I start a blog about keeping motivated to keep running and improving. I then loose track of my progress because I'm suddenly improving. Not just by a little but LOTS! Where has this energy, this superhuman effort come from?
An example of the change since March this year. Leighton 10k was completed in 1 hour 10 minutes. A similar 10k run with what I would consider more difficult terrain and more hills was the Milton Keynes Race for Life on 19th May which I completed in 56 minutes. Now if someone had said to me in March that I would not only beat my personal best time but also smash it by a whole 3 minutes I would have been rolling around on the flooring laughing like crazy. Call me amazed!
How did I get to this crazy increase in timings for 10k?
Getting to the doctors and assessing my health. Once I did that I knew what my limits were and either got medication to help it or changed my diet to improve my overall health.
Hills - yes hills!! I find hills amazingly difficult. A few steps up a steep hill and I'm gasping for air, my legs are screaming for oxygen and my stamina is sitting at the bottom of the hill tutting at me for even thinking I could attempt such an obstacle! So instead of avoiding them I make sure I include a good hill or two. So far I've had no choice for training runs, it's been all races in May!
Warm up Warm up Warm up! Sounds utterly wrong to make sure you are warmed up, flexed up and fighting fit before you start a long run doesn't it? I'm completely converted. Get yourself warmed up, jog until your breathing is even and you feel warmed through. Dynamic stretching - no standing still for this one - get a good dance routine going, move your arms, your legs. Look like a spider having a fit and get all you limbs ready to rock and roll. First few times I did this the race felt more difficult. But now..... 56 minutes! Improved 10k time by 14 minutes. That's got to be good news. No stitches, no aching, no cramp, no pulled muscles - I felt good, strong and FIT FIT FIT!
Lastly - Core muscles. I've made a conscious effort to get my core muscles strong this year. No ignoring those boring plank exercises. Yoga or a good physio can point anyone in the right direction for what type of training you need. Everyone's different so I'm not even going to bother posting what I do here. Find out whats right for you. Bad back, sore shoulders, bad knees - they're all a knock on effect of bad core muscles. The exercises take determination to keep up but the benefits are amazing.
So what was my last race? Bedford 6 - 6 miles of fairly flat pathways around a country lake park. A lovely evening with fellow runners yet again. How did I do? Well not more than 10 meters from the start point I fell and gave my knees and hands a good gravel rash. Did I stop? Hell no! A quick joke about how I didn't need to demonstrate how to fall over to veteran runners and I was back on my feet and targeting person after person in front of me to get another personal best time. 56 minutes for 6 miles. A little short of 10k but I'm proud of that time considering how I looked by the end of it. Thank you to St John Ambulance who helped plaster me up afterwards.
Next race - Whipsnade Zoo 10k with the kids running 2k after the main race. Rock on! Even with bruised knees I'm ready for another run.