The start of my JOGLE adventure is approaching fast. I have moments of ooh I cant wait and moments of ‘have I got everything’? Am I ready? And these last two weeks I’ve even had moments of ‘oh god will it even happen’?
The last thought was brought on by the need to sort out a mini medical thing (nothing serious) but something that none the less had to be sorted out preferably before JOGLE. I’ve been on the edge of my seat for days and finally I’ve got a date to have it sorted out mid August. I’ll need a week to two weeks to recover before running and thats literally all I’m getting before I need to head up to Scotland. Tight timing but what’s an adventure without a bit of excitement before hand?!! 😬
Since my Lake District weekend I had an easy week and a busier training week this last week. I’ve run or hiked 70km this week and had beautiful weather for most of it. I definitely feel a lot fitter. I covered some of this with my JOGLE weighted backpack and some with my smaller Salomon pack.
My coach’s advice for the remaining weeks is to focus on strength and nutrition. I’m to build a body that is more resistant to getting ill or weak basically. This has always been important but its now more important than cardio for the remaining time before I go. As he rightly points out I will continue to improve my cardio as I go along my journey but I will get tired, lose sleep, not get enough to eat and I need to be as strong as I can to minimise the impact of that.
I like the advice I should eat well over the last weeks and I’m happily going out for a curry tonight 😁. I don’t think thats what he meant though. I will need to eat lots but also well. I will try I promise.
My practice weekends were a reminder of how incredibly long the days can get and how tired I might feel. They were also a nice realisation that I end up a bit hobbly in the evenings. Sleep is magical though and I would wake up in the morning with new legs.
I will do a kit layout next weekend. There’s a last minute change as my water bladder broke this morning but other than that I’m all set to go.
In other news I’ve written another article for Ultrarunningworld.co.uk and I’ve been asked to do a talk at the Bristol running show in November. Just need to do it now!!
Oh and a lovely chap on WordPress and from Wasdale Mountain Rescue has offered to escort us up Scafell Pike. How nice is that 😁.
Below some photos of my runs/walks this week. Top ones are up on Jacobs Ladder/Kinder Scout and last few are up by Mellor Cross.
So I’ve just back from my first John o Groats to lands end practice weekend. 105km over 3 days and all in all it went really well. I definitely learnt a lot though about what works and what doesn’t work, which will prove really useful.
Day 1: Home to Chelford: On Thursday I set off just after lunch and ran 30km to my first campsite. It was insanely hot 🥵 and despite suncream I did get a bit sunburned.
At the beginning I didn’t really know what pace to go at. My bag plus waist bag weighted 9kg so it was always going to be slow but what should my jog/walk ratio be? For the first 2 hours I managed about 80% jogging and felt really comfortable with that.
On the way by the canal, I stopped for some lucozade at a pop up shop. There I got speaking to this couple. She asked me where I was going etc and I told her about JOGLE. She said ooh thats amazing and asked for the facebook page details. I’ve just checked today and she’s made a donation to Mind. It says ‘from Janet – the lady at the cafe on the canal’. How nice is that?! Awesome.
After that excitement, my run slowed considerably. I started to cross fields that were overgrown and where the footpath signs were a bit hit and miss……this became a walk.
After an hour or so of field meandering I rerouted and found a nice easy road to follow to a pub for tea. This added a few km but it was worth it. Full of a delicious salad and haloumi I walk/jogged onto my campsite for the night.
The campsite and facilities were fantastic. I had a field to myself with my own shower/toilet block that no one else appeared to be using – awesome! The people that ran the place were weird though. When I arrived the man in the reception area told me that he didn’t deal with campers and bookings. I would need to speak to his wife. Where is your wife? Oh she is driving that tractor over there. You’ll have to go over and speak to her. She was two fields away so I trotted off to chase down the tractor………
Once caught up we had this really bizarre conversation where I really felt I was inconveniencing her for wanting to check my booking, find a pitch and know where the facilities were. Tres tres odd!
None the less I slept well in my lonely field and got up ready to run my longest day of 41km.
Day 2: Chelford to Wincle via Astbury
Delightfully, annoyingly my first 20km of the day were field, field, field, field….you get the picture. I’ve learnt that when you carry 9kg jogging on tufty, bumpy fields and navigating Styals and gates is very tricky. In fact I had to walk a lot of this as jogging was just proving a waste of energy versus the speed you could attain. This is a shame as this is normally the terrain I prefer but I guess its horses for courses and it’s really useful to know this now.
