Training: 18-24 Dec

Advent Running is nearly complete! I’m really proud of myself for sticking through and running at least 5km every day. There were times this week where it got hard to go out for¬†another run, but I persevered. I also managed to fit in a long run along the canal, which has made me more confident about the upcoming marathon on NYE.

Monday: Hills with Wild TR

Back at work for a few days made for the opportune time to run with a group called Wild TR, who host a Monday evening hills session not far from the office. Can’t believe I’ve never attended before: they were a lovely group of people and the session was challenging in just the right way. We had a ‘base’ at the top of a hill, from where you ran down one street, across to the next and back up again. That made one loop. We ran two sets of 1 loop, 2 loops, 3 loops… and then were given a ‘surprise’ third set to complete as well. Boy that got tough towards the end but through the camaraderie of the group I pushed through. 18 hills in total!

Tuesday: Easy run

Our AirBnB is right next to Regent’s Canal, so this morning I headed along it with Sye for an easy 6km. There was very few people around which I always find surprising, but I guess that’s what happens when it’s winter.

Wednesday: Evening run

This was the low point of my Advent Running experience. I couldn’t drag myself out of bed in the morning to run, and really just was not keen to go for another run. I don’t think it helped that most of my runs are just ‘easy’ without much variation (except for Monday hills), as it makes it difficult to get excited about lacing up.

By the evening I had decided on a new route though around Regent’s Park, and that was enough motivation to set off in the dark for 10km. I used to run here with the Nike Run Club when I first arrived in London, so it felt a bit poignant to have come full circle two years later.

I just really love this gate at the Regents Park inner circle

Thursday: Run

Back to Regent’s Park this morning for a similar route to Wednesday evening just with a few extra loop-de-loops. It was surprisingly warm too (read: above 7 degrees) and I took off my jacket after 1.5km! Managed the first 10km in a minute faster than the night before, and then added a few more kilometres to finish at Mile27 for a free coffee thanks to Running Heroes. After caffeine I jogged the kilometre down to Oxford Street to take on the dreaded task of Christmas shopping… (I survived!)

Friday: Long run

I finished up at work on Wednesday, and with the Christmas shopping done too I finally had an opportunity to go and do a long run. My aim was to make up for last weekend’s aborted effort and do 25km, running along the canal to my beloved Victoria Park and back again. It’s a very nice 11km to the park, of which the western half (Little Venice to Angel) goes by surprisingly quickly because there is lots to see and pass through (London Zoo, Camden Town, Kings Cross). After that the canal becomes a bit same-y, but the allure of Victoria Park was enough to make those kilometres fly by. I stopped for a quick drink and then headed back, although mis-judged my distances and had to run a few extra kilometres past our place and back again. That last 1.5km was hell – I just wanted to be done and ‘home’ was so close…

Met a rein-dog!

One great thing about this run was that I managed to do it without taking any supplies with me: water, gels or food. I knew I’d be able to get water at Victoria Park and carried some cash on me in case things went wrong, but in reality I had no need for sustenance until perhaps that last little section. I’m trying to learn more about my body’s hydration and nutrition needs, and these results suggest that I may need to adjust my marathon strategy.

Saturday: Plod about town

With no trains running on Christmas and Boxing Day, I had to shift Christmas at my sister’s (near Birmingham) to the weekend. We set off early in the morning to get there, and then proceeded to spend the day filling our stomachs with food. I did take Sye on a little tour of Halesowen after lunch, the best description for which is a ‘twaddle’. 5km didn’t help for burning off much food, but at least it kept the Advent Running streak alive.

My first time making homemade pasta

Sunday: Run to Romsley

I came up to Halesowen while training for Copenhagen Marathon last year, and discovered a number of different routes around the area. My favourite one went to a nearby town called Romsley and back again, through the English countryside. I remember loving it because I met horses and found gorgeous yellow flowers, and because you quickly forget that you’re quite close to one of the largest cities in the UK.

For Day 24 of Advent Running decided to follow this course again, although had forgotten that a) it was ~12km long, as opposed to the 5-8km I had planned, and b) it’s all uphill to Romsley! My calves were screaming from 2-5km (possibly I’m running too much on my toes uphill) but thankfully they stretched out before I headed back down the hill to home (via a little Mars-bar stop at the bottom of the hill – it is Christmas after all!)

Total kilometres: 79.8km –¬†Awesome!

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