Posts tagged ‘londonmarathon’

My Marathon Experience

Time has really flown since my last Marathon Experience Blog.  I have really thrown myself into my training.

Since the Watford Half Marathon,  I increased my mileage to 17 miles which was a real challenge especially fighting against the weather.  My first 17 mile run I did one Sunday in very strong winds and by mile 10 I was very tired as not only was I trying to keep a good  running pace but I was having to use all my strength to run in a straight line.  By mile 13 things did start to ache but listening to music while running really does help to push you on.    The route I planned was quite hilly which is great training as although there won’t be hills at The London Marathon there will be more mileage.


healthy eatingPart of marathon training is a healthy balanced diet packed with protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates.  I must eat the right foods to repair my muscles and give me energy.   My weight has increased due to muscle growth but also if I have extra treats.  So just because I am training for the marathon doesn’t give me a chance to eat what I like because if I gain excess fat around the middle I feel bloated and lethargic.  I always try to follow the 80/20% rule as we all like the odd treat.

I try to eat 3 healthy meals a day and a snack.    Part of the training is preparing for the actual race day by trying different breakfasts.  It is important to fuel long runs.   I have found that a small bowl of porridge with fruit and a spoonful of greek yoghurt works for me a couple of hours before a long run.  My stomach can’t hold too much otherwise I feel bloated and can get stomach cramps while running.  I then aim to eat something with protein within 30 minutes of a long run. If I don’t feel hungry after a long run I enjoy a protein smoothie.  I have also had a wholemeal bagel with egg or peanut butter.

I’ve found that if I fuel my  long runs with a good breakfast such as porridge and a small meal afterwards of protein, good fats and carbohydrates then I am less likely to crave food later in the day as my body is satisfied.

I usually do my long runs on a Sunday and cook a roast dinner which also seems to satisfy me otherwise I feel hungry the day after.

Everybody is different and you have to do what’s right for you.


It is extremely important to keep hydrated.  I am constantly drinking water or herbal teas so I am hydrated all the time and before a  long run.   I then carry a bottle of lucozade along with some energy gels for the extra glucose during a long run.


It was time for the next training run with  Gade Valley Harriers in Hemel Hempstead.   This time we were doing 17 miles!   I felt good and was ready for the course.  I did well at the previous Hemel Hempstead 12 mile course.  I had also covered  two weeks of 17 miles in my own training so it was good to be running in a group.

I hadn’t really thought about a pace, I decided just to go with how I was feeling and breathing while I was running.  The most important tip is not to go off too quickly as you  want to try to save some energy for the final few miles.  Some parts of the run I was feeling good and running quite fast. There was a much bigger hill this time at mile 12 but I pushed on.  The weather was much better and the scenery was lovely which makes the run more pleasurable.  The photo is of Ashridge House in Berkhamsted which we ran past where, I believe where they filmed ‘4 Weddings and a Funeral’.

17 miles is such a big step from 13 miles.  I noticed more discomfort in my hips, knees and ankles.  I was fine until I hit mile 14 but we all were feeling the same and everybody is so supportive which really helps get you through till the end.

I was pleased when I finished as I had knocked 10 minutes of my previous time and finished in 2.40hrs.  I feel it really makes a difference running in a group.


TCT 2 The following week I was back at The Children’s Trust for a challenging, undulating 18 mile course of mixed terrain of road, off road and uphill through a field!  They were using the same course as the 10 mile training run but this time we had to do 3 laps and a further stretch of road.   As I had done this route before it was great to compare how far I had come with my training.

At their last training run I really struggled but this time I was surprised how much easier I found it.  I ran the first couple of hours with Phillip Green, Britains Got Talent semi-finalist who made the run much more fun as we chatted along the way apart from when we hit the hills!  These were tough but as my fitness had improved so much I knew how to cope with them.

I managed to complete this course with some energy at the end in 2.52hr.


foam roller

As the mileage was increasing my muscles were tightening and I was really pleased I’d invested in a foam roller.  By lying on a foam roller y0u can self massage your muscles releasing any tension and toxins.  This can be very painful if the muscles are tight but the benefits you get are worth going through a little bit of pain.


Here is a very good link at releasing the IT Band using a foam roller.  The IT band is where most runners have tightness and can cause pain in the knee.  I also use the foam roller on my thighs, hamstrings and glutes.

It was then time to increase my mileage once again to 20 miles!



IMG_0619     Davina with horns


My first week I managed to get myself out running 4 times increasing it gradually to a 6.7 mile by Friday.    It was a bit cold but I was wrapped up with my thermal t-shirt and gloves.  Once you start running you don’t really notice the cold.  The mornings were dark but on my way home daylight was breaking through which felt good.  The energy that running gives you really sets you up for the day!

