a time that would feel comfortable for me, so instead took advantage of the mild weather to run a bit harder. The grass was pretty squelchy and there was a bit of a headwind in places, but I’m happy with 24:36 as that’s a fairly average time for me and winter conditions do tend to slow things down.

Once freshened up we headed back down to meet Steve’s brother for breakfast. We’ve been going to one of the “parkrun cafes” which happens to be at a venue associated with the Black Watch, but this sign (and a chap in kilted WW1 attire!) still bamboozled me:

Post-breakfast I chilled out for a while getting my hair done before zipping round the weekly food shop as I wanted to spend my evening doing this:

Oh yes, high time we watched a Christmas movie and we ALWAYS start with this beauty as I think it’s our favourite -we have a tendency to quote the lines throughout the year!

The weather on Sunday, however, was pretty miserable. Steve headed out fairly sharp, whereas I had noted a likely break in the weather around 10am so opted instead for a lazy start to the day, drinking a cup of tea in bed and reading my book. I got up around 9, got dressed, tidied up and headed out at the back of 10. The weather was actually much better at this point but I knew there would be more rain and strong winds to come. This led to some debate around the distance I would run. I’ve been fairly stagnant at 10 miles recently, partly because there has been no real need to go further and partly because conditions have limited my desire to do so. With it so miserable outside I did wonder about cutting that back to 8, but figured I would decide while I was out. In the end, although I was pretty soaked, I didn’t actually feel wet or cold so just went for the 10 miles. I was definitely glad to hit the shower when I got home!

Once dry and warm we had some lunch, went out for our Sunday afternoon then rounded off the afternoon with another Christmas movie and the last of Steve’s birthday cake.

And the festive songs inspired me to finish off the tree decorating. Keeping it low-key and simple to avoid cat-astrophe!

Have you put your Christmas tree up yet?
What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

Friday Finds – 6th December

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

Happy Friday and welcome to December! I can’t believe the festive season is here already and am looking forward to some time off over Christmas to relax and recharge. But there’s still plenty going on in the world of sport and running, so here are a few things I’ve been reading lately.

You all know by now that I love a bit of running-related science or data so let’s kick things off with a recent column by one of my favourite writers, Alex Hutchinson. He examines the good news that new studies challenge the previous idea that high levels of exercise could contribute to heart damage. I’ll leave you to read the article to get all the details

Next up, some good news for runners concerned about environmental matters and climate change. First, the news that runners at last month’s Conwy half marathon faced disqualification if they dropped litter during the race. Some races are definitely doing more than others to combat waste and litter, so it’s high time others took steps to make a difference.

Also in environmental news, I caught sight of this piece announcing that my favourite marathon (Paris, of course!) has become the first carbon neutral marathon in the world. It’s been a few years since I took part in this event, but I do remember a big push on recycling and being shown the different bins that were being used along the route for plastics/paper/banana peels etc so it’s great to see this announcement. I wonder which other races will follow..

Speaking of marathons, if you’re planning your next 26.2 miles then you might be interested in this next article reporting on how various marathons around the world rank. Whether you’re looking for the best, the fastest, the safest or just to avoid the duds, this might help you out in your decision making. Any of these on your list?

And finally, having experienced a number of cold spells recently (and with more to come, I’m sure!) I was amused by Canadian Running Magazine‘s updated breakdown of the emotional stages of winter running. Which ones resonate with you?

Happy reading!
The Running Princess

Week In Review – The One Where I Set A Personal Mileage Record

Another busy week for me, which ended with some super low temperatures, but I still managed to end the week having reached a new (and unexpected) personal goal. Here’s how my training looked:

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles + PT session with Steve
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – form drills + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

My week started so much better than last week. No doubt still under the influence of Disney magic and frozen fractals, I was feeling positive and in control of things. I had a good day at work and enjoyed my yoga class at the end of the day as it gave my legs a good stretch from my run on Sunday before settling me into my evening.

The mild weather continued into Tuesday so although early in the morning, I was still able to wear my shorts – yippee! This is strictly speaking my recovery run, but I was feeling good and the conditions matched so I just ran to feel and arrived home feeling pretty refreshed.

