Wednesday, 26 July 2017 08:36

30 down, 22 to go!

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In December last year, I knew I wanted to do something that would inspire me to maintain my fitness levels and allow me to stick to a set target.  So I decided to run 10k once a week and raise as much money as possible for a charity close to me - Alzheimer Scotland.  Before thinking about this challenge, I did my usual of being a bit OTT and thinking of running a 10k every day for the duration of 2017 before I realised that this was probably a step too far with all my other responsibilities!  I am quite guilty of trying to complete daily lists and when I don't, I can easily fall into a negative mindset.  I find it very easy to focus on the half empty rather than hall full, particularly when looking at my own successes! Running has allowed me to lose that negativity.  However, don't get me wrong, not every run brings me happiness and joy!

So in January, my first 10k was completed at a time of roughly 44 mins! In 7 months, I have managed to reduce my time to approximately 39 mins on average.  This shows a good steady improvement but there have been days when I have stepped out the door and thought, I cant be arsed with this or felt like turning back after two miles.  At times, it is mentally draining pounding the streets and breathing out my backside going up dreaded hills!   However, on a positive note, there have been good times.  I have completed two half marathons and one full marathon with some degree of success so far this year.

I record all my runs dedicated to the weekly 10k challenge on the Strava app.  Strava gives me great motivation as I can see clear progress of times getting quicker and there is nothing better than seeing a wee PR (Personal Record) on a particular segment within a set route.  My running buddies all use the app so it is great to monitor how we are all doing after a run is complete.  I often get asked by my clients, how to improve running times?  I am a firm believer in hill running and this type of training allows me to push myself to work between 16-20 on the Rate of Percieved Exertion Scale (RPE) which is within my anaerobic training zone (above 85% of my max heart rate). Yes, working anerobically is not always a comfortable feeling but it is short lived!  This then certainly improves my aerobic capacity (65-85%) whilst running on the flat ground. 

I also feel a key to improving times is tempo training.  This type of training is being able to maintain a set pace per mile for the duration of the run.  When I first started in January, I was aiming to maintain a pace of 8 min miles on average.  However, through sheer persistance this then reduced to below 7 min miles on average.  Depending on the distance of run I plan to do, I have a set pace in mind that pushes me yet it must be acheivable and realistic to maintain.  Another two key areas to gaining progress with my running, is how often I workout (frequency) and STRETCHING!  I try and complete 2-3 workouts per week which can vary from cardio, HIIT to resistance (weight training) work.  However, I must admit, I have not done too much resistance work this year as cardio has slighlty taken over.  I do aim to increase my resistance work, as it is so beneficial to running in terms of not losing muscle mass!  However, stretching is imperative to avoid injury and reduce soreness from your runs.  I try and stretch most days but I am gulity of craving a hot shower too much and ditching my 10-15 minute session with my mat!  I often feel the full consequence of not stretching the following day with soreness/tightness and this is where I really have become best friends with my foam roller.  I try and do a dynamic stretch prior to completing my runs and static after my run.

I am certainly not Mo Farah, so if an average joe like me can gain benefits and improvements from running then you can to.  I am determined to touch that Scolty tower one day this year without stopping up the hill!

Hopefully I will see you out and about pounding the streets soon!

Happy running!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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