Silverstone DONE!

Last Sunday was race day….My first half marathon race ever and I was nervous but very excited to meet some of my Marathon team and get a run out in our new Charity vests. My day started early with a massive bowl of porridge and dark chocolate, followed by plenty of water, Lucozade and my favourite chocolate milk. I was trying to eat as much as I could before getting on the coach as we had a two hour journey to Silverstone but with butterflies in the mix, I struggled to cram it all in. So I headed on out with a stash of bananas, bars and even more Lucozade to keep me going.

It was such a beautiful sunny day and Silverstone was buzzing when we arrived…We warmed up, took on the last fluids before the race and had the all important final toilet stop before heading off to the start line…At this point, the butterflies in my stomach were in full force… Music in and off we gooooooooo…..

My race plan was to find a comfortable pace to try and stick at and make sure that Lee from my running club stayed in sight…. My parents were there to cheer me on which at miles 4, 7 & 11 gave me such a rush of running happiness. I know this will sound obvious but it is so different running with a big group of people compared to training on my lonesome around the streets on Brixton, Clapham and Battersea. I found it really positive as the competitive side of me wants to beat those in front of me and make sure that I don’t get stuck in a pack of runners at a slower pace…

Overall I felt really good throughout the race – I had enough fuel on me to keep topped up and my little legs felt strong. I also felt extremely determined as I knew I wanted a particular time and once my mind was set on it failure was not an option. Never give up…and SMILE was written on my hand and at any point that I felt my head go down I reminded myself why I am running and focused my mind again. My toughest miles were 9 and 12. Once I reach mile 10, I feel like I’m over the big hill for a half marathon but the midway miles are always hard for me…12 was the mile where I could see the finish line but it is still just out of reach and 13.1 just seems to take forever to arrive…Luckily for me at the point that I felt at my slowest and my head was dropping, Beyonce, Run the World started to play and WOW, I swear it was better than  a carb gel…serious energy and power in my legs for the final stretch…the crowds are in sight, the finish line is in sight, the clock reads 1:38:00 and final sprint hits…it feels amazing!! I clocked in at 1:39:10 and my goal was under 1:40….HOORAY!!!! Race one in the bag….

Practising a run in very warm weather with no shade was extremely valuable for training…it can be really draining and the importance of keeping hydrated is certainly highlighted to the max. In my opinion there could have been more water stations and less Lucozade on the day but I survived….and because of all the sunshine my freckles are out early…bonus!

Post race recovery consisted of chocolate shake, lots of stretching, hugs from my team and mum and dad and then home for a hot bath and a slap up steak dinner – BLISS. Back in London town I treated myself to a post run rub down from Amy at On Track Sports Therapy…and blimey did I need it. I always seem to time my massages on DOMS days so I am constantly reminded to breathe through the pain..ha! Amy and Isla are extremely good at what they do Londoners so if you need a sports massage check them out… They fix me every time…

This week I have been absolutely shattered so I did a quick 5 miler with the girls from running club on Wednesday but I am saving my legs for the weekend…I haven’t decided yet whether to run 18 miles on my own or join in a 20 mile race in Surrey….either way it’s a big mileage so the butterflies will kick in tomorrow morning no doubt…Let the carbo loading begin…

It’s not long to go now until the big day so for all those reading this and running a Marathon, I hope training is going really well…Just remember when the mileage gets tough….NEVER GIVE UP…AND SMILE! We’ve come this far…. lets conquer those 26.2 miles…

Happy Running and thank you for reading…

frankiesaysrun xxx

I am fundraising for Variety, the Children’s Charity – an amazing cause supporting children all over the UK who are disabled and disadvantaged… If you have 1minute 40seconds to spare, watch Sam’s Film and see the instant difference a wheelchair can make to a disabled child… If you would like to donate, please follow the link below….Thank you xx

http://www.justgiving.com/franklesfirstmarathon

Distance: 13.31miles

Time: 1:39:10

Pace: 7’34”

Distance: 5 miles

Time: 40 mins

Pace: 7’40”

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Never Give Up…and SMILE!

