A parkrun catchup

It’s been a while since I posted any details from the parkruns I’ve run.  Over the past few months I’ve gradually ticking off more parkruns, getting ever closer to that magic number 100.  I have just 16 left to go now before I can apply for my 100 runs t-shirt.  I haven’t made much of a dent in achieving the parkrun tourist status this year though.  In total I have run 12 different events, so still have another 8 to go before I can buy my cow cowl.

I did just find an amazing parkrun tourism tool which has whet my appetite for more tourism.  It allows you to enter your parkrun ID and postcode and then shows you the nearest 10/20/30 parkruns to where you are based.  You can also choose to not include those parkruns which you have already run so you can see where your best options are to head to next.

parkrun tourism toolI’ve already run the nine closest parkruns to me so it looks like Rutland Water will be featuring on my results list next!  Wimpole Estate is another one I need to tick off in the near future as well.  I’ve had lots of good feedback about the event just lately.

Here is where I’ve been on my six most recent parkruns…

parkrun #79 – Northampton
6th May

Northampton parkrun is a great course for running with the buggy.  The paths are wide and although it is a super crowded course at the start, the numbers toward the back soon start to thin out.  There are wide grass verges for most of the distance, so even if I feel rather uneasy about pushing the buggy along the path at the start of the run for fear of clipping somebody’s heels, I can always stick to the safer option of running on the sidelines until the crowds start to thin.

Northampton parkrun with the buggyI use my parkruns with Oscar to catch up on all the gossip(!)Northampton parkrun with the buggy(Photos by Martyn Haworth posted on the Northampton parkrun Facebook page)
Official time: 32:55
Position: 459/609
Gender position: 148/256
Age category position: 21/36

Magic Mile #4 – Northampton
6th May

I completely ran out of time to write about this event back in May but for the first time ever I WAS FIRST LADY across the finish line!  Something which I am sure will never happen again and was purely down to the luck of no fast ladies being around to run the mile that day.
I am counting it though.  I didn’t even realise until the results were published the following day that I had been the first female through the finish!  Granted, there weren’t a huge number of runners.  But first lady = first lady…right?!

Official time: 8:09
Position: 18/29
Gender position: 1/7

I finished in the exact same time I had during my previous Magic Mile back in March, which was much better than I thought I would do.  My legs had a marathon and a 50 mile ultra in them from recent weeks, and I had completed very little work at any speed since the previous event.  I would like to think I could beat this time now though.

parkrun #80 – Corby
13th May

So, when I said that Oscar-parkruns are used to catch up on gossip, I haven’t actually stuck solely to this lately.  Most of my parkruns have been gossip runs!  An easy run at chatty pace to keep the legs ticking over and to keep my social side happy on a Saturday morning.
Official time: 29:40
Position: 64/131
Gender position: 16/58
Age category position: 5/8

parkrun #81 – Sheringham
3rd June

I woke up to this on the Saturday morning…

Bruised knee

My knee had been a little sore to kneel on for the past few days, but had not been sore when walking or running and there was no evidence of any bruising or damage at all.
…until the Saturday morning.  The day before I was due to run the Shires and Spires 35 mile ultra.
I quickly snapped this shot and posted it on my Facebook wall alongside a brief paragraph detailing the above information.  Immediately afterwards I switched off my phone and chose to ignore any advice given until after I’d tested out my knee at Sheringham parkrun.  (True runner stubbornness right there!)

The Sheringham parkrun is tough – there’s ‘Heartbreak Hill’ at mile 3 and the course is run through woodland, over lots of lumps and bumps!

I ended up hanging around for my Dad in the morning as he was going to take Oscar for a walk in the buggy so that I could run child-free for a change.  He made us late though and the engine was barely off in the car before I was yanking the running buggy out of the back of the car, giving Dad the fastest lesson in how to steer and brake with Oscar strapped safely inside and then legging it down to the start line.  I wasn’t the only one and despite several minutes of flat-out running I still managed to turn the final corner just in time to hear ‘3-2-1′ and see the runners shooting off into the distance.  The woman who had been a few metres in front of me slumped into a defeated walk at this point.  I eventually caught the back runners and began picking runners off along the way.

When I ran through the finish, Dad was there eagerly telling me that he must have run at least three miles with Oscar as he had walked so fast during the last half hour.  I did point out to him that parkrun is only 3.1 miles, of which I had run all the way and that he had been there at the finish waiting for me to cross the line, so I doubted that he had walked as far as 3 miles, but I don’t think I got through to him!

