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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 Рoften 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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