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?

My aims for 2017

Dan has been away since Friday and should hopefully return tomorrow.  Our lives seem to be chok-a-block right now and the things I could do with a long weekend…!  Not, it seems, when you have sole responsibility for an eight-month-old baby though.
The first day was fun.  We had lots of playtime, a couple of naps, some messy food, a fun bath and bedtime cuddles.  Day two and things were pretty similar.  Day three, and the company was still silent (From words anyway.  There was plenty of screeching going on!)  I love that I am able to spend all day, every day with Oscar, but I also love having an adult to spend time with in the evenings when Oscar is in bed too!

I admit I was going a little insane by lunchtime today, so treated myself to a falafel and halloumi salad at Castello Lounge in Wellingborough in order to get out of the house and have interaction with other adults.  I probably looked a little insane, sat in the corner of the lounge with just a baby who insisted on ‘chatting’ to me the whole way through the meal!

Halloumi and falafel salad from Castello Lounge, Wellingborough

I was allowed to treat myself anyway, after saving our household from the beast of a spider that turned up on the dining room floor, just hours after Dan had left for his friend’s stag do.

Spider hoover stays outside!

I did manage to get a couple of runs in over the weekend too, although it appears I didn’t plan them out very well.  One of them ended up with me holding Oscar up in the air, whilst two strangers passed the buggy over a locked gate.  Oscar and I also stood and waited patiently for a three-way temporary set of traffic lights to turn green at one point, and annoyingly, there were several tracks which had been runnable, no longer so due to the mixture of sunshine and rain we’ve had just lately.

Overgrown paths

(This was when the path finally widened out again!)

It gave me a chance to think about my Autumn goals whilst I was out anyway.

Stanwick Lakes through the trees

It seems a bit of a funny time to be setting aims and goals for the year – almost at the end of the 5th month!  However, my main goal for 2017 was to return to running successfully following the birth of Oscar and to complete the South Downs Way 50 in April, which I managed to do.  I always planned to reassess further goals for the year following completion of the ultra, once I had a better idea of my post-baby speeds and commitments.

The two running goals I have settled on for the remainder of 2017 are as follows:

1) To complete a marathon in under 4 hours and 30 minutes.
2) To complete a half marathon in under 2 hours.

Both would be fairly big stretch-achievements for me.  My current marathon PB stands at 4:54:08, when I ran Chelmsford marathon at the end of 2015.  My current half PB is 2:09:16, from Bedford half marathon back in 2012, before I even started blogging!  (Although, the half marathons I’ve run since have mainly been on trail and have never been a PB attempt.  My half marathon PB pace doesn’t fall in line with my PB pace over other distances.)  I would prefer to aim high though and hopefully have a better chance of PBing to some extent, rather than aim to only just PB and run to the wire on the day.

The first goal was always going to feature at some point, although it took me ten attempts to break five hours for the marathon.  Fingers crossed that it doesn’t take a further ten to break 4.5!

The second goal came about when I won a competition on Marcus’ Instagram to win a place at Ealing half marathon in September.  Entrants must either be running their first half marathon at Ealing, or be aiming for their first sub 2 hour half.  I couldn’t enter as my first half marathon, but I could enter for my first crack at a sub 2 hour time, so I did…and I won, making the final decision on that second goal for me.

When I started running five years ago I had all of these ‘ideal’ times for distances fixed in my head…30 minutes for a 5k, an hour for a 10k, two hours for a half and four and a half for a marathon.  The first two were quickly ticked off, but those last two are a work in progress.  Obviously these times are not magic numbers at all, and at the end of the day 26.2 miles is still 26.2 miles, no matter how quickly or slowly it has been run.  However, I would like to be able to get these two milestones off my back.  I’m hoping that training hard for the marathon will see my half time naturally drop.

