Week #4 Marathon Training

Hello summer! I’m loving the lovely sunshine and beautiful mornings. Getting up stupidly early to run is actually quite easy as the sun is already shining and it’s fairly warm outside.

This week has been really tough. After Endure 24 I had Monday and Tuesday off running as I just needed some down time. I had a great sports massage with Kyle which really helped loosen things up. Thankfully my hip hasn’t played up again either. It’s now 12 weeks from Berlin marathon and I am wondering for how long I will go until I get injured again – I really hope things go plain sailing. Who knows? All you can be is sensible with warming up, stretching, regular foam rolling, massages and strength training.

Monday – OFF

Tuesday – strength training after work:

– 15×3/leg calf lifts with weights
– 200/leg clams with resistance band (I do 50 per leg each time)
– 4.5mins bridge
– 20×3/leg single leg dead lifts
– 16 press-ups
– 3mins toe lifts

Wednesday – I had planned to do four easy miles but as I started I found I was quite happy to run a bit faster so I call this a “paced run”. I’m finding it easier to start slower and get faster which is always good I guess.


Strength work:

– 200/leg clams
– 50/leg single leg lifts with ankle weight
– 20×3/leg single leg dead lifts with weights
– 20×3/leg lunges (mix of lunge twists and with weights)
– 4mins crab walk

Thursday – 10k tempo run. This was a brilliant run. My legs felt fresh and I felt good. My plan was one mile warm-up, two miles tempo, one mile easy then two final tempo miles.


To cool down I walked Alfie afterwards. He’s loving it at the moment as I walk him in the morning before I run at stupidly o’clock (usually 5.30am), then when I get back from my run if I have enough time I’ll walk him again to cool down. Pampered pooch!

Strength work (felt a bit de-motivated and bored so kept it quick):

– 200/leg clams
– 4mins crab walk
– 3mins toe lifts
– 3mins plank
– 2x 1.5mins side planks

Friday – a much needed recovery run. My legs felt very heavy and I felt tired. This was the third consecutive day of getting up around 5.10am.


Saturday – Ben and me headed to Basingstoke to do the Basingstoke parkrun with my friend who’s just gotten into running (the one I did the Race for Life with) and her husband and son.

Basingstoke parkrun

In my plan it was a speedy 5k but as I had now run three days before I wasn’t sure how well this would go. I just thought put in some effort and see how it goes.

IMG_7188 It was actually quite a tough course. There were two laps and a sneaky gradual incline you had to do twice. But it wasn’t anything crazy hard. There were over 300 people there! And lots of speedsters. I was lucky to come 4th lady with a time of 21:22, which I was chuffed with. It’s the fastest parkrun I’ve done since November. Fairly depressing but I’m pleased regardless.


IMG_7185There’s Ben in the red shirt

Ben found the run quite tough. His ankle was playing up and it didn’t help that he’d had a late night the night before and hadn’t run properly all week. My friend got a PB of just over 28 minutes 😀

We all had a good time though and had coffee afterwards with our friends. So chuffed they’re getting into running!

Sunday – fifth day running in a row. I hope I don’t look back at this week as a mistake week. I was concerned I was running so many consecutive days but I needed to get the mileage increasing (famous last words…). I did feel OK for all the runs and afterwards though. I kept this run slow and easy.


But it did feel like a lot of hard work at about six miles. My endurance has definitely suffered due to my lack of long runs. This distance was a distance I used to find very easy, but yesterday it was back to basics. I spent a long time foam rolling and stretching afterwards, as well as doing a quick bit of core work and clams.

Foam rolling recoveryLater we went shopping and I was shattered at the end of the day; I had to have a nap! Ten miles is definitely not a distance my body is used to anymore sadly. Work in progress!

Annoyingly running in the hotter weather is causing me some annoying chaffage. I keep forgetting to, er, lubricate my arms before going out…

Arm chafe Which makes things fairly painful later…must do better.

Onwards to another week. Fingers crossed it continues to go OK!!

How has your week been?

Do you get any nasty chaffage issues when running?

What’s your top strength training move? I need to liven things up a bit I think.

Week #3 Marathon Training

Another week passes… Apologies if you find these posts a bit dull as they’re so running-focused, I’m finding it a great way to track my progress and also something I can look back in future.

The week went OK. Running on my own, though not as fun as running with the club, is helping me stay focused on my goal and also avoid pushing myself too hard or doing more mileage than I should.

