British 10k – Running for Charity

IMG_4669This Sunday my colleagues and I will be racing the British 10k in support of Macmillan Cancer Support. A group of us at work have been training since May in preparation for the event.

In previous years, we’d often sign up for 5k charity runs. This year we decided to double our distance! For many in the group, this will be the longest distance they’ve ever run.

I felt slightly responsible for convincing my colleagues to race a 10k so I started a run club at work to get everyone trained up for the race! We train every Monday and it has been amazing seeing individuals improve. I used to coach novice and corporate rowers in University and I forgot how good it feels to pass on knowledge and help others work towards their fitness goals.

We train in a park near work where we are surrounded by green – a good reminder of why we’re doing all this hard work: Macmillan.

With work, training, the blog and MBA Run Club my time often feels stretched… I created the run club as my contribution to the 10k challenge.

If you’d like to support all our efforts and donate towards Macmillan Cancer Support, you can do so at our Just Giving page. All donations gratefully received.

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Toronto Triathlon Festival

Toronto Triathlon FestivalThe Toronto Triathlon Festival is a qualifier for Age Group World Championships. To qualify you need to finish top 3 of your age group (mine being F25-29). Even though I knew I’d be punching above my weight trying to qualify, I really wanted to give it an honest effort.

I raced the Hyde Park Sprint Triathlon three weeks prior to the Toronto Triathlon to benchmark my progress, and didn’t get a huge amount of confidence… I finished the race in 1:27 – 2 minutes slower than my first triathlon at Crystal Palace, 10 minutes slower than I was hoping for and I managed to come off my bike at one point.

When I looked at last year’s Toronto Triathlon finish times… the top three times were 1:11, 1:14 and 1:17. My aim became a) finishing in sub 1:17 and b) praying that faster athletes don’t show up to the race – if that happened, I might just qualify!

Well I certainly gave the race a good honest effort. I finished in 1:16, which was my exact target but I ended up 5th in my age group… this year the top three times were 1:09, 1:10. 1:10. I had no chance! Motivation to train train train train – need to get my swim and bike times a few minutes quicker.

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5k and 10k Running Events in London UK

handrawn-london-map02 2With the world famous London Marathon coming up over the weekend, let’s get inspired and check out what other races are available here in London.

With a population of over 8 million… we can’t be too surprised that once an event gets featured in our Tuesday Timeout mag that there’ll be a queue for DAYZ or it’ll be completely sold out. For this reason, I’ll avoid the highly publicized one-off races so that by the time you read this and think, ‘hey, I might sign up for that one…’ that there will actually be spaces available for you to do so.

Here are two amazing options for 5k and 10k running series in London — these are trusted events you can count on and which are suited for runners of all levels.

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Dealing with pre-race Jitters

Berlin Half Marathon - Dan and I at start line

You’d think that after 7 years of competitive racing, the pre-race jitters would begin to disappear, eh? Well, sorry to tell you that this is so NOT the case… What I have learned though, is how to turn those jitters into excitement and drive… rather than negative thoughts like doubt and fear (which jitters can easily turn into if you’re not careful!).

Here’s how…

When I start to feel the pre-race jitters… In order to turn them into excitement and drive, I’ve learned to simply not entertain any negative thoughts.  They’ll come through my mind constantly but I just watch them leave again without being effected, considering or debating them. 

Here are a few of the thoughts that went through my mind before the Berlin Half Marathon

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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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Recovery Tips

Stretch and RecoveryWe often forget that recovery is one of the most important ingredients to progress. Without it, we run our body down and impair our next performance.

There is a lot more to recovery than just stretching… and recovering properly makes you stronger and fitter in the long run — What is your recovery routine?

My body has come to rely on the following recovery tips…

  1. Never skip your cool-down. If you’re running short on time, skip the last lag of your main session and start your cool down early. If you’re absolutely spent, walking for 10-15 minutes can make a big difference — just remember to keep warm (layer up) if you’re cooling down outside in the winter months.
  2. Have a snack within 30 minutes of finishing your main session. Try to eat something high in protein and easy to digest.
  3. Re-hydrate. Find a water bottle you love or a glass you adore and keep it full. Sip on it throughout the day.
  4. Put your legs up. Spend 5-10 minutes with your legs up on the wall to enhance circulation and gently stretch your legs out.
  5. Invest in a foam roller. In addition to stretching – release muscle tension by rolling out tight areas and trigger points. Essentially an alternative for deep tissue messages… and (after the initial investment) it’s free!

I follow these to a tee after intense running sessions such as intervals or hills and after any race. For better or worse, I’m not so diligent after low-impact sports like cycling and swimming as my body doesn’t take as long to recover from these sessions.

If you’re crazy enough, ice baths go a long way. Dan does this after a big ride and finds that it helps a lot…. I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it… I absolutely hate being cold!

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!

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