He is 120kg…6’4″… and wants to run the LDN marathon – Coaches Perspective

Part two of “HE IS 120KG…6’4″… AND WANTS TO RUN THE LDN MARATHON…”. Here’s The Running School Coach, Matt’s perspective on coaching Mitul and helping him achieve his goal!

I first met Mitul for an initial Biomechanical Analysis on October the 2nd 2015. Little did I know what I was about to let myself in for!

A self-proclaimed man mountain, he openly admitted that he had never run more than 1km before in his life. He had done a lot of sport before, basketball, cricket, rugby, but running was certainly not top of this list. “I’ve just turned 39, just had twins and want to make a big change in my life Matt”. I asked where he had heard about us and he laughed and said “I gave your flyer to my kids to play with on the way home!” We had a look at Mitul’s running technique and his movement off the treadmill. For a big guy, his movements were not bad but certainly would need some work if he wanted to take up running for the long term.

He then drops the bombshell that he is thinking about trying to get a London marathon place. In my head I thought, “I hope he means 2017…”

At this time, the ballot had only just come out and places where scarce. But then I get a phone call from a delighted Mitul saying he had managed to get a place running for NSPCC. We had a lot of work to do!

Over the course of the next 6 months we changed Mitul’s running technique, muscle activation patterns and strength. We started things with simple walking technique – allowing Mitul to get used to spending time on his feet. I later found out that my name was being dragged through the mud on these walks “I’m running a marathon! How is walking around the park going to get me there?!?!”

At the turn of the year we started to pick things up. Longer runs, more intense training sessions and enlisted the help of a masseuse. We battled a half marathon in Milton Keynes, a tight hip and tight upper back! Despite all this, everything was falling into place.

BUT after the months of training, the final session had come around very quickly, which was the week before the marathon. Everything was looking good and feeling good. For those who have been to TRS then they will know that jumping on and off the treadmill is one of the biggest challenges that a client can face. And after months of doing it correctly, Mitul got off with the wrong foot! With my heart rate through the roof and the colour completely drained Mitul’s faces we decided to call it a day there!

As many of you know, you can easily track specific marathon runners. So having downloaded the VLM app on Sunday morning, I added Mitul to my list of ‘Favourite Runners’. This allowed me to see if the 6 months of hard work were paying off! It was a nervous few hours watching Mitul’s little blue dot make its way round the course! There were times where he was 10 minutes over his last split and I was questioning whether we had done enough. To add to my nerves, technology was not my friend that day and the app froze. But little did I know, Mitul had completed the Marathon!

From a coach’s perspective, you strive to see your clients do well and achieve what they want to achieve. And one of the first questions we ask at TRS is ‘What you do you want to achieve?’

Hand on heart, I can say that it was one of my proudest days as a coach when I saw Mitul complete the marathon knowing that we had achieved our goal.

A week after completing the Marathon, Mitul came into The Running School to discuss how he felt and plan his next steps. Only after this conversation did he mention that he had actually entered his name into the ballot for the 2017 VLM… even after saying he would never do it again! Mitul is now focusing on achieving a number of shorter distances and completing a unique strength programme. We look forward to working with Mitul and others like him who are looking to achieve their running goal, whether that is a Marathon or whether it is just to attend their local Park Run.

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