A view from one of our members
“A Hitchhikers Guide to Starting2Run” – things I learnt along the way.
* And BREATHE …..
Don’t underestimate the importance of breathing! There’s a reason why the
breathing video is one of the first thing you see on the Starting2Run website. Before
even putting one foot in front of the other, it’s worth spending time watching the
breathing video and practicing it. If the practice is on the lounge carpet marching to
time, so be it! It might take quite a time to get used to breathing to an odd number –
in for 4, out for 3 / in for 3 out for 2, but that extra stride on the in breath really
slows your breathing down and makes sure the air gets to the bottom of your lungs.
Focussing on breathing patterns will really help with getting up that hill!
* MAKE A PLAN and stick to it.
Training plans aren’t just for experienced runners – every newbie to running needs
one just as much. Without a plan. the temptation not to go out running is HUGE, and
then it’s a slippery slope from then on. It doesn’t matter how short / slow planned
runs are, so long as they’re part of the plan. The Starting2Run guys are brilliant at
helping folks put a plan together. Get it printed and up on the wall / on your phone
or whatever works for you.
* Having a plan is all well and good, but you’ve got to follow it and PUT THE WORK IN.
No substitute for this, because improvement just isn’t going to happen without it.
* Set yourself GOALS – lots of them.
It doesn’t matter whether the end goal is running 5k without stopping or a sub 3
hour marathon, it’s really important to have lots of little goals along the way
otherwise it’s likely that that big end goal will quickly feel unobtainable. When you
hit a goal – well done you, you’ve done it, brilliant. If you’re completely new to
running, reaching the third lamp-post or the big oak tree on the left without
stopping are big achievements. Don’t forget to feel proud of yourself when you do.
* It’s amazing how supportive everyone is of each other in the Starting2Run
Facebook group, regardless of how far they are into their running journeys.
* MIX THINGS UP
Try not to always do the same thing every time you go out (which if you’ve got a
decent plan you won’t do anyway). When out running, vary the route, or distance, or
concentrate on a specific technique like hills, or sprints. Hit the gym from time to
time to do some strength exercises, or occasionally plan for a cycle or swim. The
variety will help you minimise injury, and to be totally honest, just running has the
potential to be a bit boring if it’s always the same!
* Learn to love the BRITISH WEATHER
This can’t be depended on to be ideal for running every time you plan to head out
for a run. It’s always too hot, too cold, too windy, too wet …… Don’t let the weather
be an excuse for not going out, but you might need a change of mindset. Too cold?
You always get hot and sweaty so today you’ll be just right. Too windy? Think
resistance training. Too hot? Get going early and think of the tan! Only exceptions
are if it’s icy or hailing, as it’s probably worth thinking of a treadmill session.
It’s never long before a newbie runners wardrobe is full of running stuff, and the
build up of sweaty lycra will likely cause a health hazard should the washing machine
break down. Dress according to the weather, then take a bit off, as running quickly produces heat. Having said that, a pair of thin gloves, a beanie hat and lightweight
cagoule for when the weather is cold are good investments, likewise good
supportive underwear for ladies! Apparently, feet shapes differ so it’s worth buying a
decent pair of trainers that fit your particular foot shape. After months of running in
an old pair of trainers, the day I first put on a decent pair that actually fitted was a
* Cars run on petrol, runners run on FOOD AND DRINK.
Running does use calories, it also makes you sweat. Even for shorter runs, being
properly hydrated is important. Be wary of giving drinks bottles a quick rinse under
the tap and then refilling them, as it’s a sure way to get tummy troubles. Always put
them through the dishwasher, or scald with boiling water. There’s plenty of energy /
protein bars etc in the shops, but they’re expensive, so consider making your own
and freezing them. Make the most of the nutritional advice and support that you can
get through the group.
* Don’t just wonder, ASK.
Jack and the Starting2Run crew are really approachable and are always happy to
answer questions and give support. Doesn’t matter how daft the question is, they’ve
probably been asked it before, more than likely by me.
* Finally, don’t forget to ENJOY YOURSELF! Running should be fun, for most of the
time at any rate …….
A little about me …..