Blimey it’s been a busy couple of weeks with running and work which at the moment is mainly focused on the London Marathon….There really is no escape! The constant reminders on Twitter and Facebook that it’s only 44 days to go (yes, that’s right…argh) also add to the fact that my mind is totally consumed by running running running…

With the mileage is cranking up and after a frustrating half marathon distance a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling anxious in the build up to my 16 miler last weekend and a bit disheartened in all honesty. Luckily for me my friend Lucie who is a machine of Triathlons posted an article on my Facebook about the Iron Man Champion Chrissie Wellington which literally gave my goosebumps as I read it. She is so inspiring and has a Mantra that is now on my fridge and gets written on my hand for those long training runs…. “Never Give Up….and SMILE” So simple yet so effective! It is well worth a read…

So after a hit of homemade smoothie I kicked off March with an early morning intervals session on the treadmill to help increase my VO2 Max and also shake up my training program a bit. I did 60 seconds on and 60 seconds recovery for 8 sets and it felt good… That lactic acid certainly kicked in a bit earlier each time though and by the end it was more of a challenge but I do love a bit of interval training… I felt all glowy for the rest of the day…and maybe a tad smug that I had managed to drag myself out of bed super early…

Leading up to my long run, my week consisted of two easy pace 40 minute training sessions which both went pretty well. The second run was a bit tougher as I have found that my legs do like to rest for a day in between training so I could feel that my calf was a bit tight and causing that annoying pain in my shin… Thankfully it’s nothing that a bit of stretching, ice and a rub down can’t get rid of.

For the  next two days I focused on resting, eating well and making sure that I reduced my fibre intake in preparation. If anybody remembers last weekend you will recall that Saturday was blissfully sunny and breezy….delightful weather to run in right? Did I run that day? Of course not…I was working at our Charity event and decided to attack the miles on Sunday….well, that served me right…RAINING! Not just a bit of rain…torrential, constant and bloomin freezing…Add in a bit of hail bouncing off my face and that sums up my 16 miles in weather terms. I really wasn’t expecting it to be so cold and so I definitely wasn’t wearing enough on my bottom half – Skins just don’t suffice..This equalled very pink legs by the time I got home.

When I woke up that morning, I really wasn’t in the mood to run 16 miles…So I gave myself plenty of time to get ready, fuelled up on my favourite recipe of porridge and dark chocolate, stuck on some TUNES and got my brain in gear – Does anyone else get that super hero feeling as they put on their running gear? I can be completely unmotivated, but pull on the Skins and BOOM, I’m a runner.

I purposely chose to run two parks so that I could break up the training into smaller chucks and it really helped. It was also the first time I had tried Lucozade gels and so I didn’t want to stray too far just..in..case. They were actually ok though….thicker than I expected but I found that if I took on half a tube and then carried the rest with me and fuelled up in small squeezes over the next 15 mins, I was absolutely fine. I could actually feel the energy hitting my legs…amazing. I managed to keep a good steady pace throughout but by the time I reached the final hill, soaked to the skin and cold it was a real push to keep going…so what came to mind? NEVER GIVE UP AND SMILE…so I didn’t and I smiled and I made it…HOORAY! Home, hot bath, chocolate milk and a stretch followed by sorted me right out…

Brick Box in Brixton Village is perfect refuelling – Gallettes filled with spinach, meat, eggs and veg…Delicious…Can’t recommend it enough.

Two days of rest and recovery was topped off by and a well earned sports massage at On Track Sports Therapy in Brixton Fitness First – Again, I can’t recommend them enough…Amy and Isla are fantastic at what they do and Amy is also taking on the Marathon so she knows what we’re all going through first hand… Back in next week for another rub down…My little legs are excited!

