Why I decided to run a marathon this year
Caitlin always enjoyed running 5km but this year has set herself the challenge of running a marathon
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caitlin is running the Dublin Marathon on 27th October 2019 in aid of SpunOut.ie. Read about Caitlin's marathon training below and if you want support her fundraising efforts, you can donate here.
During the summer of my first year in secondary school my Mom introduced me to the ‘Couch to 5k’ program. I had never been a runner but I’ve always loved a challenge so I tried it out. I was fit but it seemed like a lot of commitment at the time. I think it took me three times starting out the programme to actually finish the eight weeks. Every training was intense. I remember hating every second of it, but at the end it would always be worth the achievement.
I always ran by myself in the gym or around where I lived. I never went beyond a 5km and I frequently had to restart the program to build up to 5k again because I didn’t run very often after I completed it. When I was boarding in 5th Year I suddenly felt like taking it up again, but properly. From January onwards I got up at around 6am, crept out of the house and jogged despite it being freezing. In my opinion it’s the best way to start the day because you’ve already achieved something and you’ve properly woken up. After the 5km plan I went onto a 10km plan, never focusing on speed but always completing the trail.
We did an optional couch to 5km in our PE lessons, which of course I enjoyed. I loved that we all had different abilities but respected and learnt from each other. It was nice to have some company on the runs too. . I took it easy from then doing a ‘Parkrun’ once a week with friends for the fun of it. They’re a great way to get the whole community involved.
Last October, by chance, I was stuck in traffic driving past the Dublin Marathon. I couldn’t help but have total admiration for the people in the race. I was in awe. The strength it takes to run a marathon is incredible and even to be a part of it would be a dream for me. From that moment I decided I would run the Dublin Marathon the following year. Looking back, I remember how ridiculous I thought I was - only 18 years old and jumping from a 5km jog to a 42km race. It’s truly amazing what you can achieve in a year.
I started training for it in January, which was way too early. I continued it until March when it got too intense with everything else going on in my life that I made myself take a break and change the training schedule. I planned to recommence in April with a beginners half marathon program, which brought me to the Clontarf Half Marathon in July. The runs leading up to it were boring and tiresome. Most of the time I was too anxious about failing that I couldn’t enjoy it. Nevertheless I kept going and completed the half marathon in 2 hours and 29 minutes. After this day the running game changed for me because I felt like I was finally worthy of calling myself a runner. I increased my program, pushed myself to the best of my ability and that’s when I fell in love with running.
With the Marathon in sight I have to prepare and take care of myself. This involves nutrition, sleep, self care and the last few weeks of trainings. I do find this time consuming but I tackle it by having a strict weekly routine. The more you do before the big day the better and easier it’ll be. What keeps me going is looking at how far I have come and that I’ll have achieved something 13 year old me struggling to run a 5km would have never believed I could do. With this I’m also hoping to inspire others to take on their dreams as I have.
Make yourself a goal today and you’ll never know where it’ll take you.