Euro 10,000m Cup Selection.
Next weekend I will be competing for Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the European 10,000m Cup in Pacé, France.
The moment I received the phone call to say I had been selected for the European 10,000m cup, I felt slightly blank. Of course I was extremely happy, but it took a little while for the news to actually sink in. I think this was because following my injury it stood for more than just a selection. It marked quite a significant moment in the return.
Once the selection had sunk in, it really got me reminiscing over the past 10 months. Since the moment I got injured, I have always been looking into the future. I was constantly waiting for the time when I would be allowed to come off crutches, then take off the boot, then start strength training, then running, then my first session, and finally, my first race back. As a result, I was always thinking about what was next and waiting for normality to resume. I think the moment I found out about selection, it felt as though I could stop looking forward and be in the now, but also take some time to reflect. I was finally able to look back at what I had endured, rather than be afraid to.
When you go through something, I feel as though you don’t really digest fully what you’re doing. You almost assume and expect certain things of yourself. Therefore, I always expected myself to get through the injury without any problems. It was never a case of if, but instead how long it would take. Now, when I look back on how difficult my injury did feel at times, instead of feel as though I overreacted, I actually feel proud of myself.
No challenges in life, whatever the magnitude of them, are easy. Therefore, when we look back and see what we were able to overcome, we can build confidence in ourselves. Once the emotions of selection sunk it, I really did feel a sense of pride. Obviously I was helped a lot by those around me, such as my family and my coach, but ultimately, I was the only one who would would be able to get myself through the injury, and I did. I found the right balance of determination and patience, and it allowed me to get back to a place of good fitness with a strong body.
It hasn’t been easy, and sport never will be easy, but instead of waiting for what is next, I feel my injury has taught me that I need to enjoy what is now and embrace the journey. You never know where you might be heading, I certainly didn’t think this time 6 months ago I would get another GB call up, therefore, there is no point worrying about where we will be. The future will take care of itself when we get there, so we should do our upmost to enjoy the present, because it is what we do in the present moment that will impact how our future unfolds.
I am very excited for the journey ahead, but for now, I am focusing on each day as it comes. I want to enjoy the present, because that is the biggest part of my current journey.
My go-to pre-race meals.
It can take a lot of trial and error in order to understand what foods work best for you ahead of a race or workout. Some people have less sensitive stomachs than others, whereas others need to keep their diet very basic ahead of a race. The most important thing is to understand what does and doesn’t work well for you. This can only be figured out by testing different meals and snacks.
Before reading this blog, it is important to understand that these foods are ones that work well for me and sit comfortably in my stomach whilst providing me with plenty of energy. They may not work for you, but they may give you some ideas as to what to try. It is also very personal at what time people like to last eat ahead of racing, but I will give you an idea of what I found to work for me.
In my eyes, a morning race is the easiest one to prepare for when it comes to food. This is because you only have one meal in your stomach ahead of it, meaning there is less sitting in your stomach that might cause disruption.
With a morning race, I don’t change anything. I do the majority of my sessions/runs in the morning, therefore I know my daily breakfast sits well without causing any discomfort. For me, this consists of toast with almond butter. I usually have granary, but ahead of a race I tend to go for white bread so it is digested a bit better. If I am feeling quite hungry, I will also have a banana, or I may save this until 2 hours before the race if the race is later in the morning or at lunchtime.
Timing example for a 10am race.
7am- Breakfast of toast and almond butter
8am- Banana if I feel I need something additional
Afternoon races can be the hardest to fuel for. They are not early enough that you can just have one meal, but they are not so late that you want two big meals sitting in your stomach. I therefore tend to have breakfast at a normal sort of time, which is relatively early, around 6.45/7. I’ll then have an early lunch and if needed a snack after that. For lunch I would opt for something such as avocado on toast with eggs or some chicken. Bread is my friend, and I know it sits well in my stomach, so this is a regular option for me. I tend to keep it pretty basic, so wouldn’t have any salad or greenery. You could also have a pasta dish, or anything that your stomach is familiar with but is not too fibrous.
Timing for a 4pm race.
