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. 


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

Less is more   Leave a comment

Obviously everyone already knows this, including me but I’ve never really actually tried it. So this week I continued after last week’s success (measured by how much better I feel in general not how “good” or otherwise my running is). 

Monday was back to track. The session was 9 x 600. Better as no preceding 1k so I could keep up for the whole thing (near enough). Having not run at all on Sunday I felt much better. Mentally as much as anything. 

On Tuesday I snuck in an easy 5 miler before Core and Stretch class as the weather looked better than on Wednesday which was when I had planned to do it. C&S was being covered and was a little more gentle and more stretchy as usual which was perfect. 

Having done my easy run on Tuesday I only had weights to do on Wednesday evening. I decided to test out my caffeine here after its failure to help on Saturday. 

Never have I been so sweaty

One of the classees, who has been going for about 10 years, said it was the hardest class she’s ever done. She was probably right. I was too sweaty to tell. I don’t know if that can be attributed to the caffeine. Of course I couldn’t sleep later but I knew that. I definitely felt the caffeine helped this much more than the running.

Thursday was Hove Park intervals in the evening. My legs were very tired from the sweaty mega-pump which didn’t help on the hills but I still felt better than last time I did this session. I then dashed off to Withdean to lap count for the second of Tom’s 10000 races.

Dressed for winter in early August

It was freezing! Lucky I had packed ski socks and gloves along with waterproof trousers and two jumpers. I also kept my rucksack on for an extra layer of warmth. Thank goodness I wasn’t running it this year though!

Rest on Friday.

Off to Worthing on Saturday for parkrun. Another go on the caffeine. As good/bad as any parkrun I’ve done recently. I was beaten by a small black dog wearing a hi vis baseball cap. 

This morning (Sunday) I did an interval session of 6 x 1 minute fast, 2 minute jog followed by 4 x short sprints. 

Nothing now until track tomorrow evening.

Definitely feeling better for doing less and managing to eat more. Let’s hope I can keep it up with fewer sessions but each done properly and with a purpose. Also I like this short and fast type of training. I should stop doing things that give me an objective time (I’m talking about you parkrun) as they’ll just make me compare myself to my self of old but parkrun is handy as a tempo run and I like seeing my running friends. No races on the horizon though so I can just concentrate on enjoying the kind of training I like and being sensible and not overdoing it and, who knows, I might become good again with renewed confidence gained from doing something I like, not knackering myself out and eating more.

Posted 06/08/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

Not so much   1 comment

After doing far too much last week (will I ever learn? No) I was not very good at track. I used the same tactic as last week and missed out a lap of the 1k to try and make the 300s better. They weren’t really. 

I managed to be sensible and not do anything on Tuesday or Wednesday until the August incarnation of the Preston Park Magic Mile (yes it was in July). This time there was no Sarah to use as an unwitting pacer so I decided to set my watch to the six minute beep a la Eastbourne then just run in my traditional style by going out fast, dying through the middle, then attempting to affect a sprint finish. This I did. I like the six minute beep and it is now becoming tradition to take approx 15s to get to the finish. Obviously the theory is to get to the finish before the beep but at least my last three have been consistent at around 6.15. 

Buoyed from my acceptable mile I decided to try and throw in a consistently paced k in the midst of an easy 5 miler on Thursday. 

A reasonably paced 6 minute mile (ish) paced 1k section (wind assisted)

More rest on Friday in preparation for doing Bevendean parkrun on Saturday. I was going to use it as a test of taking 200mg caffeine before a run. I felt that my run was much better than last time but it turned on to be almost exactly the same as last time so FUCK YOU CAFFEINE! All it does is make it feel like I’m doing better when in fact I’m just the same as normal. It didn’t even make it feel easier or anything. 

“Zooming” down the hill in a caffeine hallucination of greatness

If anyone can explain what doing a run that feels good but is actually not means please tell me. Many thanks. 

And that was that for the past week. 

Posted 30/07/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

And…   7 comments

I’m back! Did you miss me? Tough! I’m back anyway. 

I decided it’s time to get back to Arena Monday track after not having been since November. I slotted back in to my normal group even though I knew it would be difficult to keep up. I couldn’t so adapted my session so I could still run with the group (well the Dorian and Soulla part of it anyway). The session was (4 x) 1k tempo, 30s rest, 300 fast, 100 jog, 300 fast, 1 minute recovery. I cut my k down to 600 metres (so took a longer recovery whilst the group did the first lap of the 1k) so I could do the 300s with (or a bit behind) Dorian. This worked quite well though I did find it hard havingnot done anything like this for a while. I was glad to be back and shall keep going now. 

On Tuesday I decided to do some glute strengthening exercises before Core & Stretch class as I feel like I have no bum anymore and rely on my hip flexors too much which tires them out and also I NEED buttocks for speed of which I have none of at the moment. I did (3 x) 8 single leg presses at 55kg, (3 x) 12 hip raises with 20kg and (3 x) 12 single leg squats. I knew d made a hideous error when I couldn’t even walk back down the stairs to the C&S class as my quads had died. I got through the class, heaved myself back up the six or steps back to reception and cycled home very glad of my electrified bicycle. 

On Wednesday I went out for a 10 miler. My legs were still ruined, my buttocks had begun to join in slightly by this time too. I then went to Weight Training class in the evening ( I have been doing this class on Monday and Wednesday since last December – it’s like a thousand body pump classes rolled into one I’ve been informed – now ve gone back to track on Monday I’ll just be doing the Wednesday class – except at the moment as there are so many Wednesday evening races). The class wasn’t as bad as I feared. I suppose using the same muscles as I’d destroyed meant they were less painful as I used them. 

However by Thursday everything had caught up with me. I still couldn’t walk but also everything was like painful, set concrete. Yikes! As part of my re-joining the Arena fold I went to their Thursday Hove Park interval session. I ran there hoping this would loosen off my cannonball buns and horse riders’ quads but alas not. Every step I feared everything would cramp up so it ended up just being 8 hillyish miles all told.

Because I’m often an overtraining idiot I went out on Friday to do some downhills. These were ok, consistently paced into a fierce headwind and I only head butted one tree branch when I decided I probably didn’t actually need to duck under them. 

On Saturday I ventured to Hove Park for parkrun as I couldn’t face yet another windy prom. Due to the ruinous limbs I ran round with Rick who stopped me flagging totally.

Can’t remember how to caption photos! Anyway here’s Rick leading me to the sweet sweet end of parkrun.

By Sunday (today) my bum and quads had stopped being painDOMS but they are still completely shot to pieces. I wanted to do a medium long run interspersed with two fast kilometres but after approx 200 metres of my first attempt my legs said no so I continued jogging. I then couldn’t even ascend the metal steps back up to the main road to get home. I considered sliding gently to the ground and awaiting rescue but I was on Basin Road North where hardly anyone goes so using my last bit of effort I heaved myself up to the top, tottered across the road and walked home. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so totally physically ruined (hip to knees). Even after my first weights class my legs were only somewhat dead. I’m hoping if I pack in the protein and rest (except for track tomorrow evening) I might have recovered enough to give the mile on Wednesday evening a good go. If I’ve learnt anything from this (unlikely) it’s that I should ease myself into leg/glute strengthening more gently. Next time (if I ever dare to do anything again) I’ll start with just body weight and work up from that. Though what I actually want to do is what I did before again as surely it can’t be as bad afterwards next time? However I’ll wait until after Wednesday at least before I attempt anything. 

Posted 23/07/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

Time to    8 comments

I’m taking time away from blogging as after four years it’s time for a break. Thank you to those who have read my posts over the years. 

Posted 11/09/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

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