I worked as a busy PA in London for over 20 years, at companies such as Virgin, Hamleys and for Charles Worthington and at that time, running and exercise really just didn't feature in my daily life. However, when I was working at Hamleys, a friend and I came up with the mad idea of running a 10K race in Richmond to raise money for charity. I decided that I would take the challenge seriously and so I signed up to work with a coach, lost some weight, got fit and surprisingly I found that I really enjoyed the training and especially loved seeing the changes to my body shape and general fitness too…. suddenly I found that I could run up the London Underground escalators without even breathing!
When it came to race day, I felt totally ready and surprised myself by running the whole distance without stopping and running it over 15 mins quicker than my target finish time! But what was a complete shock, however, was that it was really great fun too! Before I knew it, I’d signed up to run the Great North Run a few months later and had also got myself a charity place to run the London Marathon the following year! I think you could say that I was well and truly bitten by the running bug!
It was sometimes quite difficult to fit in my running and exercise, since I was working 12-hours a day and was juggling a very busy and pretty stressful work load, but I was absolutely focused and made the decision to make it a priority to find the time each day to train, which very often meant getting to the gym for a 6am treadmill session before starting work at 7.30am.
With 6-months to go to the London Marathon, my focused training plan started and my goal was to run the whole way without stopping in around 5hrs. Thanks to the specific training that Keith had set me, I was amazed at the progress I’d made and ended up smashing my goal, finishing in a time of 4.17! I was so pleased and proud of myself and absolutely loved running through the streets of London, the crowd support was immense and it truly was a moment I’ll never ever forget.
A couple of years later, I gave up working in London to help set up Full Potential with Keith, and our aim has always been to help runners achieve goals that they just don’t think are possible and to ensure that runners don’t waste their time making the same mistakes that we did along the way. I’m now a UKA Coach and for me it’s an absolute pleasure to help other runners who are just starting out on their own journey to understand and enjoy their training;it’s so rewarding to help people achieve above and beyond their race times or fitness targets.
I also believe in the value of giving a real focus to developing general body strength and conditioning, not only to improve overall fitness, body shape and to just feel stronger, but also because it’s the perfect way to help avoid injury and ultimately see your performance in both training and racing improve too; so I’m now actively working with runners to help them improve their own body strength and to see the results that focused hard work can bring. As Winston Churchill famously said: “Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it” … so, let’s bring on the hard work!
My own running goals now are to break 4hrs for the marathon (I narrowly missed out when I ran 4.01.02 in Boston) and to run a sub-50 min 10K time. I generally run around 5-days a week and also include Pilates, Yoga or some HIIT training most days too, not only to keep me fit and help me towards achieving my goals, but because it’s great fun and I know how much it helps keep me sane in a busy and crazy world!