Before I started running last year, friends who were runners would tell me they were going to run a half or full marathon and I would outwardly be impressed and wish them luck and comfortable trainers. Inside I would be thinking ‘what on earth do you want to do that for, are you mad?!’. Hey, back then I thought you were mad if you even put your trainers on for a quick jog round the block!
All that has changed. Since doing the Couch to 5K app and running my first 5K at a local Parkrun, running has become my sanity. It’s my way of having a bit of time to myself and having the opportunity to think without being interuppted by a small child! Although I love being out for a run, I sometimes lack the motivation to drag myself out of my lovely warm bed, especially as the sun takes longer to rise in the morning. I discovered that the motivation I need is a race to aim for. In October 2015 I signed up for the Sporting Futures Derby 10K so that I would keep running over the winter. This worked and in April 2016 I lined up on the start line, albeit in the crowd at the back and finished my first 10K in 1:06:40. I was pretty proud of this; before the gun went off I’d been saying that I’d be pretty pleased with anything under 1:15:00. As I crossed the finish line I was hit with mixed emotions; I’d finished 10K, raised over £800 for Bliss and I was so proud of myself, but what would I do next? I picked up lots of flyers for other local 10Ks that were taking place over the next couple of months and took them home to choose one.
That week an email dropped into my inbox which read along the lines of ‘well done for completing the 10K, do you fancy doing a half marathon in October?’ I had one of those moments where I didn’t really think about it, other than to say ‘well, yes I do!’ and before I really knew what I was doing, I’d clicked on the ‘sign up’ button, filled in the form, paid my fee and noted the date in my bullet journal. Then I carried on with my normal running routine.
Halfway through my long summer holiday, I began to realise that a 13.1 mile race is significantly further than a 10K and I really ought to start adding some long runs into my training schedule. I’d also been really lucky in terms of avoiding injury, but I thought I’d better add some extra stretching and strength work in the form of yoga into my routine.
What better way to do this than to create a training schedule in my bullet journal. I drew out a calendar that would cover the 8 weeks that I had left until the race and penciled in the training activities I would do each day, working around the events that were already in my diary. Writing in pencil would allow to me to move activities around when my plans changed. My main concern was fitting in my long runs on a Sunday, I wanted to be able to build up to 12 miles and then taper off before the race in October as I’d read in lots of training plans on the internet. As I completed each activity I would write a record in pen.
To begin with all went well; I trained all week and then I was away for the weekend with family and friends, but I’d allowed for this, planning to do my long run on the following Tuesday. We returned home, I had a week of training all planned out, then life happened. My eldest broke his arm and it all went to pot. He was in a lot of pain and couldn’t get comfortable with his cast on his arm, so I ended up with very little sleep and a very clingy child which meant that I couldn’t really get out for my runs. By the Friday I was getting cabin fever so I managed to sneak out for a run and by Sunday, he was a lot better so I had no excuse to get in the way of my 10 mile long run. Once I was back at work, at the beginning of September, my plan became easier to stick to, we were back into our normal routines and that really helped.
Now I have three weeks left to go, I’ll be happy with anything under 2:40:00. Hey, I’ll be happy if I cross the finish line and when I do, I already have my next bit of motivation lined up, the East Midlands Airport 10K.