I have the great privilege of writing a book review column for a fantastic grassroots running magazine called So Let's Go Running - it is real for runners, by runners type reading, packed with quality articles and inspiration.
So Let's Go Running doesn't just stop at the magazine though, it is also an affiliated running club, drawing together runners of all abilities to run for fun in and around Dartford, Kent. Oh, and the occasional fun day...which they were kind enough to invite me along to!
Starting bright and early last Sunday morning the day kicked off with training session with Four Seasons Bootcamp. I've only got in to group 'exercise classes' in the last few months, so it was great to get outside and try something new! The bootcamp was pitched at just the right level - I felt like I was working hard and pushing myself, but that everything I was asked to do was achievable, which was really satisfying!
Bootcamp done, it was time for a sit down and some tips on recovery from Ben at Performance Physiotherapy. Running is a rough sport, you are loading each leg with up to three times your body weight was your foot hits the ground, there's oxygen debt to deal with, blood pooling, micro trauma and bleeds - you need time to recover from all of this to minimise injury and maximise training. I've always taken recovery pretty seriously, but it was great to hear from Ben that the steps I was taking were sensible and get some tips to refine my routine.
There is nothing like a jam packed day, and as soon Ben had finished it was time to stretch out and do a little Pilates! Pilates is one of those things that I do when the opportunity arises and it pretty much always kicks my ass! This session was no different, led by Pilates Body Studio, we were introduced to performance Pilates specifically designed to improve our running, and I could definitely feel it in my glutes and core! As with all the workshops through the day, it was great to get an insight in to how to improve my running and look after my body better....which can only be a good thing!
Another fantastic way to look after your body as a runner is foam rolling. Being a good runner I do own a foam roller, and I use it periodically, usually when my calf is a bit sore, but to be honest I haven't always known what I am doing. Thankfully Dawn Annett is a bit of an expert in this field and let the whole group through a masterclass in using your foam roller to ease out owies and hurties...you should have seen some of the faces as we 'hit the spot' and found a knot somewhere obscure in our legs (or bum, see above!). The relief is something else!
The post-rolling relief didn't last long as I hopped on the bike for a V02 max test with Transition FAST...possibly one of the scariest tests going for any runner. The aim of a V02 max test is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption during physical activity, and to work it out you have to push yourself quite literally to the maximum of your ability...all while wearing an attractive Bain-esq mask (which I wish I had taken a picture of). As someone who primarily training according to feel and target paces, it was interesting to get a new perspective on how I function, but I don't think that the test will influence how I train too much. It did however influence how I spent my Monday...I could barely walk...which suggests I need a bit more practice on the bike!
As Sunday's go this was a good one - it wasn't event lunch time and I had learnt so much and tried so many new things! Rounded off with an afternoon of running games and sprint races (not my forte) this was one serious running fun day, and I am so grateful I was invited along!