Lots of longish   Leave a comment

I managed to find out what track was going to be before I got there so was able to prepare myself. It was 800sband 300s which are more my sort of thing do I was confident I’d be able to do it some sort of justice. As Rick has gone to the dogs I was forced to go with a faster group than I’d usually choose. However I thought I shouldn’t be too far adrift due to the nature of the session. 5 x 800t (30s) 300f. Rob helped me in the first few but then left me after he could see I was trying but wasn’t very speedy. I tried throughout which is, as always, my main aim so although I did fall off the back of the group a bit it wasn’t that bad. A successful start to the week. 

Tuesday was a sort of rest day. Just Core and Stretch to destroy me with its bendiness and my lack thereof.

A terrible failed LSR on Wednesday morning. Too windy. Too knackered from Monday. In the evening I went to weights and it was the easiest class ever! Thus it was flipping hard work but nowhere near as deadly as usual. Toby must have lost his marbles. 

Obviously the class had still destroyed me plenty enough that I couldn’t do anything fast at Hove Park on Thursday evening so I ran there and back to make it into a reasonably long hilly run which isn’t something I’d do normally. 

As captured by Rob circa 2013


I felt I must go out on Friday because it was sunny and the forecast said 1mph wind! It was a bit windier than that but definitely the lightest wind of recent times. I shouldn’t really have gone as I was still ruined from Wednesday. I do love Wednesday weights but it does ruin everything up until about Sunday. Therefore I am going to try and remember to do fast/tempo/rep stuff before Wednesday evenings. 

This I did not do this week. I went out on Saturday morning and did 5 x 4 minutes at 5k effort. I’m trying to avoid running by distance or pace whilst I’m so far off my best. This is all very well but I could feel I was slow and this was proven when I uploaded my run. Oh well, it’s all I could manage at the time. I’ll have to try it before weights next time and see if I fare any better. Or do it on a treadmill where I tend to be more successful. 

Today (Sunday) I tried to do an actual long run (over 10 miles). It was ridiculously windy (11mph? Hahahahaha). Also as I went after I watched the Berlin marathon there were too many PEOPLE everywhere. So it ended up being an unpleasant slog into a killer headwind interspersed with more pleasant wind assisted stretches with lots of tripping over dogs and people. 

40 miles for the week. That’s enough base building surely. I can’t keep up this mileage. One long run must be enough? A week, not over the course of my lifetime. Though that would be preferable. 

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Posted 24/09/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

Going long   1 comment

Having racked up around 14 miles for the last few weeks but being unhappy with my slowness I gently increased my mileage to 44 this week. “Never increase mileage by more than 10% a week” Pardon?

On Monday it was the annual Arena Beacon 6k race on the seafront. Aka the windiest pile of cack ever. It’s always exceptionally windy with the headwind being on the return leg. I know it is terribly immature and childish but SOD THAT. I knew I’d be terrible so decided to go out fast and slow to a crawl on the return. Done.

A very old drawing as you can see from my long hair and the fact I’m ahead of Rob

Having not tried my utmost on Monday due to my ingrained wind rage I decided to go out and do a long run on Tuesday on the seafront in what was basically the same weather. Well done! What a fool. Anyway as I was going slowly throughout it wasn’t quite as awful and I managed 9 miles before I couldn’t face the wind anymore. This is the longest run I’ve done since the weeks of 9 of old. Oh, I hadn’t gone to Core & Stretch due to the lingering of the DNF side strain. 

On Wednesday I had intended to go back to weights but I felt like I was getting a cold, feeling hot and weak so didn’t go as it it by far the hardest thing I do and can’t be tackled when at any less than 100% strength. So this became a full rest day.

By Thursday evening, tanked up on cold tablets, I felt ok enough to go to Hove Park for the Arena intervals session. I decided to run there as changing out of cycling wear in the rain is too difficult. Thus it didn’t rain. However I realised that many people who do the session live in my direction so I subtly asked if Brigitte could give me a lift home. She could. Hoorah! This is the perfect combination as the 2 mile run there is a good warm up, I can then do the session properly without worrying about being too knackered to run home (always into the wind). Three cheers for Brigitte! The session was green light hills so it was good I hadn’t been able to do weights the day before. 

On Friday it wasn’t very windy (it’s all relative) so I set out once again for a long (again relative) run and managed an almighty 10.2 miles! 

