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? 

Race Report : Mens Health Survival of the Fittest Edinburgh

This weekend we flew all the way up to Edinburgh from Stansted so I could take on the penultimate MHSOTF. Having already done London, Cardiff and Nottingham I had a good idea what was coming in terms of obstacles. But the hills took me by surprise! That and the steps! So many damn steps! I don’t think we ran on flat for more than a few hundred yards!

This event is definitely the most city centre based race of the series so far and as a result they couldn’t fit anything huge in. The travelator was only two lanes rather than three this time. The air jump being based along the royal mile was cool as it meant it had lots of spectators. We took in some amazing scenery along the way and I got to see bits of Edinburgh I have never seen before and a few familiar sights from when I did the marathon.

Check out the video to see some of what I took on!

 

And finally next week it will be Manchester!

7 years of blogging!

It occurred to me last week that I have had this blog for over 7 years now.

Officially it turned 7 on the 15th June. Thats pretty mental.

7 years of memories.

7 years of growing up, evolving, changing, adapting.

In 7 years I have:

shared posts about why I so passionately champion the give blood campaign.

written about my grief for friends who departed too soon, friendships that ended too soon, loved ones we have lost

used the blog as an outlet throughout my Open University Degree

opened up about my birth trauma and the slow journey to acceptance and moving on

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written a regular diary throughout my second pregnancy

shared the difficulties of losing weight

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my journey into discovering a love of running from the early days

the highs and lows of my first half marathon

my first marathon

subsequent brighton marathon

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injury woes last year

discovering the gym as a way to keep fit

beginning my journey with pole fitness

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I think one of the biggest things to come out of writing this blog and being part of the parent blogging community though was the fundraising I was part of following the sudden death of Edspire’s beautiful daughter Matilda Mae.

The year she passed away we did a skydive and continued to do them for two years following as well as last year running 24 events to mark the 24 months since she had passed away. The first two years raised over £10,000 for The Lullaby Trust as a combined group of bloggers. And last year I added another £700 on top of that.

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And so – so much more ranging from events to reviews. Reading back over 7 years of posts shows me just how many fantastic events I have been a part of and how many brilliant brands I have worked alongside. I’ve made friends and been inspired by many.

This blog for 7 years has been my space on the internet. Where I have been able to talk about whatever it is that is relevant to my life at the time. The things that matter to me. And hopefully it will continue to be that way for many years to come!