Initiation into learning to coach

The impending doom of Marathon Training officially beginning this weekend is nearly upon me.

And as with my training for Dublin, I plan to kick it off with a race. Although I’ve happily enough kept up the big miles this year after 17 at Castleward and 10 and 13 in training during January, the fear of an actual race and not just a training run fills me with dread.

So in the spirit of keeping myself moving but not killing myself I finally got a chance to swing by Selenas own running group, Jog Off, here on my doorstep in Castlewellan. So whilst inflicting pain on the club on Tuesdays, she spends a few nights a week spreading the running love and getting people out and about.

In fairness I’ve been meaning to get up and be my usual disruptive self but between the randomness of going back to work and various other running related adventures and the obviously too lazy reason, tonight was the first time I could make it.

Asking Selena last night if I could swing by for a few mile she was strangely delighted to hear my vague eagerness and was straight in to being Coach Selena by offering me the chance to do the warm up. 

With the LIRF course this month to be completed I needed a confidence boost with adults…testing a 15 minute warm up with 25 x 6 and 7 year old during a 30 minute PE lesson to just play dodge ball is just becoming mean and excessive now. So I jumped at the chance in the hope I didn’t have to do the cool down as I still don’t know what muscle does what. 

So shortly before 6.30 Selena arrived at the door and boy was it cold. However one by one everyone arrived and it was time to be in the deep end. 

Point 1…in Castlewellan someone is bound to know you …running groups are no exception. Point 2…I made the rookie mistake of not demonstrating before doing and Point 3…all that aside, it was a pretty damn good warm up. ✔

Plan tonight was 2 x 1 mile runs. In all the years I’ve lived here, I’ve never ran a mile around the town so was quite looking forward to it. I suppose the cracker doesn’t count! 

Lovely wee route which I could be tempted to run again and tried my best to be positive and motivating which actually is just me being me and having the Craic. After we regrouped and started again, Selena asked for me to run with the group and she ran at the back. It was lovely to chat and talk to everyone. Trying to keep their minds of their breathing and whatever pain they where feeling, if any. 

I guess my theory that if you are talking it goes by quicker is not only invaluable to passing the time but it’s a great distraction when starting out. Probably why more people new to running succeed when in a group or running with friends. 

OK my craic was words of wisdom and stories of races I have run and people I’ve met but still I hope somewhere along the line it helped pass the time.

2 mile completed and the group done fab. However that was not the end of it…

Whilst making our way to the next part of the session I ran with a girl called Eimear she tentatively asked me…was I running the lake on Sunday. Well as I said in an earlier post, 5 laps of the lake was Sundays adventure. Apparently we had lapped her twice on Sunday. In my best forrest grump talk ‘I was runnnn- ing’ 

We were to finish the session on the top part of Mill Hill. I knew this would involve the final hill and felt that this was punishment for missing out on the Mill Hill winterval session on Tuesday. But as you all know, I love a wee sprint regardless of the distance I’ve ran. So upped my gear with focus on form and dug deep.

After 2 x 20 second sprints, I knew that the third was going to be the hill. However I was to be left to last after setting everyone else out and Selena was joining me for the final push up the hill.

Forever the optimist and giver of tough love when it comes to me, we fought to the top of the hill with various abuse intermixed with encouragement. I swear my arms couldn’t drive anymore. However a not to shabby sprint and was I glad it was over. 

As we commenced cool down Selena did ask me to help with it and although I knew what to do with my body to stretch I keep getting my muscles mixed up. Note to self.  Learn them! 

A great session and a fab wee group. It even came with feedback from Selena after. All with the best intentions to get me to believe in myself more and I’m apparently under estimating my running abilities.

I’m sure the next 16 weeks to Derry Marathon will be the usual rollercoster of of emotions, break downs, triumphs and medal collecting.  However supporting whoever I am running with will always be the foundation of every run I do, whether I am mid marathon or lucky enough to help out at a running group or in the club.

But for now…I’ve a new 1 mile loop in Castlewellan to practice on. Wait who am I kidding…I can’t cheat on the lake! 



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