100 days to go!

IMG_9265All this training and preparation is starting to kick up a notch. Am I excited, overwhelmed, enthusiastic or just in denial? Well, It depends what time of day you ask me!

There’s so much to start thinking about and every time I pick up a running magazine the information I get is different to the last. I’m not sure how much I really need to pay attention to or how much of it is overkill?

While I get my head round the ins and outs of staying hydrated before, during and post run, what food I should be eating, what combination of running sessions I should be doing and at what pace, I thought now would be a good time to ask for a favour.

Even though I have a ballot place this year, I would still like to run the marathon for a good cause. Actually, two good causes. They are two amazing charities and I have picked them because they’re both close to my heart. If you can spare the money, however small the amount please consider helping me to raise money for Mind and JDRF by making a donation to my fundraising page.

Claire’s London Marathon fundraising page

It’s been a while

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus since my last post, but that’s not to say I have taken a hiatus from running! I’ve been making great progress the past couple of months, but posts that say “it’s all great!” can start to get a bit bland and boring.

In short, my injuries that have been the main focus of my entries have near enough resolved themselves. No longer am I hobbling around like an old woman thanks to plantar fasciitis, and no longer are my calves as stiff as a board …. I feel like a new person!

The early morning running, once a challenge, is now…well… still a bit of a mission. But I’m doing it! The really tough part now is getting up in the morning when its nearly 0 degrees.

At the end of November I successfully paced myself around a 10km race, in the rain, with puddles that stretched the width of the country road. I finished feeling energetic despite the soaked muddy socks I was wearing. I’ve been owning this training malarkey!

On Boxing Day I completed an 8.25 mile run back at home on a route that I was dreading, mainly because I struggled badly with the very same route around the same time the previous year. But this year was different. Maybe it was the Christmas dinner and copious amounts of chocolates filling my stomach, or – (more likely) –  maybe everything has just started to click. Running those 8 miles oddly felt comfortable, enjoyable and manageable. It was like nothing could stop me!

Then illness struck. Bar the odd 2 mile jog I have been out of action for over a week and it’s starting to bug me. I’m struggling with my breathing for even a 2 mile easy run. I even got a stitch after just 500m. I just want to make use of my new Garmin watch I got for Christmas!

I’m taking it slow and consistent for the next couple of days until I’m back to normal health then it’s straight into serious training for the half marathon race I have booked in for 8th February!

Two steps forward one step back

“If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a time of great personal growth ahead.” ~Oswald Chambers

Just as my last post demonstrates, I thought I had turned a corner in my training. Things seemed to be moving along smoothly and my injury was causing minimal to no discomfort.

Then Sunday happened.

I set off to run 7km on a windy Sunday morning. It was OK to start, I was a bit sleepy and my legs felt a little heavy, but nothing I couldn’t or hadn’t dealt with before. But quickly I started getting pain in my arch again, quite significant pain. It’s like my feet had forgotten all the care and attention I’ve given them over the past couple of months and were throwing their toys out of the pram.

On the flip side there was no tightness in my calves that I would have expected from this type of run. And it made me realise that progress isn’t always going to be easy, and there are going to be tough days when things just don’t go as you planned in your runs. The really tough part about this is not letting it affect you mentally. I’m now feeling nervous about running a “long” distance again because I don’t want to have another painful run. But I need to change my thought process and remind myself that if I could do something, and do it well not too long ago, then I can do it again.

It’s a big test on my patience, of which there is little!

I’m going to persevere with my yoga, and my stretching, and icing the area, add in some strengthening excises specifically for my feet, and keep up with the running as much as I can without placing too much pressure on running a “good run”. What I need to keep thinking about through all of this is: two steps forward, one step back is still progress.

It’s not a fluke!

After my last post about the amazing run, I had an alarming thought – what if that run was a fluke? Was I tricked into thinking positively and were my legs just playing a cruel trick on me?

Admittedly I was nervous about going out on my next run. I wanted to remain comforted by my last successful run. It was a much needed boost mentally, and I didn’t want to be brought back to reality with a grueling/painful run.

I knew I couldn’t avoid running for very long and after a few days I braved it. Anxious yet determined I completed my run, and what do you know? It was great! Each run since, I’ve gone out slightly wary that the good runs would be short lived, and so far I’ve had four consecutive good runs. And I mean really good runs. Not to gloat about it too much, but when you know that a marathon training schedule lies ahead of you, you’ve got to cherish the good runs (and the good weather) while you can.

Now that I’ve started to see real improvements mentally and physically I’m kicking my training into gear. I have mapped out a training plan that will see me gradually increase my mileage and “long run” distance each week until Christmas, and booked in my first mini-target: a 10km in just under 5 weeks.

Bring it on VMLM2015!

Every now and then…

Every now and then the stars align. Something magical happens and you have a really great run.

I’ve had a few struggles with my training of late, and I clung to the hope that one day all the hard work would start to click and fall into place and I would finish a run feeling on top of the world. As each run passed I almost became subconsciously resigned to the idea that this is just how my runs were going to be from now on – a struggle, and even painful at times.

So on Tuesday evening I was caught completely off guard. I was spurring myself on for an evening run throughout the day which is unusual in itself. I got out after work and as soon as I started running I could tell. This, was going to be a good one.

Mentally I felt great, breathing was steady and not too heavy, pacing was spot on. My legs weren’t heavy, my calves didn’t get tight and there was next to no pain in the arch of my foot. Even the weather was pretty perfect. Can I get a WOOP WOOP.

I’m so grateful for the timing of this uplifting run. The Virgin Money London Marathon have started to send out their acceptance or rejection magazines to everyone who entered the ballot earlier this year. Having such a good run under my belt (finally!) has given me some much needed motivation to tackle this training head on and really go for it.