It’s been a little while since I’ve written a post, as I’ve been up to my eyeballs with training, work and home stuff (well, Fallout 4), but I’ve finally found a moment to write about my new and expanding training regime for 2016.

As a bit of background, the first spark of serious running intent came exactly 51 weeks ago, with a January ParkRun at Victoria Park with Hannah. I was getting into pole vault at the time (and hopefully still am competing in it this season) so had only joined to give Hannah some support as it was very much her run. But something took hold, the interest stuck, and—after all the ultra marathon ambitions of 2014—I became very interested in fast racing over long distance wombling.

On September 20th 2015 I ran the English Half Marathon I managed to post a 81 minutes, off less than 30 miles of unstructured training a week—mainly throwing myself round intervals as fast as I could at every opportunity. It was a fast time for me, and I was incredibly pleased with it, but I knew the time had come from blind, completely unthought-through training.

Fast forward to today and I’ve been really fortunate with finding out some great sources to help structure my training regime in a professional manner, with my times consistently dipping as a result. So quickly here’s a shout out to the four main groups who I believe have helped my progression as a runner.

Club: VPHTHAC
I’m a club member of Victoria Park Harriers and Tower Hamlets Athletics Club (what a mouthful!). The club offers countless opportunities to involve runners with team races and leagues, lending a really interesting competitive element to your running. Whilst I do this with pole vault, I must admit I don’t attend these club races as much as I probably should do. However I am a regular user of the club’s Strava page, and without a doubt the times and distances posted here by runners definitely spurs me on to push myself as much as possible
Club Cost: £40 a year
Strava Cost: Free

Coach: Shaun Dixon
The biggest contribution to my running progression has come via my coach, who has created a structure and thought through training schedule to help me with my goals. Whether the distance is a single mile or a half marathon, Shaun’s has tailored my training to suit. Not only is it useful to have someone there to think of new and innovative workouts, being accountable to them to helps make sure you never skip a session, keeping me consistently training when otherwise I might be inclined to slack.

Shaun Dixon is a British Athletics coach and elite level athlete, competing for Great Britain and England. He has experience of coaching runners from 5k to the Marathon, and from road to mountain marathons. Find him at www.letsgetrunning.co.uk
Cost: £40 per month

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Nutritionist: Renee McGregor
Another area that I lacked any sort of structure in was nutrition and this is something that I’ve only recently started to address. Whilst I’ve always tried to eat sort of healthily, I previously had no idea about what this meant specifically with regards to running. However I do now, thanks to Renee who for a simple one off cost, has created a comprehensive nutritional plan to boost performance, enhance recovery, and shave off a few precious kilograms of weight. I’ll be writing a full post about my nutrition shortly.
Cost: £55

Girlfriend / Friends
Silly as it may sound, having a partner or friends who understands and enjoys running makes the whole sport so much more enjoyable, expanding what is inherently quite an isolating hobby into a truly social one. ParkRuns and other casual running clubs have expanded this friendly element further. It’s hard not to go for the morning relaxed run, when you know it’s going to be with you mates!

So that’s the framework by which my running has increased from a super casual interest into a dedicated passion. I’ll let you know how my plans progress, especially with my upcoming race, the Liverpool Half Marathon, in early March. Can’t wait!