Marathon race week tips

Just five days to go until the Manchester marathon!

Taking a break & getting my pose on during my last hill training session before the marathon

Taking a break & getting my pose on during my last hill training session before the marathon

So the marathon has come around very quickly and it’s that time again when maramania has set in and all you want to do is run yet your taper plan says it’s time to take it easy.

Race week can make people crazy – please don’t tell me it’s just me!? – so I’ve put together a top 10 list of tips for marathon race week.

1) Taper
Cutting back on running is frustrating but trust your plan and trust the taper. Stick to short and easy runs with some strides in or swap a run for yoga or swimming.

2) Rest
Get plenty of sleep in the build up to the marathon, especially if you usually don’t sleep well the night before a race.

3) Hand sanitizer
Am I the only one who goes crazy with the hand san in the run up to a marathon!? Sometimes it’s when you stop that you start to get run down or pick up a cold so I’m religious with my hand sanitizer.

4) Don’t panic train
I am nowhere near where I’d like to be for this race in terms of training but now isn’t the time to panic train. If you’ve missed long runs due to injury or other commitments don’t try and play catch up. Trust in the training you’ve done and focus on the taper now and ensuring you’re healthy for the race.

5) Look back over your plan
Trust in your training and look back over your plan to remind yourself of just how much work and effort you’ve put in to training. It’s natural to start doubting yourself in race week, everyone does but take this time to reflect and think of the positive elements and successes of the last few months.

6) Don’t try anything new
Now isn’t the time to buy a new pair of trainers, start using different energy gels or decide you’re going to try new foods. Save that for after the marathon. Stick to what you know. If you’ve got a routine and you always eat pizza the night before a race, do that. If you know what works for you then stick to it and you’ll prevent any avoidable mishaps.

7) Plan
Have a race day plan. If, like me, you’re staying overnight somewhere before the race make a list of what you need and tick it off as you pack that way nothing vital gets left behind! Know how you’re getting to the race village as well and allow for traffic and other unpredictable circumstances when thinking about time. It’s nerve-wracking enough on race day let alone having to deal with being late or not knowing where you’re going.

8) Nutrition & hydration
Similar to number 6, don’t try anything new, stick to what you would usually eat or drink although it is wise to cut back on certain things. I don’t drink alcohol in the lead up to a marathon or eat lots of rubbish food. That said, I know people who drink several beers the night before a race and people who eat whatever they want and still put in a good performance! Just be mindful and do what works for you. Don’t use the excuse of carb-loading to eat everything in sight otherwise you could end up feeling sluggish and heavy on race day.

9) Don’t lift heavy 
If your usual training routine features heavy lifting then give those sessions a miss this week. I usually do CrossFit about 3 times a week but have a break from it during the final taper week – you don’t want to risk any injuries or have DOMS on the day of the marathon.

 10) Positive thinking
Finally, think positively! Visualise crossing that finishing line and how amazing you’re going to feel. I also like to devise a race strategy and think about how I’m going to tackle it and at what pace. Let’s also not forget that we’re doing this for fun so enjoy it – that feeling with last a lifetime!

Are you running a  marathon soon? Or have you recently completed one? Let me know what your race week tips/strategy is! 🙂

Tag me in your marathon pictures on Twitter & Instagram using #hannahshappypace

 

Finding my happy pace: Easter weekend 18 miler

I can’t quite believe that it’s just 12 days until the Manchester Marathon!

18 miler

I’m finally allowing myself to get excited about the thought of reaching the start line now! After a couple of months of “should I or shouldn’t I” run the marathon I’ve settled on “maybe I can after all.”

If you’re familiar with my blog you might have read my posts on my sub 3.45 marathon goal for Manchester and then how an injury  threw a spanner in the works.

However, despite ruling it out for a while I’ve persevered and tried to get the miles in without getting too stressed that I was about a month behind where I should be in my training plan.

