Rock and Roll Liverpool Marathon

Leading up to this race I had had a fantastic training cycle. I’ve never been in such good shape before a marathon before. I had racked up a good number of long runs and running in general has been very good.

Through this cycle I’ve been consistently running faster parkruns, I got a half marathon PB and a five mile PB. I felt pretty good. Apart from my taper panic when my shin/calf niggle came back I was fully prepared and feeling good. The niggle was a problem psychologically though. I fully admit I’m a paranoid runner and part of me honestly wondered if my niggle would blow up during the race and I would have to DNF or limp round. But when I put that worry to one side, without sounding arrogant here, I knew I could do OK barring any uncontrollable factors (because in a marathon nothing is a given).


The morning…

Race morning started at 5am. I’d had a good night sleep and was used to this sort of wake up time so was raring to go. My only one stress and, sorry if this is TMI, but I didn’t have a successful loo visit. I wasn’t too concerned as I knew I had hours before the race to get that sorted.

I made my breakfast (porridge) and we headed off. I ate it en route as I wanted to leave it as late as I feasibly could (though it was still about 6am – four hours before the race).

IMG_1457 Oats, chia seeds and almond milk

We stopped at a services about half-way there and I got a coffee. Hilariously the server asked if I was off to play volleyball. I said no a marathon. She looked a bit blank. Ah well.

Anyway we got to Liverpool in more than enough time. In fact we got there at 7am which was a little too early. My dad, a hardcore Liverpool FC fan, suggested we drive to Anfield so he could see the stadium as he wouldn’t get to see it otherwise. In the end it was lucky we arrived so early because it was a nightmare trying to get to the car park we wanted. We parked in Liverpool One shopping centre car park which was right near the start and also near where we were going for lunch afterwards (but it cost £13!). Thankfully though they had nice toilets and my previous situation was amended 😉

At 8am I had a Beet It flapjack to keep me ‘topped up’. I didn’t want to eat too much closer to the race but knew I needed something.

IMG_1461 In my ‘volleyball’ gear mid-mouthful

Like normal the only thing I drank that morning was a small Americano. I’m always so worried I’ll need to pee mid-race otherwise.

The weather was chilly but it was humid and ‘close’. I started to panic over what I’d decided to wear for the race. It wasn’t as warm as I thought it would be and instantly felt stupid only wearing a crop-top.


But there was nothing that could be done about it at this point. I kept my layers on though as we walked to the race village. We met up with my grandparents, who had travelled from Llandudno in North Wales, and had a mosey around.

IMG_1463My dad was great at pointing out the different landmarks to me and humorously explaining to me that when I’m running I was to ignore the Everton FC stadium but enjoy running near the Anfield Stadium (of which we had seen that morning) 😉 He wore his Liverpool FC shirt especially for the race.


The half marathon started at 9am so there were loads of runners and supporters heading to the start. I only saw a few other marathoners (wearing green bibs) around as we were so early. But this was great because it meant I found another proper toilet nearby and got to use it twice. I didn’t use a portable loo all day!!Liverpool marathon start areaThe start area was easy to get to and very low key. Having previously done the Paris and Berlin marathons this was SO different. Berlin and Paris were like military operated in order to get into your pen – in Berlin it was VERY strict.

IMG_1473We have yet to find the photo of my dad taking my photo!

Here they were very blasé and there weren’t actual physical pens. Obviously Paris and Berlin are massive races so I guess that makes sense. There were around 2.5k runners for this compared to 40k for Berlin! Your bib number corresponded to the corral area you should be and mine began with a ‘2’ which meant it was quite near the front (when I entered the race I put a faster time than I realistically expected to ensure I could run easily and not have to dodge people). It wasn’t crowded at all and the pacers basically just found the best open spaces they could without regard to the corrals. I positioned myself in front of the 3:30 pacer only because he had such a crowd around him and I didn’t want to use the pacer or get caught up.

Originally my dad and grandparents were going to leave me 30 minutes before but as it was so relaxed we found they could stand next to me (behind the barriers) and actually see me off. This also meant I could remove one layer at a time, acclimatising to the temperature, rather than stand shivering.

Just before the start I saw my friend, Matt, who I knew from the Marathon Talk weekend and Twitter so it was nice to chat to him too (he won a place, lucky him!). We wished each other luck and got ready to start (he scored a nice PB – well done him!).

