I know some people think I don’t do very much…but that’s a bit like assuming if you don’t see someone on Strava, then they aren’t running…
Yes, I may have been a bit rubbish at sending regular emails and guilty of not posting in my facebook group, BUT, I am working hard behind the scenes so I can help YOU more.
Fair chuffed to log into my Level 4 S&C course portal this morning to find I have achieved 2 more certifications.
I’m edging towards the final L4 practical exam – having been running for so long it’s taking this body a wee while to work through some decidedly dodgy movement patterns and re-co-ordination myself. Can you relate?!
Also soaking up ALL the juicy stuff from my “Women Are Not Small Men” and “Menopause for Athletes” training courses. I cannot wait to put this knowledge into practice – this could be a game changer for a lot of women, myself included. (You know I always test what I am learning on myself!)
With more runners joining Team 360, which is SO much fun, and continuing to offer sports massage sessions, you can see why I have been a bit quiet on the social media front!
There is a fair amount of pressure on a one-girl business to do ALL THE THINGS. But on saying that, ALL THE THINGS are what I signed up for when I chose to make this my job and really, when I chat to my clients and hear how much they are getting out of their programmes – physically and mentally – I wouldn’t want it any other way!
PS I am doing some research and hoping for some input from female runners – if you have 2 minutes to join in a short survey I’d really appreciate it!
Hands up who wears a fitness tracker to count steps? Record exercise? Count calories? Watch your heart rate?
It seems like most of us are tracking something.
I’m doing some research just now on how female runners view their period and I am surprised that so few women are tracking their cycle – something which could be a great start in understanding their body so much more effectively. From the data I have collected (so far) it is less than 40%.
Many of the responses state the reason is “because it’s never accurate”.
But the thing is – if you aren’t actively tracking, then how do you know what’s accurate for you?
By the way, that idea of a 28 day cycle you learnt about in Biology doesn’t hold up – your cycle may be 21 – 40 days, but still be normal for YOU!
We aren’t looking so much for predictions from the start– although that’d be great – What is more useful is accurate tracking so we can look for patterns. Not only in the cycle but also in mood, and performance.
Although menstruation is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to looking at female physiology and the difference between how men and women respond, adapt and recover from training, being aware of and understanding your own menstrual cycle pattern is the best starting point in understanding your body so much more effectively. Especially if you are looking to train to get fitter, faster and improve performance.
Think of it like having GPS – If you don’t know where you are it’s tricky to work out the best way to go!
If you’d like to add your voice to my survey please do here and I will keep you up to date!
Hands up who runs before breakfast, without taking in any food?
Up until last weekend, 95% of the time this was me! For the last 20 years! (Eek)
This week I have really had my eyes opened to why was not in my best interests…
We hear lots of runners talking about their fasted runs being amazing and how strong they feel, intermittent fasting and keto seem to be becoming popular for many runners. (Although, my reason for running fasted was simply that I like to run early in the morning, and I didn’t feel hungry! I love carbs!)
So, why the dramatic turn around in making sure I have some fuel on board before I head out?
If you’ve known me for a little while, you probably understand that I believe in continuing to learn and try to keep challenging myself to think outside of the box, because we are all individual and react and respond slightly differently to, well – everything!
I am currently studying with Dr Stacy Sims on her “Women Are Not Small Men” programme, learning how men and women respond differently to exercise, recovery, and nutrition. Specifically, learning to enable women to train more effectively by helping them to understand their physiology. How as women can work with our body, rather than often feeling we are fighting against it.
The answer isn’t simply “shrink it and pink it”!
Because as much as men and women equal, we are different.
Did you know most training programmes and sports nutrition products are designed for men? – because most of the research is done on men! Apparently, the menstrual cycle and the hormone changes that happen in women make it TOO DIFFICULT to carry out the research on women. Never mind that we make up 50% of the population…
It’s hardly surprising that many active women struggle to reach their full potential.
Back to breakfast…so I have been running fasted most of the time. This increases the cortisol (stress hormone) and whilst men would have an increase in their parasympathetic (rest and digest) activity, so they can be more relaxed and mentally fresh. In women, it fires up our sympathetic system (fight or flight) which over time can lead to disrupted menstrual cycles, higher anxiety and stress, impaired performance and often weight gain!
Hmm, I don’t think I want to be doing that anymore!
Has making a change been difficult? No. Half a banana or some plain Greek yoghurt is enough before a short easy run and I don’t need to get up any earlier. Win.
Do I feel better? Yes. Because I now understand I wasn’t looking after myself appropriately and in the long term this will benefit not only my overall health but my running too.
Do I notice improved performance? Ha ha – it’s only been a week! Patience is required just as it is in training.
