In May this year I ran Belfast marathon with the aim of finishing in under four hours. After a couple of time adjustments from the organisers due to running well over marathon distance (my watch said I ran 43.15km), my final chip time was 4 hours, 3 minutes something. Close, but there’s work to be done.
So what’s next?
On December 1st this year I will be lining up at the start of the Valencia marathon in Spain hopefully with the grit and determination to beat my PB and get that sub-4!
This blog post is to tell you what I did throughout July to help me work towards the sub-4 goal. I hope to write an update each month up until the marathon to track progress and share my thoughts on the training.
Back to the gym!
One thing I didn’t really do in the lead up to Belfast was strength training. This was mainly due to moving to a new city and not quite being in a routine and not knowing which gym to go to, amongst many other excuses! So of course, at the start of July I ended up on a six week programme at my local gym. I really didn’t look too hard at the start of the year as it really is very close! These six weeks included a weekly group PT session and unlimited classes. As of tonight I have been to all six PT sessions and also an extra class in weeks 1-5 (couldn’t quite get it fitted in this week yet!). You might think that isn’t much when I have unlimited classes but when you are running as well, it was plenty for me to get fitted into my week.
The sessions were fantastic as you really worked out your whole body and they included some running out to the car park and back as well as the rowing machine and bike. I am familiar with most machines in a gym but at the beginning of the month I lacked confidence when it came to free weights. I may still use the bar without any additional weight and have to ask for lighter dumbbells for some sets but I now know a lot more different exercises, techniques, stretches and have picked up some good beats to add to my running playlist. The atmosphere in the gym was fab thanks to the instructor’s love of Eminem, Kanye & sometimes a bit of early 00s pop!
Well, have you been running at all?
I told a friend at running club this week that despite the gym I feel like I haven’t done very much, especially running. I then realised this was complete nonsense and without really pushing myself too hard, I have managed a 100km month, which in my books is brill. I signed up to the wonderful Run Around The World in no other than the underdog #TeamEast and at times when I felt like the gym would be enough for a week I would tell myself to go and get those miles done! Huge well done to everyone who took part in RATW!
I thought I would pick out my favourite runs for the month and plan to do this in each blog post as hopefully my runs will become longer and maybe more interesting!
Top 3 runs in July:
1 – I set my Garmin to just under my goal marathon pace for a speedy 10k in beautiful Sunday evening sunshine. I remember this being tough when climbing a few hills in the park but afterwards, I felt amazing. It may have been the diet coke & ice lolly I rewarded myself with but either way it was a great run!
2 – I was home for the weekend and went to the forest that I used to absolutely hate. I did conquer it years ago but I am still haunted by the days my mum would make me walk around it and a half hour walk felt like years. It was a short run for a week but I felt like I was flying!
3 – parkrun! Doubt I could talk about favourite runs and not include a parkrun. Again at home, I visited Limavady parkrun and paced my brother around the 3 laps of the park for his second ever parkrun and a new PB.
Running this month hasn’t been so bad after all but there’s one more running related achievement I am feeling proud of. On Saturday 27th, I was Run Director for the first time at my new home/local parkrun – Porterstown. I had a lovely morning with a wonderful team of volunteers so really enjoyed myself. We are in the early days of trying out the app to do the scanning and that was a success too. Everyone who knows me, knows I love parkrun so it was great to get that little bit more involved and help with the organisation. I’ll be RD again next month but hopefully my Saturday mornings will be for fast running in the months to come.
You may not have got this far but if you have – well done. I enjoyed writing this as it made me realise that I have had a great month.
With August starting in a matter of minutes, here is what is planned for the month ahead:
- back to the gym for 2 PT sessions a week
- Dublin Rock n Roll half marathon
- Frank Duffy 10 mile race (Dublin)
- run at least 100km