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TRAINING

When I decided to use running as my vehicle to raise money for cancer research I was completely unfit. I had been a sporty person in my early years by playing football for Queens Park Rangers Ladies, but when I finished playing, work and travel took over. Because I felt healthy I thought I could go out the front door and run a mile. I got about 400 yards down the road when I had to stop due to lack of oxygen, near cardiac arrest and parallelism in both legs. After several minutes of recovery, I walked home despondent, but not beating. The next day I took myself off to the local park where there was a running track and jogged and walked around it once. I then had a rest and did the same thing again. I rested the next day because I didnít want my body to go into shock at the way it was now being treated. The day after, my mind rebelled and kept telling me not to go out the front door. However, I managed to resist the temptation to watch television and went off to the park again. I kept up the routine of jogging and walking around the running track a couple of times for two weeks and then I did the following:

Week 1 and 2

Sunday
I walked and jogged for 15 minutes.
Monday Rested.
Tuesday I walked and jogged for 20 minutes.
Wednesday Rested.
Thursday I walked and jogged for 10 minutes.
Friday Rested.
Saturday I walked and jogged for 15 minutes.

Total 1 hour.

Week 3 and 4

Sunday
I walked and jogged for 20minutes.
Monday Rested.
Tuesday I walked and jogged for 35 minutes.
Wednesday Rested.
Thursday I walked and jogged for 20 minutes.
Friday Rested.
Saturday I walked and jogged for 20 minutes.

Total 1 hour 35 minutes.

Week 5 and 6

Sunday
I walked and jogged for 30 minutes.
Monday Rested.
Tuesday I walked and jogged for 40 minutes.
Wednesday Rested.
Thursday I walked and jogged for 30 minutes.
Friday Rested.
Saturday I walked and jogged for 30 minutes.

Total 2 hours 10 minutes.

Week 7

Sunday
I jogged for 15 minutes.
Monday Rested.
Tuesday I walked and jogged for 50 minutes.
Wednesday Rested.
Thursday I walked and jogged for30 minutes.
Friday Rested.
Saturday I jogged for 15 minutes.

Total 1 hour 50 minutes.

I then decided to leave the park behind and start venturing out onto the streets. I got myself a map and a piece of string (Google Maps hadnít been invented then) and measured the mileage and worked out the route I would need to take on the various distances. My training then followed the pattern below:

Week 9 and 10

Sunday
Ran 3 miles.
Monday Rested.
Tuesday Ran 5 miles.
Wednesday Rested.
Thursday Ran 3 miles.
Friday Rested.
Saturday Ran 4 miles.

Total: 15 miles.

Week 11 and 12

Sunday
Ran 4 miles
Monday Rested.
Tuesday Ran 7 miles
Wednesday Rested.
Thursday Ran 4 miles.
Friday Rested.
Saturday Ran 5 miles.

Total: 20 miles.

Week 13 and 14

Sunday
Ran 6 miles
Monday Rested.
Tuesday Ran 9 miles
Wednesday Ran 3 miles
Thursday Ran 6 miles.
Friday Rested.
Saturday Ran 6 miles adding some speed running in between the jogging.

Total: 30 miles.

Week 15

Sunday
Ran 7 miles
Monday Rested.
Tuesday Ran 10 miles
Wednesday Ran 3 miles.
Thursday Ran 6 miles.
Friday Ran 3 miles.
Saturday Ran 6 miles.

Total: 35 miles.

At this stage I entered running events and did some 5 mile and half marathon distances. I then had the grand idea I was ready for a marathon, but I had not done enough distance training. I completed it in over 5 hours, but, oh my, oh my, did I suffer. I was completed physically and mentally shattered and it very nearly put me off running for life. But after a few days rest and memory loss about how much pain I had been in, I was ready to carry on running. I kept my mileage up to around 35 miles a week and then in 1987 I entered the London Marathon. Ten weeks before I ran it, I increased the mileage to the following:

Week 1 and 2

Sunday
Ran 12 miles
Monday Rested.
Tuesday Ran 5 miles
Wednesday Ran 8 miles adding some speed running in between the jogging.
Thursday Ran 7 miles.
Friday Ran 5 miles.
Saturday Ran 3 miles.