After this I found some lovely quiet runnable paths into Astbury (fun times). I ran through/past this huge house where the owner was out tending his garden. It was a public footpath I swear. We started a conversation and it turned out his stepson had run the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland doing 2 marathons a day. Yikes says I. I couldn’t imagine doing two a day. One was enough! Hats off to him. We had a lovely chat for a while and I continued on my way.
I stopped for a really nice lunch in Astbury and got to charge up my devices and cool down with an ice Coca Cola.
After lunch I went onto a canal for a while and got really excited as this was great running ground. Unfortunately I’ve learnt the hard way now that jogging immediately after a large focaccia cheese melt with chips is not a good idea. Ask no questions but lets just say the trowel on the back of my rucksack is handy.
The last 15km of the day started to go uphill and through woods. It was beautiful and shady. I really enjoyed this bit although jogging was impossible due to the elevation and tree roots everywhere. Still worth it for the views though.
Finally I made it to the pub where I was camping in the field behind. I was so excited to have made it and thought I’d done about 44km but couldn’t be sure as there was no internet or Wi-Fi. I enjoyed another dehydrated meal. Yummy daal with spinach and went into the pub for a pint of Bosley Cloud (at least I think thats what it was called). Very very nice. Beer does taste even better after a run.
Day 3: The Wild Boar Inn Wincle to Home
I got up excited knowing I was going to be running home today. I was also going to meet my husband for brunch so had an incentive to get a shift on. After the first 1km of field trudgery I discovered I had 4G and decided to replot my route to avoid fields.
Hurrah!! I felt elated after that – running well for 2 hours to meet my husband at Waterside Cafe in Bollington. I think I had pancakes but its hard to say for sure since I inhaled them 😋.
The last 16km was an easy flat run along a canal and local trail. My energy felt good, the bag felt fine too. My blisters were starting to become an issue so I need to look into how to avoid these/manage these better for next time.
I’m now looking forward to a well earned chippy tea with a beer. What else could a girl want? 😀
Other pictures from the weekend below:
Last week we walked the Cleveland Way. Well, technically the Cleveland Way stretches from Helmsley to Filey but we only had a timeline of one week and decided to cover the stretch from Sutton Bank to Scarborough in that time. This was first and foremost a holiday but had the advantage of being great training for JOGLE as we would carry everything we needed on our backs and camp along the way.
We set off on a Thursday after work for Thirsk and stayed over in a really nice Wetherspoons hotel/pub. I have to say I’d recommend these. Really good value. We slept well and ate well for very little cost.
Day 1 – Sutton Bank to Ingleby (23.55km – 543m of ascent)
On Friday morning we set off at a respectable 9am in a taxi from Thirsk heading for Sutton Bank. The starting point for us (and for most people would be Day 2 of the complete walk) is high up on a hill. The taxi ramped up the 25% winding hill to the top where we got out at the Sutton Bank Visitor Centre for our start.
We started following the signs for the Cleveland Way but also had the route on our Fenix watches. It’s incredibly easy to follow and there are regular signs with little acorns on. The weather was initially quite sunny but it did cloud over as the day went on. It made for a very pleasant walking temperature.
After a few km we came across a little cafe (High Paradise Farm) in the middle of nowhere (or so it felt). There, we were able to get some coffees and cake and make a fuss of the resident dog which came to visit each table.
The views were spectacular and although there was some gentle undulation, the majority of this day was spent high up on a plateau, taking in the views for miles and miles underneath rolling clouds and blue skies.
We followed the path which was nearly always a sandstone path, which wound its way along the plateau and which you could see for a mile or more into the distance. It looked like the yellow brick road. Follow, follow, follow…..
An hour or so into our walk we got hungry and decided to squat down in front of a stone wall to hide from the strong wind, so we could get out our stoves and cook up some noodles. We followed this up with a nice brew each and then set off again on our way.
I should add at this point that we both carried all our own stuff. I took my JOGLE bag. It’s 30litres. I also have a 3litre waist bag. I’ll do a separate post on my kit at a later point but I can fit everything I need to survive in these bags. Chris had a much larger bag but essentially had the same stuff. He had two additional things for comfort, but mostly had a much more organised bag with things wrapped up separately for ease of use. My bag was more ‘stuff it all in’. It’s simply a choice of functionality versus weight/size and I decided to go with the exact kit I will be taking for JOGLE.
We eventually started to descend towards Osmotherley and found a lovely cafe where we had toasted sandwiches and some cold drinks. There was yet another ‘live in’ dog who came round and made loving eyes at us with his favourite toy in his mouth. Aww.
