Marathon Talk – final part

Hello, hello! Right, this is it now. The last part – sorry if this has been a bit dull for some of you. But I wanted to do the recap justice as both Ben and I had such a brilliant time and we were were really grateful to have been able to have gone.

Catch up here: part 1 and part 2

So after a very much needed sleep, we got up and had breakfast and headed to the meeting point for 9am for another interview-style talk.

Liz Yelling and Louise Dayman Apologies for the rubbish photo – they were also under some unforgiving lights!

The talk was with Liz Yelling (Martin’s Olympic marathon athlete wife and National Cross Country Championship winner four times) and Louise Damen who is an up and coming athlete aiming for the Olympics and also a National Cross Country Champion. Not bad!!

Tom Williams, from off-stage, started the ball rolling with asking them questions and then we got to ask them any questions. Again, like the Steve Way interview, it was fascinating.

Interesting bits from the interview:

  • One of Liz’s ‘key’ marathon training runs is a 19 miler with marathon pace sandwiched either side of an interval session. *gulp*
  • After a run Liz would refuel within 90 minutes with a balance of protein, carbs and fat. She said Martin would often make her scrambled eggs as soon as she walked in!
  • Marathon pace at the beginning of training should be hard to maintain.
  • Liz, a few years ago, saw a specialist who dissected her training and told her she was running hard all the time and so never properly recovering. Learning from this, Liz stressed having easy runs is just as important as hard runs as it gives your body time to adapt to the hard stuff which is essential for your training.
  • Interestingly Liz says you should be, to some degree, dehydrated after a race. If you’re not then you’re carrying too much water.
  • Louise does a lot of strength work to help with her posture and support her running, whereas Liz wouldn’t do as much.

Again the information was sometimes hard to grasp and get my head around. Clearly I won’t be doing that 19 mile session anytime soon – Jesus, just to run 19 miles would be great! But I mentally logged it for a few years time when hopefully I’m a more experienced marathon runner aiming for a better time.

After this we sorted out what groups we’d be running in our long run. I huddled in the 11 miler group and then between us we worked out paces. Unfortunately most people wanted to run 9.30-10min miles. I was aiming for 8-8.30min miles. Luckily a very nice chap called Carl was hoping for the same. So we hung together and then tagged on to a 16 miler group doing the same pace as the 11 miles was the same route as the 16.

We started off great: nice and easy and then got into it. It felt easy and I was happy running and chatting to the group. The wind was behind us and there were few hills. Martin flitted between our group and another which was nice. He took the below photo.

Long run Marathon Talk 2

But then at mile five I started to struggle. The terrain started to become thick with mud and water. And suddenly a few more hills appeared. We had changed direction and the friendly wind was no longer that helpful. Yes I am making excuses – but I stand by them.


We then turned a corner and the wind was right in our faces. Our pace dropped significantly. As we continued on I started to lag behind. Oh sure this pace would have been fine and dandy pre-injury but in my current state of fitness, the terrain and wind rinsed me.

Long run Marathon Talk This was the tough part of the run: no cover from the wind

I felt my motivation drop and the demon on my shoulder got louder and louder: “Don’t bother keeping up, just have a nice run on your own”, “slow down”, “this is too hard for you”.

The guys were great and didn’t leave me behind and this made me preserve harder: I couldn’t let them or myself down. Between desperate gasps of breath I told them I didn’t usually struggle so much – I have a half marathon PB of 1:36:10!! They were very nice and said I’d be there again soon.

But seriously, my ego was demolished. It reminded me that I still have a way to go and not to get cocky thinking I was still as fast as I used to be. That long run put me in my place.

I practically crawled to the finish point. Carl was lovely and reassured me I hadn’t held him back (hmmm). But I was in pieces. That was not a long easy run. For me that felt like a tempo run. I staggered to our lodge, found I was the first one back, stripped my muddy wet clothes to my underwear and collapsed on the sofa with a glass of water. At that point I didn’t care who walked in!

Ben and our running club friend arrived about 20 mins later and we rushed to get showered and ready for our carvery which was at 1.30pm. Thankfully it had been pushed back to 2pm as so many people weren’t back (remember I only did 11miles). But we got ourselves a table and immediately inhaled the tiny bread roll everyone had at their place. Heaven.

Interestingly the average pace of my run was just under 9mins. In Ben’s group they were aiming for 9.30mins and averaged 10.30mins so I felt better that other people’s runs had been tough too. In fact the look on everyone’s face as they filtered in made it evident that people found it tough and they were shattered.

Then the food started coming. Beef roast. Not a usual meal for me, but bloody good.

Post-long run carvery Then we sat there in a silent state of absolute exhaustion.

Then Tom and Martin said they’d do a Q&A session on anything we wanted to know: running, training, show-related.

Marathon Talk Q&A I can’t remember a lot of the questions that were asked. I think it was mainly focused on training. Oh an interesting point about the show that I didn’t know was that they don’t pay their guests. Apparently a few guests have asked for money but have always been fine when told there is no compensation.

