Welcome to my running blog. I am currently training to run two marathons in April 2011 - Paris and London - to help celebrate my 30th Birthday. I often get asked about my training methods so thought would write a blog so you can see what it takes -also it provides me with a momento of the last few months of my twenties! In addition to the personal challenge I will be raising money for charity - please see my fundraising page for more details:

Monday, 31 January 2011

Week 4 cont: Wandering in the Wiltshire Wilderness

Spent the weekend at a friends 30th Birthday celebration in lovely Wiltshire. Stayed in a beautiful farm cottage in the middle of nowhere. Seems like there were some other keen runners there and when I woke up on saturday there was a decent group ready to run off the beers from the night before! We went for a nice gentle five miles then in the afternoon  had a long walk and a visit to the local pub to recover. Sunday set out for a run on my with the main task being to avoid the ruts and animal hoofprints in the fields – really don’t want to suffer a twisted ankle at this stage! Nice and steady run in glorious winter sunshine – managed 12km in a little over an hour and wasn’t feeling too bad despite a long evening of food and drinks.  I've also bought some new shoes - check out the rather garish red number in the pic to the right. They have treads for off road running - was a real pain using standard shoes in the mud then having to clean them before going to the gym - never mind the slipping and sliding. I have normal brooks shoes that have been running in for the past three years so deicded to check out their off road model - overalll decent - although a bit heavy especially when full of mud. Have a few more off road runs this season so will see how they fare.
Great weekend and back into London on Sunday in time for Bikram Yoga. Since trying it out in 2008 have become a massive fan of what is basically yoga in a sauna. I find it much more intense than any other yoga type – it genuinely feels like a proper workout when i've finished plus I feel v cleansed having sweated out several times my own body weight! It has helped me with flexibility and avoiding injuries and I woulld do it more often however weekends are about the only time I can fit it in: if I go in the evenings I am far too hot to sleep! Andy Murray is a big fan of it too - judge that how you want!

KM RanWeek 4 total 64km  (plan 60km)
Week 5 Plan 70km (including 21km Watford half marathon on sunday - wish me luck!)

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Week 4 cont. What weights work

As promised, here are the details of my weekly training sessions with my personal trainer, but first a quick review of my runs during the week.

I managed 20km on Monday which consisted of the usual 12km after work river run followed by 8km on the treadmill in Virgin Active Broadgate. That ticked the box of the one long run a week as I’d missed out by skiing on the weekend. Thursday was the usual 12km along the river after work followed by 20mins on the cross trainer in the gym and Friday was back in the gym for a hill session. On the treadmill I usually warm up for about 15mins then do 5 minute chunks either speed or hills or both – with 3 mins on and 2mins off. The 3mins on this time was on hills ranging from 3% to 6% at a speed of 13kmh. Overall hill work is very good for both stamina and strength in the legs.

Personal Trainer
Wednesday had my usual session in the gym with my trainer Ian Holmes – he’s at Slim Jims gym ( in Broadgate having moved there  from Virgin active at the end of last year – it has been fun for me to try out a new gym and new surroundings. This year we have been working on strength work for the legs as I get enough stamina during my weekly runs. Strength training involves less sets and reps but heavy weights – we're doing a program with two sets of 10 reps with a minutes rest inbetween. To get the weights right they should be heavy enough that the last rep on the last set is almost a fail. He has a funky ipad with diagrams on but hasn’t worked out how to do a link to them on the web - until he works out the technology below is a fairly boring list of the current program we are working on – Google or message me for explanations of any of these. For all the weights we do two sets of ten reps and the whole thing takes about one hour.

Exercise                                  Weight
Dumbbell  pull-over                  25 kg
Dead lift                                   70 kg
Dumbbell lunge                         20 kg
Dumbbell side bend                  25 kg
Machine leg curl                       90 kg
Sumo squat                              50 kg
Back squat                               80 kg
Good morning                          50 kg
Romanian deadlift                     70 kg
Concentration dumb bell curl     17.5 kg

Abdominal reverse curl – 2 * 15 reps
BOSU Knee to chest – 3* 1min

Generally you need a rest day after this but my rest day is usually a Tuesday as I have an after work class and can’t fit in any exercise. On the day after weights I try not to do too strenuous a run.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Week 4: Skiing Weekend Over - Back to running

Survived three days of skiing in Murren, Switzerland. Couple of decent days skiing, 9km downhill race and a considerable amount of post race dancing on tables all helped keep the fitness ticking over. Legs felt pretty strong from the heavy gym work over the last few weeks. Managed a respectable 13min 56s for the race on a gorgeously sunny say. There were a couple of injuries in our group but all from apr├Ęs skiing activities – managed to avoid any damage myself so all fit and ready to get back to running this week. A little tired but legs feeling strong.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Week 3: Sickness then Skiing

Hmmm - tough start to the week. Started feeling a bit dodgy on Monday afternoon and thought just an upset stomach. Headed off for the usual post work river run but felt terrible. Unfortunately at my worst the furthest from home so only solution was to run back, shower up and collapse into bed. Think may have been a dodgy chicken breast I ate late sunday possibly combined with a lack of sleep.

Monday night had hot sweats - woke up extra early feeling average. I had rearranged my gym trainer to Tuesday before work as off skiing on Wednesday - so staggered to the gym and made a decent effort on the workout. However struggled through the rest of the day - progressively feeling worse and worse - achy and sore :(. Post work made it home - packed ski gear then straight to bed for a few hours. Got up at 9.30pm for a hot tea with honey and some ibuprofen and then back to bed.

