For starters Mark helped me achieve my ultimate goal in the London Marathon of 3.45!
Mark had kindly offered to coach me on my second London marathon, the first of which was 15 years prior so it didn’t really count. Since then I had only run a few 10k’s and half marathons. I had never had a coach before and years ago I would have thought it only for faster runners but I had heard great things about the diffidence coaching would make and especially Mark, who I’d known for a few years from the club. We arranged how frequently we would meet and it varied throughout the plan so we could tweak it depending on how each little milestone went. It was a well-structured and personalised plan. Mark was always available to meet up and provide support which gradually built up my confidence in how I was performing versus the plan.
Mark is very approachable and as soon as you sit down with him with a cup of tea you feel like you could say anything, running related or not. He is a great listener but I think it’s his positive attitude and positive affirmations that stuck to me on the day. I was still undecided about which pace to go for up until that morning and finally went with the fastest of my goal pace. Mark always believed I could do it, but the little doubt in my head about how I could run the whole way at that pace (8.30/mm) made it hard for me to believe when I had not gone further than 13 miles at that pace.
Mark helped me believe in the plan we had set out but also helped me to believe that I could do it …… And what do you know, I did do it. I think the variety of runs and the pace set by Mark helped to build up the strength and stamina. I had joked about “less is more” for me on our first meet up but we found the right balance of runs for me.
It was the best run of my life (corny I know!) but I loved every minute of it (I have a grinning photo half way around and at the end to prove it!) and I don’t believe it would have gone so well without Mark’s help. The trial run, both running the course and driving it all beforehand helped to piece it together so there were less surprises on the day.
Mark was the first person I text when I finished it to tell him my time as he knew more than anyone the training that went into it. I was ecstatic!!
A massive thank you Mark!!