Adventures, Fitness, Races, Training

London Marathon Training: Week Three

It has taken me some time to put words together that can summarise the third week in my London Marathon training – mainly because I have been a week long strop.

I began the week with the ultimate rest day, waking up at the Champneys resort in Henlow.

The temptation to book myself into high intensity classes and go for a country run was extremely high. However, with a slight niggle in my ankle from the previous weekends activity and a poor night sleep due to lack of heating in my room, I gave myself a stern talking to. Simply allowing myself to relax by the poolside before my treatments later in the day was the one thing I needed right there and then.

Tuesday, still in a rather relaxed state post treatments, I allowed myself a gentle day of walking before ramping up the mileage at the latter end of the weekend.

The rest of the week started well with spinning sessions and treadmill running. But on Thursday evening, whilst attempting to complete my long (10 mile) run that little niggle I felt in my ankle during the week got progressively worse.

Only 3 miles away from my 10 mile goal, running was no longer an option. I started to experience shooting pain all the way from the ankle joint to the hamstring – bringing training to a complete halt.

Hobbling home, I made a swift decision to book myself into the sports therapist the next day. Lucky enough, SV Therapy were quick to respond to my desperate messages and a tough session followed to determine the source of my pain.

The verdict: Peroneal Tendonitis.


Not only did I have a touch of this painful condition, but I also had ligament damage and scar tissue from a previous ankle injury that had not healed correctly.

It is safe to say that my session with the therapist was not easy. The pain was intense and I left for the second time in two weeks feeling rather bruised and battered – but also relieved to have a action plan to strengthen my ankle.

First port of call? Rest. My least favourite activity. Meaning no running for a good few days. In addition lots of exercises and icing the affected area.

You can imagine the mood of a runner who has been benched, particularly when training for a big race. It was not great.

Riddled with another injury made me question, yet again, if I should be taking on such a enormous challenge. Despite many assurances by others that it was still only week three and I still had plenty of time to get the miles in – once I had recovered – I have spent every “rest day” since the diagnosis thinking I should defer my place. With loosing valuable running time I keep thinking of the long runs I would be doing had I not had this set back.

Analysing and overthinking the situation does nothing for confidence. So yet again I had to start then new training week telling myself to forget about the miles I have not achieved and take each day at a time.

And so, as I entered week four, my only goal was to take baby steps, to plan my training a day at a time and to find myself fit enough to run the London Winter Run this coming weekend.

But most importantly – I need to stop beating myself up about miles and training I have not been able to do.






Fitness, Races, Training

London Marathon Training: Week One

Yesterday saw the end of week one in the London Marathon training schedule. After a shaky start to the year, with what appeared to be shin splints threatening my plan, I finally found myself back into a rhythm. I found myself finally coming to terms with my ballot place and gently working through the week – looking no further than the day ahead rather than the bigger picture.


So what did I manage to get into the schedule this week?

Monday: 4 Miles outdoor, undulating terrain. Steady, yet wary of the shin issues.

Tuesday: 4.6 Miles. Running club speed work on the track, with warm up/ down runs to and from home.

Wednesday: Spinning.

Thursday: 6 Miles. Indoor. Treadmill.

Friday: Spinning

Saturday: 5.4 Miles. Indoor. Treadmill.

Sunday: 7 Mile walk. Hilly terrain, Epping Forest

Total Running Mileage: 20

Considering I was concerned about my physical ability the week prior, I am pleased with such a solid number to build on in coming weeks.


If I compare this to my training for the same week in 2017, when my last marathon training schedule kicked in, there is a increase of 6.5 miles. So already I am getting off to a better start. Perhaps having experience this time round is working in my favour.

So the shin pain has eased, my mileage has doubled on the previous week and I have finally got back into routine. However, as with all plans there is room for improvement. For instance, yes I completed a good week of training, but where in that schedule was a rest day? There was not one. I unintentionally carried on training as I did not feel like I needed one. A mistake I cannot make again. Rest days are equally as important as training itself.

