What should training look like now?

At a time where there are no races in the running calendar and we’re only allowed to leave the house once a day to exercise or to grab the essentials, it’s hard to know the right thing to be doing in regards to our training.

Without a race goal in sight, it can be quite easy to lose motivation, however, I’m trying to use this time productively and look at training in a different way.

After speaking with a few different athletes and some of an international level, there’s lots of things we can do in this time to become a better and stronger runner. Their competitors won’t be stopping so they won’t be either!

 Injured?

If you’re injured or have a slight niggle, use this time to recover and recover properly. Put running on the back burner and make sure you fully heal from your injury. With no race to train for, why not use the time to become stronger? If you have some cross-training equipment such as a bike or turbo, then ideal, use this instead to maintain fitness or use your once a day token to go for a walk. As well, add in some at-home strength training and work on the areas that are weaker. When you begin running again there’s less chance of you getting injured again and it will help your core and running form.

Meant to be running a marathon in April or May?

If you were training for a big event (such as a marathon) and were due to complete it soon, then continue to follow the taper plan and reduce the intensity of your training. I personally wouldn’t advise running a marathon distance in training. I’ve said to the clients that want to mark the day of the marathon, they can complete 20.62 miles without running the full distance and finish marathon training at this point. Not running 26.2 will allow your body a swifter recovery and the chance to continue with training.  Running a marathon on your own will be a lot harder, without the support, crowds and race day buzz. Have this time as recovery and replicate what your body would have needed after the marathon. You’ve been training for 4 – 6 months already so your body will appreciate this time off.

At a loose end?

If you’re like me and didn’t have any big races soon, but had hopes for later in the year, then ‘just run’. After recently overcoming an injury, I was finally in a place where I was training consistently and back to my old routine. For now, I’m going to continue with 5 – 6 runs a week (I need rest days) but take the majority of these runs ‘easy’. This may be harder as I’m running with my other half James and he’s a lot quicker than I am, but I’m not wanting to place my body under too much stress.

The aim is to build my weekly mileage up which can be done if I don’t run too many ‘sessions’ or ‘workouts’ in the week and get my body used to running 35-40 miles a week consistently again. If you’re used to running 3 – 4 times a week then also continue with this routine and reduce the intensity.

We’re also due to take part in the Ride 100 London event so the aim is to build up the time and frequency of being on the turbo/bike. Last week I did one half hour session so this week I’m going to aim for 2 x 30 minute sessions. The idea is to not overload the body too quickly, but at a steady and gradual pace.

I’m also hoping to use this time to take part in some virtual yoga sessions and do more stretching and rehab work. It’s important to use this time positively, productive and constructively.

So, my advice is to stick with the frequency of runs per week but reduce the intensity of your training. Add in additional strength and cross training sessions where you can and essentially enjoy your training! Run for the opportunity to be outside and include the routes and runs in your week that you love.

Embrace the time we have to exercise and allow it to create some structure and fun into your routine. Search for that runners high and look for those endorphins.

To also help with this, I’ve just launched the Running Hub. An online hub for runners to form a community. With additional benefits such as 3 live workouts per week, live Q&A sessions, recipes and rehab guidance. We’re focusing on those neglected areas to help you become a stronger and more efficient runner. You can find out more here – www.cleancoachkatie.com/the-running-hub

Happy Training All.

Let me know what you’re doing this period for training!

Coach xx

New York City Marathon 2019

If you’ve followed my Marathon journey in the past, you would have known that I’ve only ever ran the London Marathon (4 times). (Unless you include the Impact Marathon in Kenya which got called off at mile 23 or the 35 Mile Ultra I ran earlier this year). Essentially, all my cycles have been in the Winter leading up to a Spring Marathon. So this time around, things were ‘different’ training for an Autumn event. I’d also qualified for the New York Marathon based on my half marathon time rather than getting in through the ballot, so this was quite a big deal for me.

