My tips to prepare for running a marathon.

Sport

I’m at that age where people left, right and centre seem to be signing up to run a marathon… (I didn’t know that you’d ever done any physical activity since leaving school but waheeeey ok why not)

Running a marathon is one of those beautifully pretentious acts that allows you to feel smug forever more and to be perceived as a true hero for years to come.

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that face = eternal smugness

But before you can bask in your super fitness glory you need to prepare yourself. Big time.

Although I’ve only ran one half marathon and one full marathon (proper rookie over here.) I’m going to give my 2 cents and document my best tips for marathon preparation..

1. Don’t underestimate the distance/experience

Everyone will tell you how hard it is. Everyone will tell you how long it is. Everyone will tell you how rewarding it is when you finish. It’s all of those things; don’t believe it will be any different than that for you.

2. Know your course

Most marathons will have the course available to download with information of terrain, altitude, incline etc. Study this to prepare yourself. Practice hills if it’s a hilly course, train on the road if it’s a road race! I’ll never understand people who only run through fields and on grass before a road race. You’ll arrive on the day of the marathon and your knees will be like F you mate, you’re on your own baaaai.

Also, stalk peoples blogs to see how they’ve found the run in previous years. Their experience will be vital if it’s a smaller race with less info on their website. The better you know your course, the better you can physically and mentally prepare for it.

3. Food glorious food.

Oh the pre marathon diet. Some love the whole ‘let’s nourish my body!’ period, others loathe it and focus on everything they’re missing out on. Mate, adapting your food is honestly the most beneficial and enjoyable part of your training and you can tailor it to totally work in your favour. Carbo loading = all the pasta. You can eat pizza! You can eat chocolate! You can go out and drink. Just don’t be an idiot about it and take it too far.

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I just added more protein to my diet, totally cut out processed food and went for frequent small meals instead of fewer large ones (YES you can finally prep your meals in tupperware boxes like a top class knob). Add all the veg. Eat all the fruit and plan your meals around your training. I spent like 2 months eating non stop and still losing weight. Just lots of good food. Keep clementines in your bag, dried fruit, banana chips, whatever. Drink so much water and green tea that you spend half of your life on the loo. Happy days. A runners diet is nowhere near as bad as a bodybuilders diet.

4. track your runs

If you track your progress you can keep tabs on how you’re getting better. If you don’t keep track how do you know what’s effecting your performance? I used to have my Nike + app in my ear reeling off stats every kilometre, it’s super repetitive but I could predict my time of each run almost to the second. I then knew how new aspects threw me off or helped me along the way, e.g. a 15KM on a sunny day after a McDonalds was going to be 3 mins slower than one on an average temp day with no burger.
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5. whats your motivation?

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What’s that one thing that drags you out of bed and into your smelly trainers? What voice is telling you to turn down social plans for an evening in the gym? Why did you just casually drop £78 in NikeTown? If there’s nothing spurring you on then you’ll give up real quick, TRUSS MI DADDY. Realise your motivation early on and keep it at the forefront of your thinking. I once set a photo of a marathon medal as my phone background as a constant reminder. Very sad, I know, but bish I did not give up!

 

6. cheater cheater compulsive eater

Cheat meals and cheat weeks are the essence of life. Gurrrll (or guy) just live once in a while. Let your self slip off the bandwagon. Hell, trip over the bandwagon and break it into a million pieces. You WILL slip up. Build a bridge and quit crying. Untitled//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

7. be consistent

That being said… try and keep your training as consistent as possible. If you like yoga on a Tuesday afternoon, go every week! If you prefer early morning runs to after work ones then stick with that. If you have a routine you’re way more likely to stick with it

8. rest and recover

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Radox muscle therapy bubble bath will be heaven sent. So will bath salts. Adopt a consistent stretching method and commit a good 20 mins to cooling down from a run. I used this one and adapted it over time to include more yoga poses.

