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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: sick


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.