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

 

One of ‘those days’…

We all have them right? Those days where something just doesn’t feel quite right but you can’t put your finger on it? Nothing bad has happened but for some reason you just don’t feel yourself and want to hide yourself away from everything. I am sure that most of you that read this will agree, and if you don’t, then I envy you. Today, for some reason was one of those days. Like I said, I don’t know exactly why, but I knew it was coming, but did I do anything about it to try and stop it happening? Of course I didn’t (this is called being your own worst enemy!).

Now I say I don’t know exactly why, but I have some ideas. I have spoken before about how hard I can be on myself (this has been a horrible trait since I was a child) and when things don’t go 100% right or to plan. I seem to go on a self destruct mission. So what went wrong this week? In the grand scheme of things, nothing. But in my perfectionist brain, a lot;

Training. My training hasn’t gone 100% to plan. I had to cut my session short on Tuesday & I missed one of my runs on Wednesday. I know that deep down its because I had a hard week the week before, and didn’t give myself enough time to recover, and that missing one session isn’t the end of the world. I try to be positive and tell myself I am doing the right things and listening to my body, but then the other voice in my head just tells me that I am failure.

Relationships. Now, I do like to keep some areas of my life private, so I am not going into details about this. But to sum it up, a line has been drawn under a difficult few months, and it hurts. Men, you suck (sorry, not sorry).

Work. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job and I am so glad I took the plunge to go self employed & set up my coaching business. But, being self employed is hard, and it can also be quite lonely. This week was super busy, which meant that unless I was running, I didn’t really leave the house. Spending day in, day out by yourself can get tough and some days I do miss just the basic social interaction of going into work just to talk to people. I am still so new to this, so I am hoping that I will find the balance to it all soon, because what I have realised is that when I do feel like this, spending a lot of time on your own can make everything feel that little bit worse.

Food. My diet has felt like its been all over the place. I have been very open about this in the past and admitted that last year I became a little too obsessive about the numbers on the scale. Whether it was how much I weighed or how much my food weighed. 99% of the time I am in a much better place with this. I do still weigh out my food, but only to ensure that I am eating enough, rather than restricting myself. But this week, I seem to have lost my way a little bit. And that, on top of my training not going well just builds up the problems in my head.

Then something happened today that hasn’t happened for a long time. I binged. I didn’t go as crazy as I have before, and again I knew it was coming but I couldn’t stop myself going to the cupboard, even thought I knew it would make me feel worse. Bingeing comes in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t always mean you eat a family size chocolate bar or a share bag of crisps. You just grab what you can and eat it. I don’t keep things like that in my house, because the temptation is too much, but trust me, I will find things to binge on – massive bowls of cereal, spoonfuls of peanut butter, loads of cheese….  so yeah, that happened. BUT I did manage to stop myself before I went too far, and I then took myself out of the situation. I went for a walk into the town centre and distracted myself by walking round Primark for an hour, which obviously meant I spent money too.. whoops.

Racing. Tomorrow is the Winter Run 10k, an event I have been looking forward to for a while, and one which I put out there as one of my goal races for the beginning of the year. I have made no secret about the fact I want to PB, and up until a few days ago, I felt really good about it. Now? Not so much. The missed training sessions, the food, the bingeing, it all adds up and in my head it equals game over. Like I have undone everything over the last year in the last few days. I know it sounds dramatic and even as I am typing this out, I know how ridiculous it sounds. Also, I am not expecting this to really make any sense to anyone, because it doesn’t even really make much sense to me. But perhaps if this is how you feel sometimes, it will make you realise you are not alone.

So yeah, thats pretty much what has been going on in my brain/life the last few days. The weird thing is, overall I am probably the most settled & happy I have been in a long time. But here comes that vicious cycle again, as then it makes me feel guilty that I am feeling like this because of all the other good things in my life… honestly, if I could just turn my brain off sometimes, I would!

I can’t lie, I am nervous about tomorrow, and if the race doesn’t go well, I am worried what affect that will have on my headspace. But, I will just have to cross that bridge & deal with it as best I can if it happens.

But anyway, enough negativity for one evening. Time to eat some pasta, have an early night & hopefully wake up feeling a bit more like my normal self in the morning.

Jordan xxx

 

 

 

London Marathon Training – Week 3

Well it only took me until week 3 to get behind with the blog update, whoops! A couple of days late but here is a little round up of Week 3 – I will warn you, it wasn’t particularly eventful, but not every week can be filled with races and PBs! Anyway, now that I have really enticed you into reading this… Enjoy!

Week 3 – WC 21st January 2019 

Monday

AM – Easy/Recovery 3 Miles

PM – Steady 7 Miles

You know the drill by now, its time for another double day! The previous week was a big one for me, and my legs were certainly feeling it on Monday morning. The 3 miles really dragged and I’ll be honest I really wasn’t looking forward to running again in the evening. But whadda you know, by the time the evening rolled around it felt like I had a new pair of legs! I did my usual route (I am very boring!) and the miles ticked by nice and quickly – the complete opposite to how the morning felt!

I do usually go to the gym on Monday and was due to go to with a friend in the evening (I usually go first thing!) But after walking in and seeing how busy it was, I sat on a mat for approximately 5 minutes, moaned, and quickly left. Note to self – don’t attempt the gym on a Monday evening in January! 

 

Tuesday

AM – Strength Training

PM – Club Night – Track 

After an early start coaching down at the track with mycrew I then headed to the gym to do my strength session I missed on Monday. I have started including Squats & Deadlifts into my sessions, and although its only been a few weeks, I am definitely noticing the difference & feeling stronger already!

Earlier in the week the weather really started to turn, which unfortunately meant the track turned into an ice rink, meaning we had to abandon our evening session and head over to the muddy, wet common instead (not impressed!) I was actually a little gutted as was really looking forward to heading back to the track, and I think it affected me a bit mentally – I really couldn’t be bothered! But, I was there, so I got it done! We ended up doing 8 x 2.30 minute efforts, with 60 second recovery.

This was also when I realised how much my legs were aching from the weekends efforts, so rather than being hard on myself for not giving 100%, I just ticked it off as another session down.

 

Wednesday

AM – Easy/Recovery 3 Miles

PM – Steady 6 Miles 

I’ll be honest, I am really not a fan of these easy morning runs. I’m tired, and they are always the day after a hard run so the last thing my legs want to do is run, but I am really starting to notice the benefit when I head out again in the evening… so they are worth it (or at least thats what I keep telling myself!) 

Same old same old again, another lonely 6 miles out and back to Clapham Common. It was dark, cold but I got the miles done and managed to keep a pretty good pace too, well once my legs had warmed up!

N.B If you have made it this far, well done! I really do feel like I need to apologise about how boring this week has been – but sometimes thats the reality of marathon training! 

 

Thursday

AM – Gym – Strength Training 

PM – Club Interval Session

Our Thursday club session was a little different this week, due to the National Cross Country Champs taking place on Saturday (SO GUTTED I MISSED IT) we skipped the usual hill session and once again headed over to the common (oh joy) for some speedy intervals.

