Tag Archives: RunCamp

“Have some electrolytes and eat a piece of kale…”

13 Jun

I just love the latest video from IFHT:

I’ve had a busy week. Wednesday started with a pool session. I wasn’t given session specifics, so I decided to do a pyramid. As my shoulder still isn’t quite right, I didn’t want to push it too much, so I just did 2000m (I LOVE that I can now say ‘just’ when it wasn’t long ago that this would have been a major achievement!!!) I did 100m; 200m; 300m; 400m; 400m; 300m; 200m; 100m. My intention was to have a minute’s rest after each one, but a slight oversight meant that didn’t happen. After I arrived at the pool, I realised that my prescription goggles and my favourite swimming hat were in my swim kit bag with my pull buoy, fins and hand paddles… and that bag was at home. I’m partial to my shark hat as it is comfortable and stops water from going in my ears, and without contact lenses, glasses or prescription goggles, my eyesight is very limited, which makes doing basic activities somewhat hazardous. I almost gave up on swimming, but I realised that I had a tri club swimming hat tucked in my rucksack. I rarely wear it as it’s not as comfortable as my other hat and it feels a bit pretentious to wear it when swimming in a public pool – I’d rather not draw attention to the fact that I’m desperately trying to be a triathlete, as I feel that other people have preconceived ideas about how good a swimmer I should be. (That’s probably in my head, but I don’t like attracting attention). I also realised that I have the cheap pair of goggles that I bought in Cyprus in my rucksack, so I put them on and went into the pool. I was able to read my watch, but even with squinting, I couldn’t make out any of the numbers on the giant wall clock.

My husband was just finishing his swim set as I arrived. I had seen him when I walked into the building (there’s a glass wall in the reception that shows off the pool), but with restricted vision, I had to wait until he was just a metre or so away to be sure that it was him. He had another 100m to do and agreed that when he had done that, I could borrow his goggles. They aren’t prescription ones, but they are quite expensive and more comfortable than what I had. I was really appreciative of them, although I’m not convinced that orange lenses are helpful. A plus side of not being able to see was that I think it helped my stroke. I know that I pick my head up far too high out of the water when I breathe and have narrowed this down to three problems:

1. I have a fear of inhaling water and don’t believe that I create a bow wave

2. I like to know what’s going on around me, so I try to have a look when my head is out of the water (when I couldn’t see anything, there was no point in trying this)

3. When I breathe, I relax and don’t kick, so my legs sink. I can’t believe that I’ve only just noticed this!

Tri club swim hat montage

In the evening, a lot of my friends did a cross-country race, but I went to see the sports masseur who had a look at my injured right leg. I don’t know what she did to it, but it hurt then and it’s still painful now 😦 Hopefully, tomorrow it will feel amazing!

Arriving at the Sports Centre

Arriving at the Sports Centre

Yesterday’s training started at the track at 6:30am.It was a session about cadence and pace, so we had to do multiple laps of the track at different paces (easy, 5k, 3k, 1k, all out, 1k, 3k, 5k, easy), which doesn’t sound too bad, but we had to count the number of steps each lap took. That requires tremendous concentration for before 7am!!! For me it was between 300 and 400 each lap. I’m intrigued by what my coach is going to do with the info.

Athletics track

Athletics track

We then moved on to a variety of exercises and the famous hurdles came out again. They were put in a square and we had to hop over them. Hopping forwards and sideways isn’t too bad, but hopping backwards over an obstacle that you can’t really see is challenging!

Ant demonstrating his new form of torture 2

Ant demonstrating his new form of torture

Ant hopping 1

Ant hopping

Yesterday evening, I had to do an hour on my bike, including 4 reps of a steep hill. It was meant to be a 2 minute hill climbing effort, but once again, I judged it incorrectly, so I found a hill that took about 1:45. I’m hoping that’s close enough!

Today was an optional 30 minute swim, but as I had quite a busy day at work and am feeling exhausted, I decided to take it as a rest day, so that I’m ready for tomorrow’s 70 minute run.

Does your coach get you to do any unusual drills? Who do you think wins the rap battle?


I’m back, but not quite where I wanted to be.

