Why you shouldn’t run a marathon without training

Hello! Hope you all had a nice weekend.

So last week I was meant to start my coaching with Kyle. Unfortunately things haven’t got off to a great start. I took 10 days off of running after the Berlin marathon to rest because I knew I needed it. When I finished Berlin everything ached, but the day after I could distinguish pain from the ache: I had a poorly sore foot. I wasn’t too concerned because I knew I was taking time off anyway.

The foot remained quite sore for that week and then subsided to more of a niggle the next week. But by Friday it felt near enough OK and I had my new trainers arrive so I thought I’d go for a run.Adidas Boosts

At no time during the run did I feel pain and afterwards it was pretty much fine. But on Monday at the end of my first training run set by Kyle (30 mins easy) I felt my foot. Stupidly I attempted running again on the Tuesday night and it wasn’t happy at all, so I quit the run after half-way through.

I haven’t run since Tuesday. I’ve been using hot and cold therapy (icing for 4 minutes and then putting a hot water bottle on it for 4 minutes, and repeating – what fun evenings I have!). Kyle has been brilliant, he saw me on Tuesday night after the run and we’re pretty sure its do with my peroneal tendon (goes down the leg to my ankle and foot) and he’s been giving me lots of advice and stretches.

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Strangely though I’m not panicking or feeling upset. Obviously I’d love to be running right now but at the same time I did just run a marathon on a pathetic amount of training and got a PB. So I would say this is probably what I deserve! I don’t have any real goals for the rest of the year so I’m actually quite relaxed at the moment about the whole thing – which is an absolute first!

I won’t lie, I would still love to run the Portsmouth Coastal marathon in December but I really should be running now if I want to do that sensibly. My thoughts are it’s highly unlikely, especially as I want to start next year feeling fresh and good for training for the London marathon. But like I said, I’m not stressing. I’d just like to get back into normal running but for now I’m OK using the elliptical machine, cycling, doing weights and yoga.

Cross trainer

The archaic beast in our small gym at work

What I would say is is that Ben’s injury has given me a whole new perspective on things. He has been out for so long and his injury is fairly serious – months not weeks. My pathetic foot thing can’t compare so I need to shut up and just be patient. It could be a lot worse. The body is precious and I need to remember that. This year has been fairly pants with repeated injuries but I need to learn from them and not rush things. I’ve jumped from one race to the next and haven’t had proper rest. But I’ve achieved what I wanted to this year – two marathons! And I bloody loved them, so I’m happy and content at the moment :-)

How do you feel when you’re injured?

What are your goals for the rest of the year?

What’s your favourite way to cross-train?

Post Berlin Marathon

Gosh it feels like ages ago now that I was in Berlin and running the marathon. The days after Berlin were a lot more relaxed (for me at least) than the days before, but a lot more painful as you can imagine!

Post Berlin marathon (1)

After the debacle of finding Ben and my dad after the race and then trying to find our way out of the race area, we headed back to our hotel. The boys had a drink and some nibbles in the hotel bar while I went upstairs to shower. I was so thankful that this time around we didn’t have a bath-shower. After the Paris marathon I remember how painful it had been to get my legs over the bath sides to get into the shower *shudders*.

I did however have fun finding all the places I’d chaffed. Not under my arms this time but weirdly just above my bum on my lower back!

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The top of my shorts must have rubbed. Fun times.

After enjoying a luxuriously warm and bubbly shower, I headed downstairs all cleaned up to see Ben had got himself possibly the most disgusting looking meal possible.

IMG_8133 You can see a fellow marathoner’s foot in the background – there were so many in the lobby!

A curryworst. He loved it so what can I say! Looks a bit funny to me ;-) My dad ordered some chips and like a vulture I landed on those chips with a vengeance. So salty and good.

Then sadly my dad headed off to catch his flight as he was only staying to watch the marathon and had work on Monday (sucker). Ben and me had an early evening meal in the hotel restaurant. It was rather posh!

Hotel Berlin Restaurant eveningWe had another one of those sharing platters with lots of antipasti style bits and pieces (I got the veg and salad, Ben got the Parma ham and bread – we work well as a team). For main I went for pork schnitzel with fried potatoes and cranberries with a side salad (well, two side salads as Ben didn’t want his). For pudding I went for a peach crumble (it was microscopic in my marathon hungry eyes…but very nice regardless).

Hotel Berlin restaurant meal Then we went to the hotel room. I chilled in the best way possible.

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We did consider renting a film (like we did in Paris) but we were both so tired we read for a bit and fell asleep around 7.30pm. I’m not even joking. I woke up at midnight thinking it was like 3am. I had a banging headache and struggled to fall back asleep but eventually fell asleep until 7am-ish. Headache gone and we both felt so refreshed!

