Ploughing onwards    1 comment

As the forecast was for wind in the latter part of the week I decided to fit in a longish run on Monday before track in the evening. 8 easy miles. The track session was 6 x 600, 400 with the last 200 of the 400 faster and the single 400 at the pace of the 200. It was freezing and busy and I wasn’t very good. 

C & S on Tuesday was a nice break from the running and I’m still taking it gently which seems to be helping my sciatica which has been mostly dormant for a number of weeks now.

On Wednesday it wasn’t a treadmill week so I took the opportunity to not run at all. I still went to weights in the evening, having drunk a protein shake during the day to allay mega DOMS in the subsequent days. 

One of which was Thursday, where I went out for another 8 miler and did a few miles at sub 8 pace! Hallelujah to the protein shake. A few weeks ago I couldn’t even 10minute mile after a Wednesday session. It was supposed to be a slow run so usually I’ll stick to 8.30mm but I wanted to see how much the protein shake cures me and the answer is almost totally. Obviously my legs are still tired but now I can continue my week as I could after any reasonably hard session rather than needing 3 or more days just to get a semblance of leg back. 

Because I wanted to give parkrun a proper go on Saturday I rested on Friday. 

The plan was to just try so I can see where I’m actually at. I tried. I was not happy with the result. I shall keep going back until I have stopped being so useless. 

This morning I went out and practiced trying, again. It was very windy in both directions and my trying lead to yet more awful times. I am trying to remain positive but it’s difficult when REALLY trying leads to slower times than when I first started running 10 or so years ago. I am happy with the last month or so’s training so to discover I’m still so utterly rubbish is not what I hoped for. Hopefully it’s just a blip and soon I’m going to come out of the other side, everything will come together and I’ll be good once more. 

What I’d like to do to myself right now

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Posted 12/11/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

Erm… running?   1 comment

This week Tara was in charge at track which meant I knew what the session was in advance. I much prefer this as I then know which group I need to be in and I just generally prefer to know what I’m doing in advance. ( 2 x ) 1200, 1000, 800, the last 300 of each fast. I went with Rick as usual as he is Mr Pace. I decided to try and lead out the first 1000 as I feel mean just constantly using Rick but I was far too fast and ruined it for everyone so went back behind him for all the rest. I was pleased with my effort even though I ended up a bit behind on the fast bits towards the end. 

On Tuesday it was the usual Core & Stretch class. I’m getting much better at doing it more gently which is definitely helping. I need to remember for others this is their exercise for the week whereas for me it’s supposed to be about recovery and (enforced but not forceful) stretching. 

Tuesday must also be gentle as Wednesday is now the Day of Death. The morning is the now legendary “see how far you can run at 16kmph (18.45 5k pace)” This week I continued the sensible streak by setting the treadmill to 0.5% incline (as instructed by Mo Farah) and used the one furthest from the wall as it is the least cambered of the three (wonky gym floor). Usually I use the wall one as it means I can only have people on one side. This time was the first time there were people on both the other treadmills. Eeeek! I was pleased with my ability to ignore them and just get on with the business of trying not to die. 11 minutes this time and a minute improvement even though I had done track this week which I hadn’t when I did 10 minutes a few weeks ago. I also perfected my post it note folding so I couldn’t see the screen. Next time I must try not to look under the post it until I have to decrease the speed as at the moment I look before I’m fully dead but as soon as I’ve looked I’ve ruined it and can only manage another few minutes. Anyway I was pleased with this effort. That’s what this session is about. Forcing me to put in an effort way above anything I ever manage outside (obviously the plan is to replicate it outside but whilst I’m not succeeding there currently at least I’m doing it here). 
On Wednesday evening it’s back to the gym for weights class. I have discovered how to survive it and be DOMS free (mostly) for the subsequent days. A protein shake made with a can of nurishment. This of course does not save me totally from its effects but it means I can do easy runs on Thursday and Fridays whereas before I found it almost impossible. Thus I did a slow run on Thursday and Friday. 

On Saturday the forecast looked good to continue my return to parkrun so I decided to go the prom for a good tempo on the flat. (I am currently using parkrun as my outside attempt to replicate Wednesdays’ effort.) I have yet to be successful however I have been putting in effort and it helps me practice running with people again which has been troublesome for a while now. THE FORECAST WAS A MASSIVE LIE. It was so windy. I kept up the effort but the wind ruined any hope of a good time. I’d hoped it would be possible to at least get back to the lower reaches of 21 minutes but alas not. Oh well, there’s always next week. 