After Osmortherley there was a climb upwards again and we started to walk though woodland past the first of many fields of bluebells. Finally we descended quite sharply through the wood and navigated a very narrow path through the trees and over muddy ditches. This bit was ‘off’ the Cleveland Way and was simply to get us to our campsite for the night. It was at this point that Chris stepped down into a ditch that was much deeper than anticipated. There was much swearing. Being behind him I was able to find a different way but then had to scramble up a bank and tripped over some sort of sharp plant entrails. I adorned the long scratches across my shins for the rest of the trip.
A km on and we made it to the Bluebell pub where we were camping in the garden. As we arrived we heard a cuckoo nearby making that distinctive sound. After some dinner and beers in the pub we retired early to our tents to read and get an early night.
Day 2: Ingleby to Chopgate (20km – 846m ascent)
In the morning we took advantage of breakfast at the pub and then set off to rejoin the Cleveland Way.
Day 2 was probably the hardest. It started off straight up a hill and was steep enough for a mini scramble at the top. Once up, the day proceeded to continue with many ascents/descents, four of which were steep up/down. Many of the downs were man made stone steps, which I find not only scary but also quite difficult as they never make the steps deep enough for a full foot. So you find yourself stepping down sideways then shuffle over, then a few more sideways steps, negotiate a bigger drop, grab something (oh yeah there isn’t anything) and so on. For me this was mentally harder than physically. I had to stop and pause now and again just to get on top of my breathing (due to feeling uncomfortable with the drops).
The views on this day were astonishingly beautiful though. This is often the way. The best views are achieved by making the scariest ascents and descents. In one particular valley en route we stopped off at a lovely cafe (Lordstones) and parked our bums in the shade as it was an incredibly hot day. The food and drinks were much appreciated as was the brief respite from the up/down day.
Closer to Chop Gate we saw a sign that pointed to the village and decided to follow this rather than our original route to get there. We think it saved us 1-2km. On arriving at Chop Gate we found the Buck Inn pub where we were staying and put up our tents in the back garden, Wolfgang and his staff are excellent and very helpful. There was only us camping there but there were other people walking the Cleveland Way and Coast to Coast staying in rooms in the pub.
We had access to a shower room and toilet and loved staying here. There was a peahen (we think) living in the garden. He made a noise that sounded like one of those foot driven pumps you blow up a paddling pool with 😂. Eee’errr, eee’errrr. We called him Mr Squeaky.
We had both dinner and breakfast in the pub and the food was excellent. There was also a choice of German foods and German music playing in the background, whilst we ate.
Day 3: Chop Gate to Kildale (17.6km – 440m of ascent)
Waving goodbye to Mr Squeaky, we set off on what became the easiest day of hiking. The weather was warm but there was a constant breeze all day that made it perfect for walking. There was just one up at the beginning and one down at the end. We spent the rest of the walk up on a plateau with beautiful views all around, surrounded by moorland and the yellow brick road. There were no cafes en route so we stopped and shared an adventure meal of mashed potatoes and vegetables around midday.
Arriving at Kildale we were both pretty tired. On reflection the previous day had caught up with us and we probably hadn’t eaten enough.
We arrived at Kildale camping barn farm and found that the owners were away on holiday. There were some people there doing an archeological dig and they showed us where the kitchen, showers (although these required money which we didn’t have) and toilets were. They didn’t know anything about us camping though. We went ahead and camped there for the night in the camping garden and were the only ones there. It was great to have the kitchen to ourselves and we cooked ourselves some more adventure food. Unfortunately we’d run out of snacks and I admit we went to bed a bit hungry.
There was a bit of a storm in the night and the tents shook but they stayed in place as they should do. Despite this, we slept incredibly well and got up to make our one and only adventure food breakfasts (chocolate muesli). It was gorgeous so I’ll definitely be getting more of those. We met the owners son before we left who checked in to make sure we’d made ourselves at home. Yes we did!
Still feeling a bit peckish we set off on our way.
Day 4: Kildale to Saltburn (24.74km – 611m ascent)
We knew today was a long day but we also knew it would end with a stay at a B&B in Saltburn and I was looking forward to a decent shower. Chris was looking forward to chips by the sea.
I set off on this day in a bit of a low mood. I think it was just lack of food on the previous day combined with the knowledge we would be walking 25km, our longest day to date. Fortunately a few km into our walk my mood picked up. This walk was probably my favourite day. It was very undulating but I don’t mind ascents and the descents were much more Lorna friendly. We passed many beautiful view points and walked through Forests and moorland.
We stopped en route for some noodles but it wasnt enough and by the time we found a cafe at 16km we were incredibly hungry. We both inhaled some toasties, cake, coffees and soft drinks. The Chase cafe was lovely and played 40/50’s music and had pictures of 40’s/50’s stars on the walls.
