Archive for March 2018

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On Monday it was still freezing so I thought I’d attempt a treadmill session again after my failed attempt last time it was freezing and I’d rested fully beforehand. FAILED AGAIN. I wonder which part of it is causing the failure? Too much rest? Too cold? That sort of treadmill? Whatever it was I couldn’t even manage the first 10 minutes of my planned progression run of 12 -> 15kmph. Another wasted £7.20.

Tom’s session on Tuesday was perfect, being 12 x 800 + 3 miles continuous. Obviously I wasn’t going to do all of that as I’m not training for a marathon but 6 – 8 x 800 with 90s recovery would be perfect and should be much better in a group. I hoped to be able to do them in 6.40 pace. I didn’t time them but looking at my stats afterwards they seemed to be between 6.30 – 6.40 so I was pleased. I need to keep doing this kind of session and thought this was acceptable for my first proper attempt for ages.

On Wednesday I thought I should do a long run but I was quite tired after Tuesday and only managed 7 miles.

I’d hoped to do some good mile reps on Thursday as the forecast was for light winds. I have no idea why I thought the forecast would reflect reality and lo and behold when I got to the seafront it was very windy indeed. My mile reps were designed to be first half into the wind, the very light forecast wind, with a pleasant tail wind for the second half. Ha! The first 800 was a battle into extremely strong winds so even when I did turn so it was behind me I couldn’t make he most of it as I was knackered from trying to run into it. I completed the session though to practice mental toughness. Hopefully this means than when it’s not windy (if there should ever be such a time) I’ll be able to zoom.

I rested on Friday as I’d employed Tara to pace me at parkrun on Saturday as the wind forecast looked favourable. WHY WON’T I LEARN? I wanted to see how fast I can do 5k if I try fully throughout which I wouldn’t be able to do on my own. I hoped I’d be able to do 21.30 to get an average pace below 7mm. I knew that Tara would be the perfect pacer. She would take no nonsense and have no qualms in shouting at me. Also she’d pace evenly rather than my tendency to go out too fast.

Discussing tactics on the start line

And they’re off

Still reasonably alive at half way

As is the case when running at a proper pace the first bit feels relatively easy. Alas this doesn’t last long and by mile 2 I was struggling. We were just under 7 pace but alas when we turned into the last long stretch into the wind I died quite substantially and even Tara’s shouting couldn’t keep me at sub 7 and I dropped to 7.13. Boo. However I tried to drag out the final dregs of energy for the last straight that was mercifully wind behind. I managed a pathetic “sprint” finish for an official time of 21.43.

“Relax” a word she had seen in books

Although Strava puts my average pace at over 7 I’m cheating and using the pace calculator app to give myself an average of 6.59, precisely as I’d hoped.

Cheats always prosper

Even though this is still horribly slow it’s the best I’ve done for ages and I can definitely say I put in 100% thanks to Tara and her excellent pacing skills.

As I “stated” (to no-one except myself) I drew some additional positives.

1. First 100% effort in a race for ages

2. First 70% age grading for ages

3. First in age category

Ummmmm… I think that was it. I still felt sick at 3pm. Is that a positive?

Anyway I now have a true benchmark (thanks Chris for supplying this word when my brain had fallen out) of where I am.

Today (Sunday) I cycled over to Lancing to do the first Lancing College 10k. It was billed as a possible pb course. I knew it wouldn’t be having seen the route and this was irrelevant anyway as I’m so far off any pbs at present. I signed up solely because it’s new and I can cycle there. It was bloody feeezing, too hilly and off-road. I hit the wall severely at 6.5k. Well that’s my hills and off-road done for the year!

The elevation profile of a pb course (no wonder they wouldn’t show it beforehand on their webpage

30 miles for the week. 6 of which were acceptable (not today’s 6 obviously).

Posted 25/03/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

An eventful week   Leave a comment

It started off gently enough with a rest day on Monday.

On Tuesday I had planned to do a 5 mile threshold run at 7.37 mile pace as predicted by the VDOT app based on my Lancing 5k time of 22.18.

