Training Plans

I usually follow a training plan of sorts, over the years these have taken on different formats

  • Marathon number 1 I followed a plan in Non Runners Guide to Marathon Running- simply the best plan for that first time
  • I have downloaded plans from Runners World Magazine web site
  • I have placed them on the fridge ticking off the runs as I go
  • I have placed a page on here, changing the font colour to red once done
  • Last year I created my own plan for my first Ultra fitting it in around my life and using expert knowledge gleaned from the web
  • January I created another plan, got injured and did  not look at it again-not the ideal way to train!

What ever method chosen for me a plan is necessary it keeps me on the straight and narrow.

Recently I have tried something new. I have registered on Trainasone. Carla (lapsed blogger) told me about it when she came down for a weekend, apparently Rachel (also lapsed blogger) had used it and credited it with her recent GFA marathon time. Now I don’t have any aspirations for a GFA but this kind of plaudit needed to be followed up. Trainasone is web based and was free, now they are starting to charge. Basically you enter your goal EG race date and time to complete and it spits out a plan. They like you to do a couple of assessment runs and the plan adjusts from there.  The night before a run it emails you to tell you what needs to be done and you can see the plan for up to two weeks ahead. If you have a new fancy Garmin you can even send the workout to your device, mine is not fancy, so I resort to writing the details on a piece of paper for reference, After the run, you get another email wanting you to confirm what you have done, it syncs with Strava after this syncs with Garmin!

So what do I think?

The Jury is out! The good parts

  • Having the donkey work done for you
  • The emails before and after
  • Being able to see what is ahead
  • Having it adjust depending I assume on performance
  • I love the varied pacing of the runs and that it adjusts for the elevation locally!
  • The charts!!!!
  • The running maps- I love the places I have run maps-in Europe and UK! simply the best part!

The not so good parts

  • Not being able to adapt the plan-I would like to be able to tell it I can’t do the run on a certain day and move it to an other
  • If I pause the Garmin (comfort break) it counts this time, it works on the theory that this is resting time so needs to be counted I would argue that squatting somewhere is NOT rest!
  • I have set the Goal of 50k for October. This weekend it wanted me to do a 1.2 mile recovery run-seriously who goes out for a 1.2 mile run???? Hardly worth getting the kit dirty in my opinion
  • This weekend it wanted me to do very little, I ignored it and did 23 miles over the two days (ok badly but I did it), it now says I shouldn’t run till Wednesday! Mmmmmmm
  • The charts………..for rocket scientists only!

Definitely a case of trail and error. Looking ahead it wants me to do some longer runs so I might do as I am told once we get there, no promises though!




Posted in Devon, Running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Family holiday 2017-Crete

It’s all been quiet on the blog front here at shazruns, the reason for this is the annual family holiday. Now usually I entertain (bore?) you all with a daily update on our holiday adventures but this year I saved you from that mainly beacause this holiday was different from our norm-this was a lay by a pool holiday. I might have been able to write a daily blog about this but entertaining it wouldn’t have been, unless I regaled you with stories of inappropriate swimwear, children hiding under towels with their technology, inflatables that were shaped like slices of pizza, the family who pitched up by the poolside with a cooler and wheeled suitcase full of sports paraphernalia, the constant chatter of the barman at the next hotel and constant noise of the cicadas, still not scintillating stuff is it!?  

It might not surprise you to hear that I am not a “lay-by-the-pool-holiday’ kinda gal! Zzzzzzzzzzzz. I knew I would find it tough. We did manage one trip out to the most amazing beach I have ever been to.


Running was only possible first thing in the morning due to the heat and this I managed only three times due to being laid low with a cold. One morning I run up to the German War cemetery, certainly a first for me! Wow what a place it was too, the most incredible view from the top

I think I would take great comfort from it, if I found my loved ones were buried in such a beautiful place.

This was my first visit to Crete (unless you count a day trip circa a very long time ago which I dont!) so what do I think?

  • It’s a country that is not finished-empty plots, half built buildings, rubble everywhere
  • Wifi and 3G signal all over Crete puts the uk to shame
  • Their cats are smaller and sleepier
  • Churches are everywhere, in the middle of nowhere, right next door to houses, bars, sea, big to large to holds a congregation of two, old to brand spanking new.
  • Very few places charge for parking, even the paradise beach car park had no pay and display machine which made it even more paradise like!
  • Trees are planted and saved just to park your car under it seems, and with that heat it is no surprise!
  • When you ask for the restaurant bill you get the bill and  fresh fruit, possibly cake/ice cream and raki. Raki tastes just like paint stripper in my opinion but I partook all the same mainly in an attempt to kill off the lurgy.
  • When riding a motorbike/scooter/quad bikes helmets are not a requirement and helmets are carried on the arm when travelling which must only mean that Cretans consider it very important to protect their elbows. From this I surmise that this is so they can partake in  arm wrestling! 

