SUNSHINE20113   27,684
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Is the first step the biggest step?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Today I've found myself thinking about how small changes in life can eventually lead us to achieving our greatest dreams. The small step approach works, definitely, but as I've been thinking about it, I realised that when I started Sparkpeople, I didn't feel like I was taking a small step at all. In fact, it took me about two months to just get myself to sign-up for the programme!!

That was my big step - taking a chance at something that I wasn't very sure would work for me. Once I was signed up, I was really sceptical that it would work at all, and I think it was only after I had lost my first 5kg that I began to believe that I might actually reach my goal weight...... the hardest part for me was starting.

It was the same with running. I look back at the photos of my first 5km and I am in awe of the courage and will-power it took to do that first run. I look heavy, and it looks like it was hard work. But, I did it. Now, I feel confident enough to try for a half-marathon. In a sense, because I have built up my faith in my running ability over the years, this will be easier than that first 5km ever was.

Every first step into the unknown is a tough one. But, in this present moment, I am so glad I took those first steps towards a healthier life. I'm a happier person for it.

It is something I need to remember as I look forwards towards the next big steps in my life.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANATASHIKI 6/19/2013 10:59AM

    great job , both losing weight , running and especially maintaining! emoticon emoticon

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CANDIK48 6/18/2013 5:59PM

    The decision to commit is the hardest part about commiting. Congratulations on starting on your journey! emoticon

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Half marathon training: Things are looking good!

Friday, June 07, 2013

After listening to the advice from folk here on Sparkpeople, I set off for a long run with two goals: to keep myself at a 6min/km pace (about 3.5 miles, think) and to run for 70 minutes - my longest distance so far. I knew that would get me to about 12km (7.5 miles, I think).
So, off I went, and I loved every minute of it! I reached the 60 minute mark with no leg pain and got to 70 minutes feeling quite strong, which was wonderful - quite a difference to the last time I tried it!
Although I've only slowed down by about 30 seconds per kilometer it has absolutely made a difference to my endurance. I cant believe how much more I enjoyed the run because of it.
I did not take water with me, simply because I couldn't find any water bottles in the house. It was a cool day, though, with a bit of a drizzle for the entire run, so I didn't really need it. I will next time.
I have signed up for a 15km (Just over 9 miles) race at the end of July, which is a good stepping stone to prepare me for the half marathon in October. After today I'm feeling much more confident about it.

Here is my plan leading up to the 15km:

Week 1: 13km (+/- 75 minutes)
Week 2: 12 km (70 minutes)
Week 3: 14 km (+/- 80 minutes)
Week 4: 12 km (70 minutes)
Week 5: 15 km ( +/- 90 minutes)
Week 6: 15km race

Obviously, there will be shorter runs during the week as well. This is just what I'm thinking with regard to building up my longer runs.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STEVIEBEE569 6/8/2013 9:59AM

    Much success to you!

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MOBYCARP 6/7/2013 8:20PM

    That's a solid plan. Stay injury free, and you're on your way!

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KRISZTA11 6/7/2013 3:27PM

    I'm glad you enjoyed the long run!
You chose a good pace and enjoyed it, and these are the key success factors.

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LRSILVER 6/7/2013 2:17PM

    Great plan!!

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ANATASHIKI 6/7/2013 1:44PM

    good luck with your training! emoticon

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PASTAFARIAN 6/7/2013 12:51PM

    Very smart to target an intermediate distance race. 10M races are also good (if you can find any).

One suggestion: Rather than citing km/hr, use min/km (or min/mile). I don't know any runners who think in terms of "per hour paces" so you're likely to get some confused looks.

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MANDELOVICH 6/7/2013 12:38PM


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MADEIT3 6/7/2013 12:02PM

    You go girl!! I envy you the courage to run!


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I just ran in a 10km event with Mo Farah - he beat me!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

emoticon Of course he did!! As I was crossing the finish line, he was receiving his trophy for coming first, but at least I got to see the Olympic 10km champion in the flesh and know that I ran in a race that he was competing in.

He finished the course in 29 minutes. I finished in 47.44. It still astounds me that people are doing a 10km course at double the speed I am - how do they do it?

I'm very happy, though. I achieved a new personal best and I managed that without runkeeper telling me how fast I was going (it stopped working for some reason and kept informing me that I had completed 0.00km in 0.00 seconds - very unmotivating!!)

