How to conquer Negative Splits

 

A 10 mile road race in and around Canterbury organised by Invicta East Kent AC and sponsored by Ssangyong

 

Did you know that most runners start a race too fast and struggle towards the end with slower end splits? Most runners at the end of the race say something like “I struggled at the end” “I blew up”.

I was one of those runners and in 2016 I decided to change this and change my training up. For example, I would start a 10k and the first mile would be my fastest and the last mile would be nearly a minute slower than my first.  I would be hanging on in the end desperate to try and get a PB. I would get sucked into going out fast with other people that did it. It was ruining my races and my times and it is probably doing it to you too.

So I decided to try and run negative splits. They do sound difficult but when you split it down it isn’t that difficult.  I started by changing my training up during the winter; I forced myself to start off slower on speed reps and made sure that every rep I did got faster. This sounds hard and it is but it becomes easy and in races it comes naturally. My first rep in a speed session is much slower than the last. It is hard when you are forcing yourself to push that last rep as fast as you can. But you will surprise yourself. Not only does this make you run faster towards the end of a race but it also allows your body to manage and cope when your body is full of lactic acid.

So the first trick is to get negative splits in your speed session or to have the reps consistent then the last rep as fast as you can and quicker.

The next step is to practice going out fast on your last few minutes of your long run; this forces your body to deal with the lactic acid while you’re tired. When your body is slowing down as you’re getting tired and to the end of the long run a quick blast will do you the world of good.

Now comes the tricky part: pacing it right in a race, it is easy to go off fast as lots of people shoot off.  I now know I will catch them later in the run, in fact these days people rarely overtake me in the last few miles of a race. I practised my pace in the cross country season where I started off slow, so I would be around the top 50 at the start and by the end of the race pushing into the top 10. I did a 10 mile race and I forced myself to go out slower the first 5 miles and was roughly around 17th place  and the 2nd half of the race I was much quicker and overtaking people and nearly came 3rd and achieved a PB. My last mile was the quickest. I could have paced it a bit better and gone a little faster on the first part but this is the tricky part and it takes practice.

A 10 mile road race in and around Canterbury organised by Invicta East Kent AC and sponsored by Ssangyong

It will hurt towards the end of a race but in the long run if you master it you can run a lot quicker and can achieve a PB; but it takes time.

My conclusion is you should give this a go and be patient. Be disciplined and don’t get caught up with people going out too fast at the start. Know your race plan and race pace and stick to the plan, sometimes have a few plans ready just in case you need to change the plan up during the race.

A 10 mile road race in and around Canterbury organised by Invicta East Kent AC and sponsored by Ssangyong

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6 Success Secrets

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I have written this blog to help others and share my ideas that have worked for me.

Nutrition

Nutrition is very important in your life and for your training. It is about doing the basics consistently and well. This is something that you have to get right and this aids improvements and helps with recovery. Eating healthy is the key and trying to stay off processed foods. I eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit on a daily basis. I eat much more than the recommended 5 a day from the government. In fact in the 1940s we were recommended to eat 10 a day but the government changed this because nowadays, the public won’t do this. So I eat lots of fresh food and cooked meals such as chicken, steaks, salads, rice etc.

There are three key elements in nutrition when you are training: fat loss, performance and muscle gain which you need to replace with the right protein, vegetables, carbs, fruits and fat. A lot of people go wrong the day before a race and eat as much as they can but this just bloats you for race day and you are going to struggle as your body cannot process this in time. Instead try increasing your intake by a little, 3-4 days before the race. Nutrition with play key parts in your sleep, energy levels, immune function and digestion.

However the most important is when you take it. I spread my food intake throughout the day, with Weetabix in the morning, some fruit and protein snacks a few hours later, a large lunch, late afternoon snack and finally dinner in the evening. My dinner or food intake will be within one to two hours max after my sessions. However food isn’t just important, fluid is for me; I just drink water and drink lots of it, well litres. I make sure I am always hydrated as your muscles need the water.  On a race day I never change anything up and still have my normal Weetabix with plenty of water before the race.

