For 2018 I set myself the challenge of running 2018km to raise money for Milton Keynes Hospital Charity. It’s a goal far beyond anything I’d achieved before. During January and February I pounded the (sometimes snowy) pavements of Milton Keynes – clocking up the km’s but I was getting nowhere fast! Considering I was running (what to me felt) like Forrest Gump I just wasn’t getting any faster…!
I met Katie at the Redway Runners Expo and she said some words which stuck in my head – you won’t get faster if you don’t run faster. I was lucky enough to win a PT session with her which introduced me to my (non-existent) core and the concept of stronger, fitter, faster. It was a lightbulb moment! Without hesitation and with much excitement I signed up to Katie’s six week stronger, fitter, faster online programme.
I was so excited to receive the SFF programme – including general information, strength circuits, foam rolling/stretching guide, nutrition guide, menu plans and the all important training plan. In short, it consisted of 4 varied runs a week, 2 strength circuits, optional activities, planned rest days and clean eating. Everything was there for you and easy to understand! Being an online programme, you complete it on your own, but with the support of Katie and the online Facebook and Strava groups with the other 30 ladies about to take on the same challenge, you were far from alone. Questions were easily answered, anxieties appropriately reassured… we were set!
I was excited and nervous in equal measures when I noted the speed sessions – I had never approached running this way, however loved that I was going to tackle my midweek runs differently. Turns out you can run faster than you think!!
It took me a while to get used to running at different speeds – I’d only really known one speed before! Running fast, running easy, running comfortably uncomfortable were all very new to me but Katie made it understandable and soon I was able to recognise how my body responded to the different paces. It was a really good feeling to be getting somewhere and I really grew to love interval training!
The SFF group community was lovely to be part of. Everyone was progressing with their running (and the setting of watches for intervals!), clocking faster speeds, reaching and posting about personal goals along the way! Having the accountability to Katie (coach is always watching) and the rest of the SFF ladies meant there was an extra nudge to get out there and complete each element of the programme! We were doing it together with great spirit and camaraderie!
Katie was on hand to reach out to for advice – she helped with pacing of one of my longer runs and helped me with my race day strategy. Commonly I’d fade at the end of the race but Katie helped me plan my race and I ended up finishing strong which was such a good feeling. It was such a buzz knowing that I could put my training into action! I won’t go into a race without a race strategy again.
The 6 weeks flew by and before I knew it, time to put all the training into action. Target race: 5km Milton Keynes Rocket. Lining up on the start line with my game face on…! I hadn’t got anywhere near close to my 5km PB since 2014 so was an ambitious aim. It was one of the toughest races I have done. I wanted to stop, but I didn’t and I did it… I’d set a new PB! To say I was over the moon was an understatement – I’d knocked over 3 minutes off my 5km time in just 6 weeks!!
Turns out, you have to run faster to run faster – and have a pretty awesome coach pushing you on too! I loved having the structure of a program to work to… and in doing so I got my running mojo back and I’m once again enjoying clocking up the km’s for my years goal. Next is planning what the next target race is going to be… I’m hooked and can truly say I am stronger, fitter and faster! Thank you, Katie!