New Shoe Run

IMG_2186I bought some new Brooks road shoes a little while ago but hadn’t tried them out yet because most of my routes since then have involved trails. Today I finally wanted to see what they were like. Kath came with me on a 4 mile loop. The shoes were good. I am still struggling. The pup is still on form and making things more difficult than they really need to be. But that aside, I ran 4 miles. I am getting faster overall, average pace was 12.23 minute miles today and I was not trying to go faster than usual. On the flat it felt comfortable and while I did not run all the hills, I ran some and walked on my terms.

I need to wear the shoes a few more times before I do a full review but overall I am happy with them and with that that run, even if the pup insists I should have tried harder, run faster, not walked the hills and overall just done better.

Not long to the Great North Run now. The plan for the coming week is simply to have a couple of easy runs, stretch and hydrate and fuel well. Simple.


Getting over 270 miles this year

Well I did something slightly odd for me today – which is why I am writing a second post. I decided that I couldn’t leave my mileage total for the year on 268.97 overnight. That was far too close to 270 miles. I therefore decided to run again – just a short one. An out and back to go feed Dino. That would be just over a mile and a half there and back so would get me over the 270 miles. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to try the New Balance Minimus shoes I bought second hand a little while ago. I haven’t tried them yet because I didn’t want to wear them on a long run or on a route I wasn’t used to so somehow there hasn’t been an opportunity.

Anyway, I set off after work. I felt pretty good in spite of this morning’s run. I felt fairly comfortable going down the road and turned right up the hill and also still felt pretty good. I pushed up the hill happily and kept running. Just before I got to the field I had to stand in and let a car through so I just stopped the watch there and looked at it, and looked at it some more. I had just run .8 of a mile at about 10 minute mile pace  – I never run that pace. I think I’ve run that route once at 10.24 pace but that felt hard and I was pushing. This run felt almost effortless.

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I fed Dino and set off back. I knew the way back would be slower – more of this is uphill but I tried really hard to just run and not look at my watch. I struggled when I got to the final slope. Ilkley Road always always gets me. I got about half way up and then had to walk a few steps. I glanced at my watch and saw that I was under 12 minute mile pace. Again I was stunned. That never happens on this stretch. I started running again and pushed up the hill as fast as I could. This is the hardest I’ve ever run uphill. I managed the return in 11.40 pace – the return wasn’t effortless, it was bloody hard but it felt great to have done it. I also achieved the first ever Strava goal I’d set just for fun.

So the shoes must be magic shoes. There really isn’t another explanation, the shoes are magic. Maybe they’re laced with pixie dust or maybe their previous owner sent some of her speed with them (I must ask her if she’s suddenly got slower). More seriously though, I think this shows how much of a difference running consistently coupled with strength exercises and some hill and speed work can do. After finding this morning’s run so hard, it was really exciting to go out, run hard, manage it and enjoy it. While I won’t make 1000 miles this year, being part of the Trail Running Magazine Run 1000 Miles in 2017 challenge is making me get out and run more frequently and for longer –  my bid for 500 miles this year is on – I’m on 270.6 year to date.

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Up Up and Away

According to our training plan I was supposed to run for an hour yesterday but I felt tired, the sort of tired that starts in your bones and spreads outwards. I put it off all day and eventually decided to swap rest days and just, well, rest. So this morning I got my moomin butt out of bed and we headed out for a run. We went up. Yes, you heard, up. We ran/walked up the hill towards Ikley Moor. Wow. I am unfit. Even with lots and lots and lots of walking and just short little bits of ‘running’ (ahem – ‘waddling’ might be a more appropriate term) my legs were screaming and my lungs were protesting very early on. Still, nothing gets you fit quite like running uphill. So on we went.

We passed a very noisy jay and slowed to have a good look at it and then a little further there was a curlew circling above the fields. We saw more later on our way back down. The road is sort of undulating but relentlessly up at the same time. I tried to remember to look around and enjoy the views (which are stunning). There were some sleepy sheep just getting up and stretching and some gold finches and other small birds. Just as I was beginning to think I couldn’t go any further Kath pointed out our turn around point for this run. I made it there, turned round and then we set off on our descent. I’m scared of downhill. So really, other than on the flat, I am totally useless – too unfit to go up and too scared to go down. I suppose that makes this run really good practice for me. Anyway, we ran down. All the way, no walks needed because although there are a few undulations, it’s as relentlessly downhill as the other way was uphill (obviously). I tried to go fast – apart from the bit where we had to sort of hop our way through a load of tiny little frogs on the road that I’m sure weren’t there on the way up.

When going downhill I suddenly become terrified of slipping and falling. It doesn’t really matter what the surface is – this was road so no tricky uneven terrain or tree roots or mud to worry about. As I was running, pictures of me slipping and falling kept popping in my head. I worried about horrendously complicated breaks of my legs, that neither of us had taken a phone, how long I’d not be able to run, whether a broken ankle really ever heals right, how much it would hurt… But I kept running. I think I started to learn something on our little adventure on Saturday – trust your shoes. If you have the right shoes for the terrain you’re on you can trust your shoes. I was on a road which was wet in places and I was wearing road shoes. In fact I was wearing my trusted New Balance road shoes which carried me round the Dopey Challenge Marathon and the London Marathon last year. I could trust my shoes. So instead of slowing every time I thought of possible injuries or disasters, I went a little bit faster. It was fine. It was better than fine. I actually enjoyed the run downhill. There is something nice about learning what it feels like to go fast with the assistance of a long downhill because you can concentrate on form and balance and how it feels rather than labouring to push the pace. It feels a little bit like flying. As we turned into our road I even managed a little sprint finish to the driveway.