The race…

The course isn’t flat though it isn’t crazily hilly either. But having only done flat marathons I knew this would add a bit of uncontrollability to my race plan.Liverpool Marathon Elevation

My plan was to run the first 10 miles at just under 8min/miles, which should feel easy. I see it as a way of respecting the distance. Personally, getting in those first miles shouldn’t feel hard otherwise you’re going to blow up later. Every good race I’ve had has started slower and got faster. (This is my personal opinion, other strategies are out there!)


By and large I stuck to it. There were a few sneaky inclines but also some down hills so it felt good. Most of the time I was stopping myself from going faster. Unlike Paris or Berlin, there weren’t swarms of runners around me all the time. I was rarely completely alone but it was sparse. This was actually quite nice. Yes Paris and Berlin are amazing races and feel hugely epic because of how big they are, but it was nice doing a smaller marathon. There seemed less pressure. There were also fewer spectators, but those who were there cheered and shouted with fantastic enthusiasm.

On the first mile I felt chilly but then as I was running it got very warm. I was grateful to have stuck with the crop top…plus in my head it made me feel speedy and elite 😉 Channelling my inner Paula!

Much to my dad’s annoyance I actually didn’t see Anfield – or at least I didn’t notice it, whereas I fully noticed Goodison Stadium. I think this is because we fully ran around Goodison whereas we just ran past Anfield. He was not amused. Stanley park was lovely and scenic, though a little undulating. There was some great live music around the course as well – really fantastic! There was also a great point in the course where you could see the entire city skyline which was amazing.

I could feel my shin/calf but not worryingly so, though I did worry about it. I pushed it to the back of my mind knowing there was nothing I could do but hope it would disappear and not blow up. Spoiler alert: it did disappear after 10 miles. Other than that discomfort, everything else felt good. I felt nice and comfortable, though I was looking forward to my podcast which I would listen to after 10 miles.


I tried to split the marathon into manageable chunks so it wasn’t as insurmountable. My first milestone was 10k just because that’s a significant distance, then eight miles because that’s when I had my first gel. Handily because it was such a smaller race I had given my other two gels to my dad so I only needed to hold on to one until mile 12 where they were going to be. Then they’d give me my other two gels and by mile 13 I would take the second so I really didn’t have to hold too much the entire race.

IMG_1496(Source: Liverpool Echo)

At mile 10 I put the BBC 5 Live film review podcast and was (like a super geek) excited because it had the Jurassic World review (I’m a huge Jurassic Park fan). This helped the monotony of the race as the scenery wasn’t hugely exciting.

What I will say though is Liverpool scenery is really no less exciting at these points than Paris or Berlin really. I mean, there are buildings, some are significant, some aren’t. You’re still running a stupid number of miles. Paris was probably a bit more ‘pretty’ but really it didn’t matter too much to me. What was significantly different was the fact that the supporters were far more enthusiastic and supportive – even though there were less of them. For most of the time I was surrounded by male runners so it was nice to see the supporters get really excited when I passed shouting things like “you go girl!” or “do it for the girls!”. Honestly I lost count how many times people cheered something at me because I was female. I also got called “lass” a lot. This truly made the race for me. It made me feel like an individual, not just one in a huge crowd. I smiled, waved and gave thumbs up all the way around the course.

I knew there was a significant hill around mile 12, but I also knew somewhere afterwards my grandparents and dad would be there. That hill was tough and seemed to go on forever but there were lots of support and a samba band which really helped.


I got to the top and turned the corner and saw my family from afar. Ahh what a sight for sore eyes 🙂 My granddad had my gels and ran with me a little like a relay runner to hand them to me. It was lovely. I told them it was going well and off I went.

My plan for 10-20 miles had been to increase the pace to around 7.45min/miles, but I started to lag a little from 14-18 miles. I find those miles the dead miles. You’re not far enough along to be out of the woods but you’ve still ran quite a way to be tired. The inclines and the heat were taxing me psychologically and physically. I made sure to drink lots on the way round.

My last gel was just after 18 miles. The 18 mile point is great because you run a tiny out and back up Penny Lane and obviously the Beatles’ Penny Lane song was at full volume. It lifted me a little. I just had to get to 20 miles, my next check point.