Saturday was Tara’s 100th parkrun so I went to Hove Park to see her be brilliant (from afar). She was. A pb of 18.22 and straight into the Arena record books. I put in some effort but my lack of long runs (up until this week) are still telling and I sloped shamefacedly over the line many minutes later. In the evening I was forced to run as fast as possible in normal clothes through a torrential downpour. I was surprised by my speed but my shins are not happy now (Sunday evening).

Not designed for mile reps especially when teamed with jeans, jacket and torrential rain


This morning (Sunday) I went out for another long run. As the Brighton triathlon was on I stuck to the Basin Road end of the prom. I was just dragging myself home after a pitiful 7 miles but then bumped into Rob so managed to use him cruelly to get me to 11 miles. So much long stuff this week. Alas now my shins are ruined but that’s the boot mile rather than all the long runs.

Let us see what next week brings. 

Posted 17/09/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

IMbalance   Leave a comment

Having done a good session on Saturday and wanting to do another on Tuesday I decided to just use Monday’s track session as a sort of jog-fartlek recovery so I ran with Rick who has just started back after injury. 

As I had the week off work (as I never do anything or go anywhere I always have holiday to use up) it meant I could do a treadmill session after Core & Stretch. Jenny was back so the class contained nothing unexpected thus was a perfect precursor to a planned hard treadmill session. After my surprise success at the seafront 800 intervals on Saturday I had decided to do 4 x 2 minutes at 5.30 pace (2% incline). Because mental strength when running fast is my downfall I like the treadmill as for some reason I try and obey it therefore I can’t give up (as I would do on land) until I have reached the time I have set (even though the time is actually set by me as the treadmill isn’t that advanced). Thus I did 4 as planned at 17.5kmph. Which is only 0.5 of a second per 100 metres slower than I do 300 on the track. I have only just worked that out! I can ONLY do 300 on the track at that pace and yet on the treadmill I’ve done twice that. Ok I know the treadmill is supposedly easier but still I KNOW it’s because I won’t give up on the treadmill the way I will in real life. Right that’s it, ALL my fast intervals must be done on the treadmill until I have the mental strength of Mo. Mo-ntal strength let’s say (but let’s not because it’s stupid). 

On Wednesday I was ready for the magic mile, the last of the year, to see how my more mile-specific training had helped or hindered me. I set off strongly, as I think with the mile being so short one has to as there’s no time to make up for a cautious start later. I was a few metres behind the lead group and feeling strong. Then twang, something went awry in my heel. The shock of it caused me to leap in the air and somehow pull something in my side. The heel was immediately fine again but the pull in my side was making me run like a T. rex on the rack (but vertical) with a stitch. I carried on for a bit at a greatly reduced speed then decided sensibly to DNF for the first time ever! Never have I been so sensible. I could have carried on for the last k but it would only have led to a worse side pull, a crap mile time and much sulkrage. I didn’t even sulk for a moment. I was utterly shocked. 

This meant I’d basically done nothing come Thursday’s Hove Park session however I was a bit wary of my side and how it would cope. It seemed fine but I then realised I was far too hungry to concentrate so this became a half an hour hilly steady run. This is fine as I’m trying to stick to a regime of two hard sessions a week with easy stuff in between. I’d never usually do a hilly run so that’s what this was. I had plans for another reps session on Saturday morning.

Friday was a rest day even though I feel like I’d done nothing but rest all week what with being off work and doing hardly any mileage. 

It was Rob’s 250th parkrun on Saturday which meant a trip over to Preston Park so I had planned to try the 400m at 20s again having failed so badly on my last attempt (don’t forget I’d not realised the treadmill equivalence at this stage) followed by the mile I’d failed to complete on Wednesday. However when I arrived there were many vans all over the paths setting up some sort of inflatable obstacle able course which threw me somewhat (I’m no good at adjusting when unexpected things occur). Anyway I got on with the first 400. As it wasn’t on the track I couldn’t check at each 100 to see I was on pace but had set my watch to beep after 80 seconds and knew where 400 was on the path I was using. 

One perfect rep


The perfect start! Then it all went wrong. I did complete them all but bailed on the mile to finish as there were vans all over the course. Anyway the reason I was there was to watch Rob run his 250th parkrun. After he was(n’t) announced (Mal had to go up and tell the megaphone wielder he’d missed him off) everyone set off (but not me yippee!).

