London Marathon Training Diary – Week 1

In case you missed the announcement on my Instagram… I’m running the 2018 Virgin London Marathon! I can’t quite believe it – this is a race I’ve had my heart set on for years now, entering the ballot a grand total (I think) of 7 times! I decided this year had to be my year to do it so, rather than leave my fate in the hands of the ballot, I applied for a select few charities I would be proud to run for. To my absolute delight, The Royal British Legion accepted my application and offered me a place. I’m so excited to be running for them, and can’t wait to wear my poppy vest on race day.

If you’d like to sponsor me to help me reach my fundraising target of £2,500, you can find my JustGiving page here: George Does VLM. I really do appreciate each and every donation, and no amount is too small!

 

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VLM Minus 16 Weeks

So, onto the training… I’m lucky to be receiving coaching from the awesome Kerry McCarthy. Kerry has run a ridiculous 44 marathons and writes features for Runner’s World UK, so I know I’m in good hands when it comes to my training and I’m excited to see what he has in store for me.

Monday

New Years’ Day. I was supposed to run the Serpentine NYD 10k but, after drinking FAR too much whiskey the night before, I woke up not just too late to get to the race, but after the race had actually started!! Facepalm or WHAT. So, having committed to doing Run Every Day January, I headed out for a 1 mile leg loosener late that evening.

Tuesday

Kerry had me do a 5k time trial for my second run of the week. The idea was to do a mile warmup and then go ALL OUT for 5k. It was miserable outside with Storm Eleanor brewing and the out-and-back route was in a headwind for the entire first half. I was convinced I could get under 23 minutes, after running 7:20 pace at the Movember run in November, but came in at 23:35. I shouldn’t have been disappointed given the conditions, but I was.

 

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Wednesday

Today’s run was a 6 mile progression run, starting at 9:15 min/mile and getting faster by 15 seconds each mile. I managed to stick mostly to plan – going a little faster than the prescribed paces but still getting quicker each mile – until the last mile had me walking because I needed to pee! I completed my feedback on my training plan and swiftly got a congratulatory WhatsApp from Kerry for not actually pissing myself haha – thanks Kerry!

Thursday

Thursday was a planned rest day, which meant a mile run for RED January, but an afternoon physio appointment convinced me that this wasn’t the best idea. The pain I’d started to experience towards the end of my Advent Running run streak was shin splints and, with my history of stress fractures, it just didn’t make sense to jeopardise my marathon training for a month-long challenge.

Friday

Rest day.

Saturday

Battersea Park RunThrough 10k… this was in the diary as a social race to catch up with friends and kick off the medal haul in style (in case you don’t know, RunThrough medals are ace!). Kerry planned for me to run 9 miles in total by tagging a couple of laps on to the end of the race, and he told me to aim for a 6/10 RPE (rate of perceived exertion). I ran with Ian and we gradually got quicker and quicker, finishing just 30 seconds over my PB! Although this was faster than planned, I felt pretty good the whole way round, maybe pushing up to a 7-8/10 towards the end.

A few of us followed up with an epic post-run brunch – surely everyone knows that a fry up and pancakes are the perfect post-race fuel?!

 

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Sunday

A well-deserved rest day. My ITB started to ache towards the end of the run yesterday so the time off my feet was definitely needed!

Training by Numbers

Miles run: 20.7

Medals earned: 1

Times nearly pissed myself: 1

Fundraising total so far: £395

Follow me on Strava to see my training progress in more detail, and check out my Instagram for more training updates – including my stories where I document even more of my training, diet and general life!

2015 Training Diary – Week 50

Christmas is now fully underway and I had two Christmas parties this week to prove it! Unfortunately exercise kind of fell by the wayside and I had more hangover related pain than I did DOMS, but it’s only Christmas once a year! I try to alternate alcoholic drinks with water to lessen the effects, as well as making sure I eat enough to sustain me without going overboard, but it’s fine to indulge every now and then, don’t you think?!

