The festive period is a tough time for anyone who is trying to keep fit or watch their waistline that’s for sure. Which is why I am so proud of my efforts over the festive period. Not that I need to lose weight necessarily, but what woman isn’t pleased when the weight comes off, and I have a goal to lose a few kilos before Marathon Des Sables (MdS) as it will make the running a bit easier, but I managed to lose a net 3kg (1/2 stone) over the festive period! Yes I did!
How did I accomplish such a seemingly impossible concept?
I guess it is made a bit easier that we live far away from our family & friends in Australia, and after just having moved to Edinburgh from Manchester, friendless up here. That resulted in less nights out, and no-one’s house to go to over the Christmas days to eat all their leftover foods either. We kept things simple in our house, our only extra purchases apart from normal food, was 1 Christmas pudding, and that was it (which we ate on Boxing Day after a 20 miler so well deserved). We had Xmas lunch out, so we didn’t need to get anything in for that, so no extra leftovers to deal with. We knew we were having a load of friends come visit for Hogmanay so we consciously kept our diet in check over the other days to allow us to have a blow out from the 30th through to the 2nd. I made good use of that blow out; cocktails, wine, fried food, 3 courses, cheese, chocolates; you name it – I ate it! We still maintained our running throughout the time though and I even got in a cheeky 5 miler on New Years Day in between cooking breakfast for our visitors.
And the other ingredient – running! The week leading up to Christmas week, I ran a total of 45.5 miles over 4 days. Christmas week I ran 57 miles over 5 days, with the biggest day being Boxing Day with a 20 miler! The week of Hogmanay (New Years), which I knew was going to be my worst week, I still managed 42 miles over 5 days.
This week I am aiming for 84 miles (see my training plan), which is quite a stretch and is going to involve a seriously long run, backed up with another seriously long run over the weekend. Tough mileage, but I have got the Pilgrims Ultra coming up on the 1st & 2nd February, which is 33 miles each day along the North Downs Way, so there is no rest for the wicked!
I am back on the eat clean & train hard regime, and aiming for the next few months, until after MdS (12th April) without alcohol as well, to ensure I am in the best state possible both physically & mentally. The lack of alcohol & the prospect of a cold beer at the finish will no doubt make me run faster! In all seriousness, I really notice a difference to my running without it. My husband, Dion, went most of December without a drink, and he was absolutely killing me on the hills around Edinburgh, I know he is normally quicker anyway, but this wasn’t just quicker; he was doing it with absolute ease where as I was seriously struggling to breathe & run at the same time!
We have found some great training runs around Edinburgh, making full use of the sand at Portobello beach, and have hijacked a farmers paddock full of ankle deep mud. It’s a mile around the circumference of the paddock, and it kills you, especially after clocking up some miles already in the legs. It really does mimic how you feel after the long day out running in the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon, energy & muscle sapping, so perfect training for MdS.