Within minutes of crossing the finish line of my first ever marathon, I said to my husband, ‘I’m never doing that again!’ and in that moment, I truly thought that London 2017 would be my first and last marathon.
One year later and I am about to embark upon my twenty week training program, to complete the Berlin marathon in September. So what’s changed? Why I am taking on another marathon.
Well, firstly it’s because I love running and when I’m training for a race, I’m much more consistent with my running and it gives me an extra bit of motivation get up out of bed and lace up.
Secondly, I never want to get bored of running the same five mile route around my house. Training for a marathon last year forced me to find new places to run, it brought new friends into my life, and it showed me that I can be incredibly self disciplined. I surprised myself, I never knew how focused I could be.
I really enjoyed the structure of following a training plan. It was the first time in my life that I’ve ever trained specifically for endurance. Previously, I’d always done a mixture of 5-10K road running, HIIT, a bit of yoga and whatever else I fancied. Training with a plan was very satisfying as I can see clear progress week to week.
After training for fifteen weeks, I felt well prepared for the London marathon, I was excited and I was feeling really happy that I’d managed to remain injury free throughout it all. However, it all seemed to fall apart on the day. I found that race so tough! The last hour was brutal!
I’m a huge believer in the power of the mind and that if you master your mind then you can do anything. I kept telling myself that my body was strong and that I just needed to pick up one foot at a time and keep moving forwards. However, my body betrayed me! My legs were cramping, my stomach was hurting, and every time I sipped water from my bottle, I had to fight the urge to be sick. It was a disaster and I felt as though the distance had defeated me. I stopped, I walked, I cried, but I persevered, I began to run again and somehow I made it to the finish line.
Of course completing the race was a huge achievement and one that I am truly proud of, but I don’t want that experience to be the only marathon experience I ever have. I know that I can do it again and hopefully do it differently. I’ve learnt a lot from that day. There is definitely a science to running a marathon. In hindsight, I think my training plan hadn’t allowed for enough rest and recovery time. As a result, my body was already tired, when I stepped up to the start line. I didn’t fuel enough during the race, and I spent far too much energy before the race, jumping around, dancing with nervous energy and taking photos and Instagram stories!
I’m not expecting my second time to be any easier, but I’m not going to let that one day stop me from taking on another marathon. I know that my summer training schedule will be difficult, I know that I will have moments of self doubt along the way, but, if I never push myself outside of my comfort zone then I’m afraid that I’ll fall in to a trap of familiarity and certainty.
I always encourage other people to say yes to life. To say yes to new experiences and new adventures. I’d be a hypocrite if I was to turn down the opportunity to run this race. So, that’s reason enough for me.
Are you taking on a challenge this year? Tempted to take on a marathon? Hit me up on Twitter & Instagram @adrienne_ldn