Marathon Training

Trying to train for my first marathon whilst fighting elements and my mind

Pre season training blues

It’s December I’ve had 2 months off since my last race and start of preseason training. Well that’s what it’s suppose to be except I was sat nursing a frustrating chest infection. Coughing up my guts and in a serious low spell. All I could do was rest and fill my body with anti-inflammatory pills and battle on with work. All this is going on as I’m reading ‘The Training Bible’ by joe freil, the ultimate training plan for any budding triathlete or athlete. It’s whilst reading this and feeling sorry for myself I’m struggling to find my mojo to even start planning my season. As I’m low and feeling that I’ll never become a triathlete or even a good runner I keep beating myself up. The motivation is lacking I’m planning triathlon races I’m not sure I can even do. Then my friend and fellow One Year No Beer member Sue agree to run a marathon together. I needed a boost and hoped that this would be it. I know I can run.

Coaching My Own Athletes

As all this is going on I decided to start coaching some friends from non runners to 5k runners. This was what I felt I could do and I proved I could. I took four non runners and made them into runners over a few months. I wanted to make this my new business so I also started a coaching course to become qualified and become a personal trainer and running coach. As I was coaching athletes making plans for them talking to them on a regular basis and getting results I was feeling awesome. Only problem was I wasn’t training it was mid January I hadn’t shifted my cough. I was feeling low and overwhelmed. I didn’t have time to learn my course I was keeping up with my clients but I wasn’t giving them 100%, my marathon training hadn’t started. On top of all this I had a new relationship that was 200 miles apart which meant I was going away 2 weekends of the month.

Pep Talk Needed

My friend Sue and my girlfriend could see the pressure I was putting on myself. They both gave me a huge pep talk. They told me I was planning too much, planning too much training and trying to build a new career whilst still doing a 45 hour a week job. Bringing up my daughter, training in 4 disciplines swimming, cycling, running and gym oh and getting sleep. The harsh reality was I needed to rein in my own expectations. They said you need priority in your life and choose what you really really want to have in your life against what’s possible.

This was hard for me as I wanted all the above I wanted to be a triathlete, I wanted to prove I could do it I’m an athlete now not a drinker. I want to be a top coach that makes me happy plus I know I can make it my future career. I wanted Claire in my life she makes me so happy and want us to work long term. I also want to complete a marathon running makes me feel great. They said you can’t have it all so it was with a heavy heart that. I scrapped the personal trainer course, put triathlon training on hold till 2019. Stopped my business plan of coaching and made 2 things my priority. Claire and marathon.

Beast From The East

It’s mid February by now and I had got back into the gym. I was strength training again after shifting the cold and chest infection. I even started treadmill training as the cold weather was scuppering my zest for outdoor running. This was tough training though, as anyone who trains will know. When you have such a long break from training it’s like starting again from scratch. You’ve no endurance and no zest as every session is brutally hard. Not only on the body as it hurts, but also the mind as you know you’ve done this hundreds of times before and gone longer or lifted heavier.

A few weeks into the treadmill training and weights and motivation was lacking. I couldn’t do more than 1h 30mins without it been mind numbing. So I was wanting the outdoor runs. I got a few in towards end of February and into March and miles were increasing. I even got an 11 mile run in on a route I’ve always avoided as it’s an Hill start. I’m a soft arse runner at times as I only started in 2016 from never running before in my life. Then it hit the following week ‘the beast from the east’ this shot all my training down. I just give up thought I’m never going to get enough training in. I’ll cancel the marathon or I’ll look a fool, I’ll say I’ve got injured or something. See I’ve not run 13 miles this year how will I run 26.


It was a couple of weeks later and all I was doing was procrastinating over the training. Fitting in some small runs but always putting off the big runs as in all honesty they scared shit out of me. I’m a 13 mile runner not a 26 I get bored after 2 hours how can I do 4 or even 5. Retail therapy was needed to boost my mentality. I jumped online and bought myself a running hydration vest so I at least felt like a long runner. Started watching ultra running documentary’s on YouTube for motivation. It worked a day after the vest arrived I filled it with water and headed out of door up that hill I always avoided.

I ran steady at Zone 2 heart rate pace 12:00 minutes for me. For the first ever time I’d run a circuit from my house to my house on an 11 mile route that was hard. Then that Sunday I did it again and I felt better. Following Sunday I did something I’ve never done also, I ran 16 miles. In between all this I was doing my shorter runs as weather was getting better. I still was procrastinating though and midweek training was taking a hit, if I could make an excuse I would. Then I had a moment 2 weeks after the 16 miler I headed out on a Sunday and I hit 19 miles. My longest to date but still I was missing too many midweek runs.

Three weeks out from the day

So here I am writing this blog three weeks out from the marathon and I’m a broken man. I have ran once this week on Tuesday it was a terrible 40 minute treadmill run that I had no energy for. I missed Thursday for the lack of energy I put this down to changing my diet as since December I’ve been following the 8-16 fast. Eating for 8 hours a day and fasting fr the other 16. I’ve lost weight through it and kept it off had high energy levels and felt great. Thing was I thought I needed to get more carbs in for the marathon so I started eating breakfast again. This has back fired I feel shocking from it so I’m going back to 8-16 this week.

Another reason I’m feeling so broken is today I’ve done my longest last run before the marathon. I’ve run 22 miles for the first time ever and it was the worst run to date in 2.5 years of running. I mentally was broken my mind was playing tricks on me all the way round. I didn’t feel like I was worthy of my place in the marathon, I felt like my legs were just lead. At mile 16 I nearly gave up my mind was telling me that I should give up, it said you always give up so just give up. Your not going to get round marathon so just pull out now, you always do pull out when things get tough so why not now. Somehow I fought the demons and I made it round. Although when I got home I fell onto the sofa and cried.

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