Is Tracking Every Single Run Important?

As a runner, I’m always looking to progress with my personal bests, whether that is in time or in distance but what happens when it starts to consume you. How important is your timing when you run and should we always be tracking our runs? That’s what I’ll be discussing in today’s post. 

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Before I begin, I have to say I am all for looking at your times during and after your run. I wrote a post recently about “Why I’m No Long Counting My Steps” and if you read that post, you’ll know that not hitting my steps made me feel bad about myself despite the fact that I am an active person, but not hitting those steps put a dampener on that. That started to happen when I started tracking my runs too but because I wanted to progress, I knew that I couldn’t simply stop tracking them. 

When I first started running, I was very focused on simply running because I didn’t have a lot of experience with before and it wasn’t as easy as “just running”. It took a lot of mental and physical energy out of me, much more than I was ever expecting so I was happy enough for a while pushing myself. Once I realised that I could run 5K, that’s when I started to look at the numbers more in depth. If I didn’t get to the same time as last time, and if I wasn’t faster, I became disappointed despite feeling like it was a great run. I became obsessed with being better and while I believe it is important to do better yourself, I think you know yourself when you’ve pushed it too far. 

IMG-20180908-WA0013-01.jpeg(Scott and I at our most recent race, the Larne 10K)

When I didn’t get a “good time” by my own standards, I started to doubt whether I was a good runner. I wrote a post a few months ago about “Becoming Comfortable With Calling Myself A Runner” and it’s exactly what it says on the tin. I had a big problem with timing and I started to doubt whether I was a runner, if I was getting these “low standards” times and often, it was really hard to deal with. It even made me not want to run because I was scared that I would get another “bad” time, and if I was doing that, then what was the point in running? I’m very competitive with myself and it was so foreign to me just to run with no expectations. I kept asking myself what would that achieve? 

What does your time matter? 

If you’re preparing for a race or you’re hoping to become faster or run further, then one hundred percent I believe you should track your run. Depending on what equipment and application you use, you’ll be able to see your splits and how your body reacted to going up on incline or speeding up down a hill, to name a few examples. Those will be very good lessons on learning how to deal with pacing in the future; I often find that I go up hills too fast and over time with the help of my boyfriend, I’ve learned that going slower up hills may not be ideal for time but my body can cope with running longer if I have gone slower during the hard part. 

When does your time not matter? 

Your time doesn’t matter if you’re just running to run. Simple as, if you’re using it as another form of exercise or you’re looking for something to get you outside, then I really don’t believe time should be your biggest worry. 

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(For reference, I use Strava for my running. It’s great with working out my splits and I find it to be accurate most of the time. Ever since I downloaded the app almost a year ago, it’s only not connected up twice which was frustrating at the time, but for a free app, it’s not too bad. You can get a premium version too, it comes with some great features though.) 

Running has become a very lovable hobby and I can see why many runners say it is a love hate relationship; you love it when it’s over but during it when you feel like you mentally can’t go on, you hate it. It’s something that does get easier thankfully but we still have our bad days as well as our good days.  

Looking back at how I used to think shows me how far I have come in terms of my mindset because no matter what time you get, you are still a runner and you shouldn’t be discouraged by your time. It still happens to me and you’ll probably find it happens to every runner, I find that it doesn’t affect me as much as when I first began. 

Thank you so much for reading today’s post. I’d be really interested in hearing from other runners if they have been through this dilemma before and how they have worked through it so if you have any links, send them through to me over on my Twitter or my Instagram. 

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Larne 10K Race (2018).

Another day, another race write-up. Today’s post is all about the Larne 10K which took place on Saturday 8th September 2018. 

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I was much more nervous about this event than the previous Laganside race; simply because I didn’t know the course. In all fairness, I didn’t even know Larne so seeing the route, I wasn’t too sure if there were any hills or how it would look when I was there. However, because my previous race had gone so well, I wasn’t too worried about not being able to run as well as I had done then. That was until I went out on a run a few days before the race… 

My training had been downhill this particular week. I had planned a 6.5K run mid-way through the week but I only managed to run 2K before giving up. I know that now I can look back and reflect to tell myself that a run is better than no run, but when you are training for a race, it’s very hard to tell yourself that. The build-up to the race had had a dampener put on it because of this. 

