When everything’s going against you…

I wrote about how difficult Marathon training had been so far the other week. Since then I got my head in gear and decided I was going to do it! But then life hasn’t been in my favour. January and the start of February was spent revising Maths for my Numeracy QTS Skills Test which was essential for me to pass in order for me to go to uni in September. So needless to say when opportunities arose I had to revise rather than run at times. It paid off and I passed on Monday. The plan was that this week was going to be a ‘on it’ marathon training week. And then on Monday I also got struck down with the virus my son has had. Body aches like the flu, high temperatures, sore throat, cough, headache – basically the lot. Its Wednesday and I am still feeling no better 😦 So this weeks training has gone out the window.

I am really starting to doubt the marathon now. I should be comfortably at 16 miles and I’m not even at 13 yet! The plan was that this marathon was going to be ‘the’ marathon. My last chance for a while to target that 5:30 goal that I have been desperate to hit for years. But a big part of me feels if that isn’t possible that I don’t love running enough to push through and do it anyway. I didn’t want to do it in the first place but I saw it through as I felt it was that one last chance. But it wasn’t because I was already running regularly. I wasn’t, I was going to the gym loads and doing pole but not running.

Last night when lying in bed feeling like my head was going to explode I decided that the goal is to manage 14 next Monday and then the planned runs on Wednesday and Friday and see where I am at after that. And then I will make a final decision.

Have to admit it isn’t looking favourable at the moment!

Things I have learnt from 3 marathons!

I’ve completed 3 marathons. I have a love hate relationship with them all.

  1. Edinburgh

I learnt gels do not work for me, throwing them all up at 13 miles was not a highlight!

I also learnt what overtraining can do, tired legs very early on. I paid for that overtraining!

That and going out too hard will come back to bite you! It did from about mile 15! Not fun when theres over 10 to go.

Oh and out and back is great on the going out section (if you’re a slow runner this is) but not so great on the coming back when there is no one else around. 

2. Brighton

Clif bars are lovely but after a while get really boring. As do Jelly babies. Variety is the spice of life when running 26.2 miles! 

Once again (I never learn) going out hard will bite you on the bum. I went out WAY too hard. I had a pace band on my wrist so there really was no excuse other than going – “Oh look I’m 20 minutes ahead, I could SMASH my target if I keep going”, I couldn’t and eventually that 20 minute advance got less and less until I was past that and watching my goal disappear. 

Having family to support you is awesome. I saw my Mum, best friend and my boys twice in the early stages, along with my Dad and then one of my other besties was EPIC at popping up at numerous points around the course, she covered some mileage herself! It made a huge difference compared to Edinburgh where I’d had no one.

Play a mental game with the out and back, note what order you see your friends, make note when that order changes! Tick them off as you see them! Its a great distraction. 

3. Liverpool

I was carrying a tear in my quad. Doing this marathon was dumb. First thing I learnt! 

2nd thing I learnt – June is WAY too hot for a marathon, I am a spring/autumn runner and the heat just zapped me, I ended up running in just a sports bra at times. 

Clif shot blocks worked well but after a while I found I craved something salty, crisps will be packed this year! 

Being a slower runner doing a race with such a tight cut off – not advisable. It meant to a stressed last few miles which isn’t much fun really! 

Note the cheap hoodie brought from the charity shop that I chucked away when I was warm!

So from all that what SHOULD I know about this years Brighton?

Don’t go out too hard, stick to my planned pace … NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU FEEL HAYLEY!

Fuel regularly even if you don’t feel like you need it, hitting a wall is not nice.

Enjoy the out and back sections. Look for people you know.

Respect the hills. There are more of them in Brighton than you realise.

Disposable layers are great, its often cold in the morning but once you get going and the day warms up suddenly that long sleeve layer is a pain being strung around your waist, buy something cheap you don’t mind ditching with a marshall.

Plan your hydration strategy. Are you carrying water and sports drinks? Or are you relying on the on course providers? Do you have a back up if that gatorade doesn’t work so well for you?

Ultimately 26.2 miles isn’t a distance you can just get up and run, well most people can’t. It should be respected.



Marathon Wobbles

Anyone following me on social media, especially instagram, will know I have been struggling with my marathon training. Mentally really more than physically. On Monday I set out for a 14 mile run. It was a 10 mile loop and a smaller 4 mile one. The 10 mile finished at the car. Rather than passing the car and doing the 4 … I finished at 10. Physically I could have easily carried on! I was just bored! I had tried 3 different podcasts, music too, and nothing was satisfying my boredom!