At the start of the training block, I had told myself I would train well but the emphasis was not totally on a PB. Summer came around, social events, weddings and long runs were on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays… just whatever day of the week I could fit them in to. I also had a period in the summer where I experienced some fatigue/burn-out problems and it left me feeling slightly unprepared in the month leading up to New York.

Cue Duncan Foster from DSF Coaching (www.dsfcoaching.com) to come to the rescue to work with me in the final 4 weeks leading up to race day to change my mindset and get me in the best place possible. With 3 weeks out I ran a great 20 mile run and worked with that to build positivity. As a coach, I tend to put more pressure on myself to always perform well and showcase to my clients what can be achieved. This had started to overwhelm me and Duncan and I started to define what success would be on race day. We determined that enjoyment was more of a bigger factor for New York, but also to run a race I would be proud of.

So, off we headed to New York on the 31st of October. Excitement building and the buzz of the race was very apparent as soon as we touched down in NYC. We visited the Expo on Friday. Visit early if you want to avoid big crowds. But in fairness, they had over 50,000 to process in 3 days! On Saturday we took part in the Dash to The Finish 5K which was a great warm up going into race day.

Marathon Expo
Dash To The Finish 5K

RACE MORNING

My alarm went off at a ridiculous time of 4am, before I made my way over to the Staten Island Ferry port for the 5.15am ferry. Once you come off the ferry, you’re guided to the buses which take you over to the race village. After a short ride you get to security and the amazing start!

Darkness at the Ferry Port at 5am
Entering the race village

After a long wait (2 hours in multiple layers), my corral finally opened and I made my way over to the Green Start Line. I can’t describe how amazing the start really was. I could hear the elites being introduced, a DJ playing motivating party tunes, lots of nervous energy, NYPD helicopters flying over followed by Frank Sinatra New York New York. If you saw the week before I left, all I could was this, legs kicking out, da da da da da, da da da da da.

Trying to keep warm at the start
The iconic start line

The gun went and off we headed over the Verrazano Bridge, the first of five to tackle along the route. We’d been told about the elevation, so I tried not to push too hard and settle in a rhythm as it was only the first mile. GPS was not great on my watch… I looked down and it said 11 min mile pace! Again, I reminded myself that I was on a bridge and this was the start of the New York Marathon. Today was about experience, a good finish time would be an added bonus. The bridge was quite congested and I tried to not weave too much to save energy. I took a glance to the left and saw the stunning Manhattan. I took a deep breath and thought ‘wow, I’m running the New York Marathon, let’s do this!’.

Running across the bridge and seeing Manhattan

The up and down of the bridge flew by so quickly and before we knew it, it was the start of Mile 3 and we were being welcomed to Brooklyn. There were a few people cheering and shouting along the roads at this point and it made me smile and realise what may be ahead! It was great to feel so welcomed to the Marathon by NYC residents.

Although a lot was going around me I didn’t feel like I really found a rhythm until 5k, although the first 5k did go past in a flash. Once I passed the 5k sign I realised I was on for 3.30 pace and tried not to panic. I knew this was possible for me and tried to just run by feel. In my head before the race I thought somewhere between 3.25-3.40 would be a realistic aim, but also wanted to run to what felt comfortable. I thought back to my original aim of making this a feel good race and smiled.

Once you’re in Brooklyn, you run the same long road for quite a long time. At around mile 5 someone from the UK ran past and said hello. It was also time for Gel 1. They were going at a faster pace than I was, so I wished them well, not wanting to get carried away.

Between miles 6 – 9 were the best part of the course for me. The crowds were unbelievable and the noise was deafening. I was high fiving, whooping and cheering my way through the streets. Probably wasting a bit too much energy, but in modern day terms ‘living my best life’ so I couldn’t care less. I will always remember this part of the course now and I’m so pleased I allowed myself to enjoy it as much as I did.

Mile 8

Half way approached and we were still in Brooklyn!!! I felt good at this stage and kept repeating positive messages in my head. I knew Queensborough Bridge was upcoming and another tough part of the course. I went through half way in 1.45.10, still around 3.30 pace, although I had heard the second half of the course is a lot harder than the first. Still having a good time though so continued to wear my smile!

