Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

I’m starting this week with a feeling of satisfaction and of achievement after Saturday’s Kintyre Way Ultra Relay in almost wintery weather: the word I heard over and over again to describe it was ‘brutal’ which is as accurate as you can get!

But before we get to that, here’s how the rest of the week shaped up.

Monday:

The week started off incredibly wet and windy which was not the best for a bank holiday! I think that gave the Kintyre Way a good dose of watering which helped contribute to the underfoot conditions later in the week.

We had some running about to do, including a trip to Inveraray so I didn’t do much meaningful exercise. Just a couple of short walks.

Tuesday:

A day in the office meant I packed my running gear in the off chance I could get out for a lunch run. I headed up the hill in lovely sunshine, though it was cold! I felt that the hill was a little easier than the last time I ran it so I was pleased about that.

Distance: 2.5m

Time: 30m 3s

Elevation: 289ft

Pace: 12.04/m

Wednesday:

Another lunchtime run for me, I was trying to avoid the rain that was forecast for later in the day. In line with my plans, I kept the distance and time short and tried to keep my pace slow. The training is done, so the aim is to keep the legs and body moving without risking injury that comes with overtraining or last minute panicking.

Distance: 2.64m

Time: 30m 3s

Elevation: 325ft

Pace: 11.22/m

Thursday:

No pictures today, I did some active recovery walks across the day both at work and also after work. I managed a step tally of over 13,000 without too much trouble.

Friday:

The day was bright and sunny, which no doubt fooled a lot into thinking we’d be treated to the same on race day! It was lovely to see the village busy up with visitors and there were plenty of runners around. I headed to the harbour just for a short shake out run, which was a pretty decent pace actually!

Distance: 3m

Time: 31m 56s

Elevation: 56ft

Pace: 10.27/m

Saturday:

The day arrived and with it the weather started off calm and dry. But we all knew what was coming! as we were running as a relay team, Alison, Deirdre and I had to meet and register together at Tayinloan from where Alison would get our relay underway. I was up next but not for a couple of hours.

As we arrived at Tayinloan the rain was just starting and the wind had most definitely made an appearance, it looked like we weren’t going to be blessed with the same weather as last year at all. After Deirdre and I saw Alison safely over the start line I headed home to get ready, with buff, gloves, waterproofs, long sleeved top and even my thermal running tights back out. Who would have thought I’d need those in May!

Tony drove me to the handover point in Clachan to meet Alison coming in. I was grateful for my dryrobe while I was waiting! When Alison arrived, describing her section as absolutely brutal, I just thought I’d better get my head down and get this done!

You might remember that we recce’d this part only a couple of weeks ago and the conditions underfoot were good, with only a few boggy spots. Well, that changed from the offset, with the wood trail section muddy right from the start. And that was the theme for the next couple of hours, with driving rain, big muddy or boggy underfoot conditions continuously and strong winds. Boy, was it cold! It made for hard going on the legs and on the mind!

As I emerged along the side of Loch Ciaran, I was struck by the water’s surface which had been glass like last time, but was very different today!

Next up was a trail section which is very well known to me, and is drier underfoot. At this point, at about 4 miles in, I just decided to enjoy every second of this. I met a lady who was dropping out but looked safe on her own as she was on her way to meet the medic.

As I made my way through the lovely heathland and around the lochs, there was no sign of the Isle of Jura behind me or of Arran before me- both were well and truly hidden by cloud cover today!

The next section I knew was going to be tough, as it was open moor across the highest part of this section. It is usually pretty windy and boggy and the day’s conditions just topped anything I’d experienced on this part before. The clouds dropped, visibility was poor and the rain turned to hailstones which were driven by the winds right into my face. The wind also meant that moving forward was pretty difficult! Looking back at my stats, though, I was moving at a pace over difficult terrain – lots of bogs and rocky outcrops with ankle twisting hillocks everywhere but I somehow managed 11 minute miles!

Finally I reached the kissing gate which I knew marked the uphill climb right before the descent to the road towards Claonaig. It was pretty energy sapping, but knowing that the downhill was coming helped boost the mood!

