Tag Archives: Runner

Getting Back Out On The Road Again.

Copy of I Never Want To Run A Marathon... And That’s Okay (4)

Happy Sunday all! It’s been a little while since I’ve been blogging, it’s definitely been a busy few months for all the right reasons and while we’re currently (at the time of writing) in a crisis of the Coronavirus, I wanted to talk about something I’ve been working on recently to distract myself and that’s getting back into running (again!) and if you haven’t read my “2020: The Year of Running?” I’d recommend reading that first.

Towards the very very end of the year last year, I was on a roll with the running and on New Year’s Day, Scott and I went out for a lovely run to one of our local parks and it was great. I didn’t care about the time at this point, we were just glad to be out for a run. However… that’s where it stopped for a while. That’s the thing about the dark mornings and the dark evenings; you might be the type of person who can get motivated during these times but for me, it’s a time that can get me quite down especially after a day of work and I couldn’t think of anything less appealing than going to the gym or out for a run. (However, I love going to the gym, but getting myself out for a run was much harder)

So initially, I was training for the Craic 10K race that takes place on St. Patrick’s Day every year in Belfast. However, due to the Coronavirus, many races like these have been cancelled or postponed until a later date. It wasn’t something that shocked me because of course, it’s the right thing to do but I was aware that there was a high possibility of this happening. 

The next postponed date in June gives me quite a lot of time to improve my timings which I think will give me an aim for the next few months. I’m 100% confident that I can run the distance because I’ve done it before (and if I wasn’t confident, I know that would be about the mindset rather than the physical challenge).

For the meantime, we have no other races booked because we don’t know what position the country will be in over the next few weeks or next few months.

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I’ve started running on the treadmill more recently than I ever have before. I tend to get bored on the treadmill but I find that I get intimidated by outside sometimes; I would make excuses to run with Scott but in all honesty, I was worried about not being able to run the length of myself. While I was trying to get out of my own head, I found the treadmill in the gym really helpful because even though I wasn’t going a full 5K distance, I was still pushing myself and working out my perfect pace, so I was still doing the work. 

Our most recent run went really well in fact; we ran 8K (or five mile) altogether and only stopped twice. Scott and I normally walk for about ten minutes or so before we start our run, to give our bodies time to warm up, we’ve found it’s a perfect warm up tactic for us. 

It started off at a slower pace but we had talked about not worrying about the time, the distance was more important. You have to choose one or the other when you’re getting back into running, so, because we were originally preparing for the 10K race, that’s why we choose distance. I was really surprised how clear my head was; if you’ve read previous blog posts of mine, you’ll know that mindset is a huge barrier for me and if I’m not in the mood to workout, I CAN NOT push it.

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We ran down one of our favourite routes that goes towards the water and we were absolutely fine until we got to the park where the beach is partially exposed. That’s when we discovered that some families have no consideration for anyone but themselves. As a runner, walker and cyclist, I’m very aware that we all need to be aware of our surroundings. I let others runners run past me, if a cyclist is behind me and I don’t realise until late, I instantly move out of the way. If there is a large family, I try my best to give them room but I get frustrated when a family take up an entire path and I believe that’s where my limit ends. It ended up putting me off my run a little and it was frustrating. I know now that we need to take another part of the route next time to make sure that doesn’t happen again but if we’re all more aware of our surroundings, then it will make everyone’s journey a much happier place. (Rant over right?)

Apart from that one issue, I was happy with the run. We did over the 5K distance that I wanted to do, my breathing was fine throughout the majority of it and I was so pleased that my head let me go further than I originally thought. Our time was 1 hour and 5 minutes and while I wasn’t concentrating on time, it’s hard not to reflect back on what you used to do. 

IMG-20180902-WA0010-01.jpeg(Our old race numbers from a few years ago!)

I was talking to someone about this on Instagram this week about my mindset when it comes to running. It’s hard not to reflect on what you used to do; my fastest 10K was 1 hour and 4 minutes so for a 8K to have a slower time, it can have an effect on me but I’ve found it really important to be present in my runs and I know the more I run, the faster I will be. That’s how I originally became faster; my first ever 5K was 40 minutes and it got down to 30 minutes and 2 seconds and all that was because of hard work and consistency. I also have to think about where I was in my life at that point, I wasn’t particular happy in my job at that point and I used it as a distraction, whereas now I’m very happy with so many elements in my life that part of me doesn’t mind that I’m slower, because I’m now a lot happier.