It was quite a nice race to attend for a number of different reasons; we got to head up on the train to somewhere I had never explored before. Being so used to getting the bus, I do love the train sometimes. I was also excited to run another 10K because even though my training hadn’t been the greatest lately, I wasn’t letting myself down in terms of times so I was happy to improve that and possibly add more routes to my belt too. 

The route started off with my favourite method, downhill! This can cause some trouble especially if you feel like you’re going too fast at the beginning but I had Scott to keep me right and I asked him a few times and he said I was going fine. We then went through the town centre and there were tons of supporters from consumers to even some shop owners, which I thought was really nice. Once we got out of the town, we headed down to the coast and I never realised how pretty it is there and it’s one of the main reasons I would love to head back again. At around this point on the first lap, Scott started to get a pain in his calf so he told me to run on. It turns out that I might have went too fast because he said as soon as I left, I passed quite a few people so I probably got too excited. I then turned a corner and seen a hill, and it wasn’t just any hill, it was quite a steep hill. I wouldn’t have been so annoyed but Scott had told me it was a flat course from what he thought. Part of me thought that he pulled back from me because he knew how annoyed I would be, but it turns out, he did actually hurt his calf. I was able to run up the hill almost to the three quarter point, but it was a slow run. The second time going up the hill was really a run-walk-run because it had exhausted me.  

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I started to tire out at the 5K mark and I felt really disappointed in myself. I had to stop more in the second lap to walk and while it wasn’t all the time, it was more than two or three times. I try and not walk in a race but I think it’s something I need to come to terms with that I will do it at some point. At the mid-way mark, I was convinced that I was going to get a bad time, I didn’t think I would get close to my best time, especially with the hill. I wasn’t aiming for a personal best, I never do but I was disappointed that I felt like I had done so badly. As with any race, I seen the finishing line but it was a while before I could really power through so I was about 100m away and I bolted. I had loaded up my Strava before the finish so I could click the stop button as soon as I was done. When I crossed the line, I looked at my Strava and it said 01:06:23 and I was in shock. I would have expected one hour and ten minutes so I was over the moon because I really pushed for it. As it turns out, it’s my second best 10K time which made the experience even better. 

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I would one hundred percent compete in this race again; it was such a fantastic atmosphere and it was pretty rare that you didn’t have someone shouting support, which was really nice especially when you were struggling. I’m glad that I know about the hill now because I think my pacing would be better the second time around; I know now where to push and where to pull back. It was very well organised race too, and it was clear from the get-go that it was. The starting and finishing line were very apparent, it started pretty dead-on time too and there was a great turn out.  

Thank you so much for reading today’s post! I know that race write-ups aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and that’s perfectly fine but I like that I now have a written history of each one to let me know how I’m progressing each and every time.  

Planning For The (Long-Term) Future Through Distance Learning.

If you read my blog at the start of July, you will have read my post about being made redundant and during this time, it has given me a lot of time to think. I learned that I was still at a point in my life that I didn’t know what direction I wanted to head in. As I’m slap bang in the middle of my mid-to-late twenties, it gave me the perfect opportunity to sit down and think about the choices I would like to make in the future, more long-term than anything else, even if I haven’t chosen my exact career path yet so that’s what today’s blog post is all about. (All photographs are available from Pexels.com)

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I recently wrote about “Dropping Out Of University” and “What The University Experience Taught Me” focusing on my previous education as well as the short time I spent at University in England. What I learned while writing both those posts is that education still fascinates me and I even wrote in those that I wouldn’t rule out another form of education in the future so while I have had the time off to think about what I want; the thought of education has popped in my mind continually. I don’t think I would head back to a traditional University route simply because where I am with my life financially, I wouldn’t be able to afford to go back to University full-time for three or four years. This is where the Open University comes in…

I’m sure many readers know about The Open University but if you don’t, it’s a form of distance learning that doesn’t require you to sit in a classroom environment (This only happens when you have exams to complete) and lets you work from home instead while studying around your job. As well as that, there are many different forms of payment which is a benefit to many students that may only be able to pay for one module at a time. Due to it being a distance learning University, you have the option of stretching your degree over three years, six years or if necessary, even longer (This will all depend on the time frame you are looking at, how often you can study and the course type too).

