Treadmill Tragedy

Not much to say today.

I ran somewhere between 8.5k and 9k on the treadmill. Time? No idea. Sadly the buttons on the treadmill are close together and I’m always hitting the wrong one. Sometimes that doesn’t matter, but when it’s the power or stop button it matters a lot! Unfortunately today, when aiming for the increase speed button I hit ‘stop’ and all my data disappeared!

I knew I’d run over 6.5k so I did another 2 just be sure. At least the last 2 I did in 14 minutes.

Removing all the offending buttons from the treadmill may seem a bit over the top. But not to me.

Speed Work Works

Hey, hey!

I’ve been focusing for long on extending the distance I can run that I’ve really, really neglected my speedwork and I realise that this is as essential. So, last night I did a set speed work programme in April’s Women’s Running Magazine.

The set consisted of a pyramid of speed sections, gradually building up to 12 kp/h and then gradually slowing down. More or less. It only lasted for 20 minutes, but it had me sweating. I covered 3km in my 20 min which wasn’t bad for me and gave me my fastest pace so far this year.

I’m a bit of a magpie when it comes to running magazines; I have a book I stick all the workouts I like into for future reference. Sort of a running scrapbook. I’m sure non-runner who saw it might think I’m slightly sad, but to me it’s a way of keeping the info I need without storing huge quantities of magazines.

Even though it is gorgeous outside, today will consist of yoga and pilates to stretch my muscles and strengthen my core.

Earphones and Sweaty Ears – bad combo for sure!

I always run with earphones in, either to listen to my now awesome running playlist (thanks to my running friends on Facebook) or to hear my wee voice saying ‘RUN’ and ‘WALK’ (she shouts run much louder than she does walk – maybe she thinks it’s that kick up the jacksy I need?) So far, after the OEM Apple (rubbish) earphones I’ve tried a few, trying to find a good pair of running earphones.

I started, after much research, with Skullcandy ones because I was adamant I needed the remote and mic (obviously so that if anyone phoned me mid-run I could breathe heavily into their ears, no doubt causing all sorts of problems). They are lovely earphones, don’t get me wrong – great sound, but they just don’t stay in my ears. As soon as I start to sweat the earphones pop out and refuse to stay put.

So I bought some cheap Aldi over the ear ones – £2.99 I think – total bargain and also bought a Griffin remote for iPhones. So long as I had my hat or headband on they were great. Yesterday I wore neither and *pop* out they came as soon as I started the sweat. Not only that but the clip on my remote snapped so I had a great long dangling lead getting in my way. Hmmm…

Today in Lidl (yes, I shop in all the top shops) I spotted some round the back of the head earphones. Now, these type had been recommended by a friend from the start and I had a pair of Sennheiser’s on my Amazon watchlist, but I was worried about shelling out another £20 on another set of earphones if they wouldn’t do the job. So. Well I’m typing this with my new earphones on and, for £2.99 (complete with a 3 year warranty), they’re actually pretty good sound wise and they are comfortable. I’ve tried shaking my head about and jumping up and down and they’re not budging. However, until the ‘Sweat Test’ I won’t be able to know for sure if they will do the job. More to report on this one.

EDIT: Wore my cheap earphones yesterday for my long run outside without any problems at all. They were comfortable and not too far into my ear that I couldn’t hear my feet on the floor and the lambs in the field! Heartily recommended cheap option. Get yourself to Lidl tout suite!

My kilometre-stone

After a few weeks of painful running I decided today to ditch my 10k plan in favour of Jeff Galloway‘s run/walk system.

If I’m honest I climbed onto the treadmill with anxious trepidation. Hell, every time I’ve run recently I’ve got to 1km and had to stop because of the pain. Running for 18 minutes without a stop was a nightmare. So today I read what Jeff recommended and started with a 5kph walk, moving that up to 6kph after 2 minutes. After 5 minutes I started my run, just jogging at 7kph for 2 minutes and then walking for 1 minute. After running for 5 minutes at 9kph I walked again for another minute. When I reached 1km, I cheered! No pain. None at all.

