I have always dreamt of running the London Marathon, even before I really started running (and realised how far a marathon was!) It was one of those bucket list dreams.
After trying and been unsuccessful in the ballot three times (now four), I decided the only way to get in was try and run faster. It was never going to be easy. I ran my first marathon in May 2017 in 3.55.43, which at the time I was pretty happy with. Then in 2018 I signed up to an ultra, lots of training miles including two more marathons and I had lost speed.
I contacted Katie earlier in the year when she was running a Stronger, Fitter, Faster program. As I was still training for the ultra Katie advised that it probably wasn’t the right time to for a speed program.
After the ultra was over I decided it was time for a new challenge and that was to try and get faster with the long term goal of trying to achieve a good for age time for London.
I contacted Katie and signed up for Bournemouth Marathon. After establishing my goals which being realistic was back to a sub 4 hour marathon (not good enough for London but my first goal), Katie wrote me a personalised 12 week training plan. I think the first message I sent Katie after receiving the plan and seeing the paces was that I didn’t think I could run that fast and that was only the half marathon pace! The plan also had rest days!! I didn’t know what these were. I had run every day for 564 days.
So Day 1 came and went with an easy 5km, even that felt like a rest day with the kilometres I had been putting in. Day 2 was intervals! So I might have run for 564 days but I had never aimed for a pace or run any sort of interval training! But it went well, inconsistent but I managed the target. Day 3 – Rest Day! Eek, this was hard! But I didn’t run (even if I was asked if I had and just didn’t record it on Strava!)
Five days into the plan I decided I wanted to run a 10 mile race the following week, Katie made it work for me. Added a warm up and cool down either side to cover that days long run and still get to race. So end of week two I ran my first 10 mile race in 1.19.34, I had never run a race at that speed. The next few weeks passed by in a flash I was enjoying the different types of sessions and finding a bit of speed, and was sticking to the rest days. An unplanned weekend away came up and Katie changed my plan to suit my weekend.
With my plan I had a monthly PT session and I also started going to Katie’s Wednesday core class. Core class was great, always fun whilst a great workout with a group of people all with the same interest. I defiantly found muscles I didn’t know I had, how did I know, well the first few times they hurt. I will still continue with core even though Bournemouth is over.
I had never had a PT session before so didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous, but Katie was great, we worked on more core and strength work on a 1 to 1 basis and I really enjoyed it. It also gave me chance to talk about how the plan was going and reflect on where I was.
Week 5 and the plans says “tempo run”, I don’t know what this is! But a quick chat to Katie at core class and I knew what I was doing the next day. Up early for my tempo run and a message from Katie saying she had gone home and reviewed my Strava and then she gave me a pace to aim for. Even better, defiantly knew what I was doing and off I went. End of week 5 and we reviewed the plan and decided to try and push the pace. Katie re wrote my plan ready for the Monday. Again I saw the times and had a little panic about how fast, but Katie reassured me they were target paces and we would see how things went.
Things continued well, nearly always hitting the new paces. I was getting a it worried about not covering many miles but Katie reassured me to trust the plan.
Then week 8 came and my foot started to hurt. I didn’t know what it was and hadn’t really been injured before. I missed and run but cross trained my 5km instead. I message Katie about my Sunday run, it should have been 32km, we decided I would go out easy and if it hurt stop. Sunday came and I decided not to run, it hurt to walk.
It was a hard decision and not one I made easily . I missed a really long run and it played on my mind for a long time. 3 days no running, it was hard but looking back it was for the best. I went to the treatment lab to get an idea of what was going on. Advice sought and back to Katie for a change of plan, again! No consecutive days running. Saw Katie at PT and she gave me some more stretches to do with my foot. I stuck to it. There were some tough runs and some tough rest days.
The problem with my foot continued but I took the advice, maybe not well at the time! Katie was great, not just with changing the plan but with the mental and emotional all support. I and some other races including Run to the Magic at Disneyland Paris, in fancy dress. I ran, not fast but with my friends and family and loved every minute. Covering some distance reassured me but the speed wasn’t there.
It was then time to taper! What is this, hardly any kilometres, more rest days. But just what I needed especially with my foot! I was a nightmare this week. Katie reminded me of the original aim and reassured me of how far I had come in a relatively small space of time.
Race day came and I was nervous but feeling ok and my foot was better than it had been. I ran, I ran with everything I had. I used all those training runs, the things I had hurt over the last 12 weeks and just kept going. I tried to keep pace, I was a bit quick at the beginning but it gave me a bit for when I hit the hills. I put my foot down at 20 miles and it hurt, a couple of easier steps and I knew it was ok to carry on, I’m sure it was in my head! The last 6 miles were tough, my pace slowed maybe 5 to 10 seconds a kilometre but I kept going. That pier never seems to get closer! And then I crossed the line. It was emotional and hard, I gave everything I had and when I got my time 3.43.50 I was overwhelmed.
So there is still no guarantee that it will be get me into London 2020, the rules could change, but I know I did my best and I have something more to work with now.
So Katie, I had never followed a plan before, I just ran. I didn’t know the different types of training runs and I never did any core or strength work. I have changed as a runner and hopefully for the better (I still struggle with the rest days and sometimes the low mileage). This wouldn’t have been the case without Katie.
It wasn’t just the plan and her knowledge but the emotional support, the messages when she knew I was struggling, the reassurance to trust the plan, trying to reduce the pressure I was putting on myself.
