Before Christmas, one of my very favourite people Laura announced she was going to run the London Marathon.
It's maybe worth mentioning that after her half marathon she informed me she would never run ever again as the experience had been so dreadful!
I find anyone who runs a marathon pretty amazing - it's such a mental challenge as well as a physical one, so I thought I'd ask her some questions in the lead-up to the big day.
What on EARTH made you decide to run a marathon?
I was contacted by one of the fundraising team at Francis House Children’s Hospice about 8 months ago, asking if I’d be interested in applying to take part in the London Marathon in April. I’m really not sure why, but I said yes!
I’m always up for a challenge and thought it would be a fantastic way for me to get fit, and tick something off my bucket-list, whilst raising money for a really good cause.
Have you always been the sporty / runner type?
Not at all! I never really committed to a sports team at school, flitting between netball, hockey, rounders and even football and rugby!
After I’d graduated from university in 2013, I went to Honduras on a government funded volunteering scheme. In order to get my place with the charity Progressio, I had to raise £1,500. I decided to take on a half marathon (13.1 miles), having never been out for a run in my life. I only trained for about 6 weeks prior to the event and it was so tough that I said I would never wear a pair of running shoes again - I didn’t till I started training for the marathon.
What has a typical week of training looked like?
Since Christmas, my training has really stepped up. I try to get out for a run three times a week.
Mid-week, I tend to do two short, fast runs after work with a maximum distance of 6 miles, normally on a Tuesday and Thursday. I also try to get to the gym on a Monday or a Wednesday, to strengthen my legs with high resistance interval training and squats.
My main training takes place at the weekend, which are the long distance runs. I reached 13 miles around New Year, and since then, I have been adding a mile to my longest distance every weekend. I’m currently up to 18 miles, with the aim of getting to 22miles two weeks before the actual marathon at the end of April. Training for over 3 hours in one go can be pretty tough, so I have started listening to podcasts which help take my mind off the running. They really help!
How have you had to change what you're eating, or any other lifestyle changes?
Initially, I didn’t change my diet and as a result lost a considerable amount of weight. I was burning about 1,000 calories whenever I went out for a run, which I wasn’t compensating! Now I tend to just eat whenever I’m hungry. As someone that’s quite conscious about what I eat, this is completely backwards and has taken some getting used to – being able to eat 4 meals a day has been surprisingly difficult!
A typical day's diet consists of: porridge for breakfast, a bacon sandwich at about , pasta for lunch and something like fish, potatoes and vegetables for dinner. After a training run, I have a protein shake too, to help with muscle recovery.
How do you feel about the day itself?
I’m pretty nervous about the Marathon. Although I will have done more than enough training, it’s such a daunting distance! Also, I tend to run alone or with just one other person, so I’m a bit anxious about having to run with thousands of other people. I just need to focus on my own running and not get carried away with other people’s pace.
I’ve got lots of friends and family who are all travelling down to London to cheer me on which will be amazing. When I did the half marathon, my mum and brother were in the crowd. I saw them 4 times on the route, and it definitely helped me keep going and not give up!
How will you celebrate once it's all over?
If the end of my half marathon is anything to go by, I’ll probably cry as I cross the finish line, go straight for a sports massage followed by a hot bath and early night, which doesn’t sound like a bad post-marathon celebration to me!
Are you going to carry on running after the marathon?
I’m definitely going to keep up running after the marathon, I’d really like to join a running club and enter more half marathons and marathons in the future. I’ve actually signed up to the Manchester 10km in May with a few colleagues from work!
If you want to know more about the charity Laura is running for, her fundraising page is HERE.
I'm so proud of her already, and can't wait to be able to say congratulations once she's completed the marathon itself.
Good luck, Laura <3