About Me

28acaf1f-37e0-4246-baae-a0ceca425934I’m Jordan, a 27 year old runner from Cambridgeshire, who is just working hard everyday to achieve my goals.

I still find it weird to call myself a ‘marathon runner’, but hey – I run marathons so I guess that’s what I am now! And I am not ashamed to admit that running defines me, and makes me the person that I am.

For me, running is what motivates me every single day. It keeps me sane, it keeps me healthy & it has given me so much more than a few medals. I honestly could not imagine my life without it, and I hope I never have to experience a life without it.

the big halfI have always struggled with self confidence. I constantly compared myself to others, would never believe anyone when they said how well I was doing, and would try and shy away or belittle my achievements. But recently, something in me has changed, and with the support & encouragement from the fantastic running community, I have realised that I have got something to give to the world of running, and as well as now achieving goals I would have never even dreamed of before, I now want to share it all with you guys. The ups, the downs, the highs, the lows, and everything in between. If I can inspire just ONE person to get out and go for a run, then I will be happy.

I hope you all enjoy my ramblings, and I can’t wait to share my running journey with you all.

Jordan xx

Adidas Infinite Trails – Part 2

 

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

So this was it, all that stood in the way of me and the finish line was 60km & 12,000ft of elevation… easy right?! I won’t lie, the whole race felt pretty daunting so I tried to follow the advice I have been given from Timothy the day before and just not think about what was coming up and just try to enjoy it and take it all in!

I knew that one of the most important things I had to do for the first part of the race was pace myself, I had a long bloody way to go and I couldn’t go tearing off like a mad woman over the first few miles, which would have been really easy to do! The first 7 miles of my race were pretty flat, which was a good way to get some steady miles in and get my legs warmed up ready for the climbs.

Almost as soon as I set off, it was like someone literally flicked a switch and turned the sun on. It was ROASTING, and it was only 9 in the morning! Again though, there was nothing I could do about it so I just kept telling myself I was going to get a cracking tan, and made sure I kept taking on water & fuel regularly.

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

Soon enough though, it was time to leave the road as I started the loooooooong climb up the first mountain of the day! I knew that Lewis & Jon were going to be at the first aid station on the way up, so that really helped to keep me going. I will be completely honest, on the uphill climbs there was pretty much ZERO running. I had got advice from lots of people who were a lot more experienced than me who all advised the same thing, to hike the hills.. so that is exactly what I did! I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and slowly made my way up the first big climb of the day. I also really regretted not having poles, watching people glide up the hills with them made more really envious so it’s something I’ll definitely invest in for the future!

I finally reached the first aid station and it was so good to see the guys there and have a chat (it was pretty lonely out on the course!) I refilled my water bottles, covered myself in water and grabbed a handful of salty pretzels and then carried on my way up the mountain.  The views were absolutely incredible, and there were many points throughout the race I actually made sure that every now and then I just stopped to look around and make sure I was taking it all in!

 

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

 

It was at this point that I realised how hard this race was actually going to be – I had gone from running, to hiking to now actually mountain climbing and scrambling along a ridge! I will admit I am not the biggest fan of heights, so I did take it pretty slow and steady and really concentrated on where I was putting my hands and feet – I definitely didn’t want to slip and fall at this point! It was a bittersweet moment when I finally got to the summit, I was relieved that the climbing was over for a while, but all I kept thinking was that  had to do this ALL over again once I got back down – mentally this was pretty tough to get my head round!

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

I didn’t hang about at the top, I still had a LONG way to go and I wanted to just chip away at the miles and get to the next aid station, mainly because I knew I was going to see some friendly faces. Running downhill is definitely a lot more fun than climbing, this is definitely where my strength is, and I really enjoyed getting some speed back into my legs as I made my way down. I stopped briefly at the aid station again, refilled & refuelled and carried on (you might be noticing a pattern here!) 

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

The next few miles were a dreaaaaaaam, it felt so good to actually get some decent running in on the road, and the miles went by so quickly before I knew it I was almost coming up to the half way point of the race! By this point I had been out on the course for about 5 hours and I was starting to just feel really hot, and tired! The sun was relentless. There was literally no cloud cover or shade out on the course, so the whole time it was just beating down on me! I wouldn’t usually run in a cap, but I have to say I was so pleased it was part of the mandatory kit list, it may sound dramatic but I think I would have really struggled at points if I didn’t have cover on my head (so if any of you have a race coming up and its going to be hot – get a hat!!)

I made it, I was over the half way point! Which was a great feeling, but also a little daunting as I knew I still had another mountain to climb and a lot of miles left to do.

As I started the next climb of the race, unfortunately this is where it started to go a little downhill for me (pun absolutely intended).  I was struggling. It was now early afternoon and after being out in the sun for over 5 hours already with barely any shade, I was starting to feel the effects of the heat. Between miles 21-27 there was hardly ANY running, the first few miles were a gradual climb – which normally I would run but I was finding it really hard. It was also pretty lonely out there, due to the format of the race everyone set off at different times, so sometimes I wouldn’t see another runner for what felt like miles, and I definitely think that made it that little bit tougher too. By now, all I was focussing on was getting to the next aid station. I kept checking the route (we were all given transfer tattoos of our loop) and thinking about getting a cold drink, some shade and salty food.

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

After what felt like FOREVER, I finally reached the aid station! I grabbed myself a drink and then asked the volunteers if they minded if I sat down for 5 minutes in the shade – it felt SO good to be out of the sun!! To be honest at that moment I could have quite happily stayed sitting in the tent, but luckily another runner (and yes I feel terrible I have forgotten her name!) asked if I was okay and if I wanted to run with her for a bit, which was enough to make me get out of my chair and back on the trails! It was so nice to have some company for a couple of miles, both of us were finding it really tough but she was definitely a lot stronger than me on the climbs. We agreed that we wouldn’t hold each other up, so once the climb started getting really tough again I let her go on as I was a lot slower. For me, this was possibly the hardest part of the race. I was back on the mountain, back to scrambling across rocks and my legs felt like they were made out of lead.

Like in any race, no matter if its a 5k or an ultra, once you lose it mentally it can be really hard to pull yourself back together. I messaged the boys and said I was struggling and finding it really tough, and honestly if it wasn’t for them telling me that they were waiting at the summit for me I probably would have come close to giving up. It was slow, it was painful, I had a little cry on my Instagram stories, but slowly and surely I made my way up through the snow (which was so bizarre when it was so hot!) and across the final ridge to the peak. It was so good to see the boys up there – and I couldn’t quite believe they had made it all the way to the top (they were the real heroes of the day – they were out on the course from 4am until midnight, god knows how many miles they clocked up!) 

Now that I had reached the second summit, I finally felt like I could get excited about finishing the race! All that was left to do was get down to the bottom, easy right?! I made my way to the next aid station where the boys were and also got to see Rich who came out to meet me on the course, it was great to see him. .. although admittedly the first thing I did when I saw him was shout ‘I HATE YOU’ (he was the brains behind the whole trip and the reason I was running the 60k) but luckily since then I have forgiven him!

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

I spent a bit of time at the aid station this time, I refilled all my bottles, got water poured over me, and ate perhaps the best, saltiest chips I have ever had in my LIFE! I hadn’t taken on any ‘real’ food in a while so they honestly tasted like the best thing in the world! We were all buzzing that I was almost at the finish, but the race definitely wasn’t over yet, I still had about 10 miles to go until I was done… so once again it was time to get my head down and crack on.

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

Actually being able to run and go downhill again felt amazing after a pretty miserable few hours of climbing, it was nice to get some speed back in my legs, and to my surprise once I started running again and got back on the road, my legs actually felt pretty good!

The miles started ticking by nicely, then all of a sudden I was going back uphill?! Ummmmm, this wasn’t what I wanted 55km into the race! It turns out that just because I was coming down from the mountain, they still threw in a few cheeky ‘undulating’ sections. And trust me, my legs felt every single one of those inclines!

