How the memory of my dad keeps me going when things get tough

by Camila Fernandez Marie Curie fundraiser Camila is running the Virgin Money London Marathon   for Marie Curie and will be writing a regular blog in the run up to the event in April. If you already have a place for this year’s event, we’d love you to join our Daffodil team to raise money for Marie Curie. Camilla-Fernandez

As the weeks roll on and my work schedule ramps up I've been finding it increasingly difficult to fit the extra mileage into my everyday life.
Last week I managed only two runs and this week I managed three (definitely not ideal). Admittedly, after a long working day the last thing I want to do is push myself out into the dark, rainy nights or chilly early mornings. As fatigue sets in I’m finding it's hard to do the fast training runs, even though they’re short. I've managed to keep on top of my long runs, but I'm still a little concerned about timescales.

Keeping focus

On the days when I'm feeling particularly knackered I've tried to visualise my dad (who I'm running in memory of) running alongside me and spurring me along. I've tried to create routes that incorporate places or areas that have positive memories or are just visually impressive. I lived with my parents near Alexandra Palace four years ago when my dad was studying at the Slade School of Fine Art. I planned a late-night route there, bringing back fond memories and allowing me to see stunning views across London, beautifully lit up. There's also a killer hill to run up to get there – another great form of training practice (not going to lie though, I did have to pause once fearing my lungs would burst). So, although I’ve been feeling disheartened that my speed is slow and I'm not managing as much as I'd like to, this run made me regroup and bring back into sharp focus the reasons why I’m doing this marathon. In the past I've always listened to music on my runs but I've swapped my playlists for audio books in an effort to keep my mind off the mileage and to help me almost forget I'm running. If you get to a really gripping part in the novel you almost look forward to your next run to find out what happens next. I'm currently listening to Gone Girl.

Energy gels

In my last post I talked about gels and how I was incorporating them into my runs, but I hadn't yet found the right type or brand. Since then I have tried a brand called SIS (the caffeine ones) along with Shot Bloks (which taste like Haribo). Both of these are working an absolute treat for me on my really long runs. Ice baths are also something I've started trying out to help my recovery but I'll fill you in more about that in my next post. Until next time... keep on running!