At the beginning of the week my legs were really aching as although I exercised most days, my body wasn’t used to running.   By Thursday the aches had passed so I was ready for my longer run on Friday.

My first attempt at 6.7 mile was tough.  I had planned my route but the hill was at the end of the route and I struggled but made it without stopping!

I went to my gym, Target Fitness on Saturday morning and saw the Gym Owner,  Gary Johnson who advised me  that I should only be running 3 times per week with two short runs and a long run at the weekend and gradually increasing the long run a mile per week.  He advised me to take my time and not to over do it.  The proper training would start in January 2014.

Another guy at the gym said I should have increase my mileage to 10 mile by January.   It is good to have goals through your training programme so I thought I would try to increase to 10 mile by the end of the year and also to be able to run up Cuffley Hill!

cuffley hill  This is the beginning of the hill.  You think it stops where you can see the top but then it goes on twice as long again!


With daily life and activities it is hard to work to a strict timetable so.  This week I knew I would have time to do two short runs on Monday and Thursday and I decided to do my long run on the Tuesday as I was be able to run in day light.

It was foggy and icy in the mornings this week so I decided to wear my woolly hat.  I also noticed the dark mornings were dragging on as it was still dark when I returned home.

I did a 3 mile short run at a faster pace on Monday morning.  Then Tuesday, I decided to repeat the 6.7 mile again but this time I changed the route so the hills were in the middle.  And I rocked!!  The hill was tough but I took my time and  I even managed to sprint the last 1/4 mile home.  It was colder and I was pleased I wore my hat!

I had heard there would be lots of ups and downs through my training and I had experienced my first one.

I then did my third run on Thursday at a steady pace covering 4.5 mile.  This week I noticed I was gradually increasing my layers as it was getting colder!

On Sunday I was ready to increase my mileage so I attempted 8.7 miles.  It was challenging but I enjoyed it.  I felt I had planned my route really well with the hills in the middle.  I even managed to speed up at the end but the last 1/4 mile was tough as it is a slight incline and I was pleased to be back at the gym where I had started.  It was the first time I had run out in the rain, a friend had advised me to buy a cap as it would cover my face from the rain and I didn’t really notice the rain.


My Pilates classes were a bit quiet as it was the last week of term but we had fun doing a Children’s Trust Sponsored Christmas Theme Pilates by wearing Father Christmas Hats or something on our heads during the class.   I played Christmas music during the class to get us in the festive spirit.  I also offered some mulled wine and mince pies for afterwards.  I actually made a total of 96 mince pies which were enjoyed all round!

IMG_0613IMG_0636  IMG_0617 IMG_0618  IMG_0620 IMG_0621 IMG_0625 IMG_0626 IMG_0628 IMG_0629 IMG_0630 IMG_0631 IMG_0632 IMG_0633 IMG_0634

This week I had a cold threatening so I took some lemsip and drank camomile tea with honey to soothe my throat.  It wasn’t going to beat me!

I had planned two short runs on Tuesday and Thursday morning and repeat the 8.7 miles on Friday when I could run in daylight.

Tuesday I did a 4.5 mile run with some faster intervals and it felt good.

Thursday a longer steadier run of 5.3 mile although I still put in some faster moments.  I really felt I was finding my running pace.

When I woke Friday morning I was not looking forward to my 8.7 mile run as I remembered how hard it was.  I also knew I wouldn’t be able to run till the afternoon which was a challenge already as I was used to running in the morning.  I had some whole oat porridge and warmed fruit in the morning to give me some carbs and a small lunch as I didn’t want to get the stitch.  I really didn’t know how I was going to feel.

It was 2.30pm by the time I got out on the run.  As I had been running a bit faster this week I thought I would up my pace slightly which actually helped me through the whole run as the hills were much easier and my pace was more steady rather then dragging my feet.  I even managed to speed up the last mile home and the last incline back to the gym.  I flew and I wasn’t really out of breath when I got back and I knocked 5 minutes off my time!

I can’t believe how much fitter I felt in 5 days when I did the 8.7 mile for the first time.  I felt that I must have had it all right…my pace and my breathing….now I was ready for the next level…10 miles!!

hi vis top 2     Arrived in the post on Saturday.  I had won a Virgin London Marathon Hi Vis Top for starting my fundraising.  I had   received an email in the week that this would be offered to the first 5000 runners who had started their fundraising.  I hadn’t really given it much thought until it arrived in the post.  I was really pleased as I never win anything and this would come in handy on my early morning dark runs.


