Marathon mums

(image from

With marathon training season in full swing, I’ve been enviously looking on as my friends on Strava and Instagram crank up their weekly mileage. While on the one hand the talk of their long runs makes me want to sign up for a marathon immediately, on the other, the reality of my running form at the moment makes such a challenge seem further away than ever. Although it’s pretty tricky running through pregnancy, both my husband and I are very aware of the additional challenge that will come (we hope!) from trying to train with a baby. While we have heard horror stories of babies who have screamed for the entirety of a run from the comfort of an incredibly expensive running buggy (which was never used again), we also have lots of inspiring fit friends who seem to manage to combine being model parents with having model bodies.

One such friend, Jess, recently became a mum herself, and less than a year since giving birth she is now in the midst of training for the Paris marathon (a race we ran together back in 2015). Seeing her posts on Instagram and reading her blog really inspired me and made me want to absorb some of her knowledge and motivation in the hope that it might see me running marathons again in the future.

I wanted to write a post about a female powerhouse for International Women’s Day and this interview with Jess – doctor, runner, blogger and mum – seemed the perfect fit. She kindly agreed to answer a few questions on training during pregnancy, being a running mum and Paris marathon prep. I hope you find her as inspiring as I do. 2019 marathon anyone?!

What did your weekly exercise routine look like pre-pregnancy?

Before pregnancy I was training for the Santa Rosa Marathon (I found out I was pregnant the day after I ran it) so I was running 4 times a week, including speed/hill sessions and long runs of up to 20 miles. I‘d also started barre classes and was going about twice a week.


How did you adapt your workouts during pregnancy?

I made sure I listened to my body and did what felt right. I hardly moved in the first trimester as I was so exhausted and just needed to rest. The idea of going for a run was horrific! Fortunately, the exhaustion settled and I started running again at 11 weeks. The runs were short and slow – 4 miles was my limit, I think.  I eventually stopped running at 26 weeks as it was uncomfortable (I always felt a lot of pressure on my pelvic floor and constantly needed to wee!) and stopped me from enjoying my runs. From then on I did lots of walking and pregnancy barre DVDs.

How did you feel about the changes to your body and fitness during pregnancy?

I was surprisingly OK with all the changes. Pre-pregnancy I thought I’d find it hard, but I just tried to focus on what I could do, rather than dwelling on what I couldn’t.


At what stage and how did you start to rebuild your fitness after giving birth?

I had an emergency C-section so knew I had to give my body time to heal before starting to run and workout again. I started by walking daily. I felt very weak initially and walking a few miles was a real challenge. I gradually got stronger and went for my first run at 7 weeks. It felt great, however, after a few runs I noticed a pulling sensation around my scar. It wasn’t painful but also didn’t feel normal. I booked in with a women’s health physio for an assessment. She told me I was running too soon and needed to hold off for longer. I was really disappointed but deep down knew she was right. I started running regularly again at about 4 months post-partum. About the same time I started going to a CrossFit class called ‘Strong as a Mother’, which has been amazing. It focuses on core stability, mobility and strength for mothers and has definitely helped me get stronger.

When did you decide to set yourself the challenge of running another marathon after pregnancy?

All through pregnancy I knew I wanted to run a marathon in the first year postpartum. Pregnancy and motherhood is life changing and it can be easy to lose your sense of self amongst it all. Marathon running has been a passion of mine for almost a decade and I knew that training for a marathon would keep the ‘old Jess’ alive. I think I was scared that motherhood would mean no more marathons (at least for a long time) so setting myself the challenge of doing one in the first year was a good way to keep me running!

Why did this challenge appeal?

I love running marathons and I wanted to prove to myself motherhood didn’t need to stop me running them!

How do find fitting in your training around childcare?

I’m lucky because my husband works from home a lot so I run early in the morning or during nap times. I have to be ready to go as soon as the time is right, there’s no time to faff around! It can be tricky when my husband is travelling for work (sometimes for up to 4 nights at a time) but I just try to re-jig my schedule, call in some favours, or run with my heavy, non-running pram! I recently joined the local gym which has a crèche for babies over 6 months. I’m hoping that this will be a game changer when my husband travels as I can use the treadmill while Leo’s in the crèche.

So you haven’t been tempted by a running buggy?

So far I haven’t needed one as I’ve managed to schedule my runs without taking Leo. It would offer more flexibility so I’m tempted to get one, but they also take up loads of space in house which is probably why I’m holding off. It’s also nice to run on my own and have a break.

