6. Run a marathon (part 2 - an update)

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Part 2 - catch up on part 1 here

I'll open with an apology: challenge number 6 - run a marathon - has been somewhat demanding on my time. Subsequently, further challenges and regular posting has been neglected. For this, I apologise.

Training for my first marathon has absorbed my life. Enough for my boyfriend to insist that:

"You cannot continue your social engagements whilst you're training; something's got to give"

Well, determined not to allow my training to become a chore - much like my previous half marathons - that 'something' was not going to be my social life.

Unfortunately, dear reader, instead the 'something' has been my blog and the remaining 23 challenges for the list.

Just a quick post today then to keep you updated on the challenge under discussion, and then I'll leave you with a promise... further challenges are now underway and I'll share my progress soon!

Getting all the help I can!
With 7 weeks to go before race day, I now truly feel like I can call myself a runner. Only this has meant 'running' has become my main topic of conversation; I dish-out and seek running related advice wherever I can. Forgive me then, for indulging this current trend below...

Mapping routes:
  • I talked previously about mapping out distances for short sprint sessions, but what about longer distances? I hadn't realised quite how difficult it is to work out a route to build up 14, 16, 20 miles, all the while trying to keep each run varied to get through the long, solo distance.
  • My solution: cycling routes. I've found them to be a great inspiration! They've encouraged me to explore new areas and avoid the stop-start that getting lost involves.
  • National Cycle Networks are nicely marked out for you to follow the trail as you go. You can normally get hold of route maps at your local information centre. 
  • A watch out: some sections of these routes may not be appropriate for running - look out for warning of busy roads! Use as inspiration only, adapting to your running needs.

Keeping-up the energy:
  • I was recently given a very valuable piece of advice from my boyfriend's sister (who is soo fantastic at running she is automatically enrolled for the London Marathon year-after-year!): During your marathon and long training runs, take on energy supplements and water before you feel like you need them.
  • Common sense of course; stock up before your energy levels drop and your body's already dehydrated. But easily forgotten when you're in the swing of a run!
  • I'm currently using energy gels during my long runs, taking one before my body even gets the chance to struggle. But I'm keen for a more natural solution - if anyone has any good recipes for energy supplements to use during training please let me know!


Torture weapon at the ready

The horrors of a sports massage:

  • I've been lucky enough to experience many incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating massages in my time. My first sports massage however, was not like this.
  • Thinking it would be the perfect solution for my ever-so-tight calves and achilles tendons I jumped at the opportunity. I soon regretted this decision with every cry-out (and occasional curse) in pain.
  • It was possibly the most painful physical experience I have endured. Don't get me wrong - two days later, once recovered, my legs were better than new. But in the determination not to require such torture again I'm taking precautionary measures:
  • Adding to my post-run yoga, I've started strength exercises for my calves (see the fab Runner's World article below). And I've embraced daily rolling with a device similar to a foam roller, only this one's on a stick, allowing for others to roll your legs for you if you so wish. (Providing my boyfriend with the perfect opportunity to get his own back for not listening to his very sensible advice and instead continuing to insist that I can manage both my social life and training...)



Find out if it all paid off in part 3!


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