This Sunday is my first half marathon race…EVER, and so I am attacking Silverstone with some of my Charity Marathon team…I’m excited it about it but also hugely nervous. It’s great practise for the big day and I have been doing plenty of reading about diet and preparation. I will be wearing my vest proudly for Variety, the Children’s Charity and running strong… With my lovely Mum and Dad watching, I want to make them proud too…

My main photo for this blog was sent to me by one of my fundraisers…he spotted it at an exhibition…I will be purchasing! Frankie Says Run is catching on…ha!

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend and also those tackling long training runs… Remember…NEVER GIVE UP…AND SMILE

Breakdown

Distance: 5:08 Miles

Time: 39mins 57sec

Average Pace: 7’52”

Distance: 5:19 Miles

Time: 40mins 35sec

Average Pace: 7’49”

Distance: 16miles

Time: 2:07:32

Average Pace: 7’59”

Happy Running everyone… Not long now…

frankiesaysrun xxx

I must take this opportunity to thank everyone who has donated so far to help me on my quest to raise £2000 for Variety, the Children’s Charity. There is still a way to go and every penny really does count – If you would like to support the amazing work that we do, please click here and if you would like to see how your donation can make a difference, take two minutes and watch this short film… Sam is amazing…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNiBbWgwhbc

Thank you xxx

Where has the time gone?

I mean seriously…It feels like only yesterday that I was writing the “14 weeks to go” blog and now suddenly I’ve only got 7 weeks left until tail off….argh!

I’ve been a slack blogger for the past few weeks – but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been running. A lot has been happening since I last posted. My injury seems to be staying away as I have taken on board the exercises, recovery and strength training that was recommended by On Track Sports Therapy. I feel that I’ve learnt a lot about how to look after my little legs so maybe that pesky shin pain was a blessing in disguise. As my house mate is also running the Marathon we have been helping each other out with post run massages which is great for aiding recovery – I’m not sure what the neighbours think of us though as there is a lot of yelping and swearing if either of us is particularly sore (hehe)

The cold snap was not something I enjoyed at all – it just made everything harder, starting with the initial leaving the cosy house phase. I didn’t have to cut back on many runs and I suppose it was a great excuse to indulge in a bubble bath post training – absolute bliss! BUT, I still didn’t enjoy it. I will however have a quick rave about the new Nike top I purchased to keep me warm…It’s fantastic and has the little thumb holes so that my hands are partly covered. Love it love it and highly recommend it http://store.nike.com/gb/en_gb/?l=shop,pdp,ctr-inline/cid-103401/pid-421959/pgid-537397

One of the key points my physio discussed with me was the importance of good recovery and I have to say that the extra time spent soaking my muscles, stretching out and especially massage has really been helping a lot. It sounds so obvious doesn’t it? But when you’re shattered and just want to crash on the sofa, it’s very tempting to think, oh I’ll just leave that for tonight. My test is always the stairs in the morning….If I have looked after myself it doesn’t hurt as much and for now I’m doing ok.

I started my post injury running on grass which has made a huge difference…I focused on keeping up a steady speed and lapping Clapham Common a few times before heading back up the hill. It was a good exercise for me to have to come back in slower as the pace and impact was just too much – I thought I’d get bored of the Common but it’s actually been really nice to run off the pavement and away from the traffic…even if it is only a few metres difference.

I have also invested in new trainers purchased from the wonderful Sweatshop in Clapham. My Nike’s wouldn’t have made it to the Marathon and it was approaching the cut off point for having enough time to wear them in. I went for Adidas Glide’s (pictured above) and so far I really like them. I do love a new pair of shoes and so I was worried I may run into something because I was watching my feet…Obviously the most important thing is that they are comfortable and support my feet properly but boy they are pretty and shiny!! These babies will be running the ACTUAL race with me so we have some serious bonding to do…I felt like Bambi on ice when I first ran in them and *youch* it hurt for the first couple of miles…we’re getting on better now and the test will be the long run this weekend.

