This week’s blog is written by Lindsay from wordy bird about her experience with Kick Start 2021 so far.
I’ve made it to Week 3! Amazing!
Little did I know what I was letting myself in for, when lolling on the sofa one Sunday night, I noticed Lynda Cook, one of the lovely D Group leaders from Macc Harriers, had tagged me in a post.
Tri and Run? Yes, I do try and run, I thought. Without much success! And I seem to get slower with each run.
Tri…I was suspicious, was this one of Lynda’s mad tri-athlete endeavours? Only designed for the super-fit, super-talented people that can swim, bike and run with ease?
I was about to carry on perusing my phone, when I noticed you could just do the run bit – and that as well as Advanced, and Intermediate, there was a Novice category.
It was January, I’d eaten my body weight in Christmas cake and cheese footballs and I needed something to motivate me.
Before I knew it, I’d stopped scrolling and signed myself up!
What’s it been like?
OK, I’ve only done 2 full weeks so far but it’s been fantastic to have a challenge and a structure to follow. I’ve realised I respond well to having a target.
At the start of each week, we get sent a plan with various activities, including different runs (intervals, hill reps, tempo runs, long runs etc) but also links for videos (Preparation and Performance and Stretch). Plus the all important spreadsheet to record your results!
The weekly challenges are all based around a timed 5k at the beginning so the exercises are tailored to your own ability – pushing you just enough to do better and go faster, without demoralising you.
Each activity is worth a certain number of points. At the end of each week, the totals are totted up and prizes awarded. The ‘points mean prizes’ philosophy works incredibly well. We all spur each other on, with a bit of gentle competition and a lot of encouragement. It’s getting to the stage where I’ll do almost anything to win a purple buff!
Why it works
At the moment, many of us are missing running in a group. Although, I’m still doing most of my runs on my own, it’s been great to feel part of a larger body and share experiences:
- Weren’t those hill reps dreadful?
- What’s a tempo run and what’s a threshold run?
- Where are you going for your Naked run? (not what it might sound like!)
As well as encouraging and motivating one another, there have been a lot of laughs in the WhatsApp group too.
Providing expert support
Having direct access to two fantastic coaches, Vicky McKinnon and Lynda Cook is brilliant. They analyse the results each week and adjust our target times and pace accordingly. What’s particularly good, though, is that they’re on hand to answer our many, (many) questions!
Working from home means it can often get to 6.30pm and I realise it’s dark and horrible and I haven’t been for a run. Kick Start has made me plan ahead and make sure I think about the best time to fit everything in. “I’ll just nip out and do some hill reps at lunchtime,” was something you’d never have caught me saying before this!
Taking you out of your comfort zone
I’m the last person to do any form of strength work, usually. This was obvious when I asked what an S&C session was! It quickly became apparent my Strength and Conditioning session wasn’t going to consist of much strength! So much so, my husband was in hysterics watching my hopeless attempts to do a plank, saying he’d have to pull me up off the floor with a resistance band!
I suppose I like to think I’m just a runner and running’s all I need to do. But I’ve always known deep down strengthening my core would make a huge difference.These sessions are great as they explain how a certain exercise will help a particular aspect of running.
Kick Start 2021 has forced me to grit my teeth, grab my tins of beans for weights and do some proper strength training.
And I’m pleased to report I’ve actually done a proper plank, at last!
Not just the running
I’ve also valued learning various other things – such as how to use my Garmin properly for intervals or how to plot routes. As well as all the advice from Lynda and Vicky, the other participants have been really helpful. It’s a true Kick Start community.
Glad I signed up?
Absolutely! Having a plan with targets and goals is really motivating and knowing that I’ve got to put my results in a spreadsheet at the end of each week is a great incentive – did I mention there were prizes?!
What’s more for just £6 for 4 weeks, it’s fantastic value. The price of three tubs of cheese footballs, in fact – and a lot better for me!
Thanks Lindsay. You and all of the participants are doing amazingly! Keep up the good work.