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 9

I hope that everyone had an awesome weekend. I think the highlight of my weekend was managing to complete a 12 mile run. I’m feeling far too chirpy for a Monday morning because thanks to a lack of direct trains between Birmingham and Oxford last night, I decided to book the day off work.Collage 24Following an incredibly tiring Monday – heading to bed at midnight on Sunday wasn’t sensible, I completed a 30 minute tempo run on Wednesday, a slightly delayed 50 minute easy run on Thursday and only managed to do 20 minutes of cross-training on Friday. I completed my second parkrun of the year on Saturday and spent a couple of hours running around Four Oaks early yesterday morning.

In addition to running four times, I walked the mile or so to and from the office every day. Most mornings it was freezing. All the extra exercise means I’m feeling a lot fitter and ready for the half marathon next month.

I just have to hope I don’t pick up a random injury between now and the start of March!

Monday – Rest

The combination of running 10 miles on Sunday morning and not getting to sleep until almost 01:00 left me feeling shattered on Monday. Getting out of bed at 07:00 was challenging, and I suspect I did an accurate impression of a zombie while I was in the office. Looking back I’ve got no idea how I made it to 17:00 without an afternoon nap. Fortunately, the walk home in what felt like Arctic conditions woke me up. After a quick trip to Waitrose – Wallingford is too posh for cheaper supermarkets, I spent Monday evening catching up on some of my favourite blogs and responding to blog-related emails.

Tuesday – Rest

Last week, I failed to complete my 50 minute easy run on Tuesday because I was feeling absolutely shattered. This week, I failed to run on Tuesday evening because I ended up having a couple of pints with one of my housemates in the Boat House.Collage 25I didn’t feel too guilty about missing my run, as my niggly right knee definitely seemed to appreciate the extra rest day. I also really enjoyed getting to test out one of the many pubs in Wallingford. The walk back in the snow was an added bonus.

Wednesday – 30 mins tempo

On Wednesday morning, I was reminded why drinking on a ‘school night’ isn’t very sensible. Getting out of bed was difficult and by lunchtime I was seriously flagging. Completely missing my lunch break because I had to travel to Reading for a meeting probably didn’t help. Fortunately, the walk home woke me up, and when I said I was going to give training with Run Wallingford a miss, my housemate offered to come running with me. Although the cold weather and my housemates pace made the run challenging, I enjoyed running with someone else and getting to see more of Wallingford.

After returning from my run, I prepared my lunch, remembered to get my PPE together ready for spending the day doing field work, set my alarm for a slightly unsociable time and went to bed at a sensible time.

Thursday – 50 mins easy

Thursday was long and quite tiring. I spent all day doing fieldwork and think I overdosed on fresh air. At least I finally got to see some rivers! Thanks to traffic on the M4 and some ‘navigation issues’ on the way into Reading, I didn’t get home until almost 19:00.Collage 26To be honest, I felt so shattered, I didn’t feel like running. I rather reluctantly changed into some running gear and headed out before I could change my mind. The actual run was fine but hard work, possibly because I hadn’t had anything to drink or eat since lunch! I bumped into a group of runners and discovered they were from Wallingford Triathlon Club. I got home, made myself something to eat, made sure I’d packed everything I needed for a long weekend at home, had a shower and headed to feeling exhausted.

Friday – 20 mins cross-training

As you can imagine, I wasn’t exactly thrilled when one of my housemates woke me up at 05:00. Fortunately, my day improved when I discovered that I’d got a place in one of my bucket list races – the Royal Parks Half – on my seventh attempt. When I spotted the ‘congratulations’ email I thought there had been a mistake. I managed to escape the office at 15:00 and got home three hours later. I should have completed a 50 minute cross-training session but felt so shattered I only managed to spend 20 minutes walking up and down the stairs at home.

Saturday – Walsall Arboretum parkrun

I enjoyed parkrunning so much two weeks ago, I was thrilled when I convinced my friend to give me a lift to and from Walsall Arboretum. The weather felt exactly the same as it did a fortnight ago, it was incredibly cold, wet and quite windy. As I arrived at the start with less than a minute to spare, I had to start a little further back than I would have liked. Once I’d managed to navigate my way through the crowds at the start, I increased my pace and was quite pleased when I discovered that I’d finished in 28:44 and had knocked 30 seconds off my previous time.Collage 27The rest of the day was quite not as productive as I’d hoped. As both of my calf muscles were feeling incredibly tight after parkrun, I treated them to a foam rolling session. The pain was pretty intense. I spent the afternoon relaxing and catching up on some much needed sleep. I also paid £60.95 to enter the Royal Parks Half, I’ve got everything crossed I make it to the start line in October!