10 May

I’m back, but I’m broken 😦 I picked up a few injuries on last week’s holiday, so training has been put on hold for a week, in the hope that I recover quickly. I’ve also suffered a real crisis of confidence about whether I’ll be able to complete the events that I’ve entered, which meant that I’ve had to rethink my strategy.

At the moment, my arm is still in so much pain that I’m unable to swim and running is awkward; I’m also unwilling to get on my bike. My diet has failed, so I’ve decided that after 6 years, it’s time to bid farewell to Weight Watchers. I’m not saying that WW doesn’t work, but right now it’s not a good fit for me and my aspirations.

This means that I’m a bit stuck, so I decided that the sensible thing would be to send an emergency plea to my coach, Ant, asking whether we could meet up to discuss my goals.

Coach Ant from RunCamp came around and had a chat with me about my goals. I’ve added my training data for 2014 so far to TrainingPeaks and Ant has already started to create a training schedule for me. It incorporates some of the swimming that I do with Southampton Tri Club, some of my running with Lordshill Road Runners, some RunCamp sessions, some open water swimming and some individual training that I’ll be able to do on my own. He’s also fitted in some of the races that I’ve entered. I’ve also had to be rational and have decided to drop some of the races that I had planned to do. I’m not going to run Alton 10 mile tomorrow. It’s not one of my favourite races and I think that it would be a painful slog at the moment. I’m also unlikely to do Netley 10k, which means that I won’t have completed enough races to get my name on an HRRL mug, but I don’t mind as that’s not one of my priorities at the moment. This has a plus side as it means that I no longer feel obliged to do D-Day 10k in Portsmouth, so Stu and I can go along to the Romsey 5 mile beer race, which is an event that Stu would really like to do.

The biggest challenge for me now is going to be the overcome my fear of cycling downhill. My first cycling session is on my turbo trainer, so that won’t be a problem, and I have to cycle to work every day, so hopefully, so easy cycling on my hybrid will help me to feel a bit better.

Have you ever experienced a major set back in your training? How did you overcome it?


25 Mar

Here is today’s IDEAfit photo a day image:

Goal for 2014 - find an awesome brand to work with - done!

Goal for 2014 – find an awesome brand to work with – done!

The theme was goal. In January, I decided that I wanted to find an amazing brand to work with and was utterly astounded to find that I had been chosen to be a brand ambassador for SOAS. Today, I received a fantastic parcel of kit from them. It’s so awesome that it’s going to get its own post!!!

After the negativity of yesterday’s post, I was interested to read this article: Train to recover – Don’t recover to train. I’m interested in the idea of training opportunistically (i.e. doing the right workout for how I’m feeling, rather than because that’s what my training schedule says). I think that to often, my training schedule is focused on quantity rather than quality. As my University gym membership now includes free use of the running track, I’m hoping to get down there and do some quality speedwork (as soon as I’ve recovered from Brighton).

Although it was difficult to get up and get to the track this morning (apologies to Coach Ant for being late), it actually turned out to be a really motivational training session. We did 4×3 minutes and I managed to exceed my goal for each of those. I was aiming to do 596m and managed to get to between 620 and 670m for each rep. I also managed to get off to a really good start for each of the reps. I absolutely love the first 200m of each lap as I really love the feeling of sprinting. For nearly a minute I was able to keep up with the boys (who are better at pacing themselves!)

This evening I received a lovely motivational email from my coach, which has helped me to feel more positive about Brighton Marathon. Chrissie Wellington’s autobiography has made me realise that very few people experience perfect training, but that doesn’t mean that a race won’t go well. I’m not expecting a miracle, but as long as some spectators cheer me on, I’ll be OK πŸ™‚ I’m then going to give myself a little break before I return to Run Camp with the aim of getting faster again.

A friend of mine shared the following information on Facebook today, so I decided to respond to it:

OWS research

OWS research

My husband has had his place confirmed and I’m hoping to hear back from them tomorrow.

