Monday, 29 July 2013

Race For Life 2013

The day started bright and breezy, which to be honest was a bit of a relief considering the night before had been a major thunderstorm with plenty of rain. We all considered ourselves lucky. Joining me for todays event is my daughter, she will be running, and my sister who will be walking. Also walking with us will be my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Alfie. We have our own cheering squad, both my sons and their respective partners and my hubby.  Kitted out in our Pink t-shirts and armed with enough safety pins to hold all our race numbers and messages of who we are dedicating our run to, we set out.

We were instructed to arrive about an hour before the start so that we could take part in the warm up exercise routine, however when we arrived at the grounds there was such a long wait to the car park we decided to go and find somewhere else to park. This worked out well but it did mean that we had about a 1/2 mile walk to the starting line, oh well just meant our total for the day would be closer to 7K

There's not much really I can say about the event itself, no major dramas, just a nice steady 5k walk with Alfie taking a minor detour for a quick dip in the lake. I guess the real important thing about this was this time last year my sister would not of been fit enough take part at all, but thanks to Slimming World she is over 3 stone lighter than last year. I did do the race last year I too was nearly 2 stone heavier then.

Our times for the daughter ran with a couple of quick walks on the more hilly parts and finished in an amazing 29 mins. We finished in 1 hour and 4 mins my time last year was 1 hour 11 mins so all in all a really pleasing

We have all signed up in advance for Race For Life 2014 and I have promised myself that I will be fit enough to run the whole watch this space

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Trip To Sweatshop

It's the Race for Life tomorrow so although it's a bit last minute thought it would be a good idea to go to Sweatshop today for a gait analysis and see what they suggest as a good shoe for my running style. Mark & his Fiancee Jaime came with me for moral support, and to be honest I think Mark wanted to make sure that I wasn't talked into buying big thick shoes designed for heal striking.

We went to the Hatfield Branch and firstly I have to say that the staff there were really good, they certainly new their stuff and being runners themselves, understood and listened to all my concerns. On their website they suggest taking your running shoes with you and any insoles you normally wear so I took my Vivobarefoot and my Nike Free 7.0 with me. The guy looked at both pairs and also the orthotics I had been given for my walking shoes, he also checked my feet for signs of damage etc. I was then given a pair of new neutral shoes and shown to the treadmill, have to admit I was a little concerned that I wouldn't be able to run for long enough for the video to be taken. But to my surprise and delight I kept up a steady pace and after a while he told me to stop. He took two videos one when I first started and then another towards the end of my run, he explained that this is because a lot people will start out landing on the forefoot but as they get tired will revert back to heel striking if this is there normal form. 

The verdict.............drum roll please.......I have a neutral gait with no overpronation because I always land on my forefoot or midfoot and that I am a natural barefoot runner, I have to say I was pretty pleased to hear that and I could see the delight on Marks face now that it had been confirmed that he was teaching me the correct way to run for my own style. Better news yet was that they couldn't really sell me any new shoes because they didn't have any barefoot or minimal style shoes at that branch. He did suggest a couple of makes that would be suitable but also said that my Vivo's were already really good although I might find it easier to start with a zero drop shoe but with a bit more padding so that roads and pavements would be a little easier and then ease into wearing the Vivo's for more road work, he suggested something like the New Balance Minimus or the Brooks Puredrift. I have already tried on the New Balance Minimus and to be honest I didn't find them that comfortable compared with my Vivobarefoot, but I will check out the Brooks for reviews online.

All in all a good day...........

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

It's All In The Shoes

Training Session

 A few little lightbulb moments for me this week, just small moments where I have found myself thinking about my training and feeling more like I can really do this, I can call myself a runner. I may never be the fastest & I may well stick to 5k but there is nothing wrong with that. I can still achieve that and work towards getting better at that distance, and not get hung up on needing to do marathons etc. 

I am doing the Race For Life at the weekend with my Sister and my Daughter. My Daughter will run, but we will walk with my wonderful dog Alfie. But there is that small bubble of excitement in me knowing that next year I will be able to run the complete distance, I can almost sense how brilliant that is going to feel.