Monday – no running. Strength workout after work:

– 3mins calf raises
– 4mins bridge
– 10×3/leg bridge with leg to chest (see below)
– Marching bridge (Demo –> careful it’s loud when it starts!)
– 4x 10 running man (Demo)
– 3x 15 single leg dead lift (Demo)
– 100/leg clams with resistance band

Tuesday – strength routine at home when I got back from work day in London:

– 3mins toe lifts
– 4mins bridge
– 10×3/leg bridge with leg to chest (see below)
– 4x 20 running man
– 3x 20 single leg dead lift
– 100/leg clams with resistance band
– 15 press ups

Wednesday – I got up ridiculously early to do a hill session on my own. There are two great hills near me and I’ve been wanting to train on them for ages. I ran one mile to warm-up (8.22 pace) then alternated between the two hills. I ran over the first one as fast as I could, then jogged slowly down as a recovery. I then ran back over the hill and repeated the jog down. I then did exactly the same on the other hill. All in all, I ran eight up hills. This equated to just over two miles. I then jogged a mile back home. I was absolutely beat!

Thursday – I got up again early (we’re talking 5.10am) and went out for an easy recovery run. My problem is that my ego is getting in the way of these easy runs. Though I find it easy and I’m not exerting huge amounts of effort, it still isn’t easy-easy you know? I can’t seem to get it into my head I should be running 8.30s – which are really easy for me. This would be a far better recovery for me and less stress on my body. But my ego keeps whispering saying “you don’t want 8.30s on your stats for this run do you? People will think you’re slowing down and are a rubbish runner”. I know this is ridiculous though. I know I need to keep my easy runs EASY and my hard runs HARD. Otherwise it all merges and I’m unable to completely blast my harder ones. Need to work harder at this.

Strength workout in evening:

– 3mins bridge
– 2mins calf raises
– 4mins toe lifts
– 2mins bridge march
– 4×20 single leg dead lift
– 150/leg clams with resistance band
– 4mins crab walk
– 4x20secs/leg balancing on one leg with eyes closed
– 15 press ups
– 20 diamond press ups

Friday – off.

Weekend – Endure 24 (I’ll do a whole recap post on this as it was EPIC – but I only did two laps of the 5 mile route).

Just to talk quickly about some of the strength workouts I’ve been doing. I’ve been reading a great book called Anatomy for Runners by Jay Dicharry. Basically it helps you identify your weaknesses in running and the ways to improve on those weaknesses to avoid injury and become a better runner (sounds like something I definitely need to read, right?)


Leg to chest bridge

So like the geek I am, I took the book to the gym and followed some of the exercises. It’s a great book. Very interesting, though there could be more photos as some exercises were tricky to understand what was going on!

And I’m also incorporating different things like the running man, single leg dead lifts and balances, as well as lots of different stretches from Kinetic Revolution (<- love this guy, so many great articles and advice for runners). You can sign up to a free 30 day challenge and each day you get given a list of stretches and exercises to help you improve as a runner. I haven’t been following it to a tee I must say as I just don’t have time with everything else but I’ve been picking specific ones that I think might help me.

Do you do hills for running training? I’ve been fairly anxious because it’s quite a tough workout and I’ve only felt strong enough now to do it (ironically it should increase my strength).

Are there any fitness books you swear by that have helped you?

Have you ever done any crazy fitness thing, like running for 24 hours? Or being part of a relay team?

Week #2 Marathon Training

I loathe to write anything hugely positive about my running for fear that the sword of Damocles hanging above my head will drop…and injury will strike. However, I am trying my best to avoid that situation as you can manage!

I’ve pretty much followed my training plan but shifted some miles here or there depending on the time I had, though the overall week’s mileage remained the same. I’ve also modified the Ab challenge because I read a few articles about how it wasn’t that good for you…specifically crunches and sit-ups being bad for your back and neck, and rather than creating a nice strong core it’s actually just working specifically your abs. I’m not interested in getting a six pack or the aesthetic side of things but I do want a strong core.

So instead of doing the sit-ups I do Russian twists instead to work my oblique muscles (side abs?) and instead of the crunches I do bicycle crunches which I hear are better for your back and more dynamic. I’m not judging anyone else doing the Ab Challenge (Ben is sticking with the regular plan), just personally for me I didn’t want to risk anything. Everything else on the challenge I’m sticking to.

So last week, this is what went on:

Monday – no running. 45 minute strength workout:

– 100 weighted squats
– 4mins toe lifts
– 3mins calf raises
– 4mins crab walk (—> demo)
– 3mins bridge
– 1mins bridge pulses
– 10×3 bridge leg lifts

Toe lifts

Toe lifts

Tuesday – 5k at a fast pace. Not breaking any records here but I’m chuffed I almost fully negative split it (damn you 0.1 nubbin).


I also did a strength workout after work:

– 30 x3 (per leg) hip hikes
– 30 x3 (per leg) backward lunge and knee lift with ankle weights
– 5mins toe lifts
– 3mins calf lifts
– 24 x4 (per leg) clams with resistance band (—> Demo)
– 30 (per leg) bird dog (4-8 sec hold) (—> Demo)

Wednesday – 10k Race for Life in Basingstoke.


