December 5, 2016
There are a million reasons why we run…well maybe not quite a million, but you get my drift.
Our reasons are many and varied and at times they compete with each other…and here lies the problem.
Many of us suffer with a lack of focus with our running, we just head out a few times a week without a plan, without too much thought about the purpose of the run or what we really want to achieve from it.
Then we wonder why we don’t make much improvement.
Recently I haven’t really had any races to train for. I don’t plan on running a spring marathon (although I could be tempted), however I do have plans for an ultra marathon in July and a few smalled races…so either way I do have to start upping my mileage soon.
My focus throughout the Autumn has not been on distance rather it’s been on SPEED…an aspect of running you wouldn’t normally associate with me.
I am a plodder, a slogger…a some times walker even.
I can often be heard saying I am built for endurance not speed.
But a few years back, frustrated with my always-around-the-40-minute-mark parkrun times, I wondered what it would take to improve my speed.
I took some time to assess the reasons I thought I was slow…and no they did not include being overweight or lazy…other fat women could run faster than me…so what was my problem? Much of it I relaised was around my mindset and desire to actually run faster.
I decided with 7 simple techniques and a little bit of focus, I would see if I could get myself a sub 30 minutes 5K.
And it worked…almost!!!
Roughly 3 months later I reached an epic 30.07 time at Hackney Parkrun.
Sadly my speed deteriorated as my focus moved on to marathon training, and my family circumstances changed meaning I couldn’t train in the same way…and bit by bit it crept back up to the mid 30s and then 40 minutes again. I lost my focus, my need for speed…my need was more about being able to run 26.2 miles without collapsing ha ha.
But I stand by my 7 techniques working though, and I was dying to test the theory with some other women, so at the end of August I recruited 100 women from the Too Fat to Run community and put them through an 8 week programme testing them and it.
The results were great for the women who were able to commit to the programme fully, and I learned a lot from the women that didn’t around what motivates us to improve, and what is needed to really focus on improving speed as a goal.
All of this research can be found in my upcoming book “Scream if you want to RUN Faster” which was released for preorder today….and trust me these techniques work.
On 30th August I recorded a 5k baseline of 43 minutes and 27 seconds. My fitness was terrible. I had had a summer of very sporadic running. My goal was to improve my 5k time by 10% but actually I would have settled for 5%.
On 19th November I nervously went along to my local parkrun with the sole intention of running my arse off, and smashing my sub 35 minute goal…I had run a surprising 36.27 5k two weeks prior so knew it was possible.
What I didn’t expect though was a 33 minute 39 effort. I think my face says it all!!!
I had knocked 9 minutes and 48 seconds off my 5k in 8 short weeks.
Some of this was about getting back in to the routine of running again, improving my fitness and strength…but I would say the biggest shift was a mindset one.
At the weekend I went along to a different parkrun, one with hills. I was curious to see how well I would run. I felt strong but I wasn’t too interested in speed. My focus was on running all of the 8 hills, something I always struggle with at Mile End parkrun.
And guess what?
I managed it…and as I powered up the final hill I thought to myself
Where your focus goes, energy flows…and results show
Oooohhh I thought, I must remember that and write a blog post about focus and intention.
Henry Ford once said
Wether you think you can or you think you can’t you are probably right
He was spot on.
Try it next time you go for a run.
Decide on your intention, your focus…and see what you can achieve.
“Scream if you want to Run Faster” is available for £8.99 on Amazon.
I know this book will absolutely help women improve their speed, but more importantly their confidence.
I have no money for marketing though, so I am relying on preorders to get me into the number 1 spot, and word of mouth and positive reviews to keep me there.
In January we will be running a second online programme for 100 new women. We estimate that you are 3 times more likely to achieve your goal if you have a like minded group of women to share your experiences with in a safe and supportive environment