One solid nights sleep later and feeling much better!  Off to Switzerland tonight - taking part in the biggest amateur downhill race in Europe - the inferno! ( Glad am -feeling better - going to avoid the precooked chicken breasts for a day or two. Skiing does mean I miss some running training but feel is good strength training and helps avoid injuries. Less said about the apres ski the better. Back into the running next week...

KM Ran
Week 3 total 12km  (plan 20km)
Week 4 Plan 60km

Monday, 17 January 2011

Week 2 cont - Hackney Horror

Quick 7km on the treadmill on Friday then onto the big run on Saturday. Life got in the way during the morning and it wasn’t until late afternoon that could pull on the running shoes, strap up my left shin which has started to feel a bit tender and head out to the canal. Considering I live in central London it’s very easy to get onto the canal and then continue in a big loop avoiding traffic all the way. Some fantastic scenery – the best of which is the new Olympic stadium. Site is looking pretty good although I suppose it has to as only a year and a bit away! Will try and get a pic next time I go past to make this blog a bit more exciting. Was dusk by the time I got to hackney marshes and decided to add on a small loop. Hackney not the safest place in the world and running through the woods with no light the mind starts to play tricks. Needless to say I picked up my pace – good speed training! - and made it out the other side with no mishaps. However I then contrived to get locked into Victoria park on the way back. Managed to vault the fence and get home for a satisfying 23km. Right shin feeling ok but with all the strapping my calf hurts… always the same - every action has a reaction! 20 mins of stretching and an ice pack and almost as good as new.  When I get round to it will upload my routes - I train with a Garmin GPS (305) which measures your speed as you run and also saves your route details.

Despite the big run managed to dance the night away in Maggies – great new 80s bar in Fulham – allot better clientele than crazy larrys! Sunday was an early rise for a round of golf then to Virgin Active Essex for 6km of hill training on the treadmill. Seems like the whole cast of “the only way is Essex” was there. Great people watching…

Decent week - above the target plan for KM ran - everything going smoothly bar the odd niggle.

KM Ran
Week 2  total:  61km (Plan 50km)
Week 3 plan:  20km (off skiing on wednesday!)

Friday, 14 January 2011

Week 2 - Running slow - harder than it sounds.

Nice solid start to the week on Monday (10th Jan) with a run after work to the broadgate virgin gym. I work near St Pauls and my usual after work jog starts at the bottom of the famed wobbly bridge on the northside of the Thames. From there I run along the embankment (the finish for the Virgin London Marathon!) to Big Ben. I cross the river to the south side and jog up to the MI5 building by Vauxhall. A quick 180 degrees and run back with magnificent views of the houses of parliament – all lit up during the winter (see pics! - from iphone so a bit fuzzy). Continuing along the south side of the river past the London Eye, Royal Festival Hall and the Tate modern until I get to London bridge. Despite it being wet and cold this part of the run is a joy in the winter as in the summer months it is teeming with tourists. Up and over the bridge and then through the back streets to Liverpool street – either home or to the gym for a total distance of around 12km

On Monday it was supposed to be a slow gentle run as still getting back into my stride. However some fool decided to overtake me on the embankment so had little choice but surge past him and put clear pavement between us. Good for a bit of speed training but in the past have injured myself by racing too early in my training. Luckily I managed to slow down for the second half of the run. Bizarrly the first month of training the hardest thing is trying not to run too fast or too hard - in previous years have picked up injuries from being over eager. Popped into the gym to stretch and do some weights – shoulders the main focus (despite the focus on running still need to keep the beach muscles in shape!)

Tuesday was a rest day then Wednesday usual workout with my trainer at slim jims near Liverpool street– strong workout for the legs - more details ton the full program to follow in a future post.  Thursday was a late finish at work so did the usual run home (no-one to race so a nice steady pace ~ 4.30min / km!) and to bed.

Has been a quiet January with little midweek partying – v helpful! Hopefully a quick run on the treadmill Friday and a decent long run at the weekend.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Week 1: New year, New Start - My First week of training.

Always tough getting back into training after the Christmas season - a lack of practice and all those extra mince pies hanging around the middle usually coupled with a stupendous hangover from New Year Celebrations. Determined this year to avoid injury so planned a week of gentle jogs to ease myself back into things.  

Managed to clear the cobwebs with a run along the beachfront in Barcelona on the 2nd Jan but ruined all the good work with one final party on the 3rd jan before returning to London. Staggered into the gym on Monday, mainly to enjoy the steam room/hot tub/sauna combo, but did manage about 20mins on the step machines.

Solid rest of the week covering the whole repertoire of my regular runs – a 12k run from work, along the river via Vauxhall then back home; a couple of runs (11k and 5k) at steady pace (13 kmh) in the gym and a long 20k weekend run along the canal from home to canary wharf up round via Hackney marshes and through Victoria park. All nice and easy and only a few minor aches and a slightly tight hammy. Will detail the post work run and the canal run in later blogs as they are a regular staple in my running training.

To finish off a successful first week did an hour with my trainer in the gym – working on a strength program for the legs – and a Bikram yoga session.

Next week up the mileage slightly and try and get a little bit off speed into a couple of sessions.

KM Ran
Week 1 total :  48  (Target 40km)
Week 2 plan  : 50