Monday, 4 April 2016

Fitness: My Running Story: The Great North Run

Have you ever signed up for something and dreaded it straight after? Well that was me last year, when I signed up to do the Great North Run and had never ran more than 1 mile in my life. CRAZY - I know. For some reason, I had always hated running as a form of exercise and was more of  a sport game person or just going to the gym kid of girl. I needed a new challenge in my life and running was the new challenge for me in 2015.

When I signed up I think my first thought was that I needed to get out there and build up my miles. I think these thoughts go through everyone's mind when they sign up for something totally out of their comfort zone like the Great North Run. Here is a little story of my journey to the Great North Run. 

January 2015 – RUNNING ALONE

When I signed up for the Great North Run I decided to start the couch the 5k which meant that in 10 weeks I would be able to run 3 miles which is a small amount of miles compared to the actually 13.1 you have to do on the day. I think for the first 6/7 weeks I was really motivated to go out running and felt a real change in my body. I really enjoyed running by myself listening to music really helped to de-stress as work was getting hard. I felt more comfortable being able to run the small distance I couldn't run in January. I kept running at least twice a week but wasn't really getting much further than 2/3 miles. In March, which was when my job started getting a bit more crazy with working 2 job meaning a lot of early morning and a lot of late nights. That was when I lost my motivation trying to get out of bed early was not happening and going for run at 9 pm after a long day at work wasn’t happening either. I started to not enjoying going for runs even tho afterwards I would feel great I just didn't have the motivation to push myself any more.

June 2015 – WHAT TO DO NEXT?

In between trying to go out and run which was only happening about once a week or once in maybe 2 week and there wasn't long until the Great North Run. I wasn't getting that far with miles I was still only at about 4 miles which is nowhere near enough if I wanted to get a good personal best. As I work as an activity instructor for Active Newcastle one of my colleagues kept asking if I wanted to help out at the social running groups she was running through Active Newcastle. I said no for a long time as I thought I couldn't run far enough after some time I decided to go along and help out, I joined the beginners running club on a Monday evening that started in the centre of Newcastle, they had just finished the 10 week running program so they were able to run around 3 miles comfortably.


In July 2015, I decided to go along to one of Active Newcastle running groups which are aren’t like your normal running groups, which you learn straight away and which is why I most likely go back every week. When I started there was around 15 to 20 women in the group and  these women are all about making improvements to there fitness and running technique but it is also about able to come along to a group and being able to have a chat while having a run. I personally found that this group started to build my motivation for running again and made me want to get out again. I was still only running around the 4 mile mark but my pace has increased and I didn’t have to stop so I knew that I could go further if I wanted to. At this point there was around 12 weeks til the Great North Run. I was really pushing myself in the running group sessions but I was only going to 1 session a week which to me wasn’t enough so I decided to go along to the Tuesday night session which I knew did an extra mile on top so I knew I would be hitting around the 4.5/5 mile mark. I loved every moment of being part of the group as I loved the social side and having women around me that all enjoyed being out in all weathers. There was just one issue, I wasn't getting enough miles in.

August 2015 – UPPING UP MY GAME!

With only around 6 weeks til the run, I had to up my running game this is when I tried to do runs by myself as well as running with the group. Running by myself was the runs where I had to put the miles in. I will say I never ran more than 7 miles before I ran the Great North Run, I had been told that being able to run 9 miles comfortable would be enough to get me through the race. I ran 7 miles maybe around 3 or 4 times before the race which I could run comfortable.  I knew that I would definitely be able to run around 9 miles fine. My cardio was at the best it could before racing and I was still doing the shorter runs on a Monday night.

September 2015 – RACE MONTH/DAY

September came racing around (see what I done there) and next thing I knew it was the day of the run. I loved every moment of the Great North Run. I ran the first 9 miles comfortable with only a few stops here and there mainly for toilet breaks or to get water. 10 mile was where I had problems, at around mile 8 my hip started to get a pain but I pushed through as you do to reach the end but by mile 10 I was having the same pain in my knee which by mile 11 had travelled down to my ankle. I jogged and walked the best I could til the end part. Let me tell you that last 800m is horrible and people tell you that beforehand but oh my it was hard but I made it all the way to the end. I and my sister ran the race in 2 hours 50 minutes and I will say it was one of the proudest moments of 2015. There is things you get told when you tell people you’ve signed up for the Great North Run, one is that the atmosphere from the side lines will pull you through. There is not one point of that run where you won’t see crowds of people cheering you on, passing you sweets (it’s a good job I liked jelly babies)  and entrainment the whole away long.  

I’ve made this blog post to show that anyone can run the Great North Run if they put their mind to it. The GNR raises millions for charities every year. If your thinking of trying to get a place for this year your best bet is with a charity as all ballot places have been taken. I ran for the Guide Dogs last year and my sister ran for Mind. 

I don't really know what I wanted you to get from this post but thought it was something I needed to tell as this years GNR is not that far away.

Are you signed up for the GNR or maybe just a 5k? Why not tell me about it or if you have some advice incase I decide to do a different half marathon in the future.

I hope to hear from you soon,
See you later,
Love Melissa Marshall

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