Not being assisted by hurricane tailwind (thanks Nigel for letting me use the photo even though you didn’t even know I was using it)

Really enjoying the 40000 mph headwind (ditto re Nigel’s photo)


Rest day today, ready to start it all again next week. I’m getting quite a good routine going (as eagle eyed Lloyd pointed out on Strava) which is excellent as I LOVE routine. 

For Marc and Sarah and anyone else here’s today’s random drawing:

Posted 05/11/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

Sevens   Leave a comment

After my inability to break 10 minute miles on Thursday I rested all weekend (thanks Brian). On Monday I incorporated cat sitting duties into a long run.

Cat feeding – a reason to run


It was still a struggle and I couldn’t get under 9 minute miling so whatever lurgy was within me was still there. Dragged myself round for 7 miles. Thus I didn’t go to track as it would have only led to anguish. 
I didn’t even try to run on Tuesday and just went to Core & Stretch class which I did as gently as possible. 

I had another go on Wednesday (inc cat feeding) and, yes, I was back to normal! I mean normal in terms of easy run pace. Another 7 miles. I drank a nurishment/protein powder shake as an experiment (many hours) before weights class. It really helped! I was pumping iron like crazy. Happy day!

Extra bonus, I could actually run on Thursday. Usually I am utterly ruined. So now I have a weekly reminder to drink the concoction every Wednesday so I can become exactly like Arnold Schwarzenegger (although I realise I’m already 99% there). 6 easy miles this time. 

I didn’t run on Friday.

On Saturday I thought I’d have a go at parkrun, shouldn’t have bothered! Well actually I should have as if I want to become good again I need to do such things. 

This morning I was duty bound to help at the annual Arena 10k. I was on cycle lane duty with Jim and Mark. Only one man saying that this country had gone to the dogs because the parking meters weren’t working. A few angry cyclists, but nothing major thankfully. I even managed to snaffle a delicious medible (edible medal).

Delicious iced gingerbread medal from Eclipse Foods


Once my duties were over I tried a little fartlek. Much more lek than fart. Too windy, too underfuelled, too not-done-first-thing. Another 7 miles in the bank though. Somehow managed 31 miles for the week.

Here’s today’s random drawing:

Posted 29/10/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

Running ruining resting   Leave a comment

I was a little scared of going back to track after the disastrous bum/sciatic thing last time I went. This time I just kept jogging round rather than joining in the official warm up as it was within this that disaster occurred. The actual session was 7 x 900 (300j, 300t, 300f) 1 minute rest. It was rather windy and I was rather slow but I was pleased that I went and tried and my bum was ok. Rick and I took it in turns to start various 300s in the wrong place.

As it wasn’t windy on Tuesday I made the most of it and went out for an easy run. Followed by Core & Stretch class. I made sure I did everything extra extra gently as I think my tendency to over stretch is part of what caused the bum trauma. 

On Wednesday I tried the 18.45 5k pace treadmill run again. This time I hadn’t rested as much beforehand so only managed 9 minutes. It was totally mental though as physically I was nowhere near as tired as the time before. I can only really pull out full mental strength maybe once a week and I’d used it up at track on Monday. I probably neeed to save this run for times when I’ve only done really easy runs or totally rested in the preceding days. Anyway I’m glad I did it as I know I can do much better when more rested. In the evening it was back to the gym for what used to be called Weight Training. There had been rumours that the class would be changing into more of a core and stretch type class which I didn’t want. It had been renamed Total Fitness but the description remained the same. I had everything crossed that it would just be the same as always. It was!!! And a complete killer too. Phew!

On Thursday morning I went out for an easy run as Storm Brian had been forecast for the weekend so I wanted to cram in as much running as possible as Friday and Saturday would probably be far too windy. Saturday was forecast for 50mph winds all day.


I couldn’t even break 9 minutes per mile which should have been a massive clue that I was far too tired to then go out again in the evening. So guess what I did… Stupid. I struggled for some more miles, culminating is the last two miles being over 10 minutes each. I don’t think I’ve ever been that knackered. Ho hum. Anyway at least two days off were on the horizon. I made it 3. Sensible. A bit late, but sensible in the end.

I still somehow managed 27 miles for the week so hopefully I haven’t ruined or rested myself too much and can just get back to normal as of tomorrow.

