Rants and raves #25

**Disclaimer: I’m writing this post after the snowy weather meant that the 7 Pools Run was postponed. As a result, I’m feeling a little frustrated. I’m also a little grumpy because I have a feeling that the weather will make my journey back to Wallingford more challenging (and longer!) than normal. As always, all moans and groans and rants and raves represent my own views. Other far less negative and far superior running and fitness blogs are available**

Rave: Running in Wallingford

After spending a couple of months living (sort of) and working in Wallingford, I’m starting to appreciate the town a little bit more. Wallingford is small and has a ridiculous number of pubs, but the majority of people I’ve met are incredibly friendly.

I’ve already mentioned Run Wallingford. I’m now thinking about trying out one of Wallingford Triathlon Club’s coached Thursday evening running sessions. I bumped into them last month and was invited to join them, I just hope that they realise I’m never going to do a triathlon!

Rant: Public transport, again

On Friday, thanks to the flexitime system at work, I left the office at 15:00, and started the journey from Wallingford to Four Oaks. The journey was going well until a woman ignored several other empty seats and sat next to me. I’ve already complained about #manspreaders on public transport, this lady managed to outdo them all. Luckily, she got off at Leamington Spa, as I was starting to feel quite claustrophobic squashed into a corner.

The train reached Birmingham, and before everyone had got off, people started to barge their way onto the train. Awesome, I hate people who do this. I navigated my way to Platform 8, and discovered that the train to Lichfield was running 10 minutes late, again. The train arrived, people got off and a huge number of people – it was Friday rush-hour – tried to get on. I spotted a seat with a bag on it and politely asked the owner of the bag if she could move the bag. I was so taken aback when she said “no” I decided to sit on her precious bag.

I wrote a quick tweet about ‘bag lady’ – apologies for the appalling grammar, but I was aware that she was fuming, and shared it. Unfortunately, my phone died, so I wasn’t able to see all the likes and comments.


Thanks for all of the support. I get the feeling that a lot of people have had similar experiences. Hopefully, ‘bag lady’ will realise that seats on busy, rush-hour trains are for people and not for bags. After all, I doubt her bag had a ticket.

Rave: parkrun  

I kept quiet about how I felt at the time, but towards the middle of last year, I completely fell out of love with parkrun. While the majority of runners looked forward to their weekly dose of parkrun, I preferred to lie in bed feeling lazy.ParkrunFast forward six months and I’m pleased to report that I’m finally feeling the parkrun love again. I just need to work out how to catch the attention of the official photographer at my local parkrun.

Rant: Random weather

What on earth is going on with the weather at the moment? On Friday, it was sunny and warm, on Saturday it snowed on and off all day and yesterday the weather was rubbish. The dubious weather forecast led to the cancellation and postponement of quite a few local races including the Ashby 20, the Coventry and the Stafford Half marathons and the 7 Pools Run.BBC Weather SundayAfter DNSing the Cambridge Half due to illness earlier this month, I was really looking forward to the 7 Pools Run in Sutton Park. I thought that a 10k cross country run in a park was more or less guaranteed to take place. Unfortunately, the race organisers decided to postpone the race. I’ve got everything crossed they manage to find an alternative date.

Rave: The online running community

After a slightly steady start, I raised over £500 for the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust. When I looked through my supporters, I discovered that the vast majority were runners I’ve never actually met in real life. The online running community – especially Fetcheveryone – is bloody amazing.

I’m a glutton for punishment and have decided to attempt to raise £1000 for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. I’ve got until October and will be harassing contacting some of Geoff’s ex-colleagues.

Rant: Office heroes

It’s only March, and I’ve already had several coughs, colds and sore throats. A poorly timed sore throat and cough resulted in me DNSing the Cambridge Half earlier this month. Although I’m blaming public transport for some of my illness woes, I’m also blaming people who come into the office when they are ill.sick-office-employees-cartoon-598x325


As I can’t avoid travelling on buses and trains and spending over 39 hours a week in a warm and potentially lurgy-filled office, I’m going to have to find ways to boost my incredibly fragile immune system. I can’t DNS any more races due to illness!

Rave: Learning how to say no

It’s taken me 35+ years, but I’ve finally sussed out how to say “no” to people. I’ve also stopped trying to please everyone. Once I’ve overcome the initial feelings of guilt, it feels great. I’ve also found the confidence to decline quite a few questionable blogging opportunities.

Once again, if you’ve made it to the end of my latest collection of random rants and raves then thanks!

Have you ever fallen out of love with parkrun?

Did the recent bad weather impact your training and racing plans?