I ran this with my friend at her pace to support her in her first 10k. It was such good fun! More on this in another post, though I will say she smashed her target at got 1:04 which is brilliant (and she could have done better but we were held up by walkers).

Thursday – no running but a strength workout after work:

– 4 mins bridge
– 3x 10 (per leg) bridge leg lifts
– 5 mins toe lifts
– 3 mins calf raises
– 3x 1min heel taps (—> Demo)
– 5 mins crab walks

Friday – 4 mile run on feel keeping it easy. Another (almost) negative split run! I wear my heart rate monitor for my runs so I can make sure I’m not pushing too much. My heart rate was an average of 157 (my fast 5k on Monday was 172 average).


Saturday – 5k at Parkrun. In my plan I had said this was a speed session so I wanted to push it.Netley Abbey Parkrun selfieParkrun Selfie

I just ran as fast as I could basically. There was a girl in front of me the entire time and though I managed to overtake her twice she still beat me.imageIt was a bit frustrating but what are you gonna do! I should have kept to her shoulder and not wasted energy in premature over-takes and seen if I could pip her towards the end.


My time was 21:42 and I was third female. Not too shabby!

Sunday – I got up early and ran a 7 mile easy paced run. I found this run quite tough. Even though it was early (8.30ish) it was already very warm. I struggled to maintain a good pace and felt a bit rubbish. I don’t think what I ate the day before had helped… (BBQ and lots of cake).


From the get-go it just felt like a slog.

After the run Ben and me met up with our friend to go for a 15 mile bike ride again.


I enjoyed this a lot more than last week. Not sure why but it felt nice to work the legs in a  completely different way. We didn’t go at any great speeds but it was just nice to be out in the sunshine, chatting away while moving the legs. I think we’re going to try and continue this every week when we can but probably move it to a Saturday as the long runs are going to increase and I won’t fancy a bike ride afterwards!

Total of 23 miles.

I’m pleased with the week. Feel like I’m getting faster and hopefully getting stronger.

How has your week been?

Has the sun been affecting your running?

Have you ever done the Race for Life?

Where I’m currently at

I don’t like talking to other marathon trainees at the moment as it stresses me out. I’m not where I’d ideally like to be in my ‘perfect’ marathon training, but in this sensible world I’m currently trying to live in (i.e. avoiding re-injury) it’s just how it has to be.

There are quite a few people in my running club and bloggers training for spring marathons and every weekend they say how far they’ve run for their long run…18, 20, 22miles. It really concerns me. I’m currently at 13. But it just has to be this way as I really need to take my build up slowly. My knee is still delicate. I don’t want to make it angry and flake out on me again And, as I keep berating myself, it’s my training plan and my marathon I’m working towards. It is pointless to compare to others.

But, on a positive note, I do things are going well. Last week I had my highest mileage in ages.


  • Monday: off
  • Tuesday: recovery 4 miles (ave. 9mins/mile) // leg strength workout in evening
  • Wednesday: Core strength workout
  • Thursday: Personal trainer session (lots of back and shoulders) // 6 miles (1 mile warm-up, 6x 6min tempo with 1 min recoveries) in evening
  • Friday: Leg strength and Pilates
  • Saturday: Parkrun (22:30)
  • Sunday: Brighton half marathon

I’m loving me some recovery runs at the moment. I never used to do them; every run had to be about proving my speed and I felt I failed if the run was too slow. But it just meant all my runs were ‘sub par’ because I’d never really be recovered to then take on a hard run at 100%. So Tuesday’s run was just perfect after my previous tough long run on the Sunday.

I’ve also been focusing a lot on my strength. I want to do one core session a week (planks, side planks, supermans, etc.) and at least one leg strength session (though ideally two) a week. We’re not talking anything crazy here. Just under an hour focusing on what I know are my weakness (hips, bum, hamstrings).

Thursday tempo run was tough, I’m not gonna lie. I was chuffed to maintain speedy paces throughout the 6minutes but it became increasingly more difficult. Also I chose a rubbish route that I looped around twice: two sets of stairs and a nasty hill!

So I might not be hitting the big miles but I’m consistent with my running at the moment and feeling somewhat happy with how it’s going. My knee is still not 100% and it can niggle the day after a run if I’ve been sat down for too long but it’s manageable and getting increasingly better. Fingers crossed it will eventually just bugger off!!

I’ve got a 15 miler planned for this weekend. It’s a bit of a tough call on what to run as it’s the week before Reading half. But I know for a fact that I won’t be getting a PB, or anywhere close, even if I tapered appropriately. My fitness is just not where it was last year. Ideally I’d love to beat what I got in Reading last year (1:41:19) but anything close would make me happy 🙂 So I will push myself but I won’t kill myself. It will be a faster long run.

 If you’re training for a marathon, where are you at with your long runs?

What long runs do you like to get in before a marathon?

What was your favourite workout last week?