Half marathons are hard particularly if you are complete novice when it comes to running. Recently one of our clients, Liz, completed her first half marathon on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. This was a fantastic achievement and we are so proud of what Liz achieved!
Liz started from scratch and had 5 months to get in shape. Her technique was very good from the start, her attitude was even better, but her cardiovascular fitness needed some work. She sought our help to find out the best way to optimise her training.
After Liz’s first assessment I realized that her cardiovascular fitness really did need to improve. I noticed immediately that Liz needed to train easier to get fitter; one step backwards for 2 steps forwards. She had a habit of pushing herself very hard when she was running but this was just unsustainable. She also needed to strengthen her calf and glute muscles which are areas that can lead to injuries for runners.
Initially Liz’s training consisted of lots of light circuits, step training and running on the beach. She trained with me once per week and followed our program diligently on her own three times per week. Her programme was designed to safely and gradually increase the volume of running to create bio-mechanical resilience through intervals walking and running, long walks in the hills and specific exercises for glutes, calves and core to do after her intervals.
Her commitment with sessions was remarkable and her attitude was always fantastic. But things weren’t always easy. Liz experienced periods of self-doubt during her training and she almost gave up on a few occasions. When you begin running with very little cardio fitness, it is not easy to think about running for more than 2 hours, especially in a different environment with a different weather.
My role became that of a coach, not just trainer. I needed to give Liz the right advice and guidance delivered in a constructive and supportive way. When you are the athlete, it can be difficult to ‘see the wood for the trees’. I gave Liz feedback from a fresh and impartial perspective and managed her expectations of what she could achieve. In reality, she was doing great and she needed to hear this. It is very easy to give up when you don’t know how much you have improved. Assessing and reviewing is something that you can’t do easily when you train on your own.
I focused hard on creating a positive environment in the lead up to the race. I also gave Liz lots of advice regarding meals the day before, water intake, rest, work out intensity and jet-lag.
Liz was delighted when she completed the half-marathon and I was so happy because she had an amazing experience, injury-free, that she enjoyed and will remember this for the rest of her life.
Well done Liz!