The bridge came and went quite quickly (from what I remember) and I knew I would slow down at this point. I didn’t want to push hard and expend too much energy here so was happy to let the pace drop slightly. At mile 16 I saw James again which gave me another lift and we entered the streets of Manhattan!! The noise here was LOUD, but as the streets are quite wide, it didn’t have the same effect on me as Brooklyn. It was pretty cool though to run through closed roads of Manhattan. For the city that never sleeps, it was awesome to have no traffic and free reign of the roads.

Mile 16

At Mile 20 we were in The Bronx and Alicia Keys ‘New York’ was playing on some huge speakers. I welled up and got goosebumps, this race just kept on giving! At mile 21 I could start to feel the marathon in my legs and I began to curse myself that I hadn’t gone over 20 miles in training this time around. But I remembered the message on my last gel; ‘Finish Strong’. So off I continued.

The long incline up Fifth Avenue pushed me a bit too far I think and at mile 24 when I was expecting to see James, I walked through the water stop. Throughout the whole race I couldn’t take on enough water to kept the thirst at bay without taking on too much that it would be moving around in my stomach. The water tasted oh so good and I got moving again quite quickly. A few minutes later I stopped again… I’d made a mistake walking before, and I felt like my head was starting to win. I finally saw James at mile 25 and turned the corner. There was a guy shouting ‘Finish Strong, Finish Strong, You’re All Champions’. If that wasn’t a sign, then I don’t know what was? I say ‘Finish Strong’ to all my clients, so I ran my heart out and didn’t stop again until the finish line. Finishing in 3.32.03.

I crossed the line beaming, although quite tired too! The last few miles were hard but I finished in my second fastest marathon time and having a really positive race experience. The streets of NYC gave my joy, happiness and hope. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I’d defined success as being able to finish saying ‘I loved that’ and they were they were the only words I could get out my mouth. We were then presented with out gorgeous medals and it really sunk in what I had achieved. It was beautiful and I wore it with pride.

Moments after the finish

New York City Marathon was everything I wanted it to be and more and I wouldn’t change a thing!

Times Square

Sponsored Athletes 2020

After the success of the Spring Marathon Sponsored Athlete Programmes in 2018 and 2019, we couldn’t not go ahead in 2020…

Applications opened for a period of two weeks and we had over 50 runners apply for the two positions. The athletes have access to monthly sports massage, weekly core classes, a training plan, gait analysis, a pair of trainers and nutrition, plus the knowledge and support of all three to support them on their journeys.

The selection process was even harder than the last 2 years with the calibre and sheer volume of applications received and it took a while to finally pick the two successful athletes.

However, after much deliberation, we are very excited to announce our new athletes to you…

Anastasia Murphy – Manchester Marathon

I’m Anastasia, I am 25, from Milton Keynes! I am running Manchester Marathon in April 2020 and this will be my third marathon.

I ran my first marathon in 2018 (raising £4,500 for Alzheimer’s Society). I went from 5k to marathon within 6 months. Those 6 months changed my life. I went from having no self confidence or fitness, to appreciating what my body can do and achieve over what it looks like.

My current marathon PB is 4:22, so I am hoping to get to 4 hours (or sub 4!). I started running in 2017, as a way to improve my mental health and generally keep fit. Before then, I had never ran in my life. Over the last two years, my speed, endurance and general fitness has increase dramatically – but I am nowhere near my full potential.

I’m now ready to take my fitness up to the next level and really discover what I am capable of and I cannot wait to work with Clean Coach Katie and the team over the upcoming months. I can’t wait to share my progress and hopefully smash Manchester marathon out the park! Equally, I want to shout about the ‘runners’ high and be able to share with people how running has not only helped my fitness, but also my day to day life and self-confidence.

Mark Atkinson – London Marathon

A former introverted lethargic couch potato who started running a bit to get healthy for my two kids and got a little carried away.  Now a member of the 100 Marathon Club, MK Lakeside Runners and Redway Runners clubs.  

