Real Life

9 things I’ve learnt while training for the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

Lizzy Dening is in training for Disneyland Paris’ first ever Half Marathon this September and it’s getting closer than ever…

So what seemed like a good idea when I signed up for it months ago is now getting uncomfortably close – and believe me, with training in this clammy weather, I know all about being uncomfortable. Midway through my 16-week plan, here are the many strange and wonderful things that training has taught me.

1. Summer running isn’t quite how I imagined...

I spent most of the winter yearning for some running sessions when my lips wouldn’t freeze to my waterbottle every time I stopped for a drink. Yet now it’s here I realise running through July and August doesn’t match the visions I had of myself leaping, gazelle-like through the fields. In fact, running with hay fever while fluff from willow trees gets stuck to my hairline, and having to blow my nose every half mile is less than ideal. I am forever indebted to the inventors of running bras with handy tissue pockets.

2. Most of my protein is now coming from the bugs I swallow

Particularly unfortunate given I’m a vegetarian.

3. Weird things have started to seem fun

I now regard a 45 minute weight session with my PT as ‘a treat’ and on rest days I’m itching to get out for ‘an easy 5-miler’. Yes I know, I want to hit myself too.

4. Some miles are harder than others

My game plan was to increase my long run by around a mile a week, with the occasional plateau as a sort of relaxed week. Or as relaxed as a 10 mile run can ever feel. Sometimes the increase has felt surprisingly painless. I barely noticed the transition from 7 to 8 miles, especially as the additional mile took me past a hedge filled with baby bunnies – so far so Disney princess, albeit a sweaty one. Whereas others are inexplicably torturous. I’m looking at you, 9 miles.

5. Having all 10 toenails is overrated...

6. Shopping is also good cardio

Especially when it’s for running gear. Long distance running demands a decent sports bra and trainers (ideally two pairs for alternating) at the very least, but there’s no harm IMO in looking sharp while you’re upping the miles. I might be red-faced and mad-eyed, but my running tights are en fleek. Special props to Lululemon, Sweaty Betty and even good-old M&S for making sportswear pretty enough to get me out of bed for my third 5.45am gym session of the week.

7. I’m sleeping like the dead

So far this week I’ve fallen asleep on the sofa before 7pm twice. Plus my dreams are now so mega-boring (all running-related) that I wake up feeling totally relaxed.

8. I’m eating like the un-dead

My appetite has reared its head and made itself known like never before, as I shuffle zombie-like to the fridge every hour. And it’s fine, you can justify almost anything as ‘carb-loading’. Apart from brains.

9. It’s changing my whole life!

As cheesy as it sounds, since I started training everything from my legs (hello, muscles) to my sleep, my mood to my self-confident is on a definite up-swing. It’s been more than worth all the early mornings, early nights, (occasional) refusal of prosecco and bleeding toes so far, and that’s before I’ve even got my hands on my medal.

Read the first part of Lizzy’s journey here

Follow more of her running life on her blog here

Closer magazine cover