Update: end of week 1 … 25 to go!

7 days down, and 175 left.

175 days sounds:

  • a) long; with me running at least every other day, and a long run every Sunday, that’s a LOT of runs …
  • b) not actually very long at all, when you think I’m going from just about being half-marathon distance to being able to go the whole hog!

I’m pleased with the first week, and my mission for next week, now that I feel over the half-marathon of last weekend, is to maybe step it up a tiny bit in terms of pace, or perhaps cut some the the mid-run walks! This week I’ve got two mid-week runs (a 4-mile and 3-mile) in the schedule, and then 8 miles on Sunday.

I’ve ran beside water a lot this week, exploring some of what my local area in London has to offer (photo here was taken near my house this afternoon), and I’m reminded how truly revitalizing it feels to be around open water. That, combined with the most beautiful colors at the moment as the leaves change, has made for a week that’s felt good for the soul. More of those please! However, today I could feel a bit of a bite when out there … as they say, winter’s coming. Eek. Hopefully not for a while though!

Next week adds an interesting dynamic to the training: we’re starting a house refurb tomorrow, across our ground and second floors, which will last around 5 months, and see us without a kitchen and washing machine (and, at various points, water/electricity/heating…), and three-year-old twins in the mix. *wails*

There will be quite a lot of juggling on the horizon, with the needs of the twins, and work, and running, but hey…. apparently I like a challenge! Looking ahead to the next few months, I think come April next year I might be all challenged out!

Wetlands Sunset

 

What I Listen to When Running

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I found something had really shifted when I went back to running after having my twins. The period from them arriving to reaching a point where I was able to carve out a regular slot for running (three years!) saw me change a great deal in terms of what I can listen to when running, in a way I hadn’t expected.

Pre-kids, when running, I always listened to music, usually pretty up-beat music with a good tempo, and I would happily pop on a whole album and listen to that when out.

However, I feel now that my brain has been re-wired. The constant state of perpetual juggling I’m in, between job, and house, and kids (and the millions of things that involves), hospitals, blood tests, medications…means than my brain constantly looks like this: *@!!!!@&*!!

When I got started back into running, I automatically went into Spotify to listen to a playlist, and found, instead of helping me switch off, it was stopping me from switching off. I found myself constantly skipping through songs, unable to attach to anything for very long, feeling ultimately more anxious than before the run began.

Having thought about it, I realized that my brain, as it is now, needs the opposite: one long-form version of entertainment.

I decided to try a podcast – something I never listened to prior, as certainly for the past 3 years my life with the twins/freelancing around them in any spare hour has not been compatible with disappearing off for 30 mins + to listen to something for my own entertainment and pleasure.

And that’s exactly what I needed! Something longer to attach to, which I can concentrate on in a way that my mind both needs and craves.

I signed up for an Audible audiobook subscription, and listen to one book a month, and in addition have been listening to Desert Island Discs, Russell Brand’s Under the Skin, the Guilty Feminist and An Irishman Abroad.

Training for a marathon provides the perfect opportunity to try new podcasts, and on my list are:

  • Running Commentary
  • Woman’s Hour
  • Giovanna Fletcher’s Happy Mum Happy Baby
  • Another Mother Runner
  • Serial
  • Dirty Mother Pukka
  • Robin and Josie’s Utter Shambles
  • Marathon Talk
  • Running Stories Radio
  • Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas
  • Dan Snow’s History Hit
  • Des Bishop
  • One Year No Beer

 

That should set me up for a while (!). I’m looking forward to all the listening ahead, and I’m sure it’ll provide a welcome distraction as I push my body beyond what it really wants to be doing (which, let’s face it, is not double-digit runs at barely-o-clock in the morning!). I’ll update on what I’m listening to as I go.

Any other podcast crackers I’ve not mentioned? Let me know!

 

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Right, the plan! 26 weeks to marathon….

If I’m going to survive this thing (you know, just a whole 26.2 MILES!), I best have a plan! This is definitely not something I can wing.

I looked around for a while to find the best training plan to suit my current fitness level (low but not absolutely rock bottom), to cover me from the 26 weeks from this week to the London Marathon.

While I have a way to go to get to marathon distance, for the past 12 weeks I’ve been building up from running very short distances to a half-marathon, which I did last Saturday (hooray!). It took me 2.5 hours, and the thought at the end of turning around and doing the whole thing again nearly made me faint. My knees and hips are creaking at the memory! The reality of the task ahead is really sinking in.

But back to the marathon training plan: starting at week 7 as my week 1, this is the plan I’ll be following between now  and 22nd April, for anyone reading who’s on the same journey and also thinking about their schedule.

Starting at week 7, this covers a distance of over 600 miles between now and marathon completion. So basically East London to John O’ Groats (644 miles), or the Giant’s Causeway to Dingle….and back again (622 miles). Yeah, no bother.

I’m going to check in at the end of each week to track how I got on, knowing that the update is coming, so hopefully that will help me get out of my warm bed on a freezing Sunday morning for my long run!

My next mission is to get a good pair of trainers that fits right, and suits my gait, to set me up for the road ahead. I’ll update on that experience once my shiny new trainers are in hand.
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Running autumn

 

The countdown is on: 6 months to marathon

So today the countdown is officially on … it’s 6 months to the day until the London Marathon on 22 April 2018, where my plan is: a) that a skinnier, fitter, healthier version of myself will smash* the 26.2 miles (* erm, maybe ‘survive’ is a more realistic goal!), having…; b) raised lots of money for the amazing Great Ormond Street Hospital and Children’s Charity!

It’s safe to say that regardless of whether you have yet to be touched by the amazing work Great Ormond Street do, you will be aware of how many lives they have touched, my family’s included.

I’ve got a LONG road ahead with training to be able to do the distance, so this is a real challenge for me, both in terms of increasing fitness, and losing weight. 3 months ago my back-to-fitness journey began, just after my twins turned 3, and a few very wild years following their arrival.

Having cut out the booze completely, and donned the trainers, I started off running a couple of miles at a time, and yesterday I ran a half-marathon, having dropped nearly 2.5 stone during those 12 weeks. Don’t worry – there’s much more where that came from, and that’s the next mission! I’ve committed to saying alcohol-free for the rest of the journey, another challenge to add into the big challenge! If you’re gonna do it, then REALLY do it!

I’ll use this page as well as my Facebook page to update friends and family on my progress – the highs and the lows – which will serve as good motivation to keeping me on the straight and narrow through all the upcoming freezing winter runs!! Nothing like a bit of accountability!

Bring it on!

 

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