Category Archives: Diet

My first half-marathon

Setting off


Nike+ claims I ran a half-marathon back in November, and at a stonking pace too. But the subsequent months have convinced me that this must have been some sort of glitch on the app’s part – I’ve never again been able to match it.

No matter. I definitely ran one on Sunday. And in driving snow, too. The picture above is what greeted me as I left the house. It was barely snowing at the time, although the wind was vicious and the temperature somewhere around zero.

But you just have to get on with it don’t you? So I set off, and ran to Leatherhead – a little under six miles away – and back, adding a couple of off-road loops into the run to make up the required 13 miles.

Crossing the frosted railway, heading out of Dorking

Crossing the frosted railway, heading out of Dorking

The route was suggested by Mrs Reed, who very sensibly pointed out that the tarmac roadside path would be much easier to run on than the thick, slippery mud-world all the local trails had turned into. And she was right.

Even better, my new Eat More regime proved its worth: my energy levels were transformed, and I reached Leatherhead quicker and more easily than I could have expected.



As I ran, the snow grew thicker in the air, although thankfully never quite developed into the blizzard it occasionally seemed to threaten. It came and went, and hardly settled, but having it whipped across you by that mean wind was fairly off-putting.

The good thing about running six miles away from home, of course, is that you have no choice but to run the six miles back again (with, as I say, some little extras to make the 13).

At Leatherhead, I made up some distance by detouring up a muddy track through the farmland, crossing an extremely high and energetic river Mole:

And meeting some hungry cows:

Then I doubled back and ran the roadside path again, taking a final little detour at the foot of Box Hill to make sure I hit 13 before I got home. Which I did. Thank heavens.

Yes, I was knackered, and yes, doing that distance twice in one day is a fairly daunting prospect. But with my newly improved knees, and considerably more protein and carbs fizzing round my system, I’m feeling a lot more confident.

I tested the legs on Tuesday morning with a quick morning run around Norbury Park, a local woodland. It was less than four miles, but involves a steep little climb (frozen mud: like running over shattered concrete), and that left me pretty exhausted.

But I remembered the wisdom of my trainer, who always says to keep going, just at a gentle jog, rather than stop. So I forced the legs on, and they gradually submitted and got on with it. You do learn, doing this stuff, how much more your body is capable of than you thought.

Next weekend: eighteen miles.


A quick one


I got out for a 5.75km run this Wednesday, in the woodland at the end of our road. (Not much excuse for not running when you have that.)

It took about 3km to feel properly warmed up, and although I was fairly pleased with the time (35 minutes), I felt I could do better if I just had more energy. In fact, I’ve been feeling low on energy for a while, as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts.

I spoke about this to my personal trainer – the wonderful Karen Marshall – this morning. She asked about my diet, and I revealed that I eat pretty much what my wife eats. ‘My God, that’s no good!’ she exclaimed, and as we talked more it became clear that I’m not feeding my body anything like enough for it to keep up with all this new running.

This is great news. Firstly because it explains something that’s been bothering me – psychologically, you start to lose confidence. And secondly, because I get to eat a lot more, of lots of the things I love: meat, potatoes, pasta, fish, bread…

Kedgeree is good, apparently. Excellent.

Kedgeree is good, apparently. Excellent.

Good news all round. I ate a celebratory half-tonne of mash for my lunch, and will be continuing to pile in the (quality) calories ahead of a planned Big Run this weekend. I need to build my distances quite dramatically, so I’m planning a 15-miler.

Better cook up some more spuds.