Joggers Journey - Judith Kippax
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Marathon training this year has been going well though I am not sticking as strictly to my regular plan as before. As I finished chemo at the end of 2021, I spent the first months of the year slowly building miles back up. Since being on the cancer treatment journey (again) I am balancing getting out and about, enjoying life, visiting family etc along with training. As such some long sunday runs have been moved to other days and one week was even binned. Though that was because I was doing a two-day, long distance walk with friends. Two times 25 miles and I learnt that feet react very differently walking to running! It took me a week of gentle runs to get over the walking issues. Oops, that probably wasn’t a great idea, but thankfully it was mid-training, so I recovered.
I’ve also fitted an early long run (only nine miles) into a music festival weekend that a niece was playing at. It was within an area of hilly, narrow lanes so I mapped out a 1.5 mile route, once round the festival campsite, down the lane to a wide footpath and turn when that went uphill. The festival campers must have wondered what sort of a nutter I was running past six times as they ate a leisurely breakfast.
A marathon training plan is a must to give you some structure to your training. It allows you to build up slowly and ensures that you take some easier weeks so your body can recover. But a plan does not have to dictate your life for 16 or so weeks. So long as the basic structure is followed, and distances are increased sensibly you will be marathon ready at the end of it. Or as ready as anyone can ever be.
I have been making good use of Places Leisure with strength work in the gym followed by a swim. And, when it has been very hot, I have made use of the treadmills and aircon 😊 Treadmills are very useful, especially when it is cold, dark, and wet during winter training or stupidly hot in summer training, but it is important to get plenty of miles in on the road if that is the surface your event is on.
Distances are really creeping up now and I’ve done my first 20 miler. Some friends are training for a different marathon, so we join together for a good chat while we plod the long miles out. My husband is also running for the same charity as me (he has been fundraising for them for a few years) and as he is much quicker he does his own pace, but we do the long runs in the same place so that we pass each other often.
My plan has 20 milers ‘back to back’ but I am allowing my body to recover by dropping down to a 16 before doing another 20. Plus, a local running club are putting on a 20-mile event on a date that doesn’t quite fit my usual plan. Having company running with you at a similar pace or an event so you have water stations etc provided are both very useful when distances are getting big. Being out for hours on your own can be very lonely.
I have a busy few weeks coming up to fit training around. I will be watching the cycling Tour of Britain in two areas and my husband is doing the Swim Serpentine in London the weekend of our wedding anniversary so I will be adjusting training days accordingly. Both are after having done my second 20 miler so I am hoping they will not impact too much in the later weeks of training. Roll on taper fortnight.
For anyone thinking about doing a marathon or trying to get a London Marathon place I would say, 100%, do it. You learn so much about yourself, your body and what it can do, and you build so much mental strength. But if you are totally new to running be kind to yourself and get at least a year of running under your belt. Do Parkrun, join a running club (they really do have runners of all ages and abilities) and remember to do other fitness work like gym, swim, yoga etc.
My husband and I have done the London Marathon quite a few times now, mostly with charities though I have had Good for Age places and my husband did get a ballot place. We make a long weekend of it and travel Friday / Monday, meet up with friends we made through running London for the same charity and enjoy a well earnt, leisurely, meal on Sunday evening. Getting our bodies all the way back to South Yorkshire on Monday is easier than when seized up late Sunday afternoon!
Marathon running, at our level, is supposed to be enjoyable so we build in little treats throughout training and make sure we enjoy the whole weekend of the race itself.
Charity running for: Breast Cancer Now
Fundraising link: Just Giving
Though I've ran the London marathon several times, fundraising for charities with meaningful connections to my husband and family, this time I am running for a charity very meaningful to me. I had breast cancer 29 years ago, age 29, and after surgery chemotherapy and radiotherapy I got on with life.
Roll on many years and having joined a running club I was lucky to get their London Marathon place in 2013. I ran for Fight for Sight as my husband had a damaged optic nerve from a childhood accident.
In early 2015 I had another new breast cancer with surgery & radiotherapy and again got on with life. I had a GFA London place, and I fundraised for CRUK for all cancers.
Since then, I've ran it for two charities meaningful to my mother who died in 2018. Versus Arthritis and Contact (a family).Then in 2021, I had my third primary breast cancer and this time it meant a mastectomy.
I had Chemotherapy again and at age 58 it has knocked me for six. Advances in medicine is all well and good but they really have come up with some seriously strong stuff! Plus, I am now on daily medication which could make me stiffen up and/or cause muscle/joint pain.
I know I have lost muscle strength through chemo, so I need to work at cross training and not just run. I have used gyms for nearly 40 years and know that swimming and yoga are also very beneficial.
Breast Cancer Now have provided wonderful support to me both in 2015 and currently. I am very pleased to have been given one of their London places so I can fundraise to support them as they have supported me.