Category: recovery

38 miles in 1 week… I didn’t even clock that many miles in the car

38 miles in 1 week… I didn’t even clock that many miles in the car

Ok I’m tired..  like could nap everyday for 20mins tired. Need to actually write that into the training plan in fairness. 

Run 6 miles…nap for 20mins

Run 12mile… nap for 40 minutes

Run 15mile…nap for 1 hour

See that would work well.

So here we are, another week closer and another huge collection of miles under my belt. I’ve had a more positive outlook on my miles this week- I’ve realised I am capable of running lots of them. Running honestly seems to be the only thing going right for me this week considering both my water tank packed in and a leak appeared which meant I’m now sporting 2 holes in my kitchen ceiling. Both not related to eachother just coincidently happened at the same time. When it rains, it pours  (quite literally from my ceiling)

So as you can imagine…running has become my saving grace this week to get out and manage what’s left of my patience.

Day 1: After royally screwing up my run before beginners last week. The important note of AFTER beginners do 4 mile was taken on board. Lovely 2.5 mile with the beginners followed by a jont around Newcastle with Caitriona where we both  aired our frustrations with life. Finishing up in time to cool down with the progressives group who put in a great session on the promenade.

Day 2: Intervals

This was a toughy. Although I like my intervals short and sharp ie no big milages- Dermot likes me to incorporate my intervals into the run where I’m covering a enough miles too, so nice of him isn’t it? So setting out what I worked out to be just short of 4 mile. I got stuck in. Second half of the sets was stronger than my first half. But all in all a great wee session and decided that on Wednesday I’d let the girls get tore into the same session.

Day 3: 5k easy on the plan. Perfect. Ran first mile with the girls and then they set off doing 8 sets of the planned intervals whilst I just aimed to get 5k completed. Sat nicely inbetween Brenda and Caitriona the whole way round as Laura Jane disappeared into the distance. Not too many complaints from them though at the end as they made up the last of the miles. I was being passed from all directions as I stood waiting on them to finish. Was rather amusing.

Day 4: Tempo Thursday. Same as last week and was convinced I’d done something wrong as I was 3 minutes faster than last week. Nope just seems I’ve more faith in what I can do pace wise and maintaining it. Dare I say the plan is working? 

Day 5: Rest Day. Yeah let’s name this day as the day I washed my kitchen floor so many times because of the dirt from the holes in the ceiling. 

Day 6: The Long Run 15miles

Being slightly, ok seriously deflated with life by this stage of the week, had such an impact on my outlook throughout the long run. Setting off at shortly after 7am from 12 Arches (again) I just wasn’t feeling it at all. Although miles where steady, they were all not a patch on the comfort of last week. 

I knew I’d 3 more mile to-do in addition to last week so kept justifying my pace that way. But tears rolled down my face and thankfully the rain did help mask it to a degree. With just the road and me I was feeling so lonely and emotional. At 5 mile I was met by NAC runner Patricia McKibbin out doing a wee intervals set. The brief company was welcomed as even I know I would never be able to match her pace even for a mile but was just enough to keep me going. 6mile was refuel and head off again. Completing the 6 mile in the same time as last week. So although I thought I was struggling, it was predominantly all in my head.

This week I had planned to head in towards Newcastle. I did debate doing the same route again but I was hoping to run into Joe and his crew on their long run so off I headed towards the foot of the mountains.

That’s a God awful stretch into town. Hitting the promenade I came across a few familiar smiley faces out on their Saturday run and with the sun now shining down, a few dog walkers where out and said I said morning a lot. 

With intent to run to Scott on the Rocks I didn’t have the push to take on the minor climb to the harbour so I turned at the spike and subjected myself to another lap of the Slieve Donard Hotel. At 10.5 mile I took a gel before heading back onto the Dundrum Road for the last 3rd of the run.

Always nice to see a friendly face, out popped a car from a drive way and saw it was Aoife in the passenger seat and she waved me on, but her dad didn’t see the mutual runners respect and I near went into the side of the car. Running on, unscathed and a little shaken, a toot from Nicola helped me refocus on the last 4 mile.