Learnt a lot along the way, made a lot of mistakes which ended in my writing the “Run Like Duck” book covering my misadventures, which even won an award, presented by Mike Bushell off the telly.

I’ll be running London Marathon in 2020. I’ve been lucky enough to run it before through a ballot and a charity place and it’s simply the best experience. The crowds and support are amazing and guaranteed to lift your spirits no matter how badly your legs hurt which I’ll need for a PB attempt.

Currently on 135 marathons and ultras, with numerous shorter races as well. I’ve tended to race any distance from a lung busting 5km race up a mountain in Spain to a 145 mile ultra from Birmingham to London along the canal. I’ve never followed a training programme and tend to bounce from one race to another, constantly in a confused state of training, recovery and tapering.

For once I want to target a marathon and follow a detailed training programme designed to peak on race day. After so many races I feel I owe it to myself to see what I can actually do on the 26.2 miles without self-sabotaging my performance with multiple races in the weeks before, running with a loaded back pack to simulate ultra training, or keeping a bit back for next week’s race. Throughout my running I’ve treated strength and conditioning, along with physiotherapy and stretching as something other people do. Consequently I have the flexibility of a gangplank and on a good day can just about touch my knees. With the opportunities of this programme I’m excited to undo years and miles of abuse and hopefully push for a Good For Age qualification time for London or a Boston Qualifier.

The team are so excited to begin and share their stories with you. We hope you enjoy following their progress over the upcoming months.

spring races 2020

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Building races into your Marathon Training Plan or Spring 2020 Training is a fantastic way of motivating yourself through the Winter and helping you achieve the longer runs in the lead up to race day. It allows you to be in a race environment and and helps learn what it’s like to run alongside others.

I find that it’s a great way to practice my pre-race breakfast routine, finding the start line, replicating the pre-races nerves and trialling of any kit or fuel (never leave it to race week to not try gels, blocks, beans etc., even if you feel you don’t need them on a long run, use this time to practice).

Knowing what races to put in your plan as and when can be tough so here are some of my suggestions based on races I’ve done previously and from friends feedback.

WEEK 1 – 4 / JANUARY

I’m going to start with Weeks 1 – 4 of your plan. For those training in the Spring, this will be January. I would advise adding in a 10k or 10 mile event in the first 4 weeks. This doesn’t need to be ‘raced’ as it can be used as a training run, but also good if you want to try a faster pace for a base and early confidence boost into training your training plan. A few local races for those training in the East Anglia region:

Saturday 12th January – Draycote 10k

Sunday 19th January – Fred Hughes 10 Miles

Lots of London 10ks in Victoria Park, Battersea, Regents Park etc. all can be found on www.findarace.com

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WEEKS 5 – 8 / FEBRUARY/MARCH

In February and March, it’s worth doing a half marathon or two, to either support a long run day or ‘race’ if you’re feeling good and training has gone well, it could be the chance for a PB and confidence boost along the way. If you’re an experienced runner, I’d recommend a 20 miler around 7-8 weeks in. Some of my clients run 2-3 20 milers in a 16 week block.

Sunday 2nd February – Watford Half

Sunday 9th February – London Winter Run 10K

Sunday 16th February – Bramley 10/20

Sunday 16th February – Stamfords St Valentines 30K

Sunday 1st March – Brett Lydd 20 – Kent

Sunday 1st March – The Big Half – London

Sunday 8th March – Hillingdon 20

Sunday 15th March – Cyprus Half

Sunday 15th March – MK Festival of Running – Half & 20

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WEEKS 9 – 12 / MARCH

I would then advise for a 20 mile event 3 or 4 weeks prior to race day. This may be a second or third 20, or your first. It’s a great idea to use these to practice some of your target ‘race pace.

You can use some of the previous suggestions; Brett Lydd 20, Hillingdon 20 or MK Festival of Running if it fits in with your marathon plan and target race.

