My week in training – 50 days to go!

Week 8 of my training plan on the road to the Boston Marathon and there’s just 50 days to go! I feel as though things are really starting to ramp up now, although my weekly mileage hasn’t increased massively, maybe it’s just my mind playing tricks on me, who knows! This week actually felt pretty tough though and I was struggling mentally towards the end of the week, but now the sessions are all done, looking back it has actually been a pretty successful week!

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to this week.

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Monday:
I woke up in London as I’d spent the weekend there with my friend Liv. We ran the Old Deer Park half-marathon in Richmond the day before but I’d paced Liv to a 2.04 finish time and so felt fine to train on Monday as I had the day off work. I had planned to do my scheduled session 1 but the gym didn’t have everything I needed so I did a bit of a random session made up of some squats, single leg deadlifts, leg press (which I never do!), pull ups and calf work. It was ok but in hindsight I should’ve used it as a rest day.

Tuesday:
Back up north at my mum’s house, I headed out for a late morning run, an easy five miles just to get the legs turning. I used this as my easy pacer/recovery run of the week and it felt fine. Another one ticked off.

Wednesday:
My first proper strength session of the week, woohoo! I’m loving my current gym programme and slowly but surely, thanks to some top programming, I feel like I’m getting stronger. Here’s what today’s session included:
Push jerks
Pause squats SS with box jumps and chin ups
Romanian deadlifts (3 sec pause at the bottom) toes elevated, SS with strict press
Hanging leg raise SS with single leg calf raise

Thursday:
There was only a 20min tempo run on the cards today but I felt absolutely shattered for some reason. However, 20 minutes is 20 minutes and I therefore had no excuses. I also had a dentists appointment to get to so had to run super fast to get back home in time to drive there – motivation ey haha!

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Friday:
I think I must’ve moaned to just about everyone who would (or wouldn’t) listen to me about running on Friday – haha sorry! For me, that’s what training is about sometimes though, especially marathon training, just digging in and getting it done. Tonight’s session was to run 5 mins hard, 1 min super easy until I’d reached 10k. I finished at the supermarket, got some hot chocolate and an uber home!

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Saturday:
With lots to do today I was up fairly early to get to the gym for when it opened – yes I am that person- to do my second and final strength session of the week. I did:
Power cleans from the blocks
Deadlifts
Bulgarian split squats SS with bench press and single arm row
Candlestick progressions SS with calf work
This was followed by a delicious brunch which will be in a blog post next week, so keep an eye out for that!

Sunday:
Sunday funday long run day…ohhh how I hated the first half of this. I was a greedy little piglet before I set off and so spent the first half too full, feeling sick and heavy! I kept it steady and from mile 10 picked it up for the last 6 miles to include a few 7.30s – result! I’m hoping the speed is in there, I just haven’t had the guts to tap in to it properly on long runs yet! We went for a delicious lunch after at Bill’s. I had a vegetable tagine and hummus to start – yummy 🙂

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Here’s to another week down and a much needed rest day tomorrow!!

Han xx

 

 

My week in training

So yesterday marked 100 days until the marathon – eek, things just got real! I’m slowly but surely getting back into marathon training. Here’s what I’ve done this week.

sunday-long-run

Monday:
As it was a Bank Holiday and I had been working all weekend, I did a slightly longer run today, ten miles to be precise. It felt good and although for the duration I felt like I’d been going super  s l o w and I felt pretty heavy, my average pace at the end was good!

Tuesday:
I headed to the gym, on slightly tired legs, for my first strength session of the week before work. Here’s what I did:
Warm up
3×5 power cleans

3×8 trap bar deadlifts

3×8 strict press
3×8 bent over row
3×10 (each leg) single leg squat (weighted with a dumbbell)

3×12 single leg hamstring bridges
3×12 hanging leg raise
3×12 single leg calf raise

Wednesday:
Today was supposed to be my speed session, however I had a slightly iffy foot, so I played it safe and did my speed session on the bike. I did a ten minute warm up then 2x 3,2,1mins with 90 second recovery between each and 3 min easy ride between sets, followed by a ten minute cool down. I then hit the mat for my glute accessory work and some core. I’ve recently been introduced to the BEST core exercise, called dying turtles…I was a dead turtle afterwards!!

Thursday:
I was meeting my friend Becca for dinner tonight so I had planned today as a rest day. However, I finished work at 3.30 and said to myself I’d go and do 30 mins in the gym. I managed to squeeze in a bit of power stuff, a couple of sets of squats, some press ups and some face-pulls. Better than nothing though ey!

Friday:
Rest day, pizza and chocolate – whoops!

