Stuart McClelland – Blog 1

STUART MCCLELLAND – BLOG 1 – NOVEMBER 2019

I’m delighted to be a Kilomathon ambassador for the 2020 race. I look forward to sharing my training updates and race preparations with you in the coming months and to standing on the start line with everyone in April.

Firstly, a little bit about myself and my running story. I’m relatively new to running but have packed a lot of experiences into a short space of time. For many years my only participatory sport was football and I played at a decent level, however in my late 20’s I began to fall out of love with the game and called time on my playing days.

For around 18 months to 2 years I was almost completely inactive and became increasingly unfit and gained some weight. I decided it was time to get out and get active again so I bought a pair of running shoes and hit the road.

It would be a stretch to say I fell in love with running immediately, to put it bluntly I couldn’t run the length of myself without being out of breath and struggling. I required some structure so downloaded the ‘Couch to 5K’ training programme and set myself a target of running a race at the end of it. Throughout the winter I trudged through the streets and as I sensed improvement I began to enjoy running. At the end of the programme I ran my first ever 5K in 26.52.

Photo: Stuart after completing the EMF 5K in 2016

For a few weeks I attended my local Parkrun and saw initially small and then increasingly obvious improvements in my time culminating in a sub 20 minute PB a few months later.

Life can change quickly and running took a back seat when I found out I was to become a Dad for the first time. My daughter was born just over 2 years ago and I have had to find ways to fit running in around my new found responsibilities; I have had to add structure to my training and busy days have also encouraged me to take advantage of every opportunity I have to run. This has often meant running very early in the morning or late into the evening.

 

Photo: Stuart and his daughter – his biggest supporter

Over the last couple of years I have had some great experiences! I ran my first 10K, my 1st half marathon, being greeted by my daughter at the finishing line of my 1st marathon was one of the greatest moments of my life and earlier this year I ran my first ultra-marathon distance (81km) in a fixed time event.

So why kilomathon? Well, firstly it’s a race I have seen advertised for a few years now. I always experience a bit of run envy when I see people completing races on my own doorstep when I haven’t taken part. Unfortunately until now I just haven’t been available when Kilomathon was being held, however this year it fits perfectly into my running schedule and I will be using it as a ‘training race’ for an ultra-marathon I am running later the same month.

Secondly it is a fantastic route. Much of the race takes place on paths which I have run on as part of my training for some time. For anyone who hasn’t run the route then you are in for a treat, it really is a fantastic course. Also the opportunity to finish at such an iconic stadium is a draw.

Finally I am excited to try a race over a new distance, I have run races over 5K, 10K, 21K and above but 13.1K is a new experience and one I am looking forward to tackling. Every race comes with its own challenges and Kilomathon will be a test of both speed and stamina.

I had a very busy start to this year with a half marathon in March, a marathon in April, 3 10Ks in May and June and then an ultra in July. I then had to withdraw from an October marathon because of a niggling toe injury. I am currently trying to get some miles back into my legs and will be running a 10K and a half marathon before the turn of the year.

After New Year I will be throwing myself into training with a steady increase in mileage and incorporating some strength and core training as well. I’ll hopefully have a few interesting tales to tell and a few nice photos of the routes I’m running for you in my next update.

In the meantime you can follow me on:
Twitter – @Stu_135
Instagram – stuartm135
or Strava – ID 41377121

There’s always a few running posts on each I will be sharing regular updates on my road to Kilomathon.

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Gillian Wells – Blog 1

GILLIAN WELLS – BLOG 1 – NOVEMBER 2019

It’s late Autumn!

As a runner, that means the days are shorter, colder and the mornings and evenings are darker. Every one of these factors make it super hard to find the motivation to leave our warm, snug and cosy homes when we’ve finished a long day of work or being Mum at home.

What better way to keep yourself motivated than with a New Year, post winter goal – the Kilomathon 2020!

Goals make a massive difference to my motivation, particularly when this season is less inviting outdoors. I’ll break my goal into lots of little short-term goals so that I get a little buzz each time I tick one off and head on to the next. I’m delighted to have been selected as an ambassador for the Kilomathon 2020, so much so that I’ve started my training already.

Photo: Gillian celebrating with her 3 children after completing the Edinburgh Half Marathon

As a working Mum of three young girls and a very busy husband, I also find running a little piece of ‘sanity’ for me. Yes, I like to get into my training and work on tempo, interval and endurance runs, but sometimes it’s just about me, getting out alone and clearing my head. That can often be my ‘get over the door’ card.

I’m in the fortunate position that I don’t have to work every day and so on the days that our littlest lady naps, and the others are at school, I will go into the garage and get onto the treadmill for a quick 30 minutes with a small incline to keep me focused. I also find it gives me a boost of productivity going into the afternoon when coffee cravings kick in, dinner needs prepped, school runs need done, homework, the witching hour…….etc!

Photo: Gillian with her youngest post-race

On other days, in-between rest or to stay out of the rain, I make a space in the lounge and do some strength work to help with the running. 

It doesn’t have to be much, a couple of dumbbells, a kettle bell and maybe a stability ball. Don’t have any? Body weight is just as effective. Any exercises that work my core and glutes to help with the technique and form and make me less likely to get an injury when I’m out and about. Functional exercises are always a winner for me as they help me day in day out, lifting shopping, carrying children, hoovering, making beds….the list is endless, right?!

