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I didn’t have the absolutely perfect first marathon experience. Things went well and I finished it but not without an injury that has put me off running for most of the last 3 weeks (almost back, running shoes, I swear!). This means I probably shouldn’t be giving you advice on marathon training, right? Well, wrong. This is the internet. Anyone can have an opinion. Knowing what we’re talking about is irrelevant.

I’ve read approximately a bazillion words on the internet and in books about how to train for a marathon and how to go from wanting to run a marathon to actually doing it so, for lack of anything more interesting to say, here’s a bit of a compilation of stuff I figure is pretty important when trying to tick this item off the bucket list.

1. Choose a marathon

The first thing to do is pretty obvious: pick a…

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Training for the Paris Marathon: the Finchley 20 (in Ruislip…)

quick groin update

Just to give a little update on the groin situation, haha. I had a rest-week since my last post (Paris Marathon – groin strain), which is the most frustrating thing when you’re this far in! Anyway, I decided to go to a physio who said GET OUT THERE NOW! You’re fine, just strengthen it, etc etc. Anyway, I then saw his colleague and she was the total opposite, which really dented my confidence. She said things like “I’d prefer you not to run outside” and “you might not be able to run Paris”. Basically unhelpful. Anyway, I then went back to the first physio and he apologised for the confusion, and sent me tons of exercises and stretches to do, as well as a diet plan – something, I’ll be honest, I hadn’t given any thought to.

back to training

So this week I was excited to get back into it! I had three short (easy) runs this week, and only hurt for one of them (the one I ran just after seeing Mrs Unhelpful Physio, surprisingly). I was determined to run the Finchley 20, just as a good training run and also it would be my first ‘organised’ long run. Ever.

the Finchley 20

I followed the physio’s advice to the T. I went swimming on Saturday, incorporating running underwater and anything other than breast-stroke, with that lethal-for-groins leg flick. I bought some protein powder, something I thought I’d never do! I chose chocolate, and it’s actually yummy. I am also drinking a glass of milk a day now, as this helps the bones during training. I even did pre-race warm up exercises, which included a ‘silly walk’ for all you Monty Python fans – I looked ridiculous!

On the day, it was an early start at 6.45 but I got there nice and early. I had all my gels with me, as well as my inhaler and my (prohibited) headphones. About half an hour before the start everyone was trying to decide whether or not to wear rain-gear, but I’m so glad I did! It POURED down during the second or third lap (it was all a bit of a haze) to the point where I had to close my eyes it was so sharp! Nice and cold though for running.

The race consists of four laps of five miles each, and at every turn in the road there were race wardens, many of them handing out jelly babies, water and squash. They also cheered everyone on all the way! I took energy gels and blocs, as well as regular water. I did ache in various places, but surely that’s to be expected, after all I was running 20 miles! I woke up this morning with a swollen ankle, but all manageable!

the finish

I felt great by mile 18, and I thought there was actually a chance of a) finishing in 3.20 and b) running the whole way. I also realised at this point that I had not used my inhaler once. That’s unheard of for me when on a long run. Straight after the run I had a protein shake to re-fuel.

newFinchley 20

I can’t tell you how pleased I was when I found a Yorkie in my goody bag on the way home… it was what I wanted without knowing it!

the stats – for all you running geeks!

You’ll notice that I actually gained speed for each lap, which I didn’t expect, and finished at 9m51s per mile… yey!

finchley20 mapfinchley20

finchley20 pacefinchley20 pace 2
finchley20 pace 3
finchley20 pace4

Anyone doing the Hyde Park 20? That’s where I’ll be on Sunday…

Training for the Paris Marathon: groin strain?

Hi, this is way too long to put in a text, so thought I would ask advice over the blog.

Last week as you may have read, I managed an 18 miler. No problems, actually quite enjoyed myself. My groin muscles (never known of them before!) did feel a little tender afterwards, not during, and I assumed this was because of the elevation and small hills, and of course the sheer distance, as I had only done 15 miles before.

This week I continued my training as usual, and though I did not feel groin pain whilst running, I definitely felt it afterwards. I assumed it was because I didn’t know how to stretch them after my 18 miles, and carried on. Today however, again not feeling it during running, after my easy 50 minute run I felt like I had cramp down there.

It has got to the stage where I can’t even put socks on while standing up – I cannot lift my left leg from standing.

What can I do? Paris is only five weeks away now and I CANNOT MISS IT. Seriously. Not an option.

Please comment with advice/suggestions/similar stories?