Wednesday, 29 December 2010

New Beginners Programmes - dates & details

Date for the next beginners programmes! I'm splitting this into a shorter course in Jan aimed at those who can jog (gently) for about 10 minutes already and a full 10 week course starting in Feb for absolute beginners.
Tuesday 11th January - 8pm - Fast Track Beginners Course (4 weeks)
Tuesday 22nd February - 8pm - Absolute Beginners Course (10 weeks)
The aim of both courses is the same - to get you running for 30 minutes without needing a walking break. You'll then be able to join in with the weekly improver's classes which are 8pm every Monday and 7pm every Tuesday.
The Fast Track Beginners Course is aimed at those who can jog for about 8 minutes already - no matter how slowly. Maybe you're returning to running after a long break or perhaps you 've been treadmill running and want to progress to the great outdoors! We'll be starting with four 8 minute runs with walking breaks in between (35 minute session) & building from there over the 4 weeks to 30 minutes continuous.
The Absolute Beginners Course (10 weeks) is aimed at those who've never run before. We'll start with gentle jogging for 1 minute, then walking for a minute. Over the 10 weeks, we will get to 30 minutes continuous. Please note that the final week will be the 3rd May, not the 26th April as I can't make that Tuesday. If you are keen to get started in January, I recommend doing some walking to build up your CV fitness before the course begins.
If you are not sure which course suits you, email me for advice - or simply come along on Tuesday 11th Jan & if that session is too tough, you can then defer to the 22nd Feb.

If you are new to exercise, it's advisable to have a chat with your GP to check that you will be OK to try running.
Costs are £25 annual WRN membership plus £2 per beginner session. I encourage all new runners to come along for a couple of sessions before committing to annual membership just to check that running is for them. After the programme completes & you graduate to the Improver's, you can opt to pay just £10 for unlimited sessions - much cheaper!
Clothing - sports bra and trainers are essential. I prefer that you start with a pair of trainers that you find comfortable - defer buying running shoes until you know that you'll need them and until you've developed you own running technique. We do run in nearly all weathers (snow is the only problem), so a lightweight jacket is useful too. I provide reflective vests.
Runs go from the Hub Sports Pavilion on Bishopstoke Road in between Bishopstoke and Eastleigh (the rugby club). There is parking, access to loos and a lobby where we can wait in the dry!
Do let me know if you would like to join either of these sessions - my max numbers are limited by the Women's Running Network. I've undergone coaching training as well as a first aid course - and I've been coaching beginners since Jan 2009. Chat is considered at least as important as the actual running by our members! Check out our website for more information - and we have a Facebook group too.

I think that's everything! If not, email me at


Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Realistic running goals - the 10% rule

I'm sure a few of us are thinking about goals for 2011 - runs we'd like to do, distances we'd like to nail and PBs to achieve. It's important to ensure that you are setting yourself realistic goals - and the rule of 10% can be invaluable in sense checking ambitions!

The 10% rule is to increase the distance that you run no more than 10% in a week. So, let's assume that I'd like to tackle my first 10K and that I can currently run 5km. The training plan would need to be (rounded):
  • Longest run week 1: 5km
  • Longest run week 2: 5.5km
  • Longest run week 3: 6.1km
  • Longest run week 4: 6.7km
  • Longest run week 5: 7.3km
  • Longest run week 6: 8.1km
  • Longest run week 7: 8.9km
  • Longest run week 8: 9.7km
  • Longest run week 9: 10.7km
For 10K, I should aim to get to the distance at least 1 week before the race. So I now know that if I'm to do a 10K, I need to get into training at least 9, ideally 10 weeks before the race. Therefore, the Eastleigh 10K at the end of March would be do-able, provided that my training starts by 2nd week of Jan. See the last blog on training logs - I can now write up my plan there, so I know what to do when. This will also help as I'll be able to spot issues that might need to be factored in (for example, I've got a week's holiday planned for Feb).

I've done the maths for a number of other distances:
  • If you can currently run 10km, it will take 6 weeks to get to 10 miles (just over 16km, the distance of the Great South). Ideally, you should reach this 2 weeks before the race.
  • If you can currently run 10km, it will take 9 weeks to get to half marathon. Ideally, you should reach this 2 weeks before the race.
Factor in the length of time that the training runs will take. If you run 3 times per week, a good plan would be 1 run pushing the distance, 1 run repeating that, and a final more intensive run that works on speed or strength. So for a half marathon, you'll need to build 2 runs per week of well over 1 hour for 9 weeks - a significant commitment.

