Cross Training

So the question is ……. What is a sensible way to approach 12 half marathons in 12 months?

I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal (Overconfident I know) – but its turning out to be more of a challenge than I expected.  I’ve never liked January and February and the start of this year has been tough.  The first half marathon in January was hard and now I’ve picked up an injury – a sore and stiff left hip – that started after running in the freezing cold of a Heathfield evening without warming up properly or stretching afterwards (I know! I know!…… but it’s too late….. it’s done now….).

And so I’m going to revisit the principles that I am going to try and work to for the remainder of the year.  Most importantly I think is trying to plan for the year (i.e. 11 half marathons still to go) – rather than for the next race.  That means the next one is going to have to be slow and steady with my fingers crossed that I don’t end up with a dreaded DNF!!  I am going to trust that I have enough in my legs to get round – Farnborough half in January was part of the training for February………  I have done one long run since but apart from that the four weeks have been about recovery a few short runs – eating better – trying to sleep better – listening to my body (which has been saying “don’t run” and “ouch”) and cross training……………………..

I freely admit I’ve got a bit of work to do on cross training…………..  When I’m not running I walk a lot…………. It’s not that I don’t like the gym – in fact I DO like it and I like swimming – it’s just that I like things that I can do from my front door BETTER.  Cycling was always an option – especially as I’m near to cuckoo trail – but I don’t like cold hands you get at this time of year – and anyway my bike was in the garage and is no more……………

So we’ve taken up yoga, Gill and I!  I still struggle to admit this without laughing as isn’t yoga what old ladies (and gents) do?  I tried it once or twice in the past but have to confess to being rather bored by it – It didn’t actually feel like exercise and I had to go out for a run afterwards…..  But yoga has had a bit of a facelift since I used to do it – you only need to step into Sweaty Betty to see that all the “smart set” are doing it.  It seems to flow far more than I remember – and certainly involves stretching all those areas that get tight and I never remember to stretch after running.  And though I hate to admit it – maybe I’ve moved a bit closer to that old lady……… We’ve joined Annie’s Yoga in Heathfield and Annie is lovely – patiently guiding us through our child’s pose, our downward dogs and our sun salutations.  After only about four weeks I can already feel that I have much more movement and flexibility.  My balance still leaves a lot to be desired – my tree looks like it is in a force 11 gale!  I know I must work on this as I think it is the stability (or lack of it) through my hips that has led to this injury.  As always I’m not great at making myself do things that are difficult.  But the best thing about yoga?  Is the utter peace that it brings.  It is the only hour in the week that I don’t think about anything else.  I breathe deeply and slowly.  Notice my body – and by the end of the hour feel totally relaxed………….. that has got to be good hasn’t it?

Other cross training this month?  Not quite in the same vein – but the David Hockney retrospective at Tate Britain is an absolute must see.  Work from six decades of painting (and taking photographs) – Hockney makes you realise that you walk through this life without LOOKING at it.  He sees and experiences the world and also communicates what he sees to us mere mortals.  He is right when he says that you can’t photograph the Grand Canyon – but boy can he paint it and make you feel like you’re there.  And I just love his paintings of the Yorkshire Wolds.  Sometimes when I listen to him talking I can hear my father………


And I’ve taken up cross stitch – very much a young person’s sport unless you have magnifying glasses.  I’m working on Van Gogh’s chair – let’s see if I can finish it before my last half marathon……

And – very exciting – I have won my first ever award for running!  Part of the Heathfield Road Runner’s Ladies’ team who came third in the Sussex Grand Prix.  It even has my name on it!


The next half marathon is Tunbridge Wells – tomorrow – wish us luck!

Running track for this month is U2 “Running to Stand Still”

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