Over the past year, I have re-started my hobby of running. It all started when. unfortunately, my mum was diagnosed with Cancer. There’s more about that here.
When I used to be in London several years ago, up until 2003, I used to run regularly around Wanstead Flats area, as outlined on this strava route. We used to do this on approx twice a week and with the group of people I was running with, we managed a PB of around 23 minutes around this segment. Over the years, we then expanded this to do it twice around, and our approximate PB was around 50 minutes.
When I moved to Sheffield in December 2003, first, I got lazy, and secondly, I blamed the hills for not running; so I got really unfit and put on some weight.
As of January 2017, I re-started running, in the aim for raising monies for Cancer Research UK (CRUK), on the basis of how much the NHS and the Cancer support did for my mother. The only thing that was left for me was to re-take running again. Unfortunately, this was a very slow process, and very tiresome. I joined the gym, and my first attempt only lasted about 10 mins doing about half a mile.
However, I slowly progressed over a few months, and I found that I was able to do about 5K on the treadmill, and within that time I found out about parkrun; so I decided to take that on in March. Unfortunately, the key thing I found was that treadmill running, and footpath/road running is 2 completely different things, and therefore I found myself injured after doing my first ever parkrun. I was, however, very happy to achieve 34:14.
I decided to take a break, and especially with Ramadhan, I was back running again in July, started running on pavement/road with a combination of a treadmill. A few times in that journey, my mind overtook, and I decided to push a few times, and injuring myself. My main advice for newbies is that take it slow and easy.
Once I was happy to do 5K on road, I got myself injured again by pushing myself. Once I came back from this, and took the opportunity to do parkrun in September, and was able to achieve 33:05 and 32:05, which was a fantastic improvement; again the main thing was to take it easy. With the Sheffield 10K coming up at the end of September, I only managed to get to 8K with my individual runs.
Over the period of August and September, I discovered the Steel City Striders Running Club, and joined up, and managed to get some fantastic advice from various coaches and members. This helped me to pace myself correctly at the Sheffield 10K, and managed to achieve completion in 01:06:21, without burning myself too much. I also managed to raise £500 for CRUK in the process, so thanks to all who helped in that.
Joining the Striders gave me the extra motivation, to try an aim to run with one of the training nights, and also try beating my PBs from when I used to run in London. I calculated, that if I can achieve 25:06 of a 5K and 54:35 for a 10K, then this would be equivalent to my pace and fitness from 2003.
A new event came up, that was mentioned by one of the Striders for the Yorkshire Wildlife 5K race, and as I have enjoyed going there with my family in the past, I thought, I would give this a go. It was a fantastic day out with family, and for the first time getting a sub 30 time for 5K, of 28:37
Over the next few months I discovered the Couch to 5K group run by a few Striders, and joined up; this gave me so much, that it helped with my running, with posture and form. I also continued some of the parkruns and improved my times overall. I also then managed to complete 10K individually and thought I would try entering Percy Pud 10K, and also my first training night with the Striders.
I managed to do very well at Percy Pud and got so close to my target time, but I was so happy taking off approx 10 mins off my Sheffield 10K time at 55:40. I found the race very comfortable, and very enjoyable to do. The atmosphere was impeccable.
After Percy Pud, I took a couple of weeks off, and then started joining the proper training sessions at Hillsborough. It was tough going the first few weeks, but have managed to settle in very well, and up to now, I have managed my longest run to about 14 miles, which I never thought I would get to.
From about October onwards, I was lucky enough to be able to give a place at the Striders parkrun cup, this helped me loads to improve my overall timings, and help me to manage my pace at race time. I managed to go from a PB of 30:12 to all the way to 25:27 in just 3 months. I have to give big credit to the Striders, who helped me to understand and manage the consistency of my running (I am also very competitive too).
When I look at my journey over the past year, I have started to enjoy running again, I have eclipsed my target 10K time, when I did the CRUK London Winter Run, with a result of 52:43, and I am very close to eclipsing my 5K target time. I want to thank the run leaders and coaches of Steel City Striders, who have helped me over the past 6 months to get to this stage.
I also now have a 2018 campaign, which you can read all about in this post