Hi, I’m Will. This year I’ll be running the Bournemouth 10k – my first ever race of any kind. Seriously – at school I ducked out of cross country running, athletics and any other sport that involved running more than the 22 yards of a cricket pitch. One year my School Report from my PE teacher said “Will has not recorded any scores in athletics this year. A great disappointment for me, but I assume not for him.” Since then it’s fair to say not much has changed.
So why take the plunge now? There are 2 main reasons. Firstly, I’m massively privileged to work for Save the Children and every single day I hear about the extraordinary challenges faced by the children we support. From East Africa to East Anglia, there are children all around the world showing incredible resilience to overcome challenges tougher than I could possibly imagine. I speak to colleagues who work in unbelievably difficult conditions to save the lives of our fellow human beings every single day. And I work with volunteers who give up their free time to fundraise, speak and campaign to make a difference in children’s lives. It’s impossible not to be inspired by these people, and I know that every penny that I raise by running in October will go towards making positive changes in the lives of children around the world and right here in the UK. That’s the kind of motivation I need when I’m out jogging in sleet (yes, this happened – on my 2nd training run no less!).
Secondly, and much more selfishly – I need to be healthier. I recently got engaged, and I want to look my best in our wedding photos! But also, if we’re lucky enough to start a family of our own one day I want to be the dad who can run around playing games in the garden. The dad who goes on bike rides and gives piggy-back rides and all that kind of thing. I guess it comes with being the ripe old age of 32, but it’s become my time to look outward about my place in the world and how I want to be for the next 50 years.
So I’ve been using these 2 things to motivate me and push me as I train. It’s at this point that I have a word of advice for anyone starting out with their training like me:
Don’t, under any circumstances, make your reasons for running push you too hard!
After 3 weeks of running every other day, I’d moved from being able to run a couple of hundred metres at once to running over a kilometre with no real difficulties. A solid enough improvement, given that I still have 6 months ‘til the race itself. However, this has come with a pretty high price:
I pushed too hard. I injured my Medial Cruciate Ligament on my left knee – an injury common in runners who ramp up their training too quickly. Basically, I was an idiot who thought he could “man up” through the pain or take an ibuprofen when I’m done, rather than listening to what his body was telling him. The doctor told me I needed to sort myself out urgently, or it could turn into a chronic, life-long problem.
What a wake up call. If I get this wrong, then I won’t be the dad I want to be. Yikes. That simply can’t happen.
So I immediately took 3 weeks off to allow my knee to recover. Today I had my first run since the middle of March, and I took it way easier than before. I’ve also invested in some good running shoes (go and get your gait measured in a running shop, seriously!) and a proper, quality knee support. I’m really happy to report that I’ve come back from training today completely pain-free. For now, my running is down to 2 days a week and I’m doing exercises to build up the muscles around my knees. If I get the groundwork done now, I’ll be set for life and I’ll beast the 10k (which may well mean I’m back in 2018 for the half-marathon and in 2019 for the full thing!).
I’m sure everyone has their own motivations for running, and if you’re even only considering getting out there then I can’t recommend it highly enough. I am addicted to the adrenaline rush I get by running further than before. I feel better about myself, I’m feeling fitter and losing weight. I can’t wait to cross the finish line, exhausted and sweaty but buzzing. Just make sure that you take it steady when you start out!
To follow my progress and support my fundraising visit justgiving.com/cvmwillbrookes. Thank you.