Rhianon West

I have always been sporty, captain of the netball team, on the hockey team and every other sports team going from school. I first started running 10 years ago at University, on the treadmill at first. I can still vividly remember my first run outside, I didn’t even make it a mile without stopping. I gradually worked on distance and after 10 years of running was still super keen but knew there was more work to do!!!

At the start of 2015 I started working with Lucja and since then it’s been an upward trajectory (metaphorically and literally) as Lucja has somehow made me love the hills, love threshold runs and to dream big!

I mistakenly thought I was quite an experienced runner before I started working with Lucja, but over the first few months I came to see this was absolutely not the case! I was in fact too focused on distance and distance only. The epitome of a ‘ploddy’ runner. No speed work. No hill reps. No strength work. No cross training. Lots of walking breaks.

Lucja’s coaching style works perfectly for me as the training plan is always pitched to my current ability and works around other things I have going on. Lucja listens to my feedback and continues to encourage me onwards whilst also encouraging rest days. We use an online training plan that we can both access (even on the go on Iphones) which makes it really interactive and accessible. We also have a phone catch-up weekly to check-in on progress.

I will openly admit to not having always being the best student- I have had to miss sessions because of unplanned early mornings/late nights in the office or lack of motivation to complete ‘non-running’ sessions on my plan, but Lucja never nagged or gave negative feedback.

During 2015, thanks Lucja, I saw great improvements in my running. My usual minute mile pace has dropped significantly, walking breaks eliminated, confidence in my running really increased. Lucja has had me doing threshold and tempo runs. Both of which I was terrible at when I first started but now really enjoy. Then there were the hill reps- previously even the slightest incline would have me on a walking break. Now I really enjoy hill reps and they’ve made me a stronger runner for sure! Recently we’ve also included stair reps in my office/in the gym to try and prepare better for hilly races whilst living in a pancake flat London. Lucja has also encouraged me to do my yoga/stretching/Pilates and has even somehow managed to persuade me to start to BMF classes. The latter of which I am a true beginner at but hoping this will provide much needed strength training for some big races on the plan for 2016.  During 2015 Lucja guided me to third placed lady at Race to the Stones 50km, to complete my longest run to date (Downslink 38 miler) in a finish time I daren’t dream I could achieve, complete multiple marathons, faster half marathons and & 10kms.

Above all, though, working with Lucja has changed my mind-set about running and made me dream big! It’s hard not too feed off the infectious enthusiasm for multi-day adventures and mountain ultras that Lucja and her husband Dion omit. They’ve taught me so much and as a result of all this learning I’m feeling ready to tackle some tough races during 2016 and really looking forward to continuing to work with Lucja and hopefully keep improving. After all, there’s always more work to do!