Since retiring from a successful international football career, where I played for Great Britain Deaf Football Team and England Deaf Football Team, winning 3 international bronze medals at the Deaflympics, Deaf World Cup and European Championships, I needed a new challenge and competitive goal. Therefore, I choose running. Running has always been a weak point of my athletic performance and I wanted to do something about it.
At the beginning of 2020, I was inconsistent with running. It was case of going out every now and again, whenever I felt like letting off some stress, and I know as a graduate in sport science, inconsistent training only means poor results. The problem I had was, I was clueless about running, regardless of having a masters in sports performance, my work and research had been around team sports, a completely different aspect of performance to running and endurance. I had no idea about the term pacing, or tempo runs etc, let alone building a training programme that fits in with periodisation and overload.
I figured that if I was serious about running and about achieving the goals I wanted to achieve, I needed a coach! Through some research and getting in touch with several different coaches, I finally joined Team Project Run (TPR) at the beginning of lockdown in April.
Lloyd Kempson is TPR’s head coach, founder and an absolute legend. Lloyd is a speedy guy, competing in distances between 800m to marathon races. He has incredible personal bests including 14:31 for 5km and 2:39 for marathon. With tons of racing and training experience and knowledge, I knew he was the guy to mentor and support me on this journey
While my goal is ultra-marathon distance, I still need to pick up the basics of running and build a solid aerobic foundation before moving to anything longer than a marathon. Throughout lockdown, Lloyd has been programming my training to help build up the volume over time. I started with short 5km distances slow paced runs or 40 minutes for my long run, towards 7-8k recovery runs and 70+ minutes for my long run. Although I’m long way off till I will be comfortable running a marathon distance, I trust Llyod and the process to get me there.
Aside from coaching and mentoring from Lloyd, TPR has a fantastic community of 100+ runners on their personal journey. All able to share their journey and tips through a group Whatsapp chat. This has proved useful for me, due to coming from a team sport and having people around me sharing the same journey to chat to or bounce of from, it’s one of the things I have missed since retiring from football. TPR crowd are there to help celebrate a new PB or help pick you up after a rubbish day. They are especially good at recommending sweet treats!
One thing I’ve learnt over time is, to become an expert in something, find a coach or mentor to guide you through the process and teach you everything you need know.