I’ve also realised that yet another Tuesday has gone by where I’ve failed to #TWIET (Tweet What I Eat Tuesday). I’m being kind to myself this week and in the run up to Brighton Marathon, so I’m hoping to have a little more time at home, which will mean that I catch up with housework, emails and blogposts (or that’s the plan). Next week I want to resume #TWIET and also my Friday guest blog post – I’ve got a really amazing interview that I’m excited about sharing with you πŸ™‚

Have you ever felt demotivated by your training? How did you pick yourself up and regain your love for the sport?

Inspiration and Eastleigh 10k

23 Mar

Here is today’s IDEAfit photo a day image:

Inspiration - Graeme and Kat

Inspiration – Graeme and Kat

The topic is ‘Inspiration’ and these two are some of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met. (N.B. The photo isn’t mine – I think it was taken by a member of the Embrace Sports team).

I’m also continuing the theme of sharing one of the Team SOAS Brand Ambassador’s images each day. Sue’s quote seemed particularly apt:

sue soas

I’m with fellow Brand Ambassador Sue on this one!

Talking about women and inspiration, I’m hoping that I’ll get to see this movie when it’s released: http://halftheroad.com/ It’s outrageous that in this day and age, such inequality still exists. The film features Chrissie Wellington, who is another inspirational figure for me. Whilst I was away, I read her autobiography (“A life without limits – a world champion’s journey“) and was blown away by her journey. She’s also a patron of GOTribal, so that’s a common link for us!

I’ve now got a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/fatgirltoironman – please feel free to pop over there and follow me πŸ™‚ I’ve been doing really badly at keeping up to date with my blog – I’m determined to get myself back on track, but if you want some brief updates, Facebook will let you know what’s happening!

Brighton marathon info

I’ve also realised that it’s now two weeks until Brighton Marathon. I feel more stressed about this marathon than any race I’ve ever done before. I guess this is for several reasons – my illness and workload mean that I’ve not managed to keep up with a good training schedule and I’m not feeling fit and healthy. I also don’t know anyone who is running at my pace, so I will have to do the whole 26.2 miles without chatting to anyone. Can I remain silent for 5 hours?! When I entered the race, I was feeling strong, so I’m in the blue corral with the 4:00-4:30 hour runners – I’ve only managed that time once and I was on form then! I’ve booked the Friday before Brighton Marathon off work, so that Stu and I can go to the marathon expo to pick up my race number (and maybe do a bit of shopping). I’m hoping it will give me a chance to relax before the race, so that I’m not rushing around doing everything on race day. It is possible to download an app to follow me – just search for ‘Brighton Marathon’.

Anyway, today’s big event was Eastleigh 10k, which I planned to follow up with a run home, so that I got my final long run as marathon preparation in. I arrived at Fleming Park leisure centre nice and early, which gave me a chance to pick up my number, chip and tshirt.

My Eastleigh 10k number

My Eastleigh 10k number

This year's 'vibrant' tshirt design

This year’s ‘vibrant’ tshirt design

The unflattering photo below shows that I wasn’t feeling particularly enthusiastic about the race.

Preparing for Eastleigh 10k

Preparing for Eastleigh 10k (Paul A. Hammond)

I pinned on my number, but then had a lot of time to kill before the start of the race.

Pinning on my Eastleigh number

Pinning on my Eastleigh number (Paul A. Hammond)

I aimed to complete the race in about 55 minutes. I think I did it in about 53:30 last year and it’s the race where I got my 10k PB of 51:06 back in 2012… one day I’m determined to get back to that!

I started the race with Teri and did about 3.5km with her, but it was quite warm and I didn’t want to hold her up. As it’s a local race, there were quite a few spectators who I recognised and conversely they recognised me. My favourite local photographer (Paul Hammond) was in attendance, so I blew him a kiss as I ran past.

Eastleigh 10k

Eastleigh 10k

At about 7km, I saw Luana, one of the ladies from my running club up ahead. I know that I run better when I have a challenge, so to make myself push I tried to catch up with her. I was starting to feel better as I’d been able to take on some water and also threw two cups over myself, so I was no longer over-heating. Eventually, I managed to catch up with Luana, but she wasn’t going to give up without a fight, so we ran almost 2km neck and neck. Finally, I was able to edge ahead as we made it to the last stretch of the course which is in the grounds of the leisure centre.

