Rants and raves #19

**Disclaimer: I’m writing my latest selection of rants and raves after spending the majority of the weekend on my own. I’m also experiencing BBQ #FOMO. As always all rants and raves and moans and groans represent my own views. Other (far, far superior) and less opinionated running blogs are available**

Rave(ish): The Weather

After a wet and generally miserable start, the weather improved towards the end of August. As an added bonus, the weather on Bank Holiday Monday was perfect. Untitled 1Not bad for a Bank Holiday Monday!

Although the weather is pretty rubbish in Four Oaks this morning, I reckon that now the summer holidays are over, the warm weather will make another appearance at some stage.

Rant: BBQs

The only downside to the return of summer has been the increase in the number of people having BBQs.

29901b81db0600aecb47a4875570a6bf--funny-sayings-ideas[Source]

The distinctive aroma of a BBQ is always guaranteed to make me feel really, really hungry. After a couple of cancellations due to wet weather, I’m still waiting for my first BBQ of the year.

Rave: Running

I’m still enjoying my half marathon training and *fingers crossed* my fragile feet are just about coping with the increased mileage. Last month, I successfully navigated 47 miles of pavement pounding.

Four Oaks EstateI’m making the most of being able to run. 

Not bad considering I only managed to run approximately 10 miles between February and June. I just hope that nothing drops off between now and the date of the Great Birmingham Run.

Rant: Drunk people on trains

Although, l definitely enjoy the occasional drink, I know my limits and know when to stop. Call me boring, but there is nothing worse than travelling on public transport with excessively drunk people. In the last four weeks I’ve witnessed ‘adults’ fighting, men being sexist, someone throwing up all over a train, kids attempting to set fire to a train and generally behaving like plonkers.Train grumpI can’t wait to start driving again.

Unfortunately, a minority of people act like muppets when they leave the pub. Last Sunday I ran near a couple of popular local pubs. I had to avoid smashed bottles and glasses, a half eaten Mc Donald’s, the contents of several overturned wheelie bins, a couple of piles of vomit and a pair of discarded boxer shorts. In my attempt to escape the smell of rotting rubbish, I bagged myself a Strava achievement. Every cloud and all that.

Rave: Decluttering and eBay

I’ve been decluttering the junk in the attic since the beginning of the year. I’ve discovered my school reports from primary school – I’ve always been a bit of a boffin, and the shirt everyone signed on the last day of senior school in 1995. Other random discoveries included my GCSE physics and chemistry notebooks – I hated both subjects – and my gymnastics BAGA awards. The majority of my childhood junk is now back in storage in the attic.

Thanks to eBay and a couple of local charily shops, I’ve been slightly more successful at decluttering my unwanted running gear and trainers. I’ve genuinely got no idea how I managed to accumulate so many pairs of barely worn trainers, but I managed to donate 14 pairs to a Birmingham-based shoe charity. I’ve got one more pile of clothes to sort through and then I’m done.

Rant: Royal Parks Half Marathon

Like a lot of runners, I’ve been unsuccessful in the ballot for the Royal Parks Half Marathon six years in a row. Last month I turned down three last minute charity places in the event. This year, it appears that quite a few charities struggled to fill their allocation of places. I suspect that quite a few places remain unfilled. Hopefully the number of ballot places will be increased next year. A runner can always dream.

Rave: Running Heroes

At the end of last month, I received an email with the subject – Ted Baker challenge winner! – from Running Heroes. At first I thought it was yet another dodgy email so I checked my Running Heroes account.Ted Baker

A running bonus.

It wasn’t a hoax; I really had been selected as one of 10 lucky winners. I can’t wait to receive my vest top and leggings from Ted Baker.

Rant: Wheelie bins

A rather random one to finish with, but the Birmingham bin strike is very much back on again and could continue into 2018. Awesome. As the bin collections never actually returned to normal after the last strike, I only got to enjoy one week of wheelie bin and smell free running. I was lucky. Residents in some areas of Birmingham have been waiting for their bins to be emptied for over eight weeks. I can’t begin to imagine how bad the stench must be. I’m already looking forward to running past piles of rubbish during the Great Birmingham Run next month. It will be a great advertisement for the City!

