1 month, 42km, a herd of curious elephants and one sore toe
25th May 2018
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For the last six years or so, I've been a slow but enthusiastic runner-of-sorts. What started out as a charity Race for Life team effort at a previous workplace, has developed into a full-on hobby.

Last month, Peake Fitness at Stoke by Nayland, ran a 4  week Marathon Month Challenge, inviting its members to run the equivalent of a marathon (42.2km) on the gym's treadmills, over that period. 

Always up for a bit of a challenge, I accepted. 

It also happened to be perfect timing to fine tune my 10km training. I'd signed up for the (postponed) Colchester Stampede - a 10km road race, that starts and finishes at Colchester Zoo.

I planned the challenge as I would training for a race. I worked out the distance I needed to cover and split that into sessions. I also wanted to get a 10km personal best, so looked at working on my speed.

I split the training into 5 treadmill sessions. I'd need to cover about 8.5km each run to reach the required distance. But sometimes that wasn't possible because of a. time restraints (business owner and CEO of Wilby Enterprises, means I need to fit training around meetings, work commitments and family) or b. I was just not feeling it, which is fine. Sometimes that happens

My first session took place on a really quiet Sunday afternoon. Just me and my daughter's y6 teacher, who just smashed a half marathon without breaking into a sweat! I managed 7.5km and a few days later, when I'd recovered, managed another 7.5km. Each time I'd strive to go just a bit faster, or change the gradient to work on running up hills. My third session was a comfortable 8km - no problem. 

However, I then hit a brick wall (metaphorically, not literally!) I'd just put the 2018 Sudbury Business Expo to bed and I was exhausted. I knew I had to train, but was just not feeling the love. I reluctantly managed a 6km. Probably more walking than running and I felt every past injury coming to haunt me too. 

Fortunately, the final session was much better, smashing a few milestones for speed and distance, and completed 13km. This gave me such a massive mental boost for the following Sunday's race.  And it also meant I'd hit my marathon month challenge with literally 24 hours to spare! There's nothing like smashing a goal to raise your spirits

The Colchester Stampede itself was a fantastic event. There can't be many races where the start is overlooked by elephants and giraffes.  Over 1000 people took part and the first and last few kilometres of the route took place in the Zoo. The rest was a beautiful route, on rural roads just outside Colchester. Some of the hills were quite a challenge, but I just about managed them and around 7km my hips really started to give me a bit of trouble, plus a spot of runners toe (this is when I realise I'm 43 not 23!) but I still managed a PB of 1 hour 9, beating my last time by 2 minutes. 

I really enjoyed this challenge. Treadmill running isn't normally my exercise of choice, but being able to train in a structured way definitely helped me get my 10km PB and take on some of those pesky hills

If you'd give like Peake Fitness a go, they currently have a 7 Day Free Trial, so  you can try all the facilities and classes before your join.  I cannot recommend them enough. 

Here's to the next challenge...

About the Author

Penny W

Member since: 17th March 2014

Hello! I'm Penny from thebestof Sudbury, shouting about the best local businesses from Hadleigh through the Clare. When I'm not doing that, you'll find me knitting socks or tending to my 6 chickens

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