Those out there also running the Marathon – are you nervous?confident?indifferent? I am starting to feel the nerves now – I did my revised training programme for the last 7 weeks and I nearly started hyperventilating at the final few weeks of long runs and generally the short amount of time there is until the big day…I feel like I’m still on target but I do have days when I feel totally overwhelmed by it all…no doubt it’s just a phase of the training that I can crack.

I had a fantastic run the other weekend with my friend James who is one of those people who takes on crazy Iron Man and 55 miler style challenges and does them really well (envy). We ran in Richmond in the sun and James challenged me to 5 x 250m intervals in the middle of our training to really help improve my VO2 Max. James is so much faster than me and he also knows how competitive I am so knew that he could push me…wow was it a challenge but it highlighted that it is an area I need to work on. I won’t improve my speed if I simply run long distances and so I’ve built a session a week of intervals into my training programme. It’ a nice way to mix things up too.

So this weekend is half marathon distance for me… I’m excited about it as it’s the start of the real distances kicking in… I’ll be practising my fuelling in particular and testing out the gels I bought…I am hoping that they agree with me.

Distance: 7.37 miles

Time: 55mins 05secs

Pace: 7’28”

————–

Distance: 7.55 miles

Time: 57mins 11 secs

Pace: 7’34

————–

Distance: 5.86 miles

Time: 44mins 32secs

Pace: 7’35”

—————

Distance: 10.23 miles (including intervals)

Time: 1hour 21 mins 01sec

Pace: 7’55”

—————

Distance: 5.16 miles

Time: 45 mins

Pace: 8’45” (<- tired bunny)

I hope training is going well for those out there taking part in the Marathon or indeed other races!

Is anyone running Silverstone half in March?

frankiesaysrun xxx

I am running in support of Variety, the Children’s Charity who help to improve the lives of children who are disabled and disadvantaged. If you would like to donate to the cause – please click here > http://www.justgiving.com/franklesfirstmarathon Every penny really does help! Thank you xxx

Back in the game…slowly but surely

As a very competitive person, the last two weeks have been tough! I was suffering, as you may have previously read, from a very sore lower left leg. At first I thought I had shin splints but after a consultation with On Track Sports Therapy they found that I needed to build the strength in the muscles surrounding my ankles and shin. My calves have been over compensating and had therefore become very very tight and had started pulling on my shin – yowch! I was also advised that I needed to bring my pace down slightly as this was contributing to my sore little legs. So over the last two weeks I have been doing my prescribed daily strength exercises and rolling my calves out on the glorious foam roller… Focusing on each leg at a time during strength training has really highlighted how weak I am on my left side – the easy test for me was trying to balance on my left leg without wobbling at the ankle…lets just say it’s going to take some more practise and constant training to improve that.

So last night I went out for my first “getting back to it” run with the main aim being  – NO PAIN….and we have success!!! My physio has advised that I drop the pace of my runs and trainon grass instead of just pavement. I actually loved it…there’s something much for interesting about running on grass (does that sound silly?) but I really enjoyed it and even though you’re only meters from the road and the bustle of the street, I felt a bit more removed from it all which was fab!! I really focused as well on keeping my stride shorter as I think I was putting unnecessary strain and impact on my legs. I found a really comfortable pace last night that I know I could keep up over a longer distance, so I felt I really achieved something.

Still…slowly but surely…I’m not going to overdo it as I couldn’t bear to take more time off and I have strict instructions that (in the nicest way possible) my physio Amy doesn’t want to have to see me again for anything other than a sports massage 🙂

My plan from now on is to do steady pace middle distance runs in the week with some fartlek training thrown in and really save my legs for the weekend long runs. I have also made the decision to leave a day between each run to make sure that I can recover properly. Lets hope this works….. I have to say, getting in a bubble bath post run is a luxury I am very much enjoying especially in this cold weather…

How is everyone out there in the marathon training world getting on? 11.5 weeks to go….argh…

Got any good soft grassy routes you could share with me? I would LOVE to hear them…

It feels great to be back in the game….

