I started running in 2005 because I wanted to be a firefighter and you had to get to level 9.4 on the bleep test and I couldn’t. This led to me doing the Bupa Manchester 10k in 2005 and 2006, I never ended up applying for the fire service.
I stopped running in 2007 when I went self employed as a freelance group exercise instructor, I was teaching 27 high intensity classes a week and didn’t have the energy to run as well. In 2009 after qualifying to teach pilates I dropped a lot of the high intensity classes for pilates classes.
In 2012 turning 30 I was feeling less fit and had no personal fitness goals, I was doing fitness for everybody else but myself, so I signed up for Horwich duathlon and later on in the year Newport duathlon. After doing the duathlons I found I preferred running to cycling and set myself some goals and returned to training for 10ks. Since 2013 I have ran the Salford 10k 3 times, the we love Manchester 10k twice, Arley Hall Cheshire 10k 4 times, the Birchwood 10k, Wilmslow Half marathon (despite saying Id never run half) and Cheshire half marathon. I still teach 19 classes a week, 11 of which are pilates, so struggle to fit in training runs during the week when Im working.
Last year my training was much more consistent and I really enjoyed running, and it showed in my race times. I realised that if I didn’t run I would feel irritable and disappointed with myself for not getting out for a run, I began to see running as my time, for my fitness and for me. The exercise I do during the week is for my class participants, its not my session its theirs, this isn’t to say I don’t work hard along side them I do, I ache like hell by friday, but fundamentally its for them not me, running is for me.
Today I ran Salford 10k, normally before a race I’m nervous, I put pressure on myself for a good time, for another PB and Ive a fear of coming last. But today with insufficient training due to a dodgy hip and waking up feeling like crap I knew my time wasn’t going to be great, so for the first time ever I ran with no expectation, no pressure on myself and the realisation that I have nothing to prove to anybody, I didn’t get a PB but I finished with a good time and a very sore hip, but I enjoyed it.
But most importantly today I realised I run for me.
We all know runners are notoriously bad for stretching after their run and especially after their races, and yes I am including myself in this, and I should know better (hangs head in shame). Below are my two ‘go to’ yoga stretches that when I’m short on time or just being plain lazy with my stretching. These stretches target all the main muscles used during running, they don’t require any equipment and aren’t complicated. So, no more excuses.
Down facing dog: From all fours, press through the hands to lift the tail bone and straighten the legs, gentle squeeze the heels towards the floor, lengthening the spine and bringing the head in between the arms. Stretches the whole posterior chain which includes the hamstrings, calves, lower back, latissimus dorsi and the backs of the shoulders.
Royal pigeon: From all fours, bring the right knee to the right hand and rotate the leg to bring the right foot to the left hand. Slide the left leg back and sinking the hips towards the floor. Stretches the glutes, the hip rotators, the hip flexors, adductors and the quads if the back leg is lifted towards the back of the head.
If your flexibility is hindering your running why not try our Yoga for Runners class at the studio, contact David for more info.