9 days until the London Marathon

It’s 9 days to go until I run the London marathon. I’m excited but also a little daunted. Eeek. It’s a big challenge.

Am I ready for it? Yes.

Have I done enough training? Probably (but I perhaps could have done more).

Will it go well? Who knows, (probably).

I’ve run 10 marathons and a couple of ultras, and the overwhelming size of the challenge of a marathon is there, but hopefully my training (and recovery) will have done me good so that I’ll be ready when I toe the line on the 22nd April.

I did a longer than usual training plan this year – around 16 weeks (when I’d usually only do a 10-12 week training plan. My plan asked for long miles quite early on, and I was enjoying my training.

Around the end of February time my work Twinnie who knows me and running well, and usually says very sensible things, said that maybe I’d peaked too soon. And she was probably right. (She usually is).

I probably peaked for the Inverness half marathon where I ran 18 miles at the start of March. Then I needed and took a full week of rest, then a week on holiday where I was active, but probably not running as much as I could have been (I wasn’t running 15 miles in the heat, and figured the rest would be good for me).

Plenty rest, plenty sleep, a couple of runs, a couple of strength sessions, plenty good food. Nice and relaxing and warm!

After I was back, I kept my running ticking along …. a 20 miler, then another 20 miler the following weekend which felt really good. Then the plan was a 15 miler the next weekend but I simply didn’t do it. Excuses coupled with period pain and caffeine withdrawal headaches meant there was no way I was running last Sunday.

Through out my training it felt a bit like Work (a new job) and other excuses got in the way of me doing some of my runs. And as I thought, I kept up the speedwork at the start, but didn’t do much towards the end. I know it’s good for you, but it’s tough. So I can find it hard to make myself do it – even though I feel great after it.

9 days left and I’m truly in taper zone. I stopped drinking coffee 2 weeks before race day, so that hopefully when I take caffeine on race day I get a big kick and benefits from it. I’ve eased off the miles, and will probably do 10-13 miles this weekend as my last long run.

Without coffee hasn’t been too nice – I experienced headaches and brain fog for the first 2-3 days… so didn’t run then either. But I’m feeling fine now (and still eating chocolate), hopefully it’ll be worth it on race day when I finally let myself consume the drug… I mean my caffeine gels.

Today I’m sending out my charity just giving link to some work colleagues … it’s pay day, so fingers crossed. I’m raising money for Turning Point Scotland.

I didn’t want to make too big a deal of it, so I’ve just done a few posts on social media, that email in Work and here:
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lornrunsthelondonmarathon2018. If you fancy sponsoring me a fiver or whatever, I’d really appreciate it. 🙂

Next week I’m in Aberdeen for a couple of days with Work, and I’ll do a couple of runs. Saturday me and a very good friend Lesley will train it down to London, go to the expo and pick up my number and have a good dinner.

Amazing Audrey is running the marathon too so I’ll be keen to see how she gets on. Her training has gone great. She’s been so determined and done all of her long runs.

Then Sunday the marathon starts at 10. I need to try my outfit I’ll be wearing on the day, this weekend. Oh and it’s meant to be a heat wave on the 22nd April – 20’C!! Aaaaaah. It’ll be like my first marathon (fort William 2011) all over again. Hot and horrible. But I have a few marathons under my belt since then so hopefully it’ll be fine.

I think I’ll break it down into 4 mile sections with a wee 1.2 mile bit at the end. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to it.

Ps: I’ve run about 350 miles over 40 runs in my training, burned around 35,000 calories on my runs and taken 1.5 millions steps (walking as well as running).

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Two weeks to go…

Two weeks to go now, and last week I didn’t even manage to do a long run … I had planned to do 13-16M on the Saturday, then moved it to the Sunday… then by the time Sunday came I wasn’t feeling well, and knew I wasn’t up to it. So 10.2 miles for the week it was.