We decided to do some sight seeing so headed off to wander through the Tiergarten and then to the Reichstag.

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IMG_8170We saw lots of sights, like the Brandenburg Gate, the Jewish Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie again and a huge mall. Both of us staggered along, me because I was aching everywhere from the marathon and Ben because his knee was playing up a bit after all the walking the day before :(

We found a crazy American-style diner (called Andy’s Diner) that took our fancy for lunch. We were both in need of a nice sit down and some food.

I chose a salad and honestly it was possibly the best salad I’ve had in a while.

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Chicken, kidney beans, hard boiled egg and lots of salad in a huge crispy tortilla bowl (which is underneath all the salad in the above photo) with a creamy ranch dressing. It literally took me like 20 minutes to eat all of it.

IMG_8184 Literally bigger than my head – my kinda salad!

Then we plodded on. In total we walked 34,000 steps (15.5 miles). We were shattered and honestly me legs felt like they would fall off. Ben found it hilarious watching me trying to get down stairs.

IMG_8182 My dear husband finding it far too funny that I was in pain

We stopped in the afternoon for another respite. And lo and behold! I found a cafe that sold beer, coffee and cake! A winner all round ;-)

IMG_8198 I went for a delicious vanilla chocolate cake. It was all spongy and delicious. So good. Ben went for a cheesecake.

IMG_8195It was a huge thumbs up from us. We then chilled for a bit people watching. It was a great spot – down the road from the Brandenburg Gate and the number of people we saw hobble past was quite amusing. There were so many people who had clearly run the marathon.

Dinner that night was a quick meal in a local, but lovely, restaurant and then another early night. Honestly, sleep (and cake) was the best recovery for me!

And the next day we headed home. It was a lovely little mini-break and I loved Berlin and the marathon but, as I’ve said before, it was bittersweet. I really wish Ben could have run. But he’s deferred his place so next year I think we’ll be returning! I might run it if I get in the ballot but we’ll see.

What’s your normal ‘go-to’ meal in a restaurant? For me it’s always a salad.

Do you like to try the local food when you’re abroad? The curryworst did not appeal but the schnitzel was amazing.

Would you ever want to run the Berlin marathon?

Boosts, London and Africa

I used to love thunderstorms. The sound of the rumbling and crashing and the flashes of lightening was always quite exciting. Alfie, however, does not like thunderstorms and as he sleeps in our room, we are fully aware of this. He starts barking at the thunder or running around the room in a panic. Or sitting on our pillows trying to get as close as possible to us. He’s frightened by it I think which is all very sweet. But seriously, Alfie, MAN UP. I need my sleep!!

This weekend, thunderstorms aside, was great. It started Friday night with a great run. I got my new Adidas Boosts delivered to work and was desperate to give them a little trial run (ha!)

Adidas BoostsI text Ben saying I might go for a run after work in Basingstoke and might be home a little later than usual. He was uber happy about this as he was planning a surprise for me and needed a bit more time. He had told me the night before he was going to put his Friday afternoon off to good use and do something special for me. Well, my curiosity was definitely spiked!

I wore my new Berlin marathon finisher t-shirt and obviously my new Boosts.

IMG_8240 Unintentionally colour coordinated!

Having not run for 10 days I was thinking it might feel a bit sluggish. But actually I felt like I was flying. The Boosts felt amazing and my legs felt very fresh. The first mile was downhill but I was very surprised to see a 6.42min/mile! In the end I did 5k in 22.02 minutes. Not too shabby. I probably shouldn’t have gone so fast on my first run but I just felt good and went with it.

When I got home I was welcomed by a very pleased looking Ben and my surprise.

IMG_8242 Yep still looking sweaty

A three-layered red velvet cake – all made from scratch. *Swoons*

Red Velvet Cake 

I was over the moon! What a guy, eh!? And let me tell you, it tastes AMAZING. Cream cheese frosting heaven! He was a bit miffed the sponge didn’t come out that red though, despite using food colouring gel rather than liquid. Bakers, is there a special way to do this?

Saturday morning we got up early to go to London. Ben needed a quick passport change as he’s going to China with work (oooh er!) so we decided to make a day of it.

IMG_8250We did a lot of walking around and saw the classic tourist bits, like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye, Houses of Parliament etc. I’ve seen them before but never actually done this with Ben so it was nice.

