Are you planning on running a marathon? Me too! I’ve technically turned my 16 week training plan into an 18 week one, so I’ve already started two weeks ago. However, technically the plan I’m following starts today. How exciting!
Not only that, but in 15 weeks and 6 days time, I’ll have completed my first marathon. How scary is that!
Get the plan right!
You all know my mantra – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Training success is all about the plan. It’s step 1 on your journey, and there is a wealth of great information out there on how to get started. I always recommend the Hal Higdon programs – they’re free, easy to follow and effective. I used this for my half marathon training earlier this year.
Another great starting point is fellrnr.com and their amazing marathon training plan guide – it compares a LOT of online, free plans and gives recommendations on which is right for you. It’s a wonderful resource for new and experienced runners!
Normally I spend a lot of time planning out my training and making a spreadsheet for races and training runs, colour coded and updated with training paces and comments as the weeks go on. This time, I’ve opted for something a little different – don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me a good spreadsheet, but I’ve been so busy in work recently that I haven’t had much time to focus on devising the perfect plan. I therefore opted for a ready-made plan using the NYRR Virtual Trainer program.
NYRR Virtual Trainer
NYRR Virtual Trainer is a personalized 16 week marathon training plan with an online system to track your progress. You start by adding your goals, your current race paces, your current mileage and ability – and the website will pop out a personalized plan for you. There are a few tiers of training plans, so you can choose between a conservative plan for your first marathon, right up to a more challenging plan if you’re trying to BQ (Boston Qualify). There’s an option for everyone!
You can see my mileage above, but the virtual plan online has much more data than what I’ve shown here – it gives expected paces, types of run (easy run, regular run, intervals etc), and it also recalculates targets based on the run data you input as the program progresses.
I’m interested to see how my projected finish time changes over the plan, this morning I was targeting 5 hours and 30 minutes, but I had a slow run tonight in the crazy humidity and it’s set my expected finish time back to almost 6 hours! The most important thing is finishing, though, so I’m going to keep following the given paces on the plan as this should be the best way to avoid injury.
110 days to go
I am very excited to for this plan! There is a small fee for access to the virtual trainer, but so far I think it’s great value for money for the wealth of metrics and personalized targets that the plan provides. I find it incredibly intimidating, especially as it’s more mileage than I currently do and I’ve had all these damn injuries to deal with. However, I feel like I’m ready for this, and ready to give it my all.
I can’t wait to share my progress! If you want to follow along, you’ll find me mostly on Instagram and Strava.
Guys, I haven’t posted in a while. I’m sorry! I’m switching jobs in work and have been working pretty long hours, so everything has taken a back seat for a while.
However, that’s all about to change – MARATHON TRAINING HAS OFFICIALLY STARTED! My First Marathon Ever is in 18 weeks, how scary is that?!?
There will be another post later this week to outline my training plan, nutrition plan and target goals for the marathon, but for now I wanted to check in and catch up on what on earth I’ve been doing with myself for the past few (several) weeks. I’ve not been blogging, but I’ve certainly still been working out. Here’s a quick recap of what’s been happening since I last blogged (in May. Shame!)
George Washington Bridge 10k – June 5th
The American Cancer Society George Washington Bridge 10k is one of my favorite races in the calendar. This is the 3rd year I’ve run it, I opted for the 10k this year but took it very easy as I was still struggling with my neverending stream of leg based woes. I really enjoyed this race, it starts with the crowd rushing down onto the lower level of the George Washington Bridge (which is obviously closed to traffic!), then you loop back and forth twice before making a wonderful downhill sprint to finish in Palisades Park. It’s such a fun, fast race. That downhill section… if only all races had one like it!
Finishing time: 1:09:01, pace 11:06min/mi
The only down side to this race is that the bridge really messes up your GPS. My watch thought I’d run 4.5 miles when I’d finished the 10k! Then, when I uploaded the data to Strava, their algorithm thought I’d run 6.6 miles. So on the plus side, all my Strava PBs were hit at this race (10k, 5k, 1 mile, 1k etc). However, it’s annoying because all those PBs aren’t real. They’re based on inaccurate data!
NYRR Queens 10k – June 18th
Oh dear. How do I describe the ordeal that was the NYRR Queens 10k? Let’s start by saying it was the slowest 10k I’ve ever run, it was incredibly hot and humid and entirely in the blazing sun, and every single step was an absolute struggle.