When I got to 20 miles I switched the podcast to music and went into race mode. The first song was a Linkin Park track (Bleed It Out? I can’t remember now) and it was like a jolt of energy surged through me. Now was the time to increase the pace, let myself go a little. Not too soon though – 10k is still a way to go.

I found myself overtaking people and getting lots of cheers from spectators. I felt fantastic and really got into the music. I tried to smile as much as I could to trick myself into thinking there was no effort or fatigue. My soundtrack was pushing me along and I felt confident. A line of traffic was on one side of the road as we ran along it and I waved and smiled at people in their cars and some of them tooted their horns or shouted out the window – it was great!

Around mile 22 we turned to go along the river front and found the wind blowing against us. Ahh this was tough. Mentally I was in a great place but physically it was hard work. My watch seemed to be completely out from the mile markers now as well. I reckon going through all the parks and tall buildings messed with the satellites. I couldn’t take what it was telling me for certain so I just ran on feel ignoring it completely, just waiting for each new mile marker.

I expected to see my dad sometime around mile 22 but as I kept running and running along this long stretch of path along the water it was clear he wasn’t there. This path seemed to go on forever! When I got to mile 23 I attempted to work out the maths of what time I could get if I ran 8min/miles to the finish. A PB was a certainty at this point but how much sub-3:30 could I manage? My brain hurt thinking about it.

I kept pushing and finally we moved slightly off the waterfront (mile 25?) and I saw him on the road. He cheered me on and I remember shouting “I’d like to stop now please!”. I just kept thinking “8 minutes or less till I finish”. Then back to the waterfront again with the wind.

As I saw the finish ahead I surged forward. I had overtaken a number of people and ran down the finishing straight on my own. Now bear with me, allow me to have my self-indulgent moment…I imagined myself to be like Jo Pavey finishing a race, to the crowds cheering me. The only thing to kill the moment somewhat was an incredibly painful stitch in my side. It was agony! But I tried to smile and not grimace as I ran across the finish line – the announcer person saying “and she’s smiling – she certainly does have something to smile about with that time!” which was lovely.

I remember walking and feeling very dizzy and tired, and the stitch still there. But then a medal was given to me and I saw my grandparents and all was right again. It was so lovely to see friendly faces so soon after finishing!

Two different men came up to me, one thanking me (I have no idea what for!) and shook my hand, and the other said I had a great finish. Always nice to hear 🙂

I then had to head into the Echo Arena and collect my goodie bag and T-shirt.

IMG_1483 I found someone to take a photo of me (and I returned the favour to them) and grabbed a banana, a Lucozade, the bag and my T-shirt. They had extra small!!! I was so chuffed as I was convinced it would be another T-shirt that wouldn’t fit me.

IMG_1477 Then like a bad joke we had to walk up the steps to get out. I saw lots of people just sat down but I wanted to get outside to see my family. Those steps, I mean, come on people!

IMG_1487I would like to thank the Liverpool marathon for having such a great coloured T-shirt as it matched perfectly with my headband 😉

I was sore, tired and needed water as I was so thirsty but otherwise I was OK. I sat down and just smiled. My dad appeared a few minutes later (remember he was at mile 25) looking slightly harassed and sweaty, bless him (at that point he’d walked almost 30,000 steps!) He asked how I did and, do you know, I wasn’t even sure! I knew I’d gotten sub 3:30 (my goal) but the exact time I didn’t know. I checked my watch and was just so pleased!

image Official results

17th female!! I’m over the moon 🙂

We headed (slowly) back to the shopping area and it was like I was walking on a cloud of happiness (a painful cloud, but happy nonetheless). I wasn’t limping, my calf/shin felt fine, I just felt general fatigue and muscle soreness.

I was going to head back to the car to change but decided I couldn’t be bothered so we headed to the restaurant of choice for the post-marathon meal.


Of course it would be Jamie’s Italian 😉 It was the obvious choice and close to the finish and our car (fate). We’d pre-booked the week before to avoid disappointment as well. It was quite busy so this was a smart move. I had a quick wash of my hands, arm and face in the bathroom and started to feel human again.

I don’t even look at the menu anymore, I already know what to have: Turkey Milanese. As I have a Gold Member’s card we got a little bruschetta starter as well for free. Very tasty: mozzarella, basil, sundried tomatoes and bread. We also shared between us polenta chips and ‘funky’ (herby) chips.

