TSP training blog - December edition

It's been a while... just here catching waves not feelings 😁

"Feelings are much like waves: we can't stop them from coming, but we can choose which one to surf."

Thank you for joining me on this blogging journey again. I appreciate you.

So you may have heard that I am part of an amazing group of women called London Sole Sisters. A collective looking to break down those barriers that still exist in sports participation especially for the under-represented group. We want to share our journey whilst inspiring our generation of 40 plus that age shouldn't be a barrier. Just do you and enjoy movement in any form. It wasn't difficult to say yes to this challenge when asked by Gloria. I had heard of it and know the journey all too well often following James Poole - the legend who has completed TSP solo a number of times! As I write this, James just completed another solo mission called TSP Atacama 500km in the driest non-arctic desert in the world achieving 2nd place! Just incredibly mindblowing! 3 days 22 hours 12 minutes and 30 seconds!  🀯🀯

I will also be sharing the training journey (BONUS✨️) of my London Sole Sisters as part of the blog. So look out for it! ✨️

To tell you more about The Speed Project it is an unsanctioned race with no spectators, no rules, no aid stations and no crowd support πŸ€”.  There are no cut off times. Its just you and your team mates and the road. It is an ultra relay starting from Santa Monica Pier in LA to the Welcome sign in Las Vegas, roughly 340 miles.  It is standard to form a team of six: while one person runs the other 5 rest, changing intermittently over the 340 mile course. No roads will be closed off so in effect we will be running next to traffic. Just browsing through the photos from previous years put a fire in my belly. Stunning views,  breathtaking scenery,  runners looked awesome!

NO ID  3rd place finishers TSP 2023 OG

No ID Crew from the UK did a fantastic job and such a great feeling to personally know the members of the team. They currently hold the European record of finishing in 35 hours and 25 mins.

So why this blog... 

I thought it would be a wonderful idea to document my training from December - March 2024. Although I have been running consistently this year, this training block is going to look slightly different I imagine. We are being coached by the amazing Camino Ultra. Who also coached me for both my 50k and 100k this year. 

This blog will document my training journey for December 2023

Week 1: 1st Dec - 7th Dec

The week started off with a rest day as I was racing the next two days. Friday usually is my long run day but not this week. Saturday kicked off with Met League Cross Country or XC Race #3 of the season at Uxbridge.  The good ol' route with a ski slope and river crossing! Safe to say I didn't dare attempt the river crossing again choosing safety ( if you know me then you know I am prone to injury)! I felt stronger this time around. Tired but strong and I always attempt a sprint finish. Nothing beats seeing that finish funnel πŸ˜…. My strava data showed some lovely PRs which is always a pleasant surprise. 

XC distance is 8km each race but the terrain always makes it feel much harder but I do love it. Even the mud!!

It was Jane's 1st XC and first race in a Harrow AC vest.  Great to have Jane on the team and run mostly together. 

Sunday saw another race. This time it was a nice local one in Abbey Woods. An event organised by Plumstead runners, a memorial run (2nd time) for Ray Marshall, a founding member. It is a race that takes you up, up, up, down and around the beautiful trails of Lesnes Abbey woods. So when I signed up it was described as 'challenging' 5 mile route with elevation is in the region of 250-300m or 820-984ft. I thought, OK, I can do this. I do love hills and I know the benefits so why not!!! Plus it was a tenner! What a bargain!

Well, it was as described and nothing less. The fact that the event was almost all male participants said alot too! It was lovely to see Sarah and Eros at the start too.
The course was absolutely beautiful.  The marshalls were amazing and overall 10/10. Super proud of myself and I ran up a few hills which means that my S&C sessions are working! 

A great day out! Will definitely be exploring this route again soon.