Rob setting of with 435 others (thank you Lucy Anderson for the photos)


Then dropping them all


Now Rob can retire (or not). I enjoy spectating. Much easier. Also as Lucy was taking photos you get ones with the subject actually in them unlike my brilliant attempts at Hove Prom last week. 

This morning I planned to do a nice easy 10 miler. Ha! I was dead by 2 miles. I managed to drag it out to 7 but jeebs it was hard work. Obviously that’s what happens when you don’t do anything over 4 miles. I must re-introduce at least one long(ish) easy run per week. I’d forgotten that they are the runs that have the mental benefit, which is ironic as they’re the ones I hate doing. Also hopefully if I do them I might be a little less rubbish at anything over a mile (or under for that matter…). Now I’m rather better at being sensible and resting when I need to and not doing everything all the time I should be able to get the balance right. 

A whopping 18 miles for the week. 

Posted 10/09/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

Still going   Leave a comment

As it was a bank holiday with no official Arena track session I decided to go to the track early. It’s bound to be empty on a bank holiday morning right? Wrong. More people than early on a Saturday. Though still only two others there. My plan was to progress from the 6 x 300 I’d done the week before to 400 at the same pace but only 5 of them. I managed the first two but then struggled to finish the last three on pace. It seems that extra 100 is just a bit too much at present but as I know where I am now I can try again next time. I topped off the session with 4 x 60 metre sprints in spikes. I miss sprinting. I am so slow at the moment but that’s only to be expected having been focussed on long stuff for ten years or so now. It was fun though and I felt suitably vomitous afterwards. 

On Tuesday I went out for an easy 5. One, as a recovery run after the Achilles/calf bashing of Monday and two, as my “long run” of the week. Then I went to Core & Stretch where I discovered Toby was covering. Noooooooooo! He’s the one who takes the killer weights class. Luckily he actually did a reasonably gentle class unlike the last one he covered which was so hard. A nice easy(ish) day dans le sac.

Speaking of Toby and his exceedingly hard weights class… this time I tried to not destroy my hip flexors by overstretching them when lunging etc. Obviously this didn’t make the class any easier but I hoped it would mean my hip flexors would work better in the following days. 

It seemed to work! The Hove Park session was a series of undulations where we were supposed to work the uphills whilst jogging the downhills. Although my hip flexors did indeed feel much better than weeks past (still tired but nowhere near as ruined as before) this session was basically an undulating steady run for me. I want to focus on my track/interval sessions but also be sociable so I shall go to Thursday but choose to take it a bit easier if I want to do a specific session later in the week that I feel it would affect.

Full rest on Friday.

On Saturday I got up extra early (for me, not Sarah Sawyer style) so I could fit in an interval session before going to spectate at prom parkrun. I thought I’d do some longer reps this time so prepared for 4 x 800, aiming for 3 minutes per rep. As it was before 7am and breakfast and the last time I did these in about 3.10 I wasn’t that confident but I’d set my watch to beep after 3 minutes as I know an 800 stretch from Tom’s excellent sea front sessions. So the plan was to run as fast as possible and see how close to 800m I was at the beep. I thought my watch must be broken as I’d done the whole 800 before the beep! Then I did it again the other direction! Then I thought something must be terribly awry and scuppered my last two though even then they were probably 3.05 at worst. What the actual? Seems like my massive cut down in running and short stuff training is working. Now I just need to BELIEVE it. I threw in 4 x 60 metre ish sprints at the end but by the last one the lack of breakfast had hit with a vengeance and I jogged home feeling very sick indeed but pleased to have done this especially so early in the morning. After a quick breakfast and cup of tea I cycled down to the prom to watch the parkrunners in action.

Preparing to take some rubbish action shots


My best photo. Wonky and Val was too fast to capture. Ant need not worry


I contemplated doing another easy 5 this morning (Sunday) but didn’t really fancy it so decided not to. That’s part of my new regime. To not run if I don’t really feel like it as in my case it’s not because I’m lazy but rather that my body is telling me to rest. I have also put on approx 2kg as I’m much better at eating with less running. Let’s say it’s muscle and strength that’ll help my short stuffing rather than my first step on the road to becoming a sumo wrestler. 