But finally, as I made my way off the mountain for good I knew I was close! I could hear the music from the event village in the distance and that was literally what kept me going as I made my way back into the town. This race wasn’t about time, but I had set myself a goal (of course I did!) of wanting to finish in under 10 hours, and although it was going to be a close one, I realised I was going to do it. I text the boys to tell them I was on my way in so that Sum could get ready for his loop and just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

The music was getting louder and louder, there were people out cheering on the course and I was actually starting to feel pretty emotional, I was just so pleased it was nearly over! As with any long distance event, the last mile is always one of the hardest and the final loop of the park seemed to last forever, but I eventually turned the corner and the finish line was in sight! Crowd support & adrenaline can do amazing things, and with everyone cheering and clapping, even though I was exhausted I somehow managed to pull a sprint finish out of the bag! I could see Sum waiting and raring to go… I crossed the line, pretty much ran into him, wished him luck and then collapsed into a heap on the floor!

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

The next few minutes were a bit of a blur, one of the volunteers placed a wet towel over my shoulders which honestly felt like the best thing in the world. And then all of a sudden I became very aware about how much my feet were burning – I needed to get my shoes and socks off, pronto! They weren’t battered, blistered or bruised – but I think they were just suffering after being stuffed in a pair of trainers for the best part of 12 hours!

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

We then made our way out to the main finish area, and straight to the paddling pools filled with ice cold water. It may as well have been a luxury spa! It felt so good to finally be able to sit down, knowing that I didn’t have to get back up and climb a mountain! But our race wasn’t quite done there – the rules of the race stated that to officially finish as a team, once your 3rd loop runner was back in, as a team you then had to complete a 0.5km victory lap and all cross the line together. Luckily, we knew we had a few hours before Sum would be back in – so we went back to the hotel, got cleaned up, FINALLY HAD A BEER and grabbed some food!

We headed back down to the finish area just before Midnight and were constantly checking out phone for updates on how Sum was getting on – he was running strong but it was a tough out there and the Loop 3 runners also had the extra challenge of it being pitch black! Jon & Lewis finally joined us again after being out on the course themselves for 18 hours, and its safe to say we were all feeling pretty exhausted!

Soon enough though, Sum gave us the nod he was heading back into the centre, so once again Rich & I got ourselves ready in the start zone and as soon as Sum got to the line, we grabbed his hand and set off on our victory lap!

We crossed the line with a total time of  20:50:55 and made it back before 1am and were just so pleased to have completed it within the tough cut offs (which saw nearly half of the other teams get disqualified) And although we all raced separately, it was great to be able to all cross the line and finish together!

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

The race, and the whole trip to Austria is something I will never forget. I had the most amazing time, met some incredible people and I proved to myself that I am a lot stronger than I think! It has also opened my eyes to what else is out there, and made me realise there is a lot more to running then getting a faster marathon time! I have already started to line up my next challenges… one of which I will hopefully share with you VERY soon!

The best advice I can give to anyone who is reading this and thinking ‘I would love to do something like this’ is… JUST BLOODY DO IT! (Okay, well maybe don’t jump straight into a 60k ultra mountain race… but there is no reason why you couldn’t one day!) I honestly do believe that we never truly know what we are capable of until we try.  So here is to saying YES and all the amazing adventures along the way!

Jordan xx

Race Stats

**I was invited to be a part of Team Pro:Direct Running and to go on the trip by Prodirect. Race entry, travel, accommodation & kit were also provided**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adidas Infinite Trails – Part 1

 

I guess the best place to start is right back at the beginning… So let me take you back to about 6 weeks ago, when I randomly got a message from Rich (boss man!) on Instagram asking if I would consider being a part of Team Prodirect Running for the upcoming Adidas Infinite Trails weekend. I had never heard of the event before, but after a quick look on the website I just had to say yes! I am ALWAYS up for a challenge & looking for ways to push myself out of my comfort zone, and this looked like the perfect event to do this!

img_6180I was really excited, but as the event drew closer I also started to feel incredibly nervous, especially as I had been given the task of taking on the biggie.. Loop 2! 60km with 3800m of elevation! Craaaaaap, those hills at Richmond Park seemed pretty insignificant now! Luckily, completely by coincidence I also had a trail running/mountain holiday booked for the beginning of June in the South of France which ended up being the perfect training week (I still need to blog about this too!)

Soon enough, race week was upon us and we were all getting really excited about what we were taking on! As with any race, I spent most of the week leading up to it frantically checking the weather, and it was looking like along with the rest of Europe, Austria was also having a heatwave (30+ degrees forecast everyday!) BUT unfortunately, the weather is something we cannot control, you just need to make the best of the situation and I’m extreme conditions just be sensible (note: I do not class running a 60km mountain race during the middle of the day as sensible!)

Day 1

Our journey started on Tuesday evening where we met at the airport hotel for dinner and to plan the week ahead. This was actually the first time I met the team so it was nice to spend some time with them all before we embarked on our crazy adventure! The following day it was up early doors for our flight to Austria where we already had an action packed day ahead of us!

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

Our first task was to get some content for Social Media which meant our first trip up the mountain (We did the sensible thing though and saved our legs by getting a cable car up & down) The views from the top were truly something else, we managed to get some pretty amazing photos but as always I don’t think a photo can ever really do something like this justice! There is also something incredible humbling about being on a mountain, and it makes you realise just how small we actually are!

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

The main realisation we all had from this was how bloody hot it was, even late in the afternoon and at the summit! There was no cloud, and even the wind was blowing hot air. Normally I am not one to complain about the hot weather, but all I kept thinking is that it was going to make an already tough race, that little bit tougher!

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

Day 2

This is where the real fun started! The small town we were staying in started to really come alive as athletes from all over the world arrived ready for the events.

Adidas Terrex had well and truly taken over! In the centre of the town was the ‘House Of Terrex’ which was their version of the event expo – there was food & drinks, massage, exhibitors, panel talks, massage, registration etc. It was great to be able to wander around and soak up all the atmosphere. This is when it all started to feel more real and reminded me I wasn’t just there for a holiday!

Thursday was also the first race of the weekend with the 15km Prologue event taking place that evening. This was essentially a warm up for the main event and your teams average finish time determined your start time on Saturday. We decided to use the race as a way to get some experience with trails and not completely trash our legs before our main race.

We set off as a team, alongside another 600+ runners and soon found ourselves in a single file queue making our way up the first climb. There wasn’t really any option apart from to walk, but to be honest we didn’t really mind (and I definitely wouldn’t have been able to run 99% of it anyway!) and we still managed to keep a solid walking pace to the top! Once we started the descent though, I will admit that Rich and I maaaaaaaay have got a little carried away with the downhill! It was super steep and it just felt so good to get some speed back into my legs! I wouldn’t say it was running… it was more just falling with style, and trying to keep my legs from going underneath me!

As a team we finished in just under the 2.00 hour mark, which we were super happy with! Out of about 180ish teams that put us in 139th position for the race on Saturday, which we were quite surprised at! But I think that just goes to show the level of athletes that had turned up to event, I mean.. it was the world championships after all!

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

Day 3

Today was all about relaxing, eating and trying to prepare ourselves for race day! My day started with another quick trip up the mountain (via cable car! and I had my first experience of being a footwear model) before I headed back down to chill – well, as best I could in 33 degree heat!

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Photographer – Jon Roberts http://www.jonroberts.co.uk/

I headed back to the House of Terrex which was now absolutely buzzing with athletes and people getting ready and excited for the event! This was also where I casually bumped into legendary Adidas Athlete Timothy Olson! What he doesn’t know about mountain running, isn’t worth knowing! So I obviously had to ask if he had any advice for the race, and then get a photo of course!

1️⃣ Start SLOW (obviously all relative to the individual as his ‘slow’ pace would probably be my max effort 🤣)

2️⃣ Hike the hills! Don’t try and run it all, and use this time to take on lots of calories and water.

3️⃣ Think less! Don’t be constantly thinking about what’s coming up or what you have to do. Enjoy it, take in the views and just run!

The afternoon was pretty busy – we had to attend the mandatory Athlete Briefing where the RDs went through all of the loops and health & safety, then it was final kit checks before we headed to a local restaurant and stuffed ourselves with pizza before getting an early night! Oh, and of course I had to do a flat lay! I don’t think I’ve ever had so much stuff for a race before!

It was then straight to bed as we had a looooong day ahead of us on Saturday!

Day 4 – RACE DAY!

