Our beauty blogger Catherine McCurry talks about her challenging marathon training….
FOR the last four months I have been running the roads most mornings and evenings in an effort to accomplish one of my biggest goals to date.
I have always loved running and I enjoy challenging my abilities as a runner but the ultimate test for anyone like myself is to complete a marathon.
And, as I write this, I am just three days from taking part in the Belfast Marathon. All 26 miles and 385 yards of it.
It has been a tough and testing journey, not just physically but mentally, because there have been many moments where my legs want to cave in and stop but my mind has persevered and kept me going to the very end.
Preparing for a marathon consumed not only a lot of my time but also changed my diet and weekends as it deserves a lot of dedication and sacrifices to ensure that my confidence, fitness and durability to run that length was at the right level.
Admittingly, I gave up a lot of my Saturday nights in pubs and instead went to bed early, alcohol free, and awoke to a 6.30am alarm and ran for the next three hours.
It has tested my patience and dedication as it would be so easy to sleep on and delay the long runs.
But marathons are not to be taken lightly and if I wanted to run it in its entirety and injury free, I had to know all the right exercises, stretches, food and running gear as well as following a strict schedule every week.
From the protein shakes, energy gels, carbohydrates and caffeine, adapting to this new-found world where I eat based on how many miles I plan to run takes resilience and discipline.
My body has been tested, a bit too much at times, and for the last few weeks I have suffered pains in both knees which has resulted in a few runs coming to an early and abrupt end.
After visiting a physiotherapist, I was told that I have pes planus, aka flat feet, and would have to wear orthotic insoles in my shoes and trainers.
There are designed to stop my feet from rolling inwards when I walk or run and should help ease the pain on marathon day.
Ideally I should have the insoles made and fitted by a podiatrist, but that can take up to six weeks and unfortunately I haven’t been afforded that time.
As well as training for the marathon I have been fundraising for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, a charity that touches the heart of my family as four of my cousins suffer from the incurable disease, one of whom passed away over three years ago.
The fundraising has certainly kept my motivational levels up and to date we have raised almost £1,500, which I am very proud of.
By today (Saturday) I should have completed the marathon and enjoying a well deserved recovery.