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HOW NOT TO RUN A MARATHON

Well London 2023 didn't go to plan with two DNFs! But as with everything in life it's all a learning experience and there's no reason to get annoyed with the results.



THE TRAINING


This year saw a switch to 80/20 style training as opposed to doing the vast majority of runs at tempo pace, it's certainly more sustainable at higher mileages but can leave you feeling like you're not training hard enough.


50-70 mile weeks feel low mileage when you're not overstressing your systems and sleeping well.


Ben's 1:12:00 half at Weymouth shows that you're certainly not losing speed!


Definitely worth looking into...


Unfortunately a big training week after Weymouth saw Ben pick up a tear or stress fracture in his calf/shin resulting in 3 weeks off prior to race day.


THE RACE


An easy Southwark Park Run on the Saturday showed that Ben's leg appeared to be holding up!


Sunday started cold, windy and wet, to the extent that Adam never shed his jacket on the start line (as planned) and ran in it.


Ben started off like a legend as always, he was considering an easy run to ensure a good for age or championship place for 2024, but dropped down to 5:30 pace and went for it! All the way until mile 9... Then the leg injury reared its ugly face and he was whisked off to Guy's Hospital in an ambulance with a suspected fracture...


BEN'S - PREDICTED FINISH AT TIME OF PULLING OUT - 2:30:11

​SPLIT

TIME

PACE min/km

5K

00:17:44

03:33

10K

00:35:36

03:35

Adam was lacking Manchester Marathon motivation and feeling the cold, as usual, therefore opting to run a safe sub 3 to get another good for age time and to actually enjoy finishing a road marathon for once. Things were going to plan until mile 16 when the urge to hurl after a gel resulted in stomach problems, these were exacerbated by the compression from a running belt to hold his fuel. 3 miles later he pulled out after it stopped becoming fun and looked like it was going to turn into a chore.


ADAM'S - PREDICTED FINISH AT TIME OF PULLING OUT - 2:54:39

​SPLIT

TIME

PACE min/km

5K

00:20:21

04:05

10K

00:40:34

04:03

15K

01:01:16

04:09

20K

01:22:06

04:10

HALF

01:26:40

​04:10

25K

01:42:58

04:11

30K

02:04:11

04:15

Ben discharged himself from Guy's in order to get home and Adam realised it would have been easier to finish than try and find his way back to the finish to collect his bag!


IMPORTANT LESSONS


There are some really important lessons from this:


  1. A marathon is never a formality, it's a long race with lots of time for things to go wrong, even if you've trained well you have to 'hope the stars align' on race day.

  2. If you're injured, you're not better until you're better! Ben was glad to have tried to run London rather than not BUT it was always going to be a gamble. If you're injured get diagnosed, even if it means paying for a physio, and ease your way back into training slowly WHEN it's safe to do so.

  3. Don't try anything new on race day, Adam ran Manchester in a Naked running belt as he's yet to master the gels in the shorts trick. For Manchester he trained in the belt, for London he didn't, spot the difference.

  4. And this applies solely to London, don't look at your watch in the Canary Wharf section, just keep your pace up, your watch will go bonkers in the tall buildings, ignore it...


As for Ben X-rays back at home haven't shown a clear fracture and a week later he can now bear weight again, fingers crossed!


There's always a next time, see you then!



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