There was a “bonus” session in my day as I had a rehearsal at the end of the day for a school event next week. The yearbook team is organising a talent show as a fundraiser and I was asked to be part of a staff act – the kind that is more about giving the audience a laugh rather than showcasing any actual talent! Some of the senior girls had put together a reasonably straightforward (for them!) dance routine for us and we were having our first run through it. Dance really isn’t my thing, much as I wish it was, but the whole point is that it’s kind of tongue-in-cheek and I suspect the audience will be rather disappointed if any of us can actually do it, so I guess we’ll be looking to ham it up a bit in the event next week.

When we were done I headed right to the studio for a workout. This time Steve gave me press up variations (which he is DEFINITELY making tougher!), the resistance band and the TRX – including pikes and pike press ups. He really is working me hard right now!

I kept Wednesday as a rest day as it gives me a bit of a breather in the week and allows me to catch up on myself a little. In reality, I always end up staying at work far longer than intended and don’t have time to catch up on much at all. Oh well, at least the theory is there!

It was still mild on Thursday morning so the shorts were back on for my run and I took advantage of the improved conditions to run a set of form drills. I missed out on these in the previous couple of weeks due to the underfoot conditions, so repeated my 10 sets of drills that I had completed prior to that. It was a really nice run and I just couldn’t believe that as the day went on the temperature was set to get much colder…which it did!

I had, of course, set off with my yoga things in the car “just in case” but had fully intended leaving work fairly sharp to nip home first. Unfortunately the reality was very different and even with my things in the car, I just couldn’t make it to class in time. I was a bit peeved to miss the class, but used the time sensibly to run a few errands that needed done and arrived home around when I would if I had been at the class. Sadly I’ll miss it next week due to a parents’ evening, so I will need to try and fit in some home yoga to make up for it.

Steve was able to see me for another session on Friday and he challenged me to a progressive TRX workout which built up to a manoeuvre involving press ups whilst in pike position as part of the exercise. Not only one for the arms but also the abs, which I definitely became aware of during the workout!

The cold weather that began during the course of Thursday continued into Saturday and I had to give careful thought to my parkrun attire. Our event was celebrating its 6th birthday, and since it was also St Andrew’s Day we were encouraged to wear tartan. I looked out my running kilt (yes, I have a kilt reserved just or running events – it’s had a surprising amount of use!) but shelved my plans from earlier in the week to wear it with shorts underneath and some knee length socks, opting instead for winter leggings, a very cosy top AND a gilet along with my hat, thick gloves and even some hand warmers to pop inside them. What a difference from Thursday! For the record, I did NOT overheat and yes, I did run to parkrun whilst wearing my kilt!

Because it was slippy I kept the pace down again and just enjoyed the run.

And the good news is I got my bacon roll this week. Phew!

But later in the day I was checking my monthly mileage and discovered that I had reached 991 miles for the year. That sealed the deal for a Sunday run of at least 9 miles, but I’ve been running 10 the last few weeks so ended up sticking with that distance as I quite like it.

It was another crisp, cold day so once more I had to bundle up in full winter kit and keep the pace down in places, but it was such a lovely run as I opted to head for the woodland park since I thought it would look so pretty with the frost and winter sun.

And once home, I confirmed my annual mileage: 1001 miles!

To put that in some perspective, my highest annual mileage previously was the 838 miles I ran in 2018, hence my target of 800 miles this year. I did think I might surpass 800 – or even 838 if I stayed healthy, but I truly never expected to hit 1000 miles. I guess 1000 now has to be my target for 2020 to get the new decade off to a positive start!

These leggies have carried me around 1000 miles this year!

The afternoon was spent with my parents as mum needed an audience with my cats before heading off to sunnier climes for the winter. I then got stuck into Operation: Christmas-ify the house. With the cats still young, I’m putting my tree up in stages to avoid disaster. So far I’ve assembled the tree and set it in position. Next I’ll add lights then gradually add some carefully selected (and shatterproof!) decorations to see how they get on. In the meantime, this is putting a smile on my face:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excited? Moi? Whatever makes you think that?

Do you have any themed events coming up?
What goals are you in track to achieve this year?

Week In Review – Overcoming Obstacles

Sometimes life throws a few obstacles in your way, and this was one of those weeks where there were a lot of things getting in the way of my usual routine – some good, some bad. As you can see, I still got a fair amount of training done, but not quite what I set out to do. Read on for more details.

