Posts Tagged ‘running tips’

London Marathon 2009 Part 1

April 27, 2009

Apologies for the delay in getting a post up, I’ve not been near a decent computer-and-internet-connection-combo!

Where do I start?! I guess Sunday morning is probably a good place…

I kept waking up every couple of hours on Saturday night, expecting to have to get up but being slightly disappointed as I realised there were a few hours to go yet! As one of my main fears was oversleeping and missing the start the waking up was probably a good idea! Eventually it was time to get up and I managed to force a couple of slices of toast down me – better than nothing!

Soon enough it was time to catch the DLR to Greenwich and the main Red Start (where the charity places go from). It was quite a trek from Greenwich station to the start area, but there was no chance of getting lost because of the sheer volume of people heading in the same direction!

Me in the rhino hat and laden down by kit bag and carrier bags

Me in the rhino hat and laden down by kit bag and carrier bags

Pre race smile - or nerves?

Pre race smile - or nerves?

I met up with the other rhino runners (including those crazy people who were wearing the proper costumes) and my ‘usual’ running mate Neil. I dosed up on my usual painkillers (although one of the Save The Rhino staff had to get the tablets out of the packet for me as I had no strength!). Soon enough we were all on our way to the start – no going back! – where to everyone’s probable annoyance I kept saying ‘Why? Why am I doing this? Why am I here? Why? Why?!’

We all ended up somewhere between pen 8 and 9 (at the back) so it was a good 25 minutes or so before we finally got over the finish line and started running. From the start there were loads of spectators brought out by the glorious sunshine. The first couple of miles didn’t feel as hellish as they normally do but I guess there were so many distractions going on – including the many male runners swerving off to have a wee in the hedges! I ran with Neil again this time as we have similar pace.

I was keeping an eye out for the JustGiving gang who I was expecting before mile 5 (check out my list of ‘landmarks’ here). Can’t remember exactly where I saw them (all the miles blur into one) but it was great to see Heather and the gang (I met Heather on Saturday at the expo, and she mentions me in this video! Woo!). Further on we passed the Cutty Sark where Matt Baker (formerly of Blue Peter fame) was waiting with a cameraman, to which Neil blurted out something like ‘Ooh, you’re a famous person off Blue Peter!’ and I almost fell over laughing (the runner’s delirium had kicked in by that point I think). We carried on round to mile 8 and Surrey Quays where my dad was waiting with a large Save The Rhino flag which we had printed up, and jelly babies.

The supporters were great, and it sounds like a cliche to say they got me through but it’s actually true. So many times I heard ‘Go Becki’ ‘Come on Becki you can do it’ ‘Go Rhino Head’ ‘Becki’s got the horn’ ‘Becki are you feeling horny’ and variations on a similar theme, and they really helped, it would be easy to feel a bit invisible in a crowd of 35,000 (but I don’t think there was any chance of that with a large horn on my head!). I acknowledged every cheer although what started out as a wave each time soon turned into an arm waft because I didn’t have any strength left!

Somewhere before mile 12 we managed to see Neil’s family, then it was on to Tower Bridge, which seemed to be hiding from me very well! I knew that I’d have to take some more painkillers imminently so decided on 13 miles as the point at which I’d walk for a bit and take the painkillers (no point trying to swallow them whilst running, I’d choke!). So Neil ran on ahead and I strolled for a few hundred yards. Trying to run again after walking was interesting to say the least, and because obviously the painkillers hadn’t had a chance to kick in, painful! I managed a gentle jog for another couple of miles but then the nausea kicked in. Despite my previous posts assuming the the jelly beans I was eating were the culprit of my post-long-run throwing up, it appears it might just have been the running, as I was only on glucose tablets for the marathon. I had to walk somwhere around mile 16 and when I stopped running it felt like my knees would buckle from under me…

More to come soon! 🙂

Everybody’s Free (To Wear Vaseline)

February 24, 2009

A Twitter friend of mine has created this great parody of Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen Song. I love the original and know it off by heart, so the running version probably holds more humour for me than most normal people!

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’09
If I could offer you only one tip for the Marathon, Vaseline would be it.

The long term benefits of Vaseline have been proved by countless marathon runners whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own training experience… I will dispense this advice now.

Go check it out! But first sponsor me while you’re here 🙂

Mind over matter

January 29, 2009

Sometimes on my training runs, I find that whilst my flesh is willing, as it were, my mind is sometimes weak. This means that when I’m out running there is the irresistible urge to ‘stop’ (by this I mean walk, not literally stop) as my mind tries to end the discomfort and exertion! This is more likely to happen when I am distracted by thoughts of the day’s events or worries about something or other. The you-need-to-walk-it’s-too-difficult-I-can’t-do-it voice drowns out the one that tells me to keep going.

