The London Marathon is just one of those things someone can only dream of completing.
I’d always said I wouldn’t do the London Marathon because I was worried I’d injure myself and it would affect my work.
However, during my 10km a month for a year challenge that I set myself after the buzz I got from completing my first 10km run, I naturally progressed my running distance to half marathon distance.
Anyway, during this time I had a client who I was training for the London Marathon who ended up deferring to 2019. So I though if I’m putting in the miles during their training I may as well apply and see. Long story short I did, I got in and that client is instead my friend and running buddy!
So, that is how I ended up with £3000 to raise for The British Heart Foundation and 26.2 miles to train for. EEK!!
The start: September 2018.
The only reason I agreed to the £3000 target was because I run an annual 3 hour long fitness class. In 2018 we raised almost £1400 for the British Heart foundation. As I knew I would be planning it again in 2019, I felt confident including that in my target.
It’s very overwhelming when you have these kind of targets to hit. So I sat down and created a mini plan/list. Firstly I had to keep up my long runs at the weekends leading up to Christmas. These varied from 10 miles to 12 miles. Usually, people who have signed up for the London Marathon don’t receive their “proper” training plan until after December so I felt happy with this base distance and concentrated on foam rolling and strength training at the gym.
Then I made a list of fundraising ideas. Asked my friends and family for ideas and posted on my social media platforms. I felt like I had my Marathon ducks in a row (that doesn’t stop the looming anxiety of being nowhere near £3000 mind you).
Targets to hit in 2018 were to reach 14 miles and raise £500 by January. I need bite sized goals to reduce the over..whelmed…ness…
However, Christmas to New Year 2018 I was SO poorly. On Christmas day I went to the gym and trained with friends which was fine. Then on Boxing day I went for a run with my marathon friend but by Boxing day evening… I was absolutely on the ground and I took to my bed until New Years Eve when my partner and I crawled to a party we had tickets for and left by 9:30am. Target well and truly not hit mileage-wise.
3 weeks after my illness I attempted my first 10 mile run after being so poorly. It went absolutely fine and although I didn’t reach the 14 miles I planned to, I hit my £500 target and managed to work out a good fuelling plan.
The fuelling plan A
I am an IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) sufferer. Pasta the night before a long run doesn’t suit me. Gels and exercise drinks don’t suit me. Ever heard of runner’s squits? I say no more.
Fuelling for an event like the London Marathon takes a little trial and error, and when you find what works you stick to it!
The night before a long run I decided to carb load on fishcake and chips from the chip shop. Now, I tried this one because I have always found that this take away makes me feel full but not bloated. It gives me a damn good night’s sleep. I don’t get dehydrated or have an upset stomach the next day. Do you know what? It also fuels me VERY well for a long run it seems! It contains protein in the fish cake and plenty of carbs for my glycogen stores.
On the morning of a long run, I got up nice and early so I had time to drink a couple of coffees. Then eat a flapjack which is about 75g carbs for and I aimed to increase this to 150g as my runs increased in distance. I started to replicate everything I’d do on marathon day. Flapjack has slow and fast release sugars in, I can JUST about stomach it in the mornings (not a sweet breakfast fan) and it doesn’t sit heavy in my stomach during the run (or cause runner’s squits).
During my run, as I can’t use the gels or drinks I needed to find a sugary alternative….and that is haribo or jelly babies. I know I know, living the dream! Who WOULDN’T want to HAVE to eat chips, flapjack and sweets?!
It’s flapjack first, then after hour 1 of running I eat 40g carbs with the haribo and then every 30mins from then on is another 20g hit. So far in my training journey, this was spot on. I figured I would have to change this as my runs become even longer but finding foods that didn’t mess with my stomach is a huge achievement for me.
Jan and feb 2019
I hit my next fundraising target to £1000 and I had a gin tasting night and a beauty event in my diary as well as a half marathon event. As all of these events were getting fully booked, the pressure lifted completely and I was now enjoying my runs. I had my hotel is booked which is near a fish and chip shop for my meal the night before, winning.
Then my nan died
My wonderful nan. she was 93 years old and it was very sudden and unexpected. I took it quite badly. The day after she passed I ran my half marathon in Great Bentley. It was the worst run of my life. I equally needed to be there as much as I didn’t want to be there though and I came away with a 2hr24min time. My training then very much coasted along until her funeral took place. Once that was done I was able to focus back on my training properly. I was absolutely gutted…devastated….that I wouldn’t be able to tell her all about this marathon. Shortly after she passed a lady who attends my classes threw a coffee morning to fundraise for me. All I wanted to do was call my nan to update her on the money raised and I couldn’t. I wanted to update her a lot along this journey…you forget and still have those auto-pilot thoughts of “I’ll call nan in a min to tell her!” or at least I did.
Fuelling needed a slight tweak as I was getting to the point of needing two packs of sweets on me for marathon day! So, my cousin who ran Manchester marathon suggested I try some Clif Blok energy chews which worked WONDERS! I had reached around £2400 by late march ready for the three hour long fitness class. Mileage was up to 15 miles and I ran an official 15 miler in Colchester mid-March.
Have you ever run a marathon? Please comment your tips below! If you’d like to sponsor me or read my updates, please visit www.justgiving.com/sarah2019