On Being Tired

I am tired. I have been all week. I ran a half marathon a week ago and it went really well and I worked hard – so being a bit tired is normal. But I’ve been proper tired.

I took my planned rest day on the Monday with ‘just’ our yoga class in the evening – that’s an interesting experience on half marathon tired legs and on Tuesday dragged my butt out for the 6 ‘easy’ miles on the plan. Actually getting out was a win. It was after work, I’d been in Leeds, I was running out of steam a bit but it did me good to get out. Even though I grumbled about it being hard and horrible I did run it without walking and I did run the uphill – all of it until I hit the 6 miles beep. Then I walked .2 of a mile home.

Wednesday I was soooooo tired – I moved my speed work to Thursday and accepted I needed an extra day. Thursday I felt broken kind of tired. I felt like every time I sat still for more than 5 minutes I’d fall asleep. I was also quite tearful and anxious. We went for lunch and then I slept for nearly two hours. I did go to my yoga class in the evening and that helped me feel like I had at least achieved something that day.

Actual Running Selfie

Friday was the start of a 26 mile weekend on the plan. I think I sort of knew that it wasn’t sensible to try that but it hadn’t quite filtered through to my conscious yet. Friday was 4 miles. I did 4 miles. I had toyed with the idea of doing the missed speed work but I didn’t really feel up to it. Instead I thought I’d see if I could just manage 4 miles at roughly marathon pace and I tried my Mind T-shirt for fit and comfort. Miles 1 and 3 are perfect. Mile 2 is a little on the slow side and Mile 4 which included the uphill pull was too fast by about a minute. So all in all the average ends up bang on marathon pace. It felt good to have done something positive. I still felt tired though.

Saturday. 8 miles on plan. I thought I’d set off and try really slowly. Because Kath is not very well and we’d volunteered at parkrun all our timings for food and everything were all out and I had too big a lunch. I should have left it even longer to go run. For the first mile and a bit everything felt awful. My tummy was unsettled and I wondered if I was going to have to stop at Kath’s mum’s or my mum’s or both. By 2 miles it had settled down and by 2.5 miles I was in a nice little rhythm. I was really tired though. I thought I’d be sensible and aim for 6 miles rather than the 8. I turned round to head towards home and a little while after the turn my left achilles tendon started niggling. I agonised over what to do for a couple of strides and then decided nothing was worth risking injury now. I walked and it immediately felt fine. I walked a minute and tried running again and the niggle was back. Ok, ‘walking it is then’, I thought. Overall I covered 5.5 miles but 2 of that was walking, stopping, stretching, oh and going to the co-op to buy crisps for Kath.

Sunday. When I woke up this morning I had in my head that I was going to do the 14 miles the plan said. I had conceded that I might do it run/walk although I was really tempted to try and run it all – it would be the furthest I have ever run without walking. Anyway. Kath was struggling this morning so what I wanted to do training wise became very unimportant very quickly and we instead tried to find a way we could get Kath unstuck from the sofa and doing something positive in spite of still feeling quite poorly. We settled on Bolton Abbey where we had options in terms of distance, where there were facilities and where walking would be perfectly fine. I thought I could always make up my miles later in the day.

Looking for woodpeckers

Oh my goodness the run was as awful as the day was stunning. It felt like I had never run before in my life, like I couldn’t really breathe and like my legs had no clue what they were supposed to be doing. It was properly awful! However, it was a gorgeous sunny day and the River Wharfe was beautiful in her stillness. The ducks were pottering and there was a heron watching over the pottering. We also saw a dipper and heard woodpeckers. It was lovely to be out. We plodded slowly and walked the hills. We did the short loop and called it a win at 3.5 miles. There is no way I am making up miles today. The real or perceived niggles in my calves and my left knee and the general awfulness of the run tell me that I didn’t need a 26 mile weekend. I needed what actually would have happened if Kath hadn’t been ill – a very low mile weekend. We were meant to be going to see our friends and we would probably have run a short loop on Friday before we set off and another one on Sunday when we got back but that would have been it. That’s what I needed. I’ve still run 13.2 miles this weekend. That’s not nothing! (In fact it is more than I ran in all of February and all of March 2017!)

So why am I so tired? Well, I think there are a number of things going on here. The obvious one is that I am 63 days out from the London Marathon and I have very diligently been following a training plan that is quite different from anything I have been used to. I have been working an academic full time job and trying to settle into a sabbatical with the usual tiredness and frustration that can bring. I have been slowly working my way through an episode of depression which has its own special brand of tiredness. And, and this may be a big And, it’s the end of February. One of my fellow #Run1000Miles runners reminded me of the lovely German Word Frühjahrsmüdigkeit which probably captures exactly how many of us feel at the moment – tired, a sort inexplicable tiredness that hits us as winter slowly starts giving way to spring and we are getting used to longer days and fewer excuses to hide away and hibernate.

