Belfast Telegraph

Marathon diary

by Chris McCann

A marathon.

Only a few years ago those words would have meant nothing more to me than a 80s chocolate bar.

But alas, here I am in 2011, about to sign up for the Belfast City Marathon for the first time.

And the thought of it, in these early days, fills me with a strange mixture of anticipation and dread. The latter perhaps more so.

Not least because I’m simply not fit. Climbing three flights of stairs into the office in the morning leaves me a panting wreck ...which makes me wonder what 27 miles or so will do to me.

That I won’t know until the day itself in May, but what I do know today is that I’m going to have to make some serious lifestyle changes to ensure that it happens successfully.

The first obvious thing to do is to get running again, which I did last week. As I write, I’m three runs in — this after over a year of no running — and so far, so good.

There’s something quite cathartic about running around the block again, even in these cold January nights.

Last Saturday morning I started swimming again too — 20 lengths in 20 minutes — in a further bid to boost my fitness. Swimming can be dull, but it sure works every muscle (or at least that’s how it feels).

This week I plan to meet a nutritionist to try and strike a balance between keeping fit and eating properly. That balance, I believe, could be key.

It, of course, could be easy to lose interest in training for a marathon, but one thing that I know will keep me going is the charity I plan to raise money for; the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The USPCA is a charity — close to my heart as an animal lover — dedicated to the objective clearly stated in its title, ‘the prevention of cruelty and the relief of suffering’ of animals. Right now, I can’t think of a better charity to be supporting and I hope I do them proud on the day.

Today though, I’m just focused on the week ahead and seeing if I can increase my distance a bit.

Wish me luck. I may need it.

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