With an evening race, they tend to be on the later side of the evening. As I would not eat dinner beforehand, I want to ensure I have eating plenty regularly throughout the day. I aim to have a slightly bigger lunch, but not as big as my usual dinner as I prefer to eat little and often in the afternoon leading into the race.
For me, it is important to focus on listening to my body and how it is feeling hunger wise. The pre-race food plan may change if I am hungrier than usual. It is important to listen to how I am feeling, as some days I may require more food in order to reach the start line feeling well-fuelled, and other days I may require slightly less. I always ensure that throughout the afternoon I have options incase I feel myself getting more hungry, but also options to scale it back if my stomach is not feeling very settled. It is all about learning to be in tune to what your body and stomach are telling you.
Timing example for 7.30pm race.
3.30/4- Bagel and nut butter
5.30- Banana or a cereal bar
This is just an insight into what I tend to eat ahead of a race. This is not always exactly what I do, but it gives a clear indication.
Hunting down my speed!
Since coming back from my injury, the fitness has come back nice and steadily each week. From all the cross training I was doing, I managed to maintain my aerobic base pretty well. After a few weeks of sessions, my body and lungs felt strong again and raring to go. However, the speed has been a little trickier to find. I have never been someone with natural fast twitch muscle fibres and this was something I was working on a lot prior to my injury. We started to notice some improvements, but there was still a lot more work required.
However, post-injury, I have found this has been harder to get back and is taking longer than anything else. That isn’t a problem, somethings do take longer than others, but here’s what I’m doing to try and find my speed.
What am I doing?
Speeding up sessions.
For me, winter training is right up my street. I love any session that is 10k pace and below. I really enjoy long tempos, because it is where my strength lies. It is for this reason exactly, that I want to really focus on improving my speed. I want to work on my weaknesses as I don’t want speed to be something I don’t have. In order to improve and get faster over the longer distances, I need to work on my higher end pace in the shorter distances. Therefore, this is the goal of the year.
Focusing on recovery.
Whilst recovery is key at all times of the year, as sessions get faster and more intense, it is even more vital. This is because, in order to hit paces harder, my legs need to be fresher and not weighed down with fatigue. I have been prioritising resting in between sessions, taking my easy runs as easy as is required for my body to feel good, stretching/rolling anywhere that feels tight, and getting plenty of sleep. I always try to get up to 9 hours of sleep, but in all honesty, I just don’t need quite that much, so I usually get 8.5 hours sleep each night. Not only does this allow me body to recover, but it also makes me mentally sharper for the faster sessions as my eyes aren’t tired.
Prior to my main sessions, I always do a more extensive drills routine after my warm up jog. In these, I am really working on the delivery of each of each exercise. I want to try and get my foot off the ground as quickly as possible to improve my efficiency and reduce my contact time with the ground. Trying to get my legs used to this quicker movement, can help them get more familiar with moving faster.
Strength & Conditioning.
This has been a big focus of mine following my injury. Not only does being strong help me reduce my injury risk, but it also allows me to be faster and more efficient. If I can make my muscles stronger, they will be a bit more powerful which will allow me to run faster. As distance runners we do not want to build bulky muscle, but there are still some great benefits to doing supervised weight lifting. I say supervised, as this is something that can vary from person to person, therefore it is great the get the advise of an S&C coach before looking to implement such into your own training.
These are just a few of the things I am employing to try and improve my speed and I hope they might help you too!
What I Do On The Difficult Days?
We all have those days. It’s only natural. You wake up and everything just feels a bit of a challenge. You feel tired, your head feels a little cloudy, and your mood is a bit flat, but you’ve got a whole day ahead of you with some important things you need to get done. For me that might involve a key session, but it could be an important day at work, or a big day supporting someone around you. Whatever it is, we want to do our best to get out of that feeling. Here is an insight into what I do to deal with the difficult days.
