Category Archives: Off season

Mapping out the season

Recovery and reflection

Last year I wrote a post about the end of the season, and how it is an important time for reflection and enjoying break from structured training. You can read it here. This is a great time of year for putting things in place that will help you to achieve your goals. But before you sign up for things, have a think about what your goals are, and make sure that whatever you are doing will lead towards that goal.

This is also a time when you can assess what is going on in your life, if you have a bit more time due to reduced training. All too often we take on extra responsibilites thinking we will cope with them and that we can cram more into an already busy life, but being honest with yourself and looking at things rationally you may find that there are just not enough hours in the day to do it all. Simplifying your life is hard, as in our culture we are expected to be busy all of the time, but taking time to reflect actually helps you to become more efficient and to do a better job of things.

The seasons naturally help us, with less daylight hours there is less time to be outdoors and we can give our bodies and minds a break from the pressures of race season, and to decide what it is we truly want. When you know that then you are one step on your way to achieving it.

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Spending time with family

 

Goal setting

Deciding  on a goal and committing to it is a scary prospect, so make sure it fits in with your values and beliefs then you will have a greater chance of achieving it. Have a good think about your goal or goals and also reflect on what is important to you as an individual. It may be that your goal is incompatible with your life at the moment so you have to wait and give it time, or you may be able to commit, but with a flexible approach.

I will give you an example. Next year I am racing in Kona, this is only one of my priorities. My other priorities are; investing time into my coaching business, spending quality time with my family, supporting Patrick after he has his operation, getting The Training Barn up and running, and visiting other family members. These are some of the most important ones, and they all need to be balanced. There will be times when things are not balanced, as life does not run on a straight trajectory from A-B, but having something in mind and checking in with it every now and then, can help to focus our minds on what is important to us. At the moment Patrick doesn’t have a date for his operation, and he doesn’t know how it will affect him afterwards, so he can’t plan too much into the future. I don’t know how it will affect me either, so we need to keep communicating about this. There may be times when my priorities have to shift and I am prepared for that.

So to apply this to yourself have a good look at what you have going on in your life and anticipate any problems, times when you may need to adjust, or to let go of things in order to achieve your goals. In training we prepare for an event by adapting our bodies to the challenges of race day and we can apply this to prepare our minds in the same way.

 

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Pembrokeshire Coast Path December

Day 14  Porthgain to Pwll Deri

11 miles. Elevation gain 1634ft.

Strava data

I had no lift today, as my mum was away, so Patrick came up with the idea of leaving my bike at the end of the run and then cycling back to the car. Having checked the forecast I thought I would give it a go, only 20mph winds for today rather than the 40-50 gusts that we have been used to.

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It was actually dry on the north coast when I got there, and I left my bike attached to some wooden railings at a viewpoint. The road was a single track dead end, so I figured it would be safe; however there is always a little bit of worry when leaving your bike chained up! I then drove to Porthgain and started the run. This is another unfamiliar part of the path, I spotted geese, and a sheep with its head stuck in the fence, which I tried unsuccessfully to free. I spoke to a couple of local dog walkers further down the track to let them know and if they knew the farmer to let him know. I really enjoyed the last bit of path from Abermawr to Pwll Deri, a bit like moorland, very rugged and lots of rocks. I arrived back at my bike, and bag which had drink and snack in and then cycled back to Porthgain into the headwind, feeling a bit tired after that one!

 

Day 15 Pwll Deri to Fishguard viewpoint

11.2 miles. Elevation gain 1444ft.

Strava data

This was a long one, the path is quite twisty with lots of little ups and downs. There was nowhere really that you could stride out and get into a rhythm, and I managed quite a spectacular fall, landing superman style in the mud, but no damage done, I stopped quite a few times for photos, and saw a load of seals relaxing on the beach.

I decided to meet my mum at the viewpoint outside Fishguard so I wouldn’t have to run up it at the start of the next section, however I wished I had asked her to meet me in Goodwick when I arrived there. Often seem to have that feeling! When I arrived back we stopped off for coffee in Fishguard and we discussed the next few sections. (There are only 3 more runs left and I was hoping to get it finished before the end of the year,) but after a few calculations realised that my mum would be away on the last run. She has done most of the driving to drop me off and pick me up at various points so she was quite keen to have a little celebration at the end of the challenge! So it looks like my last run will have to be after New Year, so we can celebrate together.