“so many women are still getting the message that intermittent fasting and keto are the way to go for mental focus, high performance, and weight loss. And it is simply not true….if you’re a woman, it can be harmful to both your performance and your health.” (Sims, S. 2021)
*Ps This is not intended as nutritional advice – but I hope some of you will find this useful information to consider…
PPS I am going to be looking for some female volunteers shortly – if you found this interesting, watch this space! x
The universe answered my need for a rest with the emergence of covid …and I was forced to close my business for “3 weeks to flatten the curve”.
It soon became clear this was going to be a much longer break than anyone had anticipated.
Having some extra time on my hands it was the ideal time to update my skills. I signed up to a 5 day challenge run by Strength and Conditioning Education, which took me out of my comfort zone and reminded me that I had much more to offer.
I enrolled onto their Level 4 Strength and Conditioning Coach programme and subsequently joined the Elite Coach Mentorship with a small but powerful network of knowledgeable and supportive coaches.
As we moved in and out of lockdowns and levels, I continued to link up gaps in my knowledge, make new connections and was able to re-think some old ideas and beliefs…I considered all the work I had been doing to rehab my hip and to help my hand, and how this fitted in with what I had learnt through the coaching courses. I could see a way I could help my clients even more.
Deep down that seed of an idea that I had after the marathon had blossomed into something I was excited about, and I kept coming back to it – but I didn’t have the self-belief or courage to believe it could be anything other than just another daydream.
What would people think of me if I tried to do something different? I could already imagine the “who does she think she is” and “you’ll be alieanating lots of your clients”…”no-one will be interested”.
But at the end of the day – I am much more effective in helping my clients when I absolutely LOVE what I do…
Somehow, I’d gone from happily working with proactive, positive, active people looking to keep their body feeling fresh and ready to go, with the aim of continuing enjoying their healthy lifestyle, into attracting people who wanted me to “fix” their long-term issues with a single massage…although this was never a promise I made!
It was becoming increasingly frustrating for me to feel as though I was somehow letting clients down by not being effective in providing something that wasn’t even in my job description. It wasn’t even my responsibility!
I’m a notorious people-pleaser and it was becoming too much pressure….doing the best I could but also continually reminding clients that I am not a physio/doctor/magician or that they might need to do something more to help themselves, a sports massage isn’t a magic spell!
Obviously, I hadn’t been clear enough in my message of the service I was able to provide, and because I was always going the extra mile for many of my clients – because I do care about people – it seemed this was giving out the wrong signal.
They don’t teach that at Sports Massage school.
Working with my regular clients was still so rewarding, and it pretty much was what was kept me in balance, but with more experiences grew more understanding about other people’s expectations – and also my own boundaries and limitations.
Just as I was starting to think I might need a little time-out, something MASSIVE happened…
Following my marathon daydreaming I was keen to learn a bit more about updating my Massage skills…did you know I used to be a Beauty Therapist?
I loved massage but I wasn’t really that interested in polishing, pedicures and pampering. Sports Massage sounded like an ideal move, after all – wasn’t that what had helped me so much?
Unfortunately, I took a bit of a tumble and fell off my high heels at a wedding reception. I blamed the trail half marathon earlier that day but, white wine admittedly was never my friend!
I sliced right through a quite important tendon in my right thumb as I landed.
Sports Massage went on hold until I knew how my hand was going to heal – again, massage really helped around the scar and I was strict with my rehab exercises (looking back now it’s easy to see another pattern forming…)
It took 6 months from Thumb-gate until I finally began retraining.
Sports Massage had helped me so much, I was excited to share my skills with the world and I began to work from Galamoor House in a four-hour slot, sharing the clinic space, and I began to build up a good reputation and just a year later I was now the sole Therapist in my own clinic and working full time, which suited me…. I really loved my work!
I absolutely love working with my runner clients who popped in regularly for their maintenance massage. As well as the physical benefits and “fresh legs” massage really seemed to boost their mood and motivation …
But something else was beginning to happen in my clinic and I needed to work out why it had started… and ultimately, how to change it…
Not many of you know the story of how I first started my business, so over the next few days I’m going to tell you some stories.
Rewind back to 2016, which seems SO much longer ago than it actually is!
I had had been training for my first marathon – Edinburgh, and everything was going smoothly. My long runs were getting longer, I was on track to finish close to my goal time … following the plan to the letter…then one day after a recovery run, I couldn’t lift my right leg.
It just would not work. A meltdown followed, naturally, because I had put so much effort into my training and I was devastated thinking I wasn’t going to be able to run.
For the next 7 weeks I attended numerous Sports Massage sessions, committed to pool running 4-5 times a week plus targeted rehab exercises. I am quite determined when I have decided I am going to do something…
Eventually, I was allowed a test run, and three miles later and I was still in one piece, not moving nearly as quickly, but feeling normal again. Just in time because I had less than 2 weeks until the marathon.
The big day finally arrived, it started overcast and cool, and I completed the marathon, but it was a real effort to keep running after mile 16. The day had become a scorcher and I’d hit the wall, the finish line was a welcome sight!
