Breakthrough with heel striking…

Went for a great run yesterday,  it feels really good to be able to say that!.  As the summer has left, cooler weather has arrived and I seem to be finding my confidence again, in myself.  As I have mentioned a few times my confidence in running has been pretty much shattered since Swansea and I’ve shied away even from meeting up with running friends even for a quick jaunt.

Life seems to be getting much easier now and this seems to now be coming across into my running performance.  Where lots of people go running to get away from stress, its pretty useless for me as its seems to affect my performance, which spirals my mindset downwards, blah, not a great place for me to be.  A few times over the summer I was very close to walking away from running , which would have been a great shame after 2 years of consistent running training! Thanks to a couple of my running buddies, you know who you are, I was able to download my concerns and they convinced me otherwise.

I just went for a three miler yesterday and certainly not a flying pace at all, but I was happy and this is what I have been searching for for a long time with running, to find that happiness again.  Seems a lot of worry has lifted off my shoulders now and its made me feel so much happier all round.  I met with a good friend yesterday who I hadn’t seen over the summer due to various reasons and had a good, long overdue laugh and natter. Following on from a fabulous VRF’s meet-up at the weekend too, left me in very good spirits, which I am hoping lasts!

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A big difference for me too has been returning to heel striking, I know this is not recommended in many running literature, but after testing out a few different postures/styles with running this year I seem to run much better, consistent and faster with heel striking.  I didn’t intend to set out heel striking however noticed I had fallen back into this habit on a run and noticed the positive difference.

After reading this article in The Guardian, I feel a whole lot better about heel striking and continuing to heel strike.  While trying to run mid to forefoot I seem to get calf injuries (which sidelined me for a few weeks) with my old style of heel striking I never seemed to get injured at all.  May be its the way my muscles have developed through Thai Boxing for many years that means this style is more efficient for me physiologically, who knows.

I am heading off out for my next Trail Raider run this weekend, attempting 14ks of the Cirencester Park trail, which is the complete route.  Now I know what I am doing with ViewRanger (so she says) I feel confident of making my way round and back in one piece!  Thinking of purchasing a new head torch too as Gavs shifts are changing so I may have to go running in the dark, this Silva one is built for trail runners so popping this onto my Amazon wishlist for next payday!

Hope you are all enjoying the cooler Autumn weather, BBxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Should times matter?

I recently discussed this subject with my runner friends, ‘should times matter’?  Can we be so busy clock watching that we miss so much else about what we are doing irrespective of time and performance?  How are we actually feeling during the run?  Happy or frustrated?  This is something that I have asked myself more and more recently following the disastrous Swansea affair.. the more I seem to clock watch and analyse everything I am doing, the more I am feeling disheartened by what I am doing and my long departed runjo seems to be hiding from me forever!

mojo

So, what am I doing to correct this?

  1. I may have mentioned previously I have switched off the voice prompts from Strava.  I can’t recommend this enough from any app you are using. Takes the pressure off, ’nuff said.
  2. I have refused to wear my Garmin, and will only use this for races only.
  3. I am only running 2 miles a day in the weekday when I am working from home.  No long ass runs in the hot humid weather.  Leaving LSR’s to the weekend.
  4. Cancelled the rest of this years races to make time to find my runjo.
  5. Run for me.  This is something that was told to me a long time ago and its stuck, its been the best piece of advice I have ever been given.  I can’t run for anyone else other than myself.  Whether I am running 10 miles or 2 miles, whether I have walked half or run the lot, its up to me and only me.  Pressure off.  Others expectations/criticism are normally about how they feel about themselves and nothing you are doing.

BBx

NEW BLOG POST: In a happy place…

I seem to have found a very good balance since Swansea Half Marathon and learning from its silver linings.  Yesterday I decided to go walking with my family rather than an LSR (I’d normally be gone for 2+ hours with Gav at home left holding the baby so to speak) and enjoy the views in the beautiful  county of Gloucestershire, my adopted home!

The weather was simply glorious, we were originally going to go swimming (and it took me an hour of hunting down my cossie at home), but sacked it off for the walk instead. It was the best choice, a beautiful sunny Sunday to enjoy outside… what more could you ask for!  As a runner I want to get into walking/hiking more, I think its so important to value this part of the overall training.

