Our Roving Reporter, still a relatively inexperienced runner, has been fascinated by tales of long runs, niggles, highs, lows and this mysterious word 'tapering', so finding herself with an evening free, decided to grill the Shabbas over on Twitter about their training, their excitement and the run up to the big events.
The response was fantastic. One thing you can say about the Shabbas, when they're enthusiastic about something, especially running (!), they get fired up!
The result was a two hour Twitter conversation that left our Roving Reporter with steam coming off the keyboard!
There was so many stories told, in such a short time, that due to the volume of tweets anyone who missed it has been unable to catch up with the conversation, so I've attempted to replicate the conversations below, for all to enjoy!
First up was Jonnie
RR: Given this Roving Reporter is fairly new to running, we're interested to know - what's the appeal of the half/full marathon?
Jonnie: to get out the house! Male ego err.... the challenge...to see the Queen....to beat my last time from '93
RR: And which one is the real reason? And what made you do your first one?
Jonnie: it was the early popularity of the marathon, watching London on TV and wanting to do it. I got in first time & did 4:14. #greatday
RR: that's awesome Jonnie. What's the best memory you have from that first one?
Jonnie: apart from the shorts! (RR Note: don't ask to see the shorts!) It's just the amazing crowds, they really do carry you round. Can't explain it.
RR: Ah yes! The epic short shorts! So the atmosphere stands out? Is that the crowds watching, or the crowds running? Or both?
Jonnie: Good point. Both. But the crowds watching. It'll be great that numbers should have names on for people to shout out.
RR: So we can expect cries of #shabba & #jonnie to be reverberating through the streets of London? So how's your prep going? I know you've been worried about your calf?
Jonnie: Gonna have a short run tomorrow #feeling better.
RR Note - at this point Jonnie nipped off to put his boys to bed & nearly missed the end of the chat! But we waited for him!
RR: Ok Jonnie. Last question for you then. Looking back at your prep for #VLM2014, what's your proudest moment?
Jonnie: If it's prep, then it's two equal with the Shabba guys waiting for me at Ashby & Silverstone #plodder
Next up was Ian
For me it's the challenge of how far you can push yourself. The sense of achievement is great and you can float for days.
The difference between stepping up from 10k to a half marathon, and a half marathon to a full marathon for me is that between 10k and a half marathon I was doing my own thing. When you move the distance up you need a dedicated training plan with varying tempos.
There's no one 'right way' you have to find the right way for you. There are loads of things that affect the plan you choose: time, goals, dedication, ability.
Training for Manchester, I've enjoyed lots of things. Early morning runs, new PBs over the half marathon distance and 5k, losing weight, running with Shabbas I never thought I could keep up with.
One low point was my last long run. I cramped 15 miles in and couldn't complete the intended 22 miles. That planted a little seed of self doubt.
That hasn't affected how excited I am 5 days away from Manchester though. I have had time to reflect and review my training and I'm happy. If I'm not ready now, I never will be.
Knowing I have the backing of the Shabba guys and girls will help me through that painful last 6 miles.
Then came Lee
I started running for 4 months, then did 4 marathons in 12 months, all unprepared. Along the way it all got more serious.
I was over 15 stone and just packed in a 10 year smoking habit when I started - the news I was going to become a dad was all i needed!
As I was a lazy trainer so decided to give RunStreak a go, where you have to run at least a mile every day, and I managed 86 days straight. I had to stop in the end because of injury but I'd got out of it everyhting I wanted to. The injury wasn't serious, just slight shin pain that wouldn't go away so had a week's rest.
My highlight of my training so far this year has been clocking a 5:33 mile and I almost went sub19 at parkrun with a 19:03. New training plan starts soon for my Ultra!
The appeal of stepping up for an Ultra is the sense of adventure and just the ultimate test. I could fail, but I'll give it my all. It's August 2nd with Morphman. The training is slower paces, but longer runs and hill reps, I start next week, I'm relishing the challenge and looking forward to it.
At the mention of RunStreak, Sara joined in!
Think RunStreak is what did my ligaments in, in December, I was doing a lot of 30 day challenges in December too, so who knows! My prep for Manchester is very sporadic but Sunday can't come quickly enough. I've had a running spell, but now need to lay off, I think do strengthening up to the big day now!
I'll be cheered on by my family on the day & I am sure more virtually, both family & friends, plus the Shabbas!
This is my first marathon, & hopefully not my last! I'd love to do London one day, I desperately wanted it to be my first, but sadly was not to be. This was the first year I'd applied, but fully embracing Manchester!
After Manchester, I'm looking forward to Market Drayton 10k to meet as many Shabbas as possible :). The Manchester Marathon Shabbas will be too quick for me! They'll be well in the ice bath, I don't expect them to wait!
RR Note: At this point I reminded Sara of the Shabba rule: we stay till the last Shabba crosses the line!
It gives me goosebumps thinking about the Shabba rule.... is that sad?!
RR Note: NO!
Welcome Nikki to the conversation!
Nikki: evil! Not good for my mental state... plus when the sun shines I need to run! I can run but not as much as I normally do and none after Thursday. I am trying to be good (fail!). I will be out Thursday, but that will be my last. Having calf issues at the moment as well as my foot. I'm being careful, but it's frustrating!
Ian: Rubbish. I am used to watching what I eat and running loads after 3 months. Now it's like don't run much but eat more :/.
The first part of taper is carb depletion then it's eat loads of it. It's all about stocking muscles with glycerin. I've just started the eating more phase today. I find it difficult, as you know I'm an avid calorie counter!
It was a fascinating chat, and this Roving Reporter learned loads about the mystical art of long distance running. But more than that, I felt I learned a lot more about this wonderful bunch of Shabbas, and found another level of respect and admiration for them all!