On Your Marks: Getting over that tough festive period

It was always going to be a bit tough over Christmas and New Year.

Pete Airey, myself and Tony Airey
Pete Airey, myself and Tony Airey

This challenge started off really well - and that was mainly thanks to the guys at Horsham Fitness who helped me strengthen over eight weeks.

But a bit of illness, lots of chocolate and festive food has set me back a little bit in my challenge to run a half marathon in six months.

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So I have moved the parameters a little bit and I now aiming to run that half marathon in May. I am a little bit disappointed in myself but I always knew it would be tough doing a challenge like this at this time of year.

My parkrun time

Before the Christmas break I had lost just over a stone (I was at 17st 12lbs or 113 kgs in September when I started). But over the festive season I have a put a few pounds back on and am now at 17st 4lbs (109kgs approx).

So it could have been a lot worse, but it also could have been a lot better - and luckily the 36ins waist trousers I had to buy still fit.

So the challenge is back on, I have picked which half marathon I am going to do but I will talk about that next week.

Getting back to eating healthier is the easy part. Along with My Fitness Pal app, I have set my calorie goal for the day. The tough part for me is getting back in the habit of running again. I have already thought ‘it’s not very nice out there, maybe I will do it tomorrow’. And that has to stop.

So back on the horse, I attempted the Tilgate parkrun again. Followers of this column will know I failed in my first attempt after picking up a calf injury.

And after that first attempt a chap called Pete Airey contacted me to say he would be on hand to help if I were to do the parkrun again.

So I contacted him beforehand and he was more than happy to run the course with me and help me with pacing it right.

Pete, 65, has run 87 marathons, more than 150 half marathons and an astonishing 294 parkruns. From those stats, I felt he was more than qualified to show me the way!

It was great of Pete to run with me, and he showed me that at no point did I need to run fast to complete the course in a personal best time. This is my second 5k (first one the Poppy Run at Clapham Common in November) and I shaved five minutes off my PB.

Pete told me my breathing was good during and after the race and he felt I should have no problems improving my times and running further distances.

If you struggle with the parkrun or want advice on how to best pace your run, seek out Pete.

This has given me the motivation and confidence that I can achieve a half marathon.

The focus is back - wish me luck!