The rest of the week consisted of two strenghts session including recovery and a 10km run. Some of my fave equipment for strength training:

1. Dynamic/flexibility stretches: 2 mins
2. 4 mins foam rolling the calves, quads, hamstrings, and IT band
3. Resistance bands bicep curls 12 x 3 sets
4. RDL with kettlebell 12 x 3 sets
5. Core sliders 12 x 3 sets 
6. Round the world with kettlebell

Finish off with 3 mins foam rolling and stretching it all out 

I love to hate the foam roller, but I can already feel the benefits of using it more often.  I used to swap it for the massage gun, but I now know when I need to use which.

Week 2: 8th Dec - 14th Dec

Week started off with a planned 29km run. It has been a very busy few weeks at work due to Ofsted Inspection. In a school environment, Ofsted pay a visit over 2 days. Within a local authority they are here for 2 weeks and data collection the week before that, so you can just imagine.
Nevertheless, runs have to be completed. I was mentally drained but felt physically OK so I went out there and gave it a good shot. Grateful that Alice planned this route for me via Strava and I sent it to my Garmin (Navigation courses). Any opportunity to use the navigation on my new watch is a plus! Run started well but I started flagging around 25km but pushed on. Eventually called it a day at 27.40km.

 Not bad at all!! Very proud considering the week it has been. The weather and route was great so always makes it that bit easier. Took in some amazing trail routes that were new to me and some familiar ones too. Starting from home and going through Victoria Park, Hackney Marshes, Homerton, Walthamstow Marshes, Regents Canal.

Ended up walking another 5km that day too! 10km on Saturday morning doing some loops in Victoria Park with Shel. The plan was to run Mile End Parkrun and then an additional 5km but I suggested we just ran to Victoria Park around 8am for an earlier run. 

People often wonder if I never get bored of this park, well, NO. I run on the trail path and also on concrete depending on how I feel. Unfortunately due to work, I missed Frontier London session on Tuesday but I made sure I went out for that run. Not quite the 10km I would have completed with the group but managed 8.8km which was a loop around East London at a nice pace of 6:03/km. I felt strong and happy. A very happy run indeed.

Part of my 29km route

A good week of 2 walks, yoga, 3 runs and a strength session. Not as much strength work as I would have liked but we move.

Week 3: 15th Dec - 21st Dec

This is a big week as it held the longest run since Race to the Stone in July. The plan was to run 20 miles with Alice on 15th Dec. In fact we ran almost 22 miles! Alice planned a route which took us through Hammersmith, Putney, Richmond Bridge, Twickenham Bridge and Barnes Bridge.

This was a planned easy run and just go out there and enjoy the trails. First run with Alice in a few months so it was lovely to run and chat. This was also another great opportunity to practice using my Garmin Fenix Pro 6 for navigation.  Navigation will be a huge part of getting from A to B in The Speed Project. 

Wimbledon Common

I do love trees!

Great route!

I then completed a 10 mile run according to the plan and kept it local in Victoria park. Easy run as usual and tried not to get carried away as I start to warm up and enjoy the music. I think I need to switch to listening to Podcasts in the new year. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments section.

Fueling right is a huge part of my training.  Not just before but also during the long runs. I have been using Precision Hydration and Fuel for 2 years now and absolutely love it. They work for me!

I have tried the electrolytes, chews and drink mix and they all work for me as I am a sweaty sweater. You can get a free fuelling plan and do a sweat test to see what products will suit you.  Precision Hydration and Fuel
Grateful that they are also providing London Sole Sisters with products to use during training. 

A good week of running, yoga, Pilates and strength and conditioning. Felt strong this week physically although at times mentally drained from work. One thing I will not do is allow my work to get in the way of my training. This is my time and I will always make time for it. This is one of the reasons that morning runs work for me as I am a morning person and getting it done means that I do not need to think about it for the rest of the day.

Early morning run to City Hall in the pouring rain!

Good Ol' Victoria Park loops! 