Distance: 7.21 miles

Time: 57mins 51secs

Pace avg:  8’01”

Weather: Cold and dry

Music: My song of the run was Coldplay,Paradise

frankiesaysrun xxx

I am also fundraising for Variety, the Children’s Charity. We work to improve the lives of children who are disabled or disadvantaged and if you need an example of the difference we make, please watch this short film… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOWVNRISdNA

If you would like to donate please click HERE – every penny really does count….THANKYOU!!! xxx

It’s my Marathon Year – Lets catch up

Hello runners and readers – Happy New Year!!! After a busy busy build up to Christmas and then a lovely restful break, 2012 is finally here which means it’s MARATHON YEAR and most definitely all systems go.

During December, I was really run down and my shins were suffering so with a mixture of being poorly and and trying to keep my little legs in working order, I took it easy for the final week before heading home to the countryside. My friend Jeanie got me thinking about my form while running as well as she has been doing a course and so I made it my mission of my next run to watch how my feet strike the ground and adapt my form if necessary – turns out it is necessary as I was heel striking and I think that’s what was causing pain in my shins. It feels very strange when you try and adapt how you have been running for a long time but so far I think it has helped so watch this space as it’s a work in progress…*focused face*

While back in Oxfordshire, I donned my kit and took myself out into the country air for some training – It is such a bizarre experience barely seeing anyone and stretches of fields instead of Clapham Common and tonnes of runners but it was a lovely and welcome change of scenery. As a training run, it was a great mix of steep hills, steady inclines and some flatter terrain to pick up pace. I did focus very hard on form and my core and I have to say that after the run, my shins weren’t as sore as they normally are – that was a big positive for me. The other positive was that my lovely mum had made me a power smoothie for when I got up and then a protein and carb dream of a breakfast for when i got back – Could I work regionally for 4 months and train back home? It’s the dream! *love you mum*.

Unfortunately, that was my only country run as my immune system decided to flunk out on me again and I had the most terrible cold which equalled bed for me and lots of hot drinks and sleep… However, I didn’t completely neglect my bod. My Mum teaches Yoga and she taught me salute to the sun which I made sure I did every morning as well as some other stretching….it’s remarkable how much Yoga can help you…flexibility, strength, immune system boosting, calm mind etc etc… I could go on… I have decided to take it up on a regular basis in London as a part of my training and the bid for a healthier mind and body *excited*

Back in London town, I saw in the New Year and then classically spent January 1st recovering from the celebrations. Full of energy on the Monday I took to the streets after mapping my route on nike plus (love it). I am now starting to take on energy drink/fuel as I run so this was my first proper trial with an energy drink that was given to me for Xmas. I have never been a fan of running and holding on to a bottle, but it actually didn’t feel too bad the drink really helped me on my way round. Again I was watching my form and it is slowly becoming easier not to be thinking about it constantly. In general I felt strong throughout and even managed Cedars road *uphill nemesis* without being too crushed…woop! My only downer on this run was a twinge in the top of my left leg as I turned onto Poynders Road to take on the final hill…I had to pause and stretch it out to get home. On my return it was shake time and lots of stretching and foam roller action…The following morning I felt a tad achey but after some salute to the sun I was feeling a lot better. Seriously, YOGA YOGA YOGA!!!

So tonight is first running club back for 2012 at Sweatshop in Clapham and this is my steady run for the week. Really looking forward to seeing everyone. I am now following the “Go For It” training plan in the London Marathon magazine which is 5 days a week of fun times…wish me luck…13 weeks of full training to go and then tail off time….

If you’re reading this and also doing a Marathon, I hope your training is going well….!

Country Run

Distance: 8.17 miles

Time: 1:01:48

Pace: 7’33”

Weather: Drizzly and mild

Music: My ever lengthening marathon playlist

Back in London

Distance: 9.6 miles

Time: 1:12:47

Pace: 7’32”

Weather: Cold and dry

Music: Labrinth, Earthquake was my new addition….Oh yes!!!

