The Fat Girls Guide to Marathon Running
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You know there are some times when you just don’t want to run, let alone race.

This weekend was one of them.

But when you are training for a marathon you really don’t have the luxury of saying,

Nah I don’t fancy it today

I had had a busy week, finishing with speaking at a 2 day conference in Bristol.

I arrived back home Sunday night about 6.30pm, and I literally fell into bed….not before setting my alarm for 5.30am.

The alarm went off and I found myself coming up with all kinds of excuses not to get up and make my way to Chichester for the Goodwood GrandPrix…where I was due to run 20 miles.

But in the end, I dragged myself up almost on autopilot and grabbed my things and got in the car.

I have just 8 weeks until the New York Marathon, and this late in the game…every long run it critical.

The longest I had run so far was 10 miles…although I covered 14 miles by bike and on foot on Tuesday as part of a duathlon.

My approach for this Marathon has been different to any of my others.

In part because I am super busy with work, but also because an Autumn marathon is a different beast, and I had to be realistic about how much mileage I could do during the summer holidays with Rose off school.

My focus has been on

  • Strength Training
  • Conditioning Classes
  • Track Sessions
  • Consistent 10K runs
  • Fuelling well
  • And NO BOOZE

So I had no idea how I would get on.

I wanted to run around 16 miles…as I knew 20 miles wasn’t really in my plan for another couple of weeks, which is just as well because I got lost on the way and missed the start of the 20 miler.

But there were lots of other race distances to choose from.

The atmosphere was great, but not too busy that it felt overwhelming.

It was a beautiful sunny day.

I was in a good mood, now that I was there.

The half marathon was 5 laps plus a little out and back bit.

I went off trying to keep a steady pace and not go too fast. About 5 minutes in I decided to take a photo…I always forget. As I fumbled to put my phone back in my belt I heard a voice behind me,

“Hey love you’ve dropped this”

It was Chris Evans off the Tele…and he was holding one of my gels.

“Oh yeah, I might need that later” I replied thanking him for handing it back.

We ran together for a bit chatting. Turns out we are both training for New York…although he is a bit further on with his training.

We ended up running together for just over 3 miles, chatting and laughing about how ridiculous this running thing is.

When we approached the grandstand there was a photographer wanting to take his photo, so I tried to run away so as not to crash his photos, but he wasn’t having any of it and called me over.

Lovely chap.

I got chatting to a couple of ladies a little while after and Chris ran off ahead….he completed his race in 2.42.26…so not that different to my average pace.

I was running OK.

I didn’t want to go too fast as I wanted to try and run it all.

I walked on the water stop….I always do, I hate running and drinking. But otherwise, there was no walking for the first 4 laps.

It was hot…but nice.

I loved that you had the faster runners lapping you and congratulating you as you went. There were around 1000 runners on the course, but because of the way it was managed it didn’t feel like it. There were large stretches where you felt like you were on your own which was nice.

I didn’t think I would like laps, but they were OK.

As I approached the half marathon distance I realised I was on for a 3 hour finish. Not fast, but not my slowest effort either…it was consistent and easy, which is what you want from a training run I reckon.

I decided to do another lap.

I wanted to be home in East London by 4pm, so I had made a deal with myself that I would run until about 1.30…which was about the time it would take to do another lap. This lap was a little slower, I walked for a bit. Not for any reason really.

The great thing was I had no pain, wasn’t exhausted…I could have gone for another lap, maybe even two but I stopped for three reasons…

  1. I had to get back home as my daughter would be dropped off in the early evening
  2. I didn’t want to chance getting injured…I had only done 10 miles up until this point
  3. There were very few runners left on the course by now

The cut off for the marathon which started at 9.30 was 6 hours, so it was a good race for this kind of looped training.

The crowds were great by the grandstand and the volunteers were awesome cheering you on around the course.

All in all it was a good strong effort, and I finished my 15.7 miles in 3.37.14…the website says I did 20 miles in 4.07…I most definitely did not ha ha…I wish I could run 5 miles in an hour.

I finished with relief but mostly with the confidence that I am on track for New York.

My methods this time are a little unorthodox, but they seem to be working for me.

I loved the post race goodies, a banana, a flapjack, some water…and get this a massive bag of WestLab Epsom Salts…how apt.

The picture is a visual reminder of how slow I was…no cars left in the carpark ha ha

This morning I woke up feeling a little tired, but not sore.

I also woke up to heaps of social media messages saying that Chris Evans had mentioned me on Radio 2 this morning…more than once.

How cool is that?

See you in New York Chris!!!

Oh and thanks for the shout outs.

If you are a woman training for a spring marathon and would like to join me and 30 other women (many of whom are running their first marathon in 2019) check out my discounted 8 month online training and support programme here

Or check out my best selling book The Fat Girls Guide to Marathon Running…a woman in one of my groups recently said, 

“The book changed my mindset from thinking I was not cut out to run a marathon to finishing Virgin London Marathon this year.  Would say to anyone who has signed up for a marathon – especially if you have those pesky little negative thoughts  – to read it”

A big thank you to the Running Grand Prix…what a wonderfully organised event.

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