The journey so far
I am approximately half way through training for the Big Half, with exactly a month to go. My first run was a test to make sure I could actually run for at least 30 minutes without collapsing in a big heap on the floor, which fortunately did not happen, and I felt invigorated to create a training plan, using resources from The Big Half marathon website and gathering advice and tips from friends who have previously run marathons.
There were a few initial points to tick off, and which I’ve already experienced the benefit of: get a good pair of running shoes, build up distance and time gradually, download a running app to track progress and take rest days in between big runs. I wrote up my plan with weekly goals of what distance/time I wanted to reach. Then suddenly the fear set in, and for the first week and a half of that plan I couldn’t bring myself to run. I procrastinated through other means of building up my overall fitness; a yoga class, swimming and a couple of long cycles. This definitely wasn’t a bad idea, as it gave me a chance to exercise and stretch other muscles in the body.
Thankfully, with some encouragement, I managed to part ways with that apprehension and completed my first 5km run, and survived (side note: stretching afterwards is SO important!). Each time I’ve trained since I’ve enjoyed it. I realised that years of telling myself that I wasn’t a runner had instilled a belief that it must be an awful experience. Running is certainly still challenging, and requires a lot of preparation [tip: set aside a good couple of hours for each run, to find that state of mind, warm up and cool down, perhaps take a shower after], and those first twenty minutes, for me personally, are a huge hurdle. The self-doubt floods in, and I think about going home, or walking to the nearest coffee shop. No, that can wait, I remind myself.
It’s all in the recovery
Last week I met with another friend who is taking part in the Big Half and we made more plans – but this time it wasn’t so much about the training, but for what comes afterwards: the Recovery. A huge meal on the Sunday afternoon post-race, then a sauna trip the next day and some more yoga to stretch out our sore muscles. It’s also important, however, to build in room for recovery at every stage in preparing for the half marathon, and remember that you can’t expect to do it all in one go!
It was a great turning point to start thinking about what follows the race, and that there is still the rest of life to get on with once it’s over, but for now I am taking it, quite literally, one step at a time. And with just four weeks left I’ve still got some way to go, and every little bit of support has given me a massive boost. You can follow more of my training progress on Twitter and donate via my fundraising page here: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/joannalally1
Thanks for reading and all your support so far! And if you’re free on Sunday 4 March then please come and join East London Vision to cheer me on along with the other race participants!
You can also watch my interview with Ray from East London Vision.
Written by Joanna Lally