Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic’s very own Steve Veitch is a taking on the Paris Marathon – his first attempt at the distance – this weekend, in aid of an incredibly worthy cause.
Here, Steve talks us through his experiences in preparing for the event, and his motivation for tackling the 26-mile course, and how his knowledge of injury management has helped him miss on 10 days of training during his preparation.
“This is my first marathon, having done the Great North Run several times. I decided I needed a new challenge last September, following a successful coast-to-coast cycling challenge. My training started then and it has been long and arduous!
“The Paris Marathon was discussed at length on a night out in Newcastle and, before I knew it, I had been accepted into the race along with another 50,000+ competitors.
“The cycling I had been doing for the coast-to-coast event really helped in the early phase of training, and I kept this going throughout as part of my cross training, which is an imperative part of marathon training.
“The other aspects, including hill training and interval training, as well as the longer endurance runs, were all very important in preparing the body for a marathon, something completely different from anything I had experienced before.
“Before long you realise the training becomes all-consuming: not only in the number of training sessions per week (four on average), but also looking at the nutritional side, the mental/motivation side and the body maintenance side via massage, stretching, foam rolling and even a bit of acupuncture at times!
“Thankfully, I have got the this point with only a few minor injuries along the way, all of which have been kept at bay via intermittent physio sessions at the Sports Injury Clinic, meaning I have only missed 10 days training throughout my training programme.
“Given that I don’t really run for pleasure, it’s more for fitness, I have found the process quite a challenge, especially because of the time factor.
“However, on a positive note it’s the fittest I’ve been for a few years and I find 10-12 mile runs quite easy now. I’ve run the Great North Run several times, as mentioned, with not much extra training than my normal baseline fitness training which I get from tennis, squash, badminton and cycling, so this has taken me to a whole new level of fitness.
“I’ve been keeping up-to-date with my progress via the Strava app on my phone whilst running, which has been an excellent tool to map my runs as well as keep an eye on my distances, elevation, split times and heart rate etc.
“My target/goal is to firstly complete the run but if everything goes well on the day I hope to get round in under 3 hours and 45 minutes, but of course a lot will depend on the conditions and how my pre-run preparation goes etc.
“One of my biggest motivations throughout has been the thought of running in support of breast cancer research. Unfortunately my sister was recently diagnosed with the condition and is currently in the middle of her chemotherapy treatment.
“I hope to raise at least £500 by the time the marathon comes along on Sunday 3rd April. If anybody would like to sponsor me and support this worthy cause then they can click here to visit my Just Giving page.”