As I enter into week two I have a few goals in mind:

  • Get back into food preparation.
  • Have a sports massage to work out any niggles.
  • Increase mileage (aim for an extra 5 miles).
  • Plan an outdoor route for Saturdays long run.
  • Add in some weight training (return to Body Pump).

With many goals there is no time to waste. It’s time to get into week two!

Adventures, Fitness, Races, Training

London Marathon Training: The Treadmill

With Christmas and New Year now a distant memory it is time to prepare for the most important time in the running calendar….Marathon Season.

I’m not going to lie, getting myself motivated to train for the London Marathon the second time round has been rather tedious. With the festive season taking precious running time away, bad weather, injuries and re-occurring bouts of illness, getting out to pound the street has been difficult.

I have never been a fan of the treadmill. The monotonous pounding on the belt, going nowhere, staring at a wall and watching the clock slowly tick away simply bores me. I have always been a runner who prefers getting outside, running in the fresh air and picking picturesque routes to stimulate my mind.

However, the past few months have meant that I have had no choice but to jump on the dreaded treadmill (or “dreadmill” as I like to call it), to keep my legs ticking over and to work through injuries and illness without the harsh impact of the pavement or weather aggravating my ailments.


In doing so, I have found a way to carry training when factors outside my control prevent me from getting outside. With the trusty iPad covering the time and distance, I can now work around anything that is thrown my way between now and marathon day.

Although I will never be a lover of the treadmill, spending time racking up the miles on the dreaded machine, I have come to appreciate there are benefits of getting indoors to train.

Its safe and convenient!

As the last few months have taught me, treadmill running allows you to focus on training without the risk of slipping on uneven surfaces or the aches and pains that you gain from the harsh pavement. Running in cold weather takes its toll on our bodies, as it takes a while to warm up muscles – using up precious energy. A treadmill workout allows us to invest energy into the job at hand – the training.

After running in the cold, and subsequently coming down with a rotten cold on several occasions, I have made the decision to take my running indoors in wet weather over the next few months. The idea of completing long runs on the treadmill fills me with dread, but loosing weeks of training due to illness is not ideal either. The treadmill allows me to adapt my plan to the weather.


Running indoors is also safer. Dark winter mornings and nights are not ideal for women running alone. You can keep to the most well lit paths and still be at risk, especially if you go into your own running world like I do. During the dark hours I try my best to stick to busy areas, main roads and routes where I know I can get help quickly should I need it. That said, I would not risk training on dark mornings, when there are few people around. This is another occasion where the treadmill offers an alternative solution.

Control the pace!

Although they can be a bore, the treadmill is a great way to control a steady pace or training yourself to run at a faster pace for a bit of interval training. Adjusting the incline can also help your stimulate races, with pre-loaded race profiles to aid your training.

Improve your form!

According to Runners World, researchers discovered that runners have reduced stride lengths and higher stride frequencies on the treadmill compared to running outdoors, due to the feeling of instability when running on a treadmill. This in turn can help to improve form and reduce impact on the joints.


Treadmill running is by no means the same as road running, and certainly not a form of training I enjoy. However, it offers a perfect way to keep my training for the London Marathon going during busy times and unpredictable weather. I definitely intend to take the vast majority of training outdoors. But, if I find myself on the “dreadmill” at times too, that is perfectly okay!



Fitness, Races, Training

Lots of Marathon Love


Just over six months ago I wrote a post announcing that I was running the London Marathon. All of a sudden, time has flown by, and in two days time I will be in a pen waiting in Greenwich for the biggest day of my life.

Getting to the start is an achievement itself. Many miles of training your mind and body is something that breaks even the strongest of people. Tears, frustrations and joys of hitting set targets have all been experienced. And I would not got by without the love and support of family, friends and colleagues.

Whilst I wait out the final two days, with little much else to do but rest, I wanted to take some time to reach out to everyone who has helped me on my journey. This week alone I have received numerous messages of well wishes from people far and wide; whether it is simply to wish me “good luck” or to offer me advice, all have touched my heart. And it is time to show my marathon love and offer thanks.