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles + PT session with Steve
Wednesday – rest
Thursdayform drills 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturdayparkrun rest
Sunday – 10 miles

For the second week in a row my Monday was a bit testing. I mean, it’s the rare person who’s a big Monday fan, but my week started in a way that felt like the universe rather had it in for me and I’ll admit to feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything I had to get done. I was definitely feeling rather wobbly so getting to my yoga mat at the end of the day was just what I needed to settle my mind and regroup a bit.

Tuesday definitely got off to a better start thanks to an early run. It was still cold – the coldest morning I’ve run in so far this winter – so I was still a bit restricted by slippery paths, but getting out in the fresh air and creating some headspace to set me up for the day was just what I needed.

Look at that temperature! 🥶

And when I got to work I found a thank you card on my desk. It was from a colleague who would have had no idea how I had been feeling the day before and that small gesture of appreciation, combined with tackling some of the issues Monday presented me with head-on, meant I was already feeling a lot better. The post-run endorphins helped too!

I finished my day at the studio for a workout involving the resistance band and the TRX. After a draining couple of days it actually felt pretty good to do something physical rather than mental.

After all that, Wednesday was a rest day from training but anything but restful as the day began with an inexplicable battle between the kitties that threatened to make me late for work. And to cap it all I had a parents’ evening to stay back for. I did have lots of useful and productive conversations, but it made for a really long and tiring day!

Despite that, I was up early again on Thursday for a run. The temperature had crept up a little from the frigid temperatures of Tuesday but it was still slippery. Fortunately I had realised this in advance so once again ditched the idea of running any form drills and simply went for as good as run as I could manage with the underfoot conditions as they were. Any run is a good run when the conditions are less than ideal.

By the time I got to my Ashtanga class that evening I was exhausted. My upper back felt tight and I decided to take the class fairly easily, relying on support for my headstand. When I arrived home I had some food then went immediately to bed, even though it was only about 8:30pm, and fell asleep almost immediately!!!

It was definitely the right move though as I had such a long and refreshing sleep, heading into Friday feeling fantastic. I had really got on top of the pile of tasks that had felt so overwhelming on Monday and had some exciting plans for the weekend.

The first of those plans was on Friday evening and there was no time to fit in a workout beforehand. I think I had about an hour at home after work before picking my sister up from her work for a drive north to Pitlochry. We needed to grab a quick bite to eat first and my sister suggested McDonald’s since our options were a little limited with the time we had available. Not my ideal pick (unless after a full or half marathon) so I had a bowl of porridge at home before leaving in order to make sure I had some decent nutrition. I rarely visit McDonald’s so was momentarily bamboozled by the space-age ordering screens and addition of table service to their offering, but I did manage to acquire something I could eat quickly before getting on with our journey.

We were headed to Pitlochry for a visit to the Festival Theatre to see a preview performance of their festive offering: a new adaptation of A Christmas Carol. It’s one of my favourite festive tales and although only November, I very much enjoyed the performance (and my interval ice cream – yum!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But after a fun night, there was another spanner in the works on Saturday morning. I was in my running kit, shoes by the door and ready to go when another feline fracas began. It took me much longer to sort this one out as I watched the time I would need to leave to run down drift by, followed by the time I would need to leave if I drove. At one point I thought I might manage a few miles from my own front door but it was clear those wee grey monkeys wanted their mum at home and eventually I had to give up, letting Steve head off to meet his brother for breakfast by himself (yes, I missed my bacon roll as well!). All has been fine since and they are back to being best pals, so I think it was all a display for my benefit since I had a busy week and they didn’t get as much of my attention as they were wanting. Lesson learned!

Fortunately Sunday went a lot better. First of all it was pretty mild so my shorts were back in action. And second of all it was clear that after all those icy runs and a missed parkrun, my legs were needing a good stretch and it was great to run a bit harder. As I watched the pace of the first couple of miles click by I did wonder if I was going to pay for it later, but kept on going to complete a 10 mile route I have been running in an average 1 hour 32 in 1 hour 27!!! I guess my consistency really is paying off.

That afternoon I had plans with my sister again as we were off to the cinema. I rarely get to the cinema but this time we were not only going but took the trouble to book our tickets about 10 days before. Can you guess…?

Snowflake leggings? Arendelle Aqua spirit jersey from Disney land Paris? Obviously we were going to see Frozen 2 – and we were both very excited about it! I’ll not spoil it for anyone still planning to see it, but the short version is that I loved it – with a special mention for Kristoff’s song. Genius! And a little tip: stay all the way to the end of the credits. My sister and I were literally the last people in there as everyone left and the staff were actually starting to clear up around us, but we knew better than to leave before the very end. You’re welcome!

