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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: garmin


Having not run for so long I was obviously feeling quite anxious about how much fitness I may have lost. Sally assured me that I would still be able to get back into the swing of things and that my marathon target should still be attainable – I really hope she’s right! She set me a recovery plan with mostly steady running, starting with 60mins steady on Monday and Tuesday.

My fears were not massively helped by the struggle of my first run back. The biggest difference I noticed was how heavy and stiff my legs felt. They seemed to have forgotten all of the hard work and training I’d put in to get them strong and they just felt like lead. I was meant to be running steady – which we all know by now should be roughly 65-70% of max HR, which for me is between 159-167 bpm – but every time I tried to slow down to keep my HR in range my legs felt like they were going to stop moving. In the end I finished at 9:05 min/mile, which was far too fast for what I should have been doing, but I felt pleased to have got it done.

Tuesday’s steady run was ever-so-slightly worse. I ran first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. I did the same route as Monday but in reverse (the route, not me!). Again my legs were struggling and I really noticed the lack of cardio fitness whenever I went uphill – my breathing and HR becoming laboured. This run was slower overall at 9:22 min/mile, but I suppose that’s expected.

Thursday brought the challenge of a bit of pace thrown in as a test of my fitness. I was scheduled to run 30mins steady, followed by 60mins at pace and I was praying my body wouldn’t let me down. I planned a route of roughly 10 miles, knowing that was around about the distance I should have been covering. I started out ok, keeping mostly within the correct HR ranges for a steady run and keeping a pace of around 9:30 min/mile. After my watch hit 30mins I started to try and pick up the pace. The first few miles of pace were a little disappointing as even though whenever I looked at my watch I seemed to be at around 8:30 min/mile when the mile splits ticked over I was too slow. I eventually managed to hit the correct pace, but my HR was far too high all the way through the 60min section. I was at, and over, my threshold HR. I was pleased I managed to get the right pace for the last four or so miles, but it was a bit of a slap in the face that it had now become such a struggle. Boo!

My long run was planned for Saturday and was supposed to be five miles steady, with 10 miles at pace, but following Thursday’s high HRs Sally advised me to just stick to steady for the whole 15M. I got in touch with Laura who was running 18M with her friend Odette and I tagged along with them for their run. Odette had planned a route that took us out of Harlow, over to Northweald and then back round to Harlow again for the last few miles. It had come out at about 10 miles for the Northweald-bound section on the mapping tool, but actually ended up being more than 12M by the time we got back into Harlow which meant we only had to tag on an extra few to get me to 15 and then Laura to carry on to 18M. Unfortunately, due to latching my watch on to the GPS signals far too early, my battery was drained before we even reached halfway. I think this may have actually been a blessing in disguise as no doubt my HR and pace would have made me worry the whole way round and instead I just focussed on putting one foot in front of the other and enjoying the scenery a bit. It started raining about halfway round, which we actually found quite refreshing! By the time I left Laura to carry on with her 18 miler (looking fresh – you’ll have no problem with the marathon girl!) I think we must have been at around 15.5 miles, and despite the noticeable difference in my fitness I was pleased to have still been able to do it.

Here is the week in training:

Monday: 60mins steady

Tuesday: 60mins steady

Wednesday: REST

Thursday: 30mins steady, 60mins pace

Friday: REST

Saturday: 15M steady with Laura and Odette (dead watch!)

Sunday: REST

And now it’s Monday again and we’re totally up to date! I have a pace session tonight, I’m hoping my HR will be at a less scary level, and this week is the Silverstone Half Marathon where I’d been hoping to achieve a sub 1:50. I am doubtful I will be able to achieve it, having been ill so recently, but we will see what Sunday brings…


I have had the craziest month! Moving house combined with coming down with a god-awful cold has massively impacted my training – missing between 2 and 3 weeks of running. Even if I’d had time to blog, I’ve had nothing to blog about! But I’m back now, and trying to get myself back into the level of training I was at just a few weeks ago.

But first, I’ll give you a quick run-down of the last few weeks…

Following my 17 miler solo in the snow I had a day of rest then hit the treadmill on the Tuesday for a recovery run. 10.5 min/mile at 1% incline for 20 mins, followed by 10mins on the e-spinner.