Hansons Marathon Method book

After hearing nothing but good things, I purchased the Hanson’s Marathon Method* book a little while back and have been dipping in and out of the pages ever since.  This method of marathon training calls for six days of running a week, but runs in length of no more than 16 miles.  High mileage across a number of days throughout the week is something that has always worked best for me and, with a new baby at home I have struggled to get out for the long training runs this season.  I am hoping that the shorter ‘long runs’ that are called for will also work in my favour.  The idea is to complete lots of slow running on tired legs, building cumulative fatigue to mimic race day conditions.  A big fan of the method is Sara of ‘Running Wife’, whose blog is where I first read about the concept.  She went from a 4:40 marathon time, to a BQ (Boston Qualifying) time within one training cycle!

I am under no illusions that training will be easy, or that I will magically cut hours from my time, but after having read several success stories from other Hanson’s Marathon Method runners I feel on board with the structure of the training as well as understand the reasons behind it.  I like working with structure when it comes to training plans, and I followed a specific marathon plan in the build up to my PB at Chelmsford at the end of 2015, which seemed to work for me.  The main reason I struggle to commit to plans usually is that I like my chatty, ad-hoc long weekend trail runs, organised sometimes only the night before.  They don’t fit neatly into training plans, but they are a lot of fun!  Whilst Oscar is still so small though, I cannot justify leaving for 7-8 hours at a weekend to go running and for the cake and hot chocolates which undoubtedly follow.  Now is the time to follow a training plan and stick to a structured system.  The only ‘must have’ run I’ve kept in my plan is the weekly club trail run on a Wednesday evening, so I don’t lose touch with my trail mates completely!  Wednesdays are actually the rest day on the training plan, so I’ve switched the schedule around slightly in order to suit me a little better.

I’ve also kept the remainder of the East Midlands Grand Prix races in the calendar, which I intend to run hard (2x 5 miles, 2x 10ks) and *ahem* will also be running the Shires and Spires ultra this coming Sunday.  But technically, that is actually the day before the ‘plan’ begins, so 35 miles this week should be just fine, right?!  😉

I’ve drawn up a spreadsheet with my runs and times, as well as added them to the calendar which is displayed in our dining room downstairs.  The marathon plan starts as I return to work for seven weeks.  I’m hoping (in a bizarre kind of way) that this will actually help me stick to the plan, as it will be a whole new routine for me to take on board from next week anyway.  As Dan will be dropping Oscar off at nursery on his way to work each morning the car seat will still be in his car when I go to collect O again in the evening as I return home from work.  Our plan at the moment is for me to either baby-wear Oscar the two miles home again (if the weather is nice) or run back with the buggy.  Then, I will have to head back out again later to collect my car for the following day anyway.  Might as well run rather than walk, and as I’ll already be in my kit anyway, I might as well continue on to run the mileage on my plan for that day anyway, right?

This week in prep for starting the plan is as follows:
Monday: rest day
Tuesday: easy 6
Wednesday: trail run (6-7m)
Thursday: easy 6
Friday: rest day
Saturday: easy parkrun (3.1m)
Sunday: Shires and Spires 35m

We’ll see how things go.  I’m prepared to be flexible, especially during these first few weeks until things have settled down with my return to work and Oscar’s start at nursery.  If I need to readjust targets or alter paces in the plan, I will do so.  But I’m looking forward to having a running goal to work towards again.

Do you stick to a training plan for races?
What are your target races for the rest of the year?

Do you ever eat out alone?

Post marathon feelings

I can’t believe it is Friday already.  This week has sped by so quickly!  Dan disappeared off to Manchester on a training course last Sunday morning after I had left for the marathon.  He doesn’t get back until this evening so I have been home alone all week.  I thought travelling to work on my own each day would mean I could leave a little later in the morning and get away from work a little earlier each evening, but in reality if I leave it much later to head to work in the morning I get caught in bad traffic and if I leave much earlier in the evening I end up bringing a lot of work home with me.  There goes all my plans for a productive week of relaxing post-marathon pampering!

I have managed to get a few tasty Hello Fresh meals in this week though.  I absolutely fell in love with the ‘Oven baked chicken with an orange and sesame quinoa salad’.