Saturday:
I hit the gym early doors before driving home for a weekend with my family. Here’s what I did:
Warm up

3×5 push jerks

5×5 back squats

Then my favourite upper body combo (it’s a killer) 3×8 elevated bench press at 3 different levels then straight into 3×8 single arm row, different bench elevations again.
I supersetted this with front leaning Bulgarian split squats – trust me, they REALLY hit the booty.

3×12 hip thrusts
3x 20 second palloff hold
3×12 single leg calf raise

Sunday:
Sunday Funday long run day. I hit the roads super early  for 12 miles before cupcakes at my sisters babyshower in the afternoon. This felt difficult to begin with due to the ice on the road, but slowly the fog began to lift and the run was shining down on the road, it was bliss! I’m keeping all my long runs steady as I build back up, but this felt good.

Summer training & races to come

Well hello there! It’s been a while since I properly posted a training update – or anything for that matter – so here goes!

I’ve had a little break but I’ve since been quietly working away, trying to improve my running and strength and slowly build back up towards marathon training.

long run

I’m running the York Marathon in October which will be my 5th marathon! York was actually my first marathon as well so I’m super excited to go back and run it again. Not only that, but it’s home turf so I’m hoping the family (including my 1-year-old niece!) can all come and cheer me on which would be amazing.

Aside from that, York is flat – yipeeee! My current marathon PB is at 3.25, which I achieved in London earlier this year. I’m not expecting to beat that at York but what I am aiming for is a strong finish. My goal is to be able to run that last 10k as strongly as I ran the first 10k. I realise I’m not going to be finishing the race as gazelle like as when I started it, but I want to be able to maintain a consistent speed, without seeing those mile splits climb.

So basically, that’s what I’m training towards. As always I’m doing my three gym sessions a week. This is made up of 2 strength sessions and a third focusing more on conditioning rather than lifting big numbers – I do love a bro sesh though as demonstrated below, ha!

strength 1

At the minute I’m running three times a week. Before anyone tells me that you need to be running every day to run a marathon, you definitely don’t need to. For me, it’s about getting in the quality sessions and finding out what works for me. I’ve tried running 6 days a week and for me, that just doesn’t work – particularly for my mental health! If you want me to do a post on training for a marathon on three runs a week – just let me know by commenting below or Tweeting me (@hannahbryan91).

speed session

This week I did a speed session on Tuesday, an easy run on Wednesday and a long run on Friday. I’ve got one more gym session to do (my conditioning one), which I’ll do tomorrow (Sunday). This might increase as the marathon nears but this depends on a number of factors i.e. time and my body! I’m currently getting some help with my nutrition which I’m hoping is going to benefit my performance and aid recovery so I might end up running more within the next few months, but I’m going to tell you more about the nutrition side of things in a different post!

easy run

Here’s a list of what I’ve got coming up:

August – Askern 10 miler
September – Great North Run
October – York Marathon, Sheffield 10k
November – exciting challenge to be announced soon!

I’ll try and get some other races in but at the minute that’s what I’ve got booked in.

The only other thing to mention is that I decided not to accept my Good For Age place for London next year. I hope I don’t regret it! My plan is to focus on Boston – providing I get a place! If I don’t get a place…then the Great Wall Marathon is on my list…!

That’s all for now training wise, I’ll keep you updated as the marathon nears. I’m ready to work hard for this one!

🙂

Race review: Nottingham 10 mile road race

Woah, it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged – apologies for that! I’m back now though and thought I’d share a race review from the Nottingham 10 mile road race with you.
nottingham 10 mile race
I ran this on a very wet Friday evening last week. Luckily the sun did come out for most of it though!

The race kicked off from Nottingham’s National Watersports Centre at 7pm. I got there at about 6.15pm and parking was super easy. It was a short walk to the registration area and luckily we could wait inside before going to the start line. There was no defined start line but it was pretty easy to figure it out – I just followed the other runners!

The course is essentially two-and-a-half laps around the lake. I was worried the route would be boring but it really wasn’t at all! If you need a huge crowd when you race then I wouldn’t recommend this, although where people were watching they did some great cheering!

I didn’t have a plan going into the race; in fact I didn’t actually want to do it at all after a long week at work – and it was chucking it down! I decided to just make sure I ran under 1.15 and use it as a great training run.

I felt strong the whole way round and came in at 1.13 – happy with that 🙂

There’s no medal at the end which I was gutted about as I love a good medal haha. When you pay to enter (I think it was around £20 maybe) you can also pay for a finishers t-shirt though.

Every finisher also gets a goodie bag which had a mug and a banana in.

All in all, this was an enjoyable race and I’d recommend it to anyone who lives near Nottingham. A great way to spend a Friday night!

My next race was supposed to be Sunday however I’m now going to be watching the athletics in Birmingham which I’m incredibly excited for!

Training is going well though and I’ll have a full blog post on what I’m up to and what I’m training for at the moment up at the weekend!

