Week 6 – Marking the half way point

I can’t believe I’m half way through my training plan already. The past 6 weeks have flown by and I’m so pleased with the improvements I’ve made so far. My love for running has been reinstated and overall I’m feeling happier.
Yesterday marked a significant milestone with my training. I headed out first thing for my Long Sunday Run and had set out a route which was around 10 miles. I had no intentions of running at a certain pace, all I knew is that I wanted to feel comfortable throughout. Off I went and as the miles went by I couldn’t believe my pace. I felt good, so continued at the same speed. I finished in 1 hour 20 & managed an average pace of 8 minute miles! Something I thought I was incapable of a few months ago. A positive mind set and a lot dedication to training has most certainly paid off. Reaching small and unexpected goals like these drives me further and fills me with some much needed confidence.
I mixed up training slightly as well this week. I am very conscious that the St Albans half is quite hilly and I’m used to running on flat routes. Or is it that I just choose courses that are flat on purpose? Either way, an undulating course could be a big challenge for me, so I want to make sure I’m fully prepared for both the distance and elevation. I went to two spin classes this week and on Tuesday put myself through a dreaded treadmill incline sprint session. The variety has been good, pushing my body outside of its comfort zone.
I also thought I would touch on a topic which I think some people might relate to… balance.
I have a very bad tendency to over commit myself and find it hard in saying no to people or plans. My job can take up a lot of time, with the additional travel and having to make sure my diary is flexible. I also invest a lot of my time into my training and if possible like to squeeze in some form of social life (which I make sure I do). In the past I’ve tried to cram in everything I can into my weeks and often come out on the wrong side of it, exhausted, ill and completely drained!
This is where I’ve come to try and find balance, with both my training and my nutrition.
There are so many fad diets out there trying to tell us what we should eat, what we food groups we should restrict or completely cut out, low carb, low fat, no carbs after 6pm, juicing. I’ve shamefully tried and tested some of the most popular ones, but built my knowledge over the years to find that most of them don’t work! The most important lesson I’ve taken away from all of these is that something that may work for one person, may not work for you. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to the girl on Pinterest that has an amazing body or someone on Instagram that can run faster than you, but this journey is about me and no one else.
Shamefully I’ve taken my diet to the extreme in the past, by trying to cut out all ‘bad’ food because they’re not deemed as ‘clean’. I quickly learnt that this isn’t feasible and I’ve completely changed my mind set. I know it’s ok to indulge in a dessert every now and then, enjoy a meal out once in a while and to not beat myself up if I eat a whole bag of popcorn at the cinema! None of this will hinder my progress but I now know what works best for me and how to constantly improve.
Coming back from any injury has also taught me the value of rest. Exercise can be very physically and emotionally demanding and it’s vital to have a breather every now and then. I make sure that I take time to focus my energy on other things non-running related that I enjoy, whether that be spending time with my friends and family, going to gigs, reading, taking a trip to the cinema or organising.
I can’t admit that I’ve got this balance ‘skill’ quite mastered yet, I’m always rushing about like a headless chicken and usually running late as I try to cram in as much as I can into each day. I could justify this by saying I try to make the most of life, but unfortunately I have to face that my timekeeping is just useless!
In summary Week 6 has included 2 spin classes, 3  runs totalling 18.5 miles, a charity cake sale, 3 gym sessions, games night and a bank holiday weekend! Phew… Week 7, I think I’m ready!