Official time: 31:20
Position: 108/201
Gender position: 25/73
Age category position: 3/6

I had several responses to my Facebook knee query by the time I turned my phone back on again, including a message from a physio associated with the club who informed me that it was very easy to catch the structures in the knee without really noticing at the time.  Even though it was most likely only a very small catch in the knee, because I kneel on the floor so much as a new Mum it ends up looking much worse as the bleeding inside the knee spreads over much greater knee surface from repeated kneeling with Oscar.  Because Dan had been away during the week I had bathed Oscar alone every evening, likely putting the extra pressure on my kneecap, distributing the blood further across my knee surface.  (I went on to run 35 miles the next day without issue.)

parkrun #82 – Corby
10th June

Corby parkrun with Laura Laura was volunteering at the track in Corby again, so I decided to head over and join her for a social chatty run before her shift began.Corby parkrun with LauraOfficial time: 30:27
Position: 95/182
Gender position: 20/81
Age category position: 3/13

parkrun #83 – Kettering
17th June

Several runners from my club were planning on running over to Kettering for the parkrun and then back again to make up their long run for the weekend.  Since having Oscar I can’t really commit to running long runs at the weekend with others so I said I would meet them over there for the parkrun part of the run.  Running the group long runs isn’t fair on Dan, or Oscar whilst he is in nursery all week (since I’ve been back at work).  I want to see some of them both at the weekend!

Kettering parkrun with OscarOfficial time: 32:25
Position: 230/367
Gender position: 83/176
Age category position: 9/14

A lady from Oscar’s ‘Stay and Play’ group was there running without her baby and I chatted to her briefly at the start, and again as I passed her out on the course.  She muttered at me as I ran past her pushing O in the final mile, but I hope us running past helped her to achieve the course PB she achieved a few minutes later. :)

parkrun #84 – Huntingdon
24th June

I still hadn’t fully made up my mind as to which parkrun I was headed to by Saturday morning last week.  I had put a shoutout on Facebook for parkrun recommendations but despite several suggestions, none really took my fancy.  I set out intending to run Kettering parkrun but when it came to it, my body went into work-mode when I got into my car and I found myself heading in the direction of the school I work at, so Huntingdon became the new plan.  I hadn’t run the course in a while anyway, and I knew there would be some new, pretty trails for me to run the extra three miles I needed to tack onto my parkrun that morning in order to make up the six miles on my training plan for the day.

I ran the parkrun much harder than intended in the end.  I should really be running parkruns at 10:50-11:40mm pace, as Saturdays are one of my ‘easy run’ days.  I’m finding it so hard not to push myself around others when I’m running solo though.  I really must make an effort to run slowly this coming weekend.  It’s much more important to make it to the start line of the marathon in October at the moment than to cut a few seconds from my parkrun time.

At the end I got my barcode scanned and was about to start jogging back to the car when a familiar face looked up from the grass and waved hi.  I automatically smiled in response and returned the greeting, whilst racking my brains as to who this person was!  Lately I’ve chatted to several people at events who I follow/follow me on Instagram/Twitter, but I couldn’t place this lady at all.  Later that day I eventually worked out that she was one of the TAs from my school.  I just hadn’t connected her with running, as I have always seen her in a school environment before!

Official time: 28:53
Position: 157/297
Gender position: 37/118
Age category position: 3/14

Have you seen people you know from outside of running at events before?
What is your parkrun tourism total?

Weeks 1 and 2 of the Hanson’s Marathon Plan

I have about ten half written race recaps and reviews in the Drafts folder of my blog that I’m gradually working my way through!

Today though, I want to recap the first two weeks of my marathon training plan.

In my last blog post I announced that I intended on following the Hanson’s Marathon Method* to work towards a sub 4h 30m marathon at Mablethorpe this October.  My current marathon PB is 4:54:08, but I have always felt that I should be capable of a much quicker time.  The year I did achieve my PB was after following a specific training plan (on the back of a 70 mile race) and I loved the structure that the plan gave.

Hansons Marathon Method book

This will be my first time working through the Hanson’s Marathon Method plan and although I plan to stick to the scheduled paces and runs as closely as possible, I will definitely be doing some day-swapping, and cutting back on the miles during the early weeks as necessary.  The first week of training began the day after I ran a 35 mile ultramarathon, so I let my legs off a little bit(!)

The paces I’ve chosen are targeted towards a 4h 15m marathon time.  I will be aiming for anything under 4h 30m at Mablethorpe in October.  In the weeks before starting the plan I tested out a few of the sessions and found that I can run the paces required for the 4h 15m target time comfortably, and so I plan on continuing with the slightly faster speeds to give myself a little leeway time on the day.  If I need to knock them back a little later on in the plan, then I will look to do so.

Week 1 planned: (5 runs)
Monday – Off (extra rest day scheduled due to racing an ultra the previous day)
Tuesday – Banbury 5 (run to heart rate – 170bpm)
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – 6m easy (10:50-11:40mm)
Friday – 6m easy (10:50-11:40mm)
Saturday – 6m easy (10:50-11:40mm)
Sunday – 8m easy (10:50-11:40mm)

Week 1 actual: (4 runs)
Monday – Off
Tuesday – Off
The first week back at work and juggling sending Oscar to nursery and picking him up in the evenings was harder than I thought it would be.  A 4:15am get-up time is never fun, although this week I’ve managed to slide things around in order that I can set my alarm for 5am instead.  I’ve been pushing it to get in to work on time each morning though.  I arrived home on Tuesday night absolutely exhausted and within five minutes of announcing that I would not be driving the 55 miles to Banbury I fell asleep on the sofa.  Right call made.
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – 5.8m at 10:56mm pace.
A lovely chatty run out round the streets of Wellingborough with Laura and Steph before the running club committee meeting.

