Daily Mile Fundraising
We are helping the school to raise funds for a Daily Mile track. The team of runners will be running the Reading Half Marathon on Sunday 5th April 2020. Please visit the link below to donate:
I discovered running around four years ago, the principal reasons being that I thought it might be the most effective way of staying in shape, both in terms of cost and time. Little did I know that not only would running keep me in shape, it would also keep me sane! At that time I hadn’t realised that giving my mind a break would become such a necessity.
When I set out on my first ‘run’ my aim was simply to keep going for a mile. It couldn't be that hard could it? Hmm, who was I kidding!? I just about made it to the top of the street before having to stop at the nearest lamp-post, grab hold and gaspingly pray for air. Maybe I wasn’t designed to run? (I still sometimes have this thought.)
However, that day I summoned up some determination. I persevered and, with many stops, I completed my first mile. As time went on, I discovered that if I paced myself and went at a slower speed I could get further, even making it to the second lamp-post before seeing stars. It is said that if you stick with something long enough you start to form a habit, and I have far worse habits than the one I have
acquired for running!
Now, fast-forward four years, my habit formed, I would still never feel comfortable saying that I am a
runner, but I guess I am — and if I can be a runner, then anyone blessed with relatively good health can be as well. So if you put on your trainers, go out into the open, put one foot in front of the other and get a little sweaty, you too can call yourself a runner. To my amazement, as long as I go at my own
pace, I can now quite happily go out for over an hour without stopping, sweatily putting one foot in front of the other as I pass the lamp-posts.
The worst thing for a runner to hear is advice that “you shouldn’t run for a while”. But any runner
will tell you that the habit is not without its problems. You are never far away from the next injury or run-related niggle, these can make training very difficult and can even put you to a compete standstill. Dreaded injuries can catch you out overnight, and no one tells you that once you fix one problem area, this will most probably set off another issue. My own niggles and injuries seem to have successfully worked their way around a complete lap of my body.
Towards the end of last year my knee was beginning to hurt, I took professional advice and was told to
not run for more than a mile at a time. Then, once I was able to run pain-free for a mile I could then only increase my weekly distance by ten percent as my body needed to condition itself for the strain and impact that running could have upon it. I did other work in order to keep me physically able to cope with running for any length of time — no one tells you about all the strength, conditioning, stretching etc that has to go along with the sport. This wasn’t what I signed up for when I left my house for a jog four years ago! However, following this advice my knee problem is, for now anyway, a memory.
I think I have taken a sensible approach to this year’s training. Following the advice mentioned above
I now remember to take rest days (I have discovered, to my delight, that these are extremely important!). I am now able to comfortably run up to nine miles with, fingers crossed, no injury — although don't get me wrong, there is a lot of discomfort and aching the next day.
I am now also doing some sprint work — running as fast as I can without falling on my face or passing out — and hill climbs/descents. These two types of running are, for me, the hardest and require different strategies and are runs that give a different type of satisfaction.
However, the thing I still love most is the one long run I have each week as I can take my time and enjoy being out in the open and being able to clear my mind. In all seriousness, without this run each week I think I would be much less composed and forgiving of life’s daily challenges.
When it comes to completing such amazing distances as a half-marathon or marathon I readily admit that I am still a novice and it is by no means my place to give advice. But if I was pushed to give my opinion on any type of run, it would be to remember that it is your run, enjoy it and take comfort in the fact that it is only you who chooses to “race”!
What, however, I am not reluctant to give advice on is this: anyone who currently does not exercise at all but is thinking about starting — you are only ever one workout away from feeling a little more content and in control…. So go do it!
So, someone said “let’s run Reading Half Marathon and raise some money for school”…. It seemed like a fabulous idea, immediately we signed up. We then realised that there would be a little more involved than just “signing up”. We both love a parkrun, we love a natter and some fresh air, but that’s for 3 miles, not over 13! This is when it dawned on us that we would actually have to run that far.
We went to the pub and put together our comprehensive weekly training plan. And, of course, we didn’t stick to it. We have been really good at preparing our bodies though. Apparently you need to eat and drink plenty before a long run. The Coppa Club has been helping us with our training regime in this area. Maybe a sponsorship in the making there….? We did also try to run. We run every week, once, twice, sometimes three times. We talk, a lot, we get rained on, get cold, blown along, slip in mud, splash in puddles and get soaked feet and talk some more. On race day, what will we talk about for 2 ½ hours?
Gradually we are building up the distance. Last week we were striding along, looking amazing, completing our longest run to date: 9 ½ miles! About 4 miles in, despite our incredible gazelle like speed and grace, we were overtaken by a faster runner... oh hello Mr Hamilton! Good to see another crazy team mate out pounding the streets on a cold evening.
So there’s 8 weeks to go, that’s not long. A 10 miler planned and maybe 11, when can we start to taper?
Sarah Hilling and Cathy Jeffery