I am still getting used to training with larger groups of people, it definitely has its benefits but can also mess with your head a little bit too! A lot of the men I train with are really really quick (a lot faster than me!) so a lot of the time I find myself at the back of the training group, which mentally can be hard. I automatically feel like I am running slower than I am, but 9/10 I am actually running the pace I should be, sometimes even quicker! Training with people that are quicker than you certainly can have its advantages & disadvantages but right now I find that it pushes me to work that little bit harder

 

Friday

REST DAY

The best day. Enough said!

 

Saturday

AM – Clapham Common Parkrun

One of my favourite days of the week, parkrun! This week I headed over to Clapham Common for the first time, and the best bit was meeting up with some of my PMGCoaching crew! During my time as a runner, I have learnt that you physically cannot go out every single week and run a PB and that some weeks you’ve just got to do your best and not get caught up on time. This was certainly one of those weeks. I didn’t have a bad run as such, but I was over a minute slower than the week before – just shows what a heavy week of training can do to your legs! A couple of years ago this would have REALLY bothered me and probably put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day (not even kidding) but again, I just ticked it off as another session done, and more miles in the bank!

 

Sunday

AM – Long Run (19 miles) 

We all have them, those sessions that you dread or at least look at and think ‘oh shiiiiiiiit’ – this was one of those! The plan was 5k @ Easy pace, 10k @ Marathon Pace, 5k @ Easy pace, 10k @ Marathon Pace, Cool Down.  Easy right?

It’s funny, although I have ran quicker than my marathon pace in recent races and for longer distances, when they are built into a long run like this they always seem so much more daunting (anyone else agree with this?) but, it was on the plan, so it had to be done!

Luckily I didn’t have to attempt this on my own! A friend from my new club is also training for London and has similar goals to me, which is great as it means we can train together and can help push each other when it gets tough!

I can honestly say that was the hardest long run I had ever done in marathon training. The first 10 miles flew by and I felt really comfortable during the first block of marathon pace miles, but by the time the second block came around I was really having to dig deep to stay on pace. We decided to head to Battersea Park so we could run laps without having to worry about stopping for traffic etc. Surprisingly I didn’t actually mind this, although there is a serious GPS issue around that area so it was really hard to gauge how accurate our splits were (first world problems, I know!) and it was also really really windy… but as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

By the time we had reached our final cool down mile, I was well and truly done. I felt exhausted! But overall I was really pleased with how the run went, and off the back of a hard week, and my highest mileage week it was a big confidence boost!

65 miles for the week. 3 weeks down, 13 weeks to go!

Jordan xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

London Marathon Training – Week 2

After a fantastic first week, it is safe to say that week 2 was a mixed bag… it started off well, dipped in the middle and then thankfully picked back up again by the end of the week. I make no secret of the fact that running & the London Marathon means a hell of a lot to me, so when even the slightest thing goes slightly wrong, I go into a panic! For me this week it was down to some silly training mistakes… which thankfully, I have now learnt from and will not be doing again! Spoiler Alert: Doing two back to back F45 classes after a 60 mile week is NOT a good idea. 

Week 2 – WC 14th January 2019 

Monday

AM – Easy/Recovery 4 Miles

PM – Steady 7 Miles

PM – F45 Athletica Class

Monday again? Oh go on then! My legs were feeling good after my biggest ever week I was looking forward to building up my mileage and getting some more big sessions in. I started the day with an Easy 4 miles, and I wont lie, as soon as I started running I suddenly felt the previous weeks efforts! One thing I have been guilty of in the past is running my ‘easy runs’ too quickly, so recently I have been trying to make a conscious effort to slowwwwwwwww down, and I am definitely seeing the benefits when I head out for my second run of the day. So 11 miles done, job done! Although I wasn’t quite finished and in my ‘say yes and do everything’ attitude I had purchased a week class pass for the local F45 studio (absolute bargain btw – £20!!) and enthusiastically signed up for a class every day of the week (I told you I was being an idiot!) but anyway, I headed to the class which was a mixture of strength & cardio all done at max intensity, for 45 minutes. I do love this type of training! It was hard work, sweaty and my whole body was aching by the end of it but I was feeling good!

Tuesday

AM – F45 MKATZ Class

PM –  Track Session

One word – OUCH!!! Although I train a lot and regularly strength train, my body clearly wasn’t used to the high intensity format of the class. I was aching all over. So obviously the sensible thing to do would be to skip the class to ensure I felt good for track in the evening right? Well yes, but unfortunately I decided to do the complete opposite and headed to my second class in 24 hours! GOOD ONE! After the class I was well and truly finished. My whole body had DOMS and I just felt wiped!

It also didn’t help that work was absolutely mental, I had a million and one things to do, so by the time it got to mid afternoon I was not only physically, but mentally exhausted too. I had a nap in the hopes it would give me some energy, I woke up in time for the session but just felt drained, achey and hungry. So rather than keep making the same mistake, I put away my trainers, had some dinner and got an early night.

I didn’t feel guilty about missing my session, I was just annoyed with myself that I had overdone it which resulted in me missing key training, but luckily… this is only week 2!

 

Wednesday

AM – Easy 6 Miles

PM – Steady 6 Miles 

Two words – DOUBLE OUCH! So the DOMS had well and truly hit, I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I ached this much. Even walking hurt! I had arranged to meet up with my friend Sally for some chatty miles in the morning, and for the first time in a long time, I actually felt anxious about going for a run. I was seriously worried that my legs weren’t going to work and I wouldn’t be able to run (did I mention I can *sometimes* get a little overdramatic?!) and I came very close to cancelling my run date. But, after some very pathetic messages to Sally basically begging her to go easy on me, I headed to Putney for our run! Thankfully she was up for some chatty easy miles, and what do you know.. as soon as we started running my legs felt loads better! Surprise surprise, I got worked up for nothing! Sometimes some easy chatty miles is all you need!

 

Thursday

AM – Progressive 7 Miles

My legs were FINALLY starting to feel back to normal, and although they were still a bit sore I was determined not to miss another run. I headed out with no expectations, and just let me legs do all the work. I started off at a comfortable place, and then luckily as I warmed up, I fond my natural pace and got progressively faster as the miles ticked by. Phew! Panic over. My legs still worked and I hadn’t completely broken my body (again, not being dramatic AT ALL!)

I had booked a sports massage with the highly recommended Function360 Physiotherapy  for the afternoon – I couldn’t wait! It had been far too long since my last sports massage, and now that my mileage & training is increasing I need to make sure I am giving my body the TLC it deserves. As much as I love a good massage, if you haven’t had one in a while, they are not what I would describe as an enjoyable experience! Every single muscle in my legs felt sore, and I spent most of the session clenching my fists and screwing my face as I winced in pain (if you have never had a sports massage before I know I am probably not selling it, but TRUST ME it’s so worth it!) but it did the trick! My legs felt SO much better after the session, and it just reminded me how important they are when you are training for a marathon… this will be the first of many visits during this training block, and I am already looking forward to my next one (well, sort of!).

Friday

REST DAY

HELL TO THE YEAH! Even though I had missed sessions this week, I was respecting how knackered my body had felt and didn’t try to play catch up. It was far from a relaxing day though, it was an early start (and my first real experience of the tube at rush hour, not fun!) as I headed back to Peterborough ready for a super busy weekend!

Saturday 

AM – Parkrun & The National Running Show

I had been looking forward to this weekend for ages! It was the first time I was meeting lots of PMGCoaching members and also lots of other amazing people from Instagram, and it’s safe to say the day didn’t disappoint!