How does running feel now compared to pre-pregnancy?

It feels exactly the same, although I’m sure it helps that I had a C-section. The main difference is that I’m still slower than I used to be. I had to start from scratch and it’s only in the last few weeks that I feel like everything is coming together and I’m hitting the paces that I used to. I’ve got my endurance back, now I need to focus on speed!

How do you motivate yourself to get out for a run after a bad night’s sleep or a busy day of looking after Leo?

I’m not going to lie, if I’ve been up all night it’s tempting to press snooze and forget about running, but I try my best not to! I love the mantra ‘I get to run’, as it flips my mind set and reminds me that running is something I love, that I chose to do. I remind myself of how much I missed running when I was pregnant and how good I’ll feel after I’ve been. I also know that if I miss my run slot I probably won’t get another one that day which is usually enough to get me out of bed…

What does your current training plan look like?

I’m marathon training and run 4 times a week, including a long run at the weekend. I’ve just started to add in some speed work but I’m mainly focusing on getting my endurance back. I’m aware that a marathon is a big challenge this soon after having a baby so my focus is on enjoying the experience; speed can come later!



What will be your next challenge after Paris?

Now I’ve got my endurance back, I want to improve my speed. I’m hoping to do an Autumn marathon (maybe Richmond) where I’ll be aiming for a PB!

Who are your fitspirations?

Charlie from The Runner Beans. She is so dedicated to her training and somehow manages to fit it around a crazy schedule. It’s really inspiring to see her smash her goals and it helps me believe I could do the same.

What would your top tips be for me as a pregnant runner and mum-to-be?

Enjoy a fit pregnancy but listen to your body and change your goals and expectations accordingly.

Remember that every pregnancy is different so there’s no point comparing yourself to other pregnant women, especially pregnant runners. Some can run up to their due date, while others have to stop much earlier. Everyone is different!

When the baby comes, get outside for some fresh air and movement every day. Even if it’s just a walk around the park, it will make you feel much better.



Why it’s ok to be a tortoise 

No matter how fast you are, there will always be somebody somewhere who is faster.

These were wise words from a fellow Mornington Chaser at a cross country meet last week, as we discussed the relative merits and downfalls of our respective races. I was worrying about being slower than my other teammates and these words, from a super-speedy runner, made me realise that if my satisfaction from races was only to come as a measure of my pace relative to others, I was set on a path for perpetual disappointment.

So, instead of worrying about the people who may beat me across the finish line (which in my case is many), I’ve decided to set my focus on racing against myself; aiming for PBs and those fabled negative splits. That’s not to say that the race element is taken away completely, indeed nothing says motivation like a bit of healthy competition, but my objective is not to dwell on my relative position but my absolute level of improvement.

It was with this in mind that I ran the St Neots half marathon on Sunday. I had assigned this particular race as the watershed between casual summer running and the next round of winter training. With marathon training kicking off in December, I wanted to assess my fitness levels before I started, to see what I’m working with but also to set a pre-season time to beat.

While I’ve been running regularly since the Paris marathon last April and have had a few shorter races since then, this was due to be the first run over 10 miles that I’d done of late. If I’m honest, my main concern was whether I’d be able to finish. It may sound silly having regularly run over the 13.1 mile distance pre-Paris, but it’s amazing how quickly you can lose your fitness.

Still, despite the windy conditions I felt strong for most of the route. I started chatting with a guy at mile 4 and we ran together for a good 4 miles from that point.

There was a particularly tough uphill and head-windy stretch between miles 8 and 11 which almost finished me off. My pace dropped off a little and I had to dig deep. However, once we turned the corner out of the wind and headed along the final stretch the last two and a bit miles flew by. I was able to catch back up with my new running buddy, who was, by that stage, in need of a little encouragement himself, and we crossed the finish line together.

My splits were pretty consistent and unlike my normal half marathon times, my final few kilometres were on a par, pace wise, with my first.

I crossed the line having beaten my 20km PB and knocking 3 minutes off my half marathon PB, proving to myself that I can comfortably and consistently run a sub 2 hour half marathon.

I was elated as I rejoined some of my Morning Chaser teammates. It was testimony to how much I’m learning to work within my own parameters that when they expressed disappointment by their own sub 1.30 times I was able to lend a sympathetic ear, knowing full well I’d kill to have run that kind of time.

So now it’s on to a winter of training. I’ve already earmarked some long training runs, and have some times in mind. I’ve just got to remember to keep my eyes on my own goals and if I find myself overtaken along the way, not to get too disheartened and who knows, eventually I may be the one doing some of the overtaking.

