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There are many similarities between running a marathon and labour. As Leonie Darch from Happy Healthy Babies approaches race day she compares the two and explains how hypnobirthing might just be her hidden weapon to conquer 26.2 miles!

On April 22nd 2018 I will be running the London Marathon in aid of the NSPCC.  Even just typing these words gives me butterflies in my tummy. For the past 7 months I have been living and breathing marathon training and now suddenly there are just 18 short days to go.  It reminds me of being 38 weeks pregnant and just waiting for that moment when you go into labour, trusting that all of your preparation, antenatal classes and breathing pays off on the day. Wishing yourself into an experience that is going to be tough but amazing at the same time. I am desperate to do this race now even though I now it is going to be one of the most physically and mentally challenging things I have ever done in my life.  Little did I know that I was going to be needing my hypnobirthing skills again any time soon although instead of a bouncing baby at the end it is a medal and a sports massage!

One of the challenges I have had to face is adapting my ability to deal with stress and anxiety. Pre-marathon, running used to be my go to stress-buster.  A time when there was no agenda, no PB’s and no pressure. But recently running has become my stress.  Am I training hard enough? Should it be further? Faster? Stronger?  When you have a good run it feels amazing but when you have bad run you beat yourself up. What did I do differently? Did I eat enough carbohydrate?  Was my pace off? So many factors that can affect how your body reacts on the day.  Every training run I have done I have run on my own due to needing to training in the day. I love the zone I go into when I block out the world around me but running on your own is a lonely business when your inner voice becomes negative….when there is nobody else to push your past the wall. There have been tears (Stratford Greenway / 17 miles) but this was also the best run I have ever done! So to cope with the training schedules I have turned back to daily relaxation, putting the treadmill aside to train the brain.  I visualise running the race, the landmarks, the other runners, my family, the atmosphere. I see myself crossing the finishing line full of energy, smiling and enjoying every moment.  I see myself before the race looking calm, collected and ready.  I use affirmations when I am running, telling myself that I am a strong, fit and healthy woman. Powerful and determined.  I talk to my muscles (yes really!) although not aloud to avoid scaring the dog walkers.

I last needed my hypnobirthing techniques 8 years ago when I birthed my son and I realised the other day that I birthed him in less time than it will take me to run the London Marathon.  But this time I get to share the experience with 40,000 other people doing the exact same thing.  Am I terrified?  My goodness yes!  Am I excited?  Ridiculously!  Am I ready?  Definitely!

To read more about my marathon adventure and support my pledge to the NSPCC please visit my justgiving page at www.justgiving.com/leonie-darch-london.  Any support is hugely appreciated.

If you would like to know more about how hypnobirthing can help you please visit www.happyhealthybabies.co.uk