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Training blog

I both love and hate Autumn. I love the gorgeous colours (even more beautiful this year due to a sunny Spring and higher levels of chlorophyll), I love the crisp mornings and I love long dog walks spent crunching through leaves. But I really struggle with the dying light - going to work in the dark, spending the day in artificial light and going home in the dark means the days blur into one. I can almost feel the Vitamin D draining from my body. I really notice a huge difference in my mood when I've had more time outside in the light. I'm trying hard to do as many outdoor activities as possible at weekends and supplementing that all-important vitamin D.


A quick mention for my PT, Tom Smith. He's doing some lockdown exercises on Instagram every day. They only take 10 minutes. You can find him and the exercises @tomlockdowntraining.


Since I last posted we've had a glorious week in the Cotswolds and a week back at work. As always I'll start from where I left off - Saturday 24th October.


Sunday 25th - Lovely run on the Ridgeway with my friend and ex-colleague Dani and then a long walk in the afternoon with friends. It was a mudfest. After the Farley Mount session the previous day it reinforced that I needed to buy some trail shoes. After a straw poll at training I chose some Inov-8 Roclite shoes. Excited to try them out. I had an amazing night of sleep last night - knowing I've got a week off coming has really helped me switch off. Normally I wake up at 2.30-3am and mull.


Monday 26th - Lovely run round the water meadows. I ran without my headphones - I normally listen to podcasts if I'm on my own and doing an easy run but today I listened to the birds. 50 minutes total with some strides at the end. We drove to the Cotswolds in the afternoon to stay at the Rectory hotel. Absolute bliss getting away for 5 days.



Tuesday 27th - Double day today. 30 minutes easy in the morning before a cooked breakfast and then 70 minutes just before cocktail hour. The 70 minutes included 7 x 2 mins on, 2 mins off - every rep seemed to be up hill and into a headwind so I abandoned looking at paces and concentrated on effort. The post-run cocktail was delicious! The rest of the day in between runs was spent walking along some lovely trails and eating cake.


Wednesday 28th - Moved my rest day so I could enjoy a lie in and a long walk with Tom and Goose. We got soaked to the skin in the rain. To recover and warm up we found an amazing cafe in Tetbury that did a delicious cinnamon steamer - hot milk with cinnamon and maple syrup. Perfect recovery food.


Thursday 29th - Double day planned but didn't get back in time from our walk. Pre-breakfast I ran 60 mins with 3 x 8 minutes off 90 seconds. In the afternoon we met my lovely friend Lizzie for a walk and some coffee and cake. Last night at the hotel so we went to town on the cocktail list. I had something called a Corpse Reviver. Made me feel incredible!



Friday 30th - Pre-breakfast run of 70 minutes that was faster than planned. That Corpse Reviver seemed to work! Back home today and feeling the back-to-work blues.


Saturday 31st - Double day. Met the lovely Jo from my running club for a track session in the morning - 2 x 5 x 400m hard. We did the session in the driving rain which was quite fun, although perhaps Type 2 fun. I did a very easy recovery run in the evening before going for dinner at our friends' house. Boris announced lockdown 2 starting Thursday today. Bloody Covid.


Sunday 1st November - Felt pretty low about the second lockdown this morning. I definitely subscribe to the 'No man is an island' way of living. I really miss my friends and family and all the normal hugs that are usually part of my life. Tempting to stay in bed today feeling glum but eventually managed some dog walks and a run. The aim was 90 minutes at 7.15-7.30/mile pace and I struggled the whole way. After 10 minutes I thought about calling it a day but soldiered on. Glad to get it done but it didn't really lift my mood.



Monday 2nd - Felt pretty sad today. Someone I really loved, who recently passed away, would have been 40 today on her birthday. I definitely need reminding that life is short and wonderful and that I should more time enjoying it and less time worrying. I ran for 45 minutes before work and made it out in time for 45 minutes with my PT, Tom Smith. A squeezed in last session before lockdown.


Tuesday 3rd - Didn't get out of work on time to run - managed some dinner and then straight to bed. Felt today that the apocalypse might be coming when I heard Trump was projected to win. Between that and Covid the world seemed pretty dark today.


Wednesday 4th - Progressive 30 minutes first thing before work. Just about light enough to run. Felt good. In the evening the fantastic Dave Vosser and Nicky held a pre-lockdown session. We did 2 x 8 x 80 seconds (55 sec between reps, 2.30 between sets). Tough but so great to train with the group, as always. I don't really understand why outdoor sport has had to stop given the low evidence of transmission. I don't feel particularly safe running with a head torch on my own while trying not to fall over. We had some late night pizza with friends to say 'goodbye for now'.


Thursday 5th - Didn't sleep very well so was pretty much awake when my alarm went off at 5.30am. 50 minutes in the dark. Freezing so resorted to leggings - quite unusual for me - normally I get too hot and feel restricted but it was -2 Celcius this morning. Too cold even for people from Northern Ireland!


Friday 6th - Unscheduled rest day. I spent the morning in meetings and the rest of the day catching up on anaesthesia-related admin. By the afternoon when I'd hoped to run I just felt exhausted today so sent a text to Tom Craggs, my coach, to say I wanted to rest. My husband says he's going to abbreviate 'just tired' to 'JT' because I say it all the time. Feeling a bit overwhelmed - lockdown, coronavirus, the possibility of not seeing family at Christmas and no election result in the US.


Saturday 7th - Up early to do yesterday's session. 75 minutes total with 10 x alternating 3 mins threshold, 3 mins steady followed by 2 minutes rest and then 15 minutes at half marathon pace. Worked hard - Garmin told me I needed 36 hours recovery after (haha - I should be so lucky!). Pleased with the effort even if the splits weren't amazing. Had some physio today for my niggly left hip - it's definitely better but still there. Treatment was painful.

Met with my friend Ellie in there afternoon to run some very easy miles round Farley Mount - glorious. I also did some of Tom Smith's lockdown exercises today. Feeling much more full of energy today.

Hooray for Joe Biden!


Sunday 8th - 70 minutes steady with Ellie around a loop to Easton and back. I always forget how hilly it is. Really pleased I hit the splits I wanted to on fairly tired legs from yesterday. Bimble back home afterwards and then a lovely walk at Farley Mount with Goose and my husband. Spent the afternoon reading the newspapers and drinking coffee wrapped in a blanket. Bliss! Another run of 35 minutes easy with my husband in the evening. Early dinner, The Witches film and bed!




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