12 Feb 2017

The Marathon Diaries #2: 10 weeks to go...

How did three weeks just pass by? I JUST wrote about it being 13 weeks to go, didn’t I? DIDN’T I?!

When I first started training I thought about how tiring it was going to be dedicating FOUR MONTHS to the London Marathon, but now the cliché has well and truly shown itself by proving that time is flying by. I’ve finished six weeks of the training plan already, and the super long runs are slowly creeping up.

Oh boy.

So, here’s what I’ve learnt and thought, and what else has been happening, in the last three weeks of training...

I’m actually getting fitter!

It sounds obvious, but all this regular, longer running is actually making my running better. My pace is naturally getting more even and fast, I’m able to run for longer without wanting to die, and I can speed up within the last three to four minutes of a run now instead of 20 seconds. It’s impressive. 

But I’m still very good at comparing my running to others’  

I know that, in comparison to other distance runners, I’m pretty slow. And I accept that. That’s fine, my body is still pretty great and I’m definitely improving… but, my God, being involved in various marathon and charity WhatsApp and Facebook groups is exhausting, and don’t even get me started on Instagram. 

It’s AMAZING that social media can be used to group runners together, to share tips and tricks, have a moan for a pick-me-up after a bad run, and generally encourage each other throughout this absolute mission we’ve put ourselves on, but sometimes it’s overwhelming and I often find myself thinking, “HOW ARE THEY SO FAST?”, “I can’t believe they’re running 16 miles already,” and “They buy so much training and nutrition stuff, I don’t even know what this shit is.” And sometimes it’s hard to quit that… I’ll just have to try harder. 

My foam roller is my evil baby

I bought a foam roller nearly a year ago now, but did I use it? Of course not. It just made me feel professional having one in the corner of my room. But after reality hit after the Royal Parks Half last year, and I realised running can REALLY HURT YOUR BODY, I appreciated the nasty, awful, disgusting, purple, cylindrical, knobbly, foam demon a lot more. Various parts of my body have caused a fuss in the last six weeks (my feet, then my hip, then my shins, then my arse…) but I’ve made sure I’ve foam rolled before and after every run. It really does make a difference. Even if foam rollers are pieces of shit.

I’m very conscious of my attitude towards training and diet

It’s good that I’m dedicated to this marathon, right? It’s good that I’m following a plan, doing my research, using my time well, and adapting my diet to ensure my training is the best it can be… right?

Right. But sometimes I feel like I’m a little too dedicated and I’m slightly worried that soon it will become unhealthy, or that when the marathon is over I’ll still be intensely focused and mildly obsessive over training and nutrition. I don’t want that. I may be thinking too much into this, but I know how my mind works so I want to be open and honest right now about it. Sometimes I need to step back.



I’m worried about getting bored…

There’s a little park at the bottom of our road which is great for running… for about half an hour and then it gets a little tiresome. I don’t want to get bored of running, but I really don’t like running around roads, and I’m not overly keen on travelling out (spending money) to run in other parks. But needs must. I’ll run around the park in the shorter weekday runs, then jump on a bus to a larger park for the long weekend runs. And I need to keep adding to my running playlist. If anyone has any of their own running playlists or can suggest any good running songs, hit me up!

All in all, it’s going well. And I’ve been saying that a lot. Because a lot of people have been asking. In the last three weeks, Ryan and I have been to three very different running events. So, buckle up, I’m not finished talking yet…

RunThrough Battersea Park 10k

On Saturday 21st January, we ran our first event at Battersea Park. It was so fun! It was cheap to sign up, super popular, a lovely course (we’d never been to Battersea Park before - definitely a contender for longer weekend runs), and the medal was cute and fancy. I ended up getting a PB (beating my time by a whole four minutes!) without even trying. 10/10. 

Virgin Money London Marathon’s Meet The Experts Day 

This was a pretty exhausting day. We went along to Central Hall Westminster on Saturday 4th February with lots of other London Marathon runners to hear from a bunch of experts, in areas from nutrition to psychology, and clothing to pacing. I felt like I was back in university lectures all day and there was a lot of information to take in, but Ryan had the chance to meet with his charity, Against Breast Cancer, and we got a goodie bag, so. Can’t complain. 

Guild of Health Writers’ Anxiety Epidemic event, with Heads Together

*deep breath* This was quite a night. On Monday 6th February, Ryan and I gave a speech at Chandos House in front of a bunch of journalists, the Heads Together charities, and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It was my fourth time meeting them (seasoned pro, what can I say) and Ryan’s first time, but it was nerve-wracking. We gave a speech. Like, a super personal speech on mental health that was filmed and is now floating around the internet being watched and commented on by thousands. 

I don’t feel vulnerable and exposed at all, no, what on earth do you mean?

Despite the nerves, anxiety, and exhaustion, it was a pretty cool night. We met some super inspirational people, had the opportunity to share our story to support others, had free wine and food (bangin’), and sat next to The Duke and Duchess for hours. We were touching shoulders, and whispering between speeches like schoolchildren in assembly. It was surreal. The quality of Kate’s tights is solid, by the way. Great tights. 

Ok, I'm done now. I promise. Who knew so much could happen in three weeks?! I hope the next few weeks are more chilled, but this training is only going to get harder and harder... let's go.

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