Wednesday was a track session. I’d called up the sports centre for the track I usually use in Harlow and they said the track was out of use because of the snow (hard to believe when I’m writing this after such a sunny day just a few weeks later!!) so I had a little google search and managed to find a track where they’d cleared a lane. I planned to meet a friend from the running club there to do our respective track sessions. By the time I got there Susan was already well into her session but she told me that the track was still very slippy. I opted for the indoor track instead. At 200m round I knew this was going to be a challenging run. My eight lap reps on a 400m track transpired into 16 lap reps on the shorter indoor track. I did six laps to warm up, then began my hard efforts. I had to count off the laps on my hands, using my right hand to count single laps and my left hand for every five – maybe an abacus might have come in handy! I think I kept each one at threshold pace, but being indoors my Garmin was rendered useless so I don’t know my overall split times for each and will have to go on faith that my heart and lungs were at a suitable level of misery!

Thursday called for an eight mile pace run, but after a very long day in London manning a stand at an exhibition for work my poor feet and legs needed the rest so I took a rest day before my big house move the next day.

The next three days were a bit of a whirlwind – my boyfriend and I picked up the keys to our new place on Friday. We spent the whole of that day, and the next two, cleaning, driving, lifting, shifting, shopping, unpacking, and all the other things involved in moving house! It was crazy and we were so busy.

Monday I managed to get myself out for the 75min pace session that I was supposed to do on Sunday but was too busy for. My legs were suffering from the hard work of the last few days, including some soreness in my metatarsals, and my Garmin was still somewhere in the midst of the boxes that surround us at our new home so I have no idea of my HR or definite pace for the run! I managed about 8.5-9 miles in the 75mins but my breathing was quite a bit heavier than I would have liked.

Wednesday was when it all went downhill. I’d started to feel the symptoms of a cold coming on over the last 24 hours or so but thought I’d try to get out and do my track session anyway. On the cards was 3 x 2400m. I did a mile to warm up and already I was starting to feel a bit worse for wear. My throat was really sore and I had a sinus headache. I carried on into my first rep and tried to pick up the pace a bit. I started to feel quite lightheaded over the last couple of laps and my chest was really tightening up making it a struggle to breathe properly so I was forced to call it a day. I was so frustrated.

And that was the start of my sick leave from running.


Monday: REST

Tuesday: 20mins treadmill recovery run, 10mins e-spinner

Wednesday: 3 x 3200m (indoor track)

Thursday: REST

Friday: REST

Saturday: REST

Sunday: REST


Monday: 75mins steady (no watch!)

Tuesday: REST

Wednesday: 3 x 2400m (had to cut short after 1 rep)

Thursday: SICK

Friday: SICK

Saturday: SICK

Sunday: SICK


Monday: SICK

Tuesday: SICK

Wednesday: SICK

Thursday: SICK

Friday: SICK

Saturday: SICK

Sunday: SICK

Almost two weeks later and I was as close to being ready to return as I ever was going to be without having major panic attacks about being able to complete this challenge I’ve set myself! And that’s where the next post picks up.


Hi again, only me! Firstly I’d like to say thank you - following my blog post last week I was really touched to see the words of encouragement that some of you left me. It really does mean a lot and helps me keep my chin up after a hard session/week :)

I started the week with a rest day, which I really needed, so the week’s training went like this:

Monday: REST

Tuesday: 6x1600m

Wednesday: 80 mins at pace

Thursday: REST

Friday: Recovery run

Saturday: REST

Sunday: 15M with Laura

I got to track at a fairly reasonable time on Tuesday despite delaying a little as I was kind of hesitant to do the session after my down-in-the-dumps mood from Saturday. Anyway, I remembered my iPod shuffle this time and a little bit of the Prodigy certainly helped keep me on pace and also helped the time tick by… it can get a little boring going round and round and round (a track isn’t quite “Parklife”, if you’ll excuse the Blur reference!). My legs were feeling quite tired still and I found it hard to get my heart rate up to the threshold point yet again. I wondered if I was going to be able to do all six reps, and having been told already that I could drop the last one if I wanted to I have to admit I was tempted! But, I pushed through and after each recovery I felt like I could go again so I did and eventually managed all six. Considering my tired legs I was very pleased with the pace when I looked back at my recorded laps – average ~7:20 min/mile… not too shabby.