Bringing you up to speed

Quote from 'Natural Born Heroes'
Quote from ‘Natural Born Heroes’

Regular readers may have noticed that over the last couple of weeks I’ve not been writing as much as usual. This isn’t as a result of a dip in enthusiasm, a dearth of inspiration, or a lull in my running – far from it. Instead, I lay the blame for my lack of output at the feet of Chris McDougall.

You see, at the times when I’d usually be writing, I’ve been devouring McDougall’s latest book ‘Natural Born Heroes’. Yesterday I finished it and I’ve now been left with the void that comes from closing the final page of a great book. On the plus side, however, I’m filled with inspiration, fuelled by the heroic exploits of the protagonists of the book and, now it’s finished, afforded the time to write about it.

At the moment my head is spinning with quotes, extracts and ideas from McDougall’s words, and I will be writing a review in due course, but in the meantime, while I digest, what news?

Mornington Chaser!
Mornington Chaser!

Well, since I last wrote I have officially joined a running club. After my third (or fourth?) session with the Mornington Chasers I thought it was time to get over my commitment phobia and just join.

Having been sceptical and nervous about running with strangers, I have to admit that I really love running with the club. Everyone is so friendly and the plentiful chats as we jog make the runs go so quickly.

Each session, different people stand up front and announce the run that they are leading, letting you know the route, distance and approximate speed so that you can decide which you fancy. Distances can be anything from 4 to 9 miles and at speeds from 10 minute miles to 6.30 minute miles. At the end we all regroup again for squash, biscuits and more of a chat.

I’m enjoying it so much that I’m even half tempted to join the Summer League and race for the club…maybe.

A bit rained on at the end of the Potteries Marathon
A bit rained on at the end of the Potteries Marathon

Last weekend I also spontaneously decided to run the tail end of a marathon with Georg, my brother-in-law.

I found myself on an unexpected visit to see my family which coincided with the Potteries Marathon in my home town and Georg was signed up to race.

The 20 mile point was a short walk from my parent’s house and, knowing how I felt at 20 miles during my marathon, I asked Georg if he wanted some company for the last 6. Luckily he said ‘yes’ so mum, dad, R and I headed down to cheer on the runners, and R and I got ready to join Georg as he came past.

The route was monstrously hilly and it was super hot. Well, that was, until the final half mile, when the heavens opened, the winds whipped and we were all soaked through. The tent distributing medals was even blown away.

A proud son with his marathon-running dad
A proud son with his marathon-running dad

Still mum, dad, my sister and my nephews were all waiting for Georg to cross the finish line at the Britannia Stadium.

It was such a privilege to be able to finish with him and it definitely got me fired up for my next marathon (although, as R pointed out, slightly prematurely!)

I am also tempted to enter the Potteries next year, although with those hills and less than a 50% finishing rate I’m not totally sure! Still they also offer the race as a relay, which even R was tempted to enter with me.

Finally R and I have decided to go on a health kick. We have independently been reading various articles about nutrition and have decided to endeavour to cut our sugar, focus on low GI and have a couple of fasting days a week.

Salad days
Salad days

Hopefully it will help improve our overall health and running performance; I will report back!

Until then, happy running!


Marathon fever – Paris

photo (12)
Running Expo – It’s a big world. Go run it.

Regular readers may be vaguely aware (I think I might have alluded to it once or twice?!) that on Sunday I was set to run in the Paris marathon.

After months of training, lots of new kit (all totally necessary of course), a number of practice races, miles of long Sunday runs (and post-run Sunday afternoon snoozes) and a series of physio sessions, I headed to Paris on Friday, fit, healthy and injury free.

I was there with a group of four friends and our respective families; five runners among over 40,000. With me were my running buddies and marathon veterans the Twins in Trainers, Jess and Bex, Jess’s husband Cri and R.

R and I arrived late in the afternoon on Friday and, after dropping our things off at the hotel, headed straight to the Expo at Porte de Versailles to collect our numbers. We were cutting it quite fine, getting to the Expo not long before it closed, however we managed to make it, just about. Arriving in the exhibition hall with all of the entrants’ names written up on the wall was so exciting; being at the Expo I really started to feel part of something great and it was amazing to see so many like-minded people, all of whom had been through the same months of training to be here that I had.

