Training: a tale of two halves – Ria’s story

Posted 20 February 2020


Single parent Ria is going to be our champion fundraiser for the 2020 London Marathon! In most recent blog for us, she discusses her training regime and balancing priorities. You can read her first Single Mother Runner blog here.

I’m on week 9 of my training plan and I’m wondering how the hell I have got here already – its seems like only last week that I was saying ‘it’ll be fine, it’s not until April so I’ve got months to go yet’, which is technically still true but…I’m already on week 9 of my training plan! Eeekkk!

Just in case you are one of the 39,999 others who will be running and also training and you’re wondering why I’m on week 9 while you’re on week 5 or 6, single parent tip which I’ve come to learn over the past few years – always build in extra time! I knew at some point over the training things wouldn’t go to plan, life would happen and being down one pair of extra hands is always going to make these times more difficult, so I’ve built in some extra weeks of training to allow for this. “How organised of me” I hear you say?! Well, kind of, but to be honest I wasn’t expecting things to go array in week 4…hence the silence from me.

The last 9 weeks of training have definitely been a tale of two halves. Starting in mid-December (why did I think this time would ever be a good idea??) right in the middle of the Christmas season, nursery closures the usual winter bugs, and then being away with work in January, it was in running terms like going straight into hill training after your long run. Tiring, tough, not enjoyable and if I’m honest it was getting me down.

But 2020 arrived and I was back! Well actually, I was then on a small island in the Atlantic Ocean for work but it was this trip and specifically two runs which made me realise – I was no way near where I needed to be. The long distance run was hot, sweaty and nearly killed me, and the intervals had me doing my best not to be sick in the corner of the snazzy hotel gym. Combine this along with the fact I’ve never been one for hills and you could say training was not going well. So, come 2020, around about mid-January – then I was truly back!

If I was going to do this I needed to make sure I followed my plan a lot more closely. I needed to actually complete both the hill and interval training and not just the mileage. Take it from me, it is so easy to do the latter without the former, but I realised early on this approach would not get me round in April.

Now it’s February and I feel like I have found my rhythm. I’m being rigorous with where and how I can fit the training in – lunch times, nursery drop offs, and weekends when the grandparents are babysitting. And I’m loving it! Since January I feel like I have thrown myself in even further and guess what? It actually pays off. Even at the age of 38, I’m spinning a lot of plates and as an always tired mummy to an ever-energetic toddler I’m impressed by what you can train yourself to do. I’m now thinking I can do this. Oh god, have I turned into an obsessed runner?! Probably!

There is still another 10 weeks to go and I’m almost certain something will come up again and throw me off course but as of today having actually enjoyed my 6 mile hill run last week and completed a fairly enjoyable 14 miles on the weekend I am feel pretty darn good! Oh, and the new pretty running shoes are definitely helping too!

Ria is running the 2020 London Marathon for Gingerbread. You can support her fundraising here.

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