It was all going so well.

It was all going so well…..until illness strikes yet again!

Over the last few months, my training has been going really well and more importantly has been really consistent. As well as running, I had been going to a circuits class at the gym to try and build my strength back up.  Muscle deterioration is one of the symptoms of Graves’ Disease that I have suffered from so knew it was important to try and build my strength back up in order to be able to run longer distances.

After chatting with the instructors, I decided to drop the circuits class, which was predominantly cardio based, and opted instead to follow a weights programme. I have now been following that programme for about 2 months, incorporating squats, pull ups, chest press and dead rows, and have really noticed the difference, feeling much stronger generally as well as during my runs.

My schedule for the last couple of months has been three runs and three gym sessions with one rest day per week. I do most of my exercise in the morning now (when I don’t have time to talk myself out of going!).  I do three sessions at the gym, two early morning runs of around three miles, with one longer run either at the weekend or on a Wednesday night.  Rather than carry bags upon bags of my stuff to let me get ready at the gym, I run to and from the gym, which is just over half a mile each way, using it as my warm up and cool down for my gym session.

This combination has given me a good consistent base for my running and I have managed to average around 15-16 miles a week for the last few months. For my long run, I have stuck to the 10% rule and very gradually increased my distance around ¼ or ½ mile each week.    

By the beginning of August, I had managed three long runs of around 5.5 miles, which all felt comfortable. I was really pleased as my aim is to get back to being able to run 10k consistently. Then of course, as the title of this blog suggests, the inevitable happened and I got ill.

Owain had been ill the week before so I knew there was a bug going around. I was suffering from sore ears and a sore throat and gave myself a couple of days rest. It seemed to have got better and I went to the gym but it came back with a vengeance the following day.  I was struggling a bit with my breathing and so opted for a full week of no exercise.  It does seem that every time I get back to longer distances, my health seems to suffer.  This time round it may just be bad luck given Owain was ill too, but it is something I am going to be paying closer attention to.  There is no point in trying to do longer runs if it is making me ill.

I am pleased to say the rest seems to have worked. I was back at the gym on Monday (lifting slightly lighter weights than normal) and was back out for a run yesterday morning.  I opted for 30 min run and, although the first half mile was a bit of a struggle, it wasn’t as tough as I had expected.  I had gone out easy just with the intention of running the full 30 minutes and was really pleased to see that my pace hadn’t been affected by my time off.

So yet again the plan will be to increase the miles gradually back up with the hope of being able to run the Great Scottish Run at the beginning of October. We are off to the Algarve in a few weeks for some sunshine so I am looking forward to increasing my miles and running the sights there.

Mandy Williams

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