It was Christmas week and I’d had a couple of nights out at the weekend which I really felt on my Monday morning run.  It was nothing like the last 8.7 mile run I did.  I knew once I started the real training after New Year there wouldn’t be too much alcohol involved when socialising as I really felt it in my body.

Because I’d had a bad run on Monday I did another run on the Tuesday near the gym, around the canal where it is pretty flat followed by some strength training in the gym.

father xmas hat  This is the hat I wore for my Christmas Day run to get me in the festive spirit.  So I had challenged myself to do Cuffley Hill and to reach 10 mile by the end of the year.  I planned to do the 10 mile on Friday which would include the Cuffley Hill.  It would be my first time to complete Cuffley Hill so I decided to do a shorter run with it in first.  So Christmas morning I did a 5 mile including Cuffley Hill.   Cuffley Hill was tough, I didn’t think it was going to end, it just went on and on but finally I reached the top so I was pleased I had faced my first goal.

christmas onsie  I then came home and had a relaxing Christmas morning opening presents, eating mince pies and watching tv.  I had a lovely Christmas breakfast of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and a bagel.

slasinger hat  This photo was taken after I’d returned from the 10.6 mile run as you can see I look a bit flushed.  I woke Friday morning feeling a little anxious.  The weather had been awful the night before with high winds and rain.  The rain had stopped but it was still windy.  I had a cup of tea and was going to make some porridge but a voice in my head was telling me must to get out there and complete it.  I was also worried in case it started raining again like the night before.  I decided to have my porridge when I returned so I had a banana to give me some carbs.  I knew I had ate well over the last couple of days so I wasn’t worried about burning out.

The run included two large hills, Cuffley Hill and Silver Street, Goffs Oak but there was also a lot of downhill to recover.  I took my time but kept a steady pace so I wasn’t dragging my feet. Three-quarters through I did start feeling tired but kept going.  Once I’d passed the second hill I knew I only had a couple of miles to go.   I still had some more energy to get me home.  I knew waiting me me as some warm porridge and a hot bath.

It was great to arrive home safely.  I had completed my second goal of 10 miles and I felt ecstatic but I was in need of a hot bath.

After every run I always make sure I have a good stretch, holding each stretch for at least 20-30 seconds.

I also feel that my Pilates classes are helping my running as my core is strong and I feel I can control my steps rather than stamping down which hopefully which help the impact going through my body.

This blog is mainly about my running programme but I am also doing some strength work on my legs which really does help to give you strength in your legs for running.

A good healthy diet is also important when training.  I follow a clean eating style of diet and eat healthy 80% of the time. I have also increased my carbs but choosing healthier ones such as whole oats, rye bread, sweet potato etc.

I will include more information in my blogs about my stretches, strength training and my diet.

I hope you are enjoying it and wish you a Happy New Year.  Now it’s time for me to relax for a couple of days.


virgin money giving    childrens trust

I have always been inspired by the people who run the Marathon especially last year when my friend Donna Lee ran.  After an emotional year with losing both parents, Donna found it difficult to train properly but still took the challenge of  the London Marathon.  It was a struggle and a very emotional experience for Donna but she power walked the 26.2 miles and completed it in 6.5 hours!

The Children’s Trust were looking for runners.

Taken from The Children’s Trust website….’We provide expert rehabilitation, education, therapy and care at our specialist centre in Tadworth, supporting children and families from across the UK. We also offer services in communities around the country and online support for parents. Please support us and make a difference to children with brain injury.’  

I have done voluntary work for The Children’s Trust before and earlier this year had the privilege of visiting the hospital in Tadworth.  I was amazed at how much the The Children’s Trust helped the children and also their families.  There were even special housing for the parents and local schools for siblings so all the family could be together through the rehabilitation.

After a couple of days of thinking and remembering how inspired Donna had made me feel I decided to take the plunge.  I signed up on 30th November 2013!

Before signing up I googled the Marathon training schedules and considered if I would be able to fit in the training.  I workout most mornings and weekends anyway so thought I would have time although I knew it would be tough.  I hadn’t done too much running lately so I knew I had to change my weight training workouts to running workouts but keep a couple of core and strength workouts in. 

I also realised that I would be training through the coldest months of the year.   Through my teanage years,  I owned my own horses and would have to look after them in all sorts of weather.  This was part of my life for 26 years so I thought if I could do that I’m sure I could train in the cold for only four months.

I checked out my running gear and  invested in some thermals, warm socks, gloves and hats and I was ready.

I went on my first run on Saturday, 1st December.  I only did 3 mile but it felt good and I was looking forward to starting my training.