Friday, 29 March 2013

10 bloomin' miles

Good Friday. Well it certainly felt like it. OK so spring hadn't actually sprung but the sun was shining, the wind had dropped and with the temperatures reaching the dizzy heights of +1, I set out with a friend of mine who I don't get to run with very often on my longest run since the Berlin marathon and my friend's longest run ever.

I was back visiting my parents where I grew up so the chance to run on some small country lanes through the Essex countryside and catching up with someone I hadn't seen in a while was a great thing to do and although it certainly wasn't fast, it was good to get some miles in the legs. With only 5 weeks until mine and eatingtrees'  epic ride across The Netherlands and Belgium to run in the Maas Half Marathon, I now have a more little confidence that I'm actually going to be able to run at the end of the 3 days of cycling.

Tomorrow, the plan is to get on the bike and try a little more of that too as after all, If I can't even make it to the start of the race, what's the point in doing the running...

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Holding Out for the Warm Weather

GUEST POST: Craig Bradshaw. Marathon Runner, Blackpool.

This year, I decided to enter the first ever Yorkshire Marathon, which takes place at the end of October. My reasons for doing this were threefold.

One of my main reasons for entering the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon was that it has an exceptionally flat course - flatter than New York, Paris and London, meaning I can hopefully record an exceptionally fast time.

Another reason that I opted for York over London was that, as my old University stomping ground, I am sure to be kept visually stimulated throughout the 26.2 miles of the scenic course; starting and finishing at York University, and taking in villages, countryside, and famous landmarks such as Mansion House, Betty’s Tearooms and York Minster along the way.

Finally, and most importantly, as someone who is well-versed in competing in marathons that take place in April or May, such as London and Edinburgh, I couldn’t bear the thought of starting my training in early January, and having to put up with 16 weeks of completely miserable weather.

The Yorkshire Marathon was set up as a tribute to Yorkshire fundraiser Jane Tomlinson CBE, who died in 2007 after completing an Iron Man, three London Marathons and a host of other challenges, and raised almost £2m for charity, all while undergoing chemotherapy treatment for terminal breast cancer.

Given that the Yorkshire Marathon doesn’t take place until 20 October, I don’t realistically need to start my serious training until June, which hopefully means that I can enjoy 4 months of relatively warm weather; hopefully making training that little bit more enjoyable.

However, seeing as the mornings are getting lighter, I have started to do a few 5 mile runs before work in the morning, as a way of slowly increasing my mileage in the run up to June. Unfortunately the days might be getting longer, but the temperatures aren’t getting any higher.

In my opinion, one of the most indispensable pieces of clothing for any runner in this weather is base layer clothing, as they can help to regulate your body temperature, reduce your recovery periods, enhance your performance, and reduce the risk of injury.

Since I have been running, one of my most pivotal pieces of clothing for any marathon training is my Helly Hansen base layer, which aren’t available to buy direct from Helly Hansen (they don’t have a UK site), so I have to get them from a licensed supplier such as Outwood Sports or Amazon.

In previous marathon years, I have managed to shed most of my layers by late March, affording me the luxury of being able to train in appropriate race attire, such as vest/t-shirt and shorts. This year is a completely different kettle of fish, and it looks as if I will be stuck having to wear at least 3 layers for another few weeks at least!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Well and truly told off! That was me after spending 45 minutes with my osteopath this morning after I tried and almost failed to get out of bed the day before.

The tightness in my left shoulder which has been causing my a lot of pain in the night while attempting to sleep and had gone down to my lower back and in my left leg and ALSO caused pain in my left knee when cycling is all down to the worlds tightest left hamstring!

I was told that sessions with him alone would not solve it, I need to start stretching it properly every night otherwise it'll get worse again. Joy. At least it's happened now rather than a week before I cycle across Belgium and run a half marathon I guess.

It's the only the second time in my life that one visit to the Osteopath hasn't sorted a problem. It bugs me really, they're like insurance companies, expensive and pretty pointless up until that point you really need them!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

I move slow and steady

I've had to temporarily abandon my transition to minimalist running due to what could be plantar fasciitis or what I generally class as a bloody sore foot! The facts are this. I'm too fat and my running style too inefficient to carry on in those shoes to be able to run a half marathon in what is only around 8 weeks time around Maas.

Today, I reverted back to the old faithful's that got me through the Berlin Marathon. You know, the ones that made my toes go numb for 4-6 weeks!! Brilliant. Quite frankly though, I needed to get some k's back into the legs. I know I can get through the 3 days of cycling on our trip to Belgium but I needed to prove to myself that I can run more the 7km without dying. I can!

I left this morning with the words 'I don't know where I'm going and I hope to be back sometime between 35 mins and an hour' depending on how it was going. Well it went OK. As per the Of Monsters & Men inspired blog post title, it wasn't quick but 12.3km completed in 1hr 6mins.

What made it better was some good coffee when I got home. Now rather embarrassingly, I cannot remember for the life of me, who sent it to me but I can vouch that it is bloody tasty despite having quite frankly, the most bizarre packaging. What has a picture of a pouting/angry women and a fake monkey got to do with coffee. Any who, it's called Bounce or Aroma, I think. Who knows.... However, as I said, really, really tasty and highly recommended. So much so, I'm off to make another pot!