The London Marathon has been established as one of the most favoured marathons of runners. Blame it on the city, the people or environment; it will always be one which holds magic.
“I loved it so much the first time I did it, the atmosphere, the fact it is so iconic and it’s flat.”
Harriet, had been applying for the London Marathon for years. It was the first ever Marathon she ran for a charity in 2011 and she had been dying to do it ever since. When she finally got a place for the 2022 London Marathon, the mission was simple: Train hard and complete a marathon to the best of her ability. Although easy to say, training and completing a marathon comes with a lot more hardships in the way.
“I am not a super-fast runner, I run because I love it, but the training challenged me. I was coming off the back of having covid which seemed to knock my energy for months after. I even took 2 months off of running so I felt I was starting from nothing.”
When first training for a marathon the miles might seem endless. The doubt creeps in and the worry you might not be able to achieve your goal can be hard to shake. Maybe your body is not strong enough for it, or your endurance is not that great. Perhaps the time you are trying to achieve is simply not realistic. It’s easy to get drawn in excuses and it’s even easier to let them consume you.
Completing a marathon means discipline. It means staying consistent. The truth is, sometimes the runs seem pointless. Getting yourself out is not just hard, it’s a physical battle with yourself. Building pace is surely no fun. Running might even feel uncomfortable for a bit…but that’s your sign you’re heading in the right direction. Escaping your comfort zone and pushing yourself to the learning zone is how you will be able to achieve a marathon alongside all the mental and physical barriers that come with it.
“I had to start picking up pace and that was the hard part for me and felt it took the joy out of running for a little while. Until I noticed improvement. I have thoroughly enjoyed the final few weeks of my training seeing my progress and I am excited about the day.”
Ultimately, the miles will come and go, but you will be the one who has overcome them. The endurance is something you built; you just have to stay consistent. Once training starts and progresses you find yourself thinking “maybe, I can do this after all”. As Harriet’s training continued, one of the best things that came out of it was seeing the improvement and recognising it for herself.
“The best bits have been the improvement I have made and realising how much strength training supports your running. Running is a mental and physical game and you get the good and the bad most runs. You can’t have the good without the bad, so I try and embrace the bad.”
Training for a marathon is not just about completing one; not just about running 26.2 miles.
It’s how true you can stay to yourself. How discipline you can be with yourself. It’s finding out how much strength there is in you to keep pushing instead of giving up. More than running a marathon, training and completing one is a life skill. You just have to decide how discipline you are with your goals.
Finally, Harriet shares with us:
“I am feeling excited about the day. Nervous but good nerves. I want to appreciate the moment this time. I feel like I let nerves get in the way last time as I was a lot younger, and it was my first marathon but this time I want to fully appreciate the experience.”
Completing a marathon is a life experience which sets you apart. From the doubts, from the crowd, from the noise. Whether it’s the London marathon you have signed up for or any other marathon this year, we applaud you for your commitment and hard work while wishing you all the best for your racing day!