Hello Fresh Oven baked chicken with an orange and sesame quinoa salad

It is something Dan would never touch, had he been home.  The salad is made up of kale, pepper, red onion, carrot and garlic, then doused in a sauce consisting of orange juice, soy sauce, tahini paste and rice vinegar.  Way too many vegetables for Dan!  It was absolutely delicious though, and the very generous portion sizes measured out from the Hello Fresh recipe meant that I could not only have the meal for dinner one evening and lunch the following day, but I also had enough for lunch on day three as well!  Following my announcement that lentils were a new-to-me-food from Hello Fresh a couple of weeks ago, both kale and quinoa were also new-to-me-foods in this meal.  I know, – how can I class myself as a blogger at all?!

If you would like to try Hello Fresh, I have a discount code which will give you £20 off when you sign up.  (Just so you know, using my referral code would also give me a further £20 off my next box.)  Just enter the code X4BXEG in the referral box when you sign up and we will both be winners!

I struggle to eat immediately after long runs – often favouring some chocolate milk to get something back in my body easily.  There’s something about being really hot and sweaty and your stomach having jiggled around for several hours.  I think I just need my stomach to settle down for a fair while before it will cope with attempting to digest any solid foods again.  After the race on Sunday I munched slowly through the post-marathon Mars bar from the goody bag, and then the six of us that had headed over earlier in the morning went to Dave’s for what has now become our regular post-Mablethorpe Marathon dinner.  I knew I wanted my body to recover quickly and tried to choose something well rounded which included meat.  (Quite unlike me when I eat out!)

Roast dinner from Dave's after Mablethorpe MarathonThere was no way I could finish it though.  I ended up leaving the majority of the meat, and some of the potatoes.  Managed all my veg and the stuffing though, and got through my chocolate ice cream milkshake very quickly whilst I was waiting for the food to arrive!

Chocolate icecream milkshake from Dave's after Mablethorpe Marathon

I am so proud of my pacing for the first eighteen miles of the race.  (10:44, 10:55, 10:40, 10:59, 10:48, 11:54, 10:47, 10:48, 10:47, 10:59, 10:39, 10:49, 10:48, 10:56, 11:00, 10:55, 10:58)  I’m not sure that I have ever been so consistent before, and found it so frustrating that I then lost it from this point due to my period pain headache and sickness.  I never actually was sick, despite heaving and having to walk it out over 50m or so a couple of times.  I feel I would have been though, had I continued running at the pace I was at.  When I crossed the finish line one of the other runners from my club said to me that she thought I would come in at around 4h 30m for my marathon time, my running had been going that well recently.  Although I didn’t expect a time as quick as that, I had hoped for something that saw me cross the finish line with quite a bit of time to spare before the 5h mark.  It just wasn’t meant to be I guess.

I felt so emotionally numb after the race.  What to do now?  I was so sure that I was going to achieve my target had my ankle recovered that I hadn’t even made a backup plan in case I didn’t.  I didn’t post anything on social media when I got home and actually turned the internet off on my phone for a little so that I could have time to think about what had happened.  When I turned it back on again though, I had received so many messages from friends and fellow club runners asking how I got on that I posted a general statement on Facebook saying that I hadn’t had the race I was hoping for but that I had ticked another one off.  At the end of the day I still got a course PB at least!  I felt like I had let a lot of people down, which is silly really, as I run for me, no one else.  I just felt like people had put a lot of time and effort into helping me, running with me, wishing me luck, and I hadn’t met their expectations of what I was capable of achieving.

On Monday my thighs were pretty sore, especially when heading down the stairs.  I mentioned in my race recap, but for the first time ever my thighs really began to ache during a race.  I took it as a good sign though.  I heard you’re supposed to ache during marathons and I never have before, so perhaps I have run previous marathons too slowly or burnt out too quickly, when I often seem to get a sharp pain in my chest that I cannot run through.

I was hoping to go for a little run on Tuesday evening, but due to my sore thighs I was sensible and left it another day, using Monday and Tuesday evenings to head out on an easy walk in the evening and phone Dan for a catchup instead.  On Wednesday evening I headed off on a 7 mile trail run with a friend for my first post-marathon run.

