This week I’ll be packing my bag and heading to the coast to take on my next marathon at Brighton.
The journey down south definitely feels like the easy part compared with the rollercoaster ride of winter training. I’ve had it all – bad weather, mysterious injuries, coughs and colds, dodgy trainers, stress at home and difficulties at work.
But that’s real life isn’t it. We all have to contend with issues that interfere with our wish to have a blemish-free, clean and tidy 16 week marathon training programme.
I’m not going to dwell on the things that have gone wrong, moreover draw strength and confidence from the things that have worked well. The fast parkruns and 10k’s, the competitive half marathons and the recent 20 miler that went very much to plan.
The final leg of my training involved another long-ish run which I extended to an early morning 14-miler into work. Having missed a couple earlier in the programme, I wasn’t worried about adding a bit of extra distance two and a bit weeks out from race day. It also gave me some additional reassurance that my new trainers were a good fit and the stiffness in my legs was easing off.
The run was pain free and drama free – thank goodness – and the return trip home after work also pretty solid. And that reassurance was probably of more use to me than the actual miles themselves.
Since then I’ve just been knocking out tempo runs and practising marathon pace of nine minute miles. Twice-weekly cross training wound up on Saturday and this is by far the most effort I’ve put into weights and core work on any marathon plan.
While some runs have had to give way to injury recovery, I haven’t missed a core session. My living room does a good job of doubling up as a gym and I’ve perfected the art of working out while simultaneously cooking Izzy’s dinner!
I hope it makes a difference – I’m pretty sure it did in the latter stages of both the Chester and Snowdonia marathons and prevented me from tanking.
Good fuelling is, of course, another key element of avoiding the dreaded wall. The aim for Brighton is to do an exact repeat of what I did before and during that 20 mile long run last month because it worked just fine.
So apart from gathering together my kit and collecting my number from the expo, this Buzzer is pretty much ready for marathon number nine. James is also running and we’re traveling down together. Expect a vlog!
Depending on how we feel, a gentle Saturday morning local parkrun may well be on the agenda, just to stay loose and get ourselves in the mood.
Am I confident of a good performance? Quietly so. Reduced training mileage is perhaps a slight concern, but equally that could work in my favour as the legs will, in theory, be a little fresher. Besides, I've still managed just over 350 miles since Christmas - hardly insubstantial.
Then there’s my increased experience and better approach to fuelling. I’ve learnt the hard way that my body cannot get through 26.2 miles on water and jelly babies alone, while helping yourself to whatever goodies the aid stations happen to have on offer can result in a very upset stomach.
You all know what the ultimate goal is – the four hour marathon. I won’t be over-thinking it or stressing about it, but I will be giving it another shot. Who knows, maybe this time it might just come off. Wish me good luck...
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