Sunday 15th March – Oundle 20

Sunday 15th March – Ashby 20

Sunday 22nd March – Twin Lakes 20, MK

Sunday 29th March – Dorney 20, Eton Dorney

Sunday 29th March – Oakley 20

I hope that this helps you shape your race calendar for the New Year working towards your running goals or Spring Marathon. Leave a comment with any other suggestions and which races you have booked!

Happy Training 🙂

Race Week preparation

Saturday 28th September 2019 is race day for the Autumn Run 10K and Half Marathon in Milton Keynes. I’ll be running in the half marathon event and have put together a blog for the runners who are preparing for these races. This will be useful for anyone going into the final week of training for a long distance event too.

Training for your first race or a PB attempt takes up a lot of time, commitment and sacrifice.

This is why it’s important to ensure that you put yourself in the best position possible on race day to have the run you and your training deserves.

In the week leading up to race day, the actions you take, may be the difference between achieving your target or not.

Here are a list of things I like to focus on building up to my target race.

Sleep

  • Getting enough zzz’s in the week leading up to race day is just as important as enough sleep the night before. Nerves usually also get the better of the night before, so I try to go to bed a little earlier each night to ensure I’m well rested on race day
  • It is suggested we get 6 – 9 hours sleep a night and sleep deprivation can have negative effects by slowing down reactions, weaker immune functioning and slower recovery times. Tuck yourself up early in the lead up to your race!   

Food

  • Nutrition is very important for runners. And it’s essential to make informed choices on what we eat in the final few days.
  • Stick with a similar routine based on what you’ve practiced in previous weeks. Pasta and even pizza are popular choices the night before – but again, eat what you have previously had before your long runs.
  • Carb-loading is a fun term that people like to use before a race. Don’t go crazy by eating carbs all week. For a half marathon, I ensure I eat the same portions sizes in the lead up to my big race, but increase the carbohydrate content within the meals.
  • Carb-loading is used to help boost glycogen levels, which is the energy available to you on race day.
  • The average human body can store around 350-500g of glycogen so all the extra carbs you eat won’t be useful and actually make you feel a little sluggish and/or heavy.  

Training

  • Ensuring you don’t overtrain in the lead up to race week again can be a final factor in order to get the best performance on the day
  • You can keep the frequency of your training at around 60-70% of your normal week, but look to reduce the intensity of it instead. I know it can be hard to taper and you feel like you should be outdoors lots, but sometimes less is more. Keep your runs at an easy pace, watch your heart rate and don’t put any further stresses on your body.
  • Although it’s sensible to reduce intensity, some athletes like to add some race-pace effort intervals into their sessions earlier in the week to practice what this pace feels like. Add in some rest periods in-between to ensure appropriate recovery.  
  • Another idea to reduce the intensity is to cross train. Swimming, cycling or light cross training will create less resistance on the body.
  • Avoid any high intensity or weighted workouts in the final few days before the race. Squatting a new PB 2 days out will only create a wonderful level of DOMS.

Foam Rolling & Stretching

  • Before a big race, I opt for a sports massage to relieve any stress or tension. I aim to get booked in on either Wednesday or Thursday. I find my legs take a few days to recover from a massage so getting one the day before isn’t the wisest idea. (This is only my opinion!)
  • Stretching and foam rolling on top of this will help ensure you’re in peak physical condition on race day. With no niggles in sight to set you on the wrong foot before you’ve even crossed the start line.

Race Strategy

  • Do you have a finish time in mind? If yes, do you know what pace you have to run per km or mile to achieve this?
  • I think it’s really important to have a race strategy of some form, even if your strategy is simply to complete the distance, have fun, or score a PB. If you know what you’re setting out to do before the race starts, you’re more than likely to stick with your plan.
  • If it’s your first half marathon, then look over your long run data and work out the average pace you’ve been running, aim for this and try to keep the pace consistent.
  • If you’re going for a PB you will have raced this distance a number of times already. You will know what’s ahead and your strengths and weaknesses within a race.
  • Most of my PB’s have come from a gamble. I usually go off too fast and then have to hang in at the end. Not the wisest of strategies though….
  • The races I enjoy the most are the ones where I pick a pace I know I can run, it’s not comfortable, but I stick with that… I always tell myself I’ll take my foot off the accelerator if I feel it’s too much, but the few times recently, the gamble has paid off and I’ve been able to stick with it till the end. The end is tough, but a PB isn’t called a Personal Best for nothing.
  • Be bold and finish strong!!

