January 2014 – Half marathon training with Janathon, Jantastic and Strava Challenges

After running the York 10k in August I had a colitis flare up for three months which stopped me from doing anything. Thankfully extra medication brought it under control just before going on holiday to see my sister in Australia, so we had an amazing holiday. She got me jogging again, around her local park and also along Bondi Beach and the coastal path.

In October, Jay ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon with his work mates and they inspired me to sign up to the Silverstone Half Marathon, as that was their next event. I kept it secret for quite a while incase I wasn’t well enough to train for it, so in the new year, with the occasional jog under my belt, I thought it was time to get back into regular exercise.

So two of my New Years resolutions involve running – 500km total for the year, and to complete the half marathon. I set myself up a plan, 2 shorter runs during the week with a longer run at the weekend – reaching 15km by the end of the month. To keep me motivated I signed up to Janathon, Jantastic and Strava challenges, as well as doing Jay’s January Jumping Jacks challenge.

Starting with the jumping jacks challenge to get the negative bit over and done with first – jumping jacks are bloody hard! It turned out a whole lot harder than I expected, and with the running I found it too hard on my legs. Also the sheer number of them was too much for me – I was ok up to about 200 then above that it was too many, especially when doing them daily! But still I had a good go and ended up doing 2630 jumping jacks in total, so not all that bad going!

Janathon

Janathon involved exercising every day and blogging about it – I found it surprisingly easy to forget that I was supposed to do both of those! However I did do something every day, even if it was just a gentle wander around the car park at dinnertime at work, although my intention was to do something more than that. It’s not always possible though and I was happy with my efforts. As well as the jumping jacks, the daily exercise including strength and toning work outs, foam rollering sessions (well, it did on days I was struggling for something to do!), and running. The best thing about janathon was that it forced me to think about doing some exercise on top of the running, no matter how little or small! And it’s great to have a record of my first foray into proper training for a big event.

Jantastic 2014

Jantastic 2014

Despite the name, Jantastic goes on for 3 months, so January was only the start of this one. Every month the target is increased, but for the first month the target is based about the number of runs per week, three in my case. The best thing about jantastic is that it is a big motivator to keep running, to keep to my plan – because you earn badges and see the percentage of planned runs that have been done! On the days where I really didn’t fancy a run, the thought of losing the 100% got me into my trainers.

Jantastic January Score

Jantastic January Score

Jantastic January Badges

Jantastic January Badges

Jantastic January Badges

Jantastic January Badges

As well as the number of weekly runs, February’s Jantastic targets increasing the distance – which is good for my training plan! The only downside is with my race being at the start of March, rather than the end as the Jantastic is working towards…so I will be tapering at the end of the month, and might lose the 100%!!

And finally, to ensure I had motivation over the length of my runs, I took part in two Strava Challenges – run a 10k and run 50km in the Prove It challenge. This had the desired effect and I went for the 10km badge earlier than I initially planned – to give me extra time at the longer distances mainly, but I was pleased to get my first badge under my belt 🙂

Strava Races - 10k

Strava Races – 10k

Strava Training Log for January

Strava Training Log for January

With all the motivation from these challenges, added to the support from friends and family, I ended the month on a total of 69km – very pleased with that!

Strava's January Prove It

Strava’s January Prove It

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#Janathon 2014: Day 31 – The final day!

I got up early today to do yesterday’s run – jantastic is working as I didn’t want to lose my 100% by skipping a run!

I went to work early to have a go on the treadmill and attempt to get used to different pacing, starting with a slow jog and getting a bit faster.

Great in theory, but somehow I got the treadmill stuck far to fast and took me a few minutes to get it back down to the jogging pace I wanted!

After a kilometre I upped the pace slightly and was pleased to find that it still felt like a jog (I was thinking it might be a bit fast for me to maintain) so for the final km I went faster again. To maintain the faster pace I was having to do bigger strides and my breathing started to speed up, so I found the point where I would count it as running – around the 6 minute 30 per km pace!

I did a couple of minutes of gradually slowing down to cool off, before stretching and getting a shower and changed. Normally I dry my hair in the car, so it was weird (and time consuming) to have to use a hair drier! Great to have the facilities at work, I will have to use it more 🙂

Day 31: 25 minutes on the treadmill.

#Janathon 2014: Day 27

Today had a lovely dinnertime walk in the sunshine, walked a bit further than have done recently, and ventured out to see the sheep in a field at the bottom of the hill near work. Walking back up the hill my legs felt tired after yesterday’s exertions, so I put some calf socks on when I got back to my desk. I don’t know if they help but they made my legs feel warm and toasty, like I’d put a dressing gown on, so must be good in my book!

I didn’t have much time or inclination to do much tonight, so I did a few jumping jacks as I haven’t done any for several days.

I did log last week’s runs for Jantastic & set February’s targets. I’m glad I’m still on track for January, but February is a wee bit scary!

January's Jantastic Progress

January’s Jantastic Progress

February's Jantastic Target

February’s Jantastic Target

Day 27: 30 minutes walk at dinnertime and 100 jumping jacks.

#Janathon 2014: Day 23 – Thursday is intervals day

I woke up on my first early alarm, and assured myself I’d get out of bed in a second when my second early alarm went off. And then all of a sudden it was 20 minutes later and I’d blinked and fallen back asleep – no interval running before work for me then!

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#Janathon 2014: Day 20 & 21

Whoops day 20 was pretty much a write off. Did a 20 minute slow walk around the car park at dinnertime but wouldn’t really want to count that…so when I got home I intended to workout or go for a run but I was so tired I needed a quick nap to give me some energy – except that quick nap turned into the entire evening asleep! I really was tired!

Day 21 was a struggle too, after sleeping in (no idea how after falling asleep by 7.45pm the night before!) I had to go for a run at dinnertime at work. I really didn’t want to go out despite the lovely sunshiney weather, but hauled myself to the changing room as I thought once I’m there I’ll just get ready on autopilot. Encouragement from the lovely @stellian also helped me get my bum into gear.

Once out in the sunshine the idea of running didn’t seem so bad and it was nice to be out. I found the uphill bits harder than I thought last week but kept going and by the end was feeling much better. The thing I like about running is no matter how awful it feels during it, by the end it feels great! So those bad days aren’t all that bad really. And another one ticked off for jantastic.

 

Fields

Fields between Middle Barton and Sandford St Martin

 

Day 20: 20 minutes slow walk

Day 21: 30 minutes jog (4.1km)