Arriving in Saltburn we eventually found our B&B and immediately unpacked all our stuff all over the room to dry out our tents and air sleeping bags etc.
The shower was unfortunately not the best but I managed to clean myself, my hair and my top with hand soap. (I only took two tops which I switched daily and washed when it was possible).
Saltburn was very picturesque and we went to a chippy cafe overlooking the beach and had chips with curry.. sauce/gravy and I had the battered fish. It was all delicious.
Day 5: Saltburn to Hinderwell (17.64km – 459m of ascent)
Day 5 was a special day as it was the first day of walking along the coast line. I was nervous it would be all ups and downs (well worried about steep downs) but it was a fairly easy day made even easier by beautiful weather and stunning views.
Between Skinningrove and Staithes there is a sculpture by Artist Katie Ventress celebrating 50-years of mining at Boulby. The miner in the photo below is sat at a ‘bait’ table, where miners sit to take a break and eat lunch.
We stopped in the picturesque village of Staithes and had teacakes and ice cream.
We arrived at the campsite in Hinderwell early due to it being a shorter days walk.
Serenity campsite has to be the nicest, plushest campsite I’ve ever been to. It had a shower/toilet block which was posher than the one we’d had at the B&B. I still only had hand soap to wash my hair (but hey it works). There was also a great kitchen and another lounge type cabin which had Wi-Fi where we spent the evening reading our books.
We went to The Badger Hounds pub across the road for dinner. It was easily the tastiest food I’ve had in a long time. I would give it 5*. You know when you just keeping saying mmmm. This just finished off a perfect day and one of my favourite days of the trip.
Day 6: Hinderwell to Robin Hoods Bay (27.11km – 609m of ascent)
We set off early as we had a long day ahead of 27km. We set off from Hinderwell, rejoined the Cleveland Way and dropped down into Runswick Bay. From there we had a tough climb out of the bay climbing many steps.
This was the start of a day that encompassed a series of steps down and back up again out of small ravines as you went along the coast line.
We stoppped along the way in Witsends Cafe in Sandsend and I had huge toasted teacakes with jam and Chris had a vegan sausage butty.
After many ups and downs we finally walked through a small tunnel and could see Whitby town through the clearing.
We dropped down and down into the main streets where we saw more people than we had for the entire trip so far. An ice cream, a stop at some shops for food to carry and we quickly left as it was simply too busy. We climbed the steps that up to the Abbey on the hill and from there left Whitby behind.
After Whitby there were more ravines and steps….utterly beautiful and I was getting used to them by this point.
In the last few kilometres my feet started to feel really sore. This made the going tough and I was glad to arrive at our campsite at the top of Robin Hoods Bay. It was yet another great campsite with shower block/toilets and a kitchen facilities. After a quick wash we headed down the fields to a pub for dinner and some beers. 😀
Day 7: Robin Hoods Bay to Scarborough (25.84km – 654m of ascent
This was the hardest day for me. I had already experienced quite a bit of foot pain the day before and had put it down to my boots and socks. I had then stupidly washed two pairs of socks the night before leaving myself with only one dry pair (which were too thin and inadequate for my boots and discomfort). I fashioned two mini extra socks out of some tubing which I cut with my penknife. However, it wasnt enough and i had to keep stopping because of the pain/discomfort. Finally my husband pointed out he had a pair of clean spare socks, which I immediately donned.
It was like magic and the pain eased significantly. This significantly improved my mood for a while. I was able to continue on and we walked 6km and found a lovely cafe in Ravenscar for breakfast. When we left, however, I suddenly got sharp pains in my right ankle and couldn’t understand what was causing it. I figured it must be just the boot chafing. I walked on through the the pain and thought maybe if I blank it out it will start to ease off. It seemed to work and I was able to cover another 6-10km in this way.
On the way I was helpfully distracted by the sight of two peacocks. One of them put on a beautiful show for us and we were able to catch this in a photo.
Eventually however, it caught up with me again and the pain went from a manageable 5/10 to an eye watering 9/10. At this point I was hobbling along and my husband pointed out that maybe we should go off the trail and find a bus to Scarborough. Noooooooo. I really didn’t want to do that. I made the decision to carry on as it felt like a test of my mental strength, something I will have to do for JOGLE.
After a dose of ibuprofen however, it started to become easier and I was able to walk the rest of the way to Scarborough and enjoy the views and the sense of accomplishment of being nearly at the finish. The sun was out as we walked along the promenade into Scarborough and we enjoyed the views and set about looking for our hotel for the night.
