Training and food lately

I know I start 90% of my posts about the weather, but I’m British soo… It is raining ridiculous amounts at the moment. I realise I’m extremely lucky to not live in any part of the UK that has flooding risks or issues, or places in America that were snowed under, but I can only comment on where I am right now. And it’s soggy to say the least.

Despite the rain and wind, I went out after work and did some hill training on Tuesday evening. I’d wussed out last week to do this specific hill because it’s not lit at all. It’s a long path off the main road and there are no street lights along it so it’s actually really hard to run up it without any light as it winds and turns. I don’t normally run in a headtorch unless I’m trail running when it’s dark, but I needed it for the hill.IMG_7854

Despite the rain, the shorts are back in action – as is my new Forever21 ‘Focused’ top (light and waterproof)

I’ve mentioned this hill before in this post, but basically it’s a12% incline for over 0.2 miles, which usually lasts about 3 minutes. It’s a beast. There’s a Strava segment on it as well and I love to test my fitness to see how well I’m currently running.

I did a mile warm-up then ran up and down the hill three times. I’d planned on four but three was enough! I had my music going (the only way I can survive a solo speed session) and just focused on my form (swing arms, use my bum, look ahead), trying to ignore the pain. The rain was pounding down but I was oblivious to it. I then continued on with my hilly route to make a total of six miles. Honestly, this run was awesome. OK it was painful and tiring but for whatever reason I felt like I was flying. I felt like my form was on point (or as on point as I can achieve!!) and like I was cutting through the rain. When I checked back to my splits and the hill segment I found I’m doing nicely in gaining back my speed. I’m not at my fastest for the hill but I’m getting there.

I love this about marathon training (when I get it right that is…). Seeing the progress, even if it’s tiny, is just so motivating each week. For me the two important things that really help my running are hill training and long runs. I’m always a bit weary of intervals and, whether justified or not, I feel like I dice with injury with them. But with hills I feel I get stronger.

Another important factor for me for marathon training is maintaining my strength work. I know I say this so often but my glute, leg and core work are really important for me to remain uninjured. This involves lifting heavy weights to keep my body strong; big compound moves like squats and deadlifts help strengthen not just your legs but your core and posterior chain. And the more running-specific moves, like wall sits, glute kickbacks, crab walks and box jumps help too. For me the strength side of things isn’t to increase my power or speed, it’s to keep me healthy. It’s also a something I thoroughly enjoy doing – who’d have thought?! Fabletics leggings

I know my focus shouldn’t be on how much I can lift and squat but there is something so empowering about increasing your weights or reps. It’s also, in a weird way, a nice comfort to know I have the love of lifting to fall back to if running and me have another fall out (*touch wood* I don’t!).

I just need to make sure I don’t burn out. Nutrition is a big factor in this and I can assure you, I’m eating lots of good nutritious food. For one thing I’m on a culinary exploration of all the cheeses. So far I’m in love with Stilton… but Camembert and Brie make regular appearances. I’ve found some nice cheese from MuscleFood as well (the French Chevre and Lincolnshire Poacher).Cheese

Lately a lot of my dinners have been fairly simple with meat, veg and cheese. And honestly, I’m loving it!

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Most of my carbs happen earlier in the day: porridge for breakfast and with my lunch at work I have my standard popcorn (home-popped with salt and pepper). I’m not a huge carb eater, as I’ve said a few times on the blog. I don’t eat a lot of bread unless it’s good stuff at a restaurant and I don’t eat pasta. It works for me though!

Tonight I have an easy 5 mile planned, then parkrun on Saturday and a 16 mile run planned Sunday. The long runs are getting longer! Speaking of long runs… In a couple of a weeks I head to my grandad’s in Wales, who I’ve visited a few times. That weekend I had an 18 mile run planned and I mentioned it to him and asked if he had any ideas of good routes. He came back with this:Boston marathon prep

He planned an 18 mile route that compared to the Boston marathon course elevation!! How amazing is that?? I’m so pleased. He’s also offered to cycle alongside me to help navigate and provide a bit of support. I mean, can you get better than that? This is my 82 year old grandfather by the way, who has his own Strava account capturing his regular walks up and down the nearby hills of Llandudno. Yep.

How do you plan your really long runs? Do you go anywhere interesting?

Carbs, protein or fat? What’s your favourite? Unsurprisingly mine is protein!

What do you prefer: intervals or hills?

13 thoughts on “Training and food lately

  1. So you not only ran a beast of a hill, but you did it in the dark AND the rain? ARE YOU INSANE? You might actually just be my hero 🙂
    Glad to see that you are progressing in every aspect of your training – not just running!! Totally love your leggings btw 😉
    Kat recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #71My Profile

  2. Well done on your hill run! I can’t believe how awful the weather has been this year – I was a lot luckier this time last year when I was training for the London Marathon. I’m not a big carb fan either – although I am looking forward to bread when I have afternoon tea at the weekend! x
    LilyLipstick recently posted…Salad Secrets – Eat Well Feel GoodMy Profile

  3. How lovely of your Grandad! Amazing for him to plan it out for you. Planning runs is hard- I have routes that I know and ended up using map my run to add bits on. I wanted to run back from parkrun one day, but when I looked at the roads on google maps there were no pavements, so I could not work out how to do it. I am terrible at getting lost, so sometimes I just do an out and back, as then it’s easy to know when to turn around. Although I much prefer the look of a loop on a map/ Strava!
    Well done for the hill run too- I did that two weeks ago on Wednesday (well, not quite, but I ran a mile to a hill, up and down it 6 times, then home, and that was 4 miles in total I think)- I had planned to do it again each week but was unwell last week and missed my run, and then this week didn’t feel great so just had a gentle run. But that’s the plan as I think they make me stronger too, and I tend to avoid them otherwise!
    Hmm, the macro thing is hard- I do like porridge for breakfast, but if I have a carb heavy lunch like a sandwich I get a bit sleepy in the afternoon- I am better with a salad with some lentils or something in there for protein. I would miss porridge too much I think.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…ComFit foodsMy Profile

    • Luckily round where my parents live I have a good solid route that can be easily extended so it can be anything from 6 miles to 17 miles because there are so many roads. It’s also lovely because it’s so near the sea so the views are always pleasant, even if the weather isn’t!
      Yes I’d definitely miss my porridge if I didn’t have it in the morning!
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Excessive cake and surviving long runsMy Profile

  4. I’ve definitely noticed a big difference now that I am incorporating hills more regularly, I used to avoid them at all costs, but now I do a long session each week. There’s one hill on my route that is 14% incline and it’s a beast- I tend to avoid that one haha! I’m just planning out my long run tomorrow- have a good one! Weather is not looking great for it here! I’m definitely a carbs fan- I love fruit, oats, brown rice, buckwheat and all beans/lentils! Although I’m a big fan of good fats too, love nuts, avocado and coconut.
    Lauren (@poweredbypb) recently posted…2016 GoalsMy Profile

  5. How awesome is your grandad! Love that he even planned out a route to match the elevation of your race!
    I wish I was as dedicated as you to strength training- it’s the bit I tend to skip when I’m squeezed on time, which is so naughty… Trying to build better habits by committing to 20 minutes of strength and mobility work every day in Lent- not huge, but hopefully it’ll make a difference more than doing a full hour once a month or so!
    Sarah recently posted…#LimberLentMy Profile

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