Monday, 17 March 2014

10k Training Plan {beginner - intermediate}

Here's my adaptation of a Runner's World 10k training plan I first used back in 2011.  This was the first training plan I had  followed and I was determined to see it through!  I signed up for my race and started planning.  Although some days were pretty tough over all I found the plan really enjoyable and, importantly, achievable.

It showed me that I could push myself to run further but also the importance of not over doing it by having regular rest days and integrating cross-training into my schedule.  The plan is time rather than distance based which I think is a lot easier when you're starting out and flexible enough to fit into your week.  The general rule is 5 days on, 2 off every week but plan ahead and work it round you're diary.  Some weeks I've taken 3 rest days if I know I'm away or already have plans.  Last time I followed this training plan I got great results, but I stuck to it meticulously and didn't skip sessions (or importantly rest days!).


Rest:  Some people see rest days as 'non-running' days when cross-training or low impact exercise can be carried out. For me rest days are 'complete' rest days.  Gentle exercise such as yoga or pilates, walking or at a push swimming would be ok but generally I let my body fully recover on rest days.

Cross-training:  This is what I would refer to as 'non-running' days.  In my case I would fit these around netball sessions but also incorporate be cycling, swimming, a gym session, boot-camp type exercises.  Anything that gives you a work out without too much consistent heavy impact on your legs is a good rule of thumb.

Run/Easy run/Recovery run:  I'm more of a tortoise than a hare and run at a pretty consistent pace.  If my 'normal' pace is 50% I would class a run as 60%, easy run as 50% and recovery run as 40%.

Threshold run:  A threshold run is essentially a higher temp run, not sprinting but a definite pick up in pace.  So for me this would be 70-80%.

Long run:  My advice for your long runs is to keep them steady.  Nothing will discourage you more than getting half way into your 60min run and running out of steam.  I use long runs as a test of endurance so will scale back the pace to 40-50% to ensure I can keep going with limited (or no) breaks.

Tapering:  Another thing this training plan taught me was the importance of tapering before a race.  After 9 pretty intense weeks of training it will seem really strange having a very light week leading up to your big day, but it is so necessary.  Not only will your body get a proper chance to recover but you'll be buzzing with energy come race day!

The Plan

Good luck!  

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Friday, 7 March 2014

I love running {when I'm done}

Running is hard.  But strangely addictive and even (dare I say it) quite fun once you get past the pain barrier.  The problem with running is that for it to remain fun you need to keep at it and every time you have a substantial break you have to start again, maybe not from scratch, but unfortunately (as with many things) you can’t expect to pick up from where you left off 6 months/a year ago. 

I’ve had an on-off relationship with running over the years.  And I always regret stopping once I remember how hard re-starting is!  But after a few ‘I hate it, I hate it’ weeks which end with me collapsing on my living room floor, my body finally remembers that actually, this is ok – hard – but ok and I start thinking about my shopping list, noticing how lovely the view is, planning ways of getting out of the canal in case I trip and fall in….. 

Old faithfuls
The key to success, as with exercise in general, is to build up steadily and this can be particularly hard when you’ve been fit in the past or are returning from injury etc but it is sooooo important.  Otherwise you will inevitably end up injured, disillusioned and generally unhappy.  And the day you get home from your usual route having managed not to stop for breath and thinking ‘that wasn’t so bad’ all the ‘bitch runs’ (as I lovingly refer to them) have suddenly been worth it.  Then you have the opportunity, and ability, to carry on, go that bit further or faster or maybe even the confidence to sign up for a race!  (Race for Life for you girlies, as well as being for a good cause, is a great introduction race!)

Every January for the last few years I've said to myself "this year I'm going to run a half marathon", yet alas no half marathon has happened.  A couple of years ago I ran the RatRace Trailblazer 10k in the beautiful Forest of Dean and ever since then I've had my eye on the Forest of Dean half marathon.  But I haven't yet managed to pluck up the motivation or the courage to actually put in the training, sign up and give it a go.

Forest of Dean Trailblazer 10k

Well this year I turned 30 and would love to achieve this goal.  First things first, I need to rediscover my running mojo.  I've not ran a race since last June and although I regularly play netball I haven’t ran regularly over the last year.  

So where to start?  As I mentioned before, slowly but surely, that’s where. Annoying at it is I need to be patient and remember that fitness does not return overnight.  And also that the first few runs are going to be the worst (my ‘bitch runs’) and it's best to just get on with it and them out the way.

So a couple of weeks ago I dusted off my runnng trainers and started slogging (gently) round the estate to get going and attempt rediscover my joy of running.  As I thought, the first few outings were the worst.  But they’re done, hurrah!  I pushed myself a bit further (5km) last weekend and when I went for my usual 20 min (~3km) route tonight it definitely started to feel better.  Result.

