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Marathon Training

March & April Training Diary | The Paris Marathon

April 8, 2017

Missed Februarys Training progress? Catch up on all the running, ranting and pooping by clicking here.

Things to note:
1. I run at least 1.5 hours after I finish eating my food, and leave it no more than 2.5. hours before running
2. I warm up before every single run, usually spending anything between three to 10 minutes warming up, depending on how far I plan to run
3. Running Time is the time recorded on my Nike Running App, which pauses when I pause and therefore only times my movement.
4. Actual Time is recorded via a Stopwatch and is never paused therefore recording my entire time, much like it will at the marathon.
5. This blog post, like many other of my Running posts, contains talk of Poop

For the 1st day of March I skipped a run, after all I had ran almost 105 miles in February, including a 10.5 miler on the last day, so I definitely deserved a break. I pretty much spent all day with my feet up, drinking tea and eating yummy food.

Paris Marathon 2017 Training Diary and Plans

02/03/2017 | 4.16 MILES

Running Time: 40.03
Actual Time: 41:05
Ate: 2 slices of wholemeal toast with peanut butter, honey & chai seeds
Drank: 750ml water

“Okay, rest over” is basically the first thing I thought when I woke up on March 2nd. So much for a break. It was clear by this point that running had become my new addiction, overtaking writing, eating chocolate and scrolling through Instagram. What I didn’t realise is that the voice in my head was so loud! Her name is Aubrey and you can read all about her in this blog post, but basically on March 2nd Aubrey’s voice was telling me to run, so loudly, that she was drowning out all the cries and fears from my body, especially my legs (oh, my poor legs). As I headed to the field – in my freshly washed trainers – I could feel my calves pulling a little tight. No biggie, I thought, brushing it off.

It had been pouring with rain at the end of February and the field where I run hadn’t dried up as much as I thought it had. There were still puddles everywhere and I underestimated just how deep one of them was. As my feet tread through the water for those quick few seconds, mud splashed upto my chest, over my legs and water seeped through the trainers into my socks. Sigh.

My legs ached with pain and my now damp clothes and soggy socks were making the whole thing even more uncomfortable, not to mention I had sharp pains on the top of me feet where my shoelaces were tied.

At mile three I decided to head back towards my house and run blocks to take me upto mile four and just the finish the run there. The difference between this run and my 10 miler just two days previous was astonishing. The pain in my legs were a big warning sign that I needed to rest and possibly slow down my training plan.

06/03/2017 | 14.6 MILES

Running Time: 02:26:01
Actual Time: 02:36:31
Ate: Croissant + 2 slices of wholemeal toast with peanut butter, honey & chia seeds
Drank: 750ml water + 1 white coffee (2 sweeteners)

After three days off I was ready and raring to go. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, I even got to wear sunglasses. I had a poop in the morning which I was extremely chuffed about as this meant that I wouldn’t need to poop again and could enjoy a lovely nice long-distance run without interruptions.

NOPE! Not true.

I was having a lovely run, until I ever so desperately and urgently needed a second poop at mile nine. I use both those words, desperately and urgently, to emphasise just how urgent this situation was. To make matters worse, I was on the beach which is a good two mile run from my house. I did consider trying to dive into the sand dunes and somehow have a quick one, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Imagine if someone saw! I’m not doing a Paula, I thought.

Due to the fact that I used to have a fear of pooping at other peoples houses or public places (a fear that Glastonbury festival helped cure) I am good at ‘keeping them in’ so despite it being a struggle and despite running like a three-legged dog, I managed to keep it in until I got home. Once home (and pooped) I quickly washed back some Lucozade and ate a half a banana in a bid to try and ‘refuel’ the natural way.

It didn’t work. I think it takes a long time to train your body to digest food properly whilst running. I just felt sick and tired. Abort plan. I finished up at 14.6 miles and walked home.

Once home I decided I was going to have to do the thing I didn’t want to do and order some energy gels *rolls eyes*

07/03/2017 | 6.14 MILES

Running Time: 59:17
Actual Time: 59:35
I Ate: Toast with peanut butter
I Drank: One glass of water + GreenTea (with one sweetener)

After all the poop drama the previous day, I decided to ditch the coffee before the runs. I originally thought the problem was the porridge, but judging by my notes, it seems to be the coffee. This time I drank Green Tea instead and enjoyed a poop-free easy 10K, during which I tried to really pace myself and slow down.

09/03/2017 | 13.27 MILES

Running Time: 02:09:10
Actual Time: 02:15:18
I Ate: Porridge with one chopped banana
I Drank: 750ml of Water

I felt fantastic on this run and I think it’s because I introduced porridge back into my pre-run fueling. It was a straight-forward no hassle half marathon!

