That was the week that was

Another week over, another battle with my reluctant body won.

Sort of.

Last week was my first go at planning my training in a while, and it seemed to go ok.

I don't mind hill reps at all, so that was all good, though my knee complains like mad the next day.

I've also got back to the place where I can run solidly without my body persuading my brain to walk a short distance, which is a massive boost to the ego to keep me going.

I even managed my long run this afternoon after a morning of cleaning, gardening and making (not assembling, actually making!) a wooden arch for the front of the house (also impressed myself I didn't bleed at any point during the process).

I somehow managed this fuelled only by two slices of toast and honey - not something I want to repeat!

A potential issue to keep an eye on is the big toe on my right foot. It's absolutely killing me and clicks loudly (and painfully) when I walk. Its been going on for a week (since last Sunday's ego run) and is becoming tiresome.

It's not too much of a hindrance once I've got it strapped up inside my trainer, but there it is a constant background pain when I run.

Will keep it strapped up tight and ice it until it either gets better or falls off.

In the meantime, it's time to look at the week ahead.

Mon Rest
Tues 60 mins fartlek
Weds 75 mins steady
Thurs Recovery
Fri 60 mins w/ 4x1 mile @ threshold
Sat Rest
Sun 120 mins steady

The ones to note for me are the fartlek and threshold - both of which I tend to overcook as I have no idea how to pace myself. The steady ones are ok as I've now found a nice pace that I can rock and roll in.

I'll also try to eat better as, whilst I've been eating healthily, I think I need to up the intake as I felt pretty carb depleted a couple of times.

Will see if just eating larger portions helps, but if not I'll think about a five meal strategy during the week.

I forgot my fave side-effect of marathon training was being able to eat whatever I want, so why the hell shouldn't I enjoy it?

Alone once more...

After several weeks of putting up with me (longer than I expected), Sally has unceremoniously dumped me as the protege she was steering towards London Marathon glory.

Or, more accurately, until I can scrape together some cash for a Garmin so she can actually see how I'm doing to personalise my training programme, there's not much more she can do for me.

With payday still too far away, and xmas having blasted a massive hole in my bank account, I'm not entirely sure how long we'll be estranged.

But, the marathon waits for no man, so to keep the progress going, I've had a stab at planning my own training for the first time in ages.

This was my initial plan:

Mon Rest
Tues Rest
Weds Rest
Thurs Rest
Fri Rest
Sat Rest
Sun Rest

Now that looked good to me, but then realised I needed to try to think like Sally to get it right.

After overcoming longings for Yorkshire Tea, an obsession with Guinea Pigs and an urge to draw a map, I came up with this:

Mon Rest
Tues 12 x 1 min hill reps
Weds 60 mins steady
Thurs Recovery
Fri 60 mins w/ 4x1 mile @ threshold
Sat Rest
Sun 120 mins steady

Not bad for my first attempt without the stabilisers. It certainly looks more like a training plan - I just hope it's something that actually works.

First test is hills tonight - will let you know how it goes.

Late update - shock

I've been a busy bee for a few days - I even cleared a load of crap from my garage so I can now almost fit a car in there. Not a proper car, probably one of those hideous G-Wiz things, but still I'm proud of my toils!

My cross training on Thurs was forty-five mins on a bike - piece of piss! The weird squats and stuff afterwards were more an issue as I kept getting Vietnam-style flashbacks to PE lesson as a kid...

Fri was alright, hard work, but good to get in the bank. I'm crap at working out how fast I shouold be running and tend to overcook it (and pay for it as run progresses). Knee was a bit tender after this, but I had a good old stretch afterwards, iced and strapped the whinging thing up.

Sunday was a proper 'ego run'. Nice warm up, then pushed on and it all clikced perfectly. Pacing, bang on. Lungs and heart all groovy. Legs ticking away nicely.

It was almost a shame to stop.

I've been trying to work out why Sunday went so well, and I think I've nailed it.


I abandoned the tracksuit bottoms and opted for the shorts for the last couple of runs, and I don't know why, but it just feels better running in them. Is it psychological? Physiological? Astrological?

Who knows, but it seems to work for me so Surrey road users beware - the palest legs in Christendom are back!

Soggy joggy

Snow kicks ass - it looks good, is great fun to cycle through and generally cheers me up.

Unless I'm running in it when it's a slushy mess.

Tonight's run was a feast of slush.

Preferable to ice?


