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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. 

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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

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. 

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

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