I love having friends that do things that seriously impress and inspire you. I have some that build their own houses, some that volunteer their time to be a mentor to school children and some that just throw their arm in at anything and always try to be the best at what they do. Yesterday I was lucky enough to run with a friend doing an incredible thing, running all 47 miles of the Mary Townley loop through the hills just north of Manchester. Yeah, that’s 47 miles of hilly off road path through the hills of Lancashire on the shortest day of the year. This wasn’t some big event, or even anything organised, this was just someone wanting to raise some money by doing something huge on her own. It was a huge amount of fun to complete the last leg, running in darkness over the moors with some of good friends (one of them, Nic also brought some music – pootling down a bridleway in the dark, with the rain pouring down all of us singing Bob Marley was a pretty surreal and great moment!). Anyway, my rambling point is that I love getting fired up by the success of others, people who show you anything is possible is you just keep trying hard enough. You can read about Viv’s trip here and her sponsorship page is http://www.justgiving.com/getoutandgive-fft.

My training was pretty fun even without that trip. I’m four weeks in now and already feeling tons better about my running. One of the things I always forget is that is you consistently do anything you are going to get better, and running is definitely like that. In just four weeks I already feel pretty good. I did one of the Chrissie Wellington interval sessions on Thursday and although it was pretty hard I felt good and quick by the end of it. I also added in my first transition session since before the Ironman. I’m going to be doing three of these a week from now I think. If my body could cope with it these would just be low intensity runs, but I just think I’ll get injured if I do that, plus these keeps my bike fitness up a bit too.

My pace is slower this week just because of the hilly session yesterday and the transition session was not quick. I’m pretty happy with how I feel now the miles are getting into some decent territory.

My main issue this week is trying to figure out my target time and training paces. I always find it difficult that you are encouraged to pick these before your training starts because I find it really tough estimating what I can do. I want it to be hard enough to be a good challenge but achievable given my past horrible history with marathons. My half marathon best time is 1:36, but so this is roughly speaking about 3:20. If I set my sights on doing 7:30 minutes per mile in London that is a 3:17ish finish and is a nice round number to remember. If I pulled it off, 3:17 would be a PB by about 40 minutes. Eek.

[table]Date,Cycling,Running,Yoga,Grand Total
Grand Total,1:07:30,2:37:30,3:00:00,6:45:00[/table]

This week I also discovered the weirdness of Bikram yoga. We’ve been doing what I would call ‘regular’ yoga for quite a few months now and I find it both relaxing and challenging. I’ve not noticed a massive increase in flexibility or core strength but I definitely enjoy it and have been recommending it. Anyway, my regular teacher has finished for christmas already (seriously I am in the wrong business) so thought we’d try somewhere else. Bikram yoga is like regular yoga in almost no way. You go to an incredibly hot room full of carpets and mirrors, you get half naked and you spend 90 minutes with sweat absolutely pouring out of you while the teacher speaks at 100 miles an hour whilst not actually showing you any of the moves. It’s fun.

I actually did enjoy it, it’s a little more challenging than our regular place plus you definitely feel like you’ve had a workout after being drenched for 90 minutes, I’ll definitely be trying it a few more times.

So that’s my week. I’ve kind of fallen back in with training and am really enjoying it, there’s only 16 weeks left to London and I’m ready to hit this training. Oh, I also invented the above graph which shows how heart rate relates to pace over time. It’s rubbish now but I’m hoping eventually it’ll show I’m running fast for the same effort. Maybe.