9. rewards

Rest day is a reward in itself, don’t ever skip it because you think you’re invincible. Buying yourself a new pair of shoes after a week of solid training is totally acceptable. Buy yourself all the treats. Have a bubble bath every once in a while. Watch a tacky reality show while you work out. Rewards are yours if you put in the hard work.

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10. have fun

Believe it or not, at some point this seemed like a great idea. Maybe once upon a time you actually liked running!? I found the fun parts were the classes I went to to keep up my fitness and cooking new meals at home. I wish I’d found more running buddies with similar goals. But yeah, make it fun. I’m all about making your playlist upbeat and going to classes which you’d not normally go to because why the hell not.

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11. it’s all in your head

I don’t care if you’ve heard it before – running is 10% physical and 90% mental. This is probably the most valuable thing I’ve learnt since I started taking running seriously; your mental outlook is the most important part. If you tell yourself you’re tired, broken and can’t go on, you’ll give up! It’s cheesy and cliche but you 100% need to have a positive outlook if you stand a chance of crossing the finish line. You can train and eat right and have the most snazzy sports bra but if your heads not in the right space you will fail. So, invest in some positive thinking books or apps, tell yourself you can and will do it and keep going.  

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You got this.

x

We run this – Paris Semi-Marathon 2015

Sport

Running was always my favourite sport in school; I can’t run fast but I like to think I can run pretty far. I loved cross country because you get mega muddy and we’d miss quite a lot of school for it.

Lucie convinced me to join her and her friend Kate for the Paris Semi-Marathon a few months back so I thought ‘mehhhh why not?’. Training came pretty easily as I go running anyway. I didn’t do anything drastically different to my normal routine but made an effort to do a few longer runs; 10, 12 and 15 miles.

The night before the run I didn’t get any sleep and was sick (excuses excuses) which definitely slowed me down. I think it was the hottest day of the year in Paris and the sun was in our faces most of the way. I also didn’t account for the weaving in and out of people. There were loads of people participating; I think the official number was 43,500 runners, thats a lot of weaving. The rush for water and slices of orange was brutal. Mum was there at the 17th km to cheer me on and shortly after that there was a killer hill which saw me slip from the 2 hour pace maker.

I loved running through the streets of Paris and pretty views definitely spurred me on. Even though it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I felt a great sense of achievement at the finish line and had mixed feelings of one day completing a full marathon; the feeling was amazing and also disgustingly tiring at the same time. I will maybe wait a few months until I actually seriously consider it.

13.1 miles / 21.1km – 2 hours 8mins

Paris, March 2015

p.s. the photos are awful quality I know. But they made me laugh. Obviously loving life listening to Bey and Jay.

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We run this – sunny saturday

Au Pairing in Paris, Sport

It was surprisingly sunny, but still cold, as I made my way to Olymipades to Judit and Bethany’s apartment. Judit and I decided to run to Pantheon as it’s a nice distance with some pretty sights on the way 🙂 We had to do a bit of tourist dodging and squeezing past teenagers as we made our way through the Latin Quarter but it was a nice, easy run.

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love this street art!

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Where – From Olympiades to Pantheon
Spotted – people everywhere, it was super busy. A few armed guards around
Distance – 4.42 miles/ 7.1km
Time – 49 minutes because we stopped a few times
Motivation – it was sunny!
Playlist – This r&b mix, I’m one of those people that always youtubes different running mixes but hate all the dancey David Guetta/Example/Black Eyed Peas ones.

Mary x

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We run this

Sport

Frankie and I ran 11.5 miles, I’m so proud of us! Ah, so I’m running a half marathon in March (in Paris) and Frankie is doing a full marathon in April (in London) so we both needed to train. I finally decided against going to the march of solidarity in Paris yesterday; I think it’s great if you went and also fine if you didn’t. It’s all personal opinion and it’s definitely not ok to question people’s reasons for not going on Twitter or Facebook! (yeah I’ve seen people do it… weird). And I’m pretty sure it didn’t happen for you to just go and treat it like a great instagram opportunity.