I actually got a really good night sleep and woke up feeling raring to go at 4am! Now all I had to do was fuel myself and wait for Rich to finish his lap.

I headed down to the event village at around 7am with some of the other guys to wait for Rich and cheer on the other runners. The atmosphere was incredible, it felt more like a festival than a race! I was feeling SO nervous and I probably went to the toilet about 8 times in the space of an hour. At around 8.30 we got the update from Lewis and Jon that Rich was heading to the finish! I got myself into the handover zone and tried to get my head in the game. Minutes later Rich came storming down the finish straight to hand over to me. This was it! Now the real fun was about to begin…

I have so much to say about this race. I think it deserves its own blog post… COMING SOON!

Lactate Threshold Testing

A couple of weeks back I was invited along by Pure Sports Medicine to take part in a Lactate Threshold test at their Bank Clinic.

I will be honest, I had heard about the test before, but I wasn’t 100% sure what I was going to have to do, or what it was going to tell me. But what I did know, is that it’s hard bloody work! And how did I know this? Because when I mentioned it to people I was getting it done the general response was to laugh, and then say Good Luck! Greaaaaaat, I was starting to wonder what I had let myself in for!

I received an email from Graham the morning of my test making sure that I wasn’t planning on running before or even running to the clinic (I’ll be honest, the thought had crossed my mind!) as the test works best when you are rested, and apparently us endurance runners have a habit of trying to fit runs in whenever we can (whoops!) but by doing so it can skew the results of the test. In an ideal world, I should have had a rest day the day before too, but luckily all I had done was a nice easy paced run so it didn’t have too much of an effect on the results.

I arrived at the clinic and met with Graham who talked me through what we were going to do, and then I had to sign my life away (no, literally!) The test was simple, I was going to be running on a treadmill for between 40-60 minutes, for blocks of time at various speeds, with the aim to increase the speed throughout until we found where my maximum pace was.

During the test both your heart rate (you are required to wear a heart rate monitor, but the clinic can provide one if you don’t have one) and bloods are monitored.

NB – your bloods are monitored by a small finger prick needle and then a sample is taken. This happens quite frequently throughout the test so if you have a real fear/issue with needles and/or blood then this test would not be a good choice for you!

So remember I said it was best to make sure you were completely rested? The reason for this is that lactate can stay in your blood for between 24-48 hours, so when my bloods were taken right at the start of the test, the count was a little higher than expected, but even after just doing a fast walk on the treadmill for a few minutes it returned back down to the ‘normal level’ as my body was able to process it back into fuel pretty quickly.

The test was broken up into approx 4 minute intervals. We started with just a fast walk for the first block and then gradually increased to a slow, comfortable jog. Also throughout the test, as well as monitoring my HR and bloods I also had to say how I felt on a scale of 6-20 in terms of effort (Rate of Perceived Exertion, with 6 being complete rest and 20 being maximum effort)

Graham then popped all of my results into a table which shows the speed of the treadmill (KM), my blood result, heart rate and finally my RPE score.

As you can see from my results, from around 30 minutes was where it was starting to get tough! And not only does my HR rise quite quickly, but so does the levels of lactate in my blood. Graham then made the call to stop the test during the last block as I had pretty much reached my maximum level, and I certainly don’t think I would have been able to run much faster for another 4 minute block!

I have to say, I was pretty relieved when it was finished! I had basically just done a pretty tough 40 minute progression run.. so much for it being my rest day!

Graham then briefly went over my results and assured me they were pretty good but that my full report would follow the following week, along with my prescribed heart rate training zones (the super duper important bit!). Here are my results.

So why is this important? Because quite simply, if you are working to heart rate it gives you the best idea of how hard your body is working, and how hard it should be working depending on the session you are doing and what you are looking to get out of it.

For example – the classic ‘Easy Run’ (which could be classed as Active Recovery or Endurance) Although technically it’s the simplest form of running, it can sometimes be the one that most people get wrong (and I have definitely been guilty of this in the past)

An easy run should be exactly what it says on the tin, easy! So although technically it might ‘feel easy’ for you to head out at your 5k pace every time you go for a run, if your HR is hitting that Zone 3-4 training zone during these runs, that my friend is not classed as easy! Using HR is a great way for you to know what level you should be working to on these runs so that you are not pushing your body too much when it’s simply not needed.

So what is Lactate Threshold and why is it good to know what yours is?

Have you ever had that feeling during a race or a really hard training session where all of a sudden it’s like someone has flicked a switch and your legs go from feeling pretty good to really heavy and that burning sensation? Yes? Well, that’s all down to Lactic acid!

Your body is constantly producing lactic acid whilst exercising, but when it gets to that point it’s where your body is unable to keep up with how much is being processed, and basically can’t get rid of it! Your body/brain/everything will be trying to do what it can to get you to slow down, and this can also be described as ‘hitting the wall’ – an experience unfortunately most of us will encounter during a race.

Knowing what your ‘Lactate Threshold’ pace is has many benefits. It means that during your training, you can push your body to that limit, and like with anything, if you keep working at it, you can improve it! And then hopefully you will be able to replicate it on race day and be able to push that little bit harder, or hold on for longer.

Here is my personalised report based on my test results.

“Aerobic Threshold was achieved at 14 kph and 168 bpm. This is the threshold of “mouth-closed” training. Anything above that and you are accumulating substantial lactate but are able to re-process it back into fuel. You can maintain this speed for 3+ hours and gives you a good marathon pace to be focussing on if one completes a marathon at this sort of time.

For yourself, it should be somewhat faster to achieve marathon pace. Lactate Threshold was achieved at 16.5kph (3:38min/km) and 181 bpm. This is the threshold by which you are accumulating considerable lactate and your body cannot keep up with how much is being processed. This pace can be kept for approx. 1 hour if conditions were perfect.

My recommendation for YOUR improved lactate – prescribe some of your tempo runs at 3:55min/km pace and kick to 3:30min/km for a time of 10% of total duration (e.g 60min run = sets of 6 mins). Work at a EASY:HARD ratio of 1:1.”

Since the test, I have been paying a lot more attention to my HR during training. At the moment I have been focusing a lot more on working in my ‘Aerobic Zone’ due to my upcoming ultra marathons, and it has honestly made such a difference. Although I have been running more miles than ever before, the majority of my runs have been at ‘easy pace’ – meaning that I haven’t felt burnt out and I also seem to be recovering well in between sessions.

Soon enough though, my training for New York marathon will be officially kicking off, and I am really looking forward to using this information to make sure this is my best training block yet. I won’t be second guessing what paces I need to run at, and I will know exactly how hard I need to work in certain sessions to see results. I’m actually pretty excited!!

Whether you are looking for that marathon PB, or perhaps you are newer to running, I believe there are benefits to having the test done. For beginners, one of the most common mistakes they make is pushing themselves too hard, too quickly. And it’s easily done! You feel great when you first start running regularly and it’s all to easy to head out on every single training run and try to run quicker than before, or race parkrun every single week.. but unfortunately, this will catch up with you! So if you know how hard you should be working from the start, over time you will have a much more productive (and probably enjoyable!) running journey.

I hope you found this useful, and if you do decide to get yourself booked in for a test…. GOOD LUCK!

Jordan xx

Pure Sports Medicine are offering 20% off your Lactate Threshold Test (usually £146) if you quote ‘projectmarathongirl’ when booking until 26th July 2019. To book directly please email media@puresportsmed.com

Or to find out more information you can click here to head straight to the website.

Session was gifted as part of ongoing partnership with Pure Sports Medicine.

Red Bull Quicksand 2019

‘How hard can 1 mile be?’

The answer…. VERY BLOODY HARD!

As you all know, road marathons are my thing. So a 1 mile race (on sand!) is approximately 25.2 miles outside of my comfort zone. But, I love a challenge and after the London Marathon my main priority was to just have some fun with running and events, so when Red Bull UK kindly invited me to the event, I had to say yes! (it also helped that my number 1 @whatcharlierannext lives about 1 mile so it was the perfect chance for a catch up & a sleep over!) 

Race weekend rolled around, and I travelled down to Margate on the Friday night to stay with Charlie. We decided to go for a little shake out run and used it as the perfect excuse to go and check out the course which was being set up on the beach. As we approached the site I think we both had the same thing going through our brain… ‘OH SH*T!’

