The Winsome Run

a running blog


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Half-Marathon Training

The Great Scottish Run is on the 4th October, 3 weeks away today, so I am in peak training and it seems to be going well (*touches nearest block of wood* – which happens to be my head). 

After a rubbish summer, we have been granted a few weeks of sunshine and I have got used to running in the dry. So much so that when I was met with the prospect of heavy rain for yesterday’s parkrun I nearly returned to bed. Of course I did not, and of course it did not actually rain during parkrun. 

I have had lots of company for this training cycle: One of my club mates has been joining me for my Tuesday night interval sessions and I have very bravely joined the club’s half-marathon training group for some of the Sunday long runs. I have had mixed feelings about this, but on the 4 or 5 runs I have been on, I’ve had comapany for at least some of each run.

Today’s long run was to be 13 miles and I had planned to join the club for the whole run which was an out and back along the canal. However at parkrun yesterday I was chatting to my club mate Heather and she told me her plan to run from her house, along the canal to the meeting point, then run back with the club. Thus avoiding a commute, and getting the run over and done with earlier in the day. She invited me to join her, so this morning we headed off at 9:30 am in glorious, if slightly chilly, sunshine for a run along the Forth and Clyde canal. 

A year ago Heather was a 30min+ parkrunner. Since the start of this year she has slashed her 5k time to 27 minutes, run a half marathon in 2 hours 3 minutes and runs circles round me in most training runs. Today she kindly ran with me for our journey into town and we got to the club meeting point after 6.7 miles with time for a toilet stop before heading back to the canal for our return journey (and everyone else’s out journey). 

The return journey was considerably lonelier. Everyone sprinted off within metres of the start so I ran 7 miles on my own, cursing my slowness, cursing my club that is not able to accommodate slow runners, mentally composing an email cursing being the rostered jog leader for the half-marathon group next week, but grateful for the company for the first half of the run.

Heather had waited for me at the point where we left the canal, and we ran the last mile back to her house together. In the end I was happy with the run: 13.7 miles in total and I hit the 13.1 mile mark in 2 hours, 20 minutes which is 8 minutes faster than I ran the Great Scottish Run in 2013. 

This week I have an illustrious visitor coming to stay who I will be joining for some parkrun tourism…stay tuned ­čÖé

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Ups and Downs

Since I last blogged a week ago I have been out on my first post-injury run. I’ve also been out on my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th – it is possible I got slightly carried away!

The physio told me to build my mileage gradually, starting with a 10 minute run and building in 10 minute increments. I started Monday and was happy to discover that my ankle was pain free – for running anyway. I have also been strictly adhering to the strengthening and balance programme and I’m even beginning to master the single leg squat.

The mobilisation exercises have been more painful and I had a mini panic on Tuesday about the lack of improvement so booked a follow up physio appointment for Thursday evening. Of course on Thursday it had noticeably┬áimproved ┬áso the appointment was probably unnecessary but I’m a worry wart so it was nice to be reassured by a professional. It was also nice that the quite painful deep tissue release of the week before was significantly less painful!

I left with the caution to continue to build my mileage gradually ringing in my ears. I ignored it.

Friday I hit 4 miles, still pain free, though I was fairly tired. Ignoring that too, I planned for my usual Saturday parkrun with a mile to the start and back to bring myself up to 5 miles. It (almost) never rains at parkrun in Glasgow and yesterday was true to form. It hardly mattered though, I still felt like I was running through treacle.

Five weeks ago I ran a PB of 26:43. Yesterday my time was 29:59 and I don’t think I could have gone any faster if my life had depended on it. I was knackered. And despondent.

For the past couple of months I’ve watched my club mates doing half marathon training together. Some who were significantly slower than me have started to creep up, and while I’m pleased for them, there is a small part of me that is jealous as hell! Jealous that I didn’t join them for the training sessions, jealous that they’re running faster than I am now, and faster than I have, even during my injury free training cycles last year.

I know, I’m making a couple of fundamental errors here, the main one being that I’m comparing myself to others.

It has spurred me on though, to think about what I could be doing differently, and the one thing that I’ve come up with is cross training, namely gym work (a shudder courses through me at the very word). So I have signed on for Pay as You Go membership with the Glasgow city council leisure centres and my plan is to try spin classes. It is probably a futile gesture between now and my half marathon on the 7th of June. But it won’t hurt, will it?

Er, guys? What’s so funny?

Anyway, back to my “gradual mileage increase”. Today I was jog leading with the club again. Next Sunday is the Glasgow Women’s 10k and many of our winter Couch to 5K runners were keen to work towards that so we have been gradually increasing their distance. Today the group was happy with a cutback run of 5 miles. Not surprisingly I was still knackered and grumpy and it felt like a slog for the first 4 miles. Then something odd happened, we hit the hills to return to the north side of town from the river, and I found that it wasn’t quite so horrendous as I expected. I didn’t need to stop and walk, I was able to keep plodding up the hill. All the way to the top!

Just under a mile before the end I turned left while the others turnd right and I ran home. It is possibly slightly downhill, but it felt easier than any of my runs for days and I pushed my shoulders back and lifted my head, and decided that if I crossed my fingers, I may actually make it round this half marathon course in 4 weeks time.

A rainy run along the Clyde