So that was my week of obstacles to overcome. It certainly ended much better than it began, so fingers crossed the week ahead is a good one. Watch this space!

Have you seen Frozen 2 yet?
What festive shows/films are you seeing this year?

Week In Review – Cold But Consistent

My running shorts have now been confined to the wardrobe for over a week. I’m rather hoping they haven’t been consigned there for the winter, but if this past week is anything to go by, there’s not much hope of running in shorts again any time soon. Oh well, it was good while it lasted and gives me a good excuse to buy more fun leggings! Despite the chilly weather, I did keep things nice and consistent, so here’s how my week looked:

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles + PT session with Steve
Wednesday – rest
Thursdaydrills 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

I was so ready for my yoga class on Monday night. I’ve had a couple of weeks without it, but my week got off to a fairly stressful start and I was really looking forward to getting on my mat and taking some time to clear my head. I had already tackled the things that were causing me some stress, so this was a valuable reset to see me into the rest of the week.

On Tuesday morning I enjoyed my run and noted that the temperature had actually gone up slightly, even if it was rather wet! I felt pretty comfortable and did wonder if I might get my shorts out again, but a quick look at the forecast for the rest of the week soon put that notion to bed.

That evening I headed down to the studio and Steve gave me a workout with the resistance band, TRX and weights. Another change in the workout to keep things interesting.

I had hoped I might fit in some home yoga on Wednesday but since I had a couple of appointments to get to after school, there just wasn’t enough time as I really only got home in time for dinner and I don’t like to practise after eating as inverted postures are pretty much guaranteed – bleurgh!

As I headed out on Thursday morning I realised it was MUCH colder. I had originally intended to run a set of form drills, but having checked the forecast the night before I realised that it would likely be far too slippery and thus I would be better sticking to an easy run at a controlled pace so as to stay safe if there were any slippy bits. Even with a reasonably short run I was still pretty cold when I arrived home so was glad to get right into a hot shower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a training course at school that afternoon so was later than usual in getting away. Thankfully I had taken my yoga mat and kit in the car with me so was able to drive right to the yoga studio and made it in time to quickly change and be on my mat ready to start. I felt a little rushed, but soon felt a lot better as I focused on the session. I did notice that my balance was a little “off” (it happens) so didn’t have high hopes for my headstand, but with my teacher’s support I was able to get into the posture and she made a couple of adjustments to my position before carefully moving away, leaving me holding the posture myself for a few breaths. It’s not (yet) doing it independently, but it’s a step in the right direction so I was pleased.

Friday was an inservice day for us and it was a day spent sitting in groups in the assembly hall. I loved the morning session as it was with the trainer I had been working with on Thursday afternoon, but in the afternoon we were working with some data which made my head explode. I don’t mind engaging with data, but I need time to sit, think and digest when working with data sources before I can really extract information from them and we only had a short time. Someone in my group said it was like the speed dating version of data analysis, so I like to think of it as “speed data-ing” 🙄.

I noticed in the afternoon that I felt a little “off” but figured I was just getting tired. I still went to my PT session and felt fine. It was the resistance band and a range of press up variations so some of it felt quite challenging.

But by the time we were eating our dinner I had reached the point where everything felt a bit too loud so knew I needed to get an early night. I woke up on Saturday morning feeling much better and ready for my parkrun sandwich.

Photo: Roy Mitchell for Perth parkrun Facebook page

Since it was slippery underfoot it took me longer to run down to parkrun (including an unexpected but rather elaborate ice skating move I would never be able to do if I tried it on skates!) so I arrived just in time for the briefing. I then took the run itself at a fairly conservative pace until I was confident with the conditions and had a better idea for the return portion. I ended up with a slower time, but I was safe and scored a Royal Flush Negative Split so it’s not all bad!

I look like I’m eating my hair!

The run home was a bit better as the ice and frost had melted a bit. I got quickly changed then we headed back down to meet Steve’s brother for breakfast. We’ve switched to the parkrun cafe for this, but I like my run there and back so we are joining everyone slightly later.

