Marathon Fever

A massive and huge Well Done to each and every runner today. Marathon fever has well and truly taken over me.

I had the pleasure yesterday of a trip to London and seeing the finish line on The Mall was electric. Watching the 50,000 ish people cross the line today on TV was even more exciting. 

From the Elite runners to runners like me the dedication and passion that each and everyone of them has put into training for this event oozes from their being. There were also acts of extreme kindness, one blew me away and reduced me to tears. David Wyeth had run and pretty incredible race in a truly amazing time but just 200 metres from the finish line he began to struggle, looking like he would not be able to carry on Matthew Rees assisted David to the finish. Forfeiting a possible PB himself. 

To me this act re-enforces the spirit and kind nature of the human race and the true comerardare of a marathon.

The ballot for 2018’s London Marathon opens on 1st May and 100% I will be putting my application in. To have a chance of securing a place in next year’s marathon fills me with excitement, drive, commitment and passion. 

I want this so badly and whether it’s next year or the year after one year I will be there and I will cross that line.

Adidas Pure Boost Xpose

So I had a conversation with my hubby the other night it went a little like this…

Me: ‘There is a sale on trainers at TK Maxx any chance we could pop up there?’

Hubby ‘You have 2 pairs why do you need more?’

Me ‘I use them everyday, am training for a marathon and surely a girl can never have too many pairs of trainers!’

Hubby ‘I never thought I would see you getting excited over a sale on trainers!’

Me ‘So can we go then?’ 

Hubby ‘Oh meant to tell you I bought some new wheels for my bike’

Me ‘How many wheels does one bike need?’

Hubby ‘Well they were on sale!!!!!!’


So I got me some new Trainers!

I already have a pair of Adidas Supernova Glide which took a little breaking in but now are really great runners. 

So after mooching and searching and reading and confusing myself because there is so much choice out there, most of which really is down to people’s personal preference I decided on a second pair of Adidas.

This time the Pure Boost Xpose in wait for it…… Bright Orange. 

The Pure Boost Xpose are women specific running shoes, designed by Adidas to respond with the way a female foot moves as she runs.  They have a really cool ‘floating arch’ which gives the shoes a totally different look to other shoes out there:

This is designed to hug your arch and adapts with your foot plus the Boost sole returns energy to you with every step.

The shoe itself has a sock like opening without any tongues and I must say I didn’t miss a tongue, right from the second you put these shoes on they feel like a pair of your favorite slippers.
The front is a soft mesh with a cage style added support around the sides of your feet.  The back of the shoe is a little higher into the ankle than I am used to and I was concerned it would rub but it is so soft you don’t even notice it.

First run out and I covered 6.1 miles, being a total blonde (I can say that as I am!!) I had it in my head this was 1ok! Not quite. The Super Boost Xpose feel like you are running on air, they are light, comfortable and really really bouncy. On my faster downhill sections there were a few moments my feet wanted to run away from my legs.
The feeling of the shoe can only be described as the closest thing I can imagine to running bare foot, it feels like you have total control of every stride and although you can feel everything underfoot they are tough enough to stop anything hurting.  The grip seemed excellent although being a dry day that is difficult to comment on thoroughly. 

I am not sure i would want to run trails in them as whilst they are uber comfortable they are too soft a shoe to withstand that sort of running but for road running they are excellent. The farthest I have run in so far is 6 miles, they will be tested on my longer runs to see whether they will become my marathon shoe.
These are designed for neutral runners and weigh only 212g in the size 5.

I am  size 6 in normal shoes so for runners have to take a 7.5 to 8 in the Adidas shoes I always seem to need the larger size 8.

All in all these on first trial seem a pretty good shoe, comfortable, light, super bouncy and a great design, possibly one of the nicest looking shoes I own. 

Breaking Boredom

I have been doing the MAF training for almost 3 weeks now and today was the straw that broke the camels back! I went out for my Sunday run full of enthusiasm, I went down the canal which is a lovely treat to run. My usual run time is way to early to risk the canals partly safety and partly because I fear I would end up in said canal (not a nice prospect)

I kept my heart rate at my designated 138bpm or as close as. I really enjoyed running by the water but the whole time I had a nagging that I wanted to just run, not controlled by my heart rate just run at a pace I wanted to run at. I buried the nag for a further mile and then I just couldn’t keep it at bay anymore! 

