Exciting (and scary?) times ahead

Can you believe March is almost over? This is crazy. I love this time of year though – each warmer day is a blessing and there’s such hope for better weather. I actually think I prefer spring to summer. Summer can be either very disappointing (too much rain or far too hot).

I am so excited about the coming weeks. OK I am also filled with a huge sense of foreboding and dread because of the marathon. But it is quite an exciting time regardless. I’m intrigued to know how I’ll do running 26.2 miles – will I blow up at 18 or 20 miles? How will I cope? What will it feel like?

Not just my marathon though, Ben’s running his second marathon and he’s had a good amount of training, getting in an 18 miler and consistently running in the week (and PB’ing left right and centre in half marathons and a 10k).

There are also people at my club running Brighton, London or the Dorset marathon. And so many bloggers are training for marathons. And Marathon Talk’s Martin Yelling and Tom Williams doing Manchester.

Let’s also not forget the big one. Mo Farah (Farrrrrrrrahh as that American commentator called him) and his marathon debut. I really hope he wins (but I think Geoffrey Mutai will do it).

To say I’m excited is a bit of an understatement. I think I might just glue myself to social media for the next few weeks (hmm, what’s new I suppose?).

Last night I went for a 10k run after work in Basingstoke and just decided to try as hard as I could. The route is two loops. Unfortunately it includes a fair few uphill’s, but also some downhill’s.

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The ‘GAP’ figure is: “Grade Adjusted Pace estimates an equivalent pace when running on flat land, allowing the runner to compare hilly and flat runs more easily. Because running uphill requires extra effort, the Grade Adjusted Pace will be faster than the actual pace run. When running downhill, the Grade Adjusted Pace will be slower than the actual pace”. (I use Strava to upload my runs).

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Not too bad but not flat. This run was about giving myself confidence that I haven’t lost everything. For definite I have run faster 10ks, but considering my injuries and lack of consistent training I am more than happy with where I am right now.

It’s hard to know what I should be doing in these two weeks before the marathon. This week I’m going to go to running club, Parkrun and then do a 12-13 mile run on Sunday. Maybe this long run is stupid so close to ‘M Day’ but I think I need to do it mentally. Then next week will be one shorter speed session and the rest easy shorter runs.

I haven’t even finalised my thoughts about fuelling during the run. Or where to put gels as I won’t be carrying a bag or anything. These things are keeping me up at night. I think I’m just going to take four gels with me, in my hands I guess, and just go with how I feel.

I think I probably speak for everyone when I say I can’t wait for this marathon to be over!! 😉

What would be your fuelling strategy for a marathon? (Or what have you done in the past?)

How do you mentally prepare yourself for something Big and Scary?

Will you be watching (or running) the London marathon?

14 thoughts on “Exciting (and scary?) times ahead

  1. Ahhhhh I am loving the change of season pretty colours popping up and the warmer weather is making me super happy! So glad your enjoying your running again, pain free! I would love to run a marathon but I don’t think my legs could take it these days!

  2. I have no idea how to fuel for a marathon, but four gels sounds reasonable to me. I’m so glad to hear things are still pain free – fingers crossed for the next few weeks 🙂 The June ride is BIG AND SCARY for me, and until I watched the Davina McCall sport relief programme (did you watch that?) I was intending to rely on willpower to get me through…now I’ve revised my expectations and upped my training plan to give me further confidence – something you can’t do with your injury history (and time!) I know, but thankfully I still have three months to go. I would also advocate positive reinforcement and visualisations – apparently things like that are very helpful 🙂 I want to watch the London marathon this year as my friend is running it.

    • Yes you’re ride does sound fairly big and scary!! It’s great that you still have a fair amount of time ahead of you. Davina is an absolute legend – she is made of stronger stuff I think!

  3. I LOVE watching marathons in TV- I am very excited about London. I did consider going in for it but then I won’t actually see the race unfolding. I think it is great that Mo is running it, and it would be great if he could get the British record, but I think people who think he can win it are a bit deluded. I remember a few weeks ago on Marathon Talk they listed the start runners- marathon world record holder/ fastest marathon ever (set at Boston I think- not world record because it’s net downhill), Olympic gold metal etc etc. They always say a marathon is 4 times harder than a half marathon, and seeing as it is his début then it will be amazing for him to finish strong. I was almost tempted to put a bet on Geoffrey Mutai after their discussion last week, but I have never bet on anything before!
    My fuelling strategy for my marathon was to have porridge in the morning, then have clif shot bloks, and jelly beans on the way around. It is hard to know if that worked as my legs got very stiff from early on (I think from being on a plane the night before). But I did run the whole way, even though I was very slow.
    I just think you have to remember the tide analogy- at the start everyone will go past you as they set off too fast- don’t be tempted to speed up! Near the end you will overtake people (the tide coming back in) as they all slow down and you keep the steady pace. You want lots of rest these last two weeks so you are raring to go on the start line 🙂

    • Although I thin it would be cool to be there physically for the race, I think it’ll be better to watch it on the TV because the coverage is going to be good.
      Yes! I was tempted to bet on Mutai as well, but exactly like you I have no idea how I’d do it as I’ve never betted before! A little (very naïve and silly) part of me really hopes Farrah will do it. Wouldn’t it be shocking and amazing? Great TV for sure 😉
      I use that tide analogy all the time! 🙂 I tell that to Ben and he thinks I’m bonkers but it really does work. My best races (half marathons – 10ks I just blitz the speed and hang on for as long as I can) are always the one where I’ve been really refrained at the beginning and then picking it up later.

  4. My fuelling strategy consists of lots and lots of Jelly Babies!
    I can’t stomach anything more ‘real’ than that and struggle to get on with most gels, although have gotten on with the MaxiFuel ones as they are less ‘gunky’ than normal ones and slide right down. I’ll probably take one at about mile 10 of London marathon and then stick to Jelly Babies and Lucozade to get me the rest of the way round. Although my belt has space for gels I always find it easier to carry them too – although there is more chance of dropping them then, especially as your hands get sweatier throughout the race!
    Thanks for explaining what the GAP is. That’s a very cool stat to have. Wish my Garmin showed me that. Some of our routes are so hilly around here!

    • You can download your Garmin stats to Strava as well. I use both Garmin Connect and Strava because I’m sad like that.
      I find Jelly Babies tricky because they require chewing and it gives me a stitch. I much prefer something I can just drink. But I really don’t know how multiple gels will be on a marathon. I’ve only ever had one during a race.
      This marathon is all very much a learning adventure for me!!

  5. I’m doing a 12 miler this weekend too, I think I just need it for a confidence boost then I’ll have a restful week in prep for Manchester. I run with a camelbak with water/coconut water/sports electrolyte mix and, will have some vega gels, dates and a nakd bar with me, I start to fuel around mile 5-6 and then every couple of miles have something, I don’t like to take gels in one big go, so I hold them in my hand and have a little bit over the course of 2 miles or so, definitely helps not to cause any digestive issues.

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