“I’m Training for a Marathon”

Written by Alison Shilley

I’m a great believer in things will happen when the time is right, if it doesn’t happen then the time isn’t right just at that moment!!!

How or when you know the time is right to run a marathon is very personal, for me I just knew It was this year or possibly never I just needed to commit, so whilst feeling brave one click and I was in…. I’d made the commitment.

Now I just needed a plan!!! ’’Calling Coach Lawrence’’, I’ve signed up for a Marathon please can you write me a 20-week plan… ok was the reply!! Now for the questions: age, height, weight (no lies, I would only be cheating myself!!) Food intake, how many runs will you run a week, how many miles do you run at present? So many questions for a plan, but it was a plan tailored for me so these questions need to be honestly answered!!! One thing was asked of me when I received my plan ‘’Please be committed to the training plan and try to follow the plan as best you can’’ Gulp!! Panic, and that’s before I had even started. Can I really do this. I’m going to give it my best shot, I need to do this right if I’m to make it 26.2 miles to the finish line.

I am very fortunate in the fact that my children no longer live at home, but I am still a Mum and am needed on the phone or WhatsApp for chats, advice, and listening to things that are happening in their daily lives. My children soon learnt my usual response would be “can I call you back I’m just going running”, they were so patient. My husband works night shifts in London, so I really only had myself and work to think about during the week, but weekends when long runs needed to happen along with the catching up with each other, shopping, housework, laundry and ironing, things soon
began to suffer and even take a back seat. My husband is not a runner, but I sure have taken him on my mad roller coaster of a journey whilst training for a marathon. I’m both lucky and grateful of the love, support and understanding he and the boys have shown me.

I loved the discipline of a plan committing to running 4 times a week, knowing the days I had to run the distances I needed to cover and at what speed, it suited me just fine, at first taking me to happy places, just me and my music for much of the time, but with my end goal constantly in the front of my mind.

As the weeks passed my training miles increased. I would have good runs where I thought I could take on Forest Gump!!

Just run and run feeling on top of the world, getting slightly frustrated because I could have run some more but needed to stick to plan, I didn’t want to risk injury, but these runs always ending on a real high. Good runs could happen for many reasons – a good day at work, good food, a good sleep, hormonal balance, loving the music I was listening to plus positive mental attitude. Whatever the reason I was loving life and loving running, I wanted to tell anybody who would listen, I’m training for a marathon and doing just great!!! I would always end these runs by thanking my legs for not letting
me down!!!

As with good runs there were the not so good runs, where my legs just didn’t read the memo or get the gist of what they were supposed to do, with this came negative thoughts, “You are kidding yourself trying to run a marathon”, “No way are you going to manage 26.2 miles”. These runs were never going to go well, but my stubbornness and the fact I wanted to stick to plan and had a goal to achieve meant I kept going!!! One such run will stay with me for ever, 3 miles in and 7 miles left, no spring in my step I just wanted to scream “I cannot do this anymore”, then out of nowhere appeared
my princesses in shining armour, ‘Quali-tea-m’, who commandeered me, taking me with them on their planned Sunday run, I soon left the negative thoughts behind and the legs although tired complied. I will be forever grateful for that distraction. A negative soon became a positive. I learnt a valuable lesson that day, although it is nice to run alone it is also nice to run with the support of others, it keeps your spirits up when needed and just keeps you going. I started meeting up with other BVR runners regularly who were on the same journey, together we ran through wind, rain, sleet
and many a puddle in the dark, it was nice to chat, share thoughts, just smiling and laughing. Good friendships are formed through marathon training. A huge thank you to all those who kept me going, for their company and positivity, to those who picked me up when I fell!!! A packet of ready salted crisps have never tasted so good as they did on my trip to A & E in March. But as the song goes ‘’Pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and start all over again’’ I had Cranleigh to run…

Trainer shopping and third time lucky, same brand and size, just a newer style, can play havoc with your already tired feet, 1st pair come up slightly too small, I ran 12 miles toe bumping resulting in blisters and bruised toe nails, half a size bigger and they came up slightly to big resulting in a twisted ankle… I thought I would never find a trainer that worked.

It took a month to find my original style in my size, just not in the colour I wanted but colour verses comfort? No question really. Bra shopping is important, I did spend a fair amount of time pogoing in the changing rooms, checking for both comfort and movement, got that right first time thankfully.

I was advised at the beginning of training that it wouldn’t be easy, this I agree with, but it is totally do-able. I have been on a 5-month learning curve, learning so much about myself and the people around me all of which is positive.

Ask me if I would do it again……. Who knows, possibly, I’m looking, watch this space!!! Anybody want a training buddy??