Did I mention I’m running 3 marathons?

You’re nearly there.. all that hard work.. all that training.. all that focus.. almost time to put it to the test.. with 2 weeks to go until the first 26.2 miles are conquered means that as the training miles start to decrease, the focus and energy is transferred away from the pavement and the legs to the mind.. All those doubts start to creep in.. have I trained enough? Are my legs going to be up to the task? Will I get enough sleep the night before? And probably the most important.. Why the hell did I sign up for 3 when I’ve never completed one.. Idiot.

So with all those questions looming and this mornings 12 mile run you probably think that I would just be taking it easy this weekend and staying off my feet.. wrong. Did I mention I moved house this weekend? Did I also mention that my wife and daughter went away to a 3 day festival 6 hours after we got the keys? Having spent the majority of the weekend scrubbing, cleaning, hoovering and packing boxes (and that’s just the old house) followed by putting beds together, setting up the sky and internet (important) and unpacking boxes at the new one.. it really has been manic. The fact that I also attended one of my best friends stag nights last night too (just soda water and blackcurrant for me please) and then managed to get up and nail a 12 mile run in a good strong time is testament to all the hard work I have done over the past few months. I’ve already achieved things that I didn’t think I could and I’m proud of myself regardless of what my marathon times end up being.

As you’ve read these blogs posts you may have noticed that I haven’t really put too much attention on timings.. and for good reason. For me.. it doesn’t matter what the times are.. and for me to be able to motivate others I don’t want it to matter. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve read other blogs and other posts that literally focus on how great the person is and how they ran a marathon in 45 minutes.. hopping, on their weaker foot.. with their eyes closed. Awesome.. Doesn’t exactly motivate me to give it a go though.. doubt you fancy it either.. For me, my journey has been about continuing to show you that you can achieve great things when you put your mind to it and challenge yourself. I don’t care how long it takes you.. what I care about is the fact that you read this, you planned a route, you got your gym gear on and you gave it a go. And more importantly you enjoyed it and did it again a few days later!

So enough about you.. this is my blog so I’m just gunna crack on talking about me.. Having completed the 12 miles this morning and then got all the housework done (hurry up and come home Jen.. its hard) I’m feeling surprisingly good.. I’m a little concerned about some pain in my knees and do find it difficult to get up the stairs a little bit, but at the same time it hasn’t had much affect on my running and means I’m just putting a little bit more focus on stretching before and after the training runs. To be honest being on the home stretch I just want it out of the way now.. Having almost left the gym completely and focused on road running and the Friday night spin sessions (at the gym).. I haven’t lifted weights for a good while.. and I’m missing it.. I almost miss the idiots in there that spend hours looking in the mirror and texting in between grunt sets… Ok maybe I don’t miss that part.. When I get past these marathons and cut down the distances I’m running I feel like I’ve got my body to a point where I can incorporate some really valuable cardio sessions in between weight sessions.. Knowing my own limitations I don’t think my next challenge could be anything above a marathon distance or a triathlon considering the fact that I hate swimming. I’ve put so much time into this I’m just looking forward to relaxing, having a holiday and leaving my trainers in a cupboard for a bit!

13th September – Hull Marathon
20th September – Bath Two Tunnels Marathon
27th September – Robin Hood Nottingham Marathon

It tires me just writing down those events! With a wedding to attend on the 12th the first marathons routine is going to be challenging.. but I’m confident. For Bath I’m going on the friday night so feel like I’ll have some valuable time to settle and relax.. No doubt my wife and daughter will be off exploring and no doubt I’ll get dragged along for a bit (I’ll pretend I dont want to).. but it should be a great experience and I’ll know what to expect having ran the week before! The challenge will then come to a conclusion in Nottingham.. then I can rest.. and eat.. a lot.

I’d like to thank all the people that have left me some amazing advice to help me through the training. You have no idea how much it has helped and how grateful I am. As a novice in this whole running thing.. its been invaluable.. so thank you!

To finish I just want to rant about something that’s been on my mind for literally my entire training.. why the hell does everybody all of a sudden want to be a cyclist? I cant believe how many middle aged men I see riding past me in full Lycra with a go pro camera attached to their helmet.. I know Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome have inspired a lot of people but come on.. Every time I step out the house to run I feel like I’m interrupting the tour de’ France. I guess I just get a bit jealous that they get to sit down and I don’t…

2 weeks and counting..

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It never gets easier you just get stronger..

