London Marathon acceptance

Running the London Marathon 2016: December update

From reading the title you might think this has turned into a running blog. It hasn’t. But in 2016 I’ll (hopefully) be running the London Marathon. The training will take over my life and shape our family days out for the next few months so I’ve decided to write a monthly update about the experience. I’ll also be able to look back in future years and remind myself not to enter the ballot again!

Why did I apply?

For purely selfish reasons. At the back of my mind I’ve always thought it would be quite an achievement to run the London marathon. I entered the ballot unsuccessfully for a couple of years so was amazed to find out I’d got a place this year.

I know there are plenty of other marathons out there. But when I saw the lonely tail runners hobbling around the deserted business park that forms part of our local marathon route I knew I’d only be motivated to run in a much larger and well supported event.

I’m also relieved that I don’t have to raise large amounts of money for a charity place. This would have been easier in my old corporate role but I work in a much smaller place now with far fewer fund raising opportunities. I’ll still run for a charity (to be decided) but will be spared the pressure of finding time for both training and lots of fund raising.

My running history

I’ve been an intermittent runner over the last few years. I love the feeling after a run but unless I have a goal I’m happy to find an excuse not to run. It’s always too windy, too wet, too sunny or too hot. That said, I much prefer to run outside, preferably along country footpaths. You’ll never find me in a gym on a treadmill!

Running is near enough my only exercise, with the exception of a daily lunchtime walk. In the summer months I cycle to and from work a couple of times a week. Sadly the route I use is too muddy (and currently closed) at this time of year.

The most sustained running period of my life was whilst training for the Reading half-marathon almost four years ago. Despite atrocious weather on half-marathon day I achieved the sub-2 hour time I was hoping for.

Since the Reading half I’ve only run once or twice a week, always meaning to enter another event and never quite getting around to it. I’ve taken part in my local Parkrun since the start of 2015 but until last month my weekly mileage hovered around the 6 mile mark, some way off marathon level!

My London Marathon training plan

My goal is to complete the course with minimal walking and ideally in less than 5 hours. This is achievable, given my half-marathon time, but I’ll be a first time marathoner at the age of 46 and it pays to be realistic. If things don’t work out on the day I won’t worry too much, after all it will still be a PB!

Over the last month I’ve spent a lot of time researching other runner’s blogs and reading about their training regimes. It’s a whole new language; from threshold runs to hill repeats to fartlek. 

My plan is to keep it simple. I immediately discounted every plan I found that involved running more than 4 times per week. I’ve got too many creaky joints to run too frequently and not end up injured prior to the race. Instead I’m adapting a plan I found so that I end up with one long run a week (building up to 20 miles), a fast 3 mile Parkrun and a couple of other runs during the week. I’ll vary the speeds and distances of these according to how I feel. I won’t break any records with this approach but my life is already busy enough.

My 16 week training plan officially starts on the 4th January. However I’ve upped my mileage in preparation and am currently running around 15 miles per week, including an hour long run once a week.

Other preparation

I know from my copious blog reading that I should be incorporating stretching, core strength training, yoga,  swimming and the like into my training plan. That doesn’t mean I’ll actually get around to doing any of these. Even though I know it’s the right thing to do!

And lastly, perhaps most importantly, it’s time for some new running trainers. I finally replaced my Reading half-marathon pair earlier this year (ahem, a couple of years late). However my replacement pair doesn’t offer as much support and I’m already getting sore feet when I run longer distances. So this weekend I’ll be trotting off to my local running shop for a spot of Christmas present trainer purchasing.

That’s all for this month. In January I’ll be back with a training progress update. If you’ve ever run a marathon, or indeed have a place in one, I’d love to hear how you got on so please do leave a comment below.

21 thoughts on “Running the London Marathon 2016: December update”

  1. Respect! Something I could never even consider doing – way too tough! I’ve ran a half, a quite village affair. No crowd, self navigating and quite honestly the dullest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Absolutely the right choice to go for such a big event.
    I recently walked a full marathon, still have the purple toenails to prove it. 😉 Such a sense of achievement and I’m totally in awe of anyone running that distance.
    Best of luck with training and happy trainer shopping (I love that bit!)

