How to Perfect the Run Commute for #run2workday

Run to Work Day

It’s great to see so many people on board with today’s Run2WorkDay on twitter. I’ve been running to work for a while now, and love it, so thought I would share my experiences and tips about how to get it right – and not end up looking like a scruff for the rest of the day!

the run commute essentials

I have a high-vis running backpack (tenner from Sports Direct) which holds the following on my run commute to work:

  • Clothes for work
  • A wash bag, with the following: wet wipes, face wipes, mini body wash, mini body moisturizer, face moisturizer, underarm deodorant, & dry shampoo (never used it!)
  • Make up bag
  • Small towel

I haven’t included shoes because I keep a couple of pairs of work shoes under my desk, and wear my running trainers home.

the business of washing…

Like many workplaces, there are no showers available in the office where I work. I’ve heard that some run commuters do buy a cheap gym membership and use one of those nearby their work, but I find it much easier just to take my time with the sink technique. You’ll find your own sink technique, but my main tip is to pile your dirty running clothes on the floor around the sink, to catch all the water while you’re splashing away, and save your towel for drying yourself and also the floor afterwards. It’s easier if you can find a larger, or a disabled, loo in your workplace that you can use for 20 mins without anyone wanting it.

mistakes I’ve made

  • Forgetting make up (luckily I wasn’t far from a Boots for emergency mascara)
  • Forgetting underwear (not fun wearing running bra all day. After a 4 mile run.)
  • Forgetting headphones (actually quite liberating)
  • Forgetting inhaler (not so liberating)

things you can do to make your run commute easier

  1. Find a neglected cupboard in your place of work which you can use as your dumping ground. Ideally it would have a lock and you could just pop the keys in your running bag. On the days when you’re not running, bring in your clothes for the days you are running into work. Also keep washing stuff and make up too, to make your run even nicer.
  2. Leave yourself plenty of time. I allow myself 20 minutes after a run to get presentable, so this is factored into my run. I know how long I could take on my run, too, so I assume I’m going to be slow and work around that.

honestly it’s so worth it

I’m very lucky in that I can enjoy running along the canal and through the beautiful Regent’s Park on my way to work. It’s great to mix up the route and see new things – I often spot the lama or the giraffes over the London Zoo fences too! Very surreal.

Lama in Regents ParkI understand that not everyone will have this kind of opportunity, but that’s part of the challenge – how can you mix up your route so that you can go through green areas, urban areas and places that interest you? One option is to run part of the way then hop on a bus or train. Either way you will explore places and take in things you wouldn’t normally – so it’s not only healthy for your body, but great for your brain too!

it’s all about determination

Even when I really don’t feel like it – when it’s drizzling rain outside and a chilly breeze – I convince myself to stick to running to work… and I never regret it. Yes, you have to be quite organised, but in a way even that part is satisfying. People will be in awe of your commitment to health and fitness, and you’d be surprised at how interested and supportive people are. For a few minutes after a run I do look at myself in the mirror and think how will that ever be presentable for a day at work? .. but you’d be surprised – you cool down pretty quickly and won’t even feel ‘icky’ at all. You’ve just got to get a strong routine going with your washing and moisturizing. Tip – use a scented moisturizer. It’ll reassure you that you’re not giving off a bad smell, not that you would be anyway! Of course there’s always the option to run home instead – I just never feel like it at that time.

a distinct lack of lethargy

People often assume that running to work means you’ll be tired for the rest of the day – but it’s quite the opposite. I think I’d feel much more lethargic after a train, tube or bus journey. Running to work, like any other early birds workout, gives you energy that lasts the day!

My top tip – don’t just try it once and give up! If you do that, you’ll never try again. 🙂

Would love to hear from other run commuters, if you feel like commenting below!

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Training for the Paris Marathon: the Finchley 20 (in Ruislip…)

quick groin update

Just to give a little update on the groin situation, haha. I had a rest-week since my last post (Paris Marathon – groin strain), which is the most frustrating thing when you’re this far in! Anyway, I decided to go to a physio who said GET OUT THERE NOW! You’re fine, just strengthen it, etc etc. Anyway, I then saw his colleague and she was the total opposite, which really dented my confidence. She said things like “I’d prefer you not to run outside” and “you might not be able to run Paris”. Basically unhelpful. Anyway, I then went back to the first physio and he apologised for the confusion, and sent me tons of exercises and stretches to do, as well as a diet plan – something, I’ll be honest, I hadn’t given any thought to.

back to training

So this week I was excited to get back into it! I had three short (easy) runs this week, and only hurt for one of them (the one I ran just after seeing Mrs Unhelpful Physio, surprisingly). I was determined to run the Finchley 20, just as a good training run and also it would be my first ‘organised’ long run. Ever.

the Finchley 20

I followed the physio’s advice to the T. I went swimming on Saturday, incorporating running underwater and anything other than breast-stroke, with that lethal-for-groins leg flick. I bought some protein powder, something I thought I’d never do! I chose chocolate, and it’s actually yummy. I am also drinking a glass of milk a day now, as this helps the bones during training. I even did pre-race warm up exercises, which included a ‘silly walk’ for all you Monty Python fans – I looked ridiculous!

