Insight Into | Mission Marathon Week 5 – 8

January was a hit and miss (more miss than hit) month for me. I was gutted to be struck down with a relentless IT band injury. One that seems to have been clinging to me like a bad smell since I ran the Race to the Stones back in July. However, the past week has brought me some new positivity. I must first credit Neil Meekings from Kinect Health, who has been working with me to put things back in place. Over the past few months I’ve seen physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths – you name it, I’ve seen it! my nearest and dearest will vouch for me on this one. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend this, there has been a silver lining to the process, and that has been finding Neil at Kinect Health. Finally, someone looking at things with a fresh perspective, analysing all aspects of my movement (and lack of), and seeking to find the root cause of the problem, and not just dealing with the localised pain.

Needless to say this has been a set back to the first month of training, and has left me on the back foot in terms of achieving my Runners World x Vifit Sport Mission Marathon goal. However, I will be coming back stronger, fitter & (fingers crossed) injury free over the next week!

Whilst, I may be behind on my schedule, I wanted to share my original plan for the next 4 weeks of training for those of you that are perhaps looking towards a similar goal and have already under taken the first 4 weeks of training that I outlined in my previous post.  Here goes:

Week 5 – Total Miles: 55

Monday – 9 miles easy with 10x100m strides
Tuesday – 2 mile warmup, drills, 4x50m strides, 7x1k @ 3.45 to 3.40 pace, recovery 400m jog, cool down 2 miles
Wednesday – recovery 5 miles a.m., recovery 4 miles p.m.
Thursday – 2 mile warmup, some running drills then 16×400 @ 3.30 pace rest is 400m jog, cd 1 mile jog
Friday – recovery run 7 miles
Saturday – 14 miles easy pace with last mile at 4.05 pace
Sunday – Rest

Week 6 – Total Miles: 60

Monday – 8 miles easy with 10x100m strides
Tuesday – 2 miles warmup, drills, 4x50m strides then 4x1200m @ 3.45 to 3.50 pace, recovery 400m job, cool down 2 miles
Wednesday – recovery 5 miles a.m., 4 miles p.m.
Thursday – 3 mile warmup, drills, with 4x2mile tempo @ 4.05 to 3.55 pace, cool down 2 miles
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 17miles start @ 4.40 to 5 pace until mile 5, 6-10 miles @ 4.25, 11-16 @ 4.15, last mile @ 4.09
Sunday – Recovery 5 miles

Week 7 – Total Miles: 61

Monday – 10 easy with 10x100m strides
Tuesday – 1 mile warmup, running drills, 4x50m strides then 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400 with 400 jog in between all at (400 @ 3.35, 800 @ 3.40, 1200 @ 3.50, 1600 @ 4.00)
Wednesday – recovery 5 miles a.m., 4 miles p.m.
Thursday – 2 mile warmup with 7 mile tempo @ 4.05 pace, 2 mile cool down
Friday – recovery run 8 miles and 5x50m strides and 20min core workout
Saturday – 16 miles easy
Sunday – Rest

Week 8 – Total Miles: 54

Monday – 8 easy a.m, 4 miles with 5x100m strides p.m.
Tuesday – 2 mile warmup drills, then 6 x mile @ 3.55, 2 min rest, cool down 2 miles
Wednesday – recovery 4 miles a.m., 4 miles p.m.
Thursday – 2 mile warmup, 6 miles @ 4.05 then rest 2 mins, then 2 miles sub 4.05, cool down 2 miles
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 18 easy with last mile 4.05 pace
Sunday – Recovery run 6 miles

Please do let me know if you have any questions, or any tips that can help me on my journey!

Thank you, The Habit Hunter x

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Top 10 | On-the-go Running Snacks

Since completing my first ultra-run back in May at the Dukeries 40 Ultra, and whilst training for the Race to the Stones 100km a key focus has been figuring out which foods I can enjoy whilst on-the-go. Considering for both of these races I am required to carry the food myself, I was keen to ensure nothing was too heavy so they all tend to be snack size (i.e. mars bar size or smaller). I had a big reality check at the Dukeries Ultra having ill-prepared. With a complete and utter sweet tooth I packed an abundance of sweet treats, but hitting mile 30 all I was dreaming about was a packet of ready salted hula hoops – lesson learnt.. you need to prepare for every craving.

Over and above this, I am slowly learning that the key is to eat when you’re not hungry and drink when you’re not thirsty, sticking with the classic ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ motto that is very often drummed into me! But seriously – whilst I know more than most how difficult it can be to take fuel on board whilst running, and not feeling a big appetite, it’s the key to keep you ticking over and ensure you get to the finish line in one piece! There’s a mix below, whilst for an ultra gels and jelly sweets just aren’t going to cut it, indulging in a protein bar for a 5km might be a tad extravagant! So I’ve tried to help out and suggest when I think they could be best, but ultimately your body will tell you what it needs!