This approach should mean that you only commit to events that your body will be able to complete without injury! For marathons, it's different as you don't tend to do the full distance on training - a separate blog will follow for this.

New Year is a great time to set resolutions - but it's even better if you can look back over 2011 feeling chuffed at having met your goals!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Keeping a training log

This is a great way of tracking your running progress – and it’s a good use of a surplus diary (a common Christmas gift!). Alternatively, you could use Facebook, Twitter, your own blog or an app like map my run , runkeeper, miCoach or Nike +.

Benefits of keeping a log

1. 1. Writing down every time you run can help you to focus on recognising what you have achieved instead of beating yourself up about what you haven’t done!

2. You may be able to spot ways of improving. You might be able to see whether spending time warming up properly affects your run, for example.

3. You can see your progress easily – compare your performance against the start of the year and see how close you are to achieving your goals.

4. A training log can easily double as a training plan. So if you have a race date, enter it in your log then work backwards to plan out your training – a great way to calculate when you need to scale up distance or pace. Remember that you shouldn't be increasing distance by more than 10% every week.

5. If you don’t have a specific goal at the moment, a log can be invaluable to checking on how your running is progressing.

Tips on keeping your log

1. 1. At the beginning of the log, I suggest recording:

a. How far you can run now (e.g. 10km)

b. How fast you can run now (e.g. 5km in 29:30, 10km in 60:00)

c. Goals for this year (e.g. sub 29 minute 5km, a half maratho

2. Every time you run, record:

a. Date & time

b. How far you went

c. How long it took you

d. What did you enjoy about the run?

e. Anything that was memorable about the run and and reminders for next time (e.g. “Gorgeous clear evening but pink socks rubbed a bit – must remember not to wear them for running again! Warmed up and stretched.”

3. Include other exercise activities – aerobics classes, cycling, walking, swimming, ice skating...

4. Flip back from time to time so that you can review your progress.

Re: Running is cancelled tonight

Sorry - tonight (tue) is still 2 icy.

Sent from my iPhone

On 20 Dec 2010, at 09:04, Gin Tidridge <> wrote:

> It is too icy for safe running tonight (Monday) - keep fingers crossed for a miracle thaw in time for Tuesday!
> Regards,
> Gin
> Sent from my iPhone

Monday, 20 December 2010

Running is cancelled tonight

It is too icy for safe running tonight (Monday) - keep fingers crossed for a miracle thaw in time for Tuesday!

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, 16 December 2010

This week's runs & Christmas

So cold on Monday - there was freezing fog initially, but the temperature dropped as it lifted. So a good evening to charge up a hill! No run on Tuesday as I was at a party - but Helena did an heroic solo 5K!
Running over next couple of weeks:
  • Mon 20th & Tue 21st - running as normal from the Hub
  • Mon 27th - no running
  • Tue 28th - only the Mince Pie Run at 2:30pm at my house. All very welcome to join me for a gentle jog in the woods followed by mince pies & mulled wine.
  • Mon Jan 3rd - running as normal from the Hub
  • Tuesday Jan 4th - running as normal from the Hub
So, runs from this week (remember that I took the gentlest pace and did not loop back):
  • Mon 7pm 5.96km in 42:17 472 calories
  • Mon 8pm 5.10km in 44:42 289 calories

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Last week's run & pants

Yes, that's singular! 5 of us braved the icy pavements on Tuesday - well done to Camille, Caroline, Christina and Jayne for enduring a very cold run.

A bit more disruption this week I'm afraid - I have my office party on Tuesday so will not be running, but bouncing around a dance floor for my exercise fix instead. Monday's runs will go ahead as per usual - so if you are a recently graduated beginner, do feel free to come along at 8pm on Monday.

Tues 7pm 5km/6.8km in about 45 mins, about 320 calories (wild guesstimates due to GPS user error - I forgot to hit "start" & only noticed at the halfway point).

More bravery was exhibited on Saturday - Jayne, Louise, Pauline & me did parkrun at 9am. The lake bit was too icy again, so we did 12 circuits of "the bowl" - a former gravel pit that looks a bit amphitheatre-ish. Slippery wet grass made for a challenging run - so chuffed that we all finished.
It was still cold, so I trialled a recent purchase - don't worry, pictures of my pants will not be a regular feature of these blogs - but I thought that the woolly wonderfulness of these should be shown to a wide audience. Backside was warmer than usual - fit for purpose!

Monday, 6 December 2010

What's on Runners' Letters to Santa?