I used to be the type of kid that would always think the sky is falling. Why am I so differently wired in my noggin? ‘Cause sporadic as my thoughts come, it’s mind boggling. ‘Cause I obsess on everything in my mind small shit bothers me…. (Eminem – Legacy)

You know when you hear something and it just makes sense? I get that from a lot of Eminem tracks Iv’e heard over the years.. and not because my mums on crack or anything.. haha. Well she might be.. I always wonder who the strange guy is that she used to meet up with outside Asda or why we had to enter that witness protection program.. never really put much thought into it. Anyway.. back to my point.. Its lyrics such as the above that I relate to.. As I’ve discussed over the past few weeks I find it really hard to focus on my training when I have a lot on my mind.. at the moment nothing is ringing truer.. I’ll be honest and say its taking quite a lot to actually stick with it and to go through with the events at the moment.. With a lot of personal things happening I need to focus on the fact that I’ve put so much into this.. I’ve given it absolutely everything and more.. I’ve put it before almost everything. I’ve planned my entire life around training on the evenings and on the weekends. My wife and daughter are sick of seeing me stretching in the middle of the kitchen or inquiring if anyone’s been drinking my isotonic drinks.. It’s things like this which make me determined not to give up. Oh and the fact that loads of people have sponsored me and would probably get pissed off if I gave up.

Leading up to the 22 miles I completed on Sunday I’ve started to stray from the training plan I’ve been following. I’m not too worried about it because as previously discussed I feel its important to work to what is right for your own body. When your aching, rest up and go harder tomorrow. With a run on the agenda later I may just have to take this advice.. Resting will give me everything I need to be stronger, faster and more determined to finish the week strong.. Not listening to my body and not resting will mean the fatigue will take over and every session would be pointless. With a half marathon distance to complete on Sunday I’m determined to once again beat my quickest time.. and I’m confident I will.

I’m also starting to think I haven’t chosen the best time to move house.. but that’s another story! Whilst getting to a point where I’m counting down the days until the 3 marathons are out of the way I’m also looking forward to it all.. I know I can finish them and I’m confident I can recover in the 6 days in between each one. Does anyone have any advice on this? Obviously not many people are stupid enough to do marathons on consecutive weekends so there aren’t many plans around which say what to do exercise wise and diet on the days in between each one.. Obviously the evening after the last one will consist of just Pizza and Whisky.. standard.

Part of me wishes I’d only signed up for one.. that I could prepare and then celebrate my achievement.. however part of me knows I wouldn’t be satisfied with that.. I think I proved this by booking a half marathon the day after a 10K and a marathon the day after the half. I’m always striving for more.. I constantly feel like I have something to prove to not only others but myself.. that I always need a goal.. something to aim for.. Without this my days have no meaning and seem irrelevant. On 28th September I have no idea what that goal will evolve into.. Whilst I’m intrigued to find out I’m also concerned for my well being.. after all.. I never do anything by halves..

The body achieves what the mind believes.

If you believe in something.. you can achieve it. This was the only thing on my mind from midday on Sunday.

  
To set the scene.. preparation was good.. having spent the early afternoon at the Chinese buffet  for my wife’s birthday I resisted all the spicy temptations in front of me.. Opting for a few chips and some rice washed down with some water.. (And some olives weirdly enough)

 
I was feeling good.. but most importantly I was feeling confident. The evening brought my usual cheese pizza and an early night with the alarm firmly set for 6am. Once that alarm went off I was up and down the stairs preparing the standard long run day breakfast and its routine I have previously discussed.. (don’t worry I wont bore you with it again!).. Fast forward to 9am and I was hitting the start button on mapmyrun (which I highly recommend as an app for any keen runners) and setting off to attempt something Id never done before.. that 20+ run marker.. 22 miles.. i was firmly coming for you.. By now I know your all on the edge of your seat waiting to find out how it went.. well to do things slightly different tonight.. heres the mindset I went through:

Mile 1: I’ve got this.. only another 21 miles to go.. jesus that’s a lot.. i’ve got another 3 and a half hours of this..
Mile 2: It’s really warm today.. should probably be going a bit quicker but really dont want to tire myself out this early.. Why the hell have I got a stitch?
Mile 3: Wonder where this way goes?
Mile 4: Ah yeah.. that old fella is way ahead of me.. bet hes not going as far as me though so it doesn’t matter.
Mile 5: Right Im going to run along this canal for the next 9 miles.. then if I just turn back on I can run 8 and a bit back and then i’ll have a bit of a stretch to walk it off afterwards.
Mile 6: Another 3 hours to go at this pace I reckon..
Mile 7: Almost a 3rd of the way there now.. jesus is that all.
Mile 8. This was a lot easier last weekend..
Mile 9: There are so many canal boats out today.. I cant be bothered to wave at them all so Ill just put my head down and pretend I havent seen you..
Mile 10: Double figures.. we got this.. Nearly half way.
Mile 11: What is with all these canal boats?
Mile 12: Right.. almost time to turn around..
Mile 13: Thats half a marathon done.. on the return leg now.. wonder if ive got enough water to last..
Mile 14: This music is doing my head in..
Mile 15: Why cant I stop staring at the stats on my Adidas Micoach gps watch..(turns it off).
Mile 16: Thats better.. this music is still driving me crazy.. (turns it off)
Mile 17: Feels weird running without music on.. no mate I’m not going to wave at you..
Mile 18: Right.. anything onwards is new territory
Mile 19: Ive ran out of water..