‘Running’ probably isn’t the right word for it, it was more like a slow shuffle for 100 yards, stop, walk, drink, cry, faint. Resume shuffle. Lather, rinse repeat. Cross the finish line like a boss, 12 minutes slower than your 10k PB.
I won’t describe this race in too many words, because I took this photo after 3 miles and it tells you all you need to know about this race:
I really, really had to work for this one. After every 100 meters I wanted to stop and walk, and I had to push myself to keep going. I stopped at every water station. I had TWO energy gels (for a 10k, I know!). My heart rate reached 190 which is higher than is theoretically possible for someone my age. Wow, worst race ever, huh?!?
Do you know what though? It was worth it! I was proud of myself for finishing this one because it was the first race where I genuinely didn’t think I’d make it across. I even got a shiny medal too!
Finishing time: 1:17:17 (seriously, it was that bad), pace 12:27min/mi
A weekend of races! NYRR Pride Run 5M and Achilles Hope & Possibility 4M, June 25th-26th
June saw the first time that I ran two races on consecutive days – I’ve run training runs back to back, of course, but not actual races. Now, I haven’t pushed for time since March so it was the same as doing a training run – but it’s definitely much more fun when you run in Central Park with several thousand other people!
Both days were hot and sunny, but not quite the blazing humid inferno of the previous week’s Queens 10k. Needless to say, these two were much more pleasant! Saturday’s race was the LGBT Pride Run 5M in Central Park, a fast 5 mile loop around the park starting on the east side, heading up over Harlem hill and then back down the west side. The race was so fun, the atmosphere was great – and any race which gives out rainbow ice lollies at the finish line is a winner in my book!
Finishing time: 0:58:44 , pace 11:45min/mi
The following day saw the Achilles Hope and Possibility 4M, again in Central park – although this time there was no Harlem Hill to contend with as the route cut through before we reached the top of the park. Bonus!!
This race was a little easier and I pushed a little harder than the previous day, but still didn’t give it my all – I am really concerned that I’ll injure myself again before the marathon, so my days of trying to hit PRs are over for the time being…
After the race, there were some fun activities including a photobooth where you created your own captions. You can see that I decided to stick to home truths – when you’ve got nobody to run with, don’t be sad about it, just own it instead!
Finishing time: 0:46:01 , pace 11:31min/mi
My legs still hate me
Yes, they definitely do. I’m still struggling with twinges and pains when I run – sometimes it’s my calves, sometimes my hips, IT band, hamstring, you name it. I’ve started going regularly to a PT who is helping me work through it, but it’s a slow process. I have lots of new exercises though that I’m doing daily to try and prevent any future injuries – hip strengthening, glute strengthening, stretches, and FOAM ROLL, FOAM ROLL, FOAM ROLL. Oh, and I almost forget – OH DEAR GOD THE FOAM ROLLING. It’s a big part of my life now.
I have a new dynamic warm up routine to complete before every run too, I’ll save that for a future post as I’d like to discuss it in more detail once I’ve tried it out for a few weeks. So watch this space!
Jon’s doing C25K!
I’ve saved the best for last – after a year of relentless nagging on my part, JON HAS GIVEN IN TO THE PEER PRESSURE. He’s started Couch to 5k! Jon has been my biggest supporter throughout this journey, but has been very resistant to the idea of running. Until now!
Jon finished Week 1 Day 1 and did a great job! He’s yet to start Week 1 Day 2, but we are also in the middle of a crazy humidity heat wave so I’ll forgive him for that. Next week though, I wont! We’re looking for a 5k to complete in a few months time so he’ll have a goal to work towards too.
I think I’m more excited about this than he is!
So that’s a quick recap on what’s been keeping me busy for the start of the summer. This weekend I’m traveling to upstate NY for the Boilermaker 15k race, and I am SUPER excited about it as it’s one of my top 12 races for 2016. However, I’ve heard it’s a tough course – and it’s looking like it’ll be a hot one this weekend. I’ll definitely earn my post race beers at this one!
Now that marathon training is officially underway, I’m definitely focusing on my eating, my workouts and my recovery! It’s time to get even more acquainted with the old foam roller, I’ll be seeing a lot of it in the next 18 weeks.