Logistics

  • Race logistics are often the biggest thing people gloss over. They focus on the training but not actually the race itself.
    • How do you receive your race number? Is it through the post, or do you have to collect it from an expo before?
    • Where does the race start from and at what time? Always aim to get there at least 1 hour early to factor in any delays and a warm up, plus how can you forget the pre-race selfies?
    • Parking, where can you park, will it be busy? Is it close to the start line, do you have to pay? Again something often overlooked!
    • Travel – if not going by car, how are you getting there and what route do you need to take to get you there on time? You’ll be nervous about the race already, don’t add extra stress in the morning by potentially being late.
    • Supporters – do you have anyone out on the course cheering you on? Make a mental note of where they’ll be? Hand them any nutrition you may need but also have a back-up in-case you don’t get to see them.
    • Prepare for all weather conditions – gloves, sleeves, compression socks. Dress for 10 degrees warmer than what the weather says. It may seem cold on the start line, but you may regret the extra layer 5k in.

There we have it, you’ve got your nutrition locked down, you’re going to catch extra zzz’s to feel relaxed and know exactly where to go in the morning to get you to the start line as smoothly as possible.

It’s also vital to have the right things in your kit bag for all conditions.. Here’s my essential packing list:

  • Race Vest + Number (if already collected)
  • Trusty Sports Bra (Women only)
  • Vaseline (For Men – Bra Substitue)
  • Shorts / Leggings
  • Socks / Compression Socks
  • Trainers – carefully selected to achieve that PB
  • Gloves / Visor / Hat –  preparing for all weather conditions
  • Pre race food/snacks – banana, malt loaf – final energy essentials
  • Body Glide / Plasters – to prevent or help heal any blisters
  • Jumper and Trouser – pre-race to keep warm
  • Old Top/Jumper – to wear just until the start to keep warm
  • Spare underwear / clothes – to change into after the race
  • Flip flops – essential to let your feet breathe after
  • Baby Wipes – to remove the white salty residue off your face
  • Nutrition Shake – post recovery like a boss
  • Water / Electrolytes – hydration is the key
  • Deodorant
  • Headphones
  • Gels
  • Watch
  • Hairbands
  • Safety Pins
  • Money – for your celebratory drink/snacks/meal

Good luck to you everyone running in the Autumn Run 10K and Half Marathon. See you all there!

https://www.big-cow.com/events/

The Benefits of Yoga for Runners.. Interview with Sweat Studios

Last year I spoke with Sweat studios to talk about the benefit of Yoga for Runners…

‘Katie’s an ardent runner and leading figure within the local running community who participates in many high-profile races, including the London Marathon. A regular Monday morning class with us is a key feature of her training plan.’

Sweat Studios’ has long encouraged runners to take up yoga to help them achieve their greatest potential and smash personal bests. One runner who recognises the performance-enhancing qualities of regularly practicing yoga, is Katie Tucker – aka – ‘Clean Coach Katie’- a local running superstar and popular personal trainer in Milton Keynes!

We had the pleasure of catching up with Clean Coach Katie to talk about how yoga has helped her reach her inspiring running achievements.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING YOGA?

I’ve been practicing yoga for around 3 years but found the wonderful Sweat Studios in January 2017. My Mum was keen to get into some form of fitness and saw the newbie offer and asked me to join with her. I’d started training for my second London Marathon so was keen to make yoga a part of my weekly routine. We tried a variety of classes and I really enjoyed the Hot Classic and Hot Mix sessions. Mum preferred the slower flow classes, so we quickly found the ones we liked.

