At the end of 2017 I set my Running Goals for 2018. There were 4 quite clear goals but, as regular readers will know, I failed on the majority of them. It was out of my hands. I got an injury that had the physio puzzled. In the end the advice was just rest and hope it goes away. Thankfully 5 months later it did. So here we are at the end of 2018 where I’ve been able to pick up running again from October. In a weird way I’m thankful my injury was in the summer so I didn’t have to run through the heat wave!
And so my goals, well my goal for 2019, is simple. I want to just run. Run because I can, run for pleasure, run for the joy of running. No time goals, no distance goals, no races entered (apart from one) just me, plodding along and seeing how it goes. It’s always nicer to run faster or run for a greater distance but at the minute I’m happy just doing what I’m doing and having everything stay in working order.
Fingers crossed for me.
Have you thought about your running goals for next year?
On 9th December I went to Breakfast Club with Honor (whom I ran with the day before at parkrun too) We were still in the thick of Storm Deidre so Nick (creator of The Breakfast Club) set us a route to keep us protected from the wind…well until the end!
Before we began I realised I’d left my beeper at home (I have an interval timer for my run/walks) After a quick chat we decided we’d just run and see how I got in and if I needed to, we’d walk.
So after the “Before the run” picture was taken, we left the café where we meet and ran away from the sea front. I was very grateful as the winds on the sea front were something else! We headed in to Gosport weaving through the streets of Alverstoke. I’m less familiar with these streets but in a strange way I find this helps. It makes time go quicker as I’m too busy looking around at where we are! We ran through Alverstoke village which is quaint and pretty. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it before.
We then weaved away from there and headed back towards the sea. We ran along the sea wall at Gosport which gives you amazing views over Portsmouth Harbour. You can see the ships and ferries as well as views over Southsea. We didn’t stop to have a look though as the wind was absolutely hammering us. We then headed away from the sea wall for a short while before running through the golf course and along the promenade on the Golden Mile. It was far from Golden! I could barely move and we were unable to chat by this point as the wind was so strong.
Just before we hit the sea wall
We ran past where the junior parkrun starts and they were all (wisely) hiding behind a shelter to keep out of the winds. If I could have joined them, I would! As we continued along the prom you could see where stones had been flung up from the beach on to the prom and the car park was flooded where the sea had blown up and over. The wind felt like it was getting stronger as we finally reached the last part of the prom and made it back to the café.
We ran a total of 4.6 miles and I hadn’t stopped once! I guess the injury is well and truly finished with for now. It turned out the winds were 55mph that morning! Yet by late afternoon they’d dropped to practically non existent! How very unfair. A tough but pleasing run!
Everyone loves running in a storm right? On 8th December I went to parkrun and the weather wasn’t looking good. Thanks to Storm Deidre we were going to be battered by 45mph winds coming straight off the sea!
The winds is definitely one of the worst things about living on the coast. We never seemed to feel it living in a big city but living by the sea is a different kettle of fish. It can barely be windy on the back streets but as soon as you hit the sea front the wind comes out of nowhere.
Honor had messaged me to see if I fancied some company at parkrun so of course I took her up on the offer. I think I was now up to 5 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. It was pretty windy throughout the run. Going to the first turn around point the wind seemed to be behind us so it aided us a little. As we turned around though the wind was brutal from the side. I was freezing all down that side and couldn’t wait to hit the next turn around point so the other side could cool off and my cold side warm up!
As we turned at the 2nd turnaround point the wind was absolutely horrendous. Honor and I weren’t really able to talk because we just couldn’t hear what the other was saying. I remember I kept shouting “This is so hard” It was like running on the spot. I felt like I was going absolutely nowhere!
Somehow I managed to finish with a PB! I’m chipping away at the 39s now. My finish time was 39:37.
I insist everyone who runs with me has a selfie taken with me. For my own memories really! So obviously Honor and I had a selfie. I tweeted it and parkrun included it on their Twitter which was pretty neat.
I’m about a month behind on updates about how my running is going! Oops! Hopefully over the Christmas break I’ll manage to get caught up.
On 27th November Maria and I went back to the spin class we used to attend at the gym. We haven’t been to a spin class since I got my injury on 9th June. We were looking forward to getting back to it. I’d left it so long after my return to running because I wanted to be so so sure that everything was ok.
Obviously we take our class very seriously, and before it began, we took selfies with filters. We were pretty pumped to find out the class was our favourite one. We do Virtual Spin, which basically means they play a video. It’s a bit like doing a DVD at home, except you’re in a spin studio.
