2019 Virgin Money London Marathon: Lisandra's Training Diary
Marathon Official Kit!
21st March 2019
Back to reality, back in the office to find a parcel waiting for me on my desk. I was expecting samples from my suppliers, but to my surprise it was a gift from New Balance – the main partner of this year’s London Marathon.
Nicely packaged, in a beautiful box – there was the Official London Marathon gear: a Capri, a jacket and a t-shirt which I loved!
All the pieces can be found here.
Brighton Half Marathon
24th February 2019
The excitement was extremely high. I always get excited a few days before a run! I call it a run and not a race. I find it hard to say "race", since I don't think I am really racing in it.
When I decided to take part in the London Marathon, I was told by a few people that I should also plan a few races in between - 10km runs up to a half marathon. Therefore, I've decided to enter both the Brighton Half and the Reading Half - they are 3 weeks apart from each other.
However, recently something has begun to worry me - I've been getting shin pain - so I was going to take it easy at the Brighton Half! Yet, when I got there the weather was beautiful. I couldn't have had better weather - a 14 degree C sunny day in Brighton with no wind at all! Just perfect. To make things better, the pain in my shins didn't trouble me. I felt happy and energised with all the supporters along the way - and loads of them families with children. Even my boys were there to support - it's the first time they had been to watch me run.
With all the happiness and endorphins kicking in, I felt I could push on. I wasn't going for a PB - this wasn't the idea. I was trying to get some indication of what time I could potentially do in the marathon. Apparently, the easy way to calculate this is: the half marathon time x 2 + 10%. Is that the correct formula?
Back to the Brighton Half - I loved the course, running most of the 13 miles right by the sea was incredible. The volunteers did all they could to organise the race well. I was amazed by their plastic-free approach to this race - including no plastic cups in favour of paper cups.
At the end of the race everyone received a Runners Need goody bag with a banana and some other nutrition, plus a steel can with water. Again, no plastic. Just great.
19th February 2019
I have been asked by quite a few people about my diet. One thing I can say: marathon training is making me very hungry – especially after a long run I feel I could eat a whole cow! Actually, not straight after my run, but 30 minutes after the run - something happens that really opens up my appetite.
I’m not a nutrition specialist, so just to make it very clear: this post is not an advice to anyone, it is just me going through what I eat pre and post my runs.
I have been advised by my coach Sam Murphy that “carbs are most important in pre-run meals, such as dinner the night before a morning run or a pre-run breakfast”. I usually have oats for breakfast, or whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, wholemeal bread the night before a long run.
As I mentioned before, I am a slow runner and I also have very low blood pressure, so if I don’t eat often my sugar levels drop and I feel dizzy. Therefore, for the longer runs I always have with me a sachet of gel. At the moment I have been using Maurten, and in my view this is probably the best I had so far. I also make sure that I have had enough fluid before and after my runs – and my favourite electrolyte drink is SOS. It's also very good to kill a hangover should you happen to have one!
When I went for my 22km run the other day, I realised that when I finished it I was very thirsty. I hate carrying a water bottle while running. I have for the first time tried the hydration vest from Inov8 - and I actually really liked it. So I used it again for my last long run (24km) - and it was perfect.
Straight after a long run I usually drink a SIS Rego recovery protein shake - I prefer it very cold with ice! Love it.
I regularly eat protein rich food as part of my post-run meals. "Protein assists with muscle growth and repair - and therefore recovery" - more words from my coach Sam. Therefore, I try to load on protein in these post-run meals - quinoa, meat and eggs are often part of my post run meals.
As I said, with all the running that I have been doing I feel very hungry. I also try to have some snacks between my 3 main meals. For the rest days and easy runs I concentrate on the protein intake in my food - I love boiled eggs and they have been my favourites. On the days when I have the long and/ or hard runs the snacks are usually filled with carbs - Sam M mentioned having a bagel with banana, which everyone at my house seems to like as well! I am off to eat something and then go for a run...so if you have some really good tips regarding nutrition - please let me know.
Oh dear, my laundry!
17th February 2019
Since I started training for the marathon, it feels like running has taken over my life. When I wake up, the first thing I do is think about my next run… when I’m running I think about my running technique (which isn’t great, but I will leave this for a different post). Even when I sleep, I have started to dream about my runs... I guess all of this is normal?
What I never thought would happen – is that I would be spending so much time in the laundry! Oh dear, my washing machine has never worked so hard, possibly not even when the boys were babies.
I wouldn’t wear the same piece of running gear twice without washing. That’s why I have a feeling that I’m constantly in the laundry doing my washing, and wondering if I will have enough time for it to dry everything on time for my next run.
