Run, run, run... keep running and then run some more!!

This was the mantra I told my running buddies last weekend before the Loch Ness marathon... and they stuck with it!!

Sam here, wishing you a very happy weekend!! I can't believe it's already been a week since the marathon.... and I must say I am only just starting to feel like myself again! There is a weird combination of feeling amazing and also feeling slightly lost - I have all this spare time in which I would usually be running!  

I've completed two marathons in the past and so I had a good idea what to expect. I felt that I trained well, many of the longer runs with Reka for company which really helped! I trained hard but also listened to when my body needed an extra little bit of rest. The one thing I hadn't prepared for was all of the hills!! It was so much hillier than I had expected!! A big surprise to my marathon buddies aswell!!

Being in Scotland, the lead up to the marathon was great. I felt like I had to be strong for first-timers Reka and Lion, so any nervousness went to the back of my mind so that I could support them. The day before I did an exercise with them to imagine what they would say if some stranger asked them "Why are you running..? Why not stop?" The point being that the stranger is our inner monologue telling us we can't carry on! We ended up with a new mantra of "NO!, Why?!, Because I'm awesome!!" - not really what I was going for but it seemed to work!

During the race we stuck together for 14/15 miles making it a very fast half for me. Reka did so well uphill and ran on ahead leaving me and Lion to tackle the hills together. Around the 18 mile mark we were both struggling a little, walking up one of the steeper bits together and pushing each other on. We got to mile 20 and I decided to speed it up a little and left Lion to it. Those last few miles were, as predicted, the hardest 6 miles - perhaps mentally more than physically! The scenery was incredible and witnessing other runners supporting each other in them last few miles made me so happy! I brought forward all of my reasons for running and visualised the finish line to get me through... in the last couple of miles there was much more support from locals which gave me a much needed boost and then, finally I made it! PHEW! Lion was not far behind, but as you will read from his testimonial further down, his experience highlights why it is important to train more efficiently for an event such as a marathon as it has such an impact on both body and mind - as all big challenges should!

The recovery has been pretty speedy physically... mentally I've been feeling a little low but this is to be expected - from next week my mission is to focus on strength and HIIT until training begins in 12 weeks for my next marathon!! 

I've asked my marathon buddies to share with you their Loch Ness experience as first timers...

Reka (SMASH original and my client and friend)

To be honest I never had any intention to run a Marathon in my life until I met Sam. The longest distance I've done was 10 km. I've enjoyed every moment of our training. Running became my way to switch off from work and forget my worriesOn the morning of the Marathon I was very nervous, wanted to throw up:) and asked myself  'Do you really think you are able to run 26.2 miles?'. It was hard, hilly and painful but the scenery was beautiful and we were running together as a team/friends. Then, before I knew it, I saw mile marker 25 and realised I am going to be done soon!! I do have to say that crossing the finish line might have been the best feelings ever. I would and will definitely do it again!Thank you Sam for all your support! 

Lion (PT at FF Angel)

I’m feeling good in myself, still lots of pondering about the race, and how I got through. My ankles swollen and very sore, like I’ve basically sprained both of them and my right knee is still super tight, no long lasting injuries I don’t think, but I pushed it to the limit and now In full recovery mode, I’m still hobbling around like and invalid  I don’t really want to rush my recovery, I’ve been training hard for this and just listening to my body for a bit... I swear, I’ve never had to push myself like that, through pain and injury and all sorts - I only didn’t quit because I couldn’t -  Mentally I feel like a G! I'm coming back like a beast for the next one watch this space 

I am SO SO proud of these two and even more proud that they are BOTH planning to join me for the Brighton marathon next year. Entries are closed but will re-open in 2 weeks for limited spaces, so if anybody has been inspired to take on a MARATHON of a challenge... let me know (and register your interest here)!! 

And of course.... if you don't fancy a full marathon you are welcome to come ask me any questions about running or preparing for any race length... Now with 27 races completed (mostly half's) I've learnt a LOT about running and a lot more about myself! I've already made an "advanced" foolproof plan to try and improve my time for the next one, and I've made a nice long, progressive plan for Ash who will be running the London Marathon next April!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and in the words of Nelson Mandela "It always seems impossible until it's done".

Sam & Ash