I’m currently working on what my running goals are going to be, now that I’m getting back out there more often. Whether I will post them on the blog publicly, I haven’t decided yet. Thank you so much as always for reading today’s post and if you have any tips or advice surrounding this, you can let me know over on my usual Twitter and Instagram social channels. Have a great week! 🌻

I Lost My Running Confidence… But I’m Getting It Back.

I Lost My Running Confidence... But I’m Getting It Back

Losing your running confidence is really quite difficult to deal with, but it’s even worse when you don’t necessarily want to admit it to yourself. I’ve finally came to terms with not running as much and as well as I once used to, so that’s what I wanted to focus on for today’s post. 

Running has been a real relationship for me in terms of having a great time with it but not knowing if I could continue with it. I would get so frustrated with it, I would feel defeated and not think I was progressing with it. On the other hand; I felt so proud of myself getting a personal best time or distance, I felt great afterwards (Thanks to that cheeky post-workout glow!) and when I did feel like I was progressing, it was fantastic.

As sad as it is to say, when the cold weather came in again, I think that’s when I started to feel the slump. I’m not great with cold weather at the best of times, but having to force myself out for a run was not something I was very good at, and it didn’t just make an impact on me. Scott ran less too and he can say that it wasn’t my fault, but I know that I was part of the reason for his lack of running. That’s just part of being in a relationship; finding out that you sacrifice something for your partner and there’s always a lesson in that, isn’t there? I know for me, I’m more conscience about exercise and because I feel cosier inside than outside; if I still feel okay to go out, I will do because it’s important for me and Scott.

IMG-20180908-WA0013-01.jpeg(This was at the Larne 10K and I would say that I was at the top of my running game; it was such a great race and I felt great afterwards despite it not being my PB time, although it was my second best.)

It’s disheartening for both of us to see our progress go down and I’m sure it will be something that Scott discusses at some point on his blog, but it was tough to see my learning curves build up and for them not to be so apparent anymore. I’m not as fast as I once was, I have to walk more than I used to and sometimes you can feel a little useless.

Towards the beginning of the year, I was running regular park runs which I really enjoyed but something was missing and I didn’t know what it was. Was it knowing that I used to be better? Was it the pressure I was putting on myself?

Yesterday (Saturday 4th May) was the first time in a month I had been running and I’ve been putting it off for a while, so instead of going to our usual spot by the beach, we went up to our local park where all my running really started. We done a two lap route of the top of the park and a couple of sprints so it wasn’t a very long session, but it was more than enough to get our hearts pumping. I’m glad that I’ve got a little piece of running confidence back but I don’t think I’ll truly get it back fully until I’m back where I was when I was at my best. That will take time and patience but it’s worth it one hundred percent.

strava3065251963898333238.jpg(This was our first gentle run yesterday. We decided not to go to the full 5K because we knew we were doing sprints afterwards.)

strava7792303457139840561.jpg(Sprints were fun! We only managed to do three altogether because we tired ourselves out a little too much on the first go, but it’s something we’re going to incorporate them into future sessions.)

I’m the type of person who needs to aim for a goal in order to move forward with something like this, and this is one of those times so I’m planning over the next week or so on what I should do, what do I need to aim for? It might be a time or a distance but as long as it gives me the motivation to move forward, that’s all that matters.

If you have any blog posts or videos you think would be a good recommendation for me to have a quick look at when it comes to motivation or getting back on track; let me know either down below, on Twitter or on Instagram. Thank you so much for reading today’s post, I really appreciate it! 

SS: Sunday Saves (#88) Running.

sunday-saves

Good morning and welcome to another edition of my Sunday Saves. I haven’t posted an edition in a few weeks, I’m currently adjusting and reviewing how the series is going to see how I want to approach it, so please excuse the delays. Today I’ll be talking about various aspects of running because as I’m coming up to my next 10K race, I am constantly on the look out for running blog posts so there’s a nice mix of 10K race tips (before and after) as well as runners starting out their running journey again.

