MY MARATHON EXPERIENCE

IMG_0619     Davina with horns

WEEK 1

My first week I managed to get myself out running 4 times increasing it gradually to a 6.7 mile by Friday.    It was a bit cold but I was wrapped up with my thermal t-shirt and gloves.  Once you start running you don’t really notice the cold.  The mornings were dark but on my way home daylight was breaking through which felt good.  The energy that running gives you really sets you up for the day!

At the beginning of the week my legs were really aching as although I exercised most days, my body wasn’t used to running.   By Thursday the aches had passed so I was ready for my longer run on Friday.

My first attempt at 6.7 mile was tough.  I had planned my route but the hill was at the end of the route and I struggled but made it without stopping!

I went to my gym, Target Fitness on Saturday morning and saw the Gym Owner,  Gary Johnson who advised me  that I should only be running 3 times per week with two short runs and a long run at the weekend and gradually increasing the long run a mile per week.  He advised me to take my time and not to over do it.  The proper training would start in January 2014.

Another guy at the gym said I should have increase my mileage to 10 mile by January.   It is good to have goals through your training programme so I thought I would try to increase to 10 mile by the end of the year and also to be able to run up Cuffley Hill!

cuffley hill  This is the beginning of the hill.  You think it stops where you can see the top but then it goes on twice as long again!

WEEK 2

With daily life and activities it is hard to work to a strict timetable so.  This week I knew I would have time to do two short runs on Monday and Thursday and I decided to do my long run on the Tuesday as I was be able to run in day light.

It was foggy and icy in the mornings this week so I decided to wear my woolly hat.  I also noticed the dark mornings were dragging on as it was still dark when I returned home.

I did a 3 mile short run at a faster pace on Monday morning.  Then Tuesday, I decided to repeat the 6.7 mile again but this time I changed the route so the hills were in the middle.  And I rocked!!  The hill was tough but I took my time and  I even managed to sprint the last 1/4 mile home.  It was colder and I was pleased I wore my hat!

I had heard there would be lots of ups and downs through my training and I had experienced my first one.

I then did my third run on Thursday at a steady pace covering 4.5 mile.  This week I noticed I was gradually increasing my layers as it was getting colder!

On Sunday I was ready to increase my mileage so I attempted 8.7 miles.  It was challenging but I enjoyed it.  I felt I had planned my route really well with the hills in the middle.  I even managed to speed up at the end but the last 1/4 mile was tough as it is a slight incline and I was pleased to be back at the gym where I had started.  It was the first time I had run out in the rain, a friend had advised me to buy a cap as it would cover my face from the rain and I didn’t really notice the rain.

WEEK 3

My Pilates classes were a bit quiet as it was the last week of term but we had fun doing a Children’s Trust Sponsored Christmas Theme Pilates by wearing Father Christmas Hats or something on our heads during the class.   I played Christmas music during the class to get us in the festive spirit.  I also offered some mulled wine and mince pies for afterwards.  I actually made a total of 96 mince pies which were enjoyed all round!

IMG_0613IMG_0636  IMG_0617 IMG_0618  IMG_0620 IMG_0621 IMG_0625 IMG_0626 IMG_0628 IMG_0629 IMG_0630 IMG_0631 IMG_0632 IMG_0633 IMG_0634

This week I had a cold threatening so I took some lemsip and drank camomile tea with honey to soothe my throat.  It wasn’t going to beat me!

I had planned two short runs on Tuesday and Thursday morning and repeat the 8.7 miles on Friday when I could run in daylight.

Tuesday I did a 4.5 mile run with some faster intervals and it felt good.

Thursday a longer steadier run of 5.3 mile although I still put in some faster moments.  I really felt I was finding my running pace.

When I woke Friday morning I was not looking forward to my 8.7 mile run as I remembered how hard it was.  I also knew I wouldn’t be able to run till the afternoon which was a challenge already as I was used to running in the morning.  I had some whole oat porridge and warmed fruit in the morning to give me some carbs and a small lunch as I didn’t want to get the stitch.  I really didn’t know how I was going to feel.

