My first week of training in 2023

A person using a massage gun on their (fully-clothed) leg. Text has been superimposed saying 'My first week of training in 2023'.

My 16-week countdown to the London Marathon starts here. I’m still struggling with my breathing after getting ill 7 weeks ago, but I’ve decided to plough on. If I don’t recover quickly enough then I’ll defer my place.

New Year’s Day parkrun

After our parkrun at Bartley Park, we knew that M would not be willing to do another run so soon, so we agreed that she could go in the buggy. She did however want to get some litter picking in (a litter picker was top of her Christmas wish list). We arrived early, which gave us a chance to catch up with some friends. It was lovely to see Liz and Luana.

A selfie taken by Liz showing Liz, Luana and Tamsyn.
Selfie with Liz and Luana. © Liz Carter
Stu and M. She is in a running buggy and is holding a litter picker.
We stowed M’s litter picker before the run! © Liz Carter

Catching up with Rachel

I saw Rachel as we were heading to the start, so we had a quick catch up and Rachel agreed to run with me. It was so lovely to see her as we’ve not had a chance to catch up for weeks.

A crowd of people running at the start of parkrun. Tamsyn and Rachel can be seen in the middle of the shot with a double running buggy.
© Richard Cooper

Stu and M had a good run with our friend, Jez (in the yellow t-shirt). He’s the friend that cycled across Japan with us.

A group of fast male runners. Stu is in the middle of the group pushing M in her buggy.
© Richard Cooper

My run was quite frustrating. It’s now 7 weeks since I fell ill and my breathing still isn’t back to normal. I chatted all of the way around with Rachel but found the running really hard. It also reminded me how flat some other parkruns are in comparison with Southampton.

Rachel and Tamsyn can be seen running behind a man wearing black.
© Richard Cooper

So how did I do?

My time reflects how hard I found the run. I so desperately want to be back under 30 minutes, but seem to be getting further away at the moment.

Tamsyn's parkrun results email from New Year's Day. Her time was 32:18.

Wednesday long run

I wanted to do 16km on Wednesday in the hope that I would get back onto my training plan. Unfortunately, I’m still not 100%, so I knew it would be slow. The run started off well, but after about 30 minutes, my right Achilles started to hurt. I was disappointed but decided to end my run after 5.5km and see whether it was any better later in the day.

Whilst M is at gymnastics, I have almost an hour, so I decided to use that time running. I was moving at a similarly slow pace to earlier in the day. As Redbridge is flat with lots of grassy areas, it didn’t hurt my Achilles. I managed to squeeze in another 5.5km, bringing my day’s total to 11km. I decided against trying to do another 5km after getting back as I wanted to ease back into training. Hopefully, I’ll manage 16km at the weekend.

Trying out my new toy

For Christmas, Stu bought me a Sanitas deep tissue massager. Clubmates at Hayle Runners had discussed how good they thought it was, so we thought it was worth a try. It’s no replacement for a massage from a therapist, but it’s certainly a cheaper option. It was easy to use and didn’t feel uncomfortable, so I’ll see how I feel later in the week.

Strength and conditioning

In the evening, I persuaded Stu to do Dr Eric Goodman’s 12-minute foundation training workout with me again. I think that last time we must have done the original one, as I didn’t remember the exercises, but I could definitely feel this. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to squeeze in some strength, conditioning or yoga every day.

Other steps to get fit again

I’ve been trying to stand whilst working for an hour a day to get used to being on my feet. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to increase this over the next few months. I’ve also been trying to ensure that I do something healthy each lunch break, whether that’s a walk or a bit of stretching.

parkrun on 7th January

I assumed that this would be a slow parkrun as M was running with me. My original plan had been to run for an hour or so before parkrun, do the parkrun with M and then run home, but the weather forecast was horrendous.

M wearing running clothes. She has on a running jacket and mint green watch from Decathlon; starry night print leggings and a poodle t-shirt.

M got dressed in her new running clothes. She was excited to receive some new tops and legging from her aunt for Christmas and she also received a new running watch. It’s just a basic stopwatch, but it’s her favourite colour: mint green.

When M realised what the weather forecast was, she said that she didn’t want to run. She knows that she has to attend parkrun, but she has the choice about whether she wants to run or not. As she didn’t want to run, it meant that I had to push the buggy.

Buggy-running is hard work!

We stayed in the car until 8:40am as we didn’t want to get wet. Luckily, the weather forecast was wrong as it turned out to be a dry morning.

I found it hard to complete the 5km whilst pushing M in her buggy. I think she weighs 20-25kg and the buggy weighs nearly 10kg, so pushing ~35kg (roughly half my body weight) is challenging. To encourage me around, M sang. I find this helpful as it means that she doesn’t ask me questions and also she doesn’t tell me to go faster! I was relieved to cross the line in 35:34.

Tamsyn's results email from Southampton parkrun. Her time was 35:34.

After parkrun, I had a chance to speak to some friends. I’m quite excited that I’ve got a parkrun adventure planned for early February. You’ll have to check back if you want to find out what it is!

I’ve bought a treadmill

In the past, I loved marathon training as it was a chance to run with friends. I really enjoy social running. This time around, I’ve not been so lucky. People I hoped I might run with have already found themselves running buddies, so it looks like I’ll be doing it solo.

I don’t enjoy running on my own. Running with others is one of the reasons why I love parkrun. I’ve got used to listening to podcasts whilst running alone, but I don’t feel comfortable doing that in the dark. I’m also much slower than when I’ve previously trained for marathons, so I decided to buy a treadmill. Here’s my new running buddy…

A Reebok One GT40s in a kitchen diner.

Stuart and I managed to manhandle it from a first floor flat with a very narrow winding staircase to our car. We then managed to carry it up the steps to our front door. However, we had a problem at that point and were stuck with one end in and one end out for almost 30 minutes. I was so relieved when we found a solution 9although we did have to move lots of stuff!)

Tamsyn smiling with the treadmill display behind her.
A high angle shot of Tamsyn looking sweaty on the treadmill.

I did my first treadmill run this evening. It was only 7.5km at a slow pace, but I found it hard going as I was tired. It was also very hot and I drank a lot of water. It’s not the same as running outside with a friend, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

Do you have any tips for treadmill running?

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

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