Things they didn't tell you at the marathon chat by Becky Fennelly

Things they didn’t tell you at the marathon chat...

For the second year in a row I attended the marathon chat event. Last year I attended as a “maybe I’ll think about doing one sometime” whilst this year I was there as a “Yikes, I’m running a marathon! I need advice!”.

I picked up some good tips. Some I decided were not for me this time around (70 miles a week??!). One thing that was not covered though was not to wear brand new Dr Martens 2 days before your long run.

I love my DMs and was very happy with my new pair that I bought last week. I thought I’d wear them to run a few errands on Thursday, but after a while I could feel the right boot rubbing against my heel. By the time I got home, said heel was pretty much shredded.

I opted for Nikes on Friday over the boots but I could feel the damage done to my heel with every step and was a little apprehensive about the impact of my “injury” on my long run. Thankfully when I put my running shoes on, I was delighted to discover that they are much lower on the ankle than my Nikes and they didn’t rub at all. Crisis averted! However, I think the new boots will be sidelined until after the marathon.

The last 2 weeks have also been milestones for me as each long run has been my furthest run ever. Previously, a half marathon had been my longest distance, but as of last Saturday I am now up to 15 miles and so far so good. I also made my hills debut, although having discovered that West Walk is way longer than I thought, my return visit may not be imminent.

 I have really appreciated having my regular training buddy Che with me on long runs to keep me motivated when the miles start to bite. It was good to have Polly along for a good chunk of last week’s run too.  A few shouts of encouragement from Glenn & Nicola in the last half mile of one of our runs were also welcome.

We’ve enjoyed exploring new routes as our runs get longer. One unexpected bonus of running a long way is that I somehow managed to become the 9th fastest woman overall on a Strava segment on Saturday. As a slow runner in an area populated with many much faster runners this has never happened to me locally before. The only other time I have logged an all time trophy was when visiting my sister in Preston where it appears no-one runs!  I was the only runner in her local park on a Saturday morning and I got 3rd fastest ever on a short segment near her house.

On further inspection of Saturday’s achievement, it appears that it is a very long segment which most people do not run as a continuous run (Hanwell Flight to North Greenford). I was the 9th fastest woman because the segment has only been run 9 times! At my marathon training pace and with the amount of mud we encountered it took me 1:52:49 to complete the segment, almost an hour slower than the fastest time and a good half hour behind the 8th position (Jess Hood!).  There are a few Eagles names I recognise on the list of women faster than me for the segment. This would seem like a good segment to go after if you’re into that sort of thing since it appears to be run so rarely. I’ll be sad to lose my top ten status though. I don’t know when I’ll ever get another!