Id just like to say.. at this point I ran past a pub and for the first time ever had decided to run with a little bit of cash in case of an emergency.. altho running by a canal id say the only emergency would have been either falling in or getting beaten up by a goose. So yeah.. I ventured into ‘The Plough’ pub.. full running gear on obviously.. ask for a bottle of water.. and the woman felt the need to ask.. “Still or Sparkling”.. yes love.. definately sparkling.. throw in ice and a slice of lemon whilst were at it yeah? Crazy! Anyway.. must crack on..

Mile 20: This is when I started doubting myself.. and had to literally talk to myself out loud to get through it.. it was difficult but I wasnt going to give up.. the walking became more frequent but no way was I giving up.
Mile 21: Almost there.. another few minutes and its done.
Mile 22: Im done.

I really did give it everything and really surprised myself.. My time wasnt great and was much slower than the minutes per mile I did 18 miles in a few weeks ago but for me it was about completing the distance and putting in the miles on the legs rather than knackering myself out early on and not finishing it..

Im now completely confident I can run 26.2 miles.. and I will..

My legs are still incredibly heavy but tonight (tuesday) I managed the scheduled 6.1 miles and felt pretty good.. happy with that considering I put myself through 4 hours of hell only 24 hours previous.

19 days to go…….

I’ve learnt so much about myself over the past few months and achieved things I didnt think I could. I really hope reading about my journey can inspire you to achieve something yourself.. put down that second iced bun and set yourself some targets.. break them down into something manageable and focus.. Its as simple as that.

…Your focus determines your reality

Are you ready? It’s a phrase you spend your who life either asking or being asked.. When you’re younger and being shouted at by your mother who is impatiently waiting by the front door to go and do the food shopping..(who the hell wants to go food shopping at 9am on a saturday morning anyway).. when you’re a miserable teenager, again being questioned by your mother who’s on the 3rd attempt at getting you out of bed for school.. Fast forward to being asked the same question by the recruiter on the day of the interview for that job you really want.. To your best man asking you the same thing the morning of your wedding.. It really is a question we never truly get away from. I think as you take more responsibility for your own existence and actions in life its a question you often ask yourself often as self reflection.. I’m not counting the 50 times a day it gets asked as a parent here.. lets forget that side of things!

So are you ready? Whatever it is your getting ready for.. are you? I asked myself that very question yesterday evening. I’d ended the day quite successfully with a 6.5 mile run covering a new route in the rain. I love running in bad weather.. not only does it keep you really cool but it means there are less people around to get in the way.. Having taken an extra rest day after the half marathon distance at the weekend I knew my body needed to be feeling good so I could feel positive going into the weekends 22 mile session. Luckily, my focus was good and my legs were up to the task..  With another hour session tonight and my standard friday 60 minute spin bike session tomorrow.. I think Sunday will truly be make or break.. and I have no intention of it being the latter.

I am ready. I’m ready to hit 22 miles like it’s never been hit before.. to put my body through what I’m guessing will be about 3 n a half hours of hell whilst loving every second of it.. If I can get through this I know I’ll be ‘marathon ready’. Having already completed 18 miles a few weeks ago I know I have nothing to be scared of and just need to relax and have faith in my abilities. It’s been one hell of a journey so far but one I am really enjoying.. On Sunday morning my focus will well and truly define my reality. It will be the longest distance I cover as I enter the ‘3 week taper’ to the first marathon and with my best friends wedding the morning before, I’m hoping to be as relaxed as possible.. Just the small task of moving house next weekend (I don’t do anything by halves!) to get through first and aforementioned friends stag do.. (just a water for me please mate).

No matter what my marathon times end up being.. like I’ve said over and over.. I’m no elite athlete.. I’m no long term distance runner.. I’m an average guy with a desire to succeed. I want to make my family proud and I want to do it with a smile on my face. You can sit there tucking into your donut with your morning coffee whilst telling yourself that its fine to have a treat once in a while.. the same treat you allowed yourself yesterday.. but I wont be. Yeah I may be slightly judgemental and struggle not to give some comment or other.. (I mean why hold back when it comes so naturally to me?).. If your happy with the way you are then fine.. but why be content with ‘average’? I think with a little focus and commitment anyone can achieve great success.. Put it this way.. on 28th September, some idiot from the Midlands with a incredible talent for blogging is going to wake up with 3 marathon medals on the bedside table.. Whoever that guy is.. If he can do that..imagine what you are capable of.. You just have to give it a go..