Top of my list is ice free pavements!
But in the meantime, here are some ideas of what you could add to your letters to Santa:

1. Books:
a. "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" by Haruki Mrakami - add a bit of philosophical reflection to your runs.
b. "Running Well: Run Smarter, Run Faster, Avoid Injury... and Enjoy It More!" - Sam Murphy & Sarah Connors - useful reference guide to avoiding and recovering from injury.
c. "Run for Life" - Sam Murphy - easy to read and full of running tips.
d. "The Lore of Running" - Timothy Noakes - a terrifying tome that has more information than I'm ever going to get through on running!

2. Socks - how original! Running socks tend to be a bit more expensive than others though - so could be an ideal addition to your list.

3. Headphones that don't fall out of your ears! Look for designs that loop over the top of your ears if you find that standard earphones don't stay put when you run.

4. MP3 player - I can't run without either a conversation or music! Vouchers to spend on tunes to add to your MP3 would also be useful.

6. Lightweight beanie hat, gloves, reflective stuff - all great for winter running.

7. Subscription to Runners World magazine or Women's Running magazine. The former is incredibly comprehensive and subscribing also expands the amount of online content you can access. I've only recently started reading Women's Running magazine - and it's impressed me with its articles.

8. Gizmos. Many runners find heart rate monitors useful to measure how hard they are working and tailor their training. Brands include polar and sigma. I use my GPS watch (Garmin Forerunner 305) to see how fast I am running and to measure distance.

9. Wrist wallet, shoe wallet - useful for car keys, emergency jelly beans etc

10. Water bottle - doughnut shaped bottles are easy to carry in your hand as you run. If you are doing longer runs, might be worth looking into a hydration pack.

Any other ideas?

Running is cancelled tonight - Monday

Pavements still have nasty icy patches so as Eastleigh isn't expected to reach thawing temperatures today, I am cancelling tonight (Monday's) runs. Forecast looks more hopeful for tomorrow.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Running when it's icy

I thought it would be timely to give some advice on running when it's icy and snowy.

Do Think About Your Safety
If it's slippery underfoot, then you are likely to slip when you run. Decide whether to run or not after you've had a good look at the pavements and tracks on your route.

If it looks hazardous, give running a miss. It may be really frustrating to miss a few sessions, but your frustration will be so much greater if you slip and injure yourself.

Remember that it will be icier in areas that haven't been exposed to the sunshine during the day and often on higher ground.

Also bear in mind that cars may not be able to stop as effectively as usual - and that drivers may be focusing so much on keeping their car from skidding that they are even less likely to spot you. Look out for cars and wear something bright and reflective.

Other Options
What to do if you don't feel safe running outside?

If you are able to get to the gym, this is a great reason to switch to the treadmill for a bit.
If you are not a member and will be good at saying "no thanks" when the weather improves, you could opt for a free trial membership - do try negotiating with the gym's membership sales team!
To make your treadmill session more interesting, try doing some intervals. Jog at easy pace for 10 minutes, then do 10-20 minutes alternating 1-2 minutes of fast running with 1-2 of easy pace. Finish with 5-10 minutes of easy pace.
Schedule your gym visits to coincide with TV programmes you want to watch!

This can also be a good time to do some cross training. Go for a swim, take an aerobics class, try yoga. Circuits is a good choice if you want to be challenged. If you are pining for your bike, try a spinning class.

At home, you could dig out a fitness DVD or use a wii fit or similar. Shovelling snow is potentially great exercise.

Another good option is to simply go out for a walk and enjoy the snow. Take a sled and a camera!

This week's runs

Sorry for cancelling running on Tuesday - predictably, after I'd decided to not take the risk of running, the snow failed to stick and the pavement remained ice free. Still, there was a possibility of it being like today, so I still think I made the right call. I do have to err on the side of caution as it's a group activity.
Parkrun aren't sure if there will be a run on Saturday or not - check their website before travelling.
On the subject of parkrun, Claire D and Pauline both braved the cold weather on Saturday - and Claire was only 4 seconds off her PB!

Jess has found a fab sounding run for the 3rd Jan at Somerley which has options for 5K or 10K. It's a lovely location so could be a great start to 2011.

Runs in December - all as usual except:
  • Tuesday 14th December - cancelled (office xmas party)
  • Monday 27th December - cancelled
  • Tuesday 28th December - Mince Pie run at 2:30pm from my house, no evening runs
This week's runs (Monday only):
Mon 7pm: 6.10km in 40:08 506 calories
Mon 8pm: 6.47km in 44:11 537 calories

See you on Mon/Tue - do check the blog first because if snow forces cancellation, I will post here by midday.