Anyway, this weekend, spurred on by the good weather and the lure of Easter eggs, I hit the roads to see if I could manage 18 miles.

I set out at about 7.50min/mi pace for the first couple of miles, trying to slow down to an 8.35 pace which would be my ideal marathon pace for Manchester. I soon settled in to a steady rhythm and despite feeling a twinge in my knee at mile 5 it wasn’t enough to quit so I carried on and it soon went.

Mile 9 came and it was time to turn around and run back. I took a bottle of water with me which had an orange flavour High5 Zero Electrolyte tablet in and I also had one tube of tropical punch flavour Shot Bloks.

In case you’re interested in how I fuel my long runs, I normally don’t take a drink or any energy gels with me unless I’m running more than 10-12 miles.

I had my first drink and Shot Blok at 9 miles and then every three miles after that, so another drink and Shot Blok at 12 and then my final one at mile 15. I didn’t end up drinking the whole bottle of water and had three Shot Bloks in total.

I felt good throughout the run and it was so nice to be running in the sunshine and without a jacket on for once! Hello spring!! 🙂

I managed 18 miles in 2 hours and 28 minutes which I was thrilled with! Last year when I was training for the Yorkshire Marathon I ran 20 miles in 3 hours and 3 minutes so I definitely feel as though I’ve improved which is a major confidence boost ahead of the marathon.

I finished with a victory dance in the street and a bemused look from a couple of dog walkers but I was so happy! I refuelled with an egg scramble and then some chocolate – not the best refuel I know –  before heading out for some shopping and amazing Hotel Chocolat hot chocolate with my mum. Later that evening Dane and I celebrated at Ambiente Tapas (he’d spent a good three hours mountain biking!) and it was delicious. Ambiente Tapas is my favourite restaurant so if you’re in Leeds or York it’s definitely worth a visit!

Heading out for tapas to celebrate.

Heading out for tapas to celebrate.

I’m now feeling much more confident about the marathon but will see how the next two weeks go and if there’s any sign of my injury flaring up I’ll re-think my plans.

Happy running! 🙂

Overcoming the fear

  The fear – that irrational feeling ahead of a run you just can’t shake for some reason.
Leads to excuses, skipping runs and being a general wimp! 

long run 3

Taking in the scenery on a weekend long run

I admit, I’ve had the fear recently but it’s about time I shook it off and got my legs moving again! I’ve still been running but one thing’s for sure is that at times I’ve definitely been wimping out of my long runs.

My knee hurt, my calf hasn’t been 100%, I’ve got too much work to do or it’s too late in the day to do it now. ALL excuses and all ridiculous ones. (Obviously don’t run if you’re injured but I’m not – touch wood!)

I’ve slowly been recovering from a knee injury which is why I think I’ve had the fear. It has made me reluctant to get back in to things and to really push myself. I fear that if I start, having told myself I’m going to do 11 miles and have to stop at 4, I’ll be gutted and grumpy for the rest of the day or worse still I’ll have to admit that I’m not recovered and have to rest!

So I’ve taken on the most illogical tactic ever of avoiding long runs and just sticking to shorter ones. But I pushed that to one side – finally!! – and headed out on a surprising 15 miler – see you later fear!!

Here’s how it went down:

Total  miles: 15.01mi
Total time:2hours 10 seconds
Av min mile pace: 8:00/mi
Mile splits:

1- 7.18 (oops started out too fast!)
2- 7.53
3- 8.06
4- 8.11
5- 7.48
6- 7.49
7- 8.07
8- 8.12
9 – 7.51
10 – 7.58
11 – 7.59
12- 8.12
13 – 8.08
14 – 8.24
15 – 8.05

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What I found, not surprisingly, was that my legs were fine, it was my mind that had been struggling and all I needed to do was pull myself together and get out there and enjoy it!

Whether it’s that you’re going to finish last, you’re too self-conscious to run in front of people or you’re worried that you’ll have to walk, there’s always an excuse you can find to get out of running.