We collected our race packs and even had time for a brief wander around the stands, (which made me want to buy a whole host of running goodies), before it was time to leave.

photo (14)We had supper nearby, at a little restaurant just a few minutes stroll away. We were ushered in by a rather insistent but harassed waiter and sat at a table at the back of the restaurant, where we were totally ignored for a good fifteen minutes. When the food arrived it was delivered with brusque irritation and a nonchalant Gallic shrug. It was the sort of service that you kind of want in Paris – a style that would send you running elsewhere, but in France it sort of seems part of a more authentic experience, besides, the food was good and hearty.

On Saturday we spent the morning wandering around Montmartre and enjoyed a trip to the Sacre-Coeur.

The start before the start
The start before the start

After a delicious lunch of dates, avo, orange and a mixed leaf salad, we practiced the route to the start of the race, at the Arc de Triomphe, making sure we knew our way and how long it would take. We had a quick nap before supper, which we had at a nearby Italian restaurant, so that we could all stock up on carbs.

I rose early on race day (around 5:30am), had a breakfast of oats and a banana and got ready to go. We all met in the hotel reception at 7:15 am to head to the start together.

It was a glorious day, all sunshine and blue skies, but holding in it the potential to get very hot. There was a pleasant chill to the morning air however, and I think everyone was holding out hope that it would linger for a few more hours at least.


Our pre-race preparation wasn’t quite as thorough as it might have been as on arrival it wasn’t immediately apparent where the bag drop was and there was no one around to direct us. After a slight panic we eventually got some directions from another runner, sending us off a good few kilometres away from the starting pens. We made a toilet stop en route and, as is always the case at such events, were stuck in a queue for an age meaning that we arrived at the pen, having fought our way through masses of people, only just in time for the start.

It was so nice being in the pen with Jess and Bex and while we only ran together for a short distance it was so uplifting to have people to share the exciting starting experience with.
The first few miles evaporated under my feet; I could hardly believe it when I reached the 5km mark, where my parents were watching and cheering. I was feeling strong and happy and riding on the back of all of the support and cheers from the sidelines. Plus I was in Paris! In Paris and running a marathon!

I hit the half marathon point in about 2 hours 2 minutes and continued to feel pretty strong to mile 17. I wavered a bit from 17 to 18 however. It was getting really hot and as the route headed into a tunnel the air became so close and humid. Not long after the last bridge, just before the Eiffel Tower, I had a gel and some water, letting myself walk as I sipped it, and made a loo stop, before starting up again. I pushed on to 22, letting my pace drop, but crossing the 20 mile wall with the kind of euphoria you can’t imagine – I knew at this point this was the furthest I’d ever run!

I tried to convince myself to mentally reset from mile 20, telling myself that I was just running a 10k, no big deal right? Or not. My body just wasn’t going to be fooled. 22 to 24 felt long but manageable. This part of the route was through a park on the west side of Paris and it was so pretty I alternated between distracting myself with the scenery and just keeping my head down and plodding on, but I swear the distance from 24 to 26 was longer than two miles! In my head I knew it was no distance at all. Two miles, pah! I wouldn’t even have counted that as a training run at home, but now it was the longest two miles of my life. I could feel my form falling apart from 24 to 25 and let myself walk a few steps as I saw my fellow runners do the same around me. But I was adamant that I would run the final mile and hearing my name cheered from the sideline spurred me on.

We ran a marathon!
We ran a marathon!

As I crossed the 26 mile mark I almost cried with happiness and as the finish line drew closer I was totally euphoric.

You see, what I’ve never admitted here is that I’ve never been totally sure that I could run a marathon. While other people have professed faith in me, this is something that I’ve never really believed myself. Until now. While I love running, on Sunday I proved to myself that I am actually a runner.

And as soon as I crossed the finish line I knew it was something I wanted to do again.

When I started training the girls told me I’d become addicted to marathon running and I never believed them, but I was wrong.

photo 4I loved the whole experience, the event, the training, everything. I know it’s a cliché to say it’s about the journey, so I’ll try to resist, but it certainly wasn’t all about the one race. I learned how to run 9 miles comfortably, then 12, then 15, then 18, then 20, something I never thought I’d be able to do. The longer races I’ve done, (and my new 20 mile PB at 3 hours 4 minutes), would have seemed impossible only five months ago. And while the long Sunday runs have dictated my weekends for some time, they have also given them purpose and a sense of achievement.
I walked in a dazed state from the finish line to collect a medal and t shirt and picked up some banana and an apple that was on offer. I met up with Jess and Cri by some miracle, especially given the number of people around, and Bex also found the three of us.