Training Plan

Having a training plan is a must and having a structure to it. Being able to change it up regularly, train and do this consistently.

I train in six week blocks, where I increase my training each week and the intensity with the 6th week being harder than the first week. I then have an easy week with light training and two full compete rest days.

Rest days are important in your training; don’t think of them as a rest day but an improvement day. This is where you make the gains.  I have a complete rest day every week and two rest days on a key race week. If I have a key race such as the world championships, I start bringing the training back down slightly a few weeks prior in volume and intensity terms.

Don’t do the same training week in week out; simply change it around on a regular basis. So for example one week do 1k reps and another week 400m reps. You should also take a week off now and again throughout the year. Lots of people train all year round and get injured; having a week off after a big race such as a marathon would do you a world of good. You don’t lose much fitness having a week off. I have two weeks off at the end of the season, so I would advise having a break. Athletes like Gwen Jorgensen take a whole month off after the season.

Listening to your body

If your ill or feeling very tired don’t train, do cross training or take it very easy. Don’t push yourself too hard. Rest up and do not over train – this is very important, as mentioned before I have lots of rest days. The other week I raced while feeling ill and I shouldn’t have and ended up prolonging the virus.

Mental Strength

This is such a hard one and it is important you have mental strength. If you believe or think you can do something you will get there. I have had many sleepless nights before a race and turn up feeling nervous and worried about races. However my key is controlling the controllable and planning what I want to achieve from my training and race. For example I train at negative splits which is very hard but I make it happen and do it. The same is at races my last mile is the fastest and I make that happen. Thinking positive and looking to push yourself to get out of your comfort zone is vital. In a race you need to have this strength as your mind plays lots of tricks. Stay focus and control what you can.

On Racing

Racing can be scary for anyone, I don’t get very nervous at the big races but it is the local ones that I feel nervous about. I normally listen to music before I warm up and take my self away from people to relax and that really does help.

I really enjoy racing and I love meeting other athletes, I find when you are at a race you can push yourself which is also good training. I like racing in Aquathlon’s as there is three key parts, the swim, transition and run.

Don’t change up anything on the day as you will come unstuck and stick to your plan. I do quite a lot of races throughout the year and each has its own targets.

Enjoying the journey / Process

Everyone has a journey no matter what their targets are and enjoy it as you never know what it could lead you to.

I only started running 5 years ago after the 2012 Olympics and I do believe hard work will always pay off. Don’t wait for it to happen, make it happen. If you are after a PB then train for it and work hard for it. It is so rewarding when that happens.

My journey is a journey I never expected, where I was sitting at my parents’ house watching the 2012 Olympics. I remember thinking how hard the triathlon looked and enjoyed watching it. I was inspired, which got me into running, at that time I was swimming but not a good swimmer. I look back now at how far I have come and it inspires me to carry on and I like to inspire others. It is never too late, no matter what age you are and the more training and races you do the more experience you get. I am learning all the time and the journey has been great with ups and downs but it is how you bounce back to keep moving forward in your journey which is the key to your success. If you have a bad day in training/races do not dwell on it and just take the positives and what you can learn from it. I always take positives out on every session and race as I am still learning all the time. The experience will come in time and you will become wiser in your training.

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Hever Castle Aquathlon Challenge

 

thumbnail_IMG_8620With the World Championships now only six weeks away and struggling with form since my calf injury a few months back I was ready for my next Aquathlon. I decided to enter the Hever Castle Aquathlon challenge last year as I wanted to try a middle distance race and see how it went. This was my first longer distance race and I knew it was going to be tough. The race consisted of a 1.9k swim in the lake around the Castle (which was once the home of Anne Boleyn) and a 10.5k run on a tough hilly course and was part of the Castle tri series under the name of Festival of Endurance.  Not the normal 750m to 1k swim and 5k run I normally do but I have worked hard in the gym with Craig Coggle (strength coach) since my setbacks to improve my strength and reduce injury risk.

