These two bodies of waters high on the Denbigh Hills are great tracks to run around if you ever find yourself in North Wales. I run around the Alwen (7 miler, undulating, bit of a killer if you are not in shape) on a regular basis. It’s a bit of a drive to get to but well worth it. The Brenig is a 10 miler with lots of smallish undulations that slowly become a proper pain in the arse the more you dig deeper into the run. You have the reward of seeing the views of Snowdonia in the distance (more running) all the way round. I have been thinking of combining these two routes into one run. This year I want to do that. 17 miles!!! though euuuchhh I’m just not there right now but if I don’t do that this year I will be bitterly disapointed. I love these places and will run them for many years.
I stopped using the usual sports drinks you see a lot of people guzzling on a few years ago. My wife is an athletics coach and as such has a qualification in sports nutrition. She came home one day and showed me the crap that goes into these drinks and binned them. It all seemed quite logical so from that point on I was drinking water and eating Bananas for training and events.So, 6 sachets of Active Root and a 500ml bottle (the correct amount to mix with one sachet with) arrived in the new year. I can’t eat anything within 2 hours of running because I start burping it up and getting bad heartburn. So, it was great to try this stuff out. I decided to try 250ml before the run and 250ml afterward as a sort of recovery drink. It tastes great and I mean, let me just guzzle all this in a one go great. While this first try is of course not an intense study into the effects of drinking Active Root (I work in a lab we can do more) I had no bloating and it didn’t repeat on me It’s easy to mix and dissolves into the water quickly. Did I tell you it tastes great? It does.
So, 6 sachets and a 500ml bottle (the correct amount to mix with one sachet with) arrived in the new year. I can’t eat anything within 2 hours of running because I start burping it up and getting bad heartburn. So, it was great to try this stuff out. I decided to try 250ml before the run and 250ml afterward as a sort of recovery drink. It tastes great and I mean, let me just guzzle all this in a one go great. While this first try is of course not an intense study into the effects of drinking Active Root (I work in a lab we can do more) I had no bloating and it didn’t repeat on me It’s easy to mix and dissolves into the water quickly. Did I tell you it tastes great? It does.
Anyway, it is nice to have a natural drink to turn to for my runs and workouts.
Check out their great website for more information you can also get a free trial here.
After a few days of debauchery, running in January is always a massive effort for me. It’s like trying to start an engine that hasn’t been turned on for months. I can feel those extra pounds and every glass of wine/beer/etc swinging from now protruding gut. Today was a glorious day though and with tired legs, I really made the effort to get out in the hills for a nice, slow 6 miler. I know after a couple of weeks of solid running I will be back to enjoying it again.
Happy New Year!
This year I am hoping to break 600 miles. This is a long way if you set out now from your house to run 600 miles but spread over a year it is 1.64 miles a day. I did secretly harbor ambitions to run over a 1000 miles at the start of 2016. That’s just over 19.2 miles a week. Not impossible but when you start missing the odd week that can really crank up the pressure. Whiskey (Scottish Single Malt, 12 year old Caol Ila since you asked) and Beer put that one back in bed for me.
This year has been a good year for me with regards to running. I haven’t had any long breaks from it. Being consistent is a big deal for me personally.
Next year, well I’m running a marathon in March so I should get a good start to the year. I’m not going to put a target on it because then that becomes the thing to do. What I do want to do is at least add another 100 miles to last years total.
We made a weekend of this in the Lake District. So during the day we drove over to Lake Grasmere and got the Kayak out for a paddle on this lovely bit of water.
On the way to this race from our cottage we booked in to Ambleside I told my daughter there was a kids 1km race. She said she wanted to do it. She’s not keen on running so I was pleased she wanted to have a go. When we arrived at Grizdales visitor center we could hear a brass band playing Christmas tunes. It was a lovely touch to what is already a great race atmosphere. Everyone with hats and head torches and the odd person dressed as Santa or an Elf.
We ran with the kids. Set off and I was immediately reminded of the steep start to this course. At the 500m point Santa was there to give the little humans a high five and send us back down the hill. The kids got a medal at the finish line and we was nicely warmed up for the 10km race.
We ran this race in February of this year so I was familiar with the route. It is 3 miles up and then 3 miles down. I trained well for this event and found the hill a lot easier than I did on the previous occasion.
Running at night with all the head torches bobbing up and down really adds to the great atmosphere. These Petzl Night runs are now a firm favorite of mine which I have said in other posts.
Now the proper marathon training starts.
The smug answer is “just run” unfortunately like most things in life it’s not that easy. In fact, once you have made the decision to start running and have a concerted effort at it, those early runs can be the hardest runs you ever do.
So with that in mind. Go slow and I mean slow. A common mistake is to start running and after a few hundred meters it feels easy so you naturally increase the pace slightly. Then you find your lungs burning this pain seems to increase because most people who start running are doing it at as a New Years resolution and as such it’s usually cold ( sorry Southern Hemisphere people) the cold gets deep into those tubes and it stings. Then the legs start to feel heavy and sometimes you get a searing pain in one of the shoulders. You stop and that was horrific. You do the same thing the next day hoping this time it won’t be so bad however, it’s worse. Those heavy legs are stiff from yesterday’s efforts. A lot of people give up because the harsh reality is as I said at the start is running or starting to run is hard.
So go slow and stay slow. So slow in fact it will feel too easy. It needs to stay that way for at least a week maybe two. If you want to walk then walk. Paula Radcliffe the current world record holder for the women’s marathon often walks when out training on her slow runs. So don’t ever feel like you are being lazy or not doing it “right”.
I have started and restarted running numerous times over the last 20 years. Unless you are the most dedicated person in the world then this starting restarting is going to happen. The principles still apply start slow and stay slow.
Below is a running schedule for beginners. Like all these things they are not set in stone and should simply provide a framework for you to use. Life will get in the way of your running but don’t let it stop you in your tracks. Just start from where you left off.
Feeling Self Conscious
If you’re a bit embarrassed to go out running and worry what people think then always remember you’re the one taking control and doing something positive. If you have a friend that’s willing to go out on a few runs ask them to join you. Ultimately though you want your runs to become imbued in your everyday life. This feeling of self-consciousness will simply wear off after a few runs when you see how much you are left alone.
The date of my first marathon in 2017 is 12 weeks away from the 1st of January. So I have to start…..now! I use these long schedules as a framework to base my training around. I have learnt over the years that I cannot comply with the schedule exactly because life will, of course, get in the way. I am going to catch a cold in those 12 weeks or some sort of injury. Something will get in the way and I will miss sessions. I don’t try to catch up by doubling up on a session, I pick up where I am and carry on.
Below is the basic framework of my schedule. Although this is a 16-week plan, I have been training and will continue to train throughout December anyway. On some of the days off, I will cross train with some swimming sessions and circuit training. I’m at the stage where I need to rest between runs because of fatigue and general wear and tear.
I’m looking forward to a great start to the New Year.
All runners eventually build up a good stash of medals. I have always put mine in a basket that sits on a high shelf in the kitchen. Recently I got them out. I also have a lot of t-shirts and I use them for training runs. In another cupboard in the kitchen I keep the mugs you get in some races.
The hardest earned medal or the most I have suffered in a race medal is the worst one. It’s made of wood. Feels cheap and it’s to big. This was for the Glen Coe Marathon. My favourite is also a non medal. It’s a round piece of slate that I got for the Snowdon Marathon.
I’m going to get out all my t-shirts and wear them all along with the medals to my next race…………I’m not.