Wednesday was my pace session – I ran with Wendy for the first 7 miles, I really needed the company as I was still feeling a little less than enthusiastic. We set off both with quite tired legs and it was only when we turned into a headwind at around 1.5M that I realised this was going to be quite tough! We continued in the headwind for about 3.5M and struggled to keep the pace fast enough, although we weren’t too far off. We got to 7M after a bit of an uphill climb and this was where Wendy was due to finish. I turned off to do the last couple of miles alone and was relieved to see that most of it was downhill so managed to pick up a bit. Overall the pace was 8:51 min/mile so not so bad, but I do always seem to manage to mess my pace sessions up, and I know they are important, so I really do need to crack on with getting them right!

Friday I was due to run a hill session, but Sally changed my plan as she thought I may need a rest day so I just did a short recovery run instead. The first half was uphill so I was a bit slower and HR was a bit higher than I’d have liked for recovery but it still felt fairly easy. The second half was, naturally, downhill so that’s when the real recovery kicked in. I could feel in my legs today that hills would have been really tough if I had continued as first planned so I was grateful to Sally for the change –even if I did have a slight panic moment of “if I’m struggling already how on Earth am I going to last till 15th April?!”.

My recovery run on Friday was in the morning as I had the day off work and that meant that I had a full two days until my long run on Sunday morning… plenty of rest :)

I spent Saturday night watching “Run Fatboy Run” with my boyfriend and a couple of friends. We chilled out with some oven-cook pizza and put our feet up to enjoy watching Simon Pegg in action! It was such a good film and really good for runners as it’s a great light-hearted look at the highs and lows of marathon training, and of course “hitting the wall”. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone running a marathon if you fancy a good laugh!

I woke up on Sunday morning feeling quite nervous. I was really worried that I was going to have another bad run and think I was getting myself all in a fuss; also the scene in the movie last night where he slept through his alarm probably didn’t help my nerves! I had my porridge and tea (creature of habit that I am!) and double checked that my watch DEFINITELY said it was fully charged. The day before, I bought a “body wallet” which is essentially just a flat bum bag type thing so I filled it with my gels and strapped it round my hips hoping that it would prevent the pocket-bounce issue from last week, and it really did – will definitely use this again. I covered the first mile or so on my own to the meeting point I’d arranged with Laura and then we continued on our way round a 10 mile loop I’d set for us. We chatted the whole way round and kept a comfortable pace along the route. The 10 miles went by really quickly with our continued conversation and by the time we got back to the meeting point at just over 11 miles I was feeling really good. I carried on from there to the extra 4 mile loop I had planned. I saw one of my running club friends, Jo, at about the 12.5 mile point and she jogged with me for a minute or so for a quick chat which really picked me up. Just as I was turning in to do the last ¼ mile or so my legs and glutes started to ache a little, but despite this I still felt like I could have kept going if I’d needed to so I was really pleased (hopefully this means I’m in a good place for my 17M run next week!). Overall pace was 9:24 min/mile, so just under a minute per mile slower than target marathon pace which I think is pretty much spot on what these long runs should be. I was over the moon with this run, I really needed a positive one and it came at just the right time. The only down side was that it was so cold that when I got home I couldn’t even turn the key in the lock because my fingers were totally numb – even with gloves! Eventually I managed to get in the warm and Darren’s lovely mum made me a cup of tea to warm me up, thank you Jackie :)

So my lesson learned from this week… I guess eating pizza and watching Run Fatboy Run the night before a long run is the perfect pre-training prep, hehe! Oh, and of course REST WHEN YOU NEED TO!


I’m now well into my marathon training, with this past week being the 3rd week of my training plans with Sally, and my 6th week of the training blogs.

This week was by far my toughest yet and I really started to feel the burn of the increased mileage and intensity.

I started the week with hill reps on Monday. I missed this last week as I’d had to ask Sally to re-arrange my schedule because of other plans, so they were slotted in on Monday to start the week off in style… or pain! I went out a bit late having had a dinner date after work and it was starting to get really cold. I thought the hill would be a bit more suitable than the one I had used previously as it was slightly longer, but less steep. It turned out it was a little too long, taking me roughly 70 seconds to climb each time. My HR was hitting the right zone and each rep was fairly consistent in pace so I was pleased that I was getting what I needed out of it. After about 6 or 7 reps I started to find the session a bit of a mental challenge, but pushed out the last few to get me to 10 and then jogged home.

