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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Mount Snowdon, Wales

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Last weekend we packed up our gear and drove to Wales looking for a chance to get out of the city and see part of the UK we’d never experienced before.

A road trip only one week after completing The Sugar Free Challenge was a risk… who doesn’t like to snack en route? Luckily, a 4-hour walk/scramble up Mt. Snowdon the next day seemed to balance everything out. I’ve learned that I’m much better at the big picture of healthy living… micromanaging my diet last month has thrown me out of joint a bit.

Anyway, more about our time in Snowdonia…

Snowdon is the highest peak south of the Scottish Highlands. The trails to the top are straight forward in terms of navigation but the terrain becomes quite steep and rocky as you progress up the mountain.  

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A view from White Horse, Yorkshire

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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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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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Explore new running routes

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When I was training for the 2013 Edinburgh Marathon, I made the mistake of doing the same running route over and over and over and over again. I didn’t notice how boring it was at the time, but thinking back it is absolutely mind melting. I found too much comfort in knowing what hill to expect next, when I was going to have a down-hill break, and how long it would take me to get home already! This type of comfort does not pay off in the long run — it can lead to injury, it can be a major mental barrier when you do venture out of that usual route, and eventually you’ll get bored of it — or you’ll get bored of running.

Try different running routes — no matter how far the distance — and keep it interesting.

Yesterday I planned to go for an easy run… being based in South Hampstead, I usually run to and around Regents Park… It is a convenient loop that starts and finishes at my doorstep. Instead of doing ‘the usual’ – yesterday I took the Overground to Richmond for my run. It was such a nice change running in an unknown area and enjoying the beautiful scenery.

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