Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Chapter 88: Three Years Running

Hey Guys! Hope you're all well and had a great week :).

So last Sunday, my sister and I ran Race for Life 5k for the third year in a row. It is always such a privilege to run alongside women who are so brave and are going through such struggles only to show their strength shine through. Every year we have our numbers and our back signs attached to our tops, telling everyone around us who we are running for; my sister and I run for our Mammy, who suffered from bowel cancer silently for nearly 10 years and only found this out later on. She was the bravest woman I have ever known and always had a zest for life. When I ran my first Race for Life she was so proud of me because she knew I wasn't the best of runners... So  I have vowed to do it every year since. Next year my sisters and I would like to do something for Macmillan Cancer Support as the Macmillan Nurses were so amazing with our Mother in looking after her. There are so many amazing things you can do for this charity and you can have a look at just some of them here:

When we see women running in front of us who state they have survived or are still suffering from cancer, there really is no bigger motivation. As deep as this might sound, anytime I have a stitch or some sort of pain whilst running, all I ever think about is the amount of pain my Mother and other cancer sufferers must have/are still going through. I will be the first to admit I am not the best runner; I have difficulty breathing and I have suffered from panic attack for 2 years. A lot of the time, they come over me when I least expect and oddly enough, when  I'm not even thinking about anything to cause me panic. I have a certain mantra I will replay in my head whilst I'm running - basically a certain saying that will keep me going. It does help, but I have to admit that this year was the most difficult year. I think it's because I heard this route is one of the most difficult ones to run in the West Midlands as it is quite hilly - and it was! Maybe it was mind over matter? But I had pins and needles from the tips of my toes up to my knees towards the end! However... with my ongoing mantra running in my head, I eventually made it!

So, if you struggle to run from time to time, here are some top tips from yours truly:

  1. Be mentally prepared to go for a run... before you run. If your mind isn't in it, you won't go for longer. At least that is my experience.
  2. Don't eat a big meal before you run and if you do, wait at least 2-3 hours before going for one. Best to have a light meal or not eat at all beforehand. 
  3. Some people like to run alone to clear their heads and listen to their music. Personally I find it better to run with someone. Kind of like a spotter when you do weights at the gym; someone to watch your technique and make sure you carry on to your target time/distance. I usually go with my sisters and brother in law - he's usually the one to egg us on and it really works.
  4. Have a good pair of trainers of course! Go into a sports shop and speak to an advisor. Tell them what type of distance you run and your average time/speed. Obviously you would need different trainers for sprinting as opposed to long distance running. Decathlon is amazing for this and they have their own brand of trainers which lasted me 2 years - they were £11 from the kids section mind...
  5. Get a light water bottle - you don't want to be carrying a big clunky 1 litre around with you, not unless you want guns like Arnie!
  6. If you do take water, don't drink too much whilst out on your run. I find if you do this you are more likely to get stitch, especially if the water is too cold. Take a small swig to hydrate and carry on.
  7. Download Nike+ - this is a great app to track your distance and set yourself goals, whilst listening to your music and all the while having someone to tell you how well you are doing.
  8. Don't start off by setting yourself large goals. If you're not a runner don't just get your gear on and say, "I'm going to run 5k." That's 3.1 miles... it's not realistic. Start off by say running around your block and then the next time you run, run around your block and push yourself for another 5 minutes.
  9. Start off slow - if you start a long distance run off by sprinting, you're less likely to last longer. Although this is easy to do, it's best to end your run with a sprint. Myself and my "team" usually end a run with hill sprints; this is a great way to interval train.
  10. Interval training - run for a bit and stop for a bit. Go slow for a bit and fast for a bit. This will be a sure fire way to improve your stamina.
  11. Warm up and cool down - you don't want to look like John Wayne the next day (unless of course that's the look you're going for).
  12. Get some motivational music going - create a playlist that will keep you moving and happy to do so!
For more tips, have a look on this website which is far more technical than the above tips I've provided:

Remember - slow and steady wins the race.

Here's my motivational running song:

What's yours? If you have any more running tips, please comment on the back of here, comment on Facebook or tweet me @triciabaxter.

Have a great week guys!
Big Love,

P.S. My dear friend Rosie Inzani and her family are hosting an event this year for their late Father, Joe. The event is in aid of the Air Ambulance who were a massive support to the family and for all their hard work. If you are interested in going, please visit their event on Facebook, JoeFest 2015 and donate to their page at JustGiving. Our page is also still available online to donate to Cancer Research UK here: www.justgiving.com/patriciabaxter. Thanks again for all your donations, my family and I are very grateful ans I know our Mammy would be too xxx.

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