At this point in the year many people are posting their reviews of the year’s running but I still have a race to run on New Year’s Eve so my running year is not yet complete. However having decided back in January that in 2016 I was going to run better because getting faster seemed unlikely to happen, I thought this would be a good point to look at the things I have done which have helped me to achieve that goal.
My first step was to buy a training journal…new year, new stationary, always a good thing! Up to this point I had simply recorded my runs via MapmyRun or using my TomTom watch and either “just run” or used standard training plans if focused on a specific event. Using the journal meant recording much more than just time and distance as well as enabling me to take control of my training, putting in hill sessions, intervals etc when they suited my schedule rather than simply skipping them on someone else’s plan!
The next step was to add in and record strength and conditioning sessions. These were a random selection of exercises done on Monday and Wednesdays, days when my work schedule made finding time to run tricky but fitting in a few lunges, planks, squats etc do-able.
The difference was clearly felt at the year’s first HM, Whitestarrunning’s Larmer Half. I’d done the same race in 2015 as my first HM and finished last, utterly exhausted and in a lot of pain from my weedy back/stomach muscles. This year I still finished last but I enjoyed the race, had no back issues and felt I could have run further…. A good result!
I had proved to myself that I could run better but I knew that my planning was rather random, a mixture of things I’d read about rather than a structured plan. I toyed with the idea of joining a gym or finding a personal trainer but knew that I couldn’t really afford either of those options. Then I noticed something called TrainAsOne being mentioned on Twitter….
TrainAsOne is a personalised training plan which uses data from each run to adapt future training, it uses all sorts of technology which I haven’t got a clue about like artificial intelligence. Looking at the website trainasone.com it seemed to be just what I needed, flexible, structured and free! To be honest it seemed too good to be true and I thought I would probably be too old and too slow to be able to join! However, I was wrong, I became part of the beta testing phase and it has enabled me to achieve pbs at 1k, 3k, 1 mile, 10k and HM. Frustratingly although my parkrun times have come down by 4 minutes since January 2016 my pb, set 3 years ago, is still just 14 seconds out of reach.
So, having decided that as running faster was no longer possible I would run better, I found that running better meant that I could run faster after all… There were other things which I found helped me to run better but keeping a journal and joining @trainasone were the biggest game-changers, other things will have to wait for a future blog. Time for me to pack my bag for the final race of 2016!