When the client becomes the coach: training for my first half marathon

It was November 2019. I was away for the weekend with some clients and friends, and we were talking about running the Mother’s Day Classic the following year. The only runner of the group, Jaq (who does ultramarathons for fun!), said she would create a training plan for those of us wanting to go from 0km to 5km. I thought, “Why not? Could be fun!”

I started training the following month …

By March 2020, I was easily running 5km a few times a week. Not long after, we headed into COVID-19 lockdown. Jaq wrote another training plan to get me to 10km – but increasing my distance was difficult this time because Melbourne’s lockdown rules had become tighter. We were only allowed outside for an hour at a time, so I needed to use that hour well.

We came out of lockdown briefly, and I managed to do the Mother’s Day Classic on my own and virtually – not exactly how I had planned.

Then we returned to lockdown for what felt like an eternity. I resumed running for my full hour, careful not to go beyond the 5km boundary from my house.

Jaq suggested we aim for a half marathon. Again, I thought, “Why not?” We marked a date in the diary: 3rd January, 2021. I loved having a date; it pushed me to keep going.

I had a 12-week running plan that took me to the day of the race. Six days out, Jaq messaged me about the route and weather, and we agreed to bring the date forward to 1st January. I thought this was quite symbolic, given it was the start of 2021, and this was going to be a cracker of a year.

I was ready to give it a red hot go …

Jaq was going to run with me, and we agreed to try to get the 21km done in three hours.

The first 10km were not easy but manageable. The next 7km were a little tougher, but during those last 4km, I said to myself, “Never again!” Jaq was walking by this stage, as I had slowed down so much. I was glad to have her with me – I think I would have stopped completely if I didn’t have her beside me.

We finished!

Jaq looked like she could go again, but I was stuffed! Don’t get me wrong; I was thrilled to have completed my first half marathon. It had felt like a massive goal at the time (and still does, honestly). And now that a bit more time has passed, I’m keen to do it again – but this time, with a group of people. I figure we might just spur each other on.

I had met Jaq through a friend when Jaq had just moved from Western Australia to Melbourne. I was drawn to her positivity and no BS attitude. I suspect she felt the same with me.

Jaq’s optimism and resilience see her bounce back from adversity and challenges in a positive way. I’m blessed to know her. She has an amazing backstory, and her first book, Reflections Through the Periscope, is due for release soon. This book will have you laughing and crying and experiencing every emotion in between. It’s a true love story about a daughter and her dad.

Do yourself a favour and grab two copies – one for you and one for your dad.

Looking for something else?

Emma also has a podcast.