Saturday, 21 April 2012

The faster you run....

Well it's the day before the London marathon - the very reason why i started this blog 1 and 1/2 years ago.

It's been one hell of a journey. At times we've laughed, cried and became slightly unhinged together and as I recap over some of my past ramblings I can't help feeling a bit of what the enormity of tomorrow means.

I've enjoyed the overall blogging experience, even if my posting has been erratic and I may well decide to keep going after the big event (performance pending).

With any luck tomorrow I'll be updating with my result and showing off a shiny space blanket and an even shinier marathon medal (suggestions for best way to wear space blanket are appreciated - I've worked out how to wear the medal).

If you're running tomorrow then good luck and stay strong. If you're missioning it to London to watch then the same goes to you!

Thank you all for staying the course with me.

Over and out

Biscuit Nikki x

Thursday, 12 April 2012


Oh hello there biscuit fans, I didn't hear you come in as I was busy being paranoid.

Welcome to Taper Town!

The last three weeks (roughly) of any marathoner's training plan is known as 'tapering'. It involves reducing mileage and allowing the body to successfully recover in time for the BIG day.  It's just as important as the preceding weeks of high mileage.

You'd think we'd be happy about it, after weeks of slamming our bodies into the pavement and rearranging weekend plans to fit around a 3 hour training run a bit of respite would be welcomed with open arms.

Well in the first week of taper it probably is. I enjoyed the extra hours at home and saying stupid things like "it's ok I'm *only* going out for 12 miles" - when did 12 miles become an *only*? Now however we are approaching the end of the second week of tapering and my thought pattern tends to go like this:

- Oh my god what if I don't wake up in time on the morning and miss the coach?
- My knee feels a bit odd
- I'm getting fat and loosing fitness - should probably do a longer run this evening
- Actually my knee does feel odd so maybe I will rest
- Oh god I just sneezed - I have lurgy!
- Wait wait the knee is fine. Although my calf is feeling a bit tight
- Check the weather - Check the weather
- Where am I? Oh yes I should probably do some work.

And so on and so on. All the little worries become life pressing issues. Every time someone in my office mentions feeling a bit ill I start avoiding them and I have to go to the toilet a million times because I am drinking enough water in an attempt to be fully hydrated to sustain the hosepipe ban for several more months.

On top of all of that I have restless legs and too much energy - which in turn is becoming nervous energy and adding to the overall paranoia that my leg is falling off or I am going down with the plague.

Oh and don't forget the weather. I'm not entirely sure that 10 day weather forecasts are that accurate anyway...wait 10 days! Is that it? Oh my god I need to do more training.

So if you happen to encounter a marathon runner who is taking part in Brighton (this weekend) or London (next weekend) please try to be understanding. They are going slightly insane and are probably unstable but it's only temporary (in most cases) and should cease after the race. If you want to be helpful say things like "you're looking very fit", "I hear the weather (on race day) is going to be perfect for PB's" and "No no it's ok your leg is still attached".

Thank you for your understanding.

Biscuit Nikki x

In exciting news! My fundraising has just passed £1000!!!! Whoop whoop. Thank you to all you generous people out there, most recently  Rav and Christine.  I know times are difficult and your sponsorship is very much appreciated.

There's still lots of chances to enter 'who's time is it anyway' to win an amazing hamper. To find out more please read the blog entry before this one titled 'Who's time is it now'.

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy!
Just go to:

Monday, 26 March 2012

Who's time is it now?

Greetings biscuit fans!

Last year you will hopefully remember that I ran (not literally) the competition 'Who's time is it anyway?' The idea being that for just £2 you could predict my finish time and stand a chance of winning a scrumptious M&S food hamper (or vouchers - hampers apparently don't fall into the 'standard envelope' category and cause all manner of chaos at the Post office - I blame the bunch of grapes).

Anyway - as regular readers will know, I had to defer my entry and enter this years race (2012) and therefore nobody won.  I considered declaring a draw, however sending out tiny bits of hamper to everyone was going to give the Post Office an even bigger headache (Single grapes also don't count as standard envelope size- unless you crush them. Please note this will upset the Post Office clerk so put them in bubble wrap first).

