The work, study and family balance: Running a marathon while studying

07 June, 2016Gabbi Stopp

Gabbi Stopp is the Head of Employee Share Ownership at ifs ProShare, and is currently studying for a Diploma for Financial Advisors (DipFA®). Gabbi is also a wife, and mother to a three-year-old boy.

In this blog series, Gabbi takes an honest look at what it's like to study, while working and managing family commitments.

Thursday 14 April 2016

running kit and number - compressedI write this in the warm afterglow of having completed the Rome Marathon, now that the associated aches and pains have all receded. Crossing the finishing line in front of the Colosseum is a memory that I will treasure for a very long time. In retrospect, Rome probably wasn’t the best choice of marathon for a complete newbie like myself – hot, hilly and 7km of the 42km course run on very uneven cobbles or ‘pietrini’. I really surprised myself by getting around (though it took me five hours and thirty-three minutes) and actually enjoying all but the last 10kms.
The cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake is that my friends, family and ifs colleagues have helped raise more than a grand for my chosen charity, I CAN, which they will put to very good use indeed. I’m also surprised by the fact that I really, really want to run another marathon! Bitten by the bug, as predicted by my marathon and ultra-runner husband – and to think that I laughed hysterically when he said that a few weeks ago. I’ve found myself itching to go for a run all week, and stealing my husband’s copy of Gabbi Stopp marathonRunners World for training tips.

So the running will definitely continue, and I will need to find ever more ingenious ways to fit it into my week as the DipFA exam and assignment deadlines approach. 
For now though, I can restore a semblance of balance to my life and devote a few more hours per week to study. All this means in practice is that instead of getting up early on a Sunday to fit in the mandatory long slow run (‘LSR’ in runners’ parlance) of fifteen miles or more for marathon training, I will be getting up early to study in my pyjamas with a vat of coffee by my side. 

The whole marathon experience makes me ponder whether there are other things that I think I can’t do but probably can, given some effort and the right training or preparation.

Read Gabbi's past posts or find out more about DipFA