I’m definitely tired though and my motivation to go out and run all the miles has naturally dipped. My next marathon (yes, I always have another in the pipeline…) is the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon (again). This is in December so I have a good few weeks before I need to ramp up the miles again.
I ran 14 miles the Sunday after the marathon with Kyle, which was probably unwise. I ran it because I’ve been enjoying running with Kyle while he trains for the London Marathon (beginning of October) and to be honest I just wanted to enjoy another long run with him before his training finishes. He’s decided it’s unlikely he’ll run another marathon anytime soon because he hasn’t enjoyed the training that much, which is fair enough. So after the marathon I’ll be running solo again.
His training has gone amazingly, despite his feelings towards it. I’m sure he’ll be absolutely amazing at the marathon and I look forward to supporting him in a couple of weeks.
I’m now enjoying some downtime though in terms of mileage. I’ve been increasing my strength sessions which will help build back some strength up and hopefully keep my injury free. This has sort of fallen to the wayside while my mileage has been higher. Training for a marathon with a little one is a tough juggle!
Anyway onto my latest adidas haul… it’s probably quite obvious, but I’m a big fan of their clothing for running and training. I’ve tried many of their clothes over the past year and I honestly can’t fault them. I recently got another haul of items and as always it was such a success. I just find their items of such good quality and in general just look awesome.
I’ll mention their sports bras again because I’ve been wearing them for ages and can assure that they last many washes. I have two of their Ultimate Bras, one in white and one in black. They’re super comfy and just go perfectly with anything I want to wear on top. They also don’t have those annoying little cup inserts. It’s just one piece of material.
As someone still breastfeeding (14 months strong!) I find the support to be perfect for running as well. OK so I don’t have ginormous boobs, but they’re definitely requiring more support than the piddly crop tops I was wearing pre-pregnancy. Running without proper support is not pleasant now!
I also love adidas shorts. Whether they’re tight fitting more cycling short style or looser fitting more traditional running shorts. I have a pair of their 4 Inch Shorts in blue and they’re a dream.
They don’t ride up, they give a lovely silhouette to my body and the colour is just gorgeous. Normally I’d stick to black but I’m so glad I went with a colour instead. My running belt sits nicely on them and, for me, they’re a great length – not tooooo short but short enough.
I also got a pair of looser shorts, the Handball Training Shorts, which aren’t normally my style but I thought I’d try something different.
They’re like a combination of tight and loose if that makes sense. A nice thick width of a waist band that sits on your waist and then loose-fitting legs.
Both shorts are great for running.
Now a pair of shorts that might not be the best for running but it great for lounging around the house in are these bad boys, the Adicolor Essentials French Terry Shorts. These are so comfortable and so easy to wear I struggle to not put them on all week for working from home! They’re super soft and cosy, perfect for the coming winter. Checkout their tracksuits and loungewear for more of this kind of chilled vibe. Ideal for the coming colder months.
How do you train after a big race?
Do you enjoy running with other people?
**Full Disclaimer: I was sent these items from adidas for free. All opinions are my own honest ones.**
The New Forest Marathon was my 26th marathon (though I have actually run the marathon distance 28 times but they’re unofficial).
I did this race a few years ago and was looking forward to it. I normally predominately do road marathons, so it was nice to a “semi-trail” one. I say semi-trail because a lot of it is still on road and the non-road bits are on compacted trail so realistically it’s not that off-roady. You wouldn’t need trail shoes for this race.
Sarah, Kyle’s mum, looked after Isaac the night before and came to ours for 7.30am to drop him off and join us. This was really handy because it meant I got a decent night’s sleep the night before. I do have to wake up in the middle of the night though to pump as I’m still breastfeeding Isaac so it’s not perfect but definitely easier.
I fed Isaac and got my porridge together and then we were off. It was about 40ish minutes away and the race started at 9.30am. The traffic to get into the race village is a little heavy but we got there with enough time for me to go for a quick wee and do the warmup.
Then we were off! Sarah and Kyle were going to try and see me during the race but I wasn’t banking on it. It’s a tricky course to spectate unless you drive or cycle around. Spoiler alert: they couldn’t find a way to see me. It was just impossible. But it didn’t stop me thinking “I might see them soon” as I was running which, while ultimately disappointing as I never saw them, was a nice motivator.