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Being a researcher at heart, I have been on and off the Open University website for months, and while that is very handy, I always feel more confident about something when I’m listening to someone face-to-face. The opportunity for this came up when they were hosting an open day at the end of August so I took advantage of this and went along. I’m still not great in social situations so I was quite nervous but plonked myself at the front of the room to listen to the presentation. It was very generic for obvious reasons but I wasn’t looking advice for a certain course, I just wanted to have an overall feel for the University instead, which is what I got. I’m a note taker also, so they covered; their most popular subjects, the myths and realities, how their studying works, how fees and funding works, what skills you need to be a student and student experiences. (This was, of course, just a few of the talking points.) I came out of the presentation with a better understanding with what I wanted to do, which I didn’t think would happen.

I had wanted to go down the sports and fitness route but I haven’t actually considered what career I would want, I just know that that is something I enjoy. When I started looking at their business courses, they had quite a few varieties and you were able to attach it onto another subject like marketing or economics. While the sports course is something that does intrigue me, it’s something that isn’t as broad as business, so that’s why business appeals to me more. On a recent job interview, I was asked what does the future hold me in terms of my career. I was completely honest and said that I didn’t know, but I knew that taking on new challenges and new opportunities within a new business, I had hoped, would help me find out what I want to do with my life. I think that’s the aim of any job isn’t it? If you aren’t growing and learning more about yourself, then the job no longer serves you, and I want my next job to serve me in finding out what I love and what I don’t love so much. That’s where I believe a degree in business will help me along whatever track I take.

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I know that right now isn’t the right time to sign up to the OU and that’s completely fine with me. That was never the aim; I simply wanted to find out more about it with how it works, the fees and funding and how it is differs from the traditional University route. I’m not in a financial situation to take on a degree right now and I want to make sure I have a good work life balance before adding more to my plate. However, I know that this is something I will reach towards in the future and I’m excited by it because I do love learning even if I’m not the traditional type.

I would love to find out anyone else’s experience about either the Open University or other distance learning courses, good or bad, so if anyone can think of any posts that spring to mind, please let me know. Thank you so much for reading today, I really do appreciate it!

Laganside 10K Race (2018).

Running has become a huge part of my life so it’s always a joy to write about my recent races. Today is no different as I write up about the Laganside 10K that took place at Ormeau Park on Sunday 2nd September.

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(The only reason we look so fresh is because this was taken before the race.)
I have attended the Laganside 10K twice so far; last year as a supporter for Scott and this year as a runner myself. It was quite nice to take part this time because it always seemed like a nice course but I never took advantage of how runner friendly it was, until now. The Ormeau Embankment is one of my favourite routes to cycle on, simply because it’s a nice route, it’s by the water and it is very cycle friendly with enough room for walkers, runners and cyclists. Some towpaths can get very narrow but this one ticks most of the boxes for me.

In terms of training I had done leading up to the run, that was still ongoing from the Connswater 10K (which I decided not to write about this time around because I had so many issues with it, that it simply wasn’t worth it) which was only a few weeks ago so my training just continued. I was only averaging one run a week which wasn’t ideal but it was still something and because I was pushing myself on each run, that’s why I didn’t feel terrible for not getting out more.

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(I was a little worried that people were going to think that the “Michael Scott’s Dunder-Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Fun Run Race For The Cure” was a real charity. I hope some people got the reference.)
For the first time possibly ever, I wasn’t nervous about the race. Part of me believes that I wasn’t nervous because I knew the route; I hadn’t ran it before this, but because I already knew exactly where I was going to go, I didn’t face that challenge. It was a really nice feeling because I’m not too fond of the butterflies before a race. I only had one objective for this race and it was to beat my Titanic Quarter time of 01:07:35 because it’s a really good bench mark in order for me to improve.

