Health & fitness

London Marathon: an update & goals.

The Sunday just gone. A mile from the end of a 19 mile run. On the verge of stopping and curling up in a nearby garden. S Club 7’s ‘Don’t Stop Movin’’ starts playing. Not an exhaustion-induced figment of my imagination, but a randomly well-timed track on my ‘Number ones of the 90’s’ playlist. I laughed so hard I almost cried.

Training is going well. At last. I’ve managed to string 7, 18 and 19 mile runs together on three consecutive weekends without migraine or other disaster. As well as getting longer, my runs are getting faster with my effort level remaining the same. Marathon training must be good for my fitness. Who knew. Turns out another thing marathon training is good for is gaining weight. I’ve been trying to gain weight for the past 5 years or so, and the only thing that has worked until now is growing another human inside me. I had assumed that all of the running would make it a struggle to keep weight on, let alone gain any but all of that carb-loading and recovery meals have meant that I’m finally a little softer around the edges.

So, 2 and a bit weeks to go. I may or may not be tapering right now. My hip which had been niggling slightly, turned into a full-on painful bugger during Sunday’s 19 miles, so depending on Friday’s osteopath assessment I may have to miss this Sunday’s planned 20 miles. I had been looking forward to ticking off the 20 miler – it’s a decent feather in the cap and there’s something satisfying about reaching that figure – but if I have to settle for a shorter run I’m not going to panic. 19.2 miles as my longest run is close enough and I would have taken that a couple of months ago.

Sub-4 is still my goal and I’m still on track to achieve it, but after failing to meet my target time at the Cambridge Half  (by one minute – eye rolling emoji ahoy) and beating myself up over it, I’ve decided that I need another goal or two to aim for as well. A plan B and C if you will. The disappointment I felt at Cambridge really tainted the day for me and I’ll be damned if I’m letting anything taint London for me. So, my new goals:

Performance goals

A goal: Sub-4 finish.

B goal: Sub-4.15 finish.

C goal: To finish without walking.

A wise bird also wisely told me that it is wise to not just focus on performance goals, so I’ve also set myself some other goals:

  1. To be smiling at the finish.
  2. To high-five at least one person in the crowd.
  3. To let myself cry at Tower Bridge if the need arises.
  4. To encourage anybody I see struggling.
  5. To perfect my race day hairstyle.
  6. To spot my supporters in the crowd.
  7. To shout ‘just a parkrun to go!’ 5k from the end.
  8. To try and get in the background of the BBC interviews on Tower Bridge.
  9. To not get sunburnt.
  10. To run past at least one celebrity.

Two (and a bit) weeks to go. We’ve got this.

As you know, I am running the London Marathon in aid of the RSPCA and I would greatly appreciate any spare pounds you’re able to donate to help me reach my target. Deets here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Joanna-Barlow3

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