Friday – 5.3m at 10:41mm pace.
Saturday – Corby parkrun at chatty pace.
Corby parkrun with LauraI headed to Corby parkrun with Laura for a change of scenery.
[Official time:
30:27 Position: 95/182 Gender position: 20/81 Age category position: 3/13]
Sunday
– 3.79m at 11mm pace.
It was 9:30pm before I even got out of the door on Sunday evening.  Dan and I had spent all day with Oscar at an Open Farm day in Peterborough.  It was lovely to have the day out as a family, and we continued tag-teaming for Oscar’s evening routine.  When he was in bed, it was a quick rush round the house to tidy and clean and put the washing on for the following day before I could even get changed for my run.  Nearly 4 miles wasn’t the 8 I had in the calendar, but it was definitely better than no miles.

Week 2 planned: (6 runs)
Monday – Off
Tuesday – Harborough 5 (run to heart rate – 170bpm)
Wednesday – 7m easy (10:50-11:40mm)
Thursday – 8x600m (8:20-8:27mm), 400m rec (12:20-12:30mm)
Friday – 6m easy (10:50-11:40mm)
Saturday – 6m easy/buggy parkrun at chatty pace
Sunday – 10m long (10:29mm)

Week 2 actual: (5 runs)
Monday – Off
Tuesday – Harborough 5
Oscar was overtired when I picked him up from nursery, and wouldn’t let me put him down long enough to get changed to run or for me even go to the toilet.  As soon as Dan was back from work I had to madly rush around the house to get all of my bits together in time.
Annoyingly, as soon as I arrived (three minutes before the start and desperately needing to pee) my Garmin flashed to say that the battery was low and by the time the gun went, there was nothing left at all on the display.  I’d planned on running to heart rate, but in actual fact I am guessing that my first three miles were run at parkrun PB pace.  I then got a stitch and had to walk for a stint as it was so painful!  I’ve not had a stitch in years!  I had a rough fourth mile, but overtook several people in mile 5 to finish in 47m 32s.
Harborough 5 Garmin timeWednesday – Off
We had a carpet fitter coming to measure our bedrooms on Thursday evening after I returned from nursery pickup.  By the time our house was looking as presentable as a house occupied by two full-time working parents and an eight month old whirlwind can look, it was close to 11pm, I was pretty knackered and had no intentions of heading out for 7 miles.
Thursday – 8x600m, 400m rec
1.5m warmup at 11-12mm pace (11:09mm)
8:21, 12:24, 8:26, 2:25, 8:32, 11:57, 8:20, 12:26, 8:30, 11:54, 8:24, 12:09, 8:24, 12:18, 8:23, 12:41
1.5m cooldown at 11-12mm pace (10:59mm)
I loved, loved, loved this session!  I have always loved runs where I have to meet (achievable) set paces for each split and this run reminded me of that.  I managed to teach myself how to set up paces for split distances on my watch and my Garmin beeped every time I was running too slow or too quickly which took the guesswork out of my pacing.
Friday – Off
Run was replaced with sleeping on the sofa by 7pm.  Two weeks into my return to work, super early morning starts and organising an extra person every day had definitely taken it’s toll by this point.
Saturday – buggy parkrun (in 32m 25s) and 4.01m easy (10:52mm) to make up a little for the lack of run on Friday.
Both runs were incredibly hot!
Kettering parkrun with OscarI got quite a few comments from other runners when I ran past them up the hill whilst pushing a buggy!
[Official time: 
32:25 Position: 230/367 Gender position: 82/173 Age category position: 9/14]
Sunday
– 8.09m (10:26mm pace)
Although I was nearly two miles short of the planned distance for Sunday, I was incredibly chuffed with how close I was to my target paces, and especially chuffed with how consistent I ran for miles 3-7 of the run.

Long run consistent split timesBecause (once again) I left it really late to head out on my run, (it was 8:50pm before I headed out the door!) I needed to cut the run short slightly in order to get round and ready for school the following day.

So what have I discovered during the first fortnight of my Hanson’s Marathon Method training?

  • I am loving the set plan with exact paces to follow (especially when it comes to speedwork and long run sessions).  It makes planning for the week so easy.  I know exactly how far I should be running, and at exactly what pace.
  • I spend most of the time in the build up to each run feeling incredibly guilty that I am running instead of doing housework or seeing my husband.  (I tend to run late at night after Oscar has gone to bed so it doesn’t impact on time spent with him.)  I need to stop faffing and just get out and get the full run done as soon as I hand Oscar over to Dan for him to put to bed.  I knew that this plan required for high mileage before I began.  Things will definitely be easier once I finish school for the Summer at the end of July and I feel like I have more time again.
  • If I cut a run short because I’m feeling guilty, I end up feeling cheated as I haven’t completed the run I intended, but I didn’t spend quality time at home either.  The aim for this week is to make sure that no runs are cut short!

Do you enjoy sticking to a training plan?
How many days do you tend to run each week?