Training for a Marathon - Guest Post by Chris Williamson

Chris has very kindly decided to run the marathon for us and we are really impressed by how well he is doing! You can show your support by sponsoring him following this link. Having taken a little bit of time out from his running to put pen to paper, Chris has shared with us his thoughts on his training thus far. 

"I have been asked to write about how my training is going for the London Marathon. The short answer is okay. The real answer is nuanced and complicated.

I ran the Reading Half Marathon on Sunday. The weather was sunny, a bit blustery, but for 10 miles I really enjoyed it. I ran most of the way behind a blind runner and his guide and felt immensely grateful. And quite emotional every time I saw a runner’s T-shirt with a photo of a lost loved one and the reason it inspired them to run. Whenever I turned a corner and my shadow stretched in front of me I felt brilliant. But after 10 miles it wasn’t fun anymore and there are still 3 more long miles to go with a lot of thinking time. Lots to think about too. In my mind I sorted out my retirement plans and lots of work ideas. Even solved the Brexit issues. But that only took me to mile 12. Then more sinister thoughts appear.

13 years ago I ran 4 marathons in 4 months. My reasoning was that the worst part about running a marathon is the training so if I’ve trained for one I might as well do a few. It was great and I enjoyed the experience. But afterwards I had my regular annual health check-up and was referred to a heart specialist. Everything was fine after lots of tests but the issue which had arisen is good to note. And may serve as a caution to everyone who is encouraged to indulge in extreme exercise. The heart is a muscle and like any other it gets bigger if you exercise it. Sometimes one half grows bigger than the other so can pump out faster than it pumps in and this can lead to problems. The specialist offered his advice “If you love it, carry on running. But if you are doing it because you think it makes you fitter then don’t, because we weren’t designed to run marathons”. He explained that a caveman wouldn’t run more than 5km to chase an animal because he would then have to drag it back too far to the cave. Speed is more important. And intelligence. His conclusion was “I see just as many people with problems from doing extreme sports as I see people sitting on the sofa eating crisps every day.”

So after solving Brexit and retirement and still running past the 12 mile marker that’s quite a thing to think about. The finish line of the Reading Half Marathon is in the football stadium. It’s a wonderful venue to finish, but the thought of it as the halfway point filled me with horror. I’m hoping it’s all in the mind and I have just under 40 days to train for running twice that distance. I know I can do it if I can manage what is going on in my brain to take away the pain which is going on in my legs.

So. How’s my training going? The short answer is okay."


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