Before the show myself and a few others decided to meet up at Kingsbury Water Parkrun (any excuse for Parkrun tourism!) I really wasn’t sure how it was going to go, my up and down week was playing in the back of mind, but as soon as we lined up ready to go, I couldn’t help myself and just went for it! And the result.. a brand new PB! I finally dipped back under 18 minutes and clocked 17.47!! I couldn’t believe it! The icing on the cake was then later in the day when I found out I had got the 4th fastest female time in the UK that weekend!! It made me realise that although I had been stupid earlier in the week, taking it easier for a few days and looking after myself was 100% the right thing to do – running well is a lot more than just getting the miles in!

After Parkrun I then headed to the NEC for the show and ready to meet even more members of PMGCoaching. It was such an amazing day! I got to meet and chat to so many people and caught up with some of my faves! I can’t wait for next year already!

SUNDAY

Race – Folksworth 15 

Ahhhh! My first key marathon training race… that came around quickly! I have done this race twice before, with last year being the toughest race I have EVER done (running in a blizzard is NOT fun) so I was really looking forward to getting out there and seeing what I could do. I did have a goal time in mind.. I wanted sub 1.40 and my other (secret) goal was that I wanted to win (I’ve got a competitive nature, I can’t help it)

The weather conditions were PERFECT! It was pretty cold but the sun was shining, it wasn’t windy and there was absolutely no chance of a blizzard so it was automatically a million times better than the year before. I was feeling confident but I also knew that I couldn’t get too carried away at the start, there are some monster hills on the course and I wanted to make sure I felt strong for all of them.

I set off a little quicker than I planned (whoops) but I wasn’t being a complete idiot and soon settled into a comfortably hard pace. Just after the first mile we were welcomed with the first challenging hill of the course, my pace naturally dropped a little but I didn’t push it and just concentrated on getting to the top, which was then followed by a really steep downhill slope, again I ran within myself and kept it steady, I always have visions that if I go too crazy I’ll end up flat on my face, which I definitely didn’t want to happen! Just as I settled back into my pace, it was then time for another beast of a hill! Personally this is my least favourite one, it’s not as steep but one of those horrible, long, gradual, energy sucking climbs.. but trying to be as positive as ever, I was just mentally ticking them off. 2 down, 4 to go!

The remainder of the 1st lap flew by, lots of long flat sections before reaching the 3rd and final big hill climb. Phew! One lap down.. now just to do it all again and try and keep a consistent pace. Easy right?

I was feeling good but definitely felt my legs getting tired, so at mile 8 I took a Caffeine Bullet and waited patiently for its to work it’s magic. I personally have never had any adverse side effects (💩) and have used them in my last few long distance races as they really work for me. My legs were still feeling tired but my pace wasn’t dropping, result!

The 2nd lap seemed to go by in a flash! I knew what to expect from the hills this time, and I’m really pleased I managed to keep my splits pretty consistent with the first lap. Before I knew it I was approaching the last couple of miles, and I realised then that as long as I kept a similar sort of pace I would be well under my sub 1.40 goal!

The final mile started at the bottom of the last hill (thanks for that) and that was probably when I ran my slowest in the whole race. I can really tell when I’m tired on hills as my stride seems to be half of what it usually is, but once we got that out of the way it was the home straight!

I crossed the line in 1.35.44 – over a 14 minute PB from the year before, and I felt great! I didn’t feel completely broken and thought that just maybe with another 14 weeks of training my goal marathon pace isn’t as out of reach or as scary as I thought… bring it on!

This race, and the whole weekend, has been a huge confidence boost for me. And I hope it just proves that with hard work, motivation and consistency you can, and WILL improve. Here are my splits from 2018 v 2019.

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So, that’s week 2 done and dusted! 45 miles in the bag. Lessons learnt & 2 new PBs. 14 weeks to go…. !

Jordan xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

London Marathon Training – Week 1

So, here we are. The start of 2019 and the start of another London Marathon training block, I honestly cannot believe how quickly this has come around! I have set myself a huge goal for the marathon this year, which means my training is going to ramp up a notch! I am going to be using my blog as my training diary, I will share the good, the bad and everything in between, and I hope you enjoy sharing the journey with me.

Also, I am not going to be posting every single stat/detail about my runs or sessions. If you would like to follow me on Strava then please click here. 

Week 1 – WC 7th January 2019 

Monday

AM – Easy/Recovery 4 Miles

Gym – Strength Training 

 PM – Steady 6 Miles 

For this block of training, my mileage is increasing which means a couple of days a week I run twice a day. I introduced this into my training back in December to get my body used to the build up, and I actually find it really beneficial, especially when I have had a hard day before! The aim of the morning run is to just shake the legs off, no pressure on pace or speed (which is good as my legs were feeling it from Sundays efforts!) and then pick up the pace a little for the evening run. Which so far, has been working really well!

If you have been following me for a while then you know I am a huge advocate for Strength Training so I always make sure I add at least two sessions a week to my schedule. I have previously done two Strength & Conditioning posts for and Upper & Lower Body workout, and I will be adding more in the near future.

Here is a little video of what I got up to this week

10 miles & day one, done!

Tuesday

AM – Cardio Circuit Class (Fiit) 

Before I moved, I used to regularly attend a Bootcamp/Circuit style class on a Tuesday morning. I have really missed it, and although my gym does do classes, I havent managed to get along to one yet. I have started using the Fiit app which has hundreds of workouts that are led by qualified instructors, all of which you can do from the comfort of your own home! I picked a cardio circuit class which was only 25 minutes long, but definitely hard work and was a good way to get a sweat on before lunch time!

Full disclosure – I was gifted premium membership from FIIT which includes unlimited free classes, a Heart Rate Monitor and exclusive offers. Thank you.

PM – Track 

Ah good old #TrackTuesdays – love it or hate it, speed work is key when marathon training, and it is something I always include (no matter how much I moan about it!) Tonight was my first official track night with my new club, and I can honestly say it was the toughest track session I have ever done! I have never trained with such a large (or fast!) group before and it really pushed me to run faster, and more consistently then I have ever ran before! The session was 8 x 500m/60s rest/300m/60s rest and it was not pretty! But it was just what I needed and gave me a huge confidence boost going into my first week of training.

Wednesday 

AM – Easy/Recovery 3 Miles

PM – Steady 7 

Ah another #doubleday – these sure do come around quickly! I won’t lie, my legs were sore on Wednesday morning! They were so heavy, it felt like I was trying to run through treacle! I forgot how much a tough track session destroys your legs.

For my evening run I was doing something a little different, I was heading to the Olympic Park to the Run Through Chase The Moon Event. I was really excited as I was asked to lead the warm ups at the start of the race (although not sure if you could call it that, it was FREEZING) and then I had the chance to run the 10k afterwards. I am usually guilty of ‘racing’ every single race I do, I cant even trust myself at parkrun! But I had a plan, and I am pleased to say I stuck to it! I ran a nice steady pace the whole way round, and tagged an extra mile on the end to hit my mileage. Result!