I felt very swept away with the first mile, looking at my watch and seeing 7:20s and thinking wooah there this is not sustainable. I’m not in the mindset to GO GO GO. This race was more just about enjoying it and seeing what I could do with the level of effort I want to put in. I pretty much say this about every race so I know I’m a bit of broken record by now! But that’s just how I like to run and do marathons. And I do wonder because I don’t go for a time every time I enjoy them more and can do more of them as I’m not rinsed at the end every time.
Anyway I pulled back the pace a bit and let people fly past me. Marathons are a long way and I wanted to relax a bit more early on. The first 10 miles went by without much to report. The scenery was beautiful. Gigantic trees (apparently weighing around 104 tonnes!) and gorgeous views. It was very peaceful. The marshals were really supportive and happy, so that was great.
The race organisers had said the change of course meant it was now “fast and flat”. Well between 8-9 miles it was certainly not flat! There was a slow incline up to Rhinestone House (which was beautiful) that seemed to suck the life from me. And at different points during the race I would be really questioning their “fast and flat” description. Maybe compared to last year! It certainly isn’t hilly but I wouldn’t describe it as flat. Occasionally bumpy.
I got to mile 10 and decided to put a podcast on. Recently I haven’t felt the need to listen to anything during marathons. I quite like the freedom of just running with the surrounding sounds. Sometimes listening to things during the race can put you in a little bubble away from the race atmosphere. However I was starting to feel a bit bored and the idea of 16 more miles was weighing heavily on my brain.
Don’t get me wrong, the views are beautiful and the marshals lovely, but I needed something to take my mind off the task at hand. So I popped one on and just zoned out.
It was getting really warm now, and humid. I hadn’t got anything with me because I knew there were enough water stations and from about halfway I started stopping at the water stations. Like literally stopping and getting a cup or two of water to drink. They were using paper cups (yay for sustainability!) and I didn’t’ want to try and run and drink because I was getting very thirsty and I knew I wouldn’t take in enough otherwise.
After halfway my mood started to sink. I was mentally struggling. Maybe it was the humidity or maybe it was just one of those days, but I found my pace dropping a bit. It just felt really hard, and finding it hard made me feel demotivated. I’ve run marathons before! I’ve done solid training! What’s going on! But this is why the marathon is so challenging, anything can happen and it doesn’t matter how many you’ve done. It’s still a long way and you’re only human.
I needed a wee as well and I couldn’t see any toilets on the course so I decided to duck into a bush. In doing that I put my foot straight into a soggy bog… ah wonderful. I had my wee and then got back mile 19. This was amazing! I’d somehow glazed over a mile. I can’t tell you what this did to my mood.
Now I was in a whole different head space. Suddenly the end was in sight – I could absolutely do this. I switched the podcast to music and BOOM I was good to go. It was like someone had injected lightening up my bum.
It’s crazy how suddenly my body didn’t feel so tired and demotivated as before. When I got to 20 miles I was feeling in a great place. Knowing I had only 10k to go – I could definitely do this. It helped that there was a great downhill at mile 21. My legs ached and were tired, of course, but I knew I could push through to the end.
I definitely could have had an easier time at the end had I just kept the pace nice and chilled but after I had started getting faster I was like “well I can’t slow down now!”. So I had to ride that pain train. I passed a few people who cheered me on which was nice and the supporters on the route were lovely. I tried to keep a smile on my face as much as I could because, ages ago, I remember reading about fooling your body into thinking everything was OK if you smiled (don’t quote me on that research, ha!). But also it encourages supporters to give you a big cheer so that was nice.
We had now joined the half marathoners which meant a bit of weaving in and out of runners. This involved more concentration that just head down pushing forward. Finally we got to the race village and I could see the finish line. I put some more welly into it and got going. My legs were BURNING. The finish line had a good crowd of supporters lined up along it so that was amazing. They were all cheering and that hugely helped. I saw Kyle and he shouted me on too.
As I almost got to the end I started to feel a little sick, probably due to the effort I was exerting, and I suddenly got a big whiff of a burger van nearby and I honestly thought I was going to throw up! Luckily, thank god, I didn’t. Whew!
My time was 3:24:37. I am SO over the moon as I really thought my race was nosediving in the middle. I actually thought I’d be closer to 3:30+ than a sub 3:30. I’m really really pleased. Especially for a race that I had zero expectations for. It’s one of my faster times (6th fastest in actual fact).
