What a difference preparation makes

Hello, here we are at another Monday. I’d like people to stop talking about autumn please, we’re still in summer! But depressingly when my alarm for the gym goes off in the morning at 5am it’s now dark. It’s so much harder to get up…I might have to get my special alarm clock working (the one that lights up gradually to help you ‘naturally’ wake up).

Saturday was a lovely hot sunny morning, not especially great for running but it’s always a bit more jolly. Nobody is stood shivering dreading the start where they have to take off their nine million layers. I’ve recently been sent some lovely ASICS gear from The Running Bug for their #PoundTheRoad campaign with ASICS and Intersport. The trainers they sent are the new Gel-Glorify, which are perfect for long distance running as they have the gel cushioning in the front and back with a springy midsole.

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Along with the trainers I was sent a technical technical T-shirt , shorts and socks all by ASICS. My friend joked at parkrun that it was like I was sponsored by ASICS! I’ll do a full review on the products later on but it was all good quality and the shoes felt lovely and springy, a bit like Adidas Boosts. Not necessarily as light as Boosts but more ideal for long distance running.

I realised when I got to the parkrun (my local one is Netley Abbey) I’d forgotten my Garmin. Whoops! I don’t think I’ve done that in ages. I wasn’t hugely bothered as it’s quite nice to run without a watch once in a while (very freeing) but at the same time, I’m a stats lover. In the end I decided to use the Strava app on my phone to record the run, but hold it with the screen off as I ran.

It was a tough hot run but I managed to maintain consistent 7min/miles without looking at my time. Normally I do spectacular negative splits at parkrun so I’m quite chuffed. I got 21:27 and second female so not too shabby! It was very hot though. I suppose that’s a good thing as it’s good training for next weekend’s marathon – which doesn’t start until 11am!

The rest of the day was spent seeing my parents and my sister, Rachel. This involved building a Wendy house for my nieces, Meg and Ellie. It was quite amusing as no one in our family, my father especially, is blessed with DIY skills. But it was a success in the end. And obviously I had to see what it was like inside.

Wendy house

My dad snapped a photo and joked that this was my new home. Well, it had a cooker and a fireplace in there (albeit fake ones…) 😉 I’d have loved this as a kid!

Family photo 2015

It was nice to see Rach as we don’t meet up that often (she works different days to me). We’re so different it’s unreal but we always have a laugh when we catch up.

That evening I went out for dinner at a family friend’s house with my parents. My parents were chuffed as it meant they had a designated driver (though I think they somewhat regretted that the next day when they were both feeling slightly fragile).

The host, Sue, asked  me about my running and asked when my next race was. I said it was a marathon next weekend and she asked “how long was that one?”. I laughed because I thought she was joking, but she wasn’t. She genuinely hadn’t a clue. I felt mean having laughed and explained it was 26.2miles. I forget that not everyone is as obsessed and wrapped up in running as me and need to remember not to be quite so quick to judge. There are so many other sports (and things in general) that I haven’t a clue about that other people are passionate about and the marathon really isn’t that mainstream (apart from London perhaps).

Sunday morning I wanted a bit of a lie-in after the late night but woke up at 7.40am. This was probably a good thing as I had planned to run 10-14 miles in Queen Elizabeth Country Park and it was already feeling warm. QECP is very hilly, off-road and beautiful. After some sound advice from my friend, Mark, I decided to run a set time rather than distance because my pace would be all over the place with the hills and there was no point saying I’d run 14 miles if it took me forever (not ideal a week before!).

Hydration preparation

And unlike last weekend’s disastrous run, I wore my hydration belt, a running visor and took water with me in the car. Not going to be dehydrated this time! I also took a little carton of chocolate milk with me to refuel quickly after running. I don’t think my nutritional strategies for refuelling has been that great recently so need to get on top of that if I don’t want to wake up exhausted and drained the next day. Mary always talks about how good chocolate milk is post-run so I decided to give it a go. I find that I never really eat enough the day of a long run as my meals are so pushed back because of my later morning. Chocolate milk would be an easy way to get in those lost calories quickly (and hello, it’s tasty).