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Anyway, I totally underestimated how many people would turn up and occupy the trains and metros. If you were there you’ll know just how indescribably busy it was. It was impossible to even get on the platform at some stations, and I wasn’t even going to Republique! I squeezed my way around Paris, stopping off quickly in Belleville to get croissant bought for me from an awkward admirer (how very French), and reached Frankie’s.

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Where – to a beautiful viewpoint in Pyrenees, around park Parc De Buttes Chaumont then along the Seine
Spotted – Little dogs galore. Crazy silver Imax cinema that looks like a spaceship.
Distance – 11.5 miles/18.5km
Time – 2hours 3mins
Motivation – too many short runs
Playlist – Meiple – Robin Thicke ft Jay-Z (I feel like I shouldn’t like this song, mainly because of Robin Thicke’s creepiness but Jay-Z’s parts are very french, woo), Little Mix, Kyo, James Bay, Izzy Bizu, Stromae (you can’t be in France and not listen to Stromae basically.)

Today is a rest day!

Mary x

I run this

Sport

As far as Mondays go, yesterday was pretty good; didn’t have much to get done and kids were almost on their best behaviour. My lack of sleep all night meant random sketching in the morning followed by a few episodes of Keeping up with the Kardashians. I’m really feeling for Khloe atm as Lamar is generally being an idiot (never deserved KoKo in the first place!!!).

Anyway!

With school pick ups, tennis, bath and dinner done I decided a run was essential. Its about 5 degrees here right now and I wasn’t appropriately dressed but what you guna do maaaate!?! I went to the river, turned right and headed towards La Defense which is in the business area. The streets were pretty dead and by time I reached the ‘grand arch’ I was equally dead. It was worth going the extra distance though because there was a Christmas market and more Christmas lights than most touristy places in Paris. Very tacky but pretty at the same time. I took some shameless selfies and made the wise but lazy decision to get the metro home. I changed lines at the Champs Elysée, took in the fab lit up view and got back on the metro. A few minutes earlier though I’d seen a homeless guy on my platform (very common view in Paris unfortunately) and gave him the €5 note from my pocket. Is it bad that I then slightly regretted it because I got a sudden craving for a nutella crepe (I was standing next to the stall).

Good, cold, long run only slightly tainted by the lack of nutella snacks…

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Story of my life.

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Where – along the river to La Defense & metro
Spotted – Drunk idiot demanding women to move away from him and screaming at everyone on the metro (top class twat). The thickest (and can I say deepest?) moustache eva evaaaa.
Distance – 8.3km
Time – longer than necessary
Motivation – wanted to get home and be tired, not awake until 3am
Playlist – Lots of acoustic Robyn, SBTRKT, Lowkey, Akala etc etc

(Sorry for the grainy photo overload)
Mary x

Sole searching

Sport

The past week has been tres tres unsettled and I’m only just getting back into my work, social, eating and exercise habits. I actually had a really good weekend but not much to blog about as I didn’t take my camera anywhere and I’m not sure if my account of events is that reliable…(French wine might be to blame)

Anyway, I’m glad to be back running on the regular. Paris is pretty cool by night, even in my random little town.

Where – random roads to Clichy
Time – 50 minutes
Distance – no idea. Forgot to GPS and all that jazz.
Motivation – get back in time to watch made in Chelsea
Spotted – a guy on a solowheel (only the best things ever. Want one asap). And some adorable white puppies, standard Paris.
Playlist – hounds of love, the futureheads. Ain’t no body, shaka khan. Word up & candy, cameo.  Teach me how to dougie, California swag district. take me out, Franz Ferdinand. treasure, Bruno mars (& Eliza Dolittles live lounge cover). the hunger, Eric Benet.

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I did also go past what must’ve been a sewage plant/centre/whatever. Sooooo smelly 😥

Mary x