1. Coconut Almond Butter Filled Clif Bar


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Half-Marathon to Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Protein Pick & Mix

2. Tribe Cacao Orange Energy Bar


​RECOMMENDED FOR: Half-Marathon to Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Tribe

3. Clif Blok Shot Energy Chews


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: 5km – Ultra-Marathon (not going to cut it for more than a quick energy boost during an ultra)
WHERE TO BUY: Wiggle

4. Torq Rhubarb & Custard Energy Gel


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: 10km – Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Wiggle

5. Pip & Nut Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Half-Marathon – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Pip & Nut or Ocado

6. Good Health Filled Salted Pretzels


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Marathon – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: iHerb

7. Optimum Nutrition Watermelon Amino Energy Drink


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: 10km – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Optimum Nutrition

8. Ape Crunchy Coconut Bites


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Marathon – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Planet Organic

9. Tribe Infinity Choc Salt


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: Marathon – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Tribe

10. Clearspring Seaveg Crispies


​​RECOMMENDED FOR: 10km – Ultra-Marathon
WHERE TO BUY: Planet Organic

The Habit Hunter x

Top 5 | London Running Routes

“Unexplored Paths Lead to Undiscovered Treasures”

‘Spring Marathon Season’ is upon us, which for many means ‘Panic Season’ is among us. Regardless of what anyone says, running in the Winter can bring the bleakest of times, battling with wind, rain and the unpredictable British climate. However, there’s also those crispy frosty mornings with the most beautiful sunsets that can suddenly seem to subside the drab feelings of those miserable days! So don’t let the weather be an excuse, mix up your training spots, explore some new London running routes and don’t stress about missing a training run now and again (we all do it).

1. THE UNEXPLORED PARK ROUTE


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WHERE: Richmond Park
DISTANCE: 11.6KM
NEAREST TUBE: East Putney or Barnes

2. THE CANAL ROUTE


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WHERE: East London Towpaths
DISTANCE: 10KM
NEAREST TUBE: Mile End or Limehouse

3. THE LUNCH BREAK ROUTE


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WHERE: Regents Park & Primrose Hill
DISTANCE: 5.4KM
NEAREST TUBE: Regents Park, Great Portland Street or Warren Street

4. THE TRAIL ROUTE


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WHERE: Hampstead Heath
DISTANCE: 5.8KM
NEAREST TUBE: Hampstead

5. THE ROYAL PARKS ROUTE


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WHERE: Hyde Park, St James Park, Green Park & Kensington Palace Gardens
DISTANCE: 10.5KM
NEAREST TUBE: Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, St James Park or Lancaster Gate

The Habit Hunter x

Insight Into | The Mission Marathon Journey Begins

As you may have read in my previous post back in November, I got through to the final selection for the Runners World x Vifit Sport Mission Marathon squad. Whilst I had the most unreal day, meeting other like minded runners all with the aspiration to win a spot for the Spring marathon, never did I dream I would actually win!

But 1 month later, I received the long-awaited email to my inbox informing me I had been selected as the ambassador for the Speed Demons squad (with the aim of breaking a 3hr marathon). As a result I have been allocated a coach, nutritionist and a spot in the marathon in April. So where does that leave me now? In a state of excitement (and a little daunted) by the months ahead. With Tokyo marathon in February I am hoping this will be the perfect training race to judge what I need to work on for London. With this in mind, Jane Vongvorachoti (Olympic runner) has provided me with my first training plan, which I will be sharing with you along the way – the first month of which you can see below:

Week 1 – Total Miles: 46

Monday – 7 miles easy with 10x100m strides
Tuesday – progressive run-3 miles at 5min pace, 3 miles at 4.30,3 miles at 4.20
Wednesday – easy 6 mile run with 5x100m strides
Thursday – 2 mile warmup, some running drills then 16×400 @ 3.30 pace rest is 400m jog, cd 1 mile jog
Friday – recovery run 5 miles
Saturday – 13 miles easy pace about 5-4.30 pace, should feel easy then 5x50m strides after
Sunday – rest

Week 2 – Total Miles: 49

Monday – 2 miles easy then, 10x high knees, buttkicks, sprints up a 50m hill then 3 minute rest and run 4miles hard recovery 1 mile
Tuesday – 8 miles recovery run and 5x 50m strides
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – 2 mile warmup, drills, 8×600@ 3.40 pace, recovery 400 m jog cooldown 1 mile, do core work afterwards for 20 minutes
Friday – recovery run 6 miles in morning. in PM run 4 miles recovery
Saturday – 14miles approx 4.30s-4.40s easy with last 3 miles at MP (4.09)
Sunday – Recovery 4 miles