Because I had cut Scott on the Rocks out of my route I’d to head back towards Dundrum after passing my car though I’m getting used to the hard shoulder and cyclists being the strange voices I hear approaching – it did really scare the shit out of me last week, no joke.

Finishing the 15 mile I was broken. I was off the pace I wanted as I spent a lot of the run working out times and where I need to be at what stage to get particular times, though it’s a training run and I wasn’t running race pace so I cant overlook that in my thoughts. But I still completed 15mile and didn’t walk at any point. So small victory even if I was totally deflated.

Day 7: Recovery Run

I think even Michael is getting into this training plan. 

Him: Sure we’ll go to the Burrendale for dinner and we can run down and collect the car tomorrow as you’ve a 5k on plan. 

It ended up a solo run for me down the road as kids came home early. After my warm up it cut my distance to 2.7 mile to the Dale but not like I ran out of road. So got my 3.1 done. 

After the last time I ran that route and got slightly carried away with a 5k pb. I spent the whole distance chanting to myself…steady, steady, steady. Legs where tried and after all a very easy recovery run is meant to be just that. So I was happy to keep control the whole way and a pleasant wee run to round the week off.

So another week done. Many lessons to be learnt also with the main one being that we have to have bad runs to appreciate the good ones. 

Can’t believe I’ve managed to stick to plan religiously for 2 weeks. Legs are holding out well but mileage going up again this week. I doubt Dermot would ever set me something he didn’t think I could achieve. But for the record…hes flirting with the upper limit of mileage I can pull out in 1 week. 

7 weeks to go…


Just Stop

I have so much I want and could write about but alongside my running mojo, I am sure I have lost my writing mojo.

Nothing ground breaking has happened in life, I honestly think I have just worn out all over. My legs are in foul form and its definitely not DOMs. As I’m able to walk, I’m able to walk for miles in fact. They just have no inclination to run.

This worries me but then again I can understand why they may be in protest at me. Just over a month ago I ran a marathon, a marathon that I trained hard for, so it wasn’t a total shock to the system, my legs where ready for it. As I stood at the start line my legs felt fresh and I was dying to run. Even on reflection every good race I had last year, when I look back to the start line, I was confident my legs where ready and felt good. I don’t have that anymore. When I try to run my legs are like lead, flip sake, I cried during Parkrun. Yet it isn’t pain, it isn’t isolated, its just meh. All over heaviness and doesn’t ease, actually it intensifies.

What lingers in the back of my mind is that my “runiversary” is happening in 2 weeks. So it’ll be a year since my first race. Its a really tough 10k, one of the harder of the forest runs. I smashed it last year out of the blue. When I say smashed it, it was well above my expectations. Thing is my expectations have got higher now and as I was knocking minutes off pbs the start of 2016- 7 minutes in 3 months of my 10k to be exact. I’ve been tooting around the same time and then I had the mad notion for Dublin and times slowly dropped as distance went up.

Like I didn’t expect times to return to normal post marathon, but I did expect that I might have fresh legs and be knocking on the door of previous times by now. I did learn my lesson last year not to over think a race as it’ll only end up eating away at me. I should just enjoy it but you can’t help but want to do better than you did last year. After all I’ve ran all distances so I should be capable of much more.

Its like Parkrun on Saturday, I know I am better than 38minutes however I had nothing to give. I was that upset mid race that by 4k I had to totally empty the tank to just get it finished or I was going to break down and there was 4 minutes difference between my 4th and 5th km, though an uphill vs downhill section would have greatly affected that.

Don’t get me wrong I am loving being out walking, I’ve enjoyed some of the fabulous sights of the Mournes and unseasonably mild weather. No pressure to stick to times, just me and the path in front. Fresh air has a lot to answer for! I’ve had some great conversations with myself and also with Michael and Collette who have joined me on my travels.

