Cycle Map Run

Hello 2018

We are a week into 2018 and I am just getting round to finishing a blog post I started on New Year’s Day. I am hoping it isn’t too late to reflect on 2017 and the novelty of New Year’s Resolutions hasn’t worn off just yet. First of all, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and weren’t too hungover on NYD. I spent NYE with my family, introducing them to the UK Run Chat hour on twitter and planning races for the upcoming months. 2018 is set to be the year of new challenges and hopefully smashing some PBs but before I get into all that, I will take a look back at 2017…

2017

After the GWR smiling because I surprised myself with a new PB.

I wasn’t running too much at the start of the year as I was finishing my Masters dissertation alongside my full-time job. Looking back, I don’t know how I fitted it in but I completed it, presented a poster on my work at a conference in Vienna, passed with distinction and had a lovely graduation back home. Having free time again in summer meant I could really enjoy getting out running again! The first race of the year was the Jurassic Coast 10K in August, memorable for the hills, heat and my first insight to off-road running. The Great North Run in September was a fantastic experience. I will never forget running across the Tyne Bridge just as the Red Arrows flew overhead and I definitely won’t forget the pain in my quads which forced me to walk a bit at around mile 9 (tip: don’t cycle 50 miles the weekend before a half marathon). With a half marathon PB of 1:56 gained at GNR, I felt relaxed as I lined up for the start of the Great West Run in October. Clearly having a carefree attitude is the way to go as I powered up those hills and achieved a new PB of 1:52! Lastly, I took part in Run Up 2 Christmas with my club UKRC Exeter and collectively we ran nearly 1000km (that’s the target for this year!) and despite having a cold and all the usual Christmas distractions, it was good to have motivation to get outside.

New Year, New Me?

 I like throwing that phrase around to wind people up when discussing resolutions, however I did tweet recently that I am very much pro resolutions because why not try to make some positive changes in your life? Sure you can decide to eat healthier in June or try spin classes in September but the start of the year seems like a good time to start afresh. I do have some personal goals to achieve this year but I know you just want to hear about running so I will get to it!

2018 is the year of the marathon.

I am just a bit terrified. I tell people that I am now officially in marathon training and it tends to sound quite casual and generally in a calm tone. Then this happens:

Friend: Oh a marathon, how far is that again?

Me: twenty six point two miles

Friend: TWENTY SIX MILES?

Me: twenty six POINT TWO

Friend: WHAT! That is so far, how on earth can you run that?!

I know it will be ok. I have very supportive friends and family, no other major commitments (outside of work) and plenty of shorter races to run between now and the end of May including a few 10K races in Exeter and a half marathon in Taunton.

Of course, I will then be running the marathon at the end of May. That’s ages! Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Currently I feel quite motivated and ready to tackle the training but I’m sure that will change over time. I am sure you will all agree that the best thing to do is not get too worried, keep up consistent training and enjoy the challenge. I will try to listen to that (plus any other advice) over the upcoming months.

Before my first run of the year! Smiling on the outside, crying on the inside.

I guess now (finally at time of writing and posting) I have finished week 1. My first run was on New Year’s Day and it was horrific in the rain & hail at a hilly forest at home. Since then, I have been back to my running club (@UKRCExeter), been to the new Exmouth park run & completed everyone’s favourite – the long Sunday run! I ran a total of 38.8km this week (I do not like leaving it so unrounded but I’ll live) and not had a drop of alcohol or a bite of chocolate (chocolate ban only started on the 2nd) so I am feeling pretty pleased.

Just in case you’re a bit nosy like me, my other goals/thoughts for the year ahead are:

  • Read more books. It takes me forever to read a book unless I am lying on a beach in 25 degree heat. I want to read/listen to more this year to stop myself looking at a screen all the time and maybe it will give me something else to talk about other than PBs and negative splits.
  • Drink less alcohol. I am taking part in Dry January just to give myself a bit of a boost and yes I probably will have a glass of wine as soon as February hits but I am going to try to not drink so much this year. I can tell this one might not go to plan…
  • Work hard. I’m currently listening to What Happened by Hillary Clinton (she even reads it herself, it’s fab!) and it has filled me with motivation in nearly all aspects of life but especially my working life. They key thing here is to not doubt yourself and what you can achieve.
  • Save money. Yes another typical one but to be fair this already happens, I just need to maintain it and that’s what direct debits are for.

I’m sure I will come back to these in a few months time and think “How did I think I could give up alcohol, are you mad?!” but at least it’s all written down and that means I will at least try to focus on the list above. I’m going to go drink a nice cup of tea now and read my book (see, I am already a better person).

I hope you all have a productive and successful week ahead!

Here’s to 2018!

Rach x

Exmouth Park Run. It was freezing!!!
Post-long run selfie today. I managed 8 miles in the freezing cold after helping at Junior Park Run.

