Planning Ahead



I’m planning. I’m actually re-planning having taken a long, hard look at myself and my current level of fitness. I struggled to stay uninjured last year and this year I’ve, maybe foolishly, entered three half marathons. I have given myself time in between them to recover (I’m not that daft) but that’s one more half than I tried last year.

I’m still adamantly and determinedly sticking to Jeff Galloway for my inspiration and instruction. I’m 50 this year, difficult as it is to believe that, and I’m wanting to carry on running for many years to come. Jeff, at 69 this year, is still running marathons. That’s good enough recommendation for me!

I had already put my training plan on the calendar. It was Jeff’s ‘improver’ plan which focused on speed training. It was giving me a predicted half time of 2:17. Today I got out Jeff’s ‘Galloway Book on Running’  and had a look at the 2:20 goal plan (the next one is 1:59, which is a lovely thought, but way out my league. Maybe one day!) It seemed less intensive. And, if I’m honest, that’s a good thing bearing in mind how stressful speed training is on the body. I realise that I need only to feel that I have finished a half marathon to the best of my ability and the last two I’ve done I’ve not felt that. Quite the reverse. I’ve been plagued by atrocious weather conditions and one injury after another and my running has suffered.

So, the answer was clear. I needed to just train to finish.

My training starts tomorrow with an easy 3 mile run, followed by a thirty minute run on Wednesday and another on Friday. I finish the week with a 1 ¼ mile walk on Saturday and then a 4 mile easy run on Monday next. Jeff’s app is going to keep me on track (and the road) and I’m just about to source some new running music.

The plan then is to cross train on the days I’m not running in order to build up core strength and stamina and I know I’ve said that before on here and done sweet F.A. about it. I recently bought a great resource in the ‘Core Strength Training’ book by DK Books. It features core training which is sport-specific, gives level of difficulty and progression for each exercise. I need to focus on those which don’t involve crunches to spare me from neck injury, the main reason (beside apathy) why I haven’t succeeded in following my own advice in the past! So I’m looking at Reverse Curls, Leg Circles, Leg Lifts, Hip Rolls and so on. If I start with foundation exercises and make those more difficult then maybe I’ll be strong enough to move onto Intermediate level! Woo-hoo.

The mantra is slow and steady, in everything. Build up gradually and try not to get hurt!

2014 – Bring It On

As the first day of 2014 it’s a very dull, rainy and windy one. Which is a terrible shame. I had high hopes last night in the local pub of doing fantastic things today. However I’ve long since found that plans made in the pub, Guinness in hand, are often poorly done. Instead I have cooked a hearty Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie and started planning my race calendar. If you want my gluten free vegetarian recipe, please ask. It is delicious, even served with aging Brussel Sprouts.

After much deliberation and despite concerns about training inflicting further pain, I’ve picked three half marathons for 2014. I’ve chosen, and for very different reasons, the Edinburgh Marathon Festival Half,the Fleetwood Half Marathon and the Great Cumbrian Run.

2014 Races

The Edinburgh Half is part of a bigger running festival which also includes a 5k, 10k, a full marathon and a Team Relay (amongst other things). Last year I did the Rock’n’Roll Half in Edinburgh. It was a terrible weekend and I struggled in vain to better my GNR time on the day in gale force conditions. This year the organisers have decided to move the event to the end of June, possibly in an attempt to avoid bad weather (although as this is Scotland that mightn’t be possible!) This year, however, I thought I’d treat myself to a more PB friendly course and do it a month earlier when the weather might be a little cooler. I’ve gone the whole hog and booked the caravan into Silverknowes and bought us Park and Ride bus tickets to get us to and from the start and finish.

The Fleetwood Half Marathon takes place on the weekend after my 50th birthday so it will be my first of my fifth decade. Really I should be looking at lovely hotels and booking myself a pre and post race massage, but I’m guessing I’ll be checking out the local campsites and settling for a brisk rub down with a fluffy towel. This is known as racing on a tight budget! I don’t know much about this race at all.

Last year, in great pain, I completed the Great Cumbrian Run. This year I’m determined that my 13.1 miles won’t be as uncomfortable. It was nice to do a local half marathon (most of the local ones seem to take place on a Saturday and I have a gallery to keep open) and take in places I’d visited before in less arduous conditions. I’d like to run through the villages with more of a smile than a grimace! So that was on my ‘To Do Again’ list.