So what next?  Running for fun is great but having a goal is the best motivation.  So with this in mind, and sticking with my slowly but surely moto, I'm going to start taking part in my local Parkrun event - weekly, free, 5km timed runs that take place all around the world. 

Post race glee!
Then I'm going to sign up for this year's Trailblazer 10k in the spring before, dun dun duuuuun.... registering for the Autumn Forest of Dean half marathon.  Eeek!  I may even try out my local running club, but lets not run before we can walk, as it were...

Wish me luck and get those trainers out!

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Take a peek at my training plans: 

10k Training Plan {beginner - intermediate}

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Countdown to 30

So this time next week I’ll be hitting the big 3-0.  Weird.  I still feel (and act) 20.  Where has the last 10 years gone?!  And more frighteningly – will the next 10 go by just as fast?!

Anywho, I’m not too bothered about turning 30.  In fact, I’m embracing it!  My 20s were fun but there’s something strangely appealing about entering the next decade of your life.  It feels like quite an accomplishment (go me!).  I always thought I’d see my 20s as being a time of change and personal and emotional growth and anticipated my 30s to be more ‘stable’ and ‘grown up’, but actually I don’t think life is really that predictable and who wants to live a static and grown up life anyway??  I’m certainly still growing and constantly learning from my mistakes and achievements.   I laugh and cry, have breakthroughs and major blonde moments, state my opinions and humbly apologise for slip-ups.  Life is a constantly changing beast and all you can do is stick by your morals, go with the flow and get stuck in.

Time to reflect

So what have I been up to in the last 10 years?  Looking back I bet you’ll realise you’ve done a lot more than you think!  Here are 10 of my favourite experiences of my 20s.

1. Graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Animal Science at the University of Wales Aberystwyth

Graduation 2006
2. Started my career in pharmaceuticals then ditched it for administration and finally finance!

The office 'A Team'
3. Moved into my first flat and discovered the joys of paying your own bills

4. Discovered that I surprisingly enjoyed running

Trailblazer 10k 2012
5. Been a part of engagements and weddings

Jane's wedding 2013
Rose's wedding 2012
6. Made and continued friendships with the best friends a girl could have and enjoyed many a day of silliness!

My hen do 2013
Badminton Horse Trials 2013
Carnival fun 2013
Birmingham German Christmas Market 2013
McFly 2013
Catch up with Jen and Ruthy 2009

7. Moved back to my home town and grew closer to my family

8. Had lovely holidays and mini-adventures

Mallorca 2011
London 2010
London Santa Run 2009
9. Re-discovered my love of netball – joined Upton Netball squad

Upton Grads Summer League Winners 2013
Bournemouth 7s Netball Tour 2013
10. Met my future husband and got married :)

Walk with Mr H 2007
Our wedding day 2013

Looking forward 

So what do I hope my 30s will bring?  I suppose I really hope that they’ll bring more of the good times and lessons that I’ve experienced so far.  I’m definitely different in a lot of ways to the 20 year old Ellie but my principles, loves and hopes are the same.  The main thing I’d like to work on now is to look after myself better – both physically and emotionally.  My 30s have the prospect of being a very exciting decade and I’m going to enjoy every minute of them :)

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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year {New Adventures}

Well, 2013 was quite a year!  Wedding, new home and new job - tick!  So what will 2014 have in store for this wannabe perfect housewife?  Well this New Year I've decided that instead of writing a list of resolutions which will inevitably fall by the wayside by mid February in a bid to do 'more', I'm actually going to resolve to do less.  That's right, less.

So instead of filling my diary to breaking point this year I'm resolving to stop putting pressure on myself to do things and instead focus on quality rather than quantity.  I even thought about ditching the diary altogether but decided this would actually be waaay to stressful so instead I'm going to aim to be happy with a fairly empty diary, use it for the important things plus remember to factor in me time as well as time with Mr H.

I've decided stop focusing on losing 10lbs, being fitter than Jessica Ennis-Hill, having perfect hair, perfect skin, a perfect life and instead focus on living healthily and happily doing the things I love, and just maybe some of these things will start to happen naturally as a consequence.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still planning on having aims and making goals but just with less pressure, that way, in theory, by doing less I may actually end up actually doing and achieving a lot more! It's too easy to run around trying to everything but then actually not achieving anything.  Remember to live in the moment but also embrace the bad days.  

So as my 2014 the bright side calendar says:

And for January:

And best of all, 2014 is already showing promise for lots of mini adventures.... So Happy New Year and watch this space!

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