It’s been a little while since I’ve done a running update on here but I’ve been following all the journeys of people running Brighton and Paris marathon yesterday and felt inspired to share a little something — along with a few tips for anyone else who’s got a big race on the horizon. It’s five weeks out from Copenhagen Marathon and I’m feeling… okay! I think. I’ve made a conscious effort to not really talk about the marathon this time round, so not to put too much pressure on myself. I had to drop out of two marathons last year and it was really emotional — for many reasons but partly because I’d shared so much of my training and emotions online that I felt like a total failure having to drop out last minute.
The thing is though, and what I’ve really reminded myself this year is that running is for you and races are your races. It’s one of the very few things in your life your have total, total control over. No-one telling you to do more, or work harder, or be on time, or work better in a team, or listen more, or dress smarter, or get home earlier. No editor chasing you up. No boss on your back. No morning after fear. No bank account guilt. No “oops, I forgot” or “shit, I need to do that”. It’s you. Against the elements. And I totally live for that escapism. So god knows why I choose to put the pressure of ‘but what will people think’ on my shoulders when there’s totally no need to. (Side note, I hear this is a really really great book that runners love. It’s next on my list!)
Granted, I kind of took on my new chill approach a little too keenly at start of the year and was very relaxed about the whole marathon thing, barely running more than once a week. May is ages off, I thought. February was A’okay then I got struck down by a sodding stomach bug mid-March and it totally knocked me for six. That, followed by a few busy weekends and I hit April thinking OKAY SHIT, I’M BEING WAY TOO CHILL. I have upped my game since, back to running three times a week no excuses, and hit my 21km last weekend so I’m feeling a little more on track. I got new kicks, the adidas UltraBoost 19, and I swear they’re really helping me bounce along! I’m setting out to do 24km tomorrow so that feels about right with 5 weeks to go — though, I’m the first to admit I haven’t really been following a plan, more just ticking off milestones for confidence boosts.
I’m still undecided on how far my longest run will be before this marathon, ideally 28km or 31km, but either way, my main focus for the next few weeks is going to be properly looking after myself and my muscles through taper period. I’m going to get to yoga as much as possible and commit to foam rolling every damn day. That, plus drinking tonnes of water (I’ll still drink wine, please I’m not that committed to the cause) and generally just eating all the food. I’m finally feeling excited! Kind of.
YOGA — I’ve never been a big yogi, only ever really dipped in and out of the odd weekly class but I’m planning on going a lot more over the next couple of weeks. It’s a great way to build up extra strength in the legs and stretches everything out really effectively. Plus, it’s super calm and helps you chill the F* out a bit. Always a good thing. There are a some great classes at my Virgin Active, such as Align Hatha Yoga and Anti-Gravity Yoga (looks LOLs), but I'm also keen to try LEVELSIX yoga in Peckham Levels - maybe one for the weekends.
FOAM ROLLING — all the foam rolling. It’s definitely worth investing in a cheap foam roller if you don’t already have one so you can get in as much rolling as poss to have your muscles feeling tip-top ready for race day. As someone who’s suffered various running injuries and strains, I really do swear by foam rolling for ironing out niggles and pains. Try do 15 minutes a day in front of the TV or while dinner is cooking. One like this would be perfect.
IRON TABLETS — gah, anaemia is one of my biggest downfalls when it comes to running. If I’m not on top of my iron tablets, my legs fatigue way before they should. If you’re prone to anaemia, are veggie, or don’t get a lot of iron, I’d definitely suggest upping your iron stocks with supplements from now ’til race day.
PLENTY OF WATER — I’m going to really try this time to drink more water from now ’til race day. I’m rubbish at drinking water at the best of times but I’m going to make a conscious effort over the next few weeks (not just on the day before!) to take on plenty so my body is fully hydrated. You never know what’s going to get you on race day so you might as well fill your stocks as high as possible!
NOT RUNNING MORE THAN 10KM — it feels super weird spending weeks upping your distance then suddenly dropping it right down but it’s what all long-distance runners recommend to save your legs for race day. I’ve no plans to run more than 10km in the last 2-3 weeks, just little runs here and there.