Training session this week got off to a good start, the weather was a bit cooler and with a nice breeze. For this run I am wearing (this is getting to be a bit like a fashion show) Nike Free 7.0 with my Nike anti-blister socks. Now to be honest I was really hoping that these shoes were going to be The Ones, because lets face it just how many pairs of running shoes will I have to cram into my already over crowded closet. Now don't get me wrong I love my Vivobarefoot, you can really feel like you are connected to the ground you are running on, however this can also be a bit of a disadvantage when you are running on pavements, especially as a beginner like me. I will need to have much better form and lightness in my step to avoid the shin pain I am currently getting from roads and pavements. So back to the Nike, they fit very well in width and have a good size toebox. They didn't feel overly heavy, and more importantly I had a quick run around outside my house and my shins hadn't screamed at me, but even before leaving for our run I was wondering if all this comfy padding and squishy feeling was really going to suit my running style. 

Off we go for our warm up walk then through the woods and out into the fields, we do 30,60 and 90 second repeats with 90 seconds or so walk in between, I can feel that I am quicker tonight, but the ground feels muted, I can still feel larger stones and sticks but with a kind of dull sensation.
On our way back home Mark says to me we are now going to have like a play session for the final 10 mins or so before we reach home, the idea is to just run or stop at random times and speeds to suit myself, we have a quick race to the bus stop, then a bit of a walk then a steady but speedy dash across a bridge I actually ended up running for just about a 3 minute stretch without being out of breath.  All in all a really good session. And the verdict on the Nike Free 7.0 the jury is still out. While they are very comfortable and I certainly could run on the harder surfaces without any shin pain, to be honest I am still not convinced that that is such a good thing compared with actually feeling the ground you are on.

I have read a lot on the Runners World forums about one of the most important things when you start to run is to get a pair of the right running shoes for your style of running, I have decided that  I am going to go to a sports shop and get a gait analysis done. Lets hope there will still be some space left in my closet for the right shoes!

Stats for 23rd July 2013
 5k = 55mins 8 seconds my Personal Best (PB)
Gear: Nike Free 7.0 and Nike Anti-Blister toe socks

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Third Times The Charm

Training Session

After last weeks longer training session I had a few aches, nothing too major but enough to make me realise that we needed to dial it back a bit and stick to
our plan of 5k distance, at least until after I have done the Race for Life on the 28th July.

Tonights plan was to just have a nice stroll as it's also only been 3 days since the 100k Race To The Stones which Mark completed in just under 22 hours, he did the whole race in his Lunar sandals and still only ended up with Two blisters, I have done more damage to my feet in one night in a pair of fashionable shoes!
But still to show some respect to Mark's well used muscles, we decided to leave out the big hills and change our route to go through a nice wooded area and then follow a path beside the train tracks which has more gradual inclines.
I am again wearing my Vivobarefoot shoes but trying out some Nike anti-blister socks, these are also toe socks which I think I might do a full review of in a later post, but for now lets just say it took me a while to get them on and comfortable. I am also trying out a heart monitor, I thought it would be good to see if I am keeping within safe limits for my not so young ticker or at least it will give me accurate information if I need to go see my GP.

We stuck to 1 min running 90 seconds recovery for most of our session, even after just these few weeks I am finding this much more achievable and even my breathing seems more controlled until we go uphill then I lose my rhythm. Once the breathing goes astray there just seems to be so much to think about, feet, posture, arms, head, and still breathe, a bit overwhelming at times. Thankfully Mark is there gently reminding me to relax. 

We reach our half way point and I am happy to see that my heart rate is fine and that even on the tougher parts I am still in the 60-75% of max rate. The alarm for the upper limit only went off once and that was running uphill.

All in all a very enjoyable session, I am really having fun but sometimes feel a little sad that I didn't discover running 20 years ago, I could of been really good by now..........

Stats for 16th July 2013

5k - 59mins 42 seconds = 19.16 min/mile
1 min runs with 90 seconds walk repeats
Gear: Vivobarefoot with Nike Anti-blister toe socks

Till the next time...............................................

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Ding Ding Round 2

Training Session

Due to the weather finally getting warmer we started out later for our session, which was at least a little cooler.

