Training for China

Oct 17, 2017

Blimey, I haven’t been here for ages… but, I have been busy, very busy with training for the Great Wall of China marathon 2018! Its still on track, I’m still on track so what have I been up to?

While flagging a bit with my own motivation a couple of months ago I decided to enlist a coach, Miles with Michelle, who has come up with a fabulous plan to keep me accountable.  There are different levels of support Michelle can offer, so please check her website out to find out more details.

My training plan itself incorporates plenty of steps, strength training, LSR’s and time trials each week to keep me on course for taking on this epic challenge.  I’d highly recommend Michelle to any runner, at any ability, who wants to improve on their performance.

For me personally I thought it wise to invest in getting the knowledge and advice of someone who knows what they are talking about to keep me focussed and concentrating on the right level of training.  Eight weeks down the line and I can see its really paying off, I’m much stronger all round and my mind-set has shifted.

As for the Wall itself I am planning on ‘Jeffing‘ it and the plan has been tailored to that style of training, plus it can be tweaked as we go along.   Two hour Jeff runs no longer fill me with dread, I can’t wait to get out the door and have that time to myself.

To say excited is an understatement, I can’t bloody wait!  The opportunity to take my daughter to China too is a dream come true. I feel so grateful for that, a place that was once my home.

205 days and counting!

I’ll drop in here to update when I can to update, but more so to keep a log of my training for this once in a lifetime event for myself to look back on.

Hope everyone else is doing well. 🙂




Chinese celebrations…

What better way to start my training than on beautiful morning with cloudless blue skies and a perfect cool breeze!  Sound the alarms, set off the fireworks, firecrackers, dragon dance or wotnot… the official countdown has started.. whoooo hoooooooooo – bit excited? too much caffeine? yep bit of all of that thanks… wow – a year only and no doubts time will fly!

I haven’t run for a week – the ends of  ANOTHER FRIGGING COLD… (thank you nursery.. you have more germs than the plague) and a lot of flying around the country for work & play.. plus a personal project are keeping me more than busy at the moment.  However today’s the day I pencilled in as the official ‘start date’, so it is so!

Today’s trot was a four mile run consisting of two mile straight run and 2 miles ‘Jeffing’ back to home, Tesco’s and back.. nothing glam.  Then I put Jillian Michaels 30 day shred on, level 3 (what was I thinking?) and destroyed that too… yeah!  The shred is absolutely brilliant and I really noticed the difference when I did this before not only with my core strength, but with my running too, it was incredible.


frizzy hair, rock hands…


Unlike before, I am not intending on doing it every day but it will certainly be a regular part of my training routine. I aim to update here once a week on my training, so I am accountable, and share how its making me feel / results and all that jazz.


I’m not going ‘balls to the wall’ deprivation/starvation diet – but starting by sensibly cutting back and laying down some ground rules really.  First rule I am enforcing is no weekday drinking – this is going to be hell.. but a necessary hell all the same.  The dehydrating effects of alcohol can wake me up at night and when I am awake I find it very hard to get back to sleep again, which then effects my ability or motivation to workout the next day.  So that’s my first rule… set in stone.

Yesterday I had my last weekday beer and last glass of ‘Secco… this was to raise a toast to my best friend who is leaving our workplace for pastures new… as sad as it was its great for her.  Life keeps changing and moving forwards and so should we… so this morning I cracked on with my training with gusto.

Here’s to a total transformation, and possibly the biggest challenge I will face…


RIP my weekday tipple

It begins! Annus horribilis… or bliss?

This Saturday, thousands of runners will be bracing themselves to take on the epic Great Wall of China marathon.. after months of dedicated training, sacrifice and pain they experience one of the hardest marathons known to man! That will be me in one years’ time! what the heck!

Thankfully my runner fam picked me up from a confidence wobble the other day, where I contemplated the half rather than full marathon, they all have the confidence in me to bring home the bacon on the day and get the full 26.2 in.

My reasoning being that I could train and do the best job of a half marathon as possible, rather than go the whole hog which just seems so daunting right now, the huge elevations, thousands of steps and heat – it just all sank into me what a massive, epic challenge this was BUT, do you know what… they’re right… why bother flying half the way around the world for a halfie… why not just do my best at the full.. even if I am the last one over the line, I would’ve still completed the damn thing like everyone else.

Its time now to face my fears and really throw down the gauntlet.  Been speaking to some running coaches about training and getting my plan in place (I’ll share that here next week).  Also consulted the lovely Nicola who will taking on the ‘experience’ too, to pick her brains about the best nutrition and training plan.  Feeling much more positive now! I was honestly quite happy to do the halfie and hold the drinks and canapés for Nic when she finished the full… no chance now.

Even bought these… note the fake tan is to stop blinding people with my milk bottle legs ..I may sneak out the house while no-one else is up… not worn shorts since 2003!