As you can see I was unsuccessful. Except in mile 2 where I slowed down specially. You will also note it is only 4 miles. This is because the arm was closed off for replenishment of the coastal defences. However this is probably better as I was reading something that said tempo effort should be between 20 and 40 minutes and this was near enough 30. I mustn’t tire myself out just because I feel that I “should” do higher mileage. Anyway this looks promising as I had to slow myself down to do the only threshold pace mile.

Wednesday was a trip to track. I haven’t been for ages due to inclement weather. Paul was going too so I got a lift so didn’t have to cycle in the remaining strong winds. Thanks Paul! I had plans for a 200 parlauf using three people. However there were 4 of us and we avoided half f the track because some men were fixing the hammer cage and we didn’t want to get in the way or trip over their cables which were stretched across the track. This meant we had to use our combined brainpower to work out how to do a 200 parlauf back and forth. We cracked it and did 5 x 200 each, which meant going the wrong way up the 200 metre stretch. After a break we did another 5, starting at the opposite end so we’d do the same number the right way as the wrong way. Unfortunately our almighty 4 brains had obviously fallen out as we managed to start it incorrectly which meant Gary had to set off on his own. It worked out ok in the end but jeeeeez how can it be so complicated? Especially as we did it perfectly the first time. It inspired me to make this so I can plan future sessions. (I tried it today [Sunday]) and my mind was fried with its complicated ness. It’s 400 parlauf from now on.)

I’ll keep it secret who represents who

Rob failing to understand the intricate workings of his phone

Success! After only 50 to 60 failed attempts…

I liked this session even though I was very slow and it was very windy in both directions. Donned my spikes for the second set of 5.


I arrived home and was immediately struck by the unmistakable first stage of a migraine. Kaleidoscopic flashing lights in front of the right eyeball (actually in the brain but it seems to be in the right eye). It was a long, painful, vomitous 6 hours.

This meant Thursday was spent in a spaced out, queasy, post-migraine hangover. Horrible. As the forecast was for a freezing, snowy weekend I decided to attempt Tom’s evening session.


Something else happened on Thursday. There was a massive fire very near my house.

Somehow, even though my house it approximately 300 metres away, there was no smoke to be seen. It appeared to have been blown straight up and over. The bottom photo shows my route from home to Tom’s session, which is held just out of shot to the left.

Anyway, back to the action (as if my running is more action than a MASSIVE FIRE). Tom’s session was 8 x 600m. He set up the route so there was a short stretch into the wind followed by a longer stretch with the wind behind. (Strangely [I’ve just realised] the smoke was still blowing inland and away from us even though the wind seemed to be blowing straight west along the seafront.) The fire was still burning, there was an eerie orange glow. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to complete the whole session as I wasn’t feeling very well and hadn’t eaten properly after the full day of no eating on Wednesday and the attendant queasy Thursday. Thankfully I only began to lag on the last two reps and they still weren’t too bad, just a little slower.

Running back through the smoke there were still plenty of people watching the fire from the top road. As it was raining the smoke was much lower and quite stinging of eye.

On Friday I went out for a long run to make sure I’d done everything before the onslaught of winter due at the weekend. Thankfully it was sunny and warm and not too windy. The smoke was now very low slung and choking but contained within a 200 metre radius of the fire site so I only had to run through it right at the start and finish. I got my first tan lines of the year which was even better seeing as Saturday and Sunday were full on winter with snow and strong freezing winds. I’d scheduled this as a rest weekend, hence the cramming of everything into Thursday and Friday even though I still felt pretty ill after migraine.

Another pleasing week of training, covering the 4 runs I feel I need to do each week to keep me on track (no pun intended). If it ever stops being winter and there are no more hideous migraines or conflagrations then hopefully I can start stepping it up a bit and moving towards acceptable 5k speeds.

Posted 18/03/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

A successful week   Leave a comment

This week I was determined to finally do a balanced week of training. I started well by resting on Monday.

On Tuesday I joined Rob at the track to do some proper fast stuff. Turns out my fast isn’t very fast at the moment but I enjoyed putting on my spikes and attempting to sprint. Hopefully if I kept this up once a week I’ll get some proper speed back. Also I must stop comparing myself to Rob who is the Usain Bolt of Withdean. A mixture of 200s and 100s to get the legs moving. Please can someone tell me why Rob takes a thousand steps to every one of mine? Am I in fact a giraffe (of leg only)?