Always remember, your focus determines your reality. George Lucas

Nothings wrong I’ve just got a lot on my mind…

For as long as I can remember I have always regarded running as a way of alleviating stress or a way to clear your mind of anything that’s troubling you.. Being someone that has a run a hell of a lot of miles over the past few months I believe it to be completely false.. If anything it makes it worse! I know people will say that it gives you time to mull things over and to think clearly as your running but I completely disagree.. with long distance running, if anything it makes you over think everything!

Being newly married and having a soon to be a teenage step daughter means there is often a lot of stress in our house.. admittedly most of it is caused by me! My wife and I also have quite hectic jobs and as I’ve previously mentioned she uses her spare time to complete further accountancy qualifications which leaves her quite tired most days.. I do admire her for how much she actually manages to fit into her day with me moaning added to that! So with all these stressful situations that occur both at work and at home you think I would look forward to an evening run to clear my head and just hit the pavement alone with only my music and my thoughts as company.. its these thoughts however that usually disrupt the running!

Ever since I was younger my mum always used to say, “Never go to bed on an argument”.. and its something that’s stayed with me all my life so far. It does mean that on occasion I follow my wife round the house ‘attempting’ to sort the row.. which annoys the hell out of her as shes a “walk round in silence for 2 days” kind of person.. I get her methods though as my way usually makes things 10 times worse! So when these scenarios occur and I’m scheduled to run it puts me off completely..Yeah it gives me chance to work out why I’ve been an idiot and how I can sort it out but it also makes me just want to go home and do it.. which doesn’t help when im 10 minutes into a 2 hour run.. If its work related its slightly easier since I have no choice but to wait until the next morning but it still isn’t helpful. My ideal scenario is.. music on and a smile on my face (if you know me your probably shocked that I smile occasionally!)  and this is what brings my eagerness to succeed in that particular session. I have to get myself completely in the zone otherwise I’m constantly staring at my current distance and times or shuffling through songs after they’ve played for about 10 seconds.. Without getting to this zone it just doesn’t work. That coupled with getting my routines completely right mean there is high potential for disaster.. I know what your saying.. “Just stop being a douche bag Ben”.. but that’s easier said than done! I’ve never been great at communicating out loud (which I guess is proven by my obvious writing talents!) and having come from a broken home never really understood the mechanics of a ‘happy family’.. Yeah I was never unhappy and my family have done a hell of a lot for me over the years but at the same time we’ve also never been that ‘picturesque family setup’.. It’s made me who I am today so in some respects I’m glad things worked out the way they did as it makes me strive to achieve things on my own..

I guess my incredible desire to succeed in these marathon attempts is down to my need to prove to not only myself but everyone else that I’m capable of achieving great things and that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I also want to be inspiration to anyone else who’s spent their life feeling like they’re average and only capable of mediocre successes. Your only limiting your own potential if you think that way and that’s something I’ve only recently come to realise.. you waste so much time stuck in this mindset when you could just be getting on with it.

I’d be interested to hear from other marathon trainers about how their frame of mind at the time affects their training. I know it can be slightly easier on the shorter runs but what about the longer ones?

People do always say my wife deserves a medal for putting up with me so maybe I should give her one of my marathon ones? Does that count?

Social Media… Good or Bad?

Lets be honest.. everyone loves social media. I hear so many people slating Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.. myself included.. yet everybody loves attention in some shape or form and loves to know what everyone else is up to. We cant help ourselves.. It’s literally become a staple part of everyone’s daily routine. Whether it be waking up and checking Facebook literally the second you open your eyes.. or checking Instagram every time you get a few spare minutes at work.. I know Facebook is a lot more personal and a lot more friend/family based so yeah its a great tool for keeping up with people you hardly see.. It’s also become the norm that you could see someone for the first time in years and them be able to tell you how great you looked on your recent holiday and that you and your new partner make a great couple. We’ve all just come to accept it.

Personally, living far away from my family and lots of my friends means Facebook is a great tool to stay ‘in the loop’. It also means my mum can see what I’m up to without me having to call her regularly.. (bonus!…sorry mum). I think the ‘birthday Facebook’ message has also become a staple part of society too.. you could send expensive flowers and a fantastic card but unless you’ve written it on Facebook you will be in the bad books..

Instagram is a strange outlet.. I love it. Second only to my new found love of WordPress of course. The fact that it engages over 300 million active monthly users (Yes I Googled that) is insane.. It’s a great way to also connect with friends and family but on a much more impersonal level.. It’s essentially a platform for you to see pictures of people better looking than you, living lives far better than your own.. yet it will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.. Its like that dodgy soap opera you’ll never admit to liking.. we as a society just cant get enough!