Posted 22/10/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

Bummer   1 comment

There was no track on Monday as there was a football match being played on the football pitch. How dare they! Actually this was good as I had been forced to cram all my running into the last three days of the previous week due to sciatic disaster. I meant to rest but as the forecast was for 2mph wnd I felt I mustn’t waste it so went out for a recovery jog. It turned out to be a slog of epic proportions and I only managed 3.5 miles. I didn’t even notice it not being windy I was so dead. 

On Tuesday it was just the usual Core & Stretch class in the morning. 

Wednesday is now known as death day as it begins with a hard treadmill session and ends with a killer weights class. This week it was an attempt as 16kmph (18.45 5k pace). After my successful attempt at 20 minute 5k pace (15kmph) I thought I should ramp up my pace significantly as I always make things too easy and I must face my fear of failure. So today, after a 10 minute warm up, I set the treadmill to 1%, the speed to 16kmph, covered the screen with a jumper (forgot my towel [trying post it notes next week]) and just ran for as long as I could. EEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKK!!!! That’s REALLY FAST. A lot faster than I’d imagined being only 1k per hour quicker, a mere 333 metres over 5k (ish). Anyway I made it to 10 minutes (so a little over 2.5k) before, somehow, managing to jab the buttons down to 3kmph. Jeeeeeeeez. Well that’s certainly the fastest and furthest I’ve EVER run. The fact I had to walk extremely slowly for about 4 minutes before I could even contemplate jogging and only made it to 4 miles altogether shows how hard I found it. Good! I’m always slacking so I was pleased I’d tried something way out of my comfort zone and failed (I tend to do things I’m reasonably sure I can succeed at). After what seemed like a very long time I managed to gather myself enough to go home. Only to return in the evening for what turned out to be another Core & Stretch type class. I thought this might be good as I’d then be able to do Hove Park properly on Thursday.

No! I woke on Thursday to the dis arse ter. Again. This was most distressing. I think it must have been the combination of speediness and another stretch class as I’m always rubbish at stretching and do it far too hard whilst trying to attain the start/easy position. Anyway whatever caused it it meant no running for me. Nor Friday. As it’s a pinchy thing once it is unpinched I can continue as normal and thankfully by Saturday it had so I took the opportunity to get a long run in. 10 miles. 

Today (Sunday) I went to watch the Bright10 mile race. No running of my own though. I could have gone out and done another LSR but I’m not sure it would have served any purpose and I’m really trying to do as little as possible without impacting my fitness. 

Though actually I only saw Elmo today and Rob was well ahead.


Only 18 miles for the week but two worthwhile sessions. 

Posted 15/10/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

A dis arse terous start   Leave a comment

I love a good pun. Shame that one is so awful then eh? 

Having rested on Sunday I was ready for track on Monday (even though I knew it would be an impossible Steve session). After warming up with the man himself I saw the board (with the session written on it) and immediately ignored his paces as they were once again impossible to attain. However I was looking forward to doing the session at paces that would work for me. It was 2 x 400 metres followed by 800 metres (x 5). First though it was time for the official warm up and that was it. I think it was the sideways stepping thing that did it but something disastrous happened in my hip/buttock so I could no longer walk. Or hop. Or stand on both legs. Or sit down. Luckily I hadn’t cycled there so got a lift home with Michelle. I had to actually crawl up the stairs. I think this is the first time I’ve been stopped dead by injury. It was not pleasant. My only hope was as it was some sort of nerve pinch, once unpinched it would be ok. As soon as I got up the stairs I got the hot water bottle on it. I remained calm throughout so all my practice is paying off. By Tuesday I could weight bear on my leg so progress but it was still very painful but I could cycle to work and managed to sit. Progress! I didn’t go to Core & Stretch though as that would have been a bad idea. Anyway this is very boring indeed. So I shall continue. Fortunately I had an osteopath appointment booked for Tuesday evening anyway for my ankle so I just swapped it to emergency hip/buttock pummelling. She told me not to run for 48 hours (it was now 6pm). 

So at precisely 6.02pm on Thursday I set out towards Hove Park to not run the Arena interval session properly. This was purely a test run. Rob was also at Hove Park not running it as an interval session so we jogged round together drawing much disdain from Bob and Dan. Dan did note my traditional running style though. 

Must work on arm swing


The test was reasonably successful though I did get a lift home with Brigitte as 6 miles was plenty and the hip/bum was getting a bit highly. Running in a perfectly straight line was fine but any slight side step was NOT. 

Thus I rested on Friday as I am renowned for my great sensibleness these days. 

