The British 10k: my preparation so far…

It’s been a while…but now I’ve finished my second year of uni for summer, hopefully I’ll be updating my blog more regularly!

In exactly three weeks time I am completing the British 10k for Dyspraxia Foundation. Last year I walked the 10k, but shortly after I decided that I wanted to challenge myself further for this year’s event and jog parts of it too! I thought I’d write this blog post to talk about the preparation I’ve been doing.

So, I’d decided that I wanted to jog parts of it too. However, I had no idea really how to go about preparing for that. I used to take part in disability sport (running short distances though!) which I think has helped a bit with getting used to running in terms of the co-ordination side of things. In terms of the fitness side of things though, running for more than a few minutes would be a struggle. I was soon to realise that despite having been on long walks, running was very very different!

After looking online, I found out that the best way to start would be to do intervals of walking and jogging. So I did this a few times between July and September. I couldn’t believe how much more tiring jogging was compared to walking – I hadn’t realised the difference would be so big! My main focus, though, was the next 10k I would be taking part in in September, Parallel London. I would be walking this event, so it was mostly walks in preparation for this.

My Dad joined me taking part in the Parallel London event – this one we didn’t do for charity, but I did wear my Dyspraxia Foundation t-shirt for the possibility that it would raise a little awareness! We walked most of the 10k, but we did jog very small parts of it (30 seconds at the most). We completed the 10k in a time of 1 hour 37 minutes, which was great as it gave us a new time to beat in the 2017 British 10k (I completed the 2016 event in 1 hour 56 minutes).

Now that I’d done the Parallel London event, it meant I could focus more on the next event – the 2017 British 10k. Although it was a long way off, I knew I had quite a long way to go in terms of my fitness. I had never been someone to go out for jogs (part of the reason was because I thought it would be really awkward if I saw someone I knew – which just seems silly now!). So I continued with the intervals of walking and jogging (and found a great app on my phone for this too). I started off by simply walking for one minute, then jogging for one minute. I got into the routine of doing this a few times a week in the mornings before getting on with uni work for the day. I then increased this to walking for one minute and jogging for two minutes. I’m sure there was another stage next, but I can’t quite remember exactly what!

It got to the middle of October and I wanted to see how far I could jog without stopping. I continued with the same route (I had been going to a place 5 minutes walk from where I live, which is ideal) but rather than walking parts of it, jogged it. To my surprise I managed to jog the whole route (which was 2.7km)! Yes, it was a very slow jog but it showed my fitness has improved.

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Same place, obviously not taken in October though. Ideal location for a jog!

I continued to jog this route up until the middle of November. It then started to get very cold, which would leave me with the weird feeling of being cold but also hot from running. It took me a few times to work out what sort of clothing was best to wear, where I wouldn’t be too cold or too hot (as I mentioned earlier, this was very new to me!).

As it was coming towards the end of my first semester at uni the workload was increasing, with many deadlines, so it was better for me to start uni work earlier rather than going out for a jog first. Obviously with the evenings getting darker it meant I couldn’t really go out for a jog later after I had finished uni work either. So I didn’t really do much in terms of jogs for a couple of months.

During the time I had off in January I went for a few walks again. I remember one time I decided I’d go on a different route (not the best idea when you’re dyspraxic). Firstly, it was extremely muddy. I very nearly slipped over a few times, but thankfully didn’t! I also got a little bit lost and went slightly the wrong way, but luckily not for too long. Looking back on my fitbit, that walk was 8.94km!!

Over the next few months I occassionally went on the treadmill or went for a walk, but probably only about 3 times in total – it was hard to fit in with uni work again. During the easter holidays in April, though, I had a bit more time (plus it was getting lighter in the evenings). This meant I could go out for a jog after doing uni work/revision. It worked out quite well getting up early, getting revision done, and then late afternoon going for a jog. Or if the weather wasn’t so good, I could go on the treadmill. For the jogs I went on a couple of different routes, including the same place as before and a slightly longer route to another place (part of the Greenway walk for any of you reading this who live in Letchworth). Similarly to the end of last year, I decided to jog part of it and see how much of it I could jog before having to stop and I surprisingly managed further than I thought! I managed to jog 2.8km plus walking the 1.3km there and back. The hardest part is trying to keep up the pace when walking back! But I’ve been doing it in around the pace I am aiming to do the 10k in (although that will be double the distance…) so I’m pleased with how it’s going.

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Recently the challenge has been trying to go early enough so that it’s not absolutely boiling. I don’t mean to complain (I know I said before it was too cold!) but jogging in the heat is so difficult. I just hope it’s not too hot for the 10k in a few weeks!

I never really would have imagined me being someone to say “I’m just going out for a jog!” but I have actually really enjoyed it. The greenway walk is such a nice route too and quite a few times I’ve seen a rabbit run across the path in front of me – strangely enough in around the same place each time. Much nicer than having a dog trying to run after me at Norton Common – although that was quite funny at the same time! I’ve also discovered that trying to take a boomerang video whilst on the cross trainer isn’t a good idea…first my iPod dropped, then my phone. They both survived though (what would I do without a screen protector and tough case?!).

I’ve been posting regular updates to my JustGiving page on how my preparation has been over these past few weeks and will continue to post updates over the next few weeks too. My Dad is joining me for this year’s event and our aim is to beat our time of 1 hour 37 minutes. In terms of fundraising, we are aiming to raise £200 between us. Thanks to everyone who has donated so far, we’re just over halfway there at the moment. The Dyspraxia Foundation is an amazing charity who do so much to support people like me with dyspraxia. They don’t have any government funding either, so heavily rely on donations. I’ve gone into more detail about some of the brilliant work they do on my JustGiving page. If any of you are able to donate, please do. As little or as much as you can! It all makes a difference!

My JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/natalie-williams2017

My Dad’s JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chris-williams125

And our team page: https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/NatalieChris17

Natalie 🙂

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