I try to give myself some slack. Not everyday is going to be amazing, and that is ok. If every day was exceptional, our standards would slowly change and soon our exceptional would become our bad. Essentially, difficult days are unavoidable, but we also need them in order to appreciate the days when everything clicks. They also teach us so many lessons. Rather than waking up and dreading a difficult day, accept it and realise that the day holds lots of opportunities for us to grow as individuals. It is these moments where we grow and become stronger because we learn how to make the most out of testing times. My coach always reminds me of the rule of thirds; it is ok to feel great a third of the time, ok a third of the time, and crappy a third of the time. If you are feeling each of these roughly 1/3 of the time, you are doing great and consistently moving forward without realising.
Control the controllable.
In all walks of life, there is no point wasting time worrying about what we can’t change, because we can’t change it, and there is no value in wasting time worrying about what we can change, because we CAN change it! Therefore, we should not worry about what could lie ahead in the day, and instead focus on controlling what we can within the day to ensure we can be our best selves. This can be as simple as starting the day with your favourite breakfast whilst listening to some upbeat tunes, or staying away from social media to avoid any comparison doubts that could creep in. Whatever it may be to you, focus on doing what you can that makes you feel a little bit better, and wipe out anything that brings your mood down.
Positive self talk.
Confidence starts with the way we talk to ourselves. Therefore, if we wake up on a difficult day and immediately tell ourselves that we are going to have an awful day, we have already set off with the wrong mindset. This will affect our attitude and actions towards the day without us even realising. Therefore, if we take the time to reframe the way we talk to ourselves, it can give us a little mental boost. Tell yourself that you are ready for whatever the day brings your way and you ARE strong enough to handle it. It is also important to enter every day, no matter what note it starts on, with an open mindset, as it can always change for the better at any point. No one truly knows what lies ahead of them.
Look after myself a little more.
Whether this is in regards to my spare time, in training, or when working, I make sure to allow myself a bit of extra time. On the days when my head feels a little heavy, I might need to warm up for a bit longer ahead of a session to get my body and mind moving more fluidly. I may need to allocate extra time to get work tasks done because my mind isn’t processing things quite as quickly as it does on other days. I usually add some extra relaxation time into my day to allow myself to recover, such as by having a bath, reading my book, watching a series, or having a nap! It is also important to fuel yourself as well as you would on any other day. Getting in plenty of nutrients and fruit and vegetables will help keep your energy levels as high as possible. Whatever you need on that day, let yourself have it.
There is no magic quick fix for turning a difficult day into an exceptional day, if there was, I’d be a trillionaire. The secret is acceptance and self care. It is ok to look after yourself when you wake up and your head is heavy. I hope this blog helps you get through the difficult days with a bit more understanding.
Whether you’re an athlete or not, sleep is one of the most important things that is often the first to be sacrificed when your days get busy. However, maximising our sleep might just be the easiest thing we can do to get the most out of ourselves and be able to reach our full potential. For me personally, I struggle off less than 8 hours sleep, so aim to get that at a minimum so I can give my all to the day. I know this can be easier said than done, but here is what I do to try and get the best night sleep possible.
If your life/job allows, being consistent with the time you go to bed can be of immense benefit. I personally stick to the same bedtime almost everyday. I go up to bed around 9 and am asleep by 9.30. As someone who is an early riser, I find this incredibly important as even if I go to bed later, I still wake up at the same time, so I just get less sleep. Therefore an early bedtime is essential. Fit your sleep schedule to timings that best fit your lifestyle, then you’re more likely to sustain them and consistently sleep well. A study by Jessica Lunsford-Avery, PhD, has also shown that a consistent sleep schedule not only supports a good night’s sleep, but also comes with health benefits such as a lower risk of heart disease.
As a runner, this part can be quite easy to tick off, but if you work in an office, it can be a challenge. Whether it’s 20 minutes in your lunch break or as part of your commute to/from work, try to include a little bit of time in the fresh outdoors. It could just be as part of a stroll to get your lunch, or by parking your car a short walk away from work, but by getting out in the fresh air, you will find your brain feels a lot calmer and as a result helps you sleep better. This also ensures you are getting a small amount of exercise everyday, which will only benefit you come bedtime.
