Category: rest

Is that something that resembles a taper?

Is that something that resembles a taper?

Holy crap…taper… can’t be time for that yet?

Well many do think that training eases off around taper and you can relax…can you f**k! Still loads of work to be done and a small decrease on the endurance run of a whole 4 mile! I’m grateful for small mercies, even if it is a whole miserable 4 mile across the whole week.

This week the fact I am human hit me like a tonne of bricks. I have been running relying on sensible management of pain in my right leg but it was grinding on me and after Mondays 4 miler I was swiftly put on the rest bench by Dermot for 2 solid days rest. 

Rest? What the hell is that? On asking what am I meant to do he actually expected me to rest and do nothing. So 2 days of ice, rest and stretching was a foot. 

I did wonder had I over done it at Annaghmore. But on reflection I didn’t push myself too much, yes it was a tough course but what I gained from it in confidence outweighed the effect it had on my body. I honestly just think my right leg which hasn’t been right since before Knockagh in August was reminding me that I need to give it a break. 

Thankfully I’d to work Wednesday and took the girls for intervals on Wednesday evening so wasn’t going totally mad. 

Thursday I returned to the roads. My usual 8 mile mid week endurance run was cut to 4-6 mile to see how I faired. I had my eyes set firmly on Saturdays long run and this was just for me to gauge how I was holding up. So painkiller less and leaving the deep heat and magnesium spray at home I laced up the shoes and off I went up the Dundrum Road-again. 

I purposely went slower than normal and against directions of not to over think- I spent the whole first 3 mile analysing every tweak in every muscle and tore my form apart. It wasn’t a great run for my head but by the turn at mile 3 I had caught myself on and shouted at myself. Funny enough after that everything relaxed and the final 3 mile was grand.

I went to see Grainne again afterwards and although the right leg was in better shape than last week there was still work to be done including some dry needling on my hamstring which as always is like a magical cure and after I didn’t throw up all over the place my hamstring was good to go.

Friday was rest day and I did rest. Focusing on hydrating and what I was eating. 20-22 was on the schedule and it was already playing on my mind. I wasn’t going to be alone. I’d Jennifer coming along to test her legs after a phenomenal weekend of running at the Monaghan Back2Back marathons the previous weekend. And my new running conscience, Laura Jane, joining me for a good portion of the miles.
An early night had me up at 6am for the usual eggs in a cup and off to the 12 arches. It was really dark! Glad I’d told the girls to take the headtorches as even the birds weren’t up.

And bang on time we hit the road at 7am, head torches on and many miles to be covered. 

It was good after last week’s run at Annaghmore where I spent 17 of the 18 mile on my own to have company. We got to hear all about the 2 marathons in Monaghan, Laura Janes first tackle at 13.1 in a few years as she owned over 5 laps of the lake and the highlights and lowlights of my race last week. 

With 6 mile done, Jennifer called it a day. To be honest she isn’t wise… who gets up at ridiculous o clock to come run with me? Most normal people would still be in bed at that stage and she’d a run done and all. 

So a quick refuel and off Laura Jane and I went for what we hoped to be another 8. As always after 6 mile I settled into the run knowing Id started  and i would finish. Got an unexpected hug from Joe out getting another long run into the legs for DCM. 

As per normal the wind had begun to pick up and I pulled on the golden line to heaven to make my last 6 mile wind free. Laura Jane kept me grounded and had been over all I had to think about in the last 6 mile on my own. Had checked a million times how my leg was and reminded me to refuel and to just get to 17 and it’s all easy enough back. 

I have to admit I have been blown away by how well She has come on and embraced running, particularly over the past 2 months. Bet she wishes she never met me that evening at the lake when I said…come on do intervals with me next week. Joining in with the progressives has seen her confidence grow alongside the mileage she clocks up weekly. 

Invaluable support on my long runs and pushing herself to new distances which not only helps her but makes such a difference to my run. With her first half marathon booked for the day before DCM we can taper together.

So at 14 mile I was on my own to see through the last 6 miles. I’ll admit. I was already defeated before I was on my own. These 6 mile where going to be the death of me. After such a challenging week with being on the bench and mentally struggling. It wasn’t going to be pretty but I was going to make it to 20.

Mile 16 is when the head staggers got me. I was so over running as my watch just wouldn’t seem to show me going as fast as I wanted to be. No matter how much I chanted to myself or drove forward I just wasn’t getting anywhere. On reflection the pace wasn’t woeful actually it was dead on but the battle in my head had convinced me otherwise.

By 18 mile I was back on and on the home straight home. Finishing a few minutes on front of where I had hoped to be. 

I now know that on a bad day I have to find my last 10k (After 32k previous to that) in 1hr20 to make aim. No pressure. I’m 30mins ahead of where I was this time last year for my DCM16 long run and that’s a HUGE improvement. 

With 3 weeks to go I know that my mid week runs are to become invaluable yet I need to let go of my obsession with my pace. I’ve to get to DCM17 in 1 piece and fit. I’ve never trained for a time before and that unnerves me a bit. 

