The worst marathon training plan

I ran three miles last night. With no pain. Before I get the trumpets playing to celebrate my return to running…I am being very reluctant to celebrate yet.

My plans last night had been to just do an hour’s worth of strength. But my foot felt good. No pain or discomfort while walking. I looked longingly at the treadmill (now you know things are bad when that happens) and thought “ahh I’ll just try it”. So I hopped on, set it very slowly…no pain. Sped it up, no pain. Full on running, no pain.

I decide to go outside. I was dressed for the gym, not running. I had no running jacket, an easy t-shirt on, no Garmin, no music…

IMG_6106But I just went for it. I promised myself I’d stop if there was any pain.

No pain. In fact, it felt good. Maybe a hint of a slight discomfort from the spot on my ankle – but nothing to slow me down or really niggle me. I decided to stick with three miles. All I know is that I did it in under 25 minutes as I knew roughly what time I started. It felt pretty good to go on a ‘naked’ run. And I was so happy!

This morning I saw my physio and told him I’d ran (he told me not to run until the weekend) but he said that was great. He was glad I’d gone for it as I know my body best. He went to town on the spot of my ankle that’s causing me pain to ‘break it down’ to help build it back up. My god it is UNREAL how painful that is. But he did the same last week and it honestly felt so much better a few days later. And I’m OK to run 6-10 miles at the weekend.

HAPPY DAYS! But again, no celebration just yet. I’m quietly optimistic though.

To be honest, at this point, I’m trying hard not to think about the marathon, or marathons in general. This is quite hard considering everyone in the world is training for a spring marathon (OK I exaggerate, but a fair amount of people). And for some of them the biggest thing they’re concerned about is their running mantra. Are you serious? I wish that was my issue. I’m feeling a bit bitter and miserable (has that come across…?) So, just for fun, here’s my marathon training plan for the hopeless:

  1. Start your training injured.
  2. Bash out an 11 miler after doing your first one miler post-injury tester.
  3. Ramp up your mileage stupidly high – 10%? Don’t be daft: go big or go home.
  4. Do every session hardcore. Intervals, tempos, sprints. Easy runs? What are you, a pansy??
  5. Run through pain. Always. If you’re not crying, you’re not working hard enough.
  6. Don’t practice your nutrition for race day. Wing it, you’re a pro.
  7. Avoid your foam roller like it’s the devil. Tight muscles mean strong muscles.
  8. Have no clear pace strategy. You need to size your competition up first.
  9. RACE DAY: Try something new and exciting for dinner the night before and breakfast on the day. Perhaps something really rich and spicy that really sits on your stomach in a nice and heavy, bubbly way.
  10. Wear those brand new trainers you bought especially and haven’t worn yet. And that new cotton t-shirt that has those crazy designs around the shoulders that sort of itched when you tried it on.
  11. Drink lots of water all morning. So much so that your tummy feels really full and bloated. And don’t bother with the loos. Why waste your time when you could be right at the front of your corral, elbowing people out of the way.
  12. Make yourself known on the first mile by absolutely sprinting off into the distance. 26.2 miles isn’t that far and you really want to scare your competition.

Obviously this is a joke. Though sadly I have to say that I few of those I can tick (1, 6 & 8). Ben amazes me every day because honestly he went from broken and ruined to bashing out the long runs like a trooper. He pretty much did 2 and 3. The body works in weird and mysterious ways. I’m not bitter or resentful…promise 😉

But let’s move on, shall we? We all know how sad and panicky I am so let’s not dwell in that fun place right now.


I managed to sneak some sweet potato into a meal without Ben knowing. Can I get an applause here? This is the boy that was vehemently against that type of potato. After the meal, while he was still in a blissful sate of ignorance I told him what the secret ingredient was. Well played, Anna, well played. He even said he’d have it again.

IMG_6097 Basically I used the same recipe as my Mexican chicken slow cooker meal (recipe HERE) but changed the beans for sweet potato chunks. I much prefer it with the potato.

Last night another hit meal, not from the slow cooker though, was gammon with a fried egg and cauliflower/broccoli mash.

Gammon with egg OK I’d be lying if I said Ben had the mash. He had onion rings instead. I made the mash with steamed broccoli and cauliflower then added a big dollop of cream cheese and pepper. Blitzed it up using a hand blender then microwaved for about a minute.

I love gammon with egg. And it’s such an easy meal. You just grill the gammon and fry the egg. Boom.

And my lovely Indian friend at work made me ‘halwa’ to cheer me up (gosh I must be a joy to work with at the moment…).

IMG_6102 They are made from cashew nuts and ghee. There’s sweet but not overly so – more like a nutritional bar like Nakd or Trek. She suggested Ben and me eat them slightly warmed with custard.

IMG_6105So that’s what we did. Heavenly!

What would be your top worst tips for marathon training?

Have you tried any non-native desserts or food lately?

Does your other half like the food you eat?