That 50 minute run was a great start to the day and I’ve been pretty productive since! The view from towards the top wasn’t bad either – the picture is actually one that Kath took a few days ago when she went up for a run but it looked pretty similar today – a little less cloud maybe.


In other news – in spite of cake, booze, fish and chips and sitting on my arse for most of last week I somehow managed to lose another pound in yesterday’s Sunday Weigh-In.

Moomin Butt Moving again

Right, let’s try this running lark again. I finally feel better so wanted to see if I’m better enough to start the 10k programme. It seems I am. The first run is a 40 minute slow run so we set the watch to 2minute run/1 minute walk intervals and trotted off. We stopped to feed the sheep and once that was done carried on – so it’s a bit of a cheat because I did get a little rest just before mile 1 – if sliding around in the mud covered in hay counts as a rest that is.

Anyway, it was uneventful. It was slow (just under 14 minute per mile pace I think) but I just plodded along happily until the end. 40 minutes didn’t fit with the intervals so we went for 42 minutes. We covered just about 3 miles I think. That’s it really, that’s all there is. No drama, not battle, just a slow uneventful little trot.

I wore my new trail shoes for the first time- they’re New Balance ones. I bought them in the sale together with another road pair (I am dreading having to retire my current road ones – they came through two marathons with me, how can I possibly retire them?!?). I’ll review the new trail ones properly in a bit but so far so good – much better than my others. After the last run I decided I really didn’t want to persevere with the Salomon trail ones because they really do make my feet ache. They’re great for walking in but whenever I run in them my arches start aching really quickly.

Happy to have made a start on the plan, tomorrow is rest or a core gym session. I definitely won’t have time for the gym but am hoping to do a strength yoga class from the Yoga Studio tomorrow evening. Next run Wednesday!

Wet weather running

Well it hasn’t really got cold yet  – cooler yes but nothing that swaping short sleeves for long sleeves doesn’t sort. It’s the wet I am struggling to get my head round. Wet means a number of things:

  1. Wet means clothes get properly wet rather than just damp from sweat and wet means clingy and clingy means t-shirts don’t hide my wobbly bits which means I feel stupidly self conscious. Yes I know that when I am running there is actually no hiding anything but I can’t see myself running – I can feel clingy clothes
  2. Wet also means getting cold far more easily. This isn’t a problem while running but it is a problem immediately after as we rarely start and finish at our front door. There is usually some walking back or some walking and then driving home involved so wet is not good.
  3. Wet means slippery surfaces and I am already pertrified of slipping and falling. I am not at all sure-footed when running. Rain soaked paths and tracks make this worse
  4. Wet means mud which I actually don’t mind apart from mud meaning an unpredictable kind of slippery – see above.
  5. Wet means that the temptation to stay in and dry is so much stronger.
  6. Wet means grey, wet means low visibility, wet means muted colours and less to see. Wet means the wildlife is hiding and trying to stay dry…

I could probably go on. Actually the last point may be a bit unfair – there isn’t less to see. What there is to see is just different! I’m sure as I get used to running in the grey and wet I will see more things that I don’t yet see and which are not there or look very different in the sunshine. The things to see argument isn’t really a valid one.

I’m trying to combat the other issues. I usually run in trail running shoes round here. I can’t remember if I have blogged about my trainers before. You may have realised that I am not particularly fashion conscious about anything and that includes running shoes. I buy what is comfortable and does the job. I’ve been lucky so far – I have always been able to find really good shoes in the sale. Currently I have a pair of Salomon trail running shoes (XT Hornet if anyone cares – can’t find them on their website now – probably because they’re not current season but there are others there which are very similar!) which I really like. They are perhaps a little heavy – and noticeably heavier than my New Balance road running shoes – but they make me feel as sure-footed as I probably ever will and nicely support my feet. They have a pretty good grip and running on the wet canal path as well as the grass and mud track in the sections where there is no track has been ok so far. I am always a nervous wreck going downhill in the wet but I don’t think I can blame these trainers for that. I bought another pair of Salomon trainers (X-Scream City Trail) in the sale. I haven’t tried them yet but I am thinking they might work really well for the marathon because they feel like they might give me the same stability as the others but they are slightly lighter. I’ll be starting to use them on a couple of shorter runs if and when it is dry and we’re staying on canal path or road. So the wet = slippery issues I’m just going to have to deal with. Any help or advice?

We had a lovely trip to Saltaire a few weeks ago and were just walking round Salts Mills looking at books and other stuff and also popped into the Trek and Trail shop they have in there. I have got so used to being too large for their largest size that I rarely even bother looking properly. However, that’s no longer the case. On their sale rack they had a Ronhill very light waterproof jacket. It was reduced from £150 – reduced significantly – more than 50%. It was a size smaller than I would have normally even looked at but Kath reckoned it might fit. I tried it on and it fits perfectly. I can zip it up and it’s not tight anywhere. I bought it. Well this week was the first time I used it. I had it on during our Sunday run and it is great. I hate getting too hot when running and jackets often make me too hot and sweaty but not this one. It really is breatheable – yes I was hot and sweaty at the end but no more so than if I hadn’t worn the jacket. You can see it on the website if you’re interested. I’m really happy with it – I think it’ll get me through a wet and even a cold winter and it is so light and packs so small that taking it with me on longer runs in case I need it isn’t going to be an issue! I love the fact that it doesn’t cling and it doesn’t ride up. It’s purple – a bit close to pink for me but other than that, perfect really.

So what are your must haves to get through wet weather running?