Recovery from the Half Marathon was a complete week of rest, no training whatsoever! A rest and reassess was well deserved and welcomed.  Only downside is that it has delayed me in my quest in the 1000 miles a year challenge, but I am not going to stress about it, I can make it up!

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Crickley Hills… beautiful

I’ve been glugging my green boost powder drink too to boost my greens and goodness and build me back up again (I’m completely bone-achingly lethargic after a big run).  So far so good, I feeling much more energetic and sleeping very well, last night I had 8 glorious hours sleep.  I have the coconut powder and beetroot powder options too.

The coconut powder water is much more palatable than the beetroot one, but I am finding each day its getting easier to take.  I saw these powders in Holland and Barrett on special so thought I would try them out, although I am a big believer in getting nutrients from real food, I just wanted to take these to see if they made a difference.

It was a pleasure to pop down to the Cirencester Race for Life to grab the ever awe-inspiring Shona Darley to say hi and a quick selfie. Shona is featured in the August Women’s Running Magazine, please go check her article out.  Her story is amazing, and she goes on to inspire so many others too.   I was especially touched that my Dad’s name was recognised… he is a cancer fighter… thank you that meant the world to me.

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Funny who you bump into in Ciren Park…

Today was my first run since Swansea and I wanted to clock in 3 miles, to start me off again, which I did.  It was quite warm and muggy but I feel good for stretching my legs and getting back into running – leaving it any longer than a week of recovery starts off the cabin fever loonies. Going to treadmill it tomorrow while using the Run Social app – it’s so addictive! I’d highly recommend this app to anyone.  It’s so fun! We were joking in the running group that its easy to just jump on the app for fun even when you’re not even running!

Hope you’re all running well and enjoying the summer races…

Take care all, BB xx

 

 

NEW BLOG POST: Silver linings from Swansea

Swansea was a HM experience I won’t ever forget!  Not for the right reasons too I hasten to add… or should I say they were the right reasons as it’s made me reevaluate what I am doing in terms of training for this year which has taken a whole heap of stress of my shoulders.

The lead up to the half marathon was entirely stressful for personal reasons, my husband suddenly had his course dates changed (for an upcoming job) and they fell slap bang into the Swansea HM date.  This caused a lot of stress to sort out babysitting, none of my friends locally could help at such late notice etc etc etc…. it resulted in £75 worth of baby sitters over the weekend alone, not counting the additional travel costs.  On top of that I had an email from my Air BnB digs to say that she wouldn’t be at the property but to find the key under a chair in the back garden, and a side note to lock the door connecting to the kitchen as there were other guests staying in her house.  At this stage I knew I should’ve just cancelled going to Swansea, but I had a done a whole heap of training in the lead up and felt after finally sorting out all the other stress factors just to go and enjoy the damn thing.

The Saturday day time was full of Mia with terrible two tantrums and me running about the place trying to get last minute bits together, which I managed in time for the first of the two babysitters to turn up.

Train connections were fine FOR ONCE, and I arrived at Swansea for 7pm and believed the instructions that the house was 15 mins from the city centre, it wasn’t, it was 36 mins precisely up a 2 mile hill, in which I arrived in a sweaty mess, starving….

I dumped my stuff off and headed out promptly to meet Kimberley in the city centre for a bite to eat and catch up, we only had about an hour and I had to shoot off again to get my kit laid out and sorted for the next day.  I then had to ensure that my car parking at Kemble train station was covered as that was running out at midnight that night, and I had to ensure I wasn’t going to get ticketed the next day! Thankfully, got all that sorted.

A crap nights sleep ensued and the house cat ‘Milo’ woke me up at 6am to be let in for his brekkie.  That was fine, I was up anyway. However I am allergic to cats and had to take a Piriton tablet pronto, however the allergy stayed heavy on my chest.

Got to race village and bumped into the lovely Karen and Kimberley, while I was waiting for a wee.  Oh and just to add to the crappy weekend someone tried to get into my toilet while I was going for a wee believing I was locked in! Thankfully I was spared any embarrassment on that one. For godsake!  Unfortunately I had missed some other of my VRF friends at race village, another time for sure!

