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! 

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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.

 

 

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!

Choosing a marathon training plan

When I ran the Brighton marathon in 2015 I signed up there and then to the 2016 race. Sadly due to last years injury I had to defer my place until 2017. The trouble is in that time I have become a total gym bunny and not a runner anymore! Well I don’t FEEL like a runner!

I had been torn over if I was going to take part in the 2017 marathon but after some thinking I realised I had unfinished business with the race. I didn’t get the time I wanted last time. I wasn’t far off it but it wasn’t what I wanted. So I’m going at it again!

Choosing a training plan has always been a conundrum for me. I know from training for Man V Mountain that I don’t like plans based on time. I’m a slow runner, I don’t cover the same distance that ‘average’ runners do. I knew I wanted a plan that was based on 3-4 runs a week and no more, I did a 4-5 run a week training plan for my first marathon. I was overtrained and from the start of the marathon sluggish and tired muscles. When I did Brighton and had done 3 runs a week I started the race much fresher and felt good for longer!

So after spending ages googling different marathon training plans and after lots of recommendations from people to give My Asics a go I decided I’d try it again. I started one of their plans for one of my previous events but didn’t like the pace it set. I’m still not a fan but I’ve decided to turn a blind eye for the pace recommendations other than for the long run.

I like that its broken down into stages and it also has a ‘preconditioning’ phase which is where it is currently at. I assume this is simply getting me ready to start upping my distance. Managed a nice ‘gentle jog’ of 4.5 miles this morning. It felt quite good but I know I’ve got a long way to go before I get there.

According to the plan I have another 85 runs, 447.7 miles and 21 weeks to go. EEK!

How do you choose your training plans? 

Brighton Marathon – Its here!!!!

How the heck has this come around so damn fast?! It feels like only yesterday that training began! Its been a rollercoaster generally going with the first half being all up and looking positive and then peaking at 20 miles and since then its all gone to pot with training courses taking up unexpected time and holidays, illness getting in the way! I haven’t been running anywhere near as much as I would like to have the past 3 weeks but I guess at least I won’t be overtrained.

I’ve trained for this marathon on 3 runs a week, purposefully because I felt when I did Edinburgh last year I was never getting recovery time from runs and went into the race already tired and that just spelled disaster on so many levels. So this time I am definitely going in the opposite. I had some awesome strong runs during those 3 runs a week, following the pattern of long run, recovery run, speed/tempo run. I could feel myself getting stronger, but that now feels a distant memory and I’m left wondering how the heck I am going to manage 26.2 on Sunday.

I am conscious its as much mental as it is physical and I know I have the mental strength and stubbornness to get through the race. If I cross the start line I won’t stop until I’ve crossed the finish. But what happens in between could be incredibly messy. I know towards the end I’ll get emotional, thats if I don’t to begin with! I cried during my last run on Thursday as I thought about having my family there to see me finish. When I did Edinburgh last year I only had my dad and he only saw me at mile 26! This time around I’m going to have my kids there, parents and friends and that means the absolute world to me! But will also spell plenty of tears no doubt!

The bags are packed. The vest is ready. All thats left to do now is get to Brighton, collect race number, carb load, sleep and then run 26.2 miles! Easy … right?

Of course I’m not just doing it for any old reason, I’m doing it for Matilda Mae, Jennie and family, The Lullaby Trust and all those touched by SIDS. Please do donate. I’m so close to £500, it would feel amazing to break that this weekend!

 

www.justgiving.com/24events24months – or you can text donate as below:

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2 weeks to go – Confidence crash

Well for someone who was so happy with how their training had gone. Was feeling really strong, well trained and confident thats all gone! The last two weeks have been challenging trying to fit training in around various life events that popped up. Usually i have enough time its ok but things have been full on and a reminder that when i return to uni next year I wont be able to juggle being a single mum and training for anything. It is imppssible. Last week I got out for a couple of short runs and then ran the new forest 20 miler on Sunday. This week I managed a run on Wednesday evening which was a short and horrific 5k and then 10k on Saturday morning that was meant to be 10 miles. Last night I also came down with a horrific cold, having survived the whole winter without being ill… I GET ONE NOW?!?!

Im upset that my confidence and PMA (Positive mental attitude) have vanished. I was banking on them to get me through it. Now my head is just filled with self doubt and worries about my ability to do this. And to do it well.

I wanted to smash my current marathon time by 30 minutes. Now Im almost 100% certain that wont happen. Maybe letting go of that hope now though is a good thing. Last year when I did edinburgh, my first marathon, i spent weeks unable to see what an achievement in was as i focused on how i had failed to reach my target. Maybe this way i wont have that hanging over my head.

I know its better to turn up to the startline well rested but I cant help but worry I havent done enough.

If anyone has any tips for finding your mojo id love to hear them?

Ultimately I know i will complete it because im doing this for charity. Im doing it for everyone who has sponsored me. Im doing it for Matilda Mae and her brave parents and beautiful siblings and all the other angel babies and their families affected by SIDS. I WILL finish that 26.2.

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