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December Training Update

Sorry I’m a little late with this one. Christmas distracted me from blogging, but not from running.

My official training plan started in the week before Christmas, which saw me running 10 miles on Christmas Eve. It may sound mad but it did mean I could eat what I liked on the 25th.

Training continues to go well. I’m up to 13 miles on the long runs now, so I’ve hit the halfway point. Mile 13 was extremely difficult! Progress from here is going to be slow and probably painful, but at the moment I still feel great once I’ve got my breath back so I’m feeling pretty confident that I’ll get round in four and a half hours as planned.

What I’ve really been obsessing about recently is nutrition. Specifically the sports drinks and snacks that you are encouraged to buy. If you read most advice the only thing you can drink while running is a mass-marketed sports drink of some description. Unless you are a complete masochist you should only eat specially created carbohydrate balanced energy gels or similarly scientific jelly beans.   Anything else is just foolish. Or so you get told. I’m a bit tight fisted and don’t like the idea of shelling out around £5 a week on food and drink which tastes, lets face it, disgusting. So I’ve been doing a bit of research.

First off, the snacks. It is important to eat something while you’re running a marathon. In day to day life most people don’t go much more than 4 hours without eating something. If you’re going to spend those 4 hours running you have to take on some energy while you’re at it. Obviously there are issues with this – quite apart from the difficulty of chewing and breathing at the same time your stomach really doesn’t appreciate having food in it while you’re bouncing up and down. You need something that will give you energy fast, is easy to swallow and won’t upset your digestive system. This is where the gels and so on come in. According to the marketing, scientists have put lots of research into creating food that does all of that and more. If you read the ingredients list, however, there is almost no difference between sports jelly beans (£1-£3 per tiny bag) and value midget gems (42p per large bag). In my experience I get exactly the same benefit from the midget gems as I do from the jelly beans, and they taste better.

Next, sports drinks, or isotonic drinks as they are technically known. Energy snacks are basically sugar, so that wasn’t too tricky, but isotonic drinks are more complicated. Or so I thought. This article completely cured me of that illusion. I use the 50/50 juice and water version. The best thing about this is that you can heat up the juice before you go. A hot apple drink with a dash of ginger is fantastic for warding off cold winds on a winter’s morning.

So there you have it. You can spend lots of money on ‘special’ sports drinks and snacks, or you can get the same effect from a packet of midget gems and a carton of apple juice.

E

xx

P.S. I’m almost 20% of the way to my fundraising target. Help me out http://www.justgiving.com/Ellen-Clegg

If I hit the target of £2000 I will run the marathon dressed as cookie monster.

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November Training Update

I’ve waited a little while to post a training update because (in the spirit of strict honesty) I’m a bit vain and I didn’t get off to a very good start.

I’m a minimalist runner. I’d be a barefoot runner except that London streets have a bit too much grit and broken glass for my liking, so I run in aqua shoes to protect my soles. It may sound crazy to you but I love it – I feel much lighter without shoes. Minimalist running needs a totally different running style to the one most people use. Instead of putting your foot down heel first, as you would when walking, you land on the ball of your foot. It’s quite good for people with funky joints because it spreads the impact of running right the way from your foot to your thighs rather than absorbing most of it with your knees. It also teaches you not to stomp your foot down. Believe me, you learn that very quickly.

As I’ve recently discovered minimalist running also uses all the muscles in your feet. In retrospect this should have been obvious but what can I say, it’s never come up before. My first long run went really well. I flew through the miles. Afterwards my feet ached a bit but nothing too awful considering what I’d been up to. Feeling like I deserved a rest I planted myself on the sofa for the afternoon. All was fine until I tried to get up again. It was agony! I’d completely overworked the muscles in my feet and ended up hobbling around like a little old woman for a week.

Needless to say that put my training back a bit. Still, I’m back on track now. Training proper starts in the New Year so right now (well not right now, I’m typing this, you know what I mean) I’m making sure I’m fit and healthy enough so that when the really tough stuff kicks in it doesn’t kill me. That means running three times a week, including a 10 mile run at the weekend, and doing two sessions of circuit training to build up my strength. I’m down to 9 minutes 14 seconds a mile for the long runs. My eventual aim for the marathon itself is 10 minutes per mile on average, which is well within reach right now.

The next big challenge is going to be the weather. Staying motivated once the weather turns cold will be really hard. Watch this space to see how I get on.

 

E xx

I got in!

I’ve been given a Golden Bond place in the 2012 London Marathon. I’ll be running to support Fight for Sight, a charity which raises money to support research into eye conditions, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, macular degeneration and the causes of childhood blindess. To put it simply – anyone who has ever had an eye test has benefitted from the research supported by Fight for Sight.

There won’t be much here for the next few months. I’ll be starting my training schedule in the first week of January. If you’re interested in this sort of thing I’ll be following the FIRST three day a week marathon training plan http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/general/the-first-three-day-a-week-marathon-schedule/2493.html. My long suffering boyfriend Jon will be running and cycling along with me so I don’t get lonely. And of course I’ll keep all my friends and family who’ve been forced to read this devoted fans up to date with my progress via this blog.

See you in the New Year.

 

E xxx