Week 4: 22nd Dec- 31st Dec

This week’s movement will be whilst I holiday with the family so training is not going to be so as strict. I would really love to take this as a ‘down-time’ to slow down as the last few weeks has been hectic with Ofsted inspection at work and training load ramping up as I prep for an ultra-run in January.

We walk almost everywhere on holiday so this week is no different. Started exploring the local area (which is familiar to us as we have been here before) with a walk, ended up being a lovely 5km in the sunshine.

First run this week was on Christmas day at 8am. 3.24km barefoot running on the lovely sandy beach. I try to be barefoot as much as possible to help strengthen my weak ankles. I have suffered a number of sprains and a 5th metatarsal injury so this is really important to me.

A lovely cold water dip after each lap! My feet loved it!

Told myself that I would do all my runs on the beach and I completed 4 runs totalling 19.5km and walked 15km this week. Not too bad for a slow down and easy miles and recovery week.

For my walks, I brought along my Merrell Vapor Glove shoes. These help to protect the feet from uneven, rugged terrain which Albufeira, Portugal has a lot of! A lightweight barefoot shoe, which grips in all conditions and also mimics being barefoot.
The first barefoot run was slow as you can imagine, getting used to running on sand/dry sand and wet sand was even harder as you sort of fell into it. As the week progressed my pace improved and I found the best part of the sand to run on. What I also included was going into the water for a nice cool-down for my legs after each lap.

I noticed that I felt stronger running as each day progressed and loved the morning run as ever.

Having flat feet also makes me prone to foot and ankle injuries.  Flat feet can put a strain on ligaments and muscles which can result in tendinitis (inflammation of the tendons) in ankles and knees which I often suffer from. 

You can be a successful and injury free runner even with flat feet. This link below has great tips on how to do this and just being aware of your feet. Flat feet runners
Lovely dip!
Another morning run!

What more can I ask for?!

Perfect! Definitely feel rested this last week.

Training has been going well over the last few weeks and this feels about right.

Total running milage: 122.54km 

One of the many walks that happened in Albufeira with my daughter Shakira ❤️

December - Over and out as we board the plane back to London Town ✌🏿

Left to right: Gloria, Linda, Dionne, Cheryl  Iyabo, Trina, Jane = London Sole Sisters! 


December training summary - Be kind to yourself! By Linda Agyemang 

From the start I knew December would be a challenging month for training not only because of the weather but having to fit in training around my SLR Christmas Lights Running Tours, leading Tuesday night social run and other festive activities.

The month started off well with me following my training plan which consisted of an easy run, a tempo session and a long run that incorporated hills/trails. Each week my mileage was building and I began to feel stronger. I was also managing to fit in 1-2 strength workouts in the week. It did start to fall apart a little half way through the month but I tried not to beat myself up too much because I was still running sometimes 4-5 times a week but not following my plan. I was extremely happy that I completed 3 long runs, the longest being 23 miles.

Unfortunately, I fell ill and was unable to run for 12 days, which was really tough for me. I went for walks and did some yoga when I had the strength to do so. I’m hoping that I will be in good form for my ultra and complete it without any injuries, so after some rest training can resume for TSP.

Thank you Linda for sharing your training journey this month. ❤️

A gentle reminder that we are fundraising to make this event happen and to represent. Please find our GoFundMe page here. Any contribution is greatly appreciated πŸ™πŸΏ 

Thank you to:

- Camino Ultra: Our coaches for TSP. Thank you for your on-going support, training plans and group runs. We appreciate you πŸ«‘πŸ™πŸΏ
- Precision Hydration and Fuel: My go to fuelling. I have tried many of what is out there on the market and this definitely works for me. πŸ™πŸΏπŸ«‘ Thank you for fueling me! 
- Merrell: #family - Forever providing me with amazing trail running footwear! 🫑

Wishing you all the best for whatever the new year brings. Sending you hugs and good vibes ❤️. 

Please look out for January's training recap which will be published at the end of Jan 2024 πŸ˜‰


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