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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: injury


It’s official, marathon training is well and truly under way! I’m down to 14 weeks to go already and it feels like only a little while ago I was saying “18 weeks to go”… I’m sure the 15th April is going to creep up on me veeery quickly!

This week consisted of:

Monday: 25 mins espinner, 10 mins rowing then strengthening exercises.

Tuesday: 4x800m

Wednesday: 30 mins yoga

Thursday: 3M HRC tempo run

Friday: REST

Saturday: hill reps

Sunday: 12M with Wendy and Laura

See, I told you I’d get some cross-training in!

I felt a little silly on Tuesday’s session as I went along to club even though I was going to be doing a different session to them. They were doing 400s with 2 mins recovery, whilst I had recovery jogs between my 800s – it was a little tough to see everyone stopped when I was still going round and round the track! I was supposed to keep each rep to about 4:15 but got a bit carried away and did my first one in 3:42… oops! I tried to hold back a bit for the remaining three reps and ran them each in around 4mins. I was pretty pleased with the session though because I felt strong. Sally has since told me that my reps suggest that my target marathon pace is likely to be sustainable so woohoo to that!!

On Wednesday I tried out a “Yoga Made Easy” book that I picked up. I thought it would be a good way to stretch out in a less boring way, and also want to try to work on my balance and core strength anyway. I only did about half an hour as it’s hard to do the poses for the right amount of time without an instructor there to tell you what to do. Next time I’ll put on some music and make a proper session of it.

My next run was probably my favourite of the week – I love tempo runs… call me crazy! This was with the running club and we started off with a mile warm-up then accelerated to tempo pace. I ran with Laura the whole way and we managed to keep a strong pace for the whole three miles, with an average of 8:12 min/mile. My HR was pretty much spot on what it was supposed to be for the session. We finished off with a mile back to the club, but I carried on with another HRCer to top it up to 50mins so we could flush out the legs a bit. I don’t know why, but tempos are the sessions I look forward to the most at the moment, maybe it’s my new-found faster pace!

Now onto the dreaded hill work! I couldn’t seem to think of any hills in my local town, especially ones that weren’t dark and gloomy, but thanks to some suggestions from Wendy and also Darren I found what I thought would be a suitable hill and I ran to it for my warm up. I realised after the first rep that the hill wasn’t quite as long as it should have been – Sally wanted me to run up for ~60 secs, but it only took 45-50 so was a bit short. I checked my heart rate and decided that it was probably going to be ok as I was reaching over the 180bpm that was prescribed. Another seven reps later and I was done and ready for a steady jog home. It was a really tough session and at the top of each hill I wondered if I was ever going to breath normally again but by the time I got home and showered I felt absolutely fine. I know that hills are going to be good for me so I will plough through these sessions and maybe, just maybe, I will one day come to love hill running!

On to Sunday, the final run of the week. I have to admit I was a little concerned when I woke up and got out of bed to realise my ankle was pretty sore. It’s taken a bit of a battering the last few weeks so I can’t blame it for feeling achy, but I really could do without getting injured. I put my ankle support on, had my porridge and started on my way. Wendy, Laura and I all had different distances to cover in our plans this week but we managed to figure out that if I ran to meet Laura, and then we ran to Wendy’s, did a seven mile loop from there and then ran back again we would each get our distances in – seven for Wendy, 10 for Laura and 12 for me. It’s also a really good way of breaking up a long run so it doesn’t feel so, well … long! By the time we were about three miles in my ankle had started to ease off a bit and we had set a nice pace of between 9 and 10 min/mile. This was my first run experimenting with energy gels and after an hour I proceeded to try to open my first one. Note to SiS – you really should make those buggers easier to open! Juggling a bottle of water and trying to tear the top off a sachet of gel seemingly made of rubber all whilst trying not to fall over is not an easy feat! Still, what were teeth made for huh? I eventually got in to my little pocket of energy goodness and gulped it down with a pleasant surprise at the taste and consistency. I have to say – the struggle to open was worth it when I still felt full of energy towards the end of my run. I had three of the four that Sally told me to take with me but I think that was enough for me as the porridge had kept me pretty full for the first hour. So having dropped Wendy and Laura off at their relevant checkpoints I carried on home to finish with 12.3M under my belt in just less than two hours. Not bad going.

Post-run I stretched out quite a bit today, and boy did I need it! My ankle has started to ache again, but I’ve got active recovery tomorrow, and have been using the ibuprofen gel again this afternoon and evening. I will also pick up some kinesiology tape and start to strap it up for a bit more support. Fingers crossed it holds out as if it doesn’t improve I’m probably going to have to take a week off and I’m not quite sure I’d know what to do with myself!


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.


That is scary shizzle! 

Most marathon training plans follow a 12 or 16 week schedule, however yesterday I opened my Stroke Association fundraising pack and inside was an 18 week training plan… given that my marathon is on the 15th April that training plan starts **drum roll please**…. NOW!

Buuuut, I’m not following that plan, so I’m going to just stick with some base-building for now until my real plan kicks in. Phew!

Being the gadget lover that I am, I will be keeping track of all of my outdoor training runs using the trusty Garmin Forerunner 405 (my little baby!). Now personally I love this thing and could spend ages looking over the data on Garmin Connect, but I know that you may not be as interested. In any case, I have decided to start including the links to my training sessions on here, to keep a record of my progress. 

Even though last week technically wasn’t an actual training week, I thought it would be a good place to start. 

So here is last week’s training:

Monday: 1 hour swim session

Tuesday: 4.5M solo

Wednesday: 3M treadmill (2M @ 10min/mile, 1M walk) strengthening exercises

Thursday: 5.5M solo

Friday: REST

Saturday: 1 hour spinning class, 1M treadmill @ 10min/mile, core exercises

Sunday: 9.3M with Wendy

I’m happy that I seem to be comfortably hitting 9min/mile on my shorter runs, and although 11:30 min/mile is about 50 seconds slower than the end range for a long run for the sub4 target, it was off-road and we (me and Miss Wendy) seemed to speed up a bit towards the end so I’m not too worried. 

You may also have noticed that even though I said I was going to follow a three-day-a-week plan I have actually clocked up five (yes five!) runs this week. That is because after having settled on the decision of three runs, I thought a bit more about the intensity of the sessions and decided that the five day plan gave my body a bit less stress overall, provided I stick fairly rigidly to the prescribed paces. So as per usual I have been indecisive as ever! The two extra runs were “easy” runs, both on a treadmill and both relatively short distances. I’m introducing these gradually as I don’t want my poor body to go into shock. I’m looking to build these up to 3-4M at an easy pace. We shall see how this goes!

In other news, my right knee has been giving me a little bit of gyp, and I think from a bit of self-diagnosis that it’s an overuse injury to my lateral collateral ligament. I’m going to get myself a knee support and try some foam roller work and stretches to ease it off in preparation for the first of my monthly sports massages on Sunday. For anyone who’s interested, I’ve booked in the capable hands of Nicola Court for my sports massages (you can find her here…

Anyway, it’s the start of another week and I’m off out for a run!