Who knew this ancient drawing would ever be apt?

On Wednesday I broke from the norm and went over to Lancing to recce a 5k course that runs on Sunday, parkrun style. I learnt about it via Michael Rix and he kindly offered to show me the route so I could then do it for real on Sunday with less anxiety. He said we would be running with “a young lad called Michael who is training for his first marathon” who turned out to be Mike who I already know, who has already done about 8 marathons! Anyway this was good as I didn’t have to be extra nervous. We ran the Lancing course to begin with then carried on to make 10 miles altogether. Michael said we must speed up at the end and this we did. Unfortunately I was trapped within a phalanx of bicyclists for the first bit so got left behind but I still upped the pace for the last 300 metres or so. It was good to do a different route, in company and even some sunshine.

I rested again on Thursday. Sprints followed by a long run equals limbs of doom (unsurprisingly).

On Friday I had planned a k reps session. THE WIND FORECAST LIED. Each rep was to be run first 500 into the wind. This is standard practice of course but the wind was so windy it was impossible to move on the outward leg so when I turned round I was too dead to make use of the tailwind. I wanted to give up immediately but I slogged it out.

After this I had another rest on Saturday. I felt an easy jog would tire me out whilst delivering no real benefits. Sticking to the sensible.

Today it was time to do the Lancing 5k in real life. I set off on my bike on the previously uncharted route to Lancing Beach Green car park. I decided to try this 5k because at the moment my rampant anxiety and paranoia means running with people I know is a struggle sometimes so I hoped this would be quiet and contain no-one I knew. Correct. The actual course is very narrow, twisty and turny and full of Sunday promenaders just going about their business thus rather crowded. There were only about 30 runners and we strung out almost immediately so this wasn’t a problem but due to all the general public there was a lot of weaving and eye peeling to make sure there were no collisions. I arrived at the finish line unscathed having achieved what I wanted which was to run the whole course with no slumpjogging and to finish fast in the Rix-style which I’m incorporating into all my runs.

The success I mentioned in my title relates to doing, what I think is, the right balance of training for me. One long run, one reps session, one pure speed session and one tempo/longer endurance type session. This week I was feeling under the weather (what a stupid phrase, everyone is under the weather all the time) so the faster runs were more of a struggle than they should have been but I hope that once I feel 100% I might be able to start hitting some more acceptable times.

So that’s that for this week. I hope to be able to report similar tales of success again next Sunday.

Adios (as my shoes would say).

Posted 11/03/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

NOT more running   3 comments

Due to feeling like I had done too much (again) coupled with the extremely cold temperatures I decided to make this into a rest and recuperation week. The question was how long would I last? I often plan rest periods then fall off the wagon after a couple of days. I got to about Wednesday (don’t forget I had last Sunday off too) before I started getting angry (this is one reason I run, so as not to kill [myself or others]). On Thursday I was so cold in my house even with the heating on full blast I couldn’t face going outside to run so I made it to Friday before I buckled. However it turned out I had some sort of low lying cold because when I tried to do a reps session on the treadmill I failed dismally. Just could not breathe. Never mind. It gave me a chance to see the gym which is 340 metres from my house so would be good for emergencies. Except the treadmills don’t have a speed interval button! I’ll have to use it for progression runs instead. Though hopefully the weather will be acceptable for the foreseeable future.

I decided to check my illness level in the outside world on Saturday. Yes, definitely something going on. I did an “easy” run but it was much harder than it should have been. I think perhaps my lungs suffered with the seriously freezing temperatures from earlier in the week as breathing was a struggle.

By today (Sunday) I seem to have got a bit better. I did the same route again but started with a faster mile and my breathing felt much better. A slight sore throat remains but I don’t think it’s anything too bad. Good as it would be annoying to have rested to then be forced to rest by illness especially as I have next week off work.

Maybe next week I’ll have something interesting to report?

Posted 04/03/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

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