Bryony came on a running weekend that I ran for the John Lewis running club in 2016. We have always sent out a questionnaire to athletes before the weekend to get an idea of their goals and running ability. Bryony’s came back with information of someone with reasonable running experience who had done high mileage and suffered 2 metatarsal stress fractures which had meant she had had to pull out of two marathons. Her goals were to get healthy and focus more on running for fun.
To be honest I thought I was looking at the profile of an older athlete perhaps in her forties but Bryony was in her mid-twenties. There was no way that someone of that age should be getting regular stress fractures so I was keen to find out more.
We talked a fair bit on the camp and I found out that Bryony had endured a string of injuries alongside the stress fractures. Following this conversation we agreed to work together for a while. The first 6 months or so was spent gradually supporting Bryony in returning to full health and training well. Although I tempted her with some races she was not keen and lacked a bit of confidence in her ability.
The main changes were to reduce the overall mileage she was doing and introduce a bit more quality over quantity. Bryony set herself the longer term goal of the Frankfurt marathon in the Autumn of 2017 where she had a great build up and ran an impressive 3.36 with a park run PB of 21.30 in the build-up.
She then stepped back for a while as a stressful job and the possibility of redundancy hung over her. Things settled down and she was able to move her time to 3.29 at the London marathon in 2018. Then we worked together again more closely and in 2019 she ran just over 1.30 for the half marathon and ran 3.18 at the Valencia marathon in December. In 2020 we continued to work together and despite London being postponed twice Bryony trained well throughout the year. She managed to get a place at the Dorney lake marathon which took place on the same day as the London elite race. On a wet and windy day she managed an impressive 3.15.38 knowing she would be able to go inside the magic 3.15 on a better day. She also ran 19.42 in a 5k time trial on her own as part of her build up.
Bryony has made steady progress over the last few years but more importantly she remains healthy and has not suffered any injuries in all the time we have worked together. She is really enjoying her running again and is now able to discuss future targets with real confidence.