Once again, if you’ve reached the end of my latest random selection of rants and raves, then thank-you!

Due to the overwhelming generosity of the running community, A Mile in Her Shoes is not accepting clothing donations at the moment. Does anyone know of any alternative charities?

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Arch support in running shoes: separating the truth from the gimmicks

I receive a lot of press releases and emails. Some are not relevant to my blog and get deleted, others are both relevant and informative. Last week I received an email about a couple of subjects I’ve thought about quite a lot recently – arch support in running shoes and customised insoles.

The RunRepeat team recently published the results from a meta analysis of more than 150 studies about arch support and its impact on injury risk, balance, and running economy for runners.

They dispelled quite a few myths and found that:

  • Arch support and features like motion control or stability doesn’t make a huge difference to injury risk, balance, or performance.
  • The more arch support you want the higher the shoe price
  • Choosing shoes based on wet test or your arch type might be a bad idea

Although the research article took more than 185 hours to write and is therefore slightly too long to share here, the authors produced this useful infographic that presents the key findings.

Arch-support-Truth-vs-hype-2-768x3053[Source]

As a runner who can’t actually run without customised insoles, I found both the article and the infographic very informative. Both left me with quite a lot to think about.

The authors concluded their article as follows:

“Arch support cannot make a huge difference to injury risk, balance, or performance for runners. There is no point spending extra money on arch support in shoes or shoe inserts, just because a salesman thinks your arch is a little too high or low. However, custom orthotics or specific shoes can help with pain management and dealing with certain foot related problems when used after consulting with a physician or certified coach.”

I’m a member of quite a few online running groups, and I agree that many runners appear to be getting pushed into buying expensive shoe inserts they probably don’t need. A certain sports retailer with stores across the UK actually encourages their staff to sell shoe inserts whenever they sell a pair of trainers. If I was an inexperienced runner, I would probably incorrectly assume that I was talking to an ‘expert’ and would fall for the sales pitch.

If sharing this article prevents just one runner from buying shoe inserts they don’t need I’ll be happy 🙂

Did you find the research article interesting? As someone with dodgy feet and arches I thought the article was pretty informative.

Had you realised that the more arch support you want in a pair of trainers the higher the shoe price? I definitely hadn’t realised I’m being penalised for having dodgy feet!

15 tips for running and racing on a budget

As I’ve got a reputation for being careful with my money a tight-arse, I’ve decided to share some of my tips for running and racing on a limited budget. Hopefully some will be useful.

1. Buy old models of trainers. When I first started running, I would buy the latest model of my favourite trainers as soon as they were released. It took me far too long to realise that wearing the latest model of trainers wasn’t going to make me a faster runner. Old models of trainers are usually almost the same shoe at a much cheaper price. I now always search for old models of my favourite trainers online, and stock up when they go on sale.

2. Look after your trainers. I need to replace my trainers every 400 miles or so. To make my trainers last longer I avoid wearing them for anything other than running. I used to play tennis in my favourite trainers, now I know this was adding to their wear and tear, just walking in trainers can wear out the cushioning. Finally, if you need to wash your trainers then use mild soap and cold water, never put them in the washing machine.

3. Only buy what you actually need. I used to be really gullible when it came to buying running gear and accessories, and would purchase virtually every ‘must have’ running gizmo I saw advertised in Runner’s World. I realised that my spending was slightly out of control when I owned 24 pairs of trainers. It really was a case of ‘all the kit, still shit’. Guess what? You don’t need 24 pairs of trainers and the latest blingy GPS watch. I’ve spent thousands on running gear and I’m still shit at running!

all-the-kit

4. Shop around for running gear. While I’m a huge fan of my local independent running store, my limited budget has forced me to search for cheaper alternatives. One advantage of the current running boom is the ever-increasing availability of running gear both on the high street and online. Over the last four years I’ve purchased most of my running gear from SportPursuit, eBay and TK Maxx. Although I love a good bargain and refuse to spend a fortune on running gear, I also refuse to buy low quality running gear. People don’t need to see my arse cheeks when I’m running.