Jamie's Italian LiverpoolFor pudding I had my usual brownie with caramelised popcorn and vanilla ice cream. Ahh heaven. I’d say refuelling was absolutely spot on – eating all this about an hour after finishing was perfect. NO HEADACHE!!!!

And then it was time to say goodbye to part of my super support crew. My grandparents were awesome support and it was lovely to see them and for them to see me run (they’re very sport-focused). I’m so grateful they came to watch!

Then into the car for a delightful four hour drive home.


My dad listened to some football, I watched Downton Abbey on my iPad – perfect!

The take away…

Training for a marathon makes recovering from a marathon easier. Who’d have thought, eh? 😉

IMG_1507This race was fantastic. The organisation, the course, the support, the goodie bag, the medal…all really good.

Liverpool marathon goodie bag Lots of High5 goodies and the medal glitters!

My only two disappointments were that I couldn’t really smash (relative term here) the pace out more than I tried on those last four miles because of that damn wind. But I didn’t feel like it sucked my spirit as some windy races have done. I still felt in the zone and in control, to some extent. And (apart from the stitch) I felt awesome.

The second disappointment was hearing a rather lukewarm review of Jurassic World…


Have you ever done a Rock and Roll race before? It was great to have so many live bands/music round the course.

How quickly do you refuel after a hard race/workout?

Has a race ever sorted a niggle/injury out for you? My niggle seems to have disappeared (for now)! I haven’t run on it yet though…

**I feel cheeky stealing and including the official photos in this post without paying for them. I know I’ve done it before in other posts but I’m having a change of morals. If you’re interested you can look at them HERE on the website**

Hanley parkrun and pre-Liverpool marathon recap

Ahh what a weekend!! I will be doing a full recap post on the Liverpool marathon very soon so bear with me.

What I will say for now is that it went really well and I enjoyed it a lot! I got a PB and my shin/calf niggle held out fabulously. In fact, and I absolutely have no understanding of this, it felt better the day after the marathon than it did leading up. WHAT IS THAT ABOUT!? I do have a slight sneaking suspicion that in my usual pre-marathon panic and general fear of injury that I might have foam rolled and poked self-massaged the area in question too much. I’m not one of those “sit tight and it will go away” type people…I have to prod, poke and foam roll. I’m wondering if the high mileage from the previous week made it slightly grumpy and then I pushed it over the edge in my panic? I suppose the real test will be when I get back to running again.

In overall terms though, I feel pretty good! I’m tired obviously and my muscles ached a lot afterwards but my quads, which for my previous two marathons have been SO achy and sore, are absolutely fine. Sitting down and walking afterwards and the day after were all fine. In fact, I even ran up some stairs on Tuesday. Apparently training properly seems to help with recovery…? 😉

Anyway I’ll roll back to the days before. On Friday after work my dad and me drove up to Stoke-On-Trent. This is around a 3.5 hours car journey. Though we stopped for some food half-way. I try and encourage my dad to eat healthily pretty much most of the time…some could describe me as a bit of a nag but I like to say “Health Coach” 😉 As he was driving all the way I thought a KFC treat would be alright so I turned off my nag alarm. I went for a Subway turkey salad which I added pre-cooked pesto chicken from Waitrose and some luminous beetroot dip.


This was SO good and chocka full of tasty toppings. I was stuffed!!

We got to my granddad’s around 8.30pm and he welcomed us in with a lovely cup of tea.


I love my granddad’s tea. I have no idea why it’s so good but it’s just so refreshing. He is one of those people who literally makes about 10 cups of tea throughout the day. He’d also prepared some meringue nests dipped in chocolate with some chocolate strawberries as well. Perfect! We caught up and then watched TFIF and I felt very relaxed and content. I even stayed up until 10.30pm! Madness eh?

The next morning I’d planned to do the local Hanley parkrun. It was literally a five minute drive from my granddad’s so it meant quite a nice lie-in. I was worried though as my shin/calf was still not right. It was feeling better, but still not 100%. I wanted to do the parkrun though as I had to know what I was in for on Sunday, good or bad.


After doing some investigation on Twitter I’d found that the course profile was ‘challenging’. Well I wasn’t going for a good time anyway as this was just supposed to be a nice shakeout run and testing the waters. My dad drove me down and stayed to support.