I ran the rest at 9 – 10.5 kph, with regular walk breaks really just when I needed them.

I didn’t get off until I’d done 8.5km. So far that’s the furthest distance I’ve run so I’m pretty chuffed with myself. No great shakes with the time – I managed it in 62 minutes, but I’m smiling. Apart from a wee bit of achilles pain, which I’m resting and icing, I feel great!

My detox too is going well. I’ve lost 2kg already and don’t feel at all lethargic. My stomach is noticeably less bloated than it was. Tonight we had Kidney Bean Hotpot with brown rice – tasty stuff!

I’m on my runner’s high now, happily sharing my joy with everyone who’ll listen. Consider yourself joyed!

I always said she had weak ankles…

As if I didn’t find running bad enough I do have some physical difficulties to overcome. I was born with congenital hip disorder called Hip Dysplasia. I spent the first six months of my life, rather awkwardly for my parents, in a metal and leather brace positioning my legs in a frog-like position. Although I no longer have difficulties with my hip coming out of joint, when my right leg was braced it was braced so that my lower leg is now slightly twisted. My knee and ankle are 45º out. This might have something to do with why I suffer with shin splints on that leg more than the left. My right leg is also an inch shorter than my left, which has obvious implications for my spine.

To be honest I’ve just learnt to deal with all this. I go for monthly chiropractor sessions (I’ve had to see someone about my back since I was 16) and as soon as I was able to I went for gait analysis to check my running style. As I expected I overpronate badly on my right foot and so motion control trainers were recommended. I chose Asics GT-2150 trainers and felt the difference straight away. My Reeboks were consigned to trail runs.

Now, that’s enough surely! No, I also have proprioception difficulties caused mainly through damaging my ankles. I have a habit of falling out of back doors when stepping down. No alcohol involved! It’s as if I momentarily forget I have feet. I have no idea where they are going and then find myself lying in shock on the floor! It’s quite bizarre!

My chiropractor has given me a series of exercises to do to help regain my proprioception skills. It’s all about balance and starts easy by just standing on tip toes. To begin with I had to hold on to a table in order to balance, it was that bad!

1. Stand on tip toes holding on to a table or chair for one minute and then rest. Repeat 5 times.

2. Stand on one leg on tip toes for one minute. Hold onto chair/table for support. Repeat 4 times changing feet each time.

3. When 1 and 2 become easy try without support.

4. Using an old hairbrush brush the soles of feet (this stimulates receptors).

5. Put a hankerchief/paper kitchen towel/napkin on the floor and pick up with toes. Repeat 5 times each foot.

6. Walk on toes for 15 seconds. Walk on heels for 15 seconds. Repeat 2 times.

I have also bought a wobble board. It cost me GBP£3 from TKMaxx which was obviously a total bargain because the one I’ve just found online that is identical is £20 (go me!). This is adjustable as you can see to make balancing more difficult.

Wobble Board Exercises / Balance Board Workout
(Balance board workout starting easy and getting harder)
1. Whilst sitting down place the wobble board under the feet and slowly rotate it a number of times in each direction.

2. Stand on the wobble board, feet shoulder width apart. Hold on to a chair for support if needed and rock the board forwards and backwards, then side to side. Do this for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Stand on the wobble board, feet shoulder width apart. Rotate the wobble board round so that the edge of the board is in contact with the floor at all times. Again try this for 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Stand on the wobble balance board, again feet shoulder width apart – no chair allowed! Rock the board front to back for 1 minute then side to side for one minute.

5. Balance on the wobble board for as long as you can without the edges touching the floor. Aim for over 2 minutes without touching the floor.

6. Rotate the wobble board in a circle but do not allow the edge of the board to touch the floor. Aim for 2 minutes.

7. Stand on the wobble board with one leg. Rock the board from front to back for 1 minute and then side to side for 1 minute.

8. Again stand on the wobble board with one leg only. Rotate the board in a circular motion in one direction for 1 minute then repeat in the other direction.

