Last month Nicola Heron ran a 12-minute PB in the Yorkshire Marathon, cruising home in an amazing 3hrs 25mins. She believes the HIIT and RIDE classes she added to her training this time in Digme Blackfriars were to thank for such a strong performance. In her own words...
This was my fourth marathon, and it was the first time I’ve included strength and conditioning. It made a huge difference. It was the first time I’ve managed to keep an even pace all the way through, despite the second half of the race being more undulating. I definitely felt a lot stronger than in previous marathons.
Having a more balanced approach to training was definitely the key. I really love the classes at Digme and the motivational instructors – I’ll definitely be coming back for more even though my marathon training has finished.
I’ve always run on my own, but I find it difficult going to the gym on my own to do strength training. It really helped to do it as part of a class, it’s a much better environment. For about 12 years, running was my only exercise – plus a little bit of cycling. I always thought doing strength and conditioning would make me muscly, but now I realise that’s completely wrong.
Mixing it up
Doing HIIT has really opened my eyes. Previously when I was training for a marathon, I’d run five or six times a week.
This time I did three runs a week and more strength and cross training, including regular RIDE and HIIT sessions. I was worried about the decreased mileage, but I shouldn’t have done. My body felt so much stronger and I didn’t slow down.
Strengthening my muscles meant I didn’t suffer through the final few miles like I did in the other marathons I’ve done – London, Brighton and the previous time I did Yorkshire.
I gave myself a whole week off after the race, which was much needed! I did a gentle run 10 days later and then a HIIT class last week which maybe in hind sight wasn’t a great idea as my legs were complaining!
The Berlin Marathon is on my wish list, but I don’t like to do marathons too close together so I’ll be mixing it up a bit next year.
I’m probably going to do a bit more cycling and try a couple of duathlons and sportives. Watch this space!