In the back of my mind, I know it’s ok, and I’m better off getting myself feeling better then seeing how I go with my runs. Knowing that my training so far will stand me in good stead for the marathon in two weeks time… but it could be better.

Here’s what I did last week (eeeeek!):

Mon: Rest
Tue: 5.2M
Wed: Rest
Thu: Rest
Fri: 5M
Sat: Rest
Sun: Rest

I’m still not into my early morning routine of training, managing to get up twice out of 5 days last week to go for a run before work.

Sunday I was struck by the first day of the month – I won’t go into it, but it can sometimes floor me, and yesterday it did. It’s usually fine by day 2, but not good one day 1. We did have a nice walk in the park between showers.

Today I’m aiming to leave work on time then go for a long easy run. Then here’s the plan for the next two weeks:

Mon: 13-16M
Tue: 5M
Wed: Rest
Thu: 6M
Fri: Strength or rest
Sat: 10M
Sun: Rest

Mon: Strength
Tue: 10 x 400m or 4-5M
Wed: Rest
Thu: 6M
Fri: Rest
Sat: Travel
Sun: 26.2M

Now I’m on my caffeine fast as of today, two weeks off it and by the time the 22nd comes and I take caffeine my body should be craving it. Hopefully I won’t have too much withdrawal from it (I usually only have 1-2 coffees a day, so I’m stopping them, and will keep eating chocolate, so not a total fast).

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20 magic miles

Yesterday I ran 20 miles and they were all good. Throughout my training plan this time for London, most of my long runs have been a slog, but I was determined that this one, my last really long run before the London marathon wouldn’t be.

I had a few breaks on my run, at mile 10, 14 and 17 I think it was. To stretch out little niggles and take a gel / reset, but apart from that it felt good.

The main difference this training cycle is that I’ve been doing most of my long runs solo, but there are also a few other reasons they’ve not been the best:

– when running with others, you chat the whole way usually and take your mind off the journey / any pain, and you share the pain / journey together.

– I’ve felt down the next day after a long run – and I know it’s going to happen. So it’s like I know I’m giving myself an emotional hangover by running long. Common sense says to me – why are you doing something that will be bad for you? My mind has been working against me. At least I’m aware of it.

– the snow / weather has got in the way a bit (excusitis!). Winter seems worse this year, but that might be all in my head.

– I’ve been aiming to do speedwork and as I expected, I didn’t stick with it as much as I’d planned, but any I did do, I could feel the reward / increased fitness from it.

Most long runs have been a bit of a thought to do – carving out 2-3 hours to get them done. Thinking of a route, doing the run, then feeling gubbed the day after it. That’s marathon training for you.

But today, the Sunday after my 20 miles yesterday I feel ok. My legs and body feel fine, which is probably a result of training to get my body used to the long run. I have a slight tweak in my neck somehow, but hopefully that’ll wear off.

Yesterday I ran through loads of parks – Festival, Maxwell, Pollok, Bella, Kelvingrove … and after about 5 miles in I was feeling so good, I started saying hello to strangers. Usually older folk along Paisley Road West, why not eh? Big smile, hello… and they’d say hello back.

I told a blind man with a white stick who was feeling around to see if he was going in the right direction, that he was going in the right direction. I got the biggest smile and hello off an elderly lady who was waiting for a bus.

And I had a chat with a lady with a walking stick and a dog… she was struggling to walk and looked like she maybe had a degenerative disease, like MS, and I was 15 miles into my 20 mile run. It’s things like that that remind you how lucky you are.

I split the run up into 4 mile sections which seems the way for me nowadays, (rather than 5 mile sections), and I aimed to keep my cadence up. It was higher than normal and my pace was good and steady throughout.

Listening to my audiobook took my mind off any of the pain or any negative thoughts that I’ve noticed on my previous long runs. It’s the second one on the list below – cheesy as hell, but well good.

I was pleased with my effort, and now I have taper time to come… I’ve done a couple of 20 milers and few 18 miles and now he next few weeks will be about compounding my fitness ahead of the 22nd April.

