The Nayland 10km Race - toughest challenge yet
23rd July 2018
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After years of avoiding any sort of exercise, about 5 years I caught the running bug. It wasn’t intentional, it just happened by accident. At the time I was working for Suffolk Magazine and I was asked if I’d be part of the Glossy Girls Race For Life  team. Always up for a challenge, I agreed having never had run in my life. I literally mean never. wouldn’t even run for a bus. I downloaded the Couch to 5K Runner app and started training. Before I knew it, I was entering half marathons and wearing Lycra – something I swore I’d never do!

This July, up the road from me in the picturesque village of Nayland, the second Nayland 10km was held; a challenging route, mostly off road, through fields and woods. Their Primary Sponsor was Peake Fitness and knowing how I love a 10km race, they asked if I’d like to take part. It took me all of 2 seconds to agree.

My last 10km was the Colchester Stampede and I finished that in 1hr 9 mins. My target was to complete the Nayland 10km in under that time, so I was assigned PT Phillipa Baxter, one the latest recruits to join the Peake Fitness PT team. Philippa is an established runner, competing for her county, so the perfect person to help improve my performance.

She set me a 4 week training plan that focused on improving my speed and fitness, whilst working on my core strength. The main part of the training was interval work on the treadmill, running at my top speed for a kilometre at a time (not that fast, but all improvement at my age is good and for every kilometre I run and don’t get injured I see as my own personal win!) This was interspersed with walking/ slow jog for 2 minutes. , repeated 3 or 4 times.

It was tough. Really tough. There were sessions where I just couldn’t push myself to run a 5 minute kilometre, but there were sessions where I did succeed and I just had to remember the times when I could do and not when I fell short.

After the gruelling treadmill sessions, I was set 3 different core exercises; Russian Twists; Side Planks and Press ups. Philippa added my bespoke training package to MyWellness page (all Peake Fitness Members have access to the MyWellness, which allows them to log their training packages, classes or log their own exercise plans) You can see mine here


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Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, I did manage to get myself an injury – my pesky soleus muscle is a recurring problem for me, but I managed to sort it before the race, although it did impact on my training.

This Summer has seen unbelievably hot weather and the race day was no exception. Not a cloud in the sky and temperatures that peaked at the high twenties maybe ideal for some, but not great for me, however, I sprayed myself with factor 50 , borrowed a cap from my daughter, stocked up with loads of water and headed to the Peake Fitness gazebo for some last minute attention to my soleus issue.

The event was brilliantly organised – a proper community run, with loads of volunteers and helpers. And a great atmosphere to boot. The 10km runners set off first and because of my injury and the heat, I decided to put myself in the slower runner category right at the back. In hindsight, I probably should have placed myself in the middle as sometimes I found myself “stuck” behind slower runners.

The route was stunning as it was challenging. There was a small amount of road, but mostly the course took us around fields, through small woods and up and down footpaths and bridal ways. The views around the Stour valley were beautiful. Although I only live a few miles away, you don’t appreciate the beauty of the countryside until you’re in it. It was a tough course though. The heat, the hills, the rough terrain meant a personal best wasn’t going to happen, infact my chipped time was 1hr 18 mins. A lot slower than the Colchester Stampede.

I wasn’t disappointed though. If anything I was really pleased with my achievement. It’s the toughest race I’ve done (even more challenging that the Hampton Court Half Marathon I did last year) to finish it with a smile on my face and not breaking is a great achievement.

The Nayland 10km 2019 will be taking place on 30th June next year, with Peake Fitness as their main sponsor. I will definitely do it again and next time I will beat my 1hr18 min time. You read it here first.

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About the Author

Penny W

Member since: 17th March 2014

Hello! I'm Penny from thebestof Sudbury, shouting about the best local businesses from Hadleigh through the Clare. When I'm not doing that, you'll find me knitting socks or tending to my 6 chickens

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