If you have any hints, tip or advice based on what I’ve rattled on about, please do leave them below…Its great to hear what other runners are up to 🙂

I must also mention that I am now trying to boost my fundraising for Variety, the Children’s Charity. Please watch this short film about Sam and see the difference that your donation can make. We want to continue improving young people’s lives everyday…Please donate if you can and help me reach my target of £2000. Every little helps…thank you so much! xx

Happy Running everyone….

frankiesaysrun xxxx

Fire those glutes…and then get a rub down

After a week of being under the weather and tucked up in bed, I took to Brockwell Park on Saturday morning with my roomie Laxy for some strength and hill training. We went to boot camp together a couple of months ago and wanted to do some of the workouts that we had learnt there for strengthening our core and legs. It was such a beautiful morning that it made getting up and out a lot easier and Brockwell park certainly didn’t let us down…..lots of runners, cute dogs and PT sessions going on so it makes you feel like your not alone in getting fit.

We went for power training – 30 mins non stop and if I’m being honest I had to lie down at the end as the world went a bit spinny for a few seconds *woops* – Those burpees always get us both…! See below for our little routine and if you happen to see a blonde and brunette running up and down the hill at Brockwell on a Saturday morning and cursing burpees, it’s probably us! I also did some bed time reading before hand to make sure we were focusing on the right exercises – Paula Radcliffe’s book “How to Run” is great and really breaks things down well. I would definitely recommend it!

A bit of strength training

Deep squats (10 reps), Kettle swing 3kg (15 reps), Plank with wide steps (10 reps), Burpees (10 reps), Twisted press up (10 reps)

Between each of these, sprint up the hill to your staggered markers – we had 3 different distances and just carried on repeating until 30 minutes was up….it makes for a decent work out and a good toosh!! If you need inspiration, check out this girls work out videos…we sat and gasped for quite a while at the weekend – http://www.bodyrock.tv/ (of course this is how good we look in our living room first thing in the morning….)

However…my treat after our workout was a full body sports massage at On Track Sports Therapy based in Fitness First, Brixton. Amy and Isla treated me when I was injured and they were amazing so I can fully recommend their knowledge and skills. I am going to be having regular massages there in the build up to the race as I hope it’s a good way to spot any possible injuries early and be able to sort them out before they become anything that will stop me running the marathon. Amy pointed out a weakness around my knee and recommended that I focus my tennis ball massage on that area after my next run…which I did and it feels ok today 🙂 *happy face*. Amy is also running the Marathon and so we nattered about our training and talked muscles and joints…I find it all a bit fascinating *geeky hat on*

By the end of the day on Saturday my legs felt very tired so the weekend was for rest and Monday, as you will read in my next instalment was definitely all about running…

If you have any good strength exercises to share I would love to hear them….

Happy running

frankiesaysrun xxx

I am running the London Marathon for the Variety club Children’s Charity – if you would like to know more about what we do, watch this short film and see the difference the money I raise can make…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWt1H3q9ETI&feature=related

If you would like to donate, please check out my Just Giving page – every little really does help…thank you xx

The drizzle will not defeat me…

It’s Monday morning…it’s grey and drizzley – not the most inspiring of days to say the least. Tonight I will be putting on my bright pink running gear and heading out to do a 10k run…My aim this week is to do 18.5 miles in total and it begins tonight…wish me luck!

I got some great advice from my friend Lucie over the weekend which I thought I would share – She does Triathlons (what a machine) and commented on my blog about suffering from very sore muscles. Here is what she had to say “Amino acids are great for muscle recovery and really help tackle DOMS – you can get them in Holland&Barrett.” I will be heading out at lunch today to invest…

Have a great weeks training everyone – I will be updating as I go…

frankiesaysrun xx