Off to the pens we went and I secured a place by the 2:20 pacer, seeing that I had ran Bath Half at 2:25, I wanted to see if I could push myself to 2:20, well that didn’t happen either, the pacer FLEW OFF.  In fact he was so fast that the 2 hour 15 mins one had to catch him up!  Don’t know what happened there at all – but he must’ve finished well ahead of his projected time.

The course in itself was VERY DULL for VERY long periods of time I found, not much crowd support and I think there was a serious lack of water stations (thankfully I had my hydration vest on) plus unclear mile markers aggravated me.   Didn’t realise that the lack of crowd support would affect me in this way… but it really did, by mile 7.5 I was totally bored of the race and considering actually just leaving it but glad I didn’t.  I did a run/walk combo back to the end, mostly running!  But once the momentum had gone at 7.5 it had really gone…by mile 12 I saw my friend Karen who saw me into the finish and I can’t thank her enough.  Lovely lady!

Would do I do this race again? No…. Why? i wouldn’t do any race again in which I am experiencing huge amounts of stress prior to just to get to the race, its not just worth it.. My focus was rubbish as all I kept thinking about was getting back for Mia and the pain of not having her at the finish line with my husband was a killer.

So, after this race it’s allowed me to reassess what I am doing.  I have a few 10k’s to focus on this year, and that’s ALL I am going to focus on this year.  I have to be realistic in terms of expectations for myself and being a working Mum on the amount of training I can do… I never want to start hating running, which is where I am falling into – to commit to 2 hours plus training on a LSR and leave my daughter at home isn’t fair on her or my husband who has the lion share in childcare, due to my job, his situation and my training.  This decision has made me much happier…

My time at Swansea was 2:27, only 2 minutes behind my PB.  A lot of people would want that time I know and it’s not the time that bothers me, just the actual performance, breath, pace etc.  My body could go longer for sure, it was just my stress head that wouldn’t allow me!  We learn something from everything we do, and I feel Swansea has taught me to slow down a bit and make my training more manageable.

Well done to the other Swansea runners, Jon, Kimberley, Steve and Karen.. you all did GREAT!

Till next time… BBx

 

 

 

 

 

NEW BLOG POST: 9 days till Swansea!

Wow, only 9 days left till Swansea Half Marathon.  It was only yesterday that I confirmed I could run it!  My husband is now on a training course, an essential course, for a new job that starts very shortly after and they cancelled this weekend’s course and placed it slap bang while we were away in Swansea.  Great!  Much cursing and panicking followed, but we now seem to have a plan in hand!

Finally I have got childcare nailed for the Saturday and Sunday, so I am able to leave late on the Saturday and get to Swansea in the evening and have a decent nights sleep before the race start at 09.00.

After the race I will have to hot-foot it back to Cirencester to pick my daughter up.  I’m so lucky that the babysitter is one of the nursery staff who Mia knows well and is comfortable with.  Its these race considerations that can make or break whether you can turn up for the race.  I now have to think of whittling down what I take with me to the bare minimum as its only one bag to stow away in baggage in race village.

I am hoping to meet some of my running friends from VRF’s at the event, hopefully post-race as I am a bag of nerves pre-race and can hardly speak.  Will be great to put some names to faces and faces to names!  Better running without music, I am just taking my Garmin and Strava app to keep check of progress.  I don’t care for a PB, just to enjoy the experience of it all really, I am so lucky to be able to get down there after this weeks shenanigans threw everything up in the air.

Very much looking forward to this route as its gorgeous, in training I have got up to good two ten milers recently, just hoping that the weather is kind to us as my training runs in the high humidity have left me with major headaches and quite sluggish! Something I never get usually.  Been more mindful to drink plain water and take electrolytes after my run too as I understand that this can help.

After a half hour treadmill sweat-fest today my next run is an LSR on Sunday morning, the last one before the big race and a few 5 milers next week, then I will get my kit ready and sorted. Eep….

Then all I have to worry about after that is doing a good job at the Bath Two Tunnels (my earlier 10k run this year was disappointing), and onto Cheddar Gorge for August.  Plus finishing off the 1000 mile challenge too!  September I have a trail event in Devon plus my 5th Half Marathon in Cheltenham which should be great fun!

However my 4th half marathon awaits… good luck everyone! BB x