July Favourites

It’s been a lovely month, and marathon training is pretty much in full swing! I’ve been trying new things and pushing my limits, which is always a good thing when it comes to training. So without further ado, here are my monthly favourites:

 

The Weather

 

Summer emerged in Britain for about two weeks in July, and we all congregated for BBQs, picnics and many an iced coffee. Whilst I struggled with the heat at times, it’s been nice not to have to be wrapped up warm all the time. And I get an excuse to wear my Nike Pros, also affectionately known as my go-faster shorts.

 

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Running at Sunset = Dreamy
Red lipstick

 

On days when I don’t feel great, whether that be from tiredness or a distinct lack of mojo, I’ve been going for gorgeous bright red lipstick.  It’s a nice pick-me-up in the morning, plus it gives you a “I swear I’m awake” vibe, and makes you feel a tad more glamorous- helpful when you spend half your life in sweaty running kit.

 

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Another Space

 

I’ve been to quite a few classes at Another Space this month, including Cycle and Yoga. I really rate both classes, plus absolutely love the boutique feel of the studio- fluffy white towels included!

 

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Maple Sunrise Cereal

 

I have a habit of reaching for cereal whenever the marathon hunger hits, and I was recently introduced to Nature’s Path Organic Maple Sunrise Cereal by a colleague. It’s absolutely delicious, contains a variety of grains such as quinoa and amaranth, and is not too calorific for a sweet cereal. On greek yoghurt, or even on its own, it’s my go-to snack for those days when the hunger just won’t go away.

 

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Interval Training

 

I’ve recently introduced more serious speedwork into my training regime- this involves interval training with LCAC, or treadmill intervals at the gym if it’s too humid outside. I really enjoy the feeling of pushing myself, and hopefully I’ll start to see improvements in speed and form.

 

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Plus I get to train with these badasses

 

Chocolate covered pretzels

 

I discovered these bad boys a week ago just as I was headed out to the trail, and they’re pretty brilliant- a perfect combination of sweet and salty, which definitely hits the spot during (and after) a long run.

 

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Training above my limit

 

Running with tougher and better runners has been a huge challenge for me this month, but ultimately I think it’s helping my performance. Firstly, you’re forced to go along at someone else’s pace (taking the control out of your hands), but more importantly you get out of your comfort zone and discover you’re capable of far more than you think!

 

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Me this month, a visual representation

 

 What have your favourites been this month?

 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa
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Milestone Run: 17 Miles of Struggle

This weekend I had a tough run. But instead of calling it a tough run, i’m calling it a milestone run. Let me set the scene: I was invited along on a group trail run through the North Downs, by some friends at running club, one of whom was training for an ultra on that trail.

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Despite assurances that the pace would be slow and conversational, I may have misjudged the whole event. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • The group I went with consisted of two guys who were a week out from their ultras; a buddy who’d placed first female in her first ever (69 mile) ultra, and another who’d placed first female at Hackney Half in the sweltering heat. Essentially- four of the toughest and strongest runners my club has to offer.
  • A “conversational” 10-minute mile pace isn’t really an easy pace- it’s merely reflective of the fact that you have to hike the uphills, and then try to regain speed on the downhills and flats.
  • The elevation on this run was insane. See the course profile below…
  • I had either a strained hamstring, or high hamstring tendonitis. I self-diagnosed on the train on the way there after waking up in pain that morning- let’s just say, a 17 mile run probably wasn’t the best idea. Honestly, I think if I tell my physiotherapist what I did (which I’ll eventually have to), he might hang his head in disbelief. Oops.

 

So yeah. In hindsight this was always going to be a tough one. And frankly, i realised this before we’d even finished the first mile. And so I resolved to cling on for dear life, and hope it was over as quickly and as pain-freely as possible. And in a way, that worked. So here are some highlights:

  • The scenery was amazing- the woods would open up suddenly into gorgeous panoramas over the Kent countryside.
  • We stopped halfway through at a visitor centre, absolutely soaked through, to have a cup of tea and (in some cases) a sarnie. Sweet sweet carbs.
  • There were plenty of photo ops, all of which we took full advantage of.
  • The second half was much better than the first- mainly psychologically, but also because I simply changed my running style to a slightly more efficient (and less painful) mid-foot strike. I’m paying the price for that now, with my quads burning- but that’s simply because 17 miles in any variation on your usual gait is going to cause you some problems!
  • Doing a long run on a Saturday morning really suits me- although I don’t do it often- because you get so much more from the rest of the weekend!

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Three days later, and my embarrassment and disappointment with the run has mostly dissipated- I’m happy to have survived and, frankly, I didn’t do all that badly. I decided to turn this negative into a positive, and learn all I can from it. Learnings to come!

What’s the toughest run you’ve done recently? Do you run trail often?

Lots of love,

Pippa

In case you needed some inspiration today

Here it is!

I watched the NBC Rio 2016 video last night, on Snapchat, as I was just about to head to sleep. There’s nothing I can say that the video doesn’t do justice on its own; not only is it inspirational, but the production values are absolutely top-notch.

 

Is there a video/film/song you turn to for inspiration?

