I find Helen to be a very thorough and committed personal trainer. She is extremely well organised and brings a wealth of international experience to her coaching. Working with Helen has benefited me greatly and has helped me achieve performances that I never expected to. In particular, to become the North of England 5000m champion and finishing 5th at the British Indoor 1500m Championships. Her coaching has not only helped my athletics but has improved my all round strength and conditioning.
‘Since working with Helen I have seen my 10k and 5k times drop by over 3 minutes. Not only has Helen helped me run quicker she has taught me to train smart. Clever training plans and great one to one sessions help make running very enjoyable. Helen is a fantastic coach’.
I have been running for 4 years and from barely being able to run a mile on my 40th birthday I steadily improved breaking 20 mins for a 5k, 40 mins for a 10k, 90 mins for a half and 4 hours for a marathon by basically running 3 or 4 times a week and steadily improving my milage.
Being competitive and wanting to improve further I joined Preston Harriers and began to run with faster and more experienced runners than me, this pushed my efforts and soon a few more minutes were shaved from my shorter distances and nearly an hour from my marathon time. My training consisted of running further at faster speeds and a weekly 1 hour tempo run. In addition I took a healthier balanced diet and included a weekly cross training session to help prevent injury.
During this time I was very happy with my results posting a sub 18 minute 5k, sub 38 minute 10k, sub 1:25 Half and amazingly a sub 3 hour marathon. I achieved all of this with sensible weekly training of between 20 and 35 miles and running with better runners but I had peaked in late 2013 and the improvements stopped happening.
I still loved running but the motivation was ebbing away and the natural boost you get with a regular PB was gone, just the occasional fast Parkrun or 5k kept me motivated. I went backwards at all other distances in 2014, the low points being a 42 min 10k and a 1:38 at the Great North Run – 16 minutes slower than the year before!
So still with a love of running and a desire to have another go at improving I signed up with HC Coaching for my first session in November 2014.
I knew Helen as a local runner in the area and she first asked what I wanted from my sessions, I wanted to get faster at shorter distances up to Half Marathons. I was then sent a bespoke plan focused around a weekly hour long session based around my personal PB’s set for 5k, 10k, 10 mile and Half Marathons.
My first session was on November the 10th and consisted of a mile warm up then 12x400m at my 5k pace with 60 seconds rest in-between and 2 mile warm down. I had never done anything like this before, the session was hard but very satisfying and I immediately understood the benefits of a speed session. The following weeks sessions have consisted of longer reps, hills, and mixtures of both. Helen asked for my races I had planned and also altered certain sessions to take into account that weeks race.
I continued with my normal weekly running, with an average of 20 to 35 miles per week and added Helens session to that – in my 4 years of running I have never done these type of sessions, I have read how important they are in various running magazines and training plans but have never really understood them enough or been motivated enough to fit them into my routine.
After 3 sessions I set a new 10k PB of 37:39 only a small improvement but I was starting to believe the speed was there, and even after 4 weeks heavy cold in January I set a new Half Marathon PB of 1:22 knowing much more was to come when I felt 100% fit.
In February and March the sessions really began to build, I was surprised to see just how fast I could run these shorter sessions and they gave me real confidence as races approached.
My best chance of a new 10k PB was Salford 10k on Good Friday, a flat fast 2 lap course. I wanted to run sub 37 minutes and knock 40 seconds off my PB which meant averaging just under 6 minutes a mile – as we had done plenty of reps where speed was in the low 5 minutes a mile for short periods actually running at 5:50seemed not easier but more achievable than 3 months ago. As conditions on the day were good I decided training had gone well enough and I felt good enough to hold my 5k PB pace of 5:45 for the race, so I went for it.
The pace was ok and even though I started to tire at 7k I was able to use my knowledge of the sessions to believe I could hold on and push for a while longer, I crossed the line in 35:44 taking 1 minute 55 seconds off my PB from 13 weeks ago! I was amazed by my achievement and within 5 minutes of finishing though sub 35 will be possible in another couple of months – not bad when my PB was 42:04 in 2011!
So now I know, speed is the key, after 16 sessions I know I can beat all my other PB’s in 2015 – and I still cant believe Ive never run a 36 minute 10K!