It was disappointing that the cloud cover was so intense that there wasn’t even a glimpse of Arran, but I just recalled the glorious views from a couple of weeks ago instead.

I was fortunate to only pass one vehicle on the road, and when I reached the turn off for Skipness it was with mixed feelings that I headed back off the road and uphill again. In previous years the route was continuous road to Skipness which I know is mentally tough and hard on the legs. So I tried to keep that in mind as I climbed once again up a steep-ish track and along an unfamiliar trail I’ve never run before. I could see a runner ahead and tried to keep her in my sights, which really helped with the motivation!

After another mile or so we were dipping back down and there we were, at the handover point where I wished Deirdre good luck and told her to just enjoy it.

The hills, mud, rain, wind, cold and hail were certainly challenging but I absolutely loved it!

I had parked my car in Skipness the night before, so walked to collect it, and after a pretty muddy shower I felt a bit more human again!

Before I knew it we were heading down to the finish line to cheer Deirdre over and to celebrate our achievement!

And, we managed to take over 12 minutes off our time from last year- woo hoo! In glorious sunshine (but wind) last year we ran it in 7h 40m 18s, this year even in that weather we achieved 7h 28m 2s🙌

Distance: 12.1m

Time: 2h 47m 52s

Elevation: 1,516ft

Pace: 13.53/m

I just loved it!

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

The past week has been incredibly busy, and I’ve really struggled to step away from the desk either at lunchtime or in the evenings, and yet again I haven’t managed to get to any of Jacqui’s classes live. But I know that the pace of life varies, so rather than being too worried about it I’ve just stayed focussed and taken the breaks when I’ve been able to, knowing that not every week is like the one just past.

Here’s how my week went.

Monday-

After Sunday’s long run doing the middle section of the Kintyre Way, I needed to shake out my legs to help with recovery. I had a small gap at lunchtime so took advantage and squeezed in a short run around the harbour. It was also Medal Monday, and my March accumulator medal was delivered!

Distance: 3m

Time: 31m 59s

Elevation: 79ft

Pace: 10.38/m

Tuesday:

I had a busy day in the office, but as Shirley was also in we did fit in a very short 15 minute walk, just enough to get away from the desk. In the evening, Tony and I walked to the West Loch and back, it was a lovely evening.

Distance: 3.4m

Time: 1h 4m 53s

Wednesday-

I only had half an hour to spare, so I found myself heading back to the West Loch for another sunny run.

Distance: 2.68m

Time: 30m 7s

Elevation: 148ft

Pace: 11.13/m

Thursday –

I was short of time again, but managed a quick post work run. I was so rushed that I forgot to take a photo, urgh!

Distance: 3m

Time: 33m 28s

Elevation: 89ft

Pace: 11.08/m

Friday-

After a busy morning, we were able to head through to Glasgow to meet up with family for an outdoor walk, I saw my parents last year, but it has been well over a year since I had seen my sisters so it was well worth the 5 hour drive.

A sunny walk around Kelvingrove Park was just what we needed.

Distance: 2.7m

Saturday-

Tony and I were up and out early to get in a long training walk for the Great Post Lockdown Walk on 22 May. We headed to the timber route, to the old quarry to see stunning views over to Jura. It was beautiful!

Distance: 20.16m

Time: 7h 3m 49s

Elevation: 2,113 ft

Time now to rest and recharge for the week ahead!

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

That’s better! We’ve had a week of cold but beautiful weather, which just makes it easier to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, so that’s exactly what I’ve done this past week.

Monday-

With it being a bank holiday, we wanted to make the most of the day and so we decided to walk up to Allt Dearg windfarm. We drive past it all the time, but had never walked up to the turbines before. Although we set out in glorious sunshine, the wind was absolutely wild the further up we climbed, and as we neared the top we were able to watch a hail shower come right across the Loch, over us, and past on its journey south. Cold, but amazing!

Distance: 6.7 miles

Elevation: 1,394 ft

Tuesday-

I was back at work after my break and although I had no time to run during the work day, it was so lovely to be able to enjoy a run after work still in daylight. It really is a joy.

