Thursday, 31 October 2013

Update: Three days to 10k!

Okay, NOW I'm scared. While it seemed like aaages ago back in September, the Regents Park Winter Series November 10k is now only three days away!

Having said that, I know I've prepared (although haven't actually run 10k in training but hey) and my fitness is light years beyond what it used to be. It's been a slow slog and my times aren't exactly inspirational but I'm happy with where I'm at so far.

So I may be mildly terrified of what awaits on Sunday, but I just have to remind myself that I should be proud of my progress so far. If someone had told me I'd be doing this at the start of 2013 I would have laughed in their face!


I've done a few runs this week and am planning my last one for tomorrow - I figured it would be a good idea to have a rest day before the race, although if anyone has any wisdom on this matter I'd be very grateful!

I've not really changed my diet or anything like that in preparation for Sunday and I'm not planning on trying anything new out on the day. I'll have my usual breakfast (either porridge or bagel with peanut butter and a cuppa) and then a banana about 20 minutes before the start. It's not exactly high-tech stuff and I know there are all sorts of gels, tablets, liquids and what have you out there but they can wait for another day!

It's like they say: If it ain't broke, don't replace it with a high-tech alternative

I'm going to a Halloween party the night before and am determined to be strict with myself - no drinking! While I am the last person ever to turn down a drink, I think the thought of a 10k attempt with a hangover (bleugghh) should strengthen my resolve. And no staying up til the early hours for me...home and bed at a sensible time! Next thing you know I'll have my knitting out and electric blanket on...

I really have no idea what to expect when I arrive at Regent's Park but the one thing I learnt from the Race For Life is that I should definitely wear my glasses on the way there and then take them off for the race. My eyesight is terrible and I'm not able to wear contacts, so I normally just chance it without them when I run. However, for the Race For Life I had forgotten that I actually needed to find my way to the start of the race first and ended up having to ask all sorts of passers-by. Luckily it was easy enough to follow the pink-clad masses once I got close, but it's just a bit of extra added stress that's totally unnecessary on the day.

Looks like these babies are going to have to come with me

Looking at previous results for the course and doing my best at a little maths, it looks like I'll probably be one of the last to finish but at least that means there won't be too many people around to laugh at just how red my face goes when I run!

I've done the training (well, done my best) and I know I can do the proof is in the pudding!

Wish me luck!

Harris x

Any words of advice?

Saturday, 26 October 2013

A Tale of Two Trainers (one left, one right)

Until I started to take running mildly seriously, I definitely didn't take the shoes I wore seriously. I know, I know, classic beginner error. As I progressed my way through the Couch To 5k programme, I just continued to wear the same battered pair of trainer I'd had since I was in school. These babies saw me through three years of very reluctant PE lessons and three years of university, plus halfway through MA year. I suppose it's tribute to how little exercise I did that they lasted that long.

The only photo I have of my old friends
But the further I got through Alexandra Heminsley's Running Like A Girl, the more I came to realise that I really did need to get some properly fitted trainers for my running. Yes my old Asics had done me proud for years, but I had no idea about stuff like pronation or support. I'd sort of just assumed that those niggling aches and pains in my legs were just because I was so darn bad at running.

By the end of Running Like A Girl, however, Hemmo had me convinced that I needed some real trainers (and a hardcore sports bra, but that's a story for another day). I wasn't exactly running in my Green Flash (which I probably bought at around the same time as my first pair of trainers anyway...), but if I wanted to get any better I was going to have to treat my feet a little better.

So off I popped to Cardiff's Run And Become store. I admit I was suffering (as I still continue to) with that feeling of being a bit of a fake, but the staff there were fantastic. I explained that I was still very new to running and what I wanted to achieve and they recommended a few different trainers for me.

They also got me to jog along the street outside for a few metres to check my running style (which I later learned the swanky name for is 'gait analysis'). I was worried that this was going to be a bit embarrassing but it was honestly fine - my advice to anyone with the same worry is to head to the shop early at the weekend before all the Saturday shoppers turn up. It's also probably best to wear trousers rather than a dress!

