It’s not often that a Bank Holiday weekend welcomes warm weather and I’m usually not one to complain but (there’s always a “but”!) it wasn’t the ideal combination for my effort to tackle the multi-terrain Newbury 10k. I don’t like making excuses so I went out there and gave it a good crack. And I wasn’t disappointed! Read more…
I’ve been running regularly for 26 months now but I still feel like a newbie in many respects. I’ve not competed in many races, I’ve signed up for, but never run a ParkRun and I don’t run in a club. What I have been reminded of at the weekend is just how much I love running (something my 16-year-old self would’ve scoffed at!) and on my run tonight I had an epiphany:
No matter how tall, short, thin, fat, old, young, fast or slow you are, there are just 4 essential things to take with you on a run.
And here, in no particular order (except to make an attractive acronym), they are:
#1 – Reason
There are always many excuses not to run: work was tiring, it’s raining/snowing/windy/too hot (delete as appropriate), the footy’s on, there’s chores to do. Whenever any of these little things creep into your head, before they prevent you from getting off the sofa or before they tempt you to cut that run short remember the reason you started (or wanted to start) running.
These may be just as numerous and varied but they often can’t be heard over those naughty excuses. Whether it’s to get fitter, to de-stress, to challenge yourself, or to raise money for charity, focus on your reasons to run.
#2 – Inspiration
I mentioned I was reminded how much I love running at the weekend. This was thanks to Liz and Laura who organised the inaugural “Write This Run” event, a conference for running bloggers. A day full of interesting speakers and surrounded by equally passionate running bloggers left me charged with energy, emotion and inspiration.
“If you have a body, you are an athlete”
“Why can’t I do that?”
Mimi Anderson (@Marvellousmimi) took up running at the age of 36 and hasn’t let age or Grandparenthood get in her way of running on 6 of the 7 continents (only the Antarctic eludes her) and becoming the fastest woman to run from John O’Groats to Land’s End, the fastest person to cross Ireland on foot and the first and only woman to run back-to-back Comrades Marathons.
“Only stop if there’s no other option”
When Kevin Betts‘ (@52marathonman) dad committed suicide, he decided to raise money and awareness for Rethink Mental Illness using his goal-setting approach. In 2011, Kevin ran 52 sub-4 hour marathons, 27 of which were on treadmills!
“Why? Why not?”
It’s takes little effort to find amazing people doing extraordinary things. You don’t have to try to match them – just pinch a bit of their energy, drive and determination. I know they won’t mind, they have plenty to share round!
#3 – Belief
This is perhaps the most difficult of the four things to find and hold on to (it’s certainly my weak spot) but that’s why it’s so important – if you don’t believe you can do it, you won’t.
Now as in real life, there is a fine line between arrogance and confidence but frankly, for many of us I know that fine line can sometimes be as far away as the horizon. Have faith in yourself. Your mind will tell you to stop far quicker than your body needs to. Pinching another pearl of wisdom from Kevin: If a marathon was really that hard, why do hundreds of thousands of people complete them every year?
#4 – Support
Some people may disagree but you can’t do it on your own. Surround yourself with people who will provide you with encouragement to keep going. They don’t have to understand why, they just need to understand its importance to you; whether it’s taking on a Mimi-sized challenge or just taking the first steps to get yourself off the couch.
Your support doesn’t need to be limited to those you can touch and feel either (although that can be more fun)! There is a vast field of runners dodging the traffic on the information super highway – get yourself on Twitter, get yourself a blog, get yourself to next year’s Write This Run. It’s amazing how much support you can receive from absolute strangers. And you never know, you may just meet some of them in real life too!
I nearly forgot about tonight’s run (I didn’t really – that’s just a bit of artistic licence). I took these 4 things with me on my run tonight. They didn’t weigh me down. In fact, along with some great running form tips from Karen Weir (@RunWithKaren), they powered me round. They helped me push past the point of wanting to stop. They helped me forget about the wind and rain. They helped me push myself to, albeit unofficial, a personal best 10k time of 47:26 – an improvement of nearly one and a half minutes.
RIBS – don’t leave home without them!
Back in January I used planking as my Janathon activity in an effort to start building my core strength. Whilst stretching my planking time I also came across a guy by the name of Brendon Birch through Twitter. Brendon, aka lehorse1, is a member of Absolute Triathlon Club in Nottingham and set himself a running challenge to raise money for the Karen Green Foundation.
