Ultra marathon training – the holiday period 

Training for many people is pretty tough during the holidays with so many competing priorities. I’m pretty lucky though to have a family that loves running (well, my mum at least!) and a friend that is always keen for a run. Plus I decided to work between Christmas and New Year this year and I am so glad I did. Those 3 days of no meetings and no new work allowed me to get through my to-do list so I can start January on an almost clean slate which will help so much! It was also a calm few days where I could leave early and spend ages in the gym, which definitely helped with the training – just over 8 hours in total.

Running: Run 1 was one of my best runs of the year, a glorious 13 mile jaunt over the South Downs, up and down long, steep climbs (over 15 minutes of constant running up hill!), ankle-deep in mud, my mum’s dog trotting by our side at all times. I wasn’t worried about pace because I was running with my mum so I just ran at her speed, other than up the hills, where I turned on my music and tried to keep a steady running pace trudging up them. It all felt fantastic.

Run 2 was a set of 500m intervals, 350m at a fast pace and the last 150m at a very fast pace. It was really very hard! Run 3 was intended to be a steady state run but it was so cold and icy that it turned into a bit of a fartlek – running fast when the road was dry and gingerly tiptoeing over icy patches! It was beautiful though.

Run 4 was another tempo session, 6 x 5 minutes. This too I found really hard. I was running on treadmills at a different gym and I wonder if they are just set faster than my normal treadmills?! As I was running at paces and for times I can usually manage, hard work but possible, and this week everytime I stepped on the treadmill I found it so hard. Finally – run 5(!!! – the first time I have ever run 5 times in a week!) was meant to be a long 2 hour run, with the middle hour at just under a 9 min mile. My friends and I had gone down to my dad’s house in the country for NYE so I went out on Saturday morning with Jack. I was able to pick my pace up to run an hour at 8.30 which I was really pleased with. I think having someone faster to run with made all the distance!! I didn’t have a huge amount of time so I only ran for an hour and a half but I knew I could keep going if I’d been able to.

Cross-training: very, very little. Two strength sessions including one that left my bum sore for days after some proper glutes work but that was it, other than some dog walks with my dad’s new puppy.

Something fun that was nothing to do with running:

So much good stuff this week! On Thursday James and I went out for dinner at a new restaurant in London called Temper which was amazing, lots and lots of meat and cocktails and lovely red wine. Then we spent NYE weekend with our best friends, walking the dog, drinking prosecco in the hot tub, eating an incredible meal James cooked for us, dancing around the living room and watching countless George Michael music videos. I loved the London fireworks as well, we watched them on the TV and thought they were amazing: London is Open – such a great slogan that really encapsulates what I love so much about my city. I love the fact that the fireworks, shown to the world on TV, told everyone that while the rest of the UK may be becoming more closed off and introspective, London is always open.

Beach, West Witterings, NYE
And now we’re off to Bruge!


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