Naomi Trickey, Mentoring New York Marathon, 2017

Running a marathon is tough, mentally as well as physically. Everyone knows that. I had long said that the only marathon I was really interested in (and terrified of!) was New York. I have entered the lottery many times. This year I got in. Time to meet my own challenge.
It met my criteria in that it scared me. And it would require a lot of training. Like everybody running their first marathon, my main aim was just to finish it. But I very much wanted to come in under 5 hours. And I wanted, most importantly, to enjoy it.
Mentoring helped me get there. Rachael and I talked about my goals. It helps that she knows me well enough to know what my strengths and weaknesses are, both physically and mentally, and has seen me race enough to know what I needed to do to get to the start and finish line of New York.
She put together a custom plan for me, which we tweaked continually as the weeks went by, according to how well my training was going and the million other things I fit into my life. It effectively covered every aspect of training, with detailed sessions and guidance on sessions for: pace, strength, endurance, strength work, stretching/yoga and even reminders of when to get a massage (every 3 weeks – sounds delightful but sports massages are generally anything but!) Rachael gave me specific paces and times I needed to hit for all of the running sessions, worked out according to analysis of previous times. IN a nutshell, this is what the mentoring service gave me:
  • Pace training. I rediscovered how much I love running on the track and the psychological strength I gained from 7am track workouts, by myself and with friends, is not to be underestimated when it comes to the longer runs and the marathon itself.
  • Park runs. No PB yet but am now working towards one off the back of the marathon training – I DO NOT want to lose the fitness I’ve gained!
  • Tuning races. Including tuning races in my plan was totally invaluable. I did a half marathon, which I did not enjoy but learnt from (hydration is important, who knew?) And a ten-mile race off the back of a ten mile run which trained me to deal with race anxiety whilst running. And gained me a lot of kudos on social media!
  • A steeper ramp to the long runs than most plans I’ve seen. I added 2 miles per week. I could do this because I was already running. It meant that I managed two 20+ mile runs before the marathon. This is the thing I credit for avoiding maranoia: I knew I could cover another 6 miles, even if I had to walk it and had the endurance to finish strong.
  • Strength training. DO NOT miss this bit out. It’s the difference between injury and running free. The reality is that running for 3-5 hours hurts, but it would have hurt a lot more not being able to do it for the sake of some single leg conditioning.
Naomi finished the New York Marathon in 4.45.25