It’s the most run-derful time of the year

December is my favourite month. I absolutely love Christmas and it’s my birthday this week so what’s not to love?!

I am currently sitting in my cosy flat with a little Christmas tree on the table, because there isn’t enough space for an actual tree, & there’s a box of Quality Street sitting open and being very, very tempting. I could easily sit in every night enjoying strawberry creams & drinking Baileys but I have a marathon to run next year and I don’t really want to start back at square one in January. My plan is to keep the miles ticking over until the New Year then I’ll get focused on a training plan but it’s pretty tough when it feels like -1 outside and it’s dark before 5pm. I’m sure most people experience the same dip in motivation over winter so here is my list of things to do/ways to keep both the running and Christmas spirit alive…

Headband, Unilite head torch and Buff – the essentials for a run home from work in the dark!

1. Embrace the drop in temperature and treat your self to some warm winter clothing. When I buy new running clothes, no matter what month, I always get a boost. Use this to your advantage and get some long sleeved tops, gloves and a buff etc. If I could wear my buff 24/7 I probably would. I wear it as a headband when running to keep my ears warm & to stop my hair blowing around my face when it’s windy. As well as clothing, equipment like head torches and hi-vis arm bands can come in pretty handy if you aren’t always running along lit up roads.

2. Prepare some good food. I am not very good at this and really need to find some new recipes instead of relying on pasta or cheese on toast. I did make a lovely spag bol last night alongside a big pot of soup to get me through the next couple of days AND I do have something planned for later in the week. I guess most blogs/magazines etc would say that a good filling meal will stop you from snacking on rubbish. That may be true but I also like to believe that eating something nutritious (plus doing some exercise) means I can also have chocolate. Enjoy the selection boxes, Christmas puddings and prosecco while you can. Just have some brussel sprouts too.

3. Sign up to a race. I encouraged the rest of UKRC Exeter to sign up to Run Up To Christmas, which means we are all trying to run as much as we can from Dec 1st-25th in aid of Mind, the mental health charity (http://runuptochristmas.com/). It’s only the 3rd and we are already clocking up the miles, and a little bit of competition never hurt anyone! We also took part in a Santa Run this morning, which is another great excuse to get moving!

4. Try to get some sunshine when you can. I am lucky to work somewhere with flexible hours and lots of showers so I can pop out for a lunchtime run. I will probably need to do this over the next couple of weeks as the mornings can be a struggle and my evenings will be spent in the Christmas Market. It’s all about balance, right?

5. Be inspired. On the nights when it is really pouring down or you just can’t face putting your trainers on why not pick up that running book you bought but haven’t got round to reading or watch a documentary on Netflix (Finding Traction or The Barkley Marathons are my top choices). Soon you will want to be out there. I can usually have a flick through Runner’s World and read something that makes me lace up and head out the door.

This probably hasn’t convinced anyone but I’m pretty sure we can keep up fitness whilst indulging on the sweet stuff over the festive period. I will be out with my running club, wearing my buff & thinking about all of the chocolate I will eat afterwards.

Enjoy the festivities,
Rach

This week in running (Oct 30th – Nov 4th)

It’s Sunday night and I’m thinking back over my week of running. I usually run 3-4 times a week including a Monday & Tuesday but due to relatives visiting and a friend’s birthday my first run of the week didn’t happen until Thursday. I was more than ready for that run and ended up clocking 10km. You know some nights you just need a run or you might explode? It was one of those. Next up was Parkrun on Saturday morning. Last week I hit my PB bang on (24:56) so this week I thought I’d push myself and try to beat it. I made sure I wasn’t too far back to begin with & kept a good pace to finish at 24:37 – a new PB! I was running into the wind for the last km which was tough but I kept the 25 minute pacer in my sight and ended with the obligatory sprint finish!

This morning, I ran 1 mile (wait for it, there’s more) to Junior Parkrun where I gave out the finish tokens as well as cheering and giving high fives to enthusiastic little kids (and their parents). Once that was over, I set off again and ran an additional 10 miles out and back along the quay. It was cold yet beautifully sunny so once I got going I was pretty warm but able to keep a steady pace. On the return leg of the run I was once again battling with the wind, which meant I had to work hard for the last 4 miles. I rewarded myself with a coffee at the quay afterwards before heading home to eat everything in sight!

I’m pleased with myself for getting out and doing a long run despite not having any races to train for in the next couple of months. I don’t think I have ever kept up the long distance in the weeks after a race but I am determined to maintain it over winter so that I’m not struggling in the new year! I have signed up to Run Up To Christmas to keep me motivated in December so hopefully that will also help balance out all of the chocolate & prosecco I will be consuming!

Anyone else trying to keep motivated now that it’s turning colder & darker?

Bitnami