5. Look after your running gear. Once you’ve purchased technical running gear, make it last longer by looking after it. Apparently air drying running clothes instead of sticking them in the dryer will make them last longer. Also, make sure you read the care label on your running gear. It took me far too long to realise that technical running gear and fabric conditioner aren’t a winning combination!

6. Become a brand ambassador/product tester. The recent Asics FrontRunner campaign was open to runners of all ages and abilities. I’m pleased to see more and more brands giving ordinary runners the chance to become a brand ambassador. Occasionally brands will advertise for new product testers. Why not apply? You have nothing to lose. My friend in the USA gets to test out trainers and clothes for a major brand. I’m only a little bit jealous!

asics-frontrunner

7. Plan races ahead and race selectively. As I don’t have an unlimited race entry budget, I sit down at the beginning of the year and prioritise my races. My ‘A’ races are the races I want to do the most, ‘B’ races are backup races, and ‘C’ races are races that would be awesome to do but are far too expensive. I set myself an annual budget and make sure that I stick to it. I then look out for ‘early bird’ race entry discounts and sign up for any ‘A’ races I can afford and definitely want to run. I’ve stopped letting race FOMO get the better of me and won’t be entering the Tokyo and New York Marathon ballots until I’ve saved up enough money.

8. Race locally. While it’s fun to travel to new cities and countries to race, the cost of train tickets, flights, hotels and meals soon start to add up. I once spent a ridiculous amount of money on train tickets, a central London hotel and food in order to run a not very well organised 10k. I now save time, stress and money by entering races that are closer to home. Thanks to parkrun I’ll never have to pay to enter a 5k race again. Thanks to local running clubs and groups I can enter well organised 10k and half marathon races for the price of a train ticket to London.

9. Volunteer at races. Race organisers are sometimes desperate for volunteers. Some race organisers will offer incentives such as free race entry into the race the following year. Volunteering is also a great way of getting free running gear as some races will give volunteers the same goodie bags as the race participants. You’ll also get to feel pretty awesome.

10. Search for race discounts. Some races have started to offer quite substantial entry discounts on sites like Groupon and Running Heroes and in other online promotions. If I’m registering for a larger event online I’ll always do a quick search for online discount codes. I’ve been lucky a couple of times.

running-heroes

11. Share race day costs. I used to drive to races on my own until some running club friends asked me for a lift to a race. They gave me some fuel money and by car sharing we helped the environment. Another great way of saving money is by sharing a hotel room. I’m not suggesting that you share your twin room with a complete stranger but with your running friends. Consider alternatives to hotels, If a friend lives near the location of your next race, ask if you can stay the night before the race. Don’t, however, make the same mistake I once made and spend all night drinking wine and reminiscing about school. I didn’t actually make it to the race.

12. Look out for free training groups. Although running clubs can be quite expensive, don’t assume that you have to pay for training sessions with a qualified coach. Many running stores now offer free coached runs and workouts. Examples in Birmingham include the supervised runs organised by Up & Running and Good Gym. In addition, many races have started to offer free or very cheap training runs to registered runners. It’s always worth checking.

up-running

13. Stay injury free. I’m not very good at staying injury free, and dread to think how much money I’ve spent on physio sessions. The recovery from running injuries can be both emotionally and financially draining. The majority of my injuries have been self-inflicted and caused by me either ignoring niggles or trying to increase my mileage too quickly. Although it’s probably almost impossible to totally avoid injuries, always listen to your body, warm-up and cool-down, avoid doing all of your training on hard surfaces, and invest in a cheap foam roller.

14. Gifts. I was quite cheeky and published a ‘Christmas gifts for runners’ blog just before Christmas. My unsubtle approach worked and I unwrapped some trainers and a gorgeous running skirt on Christmas Day. Let your family and partner know that you’ll always appreciate running related Christmas and birthday presents. If you don’t want to end up having to return unwanted running gear, ask for something simple like entry into one a race or gift vouchers.

15. Start a running blog. Finally, start a successful running blog. Although there are now far too many running influencers bloggers, your running related thoughts might catch the attention of race directors and brands. If that happens then congratulations and think of all the money you’ll save on entry fees and running gear.

I hope that you’ve found a least one of my tips useful.

Do you have any tips for running and racing on a budget?

