TFW – Past Half Way!

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I’m now over half way into my Training for Warriors programme! Ohhh it’s so sad. I don’t wanna say that I’ve love(d) the programme – past tense, because we do still have a couple of weeks to go. But I have loved it. Up to this point it has been such a great experience. I’ve pushed myself mentally and physically.

Actually, I want to talk a bit about that. People will often tell you that mental challenges are good, and that they help you to see how far you can push yourself. Don’t get me wrong, to some extent I agree with that. There’s a lot of truth hidden behind cliche phrases, and I think the phrase, ‘there’s no growth in the comfort zone’ is insanely applicable in life. But it comes with constraints. What happens when you push yourself to your limit, and you still aren’t good enough? Let’s not be naive here, it happens. Cliche number two: ‘be comfortably uncomfortable.’ I feel like the moment of positive change is a sweet spot on a sliding scale. At one end of the scale there’s your ultimate comfort zone – I dunno, eating Chinese whilst watching Gilmore Girls or whatever your equivalent is. At the other end, there’s the zone that is so uncomfortable  that it cripples you. Somewhere in the middle, is that sweet spot where you’re a long fucking way from any prawn crackers, but you aren’t so far away that the level of discomfort is preventing you from moving forward. For me, that was getting up on a Saturday morning to run 16 miles knowing full well I’d hate every minute that took place past mile 6, and give myself hell for a poor performance for the rest of the week, so by the time next Saturday came round I’d be just ever so slightly more miserable than before, and the cycle would repeat.

TFW has so far been pretty fucking sweet spot centric. I’ve done things I didn’t even think were possible for me, but because of the environment you’re in and the supportive nature of the group, it seems much more realistic. Like, the other day we did pull ups. I definitely had help, but fucking pull ups. Who knew? A couple of weeks ago I also learned how to get on a treadmill whilst it’s already running – and I didn’t break any limbs or anything!!!

TFW  has allowed me to become part of a group of people who just want to improve themselves. We’re a pretty diverse group of people and I guess we all have different things we want to achieve from the programme. I just wanted to feel confident again. I’m not going to lie and say I’m all the way there. I’m a long way away from slaying like one of Ru Paul’s drag queens, but I do feel better about myself.

I guess this post is pretty gushy and I’m not sure it has a real point other than to update on my progress so far. I’ve not had mid way measurements done or anything. I wanted to wait until the end and see the extent of my progress. I’m not sure it will be massive because it will only have been 8 weeks, and I’ve definitely had a couple of cheat meals here and there, but still. I feel like I’m turning a corner.

It’s about time.

 

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LDN Marathon Training: Week 1

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It’s a little over a week since I made the big announcement via my 3082 social media platforms that I’ve been lucky enough to snag a place on the London Marathon. After I’d posted that blog, the marathon was basically all I could think about for the next 48 hours. It’s a weird feeling. Running 26.2 miles feels incredibly abstract right now, but at the same time, the fear is very (x1000) real, so I’m training my big old bum off.

The first week of training was not without a hiccup or two. Typically my running shoes have chosen now to flake out on me. Seemingly, they aren’t as keen on achieving life goals as I am. Lets just say I have become very good friends with Compede blister plasters.Hopefully I can get to a running shop this weekend to replace my old Nike’s. RIP Nike’s. It’s been real.

Speaking of Nike, I used the Nike+ app to formulate a training programme. It’s quite cool, you put in your the date and distance of your race and it puts together a weekly schedule for you to follow. Pleasingly, my first training day (Monday) was scheduled as a rest day. Wahey! That’s what I’m talking about!

When Tuesday did come round, I did my first training run of 3 miles without too much hassle. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of interval training with short bouts of sprinting/walking/sprinting/walking, so cardio wise running 3 miles straight felt like quite a different beast – and it’s without too much shame I admit I did have to stop for a walking breather mid way. I think I did alright though. I mean, I completed the run without having to call for a paramedic or anything, so you know. Bonus.

On Wednesday however, about half way through my second training run I could feel that stupid, irritating burn of a blister forming underneath me. Seriously?! For the love of God. I just about finished, but in hindsight, I probably should have quit whilst I was ahead, because on Thursday I really struggled to walk. I popped into Boots on the way home from work to get some blister plasters on the recommendation of a work colleague (cheers Liz!).

Thursday was supposed to be a cross training day, but I was really nervous of bursting my blister and coming down with a terrible case of manky foot, so I decided to give it a miss. That decision left me feeling a bit useless. This is week 1 of my training and I already had to skip a day? Not the best start. Alas. I recently heard somebody on a podcast that you have to accept your shortcomings and move on, because if you place that negativity in front of you, you’ve got to clamber over it to get to what’s on the other side, which is ultimately going to take longer to do. I felt that was quite applicable to this situation. It’s amazing how much ‘being in your own head’ can impact how well a run goes. Onward and upwards as they say!