I’m no coffee drinker, but I do drink green tea which also has quite a lot of caffeine in it. I therefore have my last hot drink with caffeine in it at lunch time. After that, I opt for caffeine free alternatives such as peppermint tea. This helps my mind and body wind down, ensuring it is calm before bed. On the occsion that I have had a caffeinated drink after dinner, I find my brain operating at 100 miles an hour, unable to switch off. Thus, avoiding this makes for a mcuh better nights sleep.
I am very guilty of watching a series or being on my phone right up to the moment I want to go to bed. Consequently, I find my brain constantly buzzing and not being able to switch off. If I switch my phone for a book about 30-40 minutes before I go to sleep, I find myself falling asleep a lot quicker! Doing this helps the brain wind down gradually.
Make the room dark.
As summer nears and the evenings get lighter, it can be increasingly difficult to get to sleep, especially when it is almost complete daylight at 9pm. For some, this can then result in bedtimes getting later and later, reducing the number of hours sleep you can get. It is therefore important to make your room as dark as possible. If you have quite clear curtains, an eye mask may be worth exploring. This will help keep you sleeping well all year round, keeping you fresher and more alert.
Whilst none of these points are magic fixes, when used alongside one another, they will play a significant role in ensuring you start sleeping better and for longer.
It would be very easy to walk straight out of the door and get running. I’m sure many of you do, and I did too for a very long time. I never thought much of it. However, how do we expect our body's to move freely without restriction, or causing damage, if we don’t warm it up? A quick pre-run warm up can leave us feeling so much better on our run and also help avoid injuries caused by running on cold muscles.
The routine I do prior to an easy run does differ to that before a session. However, both have the same effect of preparing my body. My pre-session warm up routine is just a bit more in-depth and extended as I am preparing my body to move a lot faster, therefore there is no time for it to warm up once I get going, meaning it needs to be fully ready to go.
Easy run warm up
The first part of any day for me, whether I’ve got an easy run or a session, is to do some activation exercises. These tend to be smaller movements that just wake the body up and get it ready. I usually use a band, so if you have one of these (of any resistance), it’s a great place to start. You can start with it around your ankles, and move the legs against the resistance, do some crab walks or clam movements. These start the body and muscles working, giving it a warning that it is going to start working.
I then move onto doing some drills. I start slow with these and gradually speed them up/make them more intense. This again allows the body to warm up as you move through the exercises. I start with a smaller exercise such a toe walks, then do some high knees, legs swings, etc.
Get easy running.
Now I have woken up my body and moved gradually through the motions, I can start running. These don’t have to take long, even just 5 minutes of preparing your body is enough to make a big difference.
As you start running, listen and notice your body. If some areas feel tighter/stiffer then others, you know to focus on these ahead of your next run. Your body will tell you where you need to warm it up next time, if you have not focused enough on such an area.
Session warm up
As with an easy run, I always approach a session firstly with some activation exercises. Instead of then progressing on to drills, I go for a warm up jog.
Warm up jog.
A warm up jog is an extremely easy jog. There is no pace set to this, but it is a pace that does not strain your body at all, or feel challenging. It is merely designed to wake the body up. Start of as slow as your body needs that day, and remain easy throughout, but move towards the slower end of your easy pace. This jog should not take anything out of you but instead add to your performance. It should wake you up without tiring you.
As with my easy run, I then move onto drills. Prior to a session I do quite a few more drills than before an easy run, but similarly, I work through the motions gradually. I start with toe walks and scoops, I then progress to high knees and kick backs, then introduce some skips and faster movements. Not only does this warm the body up, but it gets it responding and reacting quicker. The faster movements get the legs ready to react to faster paces.
The final part of the warm up is strides. This is a distance of around 60-100m, where you gradually build the pace to prepare the legs for the paces you are about to do your session at. You can start at around 50% and work up to 80% in this short distance. Your body should be fully warm by now, but the stride is the final preparatory step in bridging the gap between a cold body and one that is ready to work hard.
Not only does warming up make your body feel better when you start running, it also helps avoid injuries than can be caused by running on cold muscles. If you tend to neglect the pre-run warm up or find yourself getting lots of muscle twinges, try getting your body moving fluidly and warm before your next run.
