Talks with our MD: Running a marathon

Posted by Hannah McManus, 26th October 2021

Our Managing Director Liz recently ran the Manchester marathon - an amazing achievement - so we're chatting all about the marathon, plus some tips on starting out!

Did you win?

Yes I did, running a marathon is winning, you have got yourself out there and pushed your mind and body. I didn’t win the actual race though.

Why did you take up running?

I have always enjoyed sports, concentrating more on netball over the past 20 years. I have ran on and off but nothing serious. Then I started running again just over 3 years ago and got the bug.

What is it about running you enjoy?

For me it's getting outside and running in the countryside. It's an escape. I will either listen to music or just run in silence. I love an early morning run when the sun is just coming up and everything is so fresh.

It's not just good physically to run but also mentally. It really clears the head, if I’ve had a bad day running helps relieve the pressure and I have some of the most productive thoughts while running.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Take it easy and don’t try to run too fast too soon. It's about getting out there and even if you just run for 2 minutes and then walk, it's fine. It takes time to build up the endurance to even run 5km. But stick at it and don’t give in. Even now I have mornings where the run just feels hard, but you keep going knowing the next one wont feel so bad. I would also set yourself a routine, that way it will help with motivation. Follow an app like the couch to 5km, it will really help you be accountable. Find a running friend, maybe someone who is also new to running or even someone who has more experience, the running community is so friendly. They will help hold you accountable and can make the whole experience more enjoyable.

What has running a marathon taught you?

You can achieve almost anything if you put your mind to it, finishing a marathon is a state of mind that says anything is possible.

Did you train much?

I followed a 4 month plan to get me to the right fitness, however before this I spent 6 months building a base so I was ready to take on the challenge. You can run a marathon on little training, but it will hurt and you potentially open yourself up top injury. I wanted to ensure I did my best so I put time and effort in.

Will you run another marathon?

Yes. Now I’ve done one I know what to expect and know I can improve my time. Running is not about being better than someone else, it's about being better than you used to be.

What are your thoughts on sports in schools and girls carrying on with physical activity after school?

Women in Sport research found that too many girls are dropping out of sport and physical activity during teenage years and developing deep-rooted negative attitudes towards it, which act as barriers throughout life, physical activity dropping to 10% of girls age 13-16.

Playing sports especially team games can help develop skills that are great for later in life such as team work, leadership and confidence. It can be a great social thing and help you expand your social network. I don’t think it's encouraged enough in schools and many girls have negative experiences with PE at school and this can discourage future participation in sports.

As a mum I believe parents should help inspire their children and teach them positive habits, so show teenagers that activity can be fun and enjoyable whatever form that takes.

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