At the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019, I was again forced to take a break from running as I struggled to manage the intense training load with calorific intake, and my old eating disorder resurfaced in the form of RED-S. During this time, I worked closely with the leading sport and eating disorder dietician Renee McGregor, along with endocrinologist Dr Nicky Keay.
I quickly recovered most of the weight I had lost, but more importantly I challenged and changed many of my behaviours and have learned how to manage energy in versus energy out, as well as achieving a better exercise/work/life balance.
Not only this, but I have been very active in speaking out about RED-S and worked hard to raise awareness of eating disorders in athletes, including writing an article and follow-up blog for Fast Running (see below links) and doing a live interview with my fiancée for the Stephen Nolan show on BBC Radio Rive Live.
Over the last few months, Liz and I have been working to reintroduce training back to a full training programme, including tempo runs and track sessions. I have run three races since April, narrowly missing a PB to finish 2nd in the Shakespeare Half Marathon, winning and setting a new course record in the Hook 10-Mile Road Race, and running a 2:43:41 at the Stockholm Marathon to finish 8th and 1st British woman in June. My major target for this year now is the Berlin Marathon at the end of September. Having been under consideration to represent England at the half marathon distance last year, I am focussing on both the half marathon and marathon distance, particularly in running sub-76 minutes and sub-2:40:00 respectively to achieve the required qualifying times for the national teams next year, with the longer-term ambition to reaching the Commonwealth Games for the marathon distance.
My typical weekly training schedule includes marathon-specific tempo runs, a track session, steady/easy runs on other days, plus cross-training in the form of pilates, weights and cycling. I have been managing to balance this with my PhD work and my social life (plus organising my wedding for March 2020!), and feel happier, healthier and fitter than I have done for years. I am really excited to be working with the team from Running Bear to help me achieve my athletics goals, hopefully represent England at an international level in the future, and bring some Manchester spirit to British endurance running!