Apart from a Friday 3 miler, which went by with relative ease, that concluded my training last week. I feel like last week was more of a light introduction for those who are getting back into the swing of things, which was ideal for me, coming off the back of an interval training phase. I’m actually midway through week 2 of my training as this goes live, but I’ll post about that next week.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far! Give yourself a firm pat on the back – I know I waffle! If you would like to sponsor me for this mammoth run, the money will be going to mental health charity, Mind. Linky linky below:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/lucy-titterton

 

The Scary First Run…

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Do you remember that first day back to school after the Summer holidays feeling? That ‘oh Jesus Christ mum, don’t make me go back to that hell hole with those monstrous kids and be taught about oxbow lakes by a hungover middle aged man who clearly hates teenagers and only took up teaching as a profession for the epic annual leave’ feeling? That is somewhat akin to how I feel about going back running, every time I have any amount of time greater than 4 days off. Which is weird, because unlike school, I actually quite like running.

Historic teen angst aside, today was my first run since my ankle started to feel too weak to run on a couple of weeks ago. I was quite literally dreading it. Thankfully, my body woke me up naturally at 4.45 so I didn’t have to endure the rather obnoxious mix of alarm tones I have (Independent Woman – Destiny’s Child, followed two minutes later by Bang Bang – Nicki, Jessie and Ari). I reluctantly squeezed myself into my Lycra, and timidly stepped out of the front door. I live half way up a bloody massive hill, so I always choose to power walk up to the top of the hill to start my workout off – at just over half a mile long, it serves nicely as a warm up for my just woken up muscles. After a few semi discreet stretches at the top of the hill, I decided to start things off gently. Today’s run was 3.5 miles according to my Nike app, and I decided to do 2 minutes of running, 2 minutes of walking all the way. And you know what? It. Felt. Awesome. 

Everything I worried about was for nothing. My ankle felt strong and healthy again, I didn’t get honked at from the white van misogynists, my lungs didn’t explode. Overall success! I was having a think about the benefits of easing myself in. I’m so pleased I did, because it’s put me in such a great frame of mind for the rest of the week. Once again, I’m looking forward to the Race for Life 10k I’m participating in on Sunday. I’m so affected when I have a rough performance. It’s so silly. I try to tell myself that even a lame workout is better than no workout, and I’ve lapped miles around the people who are still in bed; but somehow a rough workout day often leaves me feeling frustrated with a lack of progress – even when in actual fact, I have progressed – a lot. 

Human beings are silly buggers. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

The Most Irritating Running Setback

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I’ve got a bone to pick with the powers that be. If I could, I’d file a formal complaint. It just seems really unfair that a person who sets their alarm willingly for 4.45am to get up and run before work, is then cruelly struck down with a minor running injury 2.5 weeks before a race. Well..sort of. Ok so I’m not technically injured…yet. The thing is, I know my body well enough now to know that my right ankle is feeling abnormally weak. About a mile into my run today I could feel it getting weaker and weaker, to the point where it was hurting beyond the norm to carry on running. Having learned from past ‘I’ll just tough it out ’til I get home’ type mistakes, (which have resulted in ice packs and raised limbs galore), I reluctantly slowed to a walk and trudged home, screaming obscenities at my ankle, in my head.

Look, here’s the thing. I wouldn’t be so mad, but I’ve been training like a bloody Trojan for this Race for Life 10k on July 12th. I’ve said it 100 times before, and I’ll say it 100 more: I am not a natural runner. Any small amount of stamina I have, has taken not months, but years to build. Having had juvenile arthritis in my right hip between the approximate ages of 8 and 15, I didn’t have the active lifestyle most kids have; that in conjunction with a lot of terrible emotional eating meant I never really had a base level of fitness until I was in my early twenties. I’m not exaggerating when I say that when I first started exercising habitually, I couldn’t run for more than 30 seconds without gasping for breath and feeling my calf muscles burn horribly. I’m not just saying this to be dramatic and self indulgent – I’m saying it to highlight that I really have had to work bloody hard to get to the point where I can even jog 10km.

I suppose I have to look on the bright side – that’s just the way I operate. It’s better to become in tune with your body and recognise a potential problem before it becomes an actual problem. I’ve decided to sack training off this week to give my ankle a chance to recuperate. My main concern is that it isn’t something a few days rest can heal. I suppose that’s a bridge to cross if and when I come to it. Apart from that, I plan to cross my fingers very tightly and say some prayers that the ankle healing gods will look down on me and smile…and make my bloody ankle better.

Bah humbug.