Two years ago I had just started training for my first marathon having never run more than 10 miles. I was ecstatic to have got my place for the London Marathon 2012 and determined to throw myself into my training 100%.
I’d done a lot of research online and chosen my training plan. 16 weeks of running 4 times a week, the distance increasing gradually to a peak run of 20 miles 3 weeks out from the race. I was going to give this my all. Follow the plan to the letter knowing that it had got many a beginner around their first 26.2 miles.
It’s fair to say that marathon training became my world for those 4 months. It consumed me and my every waking moment. Eat sleep run repeat. It took over my life. My training plan was first and foremost in my thoughts and my decisions. Some might call it dedication and focus, others might call it marathon madness.
By mid January each long run that I did took me into unknown territory, further than I’d ever run before. I was learning how to fuel, hydrate and recover properly on each run. Learning more about what my body was and wasn’t capable of – sometimes surprising myself, sometimes frustrating myself.
I realise now that while I felt totally driven I was also being motivated by fear. Fear of getting injured. Fear of not making the starting line. Fear of coming last. Fear of not finishing. Fear of failure.
Looking back it wasn’t really a very pleasant way to spend 4 months. My adrenaline levels must have been through the roof as I was constantly stressing and worrying about one thing or another.
But on April 19th 2012 I did it. Completed the 26.2 miles and became a marathoner. Things didn’t quite go to plan on the day, but I did it. I finished.
Last week saw the 16 week countdown to my second marathon the Virgin Money London Marathon 2014. While many might say that my official training is now underway in reality my preparation for this race began almost a year ago.
I am starting from a completely different place to two years ago. I am fitter, stronger and lighter. All of those things should help me through my training and on race day itself. I’m respectful of the distance but not totally daunted by it. None of my training runs will be new distances for me this time and I’ve got a good idea how to fuel, hydrate and recover. I know I can do it.
While I’ve got many miles ahead of me to run, I’m feeling very different about the whole thing this time around. Focussed and determined, yes. Slightly nervous maybe. But so far I’ve definitely not got the fear. Long may that continue!