Virgin Money London Marathon 2020
This week I have been feeling a bit down and running is something I always find helps me when I am feeling like this. I tend to overthink things a lot, and I find getting out and running really gives me space to think. Some of my friends have been asking me recently, if I get bored running for such a long time on these training runs, but the answer is actually no. I haven’t experimented with podcasts whilst running yet, I have three different playlists which I have been alternating and even when I am listening to music, I still feel like I am able to sort out my thoughts as I run.
I have been feeling pretty tired as training for the marathon has been a really big step up in my exercise levels. I have been going to bed at 10pm most nights and getting a full 9 hours sleep but I still feel knackered! This week I started taking iron supplements, which did help me feel better. My cousin who has run two marathons recommended magnesium supplements which are supposed to help your muscles recover and reduce tiredness, so I am going to buy some of those this week. I think these will be needed as the training load looks pretty heavy for the week to come.
I have just reached the end of week 4 of my training, which means a quarter of the way to the marathon! I managed to balance this week quite well though, as I went to the theatre with my mum on Monday so I gave myself a day off. During my mid-week runs, I have been doing some work to try and get my pace up, for instance on Thursday I did 3x6 mins fast, with 2 minutes slow recovery in between. I have really felt this help my pace overall and so I am going to continue with these. From now on the mid-week runs are getting progressively longer, so recovery is starting to become really important. I ran 55km this week, finishing with a 15-mile-long run on Sunday, which is the furthest I have ever run so far. I took a route through Battersea Park, Hyde Park, past Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards parade. It was busy in some places but an enjoyable route. The inspiration I actually took from one of my fellow runners at Runners Need Run Club who I follow on Strava.
On Saturday, I also received my new kit from New Balance and Runners Need, which was really exciting! I can’t wait to try this out next week! Watch this space for a picture of me wearing it!
This week of training went pretty smoothly. I got 5 training runs in, totalling 53.4km this week. I can really feel my fitness improving, and each run feels a lot easier than that first week of training and I have improved the pace of my runs. I am conscious however of not pushing myself too hard. For my long run I ran 13 miles from Richmond to Battersea along the river. I was running alone and got a little competitive with myself. I ran about 25 seconds faster per kilometre than on the long run last week, but it felt good and I managed to maintain a pretty even pace throughout. I tried out a SIS energy gel for the first time on this run, as my aim for this week was to improve my nutrition. I liked the taste but I wasn’t a huge fan of the consistency, however I could feel the difference in helping to keep my energy up. When I did my first half marathon in Bristol, they gave out free Clif bloks, which are similar but come in a chewable form rather than a gel. They sell these at Runners Need and I am going to try them out on my next long run, as I liked them when I tried them before.
This is my first marathon and the first time I have entered the ballot for the London Marathon, and I got a place! So, I feel very lucky.
I have spent my time off over Christmas devising my training plan and my first training run is just a week away. I am using a 16-week template from Runners World for intermediate runners looking to finish between 3:30-4:30.
They have pages with all sorts of great running tips including nutrition and podcasts for running.
I am very excited to have recently bought a Garmin running watch, along with some wireless Bluetooth headphones. So, I am looking forward to using the Garmin to pace my training runs.
I also asked for a few pieces of kit for Christmas, all of which I found at Runners Need. These included leggings, a running jacket for that wet and windy weather and a water bottle to hydrate on my longer training runs.
I can't wait to try them out.
Watch this space for my first training run...!
I have just completed week 1 of marathon training, reaching a total of 43km. I only really started running properly in January last year, taking up park run with a friend, so I feel like I have come a long way since then.
It was difficult to motivate myself for the first run of the week as it was slightly rainy, but I always find that it’s much better than anticipated once you get going. On Wednesday I went to the Runners Need run club, where there were a lot of new faces due to New Year’s resolutions! We did the 5km route around Clapham Common and I ran there from my house in Balham in order to get a few more kilometres in. The run on Thursday was in torrential rain but the sun started to shine when I was almost home and I managed to spot a rainbow! My long run this week was 9 miles, so I ran the route from Runners Need to Battersea Park, but again added in a few extra kilometres by running from my house.
Despite using my new Garmin, I struggled this week with pacing myself. The pace I should be aiming for during my training runs feels particularly slow! So, on a few of them I ran a bit faster than I should have done, and particularly at the run club on Wednesday – I always find I run faster when I’m running with a group. My quads are quite sore now though and I am a little bit worried about injuring myself, so I am going to make a conscious effort to slow down a bit next week. And to stretch more! This evening I treated myself to a yoga class followed by a bath with Epsom salts and some deep heat on my legs, so I am hoping that will help me recover!
Next weekend I am going to run the long run which will be 11 miles with my cousin who is a seasoned London Marathoner, so I am looking forward to some company on that!
Coming back to London after 2 weeks off for Christmas and to start properly training was a shock to the system. I spent the first week of January making excuses to miss the gym, running club and my planned runs. Not ideal when the marathon is approaching.
Something that really motivates me is planning so I can see how I can reach my end goal. So in my first week of January, where I achieved minimal things in terms of my training, I sat down and wrote myself a training plan. I looked online at some plans I could use, but the trouble is they all ‘tell’ me to run on a Tuesday (for example), but I don’t want to run on a Tuesday!! I worked out a plan based on the ones online to suit me. For example, I love to go to my run club at Runners Need every Wednesday, so I scheduled that in to my week.
Long story short, it worked! 2nd week of January and I’ve just about managed to pull myself back into my training plan. After the Christmas break it was hard mentally and physically to go on my runs and then push myself when training, but I am feeling much more positive about the next few months before the marathon.
So my advice for anyone looking to start running, get a bit fitter or to train for a run.. write a plan that works for you, it honestly works!
It’s okay to sign up to a marathon when it’s nearly a year away. When it gets closer to training starting, it becomes more daunting. As a regular 3 - 6 mile runner, increasing my distance by over 20 miles feels impossible at this stage.
However, as daunting as it is, for whatever reason, people will sign up to run the 26 miles that make up the London Marathon.
So my journey starts today, the 1st of January 2020. I will put on my trainers on for what feels more serious than your average 6 mile run, and begin the journey.
Wish me luck!