In the third instalment of Account Handler Emma Fickling’s London Marathon Diaries, we ask her our burning questions about training in all weathers, and how she manages to keep all her plates spinning.
ABG: It’s been a few weeks since your last instalment. How’s the training going?
EF: It’s going well, although I was unwell for a couple of weeks. I’m building it back up though, and I managed to run four miles at the weekend.
I have a week-to-week training plan, which has extra time scheduled at the end. It’s meant for tapering off my training, but it does mean I can push my plan back a couple of weeks.
Are you aiming to finish in a particular time?
I would like to do it in 4.5 hours, but it’s not about speed for me – it’s about getting across the finish line.
How are you feeling about it?
I’m at the ‘I’m really nervous’ stage. I’m a little bit panicked. I was chilled about it at the start of the training, but now it’s closer, I’m starting to wonder what I’ve let myself in for.
The hardest part has been struggling to find people to run with now that the miles have gone up. If my friends aren’t in training, they can’t run so far! I’m hoping to get a few people out on their bikes to keep me company though.
It’s tough when you feel like you’ve been on your feet for hours, so you need a distraction to keep yourself going. I’ve got people running chunks with me, so they can do three or four miles. A couple of people from my running club are also running in the marathon, but really I need people running at the same pace as me.
It’s tough when you feel like you’ve been on your feet for hours, so you need a distraction to keep yourself going
I’ve also found that I need some fresh routes because I’m often covering the same places and I need a change of scenery.
Why are you running the London Marathon?
Last year I lost a really good friend to cancer. That’s my main reason for running it.
I got a ballot space but wanted to support a local charity to raise funds and its profile, so I chose Big C. It’s also the Alan Boswell Group charity of the year for 2018, so it all fit into place.
Big C has given me lots of support and is in contact quite regularly. They want to know more about my training so they can share it on their channels too, so I’m glad that I can help.
Have you run the London Marathon before?
I ran it in 2006, but I’m finding the training process very different.
Back then, I just ran. This year I have a plan, which has helped immensely. I make sure that I rest and that I don’t run too much. I also get sports massages this time, which is great.
I’m more aware of my diet too, making sure I eat well. I used to think I could eat whatever I liked because I was running so much, but now I realise that I can’t. I’m also making more of an effort to stay hydrated.
How do you stay motivated?
Sometimes I don’t want to go out. It’s a mental thing really. I have to say to myself: ‘You signed up and committed to it and you will enjoy it’. Once I’ve talked myself into it and pulled my trainers on, it’s actually okay.
I sometimes find people to run with, or I’ll set myself the task of overtaking another runner, which helps. Or I’ll try to knock off the miles, so set myself a landmark to reach. That helps to break the distance down into manageable portions. Mentally, it’s easier to achieve.
Do you have any races scheduled for before April 22nd?
I have a 20-mile race on 25th March. That’s a big milestone for me. I won’t run the whole distance before the race though. Experts tell you never to run the full distance before the big day, because you need to time to recover before the actual race.
How are you finding fundraising?
I’ve raised £500 so far, so there’s still £1,000 to go.
I’m holding a raffle this week, with a variety of prizes, including a signed Norwich City Football shirt, a hamper and some cakes.
Read more: A record return
You’re also studying for your CII qualifications. How are you managing to fit everything in?
I don’t know really! It’s a lot to balance and it’s difficult to give them both equal time. I also need to find time to work, rest and have a social life! I’m not very good at resting though.
To be honest, the CII and the training are a good distraction from each other. They’re very different disciplines, so that helps.
The CII and the training are a good distraction from each other
I’ve always worked better if I have a focus because it keeps me motivated. I’ll be looking to complete my CII Diploma once I’m through all of this.
How else are you keeping your morale up?
I’m currently reading Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Hemingsley. It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s about an average girl who works in an office and decides she’ll run the London Marathon – it’s just great. She doesn’t have a clue at the start and develops into a runner. It’s very real and she doesn’t pretend to always enjoy it. It’s very honest.
What would you say to someone planning to run a marathon in future?
If I can do it, anyone can!
I was never very good at PE at school, but for some strange reason, at age 19, I decided to start running. My first run was so hard though – I still don’t really know what made me go out again! Then I joined a local running club and it just carried on from there.
It is addictive. People tend to look at me a little strangely when I say that I’m going for a run in all weathers. Luckily there are lots of runners at ABG, so they understand and are all really supportive.
To support Emma’s London Marathon training, visit her Virgin Money Giving page to make a donation.