Our final night was spent in the lovely Raincliffe Hotel in Scarborough. The room was great, they had a bar and a pool table and the pub where we got our dinner was shuffling distance. – perfect.
One of my 60 before I’m 60 bucket list items was to write 101 life lessons. I’m no Oracle. Some are useful titbits, most are lessons learnt as a result of me doing something stupid. Here are the first 10.
1. If you are decorating your house and have put the painting tray on the floor, remember where you put it! It’s all too easy to step backwards into your tray of very purple paint. If you get this wrong, you may need to hop all the way to the bathroom (and save the carpet from purple foot prints).
2. Always keep spare underwear in your swimming bag. You will inevitably forget them at some point and having a spare stash is incredibly handy. Particularly if you dressed that day in something flimsy, white or both.
3. Beware of trying on complicated clothing you don’t understand in a small shop cubicle. You ladies know what I mean, we’ve all been there. That top with too many holes where you cant quite work out which one you put your head through or that dress that has too many straps and maybe a tad small. If you aren’t sure put it down and step away from the garment.
If you fail to make this decision you may find yourself standing there with a large unrecognisable lump of material wrapped around your neck and face, one strap over your left ear and another in your left armpit.
The next decision is vital. Do you A) risk ripping it by pulling it off quickly? B) risk cutting off the blood supply by wiggling it slowly back off, nearly dislocating your shoulder in the process, or C) humiliate yourself by calling the assistant to come and help you, who will then of course gleefully tell their friends later in the pub in hideous detail. This decision could live with you for a while, so make it wisely.
4. If you’re avoiding cows milk for any reason, soya milk splits in hot coffee, oat milk does not. You’re welcome.
5. If you really need to pee outside when you are out for a walk make sure to do this far from the prying eyes of people on paths. Whilst dog owners may possess the tact to ‘pretend’ to ignore you when you squatting behind a tree that is clearly too close and too thin…., dogs do not possess the same tact. Being snarled at by a large dog up close and personal does not enhance the peeing experience.
6. Never ever put the washing in your washing machine wearing a sweatshirt with long toggles hanging from the neck. Better said, never ever switch the machine on if one of your toggles gets caught in the door……..thankfully for me I clicked the off button in time.
7. If you are fond of long distance trail running become acquainted with Vaseline. Your toe nails will thank you later.
8. Multi-tasking is a load of nonsense. All it means for me is forgetting I left laundry in the dryer and burning the dinner.
9. When someone waves at you in the street who you don’t recognise, look behind you first before you make a complete pillock of yourself.
10. White wine really does remove a red wine stain from the carpet.
2.5 months of coached training 😀
So its 2.5 months since I started training with North Endurance and it’s going really well. A few niggly Achilles twinges asides its been pretty smooth sailing. I’m still enjoying following a plan which is posted for me on the training peaks App. I generally get about a months worth of sessions in advance, although he sometimes tweaks bits here and there so you need to keep checking.
There is a comments box where you can say on the App how a session went and the coach will add his comments after that. It can be anything from the more general ‘you’re doing really well’ to the more specific ‘you need to eat more when running/cycling, increase your carbohydrates to XX grams an hour’. I take all these comments on board. I think I’m a good student 😁. To my mind; there isn’t any point in paying someone for advice if you aren’t going to take it on board. In addition to this, we have a call once a month to go over the previous month and what he expects from the next month from me.
The Grand Skiddaw Ultra
We went to stay in the North Lakes this weekend. The original plan was to run the Grand Skiddaw Ultra, which is 44 hilly miles including the climbing of Skiddaw (unsurprisingly). Unfortunately due to my ‘mishap’ earlier in the year we had to pull out. We decided to keep our booking at the lovely Thornfield glamping cabins, however, and enjoyed a lovely weekend there in the sunshine.
On Saturday we pottered over to a spot on a small rise, just 0.5km from the finishing line. We stayed for an hour ish, so we could clap and support the people finishing the Ultra. As you can see from the photo below my husband is looking and waiting to spy the next runner coming. It was really rewarding to be able to encourage people up that the last little hill, tell them they were nearly there and clap them as they went past. My husband also went up to the next gate and held it open for them. We always appreciate Marshalls and people watching and clapping when we run races, so its nice to give back a little.
They all did amazingly well running 44 hilly miles on a really hot day. There were some tired faces going past and some looked surprisingly fresh like the lady in third place who went past us smiling and seemingly with energy to spare.