Brendon’s challenge caught my eye, having completed my own 12 month running challenge in March 2012. Brendon’s challenge was a whole different story though – a huge step up from the 1,101km I covered. Brendon has challenged himself to run at least 5km every day of 2013 to cover a minimum of 3,000km. So as a small gesture of support I decided to carry on my Janathon planking in the form of my very own challenge: 2013 Plankathon!
It’s simple – just a plank every day in 2013.
So while I’m planking away, please think of Brendon and his running challenge. Follow him on Twitter, subscribe to his blog and if you’re inspired then I’m sure he’d appreciate a donation to his fundraising efforts (no matter what size). If you can’t afford to donate then why not donate a tweet and spread the word about his challenge.
For anyone who’s interested, below are my plank times from the first 90 days of 2013. The asterisks show which times set a new personal best. Read more…
My last post was so surprisingly successful, mainly thanks to a celebrity endorsement, it’s taken a while to find my inspiration for the follow-up! However, I actually didn’t need to look very far. Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I recently qualified as a Leader in Running Fitness – the new entry-level coaching qualification from UKA. Last week saw the end of my my first course of running sessions as a leader and I’m enjoying my running more than ever! Read more…
This weekend, whilst he was waiting for his 3000m race at the British Athletics Indoor GP, Mo Farah’s team announced to the press that he would be running the 2013 London Marathon – a surprising announcement as his marathon debut was widely expected to be next year; until you read on and discover Mo won’t be running the whole thing.
There’s not many of us that would take part in a race knowing we weren’t going to complete the distance. Despite this, I was surprised at some of the negative comments and confusion so I decided to take a closer look at the decision and some of the reactions (some of which I have no doubt are tongue in cheek) to see if I could make sense of it all. Read more…
It’s hard to believe that it’s already the end of January, and with it, the end of Janathon. I’m very pleased with the start of 2013.
My goal for Janathon was to do 31 planks – the core exercise, not the recent youth fad of laying down in random places! I managed a plank every day of January and set 13 PBs along the way, increasing my plank duration from 1m 02s to a peak of 3m 02s, albeit tonight’s plank was only 2m 35. Read more…
The snow last week was a great opportunity to try something new (my first snow run) but it delayed me starting something else new. Tonight, my wait was over.
It was time to put my license into action; my first session as a qualified UKA Leader in Running Fitness.
After the paperwork was done we were all very much ready for the warm up. I’m not sure who was more nervous: my group members or me?
We got ourselves warmed up and off we set on the first 2.5km loop. My biggest concern prior to the session was dealing with a variety of abilities, even though I knew I knew the techniques – the course gives loads of ways to ensure you help your runners get the most out of the session. I needn’t have been concerned. Using loop backs seemed to keep everyone working at their own level.
As we regrouped at the end of the first loop I gave the group the option of carrying on for a second loop; I didn’t want to be too harsh. Well not on the first session anyway! (Just in case any of them are reading: I’m only joking!)
I’m pleased to say that the consensus was for a second loop – I must have been doing something ok! We ended the second loop with a cool down and stretches. I think the hardest thing was trying to get to know the group while guiding them along the route and keeping track of them all.
Taking my first session was the next step of my own Olympic legacy: to inspire others to run. I’m so pleased I became a Running Leader!
And in all the excitement I nearly forgot my penultimate Janathon plank:
Plank duration : 2m18s
Janathon planks : 30 of 30
Plank streak : 30
After work tonight I had an appointment with a difference: to accompany The Wife to the West Oxfordshire Business Awards’ announcement of the finalists for this year’s awards.
It doesn’t sound that interesting until you learn that the event was being held at the Caterham F1 facility. I realise that still might not sound interesting but I’m a big Formula 1 fan, so for me it was. I’m unable
We were shown round a selection of different departments and were treated to some sneak peeks of the CT03, this year’s new car! Unfortunately, as the car hasn’t yet been publicly launched I’m unable to share any details and we weren’t allowed to take photos. What I can say is, what we saw looked awesome – I hope the performance will match it. I guess that will partly depend on who is driving; we were told someone was in the simulator but weren’t allowed to know who so watch out for driver announcements soon!
Despite the excitement, I still had my Janathon plank to do. Seeing the quest for improvement at Caterham, I was keen to see my own improvement and I wasn’t disappointed:
Plank duration : 3m 02s (PB)
Janathon planks : 29 of 29
Plank streak : 29