So the solution: All predicted times from last year have been officially ROLLED OVER. A bit like the National Lottery but with better odds at winning. Oh and the prize has increased in value to a whopping £50 hamper (imagine all those un-squashed grapes!). Read on...

Did you enter last year?
If you entered last year you have the opportunity to change your predicted time (or times) ONCE. Of course if you're happy with your time from last year then don't do anything. Otherwise please click on the tab to the time grid above, find an unallocated free time that you would like and then contact me letting me know the old time and the new time you wish to change to. Simples! As always - first come first serve. So do you think I have got faster or have slowed down????

Didn't enter?..Would you like to enter this year?
So what about it?
Today is your lucky day! Not only has the prize increased in value but the entry cost has stayed the same (no rise with inflation)!
£2 per entry time. To enter complete the following steps:
1. Click on the 'What's my time' tab above and view the available finishing times
2. Pick a time that you think I will finish the race in. Make sure it's not already allocated
3. Donate £2 on my Virgin Giving money page (link below) or give me the money in person. Let me know which time (or times) you would like.
4. Sit back whilst I allocate you the time and then run the race.

This year there's the added bonus of choosing DNS (Did Not Start) or DNF (Did Not Finish) which will hopefully give us an outright winner either way and there will be no need to start dividing bunches of grapes.

Times are all allocated on a first come first serve basis. After the race I will contact the lucky winner and arrange the prize.

Good Luck!

Disclaimer: There's a good chance the hamper wont actually contain grapes. But don't let that put you off!

Stay lucky!

Biscuit Nikki x

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy!
Just go to:

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Blogging in motion


Busy couple of months. So much so that the only time I have to update this is whilst I am sat at a train station whilst using my phone. Technology is amazing! So in true 10 o clock news style I'm going to do a mini update:

Hmm I can't work out how to type in bold - so you'll just have to imagine nice bold headlines...that's very good well done you!

- Biscuit Towers

We are fully moved into the new biscuit towers which is requiring lots of new DIY skills. Just in case you were wondering lifting boxes, sofas, beds and the kettle in and out of a van/car/'people you blackmailed into helping' car all counts as cross training. If you don't believe me try doing it for a day and then lifting your arms to put shampoo in your hair the next morning - you will feel the burn.

- Snow: but not the full apocalypse as predicted by the daily mail

That's right, you've probably forgotten already but we did have a bit of snow. Uncharacteristically for the UK we actually all just got on with it. This may be largely due to the fact that it snowed over the weekend and people didnt have to pretend to be stuck in it to avoid work. I managed to keep up the training and get some long runs in, albeit they were very slow. Which brings me on nicely to...

- Don't bring oranges to a snowball fight

You expect the odd snowball when running in snow. A lot of the time people are too surprised to see you and their reflexes are too slow to quickly make a snowball and throw it at you with any degree of accuracy. I don't mind snowballs - I can throw some back (also missing). However I take huge offence to the person who threw a large orange at me when I was out the other day. Using a car is cheating. So is using fruit.

- Marathon training

Is going well. I am being overly cautious as this was around the time I made it to last year when I started falling apart. I've complete a 20 mile run and ran 1hr 32min (and 4 sec if you want to be pedantic) in the wokigham half marathon last week. I am very pleased with that. Almost back to the fitness level I was at last year and all is looking promising. I learnt a lot from my mistakes - there's no need to run every single day and rest is just as important as training runs. I've also decided that unless you're elite or training for a very fast time there is no need to run twice a day (for me anyway). All going well so far. Oh and just to clarify - when you finish a long run and collapse on the floor you are in fact completing an important post-run stretch which is essential for recovery and used by lots of the pros, regardless of how it looks or what your neighbour thinks. Pressing random buttons on your watch (especially if they 'beep') will also help the illusion if they need more convincing of this.