Week 50 – 7th – 13th December 2015

Monday – CrossFit 9:30am. I had the day off work so went along to the 9:30 class. Because I only usually go to 6am classes I hardly ever get to see other members of the box so it was nice to catch up with some of the other members. We started with a 10 minute EMOM of handstand push ups. Next up was wide grip press behind neck for 10-8-6-4-4-4. I worked at 35kg, and (as always) ended up with a nice bruise across the back of my neck! The WOD was the next Athlete Games competition WOD (#2):

21 pullups

9 GTOH (80/55kg)

15 pullups

6 GTOH (80/55kg)

9 pullups

3 GTOH (80/55kg)

I scaled to 40kg for the ground to overhead and jumping chest to bar pull ups for a time of 5:40. I really wish my kipping pullups were up to scratch enough for me to be able to RX WODs like this.

Tuesday – Rest day. Another day off work and I had a hair cut booked for the morning. I looked around town for a bit then went home to get ready for a journey into London for dinner for my brother’s birthday. We ate at Gaucho’s in Piccadilly and I had the most amazing steak!

Wednesday – Yoga 7pm. After eating so much last night I literally burst out of the zip on my jacket, I thought I should take it a little easy on the food tonight so yoga was sans dessert (unlike our yoga dessert combo a couple of weeks ago)!

Thursday – Rest day. Tonight was our work Christmas party so I hauled a bag of makeup and change of clothes into the London office – I had a meeting there in the day and our Christmas party was in London so it made sense to go straight from work. Our party was held at Temple Place, an amazing architectural delight! We drank and ate and danced (more of all of those than I had planned) and I caught the last train home.

Friday – Rest day. Usually I’d book the day after Christmas party day off work, but I had to be more careful with my holiday this year, and I had a client meeting, so I dragged my slightly hungover butt to work and ate my way through! The client meeting went well and I was lucky to be able to go home a little early so took advantage of the sofa time!

Saturday – Rest day/Ikea workout! I had to take a trip to Ikea at Lakeside to pick up a desk for our spare room – I really dislike going to Ikea and having to wonder around the whole store, but luckily I’d looked up exactly what I wanted in advance so managed to just go straight into the warehouse section, though it was a workout in itself lugging the desk in and out of the car!

In the evening was our CrossFit Christmas party so I got myself ready (short hair quiffed up for the first time!) and headed over to my friend’s for pre-party drinks. Yet another night of drinking, eating and dancing… what a combination! My feet were killing by the end of the night, and especially after two nights in heels this week… if only I could wear Nanos all the time!

Sunday – Rest day. Hangover number two of this week was short lived as I got myself ready for a family Christmas lunch. Every year we meet up with my mum and her sister and family for a Christmas meal and this year the celebrations fell on my mum’s birthday too. We had a lovely (festive!) Mexican meal and chatted for hours before heading home to prepare for another week!

How do you tackle evenings out? Do you pace yourself with drinks, or avoid them completely? Am I alone in wanting to wear Nanos for every occasion?! You can dress them up… right?!

Mileage Tracker

Weekly Miles: 0 miles

Running Total: 198.3 miles

2015 Fitness Goals Progress

Goal Target/Date Progress
Running Twice per week 15 out of 50 weeks
Inversions Unsupported hand/handstand (end Q1) Need to work on confidence away from a wall.
Pullups 5 strict (end Q2) Regressed since injury and infrequent training.
Squat Depth Below parallel (end Q4) Air squat 3/4 depth
Clean & Jerk Body weight (end Q4) Clean and jerk 60kg, clean 67.5kg. BW ~72.5kg.
Snatch 2/3 body weight 40/47.5kg

2015 Training Diary – Week 49

This week saw the second week of my personal training course so I knew I’d have to try and get all my planned workouts in during the week if I was to get enough exercise in. I managed a couple of challenging CrossFit sessions and a yoga class – a good balance of high intensity and mobility work!

Week 49 – 30th November to 6th December 2015

Monday – Rest day.