Reiki.. a runners retreat

I can’t harp on more about how beneficial Reiki is… new age nonsense I hear some say… but its not actually new age, its nearly 100 years old in its current form and I would say its a great relaxation tool to help balance out a busy lifestyle, training programme or just much important and needed ‘You Time’…

Developed by the Japanese Buddhist, Mikao Usai, Reiki is a technique which uses ‘palm healing’ through which a universal energy is transferred through the hands of the practitioner to the patient in order to encourage emotional or physical healing.

It works on the principles of clearing the life force of negativity.  This ‘life force’ runs through our bodies, and when negative thoughts or feelings attach themselves to this energy field it causes a disruption in the life force which can lead to other issues emotionally or physically.

Years ago I had a few sessions of Reiki, including one practitioner who laid crystals on me on my chakra points as ‘they were blocked’ – hello, is that negative transference?  Needless to say I didn’t go back…

More recently at a facial treatment where the lady unexpectedly incorporated Reiki into the whole treatment.  I mentioned to her afterwards that I felt ‘centred and balanced’ and she said she had performed it on me.  I knew it!  This got me thinking that Reiki would be great for me to use alongside my Great Wall of China training plan.. to chill me out and centre me.  It also will balance out the ‘terrible two’s’ my daughter is experiencing.  Oh and the lack of sleep her parents are getting too… ha ha

The Reiki session I had locally was just amazing – there were two Reiki practitioners performing on me for an hour and cost £35 in total.  One concentrated at feet level and the other on the top half.  At one point in the treatment I felt almost out of body and totally felt the warmth and cold sensations that some people have mentioned they experience.  Whether there is something in it or its a placebo, who knows… but it works for me ..and I am going back for more!


With a little help from my friends…

Another lyric to start my blog off…

Apologies, I have been a little AWOL here lately apart from a few pix of mud-fest trail running.  But, my training is still going to plan, although I have taken a wee break (as in foot off the gas slightly) these past few weeks.  Man-flu scuppered me w/c 27th March and then a family trip to Edinburgh last week, but I actually feel better for listening to my body and taking the rest I needed – a lesson that took a long while to learn.

My runner friend in Edinburgh was nursing an injury too – so we just gossiped, drank wine and espresso martinis…. which was bliss.  My husband said we had done that for 8 hours of my Edinburgh trip (not in one sitting can I add) – ha ha… oh well…. that’s my last bit of booze for a while. GULP.

Note…it was another stark reminder that I need to get some acupuncture booked in and some better sleep to boost my immune system against the dreaded nursery bugs, a constant battle for me.

Fitness wise though, I have had a few gentle runs, STEP and cycling though to keep me ticking over, but with 13 months to go I need to get my serious game plan head on for China.

Running: Still ‘Jeffing’ – but I’ve started to run the first few miles, then ‘jeff’ the rest.  This I am enjoying although I know its not recommended by the great man… so my next run, possibly tomorrow or Weds will go back to the original Jeff plan.  I have noticed how much stronger I feel in the running segments and mentally strong and focussed with the Great Wall challenge.  I have entered the Run 1000 miles challenge in Trail Magazine too… I have a bit to catch up on, well, quite a lot to catch up on…some people are already into 250 miles plus for the year.  I have yet to hit 100 so have my work cut out.  BUT, nothing is impossible.

STEP:  This is still happening and I god-damn love it.  It leaves me in a total sweaty mess but my heart rate is still in the desired range for my age group – so I am happy with that.

Cycling:  Husband has ‘done-up’ some bikes and we went for a test drive a few weeks ago – it was beautiful sunshine all day, then the clouds burst over us on our half hour trip out.  Yesterday didn’t go to plan either as at 3.5 miles in the pedal fell off his bike.  So back to the garage for fixing!  However, it was a gorgeous day here yesterday and we all enjoyed it, hoping this pushes the hubster to finally put the cigarettes down again. ‘Nuff with the nagging.


  1. Arms: toning my ‘thigh’ arms, I have been advised by another runner friend that swimming is the best way to do this, so I am planning on another dip in the pool this week so that will be perfect.  Plus I have on order the elastic workout bands that offer resistance to tone and strengthen muscle.
  2. Workouts with FRIENDS: I have a hill repeats session booked in April with my friend Steve who runs marathons with a surfboard…. should be interesting.  I also have a training session in June with my pal Howard who runs running breaks in Morocco and the Lake District.  He is a fell runner and I think training with him will be such a good experience, I’ve told him to put me through my paces with no mercy… gulp.  I will also be swimming with my friend Charlotte when the lido opens in Cirencester next month…however there may be a few more cocktails involved with that… who knows… most likely though ha ha.

All in all, I am still very excited and I believe I have convinced a few other of my Twitter friends to come and run to China, one is a definite and two are ‘most likely’s’ – will be great to share this experience with other like-minded nutcases.

Hope all your training is going well, and you are enjoying the beautiful sunshine.