How do I… train for the London Marathon and still run a successful business?

How do I… train for the London Marathon and still run a successful business?

Doug More, founder of Assure APM, decided to train for his first marathon aged 67. He tells us how he’s managing that whilst still pushing for growth in his business.

Last year I decided that I would run the London Marathon in 2018 to raise money for the Children with Cancer. It is a charity that is close to my heart. I lost a daughter at age 16 due to cancer a number of years back. I felt that I could both honour her memory and give something back to a very worthwhile cause.

I am the CEO and founder of Assure APM. We offer two boutique, highly valuable services - automated cyber security services and IT estate management and monitoring. I have worked in IT for over 40 years and was involved in some of the very first IT networks ever built during my time at Edinburgh University. I have run various companies, but I have never run a marathon.

I am also 67 years old and I plan to finish in under four hours – this is going to be tough, but my daughter would have had it no other way! What have I let myself in for?

Running a business and a marathon

But I still had a business to run. We are a small team and I very much need to be around to represent the company and keep moving things on. My training regime kicked off in earnest on the 1st of January. I’ve always been a short distance runner, the shorter the better, but 5 and 10K runs were not a problem for me, but I needed to step it up from there and still be able to meet the demands of the 9 to 5.

How to fit it all in

I start my day before the dawn (a phrase that is easy to write but sometimes difficult to execute), and get a good bit of my training in before most people have their breakfast. I take regular personal trainer sessions to build up my arm and leg strength, and have had several deep tissue massages. Strangely, both of these are masochistically enjoyable. I’ve also been putting in a lot of distance, mainly at weekends. In the last four I have completed runs ranging from 20 to 35K. I’ve also been sleeping a lot afterwards. I’m now in wind down, saving up energy for the marathon itself on April 22nd.

Support is essential

Thanks to the support from my colleagues we have managed to expand the company and win major new business in the time I have been training. We have also taken on our first director of security, a great asset not only to the business but personally too, as he is a runner and has offered me lots of great advice - some of which I have heeded. It has been hard for me personally but I just pretend I’m 20 years younger and switch into CEO mode once I turn on the laptop while trying to put my aches, pains and fatigue to one side.

Time management is even more essential

One thing I have learnt is that discipline is the key to balancing the demands. My time management has become intensified so I have had very little time to procrastinate. I am thankful that I have such an understanding team. The rigors of my training regime have meant that every second counts and I’ve found myself being a bit, erm… let’s say, ‘short’ when I want to get straight to the point and a decision made. But they are a strong team who know me well, and we have made the right choices and moved projects along. The vital thing is that you need to make sure you have enough space in the day to give time to attention to detail, without this errors and mistakes will creep in.

Fancy doing something similar?

Give it a go – what’s the worst that could happen? Just do a bit of planning, work out your schedule and get going! It has been taxing but extremely rewarding at the same time. I’ve also heard myself make some noises that I’ve never made before during the training. I have had amazing support from family and friends as well as my colleagues and contacts. I am on my way to raising my target for Children with Cancer. I am very grateful and humbled by the generous donations I’ve received so far but there still time to give to this amazing cause – both before the starting pistol fires and after I’ve (hopefully) survived the day itself. Details can be found by clicking here