Friday, 21 February 2014

Training Tantrums and the Flu

If you are a runner I can guarantee that your Google history includes some very weird and wonderful running related searches. From weird stretches, to foam roller uses (hilarious videos ensue) to googling running at night, in the morning, in the dark, in rain, in wind. And you have definitely searched, 'Can I run with a cold?'

Now we all know the 'neck down rule' from these late night stressful searches deep in the midst of our training. The result? Running with cold symptoms above the neck should be fine, but neck down avoid your run. Two weeks ago however, I was not in need of this rule as I couldn't get out of bed let alone worry about below or above the neck. I was struck down with bone aching, stay-in-bed-sleeping-all-day, flu. Catastrophe!

This was not in my week 7 marathon training plan. But I was so ill I didn't care. A few days later I was better and back to work, but having vowed at the beginning of my London Marathon training to be a good and sensible runner, I decided to continue to rest for the whole week and also miss my long run at the weekend. 'That's good' I thought, 'just a week off training and I can pick up the following week no problem. What a sensible runner I am.'

Feeling better I made a running date with Ellie to head to the Sweatshop run for a 5 miler Tuesday night. Excellent. Snazzy new running tights packed, and all set up to get out there again, I was raring to go. Cue catastrophe number two! I spent the day being sick with a weird stomach bug. Oh great. So another day and a half in bed and another week of NO RUNNING.

Runners World happened to post a very well timed article this week about getting back to running after the flu. But I read these things and think they don't apply to me. What about training? How will I be able to run the marathon if I've not done all the training? How will I ever get a PB at London? How will my legs carry me the whole distance if I've not done the whole plan? What if I can't run any more? These are actual mental thoughts that go through my training brain. But if I was asked by a friend, I would tell them not to be silly. To start back gradually. Listen to the Runners World advice from an actual expert who knows better than you, you fool. Listen to your body and ease back into it. There is still plenty of time before the marathon to get the long 18 and 20 mile runs in. Its still seven weeks away!

So although I should be doing 18 miles today I am going to TRY to take my own advice. I will do no more than 6 miles and not risk getting ill AGAIN and putting myself out of action for even longer. But I am in running turmoil and so am having a tantrum about it, right here for you all to see. So enjoy that. Harrumph.

Good God Crandon, you really need to get a grip. It's only bloody running.

Sunday, 16 February 2014


Having previously trained for all my previous races exclusively as a lone solo runner, I have decided that this time I would mix up my training and start running with people. Real actual people who I could meet, run with and unashamedly get my running geek on with - hopefully without seeing their eyes glaze over at another mention of foam rollers, PBs, IT Bands (the list goes on). I must commend my boyfriend, friends and family here for feigning interest when I witter on about these things. Ithankyou.

Enter the Sweatshop Running Community. The SRC is a chain of running shops that each hold a weekly run from their stores. In Manchester you can choose a 5k or 4 / 5 miles on a Tuesday night, as well as a longer run of about 10 miles on a Sunday morning. Oh, and did I mention its FREE?! That's right, not a penny needed to join or join in. Its great.

Arriving at the store on a Tuesday night is crazy, there is a great buzz in there with people chatting, new members going through what to expect and lots of chitter chatter. You get your stamp to show your attendance, sign up for your distance of choice and then wait for Rick the shop manager to outline the route you'll be taking that night. They also provide incentives for your 5th, 25th, 30th and 50th run within one calendar year with awards being handed out pre run. Last week I became a fully fledged member of the yellow army after my 5th run with the SRC. Hello yellow jersey.

There are always back markers to make sure no one is left behind so you don't need to worry about being the slowest, or keeping up with the big boys at the front, and there is always someone running at your pace. They are also quite a sociable bunch and head out for dinner and drinks together. But most of all its just fun. There are often about 125 people all together, so setting off in a big herd feels like quite the occasion. And its nice to just turn up and go, without having to worry about running anywhere dodgy by yourself, or planning yet another 5m route. And I find running with people just feels different - you often find yourself pushing much further than you would going out on your on, plodding your old well trodden path.

So if you're thinking about starting running or just want a buddy to get you out the door on a wet and windy evening post work, look into your nearest Sweatshop. You will enjoy.

And yellow is so your colour...

Manchester Arndale SRC