Since I started my marathon training I’ve predominantly used it as a way of people to see how I’m getting on, and also post motivational images I may find across the internet. Yeah I don’t have thousands of followers or own a Ferrari.. but I enjoy posting on it and enjoy the level of engagement I get from it. To be honest what inspired this post is quite amusing actually.. in my blog post on Sunday I posted an image of the Pizza I made, as part of my ‘night before’ long run regime.. This picture is currently my ‘most liked’ photo on Instagram.. surpassing all of my motivational imagery and training photos! Its instances like this that make you realise just how superficial social media can be at times.. especially Instagram. Scanning through the comments section of a famous persons Instagram posts can be as amusing as watching any top comedian.. Like I’ve highlighted above.. unless you look like Zac Efron, The Rock, are a member of One Direction or have the surname Kardashian people simply aren’t interested.. This doesn’t mean whatever your posting isn’t interesting or isn’t relevant to someone.. or that your any less of a person to those mentioned above.. It just means your not attracting the right audience.. and maybe your correct audience isn’t even on social media.. To be honest the amount of things being posted every second of the day, your lucky to be seen by any one of any relevance..

Facebook has definitely helped me during my training. Its been great to get good luck messages if I’ve posted about an up and coming ‘long run’ or well done messages after posting how I got on.. Using ‘MapmyRun’ gives the option to link with Facebook and I find it really handy.. I posted about the half marathon distance I was running on Sunday and got lots of well wishes beforehand.. It really did spur me on as I didn’t want to let these people down or have to go through the task of letting them know I hadn’t achieved my goal.. (I was 34 seconds out ok just let it go!!)

I’m still incredibly undecided how I truly feel about social media but it definitely wont stop me continuing to post as I lead up to my 3 marathons. Even if deep down people only want to see me post pictures of pizza! I’d be interested to hear about the part it plays in motivating you and links in with your fitness/training goals. Let me know!

Id also like to take the opportunity to clarify that my wife hasn’t ever given me a ‘left hook’.. that she’s lovely and would never beat me. (shes made me write this, call for help).

As always, cheer for reading!

Warning – Do not Approach!

Over the years I’ve come to realise that despite being incredibly helpful, and always there for the people who need me to be (and did I mention modest?) that I’m also pretty unapproachable at times.. (ok a lot of the time!).. During my training I’ve also learnt that this is multiplied by 10 the day after a long run.

Over the past 3+ months as I’ve improved my running capabilities and physical fitness I’ve pushed both my body and my mind further than my previously perceived limitations. Its important that you develop both at the same time because as I previously found out.. if your mind doesn’t think you can do it then it doesn’t mean a thing if your legs think they can.. It becomes irrelevant.. You won’t get there.

So as I was saying.. by pushing myself to the limit yesterday meant that my mind as well as my body was obviously going to fatigued.. and no matter how much food you consume to replenish what you’ve burnt (damn that pick and mix yesterday was good.. ok and the 10 biscuits.. and the malt loaf).. I don’t believe anyone can wake up feeling ready to do it all over again without some level of mental fatigue.. yes if your an elite athlete you’ll manage a lot better but if we say I worked at 95% of my capability yesterday.. then if an elite athlete worked at the same level of theirs would they still be walking with a spring in their step this morning? I’m not so sure..

Whilst I’m not aching as much as I would have expected I’m mentally fatigued.. its a hard feeling to comprehend because whilst I’m not feeling ‘tired’ or ‘worn out’ I just feel completely on edge.. I feel like if anybody wants to test me then there is definitely a diving headbutt coming their way.. or if they’re bigger than me ‘a strong APPROACH-WITH-CAUTIONworded letter’. Its a weird head space to be in to be honest because I know im in it.. usually when people are in a bad mood they will deny it and just think everyone else is being unreasonable.. I’m definitely one of these people. However I know my own current thought processes are unreasonable and that it isn’t the norm for me.. Does anyone else experience this? Many of you may not have even thought about it and simply thought they didn’t get enough sleep.. but I’m sure everyone has felt it in some shape or form during their own training regimes.

To be honest I’m glad its happening for the simple fact that in completing 3 consecutive marathons over 14 days I’m obviously going to be fatigued in every way possible. I have no doubts that for 3 weeks Monday mornings are going to be an absolute nightmare. That’s why I’m hoping I can learn a few things from this experience as I come to the end of my training..

What probably doesn’t help is that I thought considering next Sunday is a 22 mile training session that this week would be pretty easy on the build up to the run.. how wrong I was.. the next 5 days training are some of the longest ‘warm up’ runs I’ve done! Your feeling sorry for me right? Oh your not? … Fine.

