Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Run For It!

It's no secret that I'm a gym bunny. I love working out so much that when I was unceremoniously dumped from my TV job I decided to move into the fitness industry.

However. Needing sufficient brain power and co-ordination to teach classes through the day and most evenings has put the mockers on training hard for myself. I simply cannot grapevine in the correct direction without going over on my ankles, not to mention remembering that right is actually left, if I have trained hard for my usual hour or (ideally) hour-and-a-bit during the day. So while my classes keep me generally very fit and a lot stronger than I was, my running fitness (always the first thing to go without focused training) has dwindled to pathetic.

Now I love to run. Since I've been a personal trainer I feel very proud to have got a lot of people -who swore blind they couldn't do it- into this high-endorphin buzz club. Running makes you feel better, it is addictive and brilliant for controlling weight and also re-focusing people who are fixated on unnecessary weight loss because it immediately gives you a new set of  healthy targets. It makes your bones and your heart stronger. It gives your brain a boost. It helps you sleep. It eases depression.

It is no WONDER I feel like crap for not doing it regularly any more.

What do I do if my clients get out of whack with their running, or need an extra push? I get them to sign up for a road race.

Confession: I have NEVER done a road race. The reasons being:

-I HATE competition

-I HATE competition even more when I know I'm not the best at something (yes, I realise competition when you're the best at something isn't technically a competition, it's SHOWING OFF. And that's the only competition I like. What of it)

-I am a REALLY slow runner.

When I say slow, I mean SLOW. My focus has always been on increasing my distance (although I've never run further than 15k - so clearly not THAT focused of a focus) and never my speed. I am a plodder. I LIKE running slowly, I'll admit it. I like the soothing thump-thump of my feet on the floor. I like to think about things other than what I'm doing - generally what crazy tricks the guitarist is shredding at during the solo whatever ludicrous band I'm listening to at the time. So although prior to my hiatus I was a manically regular runner (no less than 4 times a week, ideally 6), I've never really improved. I've genuinely never wanted to try any harder. Running was my stress release, my escape. Not a punishment.

But now I realise I need a target to get me going again. And I think this is it. The Harewood race gives me about 3 and a half months to get back into regular training, and hopefully then get my 10k time down so I don't embarrass myself completely (although I realise this is still almost definitely going to happen). Unless I can get Catie to do it as well, and we do it as a 3-legged race. So that we both lose.

Have you ever done a race? Want to do this one with me? Any tips for being a gracious loser?*

*Advice on losing at Monopoly also appreciated - another competition I have avoided for years for similar reasons. Although I like to think it's because of my kind and generous nature that I can't even hold on to FAKE money.


  1. I have a love/hate relationship with running. I used to HATE it, more than anything. Then, during my Serious Weight Loss time, I had to start running (hate it or otherwise it was necessary!)

    I started to love it. I know you won't be surprised Penny, but I was stunned. Amazed. My body, that I had always hated, could RUN. Like, actual distances. I was addicted. I entered an 8 mile race, and 1 month before my knee gave out and I couldn't walk properly, let alone run, so I pulled out of the race.

    Slooooowly, I built myself back up after the injury (talking upping distance by 1k per month here, painfully slow, if you're IMPATIENT, like me). I got up to 8k, and got tendonitis in my right Achilles. I stopped again, slowly slowly built back up, this time I ran a 10k race, and started to train for a half-marathon. I got up to 8 miles and... you can probably guess... I got shin splints and the beginnings of a stress fracture in my ankle.

    I love running. My body? My legs? They appear to hate it. I can run now, but I'm scared to go above 10k. And it drives me MAD because I hate not being able to push myself to the limit (chronic overachiever, can't help it).

    Anyways, I would totes run 10k with you since I'm SLOW aswell (tortoise stylee), but unfortunately if be running it in London!

    K x

    Ps: I've lost every race I ever entered, luckily I'm usually so amazed to be actually running I can somehow cope with being rubbish! :-p

  2. I firmly believe everybody has a distance that their body won't let them go beyond. I have been plagued by overtraining injuries (sympathies for the shin-splints, I get them all the time!) and have just settled at 10k, much as I would love to go further it's just not worth it!

    Also worth remembering that you massively reduce your risk of injury with complimentary training alongside your runs, something for flexibility (Pilates or Yoga) and something for strength (endurance level free weights best). Just running is asking for trouble (I speak from experience...)


  3. I went through a very brief period of finding running tolerable when I did a 5k a few years ago and was determined to be able to run it all so actually trained (where we lived had a free on site gym which helped) - it worked as James and my folks missed me crossing the line as they were expecting me to be so much slower they weren't paying attention.

    I really can't get into it again now though (especially not at the moment with my dodgy hip - if I ever manage to get it sorted I might have another try).

  4. My physio said much the same as you Penny, that I might have reached my limit with 10k. I'm afraid I very maturely went home from that appointment and in the spirit of wanting to the opposite to what I'm told, entered the marathon (I did not get in, thankfully). I have since come to terms with my 10k limit. Now I've decided I want to cycle the Etape du Tour, naturally.

    I don't just run tho, first and foremost I'm a swimmer :-D I do see a PT once a week for free weights and general torture (seriously can't walk downstairs normally today!). I could do with a flexibility class too really, I used to do Bikram yoga but I can't afford it anymore. Boo!

    K x