13/03/2017 | 8.02 MILES
Running Time: 01:17:47
Actual Time: 01:24:08
I Ate: Porridge and Blueberries
I Drank: 750ml of Water and a Tea

I’d drank quite a lot of wine on the Friday with a friend. And after two months with very little boozing, I could really feel the effects of the alcohol three days later.. This run was supposed to be 15-19 miler and yet I could only manage eight. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. I hadn’t felt too hungover on the Saturday and two more days had passed, I’d even eat a load of Pasta the night before in prep and had a hearty breakfast, but by mile six – a mile I usually begin to relax and get into my rhythm – I was struggling. I felt tired and uncomfortable and the idea of doing a further two miles let alone ten was killing me. So at mile eight I gave up – something Aubrey was not happy about – and went home to lie down.

Paris Marathon 2017 Training Diary

15/03/2017 | 4.21 MILES

Running Time: 39:44
Actual Time: 41:05
I Ate: Can’t Remember
I Drank: Probably some Water

This was a totally impromptu run because *dramatic pause* it was actually warm and sunny. Spring had arrived and as I sat in my bedroom gazing out at the clear blue sky, I felt compelled to put on my trainers and go for a run along the canal. I only did four miles, but it was a beautiful cool and crisp evening and I caught a gorgeous sunset; a reminder that it’s not always the miles or the steps that I should run for, but the views and the surroundings as well.

17/03/2017 | 5.06 MILES

Running Time: 49:24
Actual Time: 51:54
I Ate: 1 Sausage, 1 piece of bacon, 1 Egg, 1 cup of baked beans, 2 hashbrowns, 2 waffles, 1 tbsp of Maple syrup
I Drank: 500ml of Water, 1 Tea (with milk & two sugars) + 1 Green Tea

I had travelled to Sheffield the day before for a work event and to meet the new team I will be joining when I move to London. Lots of Thai food was consumed, many beers, a little Tequila, and I even broke my cider-sobriety after eight long months. So, waking up in my hotel feeling hungover and disappointed in myself, all I could think about was running.

Once home, I didn’t care about a goal, I didn’t care about a time, I just wanted to sweat out my hangover and so went for a run, albiet a gentle and slow run. It actually made me feel ten times better.

My gels had arrived, so I decided to test one out just for the hell of it. It was banana flavour and it tasted nicer than I thought it would, although it was extremely sweet. I took it at mile two and I’ll be honest, I didn’t really feel anything from it – but I suppose I hadn’t needed it really.

19/03/2017 | 20.04 MILES (!!)

Running Time: 03:26:22
Actual Time: 03:32:09
I Ate: Porridge with one chopped banana, a handful of blueberries, a handful of chai seeds, topped with honey + 1 slice of wholemeal toast covered with peanut butter & honey
I Drank: 750ml of Water with a Wellwoman energy tablet + 1 Green Tea (with 1 sweetener)

Waking up to do this run felt like I was waking up on marathon day. I felt nervous, yes about the distance, but mainly about using these gels, today I would be testing them out properly.

The goal for this run was 20-22 miles. I really really wanted to hit 22, but oh em gee, this was the hardest run I’d ever done. Whilst I didn’t encounter any pooping drama (Thank God) I did have some shoe dramas…

The run seemed to be going nice and smooth, my pace, my breathing, my energy – all totally fine. I definitely felt like I’d had eaten the right fuel before I left the house and I had balls of energy. But at around mile 17 my feet started to really hurt. I’d noticed this happen a few times towards the end of my runs, but I never thought anything of it, assuming I hadn’t warmed my feet up properly. I tried to carry on running but the pain was becoming unbearable. At about mile 18.5 I ended up stopping, completely untying my shoelaces and loosening them so that there was hardly any tightness, in fact it felt as if my trainers might even slip off.

But at the same time, the sharp pain that had been stabbing my feet, quickly evaporated. There was still aches and pains as a result, but it felt like my feet had been suffocating, drowning even, and had finally been given air. Had I really been training this entire time with my shoelaces too tight?

Despite the relief on my feet, I had to stop at mile 20 as the damage was done for that day and they were still sore.

As for the gels, they were okay. I wasn’t exactly blown away by them. I chose to buy Stealth, a selection of real fruit energy gels. I ate one at 11 miles, another at 15 and one again at 18. I was hoping for a sudden burst of energy. But nothing came. And whilst the gels obviously did something because I was able to carry on running, they weren’t the fuel I was hoping for. I wanted energy, I wanted a boost, but later on when I delved deeper into what these gels are supposed to do, they have energy in the title but they actually mention quick muscle repair. Had I bought the wrong ones? Whilst I wanted my fuel to be as natural as possible (with Stealth being made up of real fruit, sugar and rice starch) I wondered if I should have gone for some with caffeine and the added fructose.