Distance: 3m

Time: 32m 9s

Elevation: 135ft

Pace: 10.42/m

Wednesday-

I did have time today for a short lunchtime run, so I opted to do the west Loch and back, to keep it to 30 minutes. I needed the headspace!

Distance: 2.72m

Time: 30m 2s

Elevation: 115ft

Pace: 11.01/m

Friday:

It was another beautiful day, but with a number of afternoon meetings planned I stepped away from my desk slightly earlier than usual, for a wee three miles.

Distance: 3m

Time: 32m 39s

Elevation: 69ft

Pace: 10.51/m

Sunday-

I had arranged to meet up with Alison and Deirdre for our first run this year, to recce the middle section of the Kintyre Way in advance of our relay in May. It was just a perfect day, with lots of talking, lots of walking and lots of fun! The scenery is just spectacular, with views one way over to Jura and the other way over to Arran. Amazing!

We didn’t manage any cold water dips this week, but hopefully we might squeeze one in next week. I’m not pressuring myself- I want to keep enjoying them! I am pleased enough with how much fresh air and vitamin D I managed this week, especially as I was back at work. Let’s see where this week takes us ☺️

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

March arrived, not like a lion for a change, but with a hint of spring in the air which was perfect for me as I wasn’t working on Monday. My plan was to get a slightly longer run in to kick start the week, and to get my March Accumulator off with some real bounce.

That’s exactly what happened, and even though the remainder of the week had me finding very short windows for running, I managed to keep on track even with a tough workload. Here’s how my week turned out:

Monday-

I had a long lie and, unusually for me, I had switched my work phone off completely on Sunday night so I wasn’t tempted or distracted by work matters before heading out for a hill run. I had tried to run at Corranbuie on Friday, but couldn’t get parked, so thought I’d try again. The weather was foggy as I headed out, but that soon lifted to leave a beautiful sunny run with blue skies.

Sometimes Corranbuie can seem pretty tough and unrelenting with its continuous climb, but when I reached where the rod joins the Tarbert castle loop I was surprised to find that two miles had ticked by quite unnoticed, so I kept going!

Distance: 8.2 miles

Time: 1h 44m 12s

Elevation: 1,175ft

Pace: 12.43/m

Later on Monday I also logged in live for Jacqui’s Fitness Pilates class, this one was using hand weights. I know I neglect upper body exercise, it makes me feel sick in a way lower body work never does, which is probably a sign to do more!🤣

Tuesday-

My initial plan for Tuesday was to give my legs a bit of a rest, and a full diary during the day meant no time for a walk. Instead I was able to do another of Jacqui’s online sessions, this one was a fab Virtual Powerwalk session, and I just loved it!

Wednesday-

Another very full on day left no time for a daytime run, but I did manage to step away from my desk just before twilight to squeeze in a short run around the harbour before sunset.

Distance: 3m

Time: 33m 10s

Elevation: 79ft

Pace: 11.02/m

Thursday-

Another busy day meant I finally stopped for a break just as most people will have been sitting down for their dinner, but that didn’t stop us from getting a leisurely stroll in before we did the same.

Friday-

Another busy but productive day with no lunchtime run, but it does make such a difference when it is still daylight into the late afternoon and early evening! I wanted a short run, and instead of going to Garvel and then around the harbour (bring a creature of habit), I headed to the concrete first. Small changes can make all of the difference!

Distance: 3m

Time: 32m 4s

Elevation: 85ft

Pace: 10.40m

Saturday-

I had – for some unknown reason – a cup of coffee at 10pm on Friday night 🙈🤯 which meant I had a disturbed sleep, unsurprisingly as the caffeine took over!🤣 So I didn’t have too many expectations for what my Saturday morning run might look like. We headed to the trails up at Cour windfarm, and I had a loose plan that I might do 10k, but would be happy with 4 or more miles given my lack of sleep.

As can sometimes happen, though, I found myself really enjoying the run, listening to my audiobook and watching the deer cross my path ahead. I managed much more than I thought I might, which is great for my Kintyre Way training and for my overall fitness and stamina I suppose!