The plan was to do the same basic route we did last time, but as Mark was also preparing for Race To The Stones (100k Ultramarathon) at the weekend we decided that we would go out a bit further than 5k. So Mark added a wooded trail around a lake before heading back, making a total of 8.8k about 5.5 miles.

Off we go up & over the big hills, strange they feel easier tonight. I am wearing different shoes than last time, I have on my Vivobarefoot with ToeToe socks. Can this be making the difference? When we reach the field Mark again gives me my instructions , he wants me to try again for the 1 minute run then 90 seconds recovery repeats. This time Mark calls out the seconds on his watch......20, 30, 40 hey I'm still running 50 still going, now he is counting down 8,7,6 and finally I've done it, I have run for 1 whole minute. Totally elated, it suddenly occurs to me just how amazing this feels & how in awe I am of my son. There's me grinning because I ran for 1 minute and there's Mark preparing to run 100k non-stop in sandals, which will take him in excess of 15 hours. I was starting to understand the respect marathon and ultra runners show each other........With my 90 seconds recovery up we run again, 1 minute done almost as easily so we up it to 90 seconds running and 2-3 minutes recovery this time it was downhill - done no problem, during this session my longest run was 2 mins. We finished off with a stroll around the lake and then the walk home

I finished tired but feeling fantastic at the same time, I really think the Vivobarefoot made a big difference, I will be using them again.

Stats for 10th July 2013

8.8k 5.5miles = Total 1hrs 50mins
5k = 1hrs 2mins
1 min run 90 seconds - 2 min walk
90 second run - 2-3 min walk
2 min run - 5 min walk
Vivobarefoot shoes with ToeToe socks (very comfy)

To read Mark's review of Race To The Stones Click Here

Till the next time...................................

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


Training Session

Ok so it's taken a week or Two to synchronize diaries with Mark. I would keep calling him Cardiosaurus, but it takes too long to type & check the spelling so from here on in it's Mark or CM for Cardiosaurus Mark or maybe that should be Coach Mark.

The date and plan is set, we will meet and go for a nice brisk walk up and down some fairly steep hills, then into some fields to do repeats of 1 minute running then 90 seconds walking to recover, repeated for 20 minutes...........Ok so this all sounds like a pretty good plan.

The day arrives & I have to admit I was feeling a little nervous and questioning if maybe I might just be a little mad. But the Garmin is set GPS signal found and we are off..........I soon found that those fairly steep hills were doing a pretty good impression of Mount Everest.  Mark kept up a slow but steady pace, reminding me all the way to keep my breathing going and shorten my stride, now being rather vertically challenged scraping in at 5 foot long strides are never going to be my thing so all was good.

Hills conquered, we arrive at the field and Mark takes some time to explain to me all about correct posture and landing on the front part or forefoot rather heel striking. If you followed my link from my earlier post to Mark's blog you will have already learnt that Mark is a "Barefoot Runner" now although barefoot can indeed mean naked feet, when said in quotes usually refers to minimalist shoes or in Marks case Lunar Sandals.

I would love to say that I will be following literally in Mark's footsteps but for now, I haven't quite decided what I will wear to do my running in, so I am going to be trying out various options and see which seems to work for me.
For this first lesson I just dug out my favorite trainers, not completely zero drop infact I believe they are closer to about 6-8mm. 

Back to the lesson......Right, Mark gives me my instructions to run for 1 minute, not to go for speed but relax and concentrate on form and controlled breathing........and we're off 5 seconds.....yep I'm ok.....10 seconds I'm starting to breathe more rapidly.........20 seconds.....OK my lungs are on FIRE, legs feel like lead.......30 seconds........right that's my lot.... I suddenly got the message of just how unfit I had let myself become and how long 60 seconds is when you just want to cough up a lung. Think we may need to adjust the training plan, so we walked for a few minutes till I had my breathing back in control which to be honest didn't take long. We did a few more repeats of 30 seconds running and then walk to recover. Then finished off with the walk back up and over the hills rounding our lesson off to complete 5K I was knackered but pleased with myself for finally getting up off the couch and doing something to take back control of my life....

Stats for 2nd July 2013

 5K = Total 1hrs 11mins = 23 min mile
Repeats of 30 seconds running, Several minutes walking
Gear: Primark Trainers with Injinji socks.

Till the next time.................