See my writing mojo is lost as this is just a whole pile of jibberish and I can’t find my positives!!!

So what am I doing about it? Well I’m ranting random jibberish so that’s a start. I’ve cut back on the longer walks and the elevation gain. So just long walks on smaller hills- there is no such thing as flat walks here and I don’t like walks that only take an hour. I’ve not went to Intervals tonight so nothing intense on my legs. I’ll go to my usual pt session with Shane at 7am and spin and core at 9.30 followed by probably an hour lying in the Jacuzzi rubbing my legs in hope that they will magically get better. In fairness I can manage that session myself not too bad as you get what you put in sort of thing.

I’m feeling perplexed and holding on to what hope I have left I suppose. I am hoping that this feeling is down to the darker nights, the time of year, post marathon life and expectations, a kind of end of year depression after what has been an epic year. Realistically I know I need to cut back to nothing really and just wait it out. Which quite frankly I just don’t want to do and can’t mentally do.

So I guess I won’t really be saying much until I find myself and find not only my legs but my drive. I need to pick a fight with someone or something to fire me up, may be. Feeling very much in limbo and slightly lost. But hey, smiling on and into the festive season where more than likely my legs will fall off in Kilbroney or shatter to pieces in the Cracker. Time will tell.








Contrary to belief, I can listen

Contrary to belief, I can listen

Today I was scrolling through Instagram and came across this…

And it made me reevaluate everything I had planned for the weekend.

Let’s rewind a bit. 

I had to quit during Dermots session as my leg was giving me serious issues. I woke on Friday and I swear, it was like the beginning of the end for me. I could hardly walk, I was in agony and I sat and cried for what seemed like the whole morning. 

I put in a call to Artie to see if he could help me out and being the superstar he is, was able to fit me in to look at the problem. Lying on the table I was sure I was going to hear the dreaded words that there was something seriously wrong. 

Poked and prodded, rubbed this way and that and all of a sudden pain worse than labour. Strangely from my lower back.

Seems I’ve strained my lower back and this was causing all my leg muscles, right down to my knee to tense up and cause me pain. All the right clicks and clunk’s where heard and it was pretty biblical when I got up to walk. 

So with no reason to not be fit to long run 2 days later, I was again feeling positive. 

I rested up on Friday, with very little tears and feeling relief at the fact I would run again. Yet the exhaustion that has yet to disappear over the past few weeks hung over me and I began to think about the prospect of not long running.

My plan had always been to do 18 mile this week, have a break next week as “only”  a half marathon to do at Causeway Coast and then go for the big one the following week. 

After feeling good about last weeks run I knew if I felt the same I could find 20 mile. Making it ok to maybe rein it in over the next few weeks as exhaustion took hold. Afterall it was just 1 more lap of the lake. I could manage that. 

I woke this morning and looked in the mirror. I’d the mother of all cold sores right under my nose. Even I know that these whoppers only appear when I’m run down or stressed and it was then that scrolling through IG that I seen the quote above.  

It made me think

Is pushing myself through a long run tomorrow, worth it?

Will it make a positive difference to my training??

What is my aim and does it involve running myself into the ground.

The answer to all the above is NO

If anything, the rest and recovery is more important now, than ever. 

So instead of spending the rest of the day worrying and mentally preparing for a long run tomorrow  I’ve said no and hanging up the running shoes for a few days. After all I think Caitriona needs a break too from running big miles 😜

 I have been getting a lot of support and education from the MAC marathoners so instead this week, I’m going to focus on treating my body to a rest. Maybe throw in some short runs next week, afterall kids are back in school and a lap of the lake won’t go a miss in passing the day. 

Will be fresh for Causeway Coast and then worry about the long run the following week. 

I know in my head now I can make 26.2 mile. I just want to do it as me, not as a broken version of myself. Its not about time, it’s not about putting myself under pressure. 

After all I’m doing Dublin simply for the craic and to prove that I can put the work in and achieve something great. And I’ll achive that to the best of my ability if I take care of myself now in the run up so I’m at my best mentally,  physically and emotionally. 