There’s nothing wrong with a bad run though. If you do have to walk, don’t beat yourself up about it – you’re still out there moving and logging the miles! Letting go of bad runs is something I need to work on. If you have a bad one, take it in, think about what went wrong and why but only do this for five or ten minutes. Then, put it to one side and move on from it. Don’t give it a second thought or else the fear takes hold as it did with me and it made me annoyed at myself and my progress, or lack of it.

That said, I’m putting the fear behind me and I’m going to crack on and get on with it – starting with a lunch time run in the sun today. If I go slow, fine, if I have to walk, fine, at least I’m out there doing it and won’t get home tonight thinking “I should’ve gone for a run today.”

More self-loving and less self-loathing! Run because you love your body!

🙂 Go and find your happy pace!
#hannahshappypace

Boost your run with adistar boost

Adidas ESM shoes

Some girls get flowers and others get jewellery.  I get peanut butter and new trainers!

Yes, these amazing Adidas trainers were my valentines present from Dane and they arrived just a few days ago thanks to a super speedy (free) delivery from Adidas.

I did a lot of shopping around and gait analysis before deciding on the adistar Boost ESM trainers in Flash Pink to match my Hannah’s Happy Pace colour scheme.

I tried on what seemed like hundreds of pairs of trainers but these were the clear winner. A close second were the Adidas grete 30 boost trainers which were possibly the lightest trainers I have ever put on my feet but the adistar boosts felt strong enough to support me through my marathon training.

Here’s what they’re all about…

The shoe offers the best support for a natural foot strike to prevent any pronation and has a TORSION® SYSTEM inbuilt for midfoot stability.

The upper lining of the shoe offers support and comfort and is completely seamless. I’ve also got quite wide feet so finding trainers which accommodate for that can be hard but these were the perfect fit.

The midsole features the much talked about Adidas boost technology which is alleged to give energy back with every stride to help you feel light and fast when running.

Adidas say: “Boost features thousands of visible energy capsules that store and unleash endless energy every time your foot hits the ground.”

The toe of these curves up slightly and at first it took me a while to get used to it but I found that it does actually help you spring forward and gives you power back, just like the description said it would.

The shoe is solid and there’s not a seam out of place. My feet, ankles and legs felt totally secure and supported yet I didn’t feel like I was running in a heavy shoe at all.

I took mine for a spin at the weekend and completed a quick 10 miles (my goal sub 3.30 marathon pace) and they were amazing!

Normally I wouldn’t do more than 10k when breaking in new trainers but these felt as though they were made for my feet. I realise that might not be the same for everyone but I’d highly recommend them if you want a stable yet light training shoe that’s going to be able to do the miles whilst you maintain your speed, if not get quicker thanks to the Boost technology!

Here are the other vital stats:
– Weight: 265g (Size UK 5.5)
– They have a grippy rubber outsole
– They come in colours Flash Pink, Zero Met and Clear Grey
– Start at size 3.5 (UK) right up to size 9.
– They have a breathable mesh lining.
– External heel counter for best heel fit and comfort.
– £130
FREE Adidas delivery until March 22 – so what are you waiting for go and order some to #boostyourrun 🙂

 

Grab life by the bells with the January kettlebell swing challenge

IMG_5179

 

Who actually keeps New Year’s resolutions?

If you’re screaming ME at the computer right now then please let me know – I want whatever you’ve got.

I’m not a quitter by any means but there’s something about New Year’s resolutions that I struggle to stick to. It might be something to do with the fact that at the start of the New Year people tend to go BIG. I think this is where I, along with a lot of other people, probably fall down.

It’s great to have goals but making your resolution something which you know deep down isn’t going to be manageable or even achievable is essentially setting yourself up for a fall.

I’ve decided to take a different approach this year and break my resolutions down in to month long goals to take on a different challenge or adopt a new habit each month.