Over the next few weeks I’ll be training out/indoors and will keep you updated with my progress and how I plan to keep warm and motivated as we head into wonderful Winter!!

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Annie Scott – Blog 1

AMBASSADOR ANNIE CALLING FOR DUTY – NOVEMBER 2019

Hello! I’m Annie and I am over the moon to be a Kilomathon Ambassador!

Being an Ambassador for this great event really does mean a lot to me as my running journey started in 2016 and the Kilomathon was my very first goal! 

I had just been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (a form of Bowel Disease) and my way of coping with it was to fundraise and feel like I was actively doing something to help. I chose the Kilomathon as my goal as the distance was just that little bit further than a 10k and I wanted to push myself as much as I could. Not to mention…the medal looked awesome and the finish line was in Murrayfield Stadium – what was not to love?! 

I remember that feeling of absolute joy running over that finish line –literally like a superstar! I was so so proud of what I had achieved. 

I didn’t run again after that for about a year, mainly as I was coming to terms with my illness and trying to find a way to manage my symptoms but one day my best friend Lauren asked if I wanted to do some fundraising with her and that was when Project 2girls12goals was born. 

We agreed to run 1 race a month for a whole year to raise money and awareness for Crohn’s & Colitis UK, SAMH & Cancer Research UK. It was a mammoth challenge but we smashed it. We ended up doing way more than 12 races and raised an incredible £5000. The Kilomathon was of course our April race and it was the perfect distance for us between a 10k and a half marathon.

Photo: Annie and best friend Lauren at the Kilomathon finish line in 2017

Now, I run for fun! I use it to escape from daily life and to catch up with friends. I’ve also found that running really helps me judge how my illness is behaving and now have little things that I notice when a flare up might be happening and it allows me to plan and get the help I need in advance.

I really enjoy the Kilomathon and I’m excited to be running the race again in 2020 and see how much I have progressed (even if it is only a couple of seconds!).

So here are my Kilomathon 2020 goals:

  1. Gain a new Kilomathon PB (1:20:39 to beat)
  2. Get a good race photo (the struggle is real! I’ve no idea how some people manage to look sensational whilst running!)
  3. Enjoy it!

I can’t wait to share my journey with you all and get the training started! 

Photo: Annie enjoying a run in Edinburgh

If you’ve already signed up or if you are still toying with the idea here are my top tips to get you started and motivated for that start line! 

Annie’s Top Tips

For me, the hardest part is over… believing in yourself enough to have the confidence to sign up for the race in the first place. So anything from here on out will be an added bonus but here are some added tips to let you push yourself and enjoy it even more.

  • Find a running buddy – personally, I find running on my own can sometimes be a struggle. I really enjoy running with friends or with a run club as chatting along the way not only clears my mind after a long day but also makes the time pass a lot quicker
  • Mix it up – try different routes in training to keep your motivation and enjoyment high. Some of my favourite Edinburgh routes are along the canal or innocent railway.
  • Get a head torch – it’s starting to get dark super early so if you are going to be training in the evening, make sure you have a light and reflective clothing to stay safe and see where you’re going!

Want to stay in touch? Follow me on Instagram: @2girls12goals

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Mental Health Benefits of Running

MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF RUNNING

Apart from the obvious health benefits that running can give you, it can provide many psychological advantages too. No matter your circumstance, running can help ease your mind and get you back on the right track. Here are some positive changes that running can bring to you:

1. Stress Reliever
Whatever you are stressing about, getting active can significantly reduce this. Lacing up your trainers can help with relaxation, anxiety and negative thinking cycles. Running can help your body control stress and deal with existing mental tension. Long distance runs can help you solve problems that have been nagging you. Whilst shorter speed runs can reduce aggression and tension. Make running your new friend.

2. Your new sleeping pill
Nobody wants to be tossing and turning in bed late at night. Indulging in physical exercise, whether that is running or another form, can be your new way of counting sheep at night. Moderate exercise can also significantly improve the sleep of insomnia sufferers.

3. Decreases depression
Running can be a fantastic way of combatting that sluggish and withdrawn feeling that is associated with depression. Regular exercise can boost your mood if you have depression, and it’s especially useful for people with mild to moderate depression. Running can take your mind off worries so you can get away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression and anxiety.

4. Self-esteem boost
If you’re suffering from low self-esteem in adulthood, go for a run and watch your confidence soar. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins, natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being. Exercising in the great outdoors can also result in lowered blood pressure and increased self-esteem. Get your running shoes on and watch your confidence soar.

5. Increased creativity
An invigorating run can boost creativity for up to two hours afterwards. Next time you find yourself staring at a blank page waiting for a genius idea to pop into your head, get those legs moving and refresh your body and brain at the same time by going on a jog.

So the next time you’re having a bad day or you want that extra hour in bed, remember all the benefits your body will enjoy from getting active.

Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 116 123.
CALM, an anonymous helpline for men is open 7 days a week, 5pm to midnight. 0800 58 58 58.

It’s okay not to be okay. Let’s keep talking.

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