Week 5’s mantra has been “breathe” and I am pretty sure that thanks to focusing on my breathing when I am struggling on my runs, I am finally starting to see some improvements on my endurance and my speed!

training week 5 - 1

Since I’ve gone back to Run Dem Crew on Tuesday evenings my training schedule has changed slightly, basically swapping Tues & Weds around, and last week my friend Fleur helped me push through the speed barrier in my head as we ran to Piccadilly Circus and back with our hardcore hares. It was very hard at times, so I tried to focus on cancelling out all thoughts and feelings, and just focus on my breathing.

training week 5 - 2

The speed and the breathing kind of stuck with me all week and the next day I managed to complete my first 3 miles in under 9:45min/mile in a very long time! It was stormy and I was overheated by too many layers, but I kept with it and really focused, and somehow I managed to do it!

training week 5 - 3

I accidentally sped up the following day as well (not very good at keeping a slow and steady pace without Cata!) and I miraculously powered through a super difficult run by just focusing on my breathing. It felt like my legs were going to fall off during some points but I tried to focus all my thoughts on how I filled my lungs with the cold evening air and it helped.

training week 5 - 4

I ran my first double digit distance on Sunday, trying out my new marathon shoes that I bought this week. They suprisingly made me super speedy and the first 2 miles on my own I managed to run 8:45-9:00 minute miles! At the 2 mile mark I was joined by Cata and we did 8 miles together in the sunshine.

My shoes felt a bit odd at first and I lost the feeling in my right foot for about a mile. But then I rearranged the laces and it went much better from there.

I was super warm throughout most of the run and it just reaffirmed that I really need to find some sort of thin running gilet! The run overall went well and despite being super tired and having jelly legs at the end of it, I felt like I had a lot of energy left and strong legs.

I tried out some running jelly babies as well and it worked much better than the gel the previous week so Im going to try to train with those for now.

The whole thing of focusing on my breathing really helped me this week when I was struggling, so I am going try to improve that technique as it seems to help me cancel out all negative thoughts and feelings (like pain and wanting to give up) during my runs.

This week looks like it will be the last “easy week” – then it is full steam ahead until I am tapering in May!

MARATHON TRAINING WEEK 6

MON: REST DONE
TUE: Strength training & 5 milesNo strength but ran 5.5 miles
WED: 3 miles DONE
THU: Strength training & 3 miles Strength done, no running
FRI: RESTRan 3 miles
SAT: Swimming DONE
SUN: 7 miles DONE

Building on last weeks new found confidence I felt much stronger and overall much better during my week 4 runs.

training week 4 - 1

Tuesday saw my return to Run Dem Crew – and despite being the slowest runner at the session, I had a fantastic time with my small but mighty “hardcore hares” group :) We banked around 4.5 miles in total, running from Shoreditch to the Tate Modern, via my favourite bridge to run over at night time – Millenium Bridge.

training week 4 - 2

On Wednesday I set out to run for food (quite literally!) as I ran up from Wapping to Haggerston to celebrate Food&Lycra‘s 1st year anniversary. The girls threw one helluva party and on my way home I stopped by the launch party of Like The Wind Magazine – a new non-profit running magazine that presents a collection of stories about running, from the track, trail and road.

training week 4 - 3

The weather has been absolutely mental the last few weeks and on Thursday I went out in the torrential rain to do 3 miles. Not very nice if Im honest,  but I managed to do another 3 miles without stopping so I felt pretty pleased with myself. (although you can’t really tell in the picture!)

training week 4 - 4

On Saturday morning Cata convinced me to go and swim with her. I was a bit reluctant as I haven’t really been swimming in public pools since my younger days when I trained 7 days a week & competed.

Im so thankful that she dragged my sorry ass with her though because it felt great to be back in the water after more than 12 years! It really helped to energise and revitalise my legs after an intense couple of weeks with a painful left shin and calf and I’m thinking of going 2 days a week starting March.

training week 4 - 5

I had 9 miles scheduled for my long run on Sunday and since Cata had been such a great help the previous weeks in keeping a steady pace, I decided to join her once again as she did a steady 7 miles from her marathon plan, with 2 miles at the end on my own.

The first 2 miles felt pretty shit. The wind was strong and it kept blowing away the clouds, letting the sun shine through.

Usually I love the sunshine, but wearing a black thermal running jacket, I thought I would collapse of heat stroke whilst running around Peckham common.

Once the sun went away I felt much better, and we managed to do a decent 5 miles at a very consistent pace – despite the wind almost blowing us off the road a few times!

The last 2 miles on my own were much harder. I decided to try a gel at 7 miles to see how I would react to it, and of course my stomach rejected it straight away and I thought I would shhhh myself.

Not a nice feeling and I had a little sob when I had around 0.5 miles left.

But I managed to hold myself (thankfully!) and I was surprised how relatively good I felt when I was done.

Fingers crossed this good feeling continues as I add on more miles to my training this week!

MARATHON TRAINING WEEK 5

MON: REST – Done
TUE: Strength training & 3 miles – Done, but I ran 6 miles
WED: 5 miles – Done but  I ran 3 miles
THU: Strength training & 3 miles – Done without strength training
FRI: REST – Done
SAT: Swimming – Done
SUN: 10 miles – Done

Week 3 of marathon training has been completed and FINALLY the first week that I feel relatively good about – despite almost getting the norovirus, still being in pain, still struggling a lot and still running relatively slow.

training week 3 - 1

The week kicked off with a pretty shit run. I decided to “just do it” and the first mile went great, until my left leg started hurting again (calf and shin) and I was forced to literally wobble the last mile.

training week 3 - 2

Quite demoralised and frustrated by the situation, I decided to go for a run with Cata the next day, and thanks to her commitment, great attitude and consistent pace I managed to run my first 3 miles since August 2013 without stopping! It hurt, and despite going rather slowly, I felt like giving up after 1½ mile. But her presence really gave me a boost and whenever I wanted to quit I told myself to just suck it up and run, and it worked!

training week 3 - 3

My third run of the week went a bit better, mainly because the previous day had given me a bit of a confidence boost. It was the first 5K run since the Malmö Half Marathon that I managed to run below a 10min/mile on average WITHOUT STOPPING and despite my left leg hurting, I felt super happy with my efforts.

training week 3 - 4

For my Sunday long run I joined Cata again as I wasn’t confident enough in myself to run my 5 miles without giving up or stopping. She had 6 miles planned, so I figured I would give it a go and if I couldn’t do it I would just stop at 5.

It was a sunny day and by mile 2 I was so warm my contact lens almost fell out of my eye. I wanted to give up every other minute – my left calf and shin was hurting, I felt like I was gonna have a serious case of “runners stomach”, the salt was stinging my face… But seeing Cata powering through helped motivate me and I kept thinking “mind over miles, mind over miles”.

I almost stopped at 5 miles, but figured that what the hell, 1 more mile surely wont kill me, Ive done it so many times before! So I continued running, counting every second until I could stop – and when I finally did stop I felt so happy and proud! 6 miles without stopping!

Made me think of how I always perform better when it’s not just me that is depending on it. Like, I didn’t want to stop because it would mess with Cata’s run and I didn’t want to do that. Just like I didn’t want to let my group down when I did Team Bangs On The Run – it helped push me and motivate me.

So this is what I need to concur this week:

MARATHON TRAINING WEEK 4

MON: REST – Done
TUE: Strength training & 3 miles – Done, did 4.3 miles 
WED: 4 miles – Done, did 3 miles
THU: Strength training & 3 miles – Done without strength training
FRI: REST – Done
SAT: Cross training – Went swimming
SUN: 9 miles – Done