In my previous post I talked about my training programme, how I fueled my runs, what gear I was using, and my overall emotional journey. This fortnight I’ll be talking about some pretty similar topics but concentrating particularly on how things have progressed in my training, and what changes I’ve started to make to my food intake. I’ll also be talking about an amazing compression kit that SKINS have very kindly sent to me – you’ll be able to bag 20% off and there’s a chance to win the exact same kit too! (Just read on for more details.)
I’ll be running the Leeds Half Marathon on Sunday, May 8th, in order to raise money for Mind – the mental health charity. If you’d like to donate just text GOSA60 £1 (or an amount of your choice) to 70070, or alternatively click here to donate online. All donations will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
So, my training programme, like I mentioned in my last post I have been loosely following the BUPA Intermediate Half Marathon Programme but I have changed around when my rest days are and I have taken a more primal stance on the cross training elements by incorporating calisthenics and kettlebells.
Over the last 2 weeks I have been under mega amounts of stress, the kind of stress that has made me want to jack in every little thing that I’m doing – including my blog and my training. I’ve been mostly waking up at 3am in order to do my work (before all of the kids wake up), which might sound pretty severe but I’m in bed by 10pm and it’s my only way of getting things done. But 5-6 hours sleep on a daily basis really starts to catch up with you and all of the things that were already feeling tough start to feel pretty much impossible. This is why my training table below looks completely different than the last one, and to be honest I can’t figure out if I’ve put in the correct details into the training plan or not.
I’ve done some more calisthenics work again but not as much as in weeks 3 and 4, and I’ve also done what I call a ‘100 Reps Workout’ which is basically when I complete 100 reps of a mixture of exercises like; 20 press ups, 10 pull-ups, 10 dips, 30 squats, 20 kettlebell swings. Or something like that. It’s fast and easy, and doesn’t seem so hard to commit to.
|REST||100 REPS WORKOUT (20 mins) +EASY RUN
I have had more rest days than in the previous month, and I have been feeling fed up of running, so I decided doing more strength training would feel a lot less daunting; it’s in my warm cosy house, my dog isn’t dragging me around, and I can stop whenever I want to. I think this has been beneficial to my overall training as my long run pace has become faster and I’m running farther each time. I’ve also started to feel a lot less worn out both physically and mentally.
You can see my time progressions below:
- Week 3: 6.20 miles in 1:14:06 (11:57 min/mi pace)
- Week 4: 7.18 miles in 1:26:45 (12:05 min/mi pace)
- Week 5: 8.16 miles in 1:38:32 (12:05 min/mi pace)
- Week 6: 8.22 miles in 1:38:54 (12:02 min/mi pace)
As you can see in week 6 I ran a little farther and at a faster pace than week 5. The distance gap between weeks 3 and 4 resulted in a much slower pace, and looking back I might have done well to stick to BUPA’s 6 mile, instead of my 7 mile, long run. I’m happy to see that there seems to be consistency to my running times and I think that had I not been half as tired or stressed then my pace probably would have been faster.
Week 5 has been the hardest week so far, I felt like I was letting myself down by being too exhausted to run, and when I finished my 8 miler I ended up with an excruciating pain in my coccyx which resulted in me becoming incredibly dizzy, feeling like I needed to poop, and then almost vomiting everywhere. After a couple of hours it finally subsided. I am putting this down to the SPD that I suffered from in pregnancy, poor form, tight hips, and running on solid, park paths.
For my last two runs I have concentrated on making sure that I’m not leaning forward too much as I think in week 5’s long run I was so exhausted that I kind of just kept falling forward out of exhaustion, and I’ve been running on the grass now too because it’s not so boggy that I risk going flying. Both of these things have made me feel much more at ease and I’m happy to report that I’ve had no pain whatsoever this week.
For the following 2 weeks I will be looking at only having 2 rest days, and will have 2 strength training sessions; kettlebells and olympic lifting, wherein I intend to focus a lot more on building my lower body up and also concentrating on strengthening my lower back in order to support my hips. My long runs will be 6 miles, and 10 miles, and I’ll be going back to adding in my tempo and speed runs.
