Tag Archives: London Marathon

The Road to London #Week 12

Biking and swimming isn’t like running. It just isn’t. This week, like a crazed animal, I’ve tried to up my effort levels to try and feel as if I’m working my body. At the beginning of the week I tried running for a mile but my ankle felt a little sore as each minute passed so I turned around and went home.

Getting retaped @Knott Kinetics

Getting retaped @Knott Kinetics

Tuesday I decided on a bike-swim-bike, which felt good and I so wished I could add a mile or two run on to the end. This would have been foolish so I didn’t, what I did was a roundabout route to the pool with a steep hill, 9 x 50m efforts then zipped home as quick as I could. It was short but momentarily my legs were on fire.

The news wasn't great at the physio

The news wasn’t great at the physio

Wednesday I felt itchy so drove to the Mountbatten Centre pool in Portsmouth as there are two Olympic size pools and one is deep at both ends. I attached my trusty flotation belt round my waist and ran in the water, with a warm up, 4 x 6min 40secs (to replicate my 4 x 1 mile on the road) then a warm down before dashing to get Sienna next door from the gymnastics centre where she trains. It’s really hard to judge perceived effort in the pool as I didn’t have my heart rate monitor on, but I tried to push myself for each rep so I was out of breath the whole time. I felt a little bit shy as I trundled very slowly up and down the lanes while I puffed – most of the deep pool had the swimming club in for training. I caught a few glances from lifeguards/swimmers who were obviously thinking What is she doing? I just gave them my ‘I-have-to-do-this-as-I’m-an-injured-runner-obsessed-with-doing-a-marathon-next-month’ smile.

Biking bliss

Biking bliss

Thursday it was a really hard, short session on the turbo that gave me jelly legs. It really helped burn off my I-can’t-run angst, for a while. Coach David (more aware than most of my inner turmoil and tetchiness?) the duathlon demon wanted me to work hard (give him a break?) so gave me:

10 mins warm up with
– 3 mins in the first gear
– 3 mins in a harder gear
– 3 mins in a harder gear

1 min easy spin
5 x 30 secs hard with 30 secs recovery
2 mins easy spin
2 mins on a hard gear out of the saddle
60 secs recovery at 150bpm
2 mins hard out of saddle
60 secs recovery at 150bpm
30 secs flat out
60 secs recovery at 150bpm
5 mins warm down

I love this session!

I love this session. Kind of…

I did some S & C exercises focusing on my gluteus straight after. I loved/hated it; the second two minutes out of the saddle were crazy!

The awesome Friday runners

The awesome Friday runners

Friday I couldn’t run with the group so I cycled alongside. It was a quick session of 6 x 600m after a slow warm up to our starting point. I zipped around the circuit, trying to motivate everyone as much as I could. They are all stars, it wasn’t hard. Then I popped along to the physio, hoping (wishing?) that Lawrence would tell me my ligaments were much better and I could go and race a 10-miler on Sunday. Of course he didn’t. I’ve got another week of rest, with some daily exercises, before he decides on whether I may have a chance of making the marathon. I tried not to cry. And just about managed it.

Keeping myself entertained

Here I am again…keeping myself entertained

In the past I would have stopped exercising with an injury and started wallowing in self pity. If I wasn’t injured and not running I’d say I was feeling really good at the moment! I’ve truly learnt the importance of preventative exercises to keep injuries at bay and am staggered how little trouble I’ve had from my left glute since last summer.

Girlie sleepover in my room - I didn't get much sleep!

Girlie sleepover in my room – I didn’t get much sleep!

I say I don’t really like swimming and biking but I guess that’s not really true. I like them. I just don’t LOVE them like running. Maybe there is a little triathlete/duathlete hidden away inside me. Both have really kept me going through the winter, even when it’s been icy cold I’ve taken to my bike and I’ve never wanted to do that before. I think I need to keep learning to love both activities.

Saturday I repeated Thursday’s turbo session and put everything into the efforts… the highest I got my heart rate up to was 166, though it was really hard to do.


I swear she was in the same position when I left the house two hours earlier

I swear she was in the same position when I left the house two hours earlier

Sunday would have been my endurance run. My training plan said an 18 miler. What I wanted to do was 2.5 hours of running in the pool to try and replicate the effort. However, it was my middle daughter Amelie’s birthday sleepover Saturday night, and I don’t think she, or her friends’ mums would have appreciated me going off for about 3.5 hours. The next best thing was a long bike and this week I decided on two hours. It was so much warmer than last weekend and it was a pleasure to be outside doing endless reps along a bus route a few miles from my house.


I wasn’t focusing on pace, rather heart rate and effort, and managed an average of about 75 per cent of my maximum heart rate for the two hours. My issue is that I wasn’t out of breath once. Even a bit. I can’t see how this can be boosting my fitness though of course I know it is. Running is much harder on my asthmatic lungs. Biking in comparison seems so easy. I hope there was some transference of fitness. I didn’t have the time for any longer – there’s a limit to how long you can leave your kids on their own, even when they are getting older (and especially when the youngest gets easily bored and is quite demanding). I left my eldest, Lola in charge, however, I’m sure Sienna didn’t move off the sofa the whole time I was out!