1) A Luxury Travel Blog (Running 10K Every Day For A Year – 10 Top Tips)

Yep, you read that right, 10K every day for a year! Crazy right? That’s what I thought when I first read it too so I knew this post by Paul had to be included in this. While I won’t be taking on this incredible challenge, he gives some good tips that can be translated into any type of run. So if you’re getting into running for the first time, coming back after a long time or even trying to run a longer distance, these can work pretty universally.

2) goPhysio (Top 10K Recovery Tips from goPhysio)

While we’re on the 10K race theme, I thought it would be appropriate to also include some recovery tips. Recovery is something that I still haven’t made a priority when it comes to running longer distances so this advice from goPhysio certainly puts me on the right track.

3) Sunderland City 10K (It Would Have Been So Easy To Just Give Up Running All Together)

Coming back to the running scene after an injury can be quite daunting and although my injury wasn’t too serious, Graeme’s post resonated with me and that’s why I wanted to include it. While it’s quite a short post, his experience is one that I think a lot of people can relate to, including starting to run with a friend which takes his mind off running, his training so far and his future plans.

4) Medium (Time To Go Running… Again) 

This guest post by Shrey had me at the first sentence, “I am not going to lie, running is not something that comes naturally to me.” Shrey, I know how you feel! He begins to talk about his FitBit Blaze (smartwatch twins!) and how something that didn’t feel natural was now a hobby. He started running in the early mornings, he took his running gear with him on holiday and now he had a 5K personal best to work towards. I feel a little proud of a fellow runner!

5) The Average Runner (Do We Compare Ourselves To Other Runners Too Much?)

I believe Nick and I are on the same page; this post is very similar to one that I wrote about this subject a number of weeks ago (It’s linked right here if you want to take a read!) so it’s nice to see in blog form that I’m not alone with comparing myself to other runners. That’s what Nick’s post is all about so naturally, I gravitated towards it and can completely understand how he feels.

Well that’s all from this week’s post, I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any running posts that you have either written or read, send them over my way, I’d love to take a read of them.

Becoming Comfortable With Calling Myself A Runner.

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Over the last number of years, the term of “labels” or “labelling ourselves” have started a lot of conversations. Many people don’t like to label themselves because they find if they do that, they’re almost stuck in a box and they can’t veer out of it. I have been very open and honest when I have spoken about being vegan; initially I didn’t want to put that label on it and preferred to say I was eating a plant-based diet. By calling myself vegan, I thought I had to be perfect at it one hundred percent of the time and I was almost afraid if someone called me out on something I did wrong (especially if it was accidental). I am not longer afraid to call myself a vegan and I do when it’s brought up in conversation. I can understand completely that some people don’t think it’s appropriate to label themselves and I’m in no way dismissing that, everyone has the right to what they choose to call themselves (or not call themselves), I’m simply speaking about my experience and not only about how I choose to label myself but why it has been difficult for me. 

What am I? I am a woman. I am a daughter. I am a grand-daughter. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am a best friend. I am a girlfriend. I am partner. I am a work colleague. I am a vegan. I am in the media industry. I am a blogger. I am a gym go-er. I am a yogi. I am a learner. I am independent. All labels I am proud of. 

So why was it so hard to call myself a runner? Expectations were a huge barrier for me and it goes back to the point of putting too much pressure on myself and being worried I was going to be judged by other people. When I first started out I told myself that I won’t be a real runner until I can run a certain distance without stopping, so when I did that, I automatically told myself that I had to run further to be classed as a runner. When I ran that further distance, I told myself that I had to do it within a certain time, so again, when I did that, I told myself that a real runner would do it faster. I also told myself that I couldn’t be a runner until I ran in a race but then when I did, it still didn’t feel right. Without me explaining over a dozen scenarios that went through my head, you can see the pattern developing and it’s not a healthy one. 

Changing my mindset and perspective on this particular battle was hard, it really was. I like to think I’m determined (when I truly am passionate about something) and I have even been called stubborn. I’m not sure if stubborn is the right word but I believe when I want something, I work for it and I try not to ask for help along the way. In doing so, I’ve learned that sometimes you can’t do it all on your own and that in itself, has been a huge life lesson for me. 

victoria-wilson-1(Photography by Jess Lowe Photography)

Look at Olympic athletes, did I think they weren’t runners because they “only” ran 100m? Of course not. Did I think those who took part in a ParkRun weren’t runners because they weren’t hitting the specific time that I had in my head? Of course not. Did I think that runners were only “real” runners if they ran in official races? Of course not. So why did I think I wasn’t a runner? 

