Fitness / 02.01.2015

The Daily Runner Blog: Destination half marathon

By Claire Lavelle
From desk-bound to runaround: a lapsed runner returns to form (she hopes…)

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Follow healthy‘s deputy editor as she gets in training for a 13.1 mile challenge

Sunday March 22st 2015. It’s a date far enough in the dim and distant future not to worry too much about, right? It sounded even more remote when I signed up for the Richmond Half marathon back in September, as I was just about to turn 40 and determined to do something about my increasingly erratic exercise regime and dwindling fitness levels.

An early-waking toddler and dog whose recent slipped disc means his days as my faithful running buddy are shelved indefinitely have conspired to hijack my morning run, a long-standing habit that has fallen by the wayside with surprising ease, especially now that it’s winter – dark, cold, and a time when all sensible creatures are hibernating. 13.1 miles, eh? All I can say is that it sounded like a good idea at the time.

I’ve run a half marathon before – in 2011, for these lovely people. I was aiming for sub two hours, so was happy to achieve 1 hour 52 minutes – and suspect that if I’d pushed it, I could have got closer to 1h45m. Although I’m far from what I would call a ‘natural’ runner, I am a committed plodder, and despite vastly diminished levels of fitness and less time to train, secretly, my goal for the Richmond Half is sub 1h45.

So it is that I find myself at the door of Browne Bailey, owner of Equals Results fitness studios [], specialists in super-effective 30-minute workouts. Our first session includes squats, lunges, core work and treadmill sprints that leave me gasping. We are working on building up my overall strength and fitness, Browne explains, ready for the 30 minute outdoor running drills (argh) we’ll be starting after Christmas. In the meantime, I am expected to run twice a week on my own, for at least 35 minutes each time to compliment our sessions. I manage a paltry 20 minute run one week and 30 minutes the next, and am foolish enough to admit it.

‘On your Monday night run,’ Browne says (for I have recklessly agreed to undertake a night-time run once a week, all in the spirit of clocking up the miles), ‘run past the studio and pop your head round the door so I know you’re on your feet. Do the same on Saturdays.’ As a training tactic, it works like a charm. Being accountable to someone who can tell in a heartbeat whether you’re putting in the miles (or not) is a great incentive, and after the first couple of drop-ins, I find my motivation returning – along with my running mojo. I never fail to feel grateful for that delicious sensation of ‘flow’, when all of a sudden your body switches to go and you start to enjoy the sensation of physical hard work. Maybe 13.1 miles won’t be so bad after all…

Follow me on Twitter @HealthyLavelle and keep up with my training using #dailyrunnerUK.

The Daily Runner Blog: Destination half marathon
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The Daily Runner Blog: Destination half marathon
From desk-bound to runaround: follow my training as I prepare to become a half marathon runner.
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Healthy Magazine
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