Also the rest of team CCK, I know more runners than I ever have and they all support each other, you can’t ask for more.
I cannot recommend Katie enough, not only has she got me where I am but she is inspiring too, she makes you want to do better, to push yourself and achieve better things. She understands the pain of injury and how it feels to miss a run but she supports you through it. I will be using Katie again to hopefully improve on my time.
Thank you xx
The weekend has arrived and with that comes many social plans, often including eating out.
You’ve tried really hard all week to eat well, have exercised or been to the gym and are scared to undo all your hard work with a blow-out meal.
This is how I used to feel, which is kind of upsetting.
Just because you have health or fitness goals, these should not be compromised over sharing valuable time with friends, families and loved ones.
Over the years I have found ways to eat healthier when eating out and would like to share this knowledge with.
Clean Coach Katie’s Tips When Eating Out:
- If you know where you’re heading to for dinner, read the menu before entering the restaurant. Check out what is on offer and what options are available to you.
- If you’re in a group, order your meal first. You’re more likely to stick with your healthier choice if are the first to speak to the waiter/waitress. If you hear someone else is ordering chips before you’ve made your mind up, you’re more likely to change what you are having.
- When you are in the restaurant don’t be afraid to ask for things to be changed from your meal – the chef’s should be and will be flexible. Ask for the serving of sauce on the side, swap out chips for a portion of vegetables or a side salad.
- Ask for your food to be grilled or baked. Avoid the words ‘fried’ or ‘battered’. Eating grilled meat or fish will be cooked in a better way without additional greasy oil.
- Add a side of vegetables or salad to your meal. These will add volume to your dinner without extortionate calories. Creamed spinach, however, does not count! 😉
- Opt for water over a drink like a Coke or Lemonade. If this is too plain, ask for a Lime or Blackcurrant Cordial with soda water, as an alternative.
- Choose rice or a jacket potato over chips. Those sweet potatoes fries taste good, but they’re probably not home-made and deep fat fried.
- Don’t allow others to pass judgement on your choices. Friends should appreciate if you’re on your own personal development or health and fitness journey.
- And if you do end up eating dessert, don’t beat yourself up about it – enjoy it. Food is not there to make us feel guilty. Wake up the next day, drink lots of water and exercise when you can.
Hope these simple and easy tips help you out this weekend 🙂
We all often hear or say the cliché phrase, I’ll start again on Monday.
Monday comes along… We have the best intentions and by 11am we’re crying out for the biscuit tin with our mid-morning cup of tea; dreading the bland and unappetising lunch we’ve got waiting for us on our lunch hour. We’ve all been there and failed miserably.
Most of us have tried these quick-fix diets that are meant to get us into shape via a 7 day detox days, 2 week blast or monthly plans. We’re promised the world, allured in by the apparent results, get disheartened when we see no progress and quit before we’ve even really started. There’s so much information out there in the market with various products selling us the ‘quick fix’ weight loss solution. I must admit I’ve tried and tested a few and like most others have failed. We stay on track for 5 days, the weekend arrives and we’re undoing all of the hard work we’ve had to endure over the past few days by eating everything that comes into sight.
This is why I’m such a strong believer in BALANCE. To stay motivated, working out shouldn’t have to be a chore, it should be a choice. Eating foods should be enjoyable, not torture.
Here’s some of my top tips to stay motivated:
- Take the time to think about the exercise you enjoy, whether that be, walking, running, yoga, swimming, cycling, boxing. Try and incorporate this into your weekly routine and as you begin to enjoy what you are doing and you see results, it will become less of an imposition and more of a lifestyle.
- Plan your meals ahead and buy your ingredients in advance at the weekend. Take that little time out to look after your body and health. You’ll be ever so grateful when you start to look and feel amazing. Gain inspiration from Pinterest, online recipes, Instagram. The amount of free resource out there is unbelievable. If you are unsure, at all opportunities, cook with fresh ingredients. Ditch the processed rubbish and stick to whole and unpackaged foods.
- Find a friend to begin this journey with. It is so much easier when you have encouragement from someone else. They will guide you and help uplift you throughout the process. They will push you through that evening’s workout and help keep you on track with your meal and food choices. They can offer you advice and wisdom and is a great way to keep yourself accountable.
- Keep a food and workout journal. Detail the choices you make and the workouts you complete. You’ll begin to understand the foods that work well for you and trend any patterns where your routine may be lacking. It’s interesting to look back on and a fantastic way to track your progress.
- If you struggle to find the motivation after work as you feel lethargic and tired, workout in the morning. This seems like a hard feat to try now. But once you’re in a routine, you’ll feel amazing and if you do finish work one day and fancy a night in front of the TV, then you’ll feel a great sense of satisfaction knowing you’ve already done your workout for the day!
- Set yourself small goals. These do not necessarily have to be about losing weight. It could be to aim to workout three times this week, try out a new class at the gym or if you currently skip breakfast, aim to eat a small meal each morning for 2 weeks. If you set these smaller goals and stick to them it will help to keep on track and encourage to set bigger goals next time. Once you have the self-belief, anything will be possible.
- And last but by no means by least… If you have a bad day, do not worry! Do not feel guilty or allow this to set you back. Start the next day afresh, forget about any previous mistakes and get straight back on track. Give that next workout your all, keep drinking plenty of water and try not to dwell on the past.
I hope some of these tips help to keep you stay motivated and on track with your goals!
Clean Coach Katie