I first met Jackie Scully through the Willow Foundation at the beginning of this year. Hearing her story touched my heart. Not only did Jackie have her pelvis rebuilt in 2007, but she was also diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks after getting engaged. Not allowing to let her illness define her she took to running and will be running the London Marathon on her wedding day! Yes – she will be getting married on the Cutty Sark whilst most runners are making their way to the race. Jackie’s story has been something that has kept me grounded throughout training. I am in constant awe of her accomplishments, her will to keep going and determination to not let illness beat her. Jackie – you are an inspiration and it has been a pleasure to meet you. I am sure that no matter what race day brings it will stay with you for ever.

Amber has been what I like to call my “virtual training buddy.” We did not run together once, due to different abilities (i.e. Amber being a whippet and me more like a giant tortoise), but she has been an amazing support for me throughout training. Every time we faced the longer runs we shared them, we discussed them, we cried about them and with her help I shook off the bad runs and got back up again. I know now that I would not have got through the long Winter months training without her being there.

Ross – my best friend, my partner in crime, my knight in shining armor. For the last few months he has had to put up with me being in one of two states of dress; running gear or pajamas. Listening to me go on about miles, discussing dodgy looking toe nails and at times coaxing me out the door when I just don’t want to go! Many nights runs were planned one way to Sainsburys – where he would be doing the shopping. And on a couple of occasions he was at the end of the phone, ready to rescue me on long runs when I just could not finish. I don’t say it enough – but I could not have done it without him.

Jon – three weeks ahead of me in the marathon schedule, he was running the Rome Marathon. Over the course of my training he was a great support; reassuring me that i’m not alone, that he had been where I was, it will get better and I will finish.

Friends and Family – of whom there are far too many to mention. If I did I would be here all day. But, every single one of you have been amazing. Whether it is donating money, liking my numerous Facebook posts, commenting on my progress or sending messages full of love and well wishes. The last few weeks in particular has brought me to tears with all the love coming my way. These wishes will keep me going during the darkest times on Sunday.

Red Letter Days and my amazing colleagues, who I have pestered with raffles, bake sales and my tuck shop. The support has been phenomenal. In particular, special shout out to a couple of you past and present, you know who you are, who have donated an amazing amount between them. They have been my cheerleaders from the beginning, donating and buying tickets, bringing me back up when I am down and for some of them, even coming down to cheer me along with the Willow Foundation on Sunday. You guys have a special place in my heart – thank you!

To the amazing running community, all who I have never met in person. It has been an amazing journey having you beside me. At times, when I felt I was annoying pretty much everyone in my life with stories of running, having the running community with me was a great comfort. Giving advice, telling me I am not alone and giving me the courage to keep going – it has enabled me to be a stronger person and carry on.

And finally to The Willow FoundationThank you (I think) for giving me the opportunity to tick the London Marathon off my bucket list. If I only ever do one marathon It would have been a dream to run London and at the same time raise money for an amazing charity. I am looking forward to seeing you guys on route and most importantly I will very pleased to see you at the end, once I have hobbled to the recovery center.

For anyone wanting to track my progress you can do so by entering my race number (52825) either online or via an app – information can be found here

So that’s a wrap. The next few days will be time to relax, rest and carb load in preparation for Sunday. Time to switch off!

See you on the other side!



Races, Training

Fears of the first time Marathon runner.

Training alone for months. Something that I would not wish upon anyone, yet It is something that I have done in order to get “marathon ready” and there are many others I know who have done the same – for what ever reason. Not having that running buddy next to you throughout can leave your feeling such despair. There has been no one to keep me going – everything I have done I have done alone. Getting out during the cold winter months, running the long miles – It has been me pushing myself to get out there and continue training.

In my final days, as I reflect on what I have achieved and how far I have come, I still have many fears that I cannot shake. Some are irrational and some are expected, either way in 9 days time I will meet what has become my biggest fear and I know I will not be alone.

In the meantime, as a way to help me rationalise these fears, I document them to help myself and hopefully help others.

