Tips for Managing Chronic Illness and Training | Manchester Marathon Update #3

I will admit my reasoning for not taking on a marathon years ago was worrying how my body would cope. But in the last couple of years I have pushed it to do new things and gained so much strength, I thought 2020 was the year to have a go.

So I madly signed up for Manchester Marathon in November. Then in December I joined Team Project Run run by Coach Lloyd Kempson. His marathon plan (sorry about the Torygraph paywall) is something a few friends have followed so I thought why not try. Lloyd listened to me and my concerns, but also was encouraging of me. It’s that belief that you can do things, even with a rubbish chronic illness that is really needed. TPR is also a community, it’s been great to have the support of others under Lloyd’s watch. Other than making sure the plan was going to help me, I have some other things I do to make sure I’m looking after myself. Here are my tips for managing chronic illness and your training:

Making sure adequate rest is on the plan

Seems mad to say it, but I know so many people who really try and over cook it. Chronic illness or no chronic illness! If you don’t rest, you can’t recover, simples. Some rest days for me will be active rest, like yoga or a walk. But it’s rest from the heavy duty stuff, no running and no high impact.

Taking care of yourself

From knowing when to see a physio and get a sports massage. You need to keep on top of looking after yourself. I see a physio monthly to help me with my pesky legs. I also keep my arthritis in check with my rheumatology team as well as making sure I’m taking my meds properly. I also enjoy a good bath at the end of the week to ease all my muscles!

Cross training

As with seeing looking after yourself, cross training is a must too with any form of running training. Developing strength however you can will benefit your running. I use the hydrotherapy pool regularly. I have also recently started going to yoga a lot more often. I find both of these help stretch out my muscles and build strength. I’ve been lucky that the yoga instructors help me adapt poses with my wonky joints. So really don’t be put off to try something different or new for your cross training.

Now for a Little Christmas Training Update…

Week commencing 16th December:

As mentioned in my previous Manchester Marathon Update, that week comprised of 18 miles over 4 runs.

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 3 miles steady. This run happened in all the weather (hail, rain, wind), which made it a rather interesting run. It definitely pushed that steady pace a bit!

Wednesday – 5 miles easy. Went OK but unlike the day before it was unseasonably warm and I felt over-heated for most of it.

Friday – Stupidly decided to do a Slow Vinyasa class as the swimming pool was shut. This type of yoga I hadn’t done in a while, let’s just say I was sore after!

Saturday – 3 miles easy at Parkrun. These were 3 fairly muddy and painful (ouch) thanks to yoga and a mild hangover.

Sunday – 7 miles easy. Thankfully the Parkrun seemed to stretch my legs out so my long run was wonderful and endorphin fuelled. This run also took me over 1000km for 2020, amazing! I then finished the week off at a Yin yoga class, for all the stretching, perfect really!

Week commencing 23rd December:

Christmas week is always a busy one, so I stuck to only trying to fit in 3 runs.

Monday – Rest

Tuesday (Christmas Eve) – I took Dr W out for 10k, for which I chose a fairly hilly route (everywhere flat was flooded at the time). It was hard work but super rewarding, we were taking it easy so we got to take our time and both felt great afterwards.

Wednesday (Christmas Day) – We headed to Parkrun for an easy run, as tradition dictates. It was a bit mad with a ridiculous number of runners, I finished in 34 mins (a bit slower than usual, but I had to walk in some parts due to the crowding).

Thursday (Boxing Day) – We headed to Westonbirt Arboretum for a long walk. Much needed to blow the cobwebs out!

Friday – Super stretchy and lovely Slow Vinyasa class.

Saturday – 8 miles easy. This we decided to take to the Malvern Hills as I fancied a change from the road. It was quite tough with over 600m of ascent. Oops! Maybe not so easy after all… but great strength training for the legs.

Sunday – Rest (much needed).

This week’s training

I have about 21 miles to cover over 4 runs this week. I’ve also got a yoga session and swimming planned too. Cross training is so important now the miles are going up.

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