Cambridge Half Marathon training week 12

As always, I hope that everyone had an amazing weekend. My weekend unfortunately didn’t exactly go to plan…Collage 34The final week of my 12 week ‘intermediate’ half marathon training plan contained three training runs, three rest days and ended with the Cambridge Half. Thanks to the weather and my fear of running in icy conditions, all of the runs were replaced with rest days. I was definitely very well rested before Cambridge.

So how did I get on during the final week of half marathon training?

Monday – Rest

A lack of direct trains between Birmingham and Oxford on Sunday meant that I booked Monday off as annual leave. Although I enjoyed the longer weekend, I’d rather use my annual leave for ‘proper’ holidays. Rather predictably, I wasted far too much time on Monday checking the trains and the weather forecast for the week ahead. I spent the morning getting everything organised for my trip to Cambridge.

After some world-class procrastinating and weather watching, I spent a couple of hours putting together a presentation on some of the outcomes of my doctoral research. Not the best use of annual leave. I arrived back in Wallingford at 21:00 and discovered that one of my housemates had left the front door wide open. Not ideal as the house was freezing. I got ready for my meeting in London and headed to bed in an attempt to get warm.

Tuesday – Rest

Following a slightly delayed arrival into London, I arrived at my meeting near Westminster with about a minute to spare. Perfect timing!? After a lot of debate about the snow and potential train cancellations, the meeting finished an hour early and we made our way to the nearest tube station. One minute the sky was blue, the next minute it went dark and we found ourselves walking in a blizzard. I said goodbye to my colleagues and 15 minutes later found myself walking along a rather slippery Regent Street – trainers weren’t the best choice of footwear – to meet up with Geoff.Collage 35I tracked down Geoff and we headed into Marylebone for a late lunch. After a bit of debate about what we actually wanted to eat, we ended up in Honest Burger near Baker Street. My free-range chicken burger was okay but a little dry and tasteless. Next time I’ll suggest we opt for pizzas rather than so-called fancy burgers.

I had a somewhat ‘eventful’ journey from London to Wallingford. Thanks to tube, train and bus delays, I didn’t get back to Wallingford until quite late. I took one look at the icy pavements and decided not to attempt my 40 minute easy run. This set the tone for the remainder of the week.

Wednesday – Rest

Thanks to the combination of dazzling sunshine, icy pavements and my fear of slipping over, my walk into work took ages. Once again, I was reminded that having long legs and no coordination is never a winning combination. Although I’m enjoying my job, the highlight of the day was the seriously impressive BLT sandwich I had for lunch. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water. Following my slightly hazardous walk into the office, I was relieved when I discovered that the pavements were more or less completely clear on the walk home. I thought about meeting up with Run Wallingford to do my 30 minute tempo run, but decided not to risk it.

Thursday – Rest

We had some snow overnight, but not enough to prevent me from walking into the office. I was the only person in from my team; I appreciated the peace and quiet. I decided to escape an hour earlier than usual as I wanted to pop into the sports shop in Wallingford to buy myself a Run Wallingford t-shirt. I made the right decision as the conditions worsened during my walk, one minute the roads were clear, the next they were completely grid-locked and nothing was moving. I bought my t-shirt – definitely an essential running related purchase – and managed to make it back to my room without falling over.Collage 36I was packing my bags and making sure I’d got everything I needed for the weekend when I received a text alert; all offices would be closed on Friday. I looked outside and had a bit of a shock, I hadn’t realised how bad the snow had got. I realised I probably wouldn’t be able to travel home, and that the Cambridge Half would take place without me. I’m ashamed to admit that I shed a few tears of frustration.

Friday – Rest

Thanks to #StormEmma – the irony – and the snowy conditions, my final training run of week 12 didn’t happen. As the office was closed and the weather was meant to deteriorate during the day, I decided to leave Wallingford early. The bus journey from Wallingford to Four oaks was a lot faster than usual and three hours after leaving Wallingford, I reached Four Oaks. I spent a few hours finishing off a couple of pieces of work and then got my running gear together for Cambridge. Shortly after lunchtime it started to snow in Four Oaks, the snow continued all day, and I started to worry about getting to Cambridge. I headed to bed early as the sore throat I’d been nursing all week had suddenly got a lot worse.

Saturday – Rest

I checked the Cambridge Half page and the trains the second I woke up. According to the event organisers the half marathon was still going ahead as planned. The local trains, however, were running but with severe delays. I got up, had a shower, got dressed and made myself eat a huge breakfast. I packed my bags and walked the short distance to the local train station.Collage 37Unfortunately, this short walk left me feeling so shattered and light-headed; I reluctantly accepted that attempting to run a half marathon wouldn’t have been sensible. I walked home, cancelled my hotel room, applied for a train ticket refund, apologised to all my sponsors and headed to bed.

