My Marathon Experience
Wow what a month it’s been! My training schedule is going well, I go for a long run at the weekend which is gradually increased weekly and two mid week shorter runs of either 6 or 8 miles. I am now at half a marathon level!
STRENGTH TRAINING I have still continued my strength training a couple of times a week which I find really supports my running especially when tackling the hills. I work my core muscles to support my back. I focus mainly on my lower body including my glutes, quads and hamstrings and incorporate some upper body exercises.
Running is great way to keep fit and with endurance running like the marathon it is important to build on your leg and core strength by adding a weights workout into your programme. This can be done with weights or even using your own body weight.
SPORTS MASSAGE As I was increasing my distance I noticed a few niggles so I booked myself in for a sports massage with my friend Amrit of AmritTandT who is kindly donating her sports massages as her donation to The Children’s Trust.
Sports massages are very important when you are pushing your body through a new training programme. Sports massages help release tension and toxins from the muscles and preventing injury. Even if you feel pain free a Sports Therapist will find knots and tension in your muscles that you didn’t realise you had. Amrit found tightness in my calves, glutes, lower back and IT band. Amrit also advised that I invest in a foam roller which will help relieve the build up of tension.
THE CHILDREN’S TRUST TRAINING DAY
I was invited to The Children’s Trust hospital for a marathon training day.
We were given a tour of the hospital where we were shown different rehabilitation rooms for the children. Seeing the Children’s Trust Hospital really inspired me more to push myself through my training and complete the 26.2 mile marathon.
We were then taken on a 10 mile run which was really tough. This was a very challenging run as we were taken off road and uphill through a muddy field. Trying to stop myself slipping in the mud whilst running up hill literally took my breath away. I lost my breathing technique and didn’t think I was going to complete course. I slowed down and regained myself, when my legs had recovered and my breathing settled I picked up my pace and completed the 10 miles. At least the sun was shining.
It was a relief to arrive back at The Children’s Trust Hospital where we were given refreshments and advised on stretching techniques. There was also a Sports Therapists who advised on movements I should be using when using a foam roller. It was all very informative.
GADE VALLEY HARRIERS MARATHON TRAINING
I found a local club, Gade Valley Harriers in Hemel Hempstead that offers marathon training once a month. The first one was a 12 miles, I was really nervous because I didn’t know the course and was worried about my previous long run with The Children’s Trust. I decided to stay relaxed and listen to my breathing. Despite the torrential rain and winds, I still enjoyed the run and was pleased at how I felt through the run and my pace. It was great to get back to the clubhouse where we were given a cup of tea and a slice of cake to warm up.
WATFORD HALF MARATHON
My next group run was the Watford Half Marathon. This was my first organised, timed race so I was especially nervous. There were over 1,500 runners. The sun was shining as we made our start at 10.30am. It is a slower start when you are racing with so many runners which is good because it helps keep your pace in check. We soon spread out and was able to find our own pace.
The route was through lovely countryside but extremely hilly so it was certainly a challenge. They even had us running through ankle deep puddles which made it difficult to run with soaking wet trainers. I hit half way at 1.01 hr and really wanted to finish within the 2hr mark so I started picking up my pace. As soon as one hill was tackled we approached another, they were endless but I kept pushing on. With 3 miles to go and I hardly had any more power in my legs, it was countdown of the miles till the end.
As I approached the finish line I could hear them shouting 30 seconds left within the 2 hr mark. I don’t know where I found the energy but I pushed through the pain to crossed the finish line in 1.59.43hr. My legs felt as if they were going to buckle underneath me.
We were all given t-shirt and a medal. When I looked later at the chip times I had actually completed the course in 1.57.24 hr.
I would definitely recommend anyone who is doing a marathon to do some group runs and even organised timed runs to get the experience of running with larger numbers.
Over the next couple of weeks I will be increasing my mileage as my next group run with Gade Valley Harriers in Hemel Hempstead is 17 miles! Then there is another Children’s Trust training day of 18 miles.
I will let you know how I get on.
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