Week In Review – Getting Back To Normal

With the cold firmly behind me (aside from a bit of a runny nose) it was time to get right back to some consistent training again. Here’s how my week looked:

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

Monday’s Hatha class was the last in the current block as my teacher was due to go off on a fabulous trip for her wedding anniversary. As always, I enjoyed the Monday evening head space and although there would be a week without a class, that’s ok.

I made sure to keep the pace nice and easy for my Tuesday run after missing a couple of runs the previous week. To be honest, it just felt good to be back out there again and back in my routine.

I also went to the studio for a workout later in the day bandit was press-up variations again. Tough stuff!

The Wednesday automatically became a rest day for me as I was late at work for a meeting. On this occasion quite a nice one though as it was the parents’ meeting for the French trip I go on. One of my friends from the trip staff lives near to the school so she hosted us for some food at the end of the day then we headed back in for the meeting. It’s always good to go over some of the details that will help make things run smoother when we’re in France and it helps to alleviate any anxieties parents may have. But by the time I got home it was really just time for a cup of tea in front of the telly before heading to bed.

Having missed a couple of morning runs when I had the cold, this Thursday was the first one when I really noticed how dark it was. I remember being so excited earlier in the year when it was light by the end of my run, but now we’re definitely heading in the other direction as I no longer seem to be running into much daylight, it’s darkness all the way. I guess that means winter is coming!

I missed my yoga class that evening as I got caught up with some things at work and just didn’t get away in time. Frustrating as I hate missing the class, but unavoidable on this occasion. I did some yoga at home to make up so at least I still had something.

Then another rest day on Friday, this time because I was out of my normal routine. Regular readers know I have some involvement with the exam process here and thanks to a new role I successfully applied for around that, I had to travel to Glasgow for a meeting. I have to say, when commuting by train is not your norm it feels pretty novel, but I do know from past experience how wearing that can get.

It was a really productive meeting and we finished in good time for me to have a bit of a poke about some of the shops and, of course, treat myself to a little something in Hotel Chocolat before my train home. This was their Hallowe’en offering: Blood Orange Hot Chocolate. Yummy!

Since I didn’t have time for a Friday workout, I was back on it on Saturday morning with the parkrun sandwich. It was pretty windy and I felt like I was working hard so was thrilled to finish in 24:34 as though nowhere near my PB, it’s faster than I’ve had in ages thanks to various factors such as being ill at the start of the summer, not running much in July and the fact that we are still on an alternative course which is slightly longer. That’s another marker of progress and makes me happy.

And in a further cat update, here are the wee monkeys looking like they are plotting mischief. Definitely the best of friends again!

I finished the week with another 10 mile Sunday run. The pace was comfortable and just another chance to enjoy being out there. I guess we’re heading into the time of year when I really enjoy my weekend runs as I get to see some daylight and the temperature tends to be good for running in the autumn too. I do love the summer, but autumn runs really are lovely.

What’s your favourite season to run in?
How do you judge if you’re making progress in your running?

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Week In Review – Lurgy Ahoy!

It nearly always happens. Week three of the school year and all the germs we have been sheltered from all summer begin to take hold, striking everyone down with some kind of cold. I actually got away pretty lightly which is an encouraging sign that my immune system is good right now, but there was something going on in there so I took much of the week as rest to make sure I shifted it quickly rather than pressing on and making it linger. It was, as a result, a fairly quiet week training-wise.

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – rest
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles + SUP yoga

It was on the Monday evening that I felt the first tell-tale signs of what was to come as there was a bit of a prickle in my throat. I made sure to have as early a night as possible after Hatha yoga, and maybe that helped, but I took the decision not to run on Tuesday morning and prioritise rest instead.

Throughout the week I jut took things as they came, hoping to maybe run on Thursday, but in the end I skipped that run too and just went to Ashtanga in the evening. I also opted not to go down to the studio on Friday after work and took the time to make sure I was well on the mend before running at the weekend.

By Saturday my nose was still a bit runny but there was no congestion or other symptoms so I went ahead with my usual parkrun sandwich and accepted that it might not be my best run. To be honest, I was just pleased to be getting out again! I was actually the 28 minute pacer which gave me a great opportunity to take it easy.