Red wine and baguette post-race
Red wine and baguette post-race

We headed back to the hotel to shower and spent the evening sipping champagne and red wine, eating plenty and discussing how our various races had gone at an old Parisienne bistro in Montmartre.

It was a perfect conclusion to an amazing day.


Two marathons run from a hospital bed

As marathon day draws ever closer my fear is tempered with the gratefulness. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how lucky I am that I can just get out and run. And keep running.

This weekend I completed anther 20 mile race and it felt good. I thought of Clay as I ran, heard his words in my head: take it easy kiddo, you’ve got all the time in the world. And so I took my time. And this time I hit no walls and felt no pain. My hip and knees held out and I finished the last three miles strong.

We talked about the race last night over sticky rice and veggie sushi, enjoyed from a hospital bedside table. If I complete this marathon it will be as a result of such talks and mine will not be the only marathon born out of this hospital ward. Last night Clay gave me another blog post. Enjoy: 


Manawatu Gorge, New Zealand
Manawatu Gorge, New Zealand

I would love to run a marathon again…I have to ask myself, am I getting too ahead of myself? Is it too soon to even think about running that kind of distance, let alone run at all?

I’m a bit of a desperate man right now, so I look for any loophole in the ‘rules’ given to me by the doctors. My train of thought is this: I’m a forefoot striker type runner and only my heels are broken, so surely I can start running once the swelling has gone down and my heels have repaired?

The question is how long will it be until I’m operational again? Can I wait the time it takes? How much damage can I do trying to run too early? Will I ever be able to run long distances again? So many questions, so many variables, how can I stay optimistic amongst all these questions and bloody emotions?!

He farts again, it smells horrific. It has a nasty bight to it that stings my nostrils. Every time my buddy Jim and I run together it’s the same: he leads I follow and he farts. My one saving grace is that we are outside and in the bush (or forest if you’re not a Kiwi) and running. It’s not a cracking pace but fast enough that I don’t pass out from the smell.

I feel good, no I feel great. Healthy, fit, alive, this is what I live for. This is my escape, my ‘me’ time, the problems of my world melt away the second I start moving through the bush. The birds sing, sometimes at a deafening volume but I love it, the ground is soft, the thick dense New Zealand bush is picturesque and serves as a wonderful shade in this 28 degree weather.

The temperature under the canopy is around 18 degrees, perfect running temperature, the track we are running on is called the Manawatu Gorge walking track; it’s a 10 kilometre track that runs west to east along the southern side of the gorge. It climbs 200 meters on one side and drops 200 meters on the other making our vertical change 400 meters, however we plan to run the track in reverse also making our vertical gain 400 meters and vertical drop 400 meters. Of course it is much more than that, this is New Zealand and if there’s one thing we know how to do here it’s hills, many hills; big, small, and everything in between. The track rarely lets up as we climb to start off, but seldom do we stop running, up and down hills, rarely is it flat enough for you to notice, this is the kind of course your after to increase muscle in your legs.

I had recently converted to barefoot or forefoot style running, it took a long time to change without injuring my feet but I feel it was worth it. I no longer have sore knees, ankles or Achilles tendon problems. I do still get problems with the stress fracture in my foot when I overdo it, but it’s much less of a problem when I run on trails.

The style of running feels good, I find I’m more upright making breathing easier, my strides are smaller so I feel like I’m more efficient when I run, particularly up hills. To start with my calves were burning when I ran but they got used to it and it stopped being a problem. The biggest change was my speed, I definitely slowed down for a few weeks but after a while the speed came back and I found I could run for longer at the same speed. This might have been due to the millage I was doing of course.

Perhaps barefoot running is the answer then, and to run trails to start with. This makes me wonder are there any good trails in England, anything I can compare to home? Or are they just hard slightly rocky farm trails over hills? They might have to do for now and it will be better than running on the road for sure. I could combine it with hiking, something I want to do for my rehab program; I could easily fit in a run at the beginning or end of a hike.

So I guess I will have to see how it goes, see how my body takes to walking first; then slowly introduce running. From there I can build up to a half marathon, then a full one.

All I can say is wish me luck and let’s hope I the have patience to see this thing through. It will be such a good feeling to be running again and such a good feeling to complete a marathon again.  Baby steps all the way.

Carpe Diem


Eat and Run

Eat and Run book jacketWith marathon training demanding five runs a week, the longer ones of which are further than I’ve trained at before, I have to admit that it’s taken rather a lot of mental grit keep on top of my training plan this week.

