Last summer, I decided I wanted to run again. I got myself a C25K app and I had planned to blog my progress, like I did back in 2006 (back when people used to comment on blogs because they wanted to and not because they were in some stupid comment swap thread, and back before 12 year olds in Facebook blogging groups bleated about their DA every five minutes). But, that didn’t happen. The doing the C25K app happened but the blogging didn’t. And, although the C25K app happened, in true JogBlog self-destructive style I fucked it up at the end and only completed 22 out of 24 runs and then didn’t run again until today, six months later.
Before I emigrated to the countryside, I – like many others – was office-bound, spending many hours sitting down staring at a screen. Ironically though, I was at my lightest then because I was an expert at getting exercise into my day without really trying. Here are my tips for getting some exercise into your working day:
I’ve been renting out my house in London for seven years now and while the extra money has been welcome, it’s been a pain at times (the renting out bit, not the money). Here’s what I’ve learnt so far and what you should think about if you’re thinking about renting out your home.
After being hideously slow during the Folkestone Half a few weeks ago, I knew I wouldn’t make the cut-off for Dymchurch Marathon tomorrow so, to do my bit, instead I wrote a poem for those who are.
A Poem for the Dymchurch Marathoners
A marathon is a lot of miles
and I hope you’ve done your training,
because a marathon still goes ahead
even if it’s raining.
It’s not due to rain tomorrow,
although you should expect a gale,
and it’s probably best to cross your fingers
you don’t get caught in hail.
I’m sure you’ll think I don’t give a fuck
when I’m not there to say good luck,
it’s just that I’m extremely sad
I won’t be getting a goody bag.
The medal is so very cool,
you’ll all have deffo earnt it,
by running in the wind and cold
knackered, feeling shit.
I hope you like my little poem,
it only took a minute.
So go and run the race tomorrow,
and I’ll stay in the warm, innit.
If you followed my guide to training for your first 5k, you undoubtedly would have a) won it; and then b) got home and immediately started looking for your first 10k. So, here’s my guide to training for your first 10k.
Get a training plan
You may think, ‘I can run 5k, I don’t need a training plan, I just need to run a bit further’. Which, yes, is true to an extent but a proper training plan will get you running further and faster better than if you just tag a couple of extra miles onto your long runs now and again.
Personally, I’m old-school and like something I can print off so I can cross out the days I’ve done with a pen; my favourite plans being those from Hal Higdon but, if you’re not quite that old school, you can also generate an iCal file to import Hal Higdon plans into your calendar.
If importing a plan into your calendar is still too old-school for you, there are loads of apps you can use, such as the 10k Run Ready app from Kiqplan. This app contains everything you need to train for your first 10k, including advice on snacking, meal planning and how to get more sleep.
Stick to the training plan
Let’s face it – 10k (6.2 miles) is a long way to walk, let alone run, so do stick to your training plan if you don’t want to hurt too much on race day. And, while we’re on the subject of hurting on race day, when you’re running the actual race, try not to fall over a football, like I did during my first ever 10k.
Think about nutrition
The better your diet leading up to the race, the better the race you’ll have, so you might want to have a look at using sports supplements such as protein shakes and creatine (which is especially good for those of you who, like me, are vegetarian). If you’re not into supplements, just make sure you eat a healthy balanced diet with plenty of protein to help your muscles recover after training. No need to be too strict though – you can still have your takeaway at the weekend; everything in moderation and all that.
On race day
Don’t worry about any special breakfasts or anything – just have what you normally have, whether that’s a massive bowl of porridge or just a cigarette and a cup of coffee. It’s only 6 and a bit miles and if Mahatma Ghandi can go three weeks without food, you can go without for an hour or so. But, although there should be a water stop during the race, you might want to take some water with you, as a 10k can make you thirsty, especially if it’s a hot day.
There are always massive queues for the toilet at races, so get there early enough for a wee, unless you’re a bloke, then you can just do it in the bushes (don’t tell anyone I said that). And if you’re a Billy-no-mates with no one to look after your bag, get there early enough to put your bag in the baggage drop too.
So, there you go then. There’s my guide for training for your first 10k. Good luck!
I’m not one of those runners who can’t run even a 5k without clutching a drink and neither do I take a sports drink to the gym with me. But, I’ve got to say, my methods of hydration on a long run/walk/bike ride are a bit rubbish. Okay, a lot rubbish. So rubbish in fact, I didn’t take enough water out with me on a twenty-mile cross-country walk a few weeks ago on the second hottest day of the year and ran out of water at eleven miles. So, guess what? Yes, I fainted at the end of it. Yes, properly fainted, as in passed-out-unconscious-woke-up-thinking-where-the-fuck-am-I fainted.