IMG_8255 Also saw some of the roads I’ll be running along come April next year…how exciting! (Providing I’m not injured – I feel like I have to say this as you know how injury-prone I am)

After getting the passport sorted we went to find some lunch. I tried to tempt Ben into going to Wholefoods for their salad bar but that really didn’t go down well…but he did say we could go and have a look ;-)

Before that, we found a lovely South African restaurant called Bbar which took our fancy. There were animal prints and animal pictures everywhere and the waiters were lovely.Bbar London restaurant We went for a pitta and dip board to begin which was a little smaller than I had imagined but all very nice (taramasalata, hummus and baba ganoush dips). And for main I went crazy and had a salad. It’s funny because I didn’t even realise there was avocado in it before I went for a big chunk of what I thought was lettuce – it was so camouflaged! Ben went for an amazing burger which looked huge. There were so many burger options, even buffalo and boar.

After a relaxed lunch we walked to Wholefoods and checked out more sights along the way. We didn’t do much shopping or anything that exciting, it was just nice to walk around London together without any real aim.

Wholefoods was just full of young adults – possibly students and, I guess, people like me.

Wholefoods Picadilly The cakes looked out of this world

It was just rammed. The salad bar looked good but I’m glad we hadn’t gone for it – the queues were huge and it felt a bit claustrophobic. I know Wholefoods is held on a pedestal for healthy and unusual ingredients but some of the things did make me laugh. A cupcake that was gluten free, diary free, egg free and low fat had the ingredients list that would make a Pop Tart tremble. Seriously, so many chemicals with long and scary names. Fairly ironic.

As we slowly ambled back to Waterlook, fairly pooped now, I kept seeing people with whole coconuts drinking out of them with straws. Then a few minutes later we got to Trafalgar Square and we passed a huge area of tents and festivities. It was called Africa on the Square – which fitted into our theme of the day perfectly ;-) We had a wander around (so many amazing smelling foods and cool music) and I found the coconut tent. For the fairly pricey £4.50 the guy chopped off the end of a coconut, popped some straws in and handed it to me.

African festival London

It tasted divine. Fresh coconut water! Yum. It disappeared rather quickly! Then we decided to head back to the train before our legs fell off. We both fell asleep on the train we were that tired. And embarrassingly I woke up with my mouth open…classy girl right here ;-)

Sunday was supposed to be fairly relaxed until we decided to clear out the Cupboard of Death (under stairs cupboard…*shudders*) and some kitchen cupboards to make space for Ben’s new plaything – a Kmix. He’s really getting into this baking lark and with having Friday afternoons off I think I’m going to be seeing a lot more cakes. Can’t be bad, right? :-D

What are your favourite things to do in London?

Have you ever had a real coconut before?

What trainers do you wear?

Books I’ve been reading

Recently I’ve been a bit obsessed with reading running books. It’s become a problem. What can I say, I love running. Here’s a review of some of the books I’ve been enjoying lately – though not all to do with running!

Eat and Run – Scott Jurek

Scott Jurek is an incredible athlete blessed with some very nice genes and some great determination and skill. He regular runs 100 mile and above races and wins them. He is incredible and a great inspiration. He’s also vegan and at the end of each chapter gives a vegan recipe. The books is very interesting and you are literally going “wow, seriously?” the whole time.

While the facts and information were great, Scott himself and the tone the book didn’t appeal to me. He came across quite arrogant and made it all seem a little too easy. There was really no grittiness and any hardship he has had was skimmed over. He made me believe that running an ultramarathon was something quite easy and well within anybody’s capabilities. While this is great, I don’t think it’s realistic. He is clearly on the gifted side of the fence when it comes down to running and this skews his perceptions of realistic training. Also his ‘easy’ vegan recipes do indeed seem very easy, if you have a 1,000 of the strange ingredients he lists.

Running and Stuff – James Adams

I would absolutely recommend reading this book straight after reading Eat and Run. Perhaps this man appeals more to me because he’s British and has more of a British tone than Jurek (no offence to any Americans out there but us Brits have a slightly less optimistic outlook to life).

If you were under any illusions that running an ultra would be easy this book will fully reset those expectations. All the gory details of running stupidly far (like across America far) are laid bare in this book – peeing, vomiting, pooing, bleeding. Unlike Scott bounding along through his ultras like a galloping gazelle, this man pretty much crawls to the end of his ultras in a broken, bloody, sweaty heap. But it’s a brilliant read. It by far gives a more realistic idea of what an ultra-marathon is like (not that I would know of course). Another interesting contrast to Jurek’s book is the amount of rubbish food that Adams eats. We’re talking regular MacDonalds, sweets, sugary drinks, fast food…which is vastly different to Jurek’s slightly unrealistic clean vegan (and at times raw) way of eating. I don’t have anything particularly against Jurek but it’s just Adams strikes me as you’re every day guy so easier to relate to.