Sunday – 12 mile long run

Last week, once I’d woken and warmed-up I really enjoyed my 10 mile long run. Unfortunately, yesterdays 12 mile run was anything but enjoyable. My calf muscles felt incredibly tight and didn’t appear to want to warm up. I felt tired, thirsty and under-fuelled and almost stopped running after four, six and eight miles. I felt so nauseous after 10 miles I had to walk for a couple of seconds. To add insult to injury, the route I’d spent ages mapping out turned out to be 11 rather than 12 miles long #muppet

So that’s the ninth and the most challenging week of my Cambridge Half marathon more or less successfully completed.

For some reason, I assumed that week 10 of my half marathon training plan would form part of the taper. Sadly I was wrong! I have a feeling that the rest days on Monday and Thursday will be the highlight of the week. Following Mondays rest day I’m meant to complete an hour long easy run on Tuesday, a 30 minute tempo run on Wednesday – if Run Wallingford are actually running I may join them, a 40 minute speed work session on Saturday and another 12 mile long run on Sunday.

Training totals

  • Runs: 28
  • Time: 21 hours 2 mins
  • Distance: 118.48 miles


  • Right heel: 1/10
  • Right knee: 3/10
  • Left foot: 3/10
  • Left calf: 6/10


Cambridge Half Marathon training week 7

I hope that everyone had a great weekend. I think the highlight of my weekend was managing to convince my friend to drive me to Walsall Arboretum parkrun. After struggling to find suitable places to run in the evening in Wallingford, it felt great to be running in the daylight again.Collage 17Following an incredibly tiring Monday – I’m not convinced I’ve adapted to working in a office yet, I completed my first solo run in Wallingford on Tuesday evening, a 30 minute tempo run on Thursday evening, Walsall Arboretum parkrun and a slightly longer 6 mile run yesterday morning.

Once again, a lack of organisational skills and time on Friday morning meant that I found myself walking up and down the stairs for 50 minutes in the evening. Not ideal after I’d treated myself to a Chinese takeaway.

So how did my fragile feet and knees cope with the demands of the seventh week of my half marathon training?

Monday – Rest

Fortunately, Monday was an incredibly restful rest day. After a rather eventful bus journey between Oxford and Wallingford, I didn’t arrive back in my room until almost 22:00 on Sunday. I then found it virtually impossible to get to sleep. I can’t remember exactly when one of my housemates decided to make loads of noise in the kitchen by turning on the extractor fan, but I think it was around 05:00. Marvellous! Work was rather challenging mentally as I was tired and thoughts such as “This time yesterday I was running in a snowy Sutton Park” and “This time yesterday I was in Four Oaks” kept going through my mind.

Tuesday – 45 mins easy

Following a busy and rather tiring day in the office, I found myself getting changed into my ‘lucky’ running outfit just before 19:00. Call me superstitious, but I wanted to do as much as I could to make my first solo run in Wallingford a success! Once I’d warmed-up – I suspect my housemates now think I’m slightly strange – I headed out on what should have been an ‘easy’ 45 minute run. Unfortunately, the run itself felt anything but ‘easy’ as I felt both tired and hungry. After less than 10 minutes I realised my legs were not completely recovered from my snowy Sunday morning run. Looking back, I’ve genuinely got no idea how I managed to run for 45 minutes.

Wednesday – Rest

My original plan was to join up with the Run Wallingford group again. I really enjoyed running with a group last week and was looking forward to running in new places and meeting some more people. However, a sneaky peak on Facebook during my lunch break informed me that the group would be completing a circuits session rather than running. As my rather fragile feet and knees didn’t appear to appreciate last week’s burpees and squats, I decided to be brave and to run on my own again. Collage 18After spending most of the afternoon researching potential running routes in the centre of Wallingford, I ended up postponing my run by 24 hours. Without going into too much detail, I discovered something else my temperamental stomach can’t tolerate. Next time I see anything containing chickpeas I’ll stay well away, it took my stomach ages to return to normal.

Thursday – 30 mins tempo

When I got back from the office at 18:30, I felt so hungry I knew that I would struggle to make myself run. I was about to abandon my 30 minute run for a second time, when I received a text message from my mentor. I can’t share the exact contents of the text message, but I was reminded that I’m healthy and I’m lucky I can run. I got changed into my running gear.