If you know Belfast City Centre, you’ll know exactly where this route is. You start in Ormeau Park, coming down onto the Ravenhill Road, down towards Lanyon Place train station and onto the short cut of the Ormeau Embankment, turning on the bridge on the Ormeau Road and back down the other side of the embankment. The only difference on the second lap is that you enter Ormeau Park at the very end rather than at the start again. On the course, you really only have two hills to go up and one of them is barely a hill so it’s been the easiest course for me.

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(We stayed close to the back at the start of the race rather than being bunched up in the crowd.)
Scott and I ran together again which is always quite nice, considering he started me off with my running. I use him as my pacer so he often tells me when I’m going too fast and to slow it down a little. I still view myself as a beginner runner so I’m not too sure when I am going at the right pace so it’s nice to have someone pull me back. Unfortunately, this time I wasn’t really picking up the signals and I was going faster than I should have been. It wasn’t until after the race that Scott told me that I was going too fast but he didn’t want to hold me back especially if I felt comfortable. I think you just get caught up in it with all the other runners so you start off going faster because you feel the need to catch up with everyone else. Scott let me run on at around the two-mile mark and I always feel bad when he tells me to run on but he started to get a stitch so the best thing for those are to just slow down.

I felt comfortable for the majority of the race and I seemed to run with the same people throughout it as well which was nice because you almost felt like they were your pacers. I didn’t hit a mental block until around 8K and for most of my 10K’s recently, that seems to be the marker for me. I’m not completely sure why but I still kept going and had to whisper to myself that “I could do this” and it did work. (The magic of words, eh?) Of course, when I seen that finishing line, I bolted and I must have passed about ten people at that point. I seem to get this block of energy out of nowhere and my legs just pick up.

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(The map of the route as shown by my Strava.)
My time for this race from my Strava was 01:07:36 but the chip time was 01:07:34, one second faster than my Titanic Quarter 10K, so I did get a better time, but by one second! I was completely over the moon with my time because I pushed myself and surprisingly I didn’t stop to walk at all in this race. For the last couple of races, I have had to stop and walk which there is nothing wrong with but it’s always an aim of mine for any 5K or 10K, not to stop. I know when I start to train for longer distances, I will have to stop for a break but that’s nothing that I worry about because I know it’s completely natural based on how you feel that day and more importantly, if your body is coping with the distance.

This particular race has been one of my favourites and I would one hundred percent, sign up again next year. It was capped at 1,500 people and it was such a well organised event so I really can’t praise it enough.

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(Here we are with our medals!)

Thank you so much for reading today’s post, I love writing these post-run write ups after a race that I have enjoyed, because you give yourself time to reflect and how you can improve next time.

Why I’m No Longer Counting My Steps.

We seem to ask technology to enhance our everyday life; we have everything from fitness watches, earphones that no longer connect via a wire and even shout “Alexa” or “Siri” to turn our music on. In my case, I used a step counter for over three years and sometimes it felt overwhelming and even have the opposite effect of what it’s meant to do. Today’s post is all about how and more importantly, why I’m no longer counting my steps.  

IMG_20180528_105123_748.jpg(I used it to not only track my steps but to also, track my workouts.)

If you’ve followed me on my Instagram for a few years now, you’ll know that for a long time, my first board of call when it came to documenting my fitness was my FitBit. I went from the Flex to the Blaze, and I have had the FitBit Blaze for a little over two years now. I even got my Mum and her partner to get one too and they love theirs. The only time I didn’t wear it was when I went for a shower; with it being able to track your sleep, I wanted to see all that information so taking it off when I went to bed, wasn’t an option for me. Over the last month or so, I decided to take off my tracker to see how I felt because I had been using it for so long, I wanted to see if I felt any different without it. When you’re so used to each step being counted, it is strange to suddenly not have it there anymore.  