Lots of love,

Pippa

Mindfulness: My Training Principles

Last night, feeling particularly inspired after a yoga class, nourishing dinner and catch-up with a friend, I found myself with some time to properly reflect on some principles I want to train by in the next few months. With quite a busy schedule of races and training ahead, I want to be careful to avoid burnout. During my training for Manchester Marathon at the start of the year, I was doing way too much, prioritizing all the wrong things, and it ended up costing me dearly both in terms of injury and professional accomplishment.

 

 

So without further ado, here we go:

Run Less, with More Focus

Whilst I haven’t read the book in its entirety (yet), I want to focus on the approach set out by Run Less, Run Faster for the next few months. As much as I love love love to run junk miles, and regularly run 4 or 5 times a week when not training for a specific goal; my body can only take 3 structured (i.e. intense) training sessions a week. I’ll be keeping it simple, and supplementing the following with cross-training:

  1. Long run
  2. Tempo run
  3. Intervals

Focus on Balance

In my brand new Believe, Achieve Training Journal, there’s a section on balance, and it talks about your “training wheel” being made up of the following spokes:

  • Physical training
  • Mental training
  • Nutrition
  • Recovery
  • Life Balance
  • Competition
  • Community

“Put too much emphasis on one spoke or ignore another, and your wheel becomes weak and collapses beneath you.” Wise words to live by.

Focus on Rest and Recovery

I am absolutely terrible at allowing my body to recover, and last training season I was burning the candle at both ends, which led to burnout, both physical, and more importantly, mental. I was really unable to focus on my work, and it wasn’t a good time at all.

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Focus on not getting fired

Okay, a slight exaggeration. But I want to focus on being able to deliver 110% in my current role, and take on more responsibility whenever possible. I cannot slump in my chair and let the brain fog take over.

Plenty of Race Prep ahead of the big event

The big event being, of course, the marathon. I want to get as much experience racing as I can, without overly interfering with my long runs. I currently have a good few in the diary, and seeing that I love racing so much, it’s hardly a sacrifice to add a few more when they come up (and believe me, they always come up)! Specifically I want to use 10k races as tempo runs, and do some half marathons as a way of getting over this weird mental block I have about 13.1.

 

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Good Food

This is entirely obvious, but something I really skimped on at the start of the year. I have a troubled history with food and dieting, and so it’s always a focus of mine to get better. My motto: Eat More Bananas- which is basically a shorthand way of saying “eat more real foods”. I also want to focus on eating fewer nothing foods- things like popcorn and rice cakes, which essentially keep you full but don’t really provide you with anything nutritionally. I’m certainly not swearing them off or restricting, but trying not to reach for a bag of popcorn whenever I get hungry.

 

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And yes, that includes treat food!

 

Have Clear Red Alerts

These are my signs that I absolutely have to cut back on training. I know people say listen to your body, but when you have a slightly obsessive personality like I do, it’s hard to do this without having an objective list of things.

  • Brain Fog
  • Any Work Fuckups or Close Calls
  • Monumental Life Fuckups
  • Heightened Emotions
  • Sickness or injury

 

These principles will hopefully stand me in good stead for lovely, successful and not too stressful training in the months to come.

 

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If you had to set a training principle for the next week, what would it be?

 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

 

Running and Racing

Whilst I love to run for fun, I also absolutely love racing, especially when it’s with my City Athletics crew. There’s something so fun about having a road trip to a random location, racing your heart out, and then going to the pub afterwards. So without further ado, here are my race plans for the tail-end of the year.

 

The Big, Scary, Audacious Goal…
 

 

…is the Budapest Marathon on 8th October. I’m not going to lie, I’m in it mainly for the holiday, but i also desperately need to avenge the horrific race day I had the first time I tried my hand at the marathon distance in April. After much umming and ahhing, I decided to just go ahead with it… I mean, I’d booked the flights months ago, so there’s that too!

 

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A Trip to Scandinavia
 

 

Courtesy of the Reykjavik Half Marathon, on 20th August. I had a lot of annual leave left over by the time it got to June, and so I panicked, and tagged along with what started off as a small runners’ jaunt, and has since gotten a lot bigger. I have no idea what to expect of Reykjavik, but I’m very excited for the hot springs which, I can imagine, are absolute heaven after a long race. As a side note, I’ve never actually raced a half marathon before, and I have a weird mental block about the distance. So this should be interesting!

 

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Where the ‘El 
 

 

is Elmore? I have absolutely no idea, but as per usual, I signed up to the race pretty much as soon as it got posted on the City Runners Facebook group. It’s a 7-miler and forms part of the Surrey Road League, so it must be in Surrey somewhere. And as usual, I’ll probably have the night-before-the-race panic when I realise quite how early I have to get up to make it to the start line on time. Oh well, there’s always coffee.

 

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‘Ello Elmbridge
 

 

Again, another leg of the Surrey Road League…so Surrey I guess? This is a 10k, which I think still remains my favourite distance to race. It’s also a great indicator of fitness and helps me to keep track on where I’m at, and if I’m making any progress. That being said, there’s a risk I’ll pile the pressure on- so that’s something to be wary of. But still, a day out with the runner crew!

 

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What’s your running schedule looking like? Anyone been to Iceland or Budapest? Send me your tips! 

 

Lots of love

 

Pippa