I have a 15-16 mile run next weekend where I’ll try out my race gear and push it a little on the pace, then a 10-12 mile run the weekend before London.

Here’s my spilts from yesterday. My average heart rate was away out as the HRM wasn’t working again, but I’ve reset my garmin so hopefully it’ll be back to normal on my next run. The run felt comfortable throughout anyway, maybe 155-165 HR, which is fine.

I did 100 miles for March, mostly in the last week… 20 miles Sunday, 6.2, 10, 20 = 56 Miles in a week! So I’ll take some recovery time now but still do some easy running next week in my taper time. No strength training last week, expect for a wee stretch and move on Monday morning.

My running in April will hopefully be more even, but I know in March that I needed he week of total rest after the Inverness half, and my time on holiday was good to reset too.

3 weeks to go, and I’m really looking forward to finishing off my training well and running the marathon on the 22nd April.

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Nearly 10 miles of thoughts

615am and I wake in a blur before my alarm.
It’s Thursday morning (I think) and my 4th day back at work since being in holiday.
The alarm is due to go off at 630am and I was going to go for a 10 mile run before work. I look up at the clock, and roll back over.

All of my gear is set aside ready in the spare room for me to get up and dressed and out, but I can’t seem to get up. I know I want to go for a run, and that I’ll feel great after it. But my mind is busy trying to come up with excuses and ways out. So that I don’t have to run.

It’s really annoying – so I end up just getting up.
Before my alarm, I get up and go into the spare room to get my gear on. I look outside and it’s pleasantly not dark / getting light. But there’s a clear frost – a cold Spring morning.

I nearly use that as an excuse not to run.
But then I get my gear on, and get myself some running gloves, a buff and a cap. Sorted. I visit the bathroom as I’ll be out running for about 1 hour 30. I wear my london marathon top to remind myself why I’m doing this.

I go downstairs and get all of my gadgets on – garmin, iPod, aftershokz headphones… Then I realise I don’t have any pockets for my iPod. Aaahhhh.
I consider running with it in my hand, but then decide I need to change my capris.
I go into the bedroom trying not to wake the other half up… and get another pair of capris a la pocket.

Sorted – I go downstairs and grab a big drink of water then head out. Trainers on, open the door quietly.
No food before going out, I’ll run on empty this time.
I don’t know where I’m going to run or how I’ll run, but at least I’m out the door.

Plan is to do 9.5 miles to get my month just miles up to 80 for March. Ahead of me doing 20 miles on Saturday to get 100 miles for March. I get into my run and decide I’ll go uk to Nithsdale Road.
My favourite road to run on.

A mile or so in I think, maybe I could just do 4 or 5 miles. Then I get over myself and decide 9.5 it is.
I think about where I’ll run and consider going up and down Nithsdale a few times, then decide I need a run through parks.
I head to Bellahouston park, crossing the road, I let a moped cross in front of me.

I look east and see the sun hadn’t really started to rise yet, but it will. As I’m running my thoughts come one after the other in quick succession.
Work, running, numbers, niggles, breathing, hard, easy, work, to do, sleep, cold, sore Achilles, what feels like needles in my right glute.
I remember how good running is to let go, to release the stress, to relax and to achieve.

Running up Nithsdale I decide my plan of action.
I’ll run a 2 mile warm up then put effort in to run fast on every third mile.
Easy for 2, fast for 1 (mile 3), easy for 2, fast for 1 (mile 6), easy for 2, fast for 1 (mile 9) then recovery for 0.5 a mile. It’s hard on the efforts but I push it and manage them.

I run fast up and down a mile on Nithsdale Road. (Mile 3).
And towards the end of the mile I’m gagging for the recovery. Why is running fast so hard – aaaagghh.
I check my pace and I’m going well – then finally I get my recovery.