Longest run since the big comedy fall
My husband and I ran 24km on the Cumbria Way yesterday. This is a stunning trail route that runs from Dalton to Caldeck. In fact it starts just before this picture above and aligns with the first part of the Ultra. We did an out and back on this run. Normally out and back routes are not my favourite but this route was so beautiful we didn’t mind at all. We didn’t take as many photos as we’d intended, but I include some nice ones below (along with general ones from the holiday).
The Sawyer mini water filtration system
In preparation for my long run next year, I’m starting to assemble some of the kit I will need to take with me. I will be doing some ‘practice’ long weekends where I run from A to B to C carrying my backpack and kit. One of the things I will need to take is a water filter so that I can drink from rivers rather than having to wait until you see the next shop/cafe.
Following a lot of reading and reviews I decided to buy the Sawyer mini water filter system. The system offers 99.99% elimination of all bacteria and is very light to carry. It doesn’t filter viruses or heavy metals or chemicals, however, I’ve read that viruses in the UK are not really an issue (in the water) and I guess I just won’t take water close to factories. So on our long run on Sunday I took the mini filter with me and filtered some of the water from the river in Caldbeck to drink on my return leg.
Honestly speaking it was the least risky test, since the water looked very clean to start with but you have to start somewhere. Apparently it will filter even dirty puddles, however, I’m not sure I’ll be rushing to try that one out!
Easy to use – you simply fill up the bag (shown in photo below), screw on your filter and turn it upside down to let nature take its course (you can lightly squeeze the bag too) and watch as your lovely clean water comes out the end. I filtered mine into my Salamon soft bottles to to put back in my backpack.
One year till the big run!
The clock has started ticking. Just one year to go until my run. Cover has been discussed at work. Kit is being assembled. I’ve started plotting a rough route. The training is just beginning really. A lot, lot of running still to do but it’s starting to feel real.
I’m sitting outside on the patio in the scorching heat typing this blog with a slight furrow in my brow.
I’m concentrating. I feel really really tired. My husband has just brought me a lovely mug of coffee and I’m hoping that its true what they say – hot drinks can refresh you in the heat.
I’ve just completed my first month of coached training in conjunction with Training Peaks. So how do I feel except for tired? How has it been following a set out plan? How easy/hard are the sessions? Well I’ve set out below the main points which answer these questions and more.
How have I felt?
Great! I feel fitter and stronger. With each passing strength session I’m getting stronger. I’m still not lifting very heavy weights but I feel a little stronger each week. Earlier in the year I was worried that my glutes were not activated. Now I can feel them when I run or do my strength workout sessions.
Cycling doesn’t feel as hard as it did a month ago. After a long break from outdoor cycling I definitely found it hard going at first. I now feel I’m getting my mojo back. It’s hard to say if speed is back or not since I’m supposed to take my long rides really easy, so currently they are very slow.
Running sessions pass quickly. I have the workout written on my hand or on a small bit of paper in my pocket. I get lost in the workout and the scenery. I don’t get bored and I don’t run out of energy like I used to.
I’ve restarted yoga lessons. These particular ones are hard strength poses with quick switches from one to another. I feel like I can do these better than I used to and they give you a really good strength workout. The picture above is not me but it is one of the poses we do.
What have you learnt?
Quite a lot in a short space of time tbh. Ive realised that most of my training (previously) was decent but lacked ‘polarisation’ as the coach called it. By this he means doing certain specific quality workouts and ensuring that workouts are either about recovery or hard work. The middle ground is gone.
I generally have two hard sessions a week. One for running and one for bike. The hard running session will include either hill repeats or sprint intervals. If its the latter it might be longer intervals at half marathon pace or very short sprints at 3k pace. It varies a lot, so its always interesting. The hard bike workout is generally hill work using big gears and grinding up at a slow rpm. This is designed to build leg strength. I find the latter really hard and have always relied on my cardio to get me up hills, spinning away in an easier gear. So I guess its a good session for me to do – one that challenges me.
I have 2-3 recovery runs or bikes a week. These have to be done at a very slow/easy pace. The aim is to keep heart rate much lower i.e. in zone 2. I found this really hard at first but I’m getting better at it and actually I quite enjoy these sessions now. I’ve realised that at this really slow pace I could run forever. Well maybe not, but it feels like it. I’ve also noticed my average heart rate is coming down relative to effort so I think thats a good thing. I assume that eventually my really easy slow run will be faster relative to the same heart rate/level of effort.
I have one long run and one long bike a week, generally done at a slow to moderate pace. Then there are two swims. These can include technique and sprint sessions but are always deemed recovery workouts as your heart rate just doesn’t get that high on a swim.
How has it been following a set plan?