So there you have it Crete in a shaz nutshell! 

After eating my body weight in Feta cheese in a week it is now time to get back with the running, normal service will be resumed. Until then here are some holiday snaps. X

Posted in Photography, Running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Ultra Sandwich

I am not sure it is ideal to sandwich a 50k run with two other events, but that is what I did. The Charmouth Challenge the Saturday before and the Haytor Heller the Saturday after.

Haytor is ‘a granite tor on the eastern edge of Dartmoor in the English county of Devon’. The Haytor Heller starts quite close to this lump of granite. I was very pleased that we weren’t having to run from the road up to the Tor.

The flags show the start line. No need to warm up, just walk to the start. The short hill made up for it in steepness and despite my determination to run up from the start, my legs began to buckle as I neared the rock, a very brief stop to walk and then I was off again. If I had eyes in the back of my head would have seen this view.

The run its self is 6 miles up and down and up and down and then more up and down across the Moor. Truly a stunning location with breathtaking scenery and hills. My feet still sore from the Ultra struggled with the rocky paths. The bracken was taller than me and I was terrified I wouldn’t make it out fearing I tried desperately to keep the person ahead of me in sight. This is me walking ssshhhh

having just made it up a hill and out of the ferns. Behind me is Haytor the start and where I needed to get back to! A tough run but I loved it!.

The finish line was thankfully down hill and the medal was another beaut to add to my collection.

Definitely going to do this one again!


Posted in Devon, Running, trail running | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A run to the seaside-50k

Last weekend was Ham to Lyme 50k edition two for me. In 2016 I did it as my first toe dip in to Ultra running, (in case you missed the write on this here it is) , I really enjoyed it so it was a no brainer to return this year.

There were 18 of us taking part from the club and another member drove us there in a mini bus and he then saw us at every check point, which was handy to grab drinks or supplies.

The obligatory club photo was captured and then we were off. Within a mile a wrong turn was taken, fortunately for me, this detour was not very long but for others I understand it was quite a diversion. The first time I saw the bus driver I was greeted with the news that I was the first club member he had seen. I was in the lead! Oh the glory. I should have stopped then and there, declared myself a winner and gone and sat on the bus. It wasn’t long though before the speedies passed me having retraced their steps and I was back in the normal position, at the rear!

It was very hot, the air was airless, the humidity energy sapping but I plodded on eating up the miles. Then the cloud burnt off, the sky was blue and the temperature rose even more, but on the upside the view at Lamberts Castle, that we couldn’t see last year due to mist,  was unreal.

My feet were starting to hurt, blisters forming on the bottom of my left foot and under the bunion on the right foot. The legs, calves, Achilles, hips all fine but my those blisters were making themselves known.

I got to the last check point and they had run out of water, I downed two cups of coke and went on, three miles to go and no water in my hydration pack, thank goodness much of this was in the woods, I was desperate for a drink so the shade most welcome.

The finish line could not come too soon and I was very grateful to get to the end and receive this beautiful medal

oh and eat some honeydew melon!

Gutted that it took me 27 minutes longer than last year, but assume that is due in part to not specifically training for this event, having run 100K 7 weeks ago and the heat. Not sure I enjoyed it as much this year and I need to remember that actually it is has more than the one hill that I remember before I enter again! Will I go back next year, possibly.





Posted in Running, trail running, Training for an Ultra, ultra running | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Charmouth Challenge

Last Saturday afternoon I did the Charmouth Challenge.

This event has been on my radar for a long while. I avoided it previously due to the fact it is billed as a ‘Fell Race’. To me this meant I had to navigate my way without the aid of marshals, tapes and signs. This kind of adventure I can do without. Apparently this is not so and the ‘Fell’ comes about due to the elevation. Happy with that I entered, hills I can cope with (just) getting lost not so much!

I dragged the family along as support, mainly because it was a nice day and Charmouth is on the coast and the bribe of fish and chips might have had something to do with their compliance.

Most events are held on a Sunday morning but not this one, it started at 2 pm on a Saturday which gave me a chance to fit a sneaky parkrun in at Seaton in the morning, in hindsight this was probably not a good idea.

It was a beautiful day but at least 10 degrees too warm to be running 8 miles. Much is made of the fact that you go over the top of Golden Cap, the highest point on the South West Coast path. But let me tell you that was not the hardest part. The toughest section came in the first 2 miles where you climbed from sea level to 180 metres. I tried really hard to run the whole way up, but it was hot so I didn’t. The steps up to Golden Cap were a breeze after this, but the steps down trickier for those of us who are more clunky than agile!

See the zip zag path?

I took it easy, to put it mildly and tried to look up and enjoy the amazing scenery. I so wish I had taken my camera really is an amazing place to run. I was very glad to get to the end and receive my beautiful mug. Planning on going back next year to do this one, hopefully in cooler weather when I can try harder possibly,

Madam and hubby had had a nice time sunning themselves on the beach and mainly wondering why I was taking so long. The teenager had left the house in her winter jacket (you know the one she does not wear all winter) and had managed to take that off so that by the time I finished so that was a win!