I came in about 20 seconds ahead of the time so a few runners did get a new PB as a result. I love it when that happens!

A relaxing afternoon ensued, and for those still wondering about the kitties after their little “issue”, I found them like this:

That evening we were out as we had been invited to see Frankenstein at the theatre. It’s one of my favourite books and it’s always a worry that a production might not live up to my expectations, but I really loved this one so a great night at the theatre.

I had originally planned 14 miles for the Sunday, but with the time out during the week and a SUP yoga session to be ready for, I opted for 10 instead. It was actually a really nice run and I didn’t have to get out too early in order to finish it before SUP.

SUP was great. The water was pretty calm and we tried a few new side balances on the board. It was fun to challenge myself with something new.

After the session we headed to the cafe. I had thought I might have French toast, but the special was a breakfast roll with things like lorne sausage, potato scone and fried egg in it. I added bacon as it felt incomplete otherwise! It was pretty hefty and filling but after a run and a session on the water it was just perfect.

Overall a fairly brief update from this particular week. It was frustrating to pick up a cold, but I’m pleased it was mild and short-lived. Fingers crossed I can stay away from the germs moving forward.

What are your strategies to avoid/fight a cold?
What would be in your ideal breakfast roll?

Friday Finds – 11th October

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.

It’s been a couple of weeks since the last Friday Finds and oh boy there’s a lot going on in the running world! There’s plenty of time to come back to many of the big stories, so for this post I’m going to focus on Eliud Kipchoge and the INEOS 1:59 marathon attempt taking place this weekend.

First off, the details. It was announced earlier today that the attempt will take place at 08:15 Vienna time which is 07:15 here in the UK. Here are the things you need to know:

Of course the route is of great interest as every fraction of a second counts. So here’s Alex Hutchinson with a bit of critical course analysis:

Kipchoge’s previous assault on the sub-2 mark was covered closely by writer Ed Caesar so I think it fitting that we hear from him again. He shared his thoughts in The New Yorker:

We all know I enjoy a little bit of running science, so here are some of the details of what will hopefully make history:

And finally, I’m sure there will be many sources available to watch the attempt live, but the official YouTube channel should be an accessible one for all. Will you be watching?

Here’s to history!
The Running Princess

Week In Review – Settling Into The Work Routine

The second week of term meant a full teaching week (although I did get out on a trip on the Monday to cushion things a bit!) and a chance for me to consolidate the strong training from the week before. Here’s how it 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 + SUP yoga
Sunday – 12 miles

After a day shepherding pupils about the Edinburgh International Book Festival (bonus: it was a beautiful day and I got to eat my lunch outside enjoying the sunshine) it was great to get to Hatha yoga and it was a really relaxing class so I left feeling great.

Then back to the usual routine on Tuesday with an early run of 4 miles, keeping the pace nice and easy as this is really my recovery run from my weekend miles. I actually noticed that my heart rate was a bit lower than usual so perhaps I’m seeing some fitness gains.

My PT session with Steve that evening was all about press up variations. I definitely knew I’d worked my arms hard after that one!

Rest day again on Wednesday, but with a little home yoga in the early evening to help me transition from the work day to a relaxing evening.

Following the success of my form drills last Thursday, I was keen to progress this so added a couple more reps. This meant a 1 mile warm up then 8x 500m with a minute recovery between each. Although I work hard in the intervals, I do enjoy these workouts and know they help to improve my running.

We had a substitute teacher that evening for Ashtanga so the class was a little different. We‘ve had this teacher before and she seems perfectly nice, however I don’t think she regularly teaches Ashtanga so isn’t as confident in moving through the postures, plus she doesn’t know us so probably “teaches” it a bit more than our usual teacher would do when it’s a class of regulars who really only need a prompt and maybe a little adjustment. It could have been frustrating but that would defeat the purpose of going to the class so I just went with it and worked through the postures at my own pace as we were told we could go ahead if we were confident in what we were doing.