824 – P J Robbins

This book focused more on a journey towards the so-called ‘hardest race on Earth’, the Marathon des Sables (a six day ultra across the Sahara Desert). Again, kind of similar to the previous book, a British guy going from being a regular runner to suddenly going for the big one. It’s a fascinating read to hear his experiences and the ins and outs of this race. Funnily enough the previous author, James Adams, also writes briefly about his experience with this race and they have polar opposite experiences and opinions on the race. Again nothing like Jurek’s ease with running such long distances, it’s a very gruelling and honest account.

Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer

Not a running book, but an account of a young man who went on a crazy trip and sadly didn’t make it out alive. He gave up his normal life (college, family, money) and literally just decided to, what I can only describe as, “find himself”. He walked, hiked, canoed through the tough terrain of Alaska on his own. I won’t lie I did question the boy’s sanity many times during the book but I also envied his ability to just let go and live the adventure he was desperate for. How liberating that must be, but also terrifying. It’s a non-fiction account of what’s known about the boy and at times can seem a bit tedious with some meanderings off into other historical accounts of people doing similar things, but it is an eye opening read nonetheless.

Wild – Cheryl Strayed

I found out about this book because it’s very soon to be a film with Reese Witherspoon, of which I now really want to see. This book is fantastic. I much preferred it to the previous book. It has a similar idea of dropping everything in one’s life and going to find yourself but is easier to read because it’s from the lady herself. I’m not joking when I say the temptation to suddenly going camping and hiking in some remote area of America was strong as I was reading this! It’s raw, real and very engaging.

Do any of these books appeal to you? My favourite was Wild out of them all.

Have you ever been influenced by a book to do something or try something new?

What’s your favourite genre? I don’t have a favourite, I tend to read anything that sounds good, whether that’s fiction or non-fiction.

**Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for TWO FREE tickets to the Yoga Show in London – you have until the 12th October**

**These are affiliated links but all the opinions are my own as usual!**

Things around here lately

Since the Berlin marathon I have pretty much done no exercise. This wasn’t me being lazy, I just intentionally fancied a break.

Lazy Sunday This is pretty much how I spent the whole weekend

I was shattered after the marathon. My legs ached for three days afterwards – which is totally to be expected considering I ran a marathon without having trained further than 13 miles. Don’t ask me how I survived it at all, I have no idea. But I do know that it’s sensible to take a little break now.

Berlin marathon finishing time I had a little bit of fun with some photo apps…

You might laugh to hear but I’d love to run the Portsmouth Coastal marathon in late December (just a few days before Christmas). I was going to run it last year but due to injury I never got there. I supported Ben running it and really enjoyed the day. Though the weather was atrocious and the scenery is…well it’s Portsmouth, I’m really keen to do it. It’s a local marathon, under 1000 runners and it’s a bit off-road (there’s a cut off time due to the tide coming in!). It’s only 10 weeks away, but I reckon I have some good fitness behind me now.

I’ll be starting my coaching from Kyle next week and he knows I’m keen to run it but he’s already advised that I should use at a training run in preparation for my goal marathon (London). Whatever a ‘training marathon’ is! Basically, I have no time intentions – I’m quite happy to plod (a relative term!) round slower than I have done in previous marathons and just tick the miles off. Marathons are my distance, I just love them. I love halves as well as an ‘easier’ option in terms of training and recovery but nothing beats the feeling of finishing a marathon. Perhaps this is because so far I’ve had quite good experiences, who knows.

And an update on Ben…it’s not great news sadly. He had his ultrasound and they found that his tendon, which connects his hamstring and knee, is swollen three times its normal size (he gets a ‘clicking’ sensation which is the tendon going over the bone). The pain is still there and he hasn’t run. The ultrasound specialists did a brilliant job of scaring the hell out of him saying he would never run again without getting injections. However Ben’s physio read the report and told him that that was rubbish. The ultrasound specialists have limited muscular-skeletal knowledge and don’t know all the possible treatments. HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF.

Basically the plan going forward is Ben to take 2-3 weeks of complete rest (no cycling, swimming, running) and ice every single day to reduce the swelling. Then he can start stretching and strengthening and eventually gently running as long as things are improving. Our physio reckons it might be 8 weeks until he can run again. But the take away message is he can and will run again. It might even be sooner. This means he sadly can’t do any races he had planned this year, but it does mean he can do the Brighton marathon next year (hopefully).

We’re both sad and pleased. Pleased that it’s nothing that can’t be solved somehow. If the above treatment doesn’t work then surgery is probably the next road to take. But he will run again. I’m sad though because I wish he could run – and so does he. It’s a big part of who we are and nothing compares in terms of exercise. But we just have to look at the bigger picture. I also need to tone down the amount I go on about running because it’s not very fair of me :(

Anyway, that’s us for the moment!

How do you recover from a big race or workout?

How do you deal with bad news?

Have you ever had to have surgery?