I have been tracking my runs with the Garmin vívoactive® GPS watch and sadly I’m almost at the end of my 1 month loan. I’ve really enjoyed using this watch, it’s easy to use, however I’ve not used it to its full capabilities due to time constraints. It’s ultra thin (8mm) and light so it is great for sleep tracking, and it’s discreet enough for daytime use – it looks pretty slick with it’s high resolution touch screen. It also has some fab functions like vibration alerts for incoming calls and other social alerts – so you never miss anything that comes through to your phone, although after a while this does get a bit annoying (especially when you run a million social accounts). Unlike other basic trackers it is waterproof so you can shower wearing it or go for a swim. The battery life is up to around 10 hours when using the GPS, so it is great for long runs and cycle trips. My only qualms with the watch is that it doesn’t work with Strava to record an activity and it doesn’t have a heart rate monitor. You can however sync your data to Strava using the Garmin sync feature within the Garmin Connect app, and a heart rate monitor strap is available to buy at £44.99, direct from Garmin.
You can buy the Garmin vívoactive® direct from Garmin, at £159.99.
SKINS A400 Range
The SKINS A400 Range use dynamic gradient compression to help boost your natural performance, delivering more oxygen to your muscles and reducing lactic acid build up. This enables you to up your training intensity without worrying about the next-day muscle strain or DOMS. I was sent out the A400 Women’s Long Tights, RRP £100.00, and the A400 Womens Tank Top, RRP £60.00 to try, both in the colour ‘Gold’.
But how did I find them?
Well, I’ve been a fan of SKINS for probably around 6 years now, in fact I still own my RY400 Recovery Tights (albeit a little bedraggled) and a pair of men’s tights that I used to sling some shorts over (don’t ask). Unlike other brands of compression wear they’re so easy to move in and although you can feel the tightness it doesn’t leave you feeling uncomfortable. I’ve got a pair of 3/4 length 2XU compression tights, in fact I wore them for last year’s half marathon, and I absolutely hate them – they hurt, there’s like an annoying label that scratches, and they are just brutally uncomfortable that I hated running in them and haven’t ran in them since. With my SKINS I feel free and comfortable, and to me that is absolutely paramount!
Both the tights and vest boast a 50+ UV protection to keep you safe from the sun, and 360 degree reflectivity, so at night you’re visible from up to 160m away. The wicking on both pairs of SKINS is amazing – you don’t end up cold and drenched in your sweat one bit and the temperature regulation is spot on.
For anyone wondering what my new @skinsgb A400 gear looks like on – here you go! I’ve really been enjoying it so far, the compression is far better than other brands I’ve tried. I love the new funky design and the vest is to die for! Ultimate ninja kit! #fitfoodie #healthy #health #healthblogger #runningwithdogs #hbloggersuk #hbloggers #run #runner #runners #running #ukrunchat #ukrunners #fitfam #fitmom #fitmum #fitspo #fitblog #fitness #fitnessaddict #fitnessblogger #workout #skinsuk #compression #paleo #functionaltraining #functional fitness #thisgirlcan #likeagirl #strongwomen
The compression on the tights focuses around the calve area and upper thighs, and the wide waistband prevents the tights from falling down – more so than in any tights I’ve used. There is also a little pocket within the back of the waistband to store an MP3 player, keys, or some money. The tights are ultra thin but have a double walled material, you’ll feel like you’re going to rip them getting them on but they’re so sturdy and durable it’s crazy.
The A400 tank is literally THE BEST vest top that I have worn yet. It’s super comfortable again, no restrictiveness, and it includes a medium impact support shelf bra so there’s no need for a sports bra! There’s no chafing due to their A-Seams and the straps are made from neoprene so they don’t dig into your shoulders. There’s also a rubber lining around the inside hem of the waist to prevent the top from riding up, it’s the most effective design I’ve witnessed, it really doesn’t ride up at all, at least maybe not until I’ve been running for around an hour – so no belly embarrassments for me! There are some power mesh inserts in what you would call ‘high sweat zones’ (under the armpits and scapula), these provide some extra ventilation and looks ridiculously stylish too. I’ve owned a SKINS vest top in the past and this has made some vast improvements to the older models.