My excuse was that I didn’t want to fill my Camelbak up completely because I didn’t want to walk twenty-miles cross-country on the second hottest day of the year carrying 3 litres of water; because a) it was heavy; and b) I didn’t think I’d drink it all, but, obviously a) I would drink it all because b) I was walking twenty-miles cross-country on the second hottest day of the year.
Still, I learnt my lesson and when I had a long marathon-training run come up, I not only took water with me but also took money out with me so I could buy a sports drink while I was out. Unfortunately, the running shop I’d planned to buy a sports drink from didn’t sell any (eh?) and although the reception of the stadium in which the running shop lives did sell a sports drink, it was Lucozade, and I don’t buy Lucozade because they’re vivisectionist scum. I had been hoping they’d sell Powerade because Powerade has given me a massive boost both times I’ve run the Great South Run but, alas, I had to make do with water.
I’ve currently got a Tesco own brand sports drink in the fridge that I’d planned to take out with me on my next long marathon-training run but as I’m no longer doing Dymchurch Marathon because I won’t make the cut-off time, it looks like it’s going to stay in the fridge for ever.
You may be the kind of person who prefers an energy drink to a sports drink but I have no knowledge of energy drinks except I used to have a boyfriend who drank them and it stank. Some people swear by energy drinks though, as opposed to swearing at them, so if you’d like to read up about the ingredients, effects and risks of energy drinks, here’s a pretty infographic for you.
The less said about my marathon training the better. Despite having a plan, and planning to stick to my plan, my plan so far hasn’t really gone to plan.
I did, however, sort-of successfully complete a 12 mile run a week or so ago, with ‘sort-of successfully’ meaning I managed to do the twelve miles within the minimum 13 minute miles I need to do to finish Dymchurch Marathon within the six-hour cut-off time and claim my medal and goody bag before everyone’s packed up and gone home, a-la London Duathlon 2013.
But since that twelve mile run, I’ve done what I believe the technical term for is ‘fuck all’. I haven’t even been to the gym or gone on a walk. I cycled to the station on Saturday but although I would count that as a valid form of exercise during an ‘athon, I’m not sure I can call it cross-training for a marathon.
Despite all this slacking though, I’ve entered the Folkestone Half Marathon which is taking place this Sunday. If I run it this time as badly as I ran it last time (limping over the finish line in about 3 hours) then I’ll probably decide the marathon isn’t for me and hope Helen, Cassie and Rachel don’t find out I’ve wimped out and never talk to me again.
Don’t be a loser like me – enter my giveaway and win stuff
Anyway, just because I’m a loser who has lost the ability to run quicker than I can walk, doesn’t mean everyone else is and so, if you’re training for a marathon and would like to win some stuff to help you fuel before, during and after training and the race itself, then I’ve got just the giveaway for you.
With thanks to Discount Supplements, one winner will receive:
- an XL Nutrition High Protein Flapjack Jumbo Bar;
- a case of 6 Maxi Milk Maxi Nutrition Recovery Protein Shakes; and
- a High 5 Marathon Race Pack containing:
- Iso gel plus x 1
• Iso gel x 2
• Energygel plus x 4
• Energygel x 8
• Protein Sachet x 1
• Energybar x 1
• 10 tube zero x 1
• 3 x sachet zero X’treme
• Run Bottle
• Run Lounge membership (3 month membership FOC)
• Marathon Nutrition Guide
- Iso gel plus x 1
So, that’s everything you see in the photos (don’t worry, you’ll get a nice new one sent directly to you; you won’t be getting my battered and opened one).
How to enter
To be in with a chance of winning the High 5 Marathon Race Pack, just leave a comment below letting me know which marathon you would love to do if time, money, family commitments, etc., were no problem.
I’ll draw a winner at random after the closing date of Saturday, 24 October 2015.
UK entries only, sorry.
Yesterday, I started to write a post about how I haven’t been slacking off, but that post was flatter than a can of Coke that had been left open for three weeks and so I spared you all and deleted it.
However, in case you’d been wondering – what with the lack of marathon training updates – if I had been slacking, then I’m here to tell you that no, I haven’t. Whoop.
But (you knew there was a ‘but’ coming, didn’t you?), I probably should confess that I’ve ignored the Thursday runs my schedule has down for me but, as far as I’m concerned, it’s not possible to slack off something you had no intention of doing in the first place.
Anyway, so now I’ve confessed to not slacking, I’m going to confess to not slacking again. I really didn’t fancy a 5 mile run today, so I asked Twitter if I could go to the gym instead and Twitter – bless it and all who Tweets in it – replied.