When I was young, school P.E. lessons were my worst nightmare, and I was always the last
to be chosen when teams of any sort were being picked. I was not ‘sporty’ in any way and
most definitely NOT “a runner”. Many years later, a random New Year’s Resolution saw me
joining a gym, and much to everyone’s surprise, I hadn’t packed it in by February. For the
first time ever I was enjoying getting fit, having goals and challenging myself physically. After
about four years, I started looking for a new challenge, and decided to work towards
running a 10k. So somehow, I started running, or more accurately, shuffling, because
progress was very slow at first. A few hiccups along the way delayed the master plan a little,
but 16 months after first putting one foot in front of the other, I finally crossed the line of
Chester 10k with a big smile on my face.
Liz Williams, member of starting2run 🙂
Nutrition and Running
Here is a post taken from a nutritionist who helps our members out with all their food needs![WORKOUT-NUTRITION TIMING]
Time for you to see my clearly world class artist skills!!!
I had a fantastic question roll in today,
‘Hey Shane! When is the best time to eat? Before a workout? After a workout? Also what should I be eating? Thanks!’
Excellent question, the answer to this will benefit everybody in this group
I’d like you all to think about this as a ‘Target’ Or 'Dart Board', with the bull’s-eye in the middle being the workout, as you can see in my child-like diagram Haha….
The line going from left to right is your timeline that day.
The Rings around the outside of the workout show the different timings around the workout, with the inner circle being 30mins, and the outer circle being 2-4 hours.
These are the (rough!) timings you need to have in your head.
The Black dots represent the meal/food intakes.
As you can see, the small ring has a half an hour gap BEFORE training as well as AFTER training.
They are both labelled with the number ‘1’.
Similarly the outer ring shows a 2-4 hour gap before and after training, labelled ‘2’.
The reason why they both have the same number before and after exercise is because the composition and purpose of these meal intakes are very similar.
Lets go through these intakes step by step:
>>> MEAL 1- BEFORE AND AFTER TRAINING <<<
30min Before and after exercise (Or less)
Provide the working muscles with energy and protein as soon as possible in and around exercise.
SMALL amount of FAST absorbing Protein, and Carbs before and after training.
-Half a whey-based protein Shake Before and after Training
-Small protein based sandwich (Quality ham/ Egg/ Chicken etc)
-Protein Smoothie Before and After Training (Peanut butter, milk, banana & honey for example!)
-1/2 Protein based energy bar before and after
-1/2 protein based flapjack (Bonus points if home-made!) before and after
>>> MEAL 2 – BEFORE AND AFTER TRAINING <<<
2-4 Hours Before and after exercise.
This is quite a big range, the reason being is that the timing of this meal depends on personal preference and your schedule. Personally, I have to eat a large meal around 4 hours pre-workout, as any closer to the workout and I will get stomach cramps. Some will have no problem at all eating 2 hours before. Afterwards I can eat 2 hours or even less after exercise without an issue. Also, we need to appreciate that you may have work, other commitments to work around too. Ensure it’s a practical solution that fits for you, in and around your life!
Provide the working muscles with prolonged source of slow digesting carbs and protein, for hours pre, and post workout. This helps replenish energy stores in the muscle tissue, and provide plenty of protein for the working muscles to grow and repair. Also to provide plenty of micronutrients necessary for optimal adaptations to take place in the body!
MEAL-SIZED, larger amount of SLOW digesting Protein, Carbs, Fats, and 5 a day.
-Home Made Turkey Burgers, Cous Cous, and Mixed Salad
-Chicken Curry with Brown Rice and Peas
-Spicy Grilled Salmon with Sweet Potato Wedges and Roasted Mixed Veg
-Jacket Potato with Homemade Chilli and Salad
-Chicken Fajita Wraps with Salsa, Onion, peppers, and spinach)
-Lentil Dahl with Protein Naan and Curried Rice.
Hope this makes the type and timings of your nutrition around workouts much clearer!!
RICKY'S RUNNING ROUND UP AUGUST 2017
It's been a pretty quiet month for me! Having taken on a new management role in my current job - training has unfortunately been on the back burner! However i've still been ticking over nicely.
2 Race results were as follows;
Meerbrook 15km road race(deemed one of the toughest races in the uk) - 3rd overall
Mid Cheshire 5km - 15:30
Both for me were average results, I felt pretty rusty for them both due to the lack of racing recently but i was content with how both went.
For anyone who wants a challenge, the Meerbrook race is one hell of a course, 9.3ish miles around staffordshire including twice up and down "Gun Hill". firstly at 2mile and then again at 8mile before finishing with a steep drop down to the finish. My starve splits and elevation can be seen below.