Do you have an annual race entry budget?

Rants and raves #9

**Disclaimer: this post was written while the author was experiencing both race and sexy looking running kit envy. As always, all rants, raves and opinions represent my own views. Other (far superior) less opinionated and negative running blogs are available**

It’s been a few months since I wrote my last Rants and raves post. Now that the Christmas festivities feel like a distant dream and we are halfway through January, I feel the need to get a few things off my chest. As always I’ll start with a race rave.

Rave: Christmas and the New Year

Although my temporary retail job meant that I worked right up until 19:15 on Christmas Eve and between Christmas and the New Year, I actually had a great Christmas. I attended a couple of Christmas parties and managed to avoid getting drunk and acting like a plonker. I met up with some old school friends for the first time in ages, and actually contributed to their adult conversations. Most importantly I managed to avoid getting ill and infecting my family for the third consecutive year.

If I ignore the trauma of having to spend hours and hours watching rubbish on the TV and accidentally eating a parsnip – Christmas Day was awesome. Everyone seemed to love the presents I’d bought them, and there were no nasty surprise presents. I ate far too much Christmas dinner – I love turkey – and drank far too much Prosecco and wine. There were no family arguments and the cats didn’t trash the Christmas tree. As an added bonus, I got to scoff a second Christmas dinner the following week when my brother and his family returned from Spain.

Rant: Emails and unrealistic goals

This year, I’ve set myself a really challenging New Year’s Resolution. After failing spectacularly last year, in 2017 I’m determined to avoid buying any unessential running gear. I don’t need any more running tops, shorts, socks, tights, capris, jackets, gloves or accessories. It’s only January and I’m already struggling thanks to the huge number of emails I receive from running brands on a daily basis. Although I unsubscribed from dozens of running brands’ mailing lists during ‘Black Friday’, their emails keep on appearing in my inbox. I’ve now resorted to blocking running related emails, probably not ideal as a so-called running blogger.

Does anyone know why it’s apparently impossible to block some email addresses on Outlook? I swear that I’ve blocked emails from Elite Property Network, Cheap Flights and a fake Match dating site dozens of times. For some reason they keep on appearing in my inbox on an almost daily basis. Really frustrating.

Rave: GoodGym Birmingham

One email I was thrilled to receive – yes I am pretty fickle – was from the guys at GoodGym. Although, like most runners I’d read about the awesome work of GoodGym, there wasn’t a GoodGym in Birmingham.

There is now!! GoodGym Birmingham is GO!!

I’ve registered here and am looking forward to attending the launch event. I just hope that I can navigate my way to the meeting point. The centre of Birmingham is a million times more difficult to navigate than the centre of London!

Rant: My new trainers

After more than 500 miles of generally pain and incident free running, I retired my first pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16s immediately after the Great Birmingham Run. While, like a lot of runners, I was quite reluctant to retire a pair of trainers, I was looking forward to running in a pair of new trainers.

New AdrenalinesI’d assumed that my second pair of GTS 16s would be identical to the first pair. After all both pairs of trainers are exactly the same model, width and size, only the colour is different. My assumption was wrong! For some reason my new trainers are really bloody uncomfortable, the support feels non-existent.  My feet have been shredded to pieces and I’ve got blisters in some slightly random places. It looks like I’ll be buying another pair of trainers.

Rave: Long Tall Sally #TALLERANDSTRONGER

While I love Long Tall Sally’s #TALLERANDSTRONGER campaign, I’m slightly gutted that their collaboration with one of my all-time favourite running brands – MPG – was launched after my running gear buying ban had started. Not treating myself to these capri leggings has been really challenging.

Anyway, back to the #TALLERANDSTRONGER campaign.

taller-and-strongerLong Tall Sally’s research showed that 63% of tall women slouch and 76% experience backache. While I don’t really *touches wood* have any issues with my back at the moment, I’ll make sure that I have a look at the ‘groundbreaking videos’ that are designed to target and strengthen tall ‘hotspots’. You never know, the leg workout might help to strengthen my dodgy right knee.