Day 16 Fishguard viewpoint to Newport.

11 miles. Elevation gain 1601ft.

Strava data

I mapped this run on Map my ride the night before and it came up as 9.8 miles so I was expecting a shorter run than last week, my mistake! It was 11 miles of slippery path with a couple of ankle deep bogs thrown in. Luckily it was pretty dry and not too windy, but by the end I was longing for a path with some friction. I finished running on the welcome gravel path from the Parrog up to Newport so I got my wish eventually. After meeting my mum in the car park we went for a coffee and toast at the newly opened VicNorth cafe, which was lovely.

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Day 17 Newport to Moylgrove

8 miles. Elevation gain 1375ft.

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I ran this section on Christmas eve, the weather was windy and it was quite hard going. There were some really boggy sections again, and I caught the culprits trying to look cute around a gateway. There were about 8 ponies who had been churning up the path and making it difficult to run on!  When I mapped this run I had mapped it at 7 miles so when I got to 7 miles I was at an inlet and not sure if it was Moylgrove or not. I dithered a bit then carried on as I had thought the road would be more visible, luckily my senses were correct as I found Patrick and the boys at the next inlet a mile away. Next run is the last section which I have planned for January so we can all enjoy the occasion! Looking forward to it but also will be sad to have finished.

December creativity

The last 2 posts have been about staying consistent with your training and eating habits over Christmas. To be consistent sometimes you have to be a little bit creative with how you plan things. Its easy to have a plan and follow it when you are in your usual routine, but over Christmas your usual  routine goes out of the window for a while, so we have to let go of what we expect to do. It’s totally fine to do this, remember your family are your team, and if you work together then everyone can be happy and do what they need to do. If you need to prioritise time with your family that is a valuable thing, as they will support you when you need it. In this post I will give you some ideas for getting creative with your training. They are not new ideas and I’m sure that you have done similar things in the past. These are some of the things I have done so that I can train and still keep everyone happy!

Taking the boys to rugby while Patrick surfed, then cycling home. We both got our fix that day.

Getting up early and running, sometimes in the dark with a head torch.

Cycling to a friends house for a barbecue.

Getting dropped off and running to meet my family/friends.

Taking the kids to the pool and having a bit of a swim myself.

Doing turbo while the kids and I watch a DVD together.

 

There are many other ways to be creative with your training, I’d love to hear what you do, and remember you can shorten sessions if you need to. Its better to do little and often than to try catching up. Remember your reasons for training  and keep those priorities in mind. Wishing you all Merry Christmas and a great New Year.

Pembrokeshire Coast Path November

Day 6 Pwllcrochan to Neyland

11.9 miles. Elevation gain 1017ft.

Strava data

I photographed the map for this section as it was through Pembroke, and I was sure I would miss some signs!

I was about to leave Pwllcrochan when a family started walking back to their car, it was a couple that we haven’t seen for about 5 years! We had a chat before I left, running through muddy fields and leafy paths, after about 10 minutes I turned my ankle over, which was pretty painful. I thought I would have to call Patrick and get picked up, but after walking fro a few minutes I lost the feeling of sickness and carried on. When I got to Hundleton I missed the first sign of the path but noticed quickly and got back on track. I missed another in Pembroke, and as I was approaching Asda I had a phone call from Patrick to let me know that they were on the roundabout.

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Meeting at Neyland was easy as there is the cycle track their for the kids to ride on, they had cycled over the bridge and I we went back over together until the coast path dropped off road on the left, and the cycle path went right. We met back at the car for soup, and welsh cakes, then sat in the sun at the cafe.

Day 7 Neyland to Sandy Haven

9.9 miles. Elevation gain 948ft.

Strava data

This was a really interesting part of the run, going past the refinery, wind turbines, and over unusual bridges before arriving back on the wild bit of coast path, I found my mum at Sandy Haven, she had enjoyed running along part of the path while waiting for me!

Day 8 Sandy Haven to West Dale

11.8 miles. Elevation gain 1063ft.