I arrived at the race and it was already very warm that morning and looked like it was going to make it tough going during the race. The venue looked stunning and I was very excited as it was around the castle grounds with a finish near the castle. I had no targets but to enjoy it and see how it goes and use it as training.

The swim started and I went off at the same time as the long distance Aquathlon and the swim races, so it was a real mass start race. Because of the extra distance I had to swim I didn’t push the first half and just eased into it and started pushing a bit faster when I hit the river part near the end of the swim. I wore a wetsuit but was overheating as I think the lake was too warm for it. The swim was amazing and I enjoyed sighting and actually taking all the natural beauty in. It was by far one of the nicest lakes I have ever swam in. I came out of the water and proceeded into the transition which was quite far from the lake. I hit the swim in 31 minutes; I was hoping for a quicker time but I didn’t push myself so that I wouldn’t hit a wall in the run. The swim is something I will be working on after the season when I start with my new swimming coach.

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I started the run slower then I would normally, as I wanted to build into it and as soon as I started I noticed it was going to be tough with the heat and the hills. I started pushing in the run and attacking the hills; the race was in beautiful countryside and cornfields. To be honest it was pretty amazing and I was really enjoying it, however I hit a huge problem on the 7k mark. I was misdirected by a marshal who was standing by a junction who told me to go straight ahead which I did. I continued up the hill where after a few minutes I got to a point where I noticed another marshal at an area I went past 2 miles into my run. I asked the marshal where I was meant to go and I was told I had been sent the wrong way and therefore had to go back down the hill. I was panicking and by the time I got back down the hill I had lost a lot of time.

I told the marshal why didn’t you call me back and send me the wrong way, where she just pointed to go right. I was very frustrated at this point, as I knew I lost a lot of time. I warned runners I passed again in the run and marshals hoping the mistake wouldn’t happen to others. This should never happen in a big race like this, the marshal was standing in front of the sign that said go right not straight. I was therefore overtaking people I had overtaken earlier. I had realised by the time I had overtaken the first lady who I went past not long after transition how much time I had actually lost.  I crossed the line and was frustrated and spoke to the race director straight away; I crossed the line in 3rd place so I was happy with that. After speaking with the timing chip guys and the race director, they worked out I had lost at least 7 minutes of time and could have been more as I dropped off the timing matt times and therefore was bumped up to 2nd place.

I am happy with the outcome and I hope they learn from their mistakes and it doesn’t happen again. The race was a nice race and maybe next year I will go back and give it another crack, hoping this mistake does not happen again. I learnt a new experience here and to try and keep calm in order not to get frustrated and panic. Looking back at this now there was no need to stress myself even more when it was out of my control and if it happens again to wait until the end of the race. I only have a few more practice races until the World Championships and I would like to thank you for reading my blogs and my journey.

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All roads lead to Penticton 2017

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So 2017 arrived and I am now in full training mode for the European Aquathlon Championships in Bratislava and the long road towards the Penticton World Championships in August.  It is a long way away but both will come around fast and before you know, it will be the end of the season.

So I have worked out my plan leading up to the European Championships and the National Championships and decided to put some New Year goals and targets into place. Below are my targets and goals for this season/year.

  • Improve my swimming technique and get faster
  • Improve my strength 
  • Improve my running as a whole
  • PB in running races in 5K, 10K, 5 miler, 10 miler and Half Marathon
  • Improve aquathlon race times
  • Target podiums or near at the Nationals and Europeans
  • Top 20 World Aqauthlon finish

 

Improve my swimming technique and to get faster

My first goal is to get my swimming stronger and have recently started getting coached again by Matt Tithecott for this. We have already notice technique flaws and are looking to correct this. I need to get faster and stronger with a better technique so I have started working early with him this year to correct this has it will take a while.

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Improving my strength 

This is a must for me, by improving my strength I will be stronger in races and therefore will be able to push more. I started working with my Strength and Conditioning coach Craig in October and we have been working on my core and power ready for this season. I have already seen some progress and I am looking to further progress. I will write a blog about this soon.

