Hello blogosphere. Long time, no speak. Turns out training for a marathon is time-consuming, who knew?! Alongside the day job, and having (just about) finished my Journalism exams, the rest of my time is taken up, running, talking about running, thinking about running, fundraising for running, meeting up with people to go running, eating healthily to help my running, Instagraming my running…and…you get the point! Basically, I have been living and breathing running since Christmas, and somehow I still feel underprepared and as though I am not doing enough!
This weekend will mark (subject to fitness in the meantime!) my first 18 mile run. 18 miles is no joke. Frankly, 16 wasn’t either. It really does feel like things are starting to become intense and seem very real. And with still an additional 8 – 10 miles to prep for, insert panicky face here.
On average I’ve been getting out to run probably 4 times a week. A typical week looks something like, a 4 mile week night run, a 6 mile run commute, a 3 mile pushing-it-as-hard-as-I-possibly-can Parkrun or an additional week night run of 4 – 7 miles, and then #Sundayrunday’s simultaneously and in equal measure epic yet soul-destroying long runs, which started at 8 miles back in December and will end up at 22 miles sometime in March. Insert even more panicked face here. In addition to this, when and where possible, I try and do one evening a week of some sort of cross-training, usually climbing or body weight exercises.
A couple of weekends ago we, (my boyfriend and I) attended the Meet The Experts day in Westminster. This is an official event organised by Virgin Money London Marathon, with speakers and presentations running right through from 09.30 until 4pm. We were planning just to pop our heads and see what it was all about, but it actually proved to be a very useful and enjoyable session with a lot of information surrounding the practicalities of the day, as well as tips of training, race day, fundraising and nutrition. Consequently, we ended up staying for the whole thing.
It was an inspiring day, and off the back of it I can say that whilst I am, naturally, a little nervous, I am actually very excited for the VMLM now! Having volunteered at the event for the past 3 years, I know the atmosphere is incredible, and I really can’t wait to be immersed in that. I genuinely have high hopes for it being one of the best days of my life! Although, probably also one of the physically hardest.
A question to anyone who has previously run London: The advice given at MtE and by people I know who have run the marathon before, is to run without headphones in order to allow yourself to soak of the cheering and the crowds. I’d never normally attempt a long run (or even a short one for that matter) headphone-less, but perhaps the levels of support really will be enough to spur me along?! Appreciate any thoughts on this.
The majority of people at the Meet The Experts day seemed to be fist time marathoners and novice runners like myself. Rob and I felt encouraged however, that we seemed to be further on in our training plans than many of them, and indeed where the ‘experts’ said we needed to be. I got a sense that many people in the room had started running this side of Christmas, and were attempting something of a couch-to-full-blown-marathon plan in 16 weeks. It made me realise that in some small way, I have been training for the marathon for a couple of years now, simply by putting my trainers on and getting outside! With this in mind, Rob and I have taken the decision to only attempt very long runs (maybe 15/6 miles +) once a fortnight. Following a very long Sunday run, the following Sunday will just be a long run (11-15 miles). This seems to be, touch wood, so far helping us to stay injury free.
As you can probably imagine, time for meeting up with friends has been somewhat limited, and the fact that a couple of friends have gotten on-board with this whole running thing, including the pre 9am Saturday wake up calls, and met me on several occasions at ParkRun has been really cool and much appreciated. Getting out of bed to catch the 08.36 train doesn’t feel half as bad when you know your 5km is going to be followed by a gossip and a fry up! Running with friends has actually managed to spur me on to 2 new ParkRun PBs (competitive nature and all.) My overall PB of 24.23 was recently achieved at Bishops Park in Fulham, and my (much more hilly) Hampstead Heath PB a couple of weeks back improved to 27.31. Additionally I (was slightly underwhelmed to) cut 1 whole second off my 10km PB at the Cancer Research London Winter Run – Really reaping the rewards of all this extensive training there! 😉
So, that’s about where I’m at with my training programme at the moment – Gradually building up those miles and generally feeling pretty good! Of course, the other important element of the London Marathon is fundraising (or at least it is when you’ve taken a charity place.) For those of you who are not aware, Rob and I are running in support of two amazing charities, UNICEF and Bloodwise and I’ll be back over the next few weeks to write a post more specifically on what these causes mean to me.
If you have a few pennies to spare in the meantime, our fundraising page is open. All of our sponsors will automatically be entered into our fundraising raffle (you will receive 1 raffle ticket for every £2 you donate.) A full list of raffle prizes is available on our page, and some of them, if I may say so myself, aren’t half bad! 😉
Anyway, more from me soon. Now that exams are finished…watch this space!