Week 3 – Total Miles: 52

Monday – 10 miles progressive, start at 4.40s min miles and slowly bring down pace to 4.10 pace
Tuesday – 2 mile warmup, running drills, 8×800 at 3.45-3.50 pace recovery is 400mjog, cd 2 miles
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – 1 mile warmup, 6 mile tempo run at 4.09 for first 3 miles then try to bring the pace down to 4.00s if you can), 2 mile cooldown
Friday – recovery run 7 miles and 5x100m strides
Saturday – 13 miles easy at about 5.20 pace to 5.00, 5x 50m strides
Sunday – Recovery 5 miles

Week 4 – Total Miles: 54

Monday – 4 miles easy then 10x 60m hills hard, walk back down for recovery, then 3 miles hard effort, 1 mile cooldown
Tuesday – 8 miles recovery with 8x 50m strides
Wednesday – 6 miles easy with 10x50m strides and core work for 20 minutes
Thursday – 3 mile warmup, 2×3 miles at 4.05 -4.00 pace with 2-3 min recovery, cd 1 mile
Friday – recovery 7 miles
Saturday – 15 miles with last 4 at 4.09 pace
Sunday – Rest

Please do let me know if you have any questions, or any tips that can help me on my journey!

Thank you, The Habit Hunter x

Insight Into | Runners World Mission Marathon Selection Day

So last Friday was a little more exciting than mostly – partly due to the fact I wasn’t to be sat in an office all day – but mainly because I had been invited along to the #missionmarathon selection day by Runner’s World.

How did this all come about?

Having see nike run coach, Becs Gentry, put a post out on instagram, I saw Runner’s World were holding a competition in partnership with Vifit Sport, a high-protein recovery products company. With the opportunity to win a coveted spot in the London Marathon 2018, alongside training support and nutrition products from the coaches, including olympic athlete, Jane Vongvorachoti. So, naturally, I thought why not? and threw my name into the mix. Only to receive an email just over a week later telling me I was successful and had made it down to the final 18.

What did the selection day entail?

The day took place at Lee Valley Athletics Centre, on a surprisingly sunny November day. Upon arrival we were met by the Runner’s World team and the other runners involved from the 3 categories (Finish Liners, Breaking 4 & Speed Demons). We then had our photo taken (think awkward year book photo day at school), ate some breakfast and got on with the first session. For my group, the Speed Demons, this was REPEAT.

REPEAT SESSION

This was a Q&A session held with Ben Green and Andy Dixon, both sub-3 marathon runners. Who gave us an insight into their running backgrounds and the training entailed to break that 3 hour barrier on marathon day, or in Bens case completely smash it at 2hrs30. With a great insight from the guys we headed into the next session RECOVERY.

RECOVERY SESSION

Ironically having done nothing but eat and talk all morning we went to a ‘well-deserved’ recovery session held by Andy Vincent, a Third Space PT and self-appointed ‘Foot Geek’. Andy talked us through stretching, foam rolling (the right way) – who knew breathing was so vital?, and actual mind-blowing foot stretches. Never did I realise that such minor alterations could make such a huge difference. From a classic runner with the lazy stretching trait this session was particularly valuable. Key takeaway – I need to stretch more! Following this, we headed off for the most anticipated session of the day – RUN.

RUN SESSION

With the sun shining, and the chance to run on an incredible track, this was definitely a highlight of the day. Jane Vongvorachoti and Joe Mackie took the session. Starting off with some classic drills (think high-knees etc) we were then summoned to the challenge of the day. Having all opted for the Speed Demons group (i.e. hoping to break sub-3 in a marathon) there was no surprise they wanted to see if we were up to the task in hand. So we were told to run 2 miles (8 laps), though we were reassured ‘this was not a race’ – there was no surprise that putting 6 competitive runners on a track we weren’t going to try and make our mark. So off we went, film crew in tow. Over the moon to have made it back as the first female in the group and third overall! Needless to say having struggled through IT band syndrome the past few months I’m over the moon to finally be back running properly.

All in all, it was a great day, with everyone in attendance totally deserving of the prize. Was amazing to spend the day with like-minded runners, nand to be able to chat running without feeling as though I was driving them into complete boredom! Massive shout out to Runner’s World for putting the day together and running the competition, as well as all the other support and coaches that came along too. Fingers crossed for a positive outcome, but irrespective – it was an epic day, and over the moon to have made it this far.

The Habit Hunter x