The Christmas lights were being switched on that evening so there was loads going on in town. I always like to stop by the ice sculptures and “Santa’s Furry Friends” which seems to be the expected reindeer plus alpacas, ponies and birds of prey. Who knew Santa had such a menagerie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However I realised that I was feeling a bit strange again – like being dizzy without actually being dizzy, if that makes sense? I eventually realised that it was because there was some tension in my upper back and neck which then makes my head a bit sore and “weird”, so after an afternoon bath (so indulgent!) Steve worked on that tension then gave me some exercises to help loosen the tight muscles. By the time I was watching the Strictly Blackpool special, I was feeling so much better. I suspect that explains my balance issues on Thursday too.

On Sunday Steve was away for a running club event and I was heading out for a run. I had considered a 12 mile run, but I had a lot of things to do in the afternoon and didn’t get out terribly sharp in the morning. It was also still quite slippery looking so I decided that another 10 mile run would be perfect for this week and I really enjoyed getting out in the crisp, sunny weather. I mean bobble hat and sunglasses? Welcome to winter ha!

I really hope there’s some milder weather coming soon. I’ll soon get fed up of sliding around and not being able to open up my pace a bit!

Have the Christmas lights been switched on where you are yet?
How do you cope with winter weather when you’re running?

Friday Finds – 15th November

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

Happy Friday! I hope you’ve had a good week. I feel like I’ve had a pretty busy one so I’m looking forward to a little down time (and running!) over the weekend. But first, let’s have a quick rundown of some bits and pieces I’ve spotted lately.

I didn’t manage to fit in a Friday Finds post last week, but if I had then I would certainly have included this post from Mary Cain which, in going viral, has ignited a great deal of long overdue conversation about the experience of female athletes. My attention was also caught by this opinion piece written in response, and sadly just today I spotted this piece suggesting the problem ran much much deeper as further athletes are speaking out. Something has to change

Moving on to other topics, I found this next one fascinating. We are bombarded with data these days and when it comes to our running we can choose to delve into any number of metrics, but it seems that a closer look at our gait may be more useful than we’ve previously considered when it comes to increasing our pace. I suppose if you consider the theory of marginal gains, then any tweak which improves running economy is going to be useful, so it will be interesting to see how this work progresses.

Next, something for those seeking ways to make their running more eco-friendly. According the this article, Salomon is working on a concept that will create a 100% recyclable running shoe. That is good news as we are currently limited in what we can do with our running shoes once we are finished with them. Another one to watch.

This next one I found interesting. I already knew that being tired can make us crave sweets and junk food as our bodies seek energy, but always believed this was a response in our brains. But new research suggests that our sense of smell may be playing a part here too. Perhaps that’s why the bakery in a supermarket always seems to appealing when I’m tired!

And finally, I was amused by this decidedly tongue-in-cheek advice on how to run a marathon. To be honest, all perfectly sensible but still funny.

Happy reading.
The Running Princess

Week In Review – Getting Chilly!

Brrr! How is the weather where you are? The tail end of this past week really began to feel like winter and my shorts had to remain on the shelf in favour of leggings and other winter running gear. Novel at the moment, but I’ll soon be longing for warmer temperatures (and a bit more daylight!). Here’s what I’ve been up to this week:

Monday – rest
Tuesday – 4 miles + PT session with Steve
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – drills + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

This was the second of two weeks with no yoga class on Monday evening so I made sure to do another Yoga with Adriene video for some home practice. I’m drifting away from my home practice a bit again, so need to try and sort my routine out to fit it in more often as I know it makes me feel great.

The early part of the week was still reasonably mild so although I was out early, the shorts were still in play (with a long sleeved top). A lovely 4 miles at an easy pace really set me up for the day.

That evening I headed down to the studio for my first strength session of the week. Arms have been my priority but the exercises Steve gives me also target my core and upper back. I’m really beginning to notice the improved range of movement in my upper back, which is really encouraging. For this workout it was the resistance back followed by a number of press up variations, some of which felt quite challenging!

On Wednesday I had a complete rest from any kind of exercise. I had a parents’ evening at school which kept me out late (always such a long day for everyone involved) and although a very positive evening, I was really tired when I got home and it was already after 8pm so it was food, cup of tea and straight to bed to recharge.

Despite the tiring day I was still up, albeit a smidge later, on Thursday morning to head out for my run. I had toyed with binning the drills and just having a run instead, but I knew that by the time I had run the first mile – my warm up mile for the drills – I would be feeling good and ready to go. So I made sure to programme my watch in advance and got out the door. This week I did 10 reps of my drills and it felt pretty good. Unfortunately the weather had turned by this point so it was much cooler (leggings cooler) and absolutely pouring so I was glad I had left my “rainy day running hat” out along with my other kit!