It’s a little annoying that it isn’t a full 26.2 miles on my watch but I’m assuming that’s because of the trees and satellites. I had the same issue last time, and that was a different course. Hey ho!
I met someone I knew from Instagram and we had a nice chat, so that was cool, and then I found Kyle, Isaac and Sarah. Ahh it was so lovely to be reunited and have a cuddle with my little man!
Apparently he’d had a great time enjoying crawling about the place, eating ice cream and spending time with his Nana (and dad of course!). A big thank you to them 🙂 I’m very lucky to have such patient and supportive family who are happy to come and join me when I do my races.
So all in all, a tough but enjoyable day. I’m glad I got myself out of my funny headspace mid-way through the race and finished with a smile on my face. Though my legs were certainly feeling more achy than I’d anticipated!
Do you prefer trail or road races?
Have you had a race where you’ve dipped but then brought it back later?
I‘ve previously done this race a few years ago when I was pacing my friend Mike to get a sub-4 hour marathon (we missed the goal, but had a great race regardless).
I’ve been training for this race for about 12 weeks or so and feel like I’m in good shape. Not PB shape or anywhere close, but hopefully looking for a comfortable race where I can maybe push the pace a bit to see what I can do. Apparently they’ve changed the course from last time and it’s “fast and flat”. Well we will see! It definitely wasn’t fast and flat when I ran it last time.
My training has gone really well. Kyle has also been marathon training as he has a place for the October London Marathon. We’ve gone on lots of long runs together which has been really nice. I do love a solo long run listening to my favourite podcasts but I love running with Kyle as well, even if he’s a little grumpy about it 😉 It has meant though a lot of planning with regards to Isaac.
Normally once a week Isaac goes to either my mum’s or Kyle’s mum overnight over the weekend and we use that time wisely for us getting out the next morning to get our run done. Though sometimes we’ve had to tag team parenting and do our runs separately.
We’ve also had a few trips which have meant juggling around. For example, we went to Cardiff for a weekend a few weeks ago. I wanted to show Kyle around where I went to university (I did psychology there) and we also had a fun Pizza 10k race on the Sunday.
After a lovely Saturday moseying around and eating everything in sight (love that they have a Mrs Potts Chocolate House in Cardiff now!), we decided to run 10 miles Sunday morning before the race so we could get our 16 mile long run done. As the race didn’t start until 10.30am we had stacks of time beforehand.
Our 10 miles was lovely. We got to see more of the city and I could really show Kyle around. Though I did manage to trip over in Cardiff Bay and cut my knee open! It was a bit of a bloody mess but thankfully I was OK to continue running, though it did look a bit of a state.
We got to the Pizza 10k in enough time to get it cleaned up by the first aid team and then we were off.
It was a great race doing two laps around Bute Park – a park I knew so well from my time at university. I felt really strong and managed to push the pace quite a bit. I even managed to nab second female!
For this training cycle I’ve managed to do two 18 milers, a 17 miler and a few 16 milers. I never really go over 18 miles as I generally find that’s enough for me. I’ve been running three 10ks during the week, a parkrun and then the long run Sunday. Some of the runs have been with the running buggy and that’s hugely helped my strength.
My strength training has actually fallen to the wayside a bit as time has just run out. I know it’s not a great thing to miss as it’s how I try and stay uninjured, but life happens. I’ve been managing once a week, which is better than nothing. I do about 5 minutes worth of resistance band training while I wait for my porridge in the microwave which works my glutes. Usually before each run I do this too. In my eyes it’s about consistency and what you can squeeze in. Little and often helps massively.
Makes running tough going, as I’m sure you’re aware. Ideally you want to get out early before the sun is in full beam. For us that’s quite hard because Isaac dictates our mornings. We wake up when he wakes up and this can be anywhere from 5am to 7am. Either Kyle or I can head out separately whenever or we can head out as a three with Isaac in the running buggy.
It really depends how the night has gone and what the weather is like. If it isn’t too hot I’ll run him to nursery (meaning I leave at 8am). If it’s too hot and Isaac has woken up very early we’ll head out at 6.30am or 7am. It’s a fun juggling act!
