Until a couple of years ago I was a prolific runner, I had a couple of marathons under my belt, was a good stone lighter than I am now (and with a lot less body fat) and could run a half at the drop of a hat. Then life got in the way and my fitness fell away. I half heartedly dipped in and out of running and fitness classes, but the consistency wasn’t there and today my fitness just isn’t what it was, and nor is my running performance.

So I’ve set myself some challenges. Next year is the year of running, and I’ve got some lofty goals, the first of which is to run two 10ks, in two separate cities, less than 24 hours apart. At 4pm on Saturday 7 October I’ll be toeing the start line at Bournmouth 10k and then at 9am the next day I’ll be racing alongside hundreds of other women at the Women’s Running 10k in Finsbury Park. No biggie. I don’t want these to be half arsed races. On the Saturday I’ll be running with my boyfriend, his brother and their dad, so obviously I need to ‘win’, and on Sunday I want to enjoy myself without feeling the pain of the previous day, so I’ve got to put in the training. Now’s the time to focus, get consistent and get strong.

 To get race ready I’ll be following a tweaked version of 10k training plan from the awesome Robin Arzon’s book Shut Up and Run. If you’ve not come across this great training manual come coffee table book before get yourself a copy, Robin is a truly inspirational women with real determination, focus and drive. Plus she knows how to style up her activewear. I really love her approach to running, and her 12 week plan was the natural approach for me. The plan sees me running 4 times a week with a rest day and a couple of cross training sessions thrown in for good measure.

When you run you use your whole body, it is literally transporting you, and to get it to work at its optimum you’ve got to have STRENGTH. In the past I’ve not always been amazing at strength training. I’ve dabbled, but my consistency has been variable and I’ve never really seen the best results. My resolution this time round is to get my strength training on point, the team at Ministry Does Fitness are going to be helping me get there with weekly STRENGTH sessions. This is one of my favourite classes at Ministry, I love that it makes me feel like a total bad ass to lift heavy things and challenge my body, and it has serious pay off. There is loads of quality, peer reviewed research out there that suggests getting strong can help improve running performance, whether that’s running economy or endurance, and many runners have reported a difference in their performance since committing to weekly strength training. And that’s the thing, commitment! If I was trying to strength train alone I know I wouldn’t put as much in and I know I’d probably drop out after a few weeks. That’s just not going to be possible when I’m committed to TURNING UP at Strength every week and giving it my all with the help of the awesome coaches!

In addition I’ll be keeping my muscles in tip top condition with regular stretching sessions (I really like Erin Taylor’s book Hit Reset – Yoga for Athletes) and Pilates, as well as lots of foam rolling and heel raises while I brush my teeth! I’ll also be training with my crew at Chasing Lights Collective to help keep my movement mindful and work on my running technique – you can be fast as hell but without good technique you’re not likely to reach your potential.

12 weeks to go, lets see what I can do.

Keep up with the pace -@aprettyplacetoplay


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