The man-made sand dunes were absolutely massive, and there was a lot of them! We had a quick chat with the event team that were there setting up the event and they too confirmed that they stepped it up from the previous year and the obstacles were bigger and steeper. Faaaaaaaabulous!

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The race format was simple. There were a number of different heats (both for men & women) during which you were required to complete 2 x laps of the course, and the Top 50% of finishers then progressed to the semi final, and then again to the final.

Soon enough it was the morning of the race, and fuelled by pasta, prosecco & doughnuts, Charlie and I made our way to the event village to get registered and ready for our heats. Once we arrived we found Helen (@framefitnesssouthhampton) & Helena (@marathon_runner92) and we all felt pretty similar… excited, but nervous for what was coming up!

 

 

It is safe to say, Red bull really know how to put on an event. It was really well organised & registration was a quick and seamless process. The atmosphere on the beach was great too, and I think this was definitely helped by having Run Dem Crew there leading the warm ups, MC’ing and generally just helping to create an epic atmosphere!

After watching the last of the mens heat, it was finally our time to go! Charlie & Helen were in the first women’s heat (to which Charlie managed to finish in the Top 50% and progress to the Semi Final, as much as she didn’t want to! hahaaaaaaaa) and then finally it was my turn!

I can honestly say, that first lap was the hardest mile I have ever ran. I *maaaaay* have got slightly over excited at the start and went out far too quickly for the first lap, but I was feeling good! And then it happened, it was almost as if someone flicked a switch in my legs and they went from feeling strong, to feeling like two blocks of wood! That final lap was a slog, and after taking the lead for the first lap, I slipped back into second place, and I just had nothing left in me to push on.

I was interviewed pretty much the second I crossed the line, I am surprised I even managed to talk as I honestly felt like I was going to throw up.

‘Speaking after the first heat, she said: “Right now, my legs are like jelly, I feel sick and my lungs are burning – and I just don’t feel like that at the end of a marathon. Because you’re working so hard for a short amount of time, it completely kills your body.”

It was a bittersweet moment, I was pleased I finished 2nd and progressed to the semi final, but now I knew what I had let myself in for, at that moment I wasn’t really sure I wanted to run it again!

Luckily, there was about a 2 hour break before the next stage, so I got myself something to eat and started to prepare myself to run it again. Now I knew what to expect I knew that I couldn’t race off like a mad woman on that first lap, I needed to run smart! I also decided to run the next lap barefoot, I had seen others do it throughout the day and as the sand was soft and loose I thought it would be worth a shot, plus anyone that has run on sand before will know how annoying it is when your shoes and socks are full of sand!

It was time for the semi-final, and this time it was different, as we all knew what to expect from the brutal course. I attempted to hold myself back for the first part of the course, and hung back in around 4th position, but my plan worked! I felt stronger as the lap went on and managed to push on for that second lap and once again finished in 2nd position! And I even managed to run it around 40 seconds quicker than the first heat.

So that was it, I was in the final! And this time, we didn’t get much of a chance to recover as the Final was only 30 minutes later. I grabbed a can of Red Bull as I needed that quick energy fix (and all the help I could get!) and got myself ready to go.

Although it was the final, I knew I still needed to be clever. My legs were cooked by this point and I knew if I went out too quickly I would suffer towards the end of the lap. Once we set off I purposely held myself back again, and although I was in the front pack, I hung back in around 4th for the first few climbs. Everyone was suffering by this point but my competitiveness was greater than the pain in my legs! I managed to get myself comfortably in 2nd position by the time we were on the final lap, and at one point I even caught up with the Andrea but she wasn’t giving up that easily and managed to push on once again.

By the time we reached the final climb, my legs were completely done. The final ‘sprint’ to the finish wasn’t pretty, I can’t really explain how tough it is to try and run quickly on ground that moves beneath you, but just believe me when I say.. it hurts! But I did it.. I grabbed my flag and crossed the line in 2nd place, and only 8 seconds away from 1st! Everything went a bit wobbly, from my legs to my head and I felt a bit out of it for a few seconds, but I was just so happy it was done… and that I didn’t have to do it again!!

To my surprise, my final lap was quicker yet again! I don’t really understand how my legs still worked, but it just showed how poorly I paced myself for that first lap!

Heat 1 – 10.34

Semi Final – 09.54

Final – 09.16

Shortly after we finished, there was the winning presentations for both the Men & Women. The trophy was absolutely epic (and weighed a tonne!) and then we also got given a bottle of champagne… which we had to open and spray all over each other (don’t worry, I made sure I saved some to drink after!) 

I mentioned it earlier, but Red Bull really do know how to put on an event! I will 100% be returning to the beaches of Margate next year, and its made me want to sign up to more of their events just because I know it will be an incredible experience (Redbull 400 anyone?!)

If you are looking for a new, fun, tough challenge for next year, I highly recommend this event! The 2020 event hasn’t been announced yet, but keep your eyes peeled on the website. You won’t regret it!

Jordan xxx

 

 

London Marathon 2019

Now that the dust has settled on the 2019 London Marathon, I thought I would finally get round to writing a blog post all about it. I will be honest, at first I just wanted to forget about it, I have made no secret that I was disappointed with how the race went, but I know that it is important to not only share the highs & the wins, but also the lows and those races that don’t always go to plan. So here we go…

The days leading up to the race were pretty fully on (perhaps one of my many mistakes?) I had committed to lots of events, which at the time I thought would just help to distract and relax me, but looking back now, perhaps being so busy on the days leading up to the marathon wasn’t such a good idea….

But, I can’t change that now, and I did have fun! The events included visiting the London Marathon Expo with the New Balance Team, a special Secret London Runs with Team Runderwear and attending the 2019 Running Awards! The best bit was getting to see & catch up with lots of friends, and meeting lots of great new people too.

Anyway, I digress! Saturday finally rolled around and it was time to relax. I was feeling oddly calm, and it honestly didn’t feel like the marathon was only one sleep away, it was definitely a world away from how I felt the year before! This actually made me feel quietly confident, I felt this was before Berlin & Switzerland marathon and they turned out pretty bloody well, so who knows… maybe London was going to go better than I thought?! I got an early night, and actually slept really well, and before I knew it I was up, stuffing myself with porridge & black coffee and making my way to the start line.

I met some friends at the tube station, and we travelled down together – and I don’t know if anyone else thought this but everywhere just seemed so much busier compared to previous years?! We arrived at Blackheath and started to make our way to the start zones, as standard I was suddenly absolutely desperate for the toilet so finding a portaloo was my number one priority! Luckily this year I was in the Championship Start, which thankfully meant shorter toilet queues! And I just want to say thank you to the two girls who let me cut in front of them as they could clearly see I was desperate – the heroes of the day! Another stark difference to last year was also how bloody cold it was!! Again, due to being in the Championship Start I was very grateful that I had a tent to hide in and get changed in.

A few days prior to the race, I received a message from Paul (who I knew from back home) offering to run with me for the first 20 miles of the race and to help pace me. I have never been paced during a marathon before, but due to how the last couple of months had felt, I jumped at the chance. It was one less thing to worry about, and I thought the distraction of running with someone might give me that slight edge.

I managed to find Paul in the start zone, and then it was time to go!We started the short walk to the start line, and rather than doing a warm up I decided to try and just hide in the middle of the crowds and steal everyone else’s body heat. Paul and I discussed our strategy and it was then I decided I was still going to try and attempt my 2.55 goal. I suddenly started to get very nervous, I honestly had no idea if I was going to be able to run that pace, it had felt like a lifetime since I had run that fast and I was feeling the pressure that if I couldn’t do it, I would be holding Paul back too.

We crossed the line after approx 20 seconds, and it was a lot busier than I expected! The problem with being a female in the Championship Start is that the mens qualifying standard is a lot quicker, as is Good For Age which started directly behind us, so for the first 1km or so of the race I had a lot of fast men flying past me wanting to get nearer the front, but I put my blinkers on and just concentrated on running next to Paul.