29 Replies to “The worst marathon training plan”

  1. Oh my god that list is hilarious! Also I am giving you applause for sneaking in those sweet potatoes, I totally have to do the same thing with JD haha

  2. Oh gosh, is it bad that I found your list really funny? Such good news about your foot though – fingers crossed it stays that way! You’re incredibly inspiring anyway, the way you’ve persevered through this injury woe is amazing – so many others would have totally given up. You CAN do this. Hmmmm…Mr PoP is usually pretty good at trying stuff, especially if it’s a healthier version of something he already know he likes, but we do have some level of adaptation going on. For example, I often have steamed cabbage or courgette noodles with my chilli or bolognese, he sticks to the traditional rice or pasta (he baulked at the idea of pasta with chilli last night, haha!). He is also positively horrified by my banana scrambled egg obsession – and thought this morning’s choco-banana variation was even weirder! He doesn’t know what he’s missing 😉

    1. I think I just want to run a marathon so badly that I’ve pushed things too hard at times. But I won’t give up yet!
      Haha yeah Ben has that reaction to some of my food choices – like the courgette noodles. I don’t mind because it means more for me 😀

  3. Men are so lucky. They can get away with a lot when it comes to running, particularly when it comes to recovering from injuries/running semi-injured when they really shouldn’t. Plus, they have denser bones…from a personal perspective that really annoys me, particularly when I see lots of older guys in their 70s and even 80s at races and almost no women of that age.

    You’re so hard on yourself though! I do understand that – you would not want to be within 100 miles of me when I can’t run – but I don’t think you’re at fault in any of this, and really you’ve made very few mistakes…having rotten luck isn’t much better, but you can’t blame yourself! I have tested out my legs way before I should as well – those treadmills just call to you when you’re injured and stuck in the gym doing something you really resent instead of running.

    I am crossing everything in the hope that your weekend run goes well!


    1. That’s very true. You do see more older men than women. I am so conscious about my bones I take specific bone vitamins to make sure I’m getting enough calcium for them. I do drink/eat things like milk, yogurt, dark leafy veg etc. but I am still so scared of getting a stress fracture.
      Thank you, I need all the luck I can get!

  4. Haha! Love this! For this batch of training I am guilty of numbers 1 (stupid foot), the opposite of number 4 (every session easy), number 8 (this changes daily at the moment), and number 12 (my pacing is rubbish just lately)
    Great news that you’re pain free again though.
    I wish I could sneak extra veg into Dan’s meal but he asks a million questions if I serve him anything new and is an expert at picking out tiny pieces 1mm by 1mm in size! The closest I got was once roasting parsnips and letting him think they were potatoes. Almost made it! Your cauliflower/broccoli mash sounds great. 🙂

  5. Great to heat that your foot is on the mend, yay! 🙂 I love your very tongue-in-cheek check list. Over time Alfie has come round to my way of eating with small portions of vegetables. I do have to hide them in his food though and there are some things that he won’t touch with a barge pole, but I respect that and have got used to dealing with it whilst cooking.

    1. I think it’s all about balance and knowing what can be compromised and what really can’t be. For example, I won’t eat onion rings but Ben loves them. He won’t eat mushrooms so I will only cook them for me.

  6. Love that list 🙂
    But yay for running those “naked” miles and feeling good. You are so fit that you will be able to cover the distance- I mean if someone asked you to walk 26 miles then you could, so as long as you don’t go too fast then you will manage it.. I know I keep saying that but I have faith in you.
    Andy likes some of the food I like, and he is more open to trying vegetarian restaurants when we are on holiday- he loves sweet potato though and he makes such a good sweet potato chilli- yum.

    1. Thanks Maria. I know it’s possible IF I make the right pacing decisions and don’t get carried away. Unless I feel an injury rear it’s ugly head I’m sure I can complete it.

  7. Yay glad you were able to run and your injury is getting better 🙂 my husband is similar- when we decided we were going to run a half-marathon, he went out the next day and bashed out 13.1 miles and ran that distance every weekend until the race. No building up gradually or following a plan, he just went and did the full distance!
    Good work on sneaking in the sweet potato 🙂

  8. Oh my that sweet treat your friend made looks delicious! I’m glad you’ve been able to look on the lighter side with your marathon training 😉 Just think though, what you’ll be learning now will set you in good stead for kicking ass at future marathons which I’m sure there’ll be plenty of 🙂

    1. I really hope so. It’s funny because so many people I know tell me that I need to do a marathon before I do a marathon haha. There’s a lot of psychology involved I think.

  9. I love sweet potatoes, hate the regular ones, but am all about the sweet variety! Gosh I’ve made far too many of those mistakes to count, I think continuing to run through pain, doing insanity and other workout programs during marathon training and rushing back to fast after injury would be my worst offences.

    1. The thing is, you just don’t know at the time that’s the problem. And the fear you’re not doing enough is always there in my head so I keep pushing harder. We’re our own worst enemies.

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