Sunday – Rest

I spent most of Sunday doing four things; sleeping, experiencing severe race #FOMO, researching alternative half marathons and summer races. If I’m feeling better, I’ll be running in an exclusive event next Sunday; the inaugural Four Oaks Half Marathon. There won’t be a medal and goody bag waiting for me at the finish line, but I know that I’ll feel a lot better for running a half marathon.

So a huge “thanks” to everyone who has taken the time to read and to comment on my series of Cambridge Half training updates. After raising a lot of money for charity, I’m devastated that I didn’t make it to the start line. I know that I made the right decision but I’m still feeling incredibly disappointed.  It’s been an eventful training cycle; I’ve relocated (sort of) to Wallingford, started a new job and joined a new running group. Hopefully my next training cycle will be slightly less stressful.

Training totals:

  • Runs: 35
  • Time: 24 hours 29 mins
  • Distance: 144.27 miles

Final niggleometer:

  • Right heel: 2/10
  • Right knee: 2/10
  • Right calf: 3/10
  • Left foot: 3/10
  • Left calf: 2/10

Rants and raves #24

**Disclaimer: I’m writing this blog post after my niggly right knee prevented me from even attempting my final long run before Cambridge. As a result I’m feeling a little bit mardy. I’m also a little grumpy because the weekend is nearly over and I’m about to travel back down to Wallingford. As always all moans and groans and rants and raves represent my own views. Other far less negative and far, far superior running and fitness blogs are available**

Rave: Royal Parks Half

After complaining about my six consecutive failures in the ballot for the Royal Parks Half, I’m thrilled to be able to turn a rant into a rave. A couple of Fridays ago I noticed this ‘Congratulations’ email in my inbox.Royal Parks HalfAnd to think I almost didn’t bother to enter the ballot as I thought I was guaranteed to be rejected for the seventh year in a row. I’m over the moon because I’ve now got an autumn target race, will be able to tick off one of my bucket list races and will be able to continue with my fundraising.

Rant: Fundraising

Although I’ve raised £464 out of my £1000 target, fundraising for the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust isn’t going quite as well as I’d hoped. My friends, family and a couple of people I’ve never actually met have been really supportive. I’m incredibly grateful for all of their donations.

Unfortunately, my mentor Geoff’s ex-colleagues at the university haven’t been very generous. An email sharing my fundraising page was sent around some of his ex-colleagues a couple of weeks ago. Not one of them have sponsored me. I have to hope that some of them feel a little more generous when I’ve actually completed the half marathon.

I can’t wait to meet some of them at Geoff’s belated retirement.

Rave: Lighter mornings and evenings

When I started working in Wallingford a month ago, it was dark in the morning when I walked into the office and dark when I walked back home. Throughout January, I didn’t actually get to see the centre of Wallingford in the daylight. Last week, it was light enough at 17:30 to walk home without my torch (part of the route has no streetlights) and I actually got see some of the town.

WallingfordI can’t wait for the lighter mornings and evenings.

Running along the River Thames before work will be far more enjoyable than running around slightly scary housing estates. I’m also less likely to injure myself when I can actually see where I’m putting my feet.

Rant: My fragile body

Guess what? I have a feeling that my knee niggle has unfortunately developed into a ‘proper’ injury. It’s my fault for ignoring my tight calf muscles and for running parkrun the day before a 12 mile run. Injury ecard


I’ve cut back my running, have worn my CEP recovery socks, have spent what feels like hours torturing myself on my foam roller and have tried to be sensible. I just have to hope that my knee settles down enough to let me run the Cambridge Half. I also have to hope that running the half doesn’t cause long-term damage to my knee.

Rave: Run Wallingford

Although I’ve only made it to a couple of training sessions with Run Wallingford, the group are incredibly friendly and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of running and training with other people. I’m already looking forward to the lighter evenings and exploring the countryside around Wallingford.

Rant: Public transport

Until I can afford to buy myself a car, I’m going to have to rely on public transport to get me to and from Wallingford.

In order to get back home on a Friday, I catch a bus from Howbery Park to Oxford, a train from Oxford to Birmingham and then a local train from Birmingham to Four Oaks. Last week, the bus from the office was running 15 minutes late and then caught up in traffic in Oxford. The delays meant that I missed my train to Birmingham and had to stand for almost an hour.

During the last five weeks, I’ve encountered manspreading and elbowing, smelly students, an aggressive man who refused to move from my reserved seat, people coughing and spluttering, kids crying, couples arguing, drunks and racists.

I can’t wait to get my own car and my own space!

Once again, if you’ve reached the end of my latest collection of rather random rants and raves then thanks!

If money was no object, what would be your ultimate ‘bucket list’ race?

Have you had any negative experiences on public transport recently?