So the long awaited taper… less than 3 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. 

Catch yourself on Siobhan!

Catch yourself on Siobhan!

I woke up this morning to get up for my usual 7am Wednesday morning session at The Burrendale with Shane. The alarm went at 6.20am and it was like an outer body experience. The voice in my head was floating above me telling me that I needed to catch myself on. I was not fit for it.

The voice was right, I had really pushed the boundaries last week and my body was about to give up. So I reluctantly messaged Shane to say I was broken and resorted to feeling sorry for myself and reflecting on why it was taking me so long to recover after Cookstown half when I bounced back after Lisburn half.

So on reflection this is how last week went…

Sunday 24th July – Active Financial Newry and Mourne Womens Mini Marathon

You can read about the race here. I went out to PB and done so at every distance minus the 30sec I couldn’t find to make it a 10k pb. So I had mentally and physically pushed myself to my limits on a course that was very challenging.

Monday 25th July

I wish I could remember what I had done that day as I’m definitely sure I wasn’t at the gym, or out running as my Garmin would have picked that up. So I am going to settle on drinking tea (probably at Moiras), being on facebook and snapchat whilst the kids where at Summer Scheme. So essentially a rest day.

Tuesday 26th July

Ahhh what a cracker day was had. Set off after dropping the kids at Summer Scheme with my lunch in the backpack and away I went with Lauren to check out the Dambusters route. I was still a bit sore and achey from Sunday but no running was involved, it was refreshing as Lauren had busted herself at the gym too so we were a right state between us. We walked all the way up to Ben Crom dam and assessed strategies for the race and how to best deal with it on the day. As well as how lovely a route it is going to be as long as the rain stays away. We covered about 9 mile that day, obviously there was the usual craic and banter along side our solutions to world problems.

That evening I was in with Patricia McGrady to get a sports massage and boy does she know how to work those nasty lumps and bumps. I have decided to put her in the same category of Shane, Dermot and all other PTs, job satisfaction comes from pushing people to their limits. But totally worth it for the client! ( I get it, its just unpleasant at times)

Wednesday 27th July

Wednesday was my session at the gym with Shane, with various squats, lunges, intervals, weights and comparing notes on training plans. I just always know that after death hour with Shane, I will suffer the next two days.

Thursday 28th July

I hadn’t planned to, but I ended up at Dermots final session with MAC. I was only going to stay for the warm up and do a lap of the lake, but I stayed on as I didn’t want to leave someone on their own in a pair and although I felt like I was going to die at several points of the session, I learnt a lot and dare I say, enjoyed it.

Friday 29th July

I knew I should have been resting at this point for Sunday. However opening the curtains on Friday morning the sky had Friday Funday written all over it. So Lauren and I done the usual, picked a spot with no plan in mind other than to keep going until we run out of path.

For all the blue skies and endless views, there was a cloud following me on that hike up from Letirim Lodge. Lauren is leaving for London next month to do her PGCE. I am bloody delighted for her don’t get me wrong, we worked hard for this, but I lose a great friend who would happily get lost with me in the mountains at a moments notice. Not that easy to do when she’s across the water. So when we reached the end of the path, high on a hill with the most beautiful views I have encountered yet, I sat and cried. Little did Lauren know when she was taking this picture of me that behind the sunglasses I was crying.

Saturday 30th July

I did rest!

Sunday 31st Cookstown Half Marathon

You’ll find all the details on the events of Cookstown half here. I had pushed myself to a 4 minute PB and obviously 13.1 mile takes a lot out of you.


Yeah I know, I know. I have over done it. Its not like I have the body of a super athlete who would laugh at the fact I am beat out after last weeks events which probably look like a walk in the park to them. Last week was pretty intense, with the CHM hanging over me all week and the various things I got myself into no wonder this morning I couldn’t motivate myself.

In true fashion as I’ve come to expect and respect, I got the brutal, honest and with love telling off from Selena to remind me that I need to give myself time to recover, to recharge and to stop “running” on half empty. So I’ll listen to her and I will take a few more days to fully recover. Then I will be a better runner all round as I’m fully ready to run. Also I guess the fact I am sporting a lovely cold sore too also points to the fact I need to chill.

So taking this all on board… my house is really clean now.

Where I do most the blog writing. .but today not surrounded by mess






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.

Doctor…you need to rest

Ok it’s not as drastic as the title. I’m not injured per say…though I had a 5cm lump removed from my left breast yesterday so I am on doctors orders to not run for a week…A whole week.

Day 1 of rest
I’ll be honest it was lovely not having to get up this morning. Michael got up and went and lifted the kids from his mums to take them to school. 

Usually when I have a morning like that I am dying for a run but the after effects of the general has really taken its toll on me.

Ok it could also be the fact whilst fasting yesterday morning before the operation I done a 1-2-1 session with Shane at 7am, spin at 9.30 and abs at 10. Well I knew I’d be resting for a few days so might as well hurt all over.

So let’s just see how the resting goes…