I wasn’t particularly pleased with my time as I came 1551st today in 55:48, but I don’t think this week’s travelling, unusual food and lack of sleep were ideal preparation for the race.

After the race, I met up with Teri, Luana, Steve, Sarah and Loraine who all wanted to extend their run. The images above show that it was a sunny day, and as I mentioned, I was worried about overheating. This all changed very swiftly on the way home, where we were pelted with hail – ouch! I was still wearing the same outfit (minus my race number), so I was absolutely freezing. Fortunately, the sun came out again, just after Loraine and Luana left us.

Long run after Eastleigh

Long run after Eastleigh

We headed up to The Common where we did a little circuit before heading past Teri’s house and down towards my home. I had intended to run 24km today, but I was feeling tired and the sky had turned black again, so I decided that the 22km that we had done when we got to my house would be enough. It was definitely the right decision as it hailed again. The hail stones were enormous and Teri and Steve had to find shelter as they were still running.

The rest of my day has been spent unpacking and recovering – I feel shattered by today’s race and although I’m disappointed with my performance, I know I put some effort in as my chest muscles are aching and it hurts to breathe, which only happens when I’ve been trying hard!

My final thought for today… If you’re interested in learning more about stretching, check the videos that my coach has made: http://www.runcamp.co.uk/stretching.html

Sometimes you just have to have a day off

18 Mar

Here is today’s IDEAfit photo a day image on the theme of ‘inspiration’ – it’s Chrissie Wellington’s autobiography.

Chrissie Wellington's autobiography

Chrissie Wellington’s autobiography

I should have gone to Run Camp this morning, but I made the decision not to go. I felt guilty about it, but I was also feeling exhausted and was aware of how much I had to get done. I spent a busy morning at work and then came home in the afternoon to finish packing before driving up to Dorking. Why are you going to Dorking, I hear you ask… well, I’m heading off to Paphos in Cyprus tomorrow, for work πŸ™‚ I hope there’s a chance for me to haveΒ  bit of a break whilst I’m there, as well as getting to network with lots of interesting people.

I’ll also have some time on the plane to finish reading Chrissie’s autobiography – there are so many inspirational quotes in it, including:

β€œWhen things are tough, you get tougher.”
β€œPick your battles, and accept yourself for who you are.”

β€œJust seize every opportunity you have, embrace every experience. Make a mark, for all the right reasons.”

β€œ…some sessions are stars and some sessions are stones, but in the end they are all rocks and we build upon them.”

I also like Chrissie’s life goals:
β€œTo be happy with myself and always make others happy. To be confident and give others confidence in themselves. To smile, to surf, to laugh and make others laugh. To read more widely. To try to be more tolerant of my weaknesses and of others, and not to be so hard on myself all the time.”

RunCamp part 2

26 Apr

This morning was my second Run Camp (part 2) session . I tried to make the early start better by getting my clothes ready last night… By I wasn’t prepared for the weather when I got up. Yesterday, was beautifully warm and sunny, but it was raining hard at 6am today. My orange t-shirt went back into the drawer to be replaced by a turquoise and yellow one that vaguely matches my turquoise and purple jacket. The positive was that I got to wear one of my new Bondi bands (“You can be tired when you’re finished!”… Apologies to American readers, but I wish it said ‘you’ve’ instead of ‘you’re’ – that’s the geeky English teacher in me!)

Stuart is still recovering from London Marathon, so I went to the session on my own. Fortunately, Katherine and Jenny were there. We did our usual warm up with some high knees and kick backs, followed by some leg swings, before we went over to the usual path. I quickly observed that Any wasn’t carrying his ‘bag of tricks’ (mini hurdles and cones), so I thought we might be in for an easy session. However, we started out with some A skips and B skips:

I feel so awkward when I do them – they just don’t come naturally to me at all. We then did three reps of drill sequence:

  • 500m run up the hill/gentle incline and back
  • 20 second rest
  • 12 low squats on left leg (holding partner’s hands)
  • 12 low squats on right leg
  • twig hopping*
  • 12 jumping lunges (alternate legs).