As I’ve said before, my dad loves to watch my races. He’s very proud of my running and he loves supporting. He ‘gets’ it. He understands my love for it and the intricacies involved in pacing, training, injuries etc. more than a lay person (probably because I talk so much about to him!). Before a race, he’ll talks ‘strategy’ with me and ask what paces I’m aiming for so he knows when I’ll come by and the goal I’m aiming for. He also, bless him, will always point out someone he thinks looks speedy or I should watch out for (even when I say I’m not racing!!). He’s a proud dad and loves being involved. And I love him being there of course! And it’s great because he’ll always tell me funny or interesting stories of what he’s seen while he’s been supporting – always interesting to hear the perspective of a supporter!

Back to parkrun…It was raining but it wasn’t cold. The Hanley parkrun guys were so friendly and welcoming. We all stood under the shelter of a bandstand and I chatted away to some other parkrunners. As a tourist we went off with the group of other tourists and first-timers to hear about the course. Yes it was fairly hilly.


There wasn’t a huge amount of people (140 people) so I started near the front. I just wanted to run comfortably and see how it went. As we started I got swept up in the race mentality but I looked at my watch and saw 6.30min/miles and thought “don’t be stupid”. As I slowed down four ladies pulled off ahead. I squashed any competitive need I had to try and follow them and reminded myself severely that I had a marathon the next day.Hanley parkrunThe course was lovely and scenic, going round a pond with lots of ducks and geese walking around and it was a mix of tarmac and grass. It was very pleasant and the temperature was perfect. Yes there were hills but there were also down hills so actually it wasn’t bad at all.


There was a young girl in front of me and as we passed a man he yelled at her “come on! There aren’t many more girls ahead!”. It wasn’t a supportive cheer, it was an instruction and I felt bad for the young girl (11-14 category). Come on, it’s parkrun for God’s sake!


In the end I overtook all but one girl and got 22:20. She was really fast (and another 11-14 category – speedy young ladies!!). I know I wasn’t supposed to be racing but it was nice to come second and I felt very comfortable and not massively out of breath.

IMG_1436 Test driving my new running skirt from Fabletics

The shin/calf did niggle slightly during the run but, again, no pain, no gait change, just an awareness and tightness. It didn’t feel any worse after running. I felt a bit calmer. I vowed to not touch it the entire day and sleep in compression socks that evening.

After getting back to my granddad’s, showering and having breakfast we had the day to kill. My dad and me decided to do a bit of shopping and he wanted to show me some old haunts from his childhood. My granddad stayed at home, happy to see us later when we returned (he doesn’t go out a huge deal). Hilariously he gave us a map to take with us so we “wouldn’t get lost”. We took it with us but didn’t mention the fact that my dad’s car has a built-in Sat Nav or that my dad, having grown up there, knew the area quite well. Bless him!


After moseying about some shops we headed to Mow Cop Castle, which is right on the border between Cheshire and Staffordshire. It’s a ‘folly’ dating back to 1754. I didn’t know what a folly was but apparently it’s when people have too much money and build something pretty but fairly useless 😉


My dad and me joked somewhat wryly that it would be a bit of a disaster if I twisted my ankle or fell over on our little excursion! Thankfully we both made it up and down in one piece.

IMG_1445 The views were magnificent! We also later learned (after Googling) that there were some pretty amazing runs people did around the area (and up to the castle itself) and there’s a Mow Cop running club!

Then we headed for lunch. We found a lovely little pub nearby that was just about to stop serving food but we managed to squeeze in just in time (it was after 2pm). I had an EPIC cold meats salad.


It came with roast beef, turkey and ham with stuffing. It was so tasty and filling!

Don’t worry I made sure my evening meal was carbtastic with a standard pizza. My granddad had these cheap (86p!) pizzas he gets from Sainsbury’s which he then tops with a whole host of different ingredients. This is definitely my style of cooking! He also made a great mini-salad for me as he knows my love of vegetables.

Pre-Liverpool marathon meal

I made sure to drink lots of fluid (with nuun) throughout the day, especially as I was concerned of how warm it was going to be. It said 86% humidity on the weather forecast!

Then it was time to just relax. We weren’t going to see my granddad the next morning as we were driving to Liverpool ridiculously early and then going straight back to Southampton from the race, so we said our goodbyes before going to bed. My alarm was set for 5am…ouch. But the race began at 10am and it would take around an hour to get there. I would need a coffee stop and we needed to get to the parking area before the 8am road closures…so 5am it had to be!

