Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Marathon Training – Week 1

on 3 January 2016

This week has been a bit of a mixed bag in terms of exercise sessions, but I think it’s been the most I’ve done in a long time!

Casual runs: 2 miles, 2.5 miles, 4.5 miles of hilly doom & 6 miles flat

Long run: 11.5 miles

Workouts: Core session x2 & home workout x 25 mins

This is the first week I’ve tried following any sort of real allocated daily plan rather than just seeing what I feel like doing depending on the weather or how much I can be faffed with. The thing I’m trying to keep in mind is that this is new to me and I’m going from occasional pootling about as I have been before Christmas, to 5 sessions a week at varying intensities and I’m not sure as of yet how well my body’s going to take the step up in training.


I tried testing a new core strength workout on Wednesday and followed it up immediately with a workout without the core exercises, but quite a lot of arm exercises; I had sore deltoids and abs for days afterwards – laughing really hurt – so being back to normal this morning, I tried just the core workout but skipped one of the planks (there are 3) and did slightly fewer sit-ups. I figure I can build up to doing the full thing, and I’d rather do slightly less in the short term and be able to move than be unable to do anything for my first gym session on Thursday (it’s booked! No getting out of it!).

My runs this week have been a real mixed bag of distances and terrains; I’ve done a few short ones – to the dam and back at the Derwent Reservoir and the local triangular loop around the village; a longer one today of about 4.5 miles on the hilliest route I’ve ever volunteered myself in for, with the option of an extra loop to bring it up to 6 miles which I’ll do next time it crops up on my training plan; 6 miles to Gibside with some of the Bounders over the weekend at a nice casual pace; and a really long one of 11.5 miles with J accompanying me on the bike on New Year’s Day. There’s been a water theme throughout most of them… The footpath at the Derwent Reservoir was completely flooded at the start, so lacking wellies N and I had to scramble up the bank and over a fence or start with very wet trainers (which happened later but rather less drastically when we hit some boggy bits) and the 11.5 miles along the river with J was completely flood-damaged with stretches of path ripped up and water debris left very high in the trees. Today’s hill run was timed (successfully for once!) to avoid the rain and drizzle that was falling the rest of the day. The other two runs just mainly involved puddle-dodging (with mixed success)!


My hardest run has definitely been the longest one, and not just because it was the longest one – it was the last day of a 6 day streak and my heart really wasn’t in it when we set off, I didn’t really want to do 3 miles let alone 11 of them, I was tired and slightly grumpy. J was very good about it and only goaded me on a little bit 🙂 I hit the mileage I wanted, albeit at a very slow pace compared with the 10 miles the weekend before (11:48 V 10:49mins/mile) but I got round it, and I’d done over 20 miles in the week before so it’s not really surprising I was tired! Finding what I can do in a week, and in consecutive weeks is going to take some time to understand but we’ll get there 🙂


Today’s 4.5 miles on the hills of Leadgate was probably actually my favourite for this week, it’s not a course I’ve done before but with good company, the distraction of conversation and a very steady pace I found the hills much easier than I’d thought I would and personally wasn’t really phased by them (others in the party may disagree!!!). I’d nervously put this route down as my 10k training route that’s in the plan at least once a fortnight, and actually may swap one of my later 10 miles on the Derwent or Waskerley for this loop twice as Kielder apparently doesn’t have many flat bits…


The other thing I’ve started trying this week is a food diary. I downloaded an app called ‘MyNetDiary’ in the hope that having to log all my junk food would help me stop eating it. So far, it must be said, that aspect hasn’t worked, but it has flagged up how much what I am eating is costing me particularly in calories and fat! Not necessarily at a calorie level that is unhealthy for me with the exercise I’m doing – it’s got to be fuelled from somewhere – but it’s not really coming from the right sources…

The thing I like about this app is I don’t really have to go finding nutritional info myself, it’s got a good back catalogue of ingredients and products (can’t vouch for accuracy!) which you can add to yourself, and you can even scan the barcodes for many things and it will just bring them up for you! I ate a scary amount of fat and salt when P & I had KFC for lunch – and he had about twice as much to eat as I did!


I plugged in my current weight and where I want to get to in what timeframe (not a huge reduction to be honest – it’s fitness I need not to lose a huge number of pounds) and it generates what calorie level I need to hit in a day to get that weightloss – in my case, a deficit of about 500 calories a day. I can also add in any calories I burnt off exercising and it generates a daily report with my final calorie deficit (or gain) compared to where I want to be, and also gives me some thumbs up and down about what the nutritional content of my food has been – in my case, I need to apparently watch my salt and saturated fat content if I want to reduce my chance of heart disease.


You can see that the only thing that saved this day was the ridiculous amount of calories I burned by jogging for over 2 hours – we had KFC for lunch the same day I ran my 11.5 miles with J. I can see which particular ingredients in each meal were the big calorie/fat/protein/etc. contributors by logging onto my pc instead of just my phone for a more in-depth breakdown.


With how stiff my knees have been this week after some of the runs (I was blaming the fact I was wearing my waterproof trail shoes on wet but tarmac harder paths), I’ve been doing some reading on protein recommendations for runners. The app has me down at about right for my weight including the exercise at about 100g/day, but I’m not hitting it most days (well, all 4 I’ve been tracking anyway!). For most effective repair you’re supposed to have the protein straight after or during a run, and I’ve been having protein bar on my long runs – half while I’m out and the other half when I’ve finished, but that’s only on runs 10 miles or longer.

I’m a little concerned about doing 5 sessions a week and muscle repair but I’m going to see what my average daily consumption is when I’m back to work and hopefully not still in my post-Christmas cream cake binge before I start either raiding the deli counter for roast chickens every night or looking into protein supplements. I need to tweak it so that a smaller percentage of my intake is fat too. I’ll also see how my legs are holding out 🙂 Would prefer prevention to having to worry about recovery at this stage though!

After some rather stiff and tired points this week, I’m actually feeling ok after my rest day yesterday. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with my foam roller, which I’m afraid is going to become my constant companion over the next few months – I can’t say I enjoy using it but it does work. P’s had a nasty bug that’s had him pretty much incapacitated for the last 3-4 days and which so far I’ve managed to dodge…a bit of a throat tickle and headache tonight which I’m really hoping is not the start of it. Back to work tomorrow after a long break – going back on a rest day so work is the only thing I’ll have to deal with (it’s enough!), fingers crossed I’ve just got a minor cold or something…


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