To go hand in hand with the 5k, 10k and half marathon posts; Although posting this right now instead of waiting until I’ve repeated it.

In one of those posts I mention “I still don’t really enjoying running”. It’s certainly true that towards the end of the marathon I was NOT enjoying it at all, but running has now become a necessity for me… I was far more excited about doing the marathon than nervous.

I started a nineteen week training plan as soon as the clocks changed (so there was enough light in the day). I also only ran three to four times a week so I had enough flexibility to juggle around days with the weather and work (although in theory working from home affords me the flexibility for fitting in running whenever, the reality can often be more “busy”).

The marathon was hard, but the hardest thing was all the sprinting in training. At one point the training just seemed to be 10ks and 400m sprints. I thought 14x 400m sprints was the worst thing I’d ever had to do until I met 5x 1600m sprints - not nice at all.

I ran in Nike Free RNs because Free RN Distance seem to be no more; I like to think Nike Free RNs are a somewhat equivalent to fixed gear in cycling. They are fine for running long distances in. I’ve come out of the marathon with one big blister on a middle toe and a sore on my back where something in my back pocket chaffed; I run in an old cycling top which is ace for running as it has three deep pockets in the back and a zip at the front for when I get too hot - which does actually happen in Scotland.

I’d planned the training so the big day fell on the weekend (I did all long runs on the weekend), but when it came to it the weather forecast was terrible so I got up early on the Friday and did it then instead. I’m not sure a 5:30am start helped with my overall pace, but there you go - I was not going for a record, I just wanted to get it done.

I had a banana for breakfast as I walked down the track to the road where I’d begin and which is also where I left a half way snack of another banana and a 500ml bottle of water - the route I picked was a figure of eight so I could pass by home for precisely this reason. I’d practiced with two of my longer training runs picking up food and water at this point. I also took two porridge oat bars with me and had a little bit every thirty mins or so. In the Scottish climate I can’t see the need for anything more than that. I could have got by on one less oat bar, but since I had it with me I ate it. Seriously, fuck stupid sports gels: Bananas and oats are all you need to keep you going. There is no need for a big breakfast before hand either. It could be argued that if I ran faster I’d understand the need for more fuel and it’s a fair point. My pace wasn’t blisteringly fast to start with and tailed off after halfway - I have to slowdown to drink and then I struggle to pick it up again; At no point did I feel like I could run any faster anyway.

Although I am crap at maintaining my pace over longer distances the one thing I’m good at is recovery: After a recent longer run I had some hip ache, but after this I felt pretty good. A little bit stiff that day, but ok the day after. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen to run the day after (should have done yoga, but forgot!), but the day after that I genuinely could have gone for a little jog - weather and travel meant I couldn’t though which is probably for the best. Is DOMS a thing? Sat here wondering how long it takes to kick in. Doesn’t seem to be a thing for me.

Another excuse, in combination with the early start, for my “slow” time is that this wasn’t a flat run. A hill right at the start (that sometimes mapmyrun shows as a cat 5), that same hill just after half way with a hill before that. Quite a horrible steep short climb that then takes a long time to level out at about 33km and finishing on a hill climb (the one before half way), with lots of less noteable, but still there, uphill in between - the first hour was basically all uphill to the highest point. 429m elevation in total.

All in all I ran 43.09km to reach back to the start which took me 4:31:02. The marathon distance I hit at 4:22:42. I’d love to get it to the 4hr mark, but don’t know if I will.

Not sure if I’ll be repeating this year. A half marathon I can just go out and do without any specific training. Another marathon I would want to train for and there isn’t enough time for over four months of training before the clocks change. Maybe I can do a shorter training plan or maybe I just leave it until next year?

One of my other running goals this year was to reach 160km a month. I planned on doing this after the marathon training. I’d reached over 100km pretty consistently before the marathon training. I should have realised I’d easily smash that as a consequence of training for a marathon - last month I hit over 200k.