🙂

London Marathon 2016

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Well, where do I even start with this post!? Another World Major Marathon ticked off and 26.2 glorious miles around the streets of London shared with some of the most inspirational people I’ve ever had the pleasure of running with!

London, you were truly amazing…but before I get in to all of that, here’s a little run down of my entire race weekend.

Friday night was spent doing the essential final preparations, packing, updating my Ipod and ensuring I had a lovely, even fake tan glow – ha! I hit the hay early Friday night as I was up pretty early Saturday morning to have my hair done…priorities!

I arrived in London just after 1pm on Saturday and headed straight to the expo at the Excel centre. This is when the excitement really started to kick in! Signing the wall was such a surreal moment and it hit me that this was the LONDON MARATHON;  people enter the ballot year after year and are unsuccessful, and here I was about to run it – I felt very lucky to say the least.

marathon 1

After strolling around the expo my feet were starting to hurt, not to mention I was hungry and bordering on grumpy! With that in mind, we headed to our hotel in Peckham (oh hey Del Boy!) and then got an Uber to Vapianos (my favourite place!) for ALL of the carbs and all of the chocolate pudding.

Saturday evening was pretty uneventful after that. I had a final pre-race debrief with my friend Liv who was also running, (her first marathon!) and we arranged for me to go to hers (also in Peckham) Sunday morning so we could eat and then travel down to the start line together.

Me and Liv post race - VICTORY!

Me and Liv post race – VICTORY!

I barely slept on Saturday night but it was nothing a coffee couldn’t sort on Sunday morning. 7am was when I started to get stressed about getting taped up and getting to Livs house in time so that I could eat! We actually got to the start line in good time and after queuing for the loo it was time for some photos and a quick warm-up before heading to our separate start pens.

I was actually really surprised that when the gun went off at 10am I was over the line by 2 minutes past! I was a bit worried as the first few miles were spent trying not to trip over people and were slower than what I was aiming for – although really I’d only just decided on a whim and positive encouragement to try and average 7.45min/mi! The race soon thinned out though and it was time to take it all in!

The first 10 miles seemed to fly by and everything felt comfortable. Despite the fact I was comfortably hitting under 7.45min/miles I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep it up for the whole way round, but part of me thought what the hell, throw everything you’ve got at it!

My support crew were at mile 9 and 14 but I never spotted them which was a bit disheartening, but I just kept on turning the legs and ticking off the miles. At about mile 18 I thought the race was never going to end and I knew I’d be in for a tough fight from mile 20.

At mile 20.5 I saw the team and started to cry and shouted “I’m done” at them…nothing like being dramatic hey Han! Had I ran over to high five them though, I’d have genuinely found it hard to get going again! Thankfully, I’d spotted Faye (who I follow on Instagram and who had run Boston on Monday) and we’d been back and forth in front and behind each other for the whole way round. I knew she was a strong runner and was faster than me so I decided to try and stick with her.

marathon 4

Faye, along with the beautiful folk of London cheering on the masses, is what got me through those last six miles. Turning the corner and onto the mall was surreal and I knew I’d managed a PB. I crossed the line in 3.25.05 and promptly hugged Faye. What a run. A PB at London…London! It’s still sinking in to be honest. My training was average at best and I battled through more mental struggles during this marathon training than any of the previous ones, but I’m so pleased with that run. London, you were truly amazing.

marathon

For now though, it’s time to rest, eat and enjoy some time training without the pressures of a marathon. It’s also back to the drawing board to get some autumn goals nailed down…watch this space.

Raising money for Breast Cancer Care UK

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A slightly different post today but it’s a pretty important one! As you’ve probably guessed from the title, I’ve decided to do some fundraising.

I’m currently training for April’s London Marathon and have decided to support a charity in the process. London will be my fourth marathon after I was lucky enough to secure myself a good for age place thanks to my performance in the Manchester marathon last year. I’m so excited to tick off another of the marathon world major’s and be part of such an iconic race.

virgin-money-london-marathon

It was quite difficult choosing a charity to raise money for as there are so many amazing causes and organisations out there. However, the choice was made easy when my dad suggested raising money for Breast Cancer Care UK.

BCCare

My dad has worked in the breast cancer field for over 30 years now and has helped thousands of women. He also did his PhD research on breast cancer while he was training in Australia, so needless to say it’s a cause close to his heart.

Every year, approximately 55,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast Cancer Care is there to provide help and support to each and every one of those women, including their friends and family.

The money I hope to raise while training for the London Marathon will help Breast Cancer Care to provide vital support services including running their helpline and online forum.

Breast Cancer Care also provides information points in hospitals as well as face to face services for anyone with breast cancer, as well as their family and friends.