Anyway, I'm now fully into the swing of things ready for my next few challenges and they are;
Northern road relays
National road relays
Pacing Chester marathon
Border league races
And all these lead up to the one i'm really looking forward to, Las Vegas Rock n Roll Half Marathon.
I've been lucky enough to gain an elite entry so plan on making the most of this. It's on the 11th November so I plan on getting myself in the best shape as its fast, flat and stacked with some top American pro's which can hopefully pull me to a new Pb.
If any of you would like to keep up to date, your more than welcome to follow me on strava at:
RICKY'S RUNNING ROUND UP JULY 2017
New month. New Programme. New set up.
Okay so since my last post which was not the easiest to talk about I have gone back to basics, found the fun involved in training again and started something new.
So for the past 4 weeks I’ve reverted down to 30-40 miles per week with the one quality session, this has really took the pressure off myself and now that i have set myself some new race plans i am feeling more motivated than ever.
I have had a few frustrations the past week, I decided that I wanted to jump straight into a race again. So last Sunday I planned to run the north wales trail running championships in the annual fairy freckled cow race. I had to pull these race plans the morning of as unfortunately my girlfriend had a slight nightmare coming back from London with train delays/cancellations so when she arrived back in Crewe at 3am I went to collect her, Obviously not ideal race prep. So i set my focus onto the following Tuesday where there had been a great line up set up at a 5k track race at Trafford, I’d prepped all my kit and set off to work that day with the intentions to finish at 4 to avoid peak traffic. An emergency meeting cropped up in work that delayed me until 5 which wouldn’t have given me enough time to get over, warm up etc.
So as you can imagine – A pretty frustrating time.
Nevertheless, I have now got my training schedule and race schedule in place for the rest of the year.
Training is going great, I now luckily have a great fellow athlete to do sessions with called Charlie Hulson, For anyone who hasn’t heard of Charlie – he holds a 5k personal best of 13:42 which is crazily fast.
So the next 6 months will be very interesting and with the plan in place we both should be looking at some fast times come 2018.
Some sessions that have been ticked off the past few weeks.
Week one – 9 x 1km efforts(60) with the aim times being 3:00,3:00,2:50
Week two – 2M tempo(120) 12 x 400(60) target 66’s (120)2M tempo
Week Three -5x3x400(45) targets 65,64,63 (2min lap jog between sets)
To be brutally honest, these sessions have been hard as hell! I personally have had to push myself into a place where I haven’t been for a long time but I am absolutely loving it. A close friend/coach said to me after last weeks session that it was the first time in a long time where he’s seen me really gritting my teeth and hurting. This gives me confidence, I know where I currently am, I know where I want to be and I know what needs to be done – So It’s over to me to get it done now!
RICKY'S RUNNING ROUND UP JUNE 2017
So my latest update;
It’s been a real crazy time these past couple of months, Some good and bad things to highlight:
Race wise has been really good – Here are some results I posted in since the road relays.
Border league race 7 – 1st, 4mile in 20:01
Wrexham 10(n.wales champs) – 1st, 53:35 – Despite running a little slower than i would’ve expected, the weather conditions were far from ideal. Blowing a gale on the day was always going to make it a lot tougher but taking into account the above race was only 2 days previous i had to be cautious that my muscles may not have fully recovered.
Chester Half Marathon – 4th 71:11
One of my target races for this year, I’d had a really good build up and had set myself a sub 70 target. The race panned out well an up until 8 mile I was on time, I kept my form but my cadence was slowing and I dropped 10seconds per mile. I’d lost contact with 2nd and 3rd and was alone with a gap back to 5th. I held it together until the final mile and then decided to enjoy my run in, smiling and waving to the crowd as the support in my local 1/2 was unbelievable.
It was only later on that day i’d realised id still ran a personal best.
Here’s some footage from the race.
This was ideal preparation for my upcoming mountain race trials with the strength from the mileage and then fine tuning my hill work in the final 4-6weeks.
so next up we have two trial races.
June 4th, the British uphill trials
June 18th, the British up&down Mountain trials.
Well where do I start, June 4th was a write off, I’d picked up a virus during the week leading up and it had hit me hard. I gave myself the best chance of racing by taking things easy but by the Saturday night I was still struggling. All my sinuses were blocked and I made the decision to pull out. These decisions are not easy to make but If I know I’m not 100% I won’t race, There is always another day to perform and by racing when ill will only effect the following few weeks.
June 18th – My 2 weeks of training in-between the trials had gone well, I’d received a call up to the Welsh team which was my first international this year.