We're back! Race RUNdown.
I have waited 8 months to write this blog! At times it felt like it was never going to arrive, but we’re here, and I couldn’t be happier about it!
Last weekend saw my return to racing as I took part in my first race since the Commonwealth Games and getting injured. I had my first mini session back 10 weeks ago, and we have been gradually building since, so it was a great opportunity to see where we are at.
Preparing for it.
When you have been out from racing for an extended period of time, returning to it can seem quite daunting. It can be very easy to over inflate it and make it seem a bigger deal than it actually is. Looking back, I was very pleased I did a parkrun a few weeks before the race, as it got my excitement out of my system and meant I had learnt a few lessons already ahead of my first race.
Going into the race, my only goal was to get back out there. There was genuinely zero pressure on the race as it wasn’t an A race, or even really a B race. We therefore had a solid training week the week of the race, and trained as normal before it, almost seeing it as a hard session effort. This removed any pressure from it and allowed me to just focus on getting into the mode of racing again.
I prepared for the morning of the race just as I would any other hard session or race. It was also very handy having the clocks change, as it meant I woke up later and had less time to fill ahead of the start. I got all my kit together, including my new Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pros (the new Mizuno carbon plated shoe) which were eagerly awaiting their first race outing.
From the outset, the main focus during the race was on feeling good until 5k then pushing on if I was able to. I managed to get to the 5k maker feeling strong. We were having to battle the wind a lot, but I felt strong doing so. Once I reached 5k, I really felt as though I did push on, but the wind was brutal in the second half with 2k of it purely into the wind, that my pace dropped. Physically however, I felt as though I held my form and my mind remained focus even when the wind was head on.
At these moments, I kept saying to myself, ‘their weakness is my strength’. I was reminding myself that everybody else would be struggling in the wind as well, but if I stayed strong and confident, I could use this to my strength/advantage. When they were starting to slow, I could use my strength to work through the field. Mentally, this made me feel great as I just slowly ticked off one person after another.
When the final k arrived, we were away from the direct headwind and I was able to get the pace back to where it started. I felt strong and was able to drive into the finish line. This was went my Mizuno Rebellion Pro’s really came into their own and kept me feeling springy even when my legs were tired. I finished 3rd in a time of 33.15 amongst a strong field of women, knowing that in better conditions, there was a lot more there already.
Initially, I only felt one emotion, and that was happiness. I was filled with so much joy to have just crossed the finish line and feel so strong throughout the whole race. It didn’t even feel like it was 8 months ago that I last raced. My mind remembered exactly what it was doing.
It was only on the drive home that the emotions of what had happened hit. It sort of felt surreal to think that 8 months ago I was in a boot on crutches and now I was back racing. There had been some really hard times during my injury where it really felt like the return to racing was miles and miles away. There was a sense of disbelief that all the hard work and commitment I had put in over my injury had actually paid off! This is when the real emotions came out. Listening to my coach, Callum and my parents say how proud they were, really made me reflect and take pride in the determination I showed to get back to where I left off.
If you’re going through an injury and the end seems miles away, focus on one day at a time, and keep moving forward. You are progressing so much more than you realise.
As an individual, I think I benefit from having longer periods of training in between races when I can. Currently, there are no key races I have to focus on being in tip top fitness for. Therefore, there is no real urgency to force the fitness. This is never a good idea anyway, even if you do have key races ahead. Therefore, we are taking each day, week, and month as it comes. I’m hoping to do a road 5k in a months time and then look to get back on the track. I’m ready to put in the hard work, but continue to be sensible at all times. I’m not going to force anything, and just ride the rollercoaster of getting fitter.
As sports go, running is one of the most accessible sports there is. All you need is a decent pair of trainers and you are ready to go, wherever you are. Whether you are thinking of starting running, or you’ve been running for a while, here are 5 important messages you need to know about the sport.
It’s not easy, but it’s not meant to be.
