Q&A With Marathon Winner Lizzie Dimond

I’m sat, having a coffee at The Celtic Manor with old-school chum Lizzie Dimond – who hasn’t changed a bit, other than that she is now mother to FOUR children and is a MARATHON WINNER!!! A self-confessed non-athlete, she is now one VERY impressive lady.

So, how many Marathons have you run to date? Let’s start with that…

I’ve done 6. My first was The Great Welsh in Llanelli, which I ran in 3:12:04. I then ran London in 2:57, then Manchester in 2:49 (my PB), then London again, then won the Newport Marathon this year, which was an incredible feeling to do on my home turf. I then ran my 3rd London marathon a week later – so that was my sixth in total.

I’m competitive with myself so I constantly move the goalposts. I always want to beat my previous time. But obviously it gets harder as I get older, but I am determined to work just as hard to be the best version of me that I can.

It’s also very much down to the luck on the day. I had an incredible training and nutrition plan running up to my last but one London marathon, I was very confident going in, and I just ran really awful for me. I went off too fast, and the wheels came off.

What does your training look like?

I have 2 coaches; I run 6 times per week and strength train once, with one rest day.

Sunday is usually my long run day, so I’ll get out first thing, and be home by the time the kids are finishing up breakfast. Everything else is either when they’re in school or at 6am before my husband Ben goes to work. Combining the kids billion after school activities, means evenings are not for running. The only time I can squeeze it in is in the mornings.

A long run, if marathon training, is around 2-2.5 hours, but regular training I’ll just do around 80 minutes – so roughly a half marathon.

This is the max amount I can do with the children all being so young.

Why do you run?

The freedom it gives me. It’s helped in the past, to allow myself to process things, like the loss of my Dad, and gives me time to spend in my mind, away from the chaos. It makes me feel better in myself, and therefore makes me a better mother to my gorgeous four.

I started running at 30, I had 3 kids, and I wanted to look and feel the best I could for my wedding day, so I would just go out for a 30-minute run around our local lake. Then I started increasing my time, and I began to love it.

We then got married and someone very close to me was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer and passed away six weeks later aged just 36. I wanted to raise money for Velindre who treated him and so entered the Cardiff Half Marathon on behalf of that cause. I was very pleased with my time, running solely on emotion, and I then realised I perhaps had something as I did it in 1:35. I then joined Lliswerry Running Club and signed up for the London Marathon nine months after my fourth child was born.

Do you think you’d be a long-distance runner if you hadn’t had kids?

No. it’s a stress management tool. There’s no appointment time to it, no class times to rush to. I can do it in my own time, on my terms.  My children drive me to go out and achieve something for myself. They are my reason.

How do you power yourself through a marathon, nutrition wise?

Pre-race for me, I have porridge and honey to slow-release energy. I then do gels; every five miles or every 40 minutes, whichever comes first, and a sip Lucozade here and there on the latter miles which REALLY helps give me a boost. There’s no gas in my tank without these additions. They’re essential for me.

What’s next?

The Berlin Marathon in September which I’m very much looking forward to running. I’ve somehow got to get through the summer holidays with the kids though, when that should be my core bulk training time – so is likely to prove difficult. There will definitely be lots of early morning and late evening runs for me to fit it all in.

I’ll do Cross Country with the club as part of the winter series for fun and to keep fit. I find it SO challenging though – as you think you’re fit, but you’ll never know how unfit you are until you run cross country. It’s very technical, and a difficult terrain. It gets very uncomfortable. It’s also very hilly and across trails rather than road running like I’m used to. It’s great for training.

I would also really like to improve on my PB’s, so even shaving a few seconds off would make me really happy.

Family life does come first, so I’m just doing what fits, right now. The hardest thing is recovery – I literally don’t get time to recover – that’s my main challenge. I’m straight back into being a mum the second I walk off the finish line. Kids up all night, running around after them, cooking, cleaning, working. I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world though.

Will you do the remaining six majors? Bostin, Chicago, Tokyo, New York (you’ve done London and are doing Berlin this year)

If I get a sponsor yes! It’s hugely expensive – to enter, and to travel to. And I couldn’t put my running events ahead of taking my children on holiday – so we’ll see.

A message to Mum’s out there

After four children, trust me, I know how it feels to not be body confident. Getting up and running each day not only gives me mental clarity and focus but allows me to be 100% confident in my body, and lets me eat what I want (in moderation). I feel amazing and am in the best shape of my life, including before the children. If you’re thinking about it – just go out and run, you won’t regret it!

Follow Lizzie’s incredible journey on Instagram @Runnerof4