Should you pace your next run with a GPS watch/ app?

When I was preparing for the Edinburgh Marathon I lived by my Garmin – I used it on every run and kept track of ALL my stats. I was borderline obsessive about my pace and my progress.

After the marathon, I stopped training for a couple months and by the time I decided to get back into a training regime, it felt like I had lost so much fitness. All of the sudden, I hated my stats. I was slower; it was harder; and it was annoying how quickly I lost fitness after working so hard to build it up. As a result, I started to dread going for runs. Something I loved turned into something I avoided… I quickly realised that if I want to keep running, I needed to leave the watch behind.

There are many benefits to tracking your runs though and I’ve recently tried to get back into the routine of it.

If you’re wondering whether you should start tracking your runs, or if you should step back from obsessing over your running data, check out my list of pros and cons below…

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Preparing for the British 10k + Adopt this racing mindset

Vitality British 10K London run

I am officially a race ambassador for the Vitality British 10k this year! Having run in this race before, I’m more than happy to sponsor the event.

With 15,000 runners, the course is a bit crowded at first but the atmosphere and the iconic landmarks that we pass along the way make up for the slow start.

Actually, regardless of the slow start, last year I managed to finish the Vitality British 10k with a personal best! I was completely over the moon about breaking into the ’45 minute club’ with a finish time of 45:30. My personal best prior to that was 46:26, which I had been trying to beat for some time (over two years).

I’ve now realised that I haven’t raced 10km since… which is a little scary. Knowing that I will be on the same course – doing the same distance – at the same time of year… There is no reason I shouldn’t be at least the same speed as last year right? Wrong!

Whether your personal best is on a 5k course, 10k course or longer distances, there are so many factors to consider during a race and you should never start a race with an expectation to perform the same, feel the same or realise the same results that you had in the past.

Here’s how I intend to approach the Vitality British 10k in July this year. A good mindset to have for any race…

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A view from White Horse, Yorkshire

Yorkshire Countryside

Despite the very random weather Northern England often has to offer, yesterday morning was absolutely beautiful.

Driving up the steep and swervey Sutton Bank – a 25% gradient – your ears begin to pop. I’m not the best passenger when driving on UK roads (understatement of the century) as I often feel car sick… the swerving, the roundabouts, the opposite-side of the road, and now my ears are popping…. Getting to the top of Sutton Bank required a whole other level of concentration for me to not feel sick.

Well I made it (surprise! Obviously Allison…). And I have to say, it is quite quick to the top and the sights are well worth the journey.

What a stunning view of Yorkshire it was.

I started my run at Sutton Bank running along Cleveland Way until White Horse and then back again! It was a short run (around 6kms) with wicked sights and simple navigation.

I would actually recommend this route as a walk, rather than run. The view is too beautiful to run by and the distance is perfect for a social walk with friends or family. No walking guide or experienced hiker needed – not like the Lake District (blog post here).

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Reflecting on my first 10k of the year

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Quite quickly, I went from being grateful and excited to cold and worried… hence my expression above! It was a cold and windy morning but all-and-all I really enjoyed the Regents Park 10k. This was a true test of my winter fitness and I was so pleased with the result… 10k in 46:45! Woot! Very close to my personal best at this distance and I walked away without shin pain!

RACE REPORT: The start was delayed slightly which threw a curve-ball in my warmup plans. I was starting to get nervous at the start line that my shins would play up after going from cold and stationery to high intensity running.

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Grateful and Excited

After suffering from shin splints last year, a few things were put into perspective… Going out for a quick 30-minute run was no longer an option. Instead, I’d have to pack up and walk to the gym to find some low-impact cardio. It became a chore being so restricted.

The shin splits lasted six months… I wasn’t able to run from March – November 2014. They’ve since settled down and I have been able to enjoy some beautiful runs around London again. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated going for a run as much as I do now.

Tomorrow, I’ll be racing my first 10k in ages!! I’m not going to bring my Garmin and instead I’ll just run by feel. If I leave with a sub 50-minute finish time and no shin pain, I’ll be a very happy camper!

To avoid any injuries tomorrow I plan to:

  • Do a long easy warm-up
  • Roll out my calves tonight and after the race
  • Take Monday off to recover

Enjoy your training. Enjoy the freedom of it. And take care of your body!

Time to get back into the swing of things

Come Run

It’s January 3rd.. about that time to get back into the swing of things. The holidays are over, and a new working week approaches (the sad truth!).

Let’s get outside and start breaking all the bad habits we so happily took on board over the holidays.

Remember that feeling you get when you’re out on a run… the fresh air, the mind space… and then the feeling of accomplishment when your workout is finished… Something that over indulging in turkey, sweets and mulled wine doesn’t necessarily offer!

Now is the time. Join me and start the process of finding your healthy routine again.

Goal Setting

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I have a lot of exciting goals this year — I honestly can’t even wait to start working towards each and every one of them. I’m listing them here to make myself accountable and to remind myself why I set these goals in the first place. When I get in the thick of things, I’ll reference this post to keep myself focused and energized.

Here they are… 

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Green Gable of the Lake District

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If you live in the U.K. or plan to visit, make sure you get to the Lake District. It is such a beautiful part of this country and should be experienced AT LEAST once.

My friend Kelly took a group of us for a hike in the Lakes last year and I can’t wait to go back. We hiked up Green Gable and swam in the tarn pictured above. It was a 6hr hike of stunning country side scenery. I love the piece and quiet an activity like this offers — you can truly appreciate yourself and your surroundings.

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