My road to Boston 2016

OK, I’m fully aware I’m risking things by dedicating a post to the subject of marathon training and my upcoming race… but here we go. Finger’s crossed I’m not jinxing anything.

I qualified for the Boston marathon last year at the Liverpool marathon and it was one of my favourite races of the year, if not ever (though it battles with the Cakeathon for that one…).IMG_1483

To qualify for Boston I needed a comfortable sub 3:35 to get in. Boston works on a tier entry system, so by qualifying either by over 20 minutes or 10 minutes, you have a good chance of getting in. Luckily my time was 3:24:06 which meant I could enter in the second tier of entries, guaranteeing me a place.

After doing some base-building through December, marathon training has fully begun now. Currently I’m about 14 weeks out from the race date. I won’t be doing week by week check-ins on my blog as I find these are really only interesting for the author (unless you want me to…?) and it’s really tempting fate to give me an injury. (I’m on Strava if you want to see all my runs though and I post a lot to Instagram).

My goals: Obviously a PB would be amazing. However, I’m not going to aim and train for one. I’d like to enjoy the atmosphere, soak in the sights and not risk injury. I’m going to Boston with my mum (my dad would come too but he can’t due to work) and we’re going to head to Cape Cod afterwards and not being injured would really help both of our enjoyments 😉 Plus it’s such an iconic race I’d like to remember it and not be watch-watching. The course is supposed to be quite challenging as well so letting off some pressure will help me enjoy it a bit more. Also, the worst thing (aside from injury) would be to finish the race feeling disappointed I hadn’t hit a certain time.

The plan: I’m loosely following the training plan I used for Liverpool as it seemed to work so well. But I won’t be sticking to it religiously as already I have different races and events coming up that means things are being tweaked. Ideally I’ll be running four times a week: a speed session (hills or intervals – probably going to be hills rather than intervals if I’m honest as that’s my preference), a medium run (6-8 miles), parkrun and a long run. I’m hoping to run 18 miles two or three times with possibly the Meon Plod 21 mile race (a hilly trail race, not to be raced!). My mileage will probably peak 35-40 miles but only briefly. Most of my weeks will be 25-30 miles. My body likes that best and I know I don’t need tons of mileage to run a marathon (at least to run the times I’m currently happy with).

Added extras: My love affair with the gym continues strong. I was able to maintain gym visits with Liverpool so I’m hoping to do the same. At the moment I’m gyming 4-5 times a week. It’s highly likely to drop to three sessions. Superfluous sessions which are purely for my own enjoyment and aesthetic purposes, like shoulders and arms, will be the first to go. I hope to maintain a legs, glutes and back day (with core work) as I find they’re very beneficial to running.IMG_6754Nutrition: All the cake all the time… 😉

And that’s it really. Obviously there is a fair amount of pressure to NOT GET INJURED as an expensive holiday (and expensive race) is on the cards here and my mum is coming with me. But if the worst comes to the worst and I do get injured and really cannot run the race, we’ll still go but just go to Cape Cod sooner rather than spend the time in Boston itself. I’m going to try and be sensible though and do most of my training (apart from interval sessions and parkruns) on my own as that way I can manage my own paces and stick to my plan. It worked for Liverpool so I’m hoping it will work again!

Are you aiming to run any specific races this year?

Where are you going on holiday?

Have you ever been to Boston before?

Rants and Raves #20

My passport has not yet arrived…

Edited to add: I was literally about to post this (I wrote it yesterday) when an update occurred! 

Basically I got to work, got a text from the passport people to say it would arrive “within a few days” and panicked. People at work suggested I rang them, which I did. The passport person informed me it would arrive today and that I might need to sign for it (though it’s unlikely) so I quickly left the office to come back home to work from home. I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am to have such a lovely and caring place of work to allow me to do this. No arrival as of yet!

Rant turned into a rave: Before knowing the above, I’d decided to focus on the positives of the outcome of not going to Iceland if my passport didn’t arrive in time. I could do a half marathon that’s part of our club league on Sunday (Solent half marathon). I’ve done it before but a couple of years ago and it’s nice and scenic, quite small and I can just use it to “womble” round as my last long run before the marathon. I can also use the extra weekend to get more stuff sorted for the move. I can go to parkrun on Saturday. It won’t be all doom and gloom (though it will royally suck). BUT FINGER’S CROSSED!