Tuesday – CrossFit 6am. We started with a 15 calorie row for time, which I completed in 43 seconds. Next up was jerks off the rack for 2×3, 2×2, and then heavy singles. I got up to 55kg. The WOD was the Athlete Games competition WOD #1, which was:

0-1 – 5 burpee over bar, then 1 front squat.

1-2 – 5 burpee over bar, then 2 front squats

2-3 – 5 burpee over bar, then 3 front squats

Continuing the same pattern until you can’t complete the round in a minute.

The score was total reps x load (athlete chooses the load). I worked at 40kg and got 36 reps in total (minute 8) for a score of 1440. I had managed to finish the round of 8 in time to start the round of 9, but my back started to hurt so I dropped out.

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Wednesday – Yoga, 7pm. Another of Paul’s fantastic Ashtanga yoga classes. We always work on such lovely, deep stretches, and he throws in a few really challenging moves, which I love.

Thursday – Rest day.

Friday – CrossFit 6am. I made the stupid mistake of telling our coach about a hands on hips rule that my instructor on a bootcamp certificate course I went on had – every time someone put their hands on their hips everyone had to do five burpees. Joel took this and ran with it… making us all do burpees in addition to the WOD – the moral of this story? Don’t make casual conversation about forms of punishment with coach Joel!

We had a 7 minute EMOM of 5 strict pullups (with a band) and 5 toes to bar. Next up was 6×3 shoulder to overhead at 80-85% of 1Rm, supersetted with a 30 second handstand hold, every two minutes. I worked at 47.5kg. The WOD was a partner 10 minute AMRAP of:

12 calorie row

Max reps OH squat 43/30kg.

The score was the total number of overhead squats you completed in the time. I worked with Debs and we scaled to 20kg. Our score was 98 reps.

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Saturday – PT course. Day one of the second weekend of learning to be a personal trainer with HFE. The morning started with our Level 3 Nutrition exam. I’d been nervous about this because I didn’t feel as though I’d spent enough time revising, but I finished up with some time to spare so did a quick pullup and TRX workout before morning break. Then we recapped some of the previous weekend’s topics, and then went on to looking at resistance training training concepts, including different types of sets and training methods. After lunch was a practical session, which is great for getting you out of that post-lunch slump… but not too great at letting your food settle! For the last part of the day we looked at cardiovascular training. This included aerobic training, intervals, fartlek, and HIIT. We had the opportunity to get hot and sweaty practising what we had learnt.

Sunday – PT course. Day two and we started the day off putting our “client” (eachother!) through 10 minutes of one cardiovascular workout, followed by 10 minutes of another cardiovascular training concept. After morning break we moved on to core stability exercises. We looked at different progressions and regressions you can do for core exercises, from isolated all the way up to integrated movements. The afternoon was spent learning PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) stretching.

Have you done a Personal Trainer qualification? Or are you studying now, or thinking of starting? I’d love to hear your experiences of PT study!

Mileage Tracker

Weekly Miles: 0 miles

Running Total: 198.3 miles

2015 Fitness Goals Progress

Goal Target/Date Progress
Running Twice per week 15 out of 49 weeks
Inversions Unsupported hand/handstand (end Q1) Need to work on confidence away from a wall.
Pullups 5 strict (end Q2) Regressed since injury and infrequent training.
Squat Depth Below parallel (end Q4) Air squat 3/4 depth
Clean & Jerk Body weight (end Q4) Clean and jerk 60kg, clean 67.5kg. BW ~72.5kg.
Snatch 2/3 body weight 40/47.5kg

2015 Training Diary – Week 48

After such a crazy week last week the last thing I wanted to do was study so I took a break from the books and got my butt back into training. I went to a couple of CrossFit sessions, a yoga class, personal training and my strength and power programme – the only thing missing was a run… but let’s not talk about that right now, shall we?!

Week 48 – 23rd to 29th November

Monday  CrossFit 6am. We started with some snatch technique and worked up to 3×3. We then moved on to snatch doubles, adding weight. I got up to 35kg. The WOD was 6 rounds of 1 minute work, 1 minute rest:

5 power snatch (43/30kg)

Max down ups

The score was the total number of down ups over the 6 rounds. I managed 62 reps at the RX weight.

