My stroke anniversary hit me hard

Last October, Lou Read, 37, a laywer and mum of two suffered a stroke that left her unable to walk or talk. This is the second of her monthly updates exclusive for Girls Run the World about training for the London Marathon 2020
They say getting to the start line mentally and physically ready for a marathon is bigger than actually doing it. This I know is true, and it’s going to ring truer than ever for me this time as I train for the London Marathon. (Listen to our podcast with Lou about how a stroke transformed her life).
The last few weeks have been a bit bonkers what with a holiday, a house move, sickness and the anniversary of my stroke on 21st October 2018.
I’ve had some good weeks, a great week and a rubbish week. That’s ok. I’ve given myself plenty of time to train for the London Marathon and if I manage 80% of the sessions, that’ll be enough. I’ve got to cut myself some slack and listen to my body.
After the house move, my body had had enough so I had to take a week off. Training would have been foolish. I also found the anniversary of the stroke much harder to deal with than I was expecting.
 Lou Read on holiday with her husband and children before the anniversary of her stroke
I thought I’d be fine but emotionally I was a wreck. The memories of what had happened and how sick I had been just came flooding back; I’d find myself in tears at the most random of times. I wasn’t necessarily sad, it’s just a date that will forever be etched into my (partly) dead brain, and certain things or times of the year will continue to trigger traumatic memories. I’m sure as each year passes, those memories will fade but for now, they are still very raw and painful.
Anyway, the last two weeks have gone well and my training structure has looked like this:

Lou’s marathon training structure

Monday am- personal training to work on balance, co-ordination, strength and core

Pm-easy 5 miles at recovery heart rate 145-154 beats per minute

Tuesday am-easy 4 miles at recovery heart rate

Pm-reps with my club ran at 165+ during the reps

Wednesday am-6 miles easy with my buddy Steve (don’t look at pace or heart rate and we just chat)!

Thursday-7 Miles at threshold which for me is 155-165

Friday-rest day/yoga day/ pub night(!!)

Saturday -2 mile warm up/Parkrun at 160 zone heart rate /2 Mile cool down

Sunday-steady long run at recovery heart rate (currently 13 miles).

It’s a rough structure which I plan to follow through November, but I’m not rigid about it.
Running with friends is good in any marathon training plan. Lou out with her friend.
Every Sunday night, I plan the week to check where I’m working as a busy solicitor, if the kids have activities I need to be at, if I have a race, etc and then I work the my training plan so I can accommodate all my commitments. There’s no point in being rigid in a plan as it won’t work and it can be disheartening. Likewise, I know seeing my friends for social runs is important so I make sure I tailor my plan around those too.
I’ve been super brave and entered the Clowne half marathon at the end of this month. I have no idea how I’ll fare. I’ve never done it before and it’s a hilly one, so that I don’t compare my time to a past pre-stroke running time. I’ll give it my best shot and see how it goes.
Wish me luck!
Read Lou’s first training despatches for Girls Run the World here.
Subscribe to the Girls Run the World YouTube channel for our upcoming video about how and why heart rate training could help you,