At The Start - All Set
When I first started writing this weight loss blog more than 3 years ago, my goal was to make lifestyle changes that would enable me to not only lose weight, but once I had lost it, to remain within a healthy weight range for the long term. One of those changes is well documented here, after all it’s the name of this blog ! The goal was to become a retired dieter and get off the diet merry go round for good. One other goal I had, I kept private until now.
I had set myself a target of running a marathon before I was 50. The challenge of running 26.2 miles has always had a strange draw to me. Back in the winter of 2008 , at 44 years of age, and with 56 lbs to lose, that goal seemed a long way off. Well this past Easter Sunday weekend I achieved that goal.
I ran the Hull Marathon in 4 hours 13 minutes and 28 seconds , not too shabby for a 47 year old former fat boy, on his first attempt !.
Me With My Marathon Medal
I actually entered for the Marathon way back in November 2011, the reason I did not say anything about it before now was simply because I still felt so much could go wrong before the day, or even on the day !. As it turned out, other than the last 3 miles, all went well. Those last 3 miles ? .. oh those were sheer hell, At 21 miles I was running well and looking at a time of under 4 hours, but at mile 23 my legs went, and my thoughts turned from doing the Marathon in under 4 hours to just making sure I finished it.
Those last 3 miles took everything I had, pysically I had nothing left, it was just sheer mental determination that got me over that finishing line. Today, 2 days after the race, my legs are still weak. In my training I had done regular long runs up to 20 miles, and I was always fine after those runs, but this extra 6 miles has left me feeling worse than the first day I ever started to do exercise .
The training guide I followed did not have me running past 20 miles. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but knowing what I know now, I would have trained beyond the 26 miles I had to run.
This issue of how to train for a marathon, actually reminds me a lot of the typical advice we see about weight loss. There are so many different people telling you how you should lose weight and what is the right way to go about doing it , but as I often say on this blog, the right way is the way that works for you. Before Sunday I had never run a marathon, so I had no personal experience I could use to help me prepare. I looked online and of course found many different views on how to train for a marathon, and of course plenty of debate between runners as to what was the right or wrong way to train, the similarities with the weight loss websites out there was very evident to me, It was hard to know what to do. For ” don’t run more than xx miles per day training or you will burn out, you could easily be reading, “don’t cut calories too much or you will go into starvation mode” !.
NOT mile 23 !
Now that I have done the distance myself, I now know what I would do to prepare for it again, even though there would be people telling me it’s wrong, I know for me that I need to run past 26 miles in training so that I know I can do it on the race day. For every person who tells me ” you don’t need to do 26 miles before the day ” I now know from doing that race, for my own peace of mind, I do !. I am sure there are plenty of runners who complete marathons while only training to 20 miles on their long runs, but for me, that is not going to work.
Weight Loss is the same, there are plenty of different ways to get to your goal, but the right way, is the one that you can follow easily and not that you have to take every ounce of mental strength to try and stick to it. You can do that one day, but long term, you have to find a better way to get you over the line.
So this is one goal complete. So what do I set myself next you may ask ? Well now I want to run below 4 hours next year, so yes I will do it again, especially as I won a free entry to next years marathon as I was the 500th applicant for this years. Typical, the only thing I win in my life is the chance to run another 26 miles !
What is the take home message from this post ? well, 2 things really…
No 1. No matter if you are running a marathon, or looking to lose weight, be sure to take some time and listen to yourself and not just what everyone else tells you. Do what gets you the results you want. If you don’t like to eat breakfast, then don’t eat breakfast if that is what works for you. If you are making progress in what you do, stick with it, if you are not getting the results you want, then make a change.
No 2 Always set yourself new challenges to keep you moving forward, and not slipping back to your old ways. Keep your goals realistic. I can’t run a marathon in 14 days with no training, just the same as you can’t lose 30lbs in 14 days, but we can start doing the things that help us achieve those targets over time. The important thing is how much do want it ?
I ran the Hull Marathon in aid of The Hey Smile Foundation that link will show you the charities they support. If any reader would like to make a donation, no matter how small, you can do so through my Just Giving Page Here