I'm currently training for the Brighton Marathon on April 18th, and raising some money for Water Aid in the process. This blog is my diary of the ups and downs of my training over the past few months.

I hope that you'll stick around, and please sponsor me! It's a genuinely great cause, and any encouragement and support I can get will be invaluable in keeping me going through this last stretch of training and on the day itself.

FINISHED I managed to finish the race. Thanks a lot to everyone who supported me through it.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010


I've been re-reading Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, and was struck by this little ode to leg joints:

'If you're a long distance runner who trains hard every day, your knees are your weak point. Every time your feet hit the ground when you run, it's a shock equivalent to three times your weight, and this repeats itself perhaps over ten thousand times a day. With the hard concrete surface of the road meeting this ridiculous amount of weight (granted, there's the cushioning of the shoes between them), your knees silently endure all this endless pounding. If you think of this (and I admit it's something I don't usually think about), it would seem strange if you didn't have a problem with your knees. You have to expect the knees to want to complain sometimes, to come up with a comment like, "Huffing and puffing down the road's all well and good, but how about paying attention to me every once in a while? Remember, if we go out on you, we can't be replaced."

'When was the last time I gave my knees any serious thought? As I was pondering this, I started to feel a little remorseful. They're absolutely right. You can replace your breath any number of times, but not your knees. These are the only ones I'll ever have, so I'd better take good care of them.'

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Ran 16 English miles this morn, through Ebley to Nailsworth then back to Eastington and home. I took one of those fancy sports gels with me, testing out a bit of mid-run refueling. I felt good as I squeezed the warmed-in-the-palm gel into my mouth halfway round, but it just wasn't enough. My leg muscles were well up for running further than 16, I wasn't out of breath, but for the last couple of miles I was just done for energy. Glycogen empty. I floated along a bit light-headed, fueled only by the memory of food, I think. Not having any water probably didn't help either.

I'm going to work on a cunning plan to transport sufficient sugary products around with me, and plus they'll have energy drinks at the water stations on the day anyway.

While I was running Dan Robinson (Britain's top male marathon runner) passed me. As I plodded and limped along, counting my footfalls and dodging terriers, he sped past like someone out of the Matrix. I carried on, watching him get rapidly smaller, his immaculate trainers barely stroking the ground. That's when I chomped my energy gel.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Tapering off...

On a more serious note, I'm feeling relatively good. I've upped my run load without too much discomfort to my knee, and I feel fit in general.

But, I got my latest email update from the Brighton Marathon organisers today, telling me (as is the generally held wisdom) that I should now be 'tapering off' my training, leaving me fresh and spritely come race morn.
'Last long runs no later than this coming Sunday' I am enthusiastically told. I should have my mileage safely on board by now. Umm...

This is probably the trickiest point for me now: getting the balance right between doing a few more distance runs so that I'm actually capable of running far enough, and avoiding further injuries from over-doing it and upping mileage too quickly, while leaving myself rested enough for the actual day.

My longest trip so far hit about 13 miles, on sunday, so I guess it's not too bad.

Another long one in the morning...

It'll be fine! : )

Last Supper

I've been eating relatively healthily recently anyway* (as is advisable) but a few days back I indulged in what I decided would be one last hideously unhealthy meal before the Mara, as Pat & I picked up a juicy bucket of chicken. I've got to say, the Colonel's magic is not so great after sitting for 20 mins in a warm car on the way home from the drive-through. And contrary to what you may hear, a Krushem is just a standard milkshake, and you probably will forget your first one.

As I've been gradually running further distances, I've found the idea of eating another helping of anything that can be obtained from a drive-through in the near future makes me feel a little bit sick.

*For example, only on one (special) occasion since mid-january has so much as a droplet of beer passed my lips.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Banged out a good 9 miles around North London a couple of days ago, and my knee held up fine so I'm actually feeling reasonably confident it'll make it. I'm recovering a lot quicker now too: 24hrs after a run like that and the pain's pretty much gone. I'll be walking up every hill I encounter between now and the Marathon.

I've come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to have done the amount of mileage that I'd desired/is necessary. I've just got to get a few really long runs in and make do.
Less than a month to go now : D.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Two visits to the physio this week, and I've now discovered/been told that my issue is most likely not a bursitis at all, but some tendon damage. So...a couple more exercises and stretches to do, and ultrasound once a week for a while. Had my first dose of that yesterday. Gonna try to gradually increase me ol' mileage a bit now. Hills are out though, and the physio suggested I stick to running on grass too. Awkward. But it's much lighter in the evenings now! It's good being able to still see the ground at six o'clock.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Going to see the physio tomorrow...

Friday, 5 March 2010

I've managed to run about 10 days out of the past fortnight, gradually worked up to about 45 min. Pretty pleased in general, although I'm still a way behind where I should be, obviously.

SUNNY DAYS this week. I couldn't remember the last time I'd run in the lovely sunshine. Tasty.

Into March now though. Not long to go...