Training for a marathon isn’t easy and even though this will be my fourth, in my opinion the training doesn’t get any easier! I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it though, and I’m prepared to make the necessary sacrifices over the next four months in order to get my training done so that I can put in a good performance and hopefully raise lots of money in the process!

My dad has given so much through his work and I’d love it if I could give something back through my fundraising and running.

I’d be so grateful for any donation, even if it’s just £1! To borrow the popular Tesco phrase, every little helps!

If you’d like to donate I’d be forever grateful and it’s safe to say that it’s going to a fantastic cause. Please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/HannahsHappyPace to donate.

I promise to train hard and run as fast as I can on April 24! If you live in London/will be there on marathon day, please look out for me and give me a big cheer! 😀

As always, you can follow my marathon journey here on Hannah’s Happy Pace, or on Instagram or Twitter.

Thank you,
Hannah

🙂

A brief training update & tips to maximise your training time

While I don’t like to start with an apology, I feel this post needs one. So firstly, I apologise for the lack of posts recently. In the last two months I’ve moved to a new city and started a new job – life has been hectic to say the least! With the love of a new job to keep me occupied, I’ve found that my priorities have shifted and as a result, training has taken a back seat.

I’ve been more than happy with this, much to my surprise, but with a marathon on the horizon and the drive to hit a new PB, I’m having to adapt my training slightly and make the most of the sessions I can do.

When you’re following a structured or dedicated training plan, it’s inevitable that aspects of life such as your job, house or a family, may mean sticking to that plan isn’t always possible. I thought I’d use this post to give you a quick training update and list a few of my top time saving tips to help you fit training in and make the most of training time.

squats

At the minute, my strength training programme is pretty much the same every week, for four weeks. I’m incredibly lucky that I have Dane to write me a new strength programme every month. At the minute I’m doing two strength sessions a week and I love knowing what I’m going to be doing every time I walk into the gym, for me it just means I get on with it instead of faffing about! The first session is made up of squats, rows, split squats, core exercises, calf work and stiff leg deadlifts. The second session involves sumo deadlifts, dumbbell step ups, more core work,calf work and hip thrusts. At the end of every session I do a glute circuit, which I’ll blog for you with some videos at some point.

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Now on to the running! The road to London Marathon is a long one, so I’m mindful of pacing myself. I’ve been doing a speed session once a week (last week I did 800m repeats with a 200m walking rest period in between) and then a couple of recovery runs, one longer one and a tempo one.

track

As I mentioned earlier though, if something comes up at work or with my friends/family, then that schedule can change. Some people train with the mindset that it’s NEVER ok to miss training but personally I think that’s an unhealthy attitude to have. My training for the Berlin marathon definitely taught me the importance of balance!

So here’s a couple of my top tips on how to maximise your training time and fit it in to a busy schedule:

  1. Schedule training in the same way as you would with a dinner date. Drafting in a training buddy is beneficial in so many ways but if you use training time as a way to catch up with someone at the same time then you’re more likely to make sure you fit it in. The other evening, Dane and I wanted to see each other, but I also needed to train and eat so we ran to a restaurant!
  2. Utilise your lunch hour. I get 30 minutes at lunch which isn’t enough time to get a run in and eat, but it’s definitely long enough to get outside and stretch my legs. Getting some fresh air will not only rejuvinate you for the afternoon but can help fire you up for training later in the day. On the other hand, if you don’t get time to train, at least you’ve been out at lunch to stretch your legs and will feel far less sluggish in the afternoon.
  3. Make your quality sessions count. On days where you can afford to do a good session, find the motivation to do it. This is beneficial not only physically but provides you with some mental relief from the pressure of a structured training schedule. If you finish early one day at work for example, or don’t start until later, then make that the day of the week when you’ll do your biggest session. If the rest of the week doesn’t go to plan then at least you’ve got one of your main sessions done.
  4. Be as prepped as you can possibly be. It’s such a simple thing but having your food prepped, clothes laid out and gym bags packed saves so much time and just takes that hassle out of getting ready for the gym or thinking you need to go home to get your stuff or worrying about when you’re going to eat. Having your food prepped too will also help to fuel training.food prep 1
  5. Mix up your training. Similar to booking in a date with a training buddy, booking on to a boxing, spin or another fitness class will make sure you get a good workout in using a structured time period. I find that a spin class is perfect for this. It’s 45 minutes of solid hard work and forces you to work hard throughout.
  6. If you’re worried that you won’t have time to train at all, firstly, try not to worry! If you’re really pushed for time but eager to get something done, do one or two tabata sets. Burpees, kettlebell swings and even body-weight squats are all absolute killers! Equally though, if you don’t have time to train at all, don’t worry, just look ahead to the rest of the week.

What are your time saving tips when it comes to training? Tweet me @HannahBryan or use #hannahshappypace on Instagram. Follow me on Instagram @hbryan91

🙂