We grabbed our dinner and went and sat on the cliff job with a cider. Not a bad way to spend the day.

Tomorrow I shall run the 50k Ham to Lyme run for the second time. I think I am looking forward to it, slightly worried that I have not formally trained for this, but failing anything else it will be a nice day out in the countryside with some free food on the way.

My toe nail has just fallen off so that could effect things but I will try and soldier on!

Posted in Devon, Running, trail running, Training for an Ultra, ultra running | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Wet wet wet woodland relays

Last night was the annual Woodland Relay that the club partakes in. This is my third relay and the two previous years the weather has been glorious. Being held in England’s summer that good luck was never going to hold out.

Yesterday our dry spell ran out and our empty water butt is now full. The rain started slowly in the afternoon but by 5 pm it had picked up, at 5:30 I was messaging my team member to see if she could do something about it, after all she does work for the Met Office. Apparently she doesn’t have that much influence!

I collected said team mate, the brave soul (read stupid) had adopted for the ‘skin is waterproof’ attitude and chosen to wear shorts! Our journey to the periphery of Woodbury Common was an adventure in itself. The iPhone cleverly picked up a local closed road re-routing us, however it didn’t pick up a flooded road (norm for Devon) or take in to consideration that I don’t do big puddles in a car, not where I can’t see how deep there are. This was followed by a 6 point turn in the middle of the lane to retreat. Finally we got to the car park, faring better than others who got lost or ended up in alternative ‘dodgy’ car parks reporting sighting of cars with steamed up windows!

I read a blog once where someone had written that as it was raining they opted to go to the gym and use the treadmill. I think they lived in California. Dodging the rain living in the UK is not really an option and after 13 years of running rain does not bother me. But never before have I been wet before a run, wetter during the run and soaked after the run. Conditions were dire. Waiting for ‘A’ runner to return, I stripped my top off probably way too early, wearing a vest due to the ‘skin is waterproof’ mindset I was soon very wet. The rain was settling in with vengeance and water was trickling down my back. Then I spotted her, runner ‘A’ ascending the lovely up hill to the finish.

Quick hand slap and I was off, like a race horse out the starting gate (this might be an exaggeration), down the long hill. Through the river that was now gushing down it. The route was a bottom heavy figure of eight ish. One small loop back to the start and then one never ending long loop back to the finish. The puddles were unavoidable and deep and hid foot eating sand. On more than one occasion I nearly swan dived in to the water which would not have been funny at all! It was undulating but not super tough although I am not a great lover of the up hill finish. As runner ‘B’ I handed off to runner ‘C’ safe in the knowledge that he would make up any ground I lost as he is one of the speedies in the club.

Then it was time to put dry clothes on, on top of wet clothes and wait for everyone from club to finish, huddled under umbrellas, trying to avoid the run off. I think three clubs were represented and we must have had the most teams, which goes to show the club is full of hardcore or mad members, the jury is out on which it is.

Now all I have to do is de silt and dry my trainers ready for an ‘event’ on Saturday.


Posted in Devon, Running, Training for an Ultra | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Everyone Else’s Day

Yesterday was Father’s Day as it was in most of the world except it seems down under where they celebrate at a different time. Hubby has been referring to it all week as Father’s weekend, this pushing of the boundaries ended up biting him in the bum.

The original plan was to take him to Weston-Super-Mare where there was a Airshow, featuring the Red Arrows, with temperatures soaring this plan was abandoned in favour of a day at the Beach. Hubby made the sandwiches (first time in 15 years!), drove us to North Cornwall (he has the bigger car) and purchased Madam a new wet suit on the way. (He offered and I did not argue!) So you see Father’s Day soon became known as ‘Everyone Else’s Day in the Shazruns household.

We left Devon early and headed west, accompanied by clear blue skies and empty roads. En route there is a surf supplies shop, the idea was to pull in quick grab Madam a wet suit before continuing on to the beach, it should be easy right? A wet suit is a wet suit, usually black, made of neoprene sometimes a logo on the front. However I forgot to factor that the item was for Madam. Half an hour later we leave with a wet suit that makes Madam look like a Bond Girl and makes me feel old.

Windbreak, three chairs, an umbrella, three wet suits, towels, a picnic, two body boards and reading material, by the time we arrived at a suitable spot on the sand my arms were screaming out for the days of ‘here carry this bucket and spade’ beach excursions.

Madam had a mini melt down when she realised there was no signal on the beach, but soon got over this when the sun began to tan her body which hopefully will mean she will step away from the bottled one. A nice day was spent, some body boarding, some paddling, a bit of bat and ball, much eating and laying in the sun.

A lovely Everyone Else’s Day!



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment