Half Marathon Training with Scoliosis: Training Diary – 9 weeks to go!

Hi everyone,

So for my next challenge… I was very lucky enough to secure a place in the ballot of the Great North Run in September! (In Newcastle Upon Tyne)

To say I’m excited is an understatement. This is a huge race and a massive event in the running community.

Soooo… I need to up my training that’s for sure.

At the beginning of this year, I got a half marathon PB at the Wrexham Half Marathon (2hrs 2 mins!)

I then completed the Liverpool Rock and Roll half marathon in May, which was an amazing race but bad weather meant I didn’t manage to get a PB.

I would love to get a PB at Newcastle, but, I’m not sure if I have the time to train enough as it is only 9 weeks away and with a busy summer, I’m panicking now.

So I thought I’d document my training diary to kind of force me to do it, but also maybe to inspire someone else out there.

Ideally I would have started at 12 weeks before the race but life and holidays kind of got in the way, so I’m starting now, with 9 weeks to go!

I have found a training plan online and will kind of work to that loosely but fitting it round my full time job and busy life.

So lets start with this week (commencing 1st July). This is what I have done so far!

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Half Marathon Training: WEEK COMMENCING 1st July – 9 weeks to go

MONDAY – GYM – STRENGTH TRAINING

TUESDAY – INTERVALS 11 x 130m sprints with 45 secs recovery (was supposed to be 13 but I died!) + 5 min Tempo run at 9.09m mile (target Half marathon pace)

WEDNESDAY – REST

THURSDAY – 4 mile run easy

FRIDAY – REST (was on holiday – Sunday)

SUN – would ideally be long run day but I’m away this weekend so will try and fit it in when I can.

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I’ll be sharing my progress and pictures over on my Instagram – so please follow me and show your support. 🙂

Louise X

February Overview: Goals completed…what’s next?

Apologies for the lack of posts, it’s been a crazy busy couple of months.

I’ve been working hard on my running and fitness though and trying to achieve all my 2019 goals!

So…what have I been up to?

Goal – Complete 50 Park Runs and Park Run Tourism

Hereford Park Run

Since January, I have completed 7 Park Runs and I’m now on 45 in total, so I’m very close to my 50 goal!

As another one of my goals was to do as many different Park Runs as possible in the UK and abroad (Park Run Tourism),  I have been trying to mix it up a bit and since January I have done 3 different Park Runs, including Worcester Park Run,  Hereford Park Run and the famous Bushy Park Park Run in London – I am hoping to do one abroad very soon.  

I’m also now working on completing the Park Run Alphabet Challenge, which is completing Park Runs for each letter of the alphabet (A-Z). This can be a fun way to keep it interesting, see new places and keep motivated 🙂

Goal: Improve my 5K speed and get sub 27 minutes

Park Run PB

I somehow managed to do this (just) at Worcester Park Run. I think as it was a “pancake flat” course, which helped. I got a time of 26.56, which I was so pleased with! My next goal is to try and get closer to 26 minutes, but I know this will take a lot of work!

Goal: Complete a Half Marathon in 2 hours or under

This is a goal that I’m still working on and that will take a lot of work to complete. In February, I did the Wrexham Half Marathon, and I didn’t manage to get under 2 hours BUT I did get a PB, of 2 hours and 2 minutes. I was pleased with this as I struggled quite a bit on the day so I didn’t expect a PB. It wasn’t exactly a flat course and to be honest, it was quite boring. It was basically just running down loads of country lanes, so there weren’t many spectators / much of an atmosphere which usually helps a lot.

I forgot how hard it is to run a half marathon as well! I struggled a lot after mile 7/8 as I had set off too fast at the start to try and keep up with my friend who I was running with. I can do the pace for sub 2 hour half marathon for about 7/8 miles and then I just burn out and my legs just feel like lead. It’s taken me weeks to recover and I’m only just starting to get back to normal in terms of being able to run again/feel like running. It’s crazy how much a half marathon takes it out of you.

I didn’t have much time to train for this one though and I think I need to give myself time to build up the miles at the pace I want to run at. I have booked another half marathon for the end of May (Liverpool Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon) and I’m going to give it another go, or at least aim for another PB. I have my training plan ready and will focus more on speed work and tempo running running at my target pace, which I didn’t do much of before. I’m going to post about my half marathon training next week and what I’ll be doing to try and get that sub 2 hour goal!  