My IT band started hurting at the 8km mark. I realise now that this was probably because I was going much faster than I usually do (Training is about 5.30mins/km; races are usually about 5mins/km). I need to start taking my strength training more seriously, especially with me starting to increase my mileage. The pain is not so bad now, and I know it will be gone in the morning, but it's enough of a warning light for me as it has started playing up quite a bit towards the end of my runs and my training has been quite steady and good over the last few months. I have no races coming up - but I am thinking of signing up for a 15km in July as prep for the half marathon I would like to do in September. This means I can take time to train properly - and include the strength training that I really don't do enough of!!

I'm reading 'Running with the Kenyans' by Adharanand Finn at the moment. In the most recent chapter I read he describes how before he heads off for a run he never thinks it's a good idea. He then goes on to say how it's only after the run that he understands why it's a good idea!! I really related to that comment. The big discipline for me at the moment is getting my running shoes on and out the door, but once I'm home I feel so fantastic - even if it's been a hard run, or I'm aching a little bit - that I know why I have to keep doing it. I certainly feel that way this evening.

So, onwards and upwards!! Let's see if I can manage this mileage increase well.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHICA_BORICUA 5/30/2013 7:03AM


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LOOKINGUP2012 5/27/2013 5:06PM

    Thanks for sharing your awesome accomplishment!

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MOBYCARP 5/27/2013 3:05PM

    No matter how fast you run, someone is always running faster . . . even if his name isn't Mo Farah. 47:44 is a respectable 10K time for us recreational runners.

I guess I'm not going to be competitive with the Kenyans, because I rarely think a run is a bad idea when I start. Sometimes I think so afterwards, but I'm working on that.

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KRISZTA11 5/27/2013 2:25PM

    Congrats to the 10K, you ran an awesome time, even if Mo Farah was somewhat faster!

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KELLIEBEAN 5/27/2013 2:19PM

    That is so cool that you got to see him and run in a race with him. I've run a few 5ks the last couple years and now I'm working towards maybe a 10k soon.

I also start out thinking "this is a bad idea" but feel incredible when I finish.

Thanks for sharing your day!


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ANATASHIKI 5/27/2013 1:08PM

    emoticon emoticon

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Increasing my jogging distance - some questions

Friday, May 10, 2013

I'm a comfortable 10km distance runner and am now training for a half marathon. Today was my first 65 minute run and I need a bit of advice.

Do I need to take water on my run?

I have not taken water with me for at least a year now, but never run for longer than 60 minutes (until today). If I'm on the road for over 60 minutes, should I be hydrating while running?

Should I be slowing my pace down?

My easy pace for a 10km is 5,30/km (give or take) which is about 11km/hr. My goal today was to run 65 minutes for the first time. As I hit the 60 minute mark (11.2km) my IT band started aching. I kept going to get to 65 minutes, but it was a painful five minutes. I hit 12km at 65 minutes and stopped.

I've done my usual stretches and used the foam roller, so although my legs are a little achy now, there is no extreme pain. I realise I'll need to make sure I do my strength training (!!!) to help with that IT band as it is a recurring problem.

I want to avoid injury, so any advice is welcome!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WIO_ALISA 5/20/2013 9:12PM

    emoticon No advise. Just emoticon emoticon


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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 5/10/2013 5:01PM

    Yes, take water. Take something to eat as well. You need supplemental calories when running longer than an hour to avoid blood sugar issues. You also need to find out what sort of nutrition works for your body and let it start adapting to that (eating the run takes some practice). You will definitely need supplemental nutrition during your Half, so don't make the race the first time you try something.

Yes, definitely slow down. Long runs are about adapting to longer distances, not about speed. You want not only to be able to cover the distance, you want to do it safely. Plus you want to recover quickly so that your other workouts are not compromised.

Are you following a prescribed Training Plan? If not, I strong recommend finding one.

Comment edited on: 5/10/2013 5:03:00 PM

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IFDEEVARUNS2 5/10/2013 4:45PM

    For anything more than an hour, I carry water.
As you increase the distance, slow down.

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KRISZTA11 5/10/2013 4:44PM

    I'm not an expert on long runs either, my max was 15K only,
but at 10K or longer I always take water with me.
I don't like to carry the backpack, but I need that water, especially above 20 oC / 68 oF.
Also, a few sips of water every half mile makes me feel fresh and strong.