We really enjoyed the class and both left absolutely buzzing. Completing a spin class gives me that high feeling. I’ve yet to experience that from running! To quote one of my favourite movie characters, Elle Woods…
However, the next couple of days, as well as the saddle soreness you experience from a spin class I could also feel my injury. Don’t get me wrong, it was nothing like as painful as it had been. In fact it wasn’t so much painful, but really uncomfortable. Which makes me wonder, was it a running injury after all? Perhaps it actually came from a spin class and running the parkrun that morning just upset it further? Perhaps that’s why when the physio asked me what I did to cause it, I didn’t know the answer. I didn’t do anything, I was just plodding along.
That uncomfortable feeling lasted a good couple of days. As a result, I haven’t been back to a spin class again. My running is going so well at the minute I just don’t want to risk aggravating the injury again by continuing to spin. I’m pretty disappointed though because I do love the spin classes.
Have you had to give up something you enjoy for health reasons?
I actually haven’t got as many items on my wish list this year. The reason being that I’m losing weight so I don’t want to get too many things that in a few months won’t fit anymore. If you want to read my wish list post from last year then it can be found here –> My Christmas Wish List 2017
Without further ado here is my 2018 Running Christmas Wish List.
The runr Midnight Hoodie in Island Blue. Modelled by my lovely friend Kerry! runr hoodies are such good quality but it’s time for me to size down!
runr Midnight t-shirt in Berry – I’ve never been able to fit in to one of runr’s tshirts before so now is the time. I figured this was a nice little reward for losing weight.
Contra Movement Women’s Running Tights – The profits from the items you buy on Contra go back to parkrun which is why I like using them for running gear. I’m struggling for running tights that aren’t too big at the minute so these will be gratefully received.
Nike Running Dri-Fit Power Essential Running Tights – Again, I’m struggling for running tights that aren’t too big so it’s time for me to size down. I’ve always worn Nike to run in so I’m just topping up the collection.
Since my injury in June, that lasted 5 long months, I gave up on the goals I set for 2018. However, to my surprise I actually hit one on Saturday 24th November. If you didn’t read the original post where I set my goals, you can revisit it here –> My Running Goals for 2018
So….the goal I hit? This one:
On that Saturday I managed to go sub 40 minutes at parkrun! As you know, if you’re a regular reader, I’m still returning from injury. I’m run/walking parkrun each week. This particular week I hadn’t asked anyone to run with me at parkrun. I wanted to see how I got on running on my own and listening to my body.
It was a complete mix of feelings. The first mile I struggled. I felt like I couldn’t get my breathing right, my body was asking me “What the hell are we doing?” and it was just a struggle. The 2nd mile however I felt like I was flying. I had a moment when I finally reached the finish funnel before the first runners finished. This never happens! Then I hit mile 3 and I was struggling and fatigued. I was running near two older gents who were chatting and I heard one of them say “Well I’d like to finish somewhere in the 30’s” and I thought to myself “You’re going to be sorely disappointed” because I’m never anywhere near the 30s. I always finish in the 40s.
Anyway I ran through the finish funnel, went to stop my watch and couldn’t believe what I saw! I’d finished in 39:45! After being so injured where I thought I’d never run again, I can not believe I’m nearing the end of the year with a sub 40 minute 5k!
Have you hit any milestones with your running in 2018?
Every Tuesday morning I see one of my parkrun friends out running on my drive to work. I pass her at the same point every Tuesday morning and it got me thinking…is this safe? The more I thought about it on my drive to work, the more this blog post came to fruition. Anything to make the commute pass by quicker!
Don’t Run The Same Route
Unfortunately these days you never know who is watching and if you run the same route, like my friend does every Tuesday, people will know. By not running the same route you make yourself less prone to attack. That might sound over dramatic but we read about muggings in the press all too often. Whilst we’re talking about routes, stick to well lit routes that you’re familiar with so you don’t get lost. And also…
Tell Someone Where You Plan On Running
If something does happen, heaven forbid, then your loved ones are at least going to have some clue of where you are. When you leave tell someone how long you expect to be. If you live alone then it’s always a good idea to carry some form of ID. The parkrun wrist bands are ideal as they have your ICE contact on them and you can list any medical conditions you may have. You might also want to…
Carry Your Phone With You
Now I’m kind of in two minds about this. If you have a phone with you and something happens then you can at least contact someone. Your loved ones can use the “Find Friends” app to track you too. However I don’t like to take my phone because if I’m going to get mugged, I don’t want them to take my phone. That’s why I’m in two minds! However I can make calls from my Apple Watch so I don’t necessarily need my phone but lets face it, if I’m going to get mugged, they’ll probably nab the watch anyway!