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Improve my running as a whole

In the off season and winter months one of my goals is to make my body more efficient and stronger in order to improve my running. As a running coach I have been able to work on my technique and looking at my arm drive and my stride length. I concentrate on these areas while on my easy long runs which at the moment are a must for me to improve my running economy by long easy HR runs. Please read my previous blog about HR running HERE. Training has changed and I will continue to change it in order to keep improving and getting better such as longer reps in the winter months and shorter reps in the summer.

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To PB in running races in 5K, 10K, 5 miler, 10 miler and Half Marathon

Over the winter season and towards my major races I have some races that I want to improve my times in all race disciplines (5k, 10k, 5miles, 10miles and Half marathon). I didn’t get many PB’s last year so I want to correct this. First of all is to record a 5k time of less than 18 minutes officially, as I have managed this in some Aquathlons and longer races last year. My race plan has changed and finding the right pace is hard at the moment and I am working on it. This is why recently at Parkrun I went and had a test run but struggled to get the pace right. This resulted in me going to slow the first mile and struggling to make up the time in the other miles. A big lesson learnt.

I raced in the Parker Tools Canterbury 10 miler recently and that was a target race for a PB. I hoped to go better then the Thanet 10 mile race in December and work towards a sub 1 hour 10 miler this year.  Next target race for me will be the Vitality Reading half marathon in March, this is where I really want to PB and hope to go well under the 1:23 mark. These two are my next target races up until March. Once April is in full swing I have Aqauthlons and 10ks to keep me busy. I am aiming for a sub 36 minute 10k this season and also PB in my 5 miler time.

Improve Aquathlon race times

This is a huge target and goal for me, I am looking to improve my Aquathlon times as a whole. This is a must if I want to achieve my next two targets. I will be doing this by what I mentioned in the previous section and getting plenty more races in to practice.

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Target podiums or near at the Nationals and European’s

This is simple, I need to put the training and effort in to try and go better than last year. I will give it my all and try my best. I will aim for the podiums but if I don’t achieve this at least I have tried. I will be looking at improved performances for these races.

Work towards a Top 20 World Aqauthlon finish

I will target a top 20 finish and higher this year. I hope to go better as the heat won’t be an issue and have the experience behind me. With a future goal of being in the top 10.

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So what is happening at the moment? My swimming training has now begun and I am looking forward to working hard and improving this. Gym sessions are tough but they seem to be working and I find them fun and different.

 

 

Winter Training Update and Thanet 10 Miler

img_5911Winter is well and truly here now and makes training hard in the freezing cold, the last few weeks I have had to put a lot of layers on for the first time in a long time.

My first target was to improve on my PB or get near my 10k PB time for the Brighton 10k.  with very little speed work leading up to it I wasn’t sure how it would go because my last race was a cross country race and it is very difficult to judge where you are with your fitness levels.  Although I got sent the awesome number 1 for the Brighton 10k race, it was unfortunately cancelled due to very bad weather in Brighton.

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So still suffering with this Achilles niggle I have to be careful with training so that I do not make it worse. Most of my runs are easy at the moment and therefore making me more efficient – you can read up about HR training from my last blog HERE.  No point training too hard and too much speed work when my main races don’t start until May.

I have been working with my strength and conditioning coach Craig Coggle for the past two months and he has completely changed up my training in the gym and it appears to be making me stronger but it is a tough session in the gym. I am looking forward to seeing the future results and will keep you updated.

Swimming wise I am still getting in the pool on a regular weekly basis but again I am just ticking over until next year. No speed work at present just technique work as no point pounding away yet. However I am meeting up with my swim coach in a few weeks and I am pretty sure the training will be starting soon.

So after Brighton I decided to enter the Alan Green Thanet 10 miler on the 4th of December. A race I have raced in the previous two years. 10 miles isn’t a distance I race in regularly so I didn’t taper for this and decided to use it as one of my normal runs.

Training runs had been going great and I am very pleased the way they are going, I decided to try something different and start the race off slower than normal and see how it goes. I normally start out too fast and try to hang on the last few miles. The wind was against me for the first 5 miles and I think I was around 24th position after the first mile. I don’t normally count positions but I wanted to see if what I was trying to do would work. I was aiming for any time under 01:03:46 to be quicker than last year and 01:02:46 was my PB so anything around that time would be great.