The only thing that was now a problem was my hayfeaver. This is something i’d always struggled with in the summer but hadn’t really affected my performance.
This time round it has been really bad but i’d controlled it well with tablets and a nasal spray.
However, With the race being in Sedbergh on open fields and with the temperatures hitting 25+ degrees I was wary that it could affect my race.
Well it was one of the most difficult races I think I’ve ever done, from the very start i was struggling, My nose became blocked, eyes puffy and for some reason my right ear making this weird squeaking noise.
Breathing was the most difficult, I just couldn’t get enough oxygen in and my legs were filling with lactic a lot quicker than they should and i was only 2miles in. I hit the first peak and went straight into the first downhill, I was now no longer running – My legs were shot I was just trying to keep myself upright. I moved through a couple of places and then on the final downhill part of lap 1 I stopped at the bottom for a couple of seconds to take some water on board and to try and clear the sweat/pollen from my face. I set off to continue and my legs had seized, They physically would not go. My race was finished.
So unfortunately this week entails a trip to the doctors for a check up to try and find out what it is and why it’s affecting me so badly. I will keep you updated on any results incase someone suffers from similar.
I currently have no race plans for the foreseeable so I will be sitting down and pencilling these in over the next few weeks, For now I just need to get myself right and able to move forward with training before committing to any race targets.
12 stage road relays, Training plans and workouts
Okay so the road season for me is now officially over.
Its been a very good but very frustrating few months, Very consistent training and racing but the annoyance that at each of my targeted ‘big’ races the weather on the day was terrible.
The aims were to improve my road times and to be fair i gave it a good go;
5k PB 14:41
10k PB 31:11
I ran; 14:54 and 31:36 but the following races were the targets and weather wise on these days were,
Nick beer 10km – storm Doris
Armagh 5k – Wet, cold, slight wind
Trafford 10k – Chucking it down, cold.
So i will continue to focus on beating these times the next time road season comes around.To finish this years road season, we as a team Liverpool Harriers made a little history on Saturday! It’s been many years since we medalled at the English 12 stage road running champs, in recent years we have been top 10 and finished 4th a couple of times but this year we stepped up!
Despite missing a few of our top guys the team all performed solidly on the day and we finished 2nd behind Bristol and West, 3rd overall in the British Champs with Swansea taking the win in an emphatic 5minute victory.
I’m proud to be involved with such a fantastic team(Athletes, coaches, supporters) and I guarantee in the next 3 years we will take that British Crown.
Right, Im going to let you all in on my next plans.
So oner these recent years I have always been a track guy but I’m going back to my roots and this year I’ll be on the mountains, So the World and European trials are both in June and they are the aim. I last made the British teams in 2009/2010 so its safe to say making the team is an achievable target.
After a good winter with no injuries i have a solid base to work on and will revert back to my previous training techniques for the mountains.
It is not a major change, i just need to ensure i have my climbing legs ready for the trials so this means that twice a week my regular run will become a mountain run. Sessions will stay on track/road but will be of higher volume and not as much speed work.
Luckily one bonus you get from this training is your leg turnover from downhill running can be deemed as speed work.
So an average week will now look like the following;
Monday – 4mile Am, 8mile(inc2-4mile pick up)Pm(S&C session)
Tuesday – 4mile Am, Session Pm(Track,Road efforts)
Wednesday – 4mile Am, 8mile mountains PM
Thursday – 6mile/day off depending on work(S&C session)
Friday – 8mile mountains easy
Saturday – Session Track/Road efforts Am, 4-6mile Recovery run
Sunday – 8-16mile (Core session)
Weekly Mileage ranges between 60-75
My S&C sessions are very important i am wanting to build the power which i have clearly lacked in my training, this has reflected well in my races so far! I have always done core but having it regularly in my programme and also that i have an abs class on a Sunday i always ensure it gets done.
I regularly post videos on our Starting2run Facebook page so if your wanting to start something similar, head over and subscribe and you can follow them.
This weekends core class was as follows
Short warm up followed by;
Press up position – Alt Knee tucks
Russian twists(10kg KettleB)
Crunch Cycle cross
Effort levels was the same for each set of exercises so for example:
30sec deadbugs 30seated row 30dead bugs 30seated row 30rest 30dead bug 30seated 1min recovery. Then move onto next exercises.
My next Blog is going to be about training camps, training cycles and how important they are to goal achievement. I will also find some pics from the archives about my Altitude training camp from the French pyrenees.