I know that tomorrow is a new day and that after a good rest this evening I’ll be ready to press on and prepare myself for Sunday. That however doesn’t help the here and now.. what methods do you use to overcome this kind of fatigue (other than destroying every single human being you come into contact with).. I’ve read my company handbook and I think that’s frowned upon unfortunately. It doesn’t however say that smiling is obligatory..

Don’t worry.. I’ll be friendly tomorrow 🙂

Looking forward to getting your thoughts based on your own experiences.

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So what’s made you smile this weekend?

I remember when weekends used to be about ‘relaxing’ and ‘ taking it easy’ after a hard slog at the office all week.. since the marathon training began however, weeekends became the place where the hard miles truly take place. Training sessions Tuesday – Friday being all about shorter distances and getting more hours in on the legs and Saturday about preperation for the ‘long run’ Sunday session.

Today was half marathon distance.. 13.1 miles. Having ran 2 event half marathons this year with times of 2hrs1min and 2hrs4mins I was confident I could better these times even if it was only by a second.. Id broken the 2 hour mark once before during training for these half events.. so knew I was capable.. Id decided that if I couldnt after all the training and being only 4 weeks from my first marathon then I may have a slight problem!

To give you an insight into my preperation (whether it be right or wrong for you I dont know).. all I know is it works for me. If you couldnt care less what my prep is and just enjoy my witty jottings then scroll down a bit further.. Id understand as like i said theres nothing I hate more than a blog which details someones entire workout regime and not a great deal else.. I’ll try to keep this brief:

Night before:

  • No fizzy drinks consumed the day before a long run. I only drink coke zero anyway but I avoid these and stick to water the night before.
  • My dinner is aways a homemade cheese pizza with light mozerella topping and a few vegetables. I avoid any meat or spices. (the other one is the wifes!) IMG_5415
  • Filter coffee with dinner. (without going into too much detail this helps me with my stomach during my morning routine on ‘race day’!)
  • Sip water during the majority of the evening.
  • Plan your route! It really does help to try a new route for those longer runs so you dont get bored and continue to push yourself.

Run day:

I’ll try to replicate the timings of an actual race as best I can. I really recomend this for your own training. For example most races start between 9-10am.. with this in mind I’ll get up at 6.30am to prepare my breakfast (no sunday lie ins in this dojo im affraid!).

  • Breakfast consists of 3 poached eggs, 2 slices of white bread and brown sauce (love it, dont judge me).
  • 1 filter coffee with creamIMG_5027
  • Keep sipping water
  • Stretch
  • Take energy gels with you
  • Vaseline! I use Carmex which I definately recommend

Consuming this by 7am means my body has 2 hours to digest the food and also means theres enough time to ensure Im not caught short during my run and so I dont have to take the andrex puppy along with me.

Anyways.. thats an insight into my routine and if you found it shit then fair enough! If any of it was helpful then feel free to incorporate it into your own routine and let me know if it works for you. I’m also open to any suggestions if you think my routine could be adjusted to my advantage!

So the prep was back on track, I felt I’d got it spot on and followed it the best I could. I didnt let the disappointment of ‘Match of the Day’ not having recorded get to me and to my luck, all the goals were on sky sports news as I ate my eggs. Lovely.. Coupled with the knowledge that Arsenal v Crystal Palace and Man City v Chelsea were on the agenda later in the day, the day had definately started off well.. I usually get ready half hour before I intend to run after an hour on my Xbox to relax. This gives me a good 20 minutes of stretching, listening to music and getting in the zone for the hours ahead. This time I decided to post on facebook my aim, which was to achieve a half marathon time of 1hr 55. With my marathon pace being 9 minute miles this would ensure that I was running pretty much on track with this (slightly quicker) heading into the next few weeks. My thinking behind this was that during my run I wouldnt want to write on facebook that Id failed.. so this spurred me on.. It definately helped in the last few minutes so Id definately recommend setting youself some goals.

Fast forward 2 hours and Id completed the run.. I definately messed up with the ammount of hills in the last couple of miles but I’d done it. This is the part where I will say that because youve all read my journey so far (and no doubt see me as a friend now).. that your going to let me off the 34 seconds.. My half marathon personal best is now 1hr 55 mins, 34 seconds.. A time im incredibly proud of..and let me just say I dont care if your reading this as an elite runner whos completing them closer to an  hour than 2.. I started this blog for the average guy, looking to better themselves.. so if your laughing at that time.. jog on.. literally. To be honest Im sure your not.. Ive had some great comments from guys achieving amazing marathon times and it’s much appreciated..

IMG_5442-0Stretching, a few sports drinks and a shower later and I was ready to watch Arsenal with my favourite post run treat.. a pick n mix.. (obviously after id had something more substantial)..

I had a smile on my face as the clock struck midday and I thought about all the people who were probably only just waking up or tucking into their fry ups..  I promised myself I’d achieve big things this year.. and that hasnt changed..  Everything is on track and that negative blip is a thing of the past now.. (I hope).