Posted 03/09/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

So little running, so much time   7 comments

Monday was track. A Steve track. His suggested pace for a 44 minute 10k was 78s per 400 metres to be repeated 12 times. Ummmmmm… no. That’s 4.48 mile pace. With 30/15s recovery alternately. Instead of doing my own sensible session I attempted the first one as per the chart of utter nonsense which, naturally, killed me so then I just huffed about doing a few more of various speeds and with various recoveries (all well over 15/30s). One to forget. (I still haven’t forgotten now [Sunday] and it has ruined my whole week. However I’ve been doing very well in not letting stuff like this fester in my mind so I’m forgiving myself this slight blip.)

On Tuesday Core & Stretch class was being covered by the same man as before. Last time his class was nice and stretchy and not too strengthy which was perfect. This time it was a bit more strengthy which I don’t really need but it was still good and probably slightly easier than Jenny’s usual version.

There is no escaping from Toby’s weights Wednesdays though. No matter how difficult it is he manages to make it even harder the next time. As I didn’t go last week I thought I’d be ok. Wrong! It ruins my running for days afterwards yet I don’t seem to be able to stop going (though I have cut down from twice a week to just Wednesday and haven’t been going week in week out. Surely it must be doing me some good though?

Thus Thursday’s HP intervals were once again ruined as my hip flexors, adductors and quads were destroyed. I put in the effort though so, again, hopefully it is doing me some good in the long term. One thing (of many hundreds) that I’ve lost over the years of mojoless gloom is remembering that running is supposed to make you feel sick. Like vomit sick, not down with the kids sick. So feel sick I did even at speeds a snail would be ashamed of. 

I rested on Friday.

On Saturday I tried to assuage my distress at being so slow at parkrun by doing my own pretend parkrun. It did not work as I still timed it. Duh. It felt hard though so it’s purpose was met. Obviously not having run any long, slow mileage means I’m going to have no speed endurance but this doesn’t stop me getting upset when I’m so slow at parkrun. This is the next thing to work on. I’ve become much better in general at many things so I’ll add this to the list.

I have been good at dropping my running right down so next I need to cut out other things that aren’t helpful. Comments please as to what I should/shouldn’t keep so I can get the ball rolling on stopping the unhelpful and becoming 100% brilliant AT ALL THINGS. Well not that at all as the point here is that I can’t be good at everything (or indeed anything) so I need to choose one thing and stick to it and forget how crap I will be at everything else. People have suggested I’d be best at 400/800. I did used to do 800s and I would like to try again but the trouble with them is the pressure of the track and the fact I’m extremely paranoid so being the focus on the track (even though I know no-one actually cares) makes it impossible for me to compete. Secret solo 800s might be the way forward. Shame my garden isn’t quite big enough to fit a track. 

This week hasn’t been the best brain-wise so let’s get on with the next.

Posted 27/08/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

Another week   2 comments

Surprisingly this week started on Monday. Which meant track. Thankfully Bob was back so the session actually had breaks. Only 30s between reps but better than nothing. 800, 600, 400, 200 tempo (x 3). Two minutes between sets. Each rep to be faster than the last. I started in a group of four but alas Rick became injured, John defected to Teo’s group then Steve also became injured (or my great beauty just scared them all off) so I was left to battle on alone. This was fine as this session plays more to my strengths (short). I feel like I’m getting back a bit more towards days of old. It’s only taken five years…

Tuesday was the slightly more restful Core & Stretch. Except it’s BLOODY HARD. I’m so inflexible and legs always tired from running so it’s still rather draining. But it’s not running so must count for something?

I decided not to do weights on Wednesday as that definitely ruins the legs and I wanted to try and give the Adur Challenge a decent go on Thursday. It was a sunny but extremely windy evening when I left home to try and cycle there (soooooo windy) but once I arrived the sun had gone in and it was really rather chilly. Hoorah for an English summer! As this is a handicap event everyone starts at different times. I was set off somewhere in the middle. I was then overtaken by four people in the first mile. Oh dear. There was a headwind in both directions in the traditional style. 

Wondering how 5.8 miles could be so far (approx 2 miles in) Thanks Bob for the photo


Not my finest run but I did it and didn’t sulk too much. The new course was much better with no mud or sliding down riverbanks. Tara’s handicapping skills were good too as most people came in in a group. This is a great event and just what I needed (I was supposed to be doing Tom’s 5000 but couldn’t face it). 

