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Quarantine To Qualifier

BY: Mary Johnson
31 May 2021

What’s been going on since I last updated you on my attempt to run a Boston Marathon Qualifying Time?

Well, if you watched the first episode of the Quarantine To Qualifier series, you’ll have seen that I was starting to build ‘Team Anna’ – a group of people in the know who are experts in their respective fields who are going to give me the best chance of running a marathon in 3 hours and 30 minutes. If you haven’t seen the first episode then you can catch up here.

Once the video was published on The Running Channel I was overwhelmed by all of the supportive comments from the community. It gave me such a boost! My coach, Andy Hobdell, had set me an intervals session to go out and do the next day and, buoyed by the positivity and love I felt from you all, I went and hit it hard. Too hard in fact. So hard that I tore my calf on the last interval!

After a Zoom call with my physio, Paul Martin from Physio Remedies, he diagnosed it as a tear in my soleus and ordered no running for the next 6-8 weeks. I was devastated! It had felt like I was really getting into my stride with my running and had so much motivation to work hard towards this goal, only to take more than one step backwards at this point.

After a few weeks of rehabbing with exercises and some gentle bike riding (although not as much as my coach would have liked, as I’m really not keen on the turbo!) I was able to start easing back in with some gentle Jeffing (or run-walking if you’re not sure what that is!) 

I had another appointment with the physio, who was pleased with my progress and we did some work on the treadmill looking at my form, to see if there were ways I could improve that would help shave precious seconds off my pace by running more efficiently. Annoyingly, I overdid it on the treadmill and tweaked my calf again, although not as badly as first time round.

That brings us to now. And I’m back running! After a bit more run-walking I’m now back up to being able to run continuously for 40 minutes and this week I have 5 runs to do! So it really feels like I’m starting from the very beginning again, but it’s so good to be back!


The rest of ‘Team Anna’ is taking shape too. I’ll be seeing a strength and conditioning coach, Rich Blagrove, at Loughborough University in the next couple of weeks and I’m also starting out with a sports nutritionist, Alexandra Cook shortly too.

Dr Josephine Perry completes the line up for now and she’ll be going through all-things sports psychology with me – our next session will be focused on goal-setting.

Then lastly, I’ll be seeing the team at adidas to talk through the shoes that I’ll be aiming to wear for race day, as well as finding the right fit for all the rest of the runs that will form my training routine. I’m running most of my runs at an easy pace at the moment and doing them in the UltraBoost 21s, which are perfect for what I need right now. 

Stay tuned to The Running Channel as episode 2 of Quarantine to Qualifier, which will be out in June, and will feature all of the above in more detail – and hopefully will give you some key nuggets of information that you can apply to your own training too! The following episodes in the series will come monthly after that as I bring you on my journey with me! Thanks again for all of your support so far. It honestly means the world and really helps on those days where I have to think about why I’m getting out the door to run (which are thankfully much less frequent after being sidelined for so long!) Happy running!

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