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This is the marathon training and fundraising blog of Georgina Spenceley. Watch this space for news of my training, inevitable injuries, and my fundraising events and achievements.

Posts Tagged: Christmas


Ah, Christmas! Who doesn’t love it?! It’s a time for giving, spending time with family and friends, overindulging in tasty food and drink, and of course some marathon base building!

Unfortunately for me, if it’s not one thing, it’s another and I started the week feeling a little bit of tenderness in my right ankle, on the inside. It’s a similar pain to that I’ve felt before elsewhere and I strongly suspect tendonitis. I can feel where the cause of issue is coming from (posterior tibialis, running up the back of the tibia, but inserting in around the medial malleolus), so will be careful to do some self-massage when I can (or when I remember!) and with a bit of ibuprofen gel hopefully it won’t get any worse.

The first training session of the week was speedwork with the HRC. It was the last session before Christmas and as such the actual work part of the session was short and sweet – a grand total of six minutes, no less! We then followed that with a few relays with a Christmas version of the old egg and spoon race, the egg being replaced with Maltesers. Thanks Roy for organising the fun!

Wednesday I got in a morning run before starting my working day from home. It was cold, wet and a little windy and I really didn’t feel too sprightly but I cracked on with it anyway. My lack of enthusiasm for the run wasn’t helped when I found myself having to negotiate a little Westie trying to gnaw the shoelaces on my brand new trainers! I’ll let it off seeing as it was cute (I’m a bit of a sucker for a dog!). Still, I managed to push out five miles, although it wasn’t quite the “easy” run I had aimed for!

My next session of the week was Thursday’s HRC training. I started off quite carefully, wanting to make up a bit for the not-so-easy run the day before, but by about halfway I was feeling easier and picked up the pace with a fellow HRC runner. We got chatting about marathon training and I think it got us both a bit hyped up and we finished with a nice strong pace.

Fridays are a regular rest day for me, and in good Christmas spirit Darren and I watched a film to get us in the mood for the weekend… the Muppet Christmas Carol! Time well spent I think!

Time for the long run. Over the last few weeks my long weekend runs have resulted in me feeling wiped out and full of headache for the rest of the day and I was getting pretty fed up of feeling lousy so I decided to try to be more prepared and start the morning off with a cereal bar, banana and a big glass of water as my pre-run snack, where previously I had either eaten and drank nothing, or just had a banana on its own. It seemed to work a bit - not only did the run feel much more comfortable, but I had more energy for the rest of the day, although I did have a slight headache. The run itself was good, I don’t think Laura appreciated my route-planning when we reached the muddy off road sections (I hadn’t quite realised how much rain there had been the last day or so when I’d planned the route!) but we ploughed on through and by the time we got back to the road we only had just over two miles left to go, and we even pulled out the energy to do a nice little sprint finish over the last 50m or so. We covered 10.4 miles in 1:40:50, giving us an average pace of 9:42, which is pretty much slap-bang in the middle of the long run pace range I am supposed to be aiming for.

After the run I fuelled up with a nice protein-filled breakfast and then got ready to make the journey back home to my mum’s house for Christmas. Lovely jubbly :)

Iiiit’s Chriiiistmas!! I’ve decided that a smoked salmon and scrambled egg bagel washed down with Bucks Fizz is the perfect pre-run fuel, as after having a nice breakfast with mum, Darren, Tom and Lottie I headed out for a quick three miler and I felt pretty damned good! It was much warmer than I’d expected so I probably should have opted for only one layer, but I completed my recovery run with a nice negative split.

Christmas day running seems to be a bit of a debated topic, with a lot of people saying it should be the one day of the year when you can forget about training. But I really like it! You pull on your trainers on Christmas day and head out the door to the quietest roads you will ever see in daylight hours; it’s lovely! And anyone you do see as you pound the pavements instinctively warms you with a “Happy Christmas”. For me though, the other added benefit is the feeling that you can have a little bit less guilt about all the delicious food you are about to shovel (and shovel I did!!). So there’s my argument for Christmas day running, and I’ll stand by it!

Here is the obligatory Garmin data for each of my runs:

Monday: REST

Tuesday: Speedwork, HRC

Wednesday: 5M solo

Thursday: 6.5M HRC

Friday: REST

Saturday: 10.4M run with Laura

Sunday: 3M solo (Christmas day!)

One thing I have just realised from looking at this week’s training is that I really should get in a bit of cross training as I haven’t done anything other than run this week and that’s not ideal for someone trying to avoid injury. Must try harder!!

Whoops, I like to talk don’t I?!

Oh and for anyone who doesn’t know, the other reindeers are: Dasher, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen ;)


This week’s training didn’t really start as planned. With my knee feeling a little bit knackered on Monday’s run I decided to rest it on Tuesday by doing a spinning class instead of a run – only my second week of a five run target and I’d already dropped one of them! Still, the spinning class was great (thanks Natalie!) and I still got my bit of cardio in to keep my pulmonary fitness up so it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

Sessions this week were:

Monday:  3M solo

Tuesday: 1 hour spin class plus stretching

Wednesday: REST

Thursday: 8.4M HRC run

Friday: REST

Saturday: 3.8M solo

Sunday: 9M with Wendy and Laura

This means I clocked up a total of 24.32 miles this week, so I’m still slightly up on last week’s total of 23.42 miles, spread across five days.

I think the active rest followed by a rest day on Wednesday really helped because I felt fighting fit on Thursday and having decided to do 7 miles with the HRC I then changed my mind halfway round and joined the 8 milers. I’m glad I did as I felt really good afterwards and even managed to natter all the way round the second half.

We had our Harlow Running Club Christmas Party on Friday night at the Manor of Groves hotel. Needless to say it was a fun night, plenty of food and even more dancing! It’s always a laugh with the HRC bunch and I’m looking forward to the presentation evening in February.

Saturday was a recovery run before an hour of leg-pulverising by the lovely Nicola Court! The massage was well needed, but very sore – I had to laugh out loud just to be able to bear the “discomfort” of the ITB release and then she even stuck in a few acupuncture needles for good measure. Luckily, it seems as though the pain I was getting in my knee was from ITB tightness, not collateral ligament damage so that should be quicker and easier to remedy. It’s unusual for me as I normally get ITB pain manifest in my hip, but it is more common in the knee. Nicola reminded me that I’m actually up on miles compared to a lot of people who will be starting their training plans soon, if they haven’t already, and that I can afford to take it easy if necessary so I left feeling positive.

To end the week Wendy, Laura and I headed out at 8am on this cold, frosty day to push out a solid 9 miler. We made it round at 10:17 min/mile, which is exactly at the top of the range that the McMillan Running Calculator reckons I should be hitting for long training runs for a 3:50 marathon. And to top it off my knee felt pretty much ok, just a slight hint of tightness there. Considering Nicola said it may actually feel worse the day or so immediately after a deep massage I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

All’s well that ends well.