I would recommend Jeff Galloway's method, his website and books provide great guidance about pace for half marathon and marathon training, and good training plans to increase distance gradually but progressively.
I read his "Marathon - You Can Do It" in e-book.
Never got over 15K (yet) but took his advice about walk breaks.
When I reached 10K I suffered from muscle tightness in my legs, despite stretches.
I haven't had any muscle tightness ever since I take 1 min walk breaks every half mile or so, and I don't have to do any stretching.

I wish you an injury free and joyful HM training!

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MOBYCARP 5/10/2013 4:02PM

    I'm probably not the best person to give advice on running and injuries, as I'm still learning how to not injure myself, but here's how I see it:

If you start hurting after running for 30 minutes or 60 minutes, stop running when it starts hurting. Pain that can break through the endorphins to get your attention is not good news. Running through it can sideline you. I feel confident on this answer, as I've made that mistake more than once. You may have got away with it this time; but if your legs still feel abnormal in two days, take an extra non-running day. Or take a week off. Resting when you're well enough to run but not 100% is much better than pushing through an almost-injury and turning it into a full injury.

The standard advice is to slow down for the long runs, which is why they're called long *slow* runs. The idea is that you are easier on your body as you condition it to keep going for longer periods of time. It's pretty easy to find stuff on the internet telling you to slow down by two minutes per mile, which would mean if your normal pace is 5:30 per kilometer you'd aim for about 6:45 per kilometer on the long slow run. I have not done well with this advice. My normal pace is right around a 7 minute mile, and I struggle to slow down to an 8 minute mile. I don't think I can run a 9 minute mile. This may have contributed to my recurring leg and foot issues.

Water . . . it depends on your conditioning and weather. When I've run in temperatures below 40 F (below 5 C), I haven't needed water for runs of an hour in length. At 77 F (25 C), I'd carry water for sure. I haven't done much distance running at warm temperatures, so I don't know for sure exactly where I should start carrying water. Assuming I stay healthy enough to run this summer, I will probably err on the side of caution and carry water when I don't need it a few times until I learn when I really do need it.

For more varied replies, and replies from people with more distance running experience than I have, you might want to post a message on the Half Marathon Spark Team discussion board.

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There are the big dreams....and then there are the even bigger ones!

Friday, May 03, 2013

I'd say this has been a serendipitous week for me. One of those 'everything is coming together ones', and, after such incredible support and attention from the 'At Goal and Maintaining Team' it seems only right to follow on the progress of those ninja antics in my mind!

For many years I've said that I have wanted to further my studies and get a Phd. Although I've applied for a few programmes, I've never had any luck with them.

At the beginning of this year, my husband and I decided it was time to reach a little bit harder for our dreams. To the extent that we concluded it was time to reduce our expenses, so that we could reduce how much we needed to earn, so that we could concentrate on living healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Not long after this discussion, we were given an opportunity to live rent-free in a small house along the coast of Northern Ireland. We could move there as soon as our commitments in London were completed. As the discussion continued, my husband's father suggested I approach the local university about studying with them. I did this. It turned out there was a conference coming up at the University at a time when we were already planning on visiting the country so, I went along to it, learned a lot and met my potential supervisor. She encouraged me to apply for a place.

What followed was a little terrifying as I had to resign from my job before being accepted on the programme. But, faith being what it is, and with my husband's encouragement, I went through with it. That was two weeks ago.

This week I got a glowing performance management assessment from boss, which was then followed by an e-mail from Tina asking if my 'negative thoughts' blog could be featured by the 'At Goal and Maintenance' team. Both were such affirmations for me of all the hard work that has gone into my professional life and my health. What has followed has been so many positive and encouraging comments from spark members, that today, I truly felt at peace with life and with whatever the future holds.

About an hour ago I found out that my Phd proposal has been accepted.

Another step towards another dream that I was beginning to feel would be impossible to achieve. I know it will be a complete change in our lives, but it feels like the time is right for it.

So, let's keep at it! One negative thought at a time......

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MKELLY72 5/3/2013 11:41AM

    Isn't if fantastic to see the power of positive thoughts and behaviors in action!? I'm so happy for you. Having faith in things happening as they are meant to is quite powerful too!
Enjoy your happiness!

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ANATASHIKI 5/3/2013 11:39AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MELAMA210 5/3/2013 11:38AM


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MANDELOVICH 5/3/2013 11:13AM

    I love it!! Congratulations on all levels and stay on that positive path!!

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STRONGDJ 5/3/2013 11:06AM


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