Last night, feeling particularly inspired after a yoga class, nourishing dinner and catch-up with a friend, I found myself with some time to properly reflect on some principles I want to train by in the next few months. With quite a busy schedule of races and training ahead, I want to be careful to avoid burnout. During my training for Manchester Marathon at the start of the year, I was doing way too much, prioritizing all the wrong things, and it ended up costing me dearly both in terms of injury and professional accomplishment.
So without further ado, here we go:
Run Less, with More Focus
Whilst I haven’t read the book in its entirety (yet), I want to focus on the approach set out by Run Less, Run Faster for the next few months. As much as I love love love to run junk miles, and regularly run 4 or 5 times a week when not training for a specific goal; my body can only take 3 structured (i.e. intense) training sessions a week. I’ll be keeping it simple, and supplementing the following with cross-training:
Focus on Balance
In my brand new Believe, Achieve Training Journal, there’s a section on balance, and it talks about your “training wheel” being made up of the following spokes:
“Put too much emphasis on one spoke or ignore another, and your wheel becomes weak and collapses beneath you.” Wise words to live by.
Focus on Rest and Recovery
I am absolutely terrible at allowing my body to recover, and last training season I was burning the candle at both ends, which led to burnout, both physical, and more importantly, mental. I was really unable to focus on my work, and it wasn’t a good time at all.
Focus on not getting fired
Okay, a slight exaggeration. But I want to focus on being able to deliver 110% in my current role, and take on more responsibility whenever possible. I cannot slump in my chair and let the brain fog take over.
Plenty of Race Prep ahead of the big event
The big event being, of course, the marathon. I want to get as much experience racing as I can, without overly interfering with my long runs. I currently have a good few in the diary, and seeing that I love racing so much, it’s hardly a sacrifice to add a few more when they come up (and believe me, they always come up)! Specifically I want to use 10k races as tempo runs, and do some half marathons as a way of getting over this weird mental block I have about 13.1.
This is entirely obvious, but something I really skimped on at the start of the year. I have a troubled history with food and dieting, and so it’s always a focus of mine to get better. My motto: Eat More Bananas- which is basically a shorthand way of saying “eat more real foods”. I also want to focus on eating fewer nothing foods- things like popcorn and rice cakes, which essentially keep you full but don’t really provide you with anything nutritionally. I’m certainly not swearing them off or restricting, but trying not to reach for a bag of popcorn whenever I get hungry.
Have Clear Red Alerts
These are my signs that I absolutely have to cut back on training. I know people say listen to your body, but when you have a slightly obsessive personality like I do, it’s hard to do this without having an objective list of things.
These principles will hopefully stand me in good stead for lovely, successful and not too stressful training in the months to come.
If you had to set a training principle for the next week, what would it be?
Lots of love,
I’m coming to really appreciate the importance of rest days. During my last training cycle, I had so many days when I was overtrained, undernourished and most importantly, absolutely knackered. It caused me some real problems both professionally and personally- a unique combination of grouchiness and inefficiency that only prolonged endurance training can bring.
In an attempt to not fuck up my life in general and, more specifically, in my Autumn training cycle, I’m taking a ton more rest days and paying closer attention to what my body needs. This image sums it up nicely- oh, we love you Mindy.
Mondays are my rest day. I get home from work, I put on my PJs, and I watch hours of TV whilst playing Candy Crush or Whatsapping my friends. It’s the exact opposite of what most people would call ‘healthy’, but it nourishes my soul and gives me time to recuperate for the week ahead. Hopefully, it will stand me in good stead for the training season ahead!
What’s your rest day routine? And any new TV shows I should try out?
Lots of love,
2. Glute bridges: A vital part of avoiding more back, calf, hamstring and foot issues, according to my very lovely physiotherapist. I also do these before each run to get my glutes to ‘fire up’.
3. Push ups: I have so little upper body strength it’s embarrassing. However I’m now at 10 ‘baby’ pushups, and I can even do a few ‘proper’ ones now.
4. Tricep dips: Even smaller than my biceps are my triceps. We’re getting there.
5. Lunges: I’m still not 100% sure why lunges are good for runners, but everyone tells me they are, so I’m doing them.
Back in April when UK favourite Pret a Manger announced plans for a veggie pop-up in Soho, the concept was met with mixed reactions. Whilst veggies and vegans across the capital jumped for joy, many omnivores were left unconvinced. The announcement, made crucially via the CEO’s blog, actually predicted a 30% loss at the Broadwick Street store, and decided to use the pop-up as an experiment in delivering on consumer insight, as well as creating innovative recipes, new merchandizing, and working with newer, smaller suppliers.
Despite managing expectations, the store has been a big hit, with a 70% increase in sales (so far), as well as hype that has been likened to that of a Beyoncé concert. Having been to the store myself (and tried some of the delicacies, of course), I can testify to its success- consumers are taking photos, engaging with staff, and sharing their experience on social media platforms. I even overheard a fellow visiter comment that she’d bought “about double” the normal amount for her lunch, because she saw Veggie Pret as a special dining experience and just “couldn’t resist”.
The success of Veggie Pret seems to demonstrate a key lesson in the importance of listening to your customer, and being seen to do so. Instead of making hushed-up plans in a boardroom somewhere to capitalize on the growing popularity of vegetarian and vegan food options, Pret took the discussion to the consumer via social interaction. Not only that; the chain tested the water, publicly predicted the venture to be a learning experience (in other words, a loss), and continually asked for consumer feedback both in-store and via social media once the store was up and running. All this combined to enhance a consumer perception of humbleness and willingness to learn.
Not surprisingly, consumers like to feel that they are being listened to, and the brand’s attitude was reciprocated with priceless consumer insight, free publicity, and of course, increased takings.
Have you tried the new Veggie Pret?
Lots of love,