We asked one of our regular customers David Rogers to tell us a bit about his running and how he achieved his goals; here is his story:
“Journey from couch potato to mountain marathon finisher”
The photo above was taken during the RAB Mountain Marathon in the Lake District in Oct 2013. Whilst I’ve always enjoyed the mountains, I never thought for one moment that I would ever complete a marathon on one, especially as I had never run since my PE lessons almost 20 years ago. Indeed, I was a total running novice in December 2011. It was then that I stepped onto the scales and recoiled at being almost seventeen stone! With a 2 year old active boy, this wasn’t the role model that I wanted to be. So, in January 2012 I started running. Well, to be accurate I started dragging myself around the local area. It wasn’t fast, stylish nor pretty!
As I write this over 20 months later, I’m preparing for my second Great South Run, have completed the Brighton Marathon in just over 4 hours, three half marathons, finishing the Great North Run in 1 hour 46 minutes, and the RAB Mountain Marathon. I now plan to continue to race and plan to go under 50 minutes in the Brighton 10k and go under 4 hours in the Brighton marathon. So how did I achieve this?
The first thing I did was to track my training. I used an online system. This allowed me to see the improvement in my pace, distance, and speed. This had a huge motivating effect and when I look at my first run (2 miles in 36 minutes) I feel a huge sense of achievement.
Next, I started to enter races and set goals. This provided a goal to keep me going. I aimed to complete the Great South Run. Now, I enter races at least once a month if I can, tying them into my training plan for a major goal (such as the Brighton Marathon). I love the atmosphere and sense of achievement in completing a race. I also challenged myself to run 500 miles in 2012. I did 600. This year I’m on track to top 1000 miles. Combine this with online tracking and the motivation really gets going! I also track my mileage with some other runners I met through Twitter. This provides encouragement and friendly banter.
Getting a good training plan has been invaluable. I started just aiming to run continuously for a set time, increasing the time by 10 minutes each month. Next, I started working on the distance. Varying my runs has been important too. Generally, I complete a long run on a Sunday, then some interval, hill, and tempo runs during the week. I take my running kit everywhere and get out when I can. It was difficult to establish this but no it’s a habit. I even went running on Christmas Day. I started easily to avoid injury and listened to my body rather than a watch or pace.
Finally, I spent some time and money getting a good pair of shoes and some comfortable shorts. Having the right footwear definitely helped.
The benefits of running, other than weight loss (around 2.5 stone at the moment, while keeping up my intake of quality ale and fitness) to me are:
- Being outside more and seeing more of my local area in different seasons. I’ve always enjoyed the invigorating feeling of being on mountains and wild places in horrendous conditions, and the post-run sugary treat and tea almost equals the post walk/climb ale.
- Having my 3-year-old son say he wants to run with me. I didn’t expect how motivational the feeling of being a role model to my son would be.
- Running the longer, slower runs undertaken in preparation for the longer distance races has given me a nice chunk of time for reflection and thinking. It’s actually increased productivity rather than reduced it.
So, although I speak with the insight of a convert, I do wonder why I haven’t always run!
David Rogers is an Assistant Headteacher at a school in Brighton. He lived in Goring-by-Sea and can be found running along the seafront, up Highdown Hill, and in the South Downs. He blogs about education and running at davidrogers.org.uk