Cambridge Half Marathon training week 10

As always, I hope that everyone had an amazing weekend, mine was incredibly peaceful but productive. I think the highlight of my weekend was catching up on some much needed sleep.Collage 28Following a restful Monday – I enjoyed having a longer weekend and chilling out, I treated myself to an extra rest day on Tuesday, completed a 30 minute tempo run in the wind and rain on Wednesday and a 40 minute not very speedy speed work session on Saturday.

A  niggly right knee meant that I abandoned Thursday’s 60 minute easy run after 10 minutes and my 12 mile run yesterday. In addition to running three times, I also walked to and from my office every day and hobbled back home from the train station on Friday evening.

So what went wrong during the tenth week of my half marathon training?

Monday – Rest

When I automatically woke up at 07:00 I noticed a couple of things. The fact I could barely move after my 12 mile run the previous day was predictable. The snow was slightly more unexpected, and meant that I didn’t get to meet up with my brother and mum for lunch. As I didn’t really fancy falling over and breaking something so close to the Cambridge Half, I decided to stay inside and spent most of the morning writing up some of the results of my research. The extra day unfortunately seemed to last less than 0.000001 nanoseconds.

Tuesday – Rest

 I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve not managed to complete my easy run on a Tuesday. A couple of weeks ago I postponed my run because I felt too tired; this week I postponed my run because my right knee felt niggly and because I ended up back in the Boathouse pub with one of my housemates.Collage 29We got to the pub early enough to take advantage of their cheap 2 for 1 food offer. My scampi and chips were okay but not amazing. I guess you get what you pay for. The three pints of Stella I consumed during and after my meal meant that I actually managed to sleep through the extractor fan.

Wednesday – 30 mins tempo

Getting up on Wednesday morning was more than a little challenging. Fortunately, the 1.5 mile walk to work woke me up and I felt fine when I got to the office. Because I’m a complete muppet at times, I didn’t realise that I’d left my Garmin on my desk at work. As I couldn’t be bothered to walk another 3 miles to and from the office rescue it, I decided to run ‘naked’. I think I covered approximately three miles in 30 minutes. The wind, rain and challenging running conditions made the run feel worth a lot more than 3 miles. Unfortunately, my calf muscles felt incredibly tight when I got back to my room.

Thursday – 10 mins easy

I spent most of my day looking forward to getting outside, running for an hour and forgetting about everything. Although I’m enjoying my new job, I do miss being my own boss and having the freedom to experiment, to get things wrong and to ‘think outside the box. After what felt like an incredibly long day in the office, I got back to my room, got changed into some running gear, did some stretches and then headed out the door. A tight right calf and niggly right knee meant that I rather reluctantly abandoned my run after only 10 minutes. Sometimes I really hate being such an injury-prone runner.

Friday – 40 mins torture

Although the walk into the office on Friday morning was rather chilly, I felt a touch jealous of the person I spotted rowing on the River Thames. What an incredible way to start the day.  Collage 30Once again I managed to escape from the office at 15:00. Thanks to the combination of a late running bus, traffic in Oxford and train delays, I didn’t get back to Four Oaks until almost 19:00. As my right knee still felt quite niggly I decided to give my usual stair session a miss. I had a quick shower, put all my work clothes in the wash, ordered myself a Chinese and then treated? my calf muscles to a 40 minutes of foam roller torture. As I’m useless at inflicting pain on myself, I also dug out my rather ancient ‘The Stick’ and gave my calf muscles a good massage. I think the torture session made a difference.

Saturday – 40 mins speed work

As I have a sneaky suspicion that my ‘sprint finish’ at parkrun last week buggered up my fragile calf muscles, I rather reluctantly decided to stay at home. With a bit of luck I’ll be back at Walsall Arboretum next Saturday. I wanted to save my legs for my 12 mile run and to enjoy my speed session so I used my Garmin as a stopwatch. Although my speed work session definitely wasn’t very speedy, my calf muscles felt fine and my right knee was niggle free.

When I got home I discovered that my number for Cambridge had arrived. I’ve got everything crossed I can actually run! The rest of my Saturday passed by far too quickly. I met up with mum for an early lunch, spent a couple of hours catching up on some slightly overdue housework, tortured myself again with my foam roller, watched some of the indoor athletics, had a power nap and then walked to the local pub to meet a couple of friends for yet more pub grub and a couple of pints.

Sunday – 12 miles long run

Although I felt refreshed after a great night’s sleep, my right knee felt so sore, I decided to completely abandon my 12 mile run. Years ago I would have run through the pain barrier to complete my run. I’m now a lot more sensible older and experienced enough to realise that running would have made the niggle develop into a ‘proper’ injury.

I spent an enjoyable couple of hours finishing This Girl Ran and then headed into Sutton Park for some exercise, fresh air and thinking time. The rest of the day was over far too quickly and it was soon time for me to start the long journey back down to Wallingford.