Thursday

AM – Gym – Strength Training

PM – Long Run/Hill Session

This is fast becoming a day I love to hate. Mainly because I know its going to be hard work! Thursday is a club night and we train hills – a necessary evil! As I now live in London, I no longer have my car, so to get to my sessions most of the time I run there rather then relying on the tube. It’s a really good way to get those extra miles in, but also makes this tough session that little bit harder! On average these nights end up being around 10-11 miles and means I don’t get home till around 9pm. Its tough, but I just keep telling myself it will all be worth it (hopefully!) on the 28th April! The session tonight was 10 x 60 second hill efforts. Why is it that 60 seconds seems so much longer when you are running up hill?!

Friday 

REST DAY

The most important day in any training plan! I was so looking forward to today. My legs are definitely feeling the increase in mileage & harder sessions this week. I had a good old roll & stretch session and also did a relaxing Yoga class through the FIIT app.

Saturday

AM – Jaybird Sport Meet Up (Easy 5km)

Gym – Strength Training

Thanks to my rubbish body clock, for some reason I was wide awake at 5.30am on Saturday morning, I couldn’t get back to sleep so I took myself to the gym and did one of my allocated strength sessions. I wouldn’t usually train at the gym on the weekend but as I was having an easy run day I decided to get an extra gym session in.

I then headed into Central London to meet up with the rest of the Jaybird Runners team! My legs were feeling a lot better after my rest day, but we kept it pretty easy with an easy paced 5km around Hyde Park! In a way I was quite glad I didn’t make it to Parkrun as I probably would have pushed it and tried to run fast!

Sunday

AM – 17 Miles 

I had been looking forward to this all week! I know I might sound like a weirdo, but if you hadn’t guessed already… I love marathon training, and especially the Sunday long run! I made plans to go with a friend, I reaaaaally wanted to go to Richmond Park, so thats what we did! No pressure on pace, just some nice chatty miles, and we only got lost a handful of times (my speciality!)

Ending the week on 58 miles, my highest ever mileage week! Roll on Week 2!

Jordan xx

Run 3D Gait Analysis & Results

Well well well… hello there! It is safe to say that with everything else going on, I have somewhat neglected my blog the last couple of months! BUT that will soon be changing and I plan to get back to blogging regularly again from the New Year! But to kick it off, I wanted to write about my recent experience with the Run 3D clinic and share my results with you.  

I am very fortunate that aside from #hamstringgate earlier in the year, I have managed to avoid any other niggles or injuries in the last 12 months (keeping everything crossed that as I write this I am not jinxing myself!) but still, I was really interested to get a comprehensive gait analysis to make sure that everything was indeed in working order and that there were no underlying issues before I throw myself into London Marathon training!

Anyway, it was a beautiful Monday morning here in London as I headed into the city for my appointment with Ken at Six Physio in Bank (Run3D have a number of clinics in the UK, you can find your nearest one by clicking here

I was going to be taken through the Run 3D Silver Assessment and then we also went through a musculoskeletal examination (not as scary as it sounds!) to see if there were any areas of my strength, flexibility & mobility I needed to work on (and it turns out there was, but more on that later!) But before we could do anything, we needed to get all the techy bits sorted!

First of all, my shoes and my body were fitted with motion sensors so that they could be picked up by the motion sensor cameras (just like they use in the films!) which then produced a 3D moving image of me on the screens in front of the treadmill (I felt like I was in a Daft Punk video!) This is to ensure that everything can be picked up, and you are given actual facts and numbers rather then relying on judging solely by eye.

 

So now it was time for the fun part, getting to run on the treadmill! First of all you start at walking pace before you then move into a steady/easy run pace. The cameras then record you for approx 30 seconds and measure everything from your hips all the way down to your toes! But I wasn’t done there… Ken then asked me if I wanted to crank the speed up and see how I faired running at my goal marathon pace, which obviously I said yes to!

Here are the results from my test. Overall, I am in good nick and my running style is pretty efficient, but as you can see – my hip alignment definitely needs some work!

‘The results are compared to our database of uninjured controls and presented on a colour-coded scale to give a clear illustration of whether you are above, below or within our control range’

After the gait analysis, it was then time to go through some basic, but key strength and mobility exercises. For me personally these were really interesting, especially those exercises focused around my hip & pelvic mobility. Once again these were measured and compiled into a report, some of the results were determined by eye, but for others Ken used a device which was able to accurately measure the force in some of the exercises.

Overall, Ken was really happy with my results & tried to reassure me that there was nothing to really worry about, but certainly areas I could improve upon! As soon as I left the clinic I sent a message to Alex (@quinnphysio) with something along the lines of… Help me sort out my wonky hips! And I am already booked in for the New Year where we are going to go through my report together in more detail and come up with a plan to get everything in working order – and once we have come up with a plan, I will of course share it with you all!

No matter what level runner you are, I highly recommend getting a gait analysis at some point in your running journey. There are many different types you can get, and the most common is the one you can get in running shops which can help determine which trainers you need to buy. I am in no way knocking these, as they can be extremely useful, but just please be aware that this will not be able to measure everything accurately, as a lot of the time this is tested by eye only.

The Run3D team are going to be at the National Running Show on the 19th-20th January 2019, and for one weekend only they are offering their Run 3D Package for 1/2 price! Spaces are limited, and appointments are 100% essential, so please book on before by clicking here! I will also be at the show on Saturday 19th January, and look forward to hopefully meeting lots of you there!

And lastly, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, and an even happier New Year!

Jordan xx

#AD 

#inLOVEwithSWITZERLAND

It’s hard to know where to start when you want to write a blog about quite simply one of the most incredible weekends of your life, but… I will try my best! Back in May, my good friend Andy had a crazy idea.. an idea that combined his love of running, and his love of ‘Running Around Europe’. A chance meeting, and a lot of Sushi later, the idea to travel to Switzerland to run the Swiss City Marathon was starting to become a reality! When Andy asked me if I wanted to be a part of it, I don’t think I even waited a second before saying yes. A chance to run a marathon, in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with two of my best friends, how on earth could I turn that down?!

Soon enough the #RunSwitzerland team was complete – Myself, Andy, Charlie, Evie & Dan were all set and raring to go! We all had our own reasons for wanting to run the marathon and all had our different goals, which made it even more special! The months turned into weeks, the weeks turned into days, and before I knew it I was packing my suitcase ready for what would become one of the most unforgettable weekends!

Day 1 

The day had finally arrived! My case was packed and after a good night sleep (LOL – good one) I was up at 5am, shovelling a bucket load of oats down me and was ready for the long drive down to the airport! I think there was a part of me that still didn’t believe this whole weekend was happening, and that at some point someone was going to turn around and tell me it was all one big joke; but after meeting the team, checking in & making it through security it was finally starting to feel that little bit more real!

JOTV0194

The flight went by in a flash, and it was such a lovely touch to be given complimentary drinks, lunch & chocolate (although I was sticking to my plan so I had my sandwiches in my lunch box!) on the journey over – us Brits could learn a thing or two!!

Once we landed, we jumped straight on a train to head to Lucerne, the home of the Swiss City Marathon & where we would be staying for the next 3 nights. We all spent the majority of the train journey gawping out of the window – Switzerland was BEAUTIFUL! And I couldn’t wait to explore it properly over the next few days.

 

 

Once we arrived in Lucerne, we went for a quick explore and the chance to get some photos before sunset. The city was absolutely beautiful, it looked like something from a Christmas film.

