After a few weeks of injury and not feeling great I am happy to say I have refound my training groove! This is thanks to lots of foam rolling, spring weather and the continued support of everyone else training for London and that of my family and friends. Thanks so much to everybody who has sponsored me so far! There are now five weeks left and I’m feeling strong and optimistic.
If you’d like to sponsor me then please visit https://www.justgiving.com/polly-warrack1/
Before I talk about how I trained this week I’d like to talk about the dreaded ‘long run’. I’ve found some habits, products and tricks that help me feel happy and strong when I train so I’ve put them together here. This is by no means comprehensive and they’re just what works for me, I’d love to hear from anyone with further suggestions!
How to Conquer the Long Run
I choose to run with music, but some people find podcasts or nothing at all works best for them. But whatever you do make sure you have a long playlist or podcast to hand, and one that you know quite well so you start to mentally pace yourself to the music. I know how long it takes me to run a mile in songs pretty accurately now.
(If you do run to music then my two necessary songs are Lose Yourself by Eminem and The Best by Tina Turner)
I find the sights that surround me when I run are hugely important. In the first few miles before I start to feel tired I can run anywhere, but when the going gets tough I need visual treats to keep me moving forwards. I’m lucky that I live in London and am able to run by the river, but think about how the route feels when you’re planning your run. Those last few miles will be even tougher if you follow a suburban, industrial or commercial road.
I find counting miles (or km) a really tough way to do things because no matter if I know that I’ve run 14 miles and I only have 2 left, those 2 miles still seem incredibly hard and what I’ve already done seems unimportant. Instead I count my progress in percent or fractions. For example, if I run 20 miles and I’m starting to feel tired, I don’t think I’ve run 14 miles and I need to run another 6 and my life sucks, I think about the fact that I’ve run 70% already. I feel far better putting what I’ve already achieved in context rather than focusing on what I have left.
Plan your route! Getting lost makes you lose your stride physically and psychologically. Knowing where you’re going takes the pressure off you to think about it constantly and allows you to focus on your run. This is why it’s so much easier to focus in organised events and races – your route is pre-determined.
I’d never used gels previously, instead relying on jelly babies and old fashioned water, but I’ve found that I really do need the support on the longer distances. I’ve found Torq gels to be successful as they’re gentle on the stomach and don’t taste bad at all. HOWEVER, it is important to find out what works for you in training runs and not try them suddenly during a race. We’ve all heard the horror stories.
This is a little cheesy but if I’m struggling I force myself to grin like a madman. I genuinely do start to feel better and it’s a reminder that although running can be hard, it should be enjoyable and not torture!
Back to Week 12!
Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: 4 x 1600m intervals on the track averaging under 7 minutes.
Wednesday: 40 minute easy run around Brockwell Park – this is one of my favourite parks and it’s gentle hills are great to train in.
Thursday: PT with lovely Laura. I find weight training a really nice change from running at the moment and I focus on areas that are key to good form – legs, core and back!
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 18 mile run. I ran around Richmond Park and really enjoyed it – seeing so many other runners and cyclists was really motivational. I’d been pushing myself way too hard on my long runs so I decided to take it a little more gently and finished feeling sweaty but still strong! And less injured!
Sunday: Dynamic Yoga and dog walking. It was really nice to stretch my legs and keep blood flowing in an active rest day. I’ve found yoga really helpful for stretching, and although I don’t often manage to make it to a class I do use doyogawithme.com at home.
I particularly recommend http://www.doyogawithme.com/content/yoga-runners-injury-prevention
I’m feeling really psyched up for Week 13 now!
Thanks for reading and leave me a comment if you’re training as well! I always love to hear from people and find messages from people in the same boat a great source of support and motivation!