I don’t know about you but I do find January to be one of the hardest months in terms of getting going again after the Christmas break. The empty wallet and the generally dreary weather and dark nights, but that is behind us now, the nights are drawing out slowly and the buds on the trees are coming to life again which is a sign that spring is just around the corner.
I thought I would write a little update on my London Marathon training journey so far. I feel I have achieved quite a lot this month when I look back and I am happy with progress. January ended with 65 miles in the bank.
Off to a good start, best foot forward!
I started my year (well actually it was just at the end of 2016) with the Plain Crazy, a 12 mile race, just to see if I could even run 12 miles. 12.8 to be exact as it turned out, it may as well have been a half marathon! I was really pleased with my time of 2:02 (that included some off road sections too) running over the Wiltshire plains and the Imber range paths.
A wet and dreary New Years day saw the annual New Years off-road run with my club friends, just over 4 miles clocked. I’ve been going to my mid-week runs with the club too getting those extra miles in, the terrain is off-road and pretty technical in places, and at this time of year its head torches on as it’s in the evening and dark.
9 miles around the streets of Frome on 8th January saw my first training ‘longer’ run with a small group of friends. At a respectable 9.34 mile pace it was comfortable. I’ve also been attending the local park run in Southwick whenever I have a free Saturday and have added a few lunchtime 5km’s into the mix too (aiming for once a week). Every little helps as they say, and on looking at the Strava data (yes I have become a Strava geek!)I have been getting quicker. My pace is around 8 – 8 1/2 minute miling when I run alone. Not that I could sustain that for the marathon mind…
I entered the Dirty Devil Stampede, a 15km race at the military tank training ground at Bovington Camp. I was really nervous about this one, and I went all on my own too. It was tough terrain, 3 x 5km loops of a hilly, dirty, sandy, watery course with a few knife edges chucked in for good measure! But I did it in a time of 1:28, and I was really proud of myself afterwards! And I enjoyed it too.
January 22nd, saw my longest EVER run, 14.5 miles. This for me was a milestone, as I kept telling myself a half marathon is the furthest I have ever run and I needed to break through that mental barrier. My friend Kat joined me (having company is SOOOO important, thank you Kat!) and it was an enjoyable run. We saw a gorgeous sunrise (below), it was a crisp day and a pocket full of jelly babies got me through it.
I upgraded my trail running shoes. My old faithful Inov8 MudClaws are going into retirement. They have had over 2 years of abuse with mud, trails, water, poo, and countless miles. They did good but now the water seeps in through the holes and the seams are starting to come apart. Their successor was another pair of Inov8’s, the X-Talons which had their maiden voyage, a muddy off-road 10km on 25th January.
It’s not all been about running, I am still attending CrossFit classes at Crossfit UVA a few times a week and pilates once a week – so important to keep the core strength for runners. I have dropped Wednesday night CrossFit in favour of fitting in an extra mid-week run, some things have to be sacrificed. And I have had a sports massage too – I’m going to have one a month from now for maintenance.
I also attended an event that Alzheimers Research put on for their charity runners up in London which was great. Liz Yelling, twice an Olympic Marathon runner was there and did a talk and a Q&A on the London marathon giving us some valuable advice and the benefit of her experience first hand.
Then there was Dry January… an extra little challenge I set myself, not that I am a big drinker but I do like a glass of wine or two at the weekends to the point where it was becoming a habit, I didn’t really need the wine. Needless to say, I have found that by not having alcohol in my system when I run, I perform much better. Thats not to say I won’t occasionally have a glass but I won’t if it’s the night before a run – I am getting serious!
So when I look back, January was a busy month. 65 miles may not sound a lot to some, but to me it is! What will February bring? Nutrition needs to be order of the day I think and another longer run and some more fundraising. If I’m honest, the fundraising part is what I am finding the hardest. I’m not a natural for shouting about myself and what I am doing, and I don’t like begging. But I do need to raise some more donations for this fantastic charity which is the whole reason I am doing all of the above and running the London Marathon, for my Dad! So please if you have read this far (thank you for persevering!) and please please help me with a donation or spread the word, I really appreciate your support 🙂
Until next month…