So I ran, I ran at a pace I wanted to run at. I thought I would feel guilty but I didn’t, I felt free, I felt happy, my heart was racing, my breathing was heavy and I enjoyed every single second. 

Whilst I am not going to outrule the MAF training and will most certainly use it when I am on recovery days which in essence will be twice a week, I had started to not enjoy running as much because of constantly having to slow down. I felt I was actually losing fitness. I am more than likely wrong as this system has got many elite athletes  (of which I am not) to top places in endurance events. But full time it really is not my bag.

Giving in too soon? Possibly but I don’t want to lose my love of running and I fear that continuing on this plan long term I will through boredom alone. 

Running Safety

Running safely is something that all runners consider.  I wear bright clothing that has as much reflective detail as possible so that the light can hit me and I am seen by cars, pedestrians and other road/path users.

I have always had consideration for my personal safety too and try to ensure that I run in well populated areas, don’t go off the beaten track during quieter times, and  always carry my phone with me at all times (not that this will protect me!) but I do have an emergency panic button set up that if anything awful should happen I press the panic and 3 messages go to my husband that alert him there is a problem, send him a picture from the front and rear camera of my phone and also send him co-ordinates of where I am via Google Maps.  This is set up on my Samsung and I have to say is a really great feature of the phone.

Along with this I also carry a Safehaus Mini Self Defense Spray, which is a very small aerosol can containing a permanent marking red gel spray. In the UK sadly pepper spray is not legal so this is the closest alternative that I could find after alot of research.  I found mine on Amazon and went for it after reading some really great reviews:

The spray is designed to stun the assailant, delay them in their attack and give you valuable time to get away to safety and call for help, it will not (sadly) hurt them but i am sure that having any kind of liquid sprayed into your face would cause some confusion!  Certainly enough to give you a head start on a get away.

I hope as does every runner that I will never have to use either device, but after reading a very unexpected post on Instagram yesterday from a fellow runner, who had gone out on her usual Sunday long run, needed to stop for a toilet break and found an attacker hidden in the toilet stalls, anything is possible.  Thankfully she was able to fight, kick and scream and miraculously managed to trap him in one of the stalls and hold him there until police arrived!  She was very brave and came away with injuries, but nothing in comparison to what could have happened!

The world is an amazing, beautiful and kind place 99% of the time, that 1% can be cruel, evil and down right vicious.  We become complaisant with our runs and because we know the route like the back of our hand take for granted that it will always be the same, I for one will ensure that I am even more aware of my surroundings, and the people around me whilst running from now on.


MAF Training

I bought a book a while back written by Dr Philip Maffetone, The Big Book of Endurance and Training. It came recommended from a website I follow and as I am training for a marathon I figured it would be a good, interesting read. At the end of the day running a marathon is all about endurance.

Dr Philip Maffetone goes into amazing detail about the body, how it works, how it trains and the benefits/downfalls of aerobic vs anaerobic training.

Putting it simply aerobic training is training where your heart rate is kept at a lower rate and uses fat burning to fuel your body during exercise, anaerobic takes your heart rate to a much higher level and whilst used by many athletics and training programmes can have its downfalls on your body. 

MAF training uses the 180 rule, taking a starting heart rate of 180 less your age and then adding or subtracting amounts to reach your ideal maximum aerobic heart rate. 

For me it is 180 less my age 42 =138 beats per minute. The principal being that when I run my heart rate never goes above 138. To record  this a heart rate monitor is required there is no other way you could track your heart rate whilst running without one. 

I use a Garmin Vivoactive and to save having to keep checking I have set up an alarm to notify me when my heart rate reaches 138. 