I’m definitely one of the 63% of tall women who have knee pain…

Rant: Niggles

Guess what? After being sensible and reducing my running mileage during November and December, my left foot and right knee niggles have made an unwelcome reappearance. I’m blaming the safety boots I had to wear at work. At the end of every shift, my foot and knee were more painful than at the end of the Great Birmingham Run.

After one eight hour shift, my left foot was so sore I thought I’d somehow managed to fracture another metatarsal. Hopefully, now that I’ve binned the safety boots, my foot and knee will start to recover. I don’t want to spend another lengthy period of time sitting on the virtual injury bench.

If you’ve reached the end of my latest random selection of rants, raves and moans then I’m impressed.

Apologies for the really, really random blog, hopefully my next post will be slightly more positive.

Christmas gifts for runners

As usual, I’ve left the vast majority of my Christmas shopping until the last minute. Although I’ve bought some amazing presents for my niece and nephew – sometimes I wish that I was six again – I’ve no idea what to get the rest of my family. My temporary Christmas job means that, once again, I’ll be praying that all of my internet purchases arrive before December 25th!

While I think that certain members of my family are virtually impossible to buy for – Paul I’m looking at you – I like to think that I’m really easy to buy gifts for. However, following yet another “what would you like for Christmas?” conversation, I’ve realised that my technique of dropping not so subtle hints during the last couple of months has failed this year.

As a result I’ve decided to be slightly less subtle. My family read and subscribe to this blog *waves* so hopefully they’ll read this post. I’ve even included pictures and links to each item to save my family time 😉

christmas-2016

1. Injinji Spectrum trail socks I know that socks aren’t exactly the most exciting Christmas present, but as my feet have turned into sock shredders, I now never seem to have enough pairs of running socks. Injinji socks are quite expensive and are probably too good for this plodder, but I think it’s time for me to invest in some hopefully more durable running socks. The colourful and quirky designs are just an added bonus.

2. Leadership in Running Fitness course I was booked onto a Leadership in Running Fitness course at the start of the year, but unfortunately my funding from Run Birmingham didn’t materialise. Although I’m an affiliated athlete, the one-day course is still quite expensive, so any contributions towards the cost would be awesome.

3. Entry into the Vitality London 10,000 I’ve included this slightly random gift because the London 10,000 is one of my favourite races. I’m pretty sure that most runners would love to receive entry into one of their favourite races as a Christmas gift.

4. Lululemon Circuit Breaker skirt (Tall) I know that I complained about the quality of the Lululemon running t-shirt I bought, but their running skirts are really comfortable. I’ve included the link to the Circuit Breaker skirt which currently costs £52. If you do treat me to a Lululemon running skirt, please, please make sure that you select the ‘Tall’ option. I don’t want to be exposing my wobbly arse to people when I’m out running.

5. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17 trainers As a runner, I’ve decided that it’s actually impossible to own too many pairs of trainers. I’m currently pounding the pavements of Four Oaks in a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16s but would love to test out the Adrenaline GTS 17s.

6. Shock Absorber Run sports bra I’ve got a huge confession to make… I’ve been wearing the same four sports bras for over three years. It’s probably time to treat my boobs to some decent support.

7. Oiselle Rundies I originally blogged about these awesome running themed knickers back in 2014. Hopefully someone I know will be visiting Canada in 2017…

8. Fitbit Surge The final item on my Christmas gift guide is the Fitbit Surge. A runner can always dream…

Have you asked for any running or fitness related gifts for Christmas this year?

October review

For some reason, October seemed to last for what felt like months. I’ve no idea why. Although I love autumn, I’m not a huge fan of the dark evenings and tend to go into hibernation mode. At least now the clocks have changed the mornings are slightly lighter. Anyway, that’s enough pointless waffle for one blog. As you know, I’ve been producing monthly summaries of my training since the beginning of the year. I’ve also written about some of my experiences as a running blogger – I refuse to use the term ‘influencer’ – currently based in Four Oaks, Birmingham.

What worked well? What – if there were any – were my running related achievements? What would I do differently given the opportunity? I then like to look ahead to the new month.

The greatest disappointment of my running career

One event – the Great Birmingham Run – dominated the first half of October. In my September review I concluded my post with the following “Hopefully I won’t let myself down on October 16th”. Guess what? By setting out at a ridiculously fast pace and by not eating enough on the morning of the Great Birmingham Run, I feel that I did let myself down. Hopefully, I won’t make the same mistakes a second time.