…And the race recap will be along in another post I’m afraid!

What do you do the day before a big race?

Have you ever seen/heard some un-parkrun spirited behaviour from anyone before at a parkrun?

How far have you had to travel (within your country) to a race/event before?

Almost there…

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while then you’ll be well acquainted with how injury prone I seem to be. My previous two marathons’ training have been fairly rubbish.

For both I never managed to get over 13 miles. I did a lot of cross-training to keep my fitness up (cycling, elliptical machine and pool running) but not enough running to go into the races feeling confident. That said, I did achieve relatively good times (3:41:18 and 3:36:26 respectively). The recovery time after was a nightmare though as my body just wasn’t used to that sort of mileage in one go and for Berlin I was subsequently injured.

I gently eased back into running in January after taking some time out (as I was fed up with constantly going from injury to injury). I properly started training in February. I didn’t really follow a plan per se but I did use other marathon training plans as a guide for the long runs.

What I did…

Initially I began running three days a week, supplementing this with cross training and strength-focused training in the gym (more about that in THIS post). I gradually built the long runs up while keeping the other two runs the same. I had one run focused on running hills and the other was parkrun for speed work.

As the mileage increased I dropped the strength training to two sessions a week and then eventually got rid of the cross-training completely as I moved to running four times a week and felt good.

imageMy ‘training plan’

Against all previous expectations I managed to successfully run several long runs – proper long runs over 13 miles! I ran two 17 miles, two 18.5 miles and a 19.75 miler.  This is gobsmacking for me. I still can’t believe it. I never thought my body would survive.

What worked…

I think the main reason it did survive is the addition of strength training. My legs, glutes and core are stronger. Regularly doing strength training really helped. And consistently upping my weights as things became easier. Eighteen weeks later and I still wake up aching from the day after strength training. Running feels smoother and I don’t feel quite so fragile anymore.

Also being sensible with my mileage was key. I gradually increased my long run mileage. I was so scared of injuring myself that this was a great motivator to not get greedy.

What I got wrong…

I’m pretty sure I got my nutrition wrong after long runs as I got some savage headaches that I never usually get. I didn’t refuel properly and then would spend the day treating myself to cake and other sugary foods. I’m sure it wasn’t to do with hydration because I drink a lot of water (with electrolytes) before and after running. After Sunday’s 5 mile race I drank lots before and after but I didn’t have lunch for a long time afterwards and then suffered from a headache later in the day. On days I did refuel properly I didn’t get a headache. No brainer really.

I’m used to running long runs without breakfast but 17 miles is definitely my limit on that I think, especially when I don’t refuel immediately afterwards (when I’m at a race for example). I know I run better with breakfast but I also prefer to run without to train my body so when I do fuel I get maximum benefits (I’m not a dietician or a sports-knowledgeable person – this is just what I’ve personally found).

I also think I overcooked things for the Cakeathon. I probably ran too fast and didn’t reduce my mileage on the subsequent week. The 14 miler I did that next Sunday was very draining and my body didn’t feel quite as strong as previously and, dare I even say, niggly.

I should have done a shorter long run and shorter runs the following week. I did two seven milers next to each other last week which were both meant to be lower mileage but for one reason or another became higher than I wanted (not planning a normal route and running with the club). Compounding this was the Beer race which was a hard effort (but I will say not 100% smashing myself to pieces).

This week I’ve made the sensible decision to not run until parkrun on Saturday. My shin has been niggling me slightly and I’m on a FULL ANNA PANIC MODE. It’s not painful but it is tight. I’m terrified it will blow up to something more serious. It’s highly ironic that all my training goes absolutely fine and then an old niggle begins to crop up the week before the marathon. I’m honestly trying not to have a major freak out. Wouldn’t it be ironic though that the race I’m best trained for is the worst one I do??

(On a side note: for Berlin I ran a total of 223 miles in 16 weeks worth of training. For Liverpool I will have run 424 miles in 16 weeks!)

The plan…

I’m driving up to Stoke-on-Trent with my dad straight from work which is a good 3.5 hours in the car (my mum can’t come as her back is still very bad). Then we’re staying with my granddad in Stoke Friday and Saturday and heading to Liverpool Sunday morning, which should be less than an hour’s drive.