I did attend another hot yoga studio previously, but since being at Sweat Studios I haven’t returned as I love the friendly welcoming nature of Sweat, the clean and fresh facilities and the amazing staff that make the classes what they are.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU DO YOGA?

When I am training for an event i.e. a half or full marathon, I try to make sure I get to one class a week. I love the 10am class on a Monday. It’s a perfect recovery for me after completing a long run on a Sunday and I feel it’s a really good way to start the week.

I also love the fact that you can completely disconnect with the world for an hour. Running my own business means I am constantly thinking or working. I am very bad at relaxing and taking time out, so to me, yoga is a really important part of my work. I have no access to my phone or any reason to talk to anyone. It’s just me and my body for one hour.

If I could get to two sessions a week I would, but I run 5–6 times a week and strength train 1-2 times a week too. Trying to fit it all in can be difficult, but I understand how important it is for recovery and injury prevention so I make it as important as one of my long runs.

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HOW DOES YOGA HELP YOU WITH RUNNING?

I have experienced so many benefits from yoga. The main one being injury prevention. I must admit I can neglect additional stretching at home, so stretching out on Mondays is really important after my long runs. It’s a good reset for the start of the new week.

It’s great for core strength and flexibility which is ideal for runners. Having a stronger core helps prevent injury, reduces aches after longer runs and all of this further improves my running efficiency.

The heat really helps me to stretch out further as my muscles are warmer. The classes are also a great workout. Often, I’ve walked out of the studio feeling like I’ve just taken a shower – in a good way of course.

A good example of yoga helping me feeling stronger happened last weekend. I completed a 16-mile run for my London Marathon training. The next day, my muscles were a little sore, but this time last year after 16 miles, my hips would have hurt! Running is a very repetitive movement so it puts a lot of strain on the body. Over the past year I’ve focused on building strength in my core and hip flexors to improve my running posture. Yoga has really helped with that too! I’m much stronger now and I love feeling that strength during training.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN RUNNING FOR, WHICH RACES HAVE YOU COMPETED IN?

I started running in 2012 after moving back home from university. Previously, I was a netball player (not a very good one but I tried!), but I wanted a new challenge so took up running after a suggestion from a work colleague. I’d done a few 5K Race for Life’s, but never anything further.

I signed up for my first half marathon as an incentive to train and completed this in 2 hours 3 minutes and 52 seconds.

After picking up a few injuries in 2013, I saw the London Marathon on TV and was inspired. I signed up for the ballot but unfortunately got a no. I ended up running the London Marathon in 2014 for Children with Cancer in a time of 3 hours 54.

Later that year I joined the Redway Runners after losing my running mojo and this is around the time that I first found yoga. I used strength training and yoga to help rehab injuries that I was plagued with in 2014/2015. These injuries were down to a lack of strength in my body and muscles and overtraining.

2017 was the year everything changed for me. In January I became a newly qualified Personal Trainer and set my heart on the London Marathon once again. I had had to pull out of the 2015 Marathon with only 6 weeks to go after picking up a stress fracture.

I was determined to cross that line injury free but also as happy as I had felt in 2014. Using my PT knowledge and strength training throughout the years, I understood how important rest and recovery was to my training so I only ran 4 days a week and continued with my weekly yoga and weight-based strength training.

I completed the London Marathon in a time of 3 hours 44 minutes and achieved a Good For Age spot for this year, which meant I automatically had a place in the race.

2017 then went from strength to strength. After seeing my achievements, my Personal Training and Running Coaching business has thrived and evolved and I’m now so fortunate to help other runners on their own journeys. I am so lucky that I get to do what I love every single day and use all of my failures and successes to educate, inspire, encourage and motivate others.

My half marathon PB is now 1 hour 29 minutes. I’m very pleased that I’ve been able to knock off over half an hour over the years. I’ve also completed a sub 19 minute 5K, a time I used to dream of.