Although October was a bit of a disaster from a running perspective, I didn’t pick up an injury, and after a week’s rest I felt refreshed but not quite ready to run. This feeling unfortunately ended up lasting for two weeks in total!  octoberAccording to my Strava statistics I completed 8 training runs during October, covering a distance of approximately 72 kilometres – a bit of a decrease on the 130 kilometres I ran during September! I successfully completed the majority of the final two weeks of my half marathon training plan, and maintained my love of foam rolling and ice packs.

Running costs

October was an expensive month! I spent £89 on race entry fees (Birmingham International Marathon £55 and Cambridge Half Marathon £34) and £19.95 on a set of really dubious race photographs.

I also spent £60 on a third pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS trainers. When I find trainers that don’t destroy my feet, I like to stockpile as many pairs as I can.

Finally, I spent £58 on a so-called anti-stink lululemon running top. The top was subsequently shredded to pieces in places by my running number and safety pins after one run. To add insult to injury, I washed the top – because it stank – and after only one wash my black coloured top morphed into that horrible washed out dark grey not quite black colour.

Blogging experiences

Throughout October, my blogging mojo was slightly intermittent. Although I continued to write my weekly half marathon training updates, it took me almost a week to write my Great Birmingham Run race review. I had loads of ideas for new content and drafted out several posts, but never made the time to complete and publish them. Blogging wasn’t very high on my list of priorities.

On a more positive note I was sent a couple of amazing products to review and was provided with entry into a local race next month. Hopefully these opportunities will reignite both my love of running and writing…

Looking forward to November

I’m looking forward to hopefully getting back into some sort of running routine. I’ve got a training plan that will take me right up to the Cambridge Half marathon in March, I just need to rediscover my running mojo. I also need to remember to retire my purple Brooks trainers as the cushioning is now nonexistent. Thanks for the memories…

final-outingIn other news, I started a temporary job at the end of October, so I’m looking forward to working again, getting away from my desk and meeting new people. Spending the majority of my time sitting alone hasn’t done my mental health any favours and I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone.

If you’ve had a really bad race, how did you move on? For some reason I’m really struggling and can’t stop thinking about all of my training and race day mistakes.

What has been your most disappointing running related purchase? Obviously my lululemon top is quite high up on my list, what’s on your list?

Great Birmingham Run training week 8

Thanks for all of the lovely comments on my last training update blog. My family and friends don’t really understand my slight obsession with running, so your comments really helped motivate me as I approached the halfway stage of my half marathon training.Collage 20

I ended the seventh week of my half marathon training with a challenging 55 minute run. Fortunately, week eight of my training plan consisted of a taper and 5 km time trial. Week eight consisted of rest days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday – have I mentioned how much I love rest days, a 20 minute run on Tuesday and a 10 minute run on Thursday. The plan recommended that I complete a 10 minute run on Saturday before attempting a 5k time trial on Sunday. I switched around Saturday and Sunday’s training sessions so that I could make it to Walsall Arboretum parkrun for the first time since February!

Monday – Rest

I love Monday rest days! I spent the morning putting the various bits of unwanted running gear I’d sold on eBay the previous evening into jiffy bags. Although I did my best to avoid the busier lunchtime period, I was not very popular with some of the other customers at the local Post Office. If looks could kill, my half marathon training would have ended on Monday. On a more positive note I’d made enough money to buy myself another pair of Brooks Adrenalines. Evidently my feet have an expensive taste in trainers.

Tuesday – 20 mins steady

My alarm woke me up at 05:30 and I immediately thought “sod it”. After lying in bed weighing up the various pros and cons of morning versus lunchtime runs, I eventually dragged myself out of bed at 06:15 and was more or less ready to run 15 minutes later. Although the sky was blue and it was really sunny, it was also pretty cold. As I felt great I decided to attempt my slightly more challenging two-mile route. As per usual the first five minutes or so of the run were challenging, however, once I’d warmed-up and settled into my stride I found the remainder of the run quite easy. Week eight had got off to a positive start.

