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!


My Marathon Experience

childrens trust

Wow what a month it’s been!  My training schedule is going well, I go for a long run at the weekend which is gradually increased weekly and two mid week shorter runs of either 6 or 8 miles.  I am now at half a marathon level!

STRENGTH TRAINING  I have still continued my strength training a couple of times a week which I find really supports my running especially when tackling the hills.  I work my core muscles to support my back.  I focus mainly on my lower body including my glutes, quads and hamstrings  and incorporate some upper body exercises.

Running is great way to keep fit and with endurance running like the marathon it is important to build on your leg and core strength by adding a weights workout into your programme.  This can be done with weights or even using your own body weight.

SPORTS MASSAGE   As I was increasing my distance I noticed a few niggles so I booked myself in for a sports massage with my friend Amrit of AmritTandT who is kindly donating her sports massages as her donation to The Children’s Trust.

Sports massages are very important when you are pushing your body through a new training programme.  Sports massages help release tension and toxins from the muscles and preventing injury.  Even if you feel pain free a Sports Therapist will find knots and tension in your muscles that you didn’t realise you had.  Amrit found tightness in my calves, glutes, lower back and  IT band.  Amrit also advised that I invest in a foam roller which will help relieve the build up of tension.




I was invited to The Children’s Trust hospital for a marathon training day.


We were given a tour of the hospital where we were shown different rehabilitation rooms for the children.  Seeing the Children’s Trust Hospital really inspired me more to push myself through my training and complete the 26.2 mile marathon.

We were then taken on a 10 mile run which was really tough.  This was a very challenging run as we were taken off road and uphill through a muddy field.  Trying to stop myself slipping in the mud whilst running up hill literally took my breath away.  I lost my breathing technique and didn’t think I was going to complete course.  I slowed down and regained myself, when my legs had recovered and my breathing settled I picked up my pace and completed the 10 miles.  At least the sun was shining.

It was a relief to arrive back at The Children’s Trust Hospital where we were given refreshments and advised on stretching techniques.  There was also a Sports Therapists who advised on movements I should be using when using a foam roller.  It was all very informative.


I found a local club, Gade Valley Harriers in Hemel Hempstead that offers marathon training once a month.  The first one was a 12 miles, I was really nervous because I didn’t know the course and was worried about my previous long run with The Children’s Trust.  I decided to stay relaxed and listen to my breathing.   Despite the torrential rain and winds, I still enjoyed the run and was pleased at how I felt through the run and my pace.  It was great to get back to the clubhouse where we were given a cup of tea and a slice of cake to warm up.


IMG_0686 My next group run was the Watford Half Marathon.  This was my first organised, timed race so I was especially nervous.   There were over 1,500 runners.  The sun was shining as we made our start at 10.30am.  It is a slower start when you are racing with so many runners which is good because it helps keep your pace in check. We soon spread out and was able to find our own pace.

The route was through lovely countryside but extremely hilly so it was certainly a challenge.  They even had us running through  ankle deep puddles which made it difficult to run with soaking wet trainers.  I hit half way at 1.01 hr and really wanted to finish within the 2hr mark so I started picking up my pace.  As soon as one hill was tackled we approached another, they were endless but I kept pushing on.  With 3 miles to go and I hardly had any more power in my legs, it was countdown of the miles till the end.

As I approached the finish line I could hear them shouting 30 seconds left within the 2 hr mark.  I don’t know where I found the energy but I pushed through the pain to crossed the finish line in 1.59.43hr.  My legs felt as if they were going to buckle underneath me.

We were all given t-shirt and a medal.  When I looked later at the chip times I had actually completed the course in 1.57.24 hr.

I would definitely recommend anyone who is doing a marathon to do some group runs and even organised timed runs to get the experience of running with larger numbers.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be increasing my mileage as my next group run with Gade Valley Harriers in Hemel Hempstead is 17 miles!  Then there is another Children’s Trust training day of 18 miles.

I will let you know how I get on.

virgin money giving