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.

Read More

Using sport psychology to perform faster?

What mindset do I need if I want to go faster? Should I just work harder in training? How do I train smarter? More from Andy Lane… Read More

Keep finding a winning edge

Examining psychological states associated with ageing and offers practical suggestions on how to keep achieving… Read More

How can I perform consistently well under pressure?

Explaining strategies to perform consistently under pressure… Read More

Sports equipment: how music and video can improve performance?

Athletes value technology and coaches can build upon this by demonstrating how it can be used effectively to enhance performance… Read More

Cycling training: how to approach multi stage cycling events

The physiological and psychological demands of riding in a cycling tour… Read More

Game, set, and match – developing resilient self-confidence in tennis

Mental qualities needed to be an elite tennis player, and offers practical suggestions on how tennis players can improve their mental game… Read More

Sports Psychology – Eating behaviours: New Ways to Develop and Assess an Athlete’s Diet

Endurance Training and Mental Toughness for Long Distance Swimming.

Systematic endurance training strategies are presented to help long-distance and open-water swimmers to develop physical and mental toughness, set goals and manage their emotions… Read More

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.

Saturday 18th August: Free Talk by Susan Partridge and Rebecca Robinson

This was the second talk in a series of free talks, organised by Professor Andy Lane and Dan Robinson.

The day started with a get together of some runners at the Walsall Arboretum parkrun.

Photo: Susan Partridge, Rebecca Robinson, Dan Robinson (no relationship to Rebecca), Andy Lane.

This was followed by a drill session on the running track at the University of Wolverhampton (Walsall Campus). The drills focus on improving running technique and were led by Mark Nietz, a Strength and Conditioning Expert for the English Institute of Sport.

Dr Rebecca Robinson

The first speaker was Rebecca Robinson, an International Mountain Runner and Road Runner. Her dedication and strong mental aptitude propelled her to 5th fastest on the British Ranking list last year. She has a P.B. Marathon time of 2.36 and a 5km P.B., of 15.48.

If being a runner at this level isn’t enough, Rebecca works as a Physician at the Centre Health and Human Performance in Harley Street, London, specialising in Sport & Exercise Medicine. Rebecca is also Clinical researcher in physical activity at Sheffield Teaching Hospital and a Consultant in SEM in Musculoskeletal medicine at Moor and Ilcley Medical Practice.

The list doesn’t end there, Rebecca is also a consultant for the English Institute of Sport with the GB Boxing Team & British Athletics.

Today her talk was focused on her applied practitioner experience with runners athletes with Relative Energy Deficiency, due to dieting or the pressure of keeping at a very low body weight.

Rebecca explained that more awareness and education is needed both for the athlete and the coach to prevent underperforming due to extremely low calorie diets and dysfunctional eating. Training on a low calorie diets prevents the growth of muscles, she explained. It was a fascinating talk and its became clear that there are so many sides to Rebecca as she has so much running experiences.

Susan Partridge

Susan Partridge is a middle distance and long distance runner who has represented Great Britain at the World Athletic Championships and the European Athletic Championships. She also represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games. Susan has a 2.30 marathon PB, and she has won the Reading & Cardiff Half Marathon and The Great Birmingham Run Twice.

Susan shared her experiences of running from when she was young to becoming an elite runner. There was some very interesting experiences and she explained how she kept a balance between running and the rest of her life.

After they both spoke there was plenty of time to ask questions to both Susan and Rebecca. It was lovely, to hear and see two such down to earth, modest and interesting people. They both downplayed their abilities and performance.

There will be more free talks to come so keep following Twitter @RunHelenLane @andylane27 or Facebook to see when the next one is.

Monday 23rd July: Talk and Q & A by Dr Martin Yelling

This was the first of a series of free talks that are taking place at the University of Wolverhampton. Walsall Campus. Organised by Professor Andy Lane and Dan Robinson.

