February 8

My personal training experience

I had been attending the SE16 bootcamp for a few years, when work allowed and knew Steph well. I enjoyed her sessions, the mix of activities and exercises as well as being in a group environment. However, I had personal challenges line up and knew I needed to start focusing on my own training as well as group sessions, so I asked Steph to take me on as a PT client.

Steph broke down my training and did copious amounts of research behind what I needed to do and then presented me with a finished article training plan. There was speed work, distance building, mobility and strength, which can often be forgotten by many runners in their training.

It was all going well for a month and then pains in both shins struck to a point where walking caused pain. After visits to the Doctors and A&E it was decided that shin splints was the most likely cause and running was off the cards. An annoying diagnosis as it doesn’t really tell you much and I’ve been running for a few years now and hadn’t ever previously experienced them. That was the marathon out the window with just a few months left, so attention turned to rehabilitation and the triathlons.

Steph introduced me to training with a CMT, within 4 weeks of using the CMT in PT sessions as part of mobility drills and attending low impact bootcamp sessions I was feeling better. Although technically still on a running ban I decided to run Richmond half marathon in March. I completed it in 2:06 I was only 4mins slower than my PB and it felt surprisingly good after no running for over a month. More importantly, the shins gave me no trouble.

Steph rolled her eyes at me the next day, congratulated me and then we got stuck into training. I gradually started mixing my commute with cycles, runs and walks – at just 5km my commute is perfect for a touch of morning exercise. Within another 5 weeks was at the Hackney half marathon and finally smashed the 2hr barrier.

Flexibility and increased mobility in my hips was a huge factor in this and Steph tailoring the sessions to concentrate on my areas of weakness allowed me to not only recover from injury, but also progress.

Next in the calendar were the triathlons. I am a confident cyclist, a slow but seasoned runner, on the other hand swimming I am scared of. An previous experience has led to over a decade of me avoiding water related activities. Steph encouraged me to get open water swimming lessons and experience. This was an excellent piece of advice and immediately gave me confidence when I realised in a wetsuit it’s almost impossible to drown!

Sport has always played a large part in my life, I was always fast, fit and strong. In these last few years, though, I have taken on running and swimming where I am decidedly average. I’m not use to being average, or worse, below average. Steph also took the time to talk through with me my anxieties and concerns. This has really helped me, it’s not all about the body, the mind needs training to!

Steph has helped me stay driven and kept me engaged with training and seeing improvement. June came around and Blenheim Triathlon was prominent in my diary. I turned up, I didn’t drown, I made up lost time on the bike and I smiled as I crossed the finish line. What next, 7 weeks to double all the distances!

Steph quickly debriefed me on the Monday as I turned up to bootcamp, reviewed the training programme for the next 7 weeks and got the first two PT sessions booked into our diaries. Not only has Steph physically had an impact on me that I have seen tangible results for, but she’s also kept me smiling, kept me motivated and will see me through the Olympic distance triathlon.

What has made training so enjoyable is how I feel Steph is constantly engaged with my progress. Steph has seen how strong I can be, but appreciates I am now focusing on things that need improvement. She motivates me to keep trying, improving and breaking down barriers.

by Alice Foster


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