I ran a Marathon with the help of a Sport Psychologist

No one gets a place in the Virgin London Marathon through the Ballot, do they? So obviously I was gobsmacked, when I came home to find the “You’re In” magazine. Disbelief was the first emotion I felt followed by Fear. I had only ever ran a 5km ‘parkrun’. I wanted to do it but I was overweight, so that made running quite hard. My husband had brought me a gym membership the previous Christmas with some Personal Training Sessions but I hated those sessions and only went to Pilates (Pie’s & Latte’s sounded perfect).

By the time Christmas came I hadn’t trained any more than 8km in any one session. I found it difficult to go for a run and my eating habits were shocking. Even the fear and uncertainty surrounding the Marathon still didn’t spur me into training. Then something came that worked, my husband’s present to me on Christmas Day. It was, 8 Sessions of Sport Psychologist Support for the Marathon via “Skype” or “What App”.

I started the first session on January 1st 2018. A new year, new beginnings. The Sport Psychologist started by listening to my fears, anxieties and lack of motivation. He taught me strategies to help control my emotions, get me motivation and manage the discomfort of running. He guided my training. He broke the process into stages and told me what I should do between now and our next session in two weeks time. After every two weeks I fedback how it went. I never had to think more than two weeks ahead. I couldn’t believe how quick my self confidence grew. I managed to have a more balanced approach to everything. Training didn’t seem hard and each time I went for a run I though about what I had been told and I knew that I would be reporting back. Everyday wasn’t perfect e.g., when the ‘Beast from the East’ came I had to revert to treadmill sessions, solutions were always found for any problems.

I decided to shared my runs from Strava privately with my Sport Psychologist. My Sport Psychologist would look over my Strava runs and discuss them each session. In my case we also talked about my unhealthy eating habits, especially since I was overweight and I tended to overeat on unhealthy food when I was stressed, sad or bored. Together we identified personal strategies to help me eat healthier foods and reduce episodes of unhealthy by identifying triggers.

The training continued not only did I run a Half Marathon Event but also a 20 mile Event as well. I never would of expected I could do either. I ran all of the Half Marathon and in the 20 mile Race I only walked up a few hill. I was amazed by the positive change in myself. I was confident and proud of my training achievements. My parkrun PB was now down to 27.04. I could do a full plank for 2 minutes. I had lost almost 2 stone just from healthy eating and running. I had one final session just before the Marathon, where my Sport Psychologist took my mind though the final preparations e.g., accommodation, meals, reviewing my multiple goals, talking about my very own personal “if, then” plans e.g., “If I want to stop, then, just repeat to myself put one foot in front of another and think of my husband’s face.” If I’m feeling tired, then, I may be dehydrated so drink at the next water station.”

The Marathon finally came. I could type so much about that hot, hot day, but to sum it up….it was hot, very hard and my Sport’s Psychologist words were in my head the whole time. I couldn’t of been more happy with my performance.

For sessions Contact: andylane@winninglane.com

£50 per hour

£350 for this Marathon Package of 8 session (one session free).

Dan Robinson in the Frankfurt Marathon 28/10/2018, a bad day at the office.

Dan Robinson.

Dan Robinson works at the University of Wolverhampton where he is available for Performance assessments. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @rungrylikeawolf

Dan runs a variety of distances, from 5km to Ultra’s such as the Comrades. He has spent many years pushing his friends baby around Brueton parkrun and still finishing it in around 16 minutes. Dan trains hard and enjoys it but I sometimes think that he, along with other athletes have signed up to something similar to the add below. Dan describes how everything don’t always go as planned.

“I went into the Frankfurt Marathon with the firm belief that I was in shape to run around 2:25. Training had suggested that this was possible and a couple of key build up races had produced PBs to back that up. At my advanced age I have plenty of experience of marathon build ups and this one was undoubtedly my most consistent and including improvements across all types of sessions”

“The race itself went horribly wrong. Just after breakfast on race day I started to feel not quite right. I convinced myself that this was to be ignored because a) I had made the blandest possible food choices in the previous 48 hours and b) there isn’t much point in doing anything else at that stage. ”

 

“I had planned to run with a good mate and when he said that he wasn’t feeling spectacular either it seemed a reasonable concession to set off slightly more cautiously than planned.”