Running is hard. There is no denying or avoiding that. Don’t get me wrong, once you get to a certain level of fitness, you can go for an easy run and keep it feeling easy, but for as long as you are looking to improve, it will never become easy, but this is the way it is meant to be. As soon as you accept this, you stop waiting for the moment it will become easier, and you start embracing the challenge it poses. You stop looking elsewhere and hoping it can be as easy for you as it is for someone else, as that will never happen. Running offers us the chance to show up constantly, no matter how we’re feeling, and take a step forward in life, but it won’t come easily.
You will have ups and downs.
Running is like a rollercoaster. Its unpredictable; you never know if you’re going to go up or down and the direction is constantly changing. You can never predict how things might unfold but this is also what keeps you coming back. No matter how many bad days you have, the good ones WILL come and the hard work WILL pay off. This is what keeps us coming back day on day, because even if luck hasn’t been going your way, it will, and even just one good day is enough yo boost you to the next one.
You will experience a happiness like no other.
For me personally, running has brought a lot of heartbreak into my life, but it has also been the source of some of my happiest moments. There is nothing quite like the joy and contentment I feel when out running on a beautiful day. It doesn’t need to be with others, or a run that is of any significance, but moving my body outside in nature, creates such a buzz that I cannot explain fully until you have experienced it. Some of the most enjoyable runs I have done have been on a random weekday at a random time.
You won’t want to stop.
One thing I can hand on heart say, is, once you get the running bug, you can’t get rid of it and you won’t want to stop. Of course, some days will test you, but the satisfaction and enjoyment it brings will keep you coming back for more. Once you embrace the sport, you realise how it can so easily be part of your lifestyle. It is a sport you can take with you anywhere, bond with people over, and one that will make you feel positive about yourself.
You won’t regret a single run.
The incredible thing about running is that you never regret doing it. I have never been on a run and regretted doing so. Even if it was perhaps one run too many and caused an injury, or wasn’t the best thing for my health, I still don’t regret the run. Every time you slip those trainers on and head out the door for however long it might be, you are transported somewhere else. You can escape whatever is going on in your life and clear the mind for free. I am frequently asked what I think about when I’m running, and honestly, I don’t think anything, but I love this. Running completely clears my head and allows me to return in a more rational state, able to tackle whatever challenges may come my way, and I am confident it will do this to you too.
Having read this blog, I hope you feel the urge to take up running if you haven’t already, or if you already run, you remember, it will be a journey of highs and lows, but you will never wish it away
5 Tips For Dealing With An Injury
No injury, no matter who you are or what you do, is easy to deal with. It poses different challenges for everyone, but one of the hardest is not being able to do what you love. There is no easy solution to coping with it, but here are 5 tips to make this difficult time slightly more manageable to navigate.
Focus on what you CAN do.
When finding out you are injured, it is very easy to focus on what you can’t do. You are usually told, you can’t run, you can’t weight bare, you can’t, you can’t, you can’t. Therefore your brain focuses on these things, which you probably love doing, and consequently drives your mood down. However, this isn’t very conducive to maintaining a positive outlook at a time when it is helpful to. I therefore switch my focus to what I CAN do. Initially, this may not be very much, but there is always something. Perhaps you can still do a little bit of core, or you can do some non-weight bearing yoga. If your injury allows, you may be able to get in the pool, whether that’s to swim or aqua jog, but be very cautious in the initial stages as you don’t want to hinder the recovery process. Focusing on these few things allows you to recognise that your injury hasn’t taken everything away from you, making you feel a bit more positive.
Allow yourself to wallow, then move on.
We should all be able to feel however we feel when we get injured. In fact, we need to allow ourselves to experience our true emotions in order to process what has happened. If we constantly force our true feelings out of the way, they will not disappear, just linger under the surface and erupt at some point. Therefore it you want to cry, cry, if you want to be grumpy, be grumpy, whatever way you want to feel, allow yourself to go through the emotions. However, know when to draw a line. We cannot hold on to the past forever, therefore we need to stop and look forward at the journey in a more positive light. Even if you do not feel ready to move on, encouraging yourself to do so allows you set a more positive tone. This will also encourage you to see there are brighter times ahead and all is not lost. In fact, this new path may lead you somewhere better than expected.