Dr Martin Yelling has won the Elite British Duathlon twice, completed the Hawaii Ironman, the Comrades Ultra and ran 260 miles of the South East Coast Path.

This only scratches the surfaces of Martin’s running achievements. n

Martin is one of the Official Experts at the Virgin Money London Marathon. He gives advice on training for the marathon on a series of live Q & A’s on the internet.

Martin is the Co-Founder of Marathontalk podcast and Marathontalk Runcamp alongside Tom Williams.

Martin has his own coaching business with his wife Liz Yelling who was a 2 x Olympic GB Marathon Runner and a Commonwealth Medalist. Yelling performance.com

Martin organise a number of running experiences including one in Austria.

Along with juggling his business, family and running, Martin still works as an academic. He has produced a number of Sport Science articles and works with PhD students.

The talk was fascinating, not what I expected. Martin explored the emotions of running. Highlighting, why do we Run? How does our family and friends fit into a running life? You didn’t have to be fast to enjoy the talk. Martin explained that he started running when he was very young at school. He said that he didn’t think too much into why, however he knew it felt good, especially afterward he went for a run. Martin said for him it was not just the winning. Running made him feel like he could do almost anything.

The talk focus a little on strategies to control emotions, e.g., when nervous or anxious think about your previous success, sets many goals not just one so you can stay positive and not put too much pressure on yourself. When coaching he said one of the most important things is to listen and supports their athletes, observes them and reminds the of their previous successes.

After the talk finished there was the opportunity to ask many questions. One that made me laugh was the answer given to a question on “what advice would you give to encourage young girls and boys to run”. Martin said, make it fun and don’t push them if they really, really don’t want to do it, but he made us all laugh when he said, “I’m amazed at just how many parents are so serious. I went down to a training session on an athletic track and the parents bring out gels, sports drinks, energy bars, even though their running distance maybe quite short.” It was a great evening on a very hot evening.

The Derby Half Marathon: Sunday 3rd June 2018

This event used to be called the Ramathon. It’s now called the Derby Half Marathon. It’s a big event with lots of support. A latte from Costa, collect number, get to the start area and off I go. Very, very well organised. Impossible to go wrong. Water and sports drinks available quite often. For the first mile it is a little crowded but after a mile it’s fine. I got hotter and hotter the further I ran, I thought to myself “I seem slower and find this a lot harder than I used to”. I plod on thinking of the medal and get to the end. At the end I get a nice medal and running top and walk down the river to meet my husband at the Dave Lloyd Centre to shower and have lunch. Easy.

Burton 10: Sunday 20th June 2018

A really good thing about this event is it starts late, a 10.45am start. A hot day again. My husband and I decided to cycle to this event as it was only about 14 miles away. My husband knee was sore so he watched. It was a very hot day again but this is another lovely race and good value for money as you get a running top included. It’s a two lap course with one big uphill on each lap. I’ve always liked this course because of the distance, start time and two lap course. When all the runners had finished we cycled home. We got home at about 4pm and all I had all day was a banana.

The Bosworth Half Marathon: Sunday 13th May 2018

Again, another hot sunny day. This event had the most beautiful scenery. We warmed up around the lovely lake and then headed over to the start. It was a struggle on some of the hills but there enough drinks stations and on the whole very well organised. Unfortunately the results took a few days to come out and I felt sorry for the organiser who seemed to get a bit of abuse from a few runners. At the finish we got a nice medal.

Lichfield Half Marathon: Sunday 6th May

The Lichfield Half Marathon starts near our house so it’s easy to jog to the start. It was two weeks after the Virgin London Marathon and hot. I don’t know how it’s described in race reports but I would describe as mostly flat with a few ups and downs. The start is at King Edward School and the finish is about a mile apart in town by the Lichfield Cathedral in town, but the 1 mile walk is worth it for the lovely atmosphere at the end and the walk through Lichfield City back to the start. You could park at the start in the school car park or a car park in town. We have done this event three times and we wouldn’t be coming back year after year if we didn’t enjoy it