How Training For A Marathon Helped Me Deal With Grief

marathon training grief

There’s no doubt marathon training is tough for anybody, especially if it’s your first time, but I have a very personal reason as to why it was so hard for me.

I don’t want running a marathon to be something I dine out on forever, although I honestly think it may be the biggest thing I’ve ever achieved. It’s not something I would really like to do again but I’m glad I did it and I learned a lot about myself whilst doing it.

Seeing everyone training for their spring marathons makes me think about my own marathon training experience. As hard as I found the actual marathon, it was the training I found really tough, especially the longer runs. All but one I did by myself, which sent me to some dark places mentally and physically – but I’m so glad I did it that way, as it really helped me work through the grief of losing my dad. View Post

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EAT: Fuelling My Marathon

As well as training my legs, heart and mindset for the upcoming Manchester marathon, I’ve also been training my muscles to hold more energy and figuring out what’s best for me to eat whilst on long runs. My marathon is now four days away (ARGH! But also.. OOOH!) so it’s now time to make a decision on what nutrition to take with me to get me through those 26.2 miles.

This post is called Fuelling My Marathon for a reason – nutrition for your long runs is a very personal thing and something I believe should be tried and tested whilst you’re training. I started out trying out gels and energy blocks, but I hated them; I hated the texture and the funny after taste, besides I was finding myself getting really hungry which those sugary things didn’t help at all with. Then I went with healthier options: bananas, cereal bars, homemade energy balls. They didn’t give me enough of an energy boost and they were really difficult to eat with the dry mouth that long runs give you.

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RUN: Fuelled By Jelly Babies

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!

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RUN: Marathon Training and a Masters Degree

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Whilst I’ve made it known that I’m doing a Masters degree in Sports Marketing & Business Management this year, I’ve kept something else a little closer to my chest: in April I’ll be running my first full marathon, and what’s better my debut will be on home turf at the Greater Manchester Marathon.

Yep, it’s around the time I’ll be handing in my last Masters assignments, bar my dissertation. And yep, I’m going to be spending a lot of time this winter training for it. So I guess you could consider the fact I’m doing two very big things in the same year a little crazy, but I find the more you do the more you want to do, and I’m already enjoying my studies and looking forward to my training runs.

I graduated from my Bachelors last week – First Class with Honours, thanks for asking – and it was Olympic sprinter Darren Campbell who handed me my scroll. No jokes about dropping the baton please, I’ve heard them all. He gave an inspiring talk about the importance of a strong work ethic and the fact that where you’ve come from doesn’t have to dictate where you’ll go, and I totally agree. Everything is about focused, hard work. Now I’ve graduated I can’t linger on my Bachelors any longer – it’s time to dig deep and get my Masters and get around this marathon.

In October I hit 90km for the month, which I believe to be more than I’ve ever run before. Even when I was training for previous half marathons I did it on a wing and a prayer which you can do while you’re young; I recognise as I’m nearing my thirties that I need to be kinder to myself, and that involves thorough preparation and proper rest. Thus, I’ve set myself some goals for November:

  • Run 100km in total for the month.
  • Do more high-intensity interval training.
  • Make progress with my hips and pelvis, engaging my glutes.
  • Consciously try to strike on my mid/forefoot.
  • Rest when I need to, and enjoy it.
  • Stay injury free!

November is going to be very busy for me: two Masters hand-ins, the run club at work launching, physiotherapy sessions and – last but not least – my birthday. I’m getting so much better at time management and putting what I want most above what I want right now, and I know I’ll be able to not only survive but thrive at both my Masters and my marathon.

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