Today is the summer solstice and the start of summer. Of course it’s been raining, but hopefully it’ll brighten up a bit before Autumn kicks in again. It’s the longest day of the year and I thought another good time to check up on our New Year resolutions and see how things are going. I’m delighted to say that my lovely husband has now achieved his goal of running a sub-20 minute 5k. He’s always been a speedy runner but until recently his training methods consisted of going out and running as fast as he could for as long has he could before collapsing. Afterwards there would be some half-hearted stretching, some water and a maybe a piece of toast before either, if it had gone well, cracking open a bottle of Doombar perhaps, or if it had gone badly, sitting on the bed gazing glumly at his garmin and shaking his head. This time, however, he found a training plan and stuck to it. He did speed training, distance training, strength and hill work – the lot. And, crucially, he didn’t push his luck. When he felt a bit of pain and stiffness in his thigh he rested it and didn’t “run through the pain,” which I might have mentioned before is not a good idea. Sure, he may have missed one or two of his training sessions but it is much better to miss a few of these than have to pull out of the race due to injury.

If you build up your training too fast, run too far too soon, lift too much weight too quickly, you might not pull a muscle immediately, but you will overwork your muscles, creating tiny tears as you go. You might not feel it but believe me, it’s happening. It’s called Overuse Syndrome.  If you don’t give your muscles time to recover between training sessions, these little tears grow, the muscles weaken and suddenly RRrrrip. Yep, that’s a big owy ripped muscle. Deary me. Should have rested between sessions yes? Massage also helps, obvs.

Overuse syndrome aside, this is about playing the long game. Fitness and strength take time, and building it up slowly makes it all the more rewarding when you get the results you want. The same is true of massage. Each session is beneficial and you should enjoy the process but you need to keep at it for a while if you want the results to last. Muscle memory is very powerful and if your muscles have been doing the wrong thing, or not even doing very much, it takes time to get them healthy again. But it’s worth it. It really is.

And yes, I’m harking on about “the long game” as both my parents and my husband have achieved their New Year resolutions and I’m still working on mine (the 10k at pre-preggo best). I’ve done it before and I can do it again

Keep at it, peeps! Eyes on the prize.