Tuesday – Rest day. After such a busy week last week, and then a jam-packed studying weekend, I needed the break so vegged out on the sofa with dinner!

Wednesday – CrossFit 6am. We did some pull up practice, supersetted with dips. I decided to work on strict pull ups, using a purple band, and used a thin red band for the dips, managing 5×5, every 90 seconds. The WOD was 10 minute AMRAP of:

30 DUs

10 alternate KB snatch (24/16kg)

I scaled to single unders (x 60), despite having a battle with myself knowing I should have taken the time to practice my nemesis, and used a 12kg bell. I shouldn’t really have scaled the skipping, but because I’d already scaled the bell I took the excuse to scale everything. Poor show! I managed 6 rounds and 48 reps.

Yoga 7:30pm. I went to my favourite yoga class with Laura. We both managed to do a side crow for the first time! After class we went for dessert… as you do! We each had a sundae and nattered the night away drinking diet cokes until getting kicked out of the pub at closing time!

Thursday – Gym 1:30pm. I was on a half day today for a Fitness Writers’ Association event with Action PR at Transition Zone, so I took the excuse to get a lunchtime workout in. I did power cleans, wide grip deadlifts, hip thrusters, dips, face pulls, split squats and single leg dragon flags – all from my PT programme by Joel.

I went home to shower and eat before heading into London for the event. Getting to the Transition Zone with time to help prepare the goody bags, I snapped some of the event as it happened – we had a nice group of journalists and bloggers, all there to try out Power Plate and have a run with Phoebe Thomas, who shared her winter running motivation tips. The event was then finished off with some healthy snacks from the Transition Zone menu, and a prize draw for four lucky people to win a Grid STK or STK X.

Friday – Rest day. A late night last night meant a tired Friday – I definitely needed the rest!

Saturday – PT with Joel, 1pm. We did an evil superset of 6×6 push press @ 75% of 1RM, followed by a 30 second handstand hold, repeated every 2 minutes. I worked at 45kg and my wrists and shoulders were killing! I then had a WOD of 4 rounds of:

1 minute burpee over box (24/20″)

1 minute barbell OH lunge (40/25kg)

1 minute TTB

1 minute calorie row

1 minute rest

The score was max reps and I managed 171 reps. I was pretty disappointed as I just got worse and worse on each round, but it was pretty killer looking back at it!

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In the evening we had some drinks at Darren’s friends’ house now that they have finished renovating it, complete with lots of nibbles!

Sunday – Rest day. I did some work around the house, then got ready to go out for dinner with my good friend and Maid of Honour, Vicky – it was the first time we’d seen each other since the wedding!

Is it just me and my friends who go out for dessert?! Do you keep a training diary? If you do please feel free to post a link below – I’d love to have a read!

Mileage Tracker

Weekly Miles: 0 miles

Running Total: 198.3 miles

2015 Fitness Goals Progress

Goal Target/Date Progress
Running Twice per week 15 out of 48 weeks
Inversions Unsupported hand/handstand (end Q1) Need to work on confidence away from a wall.
Pullups 5 strict (end Q2) Regressed since injury and infrequent training.
Squat Depth Below parallel (end Q4) Air squat 3/4 depth
Clean & Jerk Body weight (end Q4) Clean and jerk 60kg, clean 67.5kg. BW ~72.5kg.
Snatch 2/3 body weight 40/47.5kg

2015 Training Diary – Week 47

This week was always going to be a nightmare week. My first Open University assignment was due, and I also had to prepare for my first PT practical attendance weekend. I burned myself out towards the end of the week, and ended up being off work sick, which is never great. But, (spoiler alert) I made it through hell week and lived to tell the tale!