And back to the studio on Friday for another workout with Steve. He had me on press up variations again so another tough workout but I am noticing the new definition and strength in my arms so I can’t really complain!

Saturday was another parkrun sandwich and although I was feeling good I was very slightly slower than last week as the conditions weren’t so good. It was really windy and that meant I just wasn’t getting the pace to match my effort level. Still, it’s good to have those bonus “resistance” runs to build strength. Plus, I had a great new pair of shorts to wear. Any guesses what the inspiration was? 😂

Post-parkun I had a SUP yoga session and the high winds certainly made this one interesting. It was a hard paddle out the the line we clip on to and we had to keep fairly low to the boards throughout the session, but the real excitement came when it was time to head back in as there were several boards tied up at the pontoon so very little space to paddle in. Unfortunately the wind kept catching us as we got near and thanks to the combination of wind and space, I found myself drifting too far in the wrong direction then had to paddle back against the wind to find a space to get off my board. I actually needed a little help from the others to create some room among the boards and hold mine steady so I could get off, but I was pleased at how calm I stayed as I knew I could get off as soon as there was a little room at the pontoon. It really added an extra dimension to the session though, and I earned my lunch afterwards!

My long run this week was 12 miles since I have no reason to build much higher mileage than that at this point. I felt really good and it almost felt easy to cover the distance. In fact I felt like I could have kept on going quite comfortably so that is definitely a good sign that I’m pretty much half marathon fit right now and that’s a good position to be in.

So another week done and feeling strong. After a tough first half of the year, this makes me happy.

What are your favourite training sessions each week?
What do you do outside of running to build strength?

Week In Review – Back To School Already!

Yup, I’m now so behind with my posts that it’s the last week of term before our October break and I’m only just writing about the first week. Sigh! It’s now my goal to be up to date before next term begins and I’m writing it here to help keep me accountable. But for now, let’s take a look at how my return to work after a lovely long summer impacted on my training.

Monday – 3.8 miles + Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 10k + PT session with Steve
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – form drills + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

In an unusual step, I began the week with a run. I don’t usually run on a Monday as I have my long run on Sundays, but having missed my running over the weekend thanks to a poorly puss, I was keen to fit in an extra as I knew my body would handle it. I also thought the movement and fresh air early in the day would set me up for the inset day ahead, stuck in a room doing a lot of listening and not too much moving around. So I headed out on a loop I enjoy which is a little under 4 miles. And yes, it did make me feel better for the day ahead.

My reward for making it through the day was a Hatha yoga session in the evening. I was definitely ready for it and would have happily spent an hour in savasana given the chance!

To make up for the missing runs at the weekend, I lengthened my Tuesday morning run to 10k but kept the pace pretty easy. It was a second inset day so once again I was pleased to get some fresh air and movement early on to help me deal with all the sitting.

After school it was time for my new routine of having a session with Steve on a Tuesday. I really enjoyed going three times per week over the summer, but I can’t sustain that through the school term so am trying twice a week on the days when we finish a little earlier. I’m still focusing on arms and upper body in these sessions and noticed that I was feeling really strong in this session. Fantastic!

Now that the term is underway, Wednesday is my rest day but I did do a little yoga session at home to help me unwind after the first teaching day of the new school year. Having pupils in front of me again is always a bit of a shock and it’s mentally draining trying to get to grips with all the names and various needs of the individuals in front of me.

I decided it was high time I re-introduced some form drills so on Thursday I ran a 1 miles warm up then 6x 500m drills with a minute recovery in between. It felt good to mix things up a bit again so hopefully I can build these drills back in fairly regularly again.

And since it was my birthday, I decided to use a crazy filter for my post-run photo!

As well as channelling my favourite cartoon mouse for my work outfit that day 😂

My lovely colleagues gave me some beautiful flowers and I got a homemade cake to celebrate at lunchtime. Yum!

Then at Ashtanga that evening I had a chance to get some headspace as I worked through the postures. My left wrist had been a little sore so I took it fairly easy. I suspect it’s just a reaction to using my computer a little too much so some appropriate stretches will soon resolve it.

The day ended with some more birthday cake as Steve had picked me up a llama cake.