So that’s the tenth week of my Cambridge Half marathon training not exactly successfully completed. I’ve got everything crossed that my niggles don’t turn into injuries.

Week 11 – the penultimate week of my half marathon training plan – is described by my running coach friend as ‘Taper Week 1’. Happy days! As I’m starting to fall to pieces, I suspect that my Monday and Thursday rest days will be the highlight of my week. As always, I’ll meant to complete four training runs; a 50 minute easy run on Tuesday, a 30 minute tempo run on Wednesday, a 40 minute speed work session on Saturday and a six mile run at race pace on Sunday.

If my right knee is feeling niggly when I get home on Friday, I’m going to skip my 40 minute cross training session and dig out my foam roller again.

Training totals;

  • Runs: 31
  • Time: 21 hours 22 mins
  • Distance: 126.46 miles


  • Right heel: 2/10
  • Right knee: 5/10
  • Right calf: 5/10
  • Left foot: 4/10
  • Left calf: 5/10

Cambridge Half Marathon training week 8

As always, I hope that everyone had an amazing weekend. I think the highlights of my weekend were escaping Wallingford on Friday afternoon and completing a really confidence boosting 10 mile long run yesterday morning. It’s just a shame that the weekend only seemed to last about five seconds.Collage 20Following yet another tiring Monday, a persistent cough and cold meant that I treated myself to an extra rest day on Tuesday. I attended my second training session with Run Wallingford on Wednesday and completed a challenging 30 minute ‘fartlek’ session. Although I don’t think my legs were completely recovered from Wednesdays training session, I managed to complete an easy 50 minute run on Thursday, a 40 minute speed work session on Saturday and a longer 10 mile run yesterday.

In addition to running four times, I walked the mile and a bit to and from the office every day and spent an hour walking up and down the stairs at home on Friday evening. All the extra walking means that I’m starting to feel a lot fitter.

So how did my fragile feet and knees cope with the eighth week of my half marathon training? How did I find running in Wallingford for 50 minutes?

Monday – Rest

Once again, I started the week feeling shattered after one of my housemates kindly woke me up first thing in the morning. I can’t wait to move as although most of my housemates are lovely, sharing a house with six other people can be incredibly stressful. Fortunately, the windy walk to work woke me up and made me feel a lot better. As it was reasonably light, I managed to take some photos of Wallingford and the River Thames. Collage 21I left the office at 17:30, got back to my room and spent an hour or so waiting for a phone call that didn’t happen, read a few blogs, answered a few emails and then headed to bed at 21:30. My phone eventually rang at 22:30 and I struggled to get back to sleep after spending half an hour chatting to my mentor.

Tuesday – Rest

Getting out of bed on Tuesday was difficult. I spent most of the day trying not to yawn every five minutes, staying awake after lunch was somewhat challenging. I would have done anything for an afternoon power nap. I left the office at 17:30, got home 45 minutes later, went for a nap and then woke up two hours later. I weighed up the pros and cons of trying to run in a poorly lit and unfamiliar area, and decided to postpone my 50 minute easy run until Thursday.

Wednesday – Training session with Run Wallingford

Following a long but productive day at work, I found myself walking the short distance to Wallingford Sports Hall to meet up with the Run Wallingford group. Earlier in the week, the group leader had sent around an email recommending everyone wore trail shoes. As my trail shoes were chilling out in Four Oaks, I had to make do with my Brooks Adrenalines. The group leader explained that we would be completing triangle and pyramid sessions on the local football field. Both training sessions sounded relativity simple but turned out to quite difficult.Collage 22After a quick warm-up, we split into two groups of seven. My group started with a ‘pyramid’ session, let’s just say I was reminded that I’m a rubbish sprinter and was struggling towards the end. My group then headed to the ‘triangle’ and spent 20 minutes walking, jogging and then running along the three sides of the triangle. I finished the hour session feeling shattered and with trainers and legs covered in mud. Although there had been a fair amount of standing around, I felt I got a good workout as running on muddy grass was energy sapping. I definitely completed my scheduled 30 minute tempo session.

Thursday – 50 mins easy

Thursday should have been a rest day. As I walked back from the office, I realised that I needed some fresh air and some ‘thinking time’ so I decided to attempt the 50 minute easy run I’d missed on Tuesday. Much as I dislike the complete lack of running routes in Wallingford, my new motto is some running is better than no running. After spending far too long faffing around getting my bags packed ready for a quick getaway after work, I got changed into some running gear, did some half-hearted stretches and headed out the door into the cold. The run itself was dull – running laps around a housing estate was monotonous – and I was pleased when the 50 minutes was over. I can’t wait for the lighter evenings when I’ll be able to run along the River Thames.

