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Activate your bum! – Training for the London Marathon 2017

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Another week, another run. 18.4 miles today and did a Parkrun in between it to tot up nearly 1,500ft of ascent. The snow didn’t stop me because it’s just another challenge that will make me strong. When I started, and for the majority of the time, it felt good. But why did it feel so good?

I’ve started reading Don’t Stop Me Now by Vassos Alexander and within the book are accounts from multiple running super stars including Joss Naylor MBE. When Joss talks about running he explains, “When you are running well and just floating along, it’s one of those magical feelings. You can’t really describe it.” – I’ve had this feeling. He adds, “When you’re running on full stride and you’re letting your feet drop, it’s just something out of this world.” – This bit also made a switch go off in my brain; that’s it, that’s when I feel good.

In my last blog I talked about my heel strike and how it felt better when I took longer strides, it’s just harder to keep these up. However, it’s these longer strides that are my full stride. I feel gazelle-like, although probably don’t look it with sweat and mascara blemishing my face.

img_1918Admittedly, my diet took a bit of a pounding; cake/sweet treats every day, bad carbs and lots of them! Although, I didn’t play netball at all this week and only went on one early morning fasting run of about 4 miles. The rest of the time I was doing spin (double on Monday with a 30 minute conditioning gym session!), Zumba or yoga. I put the running/netball shoes to one side and had a different experience, and it showed by how my muscles felt when I first set off.

No weird spasms, no tight muscles or tendons, just freedom! Following my 18 miler, I then went for a sports massage. I figured I would be in no fit state for a Sunday run so better make the most of my Saturday! And just like with any time I see someone about my running problems I learnt something new.

Iimg_1925 get a bad back from running and it turns out, I don’t activate my Gluteals enough. Not my Gluteus Maximus (your bum) but the ones that sit slightly above your bum. This simply means more bridge exercises and bottom strengthening! Not the worst result.

In my last blog I also mentioned of my excitement to finally see the podiatrist but sadly they cancelled on me as the person I was seeing was unwell. Big set back, and a very unhappy Astrid. Why? Because I had a physic appointment booked to fall in line with the changes any new insoles would make, and because my new appointment is now on my day off when I’m meant to be seeing my brother and his family who normally live in China. Unless I took the appointment that was a month away! So you can see my frustration , which I won’t dwell on, but stay tuned for the update when it eventually happens.

In Conclusion for the week

Netball is definitely a bit of an inhibitor when it comes to running and running well, and I always knew I would have to give it a break the few weeks running up to the marathon.

I highly recommend reading books about the things you’re trying to achieve. It’s reassuring to know that everyone starts somewhere but also that a marathon is like a 5km to some people, so I should be relieved for the distance.

Finally, take care of your body. Its precious and if it feels unhealthy, see a Doctor about it. If I had never decided to see a physio, I would be in a much worse state! And yes my ankles hurt and I’m all kinds of tired, but I’m so much more aware of the ways I can prevent further pain and/or damage.

Happy running and stay tuned!


“Body says no” – Training for the London Marathon 2017

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I’m on my way to the London Marathon ‘Meet the Experts’, it’s 6:30am so I thought “time for a blog”.
With 78 days to go and having signed up for the Reading Half Marathon in 6 weeks, training is constant but this week I pushed too hard and sometimes you just have to listen to your body.

When I do my 6am fasting runs I will push as much as I can to keep running, even if it’s a light jog it just can’t be a walk. This week my body told me, “No” and sometimes that’s just the way it is. I have done over 7.5 hours of activity since Monday and if you view my fitness week as my watch tracks it, 9.5 hours (Sun-Sat). I’ve been getting up early and work hard in a professional capacity, and sometimes your body just needs a rest.

I’ve cycled, played 3 hours of netball, ran (10.94 miles of morning fasting runs) and done some trusty Zumba! Nearly 3 weeks ago I pulled something going from my groin through my inner thigh (please comment if you know what it’s called?) and I’ve still not recovered, which is really getting my running warm ups, down as the pain only alleviates when I’m properly limbered up. If I stop it can really put a damper on thing as it ceases and the pain returns.