Tuesday’s session was another pace run, trying to get my marathon pace to feel like second nature. I set out a route that I thought would take me about 70 minutes to cover at the target pace. I made the stupid mistake of eating a whole load of chocolate and biscuits in the hour or so before my run and really paid for it on the way round, feeling quite sick. I stuck more accurately to the pace than with my last attempt and despite the sicky feeling I finished on target with an average pace of 8:35 min/mile. My fastest mile was 8:22 and my slowest 8:44 so I really must try to keep this gap tighter.

On Wednesday I had my second sports massage of the training season. It never ceases to amaze me how many tight spots you don’t know you have until the sports therapist is manipulating them! Once again I used my well-practised technique to help with the pain – laugh my head off until it’s stopped! Nicola must think I’m insane…

Thursday brought speedwork in the form of three lots of 2400m (6 laps of the track per rep) followed by one 1600m rep (4 laps of the track). Again it was cold, so I tried to wrap up warm and knowing that I was going to be by myself I thought I’d listen to my iPod shuffle to help me work my way round and round and round… but I forgot it! My legs were amazingly tired and I really struggled to get my heart rate up to the threshold point on the first rep, but then by the second and third my HR was soon enough reaching 180+ bpm but my legs were slowing. Eventually I managed to finish the final rep and I was so relieved! This was really hard.

And this brings me on to Saturday and my 14 miler. What a great run that was… NOT! I woke up early to get ready for my run with a breakfast of porridge and tea. I had to set out at just after half 7 to get the first 2-2.5 miles done before meeting Wendy at 8am. After the first mile or so I realised this was going to be a bad run – the jacket I was wearing was making me quite hot, but I needed it so I could carry my gels and phone, which just happened to be bouncing up and down on my stomach with every step! Not only that but my legs were feeling really tired. By the time I reached Wendy’s I was full of negativity and really needed the company! Things got a bit better after that and we carried on with the route I had planned at a comfortable pace. It was at about 11 miles that I got another downer – my watch started bleeping at me and I looked down to see a message saying “low battery”…. WHAT?! I had put my Garmin on charge only that morning and checked it before I left to make sure it was at 100% - why was it now telling me that it was going to die on me?! It lasted about another 15 minutes and cut out just at the point at which I left Wendy to do the last 2-2.5 miles home. This last section was pretty tough – there was a really strong headwind and I was struggling to keep up the pace but had no idea how fast I was actually going. I picked up the pace with about 1-1.5 miles to go, again I don’t know how fast it was but I felt challenged so think it must have been about right. Finally I made it back to where I had started but by the time I finished I think I was probably closer to 14.5, maybe even 15M. I don’t think I would have done it all without Wendy.  I don’t know what my overall pace was, but it was at 9:49 min/mile at the 12M point, so I think it can only have gotten better with the pick-up, but I guess that’s one thing I’ll never know. Still, I suppose the positive to look back on is that I completed my longest ever run, without incident, and it wasn’t me that ran out of juice, but my watch!

This is my week in a snapshot:

Monday: hill reps

Tuesday: 70 mins at pace

Wednesday: REST

Thursday: 3x2400m and 1x1600m

Friday: REST

Saturday: 14M with Wendy

Sunday: REST

I had three rest days, rather than two with a day’s cross training because I had been struggling so much this week. I’ve got the same this week because it’s apparently going to be a tough week, so maybe we’ll see a bit of cross training coming back in February.

I couldn’t have chosen a better weekend to have a bad run, with a night away with my boyfriend to celebrate our two year anniversary to look forward to I quickly forgot about the run and started thinking about tea, cake, Indian head massage and a three course dinner with wine and lovely company! If only every run could be followed by that ritual :)

So on to the next week. Here’s hoping it’s more successful, running-wise. I hope all you other spring marathoners are doing well with your training.

Garmin Forerunner 910XT

This new watch by Garmin looks incredible! I love my forerunner 405 and it’s become a staple of my running preparation and review, but the 910XT looks like a cover-all-bases device for the run, bike and swim training that make up a triathlon schedule. Definitely one to look out for!