After the terrible and tragic news that hit the headlines last week, it felt like London wanted to make a point by bringing the crowds out in their thousands to support our amazing runners and also have a moment to remember those lost and injured in Boston. We were fortunate to have the sunshine out while we cheered and whooped for all those running past us.
I’ve never been to watch the Virgin London Marathon before, but I’m so happy I did, as Rob and I had a great day out supporting one of my best friends, Chloe. I didn’t realise the effect of seeing her run would have on me – cue emotional wreck! It’s so inspiring to not only see someone putting their body through that and running on the day, but also knowing how hard she trained in the months leading up to it and raising over £2,000 for Unicef.
I’ve watched the marathon on TV for a few years, and even though I sit there blubbering at the emotional and amazing stories, it never quite got me as excited and tempted as seeing it for real did. I’m not surprised they don’t open the ballot for next year’s marathon for another week; after watching I think everyone would want to get their running shoes on and start training for next year! I thought my want to do it might have died down this morning, but I woke up wanting to enter and run it right now.
My boyfriend (Rob McGarr, Men’s Running Magazine) recently did a feature for Shortlist magazine about how running is something absolutely anyone can take up and enjoy, whether or not you fancy running a marathon. I’ve been a bit naughty and have stolen a little extract of the article to help any of you (me included) who want to know what some experts say about running:
If someone held a gun to your head and said, “Get a bit fitter in the next five minutes or i’ll pull the trigger,” what would you do? You wouldn’t say, “hold on a minute while i download this app that helped my mate lose 4lb last year” or ask your tormentor to accompany you to Fitness First for a tour. You’d run. Because it’s the most basic, primary, ancient and tested form of exercise.
“Humans are designed to run,” says Nick Anderson, international elite athletics coach and director of running with Us (runningwithus.com). “millions of years ago, we were designed to leave the cave and run around. It’s the most natural form of exercise and is fantastic for muscular strength, bone health, cardiovascular strength and improving the condition of your heart.”
Running comes with a host of other benefits, says former royal marines physical instructor and personal trainer Sean Lerwill (seanlerwill.com). “It teaches you the ability to push yourself, physically and mentally. It leads to sleeping better which, in turn, helps your concentration and self-esteem. It also lowers stress levels and helps you put everything into perspective, which results in better decision-making.” Anderson sees the evidence of this in many of the runners he coaches. “it gives you so much more everyday energy. running provides a healthy focus in life and makes you more positive. the result is a far happier and more productive individual.”
On the contrary to what these experts have said, running does still get a bit of a bad rap – mainly to do with all the pounding and impact it has on your legs and from the injuries we hear people talk of. Yes, there are risks associated with running, like there are risks associated with any sport, but to make the statement that it is “bad for you” seems a bit naïve.
The thing people don’t take into account with running is that it does not have to beat up your body. It can actually strengthen the tissue, the bones, and the tendons if proper rest and adaptation are allowed. Let’s face it: running stresses the tissues. But, if given time to rebuild, those tissues actually become stronger. The key is moderation, rest, recovery, sensibility.
With my knees and joints being so dodgy (see post), I’m not sure if it’s the smartest thing I’ve thought about, but I’m really very tempted to give it a go!