Training for a Challenge

It’s no secret that I like running and I’m a little bit on the competitive side…. Many of you will of heard me talking up my latest challenge - the Great Ocean Road Marathon. It's this weekend and I’m starting to regret the big talk a little! Setting yourself a big challenge creates a wave of emotions as you get closer to the actual event - and panic is one of them! With a couple of weeks of training left, when a well seasoned marathoner will start to pull back on the training.... I panicked!

So off I went on a panic run - a hilly 37km in new shoes. What was I doing!!

As my old ones fell apart on the previous long run, I bought new shoes, same model and size, but didn’t try them on - don't you just hate it when the brands make changes to your favourite shoe - they were way too tight. So I visited our friends at The Running Company who saved the day and fitted me with a fantastic new pair with just three weeks to go.

I’ve been wrapped across the knuckles for running too far by everyone I work with, I should know better I know. But for now I am feeling good, which I've got to attribute to the ancillary work I have done in the early training stages as I had a few issues early on.

Midway through the training plan everything started to fall apart, my runs were getting slower and my calves tighter, I didn’t know what was happening, both calves felt like rocks and my legs would fatigue after about 500m.

Desperately trying to work out what is wrong, I saw Coby here at Muscle Medicine, Osteo Max at Hunter Health, Physio Matt at Balance in Motion and movement specialist MJ at Primal Fitness - it takes a village to build a marathon runner! There were a number of areas I could work on with exercise, movement, stretching, but eventually we worked out my main problem was my diet. I had been working my body so hard and not giving it enough protein to recover. I'm very aware of my diet, but it was interesting to see how quickly inadequate nutrition can have such a significant effect on the body.

I went to a nutritionist for blood tests to isolate exactly what I needed; supplements and protein powders. Ensuring I was replacing the nutrients I was burning through made a huge difference, my run speed picked up and the cramping in my calves stopped. Though running in the poorly fitting shoes left me with bruised toenails and sore feet. My new shoes are now happily worn in, I'm keeping myself hydrated and well nourished as I manage the lead up to the big day.

My target for the race is 3 hours 30 mins, I’m mainly looking forward to the actual run with the guys I’ve been training with and hopefully enjoying some of the scenery along the way and don't forget the celebration of the achievement!

For anyone who is looking to take on a challenge, from the City 2 Surf, to your first or 5th marathon, I highly recommend you build yourself a team of support therapists to help you achieve your goals while looking after your body - remember, you need it once the challenge is over too!

I'm running with a group called the 'Flying Frenchies' - goes against my English genes, but they are a great group, and fun will be had. See you all on the other side! Thanks to everyone for their support.