Couch to 5Km the Safe Way with the Maryborough Club:Learn from my mistakes!

It’s the funniest of quotes that stick in your mind for an age. I didn’t even know who Robert Strauss was when I stumbled upon this quote several years ago. It didn’t matter. The words resonated with me, logic and humour in equal measure:

“Success is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.”

I decided this was as good a mantra as any following the birth of 3rd born. And it was with renewed gusto, determination and dedication that I emerged from that new born haze &  began a new journey with the end goal of stronger, fitter, less tired and healthier Cliona – the old me was to be the knackered gorilla. Brought down by….well…. the new empowered me.

What I know now (but chose to ignore then) was that said Gorilla really wasn’t in great shape to begin with. 9 weeks following the birth of a teeny tiny, milk guzzling, up all night mini me was not the best time to take to the roads and rack up the mileage like I never had before. I’m deliberately not being specific with mileage details as that simply is not relevant. What is relevant is that my body had never gone there before and therefore I was pushing it further & placing stress where stress had never been.  

I paid no heed to that fact that my form was most certainly “bad”. Let me clarify. Having babies messes up with your entire body. You cannot simply take to the roads and train like a seasoned marathon runner because you have a gorilla to beat up in a certain time frame. Likewise, if your youngest born is 2 years old or if you’ve never had a baby before – you simply cannot just get out there, rack up the kilometre’s and expect to remain pain and injury free, if you have not set the foundations. Your body needs to be strong. The only way to do this is to hit the gym alongside the roads. I do so in the Maryborough Hotel.

No pain, no gain, right? Wrong.

There is a very subtle but important difference between pushing your body to the limit and pushing it past it. You do not have to be rolling around the ground, covered in sweat resembling someone who has done 12 rounds with Rocky to be pushing things too hard. 

I didn’t listen to my body and ended up with a ripped plantar fascia and an edema in my Tibia.  This was confirmed by MRI when the injury was 10 months old (I was pregnant (AGAIN) so could not get one done). Recovery from the initial injury was 27 months! 3 months in a boot and the following 3 in a separate boot I wore to sleep in. It was horrific and frustrating and pretty much all my own doing.

What did I learn? Your body needs to be strong – all of your body – not just the legs that you run on!  Right now holiday season looms – there is nothing quite like the threat of bare skin to get us all up and out there. Couch to 5km is brilliant – running is the best head space – it is quite literally my therapy. Those roads and I solve a multitude of problems when I am out there and when I come home I feel ready to take on the entire world.

For those of you who are taking to the roads for the 1st time or after a break here is what I learned from the staff in The Club at The Maryborough Hotel: Keep running but compliment the run with a programme to allow your body to operate injury free.

Following 4th born’s arrival 21 months ago I really started my foot recovery. I spent 12 months doing ZERO running as  I had no choice. I got so much help from Brian and his staff at The Club at the Maryborough hotel.  They wrote me a weights programme that allowed my foot to rest when it needed it. They rewrote my programmes as I was allowed and able to incorporate more in my regime. If I needed to build strength in a certain area the programme was tailored to do so. If I wanted to burn fat without running the regime was once again adjusted. I learned so much about my body and what you can do outside the gym if you lay the foundations correctly.

One on one sessions with my trainer were invaluable. New programmes periodically allowed me huge flexibility & peace of mind that this was written to suit my individual needs – which, let’s face it were very specific.

20 months on from my original MRI I can at last say that I am back running completely pain free. There is no doubt in my mind that this is down to the fact that my whole body is stronger. And I intend to keep it that way so as to remain injury free. 

My one piece of advice to those of you taking to the roads this summer regardless of whether you are a Mum or not, is to hit the gym also. Prevention is better than cure. I say that from experience. What I can also say from experience is that the guidance and level of attention to detail I received in The Club at the Maryborough Hotel was a vital component in my recovery, form and general sanity.

Marcos at The Maryborough has written a 6 week programme specifically for those of you amongst us that are taking to the roads. I’ll attach it below so let there be no excuses. Print if off, call to the Maryborough and hit the roads gang!

6 WEEKS Plan for your first 5km

Yours, glad to have that monkey (of sorts) off my back,

Cli xx




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