I wasn’t planning on doing a marathon this Spring. I really, truly wasn’t. And then… I got a place for London Marathon. THE London Marathon. One of the marathon majors; the race that people here in Britain – even the people who ask “how long is your marathon?” – think of when they hear the word ‘marathon’. The race that a quarter of a million people enter each year, and only 7% of those get a place. I couldn’t say no.
One thing is making me quite nervous – I’m going to be riding solo. Mum is going to be in Spain, doing the second part of her yoga teacher training and won’t be able to take part in the race. I’ve never run a marathon alone before. The picture above is of us crossing the finish line at our last marathon at Loch Ness – a race that we both found so ridiculously joyous that I still grin just thinking about it, and recommend to anyone who stands still long enough. There is something so special about completing a marathon step-by-step with someone, supporting and encouraging other when needed, totally ignoring each other when that’s more appropriate. You can see on our faces the relief/exhaustion/thrill that only 26.2 miles together can generate. But I mustn’t dwell on that… I need to race on my own two feet.
I’m following the FIRST marathon training plan that has seen me through two marathons – it has three runs a week, pacey. I like that it leaves room for cross training (this time around, I’m doing bouldering and, erm, tap dancing to supplement my running) and that the runs are varied enough to keep my interest, with absolutely no ‘junk miles’. Though the emphasis is supposed to be on pace, I have also been mixing it up with trail runs and races, just because they’re more fun. The training plan is available for download here if you’d like to give it a shot for your next race.
Training is so far going well. I’m upping my calorie and protein intake with lots of nuts and seeds, and I am managing to maintain my weight that way, so that I will have plenty left in the tank on race day. I did my 21 miles on Saturday and honestly felt like I could go further when it was time to finish. I’ve got a couple of busy weekends coming up, with trips to London and Dublin, so I’m pleased that I’ve got one 20+ miler out of the way – it makes me feel a lot more confident about my training. I’m quite achey and tired today, but that may have been the beer festival I went to after the long run as much as the run itself…
I’m not targeting a PB, as I’m nowhere near my fastest pace in training at the moment. I’ve just dug out my GPS watch after nearly a year not using it, and I’m WAY slower than I was when I used it obsessively. My current pace for running 5K is about what I ran a whole marathon at two years ago! I can’t even imagine running at that pace for that long now. I’m not stressed about that – I want to have a good race, no matter what the time is. I’m so excited to go the expo as a punter rather than an exhibitor, and to just soak up the experience.
My marathon place isn’t tied to a charity, which means I don’t have a minimum fundraising target, thank goodness. However, several people close to me recently have needed to use the services of Macmillan Cancer Care (who provided support when my uncle Mark was dying) and St Gemma’s Hospice, and so I decided to take the opportunity to try and pay a little back to them by raising what sponsorship I can for the two charities. I rarely ask for sponsorship , so this will be my last request for a long time – people just know I’ll happily run a race with no incentive!
If you are so inclined, the link for my giving page can be found here http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BibiRodgersHunt
Huge thank you for anything that anyone does feel able to share. Cancer is something that will affect so many of us in our lives, and the work of charities like these can make a difference to awful times.
Can anyone point me in the direction of a really comprehensive mile-by-mile breakdown of the route and what to expect? That could be in a blog post race report or something more formal. I just know that I find preparation very helpful in making me feel less nervous, and I’d love to be forearmed. Thank you in advance!
If there is anything that you would like me to write about for the marathon, just give me a shout. Kit lists, how I’m fuelling training on a vegan diet, trail running, more on cross-training – let me know. Bring on #VMLM2017! (Eeeek)