One of my brave clients, Hannah is undertaking a 100 day challenge to run 5k and lose 1 1/2 stone and she has agreed to share her progress online here.
Yesterday I interviewed her on Day 1 of the challenge about her hopes and fears. Today I’m following up with my own thoughts, as well as how I aim to support her with a training programme to meet the challenge.
I’m really excited to be working with her on #Hannahs100DayChallenge. It takes a lot of guts to commit to the challenge so publicly and to allow people she’s never met to follow her progress, and I’ve got a lot of respect for her for that.
I’m also really excited by her determination, when I asked her what might stop her meeting the challenge she simply replied nothing – she is absolutely adamant that not completing it is not an option.
I’m slightly nervous, because although it’s her undertaking the challenge, my role as her personal trainer will also be up for scrutiny, but I believe in what I do and I’m confident I can support her to meet the challenge.
Weight loss, running and injuries
My main worry, as with any client aiming to complete a certain race or distance, is the risk of injury. I’m a massive fan of running for fitness, as well as mental wellbeing, but it is a high impact sport and lots of people do get injured. I’m working with Hannah on lots of strength and conditioning and adapting her running style to reduce the stress on her joints, both of which will reduce the risk of injury.
It’s also really important that Hannah keeps to the weight loss side of the programme as the force going through someone’s legs during running is about 3 times their body mass, so obviously the less she weighs, the less impact there will be on her joints.
In addition, the less she weighs, the less energy her body will need to run at a certain speed. So losing weight will decrease her body’s oxygen needs, meaning she’ll be able to go faster on less oxygen (one study estimates that for 1% of weight loss, speed increases by 1%). Whilst speed is not one of Hannah’s goals, I’m sure that she’ll be happy with feeling less out of breath and finishing quicker!
The importance of weight based training
It’s great that Hannah is keen to develop her muscle strength. Lots of women are nervous about using weights because they don’t want to build too much muscle. The reality is that women never build as much muscle as men because they don’t have the same levels of testosterone. And weights are a really important part of training.
Aside from building strength for everyday life, something that is important to Hannah as her job involves lots of lifting, weight training is really effective for supporting weight loss. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does, so as lean muscle mass increases, so does the rate of calorie burning, even after you’ve left the gym.
Weight training is also great for bone health, and whilst it might not seem important to Hannah right now, one in two women (compared with one in five men) over the age of 50 will suffer from broken bones because of poor bone health.
My programme for Hannah will include 5 main elements:
- a run programme to slowly increase the distance she runs each week (with a big emphasis on slowly with lots of time for recovery to let her body adapt, rather than over doing it and getting injured)
- cross training to build her cardiovascular fitness without the high impact stress of running
- strength and conditioning work to develop the muscles and joints used most in running, and working with her to slowly adapt her running to style to reduce her risk of injury
- high intensity interval training and circuits to support her weight loss (and help meet her secondary goals of building her muscle strength)
- I will also analyse her diet to support her in identifying the main areas of weakness and the changes that she needs to make to support her weight loss goals.
We’re both really excited to be undertaking this challenge, check back soon to see how we get on, or please do post any comments or questions below.