This is one thing I wish I had researched more as I definitely would have preferred something that gave me a boost. Of course by this point in my training, and with this 20 miler being my last big run, I couldn’t risk using another type of gel on marathon day – the cardinal rule is nothing new on race day – and so I decided to stick with Stealth.

Hobbling back to my house with two sore feet and an absolutely exhausted body, I had a HUGE smile on my face. 20 miles. I’d just ran 20 bloody miles! Aubrey may have wanted me to do 22 (and boy did she let me know she was disappointed) but as I undressed myself for a hot bath and discovered bloody toes, blistered feet, not to mention chaffing all over my body, I smiled at my wounds; they were physical proof of all my hardwork.

I’d had plans with a friend to go for a glass of wine that night, which I had to immediately cancel and as you can imagine I was in bed by about 8pm. Zzzzzzzz.

Paris Marathon 2017 Training diary and Pictures

21/03/2017 | 2.38 MILES

Running Time: 21:55
Actual Time: 21:58
I Ate: Chocolate Weetos
I Drank: 500ml of Water

An impromptu run, to ease my legs back to life after Sundays 20 miler.

22/03/2017 | 11.35 MILES

Running Time: 01:52:44
Actual Time: 02:03:08
I Ate: A bowl of Porridge with one chopped banana and honey
I Drank: 500ml of Water & a Green Tea (with one sweetener)

I really really enjoyed this run. I’d began aiming for seven miles and somehow it just rolled into 11. Now that my big 20 miler was out the way it felt nice to not have a proper goal and to run to, well, just run. There was a grey sky to begin with but the clouds began to part as my feet pounded the pavements, so I ended up running down to the beach and taking in the sea air – beautiful!

24/03/2017 | 6.51 MILES

Running Time: 01:00:39
Actual Time: No time Recorded
I Ate: Two croissants
I Drank: 500ml of Water & a Tea (with two sweeteners)

Knowing I had a boozy weekend ahead of me, and that today was my last full day in Liverpool (as I was moving to London at the weekend) I headed down to the beach to do a 10k in the sunshine. I also knew that after this run it was officially time to start my Tapering.


So. This is kinda where it all went wrong.

On Sunday the 26th of March, with exactly two weeks to go until the Paris Marathon, I officially moved back down to London to start my new job. I originally thought the new job start was very well timed with my Tapering.

But did I mention that my new job is in the, ahem, drinks industry. More specifically, the craft beer industry.

My original plan for my two week taper had been straightforward and simple:

Carb up (pasta, pasta, pasta)
Continue running, but small and few
Stay off the alcohol for the next two weeks

Unfortunately the only part of that plan that I stuck to was carb-loading. My runs were badly planned due to adjusting to my new work schedule and I well and truly fell off the wagon when it came to drinking (it’s kinda hard not to when you work around beer and everyone’s drinking beer and everywhere you look it’s just beer, beer, beer!)

Throughout my two weeks of ‘Tapering’ I ran 20 miles across six different runs, quite a drop from the 66 miles I’d ran the previous fortnight. And yes Tapering is about resting so I didn’t need to run loads, but I was getting super paranoid that I wasn’t running enough and that my legs would somehow magically forget how to run long distance.

Along with this, my new job (which is amazing & I am totally loving it) was also super hectic and I was rushed off my feet. Add on the fact that my temporary accommodation is quite far out of London, meaning a super early get up and a long commute, meant that I wasn’t getting the required rest that someone who is about to run a marathon should be having. Hmmm, I hadn’t really thought this whole thing through had I?

By Thursday the 6th of April, just three days before my Marathon, I was feeling extremely worried. Have I messed this all up? Have I done enough? What if I can’t run it? In these situations, the best thing for me to normally do is go for a run to clear my head. So I went for a 2.5 mile (somewhat tearful & emotional) run, it was to be my last ever run before the big race.

I can’t even really begin to describe how I felt afterwards whilst I sat in my kitchen eating rice. All the anxiety I had been feeling throughout my taper, all the worry, all the panic, it just disappeared. I think I realised that there was absolutely nothing I could now. All that was left to do was go to Paris and run the Marathon.

If anything I felt a little sad. My training was officially over. My training had become somewhat of a full time job, it had become my boyfriend. I’d been completely focused on it for the past three months, it had been my life and now it was over.

But I reminded myself that the best part of this whole experience was still to come, the final hurdle – The Paris Marathon. I will do it, I thought, I’ll smash it.

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