I started to seriously doubt if I should be continuing training when I am struggling with it so much. But then I have my other reasons why I want to continue.

  • Not carry on because I am not enjoying running.
  • Carry on because I won’t be able to do another marathon for at least 2 years due to uni. 
  • Don’t carry on because the time goal I want to get is slipping further away with every run I skip or cut short.
  • Carry on because I have learnt a lot from my previous 3 marathons and know everything I should do right.

In the end after lots of chats with numerous different friends about how I would feel if I DIDN’T run it and the fact I would probably regret that decision I decided to push on. Tomorrow I am going to sit down and review my training plan. I’m also going to try and get out and run with some friends if possible as I haven’t done that in a long time. Maybe just maybe I can get that time goal! And even if I don’t it is a course I have run before, I know where the hills are, I know what the stretch out to the power station is like, I know there are lots of out and back sections to be able to spot friends on.


Ultimately this is my final chance for a while to see through a marathon. Life will be firmly paused from September for I don’t know how long. I’d love to say its now or never, its not. Its now or not for a good few years!



Mind over matter

I have been a runner since around 2012/13. I have 3 marathons, countless half marathons and 10kms under my belt. I’m experienced in this running malarkey.

And yet I still can’t conquer the mind over matter issue.

The clock is rapidly counting down to Brighton Marathon and here is me coming up with numerous excuses not to run or complete distances I set out to do.

First it was the fact I was busy during December with uni interviews and school experience, then as soon as that was over I got struck down with a hideous cold. No sooner had I got over that one my brother gave me a nice viral infection which lasted a week, went to my chest and saw me with high temperatures and feeling generally horrendous. As soon as I got over that, within a day I had a minor operation under a general anaesthetic. I was told I could run again the following Monday which was about 4 days later.

That was the start of this week. On Monday rather than doing the miles I was supposed to I went to the gym.

On the Tuesday I had told myself I would do 12 miles. Then my son spent most of the night awake so I reduced my goal to 6 miles. I managed 3.11 at a serious push!

Yesterday I planned to do 6 miles. I did 5. I just couldn’t make myself do that last mile.

The ridiculous part is I KNOW running is a case of mind over matter. I know its my head that controls my legs not the other way around. I know that if my head says run my legs will follow. I know its not my legs that give up first. But in many ways I also know its my head that isn’t meeting the goals as my legs probably would carry on quite happily my head just goes “nope, you’re done”.

On Monday I am supposed to get out and do 14 miles. I am really not sure that will happen!

77 days to go!

Women vs Men in OCR

So this weekend was the 2nd OCRA UK championships. Once again I didn’t go. I don’t take part in OCR to compete. I do it for fun. Not for placings. But as so many friends were taking part I have been following whats happened today like I did last year.

Last year a huge debate occurred involving women in OCR and whether they should be taking part in the same courses as the men or if allowances should be made for the fact that our strengths are different to those of men.

Most sports there are some kind of difference between men and women. Gymnastics for example, there are only two events which both men and women compete in – the vault and floor. Other than that they do different events. Olympic swimmers the men do a 1500m whilst the women only do a 800m.

Its not unusual for differences and exceptions to happen.

Now don’t get me wrong I am very much a men and women should be equal but the fact of the matter remains when it comes to sport physically women will rarely outdo the men, it happens sometimes but not often.

So back to the OCRA Championships. Today they were operating a 2 band system (thats a whole other story). Not a single woman managed to complete the course with 2 bands. Only 13 finished with 1 band. Most of these came down to a ‘rig’ which many men failed, even the top 3 had to have a couple of turns to complete it. One woman is said to have been there a couple of hours giving it a go and trying to get over it.

Theres two separate debates to this really. 1 – was the rig too hard? 2 – should women have a separate rig?

For some women there are going to be obstacles that are much more challenging due to height issues. For example a 10ft wall. Or a sternum checker that is that bit too high.

My personal opinion is that obstacles should be looked at on an individual basis and in situations where 50% of women are not going to be able to complete an obstacle I think there should be an adjustment made or a second one differed slightly.

Its a complex area that is no doubt going to cause a great deal of debate over the next year leading up to the next championships. Should women run a different course? More band chances? Run exactly the same course? Theres a ton of options and arguments that can be put ahead.

I’ll continue to enjoy OCR for the reason I started, to have fun. It makes me sad seeing the way the community has become divided between those who want to ‘win’ and those who do it for enjoyment.