Running WomanI read with interest an article in July’s edition of Runner’s World which discussed a revolutionary training approach when it comes to improving running PBs (if the article gets publish online I will adjust the link to take you to it – in the meantime you will need to buy the magazine).

Now I must stress that the article is aimed at improving times for running Marathons, but based on my own experience, I feel it can be just as relevant for any distance.

Before I provide any more details, I need to take you back to the beginning of January, when I finally got my mindset in the right place and began my next ‘weight release’ journey. One of the things I took up again to help me achieve my goal was running.   I’d had a 2 year gap since my last 5km run due to illness so was expecting to find myself pretty well back at square one in terms of stamina and pace.

Here is an overview of my first few runs:

  • 14th Jan 2014 – less than impressive: Time 41:48 / Pace 8.17min/km. Still I managed to run all the way, which I hadn’t expected.
  • 1st Feb 2014 – an improvement: Time 39:29 / Pace 7:51 min/km
  • 8th Feb 2014 – tough going due to wind: Time 40:44 / Pace 8:02 min/km
  • 16th Feb 2014 – just don’t seem to be making progress: Time 40:39 / Pace 8:05 min/km
  • 20th Feb 2014 – slightly better: Time 39:00 / Pace 7:47 min/km
  • 22nd Feb 2014 – clearly hadn’t recovered: Time 41:19 / Pace 8:13 min/km

As well as running, I was following a healthy & nutritional eating plan and by the 22nd Feb had lost 12lbs and 2 1/2″ off my stomach – so in all pretty happy with my progress.  However, my enthusiasm for running was waining, so a friend of mine suggested I go along to a ‘Metafit Class’ – high intensity interval training.  It only lasted 30 minutes so it could fit into my busy schedule, so why not?

My first session was interesting to say the least – I went along thinking ‘it can’t be that bad – it only lasts 30 minutes’ and whilst I built up a sweat, I came away feeling I could have done better. The following morning my friend asked me how I was feeling and I replied by stating that I clearly hadn’t worked hard enough as I was feeling absolutely fine!  I couldn’t have been more wrong, you see, Metafit is known as the ‘workout that keep on working’ and boy was I about to find out what that means.  By teatime that day (so nearly 24 hours after my class) I could barely walk – every simple movement felt like it needed every ounce of energy in my body.

Anyhow, to cut a long story short, over the next couple of months bar a couple missed here & there I managed to attend at least 1 and sometimes to 2 sessions a week.

Thanks to this and my healthy diet, I continued to drop weight and change shape all over.

On the 2nd June, I finally dusted off my running trainers and hit the road for a 5km. I managed to make it all the way round without stopping in a fairly respectable tme (for me) of 38:41 / Pace 7:42 min/km.

5km Run PB June 2014A week later, I hit the road again. I was in the mood, full of energy and went for it. I set off at a fast pace, and thought I to myself there is no way you will keep this up. I listened out for my first time check at 1 km, pace 5:21 – was I hearing things? I kept going and with 2km left to go I still hadn’t heard the 20min announcement and the adrenolin must have kicked in as my 4th km saw my fastest km pace ever at 4:40. Unbelieveably, I completed my run in 26:47 with an average pace of 5:21 min/km – I was speechless!

Now lets go back to the beginning of this post and the reason for writing it.  The article I read today had the headline ‘Run faster by running less’. It laid out a training plan which switched running for ‘Crossfit‘ – a workout movement with elements of cardio fitness training, weightlifting, gymnastics and core training, put together to deliver a more intense workout designed to achieve better all round fitness.

Whilst I haven’t followed a crossfit plan, some elements of the metafit class are similar. Also, I do feel there are other factors that contributed towards knocking 12 minutes off my PB :

  • I had lost 28 lbs of body fat – that has to play a big part
  • I am eating far more healthily which means I have more energy in general
  • I did a slightly different route, which meant I had a very steady incline for the first 1km as opposed to my tougher usual route.

So in summary, whatever distance your prefer to run, if you are struggling to improve your PB consider changing your training regime and you may be pleasantly surpised by the outcome.