 

 

Once we had all finished getting our photos, it was time to head to the hotel to check in. The location could not have been more perfect, we were right in the heart of the city, and perhaps more importantly… about 30 seconds away from a McDonalds (I was already looking forward to my post race visit!!)! It’s the little things that can make all the difference and it was such a lovely touch to be greeted with a ‘Good Luck’ goody bag in our hotel rooms, complete with a bag of personalised pasta!

 

 

Soon enough, we were on the move again, this time to the marathon expo to collect our bib numbers! The Swiss City Marathon is not a huge event, especially not on the scale of the marathons I have completed before, so instead of heading to the usual large exhibition centre, we had a short walk to another hotel where the marathon had set up. To be completely honest, I actually preferred this smaller expo. There was absolutely no stress, no large crowds and more importantly – no queuing! There wasn’t many stands but that didn’t really bother me, I hardly ever buy anything from expos anyway!

 

Now, I will warn you. Before reading any further, I would probably go and grab a snack. We were so fortunate to be wined & dined over the whole weekend, and every meal we had was incredible, I don’t think I have ever eaten in so many nice restaurants! And obviously I went for the pasta #carbloadingislife

 

 

All of a sudden, a wave of tiredness hit me – I think the early wake up call & the long day had finally caught up with me, I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and go to bed! We had a busy day planned on Saturday & I wanted to make sure I got as much rest as possible.

Day 2

As part of our trip, we were giving the full tourist experience, which included taking a trip to the beautiful Mount Pilatus. But don’t worry – we weren’t hiking up any mountains the day before a marathon, instead we took the most magical train journey all the way to the summit, and I can only describe that it felt like we were travelling into Narnia! What started off as a cloudy, rainy day ended up being a Winter Wonderland!

 

But first, we had to get to the train station. Now I don’t know about you, but if I am travelling somewhere, it doesn’t usually involve getting on a boat! In fact I could probably have counted on one had the amount of times I have travelled this way before the weekend!

 

Due to the heavy snowfall and cloud, the view from the top of the mountain was somewhat obscured, but not that it mattered in the slightest. It was absolutely beautiful! Not only that, but the hotel & visitor centre was so swanky, I felt like I could have been in the middle of a James Bond film!

 

 

Soon enough it was time to eat again, but unfortunately this time I was being a complete bore and rather than join in with everyone at the restaurant, I stuck to my plan and had two ham sandwiches – living the dream right! (So I won’t bore you with pictures of that!)

As much as I was enjoying all of the amazing experiences, slowly but surely the pre race nerves were starting to rear their ugly head, but luckily after we returned from our trip up the mountain we had some much needed chill time before dinner. So I did exactly that – I went back to my room, had a nap and watched some Netflix. It was exactly what I needed!

It was then time to regroup (and no, all of  us wearing grey was NOT planned! ha) and eat all the carbs! I kept it simple with a bowl of pasta, but after demolishing it in approx 5 minutes it was clear it wasn’t enough – so I ate half of Sara’s too! It was clear that thoughts of the marathon were over taking everyones thoughts, so we all called it a night pretty early on and headed to our rooms to try and get a good night sleep (once again, LOL good one!)

 

 

Day 3

Now, I am sorry to keep you all waiting, but the marathon is going to get a whole post of its own, so you will just have to wait to read all about that! 

But, what I am going to talk about is the incredible evening that was arranged for us. This was certainly one of those evenings where you take a step back and think ‘how on earth am I lucky enough to be here’ 

For the second time over the weekend, we were heading back up the mountain, but this time to the Burgenstock Resort Hotel & Spa for an evening of pure relaxation & bliss!

 

I honestly don’t think I had ever been anywhere as fancy in my life. A hotel & spa on the side of a mountain?! In Switzerland?! This was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity! It was the perfeeeeeeeect way to relax and celebrate what we had all achieved just a few hours earlier, I don’t think any of us wanted to leave!

 

 

After our relaxing evening the spa, we then headed to Verbana Resturant for dinner. Um. WOW! This was definitely the nicest place I had ever been to eat, and I most certainly felt under dressed in a pair of jeans and the post marathon bags already forming under my eyes! The food was exquisite, and the wine, oh my goodness the wine!! It really was the perfect evening after such an amazing day, and it was just wonderful to spend it with everyone celebrating our achievements!

Day 4

I would love to say that I woke up feeling fresh on Monday, but the truth is I got a terrible nights sleep and was wide awake from 4.30 (and I thought running a marathon was supposed to make you tired!!) but nonetheless I was looking forward to what we had planned for our final day in Switzerland before we flew home.

IMG_7179Our first stop was a trip to a local chocolatier – Max Chocolatier. It was right in the centre of Lucurne, and we were lucky enough to be invited for a private tour of the shop, kitchen and then of course, some tasting! I am a hugeeeeeee chocolate fan, so I was really looking forward to this, and it did not disappoint! The only downside was that we couldn’t stay there all day and eat more!

 

 

 

Soon enough, it was time for ‘The Last Supper’ – and once again, we were treated to the best at The Lapin Restaurant. The post marathon hunger had well and truly kicked in now, which was lucky as we had a real feast lined up! They say a picture is worth a thousand words… so I will let these do the talking…

Sadly, it was finally time to say goodbye. Goodbye to the most amazing weekend. Goodbye to the most incredible experiences. And Goodbye to the most beautiful country I have ever visited. But first, obviously we had to fit in one last photo shoot!

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And as if the weekend hadn’t been incredible enough, the wonderful Sara had one final treat lined up for us for the flight home…. Business class baby!  I’m just sad that I had to drive home later that evening & couldn’t take full advantage of the free champagne, maybe next time!!!

 

Jordan xxx

 

 

I would like to say thank you to all of the following businesses for making this trip happen, and for making it so special. It will honestly be a weekend I will never forget!

AD Switzerland TourismSwiss City MarathonLucerne TourismContinental Park LuzerneRestaurant Bellini LocandaSwiss Travel SystemOdloOn Running, Swiss International AirlinesMax ChocolatierMount PilatusHotel SchweizerhofWaldhotel Spa & RestaurantRestaurant Lapin , Run Around Europe

 

 

 

Marathon Week – The Do’s, Dont’s & Everything in between!

So if you have made it this far, CONGRATULATIONS! This means that you have probably been working extremely hard for the last 12-16 weeks, and your marathon date has gone from months, to weeks, to a matter of days!

At the time of writing this, I am just 5 days away from my 6th marathon, and my 3rd of the year, and whilst I am no expert, I have picked up some handy hints & tips over the last couple of years, and especially over the last few months on how to stay sane on these final few days.

So whether this is your 1st marathon, or perhaps you have already done a lot but always struggle with these last few days, I hope you find some of these tips useful! And of course, if you have any of your own pearls of wisdom, pop them in the comments below!

Tapering.

Now this can depend on the individual, some people love the idea of winding down ahead of a big race whilst for others it feels them with dread! The idea of reducing miles and training can put people into a panic. Visions of losing fitness and all the progress you’ve made disappearing before your eyes is completely normal (so if this is you, don’t worry!) but it simply is not true. Tapering (alongside rest & recovery) is a key part to any marathon training plan, and should not be ignored. The idea of tapering is that you get to the start line feeling fresh, the last thing you want to do is get on that start line already feeling exhausted (save that for the finish line!)

taperingA marathon taper tends to be anywhere between 2-3 weeks before the race, but the last week is especially crucial. Please remember that you will not gain anything from going out and smashing a really tough training session the week of a race, your body will not have time to adapt, and in fact it could have the exact opposite effect of what you were hoping to achieve.

