Not every run is a good one 

And that’s OK 

If you’ve never had a particularly shitty run you have either A sold your soul to the man Downstairs or B not been running long enough. 

They will come and the way you deal with them is what truly counts. 

Today I took part in an eight Mile fell race with 2k ft  ascent,by far not my longest event or my highest climb, but it was the worst race in an age. 

I spent most of the ups walking, the flats limping along like a wounded chihuahua and the downs, you guessed it… Walking. 

I had absolutely nothing in the tank, my legs just forgot what we were doing on this beautiful piece of Lancashire countryside. 

I think mostly it was my mind that gave up first, I didn’t particularly want to race today but as it was a club league event I didn’t want to let my mates down. On arrival a few mentioned I looked tired (bunch of charmers!) and I think maybe I was a little so I used that as an excuse to perform sub standard. 

Sometimes you can be the fittest athlete in the world (of which I am far from) but if the head isn’t also trained you are already half beaten. 

I won’t dwell on today, and probably won’t think about it again after I’ve finished this blog, I will learn from it though, and the two things I have learnt today are. 

1  You can’t skimp on weekly mileage and assume you can run as well as usual. 

2 Bogs and cow dung are not a winning fragrance combination!

Double race weekends and glorious beer 

So last weekend I put in a double shift in preparation for the peak skyline ultra race in August. 

The peak skyline covers 29 miles and a little over 5000ft of climbing, while I’m not strictly an ultra runner I do however like to run one long event a year as an adventure. 
As part of the training I needed two big climb events and the stars aligned this weekend with the pendle half marathon and the kentmere horseshoe. 

Starting with pendle on Saturday this was a two lapper along the country lanes surrounding pendle Hill.

The race start was a fairly low key affair with a 3,2,1 go to signal the start.  

Little did I know (my fault not the organisers) there was also a 10k race starting at the same time! Now I wanted to run this as a hard training running but I was aware I had kentmere a day later. After a mile or so the pack I had settled in seemed to be moving a little to quick but in the back of mind I knew I was in top ten shape so stuck it out, until the start of the second lap and they all bloody turned in to  the finish of the 10k! 

I found myself a little lost then with no one in site either in front or behind, after a few minutes I had caught up with another runner and had two closing in fast, I eventually lost two positions but managed to hold on to 9th place overall! 

Final half mile, photo taken by my ever suffering wife. 

We hung on for the presentation as my teammate and coached athlete came in first (a full five minutes in front of 2nd!) 

I would highly recommend this tough half marathon but with 2000ft of elevation it may not be for the faint hearted! 
Day Two 

Sunday was a trip up to the lake district with a couple of friends from club for the kentmere horseshoe fell race. 

This race is one of the lakeland classics and as such over 300 people lined up in a farmers field ready for the off. 

From the get go this race goes up and up and up some more, with it being a lovely day and having to carry full kit in my ultimate direction Peter backwin race vest I soon started to overheat. The legs protested from the get go but the views certainly made up! Absolutely breathtaking. The race was just under 12 miles and with 3000ft of climb unfortunately a lot of it was runnable. 

I had pre decided to run with my club mate and I’m glad I did as we had a good old chat (despite him dropping me on every descent! ) 

After the event the three of us popped for a pint at the fantastic Hawkshead brewery, if you have never been before make it a point of call, the variety is ridiculous! 

So 25 miles and 5000ft of climb made for an altogether productive weekend. 

Why do I coach? 

In my spare time I coach athletes at my local athletics club. I joined the club back in 2015 as a novice runner (I had just ran Manchester marathon for charity). 

The club has been really good to me and so I decided to give back and join the team. They very kindly sent and paid for my qualifications (I have certificates and everything!) 

I coach all abilities from couch to 5k up to top level make marathon a d female ultra distance champions. 

Tonight though at our usual club session, one of  the athletes who has been  with the beginners for a long time thanked me for giving her the confidence to join in the speed sessions available as she had just ran her fastest parkrun in ages!

She didn’t win and she wasn’t bothered and to be honest neither was I, the best thing was she really enjoyed the run and could see her hard work paying off. 

For me that’s what it’s all about, a good coach isn’t just plans and splits but sometimes it’s just a smile and a little belief. 
That’s why I coach.