Friday – 30 mins cross-training

Once again, I managed to escape from the office at 15:00 and arrived back in Four Oaks three hours later. I felt so hungry on the final train journey between Birmingham and Four Oaks, I was super lazy organised, phoned my friend and asked him to order me a takeaway from the local Chinese. Dangerous because I knew that as soon as I sat down I’d find it hard to make myself move again. Once I’d finished my Chinese – it tasted amazing – I had a quick shower, stuck all my work clothes in the wash and then treated myself to a power nap. I eventually completed a 30 minute stair session at almost 22:30. My neighbours must have wondered what I was doing.

Saturday – 40 mins speed work

I’m not sure my right knee appreciated my 30 minute stair session as it felt a little niggly when I woke at 06:30. I’d originally planned to get my run in before 09:00, but I looked out the window, saw that it was raining and went back to bed. After a sneaky lie-in, I headed out the door and enjoyed running in a sleet storm for 40 minutes. As I wanted to actually enjoy my run and needed to save my legs for my 10 mile run, I decided to use my Garmin as a stopwatch. My ‘naked’ run felt great and I got home feeling cold but invigorated. I had a shower, got my ironing done and met up with my mum and stepdad for a large cooked breakfast in The Mare Pool in Mere Green. I was kind of jealous of the people enjoying their pints at 10:45!

The rest of my Saturday was unfortunately not quite so exciting. I entered a couple of races and resisted the temptation to enter the Great Midlands Fun Run. I sorted through all my running and gym gear and put together a huge pile to list on Facebook next time I have a week off. I then spent a couple of hours sending some slightly overdue emails. I’m so disorganised I sometimes wish I wasn’t an adult.

Sunday – 10 mile long run

Predictably, I had a terrible night’s sleep before my 10 mile long run. At about 06:00 I thought “sod it” and decided to get ready to head out on what I hoped would be my longest run since the Great Birmingham Run. My Garmin must have known I was feeling a little apprehensive about my run as it seemed to take forever to function as a GPS. I had what I hoped was a cunning plan in my mind and set out with the aim of starting at a sensible pace and then increasing my pace if my legs, feet, calf muscles etc felt reasonably niggle free.

The first two miles weren’t very enjoyable as it was cold and my calf muscles felt incredibly tight. Once I’d warmed and woken up, I started to enjoy my run and increased my pace. I felt incredibly relaxed until 8 miles into the run when my stomach suddenly started to feel rather ‘suspect’. Luckily the feeling of needing the loo didn’t last too long and I managed to finish my run without walking and without having an accident. Here’s the link to the Relive video of my run.Collage 23So that’s the eighth week of my half marathon training plan successfully completed. Only another four weeks to go! I had to switch some of the running sessions around but managed to finish all of my runs.

I just had a sneaky peak and discovered that week nine of my Cambridge Half training plan looks rather challenging. I’m concerned that my running coach has been so ambitious; my rest days on Monday and Thursday will be the highlight of the week. So following Mondays rest day I’m scheduled to complete a 50 minute easy run on Tuesday, a 30 minute tempo session on Wednesday – I may take part in another Run Wallingford training session, a speed work session lasting 40 minutes on Saturday and a 12 mile long run on Sunday. I queried the 12 mile long run with my coach as I thought it was a typo!

At some stage on Friday I’ve got to fit in 50 minutes of cross-training. If I feel as shattered as I did last Friday I suspect I’ll struggle to motivate myself.

Training totals

  • Runs: 24
  • Time: 17 hours 0 mins
  • Distance: 95.63 miles


  • Right heel: 2/10
  • Right knee: 4/10
  • Left foot: 4/10
  • Left calf: 5/10

My running goals for 2018

Firstly, I’d like to wish you all a slightly belated Happy New Year. Here’s to an injury and niggle free 2018.

I’m aware that some people are getting slightly fed up with all the #NewYearNewYou posts circulating on social media. Hopefully, my running goals don’t bore you all to tears.training-journalsI’ve already reviewed 2017 or the year of the DNS in quite a lot of detail. As I’ve now drawn a line under what was, for various reasons, a pretty shitty year for me, it’s time for me to look ahead to 2018 and to set myself some running goals.

Like last year, I’ve decided to set myself some quite challenging but hopefully achievable running goals for the year. After, with one notable exception, I failed to achieve most of last year’s goals, I wasn’t originally going to make my goals for 2018 public. Then I reminded myself that one of my goals as a blogger in 2018 is to be completely honest and open, so I decided to publish this post.

Raise £1000 for the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust – This is probably my main running related goal of 2018. Fundraising is going quite well at the moment and I’ve got a few events planned to help me hopefully reach my target.

