FIRST MARATHON: Fitness-ing when your main hobbies are eating and lying down

To be honest, when I signed up for the Amsterdam marathon I was a lot more concerned with hot fresh stroopwafels, escaping England for a little mini-break and the eternal boasting rights than the running itself. Of which, it turns out, there's an awful lot. Not just the day itself, either, it's generally agreed that the training is tougher than the race but the idea of running for a bare minimum of four hours is still breaking me out in a cold sweat. There have been highs and lows - the two hour run in a supremely hilly part of the Spanish coast in a stunning and frankly apocalyptic storm under a sky full of neon pink forks of lightning has to be one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life whereas a drizzly half marathon on a gloomy day in Birmingham left me teary and blistered beyond belief.

I thought I'd compile some tips for keeping yourself motivated to exercise when you'd rather be watching Netflix in bed, because I truly thought I'd never be the sort of person who liked exercise and I've somehow become a bit of a gym freak, constantly panting for my next workout and generally behaving much like a puppy who needs a walk if I can't exercise in a day.

 1. Neon workoutwear. Works like a charm, every time. Good for running at night because no-one can possibly miss you bedecked in lurid Lycra prints and good for exercising in the day for much the same reason – like I said, one of my favourite things about training is the casual-boasting rights. It boosts your mood and it's nice to not worry about matching or coordinating, as far as I'm concerned, more the obnoxiously eye-watering my gymwear the better.

2. Instagram. My entire Instagram feed consists of healthy recipes, fitness lifestyle accounts, training tips and advice. My favourite fitness accounts are @fitspooration for general fitspo, @morellifit for really solid advice on the proper technique and training plans to get you into the best shape of your life and @livefitwithsarah offers great motivation tricks and dietary advice. All of the above are certified personal trainers so you know you're getting the real down-low. Also, ou can Insta aforementioned jazzy workoutwear.

3. Audiobooks! I get bored of running to music (although I'm partial to a bit of Tay Swift) and I've recently been running to the Divergent series, because I'm just finished an English Lit degree and it's nice to give my brain a rest. It means I look forward to my runs because I want to know what happens next

4. No pressure. There's no mad rush to reach your fitness goal, it's about enjoying the journey. If you get back late from work and it's peeing down with rain and the idea of leaving the house again makes you want to cry, delay your run for the morning and do a ten minute Youtube workout instead – I recommend 'Blogilates'.

At the time of writing I'm two weeks and three days away, thus entering the 'tapering' part of my training which involves babying your body so that it's fighting fit for the big day. It also means that I have to find the tricky balance between carb- and protein-loading – yay! - and not putting on any weight because I don't want to haul around anything extra for 26.2 miles – boo.

I'm planning on lots of high protein veg like spinach and corn, piles of sweet potato wedges and lean meats like chicken and turkey as well as healthier versions of treats with added protein, like baking cookies with almond butter and oat flour although obviously, still popping in plenty of dark chocolate chips and even if you're not training for anything, this is a great eating healthy eating model! 

Anyway, I actually have a training run scheduled now. Seventeen days to go. Wish me luck!


"Hiya, I'm Catherine, recent English Lit graduate newly situated in Shoreditch. I love street food, puppies, competitive cheerleading and pyjamas."