On the day, it was an early start at 6.45 but I got there nice and early. I had all my gels with me, as well as my inhaler and my (prohibited) headphones. About half an hour before the start everyone was trying to decide whether or not to wear rain-gear, but I’m so glad I did! It POURED down during the second or third lap (it was all a bit of a haze) to the point where I had to close my eyes it was so sharp! Nice and cold though for running.

The race consists of four laps of five miles each, and at every turn in the road there were race wardens, many of them handing out jelly babies, water and squash. They also cheered everyone on all the way! I took energy gels and blocs, as well as regular water. I did ache in various places, but surely that’s to be expected, after all I was running 20 miles! I woke up this morning with a swollen ankle, but all manageable!

the finish

I felt great by mile 18, and I thought there was actually a chance of a) finishing in 3.20 and b) running the whole way. I also realised at this point that I had not used my inhaler once. That’s unheard of for me when on a long run. Straight after the run I had a protein shake to re-fuel.

newFinchley 20

I can’t tell you how pleased I was when I found a Yorkie in my goody bag on the way home… it was what I wanted without knowing it!

the stats – for all you running geeks!

You’ll notice that I actually gained speed for each lap, which I didn’t expect, and finished at 9m51s per mile… yey!

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Anyone doing the Hyde Park 20? That’s where I’ll be on Sunday…

Paris Marathon Training: the 18 miler

On Sunday I ran 18 miles. 18 miles! In one go. In 2 hours 57 mins.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting to finish. After hitting the wall last week and dragging myself through 15 miles, some of which I walked, I really had no confidence that I would make it.20130226-110131.jpg

having my doubts

I also didn’t want to go out. If I’m at all honest, I picked a fight with my boyfriend 10 minutes before I had to leave, and had a little cry! Just shows the dread that sometimes surrounds the Sunday Long Run…

the run itself

When I got out there, I decided on a new route. I wasn’t sure whether or not this was a good idea, but in the end it was the best plan and I actually enjoyed myself!!20130226-110201.jpg

I ran along the Regents Canal to Victoria Park (my usual destination on a Sunday run) and right up the top to find a route to Hackney Marshes. There were not that many runners there, but the routes were lovely. I usually run on roads so it was a relief to have some real ground beneath my feet. It was at this point that I took my first ever ‘gel’.

YUCK

No one had told me that running gels were revolting!! I used up half of my water supply trying to wash it down! I also chewed on some blocs, which weren’t much better. Of course, now I have taken gel, blocs and sweets instead of split testing on different sessions, I now have to take all on the big day because one of them obviously worked!

I carried some haribo with me too, so chewed on them after mile 10. At this point I knew I’d do it. I wasn’t aching, I was running at under 10 mins a mile and feeling really positive about my new route.

weekday training

This week I had help from runner @SponsorStephen on Twitter who said I should be doing some interval training. This really pushed me – as I said in my last post (Paris Marathon Training: phase two) I did promise that I would be incorporating this kind of training, though I hadn’t actually got round to it somehow… Anyway, on Wednesday I did interval training and surprised myself with how well it went! It meant that my Thursday session was faster than expected too. Thank you to Stephen for pushing me to do it! I think this training definitely improved my performance on Sunday.

will power

The more I run the more I realise the power of my mind. Even as I’m doing something mundane like brushing my teeth, sometimes a voice will pop up in my head to say “you do realise it’s 26 miles?? You can’t even manage 15!”

I’m constantly battling with myself about it. Finishing that Sunday run at 18.25 miles had made me realise I really can do it. I had less than 8 miles to go before I reached a marathon distance, and I could have done it!

Bring it on.

In case you like running numbers, here you are:

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My Paris Marathon Training Plan

Hello all,

I haven’t written for a while because I’ve been so busy! I have been working out at the gym before work, as well as doing a long run each weekend (apart from the weekend before last, when I simply couldn’t be bothered). Anyway, I’m still on 10 miles as my top, but I’m happy sticking with that for a while.

My Marathon Training Plan

I just wanted some feedback about my proposed marathon training plan (constantly changing…). This is on a two-week rota, so here it is:

Monday: GYM – interval training 1 hour
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: GYM – 10k running or more
Thursday: rest
Friday: GYM – interval training 1 hour
Saturday: rest
Sunday: big long outdoors run – push to the limit!

Monday: rest
Tuesday: GYM – interval training 1 hour
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: GYM – 1/2 interval training, 1/2 full run
Friday: rest
Saturday: big long outdoors run
Sunday: rest

… and so on, and so forth…

I started this last week, and actually did three 10k runs over the week (I am now going to vary it with interval training) as well as 10 miles outside on Sunday. Getting up at 5am to go to the gym is not fun when it’s so cold, but I soon warm up!

What do you think of my training plan? I’d love some input from other marathon runners!

PS: If you’re wanting an update on Purple Toenail-Gate, yes – they are still purple…

Training for the Paris Marathon: 10 Miles!

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So so so happy to report that I managed a new personal best in my training for the Paris Marathon! After a lousy and slow 8.5 miles last week (also a personal best at the time…) I ran a whopping TEN MILES yesterday!!

I didn’t stop to walk, I only used my inhaler twice, and I even pushed myself to run up one of the Wembley mounds at Northala Fields at the end… That was pretty tough.

I have still got my purple toenail (see previous post if you like looking at pictures of that sort of thing) and have also welcomed a few new blisters, which is always nice.

Anyway keep checking back on my progress!

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