- Fundraising

Im running for Brain Tumour UK again, the same as last year. My place was brought by me and donated - so all the money I raise goes straight to the charity instead of paying for the marathon place or any other perks. If you took part in the 'who's time is it anyway' competition last year your guessed time still stands for this year and the prize is the same (M&S hamper or vouchers). At the weekend I will publish a blog giving you ONE opportunity to change your estimated time. (for each time you entered). Get thinking and I will release details in the following couple of days.

If you didn't get a chance to enter the competition or sponsor me last year then this is your lucky day! You can go to

Which will give you information about the charity and tell you that there's less than 8 weeks to go! Scary stuff. You can also just go to have a nose around if you're bored. It's a bit like bonus DVD material.

Lastly if you don't want to miss any updates you can apparently subscribe to my blog using your email address. I have no idea how or why it works but there's a box around here somewhere that should let you do it.

I'm just going to end by saying that yesterday my dad sent me a link to an article about a Chinese lady who was pronounced dead and put in a coffin waiting to be buried. 8 days later she was up and walking around. There's two messages I'd like you to take away from this: firstly don't give up hope because motivation to succeed is a powerful thing and secondly don't trust Chinese doctors.

Keep smiling

Biscuit Nikki X

Monday, 9 January 2012

Lemsip Power Activate!

Happy New Year Biscuit fans!

I hope the festive break brought you lots of running, rest and of course good food. 

Here's a picture of me after running 12 miles on Christmas day whilst wearing the father christmas hat- I know I spoil you.

Jolly Jogging
The start of 2012 is a momentus occasion for most of us. Another successful rotation around the sun, the year of the London Olympics and if you believe in doomsday predictions/awful American disaster movies then it's also the end of The World.

2012 is going to be the year of the Biscuit for me.  I am moving to a new Biscuit Towers that we will actually own and it is the year when I intend to meet (and hopefully conquer) my apparent Nemesis - The London 2012 Marathon.

Oh yes - we're back to this baby again.

Any of you that are runners will know that the start of the new year means the start of training.  All the months of compiling excel tables filled with bizarre training schedules will now be properly tested - as I do everything I can to avoid actually following them.

The marathon is a funny beast and I haven't even managed to actually run one yet! You can spend so long planning your training and worrying about your training and dreaming about training, even before you've actually started training!

Running should be simple - left foot...right foot...repeat type stuff. However as soon as your scratch below the surface you realise it's a lot more complicated than that. There's whole minefields around the areas of pacing, nutrition and recovery. Questions and more questions and then opinions and even more opinions. I know a few of you are training for your own races, so I'll do my best to cover my opinions on some of these topics as we get closer to the big day.

The trick is to find out what works for you. Sometimes I wonder if that is the challenge itself.

So what do you do when life inevitably gets in the way?

Take my first week of proper training as an example.  I have found a schedule I am happy with and have personalised it to try and work on my weaknesses.  I made sure it fitted into the time I had until London 2012 and I spent a few months at the end of last year working on my 'base fittness'. Only for the first week of January to arrive and me to feel ill and loose my voice. Whilst this has resulted in a rather good Ross Kemp impression the hacking cough that accompanies it is less good for the old running lungs.

We all know from my previous posts the importance of listening to your body and ensuring you get proper rest. So how do you fight the urge to stick to your schedule against the overwhelming evidence that you really shouldn't be running (and should stick to your bed)?

A tip I have picked up on my wisdom seeking travels is that if your symptoms are above your neck (sore throat/blocked nose etc) you're generally ok to run. If not then just take a break - you could do yourself far more damage and you're unlikely to have a 'good' training session anyway (there are many scare stories of small colds developing into serious illnesses after people pressed their training). You can easily 'loose' a week of training without reducing your fitness levels and at the end of the day (as I have learnt the hard way) it's just a race.  If you have lost more than 10 days of running and you have less than 8 weeks to go, then you may have to revise your targets and choose wisely how you return to your schedule. But it is just a race.

So snuggle up with some chicken soup, a duvet and a mug of lemsip - don't worry about your schedule and make sure you're missing that run for the right reasons.

After all as I keep telling myself: It IS just a race. Oh and if you start sounding like Ross Kemp then it's best to stick to wispering for a while - unless you want to scare off tele-sales people.

Keep healthy

Biscuit Nikki x