I actually couldn’t believe how good I felt running at 2.55 pace, the first 5km flew past and we were bang on target, I was trying not to get too carried away as I knew we still had a loooooong way to go, but it certainly gave me a boost! I took my gel on as planned at 5.5 miles and was still feeling strong as we were approaching the 10km mark. And once again, as we reached the timing mat, not only were we on target, we even had a few seconds in the bank (mainly thanks to the slightly downhill start)  I also saw my coach at this point who shouted out that I was ‘bang on’ which was a really good boost!

As we approached Cutty Sark, this is where the crowds really came into their own. It was SO busy and loud, it can almost be a little overwhelming. When I am running marathons I like to break the race down, and once we passed Cutty Sark I just focused on getting to the next big landmark, Tower Bridge, which is also the half way point and where I knew I would be seeing friends & familiar faces! This is my 4th London Marathon, and turning that corner onto the bridge still gives me goosebumps, it’s so hard not to get carried away when you have thousands of people cheering and shouting, but I tried to keep reminding myself that I still had a long way to go!

I was still feeling strong, I had taken another gel on at 11.5 miles and was taking small sips of water as and when I felt I needed it (although looking back now, I think maybe I could have taken on more) We crossed the bridge and reached the half way point, and again we were pretty much on target with a half marathon time of 1.27.37, which meant as long as we kept the same pace for the second half (with a cheeky sprint finish) I could still be in with a chance of getting my sub 2.55, or at least a PB!

The next couple of miles ticked by nicely, I took on another gel at around 15 miles, and then unfortunately everything started to go a bit Pete Tong. I all of a sudden got this shooting pain in the side of my stomach, it honestly felt like someone had stabbed me just underneath my ribs. My pace naturally slowed down, and I tried to control my breathing but nothing was working. Every time I tried to speed up, the pain got worse and I was struggling to catch my breath. Paul was checking in and asking if I was okay, but I think my face said it all. I had slowed right down, I was clutching my stomach and just trying to breathe normally.

I was hoping it would pass, but unfortunately the stitch lasted for around 3 miles. I desperately just wanted to stop and walk, but I knew that once I did that I would lose it mentally so I kept plodding on and trying to ignore everything else around me. I was heartbroken, and feeling pretty miserable. I even turned the pace off my watch as I couldn’t bare to see the miles getting slower, and my goals slipping away.

Friends started to pass me on the course, friends that technically I should have been ahead of, and then the 3 hour pacer glided past, which felt like another stab in the stomach. I will admit, for those few miles not only did I lose it physically, I also gave up mentally too. And when that happens in a marathon, its game over.

Thankfully as we passed the 20 mile mark, the stitch had disappeared, but now it was my legs that were giving up. Due to slowing down and changing my running style due to ‘stitch gate’ I lost all of the drive and power in my legs, and in fact – I slowed down even more! I am extremely grateful that Paul decided to stay with me until the end (think he must have felt sorry for me!) and helped to push me through the final few miles.

All time goals were gone. I was no longer chasing a PB, the only thing I wanted to do now was get to the finish line. I took on another gel at around the 21 mile mark, along with a Caffeine Bullet and just started focusing on getting to Mile 24 – where I knew Becca and her legendary cheer squad would be. Somehow, I actually managed to get a little bit of speed back for those final couple of miles, I mean it was still WAY off pace, but I felt a lot more comfortable and like I was actually running again!

Seeing the guys at Mile 24 gave me a massive boost and really gave me the motivation to dig in and get to the finish. The crowds in general down the Embankment were just incredible, so if you are reading this and you were there that day – THANK YOU!

Paul was trying his best to push me, we tried to target runners that were in front of us with the aim to catch them, but my little legs could only do so much! But finally, we turned the corner and were approaching Birdcage Walk. I knew that James was going to be there, and as soon as I saw his little face I was gone, I was trying not to cry but I was absolutely done! Although original time goals were now out of the window, our new aim was to push for the final KM and cross the line under 3.10. I knew I didn’t really have anything in the tank, so I waited until we got to the final corner before really giving it my all and attempting a sprint finish.

We crossed the line, and as standard I had my finish line wobble – in fact I think this was my best one yet (luckily Paul was there to catch me!) I stopped my watch and then burst into tears. I just felt empty & disappointed, I wasn’t even that bothered about getting my medal. I cried some more, I then looked up and saw a crew member filming me (and they then ended up using the clip in 3 different videos later that day, greaaaaaaaat!)

Luckily I then spotted Chris & Matt, who had finished a few minutes before me, they came and gave me a big cuddle, which resulted in more tears! I couldn’t even pretend I was happy, or proud of myself that I had just ran a marathon. All I wanted to do at that moment was get my bag, and go home.

I met up with some friends and my Dad at the finish – and although they all tried to say how well I did, I wasn’t having it. I was being a complete misery guts. I had been looking forward to this day for so long, and I was just so gutted it didn’t go to plan. I tried to pull myself together and made my way back to Birdcage Walk as I wanted to cheer – but with a combination of being emotional, the crowds, being cold and my legs hurting I decided to just get away from the madness and made my way home.

Once I got home, I just couldn’t believe it was all over – the day I had been counting down to for a whole year, working towards for months was done. And it went so so wrong. It was tough to process. But luckily – a long hot shower, a massage, pizza & lots of gin helped to ease the pain slightly!

It’s been 9 days since the marathon, and if I am honest I am not in the best place right now. A combination of disappointment, post marathon blues, lack of training & weight gain has left me feeling low. But I know that feeling sorry for myself isn’t going to make me feel any better! So instead I am now focusing on my next goal – the 2019 New York Marathon! I am going to be a lot more selective about what I share during this block, and I will be keeping goals close to my chest, but I look forward to sharing the journey with you all.

Jordan xxx

 

 

 

London Marathon Training Update

Okay, so I hold my hands up.. I have slacked majorly with my weekly training updates. I have no real excuse apart from the fact that life got in the way, work was busy, I have other stuff I have been trying to deal with and to be honest it has felt so up & down there have just been times I haven’t really wanted to write about it. BUT, I want this blog to be open and honest, I don’t just want to share the good stuff, so here goes.. a little over view of the last 5 weeks.

Looking back as a whole, you could say that the last 5 weeks has been a success. I raced the St Valentines 30k back in February, got a huge course PB and finished 1st Female. I raced well in two tough Cross Country races, and then last week I ran The Big Half and although I didn’t get my original goal, I did get a PB (81.31) in tough conditions and off the back of a tough week (more mentally, rather than physically) So I get it, what have I got to moan about? It’s hard to explain, and although I have raced well, everything in between has just felt a bit crap. I have struggled in multiple sessions, missed runs and then just this weekend came down with a cold, which is always a sign I have overdone it.

If I am being completely honest with myself, and with you guys. I think I need a break.

2018 was a HUGE year for me. I ran 3 marathons, and consecutively got a PB at each one. I also raced a lot in between, and didn’t really give myself any down time. And on top of that I set up my own business & moved to London. And I think its finally all catching up with me.

I have also recently shared my diagnosis and journey to getting my periods back and being told I have RED-S which I think has had a bigger effect on me that I first realised.

For the first time, in a very long time, running is feeling like an effort. And I am finding myself slipping back into old self destructing habits. Social media can be amazing at times, and I am forever grateful for the opportunities it has given me and the people it has bought into my life. But recently I have found myself almost actively looking for things that I know are going to make me feel bad (stupid right?!) Comparing myself to those that are faster than me, leaner than me, obsessing over what mileage other people are doing and then getting angry that I am unable to run as far or as quick without completely breaking myself. And then on top of that, I then feel guilty. As I know that people probably look at what I am doing and feel the same. And then it just becomes a vicious circle of anger, guilt and sadness.

Marathon training is hard work. And anyone that says any different is lying. Don’t get me wrong, I love having a plan and structure to my week, and I love the feeling of working hard to achieve my goals. But this is my 4th consecutive year of marathon training, and it has been by far the most emotionally and mentally draining. London Marathon is still my goal, and I have 6 weeks left to work hard and give it my all on race day. But after that… I have already decided I am giving myself some time off, and not just the first few days after the race. I need a proper break. Not working towards anything, not racing for PBs, just pressure free running before the training for New York Marathon begins later in the Summer.