My tempo run was challenging because I was feeling angry and made the mistake of setting out at a far too ambitious pace. I was struggling to breathe after 5 minutes, nearly tripped over after 10 minutes and wanted to walk after 15 minutes. Looking back, I’ve got no idea how I managed to complete my training run. If I feel as unfit as I did during Thursdays 30 minute tempo run, I’m going to struggle to complete the half marathon in March.

Friday – 50 mins cross training

Like last week, thanks to the flexi-time system, I left the office at 15:00 and arrived back in Four Oaks three hours later. Unlike last week, I felt shattered and seriously considered not attempting my weekly cross training session. Once I’d had a quick shower and a power nap I felt ready to spend almost an hour walking up and down the stairs at home. I’m not sure why, but I found this particular cross training session more challenging than my 8 mile run on Sunday.

Saturday – Walsall Arboretum parkrun

I should have completed a 40 minute speed work session but decided to head to Walsall Arboretum parkrun for the first time since August. Although it was cold, wet and windy and the start of the course was very crowded, I decided to see if I could run a sub 30 minute 5k. I felt amazing during the first lap, not so great during the second lap and wanted to walk a million times during the third and final lap. As you can imagine, I was over the moon when my text arrived and I discovered that I’d finished in 29:15.Collage 19I’m not sure that spending several hours on a train surrounded by people coughing and spluttering did me any favours, as I started to feel quite peaky on Saturday afternoon. I decided that I probably just needed to sleep for a couple of hours so headed to bed for a power nap. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel much better when I woke up, and the rest of my Saturday was rather unproductive. Such a waste of a day.

Sunday – rest

When my alarm woke me at 07:00, I felt so unwell I knew that even attempting to run would be stupid. Much as I hate missing longer training runs, I didn’t want to extend my cold and cough by running. I turned off my alarm and went back to sleep for a couple of hours. The rest of my Sunday was a little disappointing as I spend most of the afternoon in bed. Perhaps I should have stayed in Wallingford!

So that’s week 7 of my training for the Cambridge Half Marathon not exactly completed. I’m starting to get a little concerned about my missed training runs. Although I missed my longer run yesterday, I’m really pleased that I finally found the confidence to run in Wallingford alone.

As always, week eight of my half marathon training plan starts with a rest day. I have a feeling that unless I shift this cough/cold Tuesday will also be a rest day. I’ve then got to complete an easy 50 minute run on Tuesday, a 30 minute tempo run on Wednesday – if Run Wallingford are running rather than circuit training on Wednesday I will probably join them, 40 minutes of speed work on Saturday and a longer 10 mile run on Sunday.

At some stage on Friday, I’ve got to squeeze in an hour’s worth of cross-training. As I don’t think I’ll be returning to Four Oaks, I may well check out one of the gyms in Wallingford after work.

Training totals

  • Runs: 20
  • Time: 13 hours 10 mins
  • Distance: 73.62 miles


  • Right heel: 2/10
  • Right knee: 1/10
  • Left foot: 3/10
  • Left calf: 4/10

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.

Great Birmingham Run training week 8

Once again, I hope that everyone had a great weekend. I can’t believe I’ve successfully completed the first half of my beginners’ half marathon training plan. The second half of the plan looks slightly more challenging; it will be interesting to see if my injury-prone feet cope with the increased mileage.Collage 18Week 8 of my beginners half marathon training plan was described as a taper week – always a bonus – ending with a 5k time-trial i.e. parkrun. My training during week eight comprised of a 20 minute run on Wednesday, a 10 minute run on both Thursday and Sunday and a 5k time trial on Saturday. I switched around Saturday and Sunday’s training runs so that I could attend my nearest parkrun for the first time in 12 months. So how did my fragile feet cope with the eighth week of half marathon training?