Boredom has been a continued fear for me. As the miles started increasing I had no one to keep me going and at times I even cried and talked to myself. On a few occasions I stopped some long runs early simply due to the fact that I was bored. Bored of the same streets, my own company and not having comfort of another person next to me. I have been assured that this will completely different come race day. I will have runners beside me feeling all the pain and anguish I am. I will have spectators – some strangers keeping me going when all I want to do is cry and give up. I will also have loved ones – friends and family who have promised to be there to get a glimpse of me – to scream my name, give me a hug and if needed a kick up the ass to get through to the end.

Loneliness, which I have felt so much over the last six months. I suppose will come hand in hand with the boredom. I will not be alone. I will have the company of 39,000 fellow runners and anyone who has come down to cheer people on.

What if it is too hot? Something that has been in my thoughts lately with the higher than normal temperatures. When I think about the heat I get flash backs to Hackney Half Marathon last year and the souring temperatures. If I remember correctly it was heading towards the very high 20’s towards the end of the race and I keep remembering how that felt after training in the cold winter months. However, I would like to think I am slightly more experienced now and I don’t have the same health issues as I did back then. I need to shake this one off and deal with the temperature In a sensible manner.

How am I going to do this? I don’t think any day has gone by throughout training when I have not asked myself this question. And I think the one thing I have discovered is that I would not be normal If I did not ask myself this. There is a reason why It is something that only a select few do – it is bloody hard. Not only on your body, but on your mind. I think throughout training my mind has hurt so much more than my actual body. Even now, after hundreds of miles of training, I am still questioning myself. Asking why on earth did I sign up for this, how could I possibly do this? Answer is – I’m just going to have to. I don’t have to get a amazing time – I just have to finish – and on the day itself I suppose I am going to have to channel all the will power I have to get through.

I’m going to die, is one of the irrational fears that has been placed in my mind by non-runners. When I first accepted my place I had people saying “didn’t that guy die last year” or “you had pneumonia, you should not run.” Yes – sadly people have died running in previous years, but we don’t know what underlining medical problems they had. And, yes, I had pneumonia last year and It was scary. But you know what, I picked myself back up. And, okay I am no where as fit as I was before it happened, but if the consultant gives me the okay then as far I am concerned I am good to go. Plus, I now know the signs and I am far from where I was when I hospitalised. So the scaremongers among us can do one! Listen to your own body!

Pain. It is going to hurt, it is supposed to. Throughout training, there have been many, many days when something has caused me pain. I developed a groin injury at the end of February, which kept causing me grief until recently. Today, I developed pain in my shins – something I have never suffered with throughout my training. Pain is inevitable – but there have been times when I have just kept going through the pain and when the pain hits on race day I am going to have to find a way to do just that. And if the worst comes to the worst and find the need, I will have to walk. There is no shame in that.

The unknown. Something you cannot train for. I managed to get up to 18 miles during training (disappointingly, for silly reasons I did not get to 20) so I have no idea what to expect beyond mile 18. I have not go a clue how I am going to feel or how the last 8.2 miles is going to effect me. All I know is that I am capable of running eight miles without issue, I have done it over and over again during training, so I am going to have to adapt to how I feel on the day. The day itself brings a fear of the unknown – I have never run the route, I don’t know how I am going to feel on race day or what the weather is going to bring. It is simply unknown and the unknown can be scary!

So these are my fears. Rational or irrational as they may be – they are haunting me and will continue to do so until I cross that finish line.

9 days remaining. To all my friends who are running and to those I have met along my marathon journey – we can do this!

Sponsors welcome here






Races, Training

Enter the “Taper Tantrum”

This week it seems that my mind is running on over time. The only way I seem to be able to work through the thoughts is to note them down so I can reflect and, hopefully, realise that I am not alone.

So the critical “tapering” period began on Monday, and I was extremely hopeful about what the week would bring. However, it has proven to be just as stressful as getting the miles under the belt.

Day one – Monday – I went off to my regular Spinning class, though only staying for the one class when I would usually complete the back to back classes. Perhaps a little too sensible for me, but it meant that I was in bed nice and early.

Day Two – Tuesday – I got home and straight into my running gear. It started drizzling and I paused at the front door. After warming up I attempted to run and my legs simply hurt. My quads were stiff, heavy and had a constant pain at the very top. So I stopped, and completed an hours walk instead.