I proceeded with the plan and did not get carried away with people I normally run near being further away at this point. So I started off slower and by mile 4 and 5 because of the wind I found keeping to my current pace a struggle and was a lot slower at that point from the first 3 miles. I then turned back at the half way point and found that there was no wind and started to push and overtake people. I kept going and each mile I was getting faster; by the time I hit mile 8 I was in 4th place and catching 3rd. I kept going quicker and the last mile I went for it, I just couldn’t get close enough to 3rd place but I finished in 01:01:40 and over the moon with my time and beating one of my winter targets and nearly two minutes quicker than last year in the same race.

As a result of the other Harriers doing well, we picked up the team prize and I was 4th overall and 3rd senior back. When analysing my data I realised I had been 3 minutes quicker the second part of the race and managed a 5 mile and 5k PB.  I also looked at my Heart Rate max and it appears I was not near the max, so sounds like I didn’t try harder enough or paced slightly wrong.

So what next? My next 10 mile race is in January the Parker Tools Canterbury 10 miler and my target is still the same to try and improve my time and work towards a sub 1 hour time. I am going to keep my training in 6 week blogs and reevaluate at a later date. January is a busy month with the Cross Country races starting up again.

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The Kent Fitness Cross Country league

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The Kent Fitness Cross Country league started on the 30th of October at Knole Park. This was a race that I haven’t run before as it always clashed with other races. I enjoy the Kent Fitness league as it is very friendly and I feel part of the team. One of my goals you may of read in a previous blog is to improve my running over the winter and I thought that doing the cross country league again this year would help me through the winter, ready for next year.  So I set my target to place higher than last year in races; I finished 15th overall last year so any where near or better than that I will be happy with.

Being the first race it is always one of the largest turnouts of runners in fact nearly 600 runners. Despite still having this Achilles problem I am still able to run and train on it, but of course being careful and managing it. Despite not being fully fit I think I may not be far off where I was in the summer and hopefully can improve on this.

So I set my target for the race to place in the top 30, last year I was nearer to the 40 mark in some races. I decided to also run the first mile at a slower pace and try to get quicker throughout the 5.68 mile race.

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The race soon started and I had lots of people going passed me, normally I go out fast and try to hang on in there. I started to stick to my plan and slowly started overtaking people. The course was bone dry and probably wasn’t the best idea wearing spikes. After two miles I felt good and was nearly coming up to the second lap, the course was very challenging with steep hills and inclines. I would push hard up the hills and then go really fast downhill.

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I started to approach the 2nd lap and had a fellow Harrier come past me, so I encouraged him. I then decided at that point enough is enough and I need to start picking the pace up going quicker, which I did. I then got quicker each mile from there and I decided that the last mile I would go as quickly as I can. I had a large group in front of me and decided to get in the pack so I pushed as hard as I could taking a few places on the line.

I was really happy about my performance after the race, not only was it a nice race to do and probably my favourite cross country race now, I managed 29th. Although I was very happy with the placing and had beaten guys that I don’t normally beat, I was hoping to place higher. Because of the large turnout I think that’s why I didn’t, I now aim to place a lot higher if I can.

 

 

Off Season Recovery

 

Recovery is something that is very important for anybody that does sport, whether you are a professional or not.  This is something that gets neglected and from my experience runners tend to be the worse. I see many runners pound their bodies week in week out all year without any rest; some run marathon after marathons, some run a very fast marathon and then a few days later they are running hard again. Well all these people in my experience and my coaching experience struggle with injuries, going backwards with form, slowing down etc. In an ideal world running all the time sounds perfect but if you are being realistic there is no way you can maintain form all year round, your body will breakdown. If you look at top athletes and one particular Olympic Gold medallist Gwen Jorgensen, she takes a month off in the off season; most people won’t even take a day off.

