Month: September 2016

Using self talk when running 

This week I made a return to Ashton Court Parkrun after a few weeks of feeling sluggish in the gym. After the last visit where I ran faster than I had planned to I went into this run hoping to beat my time. I ended up getting my latest PB. I will discuss the run in a separate blog shortly.

What I wanted to speak about was ‘self talk’.  When I go on longer runs I often try to distract myself with certain questions, thoughts or continuous mile split calculations. I find this helps distract from the pain and boredom that can sometimes appear. This week as I was running the first half of my 5K I had to use it for different reasons.

Normally I like to push on towards the person in front of me and work hard to not let people go past me. However, I found myself trying to to use self talk to keep me focused on the end goal. As a couple of people started to gain on my shoulder I had to say to myself ‘do not worry about them. I am not racing them. Keep my pace and we will push it near the end. Keep working for a good time, not a position’.
I cannot remember so vividly a time when I have thought like this and told myself these things. Perhaps this is something I need to do more often when running at a good effort level to not go too hard too soon.

If you haven’t got anything that you normally say to yourself the. I would suggest trying to think of something positive. It really helped me so I would recommend it.

Does anyone use self talk in a similar way? Do you have any mantras for when you run? I would love to hear some.


Recent training

I really want to blog more so that I can share my progress with others looking to improve but also to record what I actually do. This would hopefully allow me to look back and learn from mistakes or what goes well.

However, recently my training has not carried on progressing as I had hoped. I attended my second Monday night run group last week which was really good. It was 8 sets of 500m and it was paced quite well and my legs got a nice run out. After this though my week got taken over with work as I had a lot of marking to do and lessons to plan. This meant my evenings were spent just eating dinner and going to bed. I hate this because I don’t want to do that, I want to go home and exercise and keep up my training. If I don’t run I find my body aches in a different kind of way. A really uncomfortable way. So by the end of the week I was feeling awkward.

On Saturday morning I went out to do a good warm up which I’m doing in every gym visit to get my hips stronger and more flexible and try to run for 30 minutes. This didn’t happen. I felt really stiff and running was not smooth. My knee was twingey but I feel that may have been psychological. Decided to knock it on the head and return home.

I then missed my track session Monday because a friend had come back to Bristol so we went out for dinner. Went to the gym Tuesday and had a good flexibility workout which loosened everything slightly. Tried running on the treadmill but the stiffness was still there. I think by doing more lighter jogging it might mean I can keep doing more. But who knows. 

I have made a decision that I will now work extra hard to get yoga into my workout with my aim to do it 3 times a week. I started tonight and found that I am so inflexible. I found one online that was focused on hips and hamstrings which was much needed. Alongside my strengthening I think this will be important and I want to see how long I can keep this going. To fit it in I think it will have to be a late night thing, maybe after dinner so that I can fit in some other workout before hand.

Anyone got tips to fit yoga in or which yoga to do? What about Pilates?

My first time running in a group

Tonight I went to a recreational runners group for the first time.

It is run through Bristol and West Athletics Club for those runners who want to improve but not run as part of the club. I was feeling pretty tired after a long first Monday back in school but managed to force myself out the door. I was glad I did!

I arrived and was warmly greeted by the coach and had a brief chat with someone in my group which helped settle my nerves. He was also kind enough to let me know what was expected of the warm up. 3 laps of the track for a social jog was followed by some dynamic warm up exercises. This was exactly what I wanted before running. It felt like what I do in the gym with some nice new exercises for me to add to my routine. I have never really been one for a thorough 10 minute warm up but since my knee issue, I will always take into account time for warming up.

I was put in a group based on my 5k time which I said was 23 minutes based on my park run two days before. I’m a long way off that PB fitness so it worked out well. There was a number of groups available for a range of levels and targets. I was informed of the plan for the session which I am told gets sent out the night before. It was 4 lots of 1300m with 500m jogs in between.

I decided that because I was new and lacking confidence in my running that I would be best to hang at the back of our small group of 7. The lads who were setting the pace would move ahead but by the finish line, my little sub group were not far behind. I feel like I kept a bit in the tank for the last one and tried to increase my speed for the finish.
On the injury front my knee was fine but once again I had tight calves. I’m putting this down to a lack of running so am considering using the cross trainer to mirror the movement a bit.

I can see the benefits of having these sessions in my training plan even if it was once a week. I like to do my own thing but I am not very good at pacing. By running with others and on a track it will definitely aid this as our splits are shared and everyone is aiming for similar times. There are also those runs where you feel like going easier than you really could or should but in this setting that is harder to get away with it!

I’m sure I will be back next week and am looking forward to receiving my session plan on Sunday!

Park run fun

This Saturday I went to Ashton Court Parkrun for some extra motivation as I make my way back to running pain free.

After a few really slow 5k runs in the gym I have been feeling positive about the direction I have been heading. To help keep me motivated I wanted to do something more than a treadmill run – which can often become rather boring, especially at a slow pace. So this Saturday I decided that a visit to my local park run would help me feel better about my running and general fitness.

I have spoken before about how great I think park runs are and even though I have not been to many too often it is something I always think about doing. As I turned up to Ashton Court for my 5k there was already a large number of people there of all shapes and sizes. In the pre run briefing there was a supportive group mentality on show with applause ringing out for people reaching there 50,100 and 150 landmarks. I would urge anyone wanting to start a running journey to attend their local park run.

Dani came along with the lure of a bike ride followed by some Saturday cake afterwards and although she has previously done one she chose not to today. So she was playing the role of motivator and photographer. Whilst waiting for it to start and feeling the effects of a few Friday night start of the school year drinks she urged me to do some sort of warm up. Which I did even if it was a very lethargic one.

I laid out my race strategy to her quite clearly and confidently. I would go steady and aim to come in around 30 minutes. I knew there was a hill so I made clear I would pace my self all the way up and then down. I was sure I would stick to this – but I didn’t. The start line was busy and I loitered near the back middle. Turns out there was 480 people there – An impressive turn out! As I started I immediately tried to find gaps to have some space and soon got into a nice comfortable pace. A man and his dog came past and I let them go, not wanting to go too fast. Approaching the hill I still felt okay and was shortening my stride lengths. At the turning point I was relieved it would all go downhill but I had to super cautious running over the gravel like section. Moving downhill my legs were enjoying striding out and I had to work hard to slow myself down at one point. I pushed to the end which was not a sensible idea but I couldn’t help it.

As I crossed the line I took my first look at my watch to see I kept nowhere near my race plan (I like to do this sometimes so I can just enjoy the run) Oh well. It was lovely to know I could do that after limited running.

Off to a running club on Monday which should help me keep moving forwards.