I’m going to be putting more time into the blog too, I started this blog not just as a running journal, but also as a place to objectively review all the bad diet advice you see online. I wanted to show that losing weight is basic science – calories in, calories out, nothing more (hence the name Lose It For Science!). I’ll definitely be putting more effort in over the next few months to add more articles and interesting stuff to go along with the running. Funnily enough, the blog gets more hits on my one non-running article (The Myth Of The Fat Burning Heart Rate Zone) than on any of the running stuff! Who would have guessed?
Guys, it’s nearly here, 18 weeks till D-Day. What am I letting myself in for?
It’s now several weeks since the Rock’n’Roll Nashville 5k, so forgive me for being very delayed in writing my race report! I’ve had a crazy few weeks with lots of work and travel so blogging has unfortunately taken a hit. Hopefully things will start to calm down a little now and I can get caught up!
The Rock’n’Roll Nashville 5k took place on a very, very, VERY rainy Saturday morning on 30th April 2016, with 5k, half marathon and marathon distances to choose from. I was on a road trip with occasional guest blogger Sarah, and this was her First Ever 5k, so we were super excited for it! Sarah included a brief summary of this race in her last guest post, so I’ll be keeping this one short and simply covering the race in a little more depth.
I’m sure you all remember Sarah and her great post about starting the C25k program earlier this year. Well, she’s only gone and finished it, and run THREE 5k races already! I can’t wait to hear her couch to 5k review, so take it away Sarah!
I’m back! Thanks so much to Pam again for letting me share my story here. I hope it helps even one of you reading to get hooked like me (spoiler alert!)
You guys, it’s been such a long time since I posted here about my first ever run I can’t quite believe how much has happened in that time. Are you ready for a rundown of 8 weeks in one go? Let’s get into it then.
I’ve been a little bit MIA in the past few weeks! I’ve been struggling with motivation because I’ve been injured, but have not handled it in the best way, if I’m honest. Instead of working through the problem like a rational, adult human being, I complained about it and then had an almost completely sedentary month full of junk food and bad moods.
I’m still not entirely sure what the problem is, but what I do know is that I can’t run without shooting pains in my left leg. A couple of weekends ago, I was due to run a 5k and instead I ended up with a big fat DNS – Did Not Start. However, I think this was absolutely the best thing I could have done, and I want to take some time to talk about WHY.
We’re nearly into May, and comfortably back into running season. Now that I’ve got my first half marathon out the way, it’s a good time to think about all the other races I’m doing this year. I’ve signed up for a lot so far!
My 2016 Race Calendar: The Road to NYC Marathon
Nashville Rock’n’Roll 5k: April 30th
Considering that I haven’t run in two weeks due to injury, and the weather is looking so rocky that I’m getting warnings my flight may be affected, this one is in danger of not happening! I’d hoped to run my first ever sub-30 5k on this race, but now I’m aiming to just be able to run it after having some severe issues with my knee and hamstring. Fingers crossed!
Last weekend I ran my first half marathon. Well, technically it was my second but it’s the first I’ve ever tried to run completely from beginning to end – so in the grand scheme of things it’s my first!
Now, I trained hard for this half marathon, I had a plan that I followed for 12 weeks to get ready for it. Did I do enough to smash my first half marathon? Probably not. Did I give it a damn good shot? Hell yeah! The important thing is, though, that I learned a lot along the way and I want to share this with anyone else who’s getting ready for their first half marathon too.
This weekend saw the 13th annual More Shape Women’s Half Marathon in Central Park, and my first half marathon of 4 planned in 2016 as part of my NYC Marathon training. I was so excited to run this race, I’ve only completed one half marathon in the past and I walked over a third of it – so really, this was my first real attempt at a half marathon.
Beautiful skies and injured legs
The race took place entirely in Central Park, with 7000 women completing just over two loops of beautiful Central Park. It was a gorgeous day for running, too – not a cloud in the sky and high 40F / 10C temperatures. Perfect!
Guys, it’s nearly here! The More/Shape Women’s Half Marathon takes place this coming Sunday, and I’m on the last week of my training plan. I’m feeling nervous for the race, despite all my training I still don’t feel like I’ve done enough to run 13.1 miles.
Training for a half marathon: How did we get here?
This weekend brought my favourite 10k of the race calendar. The Scotland Run 10k takes place each spring in Central Park, and brings in huge crowds and a great atmosphere – and a great theme! I’ll take any excuse to celebrate my home country of Scotland, especially since I don’t get to visit as often as I’d like. I was wearing every piece of Scotland themed clothing I owned, and was really excited for this race.