    1. Thanks Clare. I’d have probably got lost in your half marathon as I have a terrible sense of navigation! I’ve heard a lot about people losing toenails after walking/running marathons, something to look forward to 🙂

  2. That’s a great resolution, and it’s not even New Year yet! I look forward to reading about how you get on. My own resolution is rather less challenging, but still a step up for me: I’m going to start doing the adult parkrun, after I did the junior one with my son for the first time the other day.

    1. It was Parkrun that got me back into running so maybe you’ll be running the marathon next year! Good luck with the adult one, I think they’re such a good idea.

  3. Sounds like you’ve got the plan down! I think a good plan means you can do anything! Good luck with your training and I hope all goes well on the big day.

    Sally @ Life Loving

  4. I am a runner but not a ‘racer’ and I’m with you on the running outside not inside thing. Whilst I’ve always contemplated a marathon for an interesting challenge, I’ve found plenty of excuses not to actually do one, although I did recently do a 50K walk. You sound like you have a very sensible plan, its probably similar to what I would do and has the feeling of being achievable about it. New trainers sounds like a good idea – I have found the asiscs brand to be my best bet – Gel Nimbus, but it can be so individual. Make sure you go somewhere they look at your gait and recommend accordingly. Good luck with the training!

    1. I tried some Asics on today as they were my preferred choice but I’ve got quite wide feet and they felt too tight. Have ended up with some Mizuno’s. They’re a Christmas present from my other half though so I still have to wait a couple of weeks before I can wear them. Looking forward to my first run in them 🙂

  5. Well done for getting a place in the London Marathon and wishing you all the best of luck with the training and the marathon itself. My daughters’ godfather ran it a couple of years ago in aid of the paediatric intensive care unit where my eldest was cared for. It’s an amazing thing to do – although not something I could imagine doing myself as I’m not much of a runner. Hope you manage to find the perfect pair of running shoes soon.

    1. Thanks Louise. I used to class myself as a non runner and thought there was no way I’d be able to run a mile (and I couldn’t to begin with). I’ve been running for a few years now but would still not class myself as much of a runner. All relative though I guess!

  6. Hi Christine, I got butterflies reading this post. You sound like I did when we decided to do the Athens Marathon (after too many failed attempts at getting into the London Marathon). I went into Marathon training overdrive. We had to train through the summer, which wasn’t ideal as when it came to running the Marathon, the weather was the worst we’d known (we’d been over to run the 10k several times, which takes place the same day as the Marathon and the weather was always lovely).

    I know exactly where you are coming from when you say you wanted to do a large Marathon. My husbands first Marathon was on the mainland near Kalamata, and that only had 250 runners. I refused point blank to run the full distance and opted for the 10km run. My husband could be described as a natural born runner, he did it as a youngster and can go weeks without putting his running shoes on and still leave me standing. I am most defiantly a plodder.

    I am really excited for you and hope your training goes to plan. Four runs a week sound ample without risking injury. I look forward to following your progress!


    1. Thanks Debbie. Training in a Greek summer sounds pretty hard going to me! I don’t particularly like cold and wet weather but I do seem to run better in it.

      I think I’m going to need all the spectators cheering to get me around the course. Plus if people are watching I might be less inclined to stop and walk:-)

  7. Absolute ‘wow’ to this! I’m impressed when i can manage twenty minutes on the treadmill these days…suddenly getting the urge to try harder 😉
    Well done and good luck!!

    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix
    Stevie x

    1. I went on a treadmill at the weekend whilst I was having my gait analysed for new trainers. It went much faster than I’d normally run, makes me think I need to speed up a bit!

  8. Wow! Go you! I have to say that entering has crossed my mind but I don’t think I will ever do it. Ross’ father ran it this year – and he is 65 – so I totally believe that you are going to be just fine. Look forward to reading more about your training. Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo x

    1. Congratulations to Ross’s father, I’d love to be still running when I’m 65 but I’m not sure my knees will last that long!

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