If you’re running in the dark mornings or evenings make sure you can be seen. There are so many pieces of quality Hi-Viz running clothing out there, there’s no excuse! You can also buy various running lights cheap as chips on Amazon. Wear your brightest clothing and you’re all set.
Hit The Gym
Not wanting to run in the dark? Go to the gym and use a treadmill. I know they’re not the most inspiring pieces of kit but you can use the programme settings on treadmills to get a really good workout. I help time pass on the treadmill by watching YouTube videos. There are actually elite athletes who use treadmills regularly to aid their running.
I’ve slipped a little with my blog posts again! Following on from my parkrun PB on 17th November, the following day I went for a run with Claire. We were meant to go to Breakfast Club but as it was the morning of the Gosport Half Marathon (which meant road closures between home and Breakfast Club) we decided to keep it local.
We met up at the end of my road and agreed we’d keep it to 30 minutes out and back just like a Breakfast Club. We set off towards Hill Head and ran along the prom. We ran all the way until the point where the prom runs out and then turned around. On the way back as we passed the toilet block we did some hill reps on the slopes that go from the toilets to the upper level pavement.
We then headed to Browndown where Claire then had me run up and down the stairs. As we began running again afterwards my hamstring on my left leg started to hurt. I think I probably strided out too far on the hill reps maybe.
We headed for home after this which made the run up to just over 4 miles. I was slower than the previous day but that was to be expected after getting a PB. Once I got in I had a quick shower and headed out to spectate at the Gosport Half Marathon.
The good thing about spectating at the Gosport Half Marathon is that you can see your runners multiple times due to the layout of the course and the fact it’s two laps. It’s a strange one though if you’re a runner. It’s along the seafront in November so windy and cold. It’s two laps, some people find laps soul destroying. And finally, if I were running it, I’d practically run past my house twice whilst, I imagine, in a world of pain! I’d probably just want to go home!
Anyway I stood with two friends from Gosport Road Runners and had a natter with them whilst cheering people on. I only took one picture as I didn’t want to miss any of my runners.
I was a bit gutted to miss Anna on her final fly by as I was still watching runners come the other way! Still I think I managed to see most people 4 times which is good and not something that can be done at all marathons.
I know Christmas isn’t out of the way yet but already I’ve heard lots of people talking about joining a gym and losing weight in 2019. So it made me think, what do people look for in a gym? I have a gym membership through work but if I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t go to that particular gym for a few reasons. So, my bloggers mind got whirring and I thought I’d pop together some ideas on what to look for in a gym.
The gym I’m a member of is right next door to work, which is very convenient during the time I’m at work. However, I refuse to drive to it when I’m not at work as it’s half an hour away which means I have to add an hour on to the time I’ll actually be there working out. I can just do it quicker at home! Make sure the gym you choose is close to where you want it to be. You might prefer it to be closer to home (less chance of bumping in to colleagues whilst you’re a sweaty mess!) or you might prefer it to be near work where you can go straight there before or after work. Or you might choose somewhere in the middle so at the weekend it’s still not too far away.
You might choose a “no frills gym” where they have all the equipment but little else. You might want a gym with a pool so you can swim as well as workout. Do you want hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas? You might want a gym that has straighteners and good quality hair dryers in the changing rooms so if you need to go to work or go out afterwards, it saves you lugging those things there. Some gyms have cafes, salons and in house physios etc. Be sure to have a tour of the gym you’re thinking of where you can look at everything available and ask any questions.
If you’re someone who enjoys group workouts be sure to see what the schedule of classes is like. Do they do the classes you want? Are they at times you’ll be able to make or are all the good ones whilst you’re going to be at work? A lot of gyms publish their class schedules online so this might be something you can look at before signing up.
Obviously you need to be able to afford the gym membership. There are so many cheaper gyms popping up now where the membership offers are really good. Have a look what they offer in terms of off peak/on peak times. Some gyms are cheaper if you use them during their off peak hours and if you can benefit from this then do! Some of the fancier gyms can be really expensive so you need to ask yourself how much do you want to spend. A gym I looked at looks really good in terms of what it has to offer but at £75 a month it’s very expensive. If you’re a regular traveller for work then it might be worth looking in to joining a gym which has many studios all around the country. Quite often they’ll offer a membership where you aren’t limited to just one gym.