I’ve got a few other shorter races on my list – Kilomathon 13.1k, X Borders Challenge 10k (Gretna to Carlisle), Gallovidan 10k (Dumfries), Jedburgh 10k – but I haven’t entered any of those as yet. I think if I concentrate on completing three half marathons without huge problems that will be enough.


On my Daily Mile profile there is a section entitled ‘Goals’. Last year it said something like ‘To run a 5k in less than 30 minutes, a 10k in less than 60 minutes and to PB my half time”; this year it says simply

“To run my own race and not care what anyone thinks!”

That’s the only resolution I’m making, the only goal I’m setting. I’ve spent far too long worrying about what others say and think. This year I intend hold my head high and do my own thing, at my own pace.


Training with Garmin

Always looking for a fresh idea, I’ve had a look at the new training plans on the Garmin website. I’ve uploaded two to my watch; a half marathon one starting in a few weeks and a 10k one starting tonight with an easy 30 minute run. I’m coming in half way through the 10k programme but I’ll let that overlap with the half programme. I’m sure it’ll not matter, but I think a bit of 10k action might just give me the boost I need. At the moment I’m waiting on my dinner settling and the temperatures to cool a tad. It’s not often I can say that, but running in the heat isn’t something a red headed, pale skinned runner should do, unless they want sunstroke!

This week’s plan looks like this:

Week 6
03/06/2013 Rest  


Rest day.

04/06/2013 W06D2-Recovery Run 

 • Run, easy pace, 30 minutes.

• Run, easy pace, 30 minutes.

• Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes.

• Stretch.

05/06/2013 W06D3-Threshold Run

• Run, easy pace, 20 minutes.

• Run, threshold pace, 20 minutes.

• Run, easy pace, 20 minutes.

• Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes.

• Stretch.

06/06/2013 W06D4-Cross Training

Cross train, 20 minutes. Repeat 2 times. Stretch.

07/06/2013 Rest

Rest day.

08/06/2013 W06D6-Intervals

 • Warm up, 10 minutes.

• Run, 10K pace, 3 minutes. Recovery jog, 2 minutes. Repeat 6 times.

• Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes.

• Stretch.

09/06/2013 W06D7-Long Run

• Run, easy pace, 80 minutes.

• Cool down, 5 to 10 minutes.

• Stretch.

Now my first issue is that my long run day will probably be Monday instead of Sunday and I can’t alter that on the plan, but I’m sure I can survive that!

My second issue is running for 80 minutes will land me a certain distance from the house, depending on my pace. My plan, therefore, is to run for 40 minutes and turn round, although I can do my favourite loop in about 40 minutes, so doing that twice would be a solution.

It’ll be interesting to see what I make of ‘easy pace’ after having Jeff Galloway telling me how fast to run and when to do it, but I’m happy to give it a try! I might even like it.


Fitting in Short Runs

As we approach Christmas (and thank you, by the way, WordPress for my snow! <if you read this after the festive season, there was snow…honest) fitting in any running is becoming increasingly difficult.

This week we resorted to running the third of a mile length of the village which is lit by street lights enough times to get 2 miles out of it. Incredibly boring running, but running nonetheless. Needs must!

Today is our only day off together and, in an ideal world, should be a long, easy run day. In truth it will end up being a short, just fitted in run as we are trying to get our house looking slightly more finished looking. Having just dismantled a chimney and put up Christmas lights, we are now about to fit a kitchen cupboard and erect a spare bed, whilst moving furniture around the house like one of those sliding puzzles!

I’ve been researching marathon training. I bought Jeff Galloway’s marathon book and set this against my diary. There is no way I will be marathon ready for the Blackpool marathon in April. I worked out that I would have to start today on week 9, an 11 mile run, and, not having run any decent distance for a month or more, that would just be silly and begging for injury. So, if I am going to do this marathon, I need to look at doing one later in the year. At the moment the Loch Ness Marathon is high on my list, although I’ve heard that it’s a toughie and the flat nature of the Blackpool 26.2 was seemingly ideal for my first try. I’ll keep looking, but would appreciate any ideas for marathons which aren’t too far away from south west Scotland! I think I might do the Blackpool Half though. In fact, there are many half marathons beckoning from the events guide of Runner’s World! If I don’t end up doing a full marathon then maybe this could be the year of multiple 13.1s!