I did the first km in about a 5:25 pace. We were meant to be doing it at our 5k pace, so that was rubbish, although it accurately reflects how I’m running right now. The second 5k I did at about the same pace, and the last one I did VERY slowly. I was beaten by Jenny on all three legs and by Katherine on the second two. Again, I blame my weight gain and bad diet for me being unable to move more quickly!

*Twig hopping was a variant on the hurdle drills we’ve learned, but Ant kindly gave each of us our own stick. We had to hop forwards and backwards over it twelve times on each leg, and then turned the twig 90 degrees and then hopped over it sideways twelve times on each leg. At last, an exercise that seems relatively easy for me!

When I got home I wanted to cheer myself up, so I had a look at what was on offer on SportPursuit. Why did I do that? I knew I would end up spending money! I’ve now ordered another trisuit and a tshirt!Pearl Izumi Women's Trisuit Pearl Izumi tshirt

My diet has been rubbish for weeks now, so maybe some new clothing will make me want to lose weight.

This evening, I finished writing my application to train as a coach at my running club. Fingers crossed my application will be successful!

Tomorrow is parkrun time. Most of my friends are going to the inaugural Winchester parkrun, but I’m going to go to Southampton parkrun to catch up with Gary and some others.

Eastleigh 10k and my 400m swimming time!!!

26 Mar

By Friday evening I was desperate for a break. I arrived home and really didn’t feel like going out again – I just wanted to go to bed, but I had a yoga class scheduled, so I had to make myself go out. We did a variety of poses, including spending some time in tree pose. We also worked on camel pose (ustrasana). Fortunately, the hour of relaxation did me good and also gave Stu an hour of peace and quiet… however, I still wanted to go to bed early.

On Saturday morning, I decided to do parkrun with Ellie. I focussed on keeping my cadence high (94) and didn’t check my time at all, so was quite disappointed that I finished in 26:42. It felt really tough, but it’s probably just as well as I knew I had to do Eastleigh 10k on the following day.

Southampton parkrun data

Southampton parkrun data

Usually, I spend time chatting to other runners after parkrun and head to The Hawthorns cafe for a drink, but I had to make a quick getaway on Saturday as I had a sports massage booked with Pete at You Massage Therapy. It was a good massage although Pete discovered muscles that I didn’t know I had!!! I would love to be able to have a sports massage every week.


Ready for Eastleigh 10k

It was nice to almost have a lie in on Sunday morning, as Eastleigh 10k is one of the most local races that I can do. Also, Stu and I weren’t giving anyone a lift, so we didn’t have to allow time to pick anyone up. We arrived early enough to park in the leisure centre car park and then went in to collect our t-shirts. I had noticed people carrying fluorescent yellow t-shirts out of the leisure centre and so I assumed that they were technical t-shirts, but it quickly became obvious that they were just cotton t-shirts 😦 I guess that at least a t-shirt is more useful than a medal.

I met up with my running buddy Irene and her parents who had come over from Spain to take part in the race. Her dad was aiming to do sub 50 minutes and her mum ran 55 minutes in her last 10k (which was actually 11k long, because it was in Spain, but that’s another story!) I didn’t genuinely think we would beat Irene’s dad, but I suddenly realised that her mum could be serious competition – eek! I went to put my belongings in the car and agreed to meet other LRR runners who were aiming for 50 minutes by the 50 minute start marker.

When I got to the start marker, James was already there and Kirsty and Laura joined us. Soon afterwards Irene arrived. The start of the race was very busy as it’s so popular, and it didn’t help that some people had wildly overestimated their times and were barely jogging within the first 500m. It took a few minutes to cross the start line and the opening kilometre was very congested, so I wasn’t able to hit my target pace of 5:07/km. I felt quite comfortable running at what I thought was a good pace, but had to try to avoid conversation as friends kept asking me questions. I had checked with my favourite age graded race predictor what it thought I could do at Eastleigh based on my recent parkrun PB; it suggested 52:56.

