Marathon number three done. Marathons are very hard. It seems like everyone is doing ultras nowadays and therefore marathons must be easy. But for me marathons are still very hard. I don’t think I’ll try two in a year again. Two twelve week training plans is not enough training. I did much better than Marathon No. 2, clocking a time of 4 hrs and 43 mins for 43k so a whole 51 minutes faster than June’s effort, but still 12 minutes slower than my first marathon, which is semi-disheartening as I’d originally envisaged getting much nearer a 4 hour mark on subsequent attempts, not getting further away from it.

It actually felt like it went ok - and it probably did, this is just what I’m capable of - and it was hard towards the end, but as about as “ok” as I ever thought doing a marathon would be. My pace was really pretty consistent at “around” 6 minutes per kilometre up until 30k ish, then slowed by about a minute, but then kept that fairly consistent until the last two kilometres (which does include a hillclimb).

My first marathon I set off faster and kept a faster pace (obviously, I suppose) until half way. Then I slowed down a lot, but I think the speed in the first half was enough to get me a better time. I am generally really crap at pacing and it now seems that pacing myself actually doesn’t work out all that well for me time-wise anyway.

My pace does seem to slowed down overall over the last year. Getting older? It might be because I’ve done more slower paced runs? Probably the getting older thing though. As with the other times I did a training plan with only three to four runs per week (because life is insanely busy and weather has a tendency to be insanely shit); However, these two times I was doing some of my shorter recovery runs at a much slower pace than I otherwise would because I combined it with taking the dogs out running.

I was cautious of my knee as well this time. I didn’t think I was going slow (until the end) but I was conscious of keeping things steady/restrained.

Ah, it’s all excuses. That’s just my speed!

I do seem to have got the food and water thing nailed though. This time round I even made my own flapjacks the night before so I could have a small chunk every 30 mins (I took enough for 5 hours). This works so well that I end the run not feeling hungry at all. As per the first marathon I just had a banana for breakfast on the way down to the start. I made a slight change with water this time: Instead of picking up the bottle and then being stuck carrying it (even if in my back pocket) I ran up and down our track a bit at halfway having a drink and then left the bottle there. Much better. It helps that the climate in Scotland means I could probably get away without drinking any water at all really.

Next year I think I’ll do one marathon with a sixteen week training plan and make it an off-road based one. I will try to “tack on” one of my 10k off-road wind turbine routes with my favourite 30k run. This will be good because running offroad is easier on my legs than on-road (although there will still be large chunks of on-road) and because it’ll be a completely different route to these three marathons and so I won’t be able to compare myself as much!

Then the year after that I might see if I can manage a 50k. Although maybe I need many more marathons/years of running yet? The only reason I’m thinking that is because that will be my fifth year of running and so also five years since stopping cycling and, this past year especially, I’ve started hankering after cycling again - especially when cyclists go past me when out running! So five years off seems like enough of a break and a nice time to get back into cycling (and for pleasure this time!). But then again I’m probably kidding myself as cycling is significantly more expensive than running and even though I only want a single speed (no more fixed, want to be able to enjoy downhills) it’s probably not going to happen. I guess if it doesn’t happen I’ll inevitably be drawn to something like a 50k; My poor legs.