— Fitability PT Studio (@BoutiqueBPD) September 2, 2015
That was good enough for me (although the only weakness I could see the gym highlighting for me was my ‘slacking off to the gym’ weakness*). This next reply was also good enough for me:
and the confirmations I wasn’t a slacker just kept coming:
@jogblog Programmes are guides not religion
— 100Marathons4PTSD (@SimonABuckden) September 2, 2015
and so off I skipped to the gym, happy in my heart that I wasn’t a slacker. But… then… oh no… Twitter must have been broken because it was letting Tweets disagreeing with me through, like this one:
and this one (although this was more encouraging than disagreeing):
— paul worboys (@warderbois) September 2, 2015
but it was too late – I’d already been to the gym. While I was there though, I did 20 minutes on the rowing machine, 15 minutes on the treadmill and 5 miles on the cross-trainer (that’s about all we have in my little local gym – nothing posh like a vibration plate or anything, not that I’m complaining; I love my little gym) and, seeing as those 5 miles were the 5 miles I was supposed to run, I’m considering this valid marathon training.
*’weakness’ reminded me of this scene from Trainspotting. (Please note I am not advocating a) taking speed before a job interview; or b) telling an interviewer your weakness is that you’re a perfectionist. If you do that, you’re a nincompoop.)
Tribe recently ran a 10-day #InspiredRunning campaign which involved asking over 5,000 runners what inspires them to run. A team of 50 Tribe runners also spent the early mornings and evenings in running hot-spots around London, asking runners to let Tribe know, in one word: “What inspires you to run?”
Tribe also asked a few bloggers to join in by writing down on a piece of card one word explaining why we run and then taking a selfie of said piece of card. I must have been in an exceptionally good mood or, perhaps, drunk when I agreed to this, but the more likely explanation is that I just wanted the box of healthy snacks they promised me.
Still, a deal’s a deal and so after coming back from a run one morning, I decided to take my selfie. Then I looked in the mirror and disguised myself in a hat and a pair of sunglasses, as you can see in the photo at the top of this post.
Tribe subscription box (there was also a packet of baobob but I had that before taking the pic)
Of course, I don’t just run for pizza. I will also run for wine, chocolate, crisps and boxes of healthy snacks like the ones Tribe do. You can choose from a weekly, fortnightly or monthly subscription and each box contains four Tribe health snacks, one Discover Health snack, nutrition and training tips and invitations to Tribe events.
Special offer: Try a box of Tribe snacks for just £1
A weekly subscription to Tribe usually costs £6.50 but if you’d like to try Tribe for just £1, go to the Tribe website and enter the code CATHYTRIBE at the checkout (selfies optional).
My computer ate my marathon training schedule. Is that the best excuse ever for slacking, or is it up there with ‘the dog ate my homework’?
My guess is the latter, especially as there is obviously more than one training schedule in the entire universe. It’s just that I liked that one – it could be downloaded and imported into my Outlook calendar and if I didn’t fancy training that day, I could satisfyingly click the delete button and – whoosh! – it had gone like it never said ‘go and run, you lazy moo, you’ve got a marathon to train for’ in the first place.
However, neither a) pressing the delete button; nor b) having my computer eat my training schedule means that I don’t actually have a marathon to run at the end of November, so I thought I’d better get myself a new training schedule. This new-found motivation was partly helped by getting inspired after nipping down the road to Wye on Sunday to see Louise shortly after she’d finished running the Centurion 100. For those of you who don’t know what that is, the Centurion 100 is a running race of 100 miles. I know… hardcore. Louise is especially hardcore as it’s the third 100 mile race in a series of four she’s done this year and if you do all four you get a special t-shirt and a piggyback from Mo Farah. (I might have made up the Mo Farah bit.)
So, off to the Hal Higdon website I went to get me a new marathon training plan. Here it is.
Because I had to buy a new computer and my new computer doesn’t have Outlook or any decent email program on it, I couldn’t get an electronic schedule and had to go old school and print one off on to paper. Then, because it’s an eighteen-week schedule and my marathon’s in sixteen weeks, I had to use one of those old-fashioned pen things and cross out the first two weeks.
But, as you can see, I successfully completed day one by resting and I even successfully completed day two by going out for a three mile run this morning. And, yay me – I did it without stopping to walk like a lame-o and even managed sub-11:30 minute miles. This might be because I left the house at 8:20am and needed to be back by 9am for a delivery but you’ve got to get your incentive to work harder from somewhere, haven’t you?
As an added bonus, I even inadvertently GPSd myself a moose’s head.
I usually manage to slack off Wednesday’s running by going on a walk, but I haven’t got any walks planned for tomorrow, so I might just do the 4 miles Hal wants me to do.
Or I might go and buy some Tippex.