Friday mornings have become like a boot camp, where as a group of runners we come together to do what we love, but I try to add a sprinkling of the parts of running we don’t always love. Ultimately, we need to stay focused on improving our running mechanics and efficiency, so we can do the stuff we love, such as favourite sessions and races.
Clapping A-skips: these help you run tall as well as encourage your leg lift. Be mindful that you do A-skips not B-skips (where you are flicking your foot high), as it’s easy to drift in to the latter.
Hamstring extensions: the perfect drill for extending your hamstrings and glutes (and also make you clap better, as my group added when I questioned them about why we were doing them!). You flick one leg forward and reach with the opposite hand to tap your foot (which is extended). Your focus should be on an upright posture, and your form, not speed. I shouldn’t probably say this, but this part of the session is usually quite entertaining. We finished our warm up with a few strides, to prepare us for speed!
Anything up to and over 800m (such as one kilometre or one mile) reps hurts, which is why we do them. Today we did an 800m rep, followed in our recovery with leg strength exercises. There were 20 x 180 degree squat jumps, 20 x squat jumps.
We repeated this four times, so that by the third and fourth 800m our legs were tired. I like to also include core and arm work, as I know most runners struggle to find the time for this. After the second 800m rep and leg exercises, we lay on the shingle. Our mini core circuit is one my 11-year-old does at gymnastics, and has taught me. We did 20 scissor kicks, 20 V-sits, 20 climb the ladder, 20 bringing our legs together up to our chest, 20 one leg stays up, other leg pulses up and down, then swap legs. That’s her terminology, not mine.
I love the group dynamics. When I say what the session is, some people will groan, some stay silent, some look at me as if they’re going to stab me, others are like Tigger, unable to contain their excitement to do whatever is thrown at them. Laura is one of my truly inspirational runners. She never moans, even when she’s got a hangover! She gets on with everything; she’ll turn up, work hard, and leave, usually before the end as she is one busy lady. Laura is the mum of six children, including two sets of twins. Yes, it’s unimaginable. But she’s also a single parent, and owns her own business. When you think how busy your day is, imagine what Laura’s is like. She is awesome in every way, and this is exactly what she’d say to you if she was talking to you.
She also has a natural flair for running and a great running style, which her children have inherited. Nothing seems to phase Laura, though I imagine there must be something that does. I’ll have to find out what it is. She just works hard with her running, as she does in all aspects of her life. But I know she has so much more to give. I love Laura.
For arms we did push-ups until exhaustion, then held the plank until exhaustion. Followed straight away by our third 800m rep. No rest for us!
We live by the beach and where we workout is stunning. To end the session, and seeing as the group is SO competitive, we split into teams and had five minutes of plogging, to see which team could pick up the most rubbish. Love your world. It’s really simple; the world supports our existence. We need to look after it. Take a bag on your next run, and pick up some rubbish.
Yes, we shouldn’t have to pick up for others who aren’t as thoughtful, and no, we’re never going to stop some people littering, but it’s our world. Love it. Once the beach was clean, we jogged back.
The session was hard, and I was worried John might spontaneous combust from the effort (he had to get up at 2am as his dog was barking…my mind is drifting back to Laura!) so I got everyone on the ground for the stretch. We finished with just five minutes of mindfulness, to ground ourselves, centre ourselves and remind ourselves how grateful we are for all that we have, and especially for our feet. They do so much for us. Then we heard Costa calling. It was a tough session this week; working your legs hard in between intervals means you’re running with tired legs, but this makes you stronger than you believed you could be.