Run 1000 km – I briefly considered setting myself the challenge of running 1000 miles in 2018. A slight twinge from my left foot reminded me that (a) I’m incredibly injury-prone and (b) I only managed to run 208 miles last year. As a result, I decided to be sensible and lowered my expectations a little. I’ve entered the 1000 km in 2018 challenge on Virtual Runner and have set my distance target on Fetcheveryone so that I can monitor my progress.

Complete 10 races – I set myself the same goal in both 2016 and 2017 and failed miserably. Although I only completed a couple of races last year, I’ve already entered several races this year. I’m quietly confident I’ll earn myself a few more running medals this year.

Complete 10 parkruns – I’ve worked out that my new nearest parkrun will be in Didcot, a short bus journey from Wallingford. I’m going to give myself a couple of weeks to get used to working 9-5 again, and then I’ll check out Didcot parkrun.

A sub 8 minute mile – My current mile PB of 9:09 is from way back in 2012. While I’m currently struggling to maintain a 10:00 min/mile pace during my training runs, I’d like to lower my mile PB at some point this year, hopefully at the Vitality Westminster Mile at the end of May.

A sub 25 minute 5k – Last year, I completed my only 5k in the not so impressive time of 32:49. I set my 5k PB of 26:49 back in February 2016 when I weighed 10kg less than I do at the moment. I suspect that I’ll find running 5k in under 25 minutes incredibly challenging, but I’m going to give it a go.

A sub 55 minute 10k – After it took me almost 67 minutes to complete the Lichfield 10k in September, I have a feeling that improving my 10k time by over 10 minutes may be asking too much. If I’m still in one piece at the end of April, I’ll enter the flat and fast Vitality London 10,000 and see what happens.

A sub 2:20 half marathon – At the moment *touch wood* my running mojo has returned and training for the Cambridge Half Marathon in March is going quite well. While I’d love to achieve this particular running goal during the Cambridge Half, I have a backup race. Injuries and niggles permitting, I’ll be running the Reading Half Marathon a couple of weeks after Cambridge.

Injured runner[Source]

Listen to my niggles – I’m definitely an injury prone runner. Some runners hardly ever seem to get injured; I’m always flirting with the injury bench. As I don’t want to spend another six months feeling slightly envious of other runners, I’m going to continue to listen to and closely monitor my niggles.

Make friends with strength and conditioning – This is one area I’ve neglected in the past. My new office is located a short distance from a gym. I’m going to join the gym and will make friends with strength and conditioning. I’d be pretty stupid not to.

Be slightly more sociable – I set this as a running goal last and failed so spectacularly, I’ve decided to set the same goal again this year. I’ve tracked down a local running group in Wallingford and am looking forward to meeting new runners and hopefully making some new friends. I’m determined to overcome my anxiety and to attend more social runs.

Running simplicity[Source]

Don’t buy any unessential running gear – I set myself the same goal last year and I’m proud to report that I smashed it. My friend bought me some funky running leggings in the Sweaty Betty sale and Myprotein very kindly sent me a sports bra, running leggings and t-shirt as part of my blogging award prize. Yesterday, I treated myself to some shorts, tops and another sports bra using the £100 voucher Myprotein sent me. So although I’m going to have to buy some new trainers and probably a replacement Garmin at some stage this year, I don’t need to buy anything else.

Have you set yourself any running goals for 2018 or do you prefer to go with the flow?

Do you have any fundraising tips? At the moment I’m planning on organising a quiz night and possibly a virtual run.

Cambridge Half Marathon training week 3

I hope that everyone had an amazing evening. For some reason, I decided to complete my six mile run just before midnight. I’m feeling shattered this morning.

I hope that everyone has a healthy, happy, injury free and PB-tastic 2018.Collage 5Following a rather lazy but incredibly calorific Christmas Day, the third week of my Cambridge Half training saw me complete an easy 30 minute run on Tuesday evening, completely miss my 30 minute tempo run due to eating far too much bubble and squeak on Wednesday, a 30 minute long speed(?) session on Saturday and a longer six mile run yesterday evening. After feeling too unwell to complete my cross-training session last week, I found myself spending 40 minutes wearing out the carpet on the stairs at home again on Friday.

So how did I find the third week of my half marathon training?

Monday – Rest

Twelve months ago, a very badly timed dose of the lurgy left me with very little appetite on Christmas Day. I was gutted as I love turkey and all the trimmings. This year, I was lurgy free and managed to squeeze in seconds and thirds.Collage 6I ate so much, our traditional post Christmas lunch family stroll was a real challenge. So much for me being the ‘fit‘ member of the family. At least the wind and wind make me feel slightly less stuffed. After helping with the washing-up – the dishwasher was broken, great timing – we settled down in front of the TV and relaxed.

Next year I want to cook Christmas lunch for my family. As I don’t have my own house, I’ll have to convince Mum to let me cook on her Aga.