Total: 40 miles.

Week 3 and 4

Sunday
Ran 14 miles
Monday Rested.
Tuesday Ran 5 miles
Wednesday 10 miles of hill running.
Thursday Ran 5 miles.
Friday Ran 7 miles.
Saturday Ran 4 miles.

Total: 45 miles.

Week 5 and 6

Sunday
Ran 15 miles
Monday Rested.
Tuesday Ran 6 miles
Wednesday Ran 8 miles adding some speed running in between the jogging.
Thursday Ran 6 miles.
Friday Ran 8 miles.
Saturday Ran 7 miles.

Total: 50 miles.

Week 7 and 8

Sunday
Ran 17 miles
Monday Ran 3 miles
Tuesday Ran 7 miles
Wednesday Ran 10 miles adding some speed running in between the jogging.
Thursday Ran 5 miles.
Friday Ran 8 miles.
Saturday Ran 5 miles of fast running.

Total: 55 miles.

Week 9

Sunday
Ran 20 miles
Monday Ran 3 miles.
Tuesday Ran 7 miles
Wednesday Ran 10 miles adding some speed running in between the jogging.
Thursday Ran 6 miles.
Friday Ran 8 miles of hill running.
Saturday Ran 6 miles.

Total: 60 miles.

Week 10

Sunday
Ran 16 miles
Monday Ran 3 miles.
Tuesday Ran 5 miles.
Wednesday Ran 5 miles.
Thursday Ran 3 miles.
Friday Ran 3 miles.
Saturday was a rest day

Total: 25 miles.

On a Sunday morning in April 1987 I ran the London Marathon in the official time of 3 hours 43 minutes. After that, I continued running about 25-40 miles a week until the end of the year.

At the beginning of 1988, when I made the decision to run around the UK, I increased the mileage in January to 50 miles a week. Then every month after that I increased the mileage by five miles a week and by the end of August I was up to 85 miles a week.

In September, training went as follows:

Sunday ran 14 miles.
Monday ran 14 miles.
Tuesday ran 6 miles in the morning and 4 in the evening plus a one hour workout at the gym.
Wednesday ran 6 miles in the morning and 8.5 miles in the evening.
Thursday ran 6 miles in the morning and 4 in the evening plus a one hour workout at the gym.
Friday ran 6 miles in the morning, 4 miles lunchtime and 5.5 miles in the evening.
Saturday ran 6 miles in the morning and 4 in the evening plus a one hour workout at the gym.

Total mileage 88 miles plus 3 workouts at the gym.

In October I ran about 100 miles a week and in November 110 miles a week.

By December the weekly run went as follows:

Sunday ran 16 miles in the morning and 10 miles in the evening.
Monday ran 6 miles in the mornings 14.5 in the evening.
Tuesday ran 16.5 in the evening plus a 45 minute workout at the gym.
Wednesday ran 12 miles in the morning and 9 miles in the evening.
Thursday ran 6 miles in the morning and 4 miles in the evening plus a 45 minute workout at the gym.
Friday ran 6 miles in the morning and 10.5 in the evening.
Saturday ran 7.5 in the morning and a one hour workout at the gym.

Total mileage118 miles plus 3 workouts at the gym.

During the first three months of 1989 I would run 20 miles in one session every other day. The days in between would be a run of 10-16 miles and a workout at the gym. The workout included an aerobics session, or gym work which included time on a rowing machine, cycling and more running on the treadmill.

None of this was easy and I felt tired all the time. I picked up a few injuries but most times I was able to run through them or take a couple of days off. The injuries ranged from shin splints, ankle pain, instep pain and the usual stiffness. Remember when you do this sort of mileage you are going to feel very tired and you are entitled to have a whinge every now and then. But try not to take the whinging home with you and cause upset to those around, after all, you have chosen to do this and they did not. Go out with your mates and tell them all your woes. Thatís what mates are for.

Remember to build up the mileage slowly and when you run, do it at a steady pace. We are not Usain Bolt, we are runners on the long road to attainment and we cannot be rushed.

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