Monday – Rest

Week 8 started with a rest day. I spent the morning completing yet another application form and then travelled into Birmingham to meet up with my music teacher at New Street station. Well that was the original plan. Unfortunately, another signal failure at London Euston – seriously Euston, please sort your useless signals out – meant that my music teacher’s train was cancelled and I had an hour wait for my train to London. Rather than loitering around the station, I walked to Up & Running and grabbed a copy of RunABC Midlands and bought some energy gels. The train journey down to London was awesome, as I got to chat about running for an hour with an ex Olympic long distance runner.Collage 19I arrived at Euston on time – train miracles can happen – and walked across to Regent Street for my meeting with my mentor. Seriously, how chaotic is Regent Street in the summer? I couldn’t imagine having to work there. A couple of hours later I found myself back in Hardy’s. The menu wasn’t as inspiring as usual and they had run out of Shepherd’s Pie, my alternative to fish and chips. In the end I ordered the Farmhouse Terrine to start, followed by fish and chips. There’s always next time!

Tuesday – Rest

The journey from London to Birmingham was uneventful. As an added bonus, the train to Four Oaks was so full of police, even the local troublemakers behaved. I should have completed a 20 minute run as soon as I got home, but I was hungry and couldn’t be bothered.

Wednesday – 20 mins steady

I must have subconsciously felt slightly guilty about skipping my run as I woke up well before my alarm. I contemplated getting my run done and dusted at 04:00, saw how dark it was and decided to wait until 05:30. Event though I felt tired I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I ‘enjoyed’ an extra long stretching and Pilates session. When I headed out the door at 05:30 I was well warmed-up and ready to run. The run itself was uneventful until I turned a corner and almost ran into an elderly man walking a dog. I’m not sure who was more startled, but the dog definitely made the most noise. I think I must have experienced some sort of adrenaline rush as I ran up one of my nemesis hills without stopping. Luckily I made it home without frightening any more dogs.

The rest of the day was so uneventful, I’ve decided not to bore you with the details.

Thursday – 10 mins steady

After my early (for me) start the previous day, I didn’t wake up until 07:00 and wasted the best part of the morning. I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed, worked through some of my PF stretches and exercises, had a productive loo visit, pulled on my trainers and headed out the door. My Garmin took ages to pick up some signal and then went into standby mode. Fortunately, it was a case of second time lucky and my Garmin decided to function as a GPS. I set out at a sensible pace and found the 10 minute run so easy, I found myself questioning the point of running for ‘only’ 10 minutes.

Friday – Rest

I spent most of the morning helping my friend take a couple of loads of garden waste to the local tip. He takes me to all the best locations. Once I’d recovered from the excitement, I caught up on my emails and printed out the job descriptions of a couple of hydrologist jobs I’d spotted. One asked for a basic CV so I spent an hour tweaking my CV and then hit ‘submit’ before I could change my mind. The second application took me over five hours to complete. At least I had a reasonably productive day.

Saturday – 5k race or time-trial

After several days of uncertainty, my friend finally agreed to drive me across to my local parkrun at 08:30 on Saturday morning. Slightly stressful. I think we arrived at Walsall Arboretum with about 5 minutes to spare, not ideal when I need to warm-up before I run. It took less than a minute for me to realise that I had started too far back and I was stuck in first gear. I’d forgotten how to increase my pace, so much for a time trial. After three enjoyable laps around Hatherton Lake, I eventually crossed the line in 32:49. I was disappointed I’d missed out on a sub-30 minute time by almost three minutes. At least I ran jogged the whole 5k.Collage 20After spending the afternoon tackling the mountain of washing that had accumulated during the week, I found myself travelling across Birmingham to the university for a violin lesson. Thrilling! I *may* have treated myself to a pint in one of my local pubs on the way home.

Sunday – 10 mins very easy jog

The sun woke me at 06:30 – so much for a sneaky Sunday morning lie in – so I decided to get my 10 minute run done early. As soon as I got up, I discovered that both my right heel and knee were feeling a little sore. I decided to head out on my run to see how my heel and knee reacted. Fortunately, the pain more or less went away after I’d completed some stretches, so I was able to complete my 10 minute run.

So that’s week eight of my half marathon training plan completed, only another eight weeks so go. I think my take-home message was that I’ve completely lost the ability to run at anything other than a ‘steady’ pace. I need to remind myself that being able to run is a bonus. I also need to stop comparing this year’s training with what I was doing last year.

Next week’s training schedule consists of four runs and is described as the second ‘building phase’. I’m not sure what I’m meant to be ‘building’ towards, but I feel slightly apprehensive. I’ve got to complete a 10 minute run on Monday, 35 minute runs on Wednesday and Friday and a 65 minute ‘long’ run on Sunday. I don’t think I’ve run for more than an hour since last year’s Great Birmingham Run. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Training totals

  • Runs: 25
  • Time: 8 hours 35 minutes
  • Distance: 48.03 miles

 Races/time trials

  • 5 km: 32:49
  • 10 km: TBC during week 12


  • Right heel: 4/10
  • Right knee: 5/10
  • Left foot: 3/10

A slightly random question, but who is your favourite Olympian? Mine is probably Nick Skelton.  

