Great North Run training diary 3: Claire Armstrong

Great North Run training diary
Great North Run training diary

Reporter Series journalists Georgina Morris, Lauren Ballinger and Claire Armstrong are competing in this year’s Great North Run in aid of Action for Children.

They’ll be sharing their progress with readers along the way as the team at Kirklees Active Leisure do their best to get them ready for the challenge ahead.

Claire writes:

“It’s nearly four months until the big run and boy, have we been busy.

“If we’re not at a gym class we’re outside going for a run, or frantically shoving our sports clothes in the washing machine.

“Training seems to be taking over all our spare time.

“How do athletic people fit all this exercise around having a life? It baffles me.

“Our ‘test circuit’ is a local reservoir and slowly but surely we’re running further round the course before we come to a halt gasping for breath.

“One unforeseen disadvantage of running outdoors, rather than on a treadmill, is the amount of dog dirt about.

“Weaving between it all is like playing a fairly disgusting arcade game.

“Run, run, run, dodge the poo to the left. Run, run, dodge the poo to the right.

“As complete beginners to competitive running, we’ve turned to Kirklees Active Leisure for help. They’ve arranged for us to have personal training sessions with Danny Missin, who works from Dewsbury Sports Centre.

“When we turned up for our first session, he soon let us know we weren’t in for an easy ride. One of the first things he said to Georgina and I was: ‘We’re going to obliterate your core.’

“He wasn’t kidding. After a warm-up we began a hellish circuit training session involving kettle bells, lunges, squats and some awful things called ‘burpees’ which until then I had been blissfully unaware of.

“Poor Georgina, who had hardly eaten a thing all day, started feeling a bit faint and had to take a break.

“After that, a session on the rowing machines felt like a rest. At least we got to sit down!

“The main aim was to strengthen the areas we would need for long runs: our legs, backs and bums.

“It may have been tough, but we needed it – running 13-odd miles is likely to be tough too!

“Danny also gave us some great tips for training for an endurance event on the cheap.

“My favourite was something he called his ‘ghetto workout’. It’s pretty simple – when you go out running in a built up area, you sprint from one lamppost to the next, then jog, then sprint and so on.

“As we left the sports centre, I cursed myself for having parked all the way over the other side of town. My legs just weren’t working any more.

“The next day, I asked Georgina what she had learnt from the session.

“She replied: ‘Lesson number one: Eat more than a sandwich and packet of crisps all day or you might go a bit wobbly in the head. Lesson number two: Beware people who use the word obliterate. They are not joking. Lesson three: Park closer to the sports centre...’”