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.



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 Training Week 6

So on the Sunday last week I’d had my long run. This week I knew training was going to be a tad up in the air as I had Brutal10 Womens on Saturday so it went a bit like this.

Tuesday: 7 miles with 3 x 1600m @ 9:49 w 800m recovery.

So running 7 miles 2 days after doing 13 miles was a bit of a mental idea it has to be said. Add to that the fact it was the frostiest morning we had and the thames had even frozen over it wasn’t exactly perfect conditions for speed work. Looking at the splits its hard to tell if the 2nd and 3rd 1600m were the right speed as they crossed over on miles. I’m pretty sure I maintained the average reasonably well. It was however incredibly tough. I was very tired still from Sundays long run and my legs still werent fresh again, breathing in temperatures that are below 0 is quite hard too!

Friday: 14 miles

I planned an out and back route from my house along the Thames and then into Windsor, down the long walk to Windsor Castle and back again! Overall the run went well. I maintained a pace which was almost perfect for my training runs, it was meant to be 12:08 and I averaged 12:03! Probably the closest I’ll ever get to what my plan tells me! I used dextrose tablets and jelly beans for fuelling and sipped water as well. I am determined I wont touch gels this year.

Saturday: 3 ‘easy miles’

The easy run is one I normally do on a Tuesday following a long run. So due to having brutal it all got a bit mixed up! My race report from the day is here. I was surpised at how good my legs felt in the morning. They felt absolutely fine other than on hills where they started to ache a bit! They were sore for Saturday but other than that they’ve been ok.



Brighton Marathon Training Week 5

This week has generally gone well in the respect all runs were completed on their correct days. Sleep proved to be an issue with a toddler who thought it was excellent to wake up in the middle of the night and stay awake for a good hour or more! Not what I needed ahead of my 6 mile tempo run!

Run 1 : Easy 3 Miles : Pace 12:08

Yeah as is still the case I can’t do a 12:08 pace when I’m only doing 3 miles! The actual pace ended up being 10:02. I have a feeling something must have pissed me off for me to have done that pace! I clearly wasn’t paying much attention to attempting to slow down! It is a route I am getting so bored with though. That seems to be a common theme at the moment.

Run 2 : Tempo Run : 6 Miles 4 at 10:29

Mile 1 : 11:19
Mile 2: 9:54
Mile 3: 10:13 
Mile 4: 9:56
Mile 5: 10:36
Mile 6: 11:58

In actual fact I ran 6.22 because I wanted to get my strava 10k Badge! Hehe! Mile 5 was a battle into a strong headwind and the lack of sleep from the night before was being firmly felt, the whole run had felt tough, up until that run my tempo runs had felt fairly easy but that run was just knackering.

Run 3 : Long Run : 13 miles at 12:08

I had been torn as to what route I was going to do for this run. There was the option of get dropped off in Kingston and run home … boring, meant carrying water and fuel. Or I could go to the Hot Chocolate Series at Eton Dorney and do their 20km route, which equates to 12.4 miles. I decided to take that option and did a short run pre race when I arrived so that it totalled the 13.1 miles that I had needed to do. My overall average pace was 11:23. The first 4 miles were quick all with 10 minute miles. For the next five I dropped off to 11 minute miles, the final 3 were all 12 minute miles minus the last one which scraped in at 11:52. I had set myself the goal of doing the 20km in 2hrs 2o based on my previous runs and I was just outside that on my chip time at 2hrs 21 minutes so I’m pleased with that.

This week training is a bit of a mess. Its my birthday next Monday so I’m doing womens brutal on Saturday (which if I raise £500 I’ll be doing in a chicken outfit), that means running 14 miles on Sunday is less appealing, I could do it Friday but then doing a 7 mile speed session on Thursday would be dumb! I’m yet to figure out what I’m going to do!