Is your local parkrun getting busier and busier? Walsall parkrun felt so crowded on Saturday, I’m not sure that the course could cope with too many more runners.

My Top 10 Websites for Runners

Recently, I’ve spent far, far too much time researching Plantar Fasciitis on the internet. My nickname could be Professor Plantar. The amount of information about injury rehabilitation is mind-blowing, and in a lot of cases of slightly dubious quality. As I’m sure that I’m not the only runner who spends quite a lot of time perusing the internet, I decided to share my top 10 websites for runners.

So here are my top 10 websites for runners:

1. Fetch Everyone If you want to write a blog, find an obscure local race, get advice from runners, enter competitions and monitor your progress (or lack of progress) as a runner, then visit Fetch Everyone. I’ve been a member since 2005 and have made some great friends through the site.

Awesome features and articles include:

2. Runner’s World Although the recent improvements to the site haven’t been popular, Runner’s World remains one of my favourite running sites. If you need advice and support you’ll find it on the forums. If you need to find a 10K race in April search the extensive race listings. The wide range of articles written by experts and occasional competitions are an added bonus.

Recent articles have included:

3. The Running Bug The running site that I have a bit of an ongoing love hate relationship with. I love the useful articles, competitions and forums. I don’t love my online stalker and the fact that I’ve never, ever won a Running Bug competition. Hopefully 2017 will be my lucky year!

Recent articles have included:

4. Strava Strava allows runners and cyclists to track and analyse their training, measure their performance against other athletes, share their training on social media and much more. I’m too tight to pay for a premium membership, so I’m aware that I’m missing out on most of the awesomeness of Strava. When I find myself a ‘proper’ job and can run I’ll be upgrading my account. On a side note, if you want to read about ‘runners’ setting CRs on bikes,  the twitter account @stravawankers is well worth following.

5. Running Heroes Back in October, the Running Heroes website featured as a ‘rave’ in one of my Rants and raves posts. Such an honour! Running Heroes works with organisations and brands to encourage and reward runners. The site is really easy to use and I’ve collated a lot of points and completed 30 challenges. While I’ve never been selected as a random prize winner, I remain quietly optimistic.

The site also allows runners to exchange their points for a wide range of rewards. I can’t wait for my running clothes ‘ban’ to come to an end so that I can exchange some of my points.

Running Heroes

6. GB Mapometer Although strictly speaking GB Mapometer isn’t a running site, it is a useful resource for runners. I used the site to plot all of my longer runs when I was training for the Great Birmingham Run. The site allows users to accurately plot and measure routes, and provides an indication of the elevation of each route. Useful for avoiding hills in the final few miles of a long training run.

7. parkrun An essential resource for all parkrunners. Although the site can be quite slow during the weekend when a bazillion runners are searching for their latest parkrun result, if you are a new runner and want to take part in your local parkrun, you need to visit the site to register. The site contains an interactive map which illustrates every parkrun event in the UK and links to the individual parkrun event pages, a blog, information on sponsors, results, some information on the parkrun team and a link to the parkrun shop.


8. NHS Couch to 5K If I had to recommend one running website to people just starting out as a runner, it would be the NHS Couch to 5K site. The site is free and contains a wealth of information for both beginner and slightly more experienced runners. There are links to download the Couch to 5K app, weekly Couch to 5K podcasts, a simple to use race finder and the dedicated Couch to 5K forums. Finally, the series of guides for runners are a useful invaluable resource.

The most popular articles include:

9. Made with Sisu I’ve been using Made with Sisu to generate data visualisations based on my training runs for quite some time. I almost ordered a print of my 2016 training runs but held back when I realised it would probably end up sitting in a corner somewhere gathering dust. I reckon that this site is probably a must for runners attempting to complete the six World Marathon Major events, the example Tokyo Marathon print looks pretty awesome.

10. The Running Blog – The Guardian The final site to make it into my ‘Top 10’ is the Guardian’s Running Blog. Described as a blog on “…all things running, from jogs around the park to ultra marathons”, there is definitely something for runners of all standards and distances. I love the ‘How was your weekend running?’ and the ‘Friday flyer’ series; some of the comments left by runners and jealous non-runners are highly entertaining.

