Updated: May 31, 2019
As a write this blog, I am a few days out from running a race I have wanted to complete since visiting London in 2015, the Vitality London 10,000m. I remember watching Jo Pavey win it for the ladies and a friend of mine finishing only five minutes later, it really motivated me to be much more like them.
So much has changed since that summer race, changes in my entire life, but alongside that, trying to bring running back into my life in a healthier way.
Going back to 2015, I needed help…a lot of it. I had two big injuries which had plagued me during the whole of 2014 and with the help of an NHS physiotherapist, sports doctor and dietician (yes, they do exist) they were all getting me back on track. By the end of 2015, I had finished the rehabilitation, moved to London and was making changes to my career and even going back to university to study a masters.
With the physical injuries over, I thought everything would be ok, but the mental block still persisted, as every time I went to complete a race post injury, I just couldn’t either get through the training without niggles or actually getting so anxious during the race that I had to DNF.
My motivations for training and completing races have always been visualising the finish of a race, seeing friends and family at the end and feeling so proud of myself. I had used this tactic for 5k, 10ks, my old local Birmingham half marathon three times and completing the London marathon. However, more recently that had not worked very well and as a result, I have only completed one 10k race and a few ‘park-runs’ since moving to London.
As a result, I’ve tried a couple of coaches to hold me accountable and at the end of January I decided to join Purdue Performance. My reasons for joining this team was because I’m a ‘not so secret’ athletics geek and I could see that Charlotte and Adam were doing something right, I mean a 2.25.38 marathon runner and the fastest 5-miler in the country as well as being absolute gems is a pretty perfect combination.
As well as this, I wanted to break the habit of being scared of racing and push myself to the best my mind and body can do. I said to Charlotte and Adam that I’m in this for long haul (I started running and training from the age of 16) and want to make some breakthroughs.
The training has built gradually and although some days I worry and compare myself to others, when I look back to January I have come so far. Day-to-day training is hard with a chaotic full-time job and sometimes my brain just tells me to come home and rest. However, this is the first year in a long time I have been able to run into the evening and appreciate my beautiful local park, Bushy Park. Seeing other runners and sometimes even an elite athlete is a really motivating factor for improving. I feel like I am in a family of runners, I mean we are somewhat weird beings aren’t we, smiling and saying hello to complete strangers whilst running, but for the most part never actually running with others. However, from the start Adam and Charlotte had different ideas about this….They have really challenged me to run with others and complete smaller races by doing ‘park-runs’, they have also persevered with building my long runs up (which I don’t like) as well as adding in intervals and gym work which I enjoy more (I’m sure I’m a sprinter in disguise).
Over the next few days I’ll be preparing for my 10k race and although, my aim for the race is completing it without stopping with anxiety and I think running with the pacers will help. In terms of the nitty gritty I have found that when running around the city having minimal stuff is much easier, it’s about having kit which has lots of pockets and places to stash keys, cards, water, fuel and phone with a good playlist of motivating songs.
I am hoping that by the time this post goes out I will have completed my first race in four years, and I will have a big grin to prove it. Running can give you so much in your life, what I have learned is to enjoy the process, as there is never an end result.