Catch-up with me: December-January!

Hi Runners,

Hope everyone is staying positive, and working hard! Here’s the run-down from December to current.

December 2020 – Races were cancelled due to COVID, but I had been training with the speed group for a month and I was starting to see improvements in the track sessions, especially in the short reps, e.g., 10x300m.

My weekly timetable shifted to: two days at the track, one tempo run, one beach training, one long run, one recovery run and one rest day. I was excited to see progression!

Beach trainings were incredibly difficult, and I found any distance over 500m hard to keep up. But, I knew that the consistency would show.

January 2021 – A 4k time trial on the beach, 4 laps of a 1km hilly route. Running on the sand is no joke, it tests your quad muscles like they’ve never been tested before. I didn’t have any preconceived ideas going into the race, just that I would try to stick to the front pack as much as I could.

The race did not go according to plan (a common theme here :). My form was sloppy and I finished second-last, in a time of 19:24. I didn’t know how to react, I just had to accept that it was a bad race. But, I knew it was so much more than that.

The following day, I resolved to prove my worth so I ran a 1500m time trial with an aim to go sub-5:15. I ran a 5:31. My dad called me over afterwards and told me how sloppy my form looked, how my legs looked heavy and how my arms were swinging sideways.

Lesson 4: Form is so important. Make sure that when you come back from injury, you focus on your form!

We found out that it was my arms that were restricting my entire body movement, making my legs heavy, my upper body slump forward, and my entire run look unnatural. I started to focus on my arm swing when sprinting and realised that my right arm would flop down when running. I swapped my watch to my right wrist so I could feel the weight of it and remind myself to use my shoulders to pump.

In the past three weeks I have run a 5:27, 5:22 and 5:12 time trial, my first sub-5:30’s after six tries. It just goes to show that form is so crucial. I also learnt how to release all the pent-up tension in my mind, the pressure I was putting on myself to achieve a certain time in training, otherwise I wasn’t improving enough. The process is certainly not linear, and some days will feel so much better than others. Keep celebrating the small improvements and your training will go a long way!

If you managed to make it this far, thank you and I hope that you can find some strength from my struggles to inspire you to keep going, regardless of all the setbacks.

My next blog: ‘mental toughness and the importance of running form’ will be posted next week.

Lots of love,
Florence 🙂

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