Two marathons in two weeks!
This month’s client of the month is double marathon runner Shelley Lindley! I first met Shelley in 2011 when she attended one of the women’s only bootcamps I ran. I remember the look of sheer dread on her face when I announced to the group; you’re all going to do a 1 mile walk/run test. Incredibly, less than 6 years on, Shelley has just completed two marathons in two weeks, bringing her actual total to four!
Shelley’s journey from non-runner to super athlete has been inspiring to witness. Gradually, I watched her become a 5km runner, 10km runner and half marathoner, until one day she was brave enough to share her bucket list goal with me: to run a marathon!
The crazy part is technically, Shelley achieved this goal in 2015 after completing the Brighton marathon in 6hrs 14 minutes and 53 seconds. However, injuries forced her to walk large sections of the race, which meant even though she completed it – high achieving Shelley didn’t feel like she could call herself a marathon runner. Her immediate (and completely mental) reaction after the race – was to rebook the marathon for the following year (and swear me to secrecy!) Unfortunately, family complications meant that she ended up having to defer her 2016 place, and for a while everything came to a standstill. Thankfully, by the summer of 2016, Shelley’s new ‘what ever doesn’t kill you makes your stronger’ mindset, meant she had a new goal. We agreed if she ran a sub 5.5hour marathon she would confidently call herself a marathon runner!
We started training as soon as possible, stripping everything right back to square one to ensure this time her injuries didn’t hold her back. But then six months into her new training programme I received a Whatsapp picture (below). The message that read; ‘Eeek!!! It’s two weeks after Brighton so I’m going to do both!!! We may have our work cut out!!!’
I remember the one mile run well because, I made it half way round and then stood behind a tree and cried. I‘d never run before, and I felt so out of my comfort zone. I couldn’t ever see me running again and I certainly didn’t ever think I would eventually complete two marathons in two weeks…!
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt in this whole process is that to achieve your goals, you have to make time for yourself and put yourself first. I would often self-sabotage my training and I was always finding excuses to not knuckle down and put the hard work in. Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you have to stop seeing everyone or doing things you care about, it just means if you really want it you have to get smarter about how and when you train – I used to despise early morning workouts, now I love them because they set me up for the day!
My advice to anyone wanting to run a marathon is;
1. Make sure you realise how important YOU and YOUR GOALS are.
2. Understand (unfortunately) some parts of training are just absolutely necessary! – I’m not fan of tempo runs and hill sprints, but the difference they have made to my times has been amazing.
3. Consistency is key – My life has no routine which means I found it hard to plan training sessions and weeks would fly by without any real structure. With Pip’s help I learnt that it’s ok to switch days and times, and she taught me how to be flexible with my plan.
4. Make sure you have a goal for every workout – You get out what you put in.
5. Nutrition will make the difference – I always scoffed when people talked about protein shakes, but since using them and increasing the amount of real food in my diet, my performance has improved and I am injury free, (touch wood) despite dramatically increasing my training intensity.
6. Belief is essential – Pip believed in me when at times I didn’t believe in myself. Knowing how much I’ve achieved when the cards have been stacked against me makes me proud of myself, and excited for the rest of the year and beyond. Now I want to see how far I can go and I’ve already written out my targets for the next 12 months. I’ve got my fire back and am training with a smile on my face again!
Shelley is undoubtedly our client of the month this month, because not only did she complete two marathons in two weeks, but just three weeks before she was due to run Brighton, she had to overcome an incredible emotional hurdle as her dad sadly passed away. No-one expected Shelley to even make it to the start line but incredibly, not only did she start the race, she absolutely annihilated her 5.5 hour goal to run a personal best of; 5 hours and 8 minutes. This was over an hour off her last marathon time on a weekend that saw temperatures rise to +21C in Brighton!
As if this wasn’t impressive enough, just two weeks later – after still recovering from Brighton AND frantically trying to overcome a poorly timed cold, Shelley broke her PB again at London. Her official time read 5 hours 1 minute 13 seconds, but her GPS watch recorded 27.2 miles – 1 more than an actual marathon distance, meaning technically she ran a sub 5 hour marathon against all these odds!
Shelley you are our client of the month for April because you’re just simply a legend! Your dedication, determination and incredible feats of physical, mental and emotional resilience over the last six years are truly inspirational. Plus to top it all off you’re so incredibly modest! Make sure you put a big tick next to your bucket list because now there’s no getting out of it, you are most definitely a marathon runner! Congratulations!
Shelley is raising money for the Alzheimer’s society, you can read more about her story and donate here.
Dedicated to simplifying well being to maximise potential,
Pip and The DayOne Wellness Team.