Mick’s Marathon: Blog Post 1
- Days to marathon = 89
- Longest run = 14.2 miles
- Next target = 17ish miles in February and up to 20ish in March
- Favourite running track = no music, just me and my thoughts
- Donations so far = £20,700 (50% off target)
In April I will attempt my first ever marathon, the London Marathon. But why am I doing this? Quite simply to raise money for the ExtraCare Charitable Trust to support older people to have better lives. At ExtraCare our well-being services rely on funds to ensure they remain accessible to all our residents regardless of their health or wealth. Public funding cuts mean public funding alone no longer covers the cost of providing these services which include dementia support, preventative health support, end of life support and general well-being advice. As a charity we are committed to covering this shortfall. Our residents, volunteers and staff all give time freely and do lots of fundraising things to support. This is me doing my bit!
It is exactly three months until the marathon and my training is well underway. I do have some previous running experience – I ran a half marathon in Solihull in 2017 – but this is a whole new challenge! I have also completed the Sutton Fun Run (8.5 miles) every year since 1993 and before embarking on my marathon training I used to go for short recreational runs of about three to four miles each Sunday.
I have been training for the marathon since December. Up until this point I was completing short runs in an attempt to build up to 8.4 miles, the first target on my running plan. I have now hit 14.2 miles and this has been achieved by completing a short run each Wednesday evening with a longer run on the Sunday.
I am finding the training schedule quite tough, mainly because it is more time consuming than you might realise. The long runs especially require preparation and recovery time which is a huge commitment – it takes up a big chunk of the weekend! The longer runs also require some planning, I’m going out in my van to measure the route to ensure I have a course to hit my target. But I am enjoying the thinking time, running is good for that.
The biggest challenge is trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle. I’m trying to fit more carbohydrates into my evening meal before the long runs. I know I’ll need to take my diet more seriously as I step up the mileage so this, with trying out some energy gels, will be the next big challenge. Thankfully I’m getting some support and advice from local, ex Olympian middle and long-distance runner and former 5,000 metres world record holder, David Moorcroft OBE. He’s a good friend of ExtraCare having participated in a torch relay around our villages for the Rio Olympics in 2016. We’re planning a run next month and he has been helpful in providing tips and advice.
I have also had some help with orthotics. The orthotics were recommended by a colleague who had previously run the marathon. I visited a podiatrist to have my gait measured, who created the orthotics for my running shoes. My right Achilles is causing me some concern, it gets quite tight after running. I worry that I’ll hurt it further and it will affect my training schedule or, worse still, the marathon but I’m determined to reach the finish line and the orthotics seem to be helping. So far, having used them, my Achilles still gets sore but I’m finding the recovery is much easier.
If I had to give one piece of advice to a fellow runner attempting their first marathon, I’d say “just do it, get out there.” It’s so easy to put the short runs off and make excuses but it really won’t help in the long run – excuse the pun. I’m usually really satisfied after completing a training run – though with the longer runs I’m usually just glad to have finished! I have a few personal goals to spur me on that might help others: to complete the run without injury, to finish the distance without stopping, to reach the next mileage target, and to beat my previous run time – if I can achieve all four it really helps with the next run.
All of the money I raise will go to my charity. As a charity, we support a wide range of people including those with dementia. My dad has Alzheimer’s so I have witnessed first-hand the difference support services can make to those living with the condition but also for those who love and care for him.
Sponsoring is easy, donations can made direct via https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/mick-laverty or by contacting our fundraising team at firstname.lastname@example.org
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