The first challenge was the hill at about 4km, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I enjoyed the downhill and realised that my 5k split wouldn’t be too bad… but I was starting to overheat. Fortunately, I spied Roger ahead on the roundabout (along with Hammy the photographer), so I was able to pass him my gloves:


We kept going and I suddenly realised at 8km that I was feeling pretty good and that I thought I could up the pace. I started pushing on and managed to hit 3:53/km at one point during that kilometre. The final kilometre of the race is deceptive. It’s easy to see the leisure centre, but the path feels like it goes on forever. Also there was a particularly cold wind blowing into my face. As I got to the final 100m, one of my club mates managed to sprint past, but I didn’t have enough energy for a sprint. I stopped my watch on the line and was surprised by how well I’d done: 52:02. If I’d realised that I had any hope of going under 53 minutes, I would have pushed much earlier in the race – grrr!

Screen Shot 2013-03-24 at 14.56.23

I then stopped to cheer others in before collecting my water, banana and slice of home-made cake. Stuart had decided to jog the course as he has a leg injury and has been suffering form a heavy cold all week. He completed the course in just under 40 minutes! I’d love to be able to ‘jog’ like that!!! Unfortunately, I think I stopped for just a little too long as by the time I got over to Stuart, I was shaking with the cold and had lost the feeling in my hands. I managed to find Roger to retrieve my gloves and then rounded up Kirsty to run 12.5km home.

Eastleigh 10k race number 2013

Eastleigh 10k race number 2013

In the evening, I had the final of my series of five swimming lessons. I explained to the instructor the problems that I have been having with front crawl – I can’t breathe out enough to be able to breathe in properly and he suddenly had a great idea – instead of doing 3 strokes per breathe, I should try 5 strokes. It was a revelation and I was magically able to complete a length without getting out of breath… however, even that couldn’t help me forever. I managed to do two lengths non-stop for the first time. Then the instructor asked us to do four lengths non-stop, but I knew when I was defeated, so I took a breather after two. We then had to do a medley of backstroke, breast stroke and front crawl, which was much easier. Overall, I feel I’ve made loads of progress and am so glad that I signed up for the lessons. I’ve already signed up for the next series, but Victoria won’t be doing them as she will be away for several Sundays. I’m starting to believe that I can actually complete a triathlon and that I might not finish last.

I tempted to enter Newbury triathlon, but the swim is in a 75m long lido, so I need to make sure that I can easily complete 3 lengths without a break as I’ll have to do that four times. Here’s the information: https://eventdesq.imgstg.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=main&EventDesqID=1222&OrgID=3865

What do you think? Would you be tempted to enter?

I made plans so that I was able to get up on Monday to finally do my 400m time trial. I arrived at the pool and waited until the clock said exactly 8:15 before I started. I’m not strong enough and fit enough yet to be able to swim length after length without a break, but I wanted to see how long it would take me including breaks. The only length that wasn’t very good (i.e. I did two strokes with my head out of the water) was my 16th length. It took me 17 minutes and 17 seconds, so I’m clearly not going to trouble any elite athletes (the women’s world record is 3:59!!!) but at least I have something to judge my efforts by now.

I’ve also realised how close Paris marathon is now as the countdown has begun and I’ve started to receive daily emails with tips:

13 day countdown to Paris

13 day countdown to Paris

Monday’s tips included: “Don’t worry if you feel a little bit sick to the stomach during the second half of the race and if you have a hard time refreshing yourself. This sensation, which is certainly disagreeable, is common during a marathon.” Bizarrely, the refreshment stations include dried fruit, which is not what I would want to eat during an endurance race.

On Monday evening, I went to LRR training, which was a ‘mix it up’ session. Irene and I took groups A and A* for a circuits session with some running drills and exercises such as squats. We received some positive feedback and I hope that some people will move up a group for the next training series.

This morning, I went to RunCamp. It’s the penultimate week, but it doesn’t feel like we’ve been doing morning training for almost three months. Today’s session was about breathing. We had to count how often we breathe. I think I breathe in for two steps and our for two steps, but it’s hard to know as no-one breathes naturally when they think about it. We also discussed nasal breathing vs. mouth breathing. Unfortunately, I have a cold at the moment, so I can’t even think about breathing through my nose! I also injured my knee this morning. I am worried that it will affect my marathon, so I worked from home today, which meant that i didn’t have to cycle. The downside was that I missed a yoga class 😦