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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

Not MORE running   Leave a comment

None on Monday though.

On Tuesday it was time to get back to shorter stuff training after my brief (foolish) foray into half marathon training. As it was windy (surprise!) and cold I decided on a longish warm up followed by 6 x 1k all with the wind behind. Thankfully I have a 4 mile stretch which no real roads to cross in which to do them. I (rather optimistically) decided to aim for 6.25 minute miling (4 minute k). Unsurprisingly I wasn’t able to do this pace but they were consistently 6.50 (4.15) so that’ll do for a start point.

Due to the freezing winds from the east and temperatures forecast to get progressively worse as the week marched on I swapped some of my sessions around which meant I did the 200 session on Wednesday. I upped it to 10 x 200. I tried to fit more with the wind behind but some were into it and sometimes it was side on so no escape. They were all ok but not the greatest what with inclement weather and the day after a reps session. These are really just to get my legs back moving fast so even at the slowest it’s faster than they’d ever have to move in a road race.

A 10 miler on Thursday.

An easy 5.5 on Friday.

A very tired and freezing and windy parkrun on Saturday.

Must learn to move arms whilst running

Today I watched the Brighton Half and was very pleased not to be running it. A bit Worthing style but with the wind on the final 3 mile stretch. So many people who were running shouted to me. I think that’s the wrong way round.

The weather looks like it’s going to be horrible next week which might help me not do too much (again). I feel much less tired after stopping the gym but that doesn’t mean I should overcompensate by doing too much running.

Now it’s time to watch the indoor athletics.

Posted 25/02/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

Zzzzzzz   Leave a comment

Because the half was so hard and horrible I decided to try and do some serious resting. I made it to Thursday which is pretty good for me. This was helped by windy and wet weather. On Thursday I wanted to try a tempo run but after a mile or so I realised I still wasn’t recovered from Worthing so I stopped the tempo after two miles and just carried on for a while at an easy pace. The first run back after a rest is always hard I find so it was perhaps silly to try and make it a tempo. Anyway it was out of the way so hopefully I’d be ok for the next day.

As my tempo legs were obviously out of action I decided to do some fast stuff on Friday. A repeat of the 8 x 200 I did a week earlier. It wasn’t utterly freezing which helped so all my reps were much quicker and no ice cream headache.

I do like doing fast things even though it makes me feel sick. I also like thinking this is elite men’s marathon pace that I managed for 30 seconds. Also Alex and Joe’s 1500 metre pace.

On Saturday it was the Arena age graded parkrun at Preston Park. I had no desire to do a parkrun and the weather had lied and it was freezing so I just ran round to be part of it seeing as I do nothing with Arena at the moment.

I then went to Emily in the afternoon to redeem my voucher that I received for my birthday. Oh, she does sports massage now! She asked if I wanted it hard. Obviously. I rued this choice as soon as I got off the massage table and was unable to walk. Though of course I actually loved it.

This morning (Sunday) my legs were pretty much still minced (thanks Lee for the analogy) so I abandoned my plan for a long run with a fast finish and just went out to run however my legs would like. This turned out to be a speedyish first mile or so followed by a jog home. 20 miles for the week.

Posted 18/02/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

Half wit   Leave a comment

Having bailed out on a long run on Sunday I thought I should do something half related on Monday instead. The thought of a long run was too hideous to contemplate but I thought I might be able to manage 10 miles if I broke it into sections. After consulting the guru of long stuff I decided on 6 miles easy, 2 miles hard. It was utterly freezing, but bright and not too windy, with a few flurries of snow. I still wasn’t really up for it (whatever it was that made me bail out of Sunday was still afoot) and wanted to give up throughout so felt my fast last miles would be awful. They weren’t very good but 7.15 and 7.20 are about all I can manage at the moment. Hopefully come race day I’ll be able to eke out a bit more.

I rested on Tuesday to try and muster up some motivation.

On Wednesday I decided to attempt some fast stuff. There is a reason track season is in summer. – 3 temperatures do not help. I had a severe ice cream headache and my face was numb like I’d just been to the dentist. I tried to break into sprint mode but it was not happening. I managed some as-fast-as-slow-twitch-fibres-allow 200 metre (actually 35 seconds as programmed into watch) “sprints”. Although they were not in any way fast it was good to do some up on toes, fast stuff as I haven’t for months. I have to start somewhere and freezing, slow, February is as good a time as any. It can only get better from here on in.

I knew my sides and achilles would be dead on Thursday after my foray into fast so I did an easy run. It was eerily unwindy. Still freezing though.

More rest on Friday. I’m definitely feeling better for not having been to the gym for a few weeks but I want to still rest more but put more into my training sessions.

On Saturday I went out for a short jog just to wake up my legs ready for Worthing half on Sunday. It was horrifically windy, freezing and sleety. The wind kept threatening to trip me up by blowing my lifted foot into the other. Danged weather!

Today (Sunday) was the Worthing half. Tom managed to take these photos where I look like a real runner (wind behind, mile 3 or so). End of report.

Another almost 40 mile week. Hurry up decent weather so I can get some speed back. Many thanks.

Posted 11/02/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

SensIsobel   Leave a comment

Monday Monday Monday Monday Monday again. A day of rest. God would be angry.

Tuesday was time to get back on the half marathon training wagon with a 7 mile tempo as decreed by the master of training, Sarah Sawyer. I knew this run was going to make me hate how slow I’ve become even though it is of course entirely my own fault. After a mile warm up it was time to see where I’m at. Having done nothing like this for ages (other than on a treadmill) I set of conservatively at a pace I hoped I could sustain for the 7 miles. This turned out to be approx 7.20 minute miling. At the time I was very disappointed and angry at myself about this but now (Sunday) I think it’s acceptable seeing as I’ve done nothing like it for months and I’m only on week 4 of consistent half marathon training. See, sometimes I can be less negative.

Wednesday was once more a rest day. I seem to have given up the gym. Although I love death class (and Core & Stretch) they tire me out too much. I’m becoming so sensible now. Slightly bad timing as my gym pass still has a few weeks to go but sometimes once I’ve decided something I can never go back. It gives me two more days to do a good running session and means I won’t be out of action for all the time after Wednesday evening. Also I don’t have to cycle 6 miles on ex gym days. Quality not quantity blah de blah.

On Thursday I did a mostly easy 9 miles but threw in one fast mile just to see if I’m even capable of sub 7 after Tuesday’s disappointment (at the time), a fast 100 metres and a fast 300 metres. I managed 6.45 for the mile which was ok but the other bits were slow. I’m looking forward to getting this half out of the way so I can add in a speed session a week. Proper short, proper fast.

Friday was just a short easy run, rendered less easy by being very windy on the outbound leg.

On Saturday I wanted to do a few faster bits within my run so this time did 10 x 1 minute fast, 1 minute jog. When I planned my route and set up the interval timer on my watch the wind was forecast westerly but come Saturday morning it was easterly which meant all my efforts were in the wind. This may have been for the best as they weren’t very fast so I can blame the wind.

Today (Sunday) I had planned to do an easy long run but I’m feeling run down and my sinuses hurt so I sensibly, again, decided to postpone it until tomorrow. I’ve already done 31 miles this week so I don’t think it’ll be detrimental to my overall plan. Whereas making myself ill by running when I’m not feeling 100% would be.

Posted 04/02/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

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