9. Try to balance on the wobble board with one leg only! How long can you go for?

10. When you have mastered all of the above you should have strong stable ankles and be an expert. Now try it all with your eyes closed!!

taken from

I’m not going to let any difficulties stop me from running and whenever things start to get tough I remind myself that there are people achieving more than me with greater difficulties. In fact, just watch this. Everything zooms right into perspective!

Dare to Detox?

Since before Christmas I’ve been having problems with abdominal bloating and discomfort. It got to the point that I had to stop running for a while. My doctor suggested trying a detox to identify possible food intolerances and recommended Carol Vorderman’s 28 Day Detox. I dutifully scoured Amazon for the book and also picked up a copy of the recipes and waited until I had a month without prearranged dinner dates!

So…today is the day the detox started!

The thought of a detox conjures up images of sloppy drinks and boring salads. However Carol Vorderman’s detox programme is well thought out, with balanced, nutritious and not to mention delicious recipes! Basically you give up meat (that’s OK, I’m veggie), dairy products, caffeine, wheat and alcohol, replacing these with healthier alternatives. I am nut intolerant and, unfortunately for me, a lot of the recipes have nuts in them. The plan does allow substitutions though and I’m working around any issues.

I realise that I’m just a day in, but I haven’t felt at all hungry especially having eaten this lot! I’m allowed as much fruit and veg in between meals as I want (I’ve had one apple and a handful of sultanas so far) as well as a snack later. Having also read through independent reviews I understand that I could lose a stone or more within the month, just by expelling waste that has clogged my system up for years.

Being a bit lighter will undoubtedly help my running, so I’m looking forward to that!

My new trail shoes!

My new trail shoes, Nike Alvord 7s, had their first run out today. I’m so glad I was wearing them. The woods where I run with the dogs are currently being thinned out by the foresters and they have left the tracks rutted with thick watery mud, impossible to run through in places. My new shoes, however, kept my feet dry and warm. My dogs, Badger the Collie and Murphy the Jack Russell, had a wonderful time finding the deepest, dirtiest puddles!

I felt a bit naked as I set off without my iPhone with its GPS, music and stopwatch, but really enjoyed just concentrating on my running. I know I did 2 miles as it’s a well run track, but I have no idea how long that took. With regular stops to stretch out my calves, time didn’t really matter.

We all arrived home covered in mud, but with smiles!

From a novice to a beginner

Since deciding, almost a year ago now, to start running I’ve experienced a myriad of emotions. The euphoria of achieving something you KNOW you couldn’t have achieved before is wonderful. The agony of having your body fall apart as you try to push it to new limits isn’t quite so.

At 45 I decided I was overweight and under fit and I had to do something about it. I found the C25K app for iPhone by Felt-tip in the App Store and thought I’d give it a go. I had no proper kit, something that quickly caused problems, I just went out one evening with my app and started running. At first running for just a minute seemed fine; I had been a runner at school (yes, I know, 30 years ago!) but since then I’d acquired mild asthma. As the programme gradually increased the running time it was manageable; I actually looked forward to running and seeing what this middle aged body could do.

Shin splints quickly became a friend I’ve since struggled to ditch. My shoes at the start had no cushioning at all and old ankle injuries had left me with a weakness that caused me to wobble on each step. I treated myself to some not very expensive Reebok Stability Premiers (£35 at the Reebok Outlet, Gretna) which made a huge difference almost immediately.

I won’t say the C25K programme was easy. As a complete novice it tested me, but I liked having someone else controlling when I ran and when I walked. Left to my own devices I’ve found I’m easily swayed; strap an iPhone to my arm and have a little voice say “RUN” and I do! And I thought I was the dominant one…

Today I’m still struggling with shin splints. They tend to come and go which makes me wonder what causes them. Increasing my speed/distance maybe. I don’t know.

I’m now following a 10k training programme by Blue Fin called Bridge to 10k. It’s designed specifically for folk, like me, that can run 5k and want to increase distance. It’s going OK. Shin splints just now are causing me some grief but I’m hoping that when I put my new trail shoes on and head into the woods with the dogs for a couple of miles the pain just won’t be there.

I’m kinda simple like that.