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Charity Marathon Training: Shocks and Sprains

Charity Marathon Training: Shocks and Sprains

f.d.m. Lead Learning and Development team lead Josephine Southwell-Sander getting handed a bottle of water by a young boy as she runs London marathon

With only five weeks to go until the London Marathon, FDMer Jo Southwell-Sander has been splitting her time between work and preparing for the event which she will be running on behalf of our charity partner Anthony Nolan. In this blog, Jo shares her highs and lows of training for the event.

It’s five weeks and five days before the marathon. I am in panic mode. My fitness levels are low, and I’m only managing to complete intervals of a one-minute run followed by a two-minute walk, repeated four to eight times. My self-doubt is sky high. I feel lost and under pressure.

Almost twelve weeks before the big day I went over on my ankle. Something no one wants to experience, let alone when you're training for your first marathon! I was very lucky and didn't have a break, just a sprain, and my doctors advised me to rest and run when it starts to feel comfortable.

What I didn't understand was that while my ankle needed to heal, resting didn't mean stop training entirely. At first, I thought my ankle would heal and I would be fine again within a few days. Unintentionally, I stopped training for three weeks. Life was so busy, and the days turned into weeks in a flash. All of a sudden, I got the email that I had two months to go. I knew I needed to get running again but I didn't think my ankle was ready. Luckily for me, Anthony Nolan held a day to advise us on nutrition, fundraising and physio care. I called up the partnering physio and got booked in as soon as I could.

F.d.m. Learning and Development team lead Jo Southwell-Sander in marathon gear with a medal around her neckIt turned out I had damaged two out of the four ligaments in my ankle. One potentially being a tricky ligament to heal. If we didn't make progress, then an MRI scan was on the cards. I had a plan of exercises to do and I was told to get my fitness up without running. My physio advised that I needed to carry out short runs, bike classes and swimming to keep my fitness levels high, this is the first time that I felt like I was becoming an athlete. I don't have the luxury to just go for a run. I needed to train little and often, and so I try to train four days a week, sometimes twice a day.

Now it is about putting in the time to train, but also to rest and eat! I forgot how much exercise made me hungry and tired. It sounds a bit daft but just being out of the habit for a few weeks made me sloppy I must admit.

So with the final weeks flying by, it’s time to pull up the compression socks and keep going. What keeps me motivated? Reminding myself of what I am training for; to raise vital funds to help fight blood cancer with Anthony Nolan.

Jo is still continuing her training and last weekend completed her first half marathon in two hours and 40 minutes. If you would like to donate to her fundraising target, and contribute to this amazing cause, you can do so here.

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