You may have seen the London Marathon #extramile campaign on social media channels or visited the extramile website (www.extramile.co.uk). You may have also read my previous blog post about the campaign and how much I am enjoying being able to share my marathon journey with fellow runners and anyone else who may be interested! Well thanks to my regular Twitter updates, and frequent (often very unflattering) running related Instagram images, I have been chosen as an #extramile ambassador – basically recognised as someone who spends lot of time on social media talking about running!
The wonderfully unexpected bonus of this accolade is that I have been invited to attend a training day in London next weekend with other selected #extramile London Marathon ambassadors. On Friday 6th March I will be making the long commute down to London, then across the city to Lensbury Hotel in Twickenham. Here I shall meet the other ambassadors over dinner – which I am sure will be fuelled with high levels of running and training related conversation, as well as fuelling us for the forthcoming training happening the next day.
On Saturday 7th we shall be spending the day with Martin Yelling. Martin is a former international runner, elite multisport athlete and Hawaii Ironman finisher who has coached runners from novices through to champions. Martin is also the founder of the UK's number one running podcast - Marathon Talk- and owner of Yelling Performance, as well as regularly contributing to running, health and fitness publications. His wife is also Liz, Yelling, 2 x Olympic marathon runner, so basically he knows his stuff!
Martin will be giving us a pre training talk, leading is through a track based marathon training session, and also taking part in a question and answer session. I am very excited to be able to learn from what Martin has to say, and hopefully pick up some advice and be able to answer those niggling questions I have in my mind. The track based session actually scares me a little! I don't think I have run on a track since high school so it feels a little out of my comfort zone! I am ready for the challenge anyway!
Then it will be back to Lincoln for me ready for a lovely long run on the Sunday – which hopefully I will be feeling even more inspired than usual to complete!
I actually felt a little nervous beforehand, for two reasons. One - anything organised/official generally makes me feel nervous - it doesn't even have to be running related! But the fact that the run was timed, with a start and a finish etc. made me feel slightly nervous. If I was just heading out for a 5km run around the block I would have been completely fine! Two - I was anxious about my time. Being in marathon training has meant I have got used to running longer, slower runs. Even the weekly 5km run on my training plan I have been completing at a comfortable speed of about 25 minutes, whereas before I was pushing it down to around 23 minutes. So I was trying to mentally prepare myself for the fact it probably wouldn't be a PB run, which is something you would normally strive for in any other organised run.
To officially record your time parkrun requires you to register online which enables you to receive your own unique barcode. This is then scanned at the finish line to accurately record who you are and what position you finished. However, as I wasn't feeling that optimistic about my performance, I opted to just run the course and self time my run, rather than have it posted online! My time... 24.40, which if I am honest I was happy with as it was sub 25mins. I also was not quite expecting the number of runners at the start (it turned out to be a record attendance) so got a little stuck, as well as having to slow down briefly to exchange a few words with a couple of people I knew!
Overall I really enjoyed my first parkrun. The event has a lovely atmosphere and is wonderfully organised by the volunteers involved. Its a great way for those new to running to get started, gives more experienced runners an accessible platform to run a weekly timed event, and virtually caters for all those in between. I will definitely be running it again - and may even be brave enough to officially register my time on the next occasion!
It is times like these when you often feel like you need that extra bit of support and encouragement to remind you of why you are taking on this challenge, and also to reflect on just how far you have come! This is why I am really enjoying being involved with the London Marathon’s #extramile campaign.
extramile is a social campaign at the London Marathon led by headline sponsors Virgin Money and developed in partnership with communication design studio four23. It was first launched in 2014 and enables runners to share their marathon journey via Twitter or Instagram using the #extramile hashtag. The extramile website (http://www.extramile.co.uk) then pulls all content together which us shared using this hashtag, and displays it on a collective timeline - bringing the journeys of 37,000 runners together! The website also allows you to create your own capsule to record your own #extramile Twitter and Instagram updates and gives you a personalised URL which you can share with others.
Sharing my journey through Twitter and Instagram using the #extramile hashtag allows me to connect with a much wider audience, and a simple 'retweet or 'like' from someone can give me that extra little boost. Following other peoples' journey also keeps me motivated and at a time when I may feel like I am struggling there is someone out there with a bit of motivation or advice to offer. I find being able to look back on images or posts I have shared furthermore helps me reflect on my training. I hope I am able able to inspire and support fellow marathoners with my training updates... and of course my sweaty selfies!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...