Week 47 – 16th to 22nd November

Monday – CrossFit 6am. We did a timed 250m row at the end of the warm up, which I did in 48.8 seconds. Skill work was the negative phase of the muscle up. We had to jump up to the top of a ring dip and then lower ourselves slowly until our shoulders touched the rings and then transition to hang from the rings. Strength work was 6×4 bench press at 85% 1RM. I worked at 42.5kg. The WOD was 21-15-9 of:

Wall balls (9/7kg)

OH lunges (25/15kg)

Russian kettlebell swings (32/24kg)

I RXd the workout, finishing in 5:56.

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Tuesday – Rest day. I stayed up until midnight last night working on my Open University course. My first Tutor Marked Assessment (TMA) is due on in Thursday lunchtime and I had quite a lot of work still to catch up on after the wedding and honeymoon!

Wednesday – Rest day. Another late night last night reading. I spent all of tonight working on my assignment and finally submitted it to the Open University online TMA system at just after 1am.

Thursday – Rest day. After two late nights I needed the sleep this morning. After work I went straight home and vegged out on the sofa!

Friday – CrossFit 6am. We worked on push press with 6×4 at 85% 1RM. I used 47.5kg. The WOD, was in teams of 3 and was:

1000m row

40 hand release (HR) burpees (2 people in unison)

40 sit ups (1 athlete at a time)

750m row

30 HR burpees

30 situps

500m row

20 HR burpees

20 situps

250m row

10 HR burpees

10 situps

I worked with Liam and Kirsty and we finished in a deadly 19:13. When I got home from the gym I came over feeling really sick and took the day off to rest.

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Saturday – PT attendance day 1. Today was my first of 6 practical attendance days for my PT course with HFE. I made my way over to Kensington and found the gym, David Lloyd, where we would be learning and training over the next four weeks. We started with introductions and a “getting to know each other” exercise before going into some of the theory behind health and fitness testing.

We learned how to take blood pressure measurements, resting heart rate, body fat percentage using callipers, and then moved on to how to test VO2 max. We finished just after half past five and I caught the tube home ready to start all over again tomorrow.

Sunday – PT attendance day 2. Another early start to get to Kensington ready to start at 9am. We continued with some practice of what we’d learned yesterday, then looked at testing fitness using strength and flexibility tests like the push up test and the sit and reach test. The afternoon was dedicated to a practical assessment of all we’d learned.

Finishing at 5pm, I got home about 6:30pm. It’s pretty full on doing a weekend attendance while working full time, but the course is well balanced to keep you engaged while learning as quickly as possible, and I much prefer being able to fit it in around my work life. My next attendance is in two weeks, so I have a weekend off in-between!

Have you ever done an Open University course? Or have you trained as a PT? Have you juggled studying alongside full time work before? I’d love to read about your experiences – please comment below!

Mileage Tracker

Weekly Miles: 0 miles

Running Total: 198.3 miles

2015 Fitness Goals Progress

Goal Target/Date Progress
Running Twice per week 15 out of 47 weeks
Inversions Unsupported hand/handstand (end Q1) Need to work on confidence away from a wall.
Pullups 5 strict (end Q2) Regressed since injury and infrequent training.
Squat Depth Below parallel (end Q4) Air squat 3/4 depth
Clean & Jerk Body weight (end Q4) Clean and jerk 60kg, clean 67.5kg. BW ~72.5kg.
Snatch 2/3 body weight 40/47.5kg

2015 Training Diary – Week 46

I only managed to get to two CrossFit sessions this week and my PT session, which is pretty poor on my part, but I guess three sessions isn’t too bad! On the other hand, I also felt quite proud this week with an RX WOD for skills I don’t usually do too well on.

This was also the week of the terrible Paris attacks – a week I’ll remember forever as the news broke. Having been out to work in Paris on a couple of occasions, and knowing quite a few people who live there, it really hit home just how close the attacks were.

Week 46 – 9th to 15th November

Monday – Rest day. I couldn’t get booked on to the Monday session because I’d left it too late to get a spot – the 6am sessions have become really popular (which is great as our Crazy Brave crew grows!) so you have to get in early to guarantee a spot before the waiting lists start. I took the opportunity to have a “lie in” (meaning getting up at 7am rather than 5:20am!).