I had no real route but new I wanted to start by going up Butser Hill which is a fairly nasty hill.

IMG_0303 This is an old photo but you can see Butser Hill in the distance

Honestly as I got to the actual hill my pace slowed right down. Though I don’t intend on running the hills at Cheddar Gorge, I did want to run the hills here. My intention was to find as many hills as I could to make it a horrifically hard and hilly run so next week’s race won’t be quite such a shock. At the steepest parts my pace was around 14 minute miles. I was barely running faster than people walking up the hill. But I pushed through.

You get to a gate and think you’ve made it but it just keeps going up and up. Eventually I got to the top and continued on. I ran different trail routes randomly and was really enjoying myself. Such a free feeling and beautiful views. I then ran down the other side of the hill which was ridiculously steep. That route headed off further from Butser Hill but I wanted to keep within QECP so when I got to somewhere near the bottom I turned around and went back up. SO hard.

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Because I was running quite slowly (if you can even call it that!) I managed to snap a photo of how steep it was. As hard as it was though I really enjoyed it and every straight section felt like a dream. The miles flew by!

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I was running around with a smile on my face as the views were just incredible. Taking photos while running is tricky business though…

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Not sure what was going on there! ^^

Running selfie

I then headed back down Butser Hill to the other side of QECP to go around the trails there. It was still very undulating and tough going but cooler under some trees and shade.

CaptureI aimed for around two hours worth of running (a nice round number and around the time it would take me to run 14 miles on the flat). I also managed to fill my water bottles up again at the tap near the cafe which was just such a luxury! I plan on doing this at the water stations during the marathon and my dad is planning on giving me some more water at some point as well (bless him).

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I had one mile to go when I got back to the car park and decided to finish by running up Butser Hill again. I didn’t go past the gate this time as that was already half a mile and then ran back down – a great way to finish the run! What was fantastic was I felt I could carry on at the end of the run. It was exactly what I needed in order to boost my confidence for the Cheddar Gorge marathon. I’m under no illusions that it’s going to be unbelievably tough though – who knows if I’ll even complete it, and I’m honestly not just saying that or sand bagging! Nothing is a given in marathons. Especially not hilly, off-road and potentially very hot ones.

Anyway I felt really good for the rest of the day. Tired, obviously, but not drained and no headache in sight. I felt like I had hydrated perfectly and this really reflected in my energy levels for the rest of the day. No nap required! Just got to replicate this next week…

How was your weekend?

What toys do you wish you had when you were younger that are around now?

Do you have any siblings – are they similar to you?

16 thoughts on “What a difference preparation makes

  1. Wow – those views are incredible. I would have spent half my time stopping to take photos.

    My brother and I hated each other up until I was about 13 and he got me in to rock music. We were really close for about 10 years, and were more like friends that siblings, but since moving away we don’t speak as often as I would like. He has 2 kids, and we live very different lives, so I guess it is hard to relate to each other sometimes.
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on I’m Coming To America by DanniiMy Profile

  2. What stunning views! Well done for running in the heat too – its great that you have had a good confidence boost for next weekend.
    Love the asics gear! I love their shoes, and bought a cool Hawaii pineapple asics vest here to remind me of the lovely runs.
    I am very different to my brother and sister, I don’t see my sister much as we don’t really have much in common, and I see my brother for runs which is nice. He is more similar to me, liking music ( although generally heavier stuff like metal) and football. I see Andy’s brothers and their wives more ( each brother has a wife ,not sure how to word it!), as we have more similar outlooks.
    Maria recently posted…Breakfasts and BuzzingMy Profile

  3. Chocolate milk = winning! 😛
    I do love Asics, especially their shoes. I’m rotating between four pairs at the minute for both trail and road.
    My brother and I can be close, although I don’t see him very often as he lives back in Norfolk. He’s helped me out a couple of times recently (like when I moved house) which I see as payback for all the years I drove him into town to meet up with his friends when he was younger! We don’t have very much in common at all though.
    What a beautiful (but challenging!) route. Perfect prep for next weekend. 🙂
    Mary recently posted…Slotting some speedwork into the planMy Profile

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