Category Archives: marathon

Four firsts and a failure

Ok, it’s official, I’m knackered.

This has been a big week of firsts for me, and I’ve loved every minute of it, though my body is now crying ‘enough!’.

My first first, was a trip down to London Bridge to have a session at the Hot Bikram Yoga studio. I’m relatively new to yoga, I only started in October, so I was a little bit anxious about the intensity of the heat and the workout. That was once I’d worked out what to wear of course (not much).

For those who don’t know, the class is carried out in a room at about 40 C and is a series of 26 postures.

I got really sweaty – which is the general idea – and I liked it far more than I thought I would, that heat did seem to make me more flexible than I usually am. As soon as I got home I signed up for more sessions.

My second first was a new approach to my interval / speed session. I’ve been doing 200m sprints at full pelt and repeating, but after my weekend session of marathon training with the Run Doctor, I decided to have a go at Yasso 800s.

The idea is you run 800m fast, then however long it takes you, you recover for that amount of time by walking or light running, then go for the 800m again. This is then repeated until you’ve done 10 sets of 800m, all completed within a five second range.

I found the idea a bit daunting to be honest and set out to do six, but then the fifth felt really good and positive, so I thought, ah, go on then, lets do eight, then of course by the time you’ve done eight, you might as well go on and do 10. Or so I persuaded myself.

The theory is that if you can do the 800m in, say, four mins, give or take five seconds either way over all ten laps then this predicts your marathon finish time to be 4 hours, give or take five minutes either way.

I’ve read lots of conflicting stuff on the internet about whether or not this is an accurate prediction and whether or not there not there is any real benefit of speed work for marathon runners. To be honest, I quite enjoyed doing something different to normal and it can’t do me any harm, surely?

New thing number three was getting out the foam roller. There’s one at home from when my husband dislocated a shoulder, but I’ve never really thought about using it before. I’ve still not quite got the hang of it, but thank goodness for YouTube, all makes a bit more sense than reading about it. Hamstrings were very grateful.

My last first of the week was finally getting round to doing a strength session. Probably the bit I’d been least looking forward to, all the repetitions are a bit, well, dull, and I was stuck inside. Even trying to distract myself with music, radio or TV couldn’t really brighten it up. Still I did it, and here’s hoping I’m getting some benefit from it.

That’s it, one new thing a day, till today. Can’t really claim that I tried anything new today, had planned to try an energy gel on my long run, but failed to get round to buying any, still a bit unsure about which one to go for.

So next week’s new things are hill sprints and I will seek out some gels to try. All good stuff.

Marathon training with the Run Doctor

There always seems to be more to know or learn as a runner. I’m forever thinking that I don’t know enough about this or that, so when I saw an email for a Marathon Running workshop with The Run Doctor, Ed, that was my Christmas present sorted out and I didn’t have to drop a ridiculous amount of hints.

Because I’m – ever so slightly – addicted to parkrun, I left early to run the two miles to the nearest one to where the workshop was taking place. I know, I cheated on my local parkrun, but there was no chance of a PB so I felt like I could be forgiven. I did come to slightly regret this, more of that later.

I enjoyed the new, hillier challenge and felt all fired up as I arrived for the day.

After a brief introduction about how the day would go, we were taken off to be filmed running on the treadmill for analysis later. Oh dear, I hate running on a treadmill and being filmed, brrrrrr. Still, it was all in a good cause, just had to not think too much about it.

The course took us through training methods, essential elements to include – long, tempo, recovery runs, intervals and strength work. We looked at nutrition, recovery tips, planning a training schedule, the importance of tapering and running technique.

To help with our technique, we went to a nearby running track and did some warm up exercises and simple exercises aimed at improving our posture and running style. Then it was laps of the track, two – or 800m – at a time. The aim was to run fast and then rest before repeating, hopefully at the same pace, up to ten times.

Sadly for me, that was where the earlier running took its toll. By now it was nearly 1.30 and I was soooo hungry! Managed three lots of 800m, but that was enough! Lesson learnt – don’t do all that running without a snack at some point.

After (a very much wanted on my part) lunch, Ed went through the treadmill clips, critiquing everyone, suggesting areas of improvement. Some things I’m definitely going to work on.

We finished the session with a Q&A, before heading home, all inspired and raring to go. I would definitely recommend the workshop (take snacks), it was very relaxed, warm and friendly as well as being packed with information and advice. There was a booklet to take home too, with some exercises modeled by the lovely Ed himself.

I was going to run back, but thought, forget that, I’m getting the bus, so I had a nice sit down all the way home and then some well-earned pizza for tea.