22 September 2013

The three stages of injury

What do you do eight weeks into your half-marathon training programme and you pull your hamstring? Well if you are me you spend the first week limping, taking anti-inflammatories and convincing yourself it is not that serious. The second week is spent feeling depressed and convincing yourself that you do not really like running anyway so what has been lost. By week three you pull yourself together, start on a routine of stretching, massage and miracle heat cream.You have realised that while the 13.1 miles is officially off the programme, the 5K race that is also part of the event might well be within your grasp if you approach your recovery both sensibly and with a positive attitude.

So tell me Lara, running - why do you do it?

17 August 2013

The runners around me

As we know female runners are different to male runners - there is always a new article in a running magazine or website that tells us this. Our bodies are different and therefore our training and injuries tend to be different. I have been living in the United States for one year now. That is one year of running amongst the American female runner and I can report that in the USA the female runner comes in many forms and varieties. Below are just a few that I have spotted out and about these past 12 months.

1. Super Mum Runner

There she is, wonder woman in the perfectly laundered running kit pushing not one, not even two but three children in a buggy up a hill and holding a conversation with them all the while. I am never sure whether I should be jealous or impressed when I see here and so I veer between the two whenever I see this specimen of runner. Now I know that her life is just like mine, full of things she has forgotten to do and complete exhaustion come Friday night.  But when I see her out running, I think of her as the woman who doesn't have "can't" in her vocabulary.

28 July 2013

Making friends with pace not a pace maker

This week I am looking at pace.  To me one the great mysteries of running.  In the early days I naively thought that all you needed to do was to just go out and run.  To a large extent that is true and always will be. But what I had not counted on was that after a while 'just running' was not going to be satisfying enough for me.  I wanted to get faster and stronger and in paticular faster.

However with much of my running I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to do but quite often very little time actually putting it into action.  This week however is different.  This week is my week for speed, well pace really.

I have built in two speed sessions , one on Thursday as part of my easy run and then one with the training group on Saturday.  Speed training is all about understanding your pace and understanding how to build up strength to run at your race pace. To do that successfully you must learn how to run for short extended periods at your race pace then dial back and run at a slightly slower pace.

There are two ways to speed train - one is laps on a track at pace race and just under, and the other is hills - running them.

20 July 2013

The seriousness of a (semi) long distance runner...

I could just have the most understanding supervisor ever.  After nearly dying from heat stroke on Tuesday evening (I can have a sense of the dramatic on occasion) from running my 3 miles along the Atlanta Beltline which has little to no shade I realised that I needed to switch my running to the mornings if I was going to keep to my schedule, enjoy it and not die.

While I clocked my three miles in 35 minutes (included a couple of walking stretches) I know I am not going to get stronger or faster if I continue to do the majority of my training in the evening summer heat.  So my great boss TC has agreed to let me come into work a little later on Tuesday's, Wednesday's and Thursday's. This will allow me to run in the mornings and not be rushed into work overheated and hungry. Three cheers for TC please.

16 July 2013

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

My sister sent me a book for my birthday this year "What I talk about when I talk about running" by Haruki Murakami.  As the title suggests it is about running.  Mr Murakami has run a marathon every year for the past 23 years and in 2008 he published a book about his meditations on his running journey.

I have not read any of his other works but I started this one last week and the phrase in the title of this blog was what jumped out at me when I read the preface.  A simple yet effective mantra that I repeated to myself several times on Saturday during my first training run for the All State half in October.  It was billed as an "easy 4 miles" and while it was not terrible, I don't know whether I would categorize it as "easy"...