Muddy trail runsIt appears that the mud has returned!  We ran at a chatty pace and my legs were fine covering the distance through the mud and rough terrain.  It felt good to get my trainers back on and head out again.  I’d felt rather cooped up since Sunday, despite getting out for a few walks.  It has also made me super excited about the upcoming cross-country season as well!

So what else do I have coming up?

  • I’m running the Tring 15k this weekend.
    At the moment I am the female lead for the club trail series.  (To be part of the series you must enter at least six of the fourteen targeted trail races. Points totals are done on a sliding scale with the club winner of each race getting one point.  Results from the best 6 out of the 14 races will be totalled and points are added to determine the overall winner.)  There are two races left in the series, although the majority of us will miss the last one as we shall be in Gower instead.  I’m pretty sure I won’t win it, as I know a friend is also planning on running this weekend and she is much quicker than me so she will just pip me to the post!  I don’t intend on ‘racing’ Tring this close to the back of my marathon, so it should be a nice stretch of my legs instead.
  • Wellingborough Cross-country – 24th October
    I’m really excited about being able to make our home cross-country this year.  Our event is arguably the best of the Three Counties XC series as it contains stream crossings…four of them in fact!  I’ve never been able to run it in the past – I volunteered as a marshal the first year I was a member, and it has clashed with Dusk ’til Dawn the past two years.
  • Dusk ’til Dawn 50m – 31st October (also my birthday!)
    Attempt number three for one of the toughest races (but most fun!) I’ve ever taken part in.  (Recap one * Recap two)  There are four of us taking part again this year.  Initially we each intended on running our own race but after running with Tom on Wednesday night, I think the two of us have decided to start together and see how the race pans out for us.  Tom is a quicker runner than me, although suffering with a long term injury.  I have the advantage of knowing the course and am much better at navigating!
  • Gower marathon – 14th November
    Another race that won’t be raced.  Gower is all about the social side of running!  I think there are about 30 of us headed to Gower again this year for the weekend to take part in the 10k/half marathon/marathon/ultra distances.  There’s a good chance a batch of us marathon runners will all set off together again.  Running is much more fun with friends!  :)
  • Another unnamed marathon
    …although if you follow me on Twitter/Instagram you might have caught which marathon it was before I decided to keep it secret until race day.  I was so close on Sunday and had trained so hard in the build up to race day that I really wanted to capitalise on my fitness whilst it was still there and bank that 4:xx:xx marathon.  I came home from the race and searched for other local marathons immediately, entering one the next day.  Had I thought longer about it I might not have entered.  I think initially, after running MK marathon in May and missing the sub 5h mark by just 28 seconds I was in the same boat – I searched immediately for other marathons that I could target, and it was only because none fitted in my free weekends that I decided to hold off until Autumn.  This time, one has fitted though.  I will post a recap following the race, but am not sure I want to share which one it is yet, to remove the pressure on race day.  Perhaps I was too quick to enter another, as who knows if my legs will be ready to race another marathon just yet.  I plan on some low mileage weeks beforehand though, to give them a chance of being nice and fresh come race day.

Following the races listed above I aim to take a complete break from racing for a little while.  I might run the odd parkrun or cross-country race but those are never more than 4-5 miles.  My body welcomed the break in August following the Grim Reaper, and I don’t want to push it too hard that it breaks!  I would miss running too much!

I have a day off work today, as it was our Open Evening last night and all teachers and staff have been rewarded with a day to recover.  (I was in school from 7am-9pm, with a 45min commute each way and then still brought work home!)  The hardest part is putting a face on all day long – first teaching students solidly all morning, followed by looking after six of my year 7 form who helped in the Computing department in the evening, whilst having conversations with parents of potential future students of the school.  It’s very draining being friendly and professional all day!  I fully intended on having a lay in this morning (lasted until 6:15am!) I will potter about the house a little though, hopefully catch up on lots of blogs, make time for an easy run and then may head into town to see if I can find some new Winter dresses for work.  Nice to have a three day weekend!

(Sorry for the longest post ever!)

What I want from 2015

I feel a little bit like I’m writing a list of Christmas wants (which I have never done…I always prefer surprises and hate the idea of asking for things from people – although hinting is OK!) but I thought I would get down some of my aims for 2015.