For me rest and recovery is important and I have managed to keep my body in good shape and injuries to a minimal the past few years. Rest is rest and means not doing other activities in place. Many people have an injury and decide to cross train when they have been told to rest and in fact they make their injury worse. I know some injuries you can cross train and help maintain fitness however expert advice is needed for this.

After a hectic summer season and probably too many races I thought it was best to rest up after the World Championships. Unfortunately I picked up an Achilles injury which in the past I would of panicked.  However my mind set has changed and at least I can still run.

In previous years I would train all year round because being from a running background, there are many running races all through the year and I wanted to PB every race I done. I now know with my experience that it is not the best idea and I shouldn’t go pounding away every single week; recovery and rest are important. So I had two weeks off after the race; I then done easy training for about 3 weeks after, keeping my runs to a max of an hour and cutting down on the runs for two weeks and three easy swims a week. This was also to factor in Achilles problem as well.

So for the first time in four years my target and important races are now in the summer so I have to keep my self-ticking over. I have set my targets as you may have read in my previous blog, to keep my fitness up. I am slowly increasing the miles now and really working on my running economy and endurance. I have the Cross Country season now to keep me busy and hopefully improve on my placing from last year. My big race is Brighton 10k which I will try to get close to my PB but may not be possible at the moment; I am in no rush to get fully fit yet.

With recovery being important at the moment I think it’s important to get a massage to help my injury recover. Dealing with an Achilles injury can be a nightmare and even stop you doing your hobby forever.  I had an Achilles injury a few years back and rested for 3 months before I could run again, this time it was very painful but did not hurt much while running so very different. My advice for anyone who has an Achilles injury is to be patient and don’t rush back because it’s a slow healer and could cause further problems. Perhaps next year I will take a whole month off.

 

 

Chilham Castle Challenge 5k

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One of my first running races was 5 years ago on the 16/10/2016 at the Chilham Castle 5k, coming 3rd. However much has changed since then; I remember going into this race wearing normal trainers and sliding everywhere and was a bit down on my time. But hey this is a challenging cross country race which I have gone on to support every year and is one of my favourites.

So due to my injury problems and off season I didn’t target this race but as it’s only a few miles down the road I decided to do it again this year.  Having won the race twice in four years and winning it last year I wanted to retain my title. I knew I wasn’t in great shape but I have improved a lot this year and recorded some much quicker times then my current official PB’s in my Aquathlon races this year.

The plan was to go out and enjoy it a bit like the previous week but much faster. I decided to practice concentrating and listening to music before the race. This is something I am working towards with Gobinder.  I was quite relaxed and I had also decided the night before to try negative splits, this is something I have never done in the past and want to practice over the winter. Being relaxed is one of my goals through the winter as I now know this is very important in performance on the day.

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At the race there were some familiar faces doing different events from my running club and competitors I have raced against. It was also nice to see some fellow GB athletes. I guessed the night before I could break my course record because last year I got sent the wrong way by a marshal and had to turn back round. Picture of Jenny and I below, Jenny broke the course record in her Duathlon.

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So I started the race at the same time as the Dual athletes so I had to be careful not to race the wrong person. I quickly found myself on my own in the lead, so I stuck to the plan and didn’t push too hard. The race went by so quick and I didn’t look at my watch that much. I came up the last hill and eased off. By this time I had crossed the line in 1st place and was happy to win this local event. I had kept to the plan and had negative splits; this is something I do need to work on.

I was then told by the race director that I broke the course record again by 40 seconds; I was over the moon with that. It’s not my quickest time because of how hard the course is but gives me a base to work on from here. My target race is the Brighton 10k which will be a test of my current fitness levels. Of course I would love a PB but will have to see because I don’t think I am near that yet.

It was again a great event by Liz and her team and I made the local paper too.

 

 

Givaudan Ashford 10k running with a different experience

img_5255As some of you may be aware I am currently nursing an Achilles injury.  I had signed up a few months ago to the Givaudan Ashford 10k on Sunday 9th October as it was my running club (Canterbury Harriers) Club Championships and I was sorting this out for the club. Due to my minor problem I was advised by my phsyio not to race Sunday and run round with my wife. At first I was a bit disappointed but I knew that was best for me as I have only been doing easy training. My wife liked the idea of me running with her and pace her to a PB.  We never run together so I thought it would be nice.