I asked a question that had been bothering me. I said that as I was training for my first marathon every long run was essentially the longest I’ve ever done (well eventually anyway). Should I be thinking about marathon pace this, interval that, for those long runs? They reassured me that for your first marathon it is literally just running slowly and getting the body used to the time on the feet. When you become more experienced then you can jazz things up a bit. Tom said he felt exactly the same when he was training for his first and that I wasn’t to worry. Whew.

As we headed to leave I had to do that very sad and embarrassing thing of asking them for a photo. I just had to. And hey were so nice about it! They didn’t seem bothered at all or thought I was a weird creepy fan.

Marathon Talk and me It literally made the weekend for me 😀

If they did another weekend I’d be there in a flash. I can’t recommend it enough. And if you don’t listen to Marathon Talk – start, because honestly it’s brilliant.

Obviously meeting Tom, Martin and Tony was amazing. But also being around a bunch of other people who you’ve never met before but all love running is just brilliant. You’re already on the same wave length. And seeing people do random stretches in normal clothes and people not thinking that’s weird made me smile!

I am proud to be a runner!

Do you listen to Marathon Talk? Or any other podcast? Any recommendations?

Have you ever met an athlete before?

What was your last hard run/workout?

21 Replies to “Marathon Talk – final part”

  1. Love that photo! So glad you got a pic. I would have gone all shy and would probably have had to photobomb a photo to prove I was there! Haha!
    Sounds like we had exactly the same run experience last Sunday. It’s so tough coming back from injury and not knowing how your body is going to cope with the pace when you return. Stupid bodies, letting us down! The wind was awful at the weekend though, at some points I felt like I was running on the spot and wish I’d worn my heart rate monitor to prove just how much effort I’d put into the run!

    1. It was embarrassing but I thought I just have to do it otherwise I’ll regret it. They were so lovely!
      I feel like I was this time last year I think when I was training for the Reading half marathon in terms of where I am with my pace. Just got to get in some speed sessions and I’ll be back on track.

  2. Thanks for a great recap Anna. That long run sounded sooo tough! As Mary said, the wind was horrific and it’s horrible when you’re coming back from some time away from running. It took me a good month or so to fully recover after running my first marathon and when I returned to training I felt as though I’d taken ten steps back! Very frustrating, but the fitness you had WILL return soon, stay positive.

  3. Another great recap Anna. I absolutely love the picture – you look so thrilled! I listen to Balanced Bites and Fat Burning Man, though I haven’t for a while because I haven’t been on a long walk by myself for ages due to the weather!

  4. I didn’t realise you’d run a 1:35 half! When was that? I found your 1:36:10 from Brighton here but I must have missed the 1:35. I lurked here for ages before commenting…I always do that since I get nervous about ‘meeting’ new people, even in the comments section of blogs. Yes, I know I’m weird.

    I would be a crazed fan with Liz Yelling. I would never stop asking the poor woman questions, and although I’m sure she’d be lovely, I bet I would just annoy her so I’d hide in a corner and be too nervous to risk speaking to her. She’s only second to Paula Radcliffe in my eyes.

    1. It wasn’t Brighton it was Bristol and you’re right, my PB is 1:36:10 – duh Anna! On Strava it said 1:35:36 or something which is where I checked. What’s 10 seconds though, eh? 😉 hehe I can dream!
      You’re not weird – I do the same actually. It’s weird commenting on someone’s blog if you don’t really ‘know’ what they’re like (in the blogging sense of the word). You need a bit of context!

      1. Oops, sorry! I did mean Bristol in my head, but for some reason I typed Brighton and STILL read it as Bristol *facepalm* – sorry for being so dense!

        1. Haha no worries – it’s might be because I mentioned Brighton a whole ago about doing their half? But hey least you didn’t get your own PB wrong!!

  5. The weekend sounds just amazing! I would have struggled with 11 miles, especially with that weather and mud too, so don’t read too much into it.
    I love marathon talk, as you know! I think I would have been too shy to ask for a photo, but I suppose after spending the weekend with them I might have plucked up the courage.
    Glad you got some reassurance from them about your running too- as they say with your first marathon you just want to finish, and as you are such a strong runner I suppose the temptation is to try and get a comparable time (in proportion to your half pb or whatever) but really just getting used to those long distances is enough.

    1. Yeah I did have to get Ben to I’ve me a ‘pep talk’ before going over hehe!
      It’s weird about the marathon because it’s such a long way you really can’t bank on te fact that you’ve done other races and managed to get a good time. Anything can go wrong…and I just have no experience!

  6. Loved your recap, sounds like a great weekend. For me my first marathon was just about finishing, long runs I still do much slower than any other session of the week, I think time on your feet is really important. I like doing 2 really easy recovery runs-or slow jogs- per week as well which I find really helps, I’d just get burned out easily if I was gunning it on every single run, and not really enjoy it either. Glad you had such a great weekend!

    1. Yeah I am a big fan of recovery runs now. I used to try and prove something on every run and it just ruined me. So I much prefer planning when my hard sessions and when my easy sessions will be now.

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