The intrepid Adur Challengers (I’m hiding as usual – think I can see my foot …)


I rested on Friday because I’m really sensible these days. 

Until…

I had planned to do a track session on Saturday morning to stop me from going to parkrun and then becoming annoyed at my inevitably slow time. Also I’m supposed to be trying to get faster at short stuff (mile) so I’d decided 6 x 300 at mile pace would be good. I had the track all to myself (after a boy had been shouted at by an old man during my first three reps). The focus was on keeping my form and running a consistent 20s per 100. I did this perfectly for all 6 reps! What the!! It was rather windy on all three sides (somehow) so this was especially pleasing. Of course this is only session one and 300 metres is hardly a mile but still an encouraging start. I then fell off the sensible wagon by going and doing Preston Park parkrun though actually it was good. Consistently paced and not too hard in either effort or leg. Maybe this is the way forward? I suppose as I’d already done my session it meant there was no pressure so I enjoyed it more.

This morning (Sunday) I thought I’d go out for a nice relaxed 5 just to loosen out my legs after the double yesterday. However I found myself accidentally tempoing merrily up Basin Road. I feel fine though so don’t think I’ve caused any damage.

Now I must have lunch.

Posted 20/08/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

Less is Muir   6 comments

I am continuing my quest to do a lot less. I am already feeling better for it. The tricky part is not comparing my times to what I used to do. This is especially difficult as I seem to have a memory of steel and remember most of my times for all sorts of times, distances and training sessions. At least I have worked out I can set my Garmin to not show me anything useful whilst it is recording so I am not ruined by seeing my pace during a run (I could not have a Garmin at all as I used to but Strava peer pressure is real and also I’ve found the way to not let wearing one impact my actual running at the time so it’s all ok). I am also getting better at looking at what I’ve done afterwards and finding a positive. I say “getting better” as I’m still pretty rubbish at it oftentimes. Progress though. 

So what did I do during this third week of less?

Started with more. Monday was track as normal. This week it was a Steve week though which means eeeek! This time was no exception. It was basically a solid 4 miles but was actually 600t, 2 x 500, 3 x 400, 4 x 300, 5 x 200 each with 100j between. As I was with Rick it was a jog recovery but the fast bits not as fast as I’d have done. This was good though as this was the point of the session rather than too fast, walk recovery, which is what would have happened if I’d gone it alone. It was also handy because I had promised Tristan that I’d go to Tom’s session on Tuesday which I knew would be 12 x 800 (though I was only ever going to do 6) so good that this was a different sort of session.

Thanks to Marc for capturing this beautiful image


Before I got to that I went to Core & Stretch. My hip flexors were unamused. In fact they often are. I must work out what to do to placate them as they are stopping me running properly as they are so tired and weak a lot of the time.

Artist’s impression. My downward dog is nowhere near this good


Then it was time for the 800s. As I was only doing 6 I wanted to do them reasonably quickly. Helpfully Kev was there and only doing 7 so I took it upon myself to just stick with him as I know he’ll run sensibly and consistently and speed up as the session progresses so when it seemed like I was slowing I was in fact doing the same times throughout when Kevin was getting faster. Result: 6 x 800 @3.10(+/-1s). Thanks Kevin!

Wednesday weights day. Too much for my inflexible wrists and the usual squats/lunges etc that probably don’t help my poor ravaged hip flexors. But I love it so. 

Hmmmm, the more I write the more this isn’t looking like the lighter week I hoped for (it is much less than I’d usually do but still seems rather too much). Anyway on Thursday it was off to Hove Park for the evening session. Mark was taking the session but it was a traditional Bob-style one set by the man himself. Basically half an hour of running up and down the long hill. Thanks Bob! 

Friday I rested (that’s better).

For some utterly unknown and frankly stupid reason I decided to go to Hove Park parkrun on Saturday. I need to not do anything with an objective time attached to it. Especially somewhere where my fastest 5ks were run and I know every single k split from then to give me five concrete markers of my current slowness. Silly me. I did then do 4 x strides afterwards just to try and justify/salvage something from it. That’s it. Saturday will be speedy sprinty Saturday from now on (except for Rob’s 249 and 250 parkruns in a few weeks time).

Oh. That’s it. I did nothing today (Sunday). Go me!

Posted 13/08/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

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