“So off we went and within 5km were nicely tucked in behind 4 strapping German chaps who were pacing the lead German lady at just under 2:29 pace. Given the strong winds we were even happier to use the protection the group afforded. This was confirmed when we briefly ran off the front of the group only to realise what an energy cost running into the wind represented. We beat a hasty retreat.

Halfway was reached in 74:24, a time I would have been quite happy with had I not been feeling increasingly uneasy about my stomach. All the more frustrating because my legs felt the best they ever have at halfway – something I would have expected running at such a comfortable pace.

At around 25km I started to feel quite unwell and shortly thereafter started to actually be sick. I will spare you the gory details but this process repeated itself every few km as I jogged my way to the finish feeling increasingly weak.

When it happened I knew 2 things –

1. The time was gone

2. I was going to finish

Pushing on when you are still in touch with your goal can be hard enough, but it becomes much more difficult when that target becomes unachievable. It is a matter of personal pride that I will never DNF a race and as such I knew that there was no decision to be made. Just to get the next 10 miles done as best I could and start the post mortem much later. It was one of the tougher experiences I have had in running. There were moments when I wanted to feel quite sorry for myself. But I was out there, still able to move forward, after a fashion and I reminded myself to be grateful for this. I crawled home in 2:38 broken on the day, but comforted by the fact that this was pure bad luck. My job now is to keep giving myself the opportunity and I am surely due at least an average day next time.”

Hayley Carruthers Represents England in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2018

The marathon is an opportunity for redemption. Opportunity because the outcome is uncertain. Opportunity, because it’s up to you, and only you, to make it happen.” Hayley Carruthers

After finishing First Female at the Great North Run Hayley describes her experience of being selected and running for England in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

“My first opportunity to compete as an international England athlete was such an exciting, overwhelming and fantastic experience and if I could do it ten times over, I would.”

“As I have only being running for 2 years, I never thought an opportunity to compete in Toronto, Canada for my third ever marathon would come along for me at all and never mind so soon.”

“I had two choices. Aim for a show-stopper performance on my England debut and put myself on the line with the risk of ‘blowing-up’ or just aim to PB and accept the time I was given. For anyone that knows me I don’t do things by halves. Yes, I doubt myself at times but who doesn’t.

When I was standing on that start line the nausea, nerves and fear set in. Why? Because I cared about the result and wanted to make sure all my training was put to good use. ”

“That pre-race confusion when your brain no longer functions.”

“As soon as the gun went off all of my nerves evaporated and I felt nothing but gratitude for the opportunity that I had been given and I was going to savour every moment. For me this meant focusing on each mile as they came and living in the present. I didn’t think about what I had done or what I had to do, but only what I was doing at that present moment. I made my choice at mile 17. I felt relaxed, smooth and energetic. I felt too good not to risk it all. So that’s what I did and I ran the last 9.2 miles as hard as I could. The result was an 11 minute PB and the most enjoyable race of my life.”

Hayley is modest and down to earth. She regularly participates in parkruns.

Behind the glamour of Race Day, we don’t see all the hard training.day in and day out.

“Building big foundations to chase those big dreams.”

You can follow Hayley on Twitter at @mileswithhayley

Hayley had Psychological Support with Prof Andy Lane, part of Winning Lane. You can follow Andy on Twitter at @AndyLane27 and partner Helen at @RunHelenLane

November: How can a Sport Psychologist help you perform better? An insight into what they do.

See Website in Menu winninglane.com

Psychological and Physiological assessments can help you perform better

1 Get an accurate assessment of performance at baseline.

2 Learn how to use psychological skills.

3 Re-test whether you have improved.

4 Reflect on whether the intervention worked or not? Was it your beliefs that made it work?

N.B: If any of the Peak Performance links don’t you there directly, then type Lane in the search box.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zwr2mnb

Next month there will be a piece on how a Sports Psychologist helped a women run her first marathon using weekly Skype Sessions.