Tuesday – CrossFit 6am. We worked on power snatch technique, doing 6 x 3 reps. I finished on 35kg, which I was really pleased with as my current 1RM is 40kg. We then did wide-grip press behind the neck, for 10-8-6-4 reps. I worked up to 30kg for the 4 rep set. The WOD was an anaerobic chipper of:

20 wall balls (9/7kg)

15 sit ups

10 down ups

5 pull ups

10 down ups

15 sit ups

20 wall balls (9/7kg)

We had a 7 minute time cap and I was really pleased to RX this WOD, even if it was only 5 pull ups! I don’t usually RX WODs with pull ups in! I finished in 4:22.

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Wednesday – Rest day. I cracked on with more studying… deadlines were looming (next week!) and I still had quite a lot of reading to do.

Thursday – Rest day. More studying… 

Friday – CrossFit 6am. We started with some skill work of our choice on the rig in an EMOM format. I chose to work on… pull ups (obviously!). The WOD was aptly called “kettlehell” for Friday 13th. It was 5 rounds for time of:

15 alternate snatch (24/16kg)

15 overhead squats (24/16kg)

15 alternate clean and press (24/16kg)

I did goblet squats instead of the overhead squats and used a 10kg for the snatches and clean and presses, though I probably should have gone heavier. I finished in 13:24.

Friday evening we headed down to Thurrock for a murder mystery evening for our friend’s birthday. We got dressed up for the night and sat down to a lovely three course meal while the actors played out the murder scenes for us. The story line was based on Scooby Doo and the actors really like the characters from the old cartoons. At the end of the scenes we all submitted our answers on a card, Cluedo style, and they came out to announce the results. Our team won and we all got flashy certificates to celebrate!

Murder Mystery at the Thurrock Hotel

Winners!!

In the later part of the evening, news of the tragic events in Paris reached us and we were all very shocked. I still can’t believe what happened there.

Saturday – PT with Joel, 3pm. This was my first proper workout with Joel after testing a couple of weeks ago. Joel had put together a WOD which he called #PrayforParis. It was a series of 4 minute AMRAPs, followed by a 10 minute EMOM to work up to a 1RM clean:

4 minute AMRAP:

15 calorie airdyne, remaining time:

6 DB burpee (2 x 8kg)

10 air squats

2 minutes rest, then 4 minute AMRAP:

15 calorie airdyne, remaining time:

10 box jumps (20″)

5 TTB

2 minutes rest, then 4 minute AMRAP:

15 calorie airdyne, remaining time:

5 thrusters (25kg)

10 sit ups

2 minutes rest, then 4 minute AMRAP:

15 calorie airdyne, remaining time:

5 kettlebell snatches (16kg)

10 wall balls (7kg)

2 minutes rest, then 10 minute EMOM:

1 squat clean, increasing by 5kg every minute

I got 57 reps on the first AMRAP, 40 reps on the second, 40 reps on the third and 30 reps on the fourth, and I managed to hit a 65kg clean. I tried to go for 70kg but caught it leaning too far forward to hold on.

Sunday – Rest day. Darren and I spent the day cleaning the house, and I shoved my head in my books for as much of the rest of it as I could handle! My first Open University assignment was due in at 12pm on the 19th Nov so I’d have to work hard to get it all done by then.

Where were you when news of the Paris attacks broke? My thoughts go out to all those who were caught up in the danger, and to the friends and families of those affected.

Mileage Tracker

Weekly Miles: 0 miles

Running Total: 198.3 miles

2015 Fitness Goals Progress

Goal Target/Date Progress
Running Twice per week 15 out of 46 weeks
Inversions Unsupported hand/handstand (end Q1) Need to work on confidence away from a wall.
Pullups 5 strict (end Q2) Regressed since injury and infrequent training.
Squat Depth Below parallel (end Q4) Air squat 3/4 depth
Clean & Jerk Body weight (end Q4) Clean and jerk 60kg, clean 67.5kg. BW ~72.5kg.
Snatch 2/3 body weight 40/47.5kg