As the country continues to deal with the Covid 19 outbreak, people are finding ways to fill their time at home. For members of The Blackwater Triathlon Club, who would usually at this time of the year be preparing for the start of the racing season, trying to keep fit without access to pools and within 2km of their homes is proving to be challenging.
Group bike rides on the roads are no longer available, so we’re having group rides online instead, using apps like Zwift, which allow riders to cover miles together from the comfort of their own homes on their turbos. Resistance training with weights and swim cords has replaced actual laps in the pool, and we’re all doing more yoga and core and conditioning work than we can handle. One of our members, Stephen Dalton, and his family came up with a method of keeping fit in their back garden, with plans to run a marathon over
a week in their back garden. However, inspired by tales of epic feats in other people’s
back gardens and balconies during the pandemic, Stephen decided to try challenging himself with something a little more extreme than a half hour jog. He has shared his
story with us.
A few weeks ago we heard about someone in France who ran a marathon on his balcony. With the small people off school, trying to keep them occupied is a full time job, and we came up with the idea of them covering the marathon distance over a week in the back garden! The first step was to see just how much space we had to deal with. I measured a 57 meter circuit in the back garden. A marathon is 42.175km which we worked out to be a mere 740.25 laps. No problem! My son Jack, who just turned 10 started doing his laps last week. With races cancelled and restrictions on movement for everyone it can be difficult to stay motivated and I was feeling that I needed a challenge to keep me sane. So, last Sunday, having consulted with my race marshal, Jack, I decided to do a marathon in my back garden in one go! (Did I say something about keeping sane??) Sure, what else would you do on a COVID Sunday? I started just after 9am; the first 200 laps were dry and felt good. Unfortunately, the rain started soon after which made the conditions under foot more challenging as parts turned to muck. I decided to change direction every hundred laps to help with a change and to avoid a repetitive injury by always turning the same way. The toughest part of the marathon were laps 500 to 600, 28-35km, with the rain and the grass disappearing keeping motivation was down to small things like getting to the last 100, looking forward to the next gel or banana, signing the next swap of direction. And of course I couldn’t have done any of it without loads of encouragement from the help. Eventually, after 5hours and 24minutes doing circuits of my back yard, I completed my Covid 19 marathon. The first half was faster but it’s hard to build any speed with all the turning. Also, for some reason, I got into my head to do 742 laps? Still not sure why, other than it was an even number and definitely more than the distance. I think the biggest learning for me was breaking down the run into small pieces which allowed me to focus on the next goal, one small piece at a time. Definitely couldn’t have done it without all the help and support of my support crew; thanks guys. Now all I need is a few days to recover and a couple of bags of grass!
Well done to Stephen and his family for their epic Sunday morning adventure.
No doubt there’ll be many more slightly bonkers back yard training efforts carried out in the next few weeks. We look forward to hearing about them. In the meantime, everybody stay home and stay safe.