Learn from it.
Injury, in all shapes and forms, is a learning curve. I believe, everything happens for a reason, therefore, there is always something to take away from injury and improve upon. Instead of getting frustrated by it, I try to learn from it. I look at what I could have done differently and try to understand what might have caused it. I can then put new changes into motion, even before I can get back to training, so I am actively doing what I can to reduce my risk of getting injured again. There may not be something obvious that jumps out at you as the cause, so look for those multiple little factors that could all have played a small part and start learning from your mistakes.
Talk about it.
I personally find talking about what I am going through to be incredibly therapeutic. When I keep my thoughts in my head, it is very easy for my brain to catastrophise and run away with itself. Therefore, letting it out allows me to rationalise those thoughts, but also to just free some space in my brain. If you find it helpful to speak to your family, use them as sounding boards, but also don’t be shy about speaking to others. Sometimes family members don’t quite understand what you are going through, simply because they are not interested in sport, or running specifically. Find others who can understand how you feel and chat to them, as this will allow you to see all your thoughts are completely justified and remind you that you are not alone. There are plenty of people who have been through injuries. Almost every athlete has been injured at some point, so take comfort from their experiences.
Find joy in other things.
Whilst injury sucks in a lot of respects, it does also have an upside to it. This being, it gives you extra time to give to other aspects of your life. Injury (hopefully) doesn’t come around very often, so make the most of this spare time whilst you have it. You may have another hobby that you are not usually able to dedicate much time to, such as painting, reading, writing, or exploring. Perhaps there are some friends who you have not been able to see as much as you would have liked. Use this time to visit them or go out for meals with them. You don’t need to torture yourself by sitting in silence dwelling that you are not able to do your sport, it is ok to enjoy yourself at this time, because it won’t last forever!
If you are currently injured or returning to running after one, I hope these points help make your injury a little bit more manageable. Remember, this time will pass.
At times, the gym can be a daunting place. Maybe you’re not too sure what you’re doing when you get there or you just feel slightly out of your comfort zone. However, the gym really is for everyone and every BODY. It is a safe place if you make it one.
Here are six things I employ in order to feel my most confident self in the gym.
Before you get to the gym, plan what you are going to do. Write it in notes on your phone, or on a piece of paper so you won’t forget. This helps avoid drifting. I find myself feeling much more confident in the gym when I know exactly what I’ve got to do. This way I’m not left wondering what is next.
Get to know the gym.
If it’s a gym that is new to you, get to know it before you begin your workout. Take a walk around and see where everything/what is there. This way you’ll know exactly where to head for each exercise, but also, if anything is missing you can make some adaptations/changes whilst warming up.
Give yourself time.
Don’t rush yourself whilst you’re there and make sure you have allotted plenty of time to get your session done. I find this helps prevent me from rushing, so I can make the most of the workout, but it also means I have allowed time to find out where everything is. If you have lots of different exercises, you may have to wait for certain equipment to become available, so factor in extra time for this.
Dress for you.
Whenever I go to the gym I want to feel confident but also comfortable. Therefore, dressing correctly for me is so important. Some people prefer tight fitting clothing so there is less to get in the way, whereas others prefer loose fitting clothing as it’s more comfortable for them. I personally prefer tighter clothing so it doesn’t distract me or make me overheat! The number one priority is that whatever you’re wearing, you feel confident in it!
For me, headphones are a must at the gym. Less so for the entertainment, and more for the vibe they give off. Don’t get me wrong, having the right tunes pumping gets me in the mood for the gym, but it also allows me to get in my zone and shut off from everybody else. Headphones essentially act as a metaphor for ‘don’t talk to me’. It also helps prevent people chatting to you when you don’t want them to.
*remember to charge them, as I have made this mistake many many times.
Most importantly, remember, you belong there! The gym is for every BODY, so go workout and embrace it. People are only looking at you as much as you think they are. In reality, everyone is more focused on their own session ahead, and they do not care what you are doing or what you look like. The gym can be a safe place for everyone, just be confident in what you’re doing by employing the tips above.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!