I’d love to be sure that Isaac is going to wake up at a certain time (7am would be amazing obviously) and get out and run before he wakes up. But that’s tough with the uncertainty and the fact that he’s usually still waking up 1-2 times a night, making it a tough ask to get up before he’s awake and lose that valuable sleep!
But anyway, the hot weather makes running hard work, with or without a small human! It’s important to hydrate (water and electrolytes), keep to the shade, not go out when the sun is at its strongest and to adjust your expectations for a run (i.e. don’t go out thinking you’re going to smash a speed session perfectly).
Wearing the right kit helps too. Something airy and not too heavy. As you probably know, I’m a big fan of adidas and have reviewed a variety of their clothing before. I was recently sent some more items and it’s perfect timing for the weather.
I was sent two sports bras and asides from being gorgeous, they’re perfect to just wear with shorts and avoid double layers.
The first sports bra is very simple, just plain black but I love how smooth the lines are. Fittingly, it’s called the Ultimate Bra. It’s very comfortable. It has a lovely cross-back as well which works perfectly with so many of my running tops.
As someone who has recently gone up a few cup sizes (thank you Isaac) I’ve been needing sports bra with more support now. Previously I could get away with sports bras that were basically crop tops, but now this is now the case! This sports bra is perfect for running. And because it’s so simple and chic looking, it means it looks quite nice to wear out with a pair of shorts.
His old shoes were pretty much falling apart so this was ideal. We both walk a lot – whether that’s walking Alfie, walking with the pram (invariably to get Isaac to nap!) or just a nice walk down to the beach, so the trainers are perfect for both of us. Kyle’s quite fussy with his trainers but he loved these. He’s got quite big feet but said they fit great and were really comfortable.
So we’re summer ready with items! As I always say, adidas is one of my favourite sportswear brand. It’s quality stuff and I can never fault them Their running items have always lasted me ages.
This weekend we’re off to Cardiff for a nice weekend away. We have the 10k Pizza Run which will be fun on the Sunday and plan to run beforehand to get in some more miles to make it a long run. We’re not taking Isaac which is bittersweet. I ummed and arred about leaving or taking him but in the end because it’s such a flying visit it seemed easier for everyone involved for him to stay at his Nana’s.
Hopefully the weather won’t be a scorcher like it was last weekend but we shall see. Either way I’ve got the kit ready to go!
Do you enjoy running in summer?
What’s your tip for keeping cool in the heat?
**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the items for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my (and Kyle’s) own honest ones**
Happy Friday! I have a great article today about improving your fitness and how to stay motivated. Enjoy!
Anyone who wants to have a better approach to fitness will need to know about some of the major ways you can achieve this. The truth is that it is always possible to improve your fitness, and just appreciating that possibility is an important first step for a lot of people. However, if you are keen to really get to the bottom of how you can improve your fitness, there are a lot of things you might want to bear in mind. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the things you can do to ensure that you are keeping your fitness in tact as best as you can.
Sign Up For Classes
One of the best ways to improve your fitness is to work on your commitment to it, and a good way of doing that is to sign up for some classes. If you have a few fitness classes to look forward to, then you are going to be much more likely to keep on with your fitness regime, and that will mean that you get much better results from it on the whole. Signature fitness classes could be a good place to start, as you are likely to get a lot out of them each and every time.
Keep A Routine
Routine is very much what this is all about. If you are capable of sticking to a routine, you are going to notice huge improvements in your fitness in no time, and it’s the kind of thing that you will be able to build on more and more as time goes on. Keeping a routine in this way is really important because you are showing yourself that you really care, and that it is important you are going to keep on with it. So make sure that you develop a routine you can enjoy and make full use of.
It might sound like something of a cliche, but you are going to want to set yourself some goals so that you are more likely to keep on track with regard to your fitness. Having some clear goals that you are happy to follow can really make a world of difference, and it’s the kind of thing that you will need to work on as well, because some goals are better than others in this regard. So, make sure that you set yourself some goals, and that you are doing all you can to follow them as best as possible. That is going to help you a lot.
Find The Joy
Finally, you need to make sure that you are finding the joy in whatever you want to do. As long as you are enjoying it, that is all that matters. This means that you should therefore seek out fitness regimes and exercises which you really love, and make a point of following them as clearly as possible. If you can do that, you are going to find that your fitness is a lot better on the whole.