EOTN Ambassador James has made a brilliant start to his training ahead of the Sunderland City Half Marathon in May! His first blog is here:
Whatever we call this diary of mine on my mission towards Sunderland half. Over the coming weeks I will share the highs the lows and everything in between on the run up to what will be an amazing weekend of well.. running!
No pun intended honestly!
I am no expert what so ever when it comes to blogs or even running. I’m just your average Joe, who has a passion for something and absolutely loves doing it. So if it seems like I’m winging it, the chances are I am! This first blog will be longer as it covers a month but will be filling you all in more regularly.
So first off the goal.What exactly is it and why?
For me personally it’s about breaking that 2 hour half marathon barrier, that’s the target come May. Having been so close In the past it’s one of the few goals that has managed to slip my grasp. I’m determined and like a dog with a bone, when I get a goal in mind I will do everything I can to get it.
Training over the past month has been focused on improvement and progress towards this. Can I go out and run at the goal pace right now? Absolutely not! But that is not what it’s about right now, its about what I CAN do, not what I can’t do. This thinking took me back to when I first started running. At first I could not run 100 metres. But I CAN walk it. That progressed to half jog half run, then that progressed so on and so forth. So this was the first focus of my training. Finding out what I can do right now and how I can improve it.
The first week was filled with lots of tough runs. First a run to see how long can I currently run my goal half pace for (turns out 4 miles with a bit left in the tank so a good start). A 5k timed run, I of course used parkrun. If you don’t do parkrun then why not!? For anyone not familiar with parkrun, it’s a free weekly timed event 9am every Saturday.
The community is fantastic the support is amazing and you just keep going back for more. Have a look there will be one local to you. Following this the next day of course the “long run” which will help build my endurance ready for the 13.1 in May. A steady 9 miles on this occasion a brilliant foundation to build on.
Second week was when the fun and games began. A variety of training is an absolute must to help progress. As advised by the great Steve Cram at the “Start me up for Sunderland” (SMUFS) session. Going out for just a run will help you progress but only so far, you need to mix it up with different sessions. Sprints, hills, long runs etc.
That’s what this week was about variety and challenges to help me get better. One day was hard efforts up and down hills , the next at the SMUFS session working on technique followed by short sprints putting those techniques in to practice. As I said before, could I do all of this like an absolute legend? Nope! But I CAN do it and I CAN progress and get better.
Week three. Hopefully you’re still with me and I haven’t bored you all away! This is a week where things got tough for me proving not all training cycles are magic and fairy dust. The week started great Monday was a gentle run. Tuesday was a fartlek session (I can never say this with a straight face, childish I know) which from what I have been told, is Swedish? For speed play. Basically it involved mixing up my pace over different distances. Again variety! So play with the lampposts, sprint one jog one, sprint three jog two, you get the idea. Anyway this is where the problem started for me. Thursday was some more hill work. Towards the end of this session felt a little twinge in my calf muscle. Stopped immediately, always listen to your body it will tell you what is going on. Since then I haven’t been able to run, but remember what I said before, about focusing on what we CAN DO? That’s where I am at for the rest of week three up to now in week four.
What I can do is get myself in to my Everyone Active gym and use their facilities. I have access to low impact cardio machines to help keep on top of my fitness. Weights to help me improve my strength. A sauna to help me relax and keep myself loose. All In preparation hopefully for next week when I CAN get back out putting the miles in.
So that is where I’m at. Not able to run but keeping on top of what ever it is I can do to keep me going towards the goal I have.If there is one thing to take from this it’s what I have highlighted a few times. Don’t focus on what we can’t do (yet) focus on what we CAN do. No step is to small towards that finish line!
Give James a follow on Instagram @ jcole_sw