My fav fuel and recovery drink

My fav fuel and recovery drink

I’ve done about six hours of exercise this week. I would never normally do so much mainly due to time pressures. But it’s all on my own and I’m really missing going to my weekly club session and seeing my club mates. Still…I’m not ready to give in yet!


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The Road to London #Week 4

Monday night is the crucial pivotal point of each training week. It’s the balancing scales of whether I am still on track. I made club again, with Coach Penny setting a tricky session of long and short hills. This felt like a tough combination of a long hill, jog down about one third of the way, then back up to the top, before jogging down right to the beginning and repeating for 25 minutes. Some weeks the period of effort flies by; this week wasn’t one of those times!

We were in the grip of a mini cold spell, so were running in a minus temperature and again I had to use my wits. As soon as the session is finished (or even just before if my time has run out) I have to sprint back to the car at 5K race pace, giving me less than 10 minutes to drive to pick up my 12-year-old, Amelie, from ballet. We’ve struck a deal – I get to go to running if I’m no more than 10 minutes late picking her up. Both session and ballet finish at 7:30, approximately 4.5 miles apart.

All the gear no idea? Not me - no gear and no idea

All the gear no idea? Nope. No gear and no idea

As always evenings are a juggling act and I drive as quick as I can to get her. Then I drive her home, have about nine minutes to have a shower and tea before I have to drive out to pick up my third daughter from gymnastics. In that small window I spent approximately 1.5 minutes on the shower (no time for hairwash), 1.5 minutes on trying to convince Amelie on the importance of reading the question and proof-reading her answers in this week’s Year 8 exams, said hello to my eldest daughter for about one minute while she was doing her art homework in her bedroom (I decided it was best/had no time to discuss the blue paint on her carpet as her work was fantastic. Being creative and being tidy don’t go together) then reheated the congealed pasta I had cooked earlier, threw in some pesto, ate, jumped into the car and bombed it down the road four miles in the opposite direction to get daughter number three. Somehow I forgot my stretches.

It was all fine and the endorphins were buzzing through my veins as if they had just won a holiday to Mauritius. It was back home for tea for my youngest, get her up and into bed, say goodnight to number one and two, and then I went down… crashing just as I shut the last bedroom door and crept into my room. The important part is I made Monday’s club session, and now it’s four in a row. Normally I hide away in the winter, or my asthma is too bad to run. Surely this must mean I am a real runner again.

Tuesday’s are my rest day and I only do leg/core strengthening exercises, such as single leg squats, forward lunges, calf raises, glute activation. This helps me to recover from Monday night’s speed/hill session.

This really gets into your piriformis

This really gets into your piriformis

Wednesday was out into the bitter cold to bike to the pool then bike home. I’m loving mixing up my training, especially getting out on the bike, even though the air hitting your lungs is so icy.

Thursday is my speed session I do on my own and with the Stubbington 10K, held in my village, on Sunday I took it easy with a warm-up, 2 x 5mins at 5K-ish pace, which ended up being 7:04 and 7:03min/miling, so it was a little off. I’d been up during the night coughing, probably triggered by the cold. And it was -2 and my legs were frozen, so I was happy to do anything. I had to head to the physio after due to issues with my lower back and left glute/piriformis. Both are niggling, I’m not in pain with either but I wanted to get them checked out before I start doing my longer runs as my left hip seized in training for and during the Edinburgh Marathon. My pelvis can sometimes come out of alignment.

Friday I take out a group of runners from Stubbington Green Runners and we did 2 x 30-60-90-60-30 seconds of effort with about 90 seconds of recovery, with a brilliant work ethic from the whole group, and though it was below zero it was still and sunny, and everyone managed to finish smiling.

On Saturday the weekend was turned upside down as my partner David was rushed into hospital. He went on a bike ride in the cold, when he came home he couldn’t get warm, then fainted and had a seizure. We were both due to help in the prep for Sunday’s 10K, instead we were in hospital and had to return on Sunday so he could have further tests. He is OK, and the doctors felt it was a one-off episode, but it was a stressful experiences, and it flattened both David, then me. We couldn’t do the race on Sunday, but I managed to squeeze in some time between looking after him, the hospital and sorting out homework etc to dash out for a run at lunchtime. I was quite miserable as we were going to run the 10K together, which we rarely do, and even though the weather held out for the race in the morning, cold rain had descended by the time I got out. When I got home I was frozen.

So I banked the miles but not quite to plan. Strangely, though, my pace was OK and I almost felt like a long distance runner again. After four weeks of training I definitely felt like I clicked with running again for the first time since 2014 I think! This fits in perfectly with the science that says it takes four to six weeks to notice training benefits (Coach Jeff explains the science behind this here).


Looking back it was a strange week, partly due to David being ill, but there may have also been other factors bubbling under the surface. I had my first full week of taking HRT and I couldn’t stop crying all week!

Even though I’m not sure if a return of oestrogen can affect your running, by the end of the week I was feeling more able to face training. I had really struggled with it mentally and physically for a few weeks. Can HRT affect your running? I don’t know. It usually takes a few weeks for you to feel the effects of HRT, so maybe it was a coincidence.

Note to self: if you are writing up your training weeks do so as you finish each one, whatever is going on. Otherwise, expect confusion!

How is your MT going?

Has anyone else noticed HRT has affected their running?

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