We've all been there, the sofa, a Netflix box set and 'there's always tomorrow' can seem like the most wonderful reasons to put off a run. So what happened when our Spark Plod Ambassador Aimee found it difficult to pull herself away from the comfort of her lounge this week?
"So week two, The week i was going to smash all my runs and emerge a running goddess...No that did not happen!
"Tuesday I was off work and had planned to go and do a nice steady 5k, I unfortunately woke that day with a headache, so opted for a Netflix day (Because Netflix is going to help me reach the finish line in Edinburgh). I promised myself i would go on Wednesday night AFTER WORK....(not sure who i was trying to kid with that promise!) as you can guess it didn't happen on Wednesday...it didn't even happen on Thursday (in my defence work was extremely busy last Thursday and I was tired!!).
"Friday arrived and I really knew I needed to run, so I came home from work and without thinking forced myself into my running gear and went out for a run."
Why did I put it off?
"My training plan said I should aim for 5 minute warm up jog, twenty minutes of running at a comfortable pace, then cool down jog for 5 minutes.....30 minutes of running; I can do this no problem so why was I putting it off all week!?...I just didn't feel like it is the best answer I can come up with!
"My plan stated to use Fartlek technique, where you pick a focal point such as lamp posts or road signs on the route and use varying speeds between each one... or if you are me, just make it to the next one and keep breathing!!"
Fartlek heaven... or hell?!
"So off I went on my run, My street is roughly 0.9k long so I use this as my warm up and cool down. The route I opted for is one of my favourite local routes as I know it's a quick route, I know where all the uneven parts are and I know there are 26 lamp posts from the top of my street round the loop and back to the top of my street!
"I tried to change the tempo in between the focus points, but I struggled to stay focused on the focal points so instead I just went for it. I tried to run at a faster pace for a longer time, slow it down on the uphills, fast on the downhills (mainly just keep running).
"When I got home I felt like I wanted to throw up, Which is always a good sign... The Garmin said it was my 2nd fastest time so I was happy enough with that.
"My plan devised by the lovely Aimi, states I should try and go for 3 runs a week with an optional 4th, but as I had put my running off all week I ended up doing Friday and Saturday after work runs. My Saturday night run was much much better, I did a 6k on my least favourite local route... If anybody reading this lives in Radcliffe and runs along Turks road... ENOUGH SAID!!! Any way Fartlek really came into play for this run, the second half of this route leads along bury bolton road - the part with no houses, just hedges and lamp posts and lamp posts and hedges - so the use of Fartlek really kept me focused on reaching each lamp post.
"Again, I struggled to change up the tempo... until I reached my favourite part of the run THE DOWNHILL part, I upped the pace and then finished the final leg with a jog! I can see the benefits of using Fartlek, especially if you are running alone or like me the snail at the back of all the running goddesses. It's a technique I will really try to incorporate into my longer runs because it helps you break the route down into much smaller sections, which is so much more beneficial than thinking 'Oh my god another 3km before I'm done'."
Focusing on Technique
"I did incorporate, as much as possible, all my week one focal points too - so my footlanding and my arms - and I have really noticed a difference in my recovery after runs. My hips didn't ache for two days like they usually do and I have had a niggle in my knee for a few months that has really calmed down since concentrating on my foot landing. I would really encourage anybody that enjoys running, but has aches and pains in their knees or hips to book a running coaching session with Aimi... You WILL NOT regret it!!
"So, if this week has taught me anything it's that I really do not like the word FARTLEK (Its just one of those words!). Haha! No seriously, don't put off going for a run, even if you are not "In Training" just go because you will feel better. We all have those days or weeks where we just can't be bothered and that's absolutely fine... Just remember:
"The Best Runs happen when you don't feel like going"
Next week... An Upside Down Pyramid!!