Follow me on

Marathon Training – keep calm and try not to FREAK out

Marathon Training – keep calm and try not to FREAK out

I decided that I wanted 2016 to be the year that I tackled my first marathon. In hindsight it was a bit of a bold move.  This time last year a 10K seemed like a marathon to me.

I attempted my first half marathon event in Alloa last month which I loved.  I was shattered by the end, it was a super hot day and the hill at mile 10 was pretty intense.  The route was great (mile 10 aside) and very scenic.  I was happy with my time and the fact I managed to hold my emotions together after a shaky night involving my first ambulance ride.  The Alloa half marathon is a fantastic event and one that I plan to do again on the 19th of March next year.   A half is my current favourite distance.  It is far enough to be a challenge but the training doesn’t take up a crazy amount of time.  Training for a full marathon is a whole different story.  I need to set so many hours aside to run.  I had a super session with a personal trainer on Monday who told me I should be running a minimum of 35 miles a week at the moment.  Finding the time for this has been pretty full on and often it just doesn’t happen (this week I managed to fit in 26 miles and that was a struggle).  On top of this my yoga and stretch days are essential to prevent injuries.  I also need to fit in strength training sessions with weights or interval training sessions like RPM #intense.

I am not a massive fan of short runs as it takes me a few miles to really get into my stride and start enjoying it.  I have grown to love distance running yet I had mixed emotions this morning with long run day upon me.  I had spent breakfast attempting to find a decent route on mapometer of around 16 miles and it really hit me how far I would have to run around the city to cover this distance. I felt a little guilty as my 1 year old started crying for me as I laced my running shoes up.  How long was this going to take? I also predicted that returning home full of beans ready to run around like mad with our wee people was probably not going to happen.  Then there is the practicality of a long run – water, fluids, energy gels, traffic lights, dodging people