I was listening to an interview with Tim Ferriss; I’m a huge fan of his work when it talks about mindset and routines specifically. I know I’ve heard him say this quite a few times but I’m not sure if this is his quote or someone else’s but he says “Always try to be the weakest person in the room, in some aspect” It’s a valid point because if you’re always the strongest person in the room, I truly don’t believe you will learn anything from others because you are at the highest point and everyone is looking to you. Whereas, if you are the weakest person, you’re looking towards others for advice and education on whatever that particular subject is. So next time I’m taking part in a race or a ParkRun for example, I know I won’t be the strongest person there and I’ll be getting overtaken right, left and centre but I can only look at that as a positive rather than a negative. I’ll be picking up my pace and I’ll be looking at them to see if they’re using any techniques I haven’t used yet in order to improve my running ability. 

No matter how fast or slow I go and no matter how short or long the distance is, I am a runner and I am proud to call myself one. 

 

Training for a 10K Race: Wait, again?

If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you’ll know that in the middle of last year, I decided to take up running. This was partly influenced by my boyfriend but it was something that I had wanted to do for a long time and I didn’t really know where to begin. Luckily for me, he was more than happy to come running with me, teach me how to run properly and be my support system.

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(Back at my first official 5K race: The Connswater 5K)
Through my running, I’ve taken part in about a dozen parkruns, quite a number of my own personal runs with various distances, mini run club runs, a charity fun run, a 5K official race and a 10K official race. While I documented my running journey of building myself up to a 5K race, I didn’t do that as well as I had hoped for the 10K and that’s one big regret of mine. Not so much for the blog, although I would have liked for it to worked as inspiration even just for one person; it was more so for myself because I would have liked to see written progress of that process too.

Being the romantic that I am, for Valentine’s Day, I signed us both up for the Titanic Quarter 10K race happening at the beginning of April. He told me that he’s done this particular race before and because it’s in a newly developed part of the city with views of the water, it’s a really nice backdrop for a run. He didn’t know I was signing us both up but he seemed really pleased that we would get to run together in another race, and this also means going out on more training runs together whenever we can.

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(I don’t stop to take photographs too often on a run but on occasion, it’s nice to take a breather)
My plan of action for the build up to this race is pretty simple. If you follow me on Instagram, more often than not, I post my runs on there so I plan on still doing that and additionally, I’ll be doing a blog post every two weeks talking about them more in-depth. I don’t want complicate it because running shouldn’t be complicated so why make my blog that way?

I hope you’ll follow me along on my latest running journey because it’s something I’m very passioniate about and I love that I can share it with others too. While you’re here, you can catch up on some older running posts too:

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: Race Day!

Race Day had arrived; it was the day I had been training for for the last number of weeks. I can’t believe I’ve only been training for just over a month! I’ve went from just under 45 minutes to under 35 minutes in just a month, which I’m so happy with.

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Having done the Park Run the day before (and set a new personal best), I knew from the get-go that I wasn’t going to match that time but if I got under 35 minutes, I would be happy. I was quite nervous, I’m not really sure why; I think it was because this was my target that I was aiming for and it was finally here.

Scott was running the 5K with me but there was the option of the 10K and the kids fun run too. We stood in the wrong line but we must have looked out of place so thankfully someone pointed out the right starting line about thirty seconds before we were due to start.

The race began slowly but surely; where the start line had started, it was leading to a bridge so it wasn’t very wide and we both knew we were going to lose some time here. The first minute or two was definitely not at the speed I’m used to, it was slower but with the way the course was laid out, there was really nothing we could do.

20170820_095633(I have no photographs from the race itself because it wasn’t the type of run to stop and take photographs but this was just before the race started.)

For the first three quarters of the race, I would say I was doing well. I had developed a sore tummy and my head started to pound but I was getting through it. If you read my post about running with negative mental health, then how I felt in that run was very similar on how I felt this day. My self-critical thoughts came thick and fast and unlike the day before, I wasn’t able to tell myself “I could do it”, it was like I was talking to a brick wall. I started to hate the running, I hated everyone around me, I wanted to quit, I started to panic and eventually I ended up having a panic attack weasing away not being able to breath. I was so embarrassed! I didn’t stop though so I was overwhelmed, running with a negative mindset, finding it hard to breath and struggling to find the energy to run at all. I cried and I must have looked like I really hated running but there was so much more going on in my head than I could have explained.