However, positives all round as I have my first podiatry appointment on Tuesday to check my support trainers and get an insole for my flat feet, which are causing me knee and back problems. Although if after all this correction I still have pain then there is a bigger problem lurking in my body.

I’ve also got my next sports massage coming up to loosen my calves, which are unbelievably tight due to my flat feet. Although my physio advised I need these every two weeks! This isn’t just a case of organising them around my busy schedule but anyone who’s had a sports massage will know how much it costs and the unpleasant experience that befalls you.

Last Sunday though, I did a solid 15 mile run. I left the house with the plan to do 14 but I pushed that extra per cent to be well on track to reach 22 mile runs well before the marathon, and having a couple of weeks to train at this distance. Although last Sunday’s run wasn’t all warm fuzzy feelings throughout.

As I started my run, and you may remember from my last blog, I decided to become more conscious of how my foot was striking the ground and, to my understanding, I am doing less heel strike because I am taking smaller steps when I run. Those who know me are well aware of my long legs and so a long stride always felt natural until I was advised (from a running shoe shop assistant) that it might be causing more impact and more pain. My advice, “only listen to your physio”. As soon as I increased my stride on Sunday, although harder, I went quicker and had a more natural heel strike as a result.

From this turn of events, the tendon on the front of my ankle went extremely tight and I had to stop to shake it out! But this worked and despite the pain of warming up (with my groin injury) and the tight ankle less than 2 miles in, I knew I could do it. 13 miles later I was enjoying a hot shower and rest!

So what’s next in my training plan? As I’m only loosely basing what I’m doing on picking and choosing nuggets of advice and readings, and creating something that suits me. I’m hoping to achieve 16 miles this weekend, but where, I don’t know. I like to run in circles if I can as I find going back on yourself feels like you haven’t achieved anything.

Running Bristol to Bath is definitely in the pipeline as it’s a solid 16 miles on mostly flat and I can rest at the end with cake and a train home! Any suggestions for flat Bristol central runs? The Portway is a top recommendation of mine, as hills are what have pulled something in my leg, and the Portway is sceneic and mostly flat.

Stay tuned, comment your tips and happy running!

85 days to go – Running the London Marathon 2017

I really should have started this blog sooner, as I’ve essentially been training for the London marathon 2017 since August 2016! But now is the final countdown and where things get intense.

However, in my honest opinion it’s not the training I’m struggling with. I get out of bed at 5:40am twice a week and am currently pushing at just over a 4 mile fasting run with a long run most weekends which is slowly being increased (tomorrow is looking like 15 miles!). It’s the fundraising which is getting me down and proving a real struggle.

I have nearly reach half way of my target, but with 3 months to go, the pressure is setting in. I’ve run three pub quizzes making around £280 – not too shabby – and sold cake in my office on a weekly basis which has probably made around £200-£250, but the constant begging of my friends and colleagues is even getting on my nerves!

I’ve got some more ideas in tow but let’s focus on the running part as I imagine that’s what most of you will be here to read about (but please comment if you want to hear more about my fundraising challenge).

My Training Plan

In short, I haven’t actually followed an official plan. Admittedly, I have taken advice from various blogs including the official Virgin Money London Marathon website. Of course running is a huge factor into your training plan, but I just think, if you aren’t enjoying it then what’s the point so I’ve found other ways to kick up my fitness without running and damaging my body constantly.

Every week….

I am pretty good at getting into a routine, so here it is:


AM: Gym session for strength or sometimes a rest if it’s been a tough weekend

PM: Two hours of netball training (sometimes a netball match)


AM: Fasting and interval training run. Currently 4 miles is a minimum but building to 5 in which I take an energy tablet before hand.

PM: Tap or Zumba – Dancercise is a fun way to get fit and mixes up my week.


