I don’t know how I managed it, but during my time in secondary school, I did not run a single cross country race the whole seven years I was there. I despised it and coincidentally, timed all my injuries perfectly. Not. One. Single. Race! I did all the training; in the mud, on the sand with rain hitting my face like needles, and every time I got a stitch and wanted to walk, my best friend was there shouting “left, right, left, right, left”, just to keep me going.
Strangely enough, since I left school and came to university, my best friend and I have swapped roles – I’ve started running and confess I’ve become a slightly obsessed cardio bunny. I can’t remember the last time I bought a pair of heels, but I can tell you the precise time I bought my new trainers, leggings and sports bra! I live in gym clothes now, simply because they are both comfortable and practical. I cannot deal with carrying my uni stuff, gym clothes, shower paraphernalia etc. just because I am going to the gym to sweat it out. Personally, I enjoy spending my life in gym clothes – it’s super practical and on the plus side, it helps keep me motivated throughout my training.
My first 10km
Motivation is key when you’re training for a race. Once you skip one training run you’re on a downwards spiral and trust me when I say you really do NOT want that. My second 10km race in September 2014 was physically, but especially mentally, tiring. There were times when I wanted to give up; it didn’t help that I had done the same race the year before and so I knew the route, or rather, how far I still had left to go! Looking back now, over the summer holiday, my training suffered and that was clear on race day. My most recent 10km in December 2014 was emotional to say the least! Despite not having a strict training schedule, I went on regular runs and as a result, smashed a new personal best! Finishing involved a moment of hyperventilation (this is seriously scary), laughter and a lot of snot and tears, especially when I found my dad (my number one supporter)!
Picture worth more than words at my second 10km
I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t underestimate the necessity of preparation, however, at the same time, don’t get too obsessed – because that never ends well either! Food is also important; but there is absolutely no point in obsessing about that… Food is fuel but it is also to be enjoyed and if you’re not going to do that then don’t even bother! On that note, I’m going to share with you my favourite pre run snack: chocolate chip, gluten-free banana bread (adapted from The Art of Eating Well by Hemsley + Hemsley)
3 really spotty brown bananas (the ones you forgot about in your fridge)
1tsp of vanilla essence
30g melted butter
2tbsp of soft brown sugar (more caramel-y flavour)
½ tsp of baking powder
250g gluten-free flour (I used brown rice flour)
A handful of chocolate chips
Mix everything except the flour, baking powder and chocolate chips in a blender. Then fold in the flour and chocolate chips. Put it all in a loaf tin lined with parchment paper and bake for 45 minutes at 180ºC fan, or longer, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Toasted banana bread, with organic peanut butter and sliced banana!
All are mine