So why exactly did I want to try living without it? Why is this so significant that I felt the need to write about it? The problem for me was I relied on my tracker too much; if I didn’t hit the 10,000 steps the one day at the weekend that I was cleaning the house, I felt bad. Sure, I had cleaned the house and felt great for it, but I didn’t get that little buzzing notification that I had hit my steps. I started to feel bad over one thing I hadn’t done rather than the small tasks I had done around the house. Having been in therapy and working on validation issues like these, I knew it had become a problem. Some people could say, “Well, why don’t you just take it off?” When you have depended on something for so long and you look to it for validation, it’s not quite as simple as that. 

IMG_20170812_110243-02.jpeg(In terms of running, it wasn’t that reliable when it came to accurate distance when running.)

To give you some back story on me; I’m a fairly active and fit person. When I was working in the city centre, all I needed to do was walk to work which was half an hour and back again, and that was 10,000 steps. It was almost too easy to hit that target every day but for someone else who was driving to work and not getting out of the office as much as I was, it could have been harder for them. I would go to the gym twice a week and I would try and do the same in terms of going for a run too, so I never had a problem with needing to hit my step targets.   

LPP-podcast-artwork_3_3000-300x300(Picture from LivengProof.com)

I’m a massive fan of podcasts and one I have been listening to recently is “The Liveng Proof” podcast by Engrid Latina. If you follow me over on Instagram, you’ll see her pop up in my stories at least once a day (and for very good reason too!) In one of her latest podcasts, her guest was one of her clients called Dorothy and you can tell they had a very special relationship, just by how the conversation flowed. In this episode (which is linked here) Dorothy talked about how she worked with Engrid about helping her fitness get back on track and it starting out with walking, to create those guidelines to help figure out where she was starting off. Dorothy then talks about her mentor taking off her FitBit off and that inspired her to take hers off. She openly says it was for vanity reasons, and I really feel her in that because they can be quite bulky and let’s face it, they’re not the most fashionable of accessories, are they? She goes on to say that this gave her more freedom and she didn’t feel the need to track every step so I definitely felt like I was on the same wave length as Dorothy while listening to this episode. She goes on to say that she thinks it’s important to open ourselves up to new things and I believe that can still be the case when we talk about letting off of every single tracker we have on ourselves.  

It’s all about purpose; do I believe step counters are important? Of course! If you’re someone who wasn’t aware of the exercise they were doing before and wants to keep an eye on it, then absolutely. If you’re someone who doesn’t feel like they walk enough during the day and wants to see if they can improve themselves with a step counter, then that’s even better. However, if you’re someone who struggles with control and sometimes lets little things take over, then maybe (like me) you need to re-evaluate if you need a tracker in your life.  

strava879400568.jpg(This is an example of the tracking that Strava can do where it gives you the map with your distance, your time and your average pace per kilometre or mile.)

Don’t get me wrong, I still use trackers. I am a massive fan of Strava which can be used for a number of different exercises on Apple and Android, but I tend to use it for my running and my cycling. It’s a fantastic way of keeping track of all my runs and how far I have come in terms of my timing for running a 10K distance for example. I always like to keep an eye on it when I go cycling too because I never tend to know the distance when I’m cycling, so it’s nice to have that too. I’m certainly not against trackers in any way shape or form but for me, I believe that it needs to have a purpose and for me, a FitBit no longer serves its purpose for me. 

As I mentioned when I talked about Engrid’s podcast, Dorothy felt freedom when she stopped using her tracker and so did I. It was hard at first to let something go that I had used for so long but it gradually got easier. I didn’t put so much pressure on myself to hit my target each and every day and that was big for me. Scott has tried to encourage me to start using the Samsung Health app to track my steps but again, it’s not important to me to do this. He loves using it and he’s always in the top 5% in the world of steps but it’s not for me, right now at least and I’m pretty proud that I have been able to take a step back.  

Let me know your thoughts on today’s post; do you use a fitness tracker? Do you count your steps? Why do you count your steps or have you stepped away from it too? Thank you so much for reading it, and if you know of any other posts that are similar to this, please send them my way. 

Becoming A Cyclist (Again).

Last year, my Dad’s wife gave me her old bicycle because she was getting a new one. It had been quite a while since I had my own bike but I was excited to be riding again. The only difference was when I last had my bike, I wasn’t cycling on the roads, but this time I knew it was the best way to get around so today’s post is all about how I felt becoming a cyclist (again). 