Friday was my second PT session of the week with Steve and since I had performed so well on Tuesday, he began to change up some of the exercises to make them a little more challenging. I know that’s a good thing, but I definitely noticed that it was harder to complete the sets compared to the ones I had been doing (and which my body was clearly getting used to!). And yes, I did use a filter on my photo again, just because.

Saturday was a return to the standard parkrun sandwich. I was really pleased with my parkrun time as it was the first time I’ve run below 25 minutes since I had that awful virus at the end of June into early July. It’s so good to see a steady improvement and hopefully this pattern will continue.

On Sunday I headed out for a longer run of 10 miles. I chose the same route as my most recent 10 miler about 3 weeks earlier and was really pleased to run it quicker, especially since it was a much warmer day. Clearly the consistent training since returning from my summer holiday is paying off.

Overall a decent start to the school year. I got a solid week of training in and am seeing the benefits of all the work I’ve been doing. I hope it lasts! And for those who have been asking, by the middle of this week the cats were fully back to grooming each other, cuddling up together and generally being the best of friends again. Phew!

Do you include drills or speed work in your training?
How is your running going right now?

Friday Finds – 27th September

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.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted Friday Finds, so here I am tonight to share a few odds and ends I’ve been looking at lately. Enjoy!

Let’s start with something for anyone injured or injury-prone. There really is nothing quite like an enforced time-out to make us appreciate the time spent running and this piece really captures the emotions of experiencing injury and how important running often becomes to us. Can you relate?

I’m a fan of Alex Hutchinson and often include his more scientific columns in these posts. This next one caught my eye not only because if looks at a female perspective, but because the acknowledgment that women’s bodies are different comes from a MAN! It really is high time that more female-specific research was done so that women can have a better understanding of how to maximise performance and work with their bodies to get the best results for them. Surely I”m not alone in thinking that?

Also from Outside, this ostensibly humorous piece about how as runners we basically go around in circles – travelling miles and miles without actually going anywhere. True enough, all my runs start and finish at my house and I’m closing in on 800 miles this year, a distance that could surely take me somewhere interesting if I covered that distance as the crow flies. But what caught my attention was the almost philosophical comment at the end that we feel like we are getting somewhere. It could be adding endurance, adding speed, or simply adding quality to our days, but we ARE getting somewhere. Where is running taking you?

I also spotted this interesting question posed by Canadian Running: Do you need your cellphone to go for a run? I suppose I don’t really need mine as such, but I do always carry it as I enjoy listening to podcasts downloaded to it, I often take photographs and it just makes me feel better knowing that if I encounter a problem, I can get in touch with someone for some help. But the fact that the question was asked suggests that not everyone feels the same way. I certainly don’t have to listen to anything, I can merrily run long distances without plugging myself in to anything at all, but I like to have the option. And I definitely wanted my phone for my races last weekend as I knew there would be unmissable photo ops. What are your thoughts on this?

And finally, while summer is by far my favourite season, when it comes to running there is nothing quite like autumn. The air is cooler, the colours are beautiful and I can wear cosy clothes to lounge around post-run. It looks like Runner’s World agrees, as they put together this reminder of why running at this time of year is great. What is your favourite time of year to run?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Week In Review – Summer Holidays Week 7

This year we had a ‘bonus” week of summer holiday. It happens every few years to reset the calendar, otherwise we just finish earlier and earlier, which wouldn’t really work! I had this pegged to be a fairly chilled week but did have a few bits and pieces I wanted to sort out. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out that way thanks to a poorly pussy cat (she’s perfectly fine now so no need for concern, but there was some stress and disruption at the time). This also affected my workout plans:

Monday – PT session with Steve
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – Pt session with Steve
Thursday – 4.5 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – rest
Sunday – SUP yoga

Over the weekend I had noticed that Sooty had a swollen-looking patch on her bottom lip so called the vet to make an appointment to have it checked out. Since it was going to be Tuesday before we went in, Monday was business as usual with an arm workout down at the studio. This week TRX, weights and some pushups.