Strava data

The forecast was for 40mph winds and rain, and as we drove through Haverfordwest I was not looking forward to getting out of the car, the rain was lashing down on the windscreen, but as we approached Sandy Haven the sky cleared, and by the end of the run the sky was blue.

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There was lots to see along the way, the estuary, a little fort and lighthouse. I have walked the Dale headland with Patrick before, so remembered those times while running. When I arrived at West Dale the boys had done a mini beach clean and were waiting by the car.

Day 9 West Dale to St Brides bay

8.5 miles. Elevation gain 732ft.

Strava data

I had planned to run all the way to Broad Haven, but was a bit apprehensive as I had mapped it out as being more than 14 miles. As we drove towards Dale I made up my mind to just run to St Brides bay, as the weather wasn’t looking great and I was feeling quite tired, as I started running from West Dale, I was pleased that I wasn’t going all the way to Broad Haven, the wind was really strong and it was tough running. Spotted lots of mushrooms! and it was still very beautiful so I stopped to take a few snaps along the way. Met my mum in the car park at St Brides Bay, where she was pleased to tell me they had a defibrillator!

Day 10 St Brides bay to Newgale

11.5 miles. Elevation gain 1444ft.

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Weather was wild today,  but it wasn’t raining! The boys were very excited by the wind, and I left them with Patrick, in St Brides car park, climbing up a tree. I stopped to video some dramatic waves and turned around to find a lot of cows watching me, so I took their photo and moved on.

Windy out on the #coastpath today #running #Pembrokeshire #coastal

A post shared by Celia Boothman (@lovetherain76) on

I got my timings wrong again, and found Patrick at the end of Newgale beach, so I had plenty of time to stretch and get dressed before heading to a cafe.

Day 11 Newgale to St Non’s

10.1 miles. Elevation gain 1355ft.

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The weather forecast was terrible again today, but I decided to go ahead with my run. I thought I was going to stay dry, but no such luck, within 20 minutes I was soaked through and running into strong winds, I enjoyed the run though, and it made me feel alive, really I’m so lucky to be able to do this!

Day 12  St Non’s to Whitesands

7.6 miles. Elevation gain 666ft.

Strava data

Urgh, is all I can say. The night before, my mum looked after the boys so we had a rare night to ourselves! We decided to try out the new restaurant in Narberth. We had a glass of wine at the bar and then a bottle with our meal. Afterwards we went to The Eagle for a rum, and we spotted a bargain offer on Prosecco £8.95. I was inspired when I saw the table next to us with a bottle, and I also saw someone drinking a pint of guiness. We ordered the same and mixed our own black velvets 😦

black-velvet

Anyhow we had a fun time, and running was still enjoyable, the section was beautiful and interesting to see “the bitches” in full flow!

Day 13  Whitesands to Porthgain

9.5 miles. Elevation gain 1306ft.

Strava data

Lovely run today, if a bit windy. Managed to avoid getting soaked and then stopped for a cappuccino at The Sloop in Porthgain with my mum, not a bad way to spend the morning. I’m starting to feel a bit sad now I know I’m on the home straight! Maybe I should run it the other way round!!

December 1st

It is now officially December, the countdown to Christmas has begun, and as we all know it can be a stressful time of year. There are many expectations of us from family, friends and the media. Some of these expectations are unhelpful, and it is your job to recognise when you are starting to harm yourself by taking on other peoples expectations of you.

We are bombarded with images of how Christmas “should” be, but many people do not fit in to this model, and this can make us feel isolated, or just a bit strange! It is ok to want different things at this time of year, and its up to you to decide how you want to spend your holiday time.

I would encourage you to think about your priorities . What is important to you? and what are you willing to compromise? This will allow you to make choices about the festive period that keep you and those around you happy. Throughout December I will be posting some tips on how to keep yourself content and hopefully stress free this Christmas, they will be related to nutrition, training, and family (your team!) Hope you enjoy reading, and happy 1st December.