Luckily whenever I feel myself flagging I can boost my motivation by just picking up a book. For Christmas I was given Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run and I have been devouring it ever since.

Jurek is an ultramarathon-running vegan and Eat and Run is his compelling and engaging journey ‘to ultramarathon greatness’.

Jurek’s resolve that there is always time to run – that if you want to improve as a runner, you have to carve out time in your day for it – is inspiring.

His determination to run and finish races despite broken toes and seriously sprained ankles, dehydration, intense heat, nausea, vomiting and a whole panoply of other obstacles and ailments is incredible (if not a little insane).

But then it is that insanity and unflinching dedication that makes Jurek such an amazing athlete.

More than this, Jurek lives running. This is clear from the way his diet has evolved, from junk-food eating carnivore to raw-food vegan, and how he uses his diet to fuel his gruelling running habit.

His readings of Percy Cerutty and Herbert Elliot also attest to a philosophy which underpins his running and his desire for self improvement. He quotes from them: from Elliott, ‘Let’s become more compassionate, let’s become bigger, let’s become stronger, let’s become nicer people’; and from Cerutty, ‘you only ever grow as a human being if you are outside your comfort zone’.

While I run, I think of the advice, given to him by his friend ‘Hippy Dan’ on connecting with your surroundings and his reflections on running intuitively, being aware of your body – what it needs, how to adjust your stride and cadence to respond to twinges or pain.

Jurek reflects on the ‘beautiful thing of barefoot running…working with your body’s natural…ability to sense your own position in space’ and getting ‘immediate sensory feedback with every step.’

‘But whether you wear shoes or go barefoot, what is important is that you pay attention to your form. If running barefoot helps with that, then it’s beneficial.’ 

He also notes that while there is value in tracking and monitoring progress using various technical devices, there is also value in keeping it simple: ‘If you want to win, get out there and train, and then train some more!’

Jurek’s story is inspiring and his motivation and drive incredible.

I’d recommend this book to anyone wanting a bit of running inspiration and who doubts what the human body can achieve when primed and fuelled properly.


When does just running become marathon training?

Running along the beach
Running along the beach

With just 16 weeks until the Paris Marathon, I’ve been starting to think seriously about my marathon training schedule. Although I run three or four times a week at the moment, I know that I will need to turn this up a notch if I want to complete the 26 miles that lie ahead.

So when does just going for a run become actual training?

For me the line has come when being ludicrously busy at work, or not really in the mood for a run, or a bit tired and coldy no longer constitute a valid reason not to run. Training also means a real schedule to run by, with actual distances I need to cover, rather than just plodding on until I decide I’m tired and want to turn back.

I’m basing my training plan on the Hal Higdon Intermediate 1 guide: This was the plan that my marathon partners the Twins in Trainers used for their previous marathons, and it worked for them. It requires five runs each week of varying lengths, with one cross training day and 1 rest day. This week involves two 3 mile runs, two 5 mile runs and a 9 mile run.

On Monday I began the programme with 5.4 miles (8.8km) on my favourite riverside route down to Millennium Bridge. So far (day 1) so good.

This was followed on Wednesday lunchtime, with what was meant to be a three mile run. On possibly the most stressful day I’ve had a work in a long time, I found myself guiltily racing out for what was meant to be a quick three miles during my lunch break.

However, mid-route, on a day I really could have done without it, my phone crashed and my run tracker turned off. I’m not going to lie, with a distinct lack of sleep, a frantic day in the office and an impending cold, I may have slightly overreacted to the situation (read: tearful meltdown). Luckily, however, I did manage to get myself and the tracker going again, but in the process lost a large part of my run on the tracker. Since I had left the office in such a stressed hurry I had no idea of how long I’d been running for. At the risk of not getting sufficient mileage in on what was only the second run of my plan, I added an extra loop around Green Park for good measure.

Anxious to check my distance and make sure that I was staying ‘on programme’, when I got back into the office I used mapometre ( to trace and measure the route, which came in at 5.8 miles (9.3km), definitely more than intended.

Still this took the pressure off for Thursday’s run, when Louise and I chatted our way around Hyde Park, up to Notting Hill Gate and down onto Kensington High Street for a festive smoothie at Whole Foods, clocking up 3.9 miles (6.3km).

Tomorrow I’ve got another 3 miles planned around Clapham Common followed by 9 miles on Sunday.

I’m tired just thinking about what lies ahead but I know it will all be worth it!

Happy running!