Sometimes the weather contrives to help deliver your best performances when you least expect it.
That kinda sums up my week really!
My week in numbers:
Monday: Walk & Jog with clients
Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday : Rest
Saturday: parkrun & 1.5 mile cooldown
Sunday: 16 miles
Total miles: 25.6
Monday is usually a rest day but had a couple of clients who I decided to take outside for parts of their sessions. I went walking with Susie as she’s trying to reach a certain number of steps a day and I wanted to help her towards that and also use the time to coach her so she can go on to get better results.
I also took another client, Lorna, out for a little jog. Lorna’s keen to get into jogging as part of the next stage of her journey and be able to go out with the dog. She wasn’t even sure she would be able to do so I thought we could find out.
We did short bits at a time but we worked on picking out visual targets and feeling comfortable while running to them. She responded very well and told me after one bit that she was so happy as it was something she never thought she’d be able to do. That made my day and another reminder of why I love coaching people.
I decided to ditch Tuesday’s run as I had an early client and went out on Wednesday morning instead. My now ‘usual’ 5 mile run felt hard but then I saw my splits later and I ran each mile nearly 20 seconds faster than I did the week before. THAT’s why it felt harder!
I had intended doing my form drills workout on Thursday morning but heard the wind outside, thought I wouldn’t get much quality from my run so wimped out. I thought I could still get a good run in at my Run Faster group that evening but heavy rain ‘inspired’ me to postpone the session.
Saturday was parkrun day so I thought I would run down, do the run then run home again but too much procrastinating meant that I was a bit tight for time so drove down instead. There weren’t any spaces available at Bells so I parked a little further away and ran down. It wasn’t far but it allowed me to get my enthusiasm from having the espresso before leaving the house, out of my system before the run.
Normally, I’d get over excited and go out too fast in the first mile but I seemed to be a bit more settled as we started. I remember going through the first half mile running on the shoulder of a friend, Jimmy, feeling good and in control. I began to feel though that I could go quicker so I picked up speed a little and close the gap on Graeme, who was in front of us. I was conscious the last time I did this, I burned up in the last mile and Jimmy went flying past but this time felt different.
I closed the gap and still felt comfortable. I felt I wanted to test myself and take a few risks and didn’t once look over my shoulder to check where anyone was, it wasn’t important to me. As we went through mile 2, I was right on Graeme’s shoulder but felt I wasn’t ready at this stage to go past him.
Mind you, the weather was awful and we were running into a blizzard and could’ve done with sunglasses to keep the little hailstones out of my eyes! Everyone finished the run looking 5 years younger than they did at the start thanks to the free exfoliation from the wind and hailstones! Mini Beast From The East was upon us!
When we got to the top of the Inch and around 2.6 miles in, I stepped up the pace a bit and went past Graeme, possibly taking him by surprise or at least that’s what I was trying to do! I wanted to open a gap then settle back into a steady pace again. As we were hitting 3 miles, I picked up the pace again and pushed towards the finish.
My time was 19:43, which in the grand scheme of things is average for me but more significantly, I had finished in 6th, my highest placing since last summer and I had beaten 2 really good runners who normally finish at least 30 seconds ahead of me.
It’s good to test yourself now and again to see where you’re at. You’ll either nail it or burn up and learn a very good lesson. Either way, you cannot fail.
Today’s run was a whole new challenge. I had planned a 20 miler with some faster miles thrown in but looking at the snow outside, coupled with the fact that many races across the country had been cancelled, it looked like just staying upright so I thought I’d go for 10/11 miles and see what happens. I put an extra layer on and Allison gave me these handwarmers to try. She had seen these recommended by Janae aka The Hungry Runner Girl and I must say, they’re amazing. In Scotland, we would call them the Dug’s Baws (the dog’s bollocks, you know what I mean). Just stick them inside your gloves and they’ll keep your hands warm for the rest of the day.
I normally listen to Marathon Talk podcast but I had a few things in my head I needed to sort out so I went out with no headphones. I was glad I had made the decision to shorten the distance as I was already running into snow and a blizzard, which became hailstones as the run went on. I had an 11 mile route in mind and thought I’d add a few laps of the North Inch to beef it up a bit as I felt pretty good.
I am in the process of transitioning between a Personal Trainer and Personal Coach as a few people have been telling me recently that I am more than a PT as I work on mindset coaching and other things as well so that my clients can improve the quality of their lives as much as get fit and lose weight and I needed to process it all and get clarity of this move. The magic of this run, which you can read more about here, was that I was able to have that space to think about it as well as chat to my Mum & Dad and so the pace wasn’t important and I ended up running further than I had planned.
We can become bogged down with mile splits, intervals and all that kind of thing but often, the best runs happen when we switch off, let our minds wander and just run.