Tag Archives: running

Marathon Training

Some thoughts about running the Stockholm marathon.

Running a marathon is something, like I have written before, that I never thought I would want to do. I have always been a runner but never set such a difficult goal for myself before. Continue reading

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Spain – our winter training camp 2016

OK, another long pause between the blog posts. It has proven very difficult to keep up the blogging as the weeks go by much too quickly. However, this week we were in Spain. Jason was already there for a week and then I (Sofi) came down on my school break for a week as well. After months of darkness and cold weather it is truly amazing to be here and feel the sun on your face! 😀

We are not just enjoying ourselves though, as the week is all about getting some training in on the bike and for me to do a few running sessions. Jason has been lucky as he has two weeks in Spain to train. It is perfect weather for cycling and running, not too warm and not at all cold. We have been able to cycle in shorts and short sleeve jerseys. It will be a few more months until we will be able to cycle like that in Sweden.

I arrived on Saturday and we went on my first ride on Sunday. It was very windy so we took it steady and did a short climb, only a few kilometers. I could tell that my legs were not used to cycling after the winter and it took a while to get going again. It was a good warmup for the ride we did on Tuesday, which was cycling up Sierra Espuña. It is a mountain near Murcia and we did it last February as well. The aim was to get a better time than last year and I did 🙂

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It is a very beautiful climb, about 1500 m over 23 km. There are parts of the climb that are tougher than the rest, and it is definitely not easy to cycle uphill for 2 hours. The key is to find a rhythm in your climbing and a way to control your breathing. It is easy to get stressed when the climbing becomes steeper so focusing on how you pedal and breathe is key. I had my two little cycling buddies with me though (Jason and Colin), so they kept me motivated almost all the way. The last part I did myself and then I was really tired 🙂 But I did a new PB so I am satisfied. The descent was not enjoyable though, it was so cold that I could not feel my fingers which is not the best when you need to brake a lot. The descending is so fast and I need to practise it a lot more.

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I did a run on Monday and Thursday. My legs really get some training this week and to combine cycling and running is not the easiest since both require you to use your legs. On Wednesday my legs were really tired so a rest day is exactly what I needed. My dad is in Spain to play golf, just down the road from where we are, so we hung out with him on Wednesday as well 🙂 It was the first time any of our (mine and Jason’s) parents had met, and both our dads got along really well. I was surprised at how much English my dad knew – he spoke just as much in English as he usually does in Swedish 😀

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On Friday we cycled Cresta del Gallo, a climb used in last year’s Vuelta a España (where Jason and Colin went to watch the stage as well). It was about 50 km to the climb, then the climb, and 50 km home. On the way home we had a headwind the whole way, so I tried to conserve energy by sitting in the wheels while Jason and Colin took turns in the wind, but even they were tired and we all struggled on the last bit.

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Yesterday we flew home and unfortunately our flight was delayed by about an hour due to the snow in Gothenburg…a bit different from what we had in Spain! Today we have unpacked, built our bikes back up, cleaned the flat, done our grocery shopping, done the laundry, and (I at least) had a nap! We started the day off really well though, with some delicious homemade scones!

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Back to work tomorrow, and Jason will be starting his new job as well.
We hope you all have had a good weekend,
Sofi and Jason

Our Weekend, Week 2 (plus week 1 catchup)

We’ll start at the beginning…of the new year!

2016 started with a very tired and lazy day for us, as it usually is the day after New Year’s. You can read about why we were tired and our plans for NYE here. We had a great evening, and my dad was with us in Sweden for a few more days, which meant more freezing temperatures and another frozen ride for him! We also played boule at Boulebar in town (on Saturday 2nd) and then ate some French cuisine there after we had played. Sofi won both games, well done to her! 😀 Unfortunately we then had to go home and it was so cold! We ended up squatting on the bench at the bus stop so our feet weren’t on the ground and our ankles weren’t getting a chilling wind on them!

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I finally got my saddle for my new bike, so my dad and I took some pictures of that one day while Sofi was meeting her friend Alex who has now moved to Brussels.

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After my dad left, on Epiphany I went for a long ride in -12°C! It was organised by Komet Club Rouleur (the guys who do the Thursday sprint sessions we do in the summer), and the plan was to do 120 km, but I knew that was daft when it was so cold, so I turned back early and did 70 km total. It wasn’t as bad as I had expected, but I was glad to not have been out any longer as well!

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After that, Sofi and I both started back at work on the 7th, for two days before the weekend. On the Friday it snowed a lot though, and I was hoping it would snow overnight as well so I could have a snowy ride, and a snowy ride I had! I rode for 40 km in the snow in the forest. It was -5°C and there was a LOT of snow. It was really fun, especially on my cyclocross bike (I had used my mountain bike in the snow previously). 😀

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On the Sunday, Sam and Caroline dropped Leo off on their way to Norway to ski. We were going to have him all week!!! I was wanting to have another ride, but I felt a little bit unwell…not sure if it was similar to what Sofi had or because I had been out in the cold for too long the past few days. So it was a day spent working and wrapped up on the sofa for all three of us, which Leo particularly liked!

