What’s the furthest distance you’ve ever run?
Up until last Sunday the furthest I’d managed was 16 miles. So to push through an extra 2.5 miles felt like a big obstacle to overcome in my training for the Virgin London Marathon. The only problem – 18.5 miles is still 8 miles off a marathon distance.
So I’m finding that when it comes to these big distances the main barriers you face are in your own head. Once you have physically run a certain distance you break down all these barriers in your mind. You’ve done it before, so you can do it again. It was this mentality that made me compete in the Sheffield half marathon last year without any training. Although I finished I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this approach.
When you watch the London marathon, as I did last year, you see people from all walks of life and in all sorts of physical condition compete. I’ve heard plenty of inspirational stories from people whose bodies are failing them but still have the courage and determination to compete. Now I’m training for 26.2 miles you begin to realise that it is not their perceived physical condition that unites all 37,000 competitors but their state of mind and mental toughness. A couple of months ago a colleague said to me, ‘But you don’t look like a runner.’ That may be the case but when it comes to race day what we all look like on the outside will be irrelevant. Even if you are dressed up as a giraffe.
The challenge we all face remains the same –
How do you keep on running when all your senses are telling you to stop?
Digital Communications Executive at The Lowry