Goal: Volunteering at Park Run

This is another goal I achieved in February, as it’s good to give something back given the fact that Park Run is run entirely by volunteers.

I can honestly say it was strange not to be running, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope to do it again soon.

Goal: Start regular strength/interval training

Strength training is so important, especially if you have scoliosis, but even if you don’t, it’s important to strength train to prevent injury.

It can be hard to fit this in but I have started going to the gym and just doing weights/weight machines/body weight exercises. I also started cross fit in January but I have only been a few times.

Being stronger can make a massive difference to your running and can help you get faster and prevent injury.

I have also been doing an interval/circuit training type session once a week with the Run Club, in a bid to help me achieve my half marathon goal.

Goal – Sub 55 minute 10K (PB 55.40)

Shrewsbury 10K medal

This will be a tough one I think. I haven’t really been focussing on 10Ks as much as I did last year (last year I did one pretty much every month!) Although I’m ok with the distance as I usually run about 5-6 miles every week with my run club.

This year I have decided to focus more on half marathons and Park Runs. However, I did do the Shrewsbury 10K last weekend as a last minute decision.

Now, this was the first 10K race that I have done for a while (since November), and I am still struggling following the Wrexham Half Marathon. What I didn’t realise as well, was that the Shrewsbury 10K is incredibly tough and hilly, so not really a PB course!!

To be honest, I struggled A LOT because of the hills. I am not used to hills, I don’t like hills and these were pretty big (the course is described as “undulating”). So I think I need to incorporate hills into my training for sure. That being said I am very pleased with the time – I finished in just over 57 minutes, which for that course, and for me is really good. I think my PB is in reach if I go for a flat course next time J  

So that is just an overview of what I have been up to this year so far. I now plan on focusing on the half marathon training between now and May, with some Park Run tourism thrown in. I should get my 50 Park Runs soon too J

I also plan on working more on this blog and developing more regular content, so keep an eye out for that and hopefully completing another big challenge to raise money for scoliosis.

Hope your year is going well so far and you are achieving all your goals 🙂

Louise X

Manchester Half Marathon 2018 medal

Manchester Half Marathon

This post is a bit late, but life has been a bit crazy recently! A couple of weeks ago, on the 14th October, I was so proud to complete my second half marathon of the year – the Manchester Half Marathon.

It was my goal to complete a half marathon this year, but I never thought I would complete TWO half marathons!

I booked onto this second half marathon in a moment of madness after the Great Manchester Run I did in May.

To be honest, as it approached, I was dreading it quite a bit.

After a tough few months following an injury to my leg in June, I felt like I hadn’t trained enough for it. I do quite a bit of running as part of my normal week, I usually go out with my run club at least once a week and I try to do Park Run most Saturday’s. But I definitely did not have the time to do as many long runs (8 miles plus), as I would have liked. In fact, I only managed to do one long run of 10 miles about two weeks beforehand and that was pretty slow with a few stops mixed in. So, you could say I felt unprepared!!

I decided to go for it anyway, with the sole aim of enjoying and completing it (and forgetting about getting a PB). If I had to stop or walk, then I would and I wouldn’t feel bad about it.

On the day of the race, the weather was absolutely terrible and this is no exaggeration! It was cold and raining very heavily. The rain didn’t stop for the whole race and afterwards I was soaked to the bone!!

Despite the rain, I found this race to be a lot easier than last time. I think it was because it was cooler – the last one I did the weather was hot and sunny which made it much harder. Also, although this race was in Manchester, the course was much flatter than the one I did in May! In fact, it was pretty much flat all the way around.

I did find myself getting caught up in it all and at some points I was running far too fast for the distance I was doing, which meant my legs felt heavier much sooner than last time. I think I burnt myself out a bit! Although, I kept a much quicker pace than last time all the way around, which meant I finished in 2.03 – a whole 5 minutes QUICKER than the one I did in May!!

Manchester Half Marathon 2018
I was so pleased to see that finish line 🙂

To be perfectly honest, I did not expect to run it so quickly. I honestly thought it would be similar or even slower to my first one, given the limited training. I was so surprised to get so close to two hours!

My next challenge will be to complete a half marathon under 2 hours.. watch this space!!! 🙂