I have my paces planned out as normal. The first 10 miles are going to be nice and easy (finger’s crossed) and then gradually increase that pace and maintain it for the next 10 miles. The last 10k I’ll let myself go a bit but not too much until 5k when I will attempt to hold on. Finishing strong is my ambition. But hey, I could be limping across the line, who knows…

*Deep breath* finger’s crossed eh?


Any pre-race day tips?

Any good car games to play in the car?

Will I survive this!?

The big scary “M” word

The big scary “M” word in my case (as I’m already married ;-)) is of course the marathon. It’s my favourite distance. It’s the distance I find the hardest to train for and indeed to run. But the feelings when you finish it are just amazing. It’s like you’ve just done something so incredibly wonderful – and in my eyes, you have.

I feel a deep sadness and regret that I’m not doing the London marathon. Even worse is that I’m not running it when Paula Radcliffe is running her last marathon. And the fact that quite a few of my running club are doing it too (and one lovely lady is running her first marathon and absolutely smashing the training despite being a more short-distance lover – she’ll say she’s doing terribly but she’s really not, LAUREN).

But that’s by and by. I’m doing the Southampton half marathon on that day so I’m not going to be sat there moping. And let’s be honest, I can’t do ANOTHER marathon on a pathetic amount of training and then get injured AGAIN.

I do want to do another marathon soonish though as it’s just something I bloody love doing. I’m not a short distance runner…5ks and 10ks are just horrifically hard and painful. With a marathon I just zone in and feel alive.


So Liverpool Rock and Roll marathon is my marathon of choice and it’s in June (a week before my birthday, how very lovely). Obviously I will quickly throw in a disclaimer to say I could get injured and it might all come down in flames. Who knows, I don’t have a great track record for these sorts of things. But I am hoping and praying to the running God on the big fluffy track in the sky.

I don’t really have a proper training plan this time around (what good has it done me so far…). It’s more of a very gradual mileage build-up with long runs plotted in the calendar. I won’t run more than four times a week and so far I’m not sure if I will run more than three times a week. I’ll also still go to the gym (balancing it with the number of runs I do/how I’m feeling) to continue strengthening my legs and core etc.

Gym Helly Hansen kit 1

Loving my Helly Hansen leggings!

I hope to get up to 18 miles as a long run but I’ll see what happens when I get to 16 and judge it then. I’m also running more hills regularly in the hope that they’re strengthening my legs in a very functional way. Basically it’s a “let’s see how this goes” kinda marathon plan. Nothing set in stone because it never can be with me it seems.

Nutrition won’t change dramatically (Hi I’m Anna and I like cake) but as I start hitting the higher mileage when the weather gets warmer I’ll need to think more sensibly about hydration. I do know that I drink enough water as I have stupid amounts of squash all day long at work and at the weekend. I did try to cut out/reduce squash but it wasn’t successful…

My problem is drinking too much water and flushing myself out of the good stuff.

Squash drinking

Over-hydrating is a far worse issue than dehydration. I need to drink water more sensibly. Especially the day before a long run, the day of the long run and the day after. Happily I’m a big fan of the hydration tablets. Nuun are my favourite.


I actually wrote a review about nuun hydration tablets – find it HERE. I love their flavours and I love that they also do a caffeine one (especially for during a run). This way I can drink lots of water but not flush my system out of the good stuff.

My longer long runs will be run in May so the temperature won’t be too hot but I know I’ll be in need of water and electrolytes more than at the moment as the runs are longer and warmer. Oh the days of carrying a water bottle on a run! How very annoying.

But I am literally holding my breath right now. Dare I even make the merest suggestion that running is going well for me right now? I am desperate to not get injured and feel I’m trying really hard at injury prevention (loads more strength work regularly, my standing desk, not jumping back into stupid mileage, gradually building up long runs…). My one problem area is running the long runs too fast. I go out with such good intentions but then feel so good speeding up I can’t seem to help myself. I’ve told myself though that when I hit 10 miles and over I WILL SLOW DOWN. And I plan to run my really longer runs (13 miles plus) a minute slower than marathon pace.

It all sounds very rosy doesn’t it? We shall see…

How do you hydrate for hard work outs and/or long runs?

Do you drink a lot during the day?

What’s your one injury prevention tip?

***nuun inspired me to write this post concerning hydration and marathons, but I received no compensation.***