Hill runs and as one pink item enters my life another leaves

My Garmin FR10 arrived yesterday!!!!! I’m going to say now that I am amazed how easy it was to set up and play with….. that’s before I’ve actually been for a run with it, just in case it all goes horribly wrong tomorrow!

Men can probably skip this bit……. Sadly I had to return my lovely pink sports bra yesterday – after a 6 mile run I had rather nasty chafage – not good if I want to continue to 26.2 miles – that would need a lot of vaseline! But I’d got it from a great store called Bravissimo and as one of their fitters had fitted me into it I could take it back, no worries and swap it for a different brand – how great is that?? Their staff are amazing, try you in what sometimes feels like a million different bras to find just the right one for you – there was some zigzag stitching at the chafed area, I think that’s what did it

Read on men! The morning was the last of my PT dates with Gray, the guy coaching me in Chi Running and helping me prepare for the London Marathon. I had a minor panic on Sunday that I wouldn’t be ready and I was too far behind in my training due to illness, but we had a lovely sit down at the end of the session, talked everything through and I’m happy again!

He’s never given me more than 2 weeks of the training plan at any one time – I’ve not been bothered about it until Sunday when I couldn’t see how we’d get to the end, but he explained why he’d not done that – to see how I was coping with the level of training, allow for me being under the weather etc rather than give me the 16 week plan all at once and me just having to stick to it. So I’ve still not seen the entire plan, but have seen how my long runs are set to progress and I’m happy with that.

I’m also happy as he’s recently started 2 weekly running clubs in Finsbury Park on a Monday (beginners) and Wednesday (intermediates) in addition to his monthly Sunday running club and we re-jigged my training plan this morning so I can run with him on Wednesdays which is great – I don’t have to pay for a full PT session, and for £8 I get an hour in the classroom of the gym going through technique and then we’ll go for a 5/6 miles run – lovely!

Any way, back to this morning, gone was the sunshine of yesterday, I opened my front door at 7am to be greeted by icy winds and drizzle – not what I was ready for. But as I know we were doing hill running I was fairly certain I’d warm up soon enough!

How right I was, if you were going to pick the hilliest hill in the park of Finsbury Park then this is the one I was running up….. the idea of the session was, after a warm up jog to the bottom of the hill, to run up it upping my effort level to between zones 2/3 RPE 12/14, or if you judge it like me – to the point where I could utter the odd word but nothing else. Then when we got to the top of the hill a gentle jog around and back to the bottom to go again – 4/5 times…..

As far as Chi Running technique for hills goes, it’s all about the upper body, you forget about the legs and focus on standing tall, lifting from the crown of your head (not leading with your chin), moving your arms so they’re parallel with the slope, so if you have your elbows bent to 90degrees on the flat, you’ll raise them up to 45 degrees-ish on a hill, swinging them so your wrist comes all the way back to your ribs.

It sounds weird to begin with, but it’s true, you kind of lift yourself up the slope by standing tall!

You’re not meant to think about running with your legs, but I did notice that my right heel wasn’t hitting the ground – you don’t heel strike, but land on the mid-foot and let the heel touch the floor – this wasn’t happening and as much as I tried to relax my leg/foot/ankle I couldn’t do it – I used to have issues with this running on the flat, so I suspect it’s just something I need to work on.

After 4 times up the hill Gray said we’d do 1 or 2 more, well, I wasn’t letting him get away with that – he’s said we’d do it 4/5 times, so we were either done or we had 1 more lap to do! So he gave me another focus to work with – find something in the distance to focus on, and instead of running to it, you focus on it moving closer to you – bit like a dog watching you eat something yummy, it focuses on the food and wills it towards their mouth. Again, sounds odd, but it really helped!

On the 5th time back round Gray said we’d then run back around the park and back to the gym, but tbh I was pretty shattered and the thought of running probably another mile wasn’t appealing, so instead I asked if I could just run up the hill one more time instead!! Mad, but it saved me a good half a mile! So again focusing on moving the red bin towards me, then the big tree, then the little tree and finally the green bin, we were there, at the top!

On the way back to the gym for a stretch Gray explained that our session had been a hill session, but also about speed work, increasing my aerobic capacity without having to run sprints – I’m not really designed for speed, but happy to be out of breath running up a hill.

Having said that there’s now a lot more speed related aspects crept into my training plan, interval running, negative splits and the like – I think my garmin is about to come in super handy!

 

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