They don’t call it a marathon for nothing – running one puts a crazy amount of strain on the body. Training for a marathon can take over your life. I was really sad to hear of the guy who lost his life a few days ago at the London Marathon. I can’t help but think of him when I am out training for my own marathon next month. It seems so unfair. It is so sad. I think of him lacing up his shoes that morning with a mixture of nerves and excitement.
Fortunately marathon fatalities are relatively rare but the fact they happen should be a wake up to us all. We have to be sure we are listening to our bodies. I had an 18 mile run scheduled in the diary for last Saturday. It pained me to miss it but I wasn’t right and it would be stupid to attempt such a long distance. Training for a marathon is most certainly more of an accomplishment than running it. It takes a lot of time, effort and commitment. I would not want to waste all of my training and get an injury. I just need to get through the next month without catching any viruses going around.
What does it actually mean to listen to our body though? I mean if I listened too hard I might never leave the house. I might just find my old pal the sofa and give up. We know that exercise is great for us – both physically and mentally. How do we know the best amount and intensity though? We are all different. For me personally I ask myself –
- Am I just a bit sore or in physical pain?
- How am I sleeping? – do I sleep soundly or am I restless and waking up in the night?
- Do I feel feverish? – if I get the hot and cold feeling I always rest
- Is my appetite normal – am I enjoying my meals?
When we really stop and think about it, take time out from our mentally busy lives sometimes the answer is staring right at us. If we are in doubt I would say take it slow and if the run or workout doesn’t feel right STOP. A mile is still a mile. Anything like severe breathlessness and chest pain – see the GP right away.
I am now feeling better and geared up for the long training run this weekend – I am actually looking forward to it albeit a bit nervous. They say that a month before you run a marathon you should be able to run 15 miles relatively comfortably. I know I can do this but am a little scared of the unknown (still to get up to 20 miles). If there is a point that I start to feel shattered I will walk. I will pace myself for a bit. I will be prepared with more gels this time as when I ran 16.5 miles recently I only took one gel with me. It wasn’t enough fuel. I will also ensure my long run ends somewhere flat, unlike the last time when I ended it with this crazy hill to go up. What was I thinking?
With everything though it is about balance. I held back a little bit at The Great Edinburgh Run a couple of weeks ago with a fear of pushing too hard and getting a pre marathon injury. It is a balance between pushing yourself and erring on the side of caution. Next year I intend to go for it and use it as great training before The Edinburgh Marathon Festival weekend. I think for me I just want to have the marathon experience and I will follow how my body feels on the day. Will I sign for the half or the full again next year? Time will tell – definitely one of them.
Next year, as I continue to lose weight, my plan is to start pushing myself a bit more and improving my time. I have a 10k, 10 mile and half marathon time and medal. I just need to get the marathon one. The more weight I lose and the less pressure there is on my joints (and heart), the easier this will get. I am trying my best to always remember that fitness is a lifestyle not a fad – especially when it comes to my daily diet. We all have different goals, different bodies and different levels of fitness. Find the balance that works for you #findbalance.
Most importantly – HAVE FUN X