My motto with Clean Coach Katie is #StrongerFitterFaster and yoga has definitely helped me to become a stronger, fitter and faster runner.

 

You can learn more about Clean Coach Katie and her inspiring running achievements at:

www.cleancoachkatie.com
cleancoachkatie@gmail.com
Clean Coach Katie – FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube

 

If you’d like to know more about how yoga could help your running, why not speak to a member of the team!

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Wimbledon Common Half Marathon – Run Through UK – Race Review

DISTANCE
Half Marathon

LOCATION
Wimbledon Common, London

COURSE
Uphill, downhill, grassy and on the trails.

COST
£30 via letsdothis.com

FINISH
Medal & T-Shirt
Lots of goodies including banana, water, smoothie, flapjack bar.

 

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I booked this race with Run Through UK via the letsdothis.com website after wanting to build a race as part of my long run for Marathon Training.

On the weekend I was looking at, there wasn’t too much local to me, however, this popped up so thought I’d give it a go!

 

Run Through organise a lot of races in London utilising their local green spaces with events on both weekdays and weekends. With 5 and 10ks during the week, they then up the distances more on weekend events.

This event was on a Sunday and the race started at 9.30am so enough time for travelling, especially from Milton Keynes. There was no dedicated parking for the event, however, we found parking in a nearby street.

PACKING YOUR RACE KIT BAG.

The race event village was on a big field in the common, which is great if the weather is nice but not so much if raining or cold! It was a nice morning but it had been raining overnight so we could have done with something to sit on whilst sorting out our race numbers and final prep!

Numbers aren’t sent out before so you have to collect them on the day. Ideal for me, as I only signed up 4 days before. The process was really easy and safety pins were provided.

There were portaloos were available for women and they had toilets in the nearby clubhouse for the men. It was a short walk away from the start, but also close enough.

East Nine were there to also provide a warm up. They did some cardio based work followed by some dynamic stretches. Nothing too strenuous which is ideal before a half. (I’ve seen some odd warm ups in my time!).  Myself, Ana and Sammy who I was with ran a little bit through the course to see what the start was like.

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Run Through were operating waves around 3 minutes apart based on your predicted finish time. We headed out in Wave 1, but I failed to predict how challenging this course was going to be, especially on tired legs as I had ran hard the day before!

(Not usually recommended, but I wasn’t treating this a race).

The Course

A 2 lap course, labelled as 1.5 miles uphill, 3.5 miles flat followed by 1.5 miles downhill. The course was mainly on grass, trail and gravel. The uphills were a lot sharper than expected with 1 stinger of a hill just over a mile into the course. If you’re targeting a PB I wouldn’t say this is the course to do it on.

I was hoping the 3.5 miles flat would feel more comfortable, however, as it was gravel pathways, it wasn’t easy to push off of the ground in a efficient stride. On a course like this, you’ll use more energy than on others so I wouldn’t say it’s a fast course by any means. It was scenic around the park and good for supporters as they can move around the loop to see you a couple of times.

A lot of the race was in the shade, so was great in the hotter weather. It was around 22 degrees this morning so the shade was really appreciated! If you’re running this in the Winter I’d also recommend old trainers. I wouldn’t wear new ones for this race!

On a positive note, there were lots of friendly marshals and it was well sign posted. It would have been hard to go in the wrong direction.

There were three points for water on the course and they were in bottles. I still can’t drink out of cups successfully!

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As we approached the finish you could hear the huge PA system which gave you a boost in the last 800m and your name is read aloud as you pass the line! You get presented with a lovely medal. This years was a womble!

There was no official goodie bag, but treats lined up for you to take. I thought this was a great idea to help reduce plastic bag waste. There was a finishers T-Shirt, water, bananas, flapjack bars, flavoured corn, smoothies and a few other things I can’t quite remember now – but well worth the entry fee for!

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In summary, a very well organised race! A great medal, tee and goodies at the end. Great to include as part of training and also good to prepare for hilly and trail courses. However, if I wanted a flat and fast half I won’t be rushing back to this one!