Friday, 27 December 2013

Ho Ho Ho - Running Christmas

This week coincided very nicely with my 16 week marathon training officially kicking off on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to me! When talking about this I was often met with baffled looks and questions asking why not just delay it a week / day / forever, but no no no. This won't do. This is not the marathon way! I knew if I began my training already sacking off runs, this would set the negative tone for the weeks to come. So I dutifully pulled on my trainers and out I went. That's not to say however that my first training run was an almighty success which saw me bounding through the streets of Cardiff in glee. Hmm not quite.
Captured - the first step in my marathon training

Tis the season to be jolly and with jolliness comes hangovers. That's rights, I kicked off my training with an almighty hangover. It was hard, it was touch and go whether I would be going to pukesville half way through and it was dehydrating. But I did it - and it reminded me that training on a hangover is not wise. But hey, its Christmas so I'll give myself a little break and a pat on the back for getting out there. Go me.

Training also saw me undertake my first time ever Christmas Day run. My training plan said 2.5 miles at race pace, so after opening my stocking and pre turkey eating, out I went. It was lovely! Seeing all the kids in the park with their new toys and bikes, the little old man I passed walking his dog dressed as Santa, yelling 'Merry Christmas' to the other runner I saw across the road, and people weaving in and out of driveways ready to spread merriment was all Christmassy fun. And it took 19 mins out of my day so why not. I might even make it my own little tradition.

And then on to Boxing Day where I again laced up and headed out on a little sunny run - fuelled entirely by turkey, roasties, gravy and more red wine. It was lush, which only leads me to believe that maybe I should spend the next 16 weeks on this diet.... 

The joy was also helped by my lovely new Christmas running gear - a run down of which is below. Seriously, anyone would think I had two marathons to train for...

1. 'Life Without Limits' by Chrissie Wellington
Ironman champion, world champion, smiling champion and all round lovely lady - I thought this autobiography might be just the ticket to help with some inspiration when training gets tough. I had a quick peak on Christmas day and accidentally carried on, its good! I can already tell this will help me. One of my lovely sisters kindly gave me this even though she wouldn't want to borrow it. That's sisterly love for you - Cheers Vic.

2. Nike Headband
To keep me warm in my winter training, my lovely sister Katie and brother in law Gav kitted me out with this fleecy headband so my ears wont get cold. These things are a god send as they keep you so toasty without letting you overheat. 
Bonus points to my sis who made the shop assistant go and find a raspberry one as black was way too boring to train in. Hear hear.

3. Nike Thermal Running gloves
Warm? Check
Animal Print? Check
These need no other words other than they came from my Mum's husband who is an ex-runner. Thanks Bas.

4. Entry into the Berlin Marathon 2014
Courtesy of my Dad, entry fee paid. Woo hoo! Vielen Dank Poppa Crandon.

5. 'Born to Run' by Chris McDougall
Given to me by the lovely Tom in Secret Santa, this follows McDougall as he goes to visit and learn all about the mysterious, and baffling Mexican long distance running tribe, the Taharhumara. I;'m again hoping this will offer some motivation, I do not however envisage signing up for any ultra-marathons anytime soon (read: ever).

6. Yoga Vouchers
Again from Katie and my Auntie Helen. I think I have become addicted to The Yoga Lounge. Gift vouchers available (hint hint). Seriously if you live in Manchester go go go - blog review coming soon. And this will keep me going when legs are tight and as my favourite cross training session in the lead up to the marathon.

7. Sweaty Betty Vouchers
Courtesy of my lovely boyfriend so I can continue my obsession with snazzy lycra and weird print leggings!

What a very lucky runner I am! A Christmas full of lovely food, fab friends and brilliant family - and now also featuring a spot of running. 

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a very happy New Years -  full of drink, merriment, food and fun.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Marathon Planning

This week I've finally stopped hiding from the inevitable, pulled my head out of the sand and started what I like to call 'Crandon's London Marathon training planning'.

Putting it all down on paper and in my calendar is both scary and exciting all at once. I'm actually looking forward to that satisfying achy feel whilst basking in a glow of achievement after running 14, 16, 18 miles. I'm looking forward to the new gear I just *have* to purchase (my boyfriend has pointed out that I already buy more lycra than normal clothing) and after heading out on a few dark and chilly early morning and evening runs this week, I'm even looking forward to the winter training. But my word, putting it on a calendar makes it seem not to far away that I will be running those long old distances.

I'm attempting to learn from my last marathon prep and have made a few goals for my training. Not only for the marathon, for the training too. Drum-roll please:

  1. I will try and eat properly. Just because I've run 20 gazillion miles in a week does not mean that cake, cake and more cake is an appropriate fuel for running. Protein post run and good-for-me healthy tasty snacks will be my friend. Repeat after me, "food is fuel, food is fuel..."
  2. This time I will try and be a good marathon runner in training, and fight the voices that tell me I DEFINITELY should go out to celebrate running 20 miles non-stop - you've earned it!
    Yes, a post run beer or two is good and well deserved. Partying until 4 in the morning and drinking all the booze is not a good, or hydrating, recovery plan.
  3. I will cross train. I will build my core strength. I will do more than just bloody run all the sodding time. Last time I did barely any cross training and at about 16 weeks into the plan began to resent running and hit a plateau. Yoga, swimming and cycling (hello new bike - more on that soon) will add to my running and strength I hope.
  4. I will remind myself that running further and further and increasing the strain on my body should be rewarded with more sleep to recover. Hurrah!  

So these are my pre training vows which I hope to keep up. Now that I've written them down and shared them with you, I better bloody try and stick to them! I'm hoping that in doing it properly, I will finish the race injury free, stronger and achieve my ultimate marathon goal of runner faster than my last time of 03:59:40.

So Merry Christmas to me - my 16 week plan begins on the 23rd Dec. Ding dong.

Big goals in sight