Gait analysis done, I was presented with some a few different pairs to choose from. It turns out I slightly underpronate on my right foot and so they offered me trainers with a little bit of support .Obviously I first went for the prettiest, which sadly weren't a great fit, but after several different pairs and a few more jogs down the street, I found my perfect trainers.

And here they are, my Asics GT-1000s!
They were a bit of an investment (I've never paid more than about £45 for trainers in the past!), but I've definitely glad I bought them. I noticed that I didn't get that weird little niggly feeling in my right  knee once I'd finished my run - it turns out this was the leg that was underpronating.

I've now run about 100k in my lovely Asics and I could't be happier with them. It was a little bit daunted about spending a good chunk of money on a pair of shoes (yes I know, I'm a rubbish girl) but I'm really glad I did. As I've started to up my distances, it's nice to know that my feet and legs have the proper support they need. 

Harris x

Did you find buying your first proper pair of trainers daunting? Are trainers worth spending on?

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Update: Getting my life back and my best run so far

FINALLY I have been able to reclaim my life from my MA! The final few weeks were pretty intense, as I was balancing finishing my dissertation with a job and moving flats, but I did it! Now I'm finally able to get back on track with my running and life in general.

Getting back into it: My first run along the Thames up to Putney Bridge
Firstly I've finally been able to actually eat properly: I was living off bowls of cereal and toast for about a fortnight as I never had a chance to make it to the supermarket to buy some real food. As a night shifter I've always had a bit of a problem with this but I really didn't feel like I had a moment to spare. Now the fridge and freezer are stocked up and I'm never taking real food for granted again!

My new flat also has a lovely kitchen so I'm really looking forward to actually trying out some new recipes. My old kitchen was pretty grimy and so I never really enjoyed spending time in there, but now I'm determined to expand my (admittedly pretty limited) repertoire.

I've also been able to get back on my running. My first 10k is less than a month away now and I'm definitely starting to feel a little bit scared. The most I've run so far is 7k, so I need to start getting used to upping my distance a little. I know that I can do it, but I'm just starting to get those little flutterings of panic that began to appear before the Race For Life.

I also treated myself to a few bits and pieces from Forever 21
Having said that, yesterday was probably my best run so far. I'm a very slow runner but I'm trying to work on my speed a bit and so I set out yesterday determined to run my fastest 5k yet. I've never managed it in under 35 minutes, but yesterday I got home in 33.08 minutes. It's still not fast compared to most people, but to cut nearly 2 minutes off my time felt like huge progress. Plus I am having to get used to a big hill at the end of every run which is a bit of a killer!

I'm really excited to see what sort of improvements I'll manage now that I'm getting back into a routine.

Is routine important to you? Does your running suffer when you're busy?

Harris x

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Why blog about running?

This is a question I've been asked several times and, to be honest, have asked myself a few times. I'm only a beginner, I don't have all the pearls of wisdom that some more seasoned running bloggers do. So far the longest race I've run is a 5k (although that's set to change in November!). Don't even get me STARTED on my diet...

But so far I have no regrets about starting to blog about my fitness journey. Why? Here are some reasons!

  1. Blogging about my running makes me accountable. So many times I have picked up a hobby, joined a gym or whatever it may be and dropped it a little while later. But now that I'm writing about my plans and my hopes for my running, I feel like I have to do my very best to see them through.
  2. I now have a record of my journey. Already I'm hugely enjoying looking back at my progress and realising that I can do things now that I would never have dreamed I'd be capable of just months ago.
  3. I have already learnt so much from other bloggers and I'm sure I will continue to do so. The more I blog, the more I find myself reading other running blogs and this has been absolutely invaluable for picking up tips and ideas for my running. 
  4. I'm learning more about the online fitness community. I'm really looking forward to meeting some other running bloggers at the Write This Run conference in November and picking up some more tips on both running and blogging.
Do you blog about your running? Why?

Harris x