So the running – the plan we are following has higher weekly miles than I have ever done before and also more ‘themed’ (there’s got to be a better way of saying that but my brain is tired) sessions. It has a speed session each week – they swap to what they call strength in March and then lots of easy runs and the long runs and the odd tempo run thrown in. It’s 5 days of running a week. The attraction of this plan is that the longest training run is 16 miles. 16 miles is so much more manageable in terms of time than the usual longest of 20 or 23. You might think that another 4 miles makes little difference but when you are running them at my long slow run pace another 4 miles is almost another hour. It matters. So I have gone from training for Dopey which had 2 x 45 minute runs during the week and then back to back longish runs at the weekend with miles increasing every 2 weeks to a 5 day a week plan including speed work and tempo runs and much longer mid week runs. It’s a different sort of training and running.

The other thing is that since we got back from Dopey I have not been using run/walk intervals. I have mostly just run. I still have walk breaks – the Harewood House half was a good example of that but mostly I am trying to run the distance and only stop to walk for specific reasons – like because there’s an actual hill. I am therefore running more and that has got to make a difference too. I also have a huge number of miles in my legs. I have run over 300 miles in the last 3 months. To put that into perspective it has always taken me at least 5 months to run 300 miles before and that’s based on last year which was my fittest and furthest running year ever. In short, it is not surprising I am tired, I have run a bloody long way in a pretty short period of time and it has been a massive step up in weekly miles for me.

Plan: Do as Shack-cat does

So what happens now? Well, I think having a bit of a rest this weekend has been good. I have a rest day tomorrow and I have banned all thoughts of catching up on missed speed sessions. I am dropping back into the plan tomorrow and tomorrow is a rest day. I will reduce the 6 miles easy on Tuesday to a ‘sheep loop’ (about 3.25 miles) run on Tuesday morning before I go to the theatre with mum and then, all being well I will pick up the speed work on Wednesday – but going back to the next one on the list rather than the one set for that date. I will keep trying to eat well and fuel for the miles that I am doing and I will keep trying to properly rest when I am not running. I will also give myself one almighty kick up the arse to get better at stretching and strengthening – my yoga classes help but they are not enough. I need little and often. And on that note I am off to dust off my yoga mat!

It’s at times like this, when you have to come off plan, when things don’t go quite as they were mapped out and doubts start creeping in when remembering the WHY is so important. You can help me and Kath to keep our WHY in focus by supporting us to support Mind. Sponsor us here.

Sneezy and Dopey

SnowWhite-Sneezy-3I’m curled up in bed feeling miserable. It’s quarter to twelve. But it’s been quarter to twelve for weeks, so long in fact that I can’t remember how long ago the alarm clock stopped. I have no idea what time it really is. Afternoon sometime. Kath is out for a run. I’m not. I have what feels like razor blades in my throat and tiny creatures with pickaxes attacking my tonsils (why do I imagine them like minions?), my ears feel vaguely painful and muffled like I’m under water, I’ve got an annoying pathetic cough and a nose that can’t decide if it is blocked solid or setting a new record for most snot expelled in a 24 hour period. Yes, I have a cold, yes I am being dramatic, pathetic and far more miserable than is really warranted but I am totally crap at being unwell. I could just ride it out with raspberry sorbet, hot chocolate and crap TV but instead this is a disaster.

This was not the plan at all! You see after the Great North Run (which I’ll tell you about when feeling less meh) I was looking forward to a relatively easy but active week with Yoga on Monday (wow, legs, ouch much) and then a run on Tuesday to stretch the legs (it worked, it was a fabulous 4 miles) and then another run on Wednesday (never made it out, sore throat was kicking in, I was quite late back and soooooo tired), London on Thursday with walking routes planned rather than tube (never made it to London though thanks to a rather high temperature, almost no sleep and those little creatures with pickaxes), a run on Friday (hahahaha – barely made it off the sofa and someone gave the pickaxe creatures caffeine and sugar or whatever makes them work double time and steal your voice) and today I was meant to be going to the first ever Cliffe Castle parkrun, our new local parkrun which is close enough to run/walk there and which I am actually quite excited about. Well, given that a move from one room to another results in a coughing fit that lasts so long that by the time it’s over I’ve forgotten why I moved, even walking 5km wasn’t really going to work.

I am not happy. I know in the scheme of things resting and getting better is important images-3and won’t derail my training but in my head the GNR is now out of the way which means Dopey training has started and now I’ve missed my Wednesday race pace run, my Thursday (which I was going to do on Friday) 45 minute run and my Saturday 3 miles run. I know, I know. It’s fine. It’s early in training, there’s plenty of time, rest is important, getting better is important. BUT I’ve missed Dopey training runs. I’m struggling with that.