Now, here is where some people do get a little bit confused. Tapering does not mean just stop completely, it just means that you reduce your mileage, intensity and level of activity. For me personally, I still keep active during my final taper week, I still run & go to the gym, but just make sure I take it a bit easier! Here is what I will be getting up to this week…

Monday – Easy Paced 6 Miles & Gym (Upper Body – I reduce the weights during taper week)

Tuesday – Track Session – 8 x 400m + WU & CD – This was a ‘feel good session’ not 100% all out, so the aim was to make sure I felt comfortable on every rep, which I did!

Wednesday – Easy Paced 5 Miles

Thursday – 1.5 mile warm up, 1 mile @ marathon pace, 1.5 mile cool down & Gym (Lower Body – again, I will reduce the weights/number of sets) 

Friday – Rest Day + Travelling to Switzerland

Saturday – 2/3 mile VERY EASY run/shakeout

Sunday – RACE DAY!

Maranoia.

maranoia

Following on quite nicely from point number 1 – MARANOIA! Yes, it may be a made up word that people joke about, but it can be a real thing that can really affect people (and sometimes quite badly) ahead of an important race.

The reason why this follows on quite nicely, is that maranoia tends to kick in once you start tapering. As I touched on briefly above, people tend to panic that because they are reducing the number of runs/miles they are doing in the week, that somehow their body is miraculously going to forget how to run (no matter how long you have been running for – this is something I have been guilty of in the past!) But trust me, our bodies are pretty clever, and you will not lose aerobic fitness over this short period of time, especially if you are still keeping active.

Another common maranoia symptom is convincing yourself you have picked up a brand new injury or illness just days away from the race. Sneezed 3 times in a row? You have the flu! Legs aching slightly? Probably a stress fracture! I will admit, it is hard not to panic that something could go wrong and ruin the one thing you have been working towards for months on end. But worrying causes stress. And stress is the last thing you need on top of everything else. It can affect your sleep, your eating habits & your general wellbeing. Remember, as well as feeling physically fresh for the day of the race, it’s also important to look after your mental health too.

So my best piece of advice to try & deal with this, is try to keep busy and not let yourself have lots of time to think about the ifs & buts. Make plans to go and see friends, go out for lunch, go to the cinema, go for a walk, spend time with family – perhaps all the things you neglected when you were training!

Nutrition/Carb Loading.

Now, before you get too excited & have visions of being able to have mountains of pasta, unlimited amounts of bread and the local pizza delivery number on speed dial, carb loading does not mean just being able to eat whatever you want because you are running a marathon. I know, it sucks. And I am sorry.Huge Pile Of Spaghetti On Plate and Twirled Around Fork

BUT, ensuring that you are fuelling your body correctly (which does include more carbs, wohoo!) is important, and this doesn’t just mean cramming lots in the day before, but instead making sure you are eating well leading up to the race, especially in that final week.

The three key macronutrients are Carbohydrates, Fat & Protein – a healthy and balanced diet should include all three of these things, and on the final few days before a marathon the key is to just adjust the amounts of these macronutrients, rather then increasing your calories dramatically (still with me?!) Unfortunately there is not a ‘one size fits all’ way to do this, as every single person is different & will potentially require a different macro nutrient split & a different number of calories. To give you an idea, this is my Calorie & Macronutrient split for marathon week. But please, please, PLEASE remember that this has been calculated specifically for me, and will not work for you! This is purely to give you an idea on how to adjust your own diet

Monday & Tuesday – Calories – 2600/ Protein – 29%/ Fats – 33%/ Carbohydrates – 38%

Wednesday & Thursday – Calories – 2500/ Protein – 19%/ Fats – 27%/ Carbohydrates – 54%

Friday & Saturday – Calories – 3300/ Protein – 22%/ Fats 17%/ Carbohydrates – 61%

If you follow me on Instagram, I am keeping a week long food diary via my stories to give you some meal ideas, but here are a couple of quick & easy snack ideas which are perfect for getting those carbs in!

  • 1 x Cinnamon & Raisin Bagel with 1 x Banana
  • 1 x Trek Bar
  • 0% Greek Yogurt with Strawberries, Kiwi, Apricot, Grapes & 1 x Banana
  • Fruit Juice

I would highly recommend ordering the following book from Renee McGregor – it is packed full of useful hints & recipes to ensure you are fuelling yourself correctly during training & ahead of races. Click here to get your copy of Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success.

I would also not recommend trying anything new on the days leading up to your marathon, you want to be sticking to foods that you know work for you and are tried and tested! I would also hold off on anything too creamy/spicy/cheesy on the final days – basically you don’t want anything that could risk an upset stomach!

Hydration.

Whether you run or not, good hydration is important. It has been proven that the human body can actually survive for longer without food than it can without water.. so if you then throw running 26.2 miles into the mix I think its obvious how important it is you keep yourself hydrated properly!

Now again, similarly to carb loading, this doesn’t just mean downing gallons and gallons of water on a daily basis. Firstly, it will probably mean you are running to the toilet every 20 minutes, but also by drinking too much you can basically wash out all of the good things (salts mainly) that your body relies on during a marathon.

One way to ensure that you are not only staying hydrated (but also not over doing it) is by adding Electrolytes to your water. There are many different brands & products available, but for the past few months I have been using Precision Hydration for all of my pre race hydration needs. I was lucky enough to meet the team back at the Solar Boost Training Camp in June, and got a personalised sweat test, along with a batch of products & my own tailored hydration plan. Again though, you do not need to over do this, simply add one electrolyte tablet to one of your bottles of water on the days leading up to a race should be sufficient. As a rough guide, you should be aiming for around 2-3 litres per day (but please remember, this can depend on activity levels/gender/body weight) and if you REALLY can’t get past the idea of drinking plain water, then add squash – it all does the same job really!

Sleep.

Now you don’t need me to tell you that marathon training is tiring, and that is no different during the tapering weeks. In fact, you will probably find that you feel MORE tired during this time (which again, is completely normal and it doesn’t mean you have become super lazy over night!) so sleep is something you really shouldn’t skimp on.Sleepy1.png

Sleep is where the magic happens, it’s where fitness adaptations are made and also when your muscles can repair and recover… and it is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of training. But don’t take my word for it. Tom Goom aka ‘The Running Physio’ has put together a fantastic resource to explain the importance of sleep for runners, click here for loads of hints and tips to help you get into a good routine.

If you are anything like me, then pre race nerves may make it difficult to drift off to sleep, but don’t panic – if you have slept well the week leading up to your event, a night of slightly broken sleep will not be too detrimental. Here are a couple of hints & tips I find help me get to sleep a bit easier the night before a race –

  • Drink a peppermint tea
  • Listen to some relaxing music – I personally love piano music! Spotify has some great playlists! 
  • Watch a film or read a book – distraction techniques! 

 

Get Organised.

‘He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice….’ – go on, admit it, you started singing right??

Yep, thats right, if it’s good enough for Father Christmas, its good enough for us! I am not going to lie & say I am the worlds most organised person, but I like to pretend I am, and one thing I like doing to organise myself is make lists! Whether it’s my food shopping, a list of blog ideas, or just random things that pop into my head, the Notes section on my phone is full of them, and it is exactly the same when I am getting ready for a marathon!

