What a difference the sunshine makes on a Friday morning. Today felt incredible, for lots of different reasons. Just before the start of my session we met Steve, the founder of a local charity, to hand over £4,000 that our club, Stubbington Green Runners, raised for them from our annual 10K race. The charity is called Charlie’s Beach Hut, and was set up when Steve and Karen lost their four-year-old son, Charlie Codling, to an incurable brain tumour.
Charlie’s is a beach hut style caravan at Perran Sands in Perranporth which aims to provide families of children with life limiting illnesses a relaxing environment so they can forge some forever memories, in a hope that they too can ‘Find the Wonderful in Today’. It was an honour that Steve came along to receive his cheque for the charity.
Quite a few of the group are racing marathons and half marathons this week, especially London and Southampton, so I delivered a session where you could pitch in at a level comfortable for those in taper mode.
We did a slow jog warm-up, followed by gently mobilising our joints, then straight into a sprint game to wake everyone up. In shark attack, everyone starts in the middle of a field/zone, then has to run to a corner ‘safety’ zone, trying to avoid being tagged by a ‘shark’. You can increase the numbers of sharks and take away corners to get people moving more. The main emphasis is having fun.
Then we did drills to work on technique; a walking forward stretch to activate the muscles at the rear of our legs, grapevine with a high front knee (as it works on agility, balance and coordination lots of runners struggle with it) then high-knees with a partner resisting. Similar to last week, definitely more successful this week.
The main body of the session was partner 400m reps. The first runner did a 400m lap, then rested while their partner did theirs, and we did this for about 22minutes. You can do it for a shorter or longer time, but I had a bonus section I wanted to add on after. With the 400m reps, it was up to the individual to run at the level comfortable for them. You can run fast to achieve more reps, but you don’t have to. Most people were giving it 100 per cent though; when I told the group we were only a third of the way through, I think it was a surprise.
Our bonus, after a few minutes of recovery, was to do a quick three-minute burst of short sprints, working in teams of three. This is a little easier than doing it in pairs as you have that bit longer to recover. Everyone was so excited when I told them we hadn’t quite finished…
We stretched out then did our relaxation section, which we have to wait for the fair weather to do. Everyone stretched out on the grass as I talked through some mindful relaxation. It’s the best part of the session, brings you fully into the present and sends you off in to the weekend feeling centred. We all stress so much about our races and performance, don’t we? I wanted everyone to take five minutes to focus on ‘being’ rather than what they would have to ‘do’ on Sunday. I hope it helped.
I wonder if everyone in the group realises how proud I am of them every week. I think they are so incredible. For everyone in my club, and all the marathon runners out there this weekend, whatever happens in your races, remember as you run that you are amazing. Don’t criticise or judge yourself if your race doesn’t go to plan; you would never do this to a friend or running buddy. Keep hydrated, wear your white caps, and enjoy your race as it unfolds, rather than struggling to reach the end. Otherwise you may miss some of the greatest moments of your life. You’ll be able to follow me as I run London on Sunday on Women’s Running’s Instagram stories. Good luck!