For several weeks now I have felt a bit lost as to what goal I should have for 2015.  2011 it was about joining a running club, 2012 I ran my first marathon, 2013 I tested the waters with my first ultamarathon event and in 2014 I tackled the 70 mile distance.

I know now for definite that I do want to go further, although I’ve had an offer of a pacer for the last 50 miles if I wait to run a 100 miler until 2016.  It will also give me a chance to get several longer back-to-back runs in this year to strengthen me and build my endurance up to where it would need to be.

It was suggested to me that I should run the Grim Reaper 70 again this year and look to improve my time.  I would like to do this – it’s so easy to be critical over a result once fully recovered and analysing your watch stats and I know I could shave a good hour or so from my time!  However, nobody seems to know what’s happening with Fat Feet races at the moment.  The dates for the race this year were announced back in September with the promise that entries would open in a fortnight…I’m still waiting for that.  Lots of questions (all of them in fact) have been left unanswered on both the Grim Reaper Facebook page and Twitter account so I’m not certain that it’s going to go ahead.

My main focus for the first half of the year is going to be on the marathon distance.  I would like to run a marathon with a 4:xx at the beginning.  The time keeps escaping me.  I come so close but yet am still so far away and everything points to me being capable of running it.  I haven’t fully decided which marathon yet though.  Milton Keynes or Manchester are the two I have narrowed it down to.  Milton Keynes is much closer, and we live within an hour of the start line.  I have a discount code for the race and it would also have good support from club members.  Manchester appears to have a more interesting course and more crowd support.  I’m leaving it until the end of the month to make up my mind…

I will aim to ensure my long runs are more consistent this Winter, running as many as possible to heart rate.  Several double day long runs will also help strengthen my body to prepare for the distance as well hopefully.

I plan on getting to parkrun much more often than I did in 2014 and using parkruns to concentrate on tempo work, pacing and getting my legs to move quicker ready for when I tackle a couple of races in the lead up to marathon distance.

In Autumn I will run the lovely Mablethorpe marathon for the third year running and hopefully it will be third time lucky at the Dusk ’til Dawn 50, this year held on my birthday.

There are a few races on our club trail series for 2015 that I would like to try out, including the Ashridge Boundary Run, Colworth marathon challenge and Royston half again, although I won’t run these as goal races.  Most of them I’ll probably enter either on the day or the week of the race.

I intend on working hard to stay moving throughout the day (thanks to my lovely Vivofit I’ll be able to track this) and also completing some core exercises several times a week.  I’d like to fit in some more non-running exercise over the year too.

My exercise for the day today as part of Janathon was a lovely 5.5 mile run round Delapre Abbey with friends.  It’s the first time I’d run out with them since Christmas Eve and when we pulled back up at the car park a little over an hour I wasn’t ready to head home.  I had initially planned on joining them for the 20 miles but with the problems I’ve been having with my back lately I decided it would be wise to stick at the shorter distance, along with several of the others.  The plan had been 6 miles off-road around Delapre Abbey and then a long steady run back to Wellingborough along the river.  It’s a lovely route and I haven’t run it in a while so I had been looking forward to it but best to err on the side of caution.

It was incredibly cold this morning.  As I turned from shutting my front door my feet slid down the slop that leads up to our path.  I didn’t dare try and stop myself incase I damaged my back further so just went with it.  My back was a little sore when we set off for the run (I’m putting it down to the icy spell) but after half a mile or so it had loosened up and I really enjoyed the run.  By the end we all had icicles on our faces and in our hair from the dew that had tried to freeze on us though.  Clearly we weren’t running hard enough!  The dew made for some beautiful spider webs in the garden when I went to get the wood in after my run.

Spider webs Spider webs

Jantastic starts tomorrow.  I’m aiming for five runs a week.  I’ve kept moving most of the afternoon and my back has not stiffened up in the way that it did earlier in the week (although it’s still a little twingy) so I’m planning on heading out for an easy 3 miler tomorrow after work to keep moving as this is obviously helping.

Did you get outside in the cold today?