Running with Chris – London Marathon 2017
This Sunday, Chris Mardo, Head of Digital Project Management at Aylesworth Fleming in Bournemouth is taking part in the London Marathon, running for Oliver & Learn in support of our charity partner, Friends of Kianjai Kenya. Before Chris sets off for London, we spoke to him about the preparation that goes into marathon running, the importance of sticking together on a group run, and his advice for any budding runners out there.
How do you prepare for a training run?
“I’ve found that entering into a competitive run has been the best way of motivating me to get out training. When I’ve got something to aim for – especially something as big as the London Marathon – I’m far more likely to get out and put the miles in. My midweek runs have tended to be around an hour each, with the weekend runs being a bit slower, but longer. During the week I’ll try and mix things up by doing some hill training, sprints, and interval training. At the moment that usually means about 7 or 8 miles, but some runs can be less if I’m feeling it! The weekend runs are more about getting miles in your legs, so I’ve been slowly building those up to a point where I can jog for about 3 hours, which is roughly 20 miles. Hopefully the adrenaline on the day will help me do the last 6 miles!
I’ve also been eating more this year, the more I’ve been running. A long run can use a couple of thousand calories, so I have to make sure I get that back from some extra food at the weekend.”
Being part of a team
“Variety in what you do on a training run is so important. Sometimes you just want to go out on your own, but I really enjoy running as part of a group too. I think it helps in a couple of ways; sometimes you can just jog and have a bit of a chat, and it really helps the time to go much more quickly. We’ve got a good group of runners here at AF (pictured), and we’ll go out running straight from the office. We’re a mix of abilities and paces, so we try and do a style of training that means we can all stick together. That might mean sprints between the lights on the beach, or tackling the hills up behind the Bournemouth International Centre. I find this works better than just going out for a long loop where some people may find they are running too slowly, or others too quickly. Sticking together and working in one area helps everyone push themselves as much or as little as they like.”
Chris’s advice for budding runners
On running as a hobby
“Make sure you get the right shoes; they’re so important, so don’t just run in your trainers. Go to a proper running shop because they’re the best place to find the right shoes. If you’re running thousands upon thousands of steps you want to have the right shoes on. I’m lucky enough to work with Laura Thomas (Account Director at Oliver Bournemouth) who owns the ‘Running Free’ shop in Poole; she helped me find the right shoes for my flat feet and they have made a massive difference.”
On marathon running
“Don’t stretch before a run (your muscles are cold then), but do always stretch afterwards (as they’ll be a lot warmer). Don’t worry too much about speed or distance to start off with; just get used to being on your feet for a longer period of time. And make sure you have a bit of variety in your training; if you run at the same speed and take the same routes every time, you’ll soon get bored.”
On making sure it’s the right activity for you
“Go out running because you enjoy doing it. If you’re forcing yourself to go out and are hating every minute, running is probably not for you. You should listen to your body too. If you feel tired or have a muscle giving you some trouble then take a bit of a rest – there’s no problem with missing the odd session, because you’ll do more damage if you try and run through an injury.”
From all of us across the Oliver Group: Good luck for Sunday, Chris!
If you would like to sponsor Chris in support of Friends of Kianjai Kenya and their planned 5-a-side football tournament in early 2018, please visit his dedicated Virgin Money Giving page.
And don’t forget; it’s your donations that will help make the lives of Kenya’s disabled children a little easier. And, hopefully, a lot more fun.
NEXT WEEK: We speak to Chris post-Marathon to find out more about his day and how he tackled each of the 26.2 miles.
Make a difference
Each year, Oliver & Learn sponsors students from 11 schools in the rural Kianjai area of Kenya. We help to pay for school fees, books and uniforms – all of the vital things that keep these secondary students in school. Many of these students are orphans. Without this support, they would have to drop out of school and work in subsistence jobs to survive. School fees are only £135 per year, but to many, this is simply unaffordable.
Help Winifred set up her business
We’ve helped students like Winifred set up a business on graduating, by providing them with the tools of their trade. This donation of a sewing machine or plumbing equipment can make a huge difference, whether it’s to young people just starting out in their working lives, or to their family.
Help the community improve their farming techniques
The Kianjai region is subject to regular droughts. This has a disasterous impact on the local community. To improve drought resiliency, a community teaching farm is being developed. The farm will teach techniques for selecting and planting drought resistant crops and encourage the community to develop greater yeilding crops.