This time last year on the approach to my first marathon, I was merrily spurting out training re-cap posts for you once a week with in-depth analysis of every training session and pictures of my newly-minted manky marathoner feet. I could go ahead and do the same thing this summer for the sake of producing content, but it’s not something I would find particularly interesting to read (or write!) so I’m just going to dispense some intermittent updates which hopefully will be more enjoyable. If you have anything in particular that you’d like me to address on the blog, then please leave a comment or drop me an email. I will even post some pictures of my horrendous feet, if you’re missing that kind of thing.

Right, so where are we? 51 days out from the Moray Marathon, that’s where. I’m currently in hell month and getting more and more battered by this training cycle but everything seems to be going well for the most part.

I’ve been continually churning out the miles and not missing a single session which I’m really pleased with. In the past I’ve found it rather too easy to cut the third weekday run of the week due to work fatigue/run fatigue/any other lame excuse, but this time I’m getting myself out for 5 runs a week which is new to me. For my D33 training I took a spinning class on Tuesdays (sometimes…) which was great cross training but the class timetable doesn’t work for me any more so Tuesdays are now a hilly 6 mile run.  I am also finding that doing my mid-week middle distance run on a Wednesday works a lot better as I’m less tired and more positive about heading out for after-work double digits.

Here’s what last week looked like. Saturday was a mile short – I’m still not sure why as the route I made on mapmyrun came out as 9, but I only finished up with 7.5. It was a horrendously wet day and I was soaked through and shivering by the time I got back to the front door, so I called it a day at 7.5.

I was a little nervous about the big long run on Sunday; I never seem to be able to shake the nerves even though I’ve run these distances umpteen times before. I think it was just the anticipation of the pains that 19 miles on tired legs by myself in terrible rain would bring, and the inevitable worry that my ITB would start hurting again leaving me stranded. That worry never goes away. Nevertheless, I woke up naturally at 0515 and decided to grab the crazy opportunity and make a break for it whilst it was still dry. I was in Stonehaven and headed out on a planned circular route, half road half trail, but decided to make it an out-and-back on the road when I saw how steep the trail was going to be. Normally I’m not one to shy away from hills, but that day I wanted to be running consistently not walking up a hill. The run out was predominantly uphill and hard work, but the run back was nicely downhill and gentler on my tired legs.

I made friends with some young cows who were very interested in me and ran alongside me as I passed by their field. I also saw some lovely Clydedale horses, lots of baby bunnies and a heron. My feet were giving me major grief (plantar fasciitis, blistered toenails and still aching bones and ankles from the WHW race support on that horrible rocky trail), my left ITB packed in after about 13 miles and started huge knee pain, and I twanged a hamstring which was a brand new level of pain. The 28 hard miles already in my legs from that week weren’t helping matters either. I was glad to have brought some painkillers with me; at times I was struggling with myself and had a few ‘Why the hell am I doing this’ moments. The kind when it’s stupid o’clock on a Sunday morning, you’re hobbling along the side of a road in pain in the middle of nowhere by yourself, and you haven’t seen another human for hours. The kind that really leaves you with no other option than to HTFU and run – you bleed in training so you can fight in the battle.

Not a single car passed me until I was on my way back into Stonehaven at about 0830. However despite my aches and pains I completed the run only 15 mins slower than planned and I was home and back in bed by 0930, with hot toasted buttery bagels and chocolate milk. It was as if the run had never happened and I got the rest of the day to relax with Kynon. This week I get to do 20 on Sunday, with 31 already in my legs. I’m not sure where to go yet but I think I might do an Aberdeen – Stonehaven via Drumoak adventure again.

How am I feeling? Drained, exhausted, aching, hungry. Encouraged. Fulfilled. This training is tough, but I’m tougher. I might be feeling like crap right now but that generally means I’m doing it right. I actually love putting myself through this and crossing off the miles week by week as I feel myself get stronger and stronger. The horrendous weather that we’re having isn’t making getting out there any easier, but at least it’s not cold.

What am I eating? Good question. Like many first time marathoners I put on weight last year in my training cycle, so I’m obviously not wishing for a repeat performance there. I lost weight training for the D33 and have kept it off since; I currently seem to be shedding further still and growing some muscle tone to boot so I must be doing something right.

Breakfast: Coffee, cup of branflakes+raisins and/or protein shake
Snack: Banana or cereal bar
Lunch: Can of Vegetable based soup, 2 wholemeal pittas toasted with hummous

Pre-run: A couple of jaffa cakes, a gel, or some jelly beans
Dinner: Veg/tofu stirfry with noodles, bean/veg stew with cous cous, vegetable+rice bowl, wholemeal pasta with pesto+veg – basically vegetables with a grain. The night before a long run – pizza!

In short – Vegetarian and low in dairy. I drink tonnes of water throughout the day, and maybe a couple of bottles of beer mid-week …with a couple more and some wine and gin at the weekends.

What else am I doing? Not a lot. I’ve pretty much re-entered hermit mode and haven’t seen many friends or family for ages unless it’s been to do with running. Work, run, eat, sleep, repeat. Right now even if I wanted to have a social life I’d struggle to be much fun – I’m usually asleep in front of the TV by 9pm! I have found, to my horror, that cutting back on the booze gives far better training results. Who’d a thought?!

So that’s a round up for now. Since I have no races until the Marathon, there won’t be any more race re-caps this summer! I don’t want this blog to be entirely made up of training re-caps til then so if you have something you want me to write about please do shout.

‘Til next time…