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March 14, 2018

Stress isn't always bad and Chia Charge athlete and ultra runner Kim Cavill (Read more about Kim here.) explains in this quick read how a little stress can lead to big improvements on the trails.


"To me, running is about enjoyment. Getting away from stuff that I don't want to think about, into nature, moving forward under my own power, and being peaceful and relaxed. So why am I doing it to the extent that it's making me really tired? Why am I finding that I want to stay in bed just that little bit longer? Why am I still going for a run when my muscles ache and I just want to have a nice sit down?"

Read Kim's Five Tips Below

The South Downs Way 50 is a race I have never done before and will attempt for the first time this year. It takes place in early April, running from Worthing to Eastbourne on undulating trails looking down on the sea. As 50 milers go, it's quite fast with the top few ladies finishing in under 8 hours. To finish a race of that distance in a number starting with a 7 seems incredible to me but is becoming something that I think I can achieve, especially with the training I've been logging. As I'm running my first 24 hour race in June, this race will serve as a gauge for my training, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to do the best I can on the day! Plus, being coached by the current course record holder is something of an incentive to run as well as possible!



To train for a race like this - or any ultra - you have to work out how to do it in the best way for you. Using a generic plan, or no plan at all, might work for some but it depends on your definition of what works and what your goals are. For me, and for the athletes Jayson and I coach, working on a personalised basis is the absolute best way to get the most from yourself. And this means listening to what your body is telling you. At the moment, I'm putting in some consistently high mileage weeks (for me); running two hard sessions a week; one long run a week and doing three strength sessions a week, with easy runs interspersed as recovery. No two weeks look exactly the same and everything I'm doing is progressive and specific to the race. I may be biased, but this is the beauty of having a coach: Eddie plans my sessions; I tell her how I'm feeling and that informs how the plan moves on. Yes, I'm feeling tired now but that's because I'm loading my body to help it improve. The right kind of stress, in the right amount, at the right time, will ultimately make me stronger. 


Stress can be your ally if you give it a chance. Here's how to make it work for you:

  • Load yourself in a way that works for you. Just because everyone else is running 20 miles on a Sunday doesn't mean you have to.
  • Stress is stress. Whether in training, your job or your personal life, it all adds up. Don't be surprised if you're emotionally exhausted and can't get revved up about training.
  • Think about how to stress your body in a smart way. Instead of lots of miles, try a shorter, faster run one day followed by a longer, steadier run the next.
  • Forcing yourself to do a session when you're ill or injured just because it's in the plan is taking things too far. Learn how to listen to your body and make your health your number one priority.
  • Rest well. It's fine - actually it's optimal sometimes - to just veg out on the sofa with a box set after a particularly hard session.

If you make stress your friend and view it as a way of making you stronger, you have the potential to take your training to another level. Time to get stressy!

 Want to read more from Kim? You can find more great blogs like this over at her website -  Cavill Coaching