My running had plateaued and I was finding it less enjoyable, so about 7 weeks ago I decided to make some changes to my training…
Since I started running in 2012 my focus has been on having functional fitness. In other words, I have been focused on being healthy and discovering what my body is capable of, rather than focusing on looking a certain way or having a certain body shape.
Thing is, I was starting to notice that having reached ultra-marthons distances of up to 100km in a single day, my posture and upper body strength were in decline.
Time for a change
I decided to start working with a personal trainer at Trimnasium Performance Gym near my home in Cheltenham in the UK. Although I am a qualified fitness instructor myself, I know the value of having a great coach and the training style of Trimnasium was in line with my views of functional fitness, rather than isolated movements to create a ‘look’. I was also stepping way outside my comfort zone and wanted someone to guide me.
When we discussed the outcomes I was trying to achieve (including some rehabilitation from past injury) my trainer asked me to take a break from running and focus my energy on the training I was doing with him.
If I’m really honest, this added to my discomfort
I have been running long enough that I would describe myself as a runner and I was being asked to let go of this part of my identity (at least temporarily).
In my new training, the only running is short sprints – often pulling, pushing or carrying something heavy.
But I’ve got a half marathon coming up next month. Normally I would train in a specific way for 8-12 weeks to prepare. I haven’t been doing that.
I needed to test my progress
Could I still run? Would be slower? Would I find it harder?
Yesterday I went for my first ‘proper’ run in almost 2 months… 5km with a weighted backpack with intermittent sprints and…
It was surprisingly easy!
Much to my surprise (and relief) not running, but doing functional fitness and strength training has made me a better runner. My strength and stamina have greatly improved too.
What is the biggest things I’ve learned from this? Just like we each need a wide variety of nutrients in our diets, we also need a wide variety of movement.
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