We sat down with running blogger Elin of livelyel.com, about how she is getting motivated for the Virgin Money London Marathon and how she managed to persuade her boyfriend, Dom, to run his first marathon with her!
Tell us a bit about yourself? What do you do? Where are you from?
Elin: I’m Elin, a Welsh 20-something currently living in London (although we’re moving to Manchester this month!) I have a health and fitness blog (livelyel.com) which I started in 2014, and I also work full time in healthcare communications / advertising.
Dom: I’m Dom (Elin’s better half) – I’m a 26-year-old northerner and currently training to be an accountant. All the spare time I have in between working full-time, revising for exams and sleeping, is now dedicated to running and training in preparation for my first ever marathon.
Why did you start running? What was your motivation for it?
Elin: I got into running as a weight loss tool – I had essentially gained the “freshman 15” and found that running burned the most calories of every exercise. So, I started running. I used to get really embarrassed about how red I got so I would exercise early in the morning or late at night – now I literally couldn’t care less! We’ve gone straight from runs to pubs or brunch and I sit there with my red face and sweaty shirt proudly!
Dom: In short, when I met Elin. My dad had tried to drag me along on runs for years but I managed to resist but, unfortunately, this tactic didn’t seem to work with El. It all started with a very disjointed 3km walk/jog and now I find myself loving it!
When did running become a passion?
Elin: I think the point I started properly enjoying running was in the lead up to my first marathon. Before then I’d only ever run 5 or 10KM races (I did my first marathon before doing my first half marathon) and the long runs really let you get into it.
Dom: Initially, I began running under duress and was coerced into running the Cardiff Half Marathon in 2016. Until that point, I was mostly just there for a bit of company on El’s shorter runs, but as my training got a little more serious, I could feel myself getting better and really started to enjoy the progress I was making. This was about a year after I started running and I could tell I was starting to love it when I was going out running on my own as opposed to when El was going and I felt like I ought to for training.
When did you run your first marathon? What made you sign up?
Elin: My dad runs a lot (he’s currently on marathon number 34!) and in 2013, a hip injury meant that he couldn’t run for a while. I felt awful and promised to run a marathon with him if he got better. He did, we ran the Geneva Marathon in 2014 and we’ve been running since! Paris and London will be my 6th and 7th marathons, respectively.
Dom: I’ve never run a marathon before, so Paris and London will be my first and second marathons. They’re going to be slightly closer together than I would have expected my first and second marathons to be, but it’s definitely something that has motivated me to take training very seriously. When I watched the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2018, that’s when I finally decided I was ready to sign up for a marathon (I’d managed to resist for about 3 years!).
What motivates you to run now? Has this changed since you first started?
Dom: There are two main things that motivate me to run aside from the obvious health benefits and enjoying it. The first thing is that, being an accountant and a sports fan, I’m quite into statistics. I like to monitor my pace, calories burnt, and I love seeing the maps of where in the world I’ve been running! It’s nice to look back and see where I’ve been and how far I’ve come as a runner.
The other thing that really keeps me going is the feel of being involved in a big running event. I love the buzz at the start and finish line, running through streets filled with people and collecting a medal at the end. This is not something that I was aware of when I started but it something that really keeps me going when training runs get a little difficult.
Elin: My main motivation now is that I like it. Obviously, the upcoming marathons play a bit of a factor (you really do need to put the hours in) but even if we weren’t doing them, we would still be running. It’s nice after work to get together and run 5KM home – we use it as an opportunity to chat about how our days have been.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start running for the first time?
Elin: I would say two things: 1) no-one is looking at you, no-one cares what you look like or how red your face is, they don’t care if your kit doesn’t match and they really don’t care about how fast you’re going. 2) run slower than you think you can go – everyone that says they hate running because it’s hard are starting too fast and burning out too quickly. Start slowly and just listen to your body. If you need to listen to something, pop on a podcast or a playlist and just get out there – you’ll enjoy it more than you expect!
Dom: The biggest thing I would say is don’t give up running before you’ve had a few tries at it. Your first and second runs (or 3rd and 4th if you’re me) might be terrible, because your body isn’t used to it, but eventually it will get there and it would become more comfortable and rewarding. I think it’s great to go with a more seasoned runner who will be able help you with pacing so you can run for longer without having to stop. If you stick it out, eventually something will click and I guarantee you’ll start to love it.