In Bella I run uphill slightly, then downhill around the back of the park. I pass a man walking a big ball of white fluff (a dog!)
And the dog seems to want to run and play with me, but the man pulls him close to him (controlling it) and seems angry at the wee dog.
As I run down the hill I see the most spectacular sight of the low Britt sun streaming through the frosty trees / sun rays and such a lovely picture to see.

I don’t carry cameras on runs, so I make and effort to remember the nice scenes instead. I’m lucky to have seen it and I’m glad I got my ass out of bed to run.
Running on, I pass the white ball of fluff again and exactly the same thing happens. I give them a wide berth, and apologise to the angry man.

I run a bit more through Bellahouston, taking in the frosty sights within the park. Then I run on to Pollok Park, one of my favourite parks in Glasgow. Mile 6 comes before I know it and I need to push it.
Over half way, and I now I can do this.

I look at my garmin… Heart rate, cadence, time, pace, distance. So many measures.
My heart rate seems higher on the garmin than it feels – garmin days 168, I feel like it’s 155. Mmmmmm
I adjust my HRM strap and hope it fixes – something not quite right (see the red graph).

2 miles recovery is here before I know it.
Into Pollok Park and I need to watch my feet with the slightly icy pavements. They’re ok, I just need to stay away from the icy puddles.
I didn’t even really notice the hill before the deepest darkest forrest.
Then I’m running through it and I notice the river flowing fast, and I hear the birds tweeting over my music.

I hadn’t planned my route but I had a feeling I’d be doing about 9.5 – 10 miles and I was right.
I was saying yo Audrey the other night, it’s funny how you just know distances that you regularly run and can make up routes on the go.
Up the hill in Pollok Park and again I see the sun streaming through some trees again. So pretty and I might be one of the only ones up to see it.

I lose track of when my faster mile should be, then I realise it’s coming up – mile 8-9. I build up my pace and kick off for my third mile with effort. Out the park, I cross the busy road seamlessly, and avoid some icy patches. Slowing down a bit, I push on down St. Andrews Drive.

Now I’m feeling great, invincible, like I can do anything I set my mind to. Super, magic, unique.
I’ve no idea what time it is, but I know I’m about a mile from home. Pushing through the last effort… watching pace on my garmin, sub 8 min miles.

Feeling strong and I finally get to the end of my third mile interval as my 9th mile ticks off. I slow to recover, and take it easy for the last half mile.
9.5 miles, 1:20, 8:30 avg pace, fast miles were 7:43, 7:44, 7:46 min miles – great.
Feeling brilliant, and know I’ll be feeling smug all day that I ran nearly 10 miles before breakfast.

20 miles on Saturday and that should get me to another 100 miles for March.

I’m going to get back into running like this in training for London – simply because it’s MAGIC!.

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Fancy an active challenge for April?

Fancy an active challenge for April? I found this on action for happiness… which looks like a good challenge.


1 thing each day to commit to in April. Who’s up for it?

(I’m not as I’m training for London, but you could…. click on the image above, save it to your phone or device and go for it).

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Hello foam roller!

On Monday I was saying that I was foam rollering … using one of these (a grid tube) – so not strictly foam rollering, but a good stretch of my legs anyway.

I liked it so much (?!?! aaaahhhh!) that I decided I should probably invest in a big foam roller, so I got this from we r sports – link below.


I’d better get using it. 🙂

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I ‘look like a runner’…

I had a bit of a bizarre conversation today at work … with John Beattie…

It started off with him asking how I was… me saying I’d been on holiday… he asked where I’d been and asked if I was running when there…

Now he knows of me, knows my name and who I am in work, but only through work as far as I know – not as a ‘runner’ or by following my blog or Facebook page…

So I asked him how he knew I was a runner, and (rather pleasingly) he said I look like a runner. 👍🏻 (then we had a nice conversation about running).

And I wasn’t even wearing trainers / there was no Lycra in sight (only my work clothes).

Someone else said that to me before, but I was wearing trainers, hence the comment.

Anyway, looks like the training is working or at least making me look like a runner!

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