The London Marathon: Mind vs Body – Charlotte Northam

The ultimate battle

With 10 days to go until the biggest physical challenge I have ever set myself, the London Marathon seems to be getting closer by the minute. 12 days ago saw my last chance to attempt a run further than I had ever run before. My goal: 22 miles. My plan: keep running until I get there, no matter how slow my pace is. Do not stop!

The experience I’ve had training for the Marathon so far has been the ultimate battle between my mind and body. On two occasions my mind won, resulting in an emotional call to my fiancé to tell him I failed, I give up and I can’t go on. On one occasion I found myself sitting at the side of the Eastern Road, crying, kicking myself for giving up and knowing if I just ignored what my head was telling me I could have carried on and completed the run.

After my run I felt down in the dumps. It was even harder as I had no one I could share this experience with who would really understand what I was going through. This led me to start a search on social media to find a group I could reach out too. I came across the Bad Ass Lady Gang, all females dealing with the frustrations of running and sharing tips and motivational advice.

I shared my story on the social media page and was overwhelmed with the support from each and every response to my post. All comments echoed similar sentiments: one bad run would not diminish any training I had done so far; it will not define how my training will be from this point, and sometimes the day you think will be an amazing run, will actually be the worst, but that’s life.

I quickly realised I’m not the only female in the world to feel this and I just had to suck it up. I had to hit that wall one more time so I could learn how to break through and reach the other side.

The big one

22 miles. Everything was prepared: the route, amazing playlist, water, energy gels, pre-run and post-run food. I was ready! My run would take me around a local area I’d have never ventured to before, which meant the route would be more interesting. The weather was overcast but when the sun came out, wow it was hot!

20 minutes prior to starting, I had my first ever energy gel (not the most pleasant of textures) and set off, feeling strong for the first 10 miles. By this point the sun was shining which led me to run in my sports bra without a care in the world as to who was watching! I had my second energy gel at mile 11 but had to slow down to check my route as I’d got a little lost but was soon back on track!

Then, at mile 15, the wall. This was it, the giant wall I was so worried to hit and I was smack bang at the bottom of it. My mind started to kick in; you can’t do this, you may as well give up now, book an Uber, its over!

I called my fiancé, who with a background in the military, gave me an ultimatum. He told me I could either give up now or push on and see what my body can do. No matter how slow or how long it might take me, he told me to just push on and see what happens.

And so, I did. I finished the run in just over 4 hours, feeling exhausted but so proud of myself!

It’s amazing what your body can do when you ignore the negative thoughts in your mind to safely push yourself to success.

London Marathon, I’m coming for you!


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