Thursday, March 8th 2018.
26.2 miles seems like a bloody long way to me! It’s less than 6 weeks until the Brighton Marathon Weekend (it’s on April 15th to be precise) and I’ve been training hard since the start of January in order to try and achieve my latest running ambition – to 1) Finish a marathon 2) Finish it in the time I have in my head (I won’t share that incase it doesn’t happen!) I’ve already decided that as long as I finish and run my best, I am going to be happy. It’s my first marathon and I shouldn’t obsess over the time too much (I am obsessing over the time as I fall asleep every single night). I started a little bit of running in 2015, for only a couple of months… I did one 10K race for work and a few training runs. I started to get fitter mainly, I was fed up of being knackered after playing a game of cricket and as part of a personal training program. I then had the dreaded ITB syndrome and didn’t bother running for 8 months. I went out again late 2016 and instantly became hooked as many of you have before me. I liked the pain, the personal challenge and watching myself improve over time. My obsessive personality helped me conquer any doubts I may have to whether this was the sport for me… and being pretty crap at cricket also helped. I joined Vegan Runners & my local club, Liss Runners, and was soon doing half-marathons, pontificating about which local parkrun was the best and sharing my progress on social media much to the annoyance of many friends.
Late last year, I embarked on a trip to Uganda with a charity called Cricket Without Boundaries in order to teach cricket & HIV & Awareness to children. In order to raise funds, I entered Brighton Marathon and set up a fundraising page. That trip soon came and went ( I also managed to get in a bunch of runs around the mountainous Ugandan countryside & one horrid one along what can only be described as a heavily polluted motorway) and I was left facing the new challenge of training for a marathon in the much cooler climes of a wintery England. I settled on this training plan by Mike Gratton (he won London Marathon in a time of 2 hours and 9 mins, so who am I to argue) and got to work with increasing my mileage as steadily as possible.
As 2017 was my first proper year of running – I was running whenever I felt like it. I ran whatever distance I wanted and at whatever speed, so it was weird going to a regimented plan and trying to stick to it. Let’s make this clear, I am wet behind the ears when it comes to running. I don’t do heart rates, I have no idea what a cadence is and I basically just like going running, the awesome community around it and how it makes me feel. It’s also better than cricket, as you only have to organise one idiot and not eleven. As a novice runner, I was advised to not run more than 50 miles in a week as part of my training for the marathon. Since Jan, I’ve currently averaged just over 40 miles a week and I’ve just completed my first 20 mile training run, which I loved and felt great after. I definitely could have done another six that day… let’s hope I feel the same on April 15th!
What have I learnt from my training thus far? I have learnt that everything hurts and Ibuprofen Gel is your best friend. So far, I have hurt my heel (4 days off), knee (trip to the physio) and I’m currently resting a tight calf (feels like there’s bubble made from knives in it). I’ve learnt that if it hurts, stop running, canvas opinion on Facebook, ignore most of that and then go to the physio. I’ve also tried to enjoy the training and mix it up… I’ve ran some trail stuff with my club, done XC races, canicross with my dog, done a bunch of different parkruns and mixed up routes on my long training runs, and made sure I’ve run with as many different people as possible. I have done all my long runs fasted as well because someone told me that makes you hard. I’ve also learnt that I love Clif Bloks (I could eat these as sweets) and my Brooks Levitate. I’ve done a blue pair and I’m currently enjoying bouncing on a new black pair. I’ve also learnt that I need to activate my glutes and hips before running… as I spend a lot of the day sitting on my arse and writing waffle like this. I’ve also stopped drinking the beers until after the marathon – mainly because it makes you even more tired than you already are and that first pint after the race is going to be the best drink ever. As one extra piece of motivation, I even got a running tattoo to remind me to get out and run!
What’s next then? Next weekend I am running at the Reading HM and then the weekend after, it’s the Cranleigh 21 mile event. I am going to use that as a training run and wear my marathon kit, to make sure everything goes smoothly and to make sure I am used to it and that my nipples don’t bleed / legs fall off etc. Then it’s the main event – the Air B&B is booked, I’m going to drink all the water and eat all the carbs on the lead up to it. Here’s hoping that I cross that finish line with a smile on my face!
PS: Please tell my girlfriend it’s more than acceptable to bring a foam roller on holiday.
Follow my progress on Strava
If you’re running a marathon this year, then please tweet Alton Sports and let us know how you’re getting on.
Alton Sports will be at the Brighton Marathon Weekend with all the best running gear! Make sure you say hello.