But still a bit too much cold squelching for it to get into the vicinity of a pleasant experience.

It looked pretty straightforward on paper - just keep the legs turning over - but I'm going through a weird phase where my legs just don't feel 'right'.

Not hurting, not tightening up, just not feeling like they're working properly.

I'd be plodding along, head floating away into a world of dancing ducks and trees made of biro's (that's normal, right?) then I'd suddenly stop and have to look at my legs to make sure they're mine.

I'm hoping it's down to improving my normally god-awful stride - a legacy of years of inactivity - with weird stretches and the occasional hill session, and I'll soon get used to it.

If not I can see it becoming another irritating distraction for my already procrastination-prone mind.

In conversation with... trainer, Sally:

For those wondering what it's like having an e-trainer, here's an excerpt from a typical conversation with mine.

S: How did run go today?

P: I ache and bits of me froze off. You're horrible

S: Sounds really, really perfect

P: Can I fire you?

S: Anytime. Am thinking you're probably not fat enough that's why you're freezing

P: You said I was too fat before! I'm zonked

S: Only jokin. You are too fat :-D Yeah, well you've moved up the scale pretty quickly. Perhaps just recov run on Tues then back to full swing Weds

P: I want to get a big cannon to fire you into a wall

S: Yes, understandable. Anyway you're doing well and proving quite reliable. I'm pleased.

P: Oh good. Knowing you're happy makes the pain vanish.

If you want this level of motivational support, send her a tweet.

Not a great start to 2010

If I've started this year as I mean to go on, I could be in trouble.

Last week
I was down for about five hours in total on my feet, but the snow - well more the ice - scuppered that.


Doesn't bode well for the rest of the year so I need to get my arse in gear to prevent it becoming a cycle on procrastination.

This week I've got:

Mon: 60 mins Fartlek
Tues: rest
Weds: 75 mins steady
Thurs: 45 mins cross training
Fri: 60 mins threshold
Sat: Rest
Sun: 90 mins w/30 mins @marathon pace and 10 @threshold

This is a bit interesting.

Fartlek tonight was a tad sketchy as there's still a hint of ice rink about my local paths. But, I got round, and I'm not dead, which in my book is a success.

Thursday is something new as I've not had cross-training on my schedule before, but any excuse to get mud on the bike is welcome. Though there was the word 'squat' in the detailed instructions, which conjures up images of the gym which sends a shiver down my spine.

Sunday could be quite an eye-opener/depression inducer as I'm not sure what my marathon race pace is yet, so no doubt Sally will have some insight into it matter.

At the mo I'm hoping for less than my first, and so far only, marathon in 2008 when I hobbled the last nine miles on mangled knees and came in at 5:17 - narrowly beating the first rhino back.

That leaves a nice wide window to aim for - making failure less likely - but goes against the whole setting tough targets (because marathons aren't hard enough!).

I've got a few days to mull it over, so for now I'll put my feet up and try to build up my resolve to turn around the first week of crapness

Obligatory New Year post...

As the Earth has completed another orbit around a gaseous ball of fire, it must mean it's time to look forward to 2010, and knuckle down to my third attempt to run the London Marathon.

I've been laying the groundwork over the last couple of months with Sally but now my calendar says it's the same year as this marathon thing, it's time for the laser beam focus.

My knee is complaining, but holding in, thanks to some stretches that Sally found for me online - will post on them in future as they're both useful, and entertaining to watch!

My schedule for this week looks like this:

Mon: rest
Tues: 60 mins with 4x1 miles at threshold (which aint v quick)
Weds: easy 45 mins
Thurs: rest
Fri: 60 mins Fartlek
Sat: rest
Sun: 2 hrs 15 steady

As you can see, I've already come on a bit since the equivalent period last year when, looking back at old schedules, I seem to be fannying around not doing much. I also need to get the knee-preserving stretching sessions in there too, so it's a busy time for my poor neglected body.

The big test for me is how the knee holds up, and how knackered I get from lack of carbs. This isn't solely down to running, as I'm often cycling to work and back (22 mile round trip).

This is down to my previous car share getting a new job in the summer and no longer being able to drop me off within bus-able distance, and me choosing two wheels over four to get in. It also explains my infrequent posting these days as I tended to do a lot of writing on the bus!

So, I need to get my ass in gear and hunker down for a few months to get this marathon monkey off my back, so look forward to more inane ramblings and drivel from me as we head towards 25 April and another London Marathon.