“I Will Run The Marathon From Start To Finish Line, No Matter What!”

BMC team member, Elizabeth Ayres talks fresh determination, old hip niggles and swapping gels for baby food

How was the recent training day?

It was a great mix of training and getting a chance to pick the brains of the experts. I’m still having niggles with my calf and developed a hip issue recently during a 10K race, so meeting up with Sarah, the physiotherapist, was perfect as I was beginning to panic. She went to work on me straight away and it appears I’m not extending my hips enough to allow my glutes to fire up correctly during a run. I have some extra stretches to do to keep things on track.

What key advice did you receive from the experts?

I also spoke to Stuart, the psychologist, about my ‘inner chimp’ and will follow up with him afterwards to find out how to keep it quieter! [‘Inner chimp’ is when the brain reacts impulsively and with emotion in challenging situations. Managing our impulsive reactions can allow us to achieve our goals.]

Did you have any concerns about your training beforehand?

As I’ve recently developed the hip niggle, I was worried, but the coach was great.

How is your training going?

Training has not gone to plan for the last four weeks, due to irritation and weakness in my left gluteus medius tendon,  which has caused me discomfort in my hip area. Richard has reduced the intensity and mileage. The extra strength work for my left glute is showing positive results, and the training plan has made huge improvements in my running, as well as in my confidence. I’m finding the sessions easier to complete and I’m not scared I’ll fail before I get started. I ran a 10K race a while back and totally smashed it.

How are you managing to fit the training in as the long runs are getting longer?

Although the runs are getting longer, it’s not impacting on my time at all. I get up early, have breakfast and then off I go. I’m usually done before anyone wakes up.

What advice did you get from the ASICS nutritionist?

Ruth suggested not to worry too much about gels during the marathon. I’ll be running at a slower pace than speedy runners, so I can fuel myself differently. For instance, I could use savoury baby food pouches if my stomach can cope with them during training.

What do your family and friends think about you doing the marathon?

My kids have banned me from mentioning running! My family and friends are totally supportive, despite them thinking I’m crazy for doing this! I’ve had huge support from people in the running community who are following my challenge on social media and through my blog. It’s amazing how a ‘well done’ from a stranger can make you feel more confident!

What is your race-day strategy and how does it compare to when you first began training?

My race-day strategy is still a work in progress, but my goal remains unchanged. I will run the marathon from start to finish line, no matter what.

What have you learned about yourself and your body by training for this marathon?

I’ve learned that I don’t push outside of my comfort zone enough, for fear of setting off the inner negative voice. Yet the times I’ve pushed harder, I’ve proved that voice wrong, which was what happened during my 10K race. I need to keep remembering the times I’ve won and not the times I’ve lost to negativity. It’s been hard not to compare myself to Sophie and Caroline, who are much faster than me, but it finally hit home that comparison is just giving my negative voice ammunition against me. The only thing stopping me from getting faster is myself.

The coach’s view

Richard says: “Elizabeth is learning to understand that a bad running day doesn’t need to put her off – everyone has them. The important thing is not to let it get on top of her. She recently did a 10K and found out for herself that she’s much stronger than she thought. She has picked up a hip issue, but hopefully we can get it resolved.

She has more self-confidence for sure. We’ve found that her hip doesn’t bother her as much on the treadmill, so she’s going to be doing longer runs on it rather than running outside on concrete. She’s a bit frustrated with the injury, but we’re doing all we can to get her to the start line in one piece, ready to run.”

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