Catching up!

Hi there! Here I am, after a weekend away, catching up with my posts. I spent the weekend at nearby Moffat polishing my Alfa Romeo Spider like crazy at the Moffat Car Show. It was a lovely weekend, with beautiful sunshine interspersed with heavy downpours. Typical Scotland really!

Anyway, I had decided that despite being away I was going to do my long run on Sunday evening after the rally. It was dry and warm by then and I had preplanned a route which although I wasn’t familiar with I knew more or less where it went.

I was determined to use my new Jeff Galloway 13.1 app but had left my earphones at home. As I have many, many earphones at home (possibly one for every outfit) I bought a cheap pair from the 99p store, but they were worth slightly less than 99p in my opinion. In fact they were about as useful as a chocolate teapot. The problem was with the jack plug being too loose. I set off anyway and I had tried taping the plug down, but it just kept working loose again and I just couldn’t hear Jeff or the music. I tried carrying my iPhone, holding the jack plug in, but that didn’t work either. In the end I unplugged the earphones and, in trying to find a good place to hold it so that it was both secure and I could hear the music etc., I put the phone under my bra strap. Almost immediately the phone slipped down and nestled happily between my boobs, held snug by the front of my sports bra! It wasn’t going anywhere and I could hear perfectly, so I left it there! I’m not sure what the few people I passed thought as this woman with a musical chest approached them, but it worked!

The route was wonderful, making me really appreciate the place I’ve chosen as my home. Once I’d left the main road (which was paved – I’m just not used to the luxury of a pavement!) I ran mostly along single track roads, obviously rarely used ones. And what a shame that is! The views were spectacular; rolling green hills, gentle rivers bubbling along, lovely houses to peer into (!) and views from the top of hills right across the valley. I loved it.

I loved it especially, I think, because it was new. It was the same old routes I’ve become used to. I had different things to see and experience and that made it all the more interesting. It wasn’t a particularly gruelling course. It had some fairly gentle hills, but nothing drastic. I really couldn’t have chosen a nicer route if I’d tried! I wish I’d taken a few photos to share with you, but I was too busy running!

I did my 6.55 miles in 72:48, giving me a steady 11 minute pace. If I can maintain that throughout my training I’ll be hopefully knocking almost 20 minutes off my last half-marathon time come September.

Today was promising to be gorgeous this morning, with blue skies and sunshine. By 5pm, when I arrived home, it was tipping it down. Not proper rain, but that horrible misty stuff that threatens to drown you. I decided to hit the treadmill whilst I also cooked dinner (I am a woman, I can do these things!) Dinner had 45 minutes to cook, I had a 30 minute run to do!

I altered my app to the treadmill setting and changed the units to metric. My treadmill is in kilometres and it’s easier for me to just do this than try to work out what speed I should be at mid-run. As it happened the app just called for a straight 30 minute run at 10.3 kph which would have been easy enough to work out, I guess! Once I got into my running it was an easy pace and towards the end I really wanted to go faster, but I held back. I ran 4.8 km in 30 minutes, giving me just over 10 minute mile pace.

I’ve been asked about my opinion of the Jeff Galloway app – it’s really too soon to tell, but so far I’ve enjoyed knowing that I have the experience of a well known trainer offering me support and suggestions throughout my run. I liked the 5k and 10k training apps and so buying the 13.1 app was just the next step. It appears to fit exactly with my training plan, which gives me some peace of mind.

My Jeff Galloway Book on Running arrived on Monday morning – bedtime reading for me, much to my husband’s despair!

Bedtime reading for the over 40s?
I’m sure that it could be worse, Mills and Boon perhaps, but there we go.

My prayers to the half marathon training gods have been answered!


About 10 minutes ago I received an email telling me that my guru, Jeff Galloway, has just released a half-marathon training app via LoLo! About 8 minutes ago it appeared, fully purchased, on my iPhone! I am delighted that Jeff, who has helped reduce my 5k and 10k times and got me through my first half last autumn, is going to be coaching me up to the Great North Run. You’ve no idea how reassuring it is to hear his southern drawl, y’all.

