How to Keep Challenging Yourself and Top 10 Running Tips #RaceforLife

spring runningI’m always busy in life, even when i’m sitting down I’m generally writing something, listening to a child read or doing something productive. I barely have time to blog at the moment, yet alone run.

In order to combat this I’ve been doing my usual trick of getting up super early in the mornings and running. This was going really well and one Sunday I even managed to run 10.3 km. I think this is when I started to go wrong for me.

Running is as much about mental frame of mind as it is about fitness. This is something that I learnt a long time ago; you can be the fittest person in the world, but if you don’t have the right mindset then you won’t be able to run as far as the most unfit person you know who is completely determined and focussed.

Initially I was thrilled that I could actually run 10.3 Km as this is my goal for  The Race for Life in July. It’s the distance I chose to give myself a challenge and I was quite worried that I wouldn’t be able to complete it. However, in running that far I’ve managed to achieve my challenge and this has made it very, very difficult for me to continue with the enthusiasm for running. I don’t have a mental goal.

So, what now?

Well, I’ve decided that the best way of feeling a sense of achievement is to try to train harder and run faster. I managed to run the distance in just over an hour and this was at significantly slower times than I used to run. I seem to have gone from around 5 minute kilometres to 6 minute ones recently. I need to get faster and in order to do this i’m going to try to get fitter.

Instead of running every day (with a rest day) i’m going to mix it up like I used to, with a spot of cycling, some yoga and some swimming. Hopefully this will help and also help to sort out my core muscle strength which is appalling and is contributing to back ache.

I’ve not been training long, so there is plenty of time to challenge and improve things and with the help of Sam Hart from Everyone Active I’m hopeful that I’m going to achieve a brilliant time for the Race for Life 10K in St Albans.

If you wanted to join in and make a start with your training i’ve found a couple of things have really helped me. Firstly- when its cold out I’ve noticed a massive improvement in my speed and endurance if I wear a hat (obvious really!). I’ve also noticed that its worth considering how hungry you are when you start. I’ve noticed that if I haven’t had a huge dinner the previous night then I don’t have as much energy for my morning runs, so a banana before I set off really seems to help.

Luckily Sam Hart who is kindly training me for the Race for Life has come up with 10 running top tips, I think you’ll find them more useful than mine!:

1. Dynamic stretch before don’t static stretch its not healthy for the muscle and could cause injury. Examples of dynamic stretching are squats, Hugh knees and heel flicks.

2. Regular running can cause shin splints.  Shin splints is stress on the tibia bone and over time can cause a stress fracture. To ease the pain focus on doing short distance running at incline level 5.0 to prevent pressure and stop regularly to stretch the calf muscle in between in running. Gradually decrease this when pain eases away. 

3. Strengthen your hamstrings and glutes which are your primary muscles in running. Ask professional advice on exercises to help with this.

4. Work on strengthening your core to help maintain perfect posture throughout your running to prevent injury.

5. Hydration is very important make sure you’ve had plenty of water before and after your running to help you perform better and prevent cramps

6. Mimic the human movement pattern of the run with a functional strength exercise for example, a walking lunge will activate the muscles you need to help with running and you could make it harder by loading with free weights or performing a plyometric exercise by doing a jump lunges.

7. Foot striking, it’s hard to change your stride and isn’t something that’s changes over night. It’s best to land on the ball of your foot as it allows you to distribute the impact evenly and you don’t waste any energy.

8. Eat around 90mins before a run and maybe a banana 20-30 mins before try not to eat too close to your run which will cause a stitch.

9. Download a running app to keep log of distance and time and all other specs.

10. Set yourself mini targets when running for example, I’m going to continue this fast pace until I get to that tree! Or even better have good music playing it helps with motivation!

If you’d like to sponsor me for the Race for Life I’d really appreciate it. You can find my page here: https://www.justgiving.com/clairethorntonwalsh

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