It was the end of track season, Spring 2016, and I found myself in a conversation with Carla Davies, chit chatting about goals, targets and aspirations for the future. Carla had worked hard at track over winter and had improved massively on her timed mile efforts and also 100, 200 and 400m repeat sessions. Quite casually I mentioned that a sub 20 5k and a sub 40 10k would be achievable targets over a period of 12-18 months if there could be a commitment to a robust training plan.

Carla was immediately on board and we set about assessing training capacity juggling with work/home/life balance. Over the summer months of training with Red Rose Carla became more driven and determined to sharpen up her running ability and began to get a hunger for training smartly and coming in the top positions in local races.

It was time to start to think about narrowing down the events and racing days, choosing club events that were appropriate and had added value to the training plans that lay ahead. Placing a restriction of no more than one race a month meant ‘reining in’ that hunger to compete and be fast all the time. The target 5k race was identified and Carla entered nice and early.

Now it was time for the serious work to begin! Having spent many youthful years running competitively at high school and then as an older teenager, Carla discovered a social life and running took a back seat. The shoes occasionally coming out as a form of general exercise as opposed to training. So, the habits of a casual runner were visible in the earlier days, basically running everywhere at 100 mph!

Training meant a new understanding and appreciation of rest days, easy and recovery runs, hill reps, tempo runs and intervals sessions. All requiring a new level of understanding and discipline. We were ready for action and success became visible with some comfortable club wins in the Fell Championship and then a comfortable third place in the Road Championship.

With confidence building, aside from a few child linked coughs and colds, Carla kept relatively good health for the duration of her training plan and after nearly three months, new shoes and a slight foot niggle we were ready for action and race day was upon her.

In order to reduce stress (and preserve energy levels) we arranged a meeting point and car share to Wigan to arrive in good time, find parking and suss out the race HQ. A 25 minute warm up session in the side streets of Wigan town centre meant Carla would have ample time to get her legs and breathing organised and heart rate at a sufficient level ready for the fast start needed at the front of the racing pack.

A target of sub 20 minutes had been our original goal although training had evidenced a clear ability to go sub 19. The onset of a bad cough and cold on the day may well put this in jeopardy, so with nervous trepidation we made our way to the start. Edging to the very front where we found some familiar racing faces from our neighbouring clubs. So, the time had come and Carla was ready and the only option now was to just be the best she could be.

A 5:30 first mile and a 6 minute second mile meant hanging on for the third and final mile meaning a big shout of encouragement for the final 100 and a sub 20 has been ticked off. The wait for the official time felt like forever. Finally, it came and what a time it was! 19:18 and third lady finisher, job done, lots of celebrating and the morning after full on cold. Well done to Carla, a fantastic achievement and real evidence of putting in the work to get the result!

Do you have a goal or a target you want to achieve with your running? I’d love to hear more about your goals and to work with you achieving them. To make an enquiry, please email me on pita@id-coaching.net or alternatively you can get in touch via the contact page on my site. Don’t forget, you can keep up to date with the latest from me and ID Coaching on my Facebook page and my Twitter page.