The final push

Posted on: 30 Mar 2015

So my biggest running month comes to a close.  The most miles I have ever racked up over four weeks, including two competitive races and personal bests over 10k and half marathon distance.


March stats ended up looking like this: 145 miles ran over 20 hours and 31 minutes.  An average pace of 7.1 mph and average distance of 8.6 miles per run.  And those PBs: 10k @ 48:22 and 13.1m @ 1:43:39.


And blimey can I feel it!  I knew marathon training would be intense and physically demanding, but as we get to the final stages my body is screaming for a break.  In particular I’m suffering with a couple of annoying blisters which I’m trying to treat and get fully healed in time for London, plus the groin strain that surfaced during the Stafford 20 event has never fully gone away. 


My pre-run ritual used to be simple enough – stretch, grab a drink, shove in my earphones, fire up the Garmin and go.  Now, especially for a long run, it feels like I’m forever faffing around.  Spraying, dressing, greasing, rubbing… When my wife saw this little lot the other day she casually said “so we’ve opened a pharmacy then have we” and to be fair it must look pretty ridiculous!




Then there’s trying to plan nutrition for long runs and, of course, the marathon itself.  I’ve discovered the hard way that gels really don’t suit me much.  I can stomach one before I head out and then one after about an hour.  But beyond that they leave me feeling bloated and with nasty cramps after I get home.  Whatever the energy boost while I’m running, it isn’t worth that pain later in the day.


So while training I’ve tried other approaches and during Sunday’s 18.5 miler I took a little snack bag with me – pieces of cereal bar, whole almonds, raisins and some jelly babies.  It worked well and I enjoyed a couple of ‘moving picnics’ at miles 10 and 16.


I’ll still carry a few gels for an emergency hit, but for now the plan is to approach it like this on race day.  I have one more long run to try the same strategy again, my final 20 mile effort this coming Sunday.


Talking of long runs, what a miserable weekend of weather that was!  I was out early on Sunday morning desperately trying to beat the worst of it.  Despite the clocks going forward I managed to hit the road at 6.30am (so it felt like 5.30am to me) and for the first seven miles all was good. 


By mile eight I had ventured off road and hit the canal tow path – big mistake.  It was rutted, muddy and slippy as anything.  I dropped nearly two minutes on the next mile split picking my way through and by the time the going improved the heavy rain had arrived.  It was relentless and by now my pacing was all over the place. 


Still, I made it home in the end averaging just over nine minute miles, which is what I’m hoping to do for London.  Soggy feet didn’t do much to aid my blister recovery strategy but the reality is it could end up (heaven forbid) being an equally miserable day on 26 April, so runs like this and Stafford 20 from a few weeks back are all good practice.


Plans for this week?  First thing is switching over to my new trainers so I can get some miles in pre-London.  They’re a straight swap for my current Asics Kayano 21s (I’m just going from blue to white!) so it shouldn’t take many miles to adjust.




Target distance for the week is 38, culminating in a 20 mile long run on Sunday.  And then a three week taper.  We’re nearly there folks!  I’m hoping that as the intensity of training starts to ease so my weary legs and feet will cease their protests and get ready to give the mother of all performances on race day.


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