Clare participated in our SOAR x TRY 5k PB training programme throughout June and July of 2018. The programme took 20 everyday runners under the coaching wing of Olympian Matt Yates, and elite coach Barry Elwell for 8 weeks of dedicated professional training as part of a team. The aim of which was to whip the participants into 5k PB shape by the end. We caught up with Clare about her experiences.
What appealed to you about the SOAR x TRY 5k Programme, and what led you to sign-up?
Location - very local to me and iconic / inspiring
Time-frame - 8 weeks seemed a manageable commitment with young kids, and other commitments
Targeting a parkrun PB - I've been parkrunning on & off since 2010 and love the whole ethos, nice to tie-in with it (and not being part of a club, or ever doing races really gave me an opportunity to have it recorded)
Targeted, specific training from expert coaches who give you feedback - never had this before, don't belong to a running club, closest I've done is an online training programme
How have you found the programme, what have been your highlights and how does it differ to the training you've done in the past?
I've really loved the programme, the unexpected bonus was how nice, welcoming, inclusive and supportive everyone was - I didn't even consider the non-running side of it prior to signing up. I was nervous about being the slowest and least experienced runner and slowing the group down, but everyone was lovely - sub-17 and 18min 5km'ers seemingly taking a genuine interest in my goals and progress was fantastic.
Highlights were the "chase" sessions when we were up in the Olympic park and John took the sneaky shortcut over the bridge at the end - that whole session was great fun, and I think was the first time I really felt like I was noticeably improving. Also liked the short sprint relay sessions. I'd come home on a tired, giddy high each Monday evening and relay everything we'd done to my slightly bemused husband. It's different from anything I've done previously - being in the group definitely pushed me to go harder, Matt & Barry's feedback was invaluable. Having a tailored day-by-day "homework" training programme was great - I stuck it up on the kitchen wall and always knew at a glance what was next.
Do you have a favourite session, or element to the training?
My favourite session was either the "chase" session up in the Olympic Park, or the 400m, 350m, 300m reps on the track. I enjoyed the intervals homework sessions too.
And a least favourite, or perhaps 'most feared'?
Running around that stadium has got to be up there - it's never ending! Although I definitely got quicker at it.
How do you feel it's changed you as a runner?
A lot. More confident, more knowledgeable, faster(!), I ran the SOAR mile – I would never have signed up to do that if it hadn't have been part of the training package, and it was great.
What are your top 3 takeaways from the programme which you'll implement in your own training?
Speed & hill intervals
Push! - I can do more than I think.
What's next for you in terms of racing and training?
I'm going to try for another PB on Saturday - although on a different course so I’m not holding my breath. Beyond that, I’m interested in any other training courses SOAR put together. I might run the Hackney Half again next Spring, so if there's a programme targeting that I’d be very interested. I might even join a running club.... I'd like to come and do the SOAR mile again next year.
And last but not least, what's your favourite piece of SOAR kit, and why?
I really like the men's split side race shorts!
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