Distance: 8.1m

Time: 1h 36m 50s

Elevation: 636ft

Pace: 11.57/m

The dry and settled weather this week no doubt played a big part in what felt like a good, solid week of running, especially off the back of last weekend’s four runs in a row (counting Monday). Gotta make the most of it while it’s good- 22.3 miles, 1,975ft.

Not bad indeed!

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

I write these weekly reviews largely for my own benefit- I find that it helps me to stop and review how my week has been and when it can sometimes feel like all I have done is work, the blog reminds me that I do manage to do more than just that (sometimes!). This past week is a good example- it’s been a full on, busy week work-wise, and though I’d managed to do some Clarsach practice earlier in the week and I’ve managed to squeeze in some reading every night, I did feel that my fitness had suffered a little.

But pausing to review what I’ve done shows a different perspective: I managed one of Jacqui’s live classes (still only one live, though, getting away from my desk on time remains a challenge), and I also got my February Accumulator Challenge underway with four runs.

Monday-

The first day of a new month and I was determined to kick start that with a run. The day was unusually dry but bitterly cold when I headed for my lunchtime run around the harbour.

Distance: 3.1m

Time: 32m 49s

Elevation: 112ft

Pace: 10.35/m

Tuesday-

I managed to step away from my desk on time for Fitness Pilates. This is such a good workout- low intensity but strong moves, and I definitely feel the burn!

Wednesday-

It was a stormy day, and I knew that the harbour would be incredibly windy so I squeezed in a short run to the West Loch and back.

Distance: 2.7m

Time: 30m

Elevation: 177ft

Pace: 11.06/m

Thursday-

At lunchtime we had time for a walk, and despite the driving, icy rain and strong winds we walked to West Loch and added to the distance and elevation by adding in Carrick hill.

Distance: 3.37m

Friday-

I ended the working week with another 5k around the harbour. Still raining, still bitterly cold and still very windy!

Distance: 3.1m

Time: 33m 7s

Elevation: 148ft

Pace:

10.40/m

Saturday-

I woke up today to a dry and sunny morning, and so I pulled on my trainers and headed to a trail- the timber route- with an aim of 10k or so. I listened to Hamish Napier’s ‘The Woods’ instead of a podcast or audiobook and mixing it up was a great idea- the music perfectly matched the run!

There was even some snow at higher altitude, which added some fun to my run and it was the first run in some time that was gratifying and soul restoring, even with the stormy winds trying to blow me over!

Distance: 7 miles

Time: 1h 24m 16s

Elevation: 810ft

Pace: 12.01/m

I’m grateful for having space to reflect on this week- and to notice that, actually, it’s been a good week fitness wise! Here’s to next week!

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

So much for getting back to running this week- I’m afraid that a combination of my diary and a return of icy paths and roads meant that I didn’t get anywhere near as much running done as I’d have liked. Here’s how my week planned out:

Monday-

My week started off going to plan, with a short lunchtime run around the harbour. It was cold and wet, it it felt good to get it done, and to start the week right. After work, I also managed to join Jacqui’s Fitness Pilates/Fitness Yoga session which was just lovely- hard, strong but fab!

Distance: 3m

Time: 32m 22s

Elevation: 262ft

Pace: 10.47/m

Tuesday-

I had planned to squeeze in a lunchtime run, but it didn’t happen. Instead, we managed a short evening walk around the harbour. Yet again, I forgot to take a photo….

Distance: 2.91m

Wednesday-

I did manage another lunchtime run, and for the first time in many months I was able to head up the hill above Kilmory. I missed out Kilmory Loch, however, and just stuck to the hill. It was incredibly misty, but beautiful.

Distance: 2.8m

Time: 32m 39s

Elevation: 344ft

Pace: 11.39/m

Thursday-

Another short walk around the harbour, fortunately it was dry and cold for this walk.

Distance: 3.19m

Saturday-

The plan was a run. And I had hoped to manage a slightly longer run than I’ve done in the past couple of weeks, but we’d had a dusting of light snow overnight and by all reports it was icy and slippy underfoot. So rather than risk it we went for a walk instead.

