The last time I wrote about running, I was really struggling with it; I was struggling to run 5k, despite having been able to previously, and really wasn’t enjoying it at all. Fast forward a month and I am completely and utterly back in love with running, and have knocked over a minute off my PB, which now sits at 26:59 for a 5k. It feels a bit wanky to talk about numbers and times, but rightly or wrongly it’s one of the things that drives me. I can see and feel that my legs are stronger, I know that I more quickly from runs, but it’s seeing the time on the clock (well on Strava) getting quicker and quicker that I get a real kick out of. At the moment my times are improving with every run, so only time will tell how I cope with a plateau/dip in form. Not well I suspect…
So these are the things that have helped me fall back in love with pounding the canal paths:
Change in mental attitude
For me at least, and I suspect many others too, running is a mental game. My mind often gives up long before my legs too. Ridding myself of the idea that giving up was an option really helped. I set out for each run knowing that I wouldn’t stop. I just wouldn’t. If I had to crawl I would keep going.
A tip I read on Instagram was to count down the distance rather than up. So rather than starting at 0 in my head and counting up each kilometre until I got to 5, I would start at 5 and count down towards 0. The idea being that you focus on what you have already run rather than what is still to be run. A very small thing that has made a surprisingly big difference.
The Boyfriend has promised to buy me a new pair of running shoes when I reach a sub-25 minute 5k. ‘Nuff said.
New running clothes and Instagram opportunities
The really shallow stuff. We all know my tendency towards being a smug twat and new running clothes which show off the body I’m working so hard on make me want to get out there and well…show it off.
Also, running is full of Instagram photo opportunities. The thought of being able to post on Instagram (and Twitter and Strava…) that I’ve hit a PB is usually enough motivation to make me push on through the last kilometre. That and being able to post the all important post-run legs/abs shot. Call it vanity, call it showing off, call it motivation; whatever it is, it works. Are you following me on Instagram by the way? If you don’t and you like pictures of feet and tea, you’re really missing out.
Aforementioned boyfriend is a qualified PT so he’s written a training plan for me which includes 30 second sprint intervals and some hill training (in the Cotswolds no less. Pretty.) Before this I had just been blindly running 5k each time I went out and trying to get faster. Now that I’ve got a structured plan, I can feel my leg strength and stamina improving and mentally it helps to have a plan written down.
Listening to my body
Because I can only run at weekends due to The Toddler, I focus on strength training at home during the week. I usually do 3-4 workouts during the week once he is in bed and mainly focus on legs and core. It sounds so simple, but for some reason it never occurred to me before to make sure that Monday and Friday were leg rest days, and I think I was over doing it which led to a previous knee injury. Now I mainly focus on core and arms during the week, with only one workout (on a Wednesday) dedicated to legs.
Most importantly, I’m not scared to take rest days anymore. If my body is telling me it doesn’t want to work out, I don’t. As long as I know that I’m not skipping it due to laziness, I’m happy to miss a workout if it’ll make my body stronger in the long run.
So that’s my progress update. I’ve got a post about hydration coming up soon, so if that’s your kinda thang then stay tuned.