Metaphorical Heels

Weeks 2 and 3 of Half Marathon training are complete and I am now half way through Week 4 – time is zipping along very quickly. I am bang on schedule for my training plan. I’ve said it before, and will say it again, I like a Plan!

Weeks 2 and 3 were like all those articles you (or is it just me?) read entitled “She works 16 hour days as a Doctor, raises 6 kids and still trains for a Marathon”. I had 3 long, physical work days in each of the weeks plus a 2 hour commute, setting up a new shop. My husband was also working away so childcare was non-existent. I also needed to run the house, feed myself, the kids, our pets and keep us in clean clothes.

Despite all this going on, I was determined to prioritise my running. I took a number of different approaches. For example, I had a three hour cooking session on the Sunday evenings so that I had a freezer full of healthy dinners (I am very, very proud of being so organised).


I also had one early run at 6am, not my best time to run.

But mostly, I dug in my metaphorical heels and top-loaded my running week. I ran 4 runs consecutively at the beginning of week 2 and again at the end of week 3. Not a single run was missed. Yeah me!

I did learn the hard way though that a lot of thought goes into designing plans. There is a good reason for not doing 4 runs consecutively but having nice rest days. Last Friday I was doing a 5k run at my usual trail and was unnerved by coming around a bend to meet a car. I Never meet cars on my trail. Its quite an isolated spot and the car was blocking my path – not that they would have know I was there.

I got the heebie-geebies and sped up to run past the car. This was no problem but I had gained momentum going down hill. Combined with my already tired legs, I found myself tripping and hitting the gravelly ground hard. I cut my hand, leg and elbow. Bleeding, I limped the last 2km back to my car but felt very strange for the next few hours. My daughter diagnosed me with shock, to be treated with salty chips which did the trick nicely. I don’t think I would have fallen if I had not done so many consecutive runs. Lesson learned.

I had a rest day but then felt strong enough to do my long, slow run on Sunday. I used a tip I learned from the most recent episode of the Runners Connect podcast (you can listen to it here Runners Connect Podcast) – the hop test. Very simply, it is a test to see if that injury needs more rest or if you are ok to run. If you can comfortably hop 20 times on the hurt/injured leg, you can run. If it hurts too much or gets worse the more you hop – take another rest day. Clever huh? The hop test proved my leg was fine and I did 10k. My LSR  this Sunday will take me into new territory – 11k – the furthest I have ever run.

This week has been a lot quieter and my running has followed the plan exactly. I can feel the benefits too, with today’s 7k being at a good pace for me and I can definitely tell I am getting fitter.

Finally, I am looking for your opinion. I have decided I cannot take part in my half marathon using my trusty phone app and that the time has come to invest in a Watch. I would like one with a heart rate monitor built in as I don’t have one and have been considering the Garmin Forerunner 235, Garmin Vivosmart HM and the Fitbit Blaze. I did consider the Jabra Pulse Headphones but the reviews are not too favourable. Do you use any of these? Which would you recommend?







9 thoughts on “Metaphorical Heels

  1. I have a Garmin 910 XT at the mo, which I’m very attached to as it’s very reliable and accurate – but unless you bike & swim as well, it might not be the best one for you. I’d go with the Garmin Forerunner- they’re a great watch.

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  2. I’d say well done on the training and the approach. An object lesson in how to not just train but run a household too! But on the watch front I’d be inclined to ask why? Your half marathon will be timed for you so no panic there. For training, the average phone is perfect, or a watch. Given most of us run the same set of routes each week, we know the distances so in reality the cheapy Lidl watch on the your wrist is enough. I’d steer clear of heart rate monitors too. I have one but never use it. Invest in better runners if you have that sort of money. All of which I know is disappointing to hear coz I suspect you’re like the rest of us and enjoy splashing out on stuff. The only rationale I could think of for the watch is to avoid bringing a phone out if like me you get lots of texts and calls. But then again, if you have a problem like the one you describe, sometimes a mobile is important. Choices, choices!!!

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    1. The main reason for wanting a watch (other than cos everyone else has one) is that I am reading Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon book and he places a lot of emphasis on heart rate training. However I agree it may be a lot of money to spend on data I can collect in other ways. I am currently using Perceived Effort Levels which parallel the hr training zones. But mostly, I am fed up of having my phone down my bra or banging on the back of my leg cos its in the pocket of a jacket tied around my waist

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  3. Yeah, damn phones can be a nuisance. I use a bum bag, and once it stays (mostly) on my hip and doesn’t swing around in to the belly it’s okay. There’s often a phone, small radio and pager in there too, and a handful of jelly babies on a long run. But it does the trick. RPE is a great acronym, as you have alluded to. Rate of perceived effort. I find all that heart rate/zone stuff so vague that I’ve decided (for now; I reserve the right to change my mind next time I read something compelling online) to ignore and take the advice of some old triathlon pros and basically learn to listen to your own body. That’s the best advice I’ve picked up on this journey.

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  4. My son has a garmin vivocative which is great, simple to use, counts steps etc. get yourself onto the facebook page runmummyrun as they have a second hand site where watches come up all the time so you can have a go and see if it is for you. I have just bought a new one that works out all the zones for you and is fab (but expensive!) I love my garmins, wouldn’t be without them. Good luck.xx

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