So.. 4 weeks to go.. what next? Well next sunday is 22 miles training distance.. and that will be the longest distance I’ll cover before I line up on race day ready to compete. It probably doesnt help that Saturday is my wifes birthday.. and I dont think she would appreciate a night in with a homemade pizza again! (remember that left hook I told you about!!)..Luckily she’s had her present early so no last minute rushing around.. (Iwatch incase you wondered!)..  As I sit here aching massively I find it hard to work out how Im feeling about next weeks distance.. but thats natural after today. Completing long distances leaves you mentally as well as physically drained and I’m also certain its a feeling I’ll revisit the days in between my consecutive marathons.. and I’m ready for it.. rest day tomorrow and 5 days training and I’ll be ready to achieve another personal achievement in completing my longest ever distance (the current being 18 miles).. any Idea what kind of time I should be aiming for?? Let me know.

The final test I have to face this evening is struggling my way down the stairs to go get the biscuits.. Hard work PAYS off.. put in the work and treat yourself.. Or do fuck all and just feel sorry for yourself and eat the whole packet.. something tells me that if your following this blog you wont take that option.. Ive read some great blogs since I joined this site and I look forward to hearing how your own journeys are going..

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Shout out to everyone reading my journey from countries I never imagined would give a shit about some idiot from the UK running 3 marathons.. Thanks for your support!

You can’t do this alone…

Everybody would like to think they’re capable of achieving greatness by themselves.. the simple fact is they’re not. The fact is, it isn’t possible. No matter who you are, whatever your situation and whatever your sport.. let’s take boxing for example.. on face value its a individual sport.. one guy attempting to kill another guy and survive at the same time, ducking and weaving avoiding potential life threatening blows.. behind that though there’s an entire team who’ve got that guy to the position he currently stands in. Those early starts, those intense training sessions. The strict dieting.. everything has been calculated with precision and achieved as a team.. to be great you have to acknowledge these things. You have to know that to truly achieve everything you want to you have to take many people along for the ride. People who will bring out the best in you, challenge you, pick you up when your down and have faith in you at times you may not have faith in yourself.

I’ve come to realise that marathon training is very much like the above. It takes a lot of understanding and sacrifice to truly succeed and not just your own. I see people like Mo Farah tweeting from training camps whilst hundreds if not thousands of miles away from his wife and children. All to better himself and achieve individual greatness. His wife’s name will never be in the record books..but she is just as responsible for his success as he is.. marriage is all about teamwork and its this teamwork which means people such as Mo are capable of achieving huge individual successes.

To give you a little bit of insight into my life.. which I’m hoping wont bore you all too much as your now on this journey with me. Id first like to thank everyone that’s been keeping up with my blog.. I’ve had some incredible comments and lots of views so far and I hope this continues.. As a friend keeps telling me he doesn’t think it will be long until people work out I’m a bit of an idiot! (he used a much more colourful word which Ill leave to your interpretation!) I’m hoping this is after the marathons though as its helping having such interest in my journey and it really does spur me on.. anyway.. I digress.. I’m 28 years old from the UK (I’m northern born but https://tomfazakerley.wordpress.com is convinced I’m southern due to my relocation early on in my life). I’m married to an amazing woman and have a 12 year old step daughter who challenges me every second of everyday.. I feel like she is taking revenge for all the torment and suffering I put my mum through when I was younger!

Everything I do is to make the two of them proud. I have both their names tattooed on my arm and their names printed on my custom Nike ID running shoes. Even though its just me putting in the miles they are both with me every step of the way. My wife helps schedule my training with me, coordinates our diets, plans things around my longer runs and picking up the slack when I’m preparing to go run. She does all this whilst studying further accountancy qualifications (she’s an accountant yet without a calculator her maths is terrible!).. It probably works in my favour that I’m scared of her (she has one hell of a left hook) as it keeps me in check when I’m letting the side down occasionally away from the training. I got told off this morning for not getting enough blueberries from the supermarket like I was asked.. I did however manage to buy the things I needed. I admit I do have a habit of being a bit selfish but ultimately everything I do is for my family. No matter what I achieve in the next few weeks and throughout my life will be FOR them and WITH them. Its teamwork like this that makes you the person you want to become.

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I guess what I am trying to say is that no matter what your circumstances are, you can’t do it alone and you don’t have to. If you have a family then get them involved. Otherwise your home life will suffer and you’ll piss them off! Which is dangerous if your other half has a left/right hook like mine! If you can get a good balance then your halfway to winning the battle already. If your single and feel like your alone then my advice still stands. Even reading this blog is counted as helping (even though its pretty rubbish, give me some credit!). Every time you go on Google looking for a workout plan or read men’s fitness and note down some diet advice.. your embracing help and embracing the reality that sometimes you don’t know best and to achieve great things your going to accept help. I guess every bloke in existence is guilty of thinking they’re superman. (myself included). We like to think we can do everything and that we are better than everyone.. that our general knowledge is top notch. That the guy on that program is definitely not that guy from that other film you watched the other month when your wife insists it is.. Even if we’re proved wrong we will find a way to retain some dignity or just pretend we meant something else. What we wont do is say (oh yeah my bad your right)..

