A few weeks ago I wrote a post on the importance of goals (which you can read here). With The Glasgow Women’s 10K and the Hairy Haggis Relay marking the culmination of my spring goals, I took advantage of the opportunity for a few days without running in order to recharge my batteries and consider my goals for the weeks ahead. Scheduling a few days off every so often is good in order to give the body a chance to recover and to stop training routines from becoming stale. For me, it couldn’t have come at a better time as it was our Health & Wellbeing week at school so I was involved in activities like a visit to the zoo with S1 pupils and a 10 mile walk with S2 pupils. I may not have been running, but I was certainly getting plenty of exercise!
This “recovery” week gave me a chance to evaluate my year so far, and what a year it’s been! To shamelessly borrow a cliché from every reality/talent show going, I’ve been on a journey. I started that journey having not run for 3 months due to a persistent injury, travelled through changing the type of shoes I wear and the way I run, via a battle with the evil monster that is flu, to arrive in June feeling stronger than ever (and setting a 10K PB along the way). No wonder I’m tired!
So what next? When I last wrote about goals, I had already entered my autumn target races: the Baxter’s River Ness 10K and the Aviemore Half Marathon. Now, with my summer holiday almost within touching distance, I have also entered the same three 5K races I took part in whilst in Florida in July last year (Watermelon 5K, Run Thru Hell and Cool Summer Mornings 5K). I have also signed up to take part in two local events in August: Perth’s latest world record attempt in the Perth Kilt Run (this year a 5K event) on the 10th and the Perth10K on the 25th.
So far so good, but simply taking part in these races is not the end of the story. No, I am setting time goals as well. When I ran in Florida last summer, I was just returning to running after an injury break and found 5K in the heat and humidity tough (it will still be tough in the heat and humidity this year, but at least I’ll be better trained!). Embarrassingly, I am the only member of my family not to have won an age-group prize in one of these races (even my mum, who WALKS these events has picked up a prize!) so I would really love to try and win a prize this year, for family pride if nothing else! I would also like to try and reduce my 10K time even further. Although I have two 10K races at which to try and achieve this, I would really love for it to be on home turf at the Perth 10K. And finally, having set a half marathon PB in Aviemore last year with comparatively little training, I’d like to see what I can achieve with much more focused training. So that’s a 5K prize in Florida, a 10K PB and a half marathon PB. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
Which brings me to the nitty-gritty: just how do I intend to achieve all this? Well being married to a personal trainer does have its advantages (mainly free training, genuinely bespoke training plans and an omnipresent one-man motivation machine!) and, as the title of this post suggests, I am already back into my training. If I want to achieve my goals, then I need to be able to run faster. This means lots of targeted work to increase my pace and overall fitness, but rather than traditional speed work, my training plan this time includes a lot (and I do mean a lot) of Metafit classes. If you’re unfamiliar with Metafit, it’s a high intensity total body workout in 30 minutes and Steve has begun teaching a number of classes throughout the week. The idea is that you work to your limit throughout – if you still have the energy/ability to punch the instructor at the end, you’ve not worked hard enough! Steve reckons it takes him 20 miles into a marathon to feel the same impact on his legs and, having taken part in my first class this past week, I tend to agree. Stumbling from the studio on my jelly legs I asked if I had just run a marathon as my legs seemed to think they had. Even stranger, I was more hungry after eating my dinner than before it as Metafit boosts your metabolism (yeah, that’s the “meta” part – took me a while to twig!) so you burn more calories after the class than during.
From now until my holiday I’ll be doing Metafit 3 times a week alongside some strength training and some running at the weekend (Steve’s running club on Saturday mornings and my usual longer run on Sundays). Even after just one class I’ve noticed a difference (and I don’t just mean the discovery of muscles I’ve obviously never used before – step forward obliques, I’m talking about you!). Yesterday I took part in the whole running club session rather than just dipping in as we were doing hill reps and sprinting up stairs. I also ran the 1.5 miles or so to and from the session with someone a bit faster then me in order to push myself. Today, I ran 10K expecting to be exhausted but posted some of my fastest mile splits to date. Metafit or co-incidence? Who knows, but if there’s the slightest chance that Metafit will help to speed up my running I’ll be there 3 times a week ready to feel my muscles burn! My goals are set and, being rather tenacious, I’ll be doing whatever I can to make sure I achieve them. Just watch this space…!