Tim Wilson, Director, Funds in our Guernsey office has taken on the challenge of the Guernsey marathon! We caught up with him to discuss his preparation leading up to 24 October and the physical and mental benefits of running.
What made you decide to do the marathon
Guernsey is a beautiful island to run on and I run throughout the year so it’s a perfect way of giving you a long-term goal. I always try and have a goal for the different times of year. Winter it’s cross country, followed by lots of road races in spring, and then the marathon helps you get through the summer. It’s just a case of picking out events and giving yourself the goals. The big reason for doing it is because I’m feeling fitter than I was in my 20s so I’m hoping to get a personal best! I had a strong half marathon last year, in 1hr 30 so I was inspired to think I could do a sub 3hr 30 time for the marathon, although this is very punchy, so we’ll see. You never know whether you’ll hit a wall on the day, but the aim is to crack 3hr 45.
How do you prepare to run this distance?
There are lots of marathon plans and schedules available, I usually do a few lighter runs during the week then a long Sunday run. The longest I’ve done so far is 22 miles, I am now tapering down the distance, I won’t do the full marathon before the day! The training plan for all my running is speed work, short fast 5kms and then medium distance at tempo pace. The training is all about keeping variety.
You definitely have to change some life factors too. I’ll avoid alcohol when training and I’ll make sure I’m getting all the calories in that I need. I also make sure that on the days I train I have a recovery milkshake with protein powder. I really enjoy all the preparation for the event.
What is your routine on the day as you prepare for the run?
What I say to first timers, and this is advice that was given to me, is that a couple of nights before the run, make sure you go to bed at a decent hour and that you’re keeping hydrated as you need to be super well rested and relaxed. On the actual day it’s important you’re up early, kit ready and you have all the food for your nourishing breakfast, as this is really important. I always go for a bagel with peanut butter and banana as it is a good slow release of energy throughout the day. Your digestion system works slower when you have anxiety, so you need to wake up a bit earlier to make sure everything is fully digested pre run.
The beauty of doing the marathon on Guernsey is you can stay at home until the last minute then head to the course!
Does support from IQ-EQ, friends, and family spur you on?
I have to say that the running vest provided by IQ-EQ is amazing! IQ-EQ sponsor the water stations at the marathon and all the volunteers at the stations cheer the runners on, which is really appreciated. I think it’s vital that you do soak in the atmosphere when running as the support from people, particularly when you’re in the final leg, really does help spur you on. Every water station becomes motivational just by seeing all the cheering crowds.
Running has become quite personal to me. I always ran, but I lost my dad to prostate cancer is 2018 and since then I found the running has really helped with the grief process and allows space to think. I found that after seeing the treatment my dad went through, it put some grit in me to train and work hard. It increased my threshold to pain and made me want to live every day and try the best that I can. It isn’t easy with family and work commitments, but my family are lovely and supportive, and my wife knows that it’s great for your wellbeing and your mind. I’m a really happy person to be around once I have a run! If I don’t do running or exercise, I can see the huge difference in my mood.
What is your advice for other people doing the same thing?
Set yourself realistic goals and don’t be afraid to rest, your body needs time to recover. It’s very easy to rack up loads and loads of miles, but only once you have variety in your runs and rest will you see your pace gradually improve. If you don’t have a mix of runs in your running week you won’t see a lot of progress and won’t feel motivated. I feel like I get a lot more from running by nature, especially the sea.
Also, change your shoes every three months and get a decent pair!