If I focus on the running, and ignore the tiny persistent voice telling me to walk, tell myself to keep going and pick up the pace, I do really well (by my standards at least). It’s the louder keep-going-you’re-doing-really-well-you-don’t-need-to-walk voice that will hopefully get me through the gruelling 26.2 miles of the marathon. Mind over matter!

About.com has some Mental Strategies for Running – I’ll definitely be trying the use of imagery and the race visualisation. Also Get Prepared Mentally For Your Marathon

New York Times article – ‘I’m not really running, I’m not really running’ featuring one of Paula Radcliffe’s marathon strategies

Training on country lanes

January 27, 2009

Country Lane
Living where I do, in a somewhat rural area, I’m doing a lot of my training on narrow country roads. This can be very pleasant, watching the landscape roll by, the wildlife getting on with its business, and just running along in peace and quiet, the silence broken only by the sound of my heavy breathing as I pant my way up a hill!

And there was of course the incident on last weekend’s long run where I had to ford the most enormous puddle where the previous night’s downpour was draining off the fields. Tip-toed my way through so my trainers are still relatively clean!

However, lots of drivers drive too fast round these lanes and are not looking out for runners, so for your safety I’ve created a little list of tips on how not to get run over!

  • Wear reflective and fluorescent clothing or straps, like a Sam Browne or a fluorescent jacket with reflective strips on it.
  • Stay alert to what is going on around you. Even if you normally listen to music while you run, this is a bad idea when you need to be listening out for cars! If it’s getting towards dusk or is particularly dark, keep an eye out for car headlights as these are good early warnings for getting out of the way.
  • Run on the outside of sharp bends, so that traffic can see you coming from both directions.
  • Run in the middle of the road if there’s no traffic but make sure you get out of the way if a car comes along! Country roads usually have a steep camber so it’s better for your ankles etc if you run on the flattest bit of the road. Q&A on running on a camber on Runner’s World website
  • Be careful if it’s been raining – as well as the aforementioned small lake across the road, there’ll be lots of water draining from the surrounding countryside, making the road slippery. If in doubt, slow down a bit!

If anyone had any more suggestions please leave them in the comments 🙂

Running in cold weather

January 21, 2009

Cold weatherWith the return of the cold snap in the UK, training has had to take place in close to zero degrees C on often frosty pavements. So far I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t fallen over! Running is definitely more difficult when it’s cold, the ice seems to permeate my knees and work its way up and down my legs, and any moisture in my mouth disappears as steamy breath as I puff my way around. I can’t seem to strike the right balance between gloved (sweaty) hands and frostbitten ones (possibly due to my gloves being 99p bargains from Primark and not proper running ones).

I’ve been having a look around on the world-wide-web for tips on cold weather running, and I present them to you below 🙂

Some of the science behind cold weather running – quite a full on article but very educational. The article’s cold weather coping tips include:

* Don’t reduce your fluid consumption.
* Do consume extra carbohydrate.
* Don’t overeat.
* Wear adaptable clothes during runs.

More details on the website!

Some more cold weather running tips from HealthMad.com (again, more details on the website):

  • Choose Appropriate Running Clothing
  • Modify Your Workout During Very Cold Weather
  • Protect Your Exposed Skin
  • Know When Not To Workout Outdoors
  • Increase Your Visibility
  • Stay Well Hydrated

Runner’s World Forum Post on the subject

Runner’s Rescue Cold Weather Running Tips

Also, Runner’s Rescue Side Stitches Tips – I’m quite prone to stitches anyway but apparently they can be worse in cold weather as you’re not breathing properly.

Any other tips will be gratefully received 🙂

Be happy while you run

January 16, 2009

Happy runner

I came across a post on US Olympian, and inventor of the run-walk method of marathon running, Jeff Galloway’s blog, about being happy during and after your run. His advice is as follows:

1. Start very slowly—no huffing and puffing. Walk for 3-5 minutes, then gradually introduce the body to running over the next 10 minutes. If you will be (running 3 min/walking 1 min) later, during the first 10 running minutes, use 1-1 or 20 sec running/40 sec walking.

2. Insert walk breaks early and often. Continue to take walk breaks so that you don’t huff and puff or experience dead legs. Remember that during the walk breaks, the endorphins collect and inject good feelings.

3. Don’t get locked into a set pace or ratio. When you are in control over your good feelings, there’s a sense of personal empowerment that increases the satisfaction from the run. This means that a 4-1 person may need to downshift to 3-1, 2-1 or 1-1 to bring back the joy.

So it’s no bad thing to walk during a marathon, something I should remember!

Read Jeff Galloway’s excellent blog
Follow JeffGalloway on Twitter
More on the famous run-walk method