If you are looking for inspiration, look no further than one of our own Go Runners: Grace. Following on from Runner Stories blogs by Kylie and Caroline, this time around we profile Grace, who got back into her running with GoRun and is now taking on events and new challenges all the time. Grace chats about her running history, some of the benefits of being part of a group and how she uses running to manage stress.
For those of you running at Melbourne Marathon Festival on 13 October, congratulations on getting this far in your training. You will mostly have gone through the tough, long preparation for the 10km, half marathon or marathon distances and are now entering (or about to enter) a taper period, to freshen you up for race day. This is a weird and wonderful couple of weeks where many people can screw their races, so I thought it would be useful to run through five 'anti-screw up' tips with to help keep you focused and ready to roll when you get to the start line.
Outside of running, I have an interest in triathlon. Yes, I know it includes running, but its only a third of the whole package. Having trained as a triathlete and having a triathlon coach has in turn taught me a lot about my own running, particularly in the areas of overall aerobic fitness, recovery and balancing a hectic training schedule.
Two of the most prominent triathletes on a global stage over the past 10 years are actually brothers, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee.
Running the Great Wall of China was a pipe dream. I confidently stated this one was top of my wishlist even though I couldn’t really explain why. There were so many amazing runs out there to do, but it was just the one that needed to be my first international race. Forty was looming so why not pencil it in as a birthday present to myself?!
I am fortunate to know a lot of inspiring people, none less so that my dear friend Kelvin who over the course of the last eleven years has completed 34 marathons including on Easter Island, Petra, Bagan Temples, Boston, New York, Tokyo… the list goes on! He was the one who I’d first floated the idea with and if I was going to do the trip it had to be with him.
May 2019 was scheduled to be ‘our year’ for China however in November 2017 my husband Paul and I shared the news with Kelvin that after several rounds of IVF we were pregnant and due in June 2018. He was super happy for us of course and over dinner graciously suggested that maybe 2019 wouldn’t be the year for China and perhaps we postpone it to 2020. 11 months was a relatively quick turnaround to birth a baby and be back running marathon distance after all. Perhaps I could do the half-marathon I suggested, but Paul being Paul said if you are going all the way to China you’d be crazy not to do the full! It didn’t need to be fast , I just needed to do it and conquer those steps so it was the perfect event to aim for! I had his blessing to go, despite the fact that logistically he wouldn’t be able to join us, now all we had to do was have our baby and then make a running come back!
Lots of runners are keen to do the physical running that forms the bulk of their training, but not so keen to get the right amount of rest and recovery that will actually enable them to run at their best. Unfortunately this is an all too common approach that many recreational runners as they dig themselves into physical holes or repetitive cycles of injury, which could have been avoided through adequate rest and recovery.
Given that we are coaching and running in the ‘endurance sports’ space, the number of hours spent training and the subsequent stress that we on our bodies, is high. As a result, we have got to make sure that we recover adequately and give something back to our bodies.
So what can we do ourselves to help our own recovery?
Any attendees at GoRun Group over the past couple of years will know Caz. Caz left Melbourne and moved to Switzerland with her husband, Michael at the beginning of 2019, where she is still running and progressing in leaps and bounds. However, Caz has suffered her fair share of frustrations as a runner, with tight and painful lower legs whenever she ran, an issue she never thought she would be able to break through. Thankfully things are on the up, but Caz wanted to share her story of the bumpy road to consistent running, as other runners suffering the same frustrations may be able to relate. Here is her story, in her own words…
One of the key things that I try to instil into the runners that I coach, is to "finish strong.” They are two simple words that may not seem like much when written into a training plan, but they make an enormous difference to how you run.
To show you what I mean, take a second to think about the different feelings in these two scenarios…
It’s probably not a very politically correct thing to say, but yes sometimes you can fall out of love with parkrun. Having done over 150 parkruns, I can very safely say that the vast majority have been hugely enjoyable experiences and I would not trade my Saturday morning jaunt around the lake for much else. I have dressed up, ran with no shoes, come first, come last, plateaued, PB’ed, paced people, raced people and most things between! However, like many parkrunners, there have been times when my motivation has dipped and you sometimes just fall out of love with it for a while. Now, I am not a doctor but I am going to diagnose this as 'hitting a parkrun rut.'
So when this awful ‘rut' strikes, what can you do?!?
Ask most runners about injuries and at some point they will talk about shin splints. For many beginner runners in particular, this injury is the one that stops them running and stops them from gaining that all important consistency. As a coach I have seen this injury crop up a few times, so I decided to ask our resident physio, Sally Maple from Port Melbourne Physio and Pilates to give me some expert advice on shin splints, what they are, why they occur and how we can treat them.
So what are shin splints?
I’ve often wondered if I was stuck in an elevator with an athlete that I really admired, what would I ask them?
Recreational athletes are often fascinated by the habits and lives of elites and professional athletes. How many hours do they train? Do they do strength training? Who are their idols? What do they eat? Do they drink alcohol?
It’s not very often you get the opportunity to chat to these people and ask these types of questions, so when Vanessa Murray, a former-professional Ironman triathlete from New Zealand agreed to sit down and chat with me over a juicy burger in Albert Park, I was really excited to try and de-mystify a few things...
As a running coach, I hear the words, "I’m not a runner” more often than you might think. In fact, it is one of the most common phrases that I hear amongst people getting back into their running or getting started on their running journey for the first time.
As far as I’m concerned, if you run, you are a runner. Whether you are fast or slow, whether you run one minute, once around the block, or one hundred kilometre ultra marathons, you are still a runner.
The runners I coach are more likely to see the words ‘easy,' 'medium' and ‘hard’ in their training plans than to see specific paces. These are the three main efforts or intensities that I use in my coaching, as well as 'Race Effort'. Of course there is a place for more paces, efforts and measurements, but in a world where we are inundated with so much information and so many metrics (that we don’t understand!), I prefer to keep things simple.
Meet Scott (aka Dr. Scott). Scott ran the Gold Coast Marathon with guidance and coaching from GoRun. Running one marathon is impressive. At the time of writing, Scott had run 7 marathons, which is really impressive. Running his fastest of all seven, by 73 seconds is super impressive, but none of this comes even close to Scott’s real story….
The Melbourne Marathon Festival is now not far away! Many runners are in the midst of their training for one of Australia’s biggest and most prestigious marathon events. The finish line at the MCG awaits but first the real work of training has to be done. The few months of running, recovery and planning will be challenging, but there are a few fundamentals that each of us need to stick to, no matter what pace or distance goals are.
Here are five of my top pieces of advice to surviving and flourishing over the next few months before your victory lap around the G’:
I was contacted recently by a woman looking to improve her 5km parkrun time. She was weighing up whether a coach and a training plan would work for her and wanted to hear more about what was involved.
As we chatted on the phone, we asked each other questions and it became apparent that she would benefit from more accountability, more structure and from someone taking the guess work out of her training, so we decided to begin working together on her goal. I have had similar conversations, where it quickly becomes apparent that my coaching would not suit the other person. From my experience, certain types of people respond well to coaching and training plans. Others, not so much. That is absolutely fine. I have plenty of close friends who would never dream of getting a running coach. For others, with the help of a coach, they have improved beyond what they thought possible and are getting the personal best times that they were after. Running, training and exercise is highly individual.
So what can I honestly advise people who are asking themselves,"Do I need a coach?”