Thankfully, this week I am getting a break away in the sun as I head out to Cyprus on Thursday to pace the Limassol Half Marathon – and I cannot bloody wait! I am going to use it as my reset – lots of beach runs, lots of relaxing & just getting some sunshine. And the cherry on the cake will be hopefully helping lots of people get their PBs on Sunday! I am hoping it will be just what I need, and I will come back refreshed and ready to tackle the last few weeks of marathon training.

If you are currently training for a marathon, and finding it tough, please remember that you are not alone! Running should be something we do because we enjoy it & love it, and it certainly shouldn’t be something that causes us to feel stressed & unhappy (which is something I am having to tell myself a lot at the moment!) And if you are feeling like this, it may be that you need a break too. Are you booking race after race? Constantly training with no down time in between? If so just remember that not only is this a massive physical strain on your body, but just as much mentally. You may not notice it straight away, but trust me.. it will catch up with you if you don’t look after yourself and give yourself a chance to recover.

There we have it – from the outside it may look like its all PBs and smiles, but remember you don’t always know the full story behind the little squares we see on Instagram.  So as always, be kind, and if you think someone is struggling, reach out, as they may just need someone to ask if they are okay.

Love,

Jordan xxx

 

RED-S: My Recovery Journey

‘You 100% have REDs’

Oh, shit.

This is what I was told when I visited a Sports Doctor recently and opened up about EVERYTHING. My training load, my diet, my mental health and my (lack of) menstrual cycle. Was it a shock? To be honest, no. But was it still scary? Absolutely.

I have known something wasn’t quite right for a while. Since May 2017 I have had a grand total of 3 natural period cycles. My periods returned for a short time last summer when I was injured but apart from one very light day in November, they have completely disappeared. Now don’t get me wrong, I totally get the idea of not having a period sounds great – no bloating, no pain, no feeling uncomfortable, but unfortunately for females, periods are so so so important, and without them you can really be putting your health at risk.

I am going to be sharing my recovery journey with you. As always I am going to be brutally honest. I have no doubt this is going to be tough, but I hope that in sharing my story it will not only raise awareness, but hopefully if any of you are going through this too, it will help you with your own recovery.

So, here’s to getting my periods back, to getting my body working normally again, to being happy & healthy, and to becoming the best athlete I can be.

In this post I am going to give an overview of what REDs is, my own experience & where you can seek help if you need it.

And just to confirm, I am not in any way qualified to diagnose or offer professional advice. If you are at all concerned about yourself, or a friend or family member please seek professional help by either making an appointment with your GP, a Sports Doctor or a dietician that specialises in working with Athletes.

For more information & resources you can also visit the fantastic Train Brave website by clicking here. 

What is RED-S?

RED-S stands for ‘Relative Energy Deficiency Syndrome’ – This was previously known as the ‘Female Athlete Triad’ 

In really simple terms, it basically means you are not giving your body the calories it needs to function properly. But this doesn’t always mean you are starving yourself. I eat a lot of food, but compared to the amount of exercise I do, it is obviously not enough for the rest of my body to keep working properly.

The diagram below shows the various risks that can be associated with RED-S. But please remember, even if you don’t have every single one on the list, it doesn’t mean you don’t have the condition.

It is also important to note here that RED-S can affect both female AND male athletes, but it is somewhat easier to first diagnose in females as one of the biggest warning signs is a lack of periods.

train brave red s

 

Warning Signs

I have taken these directly from the Train Brave website, again if you have any of these signs please do not ignore them & seek professional advice.

Physiological

  • Lack of three consecutive periods in females or a change to a previously regular menstrual cycle
  • Decline in morning erectile function in male athletes
  • Poor development of muscle mass
  • Difficulties staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer months
  • Downy growth of hair all over the body
  • Constipation or feeling bloated

Behavioural

  • Pre-occupation and constantly talking about food
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Restricting or strict control of food intake
  • Overtraining or difficulties taking rest days

Psychological

  • Irrational behaviour
  • Fear of food and weight restoration
  • Severe anxiety
  • Becoming withdrawn and reclusive

Performance

  • Poor recovery between training sessions
  • Digestive issues –athletes often become constipated and bloated
  • Recurrent injuries, including stress fractures

 

My Experience

As I said, you do not need to have every single sign or symptom to be affected with this, I certainly don’t, but there are quite a few on the lists I can tick off, including;

  • Lack of periods
  • Difficulty in controlling body temperature
  • Constipation & Bloating
  • Poor Sleep patterns
  • Restricting & control over food intake
  • Fear of gaining weight

And here are some other fun ones that I can also add to the list which I am sure are down to hormonal imbalances (I’ll warn you, they aren’t pretty!) 

  • Irregular bowel movements (similar to IBS)
  • Night sweats
  • Binge Eating (due to restricting & guilt around food) 

I feel very fortunate that up until this point, I have not suffered any serious injuries, but I know this if I continue down this road, I wont always be this lucky. As a runner, one of my biggest fears is getting a stress fracture, and this is one of the biggest risks if your body is not producing the hormones needed to keep your bones strong & healthy (so if you hadn’t realised, periods are SO much more than just about having babies!) 

Next Steps

My diagnosis is technically unofficial, so the next steps for me is to get various blood & hormone tests to really get an understanding of what is going on inside my body.

We are very fortunate to have the NHS in the UK, and I have already got my follow up appointment booked to go through by blood results in two weeks time. And after that? I am not so sure. Depending on the results I may then be referred for a DEXA Scan (to check my bone health & density) which personally I am really going to try and push for.

In the mean time, I have been advised that I need to eat more. A lot more. Now I know this sounds like the dream, but it’s not as fun as it sounds. More food = more calories = gaining weight.

This is going to be a whole other step to my recovery, and something I am also going to be seeking professional help for. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with the actual eating side of things, I bloody love my food. But the guilt that comes after, and the idea of gaining weight and my body changing is something I don’t quite know how to accept yet. BUT I am determined that I am going to get better. I love running so much & I want it to be part of my life for as long as possible, and unless I start looking after myself properly, that is not going to happen.

So, there we go! I have no idea when my next update will be (or what it will be!) but heres hoping it will be a good one!

Jordan xxx

London Marathon Training – Week 5

This week was definitely a little more exciting than my average week, highlights include running with a GB Ultra Runner, my first XC race with Herne Hill Harriers & putting my pacing skills to the test at the first ever Olympic Park Half Marathon!

Week 5 – WC 4th February 2019

Monday

AM – Easy/Recovery 3 Miles

PM – Steady 7 Miles

Gym – Strength Training 

I always get asked a lot what is one of the most important things about marathon training. I think people often get surprised by my answer… Consistency. So yes, these sessions might not be the most exciting, but its working. It sets me up for the week, the easy run in the morning shakes out any hard weekend runs and I genuinely enjoy getting a good gym session in before I crack on with work and life admin!

So my best advice, find a routine that works for you and your life – and stick with it!

Tuesday

PM – Club Session

Urgh. I wish I could say this session went well, but it was horrible. Why? Because I was a greedy pig and decided to stuff my dinner down me BEFORE my evening session. During the warm up I realised this was a big mistake, I felt bloated, heavy and my stomach was churning like a washing machine. The most annoying thing though was that my legs actually felt great and if I hadn’t messed up my food I would have really enjoyed it! The session was 8 x 3 minute efforts with 60s recoveries. I basically wanted to quit after the 1st one and got progressively slower as I was trying not to be sick in between reps – just keeping it real 😉

I got really frustrated on the way home as this was the 2nd week in a row my club night went tits up. These sessions are really important to me, and when they go well it always gives me a massive confidence boost, so similarly when they don’t go well, it just makes me feel a bit pants! As always though I was probably just being way too hard on myself, as my friend pointed out I did get a 10k PB only two days before, but thats me – always quick to forget the good stuff and focus on the bad! This is definitely something I need to work

Wednesday 

AM – Easy 6 miles 

So I did something a little different today – no #doubledayz for me, but instead I hopped onto a train and ventured out of the city to the COUNTRY SIDE! I was really excited to be spending the day with Redbull UK, GB Ultra Runner Tom Evans and some other legends from the ‘gram!

