The life of a runner, mother, radiopharmacist and vicar's wife – that's me!
It’s been a while since I last posted but that’s not because I haven’t done anything, quite the contrary, I’ve been rather too busy.
Little and often
They say that the best way to eat sensibly is to eat little and often. Well, due to family circumstances and the expense of maintaining two cars, it turns out that this has become my approach to running.
We want to sell one of our cars – either the 20+ years old Mercedes 190E (with several bumps and scratches) or my Nissan Micra (which is getting to that age when it will start to have problems but is still pretty economical). We wanted to see if we could manage with just the one car. So, I’ve been getting the train to work and Peter has driven the kids to school in my car. Then Peter has run to the ferry to take that route home and I’ve run to the school to bring the kids back home in the car.
It’s meant a lot of short runs. It’s about 1.7 miles to the station and then half a mile from Lime Street to work and a little over half a mile to the school but it all adds up to 3 miles a day without really feeling like I’ve really been out for a proper run.
My dad once ran the Liverpool marathon and didn’t have the time to do the training so he ran to work and then ran at lunchtime then ran home and went out for a short run in the evening. I guess it worked out about 12 miles a day and then a long run on a Sunday. So he must have been packing in about 80 miles a week still with only running about 3 miles for most of his runs.
I’m not quite up to that number of miles yet and probably not quite up to his standard either (he came 2nd in the race) but it has certainly upped my weekly mileage. I’m doing about 35 miles a week now without actually putting in all that much effort.
I wondered if all these short runs were actually helping with my speed and fitness but, the other week, I ran round Sefton Park and I was encouraged to find that I was actually going a reasonable pace. I did 3 loops (6.9 miles) and increased my pace each lap with an average of 7.25 per mile, a fair bit quicker then the 8.30 pace jogging to the station. Also, I have improved my parkrun 5k time and I’m down to 20:11 (the sub 20 is soon to come!).
Help I entered a marathon!
So, where are all these miles heading? Well, I stupidly entered a marathon. It’s Nottingham at the end of September. I’m really going to have to start putting in a bit of effort if I’m going to run a decent time.
I found this interesting marathon time predictor and, based on my current training, it reckons that I’m headed for about 3hr 24min – somewhat off my PW (personal worst) of around 3hr 16. Basically, I’m going to have to up my average pace to about 7.30 per mile and run about 60 miles per week average to get to my ultimate goal of sub 3 hrs. Either that or I’ve got to run about 85 miles per week, which just isn’t going to happen with having 3 kids to look after. I’ve got 6 months but even so, I think it’s asking a lot to get anywhere close to 3 hr.
A lot of my running is along the river Mersey. This is good because a) it is off road, b) it is close to my house and c) you sometimes get great sunrises or sunsets…..
…but it is also pretty bad because you either have the wind in your face or at your back. Rare is the day when it isn’t windy at all. This morning was a particular case in point. I got blown to New Brighton then had to fight my way back as I headed into the wind. The mile splits tell the tale.
I’ve also started going to the group from Wirral AC that meets on a Monday. We normally do interval training and that, combined with my additional run to the station and home, means that I pack in around 10-12 miles on a Monday which is pushing me in the right direction towards my necessary weekly mileage. It also is helping with improving my pace as I haven’t had much speed training in recent weeks and those girls at the club are really pushing me.
I’m not sure that the marathon predictor takes into account that most of my running is before 7am (my body is barely awake) and carrying a backpack (I hope not to have to do that in the actual marathon) so maybe I’m looking at quicker than 3hr 24 even now.
I’ve avoided using Strava for some considerable time. Strava, for those who don’t know, is an internet site where you can log your runs and also interact with others who run i.e. a runners social network. I had been using a similar site, Dailymile to log my runs for a few years but I recently got a new TomTom watch and I wanted to pair it up with runningheroes.com website. I couldn’t do that through Dailymile but Strava was able pick up the runs that I had done and transfer them to runningheroes so I joined Strava (yes, rather convoluted I agree).
Actually, I’ve been logging my runs in the old fashioned way (pen and paper), which I rather like, all year but I have to say that I’ve also quite taken to Strava. I like the way that it only logs your running time, not your standing around time – or in my case my stopping to re-tie my shoelaces time.
I also like the segments. Other people log their runs and then they have segments of those runs like from the pub to the park or down a particular street or around the park. If you run the same segment then you end up going onto the overall leaderboard for that segment. At the moment I hold the course record for the Dashing Down the Lane! I can only guess that not many people actually run down that road.
So, it’s all generally heading in the right direction. If you want to hear more about my running exploits then listen to my weekly podcast on Spreaker. I also hope to be a bit more regular again in writing these blogs – that’s if I get time in between all the running.