On Saturday I wanted to do a long run but the weather was horrendous so I decided to make use of my gym membership and use the treadmill. This meant the treadmill would probably cut out after an hour and/or I’d have to get off if someone else wanted to use it. I made it to the hour where it did indeed cut off and by then there were people on the other two treadmills so I thought I’d better leave before I was ejected for being a treadmill hog. Therefore my long run was only 7 miles. Better than nothing (or the outside) and good for the hip, due to being perfectly linear. Also I got to watch the i360 going up and down into the grey drizzle. 

This morning (Sunday) it was forecast to be hardly windy at all so I ventured into the outside world. 10 miles in the bag to finish off a 25 mile week that started very badly indeed. 

My cat and I rejoicing that I was not in fact utterly destroyed forever

Posted 08/10/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

Finding balance   1 comment

I think I’m getting the hang of balancing out my exercise so I do enough to improve but not so much I exhaust myself. Also having worked out I need to do my quality runs before weights on Wednesday evening as I can’t do anything for days afterwards as it’s so hard is a miniature breakthrough.

So on to the week. Monday was track, as always. When I heard the session was to be 5 x 1200 I thought arg but it turned out to be five times (3 x 200j, 200f). Much better! Rick was back from the dogs so we ended up running together throughout due to our fasts being faster and slows being slower than everyone else. I found this quite hard but that’s to be expected as I haven’t done much (any) speed endurance stuff for ages. Promising.

On Tuesday it was off to Core & Stretch. There was some balancing this week which is good for my ankle. 

As part of my new regime Wednesday morning is now treadmill time! I know it’s wholly unfashionable to admit you like the treadmill but I do. Yes I agree for long slow stuff they would drive anyone to death by boredom but for fast stuff I love them. I have great trouble making myself continue at a certain pace on the road but on a treadmill I will. OBEY THE TREADMILL. This time I planned to run a 20 minute 5k (15kmph). Outside I haven’t even broken 21 for months and months. I’ve run a few sub 20s on the treadmill as it’s much easier as you just set the pace and then run for 20 minutes. Someone told me it’s harder to run on a treadmill but I find it much easier. I set the incline to 1% as instructed by running magazines the world over. I started off with a 10 minute warm up at easy jog pace then GO! I draped a tea towel over the screen so I couldn’t see the time elapsing and just kept going for as long as I could before I looked (12 minutes). 

Putting in the effort


The towel went on again as did I. It came off again for the last few minutes as heaven forbid I ran a second over the prescribed time! Success. A 10 minute cool down (and boy was I sweaty), a serious wipe down of the treadmill and off I went happy with my effort. I d never work anywhere near that hard outside at the moment. A few more weeks of these and perhaps I’ll try and replicate it outside. After this success I went back to the gym in the evening for the killer weights class. Toby was back to his usual self therefore the class was HARD. Good. I felt strong. Mus have been the confidence boost of the morning’s success. 

On Thursday morning there was a break from the norm as I had been invited to go to Change. gym to try out their over 50s class so I could write an article for the West Hove Directory. I’ll take a free class! Obviously I fell into the traditional trap of thinking as it’s for over 50s who are new to exercise it would be easy. Wrong. It was just a normal strength circuit training class. 90scat each station, 7 stations (x 2). Being utterly destroyed from the first proper weights class in three weeks I chose to destroy myself yet further in this class. It was taught by Martin who used to work there in the days when this was the gym I went to. He was exactly the same. Killing me off now as he did then. After all this I knew Hove Park would just be a reason to get a long run in. Luckily Rob was also only there for a jog so I wasn’t alone. Indeed Teo and Jon were at the back with me too to start with before they zoomed off. Nothing of interest to report but it added an 8 miler with more hill than I’d ever do usually.

I rested on Friday after the unexpected back to back hardcore strength sessions and the weather looked much more promising on Saturday for a long run. 

Hence on Saturday you would have found me running up and down Basin Road. The last mile of the loop was fenced off so my planned 12 miles became 10 but that was fine as it was getting too windy and long runs bore me to tears. Hopefully an 8 and a 10 miler per week is enough for someone who doesn’t intend racing over 5k?

Today (Sunday) I rested and was pleasantly surprised to see that both Cardiff and Scottish half marathons on the BBC actually showed the race rather than continuously interrupting to show runner stories and the people at the back. Plenty of time to do this after the elite races have finished which is indeed what they did today. 

Only 27 miles this week but with the extra strength stuff I didn’t want to tire myself out as I am learning to be sensible. 

Posted 01/10/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

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