The running week (20-26 June)

GETTING my confidence back after my fitness assessment was the priority for last week. Here’s my training.

On Monday I was so afraid to run that I went to the gym instead. I pottered about on the rower, bike and cross trainer, but I did not run. My mind and body were too fragile after a good bashing at the fitness assessment.

Tuesday: I took my tentative first steps, and braved a hill session. I was still afraid in case my body fell apart. I ran up the hill slowly and pushed a bit for the last few strides. My friend shouted at me for not trying hard enough. Another member of the group started singing the birdie song. I presume this was in response to my duck-running style, but I couldn’t be sure. I was pleased to complete the session with my body still intact even if the soundtrack wasn’t to my liking.

Wednesday: I was still afraid to run so I did Continue reading

Who knew I was getting it so wrong?

I RUN like a duck. This is the verdict of two high performance coaches and physiotherapists who put me through my paces last Sunday morning.

I run like a duck, but not just any old duck. I run like a duck who carries a clipboard under her right wing and has no control over her left wing. My duck-like running position means I sit back, stick my backside out, don’t pick my legs up and take ridiculously short strides. In short, I waddle. There is no forward propelling motion. There is no gazelle-like gliding. There is waddling in abundance.

The coaches and physiotherapists were assessing my form. They were looking at how Continue reading

The sting in the nettle

ON the day of the Barnsley Boundary 72-mile relay race, there was one thing on everyone’s mind. Nettles! Nasty, stinging, ten-foot high nettles.


With all the rain in the last week, the nettles had shot up and out. They blocked paths and trails, made stiles impossible to climb. They were everywhere, dominating each of the ten stages of the race. No one could escape.

I had a double dose of nettles, but this is my own fault for Continue reading

The gain without the pain

TO become a better runner, you have to train to overload, pushing yourself to run faster for longer. I understand the concept, I just wish it didn’t have to hurt quite so much.

Because it does hurt. It hurts a lot. Take this week’s hill session as an example. It was nothing short of torture.

It began so well. I ran to the top of the designated hill feeling calm and composed, confident that I could get to the top fairly quickly. I did. My form was good. I was working hard, but it felt fine.

Unfortunately, one rep is not good enough. I had to do it again and again and again. This is the nature of hill training, and therein lies the problem and the pain.

My body could cope with one rep, but doing more sent it Continue reading

The secret to a successful long run

The secret to a successful long run

THE secret to a successful Sunday long run is to get up and go.

That’s exactly what I did this morning. Before my body had chance to work out what was happening, I’d bounced out of bed and hit the road – well road and trail actually.

The weather was cool but nice enough for shorts, vest and sunglasses. There were no flies buzzing about and no people strolling with their Sunday ice creams. It was a perfect Continue reading

Feeling the pressure – revising on the run

TOO much running and not enough revising. That’s the position I’m in at the moment.

I’ve got an exam on Tuesday, only four days away, and it’s got me worried. If the exam was on anything to do with running, I’d be fine. If there was a question on training cycles or energy systems, I would be able to answer with confidence, but there won’t be. The questions are on the nineteenth century novel. And, in all honesty, I’ve been too busy focusing on running, to really get to grips with the literature of that period.

19th century novel books

As a result, I’ve been feeling a bit Continue reading

Braving the wilderness of Barnsley

Braving the wilderness of Barnsley

EVERY year in June my club takes part in the Barnsley Boundary relay race. This is a 72 mile(ish) race of ten legs in beautiful countryside around the Barnsley boundary.

It’s a fantastic event. We love taking part. This year Chris is running leg nine, a ten and a half mile run from Winscar reservoir to Upper Denby. He’s already done one recce, but thought it best to do another to reduce the chances of getting lost on race day.

‘I’ll recce it with you.’ Winscar to Upper Denby is a popular leg. I was actually looking forward to running it.

We had a plan. We would Continue reading