At times this is difficult. Take today for example, I really really cba. But the program said I should do a 2-3 hour bike ride so I heaved myself out of a comfortable armchair, went out and got it done. The majority of the time though I prefer having planned sessions. I dont have to think or workout how to get ready for my next race or target. It’s all done for me. It takes the thinking out of it, which is really nice. It leaves me to concentrate on enjoying whatever workout is set for that day.
Do I find the sessions easy/hard?
See above about polarised workouts. The easy sessions are very very easy. The hard sessions can be very very hard. The hardest ones I’ve found were the hill sprints and a 3km test run which was ‘run as hard as you can for 3km’ – that killed me. Mind you, it was a hot day, high pollen day, which didn’t help.
So what else has changed? In the past if I’d suddenly gone from 9km max run one week to 14k the next my body would of complained – loudly. In the last two weeks I did exactly that and what happened? Nothing. I feel absolutely fine. I’ve realised this is in fact possible when you run slower, warm up properly and make sure your glutes/calves etc are switched on.
So where do we go from here? Well I’ve put my goals into the training app. They include training for a 25k very hilly trail run in September (its actually 27km), possibly doing a weeks bike touring with my husband (also Sept), cycling from Andratx to Puerto Pollensa in Mallorca in October (pandemic dependent) and a 10k run in November. Oh and the little run from John O Groats to Lands End in Sept 2022. That’s the ultimate goal that all of this is working towards.
I’m expecting my second/third months of training to focus on increased efforts on the run and the bike towards these goals. Looking forward to it.
I’ve survived my first week of training following workouts set out by a coach – hurrah.
Training was harder than I expected and there was no day off as swimming counts as “active recovery”.
Monday: This was my “rest day” i.e. I was given a swim to do. I can totally understand the point however, your heart rate just doesn’t get up there during swimming and generally I dont get tired legs (normally). On this occasion I did feel a little tired after but thats probably because I’m not used to doing sprints. I guess I’m normally a lazy swimmer and spend half my time with a pull buoy between my legs doing a lazy crawl.
Absent minded training is no longer allowed. I will be doing either hard sessions or very very easy sessions. Everything is about quality.
So with my first swim I had to familiarise myself with a button on my Garmin watch that records rest periods. My workout was warm up, then a main set of doing 50metre sprints followed by 15 seconds rest. This was mostly done in front crawl, however, there were some lengths of breaststroke in there too. Sadly I didn’t have time for the cool down as they throw you out of the pool after 45 minutes. I batted my eyelashes at the guy behind my goggles but he wasn’t having any of it.
Tuesday: I went to the gym before work and was feeling quite smug because I’d designed my own workout to follow. Of course in reality when you get there you soon realise ahhhh I cant find the long bar or exactly the weight I need etc, however, I did my best to follow my plan. It was a total body workout and included some machines but also free weights and “floor work” which always sounds like something a gymnast would do. I must of overdone it as my legs felt like robocop for the next few days…
After work on Tuesday I had my first run session to do. I knew it was going to involve interval sprints so made the rare decision to drive to a spot I knew, where it is pan flat. I also picked it because it has some tree cover and it was a hot hot day 🥵. Again I used the lap button on my watch for each interval. It was a really hard session as I clearly just pootle normally. Going really fast one minute then very slow the next is completely foreign to my legs. By the end I had to walk some of the last easy bits as I was really flagging.
Wednesday: Today’s workout was 1hour of easy cycling. Woohoo. It’s great when you see the word ‘easy’. I was allowed to cycle indoors or outdoors but basically just needed to keep my heart rate at a certain rate (Z2 = easy/you can still chat).
I had hoped it would help my legs, which by Wednesday were more like robocop after horse riding. It didn’t.
Thursday: Ahhhh finally my legs were feeling a lot better 👏. Thursdays session was an easy run of 30 minutes. It should of been a hard bike session but I had to switch Thur/Fri round for work reasons. It felt both bizarre and difficult to run as slow as I’d been told initially. However, I finished my recovery run and will admit I did feel better after.
After work on Thursday my husband and I had our 30 minute strength session with Emma (our personal trainer). She put us through our paces with lots of arm and core work (I told her to lay off the legs 😆). As always it was a lot of fun and I really feel I’ve worked hard after.
Friday: I was dreading this session thinking it would be incredibly hard. I had to do a 50 minute bike ride (in or outdoor) using a big gear and pushing hard with a slow cadence. This was done in an interval fashion with easy spinning in between. Based on the watts I’d been set to achieve I actually found it very doable but arguably I should of pushed for higher watts and worked harder. Ah well, next time, I’m sure he will increase the watts!
