It’s now starting to get a little real in terms of the London Marathon only 45 days away, days sound longer than weeks, so with the couple of weeks off I had and thinking I had thrown it all away I seem to be back into the rhythm and also on track to do some more big miles.

The one thing I have noticed with running, bearing in mind I only started in February last year, is that there are so many variables to it. Each person is so different from the next with the internet helping to fuel huge variations of what is essentially a simple sport, don’t get me wrong I really enjoy it and it has been hard sometimes but with the social media of Twitter and Instagram this helps to keep the motivation going.

I thought I would just be able to buy a pair of running shoes and go, but that isn’t as simple as it sounds with some of the shoes not right for your body, I have tried the minimal type of shoes which at the start seemed great but with the niggling pains not going or getting worse I reverted back to a more supportive shoe with my current shoe being a New Balance 1080 but in a wide fitting along with a insole from the shuropody company has really helped to ease the achillies pain that I was getting, not simple stretches really help. Some might say that minimal is supposed to be how we naturally run and its a better way but if your in pain sod that!

With the marathon coming ever closer to race day and with a half booked in this month what will I do afterwards, this has been the question that has been going on in my head recently, you condition your body to run this marathon distance and then what just stop?! Seems a little bit of a shame really to just then not do anything about it afterwards, so I have been thinking about maybe going a little further and a lot of the runners I follow are ultra runners so I guess time will tell…

Ok so I was able to do the longest distance on Saturday that I have ever been – 17.3 miles, I had planned the route first so I knew the distance would be right and I did go a little further than I had planned but hey if the mood takes you as they say.

It was a early start with a shot of beetroot juice at around 3 am and then waking up at 4:35 am to then go and get ready for the 5 am off, it really does help to get things ready the night before. I put on my Inov-8 EliteRace pack and a water bladder from my Osprey pack then put 4 gels in the side pocket with a Cliff bar in the other pocket. Normal clothing for this time of year with the added Silva head torch, and I really did need that as I had forgotten that some of the roads I ran on had the street lights switched off due to the local scheme but it added to the excitement at that time in the morning.

I tried to stick to a pace, having switched the watch to miles for I knew the true distance rather than trying to do the conversion in my head whilst running (not good at maths to start with let alone trying to run and do a divide by 1.6), so how did it go, well I was able to do the miles and didn’t stop once, used all 4 gels so will need more for any further distances which is another good test. Glad I went with the water bladder also which meant if I found it a struggle I could get a drink and sometimes a just those little things help to keep the mind in focus which means a happier time running, I was happy with the overall pace which is a real boost and proves with the next long mile run being planned for this weekend at 20 miles that I can do it with a little more prep.

  

 As you can see the time is good for a first attempt, I was a little shattered the rest of the day but felt good that I had been able to do it, means that my kind of plan is on track.

There are lots of training plans out there for running a marathon and if I am really honest I looked at all of them and haven’t really followed any of them, I might of taken certain bits from one and then a element from another but overall I haven’t followed anyone to the letter.

Why, you might ask well it’s just that life gets in the way. I have a young family and really don’t want to miss to much of that, hence why nearly all of my runs are done early morning “fasted” due to getting up whilst the rest of the house is asleep and just getting out there, it has been great to see the seasons change and how the mornings are getting lighter earlier. This way when I come back I can then spend the day with them, I have a long run planned this weekend and it will be my first over the half marathon distance so I have planned to get up around 5am to start this run but I really don’t mind going at this time knowing I will have the rest of the day.

Anyway the training has been a little mixed, just doing the training when I see fit, I run to and from work at least 2 times a week where I can do a 5k or 10k route which does help to get the base miles in along with mixing up the type of running so that it benefits me on the longer runs that I plan. After not being able to do much since the half in early Feb, I did 10 miles last weekend and this weekend plan to do around 15/16 miles which is wear I should of been a few weeks ago, my plan is to try and do a few over 20’s to get the body used to it, some might say that is wrong but I feel that my body needs to know what I have planned for it and therefore not too much of a shock so come marathon day it doesn’t go what the…..

  

 With the race predictor on my new watch I just want to get the race officials at each race to let me have those times and so not to race 😉

With the pain not really relenting I thought it was time to go and get another gait analyst done at my local Sweatshop, no harm I thought, well I came out of there a little lighter in the wallet department with some New Balance Freshfoam 1080’s. I was there around a hour and with the shop attendant really helpful and happy for me to try on different shoes etc

I took my 2 pairs of shoes and then tried on another 2 pairs with videos done for each and played back and then on to the next, even trying the molded in soles that they do. I have to say that I do feel that the time was spent wisely and with the policy discount at Sweatshop it did help to take a little bit of the sting out of it.

I settled for the 1080’s of the 860’s mainly due to the looks but in terms of overall ride and performance thought that the 1080’s would be better long term, with the others feeling a little heavy. I went for the wider fitting as my feet looked a little squashed in the normal fitting. So lets see how we go with these, 30 days to try as well so its really a win win for the customer with a good reason to make a purchase in person.

  

 They do look very racey and after a quick little loop around the block feel very nice indeed!

So everything was going well and did the half at the weekend with everything seemly falling in place, well I appear to be in a lot of pain and so have been taking it easy with the running over the last few weeks.

Everytime I try and do a 10k or even a 5k I get very bad pain in the back of my lower right leg, so much so I ran into work but had to get a lift home. I am starting to feel that I might be shoes, with some other pains starting to come now when I put these shoes on, even giving my feet and legs quite a few days rest and doing some cycling it comes straight back.

 

 I have just joined a new life cover policy provider and they give great discounts, with one of them being for Sweatshop so I think that another gait analyst is on the cards with maybe some new shoes.

I get the feeling that February could be an expensive month, we have just changed our life insurance to a new provider who give you benefits for being apart of the scheme.

Some of the benefits are

  • Free weekly Starbucks drink
  • Free cinema tickets
  • 50% off Sweatshop and Garmin/Fitbit/Polar/Misfit products

There are many more and the healthier you are the more you benefit and the lower your policy could be.

So with the above in mine I took up one of the offers and ordered a new Garmin, there wasn’t anything wrong with the TomTom sports watch and I still think it is a great product but there was 2 factors that made me want to get the Garmin.

Firstly with the marathon coming up I thought it would be a good idea that my wife and family could track me where I am and how I am doing via the online feature, yes this means having the watch and phone paired during the event but as I will need my phone anyway to make contact when I am finished I thought why not.

Secondly it was the steps counting feature for linking to our insurance account which would then allow us to track our steps, ok so maybe it was also a chance to get a new device that had a few more features and with the added bonus of a heart rate monitor built in.

  

 I went for the Forerunner 235 which I think has the best balance of features, it doesn’t have the cycling part ( I have purchased another Garmin device that will just stay with the bike Edge 20 which I am also very happy with, the size and functions are perfect for my cycling needs!), but the rest of the features really do make up for it, so I will write a month review but after opening the box and getting the watch on I have to say I am very happy!