Chances are, that if you are running a marathon, you will be travelling for it, whether its somewhere else in the UK or perhaps you are lucky enough to be going further afield, you still want to make sure you have everything, because whether you are 50 or 500 miles away from home, it would be pretty annoying to wake up on race day and realise you have forgotten your trainers!

Again, if you are like me, I also get pretty overwhelmed if I have to do loads and loads at once, so I like to break it down. This week ahead of my marathon, I am lucky enough to be on half term, which allows me to spread things out over the week and not panic pack/buy everything I need in one go! I started off with just creating my list, literally writing down everything I thought I would need, including things I knew I needed to buy… and that, well is pretty much as far as I have got so far! Here is an example of how I have broken down my list & the things I have included (some of it may seem obvious, but it really helps me having it all written out clearly!)

Race Day

Pre race – Trackies, Hoodie, Spare Trainers & Socks (incase its wet)

Race –  Trainers, Compression Socks, Caffeine Bullets, 4 x SiS Gels, Sports Bra, Shorts, Long Sleeve Top, Running Gloves, Buff, Running Vest, Heart Rate Monitor, Sports Armband, lightweight jacket. – and then you obviously need to do a flat lay picture and post it to Instagram to make sure you definitely have everything 😉 flat lay 2

Post Race – Oofos flip flops, compression leggings, buff

Misc – Power packs, headphone charger, Garmin charger, iPhone charger, travel adaptor (important if you are going abroad!) small backpack, pain killers, resistance band, PASSPORT!

General I wont bore you with this, but things like making sure you have your toiletries, enough underwear, socks, general clothes etc.

It is always worth keeping an eye on the weather forecast too, for example over the last few days the weather forecast in Switzerland has changed dramatically, which has resulted in me having to rethink what I am going to wear for the race, and also meant I had to go and buy an emergency jacket because it is going to be a lot colder than I expected! 

Race Logistics.

As mentioned above, if you are running a marathon, it is usually something you have to travel for, it might be somewhere you have never been before, and in some cases, travelling somewhere where English is not the first language, which can make things even trickier!

charlie and i

I recently went to Berlin for the first time to take part in the Berlin Marathon, and I will be completely honest and say that if it wasn’t for Charlie (@whatcharlierannext) I probably wouldn’t have made it out of the airport, let alone the start line to the race! She was an absolute star and had EVERYTHING sorted – from what trains we had to get, how to get to the hotel & how we were going to get to the start on Sunday. I honestly would have been lost without her!

So this tip is something I need to definitely get better at myself! Here is a list of things I would make sure you know before setting off on your trip

  • Familiarise yourself with the journey to the start line from wherever you are staying – if you can do a ‘test run’ so you can relax about the journey logistics & how long it takes.
  • Have a Plan B to get to the start line – just in case!!
  • If you are driving, make sure you know if/when roads are closing & possible diversions.
  • Make sure you read through the race day information provided & know what time bag drop closes, what time you need to be in your start area etc
  • If you have friends & family coming to support, arrange where you are going to meet them at the end of the race.
  • Or, just go and do a marathon with Charlie and she can look after you! Loveeeeeeee you xx

 

RELAX

Okay, so this might have been a bit of information over load (sorry about that, I get carried away) but really it all just comes down to this… RELAX! 

You have done the months of hard work, and in these last few days there really isn’t anything you can do that will dramatically change the outcome of what happens on race day. So to summarise, here are the key things to remember.

  • REST IS BEST – YOU WILL NOT LOSE ANY FITNESS BY SCALING BACK FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS
  • EAT A HEALTHY BALANCED DIET (WITH MAYBE A FEW EXTRA CARBS)
  • SLEEP – EARLY NIGHTS, LIE INS, NAPS!
  • DRINK WATER
  • DON’T FORGET TO PACK YOUR TRAINERS!

Good luck to anyone & everyone that has an upcoming marathon. It’s one hell of an achievement and you should be very proud you’ve got to this point! Just remember, the training is the tough part.. the race itself is the sprint finish!

Jordan xxx

 

Top 10 Tips for Beginners

I asked you guys what you wanted to see more of on my blog, and a lot of you have asked for hints & tips on how to get started with running! So, here are my Top 10 Tips of what I think is the best way to kick start your running journey!

I hope that you find these useful, and please feel free to comment below if you have any questions, and finally GOOD LUCK❤️

1) Parkrun.

Personally, I am a very goal orientated person. Whether it’s running related, or other areas of my life, if I set myself a tangible goal I am a million times more likely to stay motivated and work towards it.

For most new runners, the first goal they usually set themselves is to be able to complete a 5k. In fact this was my first running related goal a few years ago. Now I get it, the thought of running 5k (3.1 miles) non stop when you have never ran before can be daunting, but by setting yourself small, mini goals along the way, it makes it seem so much more manageable and achievable.

Most of us are very lucky here in the U.K to have a Parkrun on our doorstep (if you haven’t heard of Parkrun before, it’s a free, weekly, timed 5k run every Saturday morning that is ran completely by volunteers – it’s incredible!) and I personally believe that for a new runner, this is the perfect opportunity to not only immerse yourself in the amazing running community, but to be able to build up to running a 5k.

Parkrun is for absolutely anyone, from super speedy elite athletes to the complete beginner and whether you want to run, jog or walk, everyone is welcome and encouraged to take part.

Here is a session idea to get you started on your Parkrun/Running Journey.

Walk/Warm Up – 10 minutes. Try to steadily increase the pace to a ‘power walk’ towards the end of the 10 minutes.

Jogging – 30 seconds. Do not worry about pace, anything faster then your quick walking pace is fine!

Walk – 90 seconds. Use this as recovery and try to get your HR/breathing back to a normal rhythm

Repeat x 10

Walk/Cool Down – 10 minutes (or until completed) Try to keep a good walking pace and slow down steadily to get your HR back down.

As the weeks progress, you can then increase your running time, reduce the recovery time or increase the number of intervals.

2) Trainers.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who remembers being dragged along to a well known shoe shop on a Saturday afternoon and getting measured and fitted properly for shoes when they were little… every kids worst nightmare right?! But our parents wanted to make sure that the shoes we were getting fitted us properly, were supportive, comfortable and weren’t going to wreck our feet as we grew up! So my advice for running trainers would be to take the same approach as you would when you were buying school shoes as a child. Get fitted, try on lots and speak to a professional.

There are SO many different trainers out there, it almost seems impossible to know where to start! But something I would really recommend is going to a running specialist shop and getting a Gait Analysis done. In simple terms, a gait analysis can give insight into how you run, whether you are a neutral runner, over pronate, a forefoot runner, whether you need support, cushioning etc etc (don’t panic about this, the shop assistant will be able to talk you through everything!) and depending on this, can determine what trainers would suit you best!

For me personally, I know that I do not need an over supportive shoe, so shoes with a lot of cushioning don’t work for me. I much prefer a lightweight, minimalist trainer. So just remember, even if everyone is raving about the bestest, newest most supportive shoe from ‘Brand XYZ’ make sure you know what works for you!

3) Running Buddy.

