32. Friends, fashion and fuel

Good morning! Time to crack on with the training for another week – the countdown has started: 7 weeks to go! So I thought I’d share with you a few gems of wisdom, mostly from chatting to FI over the past couple of weeks, and some of my own experience. It was a really helpful session, and it’s amazing how little things all add to make a big change.

If you want to stay friends with members of the public, shout ‘excuse me’ before you crash into them and barge past.

If you are on the pavement and you can see a runner coming towards you, it is massively appreciated if you can possibly move to one side. Especially if you’re a group of sixth form girls waiting for a bus and decide to take up the whole width of the path and even when I am right next to you you don’t move so I have to go in the road *hint hint*.

Appreciate the support you have from friends around you. They no doubt think you’re mad, but they really do want you to do well.

Top tip from FI – all running shoes have an extra hole by the ankle for the lace to go through again to make a loop for the opposite lace to go through, so that it can be tied tighter. I had no idea about this, but tried it on Friday and was genuinely surprised how much of a difference it made. Tricks of the trade and all that.

Check your running shoes aren’t too warn down on the sole. You don’t want to leave it to the week before the big day to get new shoes if they are completely wrecked. The latest is probs around a month before, to give you time to wear them in.
Buy a cheap hoodie and bottoms (charity shops are good) for race day that you can take off at the start line and are happy to leave there. You need to stay warm until the race starts, especially in the joys of the current British weather.

Here’s the really important stuff – according to FI, fuel is your biggest ally when it comes to a long run (more than 12 miles). I burn over 100 calories a mile, which means when it comes to the marathon that’s over 2,600 calories. And as the NHS suggest a woman’s average daily calorie intake should be around 2,000, I’ll be running on minus by the end. Not a good plan.

To combat this, it all starts two days before the race. You need to increase your carb consumption to double, so your body starts storing the energy. This means when it comes to the day you’ll be starting on full as opposed to anything less. The more you start with, the easier it will be. I like this part of training – being told to eat as much pasta as you can is a dream come true.

Fluid intake – I’m the worst person for drinking enough water on a normal day, let alone when I’m running, and especially for long distances. Try to drink 1.5-2 litres a day. That’s loads for me, so I’m currently just trying to up it a bit at a time. I’ve used a running bottle from the start (one which looks like an oval so you can hold it easily) so I’m used to carrying it. I’ve now switched to larger one so I can carry more water with me on long runs. Advice from FI – add electrolyte tablets to your water, so make it more useful to your body without having to carry more water.

During the run – energy on the go – try different sorts of energy gels. The first ones I used were incredibly sickly sweet and took me half an hour to get through. I’ve now found some that taste much nicer (High5 energy gels), aren’t as sweet and I can stomach in just a few mins – and are much easier to open. Winner. Also have boiled sweets to have on the way round.

Do you have any other pearls of wisdom? Let me know! It’s all the little things that add up to make a big difference.

If you want to sponsor me for this madness, you can do here: http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/mimsmission


3. If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail

Disclaimer: Not all posts will be as long as the first few have been! It’s just whilst I get you (and I!) up to speed on what’s been going on…it’s all happened pretty quick!

They say it’s all in the planning. And my life is certainly being planned out until April 13th 2014. The 7 month calendar is coming along nicely and I’ll soon have every hour allocated to sleep, work, running, social life or rest. Literally. Those of you who know me well know I love lists (thanks to mum for instilling this joy in me from a young age – how else are you meant to organise ANYTHING?!) and timetables, tick sheets and schedules – this is an ideal opportunity to put all to good use! I suppose I’m not one to stop doing something to make time for something else; I tend to just keep fitting more in. I’m regularly told by my parents that as much as I would love to, it isn’t possible to do more than 24 hours worth of stuff in a day. Such spoil sports. It may not always be the best idea, but that’s how I roll and its okay at the moment so I’m sticking with it. I’m certainly not someone who can sit still for long, so evenings and weekends are usually full. Before I have a chance to think another week is over and I have no idea where it’s gone. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Something I’m going to have to get used to is being on my own running. I’d rather be with people 99% of the time, so thinking about the hours of being alone is one of the challenges. I’m trying to make it positive though. It’ll be good to get some space from the business of life, and have time to think, let my mind wander, and dream big (though maybe not too big if I end up with another idea like this).

The current plan is to run Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays  before work, and hopefully get in a bit longer run on a Friday or Saturday (depending on my social life), particularly after Christmas as training builds. My aim is a 10km by Christmas, which I’m sure is doable. And you can hold me to that.

Whilst at home last weekend I went to Run to Live to get some proper running shoes. The one thing I don’t mind paying a bit more for is decent shoes – I don’t particularly want to wreck my feet if at all possible. I was filmed running on a running machine, and then the lovely helpful lady looked at how I run (a neutral gait apparently!) and got me some very comfy shoes to fit. Big win.

Run 7 – First time in proper fitting running shoes. I felt like I was flying. Also first sub 13.5 min mile. And I wasn’t even thinking about timing. I was focussed more on pace as I know I tend to start to quickly. The RunKeeper app tells me my average pace every 5 minutes and every half mile, so when I caught it saying ’13 min’ something at the top of the road heading back down the slight hill, I wanted to keep it up. Of course, just as it said it, I got a massive stabbing in my right side, and was sure I was going to keel over. Here was my first ‘wall’! I was having none of it, and kept the pace going whilst trying to breathe through gritted teeth to stop myself from screaming. It paid off – 13 min 27 sec a mile. Boom. Wall 1 was hit and blasted straight through.

Run 8 – This was a short one as I was running late (as usual) and was going up to London so didn’t have much time. I was aiming for a faster mile, and although I certainly started off a bit too quick, I did the mile in 13 min 10 secs. Winner! However this was only due to the fact I knew I was doing 1 mile so not exactly sustainable right now for 26 miles. But we’re making progress.

I think that’s all for now, you’ll be relieved to know! Chow for now.