Posted by: stokiecat | December 7, 2014

The End or The Beginning

After a very happy South Cheshire 20, my proper training plan came to an end and I was a little aimless. My legs were basically gone but I had the Truro Half Marathon on the following Sunday so it was a case of ignoring the niggles and getting straight back to racing. Stoke City were playing Leicester City at the Britannia the day before the race so I decided to drive to Truro straight after the final whistle. If I had known what  a dire game it would be I wouldn’t have bothered going as I can tell you now that driving 300 miles less than 12 hours before a race is not the best preparation.  Anyway, the course is undulating, not hilly, but it is possibly the hardest I have had to work in a half. I ran with my brother for the first two miles but being a lot quicker than me (and in his first half) he abandoned me to my weary trudge round 13 miles of Cornish countryside. By the end of this race I was so incoherent I couldn’t even understand the marshal’s instructions and I nearly went completely off course. I have to say I didn’t really enjoy this race and in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have run it so soon after the 20 but I wanted to run at least one race this season with my brother. What I would recommend is the goody bag, a Cornish Pasty and a bottle of Betty Stogs, blooming lovely.

IMG_1352 Running with my bro for the first mile before he realised exactly how slow I was and ditched me.

Really my motivation for racing had gone. I’d done the 20 miles, I had done enough races to guarantee second in my league group and there weren’t enough races left for me to catch the group leader. I still had one 2014 goal to get, I needed one more half marathon to have completed 6 in the year so I had to do Congleton. I had originally intended this to be my target of a sub-2 hour half but the change in my training to go for distance instead meant I didn’t really care about the sub-2. I also massively under trained for this, thinking “I’ve done a 20 miler, how easy will a half be…” Fellow runner Kirsten gave me some sage advice  – always respect the distance. Of course I completely ignored this to my cost, it was bloody agony. In the end I managed it one minute quicker than last year but had to shuffle along for the last three miles as my knees were giving up. However I still had one race remaining, the Flying Fox 10. I again failed to train properly or do any preparation whatsoever because of my motivation dip, that when I lined up at the start I was miserable and was telling everyone I hated running and didn’t want to be there. In the end I decided as I had run much of the route as part of club Sunday runs, that’s how I would treat it, just a bimble in the countryside. I found it hard going at first but I gradually started to enjoy the run (there is a cracking downhill stretch into Maer village) and as I crossed the line it turned out that I was first finisher for my group. So for the second time the group leader hadn’t run and I picked up the 50 points, and a mug. I didn’t feel as euphoric as last time but as I’ve said before a win is a win and I had enjoyed the race.

But that was it, NSRRA races 2014 were now complete. I’d run 15 out of 20 races, there had been ups and downs, literally and metaphorically, and there were 7 runners who impressively completed all 20 races. My reward was hurting knees, therefore another painful trip to the physio and strict instructions not to run for the next three weeks.


New Beginning
It’s surprising how not running for three weeks has affected me. I was allowed to do non-weight bearing exercise so I made the most of my bike before I cut the mileage back over the winter (too dark and icy to be safe on long commutes through country lanes). By the third week I was desperate to get out and run. I am determined to learn from this year’s racing and follow a proper training routine. In addition I’ve been told by the physio that most of my leg issues (knees, thighs, calves, shins, feet – there’s not a single area where I haven’t had some form of niggle) would be helped by some more focused cross training. I’m now in the process of following a preparatory training regime designed to give me some base fitness before I start on the daunting task of marathon training in the late spring. I am also trying to combine this with a bit of a diet (essentially limiting sugar), as I don’t want to be dieting and marathon training at the same time. I’m still on the bike for shorter journeys but below is my recovery training plan for anyone who is interested. There is no speed work yet, the point is to build up steadily and healthily. For the first four weeks I’m working at 75% effort as my body gets used to getting back to a proper exercise routine. Already I’ve learnt the thing about starting a new fitness regime is waking up the muscles you forgot you had or in some cases you didn’t even know you had. I’ve been walking like a penguin for a week! This is mileage based plus circuits:

Basic training

Basic: 3 sets: 30 – 60 sec plank, 15 – 20 tricep dips, 15 – 20 squats, 15 – 20 press-ups
Leg: 15 reps x 4 sets : lunge (15 per leg), split jumps, tuck jumps, squats, hop stops (15 each leg), burpees
Power: 4 sets (reps in brackets): lateral squat (10 per leg), propulsive squat jumps (10), plyo-lunge (20), squats (10 – 15), box jumps (10), Hurdle jumps (10), calf jumps (10 – 12 per leg)

So Roll on Sunday 1st February (or week 9 of my training plan) and the Alsager 5, when it starts all over again 🙂



  1. […] (yuk) and long, long runs. For anyone interested I have already posted my training schedule here:  However I am aiming for some sort of activity every day in January so my daily blog will be […]


  2. For someone who has had motivation problems, that is a helluva lot of running to clock up – well done! I hope you have a great Janathon!


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