AM: Usually a rest but sometimes a gym session for strength.

PM: Spin class or rest (depending on if I gymed in the morning, in which I will rest)


AM: Fasting and interval training run. Same approach as my Tuesday running of building to 5 miles and eventually a 10k before work.

PM: Yoga currently to stretch out my muscles but can sometimes be an hour of Back to Netball.


REST DAY – Although sometimes a bit more walking or a tiny bike ride (3-6 miles)


On some Saturdays I have a netball match, in which I will focus my energy on that. On the Sunday of my matches I will get out on my bike to do a 30 mile (minimum) ride or long walk (8-10 miles).

On the weeks I have no netball, I will get a long run in on the Saturday and stretch it our with a nice bike ride on the Sunday (or the gym is the weather is poor).


My running problems…

I guess the main reason I have decided to post a few blogs highlighting the final months leading up to the big day is because I had to start seeing a physio on account of the leg pains I was getting during a long run.

Turns out, I’m flat footed and have been doing a lot of things wrong over the last couple of years.

I have wore neutral shoes with no support, I land on the centre of my foot (which I think has developed from netball) instead of a solid heelstrike, and my calves are tight and excruciatingly painful to relax when getting a deep tissue massage.

I am currently undergoing treatment for my flatfooted problems, including seeing a podiatrist so watch this space for my progress!

Happy running!

Help me & donate!

I’ve got just over four months and a whole lot of money to raise.

I’m baking for my office every week, running pub quizzes, online raffles and even a netball tournament. I am giving a lot of my own money (which I will be paying in shortly) but I’ve got a fair way to go!

Please help me by donating as little as £2 for a great cause –

I am an incredibly lucky person to have the ability to run and train for this, so give it for those who aren’t as lucky. Help them have a better life, together.

#donate #goodcause

Why am I running a Marathon?

As many in my network may or may not know, I’m running the London Marathon in April 2017.

In order to get on the ballot I had to find a charity to support me and support them in return, so I now have an epic target of £1,650 to achieve before the big day, but why am I putting myself through the gruelling pain of training and immensely difficult task of raising so much money for charity?

I enjoy a challenge. I like to see how much I can push myself because I usually end up surprising myself. Similarly, there are a lot of things myself and others take for granted every day. The ability to go for a bike ride with friends, the ability to walk to the nearest corner shop or even just the ability to dress ourselves in the morning.

I know I am fortunate so not only am I treasuring that by seeing how far I can push my body to do an incredible achievement but I am helping raise money for those who don’t have things as simple.

Phab Kids is a great charity and it helps people of all ages enjoy greater independence and freedom. They help both disabled and disadvantaged people take part in challenging and fun activities; something they can’t normally do.

What I put my body through for the next 7 months, well, you don’t want to know. Already I am running 3-4 times a week, cycling wherever I can, doing 3 hours of netball a week and more! But what goes on behind closed doors is the organisation I am going through to raise the money I need.

I’m organising a monthly pub quiz, bake sales and even a netball tournament to help hit my grand total, so please, show your support by donating as much or as little as you can spare because I am working beyond my limits in every respect to make a difference.

Donate here – 

Astrid’s running a marathon!

I’m running a half marathon (September 2016) and a full marathon (April 2017) in aid of PhabKids.


I’ll be hosting a number of events including pub quizzes, Netball tournaments and more so please email me at if you want to help out.


Alternatively, please show your support by donating at


Thanks! 🙂

Netball for Adults

I have recently started attending a ‘Back to Netball’ session at Hengrove Leisure Park in Bristol on Thursday nights. It hasn’t had much promotion and I think it needs it because the coach is great and it’s so much fun!

So for the next two weeks, 30/07/2015 and 06/08/2015, the session is free. It’s still only £3 after that and every Thursday at 7pm.

The best part is it’s for all abilities and ages over 16. You can come every week or every other week or whenever you are free to attend, so get involved and get back to Netball!