Sunday, February 20, 2011

Back in Training (and blogging!)

Well it has been a difficult few weeks to keep up the training (and even more difficult to keep up the blogging!). I have been away a lot recently and although I have tried to get in a walk or 2 whenever I can it has proved pretty difficult.

Whilst away I have also realised that walking on a treadmill in the gym is very difficult. Even watching tv is nothing like going outside and hitting the streets. I think nothing of going out for an hour quick walk but more than 30mins on treadmill is really difficult. I have therefore taken to warming up with a 10 min walk then 20 - 30 min run then warm down walk - at least this gets the heart pumping and good for the fitness. Anyway now back on the rock I have no more excuses!

2 weeks ago I entered the 5th round of the 10k series. I managed to improve my fastest time a little bit to 1:02:22. This is the first time i have entered the race walking and have really enjoyed it, so looking forward to the last race in a couple of weeks time (as I think there are only 5 races this year?) and then the goal for next year - getting under 60mins.

I have just been away with the kids for half term which was great fun but again not so good for the training as there was nowhere to walk so attempted to stick to the treadmill routine (and eating and drinking routine too!). Anyway feeling guilty on my last day away I decided that, to mark the start of serious training, I would do the Douglas peel parish route on Saturday morning, meeting for lunch at the Creek. We got back on the late Friday night flight and setting my alarm for 6:30am the next morning suddenly didn't seem like a good idea!

I woke up to torrential rain and got ready slowly hoping it would ease off. It is a bit of a challenge walking 30miles without any support in that weather so as I crashed around trying to find all my gear I "inadvertently" woke gemma up and happened to mention that if she was passing the round table I might meet her there at around 11:30. Anyway ended up setting off at about 7:30 with bottle of squash and a yogurt bar and some cash for the shop in ballasalla. My plan that the rain would stop failed miserably....

I had decided to do the parish route, bar the trips to the churches which seems to knock about 2 miles off. It turned out to be quite a slog as the first 2 hours saw relentless rain. We are used to seeing lots of fellow walkers and runners out, but the only runner I met was in Santon. He was running the other way and as we passed each other the same thought was definitely going through our heads as we both said to each other as we passed - "what are we doing! and i still had over 20miles to go! That said we were both smiling.

By that stage I had already been slowed going up the sloping road in Santon. The road was closed but I thought it would be ok for pedestrians - I was wrong!! Having scrambled over hardcore and soil half way up I met 2 surprised workers who were digging away on the new natural gas pipeline. I apologised but said I would like to jump over the trench - having warned me it was at my own risk; and looking at me as if I was mad (I was wearing shorts (which I regretted going up the sloc) they smiled as I plowed on.

Despite the weather I was in pretty good spirits by Ballasalla. The lady in the shop looked a little surprised as I lumbered in muddy (from the trench incident) and dripping wet but a boost and a bottle of lucozade perked me up and I was through to the bottom of the sloc at over 5mph.

The climb started fine but it was really foggy and about half way up visibilty was down to about 30ft and it was getting very cold. Not many cars to avoid although some people were driving around without any lights on?!?!?! towards the top a guy on a bike came flying down and gave me a wave (I hope he made it down ok too as he didnt have any lights - but neither did i though).

I had my second boost bar at the top and felt ok but getting stiff and legs were beginning to get sore. My early morning scheme worked like a dream as on the way to the round table my car appeared out of the gloom (with lights on) with gemma smiling at the wheel.  I had a banana but could not face anymore chocolate but foolishly did not take anything sweet. I had my heart set on the guilt free lunch at the Creek so thought I would hang on - mistake....

Gem offered me a lift but I managed to resist (probably because we were too early for the Creek!) and plowed on. Gem had decided to drive to Peel and run back until she met me coming in.

I started running low on reserves at about Dalby (although it had finally stopped raining by then:) ) and could not seem to get back to 5mph. Gem met me about 3miles out and immediately picked up my speed because she turned back and started walking at 5.2 (Garmin speed still my  focus!!) I therefore trailed in her slipstream!! She was very pleased especially when we went passed the dog walkers at the Raggat who gave me a knowing smile as gemma powered passed arms pumping, with me sodden and muddy with arms wafting and struggling in her wake. I wanted to plead the realities but grimaced and trudged past....

6 hrs had passed but I eventually plodded into the Creek and fish and chips and a pint of guest bitter later I was smiling again.

This was a good kick start to the training - I also learnt a few things - wear long skins or equivalent if cold. leg ache definitely increased with cold legs. Need to carry a bit more food esp savoury if I do it again and need to do a lot more training if hope to get under 17hrs...

No pictures this time as too wet to get the phone out but training regime kick started and ready for more!


  1. Oh my poor head is in a spin. I read the 3 blogs on here daily - religiously. I had assumed that with you being busy your next blog would be detailing the start of your training.

    But PEEL!!! Is that the first walk you've done or lots of smaller walks in between walk / kids etc?

    Was your average speed 5 mph? What training do you have to do to achieve that?

    I can see on Richards blog today, he has said training is individual, but for novices like me I'm trying to pick up as much from finishers like you guys.

  2. I meant to say on between work / kids, not walk / kids !!

    See what I mean about my head in a spin :)

  3. Glad to know you are reading the blogs. It is sometimes difficult to keep writing about walking as there is only so much you can say about training. I have to confess that I did not read the blogs that much last year but have already really enjoyed reading my 2 fellow bloggers activities so far and realise that it is just interesting to pick up some tips and see how others prepare...

    Anyway in answer to your questions - I have pretty much mentioned every training session I have done during the blogging (so no not lots of other walks on the side!). I just haven't had a huge amount of time to devote to training but I have not actually stopped doing some walking training since my first parish in 2009. So it may only be one walk of 5 miles per week at times but I have found that can keep me ticking over. If I am on holiday or have some spare time I do a lot more but it does go in fits and starts. The other thing I have done is the 10k races over the winter and worked on my technique which has really improved my speed and meant now that I can now pretty comfortably walk at over 5mph which I could not do this time last year (the other thing that helps is that I have long legs - but no tips can help with that!).

    I think this is now the important time to real push to reach a peak before the Parish - probably 100 days of training left as you want to ease off during the last couple of weeks. The other thing that pays for me is to push on every walk; I do time/pace every walk on the Garmin forerunner and find this really helps to keep your speed up - if you haven't got one of these I would seriously think about it as it really helps to pace your self and monitor improvement - which helps keep the motivation up.

    Good luck with the training and also have a look at my tips page if you haven't noticed it already.

  4. Thanks for the reply. I'm typing this as I hang upside down from the door frame in an attempt to stretch my legs !!
    Interesting what you say about the Garmin - I've been toying with the idea of buying one of those.
    I will have a peek at the tips page as well.
    Good luck.