Wednesday – Rest

Another rest day, I love this training plan. I spent the morning working on my rivers of the Anthropocene paper, if you haven’t read about the Anthropocene I wouldn’t bother unless you want to feel really, really depressed. I also wrote a quick review of the Adrenaline GTS 16 trainers Brooks had very kindly sent me earlier this year. The Adrenalines are great – I just wish that they weren’t so expensive. Hopefully the GT 17s will be released soon. In the afternoon I changed into some of the gym gear I’m not brave enough to wear in public, and completed the majority of Oiselle’s Dirty Dozen core routine.

Thursday – 10 mins steady

Once again I found running for 10 minutes both mentally and physically challenging. My breathing was all over the place and I really struggled to complete the training run. I felt tired when I finished, and as I walked back home I somehow managed to jar my fragile left foot. Fortunately, my foot appeared to feel slightly better after I’d iced it. Being a hypochondriac and a runner is a nightmare!

Collage 21

Once I’d decided that my left foot wasn’t broken, I decided that I was well enough to travel down to London. The train journey was uneventful and I met up with my friend in Marylebone. I managed to convince my non-sporty friend to watch the final stages of the men’s triathlon. The Brownlee brothers were absolutely bloody amazing. We had a couple of pints in the Gun Makers and then headed across to Pizza Express on Regent Street. Watching several groups of runners run past made me realise just how much I missed training with my running club.

Friday – Rest

After leaving my friend at Waterloo station – there may have been some tears on the main concourse – I spent an unsuccessful hour or so trying to track down a pair of Women’s Adrenalines in a size 9. I tried four different running shops and was offered more expensive Transcends, Adrenalines in a size 8 and a couple of pairs of Men’s Adrenalines. I was reminded why I do most of my shopping online.

Saturday – 5k race or time-trial

Although it was dark, wet and windy when I woke up and I felt really tired, I forced myself to get out of bed and into some running gear. After a slightly stressful journey, I had finally made it to Walsall Arboretum parkrun. I quickly discovered that I’d forgotten how to run in anything other than first gear. I tried to speed up but couldn’t. I eventually finished in a not very impressive 28:05. Last year I would have been happy with a sub-30 minute parkrun, on Saturday I was disappointed that I was unable to get nearer that elusive sub-25 minute time.   Collage 22

I spent the afternoon working my way through the mountain of washing that had accumulated during the week and preparing some more listings for eBay. I discovered that Sweatshop had some Adrenalines in my size on sale for £80 and used my parkrun discount to get the price down to £64. Slightly cheaper than the £100 to £110 they would have cost me in London.

Sunday – 10 mins very easy jog

When I eventually got out of bed at 08:00, I discovered that my right knee was feeling quite painful. Fortunately I only had to complete a 10 minute jog, so I decided to see if I could actually run. I got changed into some running gear, drank a glass of milk, did some stretches and headed out the door. It was a typical August morning – cold, wet and windy. I walked for a couple of minutes and then started to jog. As my right knee felt okay and was actually functioning as a knee, I decided to speed up. Less than ten minutes later I’d completed week eight of my half marathon training.

So that’s the eighth week of my half marathon training completed. I can’t believe that I’ve managed to reach the halfway stage of my training without too many major injury scares. Once again I was reminded that hills are not my friend and that I need to slow down.

Next week’s training schedule contains four runs and is described as the second “building phase”. Slightly scary! I’ve got to complete a 10 minute run tomorrow, a 35 minute run on both Wednesday and Friday and a 65 minute run on Sunday. After feeling so knackered after running for 55 minutes last Sunday, I genuinely have no idea if I’ll be able to run for 65 minutes.

Training totals

  • Runs: 25
  • Time: 8 hours 35 mins
  • Distance: 87.06 kms

Races/time trials

  • 5 km: 28:05
  • 10 km: TBC during week 12

Niggleometer

  • Left foot: 5/10
  • Right knee: 5/10
  • Calf muscles: 2/10

Do you buy your trainers in-store or online? I used to buy all of my trainers from a local specialist running store but now I’m skint I tend to look for the best deals online.

Do you tend to run on your own or with other people? Although I love running on my own I’m already looking forward to returning to my running club in October.