Friday, 9 March 2012

It's been nearly 5 months since my last confession...

This has to sum up the whole reason for writing this blog - how does one fit in marathon training into a normal, busy, working and parenting schedule? This normal person has struggled, it has to be said.

My little supporter at
the Leeds Abbey Dash 2011
Since my last blog post I have:
  • Run another 10k race and achieved a PB of 56:55 (Leeds Abbey Dash November 2011)
  • Started a (demanding) new job
  • Developed perma-blood-blisters
  • Nearly stopped running altogether
  • Found a Kettle Bell and Pilates class to replace (as close as I can) my Power Plate classes
  • Bought a magazine about training for marathons (it made me feel better)
  • Lost half a stone and have a flatter stomach than I've ever had and (hurray!) and;
  • Run my longest, hardest and highest ever...
I've been in my new job for 4 1/2 months now, and whilst I'm really enjoying it and know it was the best move for me I've been the most sedentary I've been in nearly 2 years and I'm really struggling. Whilst working at the University I was blessed to be able to incorporate regular runs into my commute, running from the Uni to where I park my car 3 miles away. Sometimes if I missed the tram I would walk 1 or 2 stops to pick the next one up instead of standing around in the cold. The benefit being that I got home at a reasonable time and I didn't need to think about then donning the kit for a cold, night run. My new job sees me travelling to Ilkley 3 days a week by car and working from home 2 days. The work is good but demanding and, being the kind of conscientious gal I am, I get really absorbed in it and can sit for hours (unhealthily) staring at a computer screen to get done what I need to. I can't bring myself to wear a pedometer as I am under no illusion I probably don't manage more than 50 metres a day at the moment. My movements on a typical day look something like:

1. Roll out of bed to bathroom (3 metres)
2. Roll from bathroom to bedroom to get dressed (3 metres)
3. Roll into sons room to get him dressed (1 metre)
4. Trot downstairs (5 metres)
5. Trot to the car (5 metres)
6. Drive to nursery (0 metres)
7. Walk son into nursery and back to car (10 metres)
8. Drive to work (0 metres)
9. Get out of car and walk to office (5 metres)
10. Sit at desk for hours without moving (0 metres)
11. Walk to car (5 metres)
12. Drive home (0 metres)
13. Trot to house (5 metres)
14. Sit down on sofa and don't move (0 metres)
15. Go upstairs to bed (5 metres)

I'm suffering backache too from the driving, constant sitting and lack of running. Did I mention the last thing I want to do after getting home from work on a night (not evening I'm afraid to say) is run? I'm actually a lot more lethargic from not running as a result.

However, after my initial shell shock regarding the closure of my favourite exercise class I discovered, just before Christmas, a kettlebell class in Penistone my friend attends. I've been going pretty much every Monday night since then and have discovered muscles I never even thought my body possessed and the best thing - they're starting to show! It's a tough 1 hour workout on a Monday night straight from work but thankfully I tend to work from home then so it's not such a rush back from Ilkley to Barnsley. As if this wasn't torture enough, over the Christmas break I decided to look for a pilates class. I've always wanted to do pilates properly (and not just in front of the Wii or a DVD) and considered it a good conditioning exercise for climbing. Pity I've not been climbing for several months to test the theory... But I've also found it to be excellent for conditioning for running too. Whilst I find pilates a contrast to kettlebells (quite relaxing!) I often feel as sore the day after and, more often than not, my core hurts more from "against the wall" or "jacks" than any "russian twists" with a kettlebell.

So, how has this affected my running?

My speed hasn't improved, neither probably has my form, however my recovery period and ability to climb hills without stopping has certainly improved. Several weeks ago I ran my furthest distance so far (19 miles) and climbed my highest elevation in preparation for the marathon. Admittedly I wasn't very fast at all and at that pace I would barely make it round in 5 hours. I also felt physically wrecked - wretched in fact - like I can't describe (and incidentally am now scared witless about running a further 7 miles but that's another story) however I did it and managed to recover within a day - or at least could walk properly after a day. This is a far cry from the next furthest distance I've run at 16 miles which rendered me immobile for the best part of a week, in preparation for the Sheffield Half Marathon last year so I am at least fitter and leaner than I've ever been even if I won't be cracking a 4 hour 26.2.

I'm determined to finish though, so one day my boy can be proud of his ma.