It was 2.30pm by the time I got out on the run.  As I had been running a bit faster this week I thought I would up my pace slightly which actually helped me through the whole run as the hills were much easier and my pace was more steady rather then dragging my feet.  I even managed to speed up the last mile home and the last incline back to the gym.  I flew and I wasn’t really out of breath when I got back and I knocked 5 minutes off my time!

I can’t believe how much fitter I felt in 5 days when I did the 8.7 mile for the first time.  I felt that I must have had it all right…my pace and my breathing….now I was ready for the next level…10 miles!!

hi vis top 2     Arrived in the post on Saturday.  I had won a Virgin London Marathon Hi Vis Top for starting my fundraising.  I had   received an email in the week that this would be offered to the first 5000 runners who had started their fundraising.  I hadn’t really given it much thought until it arrived in the post.  I was really pleased as I never win anything and this would come in handy on my early morning dark runs.

WEEK 4

It was Christmas week and I’d had a couple of nights out at the weekend which I really felt on my Monday morning run.  It was nothing like the last 8.7 mile run I did.  I knew once I started the real training after New Year there wouldn’t be too much alcohol involved when socialising as I really felt it in my body.

Because I’d had a bad run on Monday I did another run on the Tuesday near the gym, around the canal where it is pretty flat followed by some strength training in the gym.

father xmas hat  This is the hat I wore for my Christmas Day run to get me in the festive spirit.  So I had challenged myself to do Cuffley Hill and to reach 10 mile by the end of the year.  I planned to do the 10 mile on Friday which would include the Cuffley Hill.  It would be my first time to complete Cuffley Hill so I decided to do a shorter run with it in first.  So Christmas morning I did a 5 mile including Cuffley Hill.   Cuffley Hill was tough, I didn’t think it was going to end, it just went on and on but finally I reached the top so I was pleased I had faced my first goal.

christmas onsie  I then came home and had a relaxing Christmas morning opening presents, eating mince pies and watching tv.  I had a lovely Christmas breakfast of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and a bagel.

slasinger hat  This photo was taken after I’d returned from the 10.6 mile run as you can see I look a bit flushed.  I woke Friday morning feeling a little anxious.  The weather had been awful the night before with high winds and rain.  The rain had stopped but it was still windy.  I had a cup of tea and was going to make some porridge but a voice in my head was telling me must to get out there and complete it.  I was also worried in case it started raining again like the night before.  I decided to have my porridge when I returned so I had a banana to give me some carbs.  I knew I had ate well over the last couple of days so I wasn’t worried about burning out.

The run included two large hills, Cuffley Hill and Silver Street, Goffs Oak but there was also a lot of downhill to recover.  I took my time but kept a steady pace so I wasn’t dragging my feet. Three-quarters through I did start feeling tired but kept going.  Once I’d passed the second hill I knew I only had a couple of miles to go.   I still had some more energy to get me home.  I knew waiting me me as some warm porridge and a hot bath.

It was great to arrive home safely.  I had completed my second goal of 10 miles and I felt ecstatic but I was in need of a hot bath.

After every run I always make sure I have a good stretch, holding each stretch for at least 20-30 seconds.

I also feel that my Pilates classes are helping my running as my core is strong and I feel I can control my steps rather than stamping down which hopefully which help the impact going through my body.

This blog is mainly about my running programme but I am also doing some strength work on my legs which really does help to give you strength in your legs for running.

A good healthy diet is also important when training.  I follow a clean eating style of diet and eat healthy 80% of the time. I have also increased my carbs but choosing healthier ones such as whole oats, rye bread, sweet potato etc.

I will include more information in my blogs about my stretches, strength training and my diet.

I hope you are enjoying it and wish you a Happy New Year.  Now it’s time for me to relax for a couple of days.

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