I had time for an easy 4 miles on Tuesday morning before taking Sooty to the vet. The run felt good, especially when I had run 12 miles on the Sunday (plus lugged those tatties around on the Saturday!).

The vet we saw was lovely but explained it was hard to know what was causing the swollen lip since there were several possible causes such as a bite/sting, allergic reaction of some kind or a stress reaction. She gave her something to help settle it and we were told to go back if it didn’t improve within the next week or two. Seemed straightforward enough at the time!

On the Wednesday I had to squeeze my workout in pretty early as mum had asked me if I could go up to the house for a bit to take delivery of a parcel since my sister had to work. Since I didn’t have much else planned, I said that would be ok. Obviously I availed myself of the facilities and made myself a cup of tea while I waited!

Then I was back out for another easy run on the Thursday morning. This was a cutback week in my mileage so I was happy to keep the pace down.

I was happy that Sooty’s lip was looking better, however I also thought she was a bit “off” and although a little lethargy can be a side effect of medication, I thought it best to take her back into the vet. It turned out she was running a temperature so was clearly fighting some kind of infection. She was given an antibiotic and I was told to bring her back the next day to have her temperature checked again. Poor wee toot 😿

I had Ashtanga yoga that evening and was really pleased to hold Wheel for 10 slow breaths. I also held a headstand for a couple of breaths, but given I did a beautiful, lengthy headstand at home earlier in the week I’m still pretty convinced it’s my brain that’s messing this one up in class rather than my physical ability. If anyone has any suggestions for getting past this, I’d love to hear them.

By Friday morning Sooty was much the same so we were back at the vet where they found her temperature had only gone down the tiniest amount. Added to this, despite my best efforts she wasn’t eating or drinking much which can cause complications so the vet recommended keeping her in for the day to get her on some fluids and take some bloods to get her on the right medication to treat the infection. I was supposed to be going for a workout with Steve, but cancelled as I didn’t want Smokey at home by himself – this day was the first time they had EVER been separated and I wasn’t sure how he would cope. Cue me lavishing him with attention and playing with him most of the day. He was definitely missing his sidekick and keeping close to me, but he did ok.

In the end Sooty ended up staying at the vet overnight to make sure she really was on the road to recovery before coming home. This resulted in me MISSING A PARKRUN to go and pick her up. I won’t sacrifice parkrun for much, but my kitties always come first. I was so excited to get her home and was anticipating a grand reunion scene between her and Smokey, but once again I was mistaken and found myself on a steep learning curve about something called feline non-recognition aggression. In brief, Sooty smelled so strongly of the vet, a place Smokey associates with some stress, and wasn’t acting herself, so Smokey didn’t “recognise” her. It seems cats rely on scent for recognition far more than I had realised so as far as he was concerned I had brought a stranger into the house and my usually placid, easy-going boy was snarling and hissing at his sister. A huge shock given how close they usually are.

For the remainder of the day we had to keep them separated and I did a lot of work transferring scents and letting them sniff each other around doors, but it was clear they would have to remain separated overnight to give Sooty time to groom away some of the scent and begin to smell more like herself. There was a lot of back and forth, changing of cat locations and switching around of where we were going to sleep, eventually resulting in poor Steve sleeping on the floor in the living room (I think Sooty totally played him on this one!).

Thankfully by Sunday morning we reached a (slightly uneasy) truce so although I skipped my run to supervise the cats and make sure there were no fights, I was able to get to my SUP yoga session. It was REALLY windy so I definitely made up for missing Friday’s arm workout as I fought to paddle my board out to the line we attach to for yoga. It was so windy that several of the participants lay flat on their boards to “swim” out there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my absence, relations continued to improve between the kitties and they were now happy to eat side by side, something which had been a point of contention when we had tried first thing in the morning. I was pretty relieved as I had been worried about there still being issues as I returned to work the next day – this would have been far easier to deal with the week before! I had also been sad that maybe their close relationship was over – it’s just so darn cute when they cuddle up together/groom each other and I didn’t want that to be over after just the first year of their life. With things improving, I became hopeful that we might return to this again soon…

What have your pets done to derail your plans?
Any suggestions to get over my mental block on the headstand?