Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Clocking up the miles during August.

Clocking up the miles...

So with the Belfast half marathon only eleven days away, August brought around a tough but very enjoyable training month. Between the 1st of August and the 10th of September I clocked up nearly 74 running miles, 30 km's on the bike and numerous gym sessions. Up until now my training has consisted of a lot of short distance fast runs, speed/sprint sessions and bike sessions.

On Sunday the 4th of August I headed out for my first long run since I had started back into my training. And to be honest I wasn't really looking forward to it. For me, it wasn't about punching a fast time in, it was all about getting miles on my legs. I managed to clock up 10.1 mile in 1h 28m. For my first long run in over a year I was pretty happy with that. Over the next eleven days I went back to my usual short distance fast runs and speed sessions.

Speed sessions for me normally consist of 200m light jog, 200m sprint, 30 seconds rest (repeat 8 times). Followed by 70m sprints (repeat 8 times). It might not sound like much but it does have its benefits when you head out for a normal run. I will be adding tougher speed sessions to my training program over the winter months.

On Friday the 16th of August I decided to do a repeat of my previous 10 mile run this time I managed to push on and do 10.6 mile in 1h 26m. Further distance, better time. The hard work was finally starting to pay off.
Training four to five times a week does have its effects on the body but its a pain I am willing to go through.

Towards the end of August I treated myself to pair of new running shoes. I headed to Gosford forest park in Markethill to break them in. I had set out with the idea of doing a few mile and ended up running 7.87 mile in 1h 4m, with an average pace of 8:12min/mile. The new running shoes where an instant hit. Trail running is something that is new to me. It offers something different from road running but still has the same excitement and buzz.

I try to space my long runs out to give my body sufficient recovery time. In between each long run I concentrate on short distance runs, speed work and gym sessions.

Sunday the 1st of September brought around my next long run. Gosford forest park was again the location and I smashed 8.65 mile in just under 1h 9m with my average pace for this run coming in at bang on 8min/mile.

In my short runs I have managed to get my pace per mile to under 8min/mile and my long runs are averaging out at just over 8min/mile. And being honest, I am really happy with that.

Marathon training isn't just about getting out and pounding the roads every day of the week. You have to train smart and mix up your sessions as much as possible. Cycling is a perfect way to keep fit and get miles on your legs without the stresses and strains that comes along with road running. A big part of marathon training is down to diet, determination and willpower. 60/70% of training is all about getting into the right frame of mind. If you beat the mind games then you will achieve your goals with ease. I regularly use ice baths. For some, ice baths are grim but I think they are fantastic and recommend it to anyone doing intense exercise.

To give myself the best preparation as possible for next week I decided to treat myself to a deep tissue massage/sports massage. Sports massages are quite painful, but they do you the world of good. They are designed to relieve severe tension in your muscles. Over the next week I will concentrate on a couple of short distance runs then its time to taper down and save some energy and rest my legs for the half marathon on Sunday 22nd September.

My pb for a half marathon distance is 1h 49m. So fingers crossed I can take a few minutes off that time next Sunday.

The support my family and close friends have shown me over the past few months has been over whelming and for that I am truly grateful. Fundraising will be ongoing for the next nine to ten months and I will have a just giving page set up in October time. If anyone is free next Sunday them come along and cheer me on. The finish line is at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast and I would love to see some of you's there.

Until then, keep safe.

August/September training breakdown :-

1/8 - Rest day
2/8 - Rest day
3/8 - Rest day
4/8 - Long run - 10.1 mile run
5/8 - Rest day
6/8 - Rest day
7/8 - Speed session. 3 mile run (double session)
8/8 - Rest day
9/8 - Rest day
10/8 - Rest day
11/8 - 3 mile fast run
12/8 - Rest day
13/8 - Gym session
14/8 - 3 mile run
15/8 - Rest day
16/8 - Long run - 10.6 mile run
17/8 - Rest day
18/8 - Rest day
19/8 - Rest day
20/8 - 30 km bike session
21/8 - Gym session. 3 mile run (double session)
22/8 - Rest day
23/8 - 3 mile run
24/8 - Rest day
25/8 - 3.5 mile run
26/8 - Rest day
27/8 - Rest day
28/8 - Long run - 7.87 mile run
29/8 - 3 mile fast run.
30/8 - 3 mile recovery run
31/8 - Rest day

1/9 - Long run - 8.65 mile run
2/9 - Rest day
3/9 - 3 mile run. Swimming pool (recovery)
4/9 - 3 mile run
5/9 - Rest day
6/9 - 3 mile run
7/9 - Rest day
8/9 - Rest day
9/9 - 3.5 mile run
10/9 - Sports massage

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Reasons for running for Diabetes UK. Training for 26.2

Why run for Diabetes UK??

People always ask me, why run for Diabetes UK. The answer to that is simple. Although I don't suffer from Diabetes my sister however does. Diabetes UK is a charity very close to my heart as my sister has suffered with Type 1 diabetes since the age of 5. She is now 37.  For Julie, to be diagnosed with diabetes at such a young age, had a huge impact on her childhood and on our daily family life.  Julie has been insulin dependent since her diagnosis, and has had to cope with injecting herself up to 4 times a day. In her younger years she found her diabetes really hard to keep under control and from the stories my family have shared with me, I don’t want to see other kids going through the same as what my sister went through. She never has any days off from her condition, she constantly has to manage and monitor it and especially on Christmas Day when she was young, it was extremely difficult for her and my mum!  However, her diabetes is more manageable now as improvement in treatment and support has improved over the last 20 years. I know this is partly down to the fantastic work that Diabetes UK has done in funding millions of pounds of research into the condition and treatment. I read a quote on the Diabetes UK website which was “Although diabetes cannot yet be cured it can be managed very successfully. This is likely to involve lifestyle changes that will have enormous health benefits and allow a person to continue their normal day-to-day life.” And this statement is so true.  Diabetes doesn’t stop your life, you just have to live it in a different way by managing your condition.  
By taking part in events across the country it will allow me to raise awareness of the condition itself, but also the brilliant work which the charity does on behalf of people living with diabetes and their families. I really hope by raising awareness of diabetes that one day someone will read or hear about my story, and this will in turn inspire them too!  
My goal for the next year is to complete the London marathon 2014 (providing I get a golden bond place) and then conquer the Belfast marathon 2014, just two weeks later! I also plan to complete three to four half marathons before April 2014, which are all in aid of raising funds for Diabetes UK. I have my first half marathon in Belfast this year in September and I am already looking forward to wearing the Diabetes UK running vest.  
Training for 26.2...
Training for the 'dreaded' 26.2 is well under way.

I try to vary my training as much as possible including short distance runs, speed/sprints sessions, gym sessions, bike sessions and fartlek runs. Over the past few months I have been concentrating on a lot of speed work and short distance runs but with the Belfast half marathon fast approaching I have now started to add long runs into my training plan. Since I have started back into training I have managed to get my long runs up to the ten mile marker. As much as I love a short fast distance run there is no better feeling than putting the head phones in and heading off for a long slow distance run. I find that training with someone else really does improve your performance in every session.

Over the coming weeks I will be sharing with you a break down of my weekly training and diet to give you an insight of the efforts it takes to get fit for a marathon.

You don't have to suffer from Diabetes to go the extra mile to help such a worthy charity.

Until then, keep running...