A sneaky 5k pb

So following my 14mile long run on Friday I welcomed my visitors on Friday evening. It was going to be a busy bank holiday weekend and obviously I was looking forward to getting a run out with Angela at a local 5k.

I’ll be honest, I did not expect to even be fit to rin on Saturday but I woke able to walk, so obviously I could run.

So I put on my Murlough gear, pulled the hair back and laced up the trainers for the Shore to Shore 5k race in Newcastle for Cancer Research UK.

With a few fun Zumba warm ups the race was underway. It was more of a fun run and a field of about 80 took to the promenade. A mixture of runners, walkers, buggy pushers and kids. 

Caitriona had taken her nephew Oisin with her for his first race ever so we weren’t technically cheating on eachother, as I’d Angela with me. 

The weather couldnt have been more perfect. A beautiful sunny afternoon with a nice breeze.  The route was scenic and quite flat. We set off at a nice pace and kept quite steady through the first half of the race. I’d hoped to keep a 12/12.30 min/mile as I didn’t want my legs to give out. However my legs had other ideas and wouldn’t slow down. 

There’s a lot that can be said about running with other people. It does keep you going and with the promenade being so busy it was nice saying hello to everyone as we passed them.

As we neared the end of the race I spotted our finish line and Angela informed me we were at 30mins. It was a kick in the ass moment and a pb was in sight. I kept at the same pace and even at that we came across the line at 32.14 more than a minute off my 5k pb. 

I was absolutely delighted. Never knew I had that in me after what was a horrible long run the day before and should have been a recovery run. 

But I’m not complaining and happy to take that and take a break from races until Causeway coast on the 24th September. 


All about the Avonmore

All about the Avonmore

A wise friend once told me that rest and recovery is just as important as the training.

I’ve a half marathon this weekend in Cookstown. Its Thursday and I am already thinking about what I need to be doing now to prepare for this race. 

I’ve upped my water in take already, I’ve planned rest days so my legs are fresh. I’ve dinners planned and kit is ready to go. 

Yet I should really have a plan for recovery post race. As fueling the body post race is just as important as fueling it pre race.

My friends will tell you that I have a love affair with Avonmore. Their Protein Milk to be specific. A discovery earlier on in the year when I read about the importance of protein and carbs post workout to help repair muscles and so began the introduction of Avonmore Protein Milk to my post work out routine.

Also it helped that they had been at many of the races I was doing and was able to find out more and love to see Dan the Avonmore Man at the end of the race…It became part and parcel of my race etiquette.

So you can imagine my excitement when after a “hit and hope” message to Avonmore HQ they agreed to supply 20 pints of protein milk for the clubs last session with Dermot Mathers from the Running Coach.

Michael has been part of the group of lucky participants taking part in Dermots sessions. Sadly we both couldn’t do it as someone has to have the kids! During his week 1 review of the session with Dermot, Michael mentioned how I was aready doing something right…protein milk (Dermot says Avonmore is the best) so I may not be the quickest but boy I was nailing post work out recovery.

Team MAC with Dermot and their post workout Avonmore Protein Milk

So what does Avonmore Protein Milk offer…

  • 50% extra protein to give you 25g protein per 500mls in comparison to normal semi skimmed milk which is only 18g per 500mls
  • The additional protein comes from hugh quality whey and casein in the proportions naturally found in milk
  • It is a low fat milk with only 5g fat per 500mls in comparison to 8.5g in semi skimmed
  • A source of calcium and vitamin b12. With added Vitamin D which helps maintain normal muscle function as well as healthy bones.

Fabulous modelling guys

All of this found in a small carton that you can pick up in the shop on the way home for less than 60p. Is a easy and convenient way to get extra protein in your diet. Yet consumed within 30mins of your workout ended will fuel those tried muscles and aid repair and recovery. You’d be silly not to have a few cartons in the fridge if you’re training.