I tweeted him @JeffGalloway asking if I was the first to download it. I must have been. Maybe he’ll send me something nice to inspire me along the long road to South Shields in two months time!

Of course this means that my carefully worked out training plan is now in the bin and I will just abandon myself to Jeff’s higher knowledge, starting this weekend. I can’t wait to see what he has in store!

Forgive me, I must rush to my app…

In between the long runs

In between the long runs are the important little runs that are meant to turn me into a speed demon. Emphasis on the word “meant”. Jeff Galloway doesn’t stipulate doing anything other than running for 30 minutes in his half marathon training plan on the in between days, but having followed his Ultimate/Easy 5k and 10k programmes I know that what he really means is do some speed work and run your butt off.

I haven’t got anything preprepared for this; I just go with what I feel is right. I’ve tried to think about how my body works harder on different surfaces and working at faster and faster speeds and what I’ve vaguely come up with is to run one 30 minute run on either the trail or on grass and the other on the treadmill doing speed intervals. I figure that the off road work will strengthen me and the treadmill will give me wings on my ankles.


On Tuesday I went for a trail run with Murphy McSmurphy Superdog. It’s always a pleasure running with him as he enjoys it so much. We ran down through the woods and on to the new road cut by the timber lorries, right to the turning circle they’d made. It made the route slightly longer, about 3.3 miles, but I enjoyed the run. I wasn’t trying to get a good time, but I must admit that I do tend to keep an eye on the pace and, yes, I do try to beat my fastest even if I’m not meant to be trying. I was a long way off it on Tuesday though. I completed the 3.26 miles in about 36 minutes, giving me 11.05 pace.

Today it was raining heavily, but it didn’t really matter. I had a date with Trevor Treadmill. I maybe should have thought about what I was going to do, but I didn’t and just started off with a walk to loosen my muscles off (my hamstrings have been a bit tight) and started off at just 8.5 kph. I did that for 3 minutes and then started cranking the speed up every minute. Once I reached 13 kph I backed off to 10 kph and then walked for 2 minutes before starting the process again. 13 kph was my limit and I knew it. Whereas some days my legs are happy to go faster, today they were filled with lead instead of mercury! After 28 minutes I started my cool down walk. It wasn’t too bad; I covered 4.32 km in 30 minutes which included all my cool up/down walking.

I’m now sitting here writing this, waiting until I’ve stopped sweating before hitting the shower! I’ve got a long run this weekend to look forward to of 6.5 miles. It would be nice to do that in about an hour. Here’s hoping!

Running 4 Health

Today my husband and I ran together in the Dumfries Run4Health 5k. He doesn’t run often. In fact he’s only run twice since we attacked Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh at the Great Winter Run in January. He has no ambition to run further than 5k and complains most of the time that I’m going too fast or that there are too many hills or that he’s about to throw up, but he’s actually quite fit and can put a lot of regular runners to shame.

We were two of around 500 runners/walkers/strollers. I would hazard a guess at there only being about 200 actual runners, not that anyone cares because the whole event is aimed at improving fitness whether that’s through running or walking. We did a hilarious warm up which overran by 10 minutes and started off at about 11:05ish.

As Grant (hubbie) hadn’t done any preparation we decided to run:walk at 4:1 intervals. I tried to keep the running pace to around 9:30 so that it evened out to around 11 minute miles which is comfortable for him. The course wound its way around the Crichton grounds, just outside Dumfries town centre. The Crichton used to be a huge mental hospital, but these days only a small amount of the gorgeous buildings are used for patients, the rest is set aside for business and university usage. It’s a lovely part of Dumfries, complete with a church and a fabulous event venue called Easterbrook Hall.

To begin with we were stalled by walkers who had started at the front (why?) and spent the first kilometre dodging them! As annoying as this was, we managed to quickly get into a steady running pace. The course zig-zagged across the grounds giving us long straights on the level and short climbs and descents. It was well planned.