Distance: 4m

With the cold weather set to continue in the coming week, I do hope I can get some more runs under my belt. Here’s hoping that the weather plays nice!

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

After cranking up the mileage last week, it’s pared back a little this week, largely due to the volume of work. But I’ve still managed to get a few runs and walks in, though not as long as I had originally planned.

Monday-

I want to commit to doing more of Jacqui’s classes live. She is working so hard giving us an excellent selection of classes and I want to make the most of that so I started the week with an Evolve Fitness Pilates – Fitness Yoga session. And, wow, I felt that! It was great to feel connected back with the class and my buddies.

Tuesday –

I headed out straight after work to get a short 5k in. After Monday’s torrential rain, however, the roads were icier than ever, so I had to take it very easy and tentatively. Glad I did it, though!

Distance: 3.1m

Time: 38m 53s

Elevation: 220ft

Pace: 12.31/m

Wednesday-

I had time for a lunchtime run, so I headed out to the harbour to make the most of the daylight. It was right in the middle of a rain shower, so I was drenched by the time I got home!

Distance: 3.3m

Time: 36m 33s

Elevation: 82ft

Pace: 11.04/m

Thursday-

Another harbour walk after work. It was cold, but dry. And I forgot to take a photo!

Friday-

As @TheWelshWookie was also working from home today we went for a lunchtime walk together, heading out to the West Loch for a change, including the hill up to Carrick Cemetery. It was a much needed break away from the desk.

Saturday-

I’ve been loosely working to a plan for Kintyre Way Ultra training, but I’m not being too rigid with it as I want the flexibility of doing what feels right during this month. Despite the stormy weather with big winds and icy showers we headed to the timber route to get back on a trail again, for the first time in weeks.

It was a joy to be back – I really felt the difference of the running surface, but the weather was relentless. I dropped my LSR plan and decided instead just to keep the run short and enjoyable.

Distance: 3.31m

Time: 39m 32s

Elevation: 390ft

Pace: 11.57/s

We’ll see what the weather does this week but the plan is more of the same: have fun, chop it around a bit and do what feels right.

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

I started last week with a day off, and I was looking forward to having a trail run in daylight. And it was worth waiting for! Here’s how my week turned out:

Monday-

I had a lovely 7 mile run, making it to the end of a trail I’d been planning to explore for some time. I didn’t have it all my own way, mind you, as it started to pour at about 2 miles in. It was lovely to enjoy the daylight!

Distance: 7 miles

Time: 1h 25m 32s

Pace: 12.13/m

Elevation: 974ft

Tuesday-

I wanted to give my legs a bit of a break, so went for an evening walk instead of a run. It was raining, but that’s what waterproofs are for!

Distance: 3m

Time: 1h 2m 40s

Elevation: 121ft

Wednesday-

Another dark evening and it was another wet and windy run! But I was fair cheered by all of the Christmas lights that are springing up around the village. I love that people are brightening the darkness with early Christmas cheer 🎄

Distance: 3.12m

Time: 33m 10s

Pace: 10.36/m

Elevation: 203ft

Friday-

I was working from home, and I literally had a half hour gap open in my diary so I took advantage and headed out for a 30 minute run. And….. it stayed dry! Woo hoo! As it was daylight I headed out to the West Loch and back, for a change of scenery.

Distance: 2.93m

Time: 30m 11s

Pace: 19.18/m

Elevation: 102ft

Sunday-

Some runs take little or no motivation, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday. After putting up our decorations on Saturday, I was having a lovely leisurely Sunday morning all cosy at home with the Christmas tree twinkling and fresh coffee brewing. It was a bit of a wrench to get myself out the door! The plan was a 5k at Corranbuie but it was really busy so we headed south and did a 5k at Cour windfarm instead.

As is often the case, it was a lovely run- don’t you often find that the ones you struggle to start end up beating the ones you’re glad you did? It was very misty and atmospheric, but that feeling of having the trail all to yourself is so incredible.

Distance: 3.29m

Time: 36m 8s

Pace: 11/m

Elevation: 259ft

I’m 3.3k short of 100k running in November so I may decide to add in a short extra run tomorrow night before I start my Great Solo Run December Accumulator on Tuesday. We’ll see!

