Home' Scoop : Scoop 50 Summer 2009 Contents 116 SCOOP SUMMER 2009
Three years ago I hadn't run, ever.
Back then I said I hated it, which
was true, but more accurately, I was
afraid of it.
Afraid of how bad it made me
feel, how much I would hate myself for feeling
unfit, afraid of feeling the jiggly bits of me jiggle
that little bit harder. So I never ran.
I'd refuse to run for trains or buses, I'd write
sick notes to get myself out of Phys Ed at school
(sorry, Mum). I wasn't the sporty type.
Then something changed. I took part in a "kick
start your fitness" type program at my gym because
I wanted to get this monkey off my back. I decided
that by the end of the 10 days, I wanted to be able
to run the three-kilometre time trial that we were
pushed through on the first day (that cold August
morning saw me walking most of the three kilome-
tres and even taking a short cut. Oh, the shame).
And you know what? By the end of those 10
days I ran the whole distance. And after that I
decided that because it had been such a fight to
run it, I was never going backwards. The child-
hood monkey had been lured off my back with
whispers of fields of bananas, and had gunned it.
I'm still no Sporty Spice. I love nice clothes and
high heels, and wine is as much a part of my life as air.
But I've learnt that without something to work
towards, I'll do nothing, because nothing is actu-
ally quite fun. Nothing is sleeping in and having
ham and cheese croissants on Sunday. But nothing
can make you drink too much, eat out too much,
and get fat and lazy.
And what's life without a challenge? Why not
do the things that make you scared?
So that's sort of how I found myself getting
up at 4:45am in New York City, walking to 42nd
Street, past the last Halloween revellers, piling
onto buses, and being driven to Staten Island to
run a marathon on November 1.
Months before we set out in that cold
November rain, I'd run a half marathon (21.1km).
As I crossed the line I proclaimed, "I'm never doing
Two weeks later I was figuring out what to
do next, and for some odd reason, the New York
marathon seemed to fit perfectly: Train for some
big, crazy race you don't even know if your body
can handle (tick), and get a great holiday too (tick
So my husband called the travel agent. We
paid our money, and with a few mouse clicks, we
were signed up. Like buying stuff on eBay, it was
instantly gratifying -- and then we immediately
The race was about 18 weeks away. I researched
and devised a training plan. To my horror, a run-
ning website suggested that a first-time marathoner
should have a base of 40 to 64km (about five runs
over 12km) each week. I'd be lucky to run the dog
10km a week total. Of course, I see this after we've
signed up so there was not much I can do but lace
up my sneakers.
I'm a big fan of asking experts, so when I ran
my first half marathon in May I had running
coach Gina Greyson-Cassey help me out. Gina is a
warm, funny coach, who also happens to be a bril-
liant runner. Her advice to me as I whined at her
about how I could be better at this lark was simple.
"To be a better runner, you have to run." Damn.
Using Gina's training advice and info found
online, I devised my own preparation plan for the
Each week I would have one interval set (this is
short, hard bursts of fast running usually done at a
400m track), one hills session, two easy short runs
(varying distances of anywhere from 4km to 8km),
one Sunday morning long run (what Gina calls
"your bread and butter run" ie miss any run but
this one) , and a couple of yoga sessions thrown in.
Each week the long run would get longer until,
two weeks before the race, we would run our
longest distance of 32km before starting to taper
like you stole it
Bitten by the running bug, Emma Wheater wasn't content with
pounding the streets around Perth. She went the whole hog and
took aim at the marathon. And where better to tackle a runner's
greatest challenge than mighty New York? « training images tony mcdonough
Links Archive Scoop 52 Navigation Previous Page Next Page