Pembrokeshire coast path October

The Pembrokeshire coast path is stunning. I have really enjoyed running along parts of it this year, and I needed something to keep me a bit focussed during the off season. I didn’t want to be under pressure, but felt like I needed a goal, so I decided I would try and run sections of the coast path. I mentioned it to my mum and she offered to drop me off and pick me up along the route. I started to get excited about the idea, and checked out a few maps before I found this useful resource that breaks down the sections into distances. I got my notebook out and started planning!

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Day 1 Amroth to Tenby

7.7miles. Elevation gain 1132ft.

Strava data

We were meeting a friend in Tenby for a meal out, as it was her birthday, so I asked Patrick to drop me off in Amroth then I could run to Tenby and meet them. I took a picture of the starting point with its plaque, and started along the flat section of Amroth seafront. I chose to go South to North as I thought it would be easier to get to the Southern sections for me, and the terrain gets tougher as you get further North, and also prettier so I thought it would be nice to finish at the most dramatic point! The run was lovely, I had run it recently as an out and back in preparation for The Snowman, but its nice to run to a point and not have to retrace your route. There are some steep steps in the section from Saundersfoot but the view makes up for it! I arrived in Tenby quicker than I’d thought and had time for a shower at the leisure centre before enjoying pizza with the kids and my friends.

After dinner!

After dinner!

Day 2 Tenby to Manorbier

7.3miles. Elevation gain 719ft.

Strava data

I was not feeling great today, as my son has been off school with a cold. I woke up in the night a few times with a sore throat and headache but I was keen to run this section today as my mum will be away next week, she drove me to Tenby and then I said I’d meet her in about an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half in Manorbier. The weather was beautiful today and I loved the views again. When I was about a mile from Manorbier I spotted my mum having a chat with a couple who were out walking, they had been looking at some seals. I got the car keys and ran back for my stretch at the car.

Day 3 Manorbier to Broad Haven South

9.3miles. Elevation gain 1312ft.

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As it was the weekend I was dropped off in Manorbier by my husband, while he took the kids to Broad Haven South where they started walking towards Barafundle. It was a nice day again, but it was starting to get a bit chilly when I got to Broad haven, I spotted the boys and they wanted to run with me for a bit, so we ran up to a gate where Patrick took the boys, and I ran back to the car to get warm, and stretch.

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Day 4 Broad Haven South to Freshwater West

9.4 miles. Elevation gain 367ft.

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I had to delay the next section, as all of the off road section is closed when Castlemartin range is open for firing. I didn’t really fancy my chances so I waited until the weekend!

The mileage quoted online had been inaccurate so far, and this run was supposed to be 14 miles (it was 9!) Broad Haven South was wet and windy and I was running into the wind the whole way. This is not the most inspiring section as you run along a gravel track for part of the way along the coast and then turn off to run the rest of the route on the road to Fresh West.

I arrived at Fresh West after an hour and a quarter, so had plenty of time to get changed and stretch before the boys found me shivering in the car!

Day 5 Freshwater West to Pwllcrochan

14 miles. Elevation gain 1457ft.

Strava data

A long one today, and very windy, which was fine for the first hour as the wind was behind me, but when I got to Angle the wind blasted into me and it was hard work.

I haven’t run this far for a long time I was feeling it, and wishing that I’d gone with my original shorter route! I could also see where I had to go and it looked a long way, but it was all fine. I found my mum waiting at Pwllcrochan, she had been for a run too and we compared notes! Pwllcrochan was not the best spot to be picked up, as there is nothing much there, but I wanted to get the next section done in a couple of runs, as its though Pembroke, Neyland and Milford.

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Merry Christmas everyone, my early present, a new motivational toy.

Skipping

Theres nothing like a new toy to get you going again. I bought a skipping rope before I went to Sri Lanka, thinking it would help with running technique, I had a couple of skips with it humming the rocky theme tune to myself, and found it was pretty hard work. It really shows up your technique too.

I thought I would show what happens to your heart rate when doing high intensity exercise. It takes quite a while for your heart rate to increase even when you are working really hard, this is why I use power on my bike.

Sometimes when you are going uphill, by the time your heart rate has kicked in you have already burned a match, its also really useful for gauging your rate of perceived exertion as you can instantly see what your power is, (how hard you are riding) before you start getting out of breath. It is good to use several methods of determining how hard you are working, so that you stay in touch with your body.