So much has happened on the running/blogging front this week that I almost don’t know where to begin! Progress has been made both in training and in planning events related to our 2014 challenges, and a couple of nice things have happened too.
First up, I finally took the plunge and decided to create a Facebook page for my blog. I’ve been toying with this for a while and figured now was as good a time as any. I enjoy connecting with other runners but I know that work and other commitments mean that I can really only post to my blog at the weekend. Having the Facebook page means I can interact with others a bit more frequently through short updates/questions and I finally have a place to share all those amusing/motivational pictures I’m always coming across. Like this one:
It also means I won’t be constantly filling the news feeds of my non-running friends with all my running-related shenanigans! If you’re on Facebook, I’d love you to “like” the page and join the conversation. Of course I’ll still continue to post my regular blog updates so if you’re not on Facebook you won’t be missing out.
The other thing I’m really excited about this week comes from a website I joined in the summer called Running 4 Women. The site offers a really friendly and supportive community of female runners of varying abilities/experience, along with regular virtual races and other challenges to help keep members motivated. Even better, those who successfully complete the races/challenges have the opportunity to win prizes – brilliant! A few weeks ago they asked interested members to fill out a short questionnaire in order to be featured on the site. I thought this sounded like fun so returned mine straight away. For the last few weeks I’ve enjoyed reading about other members of the site, then this week it was finally my turn. Being featured on a website kind of makes me feel famous, even just for a moment, and it’s nice seeing my name scrolling across the homepage! If you’d like to read what I had to say, you can see the article here.
Alongside these developments, Steve and I have also continued with the planning for our big fundraising challenges this year. In addition to the small matter of running marathons, we also intend to host some other events to boost the fundraising pot and provide opportunities for others to get involved and raise money too. I’ll post more on that in the weeks to come, but in the meantime Facebook is the main port of call for further information or to register your interest in getting involved. This could potentially be a real community effort and we hope to get as many people as possible involved in a variety of ways to help make a difference. Perhaps you could be part of it too…
Which brings me to this week’s training as without that, the challenge won’t happen! Last week I reported finishing the week feeling strong and knowing that I had a lot more in the tank and this week has very much been the same. My training programme is obviously working for me, however a small adjustment had to be made, demonstrating the importance of flexibility in training plans – the plan should fit you and your life, rather than you trying to shoehorn your life into the plan! The reason mine had to change on this occasion was not me, but Steve. He has had a massive response to his latest Zero to 5K in 5 weeks programme, with over 30 people signing up! It’s great to see so many people wanting to boost their fitness and start running and I think it’s important for more experienced runners to encourage others who show an interest in starting out. Steve realised he would need help to give everyone the attention and support they deserved so called on me to help him out. I’ve helped with his running clubs before and have been exactly where these new runners are now, so I don’t mind lending a hand and offering advice based on my experiences. The group meets on a Thursday evening which means I’ve had to drop one 4 mile run from my programme for the time being, but with the other running sessions I have and my Metafit classes, this really shouldn’t adversely affect my training. With that adjustment in place, my training this week was:
Tuesday: 4 miles hilly
Thursday: coaching running group
Saturday: 30 mins easy pace
Sunday: 12 miles
The first thing that struck me was that my legs had recovered well from my 10 mile run last Sunday so my Monday night Metafit class did not actually feel any harder than usual. I had half expected to find my calves tight or my quads burning so I was pleased at how well I had recovered and how well my legs are adapting to the training load.
The second positive this week was the weather. Last week’s runs were a little under pace due to a combination of feeling tired and the slippy underfoot conditions. Although this week has still been cold, in the main the frost has lifted and the pavements have been salted making it easier to run so I was much happier with my pace. This was especially true of this morning’s long run. I set out on one of my favourite training routes – an “undulating” (read: hilly) loop outside of Perth. This route features a long and steep hill about half way around, which then continues to undulate until almost the 10 mile point. I like to include this route regularly as it’s great preparation for almost any half marathon and is great conditioning for the full marathon, especially since most race routes will be much flatter. Despite some rain this morning which resulted in me sporting the “drowned rat” look, I loved my run today: I felt strong on the hills, I ran well overall and once more I finished knowing that I could have kept going. Even with the hills, I ran right on my target marathon pace so the next few weeks will be about maintaining that pace as my mileage increases.
I’m especially pleased with this as my pre-run preparations this weekend were a little unconventional! In the past I have been a stickler for spending Saturday night eating carbs, drinking lots of water and having an early night. Of course, this is still important, but this year I’m feeling much more relaxed about my training (funny how experience does that to you) so when the opportunity to go out for dinner presented itself, I decided it wouldn’t do any harm.
So Saturday night saw Steve and I enjoying a delicious three course steak dinner at our friend Graeme’s restaurant. I always enjoy Graeme’s cooking, even when dishes feature ingredients I’m not normally fond of, and last night was no exception (although I’m DEFINITELY fond of steak!). The steak itself was fantastic, as was the atmosphere since there were a number of people we knew in the restaurant at the same time as us. We ended up staying out just a little too late and probably not drinking quite enough water! Nevertheless, that steak dinner powered me round my run this morning, while Graeme and Steve still headed out early for their run (Graeme will be joining us in the Paris marathon this year). Given how good I felt this morning, perhaps steak should be my new running fuel…!
All in all, this has been another successful week of training for me. I’m enjoying having the routine of marathon training and am pleased at how strong I’m feeling. I’m really looking forward to the weeks ahead to see what else I can achieve.
Is your training going well?
Have you made any adaptations to your training plan?