The Training Diaries: Alex
This month, we're celebrating members of our team who are participating in the Edinburgh Marathon to raise money for the King's Campaign.
Hello, I’m Alex, I’ve been one of Capital Theatres' Front of House staff for three years now (it’s hard to measure exactly with the big covid break in the middle.) I’ve worked three pantos, and that’s as good a metric as any. I joined the theatre as a part time job whilst studying English and Scottish Literature at The University of Edinburgh. I honestly don’tthink I could have asked for a better part time job. I would finish my lectures on Early Modern Tragedy, then stroll over to the theatre and watch the National Theatre touring Macbeth.
The reason that I have such fondness for Capital Theatres is the sheer range of shows that are performed on the stage. Some shows will only run for a few days, others for a few weeks; this means I’m always working a new show, interacting with a different type of audience. There is always something fresh and exciting to be watching or talking about. At Christmas time I will go from working a Panto matinee at the Kings, to an evening Scottish Ballet performance. It can be quite surreal at times.
Since working at the theatre, I have seen shows that I would have never considered watching. When it’s your first-time seeing opera, who better than Scottish Opera to introduce you. The same can be said for Scottish Ballet, Northern Ballet, National Theatre of Scotland, Cameron Mackintosh, the list goes on. Once the King’s is renovated, we will be able to welcome more of these impressive shows to Edinburgh.
The team at the theatre is another big positive. I met some of my best friends at work; something I always swore I wouldn’t do. The breadth of people that are employed by Capital Theatres means that I always have something to learn, or a different perspective to discuss. Some of us are students, some on a gap year, some professionals who work in the theatre on the side, others are retired. It is this inclusive and accepting nature, it is connecting with people you wouldn’t ordinarily speak to, that makes Capital Theatres such a positive place to be.
So, full disclosure – this is not my first marathon. I was convinced by my then flatmates to run the Edinburgh marathon back in 2019. I know what you’re thinking: “you’ve done it before, it’ll be easy”. I’d like to argue to opposite case. Having run a marathon already, I know what to expect. I know how much it hurt last time, how deep you had to dig into your reserves, but also how elated you are once you complete the route. The toughest part about a second marathon (I hope) is the training. Last time I got away with doing the bare minimum of training. This time, I wanted to do the training properly to make marathon day easier. That means running more days, running further each time, and running in all weather conditions.
My training regime itself consists of going on YouTube or Strava, being inspired for a week or two and running as much as I can. After two or three weeks the enthusiasm wains, and I allow myself a week to relax and let the body rest. Then I return to Strava, and repeat.
I’ve known I will be doing this marathon since last summer, so you could say that’s when training started. I knew that it would be hard to stay motivated for longer than three or four months, so I had a plan of two halves. From the summer to Christmas, I wanted to build a good level of basic fitness. To me, this meant being able to run 10km relatively comfortably and regularly.
Since Christmas, I have been building towards the marathon itself. I aim for around 40km per week, normally across four runs of varying lengths. The most I managed in a week was 92km (2 x half marathons, 2 x 10km, 1 x 30km). I needed some time off after that. This is the peak week though. From here the plan is to drop the distance but keep the frequency high. This will ensure my body is primed and energised for the big day, while doing all I can to avoid injuring myself.
When it comes to the day itself, I know what to expect. I remember the hanging around in Bristo square beforehand, I even remember someone along the route had a sign that said ‘Smile, you chose to do this’. At the far end of the route there was a man with a guitar playing ‘Tequila’ incessantly. There was nothing I wanted less than Tequila.
It will be different this second time round because there is a community of friends running as well. I don’t feel the need to push for a record-breaking time. I’m just going to enjoy the run (in good weather it is possible to enjoy a run, I promise). I’m looking forward to getting into Musselburgh, lying down on the grass, then relaxing and celebrating with my friends. I hope that I’ll have a good long rest before any of my pals cross the line, but beating them is an added bonus.