Scott every time has been really supportive when I have periods like this, running or not, he’s there just willing to listen. He did offer me some more positive re-enforcement than usual even though he knows I’m not a huge fan of it, but we were so close to finishing that I think he felt like I needed to hear it.

IMG-20170820-WA0004(This is me fresh faced just before starting the race!)

One of the big cons of the race was something that I didn’t notice until after but Scott noticed at just the right point. I seen him looking at his phone quite a lot towards the end and I thought he was constantly checking our time, but I didn’t ask about it because quite frankly, I was mentally drained and I didn’t care about my time. I just wanted the race to be over at this point. We get past a certain point and he said “I think this route is longer than 5K” so we do a sprint to the big “finish” sign and I stop my watch immediately. That’s when I noticed a difference. We all know (if you’ve read previous posts) that my FitBit plays up when it comes to the GPS aspect. So for the 5K in the Park Run, it comes up for me as 3.05 miles but my watch this time came up as 3.16miles so it was more than 5K. Because of this, my time was different and it came up as 35:28 meaning I didn’t hit my under 35 minutes aim. However, because Scott had been watching his distance and time, he stopped it at the exact 5K mark and our time according to his more trusting app was 34:25 meaning I came under my target!

20170824_211024(My timing and wrong distance according to my watch alongside my new medal!)

This sounds like there were more cons than pros in this race and I would say it was pretty evenly matched. I was disappointed in the distance especially for those going for personal bests and timings specifically but the atmosphere was really lovely with so many people there to cheer us on at the start and the end. The starting at the bridge slowed us down like I said but the views going through Victoria Park were gorgeous especially since I haven’t been there before.

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(Scott and I with our medals!)

My next and final post in this “Training for a 5K Race” series will conclude with my overall thoughts on my performance, my results over the last few weeks and what’s next as well as a few more thoughts on the race day too.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post and if you want to catch up on the previous posts of the series, they are all be linked 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: Last Minute Training!

Saturday morning arrived, the day before the race so as some last minute training, I knew I was going to do the Park Run again. Scott was competing in his own race that morning so I went on my own instead.  I signed up to the correct Park Run this time (As I mentioned before,  I had done a previous Park Run so I convinced myself I was going to go to that one again, even though it’s about an hour and a half walk away) so I was able to get a time on the website this time. When you’re standing around on your own, you do wish you had someone with you but that doesn’t last too long before you head over to the start line.

(It was a sunnier day than last week but I put my hoody in my bag just in case.)

The first lap I really surprised myself at how I felt my pacing was; I was a comfortable tired but not too tired that I didn’t feel like I could go on. The only killer in both laps was the last hill of each, I struggled mentally with those and took a five second walk before starting back again but it wasn’t as hard as the previous week had been.

One change I made in this run was inward thinking. I have spoke to myself (inside my head) many times using positive mantras and encouragement but the times it didn’t work, I don’t think my head was in the right mindset. This run however, was very different for some reason. I lost count how many times I told myself “You can do this” and it worked. I can’t explain the feeling I had when I told myself that but normally “the other side” would say “No you can’t” but I didn’t have that on this occasion. The only thing were it was tough, like I explained in the last paragraph, was the last hill on each lap. I’m really happy I’m starting to break down that negative running barrier.

When it came to the finish, I was at the point where I couldn’t push myself to go faster for the last few metres, so it’s safe to say, I was very tired but I knew it was a good tired. I had only looked at my watch one time during the run and it was coming up close to the start of the second lap so I had an indication of a rough time.

I had not expected another personal best! Of course, instantly I knew I wasn’t going to pull this off in the race the next day but I didn’t care. I was so happy that I had a personal best under 34 minutes! My aim overall was under 35 minutes so this was like the little cherry on top! (If you’re wondering why my distance is wrong, read my last post about my first unofficial Park Run and it’s explained there!)

Thank you so much for reading today’s post and if you want to catch up on the previous posts of the series, they are all be linked 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