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During the beginning of the week, the temperature started to rise, causing the snow to melt, but by the middle of the week it was getting much colder again and we even got new snow. So it was nice to see the shift from white to green to white again. The temperature was consistently cold during the nights though, and now the water in the harbour has frozen and you are able to walk (and skate) on it!

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During the week, we made a delicious Spinach and Ricotta tortellini, and we will post the recipe this week! 😀

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So, finally at the weekend of week 2! Friday was our last day with Leo, and we love looking after him because he is easily the best, sweetest, most well-behaved dog ever! Sam and Caroline were coming back from Norway in the afternoon/evening, so we offered to cook them dinner for when they came to collect Leo. We made our delicious Vietnamese Bun Cha with sticky tofu, and they loved it as much as we did. We weren’t sure what to make because we thought they could be starving but at the same time they might have gone to a fast food restaurant on the way back so might not want something too heavy. So we went for something that is both light and filling! 🙂

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For dessert we had ice cream and made a warm raspberry sauce to have on top of the ice cream with some chocolate pieces and crushed cashews. Delicious!

On Saturday, Caroline and Leo were competing in an agility competition, and we said we wanted to come and watch (and support them). So we went with them in the morning and stayed until after Leo’s run. It was amazing watching all these dogs (and their owners) compete. There were dogs of all sizes, and some of varying degree of ability. Leo came second in the first competition (he was joint first on point because he had no faults, but was second based on time). 🙂 In his second competition, he was unfortunate to jump over one obstacle the wrong way, causing him to fail. (The dogs run out of a tunnel towards the obstacle, but are supposed to go around it and then jump over it from the other side and enter the tunnel again.) He did so well otherwise though and was very quick – it would have certainly been another podium for him were it not for that 😦 Caroline clearly is a dog expert – Leo really is well trained! 😀

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After we got back, we made a butterscotch tart to take round to Malin and Evan’s for dinner. I also did a 45 min high-cadence session on the rollers, because I was finally feeling better again. (I also did a session on Friday before we started cooking.) Malin and Evan had prepared a delicious Moroccan meal for us, with spiced rice (with sultanas), chick pea balls, and two sauces. Yum! We then had the butterscotch tart for dessert with some vanilla quark on the side.

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Yesterday (Sunday), Sofi finally trained for the first time this year as well! She had been feeling better on Thursday/Friday, but I told her to wait a couple more days just to be certain. We did a tough Sufferfest session (me on the rollers, her on the turbo trainer), and then Sofi went out for fika with her friend Sanna. I stayed at home where it was warm – it was -12°C again yesterday!

For dinner, we made a delicious leek and cauliflower pasta bake we had been meaning to make for aaaages from a Jamie Oliver magazine we bought last January (the same one that had the original Bun Cha recipe actually!). It was absolutely delicious and we made enough so that it would last us a few days because I was meant to be at a meeting with my cycling club tonight and will be out at meetings on Wednesday and Thursday with the cycling club as well. We will definitely post this recipe next time we make it, because although there are a few different elements to prepare before baking, the flavours and textures are well worth the effort!

We booked some flights to go and see Sofi’s friend Alex in Brussels for April, to coincide with the Tour of Flanders! Our spring is certainly looking very busy…

Tonight we went for a walk along the river and had a little fika before coming back to dinner and writing our blog posts. We are both exercising tomorrow morning: Sofi will run and I will cycle, and then we will both do a short circuits session. Hopefully we can stay fit and healthy again now and get back to regular training and delicious food!

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We hope you all have a good week!

/Jason

P.S. If you haven’t read our post about our goals for 2016, do that, and tell us what your goals are as well.

Our Weekend, Week 51 – Almost Christmas!

Not many days left until Christmas now, so I thought I would catch you all up with what we’ve done since last weekend, and what our plans are for Christmas.

Yesterday we had our annual Christmas party, but we made it a bit smaller this year, and made some proper vegetarian Christmas food and just one dessert. (The past two years we have had some sort of snacks available and lots of desserts!) We also made our delicious mulled wine and winter Pimm’s again, and I think everyone had a great time. 😀

Today we drove down to Sofi’s parents in Skåne with Lisa and Tommy, and stopped off for a nice lunch in Falkenberg on the way. We will be here for a few days and will celebrate an early Christmas on Tuesday with Sofi’s parents, brother, and Lisa & Tommy. On Wednesday we will fly to England to celebrate Christmas there.

It will be nice for Sofi to have Christmas food in both Sweden and England, because the food you get is very different, and I know she’ll love it. For me, so long as I get Brussels sprouts and roasted potatoes I am happy…otherwise I would rather eat more “normal” food than Christmas food…but what I am looking forward to though is having English Christmas desserts: minced pies, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake. These are probably my favourite thing about Christmas in England, and my mum has already made the Christmas cake and will make a Christmas pudding for Christmas Day 😀

So with all that food going down (and probably some alcohol as well), how will we avoid going up in weight too much and also keep our training going? Well, we have taken our running and cycling gear with us. We are planning on having a couple of runs down here in Skåne (one short one tomorrow probably, and then one long one on Tuesday – there has been a lot of talk about doing about 20 km), then I will cycle in England and Sofi will run and cycle in England.