We got the train down to Sussex and headed to Tom’s house to meet him and the rest of the team and we were greeted with tea, coffee & a breakfast buffet all put on by his lovely Mum (I almost felt guilty I had already eaten and couldn’t make the most of it!) Tom then gave us a quick presentation, which included talking about his epic CCC win, his average training week & also his plans for this year (which are pretty bloody exciting btw!). Then soon enough it was time for the fun part – running, and we didn’t have to travel far.. we literally ran around Toms back garden, which just happened to be miles of beautiful trails – Not. Jealous. At. All! It’s been a long time since I ran the trails and just really enjoyed running with no pressure on time, pace or distance, its definitely something I want to do more of in the summer!

After a nice muddy run, it was time to clean up and head for some food and then a quick gym session where we went through some basic strengthening & mobility exercises, and finished off with a nice stretch before jumping on the train back to the city.

Normally I completely freak out about missing a run on my plan, and usually on a Wednesday I run twice, but by the time I got home (after missing our original train!) I was knackered, so I made the decision not to head back out. Now I know I said earlier that consistency is key, but so is listening to your body and accepting that sometimes things don’t always go to plan!

Thursday 

PM – Club Session (Hills)

Gym – Strength Training 

I was determined that tonights session was going to go well, after messing up my last couple of club sessions I really wanted to have a good one as a confidence boost! I didn’t want to make the same mistake again with eating too much so I had my lunch as usual and then an hour or so before I had a banana with some peanut butter and a red bull, and it certainly seemed to do the trick!

The hill session was a tough one, it was short, but that isn’t always a good thing! In fact normally the shorter the reps & sessions… the harder it is! The session was 4 x Hill Reps, with the main difference being you had to run hard up AND down. Say Whaaaaaaaaaaat! No recovery what so ever, this was pure evil! The hill was around 300m and it was bloody horrible. but I felt strong and actually quite enjoyed running fast down hill…. and the good news is I have the perfect race to practice this on next week!

Friday  

REST DAY 

Repeat after me, rest day is the best daaaaaaaaaaay!

Saturday

Surrey League XC (5 miles)

Ahhhh… This was such a fun day! My first official race for my new club Herne Hill Harriers and it did not disappoint. It was great to have such a good turnout for our club, and as a team we did really well, with 5 of us finishing in the Top 16 (and I even managed to come 7th!)

If I am completely honest, I would choose a flat road race over XC any time, I always get a little nervous before, but always end up enjoying it. Unfortunately it is coming to the end of the XC season, but there are still a couple of races left, including a big team trip up to Leeds at the end of Feb, although I think everyone is more excited for the night out afterwards!

Sunday

Run Through Olympic Park Half Marathon

I had been looking forward to this race for a while, not because I was racing or going for a PB, but because I was having my first attempt at (unofficially) pacing a 1.30 half marathon in preparation for Limassol Half next month!

I headed to the Olympic Park a little earlier then I usually would as I wanted to get a few extra miles in (and also check out the course)  before the race. One thing I love about the RunThrough events is how well organised they are, and the races at the Olympic Park are no exception – it was well signposted, lots of marshalls & volunteers helping to direct, and also a nice big cafe to hide in and keep warm at the start! Another thing I love about these races is how many familiar, smiley faces you always see!

The course was, um, interesting! It certainly wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be when I first saw the course map, but there were a lot of twist and turns, and also who knew their were so many hills in East London!? If I was racing this or going for a PB, I probably wouldn’t have been a big fan, but it was definitely a good course to test yourself on, and I personally really liked that you could always see runners on the course, I saw loads of friendly faces whilst I was running around!

The miles ticked by nicely, which was helped by having the company of Alex (@quinnphysio) for the first half – before he then sped off and ran a quicker second half and left me! But I was feeling good, the pace felt comfortable and I was managing to keep it pretty consistent. My only little moan about today was that the mile markers between 10-11 were waaaaaay out, which can be a real pain when you are trying to pace. Luckily, I decided to just trust my watch and stick to the pace I knew I was doing and thankfully the course evened itself out as we approached the final mile.

As my watch buzzed 13 miles I realised I had achieved my goal of sneaking in just under the 1.30 mark, as I was on my own I couldn’t help but pick up the pace a little bit for a sprint finish (obvz) My final time according to Strava was 1.29.48, I’ll take that – also, guess which numpty forgot to take the timing chip out of the envelope, whoops! Good job it wasn’t a race I wanted to PB at!

So overall, it was a pretty good week! 57 miles in the bank with some quality sessions fitted in too. I definitely don’t feel as exhausted as I have over the last few weeks, my mileage has been slightly lower, but I am also hoping that it means my body is starting to adapt to all this training?! 5 weeks down already, 11 more to go!

Jordan xx

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Run 10k

Well this came around quickly, my first goal race of 2019! This was the first time I had taken part in the Winter Run 10k, and after getting serious FOMO in previous years I was so excited to be taking part in the event. For me personally, I always get extra excited (and nervous) about races in London – maybe its because they just always feel bigger, or the fact that the city almost goes into shutdown mode for a few hours and you get to run around the empty streets without the worry of getting hit by a bus!

I had made no secret that I wanted a PB at this event, and up until a few days before I was feeling really good about it. Last week was a bit of an up and down one for me, and on Saturday I had a big wobble, I emptied my thoughts into a blog post, which you can read by clicking here.  But anyway, back to the positives… soon enough it was race morning, and time to see if the last few weeks of hard training had paid off!

Charlie (@whatcharlierannext) arrived at my house the night before as we were heading to the race together. We woke up early and I made my standard pre race/run breakfast (Oats with peanut butter & blueberries with a large black coffee – works every time!) before we headed out in the FREEZING cold to get to the start line (and I am not even being dramatic, it was actually freezing!) 

We arrived at Trafalgar Square with plenty of time (I always like arriving early!) and headed straight to the toilets for what would be the first of many visits that morning (standard) Now I know this isn’t the most exciting subject, but its an important one.. I was super impressed with how many toilets their were, I was a bit worried that due to how large the event was I would have to queue loads but this wasn’t an issue at all! I think because of the staggered start times it just meant there was a nice steady flow of people throughout the morning rather than approx 20,000+ people all arriving at once. Anyway, enough toilet chat..

Soon enough it was time to strip off the layers and get ready to head to the start line. This is where I underestimated how busy the event was! Because it was so cold I probably left it a little too late to drop my bags off and head to the start zone, I naively thought it would be okay and I would be able to squeeze my way through to the front, but unfortunately this wasn’t the case. I darted my way through a few thousand people but still ended up being pretty far back. Now this isn’t a huge issue as its all done via chip time, but as I was going for a PB I didn’t want to have to worry about trying to navigate around people.  I crossed the line after around 2 minutes, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it meant I already had a few thousand runners in front of me that I had to try and get past. This is perhaps my only slight negative of the race. When you sign up you get allocated a start zone based on your predicted time, but this isn’t something that is enforced on the day, so effectively you could start wherever you want. Now without trying to sound like a bit of a dick, it can be really frustrating when you are trying to run for a time and getting caught up behind slower runners, and not even that, it can actually be quite dangerous if you are not running around a similar pace to other runners around you. I spent the first mile trying to dodge in between people, running up on the pavements – it was exhausting! And it also effected my pace massively. My watch buzzed after the first mile, I looked down and realised I was about 25 seconds behind the pace I needed to be to get my goal time! CRAP! For a few seconds I threw a bit of a strop as I thought it would be impossible to make up that time, but luckily the crowds had thinned out a bit so I was able to pick up the pace.

Once I settled into my pace I was feeling good, I had still given up on the idea of getting my goal time, but I thought as long as I kept the pace I was doing I might just be able to scrape a PB.

It was such a beautiful day in London, it was definitely on the chilly side, but the sky was clear and the sun was shining – it actually ended up being pretty perfect race conditions (for me anyway!)  I was trying not to look at my watch too much, from experience I know that GPS can be a bit all over the place when running through London, so I just tried to focus on running hard, chasing people that were in front of me, and not letting anyone over take me… and it seemed to be working!

A phrase I use a lot to explain how hard runs should feel is that you should feel ‘comfortably uncomfortable’ and that would pretty much sum how how I felt for the majority of the race on Sunday. I was pushing hard, there was no doubt about it, but I felt in control, which is so so important in any race or longer distance event.

