marathon training grief

There’s no doubt marathon training is tough for anybody, especially if it’s your first time, but I have a very personal reason as to why it was so hard for me.

I don’t want running a marathon to be something I dine out on forever, although I honestly think it may be the biggest thing I’ve ever achieved. It’s not something I would really like to do again but I’m glad I did it and I learned a lot about myself whilst doing it.

Seeing everyone training for their spring marathons makes me think about my own marathon training experience. As hard as I found the actual marathon, it was the training I found really tough, especially the longer runs. All but one I did by myself, which sent me to some dark places mentally and physically – but I’m so glad I did it that way, as it really helped me work through the grief of losing my dad. View Post

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get back into running

It’s hard for me to believe now just how far and fast my legs once took me. From a full marathon to fast 5Ks, hoping to break a sub-45 minute 10K, along with pacing various run clubs, these legs have done a lot of mileage.

Just after I completed my marathon, though, I really started to switch off running. What was once enjoyable became a chore, and I had found myself a new love, anyway – Olympic weightlifting. Although I found nothing was better for overall fitness and weight control than running, I couldn’t wait to drop the gruelling running plan and spend some time under a barbell.

Now, what was once such a strength of mine has become a weakness, so I’m working hard to get back the endurance I once had. Sometimes it’s more difficult to go back to something you were once good at as a relative beginner, so read on to hear the strategy I’ve been using to improve my running once more.

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functional fitness

Functional training and mud runs are both big trends in the fitness world right now, but are they mutually exclusive? I recently took on the Major Series Mud Run with Blacks and whenever I wasn’t submerged in water or knee deep in mud, I was thinking how difficult obstacle courses and mud runs are to train for, not least because you don’t know what’s coming in them – it’s unlikely my washing machine could handle what it had to do after the Major Series on a weekly basis!

However, there’s something you can add into your mud run arsenal to make sure you’re prepared. Functional training can prepare your body for whatever life throws at you, whether that’s running for and jumping on a bus, or a mud run.¬†Instead of just training one muscle group for growth and/or strength, like a bicep curl, functional training works the entire body with compound moves that improve strength, power, and mobility. This could include anything from your conventional squats and deadlifts to plyometrics like box jumps and even more technical moves like a pistol squat.

Read on to find out how my own functional training benefited me when I tackled the gruelling Major Series Mud Run.

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10k no training

What do you do when Vita Coco get in touch to see if you’d like to run the Manchester Winter Run 10K with them* – despite you having not run for months and months?¬†When this happened to me, I said yes, of course – I’m never one to turn down an opportunity to be active!

This “yes” came from me a whole three weeks ago, so I thought I’d have plenty of time to take the legs out for a stretch, if only to remind them what a bit of distance felt like. Me being me, I completely failed to do that, so on Sunday I ran a 10K race on no run training, having not run any distance close to that since July!

Thankfully, it wasn’t as horrendous as it could have been, and I really enjoyed myself. A lot of the time I analyse things I’ve done wrong on this blog and the lessons gained from that, but for once I feel like I actually did something right, so here’s what I did that made running 10K on no training a really enjoyable experience.

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spartan race

Remember I wrote a post, Get Spartan Fit, about training for a Spartan Race? I posted that after having a look around online for the obstacles, and after finding only a few (Spartan are cagey about which obstacles they have at each race) I did a bit of extra upper body stuff at the gym and headed towards my first Spartan Race with confidence.

Oh, how wrong I was. As I walked towards the race village last weekend and spotted some of the obstacles, I realised how under-prepared I was. Now I know the only thing that prepares you for doing a Spartan Race is to do a Spartan Race, because most of the obstacles are pretty unique. Of course, now I have completed a Spartan Super I feel much more wizened to Spartan’s suffering, so read on for my tips on surviving your first Spartan.
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color run manchester

Running around a stadium on a hot, sweaty day with thousands of other people may not be everybody’s idea of fun. Add in loud music, lashings of paint and oodles of silliness and it suddenly becomes a lot more appealing!

If you’ve never done a Color Run before, that’s exactly what you’re missing out on. As you run through coloured stations volunteers throw powder at you so that when you finish you’re coated top-to-toe in intense, vibrant colour. It’s open to all and as an untimed run it’s many runners first experience of completing a full 5K. My pal Tomika and I ran Manchester’s Color Run this past Sunday and managed to get around without getting a speck of paint on us… Or did we?

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race for life delamere

You’ve signed up for a race, got your kit ready and prepared yourself for race day. But what is a Race For Life really like? On a grey day a few weeks ago I hit Delamere Forest, ready to run my Race For Life 10K. Delamere Forest was the smallest Race For Life I’ve attended, though the atmosphere was warm and friendly. Before the event I’d lost my race number, so I was very anxious to get there early to sort it out – turns out it took mere minutes and the marshal made the process simple. My worries that I’d get told off or worse, told I couldn’t run were completely unfounded!

For any Race For Life event I thoroughly recommend doing it as part of a team or group, or even roping a friend in to keep you company. There’s a mass warm-up at the start with lots of dancing, stretching, waving of arms and singing. Being on my own, I felt a little self-conscious at the start line though I do remember last year during the Pretty Muddy warm-up I loved it, since I had a big bunch of friends around me! Soon we were across the line, and running into the picturesque forest. View Post

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