“Despite My Injury, I’m Still Confident I Can Smash My PB”

Big Marathon Challenge team member, Sophie talks injury frustrations and staying positive

How is your training going?

Not well! In the second week, in an interval session, my right calf tightened up so much I had to limp home. I’ve had a massage but it’s still not easing up, so I’m seeing a physio on Friday. I’m so frustrated and disappointed I can’t train. I haven’t taken a break from running since I had my son 20 months ago and I realise how much I need it, for fresh air, headspace, stress relief and general well being. If my calf is sorted shortly, I’ve still got plenty of time to train.

What advice from Richard have you found most useful so far?

The training plan looks great. He has even incorporated some buggy runs for when I’m not child free. He has been a great support with the injury and is helping me stay positive.

What changes have you made to your training as a result of Richard’s advice?

He has introduced me to Kenyan hills. It’s hill reps with an even effort up and down, rather than resting on the way down. It’s really tough, but bound to make me fitter and stronger in the long-term. He’s also given me a strength workout twice a week. The focus is on being able to stay strong in the last few miles of the marathon.

What nutritional changes have you made?

None so far – that’s all to come. However, now I’m in training, it has made me more mindful of what I’m eating and is helping me resist all the office cakes.

How are you getting on with fitting in the training around your busy schedule?

The schedule is tailored to me, so I can fit the sessions in after work, at lunchtime and weekends. It helps that my family are really supportive and look after my son, so I can fit the sessions in. I think the key is just getting out and going for it when you can.

How are you getting on with the more intense sessions?

Before injury struck, I was really enjoying them. I ran my first ultra this year and focused on long miles rather than faster intervals. Now I have the BMC to focus on and know I need to up my speed, but I’m enjoying that feeling of really pushing myself.

Had you had any experience of threshold sessions before you started the BMC?

I’d done sessions with previous running clubs and on my own before, but without any particular focus.

Are you keeping in contact with the other two ladies you met at the BMC shoot?

Yes! They’ve also been supportive while I’m injured. I’m looking forward to sharing the rest of this journey with them.

How confident are you feeling about the BMC?

Despite my injury I’m still confident I can smash my PB. Whether I can still get 3:30 is open at the moment. I think it depends on how soon my injury heals. I can adjust my goal. The main thing is to heal, then get training again.

How are you getting on with running in winter weather?

I love winter running! It’s much better than sweating it out in the heat. I love it when
it gets frosty and the air feels so fresh. The only downside is the dark. The jacket has a great reflective strip on it, though, and I wear a light on me to be seen.

Are you doing any cross-training?

I’m doing two strength sessions at home with weights and a resistance band. This works well for me, as I can do the sessions while my son is asleep. If this injury carries on, I may need to spin or swim, to keep up my fitness.

Have you noticed any difference to your fitness or energy levels?

Not yet, but that’s likely due to the injury. I’m just glad my calf is now better!


Richard says: “Sophie started really well, but has had an issue with her calf. She’s taken some time out and I’ve told her to go and get it looked at. The important message to readers training for a marathon is if you have something going on then go and get it checked out. Fortunately her calf has recovered now and she is back to full training. When things like this happen, make sure you see a qualified sports physiotherapist who specialises in sports injuries. And don’t give up. I didn’t want Sophie running until her calf was better, but cross-training, swimming and indoor biking helped with her fitness. She still got beneficial training without the impact.”

Richard Coates, Full Potential

Richard has been running since his teens and has completed over 30 marathons and ultras. He’s a UKA Level 2 running coach, so the team’s training is in safe hands. fullpotential.co.uk

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