And so the story begins……..

City dweller, successful fella, thought to himself “whoops I’ve got a lot of money”……….

At this point, you have either been ear-wormed by the wonderful Country House by Blur, or you have absolutely no idea what the start of this post is all about.

Either way, my training has begun in earnest. Ran intervals yesterday. Out for a long hike early this morning with my mate Ant, and I have a 10 mile run scheduled for tomorrow. I will probably actually run about 14.5km (just over 9 miles), just because this is a nice route from my mother-in-law’s back home.

This morning’s walk – hilly!

Combining running back from places I have been with the family is one of my little tricks for getting some decent long runs in, whilst not missing out on family time at the weekend. If you have gone further afield than your run dictates, just get dropped off at the right distance from home then run on back.

As the distance in marathon training increases, you start to face the quandary of fueling and hydrating yourself. As a rule of thumb, I tend to be able to run for about 90 minutes with no food or hydration at all (depending on the temperature). When we get up towards the 10 mile region, I am likely to be running about 2 hours as I will be going at a nice slow pace. This means I am likely to require both some fuel and some hydration.

And that’s when I developed my drinking problem

Fuel is usually in the format of gels for training runs. If you are reading this and are a non-runner, these gels are essentially a thick sort of sugary paste in a handy foil pack. Nice and easy to carry and you can wedge a few in your pockets and don’t necessarily need to carry a backpack. Very good for fueling on the go.

Water is not so easy, as to carry a reasonable amount you need to either carry a bottle in your hand (it tends to get warm and not very palatable if you do this), carry it on some sort of waist belt (I have never gotten on with these) or carry a backpack with water in it.

My main issue with backpacks is that I find that they warm me up, a lot. Not being able to lose heat through my back means that I tend to run a lot hotter than I would like (one for the pun fans).

So essentially, for these “shorter” long runs (in my case ones under 2 hours), there is not really a good option for me. As it happens, I don’t have any gels and am not going to go out and buy any in the morning, so will probably just run carrying a bottle of water tomorrow and see if I can hang on with no fuel. It is only 10 miles, so should be possible.

At the same time as the marathon training, I am also trying to train for the 3 Peaks Challenge. For those of you not familiar with this, The 3 Peaks Challenge involves trying to summit the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales respectively. These are Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon. You have to try and do all this in 24 hours. Usually this is about 13 hours of hillwalking with 11 hours of driving in-between.

In my usual style, I have just decided to randomly do this with my mate Ant. Neither of us has any hill walking experience to speak of, but he is a fit fella and good company so we just decided to give it a go. I am far behind him on fitness, but reckon I should be able to keep up. We take on this challenge at the end of July.

I am hoping that the hiking and hill walking training for the 3 Peaks Challenge compliments the marathon training, but there is a real risk of me doing too much and getting injured if I push the training too far. On the other hand, if I do not do enough training and I get in trouble on one of these mountains due to a lack of fitness, that would also be bad.

I feel that as an endurance athlete (and it is a real stretch calling me any sort of athlete, but please just indulge me) this is the tightrope that you are always walking. You need to push hard enough so your body adapts, but if you push too hard you get injured.

The good news is that the human body is capable of some phenomenal things when needed. Training for a marathon is tough. Chucking in the 3 Peaks Challenge in the middle of this makes it tougher. Plus I have a 100KM through hike with my wife at the start of September.

If there is ever going to be a time that my body decides to be phenomenal, it needs to be over the next 14 weeks.

Wish me luck. I think I am gonna need it.



Is it safe to start (Daisy’s) dreaming yet?

As I write this post, on Wednesday 15th June, I am reminded of two very important things.

  1. Today is my 10th wedding anniversary (don’t worry, I remembered and got both a card and a present).
  2. It is precisely 108 days until the London Marathon. Or if you prefer, 15 weeks and 3 days.

Most marathon training plans are 16 weeks long (or at least the ones I write are), so you will be pleased to hear that I have been out running and the training is precisely on track. To be fair, after just 4 days you would expect it to be going fairly well, so I am not that sure this is something to shout about, but I will take any win where I can get it.

It is around this time, when marathon runners start their training “for real”, that people’s minds can drift to the big day.

For many, especially first time marathon runners, the event itself can seem very daunting. Thoughts such as “I struggle to run 5 miles, how am I ever going to be able to run 26?”, or “I don’t look like a runner. I don’t feel like a runner. What am I doing?” may start to sneak into a runners mind.

For me, I am no different to the rest. Yes I have completed a few marathons in my time, but the training and the event is equally as daunting no matter how many you have run before. But I do have one advantage. I can start to dream!

I can visualise what it might be like out there on the course. Imagine the supporters cheering me over Tower Bridge. Imagine passing all the landmarks, like the Cutty Sark, Big Ben and Parliament, the O2, Canary Wharf, The Tower of London and many more. I can wonder about what the weather will be like. Whether I will be injury free (fingers crossed) on the day. I can imagine a world of possibilities.

The dream, for me, is very real. I have always wanted to run London Marathon. It is virtually impossible to get a place via the ballot these days. I think the odds are around 40/1. This is why my charity place through Daisy’s Dream is so important to me. Such a wonderful charity, giving me the opportunity to run the race I have watched so many times on TV, and dreamt of running since I first took running up in my mid 30’s.

But sadly, you cannot dream your way round a marathon course. There is a LOT of work to be done before the big day. Lots of miles to run. Lots of preparation. I need to be both mentally and physically ready. This is where having marathon experience does come in handy. I know roughly how to train. I understand how much I can put my body through without getting injured. On the mental side of things, I am in the fortunate position of being 100% confident. This comes with experience, and willpower. My determination (others may call this stubbornness) means that if I start the race, I will finish it. After all, I managed to run almost 40 miles with 3 broken ribs (I’ll tell you that story another day), so if I can do that, I can do anything!

So as you read this, and I sit here gazing out my window at home, wondering just how hot it is today and convincing myself that running in this heat at lunchtime is madness (don’t worry, I will go anyway), please spare a thought for all us runners.

1000’s of us have just started our London Marathon training plans. We are excited and terrified in equal measure. There are so many things that can go wrong, but also so many things that can go right. This is the way of the runner. Whether we are fast or slow, old or young, skinny or not so skinny (like me), we all share the same dream. To cross that finish line in London on the 2nd October and in my case, and likely most others, to raise plenty of money for our chosen charities.

If you feel inspired, there are some exciting opportunities for you to get involved in raising some money for Daisy’s Dream, with places in both the Virtual London Marathon and the Big Half up for grabs. Follow the links below for more information.

The Big Half –

Virtual London Marathon –

Will be updating twice a week for a while, moving onto three times a week in the run into the marathon. So if you like my posts, please use the link at the top right hand side of this blog post to subscribe to my mailing list, so you don’t miss any updates.

Speak soon all, and for my fellow runners, good luck for your training. Remember, the event itself is just a 26 mile run. All the hard work is done in training, so make sure to enjoy as much of it as you can. The training lasts a lot longer than the event itself! A LOT longer!!!!!