Rave: Getting into the Boston marathon 2016!

Boston marathon 2016 acceptance email

The Boston marathon is a bucket list race for me. It’s part of the World Marathon Majors, of which I’ve already done Berlin. I was going to run London next year (I deferred my GFA place from last year) but when I got a Boston qualifier in the Liverpool marathon I suddenly thought I could apply and just go. Yes it’s an expensive race in itself (just over £150!) and then the flights and accommodation…it makes it a costly affair. But I thought “sod it”. I’m the master of my own destiny, as they say, and at this point in my life I need to make selfish decisions while I can. I qualified by over 11 minutes which meant I was almost guaranteed a place as I could enter in the second wave of registrations (it’s a stepped registration process with the faster runners getting places first). I night not qualify again, they might change their qualifying times, I might get injured (could still happen)…best to do it now! Anyway I’m hugely excited. My mum is likely to come with me and support which will be fantastic. We’ll probably make it into a 8-9 day holiday to make the most of being there as well.

Rant: Having limited furniture! I gave away my sofa to the British Heart Foundation (so handy, a great way to get rid of furniture still in good condition) and sold my dining table and chairs.

Moving house

Handy having a bean bag!

This has left me with nowhere to eat dinner or work. When I worked from home on Monday it became clear someone else had noticed a change and wasn’t too happy with just having a blanket to sit on (he doesn’t use his bed for some reason).

Moving house Alfie

And speaking of Alfie, I found this old photo of him:


What a mess! He looks ridiculous. I can’t believe we ever let his fur get so long and scruffy haha.

Rave: A last coffee with my mum in my house before I move (well, I think so anyway!).

Coffee with mum

My parents came back from their holiday in Antigua at the weekend and my mum popped over after work one evening to show off her tan to catch up. For some reason she didn’t want to sit on my bean bag and opted for the floor instead 😉 You can’t beat a coffee and a catch up with your mum.

Rant: I cleaned my oven and fridge. Neither were particularly awful but they were a pain. I can only hope my flat has a clean oven and fridge but I can’t be certain. I just think it’s polite to leave things nice. I’m such a clean freak I’ll probably get someone in to give the flat a deep clean anyway though (it won’t cost much as the place is tiny, I just hate the thought of using a bathroom someone else has used). With my current house it was great because it was a new build so everything was brand new. To be fair though the flat is fairly new and it can’t be as bad as the house we lived in during university…*shudders*.

Rave: One good thing about moving is that I won’t miss the cats on my road. SO MANY CATS. That said, I think I have a soft spot for the grumpy-looking one.

Grumpy cat

Rant: I dropped my favourite glass salad bowl on the floor (it’s probably more accurate to call it a mixing bowl, but I don’t bake and eat salads a lot more…). Sad times. A glass shard hit the top of my foot and caused a nasty gash. There ensued the race against time of trying to staunch the blood while keeping Alfie out of the way of the glass and trying to stop him licking my foot (gross, I know). Nothing serious but it bled a lot. And FYI, blister plasters do not work on cuts.

Rave: Though when Ben first got this ENORMOUS tub of protein powder I was aghast. But now I’m using protein powder (after my morning gym sessions and after my runs at work) it’s very handy he’s leaving it behind.

Protein powder

It’s not the greatest protein powder in the world for sure, but it’ll do for now! I still like my soya one though. It’s just like chocolate milk.

Rant: Running has been tough. I have to say though that I will take “tough” over niggly or injured any day. But I just feel tired, lethargic and demotivated. I still love running and enjoy it but it just feels so much harder. I know I’m close to burning out so I just need to get to the marathon (not long now) and then take a break. No more marathons this year! It just feels depressing to compare similar runs from before Liverpool (when my training was going so well) to now…

Matched runs Strava

(Follow me on Strava if you want!)

My usual 6 mile route was better than last week but still not as great as previously, and it feels it as well. But peaks and troughs happen and I’m just grateful to not be injured. So I’ll stop moaning.

What’s your next holiday?

Do you use protein powder? Do you have a favourite brand or type of protein (whey, hemp, soy, etc.)?

Would you ever spend a lot of money (relatively speaking) on a race?