Cement and Cadence – things to help you run!

Happy Thursday everyone!

This week I read an article about training your brain for races (note how all my posts start with “I read this somewhere”? Suuuuuch a geek). This sentence particularly struck a chord with me:

August 2013 Runner's World

August 2013 Runner’s World

I had never thought of it that way before. If you want to do well on race day, you better drink a ton of cement during your training and harden the *$%* up so you can handle yourself if you’re caught in the glare of the unforgiving enemy: The Wall.

Having not done a marathon, I myself have not met The Wall. Yet. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t huffed and puffed my way through races like I’m in the terrible twos at the age of 22*.

Mental strength comes into play at all times during your running career: during my first distance run in 2005 (City2Surf, Sydney), my aim was to finish the run without stopping. One training session I ran the race distance, was mortified at how long it took me, but I was definitely prepared on race day: I gleefully ran up the infamous Heartbreak Hill and achieved my goal. I may have been beaten by an old-timer with a t-shirt that read on the back “I may be old but I’m faster than you”, but that doesn’t matter.

Finishing line - pretty nice, hey?

Bondi Beach – Finishing line  at City2Surf Sydney

Now, whenever my hip starts to hurt, or my IT band, or I wonder why the heck I left my nice warm bed on a Saturday morning to run, I focus on a point in the distance, and concentrate on my stride and breathing rhythm. Or, as this lady puts it, I just shut up and run. It calms me down and distracts me, and before I know it I’m back in my little world of rainbows, glitter and pop music.

This week we did the final in our three week running technique course. We did 4*200 metres concentrating on the whole running technique of lifting, planting and pushing, whilst trying to get our cadence faster.

Cadence is the rhythm of your run, or how many steps you take in any given time. If you work on your cadence, you contribute to your energy reserves – for when you need to dig deep in those races. I upped my cadence from 103 steps in a minute to 110 steps, which doesn’t sound like much but I felt like I was literally flying across the path!

I’ve definitely found the course helpful – it has made me aware of how I naturally run, and what I can do to become more powerful.

Finally – for July I am participating in this thing I saw on instagram (follow me on ellieinuk), plus it fits in with my new years resolution.

photo (10)

I wanted to share Day 2 with you because it’s ace:

1) Runners - need I say more? 2) L.K Bennett for when I need to channel Kate Middleton 3) Pole shoes - cos sometimes badass shoes are the only ones which will do.

1) Asics Kayanos – need I say more?
2) L.K Bennett for when I need to channel Kate Middleton
3) Pole shoes – cos sometimes badass shoes are the only ones which will do.

Everyone will have their own mental focusing technique – what’s yours? A mantra? Thinking of your reward at the end?

Ellie B    :D 

*OK,I admit it, I’m not really 22. I just liked the sound of “terrible twos at the age of 22”. And that Taylor Swift song. But don’t pretend I couldn’t pass for 22…. right?

Real training, real pudding and real women

After our run on Saturday, we went to Lake Windermere and spent the afternoon in our very own rented motorboat. I get nervous with anything like this, where speed, motors and testosterone are involved, but luckily the boats for hire went at an embarrassing pace. Even I braved the open waters and drove it (Is drive even the right verb here?). We stayed at this lovely B&B, and drove back on Sunday in time for me to teach my pole class.

P1050542

My pole competition is creeping up in July, and so during lunch I went and trained for an hour. The first fifteen minutes were awful and I was starting to really lose motivation. But then I looked in the mirror (there are loads in a dance studio!) and told myself to get a grip. Otherwise, in July, the audience will be in for a treat when I fall off the pole and land on my ass. It must have worked because the rest of the practice was fab!

P1050781

The evening was a balmy 16 degrees, and the sunshine was calling me. So I did some interval training: 10*1 minute as fast as I could, with 1*1 minute recovery. I did this for 20 minutes, and with the warm up/cool down run I was knackered!

I felt extra smug that evening after that double workout as I tucked into my sticky chocolate pudding from Saturday’s race. I didn’t feel so smug when it took approximately 105 minutes to crawl the stairs to bed….Karma. You know what they say.

Part of the reason for starting this blog is like everyone else who does a running blog: to keep track of their training, and to keep them honest. I’m trying to use this to help me structure my trainings, and to increase the variety. I’m not good at doing intervals or hill training – I much prefer running at my own pace, but I’m not speeding up quickly enough.

So, potentially this is what I might try to work on (I am honestly committed to this, even though it might not sound like it!):

  • Monday: intervals
  • Tuesday: stretch/strength training
  • Wednesday: running with my club
  • Thursday: strength/stretch training
  • Friday: hills?
  • Weekend: long run

With some pole sessions thrown in there for fun – typically I train pole on Thursdays, and one extra day, but this will definitely be more leading up to the comp!

In other news, I read this article on what a “real woman” is. The intro is a bit much – no need to tell off the reader! – but the message is interesting. I’ve never thought that the message of “real women” could perpetuate the negative feelings overweight women may have. Whilst I also agree that there is an element of choice in how you look – exercise either is or isn’t a priority – I really hate the way women judge each other. Women judge when others eat too much, and women judge when others exercise a lot. Neither are free!

realwomen

But I still aspire to look like the actresses and models in magazines, in spite of knowing how airbrushed they are, which is ridiculous! Maybe we should demand to see “natural women” on magazines instead of “real women” – it’s much more inclusive, and doesn’t have the same judgemental undertones….

Finally – my New Year’s Resolution is to take one photo each day. I thought you might like to see today’s:

People Management is at the back because I am a serious professional as well as a serious runner you know.

People Management is at the back because I am a serious professional as well as a serious runner you know.

Yep – lunch time today. Sunny back garden, and my magazines.