I have always loved running, although I was never very competitive at school and only ran a wee bit through university. I did the Highland Cross every year (a coast to coast duathlon) and only joined Inverness Harriers as I thought I might be able to improve my HX time. I began to train more and did almost everything – road, trail, XC and hill races – and found I really enjoyed racing. My HX time did improve and in 2016 I was the 1st woman – a lifetime goal achieved!
My daughter Anna was born in 2018 and I found being a Mum suited my running too, as I had my best season so far in 2019. I set PBs for 5 and 10k and was doing a lot more hill racing, culminating in a running career high point of my first Scotland vest for hill running. Now focussing much more on hill running, I have joined Highland Hill Runners, and hope to continue enjoying running and racing in the hills, and if it’s fast enough to make it on to any teams, even better!
I started working with Sophie in May this year, as I felt like I had lost the momentum I had last season, and also now that I am 35, wanted to make the most of the next few years by making sure I am training properly. My training is already more structured, I can see the progression of the sessions from week to week. Beforehand, I would just make up a couple of interval sessions a week, but they had no bearing on the overall plan. It’s been hard to judge how I’m getting on so far with the lack of racing this year, but I feel a lot fitter and stronger, and it’s been getting easier to hit the target pace in the interval sessions that Sophie sets. Even the easy runs are feeling easier again! The highlight so far has been running the women’s FKT for the Cairngorm 4000ers round.
Having never had a coach before, I am so far really enjoying having a plan and also the support Sophie gives. She is always so quick to answer queries and never makes you feel like it’s a stupid question. She is very knowledgeable and has been really helpful at keeping me updated with the race situation this year too. She asks what type of sessions you enjoy and makes sure they are incorporated – I have a lot of days I can just go running in the hills planned in. Another big difference for me has been having strength and conditioning regularly scheduled into the week (before this definitely got forgotten/completely missed out). Overall, it has been great just knowing there’s someone in the background looking out for you and cheering you on in your running.
The only downside so far is that I sometimes feel guilty when I add in extra activities to my week, like cycling, hill walking, open water swimming… that aren’t on my plan. Although I don’t think Sophie minds really!