It’s sometimes a wierd thing, running a running business. As you can imagine, I talk about running. A LOT.
I get asked all the time ‘Do you run every day, bet you do?’, ‘How many marathons have you run, bet it’s loads?’It’s almost as if we judge each others running credentials by how many miles we pack into the week, or how far we drag ourselves.
I always say the same thing.
I run as much as I can and as much as I enjoy. But sometimes (often) it’s really hard to fit it in.
Juggling kids and work makes finding time for myself to get out for a run is never easy. For any of us. Injuries aside (I’m just recovering from a 6 week long break with a hamstring injury), generally I’ll aim to run 3 or 4 times a week, sometimes more, but sometimes I’m lucky if I get out once. That’s just how life is now and I don’t beat myself up about it.
And when it comes to marathons…well I have only done one of those, about *ahem* 20 years ago. I was really fit back then, had all the time in the world to train plus worked in a health club. I spent my life exercising (and partying). A lot.
So I’ve got the marathon medal and t-shirt. But if I’m brutally honest I didn’t enjoy it that much and, although I probably will do another one, I’m not that fussed about it.
People always look at me a bit strangely when i say that and I sometimes feel the need to apologise or justify why running far is just not for me, as if I should be setting an example by running further and further.
But here’s the thing. I really really love speed. No, not that kind, the other kind; the running kind.
The kind of running where you feel your heart really pounding in your chest, the wind in your face and the sensation of the world flashing by in a blur. Relatively speaking obvs, I’m no Usain Bolt.
1 mile, 5k. 10k. They’re my thing and I literally love it. There I’ve said it, no judgement please, look at the joy on this face!
Physiologically, I am built for speed not distance. Having had chronic asthma as a kid, my lungs do ok on short distances but I struggle to breathe well over longer distances which means my leg muscles get very fatigued. I’ve got long limbs and a high centre of gravity so physically a shorter distance covered faster suits me much better.
My personality works better when things are short and done quickly too. I get distracted easily and am always juggling a million things at once, so something I can get done speedily and then get on with other things suits me perfectly.
I like being able to fit everything i want to do into a mere 60 minutes, or short sharp sprint sessions, rather than negotiating with my family for long weekend runs. I can make pretty big inroads into my performance and speed with a few simple additions to my training week or to my technique. I can see the changes immediately. Perfect.
More than anything I love 10k races. There are plenty to choose from on a whole variety of terrains. I could do one every weekend of the year if I wanted to. I have done literally hundreds of 10ks over the last 20 years and all over the world. I will never ever get bored of them and now at the grand old age of 43 I am finally getting around to working on getting faster at them.
As a coach too I often get asked ‘what next?’ at the end of a training programme. For many people they think their only option is a longer race. I always ask them what they enjoy? How much time they have to fit training into their busy lives? And encourage them not only to think that further is better.
Sometimes just committing to running every week is enough. For some, the thrill of a flat 5k or getting into muddy off road 10ks is perfect. Or entering and competing their first ever race.
And for others, they really want the challenge of that first half marathon, marathon or even further. All of those things are ok!
The most important thing of all is to find something you love and keep doing it. Let’s face it, as a Mum getting out to exercise is hard enough, so you may as well do something you really love (or at least vaguely like)
Choose something you know you can fit into your life and that you’ll enjoy. Far is great, but sometimes short is even better. There is as much power and happiness to be had in 1 or 5, or 10 as there is in 26.2 .
Even running once round the flippin block is an achievement in itself some days!
Whatever you choose, commit to it, do it proudly and do it often. Whatever you choose remember it is perfect for you. No excuses required.
This weekend I will be proudly representing Womens’ Running Magazine as an Ambassador for their Womens’ Running 10k series of races at Cardiff’s Bute Park. Its a fantastic series of women only runs, the support, encouragement and camaraderie is infectious and makes these events so enjoyable. They are perfect for first timers and experienced runners alike.
There are races in Exteter, Southampton, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Liverpool and London across the summer too.
If you want to have a go, there’s still time and with this special TMR code you can get a discount: WRMB162
All the deets and booking are here
If you’re running this weekend, come and say hi!