As a midweek bonus, one of my colleagues was celebrating her birthday therefore we had cake. This particular colleague is vegan so it was vegan cake. I’m not sure I’ve had that before and was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was. Perhaps because it was home baked rather than shop bought – that makes a difference.

I was pleased to have my usual teacher back for Ashtanga that evening and I felt like it was a really good class for me. I held Wheel for 10 long breaths (remember when I could barely move into that position?), managed the standing version of the posture I achieved last week (I think the improved upper back mobility is contributing to that one as it involves a slightly tricky bind) but stuck with asking for support for my headstand as I was feeling a bit “off” in my balance. Our bodies are different every single day when it comes to balance, and I’m learning to accept this and simply be grateful for what I can achieve rather than striving for more all the time.

On Friday we were heading out (more on that in a moment) but I managed to squeeze in a workout first. Priorities ha! This time the resistance band was a mere warm up and the majority of the workout was a variety of press ups. Ooft!

The reason we were headed out was because a good friend of ours was celebrating a big birthday and had invited us to a party she was having. The theme was James Bond and the invitation stated that party attire should be “iconic Bond fashion or your favourite villain”. Now I do love a bit of fancy dress but I’m fairly limited in my James Bond knowledge so was a bit back and forth about what to wear. I guess it would be easy to simply glam up in a pretty dress and heels, but I wanted something instantly recognisable as coming from James Bond and eventually decided that I was going to be a female Bond. After getting irritated at the discrepancy in price for male and female clothing (a totally flimsy women’s blouse was twice the price of a pretty decent man’s shirt 😡 – for future reference I’m the smallest collar size in a slim fit shirt 😂) I got myself sorted out and after an early dinner, donned my 007 outfit.

Steve was also going as Bond so it was two for the price of one!

I have to say, the tuxedo look was waaaaaaaaay more comfortable than a dress and heels. The boys have it so easy!

I did have a beer with my dinner, which I usually do on a Friday, but stuck to soft drinks at the party as I wanted to feel fresh and ready to run on Saturday morning. I still had a great time at the party – dancing, chatting and catching up with some people I haven’t seen in ages – and we stayed until after the DJ finished and people were sitting having another drink and a chat. A totally polite time to leave and I got to my bed around midnight. Late for me but I was still able to get a good amount of sleep before parkrun.

The only fly in the ointment was the weather. Friday night was super cold (I know because we walked to and from the party!) so there was a lot of ice and frost sitting on top of all the fallen leaves. I ran (carefully) to parkrun then kept the pace down for the run itself so that I felt more in control of my footing and able to make a quick change/stop should there be dodgy underfoot conditions. This added just over a minute to my recent times, but I’d much rather have an easier run and stay safe than risk a fall that affects my running. It was a nice morning despite the cold and I enjoyed running at a steady pace whilst knowing I wasn’t going all out.

I ran home after parkrun to get showered and changed, then we drove back down to the cafe where all the runners were gathered as we had decided to meet Steve’s brother at this one for a change. This meant a delicious bacon roll and cup of tea, surrounded by plenty of parkrun chat, before going on to get our food shopping done. And in case you were worried that all the to-ing and fro-ing might result in me forgetting something, Smokey made sure I had all the essentials before I left 😹

Fast forward to Sunday and it was STILL cold. Steve headed out quite early but I waited a bit to let some of the ice and frost melt a little before I ran – plenty of early runs in the frost ahead so why add more? Although I’m not training for anything specific right now, I am still following the pattern of a three week build up then a cutback week and this was the “down” week in the cycle. That meant it was “just” 10 miles.

It was pretty grey and cold, but I really enjoyed my run and felt comfortable. When I looked at my average pace at the end I was happy to see that it was right on 4 hour marathon pace without me even trying – I was just out enjoying a morning run and running to feel. I know I’ve said it before but I’m really enjoying this period of running with no pressure. My motivation is that I WANT to run rather than I HAVE to run, leaving me happy to go out and routinely run distances that once would have been the sole preserve of a Serious Training Cycle. I’m going to mix things up a bit in the new year, but right now this is working for me and I’m feeling fit and strong. Very positive.

Roll on next week!

What is motivating you right now?
Do you prefer winter running or summer running?