Andy Thompson's London Marathon 2017 Journey 

 

Good morning, so there is just 9 weeks to go until I run the Virgin Money London Marathon, that’s kinda scary! My training is going to the plan I have set, I may even be a week or two ahead of schedule, but it is hard. My latest long run was 16 miles and the last couple of miles were tough, but it was good to get those miles in the legs. The hardest part of training is finding the time to fit it in. It takes a significant amount of time and effort to get in at least 3 training runs each week, which get progressively longer, so as much as doing a marathon is a huge commitment, so is the amount of time you need to dedicate to the whole process. Fundraising is also going to plan, but of course I would like to have raised more by now, but I know people tend to sponsor you just before or just after the event. I have been doing Facebook updates to friends, including live video’s straight after training runs and uploading pictures of me running. I have also had emails sent out to all our colleagues at work asking for donations, and this has worked really well.

 

Fundraising Experience

 

As far as fundraising goes, it is about persistence and not being frightened to ask. If you don’t approach people and tell them what you are doing they won’t be able to donate. Keep going back to people on a weekly basis and updating them on where you are up to, both with your training and fundraising totals versus target. Thank those who have chipped in as this can encourage others to donate. I have been using social media and keeping it light hearted, doing live videos, posting post-run pictures of me covered in sweat, showing the effort I am putting in, and how little effort is required to support me. So my advice would be, ask regularly and be yourself in your communication, people will warm to you.

 

Training experience

 

Training is boring. There is no getting away from it. As the runs get longer and longer and probably more painful, you have more to deal with mentally so training the mind as well as the legs is crucial. You will feel some pain at some point during long training runs, so be ready to take your mind somewhere else, it could be a work thing you think about or what you are going to have for your meal when you get in later, but divert your mind and you’ll quickly forget any niggles you are feeling.  Take your time, you’re very unlikely to win the Marathon, so find a pace you’re comfortable with and stick to it. Others will tell you they are doing 6 minute miles and 30 mile training runs, if that works for them great, but run your own race and therefore train for that race.

 

So far things have been going OK, I needed to get some new trainers last week, so have been breaking those in with 10 weeks to go, probably a little too close but will be fine by April 23rd.  The weekend runs have been getting longer, but the midweek training has been a bit disjointed, the working start to the year has been hectic to say the least. I feel I have been constantly travelling which has made training during the week very difficult as I am constantly in places I do not know, so trying to find places where I can go out and run safely (mostly in the dark) can be a challenge. I did fall over on a training run last week for the first time ever and ended up with some cuts and bruises, this was 500 metres in to a planned 14 mile run, not an ideal start, but I managed to get the run done. The big difference for me has been training through the winter, it gives you a whole different set of challenges in terms of clothing and the physical effort required to run in strong winds and rain. I’ve also had a lot of social engagements at the start of the year too, including a 5 day child free trip to Tenerife, which got a bit messy, so as I get closer to the date, I am having to adjust my social life accordingly, but that’s all part of the gig. When I cross the finish line on April 23rd, none of that will matter, and I will have completed a challenge that only 1% of the population will ever take on. 

 

Why I'm running to support UK Youth

 

I chose to get involved with UK Youth for a number of reasons. The scope of their work was one think that attracted me, engaging with over 800,000 young people each year in the UK, they really are very active in every community across the country. They give young people access to so many opportunities that they would not normally know how to find, from sporting activities to essential counselling services, we mustn’t assume because they are young they won’t encounter mental health problems. Finally, they are also involved in many educational activities with young people, focusing on individuals areas of interest and strength and giving them an opportunity to really fulfil their potential, irrespective of their background. I feel honoured that my efforts in training for and running the London Marathon will go some way to helping support the fantastic work that the charity does in helping so many young people. The charity works throughout the year supporting young people in the UK, being able to play a small part in helping them to continue their amazing work is very humbling. 

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