I am pretty sure that at some point in your life you would have had to rely on a friend, or family member to get you through something tough – whether it’s a break up, a bad day at work, finding out someone ate your leftovers you’ve been looking forward to all day… but basically, we all need support from time to time! And running is no different!

Starting your running journey with a friend will make the experience a whole lot more enjoyable & motivating. Whether it’s arranging to go for a coffee & cake after Parkrun together, or even just having someone to run with on the dark winter nights could make a huge difference.

Also, I don’t know about you, but when I have made plans with someone I don’t like letting them down. So perhaps if you are the same, one way to guarantee you get yourself out the door is if you promise that you will run together. So even if you’re tired, or had a bad day at work you’ve still got that motivation to get out there!

And finally, you can celebrate not only your own, but your friends achievement too. Which is a pretty great feeling!

4) Social Media.

Now, hear me out. I know that at times, social media gets a lot of negative press, BUT it can also be a hugely positive tool for a lot of things, including running!

For me, I personally love Instagram (99.9% of the time) and love scrolling through daily and seeing people’s posts – whether it’s a PB, smashing out a training session, a cheeky #transformationtuesday or anything running related it can really help to motivate and inspire me to get out there & run or workout!

When I first started running and following other runners on Instagram, I was in awe of a lot of people (and still am!) and the incredible things they were achieving, and at the time I never believed that I would be able to do what they were doing, but.. now I am! I am no longer looking at marathon runners thinking ‘how do they do that’ but instead thinking ‘yes! I can do that too’!

So yes, if used correctly social media can be a fantastic way to keep yourself motivated and inspire you – it’s also a great way to meet like minded people! I would now class some of my closest friends as people I have met through the online running community, which is crazy seeing as when we’re younger we are always told to never talk to strangers on the internet 😂

N.B. Just remember though, do not compare yourself to anyone. Every runner has been/is on their own journey, and what may look easy to some may be down to years and years of training! Also, remember that people don’t always post the bad stuff! So use it to help motivate you, but always take things with a pinch of salt!

5) Track Your Progress.

I don’t know about you, but unless I write something down there is about a 100% chance I am going to forget it! I find keeping track of my runs very useful, and especially for beginners it can be really good (and motivating!) to be able to look back and see your progress & how far you’ve come!

Now days it couldn’t be easier to track your runs, and don’t worry, you don’t need to splash out on a running watch straight away, there are many different apps that you can download straight to your phone! My personal preference is Strava, and this would be the one I would recommend to anyone (and it’s completely free!)

If you are looking to treat yourself (or maybe fancy asking Father Christmas for something!) then I would recommend at some point investing in a GPS watch. Again, there are hundreds on the market which vary in price & what they can do, but you don’t need to spend a fortune!

I am a big fan of Garmin, and until I recently upgraded I wore the Forerunner 230 for over two years. It did everything I needed and was a great, easy to use watch, I would definitely recommend, plus it comes it some really nice colours (obviously this is important!)

6) Listen To Your Body.

This one is a biggie. Failing to do so could put a stop to your running journey, and potentially put you off from ever trying it again! If you’re anything like me, when you start something new that you enjoy, you will want to throw yourself in 100% and just keep going! This is what happens a lot of time with new runners once they have got through the initial ‘everything hurts and I’m dying’ phase. And I get it, it’s exciting! But there is no rush to do everything at once!

Getting your body to adapt to running takes time. I remember the first time I ran a half marathon, I couldn’t walk properly for the next 3 days, now days, I’m able to go out the day after a race and do a light recovery run. And although I don’t always get it spot on, I know my body well enough by now to know when to dial it back and take an extra rest day.

So when you are starting, please don’t feel like you have to be out there running every single day, or increasing your mileage too quickly. Running does put your body through stress, there is no getting away from it, and if you do too much too quickly you could be at risk of your body just saying NOPE and then you won’t have a choice but to take a break.

For a beginner, I would say there is no need to run more than 3 x times a week to begin with, and giving yourself at least a days rest in between each run.

7) Recovery.

Following on quite nicely from number 6, this is another really important factor that a lot of new runners might not consider. Rest and recovery is a key part of training, I know this might sound strange, but sometimes doing nothing is the best way to progress!

Our bodies are pretty amazing things, and whilst we are resting (this includes sleep!) it’s busy working away at repairing the muscles we have temporarily damaged during exercise, pretty clever right!

But unfortunately we cannot let our bodies do all the work, and there are a few key things we can do to help aid recovery, including;

  • Stretching
  • Foam Rolling
  • Massages
  • Epsom Salt Baths

Now, I could pretend that I am the perfect advocate for this and that I stretch and roll after every run, but the truth is, I don’t. And it’s something I need to get better at. But I cannot stress at the beginning how important it is. When you first start running, your body isn’t going to have a clue what’s going on, so the chances are once you start running, your legs are going to hurt a little! All of the things listed above can help to ease the pain and help your muscles recover quicker (although sometimes you can’t get away from the DOMs no matter how much stretching you do!)

8) Strength Training.

I know what you’re thinking… ‘I thought this was a blog about running?!’ Don’t panic! It is, and I’m not saying you need to be in the gym 5x a week pounding the weights, but adding 1 or 2 strength sessions a week can really benefit any runner, no matter what level.

Strength training does exactly what it says on the tin, it makes you stronger! And guess what, the stronger you are there is less risk of injury, you will feel fitter and personally I find hitting the gym a great way to relieve stress!

If you have been following me on Instagram, you will know I’m a big fan of the gym, and it’s one of the things I believe has been key to my progress over the last year. I have said it many times, but there is so much more to running, than running!

I have previously done two strength training posts for both an Upper & Lower body workout, which will hopefully help you if you’re a bit stuck with what to do in the gym!

9) Take Your Time.

Okay so I am just going to come out and say it… YOU DO NOT NEED TO RUN A MARATHON TO BE A RUNNER!

This might sound like I am contradicting my earlier point about social media, but if there is one thing that is negative about it, is that people (especially newer runners) can get caught up with the idea that they HAVE to run a marathon to be considered a ‘proper runner’ – which is nonsense!

There is nothing wrong with having goals and aspirations, but feeling like you have to commit to something as big as a marathon so early on can sometimes be a recipe for disaster. When I started running, the thought of a marathon never even crossed my mind, in fact it wasn’t until I was two years into my running journey I considered it, and by this point I was already comfortably at half marathon distance and this felt like the next challenge.

Too often I sadly see runners rushing to get to marathon level, which unfortunately can sometimes end in long term injuries or perhaps even having to stop running for good.

So my advice? Take your time! And enjoy the victories along the way! There will ALWAYS be marathons, and in fact there seems to be more and more happening all the time, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity! But training for and ultimately running a marathon, is not only a huge commitment, but can put your body under a lot of stress, and if you try and cram it all in too quickly, not only will it take all the fun out of it, but you could also really hurt yourself.

10) Enjoy it!

It really is as simple as that! Running (especially at the beginning) should not be something that causes you stress or makes you unhappy. Run because you enjoy it and how it makes you feel. Enter races because your friends are going and you’ve already planned an epic post race treat. Treat yourself to that new pair of trainers or watch because you deserve it. And just remember, progress is never linear! So enjoy the journey, embrace the highs & the lows and look forward to a new quality of life (sorry for the cheese, but it’s true!)

Jordan xxx