After some amazing Fish and Chips on the way home, in my sunburnt haze I started to turn over the events of the last few weeks and some possibilities began to form in my mind …this was day my idea first began…
I’ll be straight with you… I am feeling a bit under pressure. The world is opening up and I will be able to open from Monday for Sports Massage. BUT…
I intend to wait for the guidance from the SMTO before I open my booking system, because until I know what is expected of me, and what I need to ask from you as clients to adhere to, I’m not prepared to make any decisions!
And even though I’m “not working”, I am always working!
I am studying, planning some of your training programs and working out how I can help you more effectively. My brain has a hard time switching off! So this seems a perfect way to illustrate what I mean when I remind you that your body doesn’t know the difference between different types of stress…
My training plan for today has me running 10km. It’s not a time trial or even a tempo run, it’s a nice, easy paced run. But I am taking an unscheduled rest day because I have been drained and a little overwhelmed this week from wondering about all of the as yet unknown things I “MUST” do by the 26th of April, to be ready to reopen my clinic.
I will run tomorrow. Today it would feel like more pressure and it would be one of those unproductive, box-ticking, auto pilot runs that I really dislike! The kind that seem to invite injury and take us a step closer to full burn-out. By taking some time-out today, I know I will have more energy and get more enjoyment from my run tomorrow and in turn feel much clearer about starting the process of taking in-person appointments again.
It really is far too easy to put pressure on ourselves to get ALL THE THINGS done, EVERYDAY.
We get to choose whether to accept the overwhelm, but sometimes it’s difficult to remember that…this is a reminder!
Are we nearly there yet? Who else feels some trepidation about coming out of lockdown (again)? I certainly do.
I don’t mind telling you I feel like I am starting all over again. But in a way I am.
I started lockdown as a drained and often frustrated Massage Therapist, finding myself all too frequently unable to meet expectations from injured clients…repeating almost daily that massage is never a replacement for injury prevention work, I realize I was taking on responsibility that wasn’t mine to own…
Lockdown has been an opportunity to reassess and to learn, to think creatively and honestly about how I can help you more effectively.
My mission moving forward is helping runners to find and train within that sweet spot where the science of training meets the spirit of running so you can become stronger, run for longer and most importantly, love every single mile!
A unique blend of structured programming, injury prevention and mindset exercises will help you get in tune with the best way for you to reach your true potential.
I have been testing all my programmes on myself and my own running, and I’m so excited to be returning from lockdown on a new adventure, as a refreshed, stronger and all-round happier human, therapist and coach who is ready to help you achieve your goals!
Ps I’d love to invite you to join my free Facebook Group
No, this is not a post about “Charmed” the 90’s supernatural TV drama…but I could have used a wee dose of confidence magic on Friday…
The Lovely Natasha from The Planted Mindset Podcast had invited me to be her guest to discuss Periods , Perimenopause and Progress and the time had come to press record.
If you know me, you’ll know public speaking isn’t one of my top skills! However, I needn’t have worried, Natasha and I had a great chat on the value of tracking your cycle making modifications to training to suit where you are in your own cycle to get the best results.
I’m sure lots of us would love a magic wand to help us through our training sometimes, and although we don’t have psychic powers, we can certainly make predictions by looking at patterns based on our tracking.
Anyway, here is the link to listen to the episode, do let me know if you find it interesting!
2021, new year, same old lock down! Closed down again. This time I had an idea but no strategy on how to get it out of my head and into the word as an actual THING.
I’d started following a business coach after seeing her spoken word performance on Instagram. I loved the way she highlighted the fact for me that I didn’t have to stay in my self-imposed massage therapy shaped box…I do have more skills to offer, and I also have the desire to use them. Before I knew it, I’d joined her Tribe!
The beginning of my breakout was my #smilerepeats campaign – if you joined me in this THANK YOU!
It was important to me to show that my coaching philosophy is not just about miles, pace, and distance. Loving your running and taking enjoyment from your training is even more important.
Although, if you’d told me back in January, I’d now be running my own private running programme, Runner Reboot, supporting 14 runners of varying abilities to add structure, gain strength and have confidence in their running, I would’ve said, “No way, you’ve got the wrong girl!”.
But here I am.
That daydream I had after the marathon has become a real part of my life. It may have been Sports Massage that started this ball rolling but looking back I can see the other patterns – the importance of strength and conditioning AND of how my mindset played a part.
Which sums up quite nicely how the name Runner 360 came about – This is the name of my Facebook Group (we also have Team Runner 360, where my 1:1 Clients get to hang out) This name represents 360 degrees, or a full circle with no beginning or end, your body, brain and attitude and everything in between.
Because as runners we aren’t just using our legs!
In January I wasn’t brave enough to even call myself a coach. Today I am proud to be both a Sports Massage Therapist and Running Coach who believes in training where the science meets the spirit to help you become stronger, run for longer and LOVE every single mile!