I have to be totally honest running at a maximum heart rate of 138 is quite difficult, at times it is a very slow pace so much so at times i was walking to bring the rate back down.  During the book many examples are given of elite athletes using the technique and struggling the same as I have. I was really quite lucky as my pace was only just over 10 minutes 10.28 per mile which is over 1 1/2 minutes per mile slower than  my normal pace.

Dr Maffetone and all of the reviews show that over a period of time whilst your heart rate will stay below the designated amount (for me 138) your speed will actually increase (sometimes considerably) as your aerobic fitness improves.

Sticking to the MAF training is going to take hard work and dedication, it’s probably going to be a slow process but overall from everything I have read it will benefit my health, Fitness, endurance and speed.

So day 1 I did 3.76 miles in 39.31 minuted at an average pace of 10.28 per mile. To see how over the next few months this improves and how I improve too.

Watch this space ­čĺŚ

Perfect Start to a Day

What an absolutely perfect start to my day.

4am wake up, well 4.10am after 2 snooze hits….zzzzzzzzz, not being 100% sure what the weather would be doing I slid out of bed with trepidation.  Dry outside, well that was a bonus and my phone telling me it was 2 degrees, not too cold.
I started the day with a 30 minute easy pace run from my training plan, whilst I still struggle staying in easy I did do loads better and got 65% within Zone 2 (easy), and 34% in zone 3 (steady).  I ran for 37 minutes, covered 3.69 miles and had a pace of 10.07 min/mile.  It was fresh outside, cooler than I expected and a little slippy underfoot in places but I had a great run.

I am not quite sure whether it is the lure on tonight’s pancakes and wanting to be able to eat them and not feel guilty, the red wine I intend to drink later, (pre birthday treat), the meal tomorrow night at my mom and dads, hopefully with cake, the deep seated desire not to have to get the bus or just sheer madness that pushed me to make the decision to walk to work.  Whatever is was I am so glad that I did, I got to see the most incredible sunrise, heard the birds singing and just gave myself the best possible start to the day.

My walk covered 4.05 miles in exactly 1 hour at a pace of 14.51 min/mile and I spent 53% in Zone 2, how does that work then?

I really have set myself up for a great day, I feel, revived, calm and extremely happy.
Just goes to show that exercise really does release happy endorphins, here’s to a truly great day. x

Sunday Long Run

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch

Some runs are great, some runs are ok, some runs are tough and some runs are very tough! Today’s was a very tough one.  Personally I blame Joe Wicks!!! After doing his HIIT video on Friday, being a smarty pants and moving onto the next level my legs hurt.  No pain, no gain though.

I ran Saturday and felt it, Saturday night was a little achey, Sunday morning the ache was still there but it didn’t feel bad enough not too run, so off I go.  I gave myself a good 10 minute walk warm up figuring that should help, then set off at a nice steady pace, no way could I have pushed myself too much.

When I look back at the stats surprisingly I really didn’t do too bad.  Starting pace of 9.06 per mile, decreasing down to 10.10 which for 9.5 miles isn’t too shabby, especially with the ache I was enduring from around mile 6!  My legs felt like lead and I felt as though i was running through tar.

Coming down from the cross roads to Banners Gate in Sutton Park is all downhill but the ache and tiredness I felt was like nothing else, I wanted to give up and how I carried on I will never know.  I think it was possibly the thought of, ‘if i stop and walk I am going to be even later home and with a trip to Ikea planned it could very well be a huge mistake’ if my husband would have been at home, I have no doubt in my mind I would have been tempted to call him.

Unusually I had taken a drink with me, I don’t normally run with a drink but feel that as my runs are getting longer I really should get into the habit of carrying one, if I am totally honest the reason i don’t is because I don’t like carrying anything it drives me mad, plus not matter how god the bottle is, it always leaks.

At 9.5 miles finish I was exhausted and very relieved that I could stop, which makes me thin then how the devil am i going to manage 26.2 miles?

I walked 10 minutes home to cool down and hopefully stretch my aching muscles out, and then did a good 15 minute stretch out when i got home, which i have to say was pure bliss, followed by a steaming hot shower, sadly no sit down but perhaps keeping moving is actually better for you????