I do have a good collection of running clothes, technical socks, bras etc. But, I am sure like everyone else, I realised that I have my favourite pieces and always end up wearing the same clothes... so in turn this makes me to do the laundry even more often. Or should I perhaps have more of everything?
Today, I have invested in the speciality sport liquid wash! If I'm doing all of this washing - I may as well do it properly!
27th January 2019
My long runs are always on Sundays, so this means I try to go to bed relatively early on Saturday night. Last Saturday we were invited to an early dinner at our friends’ house. I was very happy about the early dinner – this meant going to bed at a decent time. I also offered to be the designated driver so that I would have to control the amount of wine I had! The dinner was amazing - and I made sure to eat all the carbs that were available - all in preparation for my 22k (13.6 miles) run on Sunday morning.
Yes, 22k - each time I thought about it, I freaked out. I knew that I could run this distance, but the fact that I have never done it before, deep down, made me panic a bit. I also kept thinking this is just a bit over a half marathon distance... panic, panic, panic. I was getting out of my comfort zone. I generally don’t mind going beyond my zone of comfort as I kind of love how that plays with my head, almost like being competitive against myself...
Due to a number of reasons, my attempt to leave the house at 8.30am failed. Consequently, I had to wait until the afternoon after the twins' swimming class to go for my run. This was a shame since I love going for the long runs in the morning, followed by a 30-minute swimming class after the run – it almost feels like a recovery session at the nice, warm pool.
Anyway, it didn't happen this Sunday, and the more I waited to go out for the 22k, the more nervous I was getting. By 1pm, we were back home, Marko was in charge of feeding the boys, and off I went. I had to layer up as there was very bad weather with strong winds forecasted. The wind was so cold and so strong that I constantly had tears running down my face. Do you know the feeling when you are skiing without goggles? Yes, exactly the same feeling.. but I was wearing running clothes and no gloves! The fact that it was raining didn’t bother me - I was wearing the super lightweight jacket from Inov8 which kept me nice and dry.
The plan said I needed to run 22k, with the first 15k at a slow pace, followed by 7k at a faster pace. For the first part of the session, I ran around Richmond Park and faced a tiny bit of sun, strong winds, sleet and drizzle. I saw loads of deer, which put a smile on my face. It doesn’t matter how often I see them in Richmond Park, I still have to stop and take a photo. I saw a few other runners – probably all training for a marathon too.
The last 7k pace was supposed be challenging, so I decided to leave the park and trail behind and head for the road. As soon as I stepped onto the pavement I started going a bit faster. I was looking at my watch constantly as I didn’t want my pace to decrease. In hindsight, this was probably a mistake. After 6k I felt like crying - I was tired! So I walked for 30 seconds, took a deep breath and continued going. Although I was quite happy with the average speed for this second part of the run, I probably should have started this section a bit slower and avoided the need to walk after 6k.
Before the run, I was nervous about passing the half marathon mark - now that is all in the past! I’m also very proud of myself for completing the first four weeks of my training plan, and so far I haven’t failed a single day. Bring on the next 12 weeks of training!
I have run with this backpack before, and although it isn’t a women-specific fit, it does fit me perfectly. The adjustable chest strap keeps the backpack in place and the EVA padded shoulder harness feels very comfortable.
I got off the train at CJ where my colleague James was waiting for me. He knew the way, so all I had to do was to enjoy my “commute” to work. The run from CJ was a million times more pleasant than to stand in the packed trains which I usually take in the morning.
The logistics of running to work can be difficult, but again if you are organised it is very doable. My plan now is to leave a few things in the office, so I only need to carry the essentials on my next running commute. I will also probably need to invest in a waterproof backpack in case it rains…
Morning Running vs Afternoon Running
4th January 2019
I consider myself a morning person. Although I hate waking up late and spending the day in pyjamas, that doesn’t mean that I enjoy going for a run at 5am. I would say around 8am is my favourite time for a run.
This is not easily achievable on a work day. My family and I live 30 minutes by train from London and I usually start working at 9.30am in central London, so going for an 8am run around my area isn’t always possible. My husband and I take turns dropping off the boys at the nursery twice a week.
On Fridays, provided I don’t have any meetings in the office, I tend to work from home. In this case, I drop off our twins at the nursery and go for a run straight away.
However today (Friday), I had a meeting at 9.30am in London, so my plan was to wake up at 5am, have a coffee and leave the house. Nevertheless, due to our family from Brazil staying with us, I ended up going to bed well past midnight the previous night - so the 5am wake up happened only in my dreams!
On 31st December I officially started my marathon training; it was an easy 5k run. It was good that it wasn’t a hilly session, since I was still recovering from a 10-day cold. During my run I spent most of the time trying to work out how I will manage my time. - how I can have quality time with my family and train four times a week in addition to my usual social life and work life.
It is not going to be easy... Good luck to me!