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.
Part 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.
GADE VALLEY HARRIERS MARATHON TRAINING
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.
THE CHILDREN’S TRUST
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.
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!
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