Dane suggested the idea after we completed just over three weeks of the 100 burpees challenge (blog post to come on that soon). I love the idea of pushing my body and at the same time improving my fitness and endurance so this was the perfect idea.

I declare January as Kettlebell Month.

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Taken from Dan John’s 10,000 Swings Kettlebell Workout, our challenge will be to complete 1,000 swings a week which works out at something like 142 a day.

I’ll be doing mine with a 20kg bell whilst Dane will be using a heavier one and we’ll be doing Russian swings.

Dan John suggests breaking the swings up in to manageable sets and increasing the number of reps each time. For example 100 swings is broken down like this:
Set 1: 10 reps
Set 2: 15 reps
Set 3: 25 reps
Set 4: 50 reps

He also suggests introducing a low volume strength movement between sets such as tricep dips, goblet squats or chin-ups. It would work like this:
After set 1 – 1 rep
After set 2 – 2 reps
After set 3 – 3 reps
After set 4 – 4 reps

Rest 3 minutes or so after the entire four sets are completed with 30-60 seconds rest between sets.

You might not feel as though you need 30 seconds rest between set one and set two but trust me, when set four rolls around you’ll be glad of the rest. 50 unbroken swings after the other 50 is harder than it looks.

hey-girl-good-job-with-those-kettlebell-swings

So that’s Kettlebell Month – I can’t wait to get started. Other monthly challenges for 2015 will include swimming, yoga and handstands. I won’t be neglecting my running though as 2015 is going to be a BIG year running wise for me.

Here’s what I achieved in 2014:
– I ran my first marathon in 3.53
– I took part in my first 24 hour race, the Adidas Thunder Run 24 Hour and ran 31 miles.
– Along with my friend Jim I completed my first trail half-marathon, the Dalby Forest No Ego Run.
– I can officially say I’m a Tough Mudder
– I joined a running club and I started CrossFit.

Here’s what I want to achieve in 2015:
– Remain injury free!
– Run a sub 3.45 marathon
– Run a marathon abroad (Guten Tag Berlin Marathon!)
– Run my first ultra-marathon

Let me know what your 2015 goals are. You can Tweet me @hannahbryan91 email me hbryan91@gmail.com or follow me on Instagram @hbryan91

Happy New Year 🙂

Manchester Marathon: my sub 3.45 goal

manc mara 1

As of Monday I am officially back on a marathon training schedule as I start working towards the Asics Greater Manchester Marathon.

Beginning on the 15th will give me 18 weeks of training, including my three to four weeks of tapering, to prepare for the race on April 19th. If training through the winter wasn’t challenging enough, I’ve gone and set myself a goal of running a sub 3.45 marathon.

Celebrating after with Liana

Celebrating after the Yorkshire Marathon

Unlike my training for the Yorkshire Marathon earlier this year, which definitely didn’t go to plan, I’m going to try and not get hung up on a time. There were times in my training when I got pretty stressed out (apologies to my friends and family!) because I had to miss a session due to other commitments or most annoyingly because of a niggling injury. However I have since learnt that being forced to divert from your plan isn’t always a bad thing.

I’m hoping to do lots of swimming and cross training over the next 18 weeks as well to keep strong, build up endurance and remain injury free. I’m also going to make a conscious effort to work on my mobility and no doubt the foam roller will become my best friend once again.

The first few weeks of my plan will hopefully ease me in before I gradually start to build up the mileage. I am already excited for Sunday Funday’s to be all about long runs, chocolate milkshakes and recovery meals. Bring it on.

The first four weeks of my marathon training plan

The first four weeks of my marathon training plan

After hopefully putting in a good performance at Manchester I’ll have five months before the Berlin Marathon. Yes, I am one of the lucky ones who has managed to secure a place through the ballot and I couldn’t be happier. The Berlin marathon is an iconic race which draws in runners from all over the world and I can’t wait to meet other runners from across the globe and run a marathon in such a gorgeous city.

Berlin marathon