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

Last week was a week of short but steady running. I still need to improve my strength and conditioning, but with planning and prepping for our Fèis an Tairbeirt online weekend, prep for a number of AGMs and some long work days I’ve just struggled to fit it in. I’ve been lucky to just manage the short runs!

My Great Run Solo November Halloween Accumulator is well underway, and after a week I have 5 of my 13 runs now complete.

Tuesday-

I had a rest day on Monday, as I had a lot of prep to do for Fèis but on Tuesday I pulled my trainers on and headed out in the rain for a 5k around the harbour.

Distance: 3.16m

Time: 34m 42s

Pace: 10.58/m

Elevation: 78ft

Wednesday-

Two runs in two days, I was trying to make as much of any time slots I had, and so I squeezed in a lunchtime run. It was another wet day but I managed to get most of it done in sunshine. My original plan was to get a slightly longer run at Corranbuie but there was no room to park, so I headed to Kintarbert Forest instead, but the extra drive meant I had less time so 5k was about all I had time for. I was graced with a lovely rainbow, though!

Distance: 3.1m

Time: 38m 31s

Pace: 12.25/m

Elevation: 429ft

Friday-

I had an online meeting on Thursday, so no time for a walk or a run but on Friday evening I was out again in the dark for another run around the harbour. It was a good progression run, improving my pace with every mile. I’m loving my new head torch- it’s really effective!

Distance: 4 miles

Time: 42m 48s

Pace: 10.41/m

Elevation: 58ft

Saturday-

My original plan was to get a 10k in, but I had too much to do in other areas and so again I found that I only had a short window of time available for a run. But I had a new toy to test out- a new Garmin watch! Yes, I’ve gone over to the dark side and opted for a Garmin Venu. I’m still getting used to it, and the Garmin Pay isn’t compatible with my bank 🤦‍♀️ but it is pretty! I decided to set up a training plan and that was a bit of a mistake. With Nike watches in the past and with my Apple Watch I could run beyond the training run but I couldn’t with the Garmin, so it cut out after the initial 9 minute training run! So my run was split in two, with a little time and distance lost in the middle.

Another niggle about the Garmin is having to wait for GPS which brought back memories of having your arm in the air before being able to set off- something you never have to do with an Apple Watch 😏

Part one- all uphill:

Distance: 0.64m

Time: 9m

Pace: 13.58/m

Elevation: 243ft

Part two- with a bit missing:

Distance: 2.58m

Time: 29m 27s

Pace: 11.24/m

Elevation: 528ft

All in all, not a bad week of running!

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

In my post last week, I alluded to the fact that everyone sees themselves as the main protagonist in life. Look, I’m blogging, so doesn’t that demonstrate that principle? Assuming what I have to say is important, has value and is of interest, aren’t I?

Anyway, I digress. We do position ourselves as central to our stories, and if we are able to be empathetic we can better understand how other people see themselves. I think that when people lose hope, or lose confidence they still retain an element of this but it is diminished. And it’s our job to help them recover that.

Everyone is ‘selling’ something, promoting something or trying to get others to better understand their point of view, and earlier this year I read Don Miller’s essential read How to Build a Storybrand. This book should be on your to-read list if you haven’t gotten to it already. As a writer, Don understands the power of storytelling and this book reframes how we can use that storytelling to improve our engagement with customers and with others more widely, all people we engage with. He uses some great examples to demonstrate where this does, and doesn’t, work well.

There are clear steps to achieving this but the one step that has stuck with me above the others is that customers don’t care about your story or your brand’s story. They care about their own, and want to know how your products can help them achieve their own story arc.

I’m simplifying the message, but this small snippet has stuck with me, and over the past few months I’ve been seeing this everywhere, and watching how people and businesses position their own story in comparison to how they centre their customer’s story.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Spoiler alert: Don tells you early in the book that he will spoil movies for you as he talks you through how the basic narrative construction works. It hasn’t ruined anything for me, but I have found myself putting his framework to the test when watching films! Try it!