During those middle few miles, the course was a lot quieter in terms of support, but once we were heading back to Trafalgar Square and the finish line the crowds certainly got larger, and a lot louder! And on this note, I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who comes out to support these events – whether its because you have friends or family running, or maybe you just fancied doing something a bit different on your Sunday morning, I can’t explain how much it helps and motivates you during a race!

As I was approaching the last 1/2 a mile, I clocked my watch… after some quick mental maths I was in shock, I was still within reach of my sub 37 goal! After my dodgy start I had given up all hope of this, but now I could see the seconds ticking away on my watch it gave me that extra push I needed – it was time to dig deep!

As I turned the corner onto the finish, my watch buzzed for the 6th mile, and that was it, I had 0.2 miles to do and just over 1 minute to do it. I honestly don’t think I have ever ran so hard in my life. I just couldn’t let myself be so close and not do it – I literally felt like I was flying down the finish straight! The crowds at this point were incredible, and their cheers literally gave me goosebumps as I approached the finish. I crossed the line, stopped my watch and looked down to see the screen  – I had done it!!

My official time was 36.51 – a 40 second PB! My watch also recorded that I got my official fastest 5km PB of 17.54 during the run as well (my watch didn’t class my official PB of 17.47 as 5km)  I couldn’t believe it – how had I managed to get that close to my PB in a 10km race?!

I collected my medal & other finish goodies and started the looooooong walk back to bag drop! I was buzzing, and considering how cold it was, that wasn’t even bothering me!

A lot of members from PMGCoaching were also taking part in the run, and I was so excited to catch up with them all and find out how they got on. Once I headed back to the start zone it didn’t take me long to bump into some familiar faces, and the best bit… EVERYONE WAS GETTING PBs! I was so happy, proud and excited for everyone, it was such an amazing feeling knowing that I had helped people to achieve their goals, I was literally feeling on top of the world!

The official results were up on the website really quickly, and we were all frantically checking to find out what our official times were, and that is when I found out I had finished 2nd female overall!!  (Once everyone had finished the race I ended up finishing in 3rd position, but still, I’ll take that!) 

One of my favourite stats of the event though was the number of finishers. There were 18,516 people that crossed the line, and almost 11,000 were women!!!! This NEVER happens. Now I do get that it is probably because primarily it is a fundraising event for Cancer Research, but I think its incredible that an event to that scale in London had more female runners, and I just hope it continues to grow and women start doing more and more events!

So overall, I really enjoyed the whole event. As I said at the beginning I always think there is something special about races that take place in Central London, so if you are looking for a fast, fun, well organised 10k next year. I definitely recommend signing up!

Here is a quick summary of my Pros & Cons for the event as a whole.

Pros 

  • You get to run around Central London
  • Lots of toilets (very important!)
  • It’s for a great cause!
  • They have giant polar bears & penguins around the course!
  • The bling (obvs) 
  • A fast course (if that’s your thing!)
  • Well organised bag drop (at the start) 
  • Fairly priced photos – either £20 or £10 if you pre ordered before the race

Cons

  • Unless you are able to get to the front, the start can be a bit of a nightmare, and very busy!
  • Bag drop – at the end it was a bit more difficult to get your bags as there was only one entrance to the bag drop, so you did have to wait around for a little bit. Luckily one of the amazing volunteers went and got mine for me!

Entries are now available for the 2020 Winter Run for just £32! To sign up just click here. 

Thank you to Winter Run for gifting me entry for the 2019 event. 

 

 

 

 

London Marathon Training – Week 4

I know I might be alone in this, but I personally felt like January FLEW by! It ended with being my highest ever mileage month, new PBs and lots of running adventures along the way! Once again, this week was a bit of a mixed bag… but marathon training isn’t easy (and if anyone ever says it is, they are lying FYI) so I am learning from the hard days and hoping that in the long run it will make me a stronger athlete. Anyway, here’s this week round up!

Week 4 – WC 28th January 2019 

Monday

AM – Easy/Recovery 4 Miles

PM – Steady 7 Miles

Gym – Strength Training 

I will be honest, its week 4 and I am struggling to think of ways to make these sessions sound interesting! I run the same route every week (creature of habit) and follow the same process. Nice easy leg loosener in the morning, steady quicker miles in the evening. I know it isn’t the most exciting, but thats the reality of marathon training sometimes! Doing the same thing week in, week out! Because as I always say… consistency is key!

Tuesday

Track 

I was really looking forward to this session, we were due to this last week but due to the weather we were banned from using the track.. although this week it wasn’t much better! It was FREEZING and shortly after we got started it started to rain and snow (a great combination!) I would like to say this was the reason the session didn’t go to plan, but once again I think I just tried to push a little bit too hard too soon which resulted in me cutting my session short.

We were due to do 3 x 1km reps, 5 x 200m, 3 x 1km – a killer session, and one of those that if you aren’t fully committed to it, it was never going to go well. And unfortunately that is what happened to me! I think my mind gave up before my body, the 1k reps were TOUGH and I was struggling to even run my 5k PB pace, I was feeling more and more deflated after each rep. I somehow managed to pull it back for the 5 x 200m (I do enjoy the speedy stuff!) but by the time the second lot of 3 x 1k came around, I was done. I started the first rep, but I was way off pace and felt like I had nothing. So I stopped. I stood in the rain and sulked for a few minutes. I attempted to rejoin the group but I was done.

I jogged home with a friend, and basically moaned the whole way. Why is it we are so hard on ourselves? He quite rightly reminded me that we had a really tough run on Sunday, and I had a big week, and deep down I knew he was right, but I still couldn’t help but feel disappointed

Wednesday

AM – Easy/Recovery 4 

PM – Steady 7

Gym – Strength Training 

I woke up on Wednesday and made the decision to skip my early morning run, for a couple of reasons. I had LOADS of work to do but also I was trying to listen to my body and respect that I was clearly tired the day before, so why push myself to go out for two runs?!

I spent most of the day sat in front of a laptop screen, but headed out early afternoon for my run. I decided to just take the pressure off completely. No set mileage, no set pace, and just do what the legs wanted to do. And guess what, it felt great! I did my usual route (I could probably run to Clapham with my eyes closed now!) made a new running playlist and just let the miles tick by!

I don’t usually go to the gym on a Wednesday, but a friend messaged and asked if I wanted to go. I was in the mood to just do what I wanted to just did a bit of everything, and felt loads better for it!

Thursday

Steady – 10 Miles

Gym – Strength Training 

I was feeling loads better today, but due to the Winter Run 10k on Sunday I had already made the decision to miss the club hill session, so once again I just set out me, myself and I and just ran what I wanted to run. I will hold my hands up and say there was one reason and one reason only I ran 10 miles… It was the 31st Jan. I was currently on 240 miles for the month. I will let you work it out. #stravawanker

Friday

REST DAY

One day I never skip, rest day!

Saturday 

Parkrun – Herne Hill Harriers Takeover 

To avoid any temptation of going for it at parkrun this weekend, I volunteered to be one of the pacers at Tooting parkrun for our clubs take over! I originally put my name down to pace sub 20 but after a bit of a mixed week I luckily managed to swap to pace a slower time.

I will be honest, the course was in an absolute state! A whole section of path was flooded, and you were left with two choices – 1) really wet feet or 2) getting absolutely caked in mud. And somehow, I managed both! It was freezing and after the first lap my feet were like blocks of ice, I was quite relieved I wasn’t racing today!

I won’t go over it again, but yesterday wasn’t a great mental health day. I emptied my thoughts into a blog post yesterday to try and sum up how I was feeling. Click here if you want to give it a read.

Sunday 

AM – Winter Run 10k

One word – PB!!!!

I am going to do a full race review ASAP (basically once the official photos are out) but to sum up, I couldn’t be happier with how today went, and not just for me, but for lots of my incredible PMGCoaching team! Every single one of them got exactly what they wanted out of the run – whether it was a PB, a post injury comeback or helping a friend achieve their goals! I couldn’t be prouder of them all!!

So once again, it was a bit of a mixed week! But again, it ended better than I imagined! My mileage was slightly lower this week (48 miles) but I think it was what I needed and I hoping this means I will go into next week feeling fresh and ready to go!

Week 4, done! 12 weeks to go!

Jordan xxx