Jo is unbelievable! I have never trained anyone who challenges themselves so much, yet takes it all in their stride. Every session for Jo is tough. It needs to be. She sets herself mad challenges which would test anyone’s stamina, drive and endurance. Well done on all of your accomplishments Jo, I’m pretty sure this time next year you will be seeing some silverware for some of this crazy stuff.
Here, in her own words, is what she’s been up to…
I have been training with George now for 2 years, mainly focusing on improving strength which I test out at the odd obstacle course race (OCR). My efforts on the obstacles have improved a lot, but my running between obstacles has never been great so at the end of January when George asked about my goals for this year I said I was maybe, possibly thinking about doing a half marathon and muttered something about aspirations goals to try and qualify for one of the OCR championships. George quite rightly wanted something more specific and before I knew it my slightly mad idea was down in my training notes – I was going to do a half marathon on the Great Wall of China in May.
The one I’d chosen is supposed to be one of the toughest, with most of the course on the Wall and covering restored and un-restored sections with over 10,000 steps. My training started there and then. Lots of legs. Lots of squats. Lots of kinds of squats. Core and upper body to give my legs a bit of a break before more legs, supplemented by classes with George, Graham, Richard and Jimmy. I was feeling so positive about my training with 1 month to go before the Wall (and having qualified for the OCR world champs) I told George I was looking to extend my stay in China to do a 24k run, 6 days after the Wall. This would involve going up and over a mountain, climbing 1000m in the 1st 5k, dropping back down on the other side, a flat bit into a village and then the same route back to the start i.e. over 2000m in elevation and to add to the experience, this was in the Himalayas starting at an altitude of 2700m. Georges response was more legs, core, upper body then more legs.
I completed my 1st half marathon on the Wall in 5 hours 20 minutes, went on to complete the Himalayas run in just under 5 hours (somehow finishing 4th overall and fastest female) and the following weekend competed in 2 obstacle course races and qualified for UK and European championships. This is a huge testament to the training plan George developed for me. What has impressed me most is that I was able to complete 2 challenging events in a week without injury and to recover quickly post race. I went into both events feeling physically and mentally prepared and as a result I absolutely loved both experiences. All signs of knee and hip pain that I used to experience from running have gone. The only downside is it does mean I need to find some new goals for the 2nd half of this year.