Day Three – Wednesday – I ran! Happy days. six mile loop through the woods and across the fields behind my house that I re-discovered the previous day whilst walking. I even sped up for the last half a mile, getting back to my pre-marathon training pace of 10:30 minute per mile.

Day Four – Thursday – A much needed sports massage was booked. I was not imagining the pain in my quads. My IT band was tight, along with my calves and hamstrings; both of which I had not been suffering with at all. After I had planned to get out for a run. However; after the brutality of the massage I could barely walk – so I just did that – a three mile walk.

Day Five – Friday – Social plans cancelled so I was determined to get a run in before the weekend. The sun was shinning and my legs felt okay – until I tried to go. My legs and my mind were simply not having it. I suddenly felt bruised and battered from my massage the day before and a wave of fatigue came over me. Another night with a walk instead of running.


At this moment in time I don’t know if it is my mind hitting a wall, my legs just being fatigued or all the miles of training just catching up on me – but I need to shake this off pronto.

Running only six miles this week has left me feeling on the verge of a taper tantrum this evening. The plan is not going my way, I have hit a new level of fatigue, my mind has lost track and self doubt is setting back in again.

With time literally slipping through my fingers there is no time to catch up on the runs missed, which stresses me out even more. I know that whilst tapering you are supposed to slow it down, get more rest and recuperate – but is it supposed to slow down so much that you feel like you have hit a wall?

16 days remain – sponsors welcome.

Health, Nutrition, Races

To eat all the Carbs…….

Now that the 3 week count down marker has passed, and anyone running the London Marathon is now into the tapering stages of training, it is time to really focus on adding more carbohydrates to the diet.


I put my hands up now…..throughout the bulk of my training my focus on nutrition was rubbish. Thinking about running, planning with the runs and dealing with the aftermath of those runs took up so much time that nutrition fell to the back burner. I know for a fact that I did not take on enough fuel during runs, I almost passed out in Sainsbury’s on one occasion post run. I did not eat well post runs either, due to the fact that I felt physically sick after training – so I usually just made sure I had chocolate milk to hand, the only thing I seemed to be able to stomach post run. I also did not give up alcohol either. I am not saying I drank every day or was I out partying. I simply used the promise of Prosecco to get me through the long runs at the weekend. And I have been partial to the crisps that are sitting by my desk for the “tuck shop” I am running in order to help hit my fundraising target.

So, it is safe to say I have not been the model runner when it comes to nutrition. The next few weeks fill me with dread. Not only to I have to get in my last runs and keep a level head, but I also have to think about adding more carbohydrates to my diet. As a woman who has always steered away from eating too many carbs for the sake of my PCOS condition this is going to be rather hard.

However, over the last few months during training, science says my body would have been depleted of the glycogen stores needed to maintain the level of energy my body needs to complete such a race as a Marathon. Now is the time to restore these levels in preparation for the big day, the greater the amount of stored muscle glycogen, the greater endurance potential of the body.

There are so many difference sources that tell you how you should Carb load for each week of tapering that it makes my head spin. Working out how many grams of carbs per meal is something that stresses me out.

The last few days I have started my day with a bowl of porridge (which makes me hungry by 10am). Lunch has usually been a jacket potato, which sends me into a food coma around 3pm, or a salad with avocado and boiled eggs. Then dinner has been green vegetables with Quorn sausages, something light as I tend to be in bed by 9pm and don’t like heavy food sitting in my stomach at night. In addition I have clean brownies at my desk for snacking and sadly the “tuck shop” bucket is still next to my desk, so every now and then I have been enjoying a packet of Wotsits!

Maybe I need to get researching a bit more, find out what is recommended. But If I’m honest – I am so damn tired of everything to do with the Marathon. The thoughts, the training, the research, the fundraising – it is exhausting! So I just cannot bare anymore research. I just want someone to throw a meal plan at me and say “eat this.”

evolutionofthemarathon copy

But if I plan to complete this Marathon then I am going to have to buck up and get my head round this. I don’t want to find myself crawling to the finish from lack of fuel!

So time to reduce the mileage and add more food, in the hope that I don’t end up the size of a baby elephant by race day.