If you can embrace that even intense individual sports require a good level of teamwork then you really will achieve great things. My bodybuilder friend Martin Rowlands will back me up on this as he trains for his own individual competition. Not only will it help lighten the load as you train and get yourself fighting fit but you’ll have a lot more confidence when your stood on that start line ready to give it everything (whatever your sport). You’ll be competing not only for yourself but for everyone who has faith in you and has helped you get there. Being human means you wont want to let them down.. you’ll want to repay their faith 10 times over.. its this that will give you that extra 10% when you feel like giving up and feel like you cant go any further.. Think about that when your leaving the house via a slammed front door as your Mrs is shouting at you for being selfish.. I speak from experience when I say you’ll need her if your going to achieve anything of significance.. just do the washing up, give her a kiss and smash that personal best.

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RANT WARNING: Do people really think that a decent blog worth reading consists if simply writing “Here is what I did in the gym today. (insert 10 x 3 sets of 5 body part exercises here).. no one cares mate.. if you’d written where your head was at, what your trying to achieve rather than the fact that you were wearing an awesome snap back and your selfie game is on point then you might get a few more likes.. however post it on instagram instead and your well in. I stand by my point that to have followers on instagram you have to either A) be famous, B) have massive tits C) be a massive tit (unsure why I don’t have more followers based on C).

Half marathon distance tomorrow.. wish me luck!

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Listen… to your body.

So we’re just over 4 weeks out until the marathons begin.. It’s actually one Month today with the first being the Hull Marathon on 13th September.. crazy to think that all the hardwork and sacrifices will soon be put to the test as I line up amongst hundreds of other people who have all put themselves through similar situations over the past few months.. Not sure how many of them I will see the following 2 weeks in a row at my other marathons! I mean who is crazy enough to do 3 in 14 days? Hmmm..

Having overcome the mental strain I put on myself last weekend I do feel like the black clouds have been lifted. Having completed two good 45 minute sessions on consecutive days this week I’m feeling positive. Unfortunately my body doesn’t really agree! I’ve got to a point with my training where Im confident of overcoming the longer distances and know over the next 2 weekends I’ll test myself at a half marathon distance and then 20+ mile distance. I know that if I can get through the next 2 weeks I’m fully ready to line up on the 13th September and nail it..

So yeah.. my body’s not my best friend right now.. I feel like I’m picking up little niggles and strains and my knees are shouting at me a lot more often.. 6 days a week training for 12 weeks straight being the obvious cause.. Hey at least I’ve followed the plan right? But who decides whether that plan is exactly right for me and my needs? Everybody is different and everyone reacts differently to training whether it be through previous training experience or their diet. It will all affect different people in different ways. The point I’m trying to get to is that I gave myself the night off and went to Nando’s with my wife.. and I don’t feel bad about it whatsoever! At least it’s given me something to write about this evening! Silver lining and all that…

I’ve followed a BUPA marathon plan for so long now my body lets me train 6 days consecutively.. it also seems to know when I’m approaching a rest day. I’ve put it to the test over short distances and also long distances and it hasn’t let me down yet.. I feel like I’m prepared to put it to work for 4+ consecutive hours on race day and as I mentioned above feel confident that it i can get through the 20+ mile run approaching next week that I’ll be fine. It’s this reasoning thats led me to be more relaxed as we approach the business end of proceedings. I know my body.. and I knew tonight it wanted a Chicken platter with spicy rice and minted peas… In all seriousness though.. No one plan is going to work for everybody.. and I think I’m in a much better place heading into tomorrows training and the 13.1 mile session on sunday having spent the evening recovering than putting further strain on my body when it was already telling me it needed a rest. Yes there’s overcoming the ‘I just cant be bothered’ mentality but this is far from that.. We’re almost at game day and I intend to line up feeling 100%.. not struggling because I pushed my body too far on a light 40 minute Thursday run..

Don’t feel guilty if you have to listen to your body and take more rest.. it will repay you in the long run when your running faster, further and for longer.. or whatever your sport or challenge. You stand a much better chance of succeeding if you listen to your body more than you do some random routine you found on the internet that works for that guy with all the nice Instagram photos.. (and yes by now you’ve probably realised I’m just bitter and jealous)..

Also I wonder if my wife will grass me in when she reads above by telling every on that I also had chips..

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