Why a Marathon?
The following are questions I am often asked:
Why does a 64 year old man want to take part in a marathon?
Have you ever run a Marathon?
Are you capable of running a Marathon?
How are you training?
What is your nutrition & hydration plan?
Hopefully over the next few posts I will be able to enlighten you.
So, what makes a seemingly sane 64 year old want to run 26.2 miles, the answer is simple it’s a challenge and a way of fundraising for two amazing charities. Before I go on, I do have a confession, as I’m probably not your average 64 year old, or what people expect a 64 year old to be like.
First thing we must understand while being 64 means I no longer have musculature of a 20 or 30 year old (and in my case I didn’t have the lean look when I was). However, being older I appreciate that my body can still do amazing things and if I treat it well then, I am going to live a much healthier and less dependent “old age”. You should also understand the journey I took to allow me to undertake a Marathon started when I was in my late 20’s when I first set foot in a gym. The gym was in a room under the public swimming pool in Southgate and for many years I turned down the opportunity to work with a PT, as I assumed they were the reserve of the wealthy and worked on my own, keeping to the same equipment (sound familiar). At 39 I was asked to take part in a 30 mile cycle ride for an amazing charity, I borrowed a bike and trained for the event by cycling on my own as I still didn’t understand how a PT would help me. Now the ride was harder than I imagined, and I was hooked and for the next 10–15 years would find me riding the mean streets of Hertfordshire or taking part in 50 & 75 mile cycle rides. By this time, I had begun to work with a gym-based PT as I knew I had to build up my strength. Sadly, over the years I had, had a few scrapes and been knocked off my bike which resulted in a couple of broken ribs, a compound/compressed fracture on my left hand and after 15 years I decided that my body didn’t bounce that well and I was no longer enjoying riding my bike.
However, I did start training with a PT as was advised by Nina Fistric an amazing sports therapist to change my gait, as I had mentioned I could only run 1 mile on average before my knees or back began to hurt and this one simple adjustment opened up the world of running to me.
I started my journey to a Marathon during the first lockdown during March 2020 and at first I would jog for a couple of minutes and walk for a couple of minutes before I only ever walked up hills, well I wasn’t silly was I as hills hurt. I found I really enjoyed running and was able to run that much further each and every day and was running an average 5km a day. So, when public races were allowed I entered my first ever 10k. Which was a wee bit stupid as I had never run this far before. Once again, I chose to train myself by just running everywhere, not realising to be a better runner you needed a strong core and arms as well as legs.
Well, I entered and completed my first 10k in June 2021 and entered a few more 10k’s and finally during October 2021 I entered and completed The Great South Run in Portsmouth. This was a 10 mile race around 6km’s longer than anything I had run before. And while I enjoyed it, I knew I could do better and not find it so hard. So I did the one thing I should have done and that was find a PT, who was also a running coach and found Becky Burke, who I had known for 15 years. Under Becky’s guidance I can run longer and more importantly recover quicker and in January 2022 I entered and ran in my first ever half marathon. Under Becky’s guidance and advice, I decided to enter the ballot for The London Marathon. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a place, but I decided to apply to run the shadow or virtual marathon.
So do I think I can run a marathon, YES. Am I worried about running 26.2 miles NO. Will I enjoy the day, yes and no. Yes, because it will be a challenge but No, because I’m running it the hard way as there will be no energy from the crowds, no other runners to run with if I get tired (and I will), no water stations or even portaloos. However, the training I am undertaking and will be sharing means I can run the 26.2 miles in around 6 hours 30 minutes and the route has been planned so I do have rest stops if I need them (and I will) as well as a couple of comfort stops where people have very kindly said I can use the “facilities”
Over the next few blogs, I will be sharing my training regime with you and if I can inspire other older people to start running then that will be a bonus.
A few words from me!