Hope and dreams for 2018!
If you can dream it, you CAN do it!!!
Hope you have all had a great start to 2018! I’m a little ashamed that it has taken me almost 6 months to write a blog, but better late than never!
2017 was full of many personal challenges and some real setbacks, but it was also the year that I managed to run a 1.35 Half Marathon at Manchester and a 43 min 10k PB at Cheshire 10k with coaching and support from the legend that is Jonny Mellor! Oh and a front cover of Women’s Running Magazine to share my running journey! So a mixture of negatives and positives!
Mid November, after completing my 5th and final half marathon of 2017, I picked up a bit of a nasty injury- a twisted knee and some real ITB band issues on my right leg this time. After a long and frank conversation with the physio, we agreed that the marathon dream probably needed to be abandoned as my spine couldn’t manage the increased mileage and it was massively impacting on my legs, resulting in painful injuries. I had been training for Limassol Marathon this March and the same as last year (when I had to pull out of Manchester Marathon, this came as a huge blow (I’ll still be running the half in March with the Breath Unity Team and can’t wait)! Apart from that all too familiar feeling of feeling lost at being unable to run, I still struggled to get my head around the fact that I yet again wasn’t going to to run a marathon. This was my 3rd period of injury in the year and I had no choice but to accept that on this occasion, rest was best and started the road to rehab, investing time into my phsyio exercises.
It took almost 6 weeks of no running to recover and I’ll be honest, I actually lost all motivation after that. I did my first 6 miles back on Christmas Eve and actually hated running. It felt so damn hard and my legs screamed in pain. I actually felt like I was going to give up on running, but, the stubborn side did appear and every day, I got the trainers on and got out there- plenty of tears were shed I can assure you!
Facing the thought of not running a marathon threw me back to that empty space of feeling that my life goal was over (I know that sounds dramatic) but I felt that all too familiar sense of loss. During the injury period, I spent a long time researching as many different possible options that may help to achieve the distant marathon dream… along with planning plenty of other challenges to keep me focussed!
Literally, a week before Christmas, I found Angela Foster- possibly my Guardian Angel! Angela is a trained Nutritional Therapist and Integrative Nutrition Health and Performance Coach (and answer to my prayers). After a long chat, Angela advised that one of the best things that we could start with was to take a DNA test. This literally took a minute to do through a quick mouth swab and then off to the lab to be analysed! Two weeks later and the results were in!!!
DNA Fit Results
We can’t argue with Science right…? I was absolutely fascinated when Angela called me with the DNA Fit results and we sat and went through the detailed report. The results showed some seriously interesting facts that will only serve to improve my training and running. One of the most interesting parts of the report was that I have a double allele of the short twitch muscle fibres that help power and sprinting, but my endurance response rate is much lower (which helps explain the marathon struggles). I learned that I have a slow recovery rate and also a very high risk of injury. Finally, Science was now explaining things about my body that I could make sense of, rather than just feel constantly frustrated that I didn’t feel as strong as other runners.
The report also gave a very specific breakdown of how my macronutrient split should look- incredibly helpful when writing a marathon nutrition plan. According to my DNA, 35% of my diet should be based around fats- ironically the thing I’ve always tried to avoid the most! It also gave a breakdown of the nutritional supplements that I had a raised need for- including Omega 3’s and antioxidants!
There were many aspects that the DNA test came back with (but I don’t want this blog to turn into a thesis, so I’ll come back to some of these points in future posts and along the journey). All I can say is that 3 weeks into my coaching journey with Angela, I have learnt more about myself and how to train effectively than I have in the last 4 years of solo running! Angela helps people to train (and have access to information like elite athletes do, according to the the individual person’s genetics), but more importantly than anything, she is teaching me how to eat properly and actually nourish my body rather than punish it.
Why take a DNA Test?
Did you know that genes can be switched on or off depending on nutritional and environmental factors?
The science of nutrition and health and the effect of our environment is evolving and developing all of the time. Angela uses different forms of scientific testing to establish your health and physical fitness so that we can work with proven techniques to limit your risk of chronic disease (or help in my case) and to optimise your results. I am slowly learning that nutrition is going to be key to my marathon dream! Keeping a food diary has made me realise how much I was neglecting this area of my training and my life. I never regarded fuel as a priority and would rather have spent time running than food prepping or cooking! Fitchef fresh, clean meals delivered straight to my door are sorting that right! Matt and Will have created tasty, home cooked ready meals that have the macros very specifically calculated and after 12 hours at work, popping them in the microwave is a God-send!
Sooo, all in all, 2018 is getting off to a great start and I’ve even amazed myself on fully completing dry January!
As always, any questions at all, just let me know!