By half way we’d got past all the walkers and slower runners and we were left tooing and froing with the people running at our 11 minute mile pace. It’s one of the more disconcerting things about running intervals, watching people you’ve just overtaken overtaking you as you stop to walk! I’ve gotten used to it, but Grant was less comfortable yoyoing back and forth! We pretty much kept to the 4:1 intervals although, towards the end, Grant found the longer climbs exhausting and we walked some of these.

As it was obvious that Grant was struggling towards the end I tried to get him to breathe more deeply, encouraging him to take a deeper breath every now and again, but he was convinced that he’d die if he did this. No, I’m not joking. He’d either die or throw up, that was my choice. Not wishing to drag a corpse to the finish or complete the course covered in sick, I shut up. My role as motivator had come to an abrupt end.

We ran the final half a mile. Seeing people at the finish line expecting to encourage runners, i.e. people actually running, through the final stages made us too embarrassed to stop! In the final few metres we overtook an older guy who I don’t think could believe our audacity at overtaking him. We finished in 32:19, a personal best for Grant. The course, according to my Garmin, was short of 3 miles, but near enough.

We collected our medals, bananas and water (in that order) and found a step to sit on so that I could inform my public. “You aren’t tweeting that already are you?” Pfft.

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The Bling Wall is looking good! My first race was the Race for Life in July last year, so my haul is less than a year old! I might need to adapt my frame with medal hooks!

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GNR training starts…..NOW!

I can assure you, dear reader, that you will have been grateful to have been there reading this from afar, than having been within my close proximity over the last week or so. Reason being? I went into Great North Run training programme meltdown. Seriously.

A few months back I had decided, most definitely, to follow Jeff Galloway’s Improver Half Marathon plan. Excellent. I updated my calendar with all the run data, preparing myself for my fate, and settled back to “enjoy” the plan.

And then, just a few days ago, I started to panic.

Jeff’s improver plan asked me to run up to 17 miles and do loads of things I hadn’t done before. In all honesty the Great North Run is not going to be the race I am going to get a personal best; I’m one of 54,000 runners and, out of them, will probably be starting and finishing in around 53,000th place! All I want to do is to get round the course!

So I looked again. I looked at Hal Higden’s plans, Runner’s World plans, Women’s Running plans, plans that the charities had put together for their fundraising runners and  plans that some Tom, Dick or Harry had knocked together. I asked for advice from running friends, who invariably suggested Hal’s plans, but the trouble with Hal’s plan is that he never asks you to run further than 12 miles. So what if I get to 12 and that’s it, nothing left? Last time I ran Jeff’s beginner plan and he asked for 14 miles towards the end. I gave it and then ran full of confidence in my first half. I knew that I could run 13.1 miles because I had run 14 a week or so before. It was a certainty.

And this is why I am now following Jeff Galloway’s beginner plan again. I aim to start and finish the biggest half marathon in the world. If I achieve a faster time than last time (2:34:34), great. If not, well I’ll have run the Great North Run.

Here’s a face to inspire confidence!

It took me a while to alter my calendar for my change of plan. Then I discovered that I was already into week 3, but, as weeks 1 and 2 were 3 and 4 mile runs, I didn’t mind. On Monday I started officially training with a 5 mile run. I was fairly pleased with my 10:34 pace and completed it in 53:07. The route I used is quite hilly and I’ve never been able to run it fast as a result. It’s a workout route and I’d rather use that than a flat route when training. It gives me short sharp hills and long drawn out climbs, all within 5 miles.

Tonight I went out for a trail run with my dog Murphy. I set off intending to do 3 miles, just a there and back route, but changed my mind at the end of mile 1. I’d run it in 10 minutes flat, which for me is pretty fast off road, and decided that I need more of a challenge.

I changed direction and ran under a canopy of trees which had stopped the sun drying the path as much as the other, leaving me slipping and sliding in mud! It certainly did the trick and slowed me right down, with me constantly looking for balance on the slippery terrain. Mile 2 was a full minute slower!

Once I was clear of the trees I was on tarmac for the last half a mile. Here I could pick up the pace. I averaged 8:54 mile pace, bringing my overall average down to 10:17. Jeff asked for  a 30 minute run. What he got was a 25 minute trail run in the muddiest conditions I could find! I think that was a good trade off!!