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I can’t remember the last time I rode a bike but I remember getting on this new bicycle and almost falling off. I wasn’t used to it at all and slightly panicked when I thought I was going to have to learn all over again. Thankfully that wasn’t the case and in ten minutes, I was golden. I’ve been wanting to cycle again for such a long time but buying a bicycle was never a priority so I’m very glad I got this opportunity. I didn’t have one sole reason why I wanted to cycle again; I know it’s so good in terms of physical health and an amazing way of transport (depending on where you go of course) so it’s a no-brainer and I wish I had have made it a priority before now. 

I took it step by step; I stuck to the footpath most of the time which I’m sure a few pedestrians weren’t pleased about but when you’re first starting out, it’s much safer than being on the road. I didn’t get on the bike much until after I finished up at my previous job so I’ve been using the opportunity to get out on it as much as possible. Over this time, I’ve been using the bus lanes as much as I can and I’m taking full advantage of the greenways we have around the city. I initially became worried about cycling on the roads because you sometimes see the bad attitudes of other drivers and being a driver myself, I have tried not to have the same attitude. I don’t believe that cars rule the road but unfortunately some drivers believe that they do, and in turn, that means they don’t care about anyone but themselves including cyclists. I had visions of drivers beeping their horns at me, not being able to make a turn on the road in case I couldn’t get across because drivers wouldn’t give me the time of day or a line of traffic sitting behind me and I worried that I would becoming panicked all of a sudden. For months before that, I remember openly telling friends that I wouldn’t dare cycle in the city centre on the roads because I had those exact worries. 

20180901_170106.jpg(One of my favourite cycling trips was up to Carrickfergus for the afternoon. It has the perfect cycle route from Belfast to the town centre.)

I’m seeing so many benefits after a very short while; it helps that I already love going to the gym and I love where I am in terms of running at the minute too but I believe the cycling is making a huge difference to my physical fitness. My legs feel stronger because of it; although a cyclist did pass me a week or two ago and said that I should probably adjust my seat higher because my knees do bend further more than they should, so I’ll try adjusting it to see what happens. I don’t listen to any music or podcasts when I’m cycling because I think it’s important to hear around you, just in case you might miss something behind you or in front, but I’ve enjoyed not having headphones in all the time. I have a bad habit of needing to hear something all the time so whether that is a podcast or music, I can see myself becoming less dependent on it, which I never thought would happen.  

20180726_163918.jpg(This is part of the cycling route to Carrickfergus and this particular location is Hazelbank Beach, very close to Jordanstown and Loughshore Beach. It’s a favourite of mine for running and cycling.)

As surprising as it is to write this, I haven’t had that many bad experiences so far. While there has been a car or two get a little too close trying to speed past me to get around the corner, that’s about the height of it.  I do get a little self-conscious because I know I’m slower than a car or a bus and I’m worried about holding someone up, but I soon got over that when I realised I had every right to be there as another vehicle. (Plus the cycling community around Northern Ireland also told me this on Twitter, which was lovely) 

We’re always in such a rush nowadays and being a driver, I can understand the frustration of being behind something slower but we do all need to realise that whether you are driving a car, bus or a van or riding a motorcycle or bicycle, we all have the right to use the road. As long as everyone sticks to the road rules, then we shouldn’t have a problem. Unfortunately, I’ve heard (and seen) some horror stories (especially on Twitter) against cyclists but I’m glad that I haven’t had those experiences.  

I can’t wait to start exploring more of the city because I absolutely love using the greenways. I don’t think I’ll be taking part in any races, I prefer to have cycling as a hobby rather than turning it into a competitive sport but full power to those who race in races competitively. Thank you so much for taking the time to read today’s post, I really appreciate it! 

My First Year of Running.

Running has been in my life for a little over a year now so I thought now was the perfect time tot to talk about my journey so far; what I have learned and what my goals for the next year are. 

