I mentioned in my previous blog that this time last year I wasn’t running. I still wasn’t recovering from the illness I’d had at Christmas (mainly because I didn’t rest!) which led to dropping out of races I’d entered.
This year couldn’t be more different to 2017. I stayed healthy over Christmas and managed to stay active while I was at home visiting family. I even avoided the stomach bug that my boyfriend picked up which was some sort of miracle! I’m feeling good and training is going well (I’ve achieved a few PBs already this year!) so I decided to attend a running technique workshop in London. I want to do everything I can to run well this year.
The workshop was being run with Ellie and Carly through Greenwich Fitness & Pilates, so I would be heading to (or very close to) the London Marathon start line!
Our day started in a studio just inside Greenwich Market where we were talked through the content of the workshop. Ellie and Carly are both lovely and made sure we knew we could ask questions at any time. The main elements we would learn about and work through were:
- Stability & Strength
Before long we moved outside and took a short run round to Greenwich Park. Being the end of January it was rather cold so I was happy to get moving once we were there! Before we started learning Ellie and Carly got us to run in our normal style while they filmed us (they let you know this is going to happen before the day) so we could watch it back later at the studio and get feedback.
We started with posture. To anyone not part of the group we must have looked a bit silly as we tried to run with our bums sticking out so we could feel the difference between this and our normal running. The difference when you switched from this to having your bum tucked under and your head held high was really noticeable and made me want to be more mindful of my posture when I’m out running.
Next up was alignment which was mainly about where your feet and knees are placed. Just like our posture we tried something different – this time we turned our feet out. It’s amazing how difficult it becomes to gain any speed when your feet are turned out to the side. It turns out that you need to face your feet in the direction you’re running to be efficient (Of course I’m joking – I knew this at least!).
Then we started to run through stability and strength. Strength is something that I’m fairly on top of – I do a lot of resistance training and did a lot of weightlifting when I was regularly attending Crossfit. The stability part? Not so much! I’m getting there (with a lot of core work and ALL the single leg squats) but it’s something I really have to work on so it was good to pick up some tips.
Before we headed back to the warmth we moved onto some hill work. We were asked if any of us actually enjoyed hill work and I was part of the small group who answered yes. There are a distinct lack of hills in Portsmouth so it’s rare that I get to run up a real hill. When I do, I really enjoy it! I never really think about technique when it comes to hills as I’m usually just in a ‘head down, get it done’ kind of mind frame so it was interesting to go over this and how you can run strong when it comes to ascending and descending.
At this point we went back to the studio so we could run through mobility and flexibility. We rounded off the day with some stretching (and flapjacks!) while Carly individually gave everyone feedback based on the footage that she’d filmed earlier in the day. My feedback was mostly good which was great to hear. Aside from my shoulders swinging quite a lot I seem to have a good posture and stride so I was pleased with my feedback …. I’m doing something right while I train for my races!
At the end of the work shop we were able to ask any questions we had. I asked about trail running and ultra running as I’m signed up to day one of Race to the King this year which is across some of the South Downs (I may do the full 52 miles in one go in 2019!). Ellie gave me some tips around starting to run more on different terrains and planning a few training runs that will take me beyond marathon distance (running more than 26 miles just in training – crazy!).
All in all I had a brilliant day at this workshop and I picked up lots of tips to help me improve. After getting some good feedback on my running I’m feeling more confident about April the 22nd. I’ll see you on the start line.