So excuse me for a day or two while I wallow.

Happy running.



Australia (Not) Running 2

After our Cairns run we headed north for a 4 night stay at the rather fabulous Silky Oaks Lodge. It was just a few minutes drive from a small town called Mossman but it felt a million miles away from everything.

We had a little treehouse and actually did very little while we were there.

I went snorkelling in the Mossman river twice

and we walked the grounds a fair bit often bumping into the brush turkeys (we’ve called them all Brian)

We also took part in a couple of the morning yoga classes which were a great way to start the day.

On our second day there we had a trip to north of the Daintree River for a 4 hour guided rainforest walk which was just amazing.

So it’s not like we did no exercise, we just didn’t run….

Rest Days, Planning and Mad Cyclists

No running today and my legs, hips and lower back are quite pleased about that. After the epic trail running session on Friday, yesterday we planned a roughly 10k Bolton Abbey Loop. That’s double our usual loop.

After the trail run on Friday my legs were tired and I could feel muscles I never normally feel. You definitely use your legs differently when you are running on different surfaces and uneven ground. I was looking forward to running a more familiar loop where I knew where to put my feet. We set off from the top of the first slope and I felt pretty comfortable for a little while. I did however notice that my calf muscles were quite tight, particularly on the right. Still, I was quite happy plodding along. In fact I was happy IMG_4828plodding along for most of the way round but when pushing up the hills I could feel my calf protest and towards the end there was a little niggle in my achilles. Because of those niggles we decided not to do the full 10k but finish at the bridge at the Pavilion which took me to 4.5 miles. Kath decided she wanted 5 miles so she went on a little while I bought breakfast.

It was a nice run with a number of little walk breaks and stops to watch birds. We saw several nuthatches and chaffinches, a wagtail or two and a dipper. It was a lovely run but part of me was still disappointed at the amount of walking, the slow pace and the fact that I cut it short – even though all of those things were perfectly sensible and the right things to be doing. I feel ok about it now but I do IMG_4868have to try really hard to remember that going out and doing 4.5 miles at a slow and steady pace is a perfectly respectably thing to do and nobody is laughing at me.

So today is a rest day which is nice. It’s been quite nice to not worry about exactly when to eat or work out a route and things and it was nice to not get up early and head out. As I said, my body was ready for a day off but the good news is that nothing hurts or even really aches. I’m just aware that things are a bit tired. We had a lovely lunch at the Slow Food Kitchen which has just moved into our local pub and then we walked to the end of the road to watch the cyclists on the Tour De Yorkshire zoom passed. It was quite fun to watch the huge Screenshot 2017-04-30 17.39.20number of police and support motorbikes come down the hill, some looking rather terrified and only one or two taking a hand off to wave. The cyclists themselves zoomed passed in seconds and I really do think I’ll stick to running. Given that I get scared running downhill I can’t really see myself zooming down the hill on two wheels.

Anyway, over the last few days we have been working out a training plan to take us to the Endure24 race at the beginning of July. Here is May mapped out in the lovely planner from the Too Fat To Run Clubhouse:


It starts with me having another go at the 5.5 mile trail loop tomorrow. Looking forward to it. We’ve also been looking at possible races and are quite tempted by the 14km Ullswater trail run.

And I nearly ran again

The beauty of working at home – when that afternoon slump hits I can put on my trainers and run it off. Well that’s the theory. Of course with the afternoon slump also comes the ‘I can’t possibly run I am waaaaaayyyyyyy tooooooooooooo tiiiiiireeeed’ feeling. But when I can make myself go it really does help. That was the plan for today then.

I’ve been a bit sluggish today all day, bit dozy and tired but nothing too odd for a Monday. Anyway, Kath has taken time off work to be around for lambing so we set off to run together.I didn’t feel quite right from the first steps really. Can’t quite describe it, just off. I figured it was just a case of mind over matter and I’d settle in but I didn’t. It wasn’t so much like running through treacle like it can be when you have tired legs, I felt wobbly. It felt a bit like running on an uneven and shifting surface. I also felt slightly sick. I thought about this carefully during the walk break, gave myself a talking to and set off again for the next run but it was exactly the same. I stopped. It didn’t feel very sensible to keep going. Kath offered to walk back home with me but that would just be silly. I was perfectly fine as long as I didn’t try and run. So she went on and I walked home.

I don’t know if I am just tired from 3 days of back to back running after having that lurgy or whether I was a bit dehydrated or what but whatever message my body was trying to give, it’s been received. No running today. Got it. Part of me is a little grumpy about that because I was looking forward to the having run feeling but a porridge bar and a cuppa on the sofa aren’t so bad either. It’s easy to forget that rest is also important but it is, so I shall rest today and see how things are tomorrow!