IMG_20170820_192743_994(Scott and I at my first 5K race: the Connswater 5K in August 2017)

I started running in the Summer of 2017 because it was something I had always wanted to get better at. I was already so focused on the gym but I wanted to progress my fitness further. It helped that my boyfriend loved running and he wanted a running partner that he could coach, so it was a win for both of us. I’m very lucky that my blog has grown into a haven of lifestyle, mental health and running so I have blogged about my various races, my longer distances and the lows that I first experienced, all which will be listed below. 

Training for a 5K Race: An Introduction and My First Run. 
Training for a 5K Race: Running and Negative Mental Health. 
Training for a 5K Race: The Lone Run. 
Training for a 5K Race: My First (Unofficial) Park Run. 
Training for a 5K Race: Last Minute Training!
Training for a 5K Race: Race Day! 
Training for a 5K Race: What happened after? 
Training for a 10K Race: Yes, 10K! 
Training for a 10K Race: Starting Out With Longer Distances.
Training for a 10K Race: Wait, again? 
Becoming Comfortable With Calling Myself A Runner. 
Training for a 10K Race: Three Loops and One Long Run.
Training for a 10K Race: One Last Check In. 
Titanic Quarter 10K (2018) Race Day! 
Lisburn 10K and Half Marathon (2018) 
Not Eating Enough Before A Race. 

I have a much healthier relationship with running than when I first started out which is fantastic but there were a few weeks where I wanted to quit because I wasn’t sure if I could handle being anxious on something that was becoming a hobby. Thankfully that calmed down a lot over the year and I’ve continued running for the majority of time. During the colder winter months, it was definitely hard to go out for a run and especially after work when all you want to do is have your dinner and go to bed. I managed to pick up a good running routine during the Spring and Summer months of this year however. 

27467803848_0f1d1a6b91_b-01.jpeg(Who doesn’t love a good running shot?)

While only taking part in seven races over the year, four being 5K’s and three being 10K’s, the majority have been enjoyable experiences and I’m glad to say that I am less anxious in crowds now and I don’t tend to compare myself to other runners as much as I used to. 

In terms of timings, I have progressed majorly which I’m so proud of. I have brought my 5K personal best time down from 44:48 to 30:02, an incredible 14 minutes difference and my 10K personal best time down from 01:12:00 to 01:04:18, another amazing achievement for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not hitting those times every time but right now, I’m not concentrating on time surprisingly. I’m still tracking every run and I do look at the time and while it might be slower than I’m used to, I’m trying to use every opportunity as training and getting back into a routine rather than trying to hit a personal best every time. I would exhaust myself sometimes on a run and I would finish it to see that my time had been slower than before, it was really taking the fun out of it. That’s why I’ve taken a step back from looking at the time so much but it’s still important, just not as important. 

IMG-20180620-WA0004-01.jpeg(The Lisburn Half Marathon and 10K where I got my new 10K personal best.)

I don’t like planning too far ahead for my running goals mainly because I like to see where my running will take me but I know it’s important to keep striving for something. I would like to start training for a half marathon; I’m not sure when exactly I’ll take part in my first one but I know I would love to take part in next year’s Belfast City Half Marathon which is next September. Yes, I’ve given myself an entire year to prepare for that one, but it’s more achievable that way. I believe I am physically able to take on the challenge but mentally is another story when it comes to running, so that’s what I need to work on. I have one more 10K race coming up soon which I’m preparing for but once that is done and dusted, I’m planning on going further in my distance training. The furthest I have ran is 14K and I completed that in just over an hour and a half so I know I can run further, I need to put it into action now. 

I would like to get my 5K time down to 28 minutes or as close as I can. Considering I knocked 14 minutes off my time over this first year, you would think that would be easy as pie but it’ll be a lot harder than you think. I do push myself a considerable amount on those personal bests but Scott has suggested I start doing sprint sessions to help me with my speed and stamina. I have to say I’m clueless when it comes to this so once we get the upcoming 10K over us, I’ll be getting him on board to help me with this.

I’m really excited for what the next year of running will bring and I can’t wait to share it both on the blog and through my Instagram too. Thank you so much for reading today’s post and if you have any running blog posts, please send them through to me because they are some of my favourite posts to read.