Recent articles have included:

Hopefully some of the websites and running resources I’ve summarised will be useful to some of you. I also hope that my rambling hasn’t bored you all to tears.

What are your favourite running websites? Did I miss out any really awesome sites?

Which website do you use to search for race listings? I’ve always tended to use Runner’s World find the new and improved site quite hard to use.

My running goals for 2017

Firstly, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year! I hope that you all had a great Christmas and New Year. Here’s to an awesome and hopefully injury-free 2017.

As – like loads of other runners – I’ve already reviewed 2016 in far too much detail  – I think it’s time for me to look ahead to the New Year and to set some goals for 2017.

Although I managed to achieve most of my 2016 running goals, I still eat far too much crap food and tend to ignore the strength and conditioning ‘personal action plan’ I was given 12 months ago. Therefore, if I had to award myself an overall grade for 2016 it would be a ‘B-‘.

I’ve decided to set myself some challenging but hopefully achievable running goals for 2017. Although I love writing out resolutions and goals, I wasn’t originally going to share them. However, as previously putting my running goals into writing appeared to motivate me to get off my arse, I decided to publish this post.

training-journalsPerhaps one of my goals should have been to take better photos…

Enough waffling, here are my running goals for the year ahead…

Run 700 miles – When I first drafted out my running goals I wanted to run 1000 miles this year. However, last year I only ran 700 kilometres or approximately 435 miles. As a result I’ve been sensible and have adjusted my annual mileage target, so that this year I’d like to run 700 miles, still quite an increase on my 2016 mileage. I’ve worked out that I will need to run approximately 58 miles a month or 2 miles a day.

Complete 10 parkruns and 10 races – I set myself the same goal last year and failed miserably. Last week I worked out that due to several ‘DNS’ and a ‘DNF’ I only managed to complete three parkruns and a handful of local races. As I currently have to rely on unreliable friends and public transport to travel to races, I suspect that I’ll find this goal more challenging than it probably should be.

A sub 8 minute mile – my current mile PB of 9:09 is from 2012 when I hobbled around an indoor athletics track with tight bends with a leg injury. I’d like to lower this time at some point this year, hopefully at the Westminster Mile in May.

A Sub 25 minute 5k – I set my current 5k PB of 26:49 last February. If I fail to run a sub 25 minute 5k at some point during 2017 I will retire from running. That is a promise.

parkrun-pbI want to receive a few more ‘Congratulations on setting a new Personal Best’ emails this year

A Sub 55 minute 10k – After it took me several attempts to run a sub 60 minute 10k last year, I suspect that I will find this particular goal the most challenging. I’ve already entered the hopefully flat and fast London 10,000, and will do my best to set out at a sensible pace at the end of May.

A Sub 2:20 half marathon – now that I’ve finally rediscovered my running mojo, training for the Cambridge Half in March is going well. The mistakes I made during the Great Birmingham Run taught me how not to pace a half marathon. I’d love to achieve this particular running goal in March.

Listen to my niggles – I’ve reached the conclusion that I’m quite an injury-prone runner… Some runners hardly even seem to pick up injuries; I’m definitely not one of those runners. As I don’t want to spend another extended period sulking on the injury bench, I’m going to listen to my niggles this year.

Join a new running club – This is quite a tricky one as there is nothing wrong with my current running club, I’m just far too slow to attend the training sessions at the moment. I also have no idea where I’ll be living and working in six months time. Although I’ve researched alternative local running clubs, I’ll probably become an ‘unattached’ runner for the first time in a decade at the end of March.

Be slightly more sociable – At the moment I tend to run on my own and I’ve turned into a bit of a running recluse. This year I’m determined to overcome my anxiety and to attend more social runs. I’m also planning on pushing myself out of my comfort zone by volunteering at a range of local events.

Don’t buy any unessential running gear – I set myself the same goal 12 months ago and failed spectacularly! Last month I sorted through all of my running gear, worked out exactly what bits and pieces of essential running gear I needed to replace and then bought what I needed in the sales. While I’m still on the hunt for a couple of sports bras, I don’t need to buy anything else.  


Have you set yourself any running goals for 2017? While some of these goals are quite challenging, I hope that they are all achievable…

Are you a member of a running club? If you are, how often do you attend club training sessions? There are now so many different social running groups, I’m starting to question if I actually need to join another running club.