Tag Archives: Runner

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.

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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

Training for a 5K Race: My First (Unofficial) Park Run.

So Saturday marked my first unofficial Park Run of 2017, and I say unofficial because I forgot to print out my little scanner code so I won’t get a time on the website but I don’t mind because both Scott and I recorded it individually; I recorded it on my FitBit Blaze and he recorded his on the Nike Running App.

IMG-20170812-WA0001-01(The starting line for the Park Run and of course, full photo credit goes to Scott because he’s taller and he’s better at getting overhead shots of the crowd.)

We arrived just on time, just after the little talk the volunteers give to the runners so we made our way around to the starting line and the laps themselves weren’t too different to how I had been running. The only difference was that we were starting at the western point of the pond and running down the hill to the pond towards the end which meant we had to run up the steep hill twice. The run was very similar to my one apart from those few points though, which I felt at ease with.

At the very beginning I had some of the self-critical thoughts and doubts creep into my head thinking that there was no way I could do it and they seem to creep back at the exact same place for the second (and final) lap. I’m glad I pushed through the thoughts but it’s not the nicest mindset to be in, it might just take a while for that to pass, right?

20170812_102727(It was quite a cloudy day and it wasn’t very warm but that worked in my favour during the run, because it seemed like the perfect temperature.)

One thing that I’ve found is my FitBit seems to be slightly off and I had noticed this a few times but the run on Saturday seemed to confirm this. The run altogether is 5K exactly yet my watch is knocking 0.1miles off my time which is quite frustrating so if you see me posting my watch times and it only says 3.02 miles, it’s really 3.12 which is just over 5K.

So what was my time? Well I’m so happy that I hit another Personal Best because Scott said to me just before the end, “You’ll be so surprised at the end.” and I said that I was preparing myself to be disappointed. When you’re running in a big group of people, because there are so many people in front of you, you feel like you’re running too slow and I always look back to that very first slow run that I spoke about so I always feel like I’m running at that speed.

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My time was 35:42 according to Scott’s app, and it’s almost ten seconds more on my watch because I was so happy to finish that I forgot to hit the pause button, so that’s why there’s a few extra seconds on. According to Scott, from the first run we done together, I was doing a 14 minute mile and on this particular run, my average was 11:26 a mile, so quite the drop in times! As you can see from the watch statistics, it says 3.02 miles when really it was 3.10 miles so I’ll have to see if I can fix that somehow. It syncs with my GPS on my phone so I’m not sure what’s going on with it.

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 Run: The Lone Run.

So with less than two weeks to go until race day, I need to up my running game and this is my third run since signing up to the race less than a month ago. This was my first lone run because Scott had to work so I thought it would be good experience to see where not only my head would be but how far my own motivation would take me, even though on the day of the race, I know he’ll be there.

20170717_210915(How pretty are the swans?!)

If you remember back to my second race, I wasn’t in the greatest place mentally but I’m very happy to report that my head was in a much better place for this run. I described it as “losing motivation” to Scott but he said it’s more self-doubt that anything. I got round about half way of the course (I say “around”, I only checked my distance twice because I didn’t want to get too obsessed with checking it) and I felt like I couldn’t do the full distance. I added a few more hills into this run than previous two so I felt the extra challenge of those and I think those were fuelling the self doubt.

Running on my own definitely wasn’t as lonely as I thought it might be. I’m quite used to my own company anyway but I thought since I was in a public place, I might feel it more but surprisingly I didn’t. I had my music playing throughout so I didn’t feel like I needed conversation because of that. Something that I’m still struggling with is my breathing; it might sound silly but controlling your breathing while running is quite challenging. Thankfully because I have my headphones on, I don’t hear the very heavy breathing noises but if I didn’t, I don’t think I would be able to hear myself think.

IMG_20170811_064507_229(The evening’s statistics on my FitBit!)

As you can see with my FitBit above, my numbers were thirty seven minutes and forty eight seconds. As with the second run I ran a little further than the 3.1 miles so if you scale my numbers back to exactly the miles to match 5K, I would have completed it in the thirty six minute mark which matches my last run. I was really happy with my results; I didn’t expect the same timings because I didn’t feel like I had went at the same pace.

20170717_210217(The waterfalls in the park are so peaceful especially in the evening.)

Overall, I’m really happy with how the run went. I’m very happy that my time stayed the same and I’m glad that I was able to push past the self doubt because that’s probably something that will always play on my mind (and it’s not something that happens when I’m just running either). It’s less than a week and a half to go now until the race, exciting!

If you want to read about my introduction to this series, you’ll find it here and if you want to hear about my raw, emotional experience when running, you’ll find that post here. Thank you for reading the series so far, I can’t wait to share the rest of the journey with you!