Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Long Run Running

After a bout of illness, I finally managed to get myself together and get back to my training plan. Saturday saw my longest run before the London Marathon and I braced myself as I looked at my training plan - 20 miles!

I will admit I was a little daunted by the mileage I had to run. Its SO long! But spurred on by the 18 miles I'd run a couple of weeks earlier and adamantly telling myself it was only a measly two extra miles (!) I laced up and went out.

It was a run of four seasons to say the least. I was greeted with glorious sunshine, which turned into heavy rain at half way point, then a bit of sleet and hail followed by some lovely strong winds which seriously made me think I might blow into the canal (an ongoing fear in my running). Thanks weather, you certainly kept it interesting.

I've heard that doing your long runs on your usual routes is a good idea, and I have to say I agree! I always thought running different length variations of the same route would be mind numbingly boring, but I find that it actually allows your body to go into auto pilot and your mind to wander while your feet find their own way.

To make up the whole 20 miles, I did an out and back 8 miles, then my usual 12 - 16 mile route. I found that this broke it up into sections - 8 miles, then 12 miles, then just a 4 mile loop of one of my normal routes to get the mileage up to 16, and from there it was just 4 miles to get home. I know, it sounds bonkers but it totally worked! I'm hoping that if I study the marathon route and think of it this way it may well help in the despairing 20 - 25 miles where all you want to do is cry.

Speaking of which, I often get WAY over emotional on my long runs and this one did not disappoint. I had a tiny wee little sob towards the very end, and not even because of the pain. Sometimes its just a little....overwhelming. Honestly, this running malarkey does strange things to you.

Still that's it - longest run done - 20 miles in 2 hours 42 mins...hurrah! Just a few more runs and only two and a half weeks until the big day. Scary and exciting all at once.

Bring it on!

Post Run YUM

Now I'm clearly no nutritional expert but even I know that I should eat something packed with protein post long run to help muscle recovery.

After my longest training run for the London Marathon, last weekend I devoured the following and thought I would share. It is by no means ground-breaking, but it is nice, has the benefit of protein, is ridiculously quick to make and is so easy it barely constitutes a recipe. So basically perfect after a super long run when all you want to do is lie down

You will need:
a ripe avocado
salt and pepper
It tastes better than it looks
Come in after your run and continue with your post run routine until your hunger strikes and you want to eat some food. Crack two eggs into a pan of water and poach using your preferred method. Until last weekend I'd never successfully poached an egg before so I turned to trusty Julia Childs and voilĂ ! Real runny poached eggs. See below for her recipe. Twenty miles and two perfectly poached eggs in the same day??! Achievements all round last weekend.

Whilst poaching, pop two slices of bread in the toaster and make yourself a well earned cuppa. I like a seeded batch but you do what you like. Halve a ripe avocado and mash it up on your bread. You can add some chilli flakes too here if you like. When done, pop your poached eggs on top and season with salt and pepper.

Take your cuppa and plate back to bed with a good film and devour whilst basking in the glory of your running achievement. If eating post race ensure you wear your medal with pride.

See, really needs no recipe. Wholesome, good and tasty? Win.

Julia Child's Poached Eggs from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
How to Poach Eggs
To transfer the egg from the shell to the water you may either break it directly into the water as described below, or break it into a saucer, tilt the saucer directly over the water, slip the egg in.
A saucepan or a skillet 8 to 10 inches in diameter and 2 1/2 to 3 inches deep
Vinegar (which helps the eggs to hold their shape)
4 very fresh eggs
A wooden spoon or spatula
A skimmer or slotted spoon
A bowl of cold water
A bowl of hot water containing 1 1/2 tsp salt per quart
A clean towel
Pour 2 inches of water into the pan or skillet and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar per quart of water. Bring to the simmer.
Break one of the eggs, and holding it as closely over the water as possible, let it fall in. Immediately and gently push the white over the yolk with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 seconds. Maintain the water at the barest simmer and proceed with the other eggs in the same manner.
After 4 minutes, remove the first egg with the skimmer and test with your finger. The white should be set, the yolk still soft to the touch. Place the egg in the cold water; this washes off the vinegar and stops the cooking. Remove the rest of the eggs as they are done and poach others in the same water if you are doing more.