Tuesday – 30 mins easy

I’ve no idea why, but I woke up on Boxing Day morning feeling really, really hungry. I also felt incredibly tired. Spending most of my Christmas Day sitting down had clearly worn me out. I spent most of the day snoozing and watching rubbish on the TV. Thanks to some quite impressive faffing, I didn’t head out on my 30 minute ‘easy’ run until the evening. The weather was perfect for running as it was cold, wet and incredibly windy. The pavements were empty as most sensible people were inside eating more food and watching TV. Although the wind made running challenging in places and I got soaked, I really enjoyed the run and felt much better afterwards.

Wednesday – Rest

As, thanks to my fragile feet, I like to leave as much time as possible between each training run, I decided to delay my 30 minute tempo run until the evening. In the end, I completely missed my run due to excessive eating at dinner time. Mum invited me around for some cold turkey and bubble and squeak, I still felt dangerously full several hours later. You win some, you lose some…

Thursday – Rest

When I woke up on Thursday, I opened my bedroom curtains and saw that the icy conditions had made an unwelcome return. As I didn’t want to break anything, I decided to actually rest on my rest day. After a reasonably productive morning, I decided to take a break from writing about rivers and switched my attention to running. I spent a couple of hours reviewing 2017 in far too much detail and setting myself some running and ‘life’ goals for 2018.

Friday – 40 mins cross training

As Father Christmas didn’t bring me either a treadmill or turbo trainer, I decided that a 40 minute stair session would be better than no session. Once again, I found walking up and down the stairs at home for 40 minutes more challenging than it probably should have been. To add insult to injury, my right knee started to feel a little bit niggly during the final 10 minutes. Next week, I’ll have to convince my friend to sign me in as a guest at the gym he goes to.

The rest of Friday was so mundane I won’t bore you all to tears with the details.

Saturday – 30 mins speed work

When my alarm woke me, although my knee still felt a little niggly, I decided to attempt to run. I promised myself that I’d be sensible and stop running if my knee became more painful. Unfortunately, my Garmin refused to switch on, so I had to run using my old phone as a stopwatch. I guess my coach did tell me to ignore my Garmin during speed work sessions.

After jogging for 5 minutes in an attempt to get my legs working – my right knee felt fine – I attempted a 30 minute Fartlek session. I think running ‘naked’ helped take the pressure off and my attempt at a speed session was more successful than it was last week. I worked out that I ran roughly 2.85 miles in 30 minutes. My knee felt fine afterwards.Collage 7After spending several hours sitting at my computer and giving myself a headache, I needed a change of scenery and some fresh air. Most sensible people would go for a quick stroll around the block, I decided a quick pint would help and walked the short distance to my local pub. As the pub was hot and noisy, I took my pint outside and spent an hour chilling out (quite literally!) and looking back on 2017.

Sunday – 6 miles long run

I decided that as I’ve never been a huge fan of New Year’s Eve, I’d start my 6 mile long(ish) run about an hour before midnight. I figured that running would distract me from the New Year’s Eve celebrations and would enable me to start 2018 a clear head. That was the theory.

After spending most of the final day of 2017 getting myself stressed out about minor ‘stuff’ – I also managed to fix my Garmin – I got changed into some running gear and spent an enjoyable 30 minutes working through some stretches. I headed out on my run at a time which in theory meant that I would quite literally run into 2018.

The six mile run was quite amusing. Although I was alone and it was surprisingly quiet, the occasional blasts of noise from the various house parties I ran past kept me entertained. One house party seemed to get louder with each lap, the singing was pretty epic. And then after I’d been running for over 5 miles the fireworks started and I assumed it was midnight. Happy New Year! I reached 6 miles a little distance from my house, stopped my Garmin and checked the time and discovered it was only 23:59. I started to run again and then the fireworks and 2018 really started.

So that’s the third week of my half marathon training more or less successfully completed.

Week four of my half marathon training plan contains four runs and one cross-training session. I’ve got to complete a 40 minute easy run tomorrow, a 30 minute long tempo session on Wednesday, a 30 minute speed work session on Saturday – I’d love to make it to my local parkrun, and a six mile run on Sunday. Today and Thursday are my much needed rest days and once again, my coach has set me the task of completing a 40 minute cross-training session on Friday.

Training totals

  • Runs: 8
  • Time: 5 hours 4 mins
  • Distance: 27.95 miles


  • Right heel: 2/10
  • Right knee: 3/10
  • Left foot: 4/10

Did you have a good Christmas and New Year’s Eve? My Christmas was pretty amazing; my New Year’s Eve was pretty average.

Do you have any races planned for the first half of 2018? I think I need to stop entering races as with my track record with injuries, I’m probably tempting fate.