This April, recent London Wasps retiree Nic Berry and senior strength and conditioning coach Ian Taplin are taking on the ultimate challenge of running the London Marathon for Mind, the leading mental health charity in England and Wales.
We caught up with Ian Taplin to find out more about this decision and to see how their training is going!
Why are you running the Marathon?
"Nic was one of the players in my training group so when he was forced to retire due to his concussions we continued to train as the fitness aspect of the sport was a part he really enjoyed. During one session he started talking about his "bucket list" of physical challenges that he would like to attempt and one of these was to run the London Marathon. This is something I have also always wanted to do so Nic kept hassling Ali Donnelly and Serena Sharman until they secured us an entry to run in support of the club charity Mind."
Tell us a bit about your training regime.
"We started running on a regular basis at the end of October. We were only running 2-3 times a week as we wanted to build in gradually and not get carried away and pick up an overuse injury. We like lifting weights so this gradual introduction into running meant we were able to keep lifting as well, rather than suddenly giving up this aspect of training. After Christmas we put a plan together and are now running 4-6 times a week as we are now only a few months out from the Marathon. We have had to dial back the weight training due to the volume of running but are still doing gym work 2-3 times a week of running robustness and a little bit of vanity reasons! Our training at the moment consists of an interval session each week of running 5x 1 or 2km along with 2-3 runs of 8-14km and a longer run of 20-24km."
What is it like training with Bez?
'He is highly competitive as you would expect and works really hard, initially it was more difficult for him just because it was a completely different mode of training from which he was used to. Now though he has got some good miles in his legs and he is putting in some good times. He recently had his second child and is currently training to go into teaching so we have not run that much together. However, we both know that the other is training so when it is cold and wet and you don't feel like running we know the other one will be out on the road so that makes us get out as we don't want to let each other down. Now things are settling down though we are going to meet up for the long runs which is important as the distances are increasing and it helps to have someone suffering along with you'.
If you would like to support us you can donate at our virgin giving site we will also be raffling off some rugby memorabilia so keep a look out on the website and on twitter for the chance to get hold of some great items. The players are being very supportive and will be going a few things to help us raise some money and promote the great work that Mind do. I am hoping to convince Matt Everard to get his chest waxed but the cost of the wax might outweigh any money raised as he has more hair than a grizzly bear.
To get the ball rolling, for every pound donated over the next ten days you will be entered into a raffle for the chance to win two tickets to the England V Italy Six Nations match on March, 10!