Dealing with setbacks

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My humorous. Not where it’s meant to be.

Nobody’s invincible. We all know that, but it’s easy to forget when you’re on a roll, training is going well, you’re in good health and you have goals that you really can reach, if you just carry on. So when the rug is pulled from under you, what do you do? A few weeks ago, I had just completed an ultra marathon and was heading into training for a road marathon when I fell on a bouncy castle (yes, I know, I’m 40 – my mum has already mentioned this) and dislocated my shoulder.

 

So it’s all change. Ten days in a sling, four weeks with no high-impact or weight-bearing exercise. Sixteen weeks recovery with physio. It would be easy to get down about this. And at times I have been, but the thing that’s most surprising is that it’s actually not that bad. Sure, I had to drop out of the marathon, and not being allowed to drive has been a pain but, overall, I’ve realised that it’s ok.

First obvious problem is training. I was worried I would lose fitness, lose all the hard work I’d put in. But all that hard work is in fact still paying off – if you have incorporated fitness and training into your everyday life, it takes quite a while to lose. And I’m lucky, I’m a PT, so I have devised a couple of zero-impact, cardio and resistance workouts that I’m confident will keep me going while I wait to get stronger.

Second problem is work. I can’t demo new moves, I can’t drive to see clients. After a disastrous morning where I insisted I could walk from client to client with a kettlebell, yoga mat and bag all hanging off one shoulder (the good one), I realised I could ask for help. This can be really difficult, even when people outright offer, when you’re used to doing everything yourself. But the relief when you do and (in my case) don’t have to try to figure out a new non-weights routine for your client, don’t have to get cover for teaching a class… the relief. Look at it this way, if someone you cared about needed help; nothing crazy, just a lift in the car or lending something for a few days, you absolutely would do it! You wouldn’t even think twice about it. Take the help when it’s offered. Ask when you need it.

I guess I’m just advocating positive thinking and positive action. Not a new concept, but certainly a good one. And maybe that marathon would have been a boring one anyway.

 

(S)pace setters…

Lyme Regis

End of the road… Lyme Regis harbour

We’ve been to the coast for a long weekend. Escaping our fast-paced city lives for a few days, we were looking forward to lie-ins and copious amounts of wine and seafood. But of course we also took our running gear ’cause, you know, we’re us.

And Day One presented a bit of a problem – the idyllic Lyme Regis beach run had to be nixed because Lyme Regis beach is a pebble beach. Yeah, should’ve checked that. So we headed towards town and found the Cobb wall and harbour on our way. This is a lovely sweeping arc of a pedestrianised walkway right out to the tip of the harbour – perfect for short sprints and a bit of tag-team speedwork. Lots of fun, even if it wasn’t the run we had planned. It got me thinking about having to ‘pivot’ when something gets in the way of your route (closed roads, floods, fallen trees…. pebbles instead of sand). It’s always worth keeping some ideas in your repertoire to adapt as you go, here are some that only need a small area:

  • Run 100 steps fast in one direction. Run 100 steps slowly back to where you started. Repeat 5 times.
  • Choose 6-8 evenly spaced points along the route you have. Sprint past two, walk back one; sprint past two more, walk back one etc. (This is a classic hill exercise so all the better if you have an incline.)
  • For two people: start at opposite ends, sprint towards each other. As you pass each other, go down to a slower, recovery run. When you get to the other end, turn and come back – when you pass each other, go back up to sprint. Keep going, switch from sprint to recovery every time you pass each other. Do high fives if you must.
  • Add in some bodyweight exercises by creating a course (there-and-back, around the perimeter of carpark, whatever) for running; one person runs while the other performs squats. Switch. Do this with lunges, press-ups etc etc.

 

Spring in your step

IMG_20180318_101621_BokehWoohoo! The sun is out! I think this might be for real this time, too. Now is a great time to be outside running/cycling/burpee-ing; whatever floats your boat. I always say that of course, even when it’s snowing (here’s me running last week – was it only last week? – taken by my awesome other half who came along for the run/skate), but I think the combination of bright sunshine and cool temperatures could just be the perfect balance for a positive workout with all the joys of the great outdoors and none of the woes of overheating or freezing your toes off. Plus it’s great for taking selfies.

Daily drills

I try to give my clients a ‘take-home’ exercise to do on a daily basis (or at least a few times a week) so that we can maintain the good work we’ve achieved in our sessions. One of my favourites is one I call The Compass, which I learnt from my friend Sarah Russell, who is a biomechanics coach. It’s not only brilliant for making your bum look great, but it helps strengthen your core as you try to balance, too.

How to do it:
Go into a single leg squat, then using the arm opposite to the one you’re standing on touch the floor in front of you in four places; north, south, east and west (you can pulse the squat between compass points). Do this a few times on each leg, standing upright again between goes (but without setting your other foot down). Switch the arm you use to increase the challenge.

Summer support act

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High Support Pregnancy Exercise Top (£49.99) Supportive Maternity Fitness Shorts (£34.99), Fitta Mamma:
http://www.fittamamma.com

Maternity clothing, especially for exercise, can feel like a big outlay for something you’re not going to wear for more than a few months, but you might find you get more than your money’s-worth because it’s actually brilliant post-natally too. Wearing it after your pregnancy will give you lots of support while you get back in shape and some brands do keep this in mind so that the design stays flattering, regardless of what stage you’re at (a huge boon when you’re not feeling your most glamorous!). I took this snap of Katie last summer, trying out support apparel from Fitta Mamma – she got on with it really well and wore it for several weeks after having her baby.