If you’re looking to go full blown ninja you’ve just got to grab yourself some of these bad boys, grab yourself some A400 Women’s Long Tights and the A400 Womens Tank Top if you want to keep your training and your body in tip top condition! If you’re a guy don’t worry there is a male equivalent for you too – the A400 Men’s Long Tights, RRP £100.00 and the A400 Men’s Top Short Sleeve Top, RRP £80.00 – sorry no tank tops for you boys!
SKINS have very generously given all Greens of the Stone Age readers a 20% discount using the code ‘GREENS-STONE-SKINS’ at the checkout, available from the 1st April – 31st April 2016, so hurry and grab yourself a bargain!
Stay tuned for my full review and a chance to win your own set of SKINS!
So again, not much as changed for me since my last post – I’m still consuming about 1/3 of a sweet potato at lunchtime and around 3/4 of one at dinner. For 2 days leading up to my long run I have been eating around 1 full sweet potato at dinner time. I have however, become a bit fed up of sweet potato so I bought some frozen yuca (cassava not the yucca house plant!) and have been playing around with that, which I actually quite like. And for some reason the kids like it more than sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, so it’s becoming a house staple – expect some recipes to follow shortly.
My breakfast is always the same – a hard boiled egg with Himalyan pink salt, and an almond milk Bulletproof coffee with 1 tbsp XCT oil, 1 tbsp Brain Octane, and 2 tbsp Great Lakes Grass-fed Collagen Hydrolysate. This usually keeps me going but at around 10-11am I’ll have a small handful of mixed nuts and seeds, and sometimes a little 90% dark chocolate. I know that sounds early on into the day, but it’s actually not considering I’m up at 3-4am.
Lunch is pretty basic – frozen veg, 2-3 scrambled eggs, raw sauerkraut, and boiled sweet potato. Dinner is oily fish, white fish, or cheese. I always throw in some leafy greens and cruciferous veggies, and roasted sweet potatoes or creamy yuca mash. Dessert (when there is one) is kefir and frozen berries, or some form of nana ice cream.
I have still been making my horrible, goopy electrolyte drink to fuel my long runs; 1/2 tbsp blackstrap molasses, 1 tbsp chia seeds, a generous pinch of Himalayan pink salt, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, and 1/4 tsp magnesium powder. I steep it in a cup of boiling water and drink it 30 minutes before I go out. It really fuels my runs well and keeps me hydrated throughout.
I haven’t really seen much budge in my weight loss – in fact I think I started to lean out but then recipe development got in the way and I ate a lot of my Double Decker Easter Eggs resulting in weight gain again. I don’t seem to ever lose much in the way of body fat, and at the moment I’m trying not to let runger get in the way.
So this fortnight I’ve been focusing a little more on my footcare as I’m paranoid about getting Athlete’s Foot – I always seem to get this after I’ve been running for long periods. I’ve been scrubbing my feet daily with a pumice stone and a few times a weeks I’ve been making a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water with a few drops of olive oil, and slathering it all over my feet and ankles like a mask. I leave it for about 5 minutes then massage it in to exfoliate, and rinse off. This helps to combat fungus and smooth any hard skin. I then cover my feet in my Badger Organic Peppermint & Tea Tree Foot Balm to help to keep my feet moisturised. I also put this on my feet before going to sleep. I think I’m going to write a separate post on this so stay tuned!
So that’s it for this fortnight, don’t forget that I’ll also be raising money for Mind – the mental health charity. If you’d like to donate just text GOSA60 £1 (or whatever amount you’d like) to 70070, or alternatively click the button below. Thanks guys <3
So come back every fortnightly Saturday and you’ll find something new and exciting to read! Have you fueled a half marathon Paleo? How did you find it? Why not share your experience below.