Things may have been a little quiet around here, but it’s not because I have nothing to say – marathon training, work and university have been keeping me very busy, though honestly I feel happier than ever and I am really loving my running right now.
So far marathon training is going to plan (touch wood!). I’ve reached 30km in my training runs and I feel confident about tackling a couple of 20 milers, although on my recent long run I did have a bit of a wobble at around 20km where I had to nip in a Tesco for a bottle of Lucozade and a cereal bar. I’m almost glad it happened though as I hadn’t been paying much attention to mid-run nutrition so I’m working out a strategy for that. Jelly Babies are old school but seem to be the best option for me as I can’t swallow things like gels as I run!
Yesterday I ran Oulton Park half marathon which was six laps of the race circuit, of which there were three fairly nasty hills. Although my friends were dreading the repetitive laps they really worked for me, as after the first lap I sussed out my strategy – where to push, where to dig deep, where to stuff my Jelly Babies in my mouth. I felt really strong and on the last lap gave everything I had left and finished with a new PB of 1.52:11. I was aiming for just under two hours so it’s safe to say I was ecstatic, and I also felt super strong the entire way. A very successful marathon preparation exercise indeed.
A large part of my strength through the half has a lot to do with the Kinetic Revolution running technique workshop I went to a couple of weeks ago. My resolution for this year was to not get injured and I’d been feeling twinges in my IT band, so I’d started following James Dunne’s advice from his website. The workshop was really targeted on three key areas – core, gait and upper body – I feel I would be doing James a disservice by trying to repeat the information so I will just say that since the workshop my IT band pain has ceased and my pace has increased. I can’t promise miracles for everybody but if you’re upping your distance it would be really worth putting some work into your form and the Kinetic Revolution website would be a fantastic place to start.
Running a marathon is a huge goal for me, but I know from experience that once that’s been and gone I’ll be left feeling deflated and without motivation. That’s why I’ve already started booking in races beyond the big day, the first being Delamere Forest’s 10km Race For Life* event. Last year I marshalled at a couple of Race For Life events and I also ran the very first Pretty Muddy; I’m a big fan of the buzzing, inclusive atmosphere of the run series and am excited about participating again. If you’re thinking of joining in with a Race For Life this year, whether it be a 5km, 10km, or even the brand new half and full marathon events, I’ve got an exclusive discount code to share with you: just enter RFLSquat at checkout for £2 off entry. Whether you donate this to Cancer Research UK or use it to buy Jelly Babies to power you through your race, it’s up to you!
Everyone at Race For Life is hugely supportive whether you run, walk or dance around the course (my throat was hoarse with sore hands from clapping after marshalling last year!) so it’s perfect if you’re thinking of doing your first race. For me the event will be the start of chipping away at my 47:43 10K PB of last year, but of course I will be thinking of my dad when I run the race, knowing that every runner is making a difference in the fight against cancer. Hope to see you there!