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Running a marathon requires more than just practice – it's also a matter of patience. Liz Edlin taps into her experience and motivation when prepping for the annual 42 km run.
My last road marathon was Berlin 2009, where I crossed the finish line about an hour and a half after the winner, Haile Gebrselassie. It was incredible to think that I had followed in the footsteps of one of the fastest marathon runners in the world. I had achieved my goals, and celebrated with a large glass of German beer.
A week or so later a thought crept into my head; could I go faster?
For the last six years I have run half marathons, trail races and tackled an ultramarathon, but that unanswered question remains in the back of my mind.
New places, new races.
In January 2016, I moved to Melbourne. It was a new city, and what better way to celebrate than by running a marathon? I decided that if I was going to commit to another marathon, I was going to go for my PB (personal best).
This meant I had to commit to a training program. I write marathon training programmes for my patients on a regular basis and help them through their marathon journey, now it was my turn to practice what I preach.
I enlisted the help of a running coach to write my programme and committed to a 16-week schedule – which included weekly 6:00 am training sessions at The Tan.
The training process.
I am hopeless at getting out of bed in the morning – so when my alarm goes off at 4:45am on a Thursday, I have to remind myself that it will be all worth it when I cross the finish line at the MCG.
Once I get to The Tan to meet the rest of the group, I have already passed numerous runners and cyclists training for their own goals and PB’s. There is a great camaraderie that exists in the early morning hours – a nod of acknowledgement from a cyclist on his fifth lap of Anderson Street hill, an encouraging smile from a woman trying to keep up with her two eager dogs, and a friendly good morning from a runner making light work of his heavy backpack.
This is the first time I have trained with a group and the experience has been fantastic. Everyone is very supportive and encouraging, and even when your legs are tired and heavy, you manage to find an extra gear to keep going.
The weekend long run is the time to practice your race day strategy.
Which gels am I going to use?
How often will I need to drink?
Is this a chafe resistant outfit or do I need to buy more Body Glide?
My husband usually accompanies me for the first 10 km. After he heads off, I am left with my own thoughts and focus. It is the mental toughness that keeps you going when your body is telling you to stop.
Reminding yourself of what your goals mean to you, the satisfaction of crossing the finish line, and seeing what your body is capable of is what makes it all worthwhile.
I resist the temptation of packing it in early, as I am seduced by the smell of fresh coffee and croissants at my favourite café. I go through phases of feeling great – followed by periods where I ask myself how I will make 42 km, when I’m exhausted after 24 km.
I make it home and reward myself with 10 minutes in a cold bath and a protein shake. After a shower I finally get the coffee and breakfast I’ve been dreaming of since the 10 km mark, knowing that I get to do it all over again next weekend while running an extra 3 km.
My favourite part of the week is uploading my runs to Garmin Connect and checking that the results match my training plan. There is satisfaction in seeing the pace for my 500m intervals improving and my weekly mileage gradually creeping up. My lap of the Tan is getting quicker and my cadence is consistently over 170 – my running technique is paying off.
The upcoming race.
With less than a week to go until the starting gun fires – my life consists of running, strength sessions, foam roller releases, cold baths, coffee, struggling to take off recovery socks, massages in the clinic with Johnny (the pain is good for me!) and helping Pure Physio clients achieve their own fitness goals.
There’s still time to sign up for the Melbourne Marathon, registration closes on Saturday the 15th of October in preparation for Sunday’s race.
If you would like help with your own running journey, the team at Pure Physio are here to help. We offer running assessments to analyse your running technique, and our massage therapists can ease your tight muscles.
Our podiatrist is on hand to help with any foot issues and can recommend the correct shoes for you, he will even come shoe shopping with you!
If you are one of the 80% of runners that sustains an injury each year, our physios will get you back on your feet to hit the ground running.