There is always a lot of free time around Christmas (if you’re not working), so there is definitely time for exercise! We’re not planning any intense sessions, more steady sessions just so we get out and don’t put pressure on ourselves to go fast in case our bodies are tired…and weighed down by all the food! I’m looking forward to our run on Tuesday and then getting some rides in while we’re in England.

 

So our week looks like this:
Monday – Christmas shopping, short run
Tuesday – Early Swedish Christmas, long run
Wednesday – Flight to England
Thursday – Christmas Eve party at my sister’s, long ride (hopefully)
Friday – Christmas Day, rest day
Saturday – Boxing Day, ___ ride
Sunday – Sale shopping, walking round shops

 

We hope you have a very merry Christmas, we’ll post something again soon!
/Jason

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Our Weekend, Week 50 – Lucia!

It’s Monday again, yay! Or not 🙂

We had a great weekend so that makes up for the fact that today it was cold and dark when you had to go up and go to work.

On Friday we both came home from work feeling a bit tired, like you usually do after a long week going up at 6 o’clock. We still decided (or I did) that a session on the turbo trainer and rollers for Jason would be a good idea to set the mood for the weekend. Sometimes physical exercise makes you relax so much better than to just go lie on the sofa.

We did an interval session with Sufferfest video. This was my first time this winter on the turbo trainer and it felt good! After the session we made a nice dinner and just relaxed.

On Saturday we got up early because my parents were coming to see us. When they arrived we had some coffee before going into town for lunch. After lunch Jason made a quick detour to go and get a signed copy of Fredrik Kessiakoff’s new book. He is a Swedish former professional cyclist. Jason then joined us at Liseberg.

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Liseberg is an amusement park here in Gothenburg and in December it turns into a Christmas landscape where you can see snowmen, snow covered Christmas trees and Santa Claus. It all feels a bit artificial since there has not been any real snow yet this year. But you do get into a nice Christmas feeling with all the Christmas music playing and the Christmas food that you can buy as well. There is an ice skating rink and they have real reindeer from Lapland (north of Sweden).

We walked around and looked at everything and bought a few things. My mum entered one of the many raffles they have and was lucky enough to win a large box of chocolate 🙂

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After a few hours we went back to town so that Jason could buy a Christmas outfit. In the afternoon after my parents had left, I went for my second running session of the week. I had decided to do 3 sessions this week and since there were only 2 days left it had to be done! 🙂 So, I went out with the intention to do an interval session. Unfortunately it had become very slippery on the roads so it was impossible to run fast and when it is dark you have to be extra careful since you can’t really see what you step on. The last thing I want is an injury so I decided to take it slow. It is better to finish the session in a different way than to skip it altogether.

In the evening we made a nice dinner and an apple pie! We love apple pie and it was delicious. There will be a recipe up shortly.

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On Sunday it was Lucia and time for Jason to use his Santa outfit. He was doing a cyclocross race here in Gothenburg. I came to see the race just as they were starting. Many cyclists had shown up but Jason had the best outfit 🙂 The sun was shining and I really enjoyed standing there in the sunshine watching them get muddy.

Jason had a few problems with his Santa outfit. I don’t think it’s the best cycling outfit (at least not if you want to win). However, that was not what he was after. He just wanted to have fun, and so he did. He won a prize for best outfit in the race so I think he was pleased 🙂

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Very amusing for me to watch and before going home I went past town to buy a few things. When I came home Jason was already home again and washing his bike on the balcony. I made us some lunch and after eating I decided to go for my last running session of the week. The plan for the final session this week was a distance run. I will try to do one every week now and a distance between 10-15 km. I knew there was about 1 hour of daylight left and so it was perfect for an hour’s run. The sun was still shining and it was the perfect temperature. It had become a little bit icy on the roads again so I had to take it carefully on Sunday as well. That didn’t matter though since I did not want to push too hard and keep the average pace to 5.20-5.40 min/km. In the end I ran 11 km with an average pace of 5.25 min/km so it was perfect.

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We then did our weekly shopping and ended the evening with a Christmas movie and the left-over apple pie!

This week is a bit hectic but I will really try to get my training sessions done no matter what.
I hope you will all have a great week!

/Sofi

Running thoughts of the day

Yesterday when I came home after work I went out for a short run. I have decided to get 3 running sessions in this week. What you should do when you have decided to go for a run after work is to NOT go and lie on the sofa, you will never get off of it. Go out straight away 🙂

When I go out for a run I (almost) always decide beforehand how far I will run and what type of session I want to do. I think that is one of the key aspects when it comes to my training. I have never been the type of person who goes out running without a plan. I also think it is important to set goals for yourself becuase they push you and act as motivation.

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