It was the 30 year anniversary of this race with record numbers; this is the biggest 10k in Kent and attracts around one thousand runners. I do recommend this race as it is all on closed roads and you get a nice finish inside the Julia Rose Stadium.

The day came for the race and I was very tempted to race because I had a chance to place highly in the club championships. Despite the wet conditions there was a record turnout of 48  Harriers – the biggest number of Harriers in any race since the club`s formation in 1993. That felt good as I really tried to get a lot of Harriers to do it. I decided to wear my GB tracksuit to the race and make use of it. I did feel a little uncomfortable when I first got there as quite a few people were staring and pointing at me. I also found it weird turning up to a race at the Julia Rose Stadium because that is where I train on a weekly basis after work.

So I warmed up on with a couple of Harriers and I knew that it would be a different experience running a race at a much slower pace. It was chucking it down, so I stood at the start line with my wife and when it was time to start I let my wife go in front and I tucked in just behind her as I didn’t want to put her off.  Due to where I was running I heard lots of people talking to themselves. For example one lady stressed she had gone out too fast to herself. I suddenly found myself in the way of other runners so I moved to the right to allow people to pass me. I let my wife run the first mile without any advice and after one mile I started to tell her what to do and what pace to stick to.  It was nice to see lots of runners I knew and this time I was able to cheer them on.

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The rain kept coming down and I was freezing; I thanked some of the marshals on the route. I was still tempted to run fast and it was just a weird feeling to be where I was but it was also fun. At certain parts of the course I was helping my wife by encouraging and telling her what to do; when we came up to inclines I would say to her attack the hill you can recover in the down hill section. When we came down to the last 400m I said to her its up to you what you want to do and she sprinted for 200m then eased off then sprinted again the last 100m, overtaking people at the end. I know she likes a sprint!  Well she left me behind in the sprint and she finished in 47:22, taking a huge chunk off her last PB in May 2016. I was very proud and happy for her, I really enjoyed running a race with a different point of view.

As featured on Triradar.com Yiannis Christodoulou Represents Team GB After Olympic Inspiration

Yiannis Christodoulou Represents Team GB After Olympic Inspiration

This year has been an amazing journey; my first year competing at a national and international level in Aquathlons. It all started back in June at the National Aquathlon Championships where I took home a bronze medal and two weeks later at the European Aquathlon Championships I came home with another bronze medal, this time during my debut competing for Great Britain. This led me to compete in the ITU World Aquathlon Championship in Mexico.

What inspired me to do this? Well it started four years ago, just after the 2012 London Olympic Games. I started swimming to keep fit and was a very slow swimmer with poor technique; I hadn’t run since my school days and just wanted to keep fit. Inspired by the Olympic Games, I joined my local running club, the Canterbury Harriers.

y3I slowly improved but started to get a lot of injuries.  The following summer, inspired by the Brownlee brothers, I entered a local Triathlon. Unfortunately this didn’t end well as I sustained a bad calf strain and had to jog back to the finish. I was out of action for 7 months on and off and nearly gave up running. By the time the following summer however, I had regained fitness and competed my 2nd triathlon. Sadly a few weeks later I had an Achilles injury and was out for another 3 months.

I remained positive and watched a lot of triathlon on the TV. Feeling inspired by this, I decided I wouldn’t quit and I kept trying to be the best I could be. The following year I decided to try Aquathlons and I finished 5th in my first race with 3 GB athletes in the top 5. That spurred me on and three months later I had taken minutes off my time which meant I had qualified to represent Great Britain. My greatest memory is the sprint home, 800m from the finish to pass two athletes and take home the bronze medal from the European race.

y2This spurred me on this season and I have achieved success I didn’t think was possible as I approach my mid-thirties. Looking back over the last four years, I am proud of what I have achieved with hard work and dedication. Of course, I wish I had taken up swimming and running much earlier, but it is never too late!

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