Saturday: Saturday morning was a 45 minute swim switching between normal front crawl and swimming with the pull buoy concentrating on technique. This was followed by a 30 minute easy run with 5 minutes of faster intervals in the middle. I really wanted to run faster for longer. I dare say this is a good thing. In the past I was probably doing such hard or long runs I always wanted to go slower!
Sunday: Easy/steady state outdoor bike ride for 2-3 hours. I went out with my husband and rode 55k on our road bikes. I really enjoyed it but my loss of speed compared to last year is very noticeable to me. I was trying to take it easy, however, even taking that into account I’d say I’ve lost 1-2 miles an hour. Amazing really. Still I will get it back 🚴♀️.
For each session you do using the TrainingPeaks App you state after how you felt and how much effort you put in. You can also add general comments or questions. For the bike session I mentioned how tired I felt and the coach asked me what I had eaten. Following my response the feedback was I need to eat more, apparently around 45-55g of carbohydrate an hour based on my current efforts. That’s way more than I’ve ever eaten when out cycling. So I’ll try that next week and see if it helps. Certainly an excuse to eat more is always good 😃.
It’s the last evening of our lovely little holiday here at Private Hill. The weather has been spectacular all week. I cant believe I’ve been liberally applying Factor 30 all week and even have burnt ankles because I ‘missed a bit’.
We brought the GoPro9 camera with us to film some of the bike rides. Unfortunately we forgot to take it on the first day and film the ride to York and back. This is a shame as it was a beautiful ride. You live and learn.
We do, however, have a video of Chris’s ride to Sledmere, Weatherthorpe and back in a loop. We also have a video of todays ride together to Castle Howard and back. Unfortunately he didn’t film at the point I was bombing it down the hill towards Castle Howard and under the arch. This is annoying since I’d put in a spectacular effort to achieve this, assuming I was being filmed. Doh! You will see, however, why if you watch the video to the end 😆. He has, however, put together some nice videos with additional comments and a bit of funky music on the second one.
We’ve uploaded the videos along with some other bike/run videos to my YouTube Channel. You can find the links below each photo – enjoy 😊.
Video to Castle Howard (and back?)
Video to Weaverthorpe and back
Yesterday we set off on a bike ride to York to meet my son and his girlfriend for lunch. It was only 25k there so set off quite late morning and enjoyed an unusual lie in and lingering breakfast on the decking.
All the cycling around here is stunning. The ride was easy apart from the first few kilometres which were very hilly and gravelly due to a new road surface. None the less the route was very enjoyable and included a beautiful off road section through fields of yellow flowers.
We enjoyed a really nice pub lunch with my son and his girlfriend and had a good catch up as I haven’t seen him in ages. Unfortunately I have no photos of our lunch, something I only thought of on the way home!
The return ride was again easy as my lovely husband cruised at a slow speed so I could draft off him. Since I’ve only just got back to riding and have lost some fitness this was very much appreciated.
Unfortunately closer to the domes he had a problem with his bike which meant he was stuck in a smaller gear. It wasnt a major issue though as it was pretty much all uphill for the last few kilometres anyway. For me this bit was tough as I didn’t want to stand up due to the loose surface so had to grind my way up in my very lowest gear huffing and puffing in the hot sunshine. I will admit to abandoning the idea of the final hill which is 20 percent and would be tough for me on a cool day with no gravel.
In the late afternoon we went to the local village of Malton to stock up on food. We were then able to enjoy the best picnic in the world on the decking. The views really dont get better than this.
Today I took a cycling rest day so that I’m able to go again tomorrow. Instead I went for an early run. I had worked out a half road/half trail route by consulting with Komoot the evening before. Unfortunately after jogging through a field of cows with diarrhoea (never seen that many cow pats in my life), I then entered a field of shin high stinging nettles. After navigating my way along a kind of path (well in my mind it was a path) I got to the far side of the field to find no more signs or styals.
At this point I retraced my way back through the nettles (ouch ouch ouch) and then dodge hopped the field of cow pats again.
Unfortunately I wasnt as adept at nettle dodging so even now 5 hours later I can still feel my legs tingling. Still its not a trail run if you don’t get lost, fall over or get nettle stings right?
For the rest of the morning I’ve sat on the decking working on ‘my book’ (dont ask – I really dont know if I’ll ever finish it). My husband went off for another bike ride and also remembered to take the go pro with him this time so I’ll look forward to seeing that in a bit.
Tonight the chef at the local pub has returned from his holiday so we are hoping to get a meal and we will back in search of veggie burgers.