I first contacted Helen in May 2013. I had started running after Christmas in 2012 and was feeling that I wasn’t getting the progress I wanted. I had my first meeting with Helen and told her that I had booked myself onto a Race for Life in June as an incentive and that I was aiming to run the whole course, something I had never done before, and that I wanted to do it in 35 mins. The next week we had our first session and it was a complete shock to my system. But I enjoyed it, in a kind of masochistic way! Helen introduced me to speed and hill sessions to improve my running. It was something that I hadn’t considered myself, I had just been out there running. I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed them, but I could see the difference that it was making to my running. We also did strength training, again not something I had considered would help my running, but I soon started to notice the difference on the hill runs. I was getting quicker and stronger. The training sessions were made easier by Helen’s style, which is fun and encouraging, but she can tell when you’ve reached your limits so only ever pushes you that little bit further than you think is possible, but not too far. By the time the race came round Helen challenged me to complete it in 30 mins. I didn’t think I would be able to do it, but on the day I completed it in exactly 30 mins. I was over the moon.
After a few weeks I mentioned to Helen that I thought I might like to try another challenge, something to focus me, thinking about a 10km race sometime in December. Helen came back saying that she had found a 10km race in 6 weeks time and if I agreed to do it, she would run with me! At this point I had not run further than 7.25km and didn’t think that I would be able to go the extra distance and complete it in the hour that Helen had challenged me to. After 6 weeks of more speed and hill sessions, which were at the same time painful but exhilarating, and a couple of long runs, race day arrived. I completed the run in 1:03:28, slightly outside the target time, but a back problem that I have reared it’s head half way through the race which slowed me down. So I was extremely happy with the time. There is no way that I could have achieved that time let alone the distance without Helen there pushing me in training and running with me on the day.
I am now contemplating doing a half marathon, this from the girl who 5 months ago wasn’t sure if she could make it round a 5km course without walking. (Oh and as a bonus, I’ve lost a dress size, which is great as I’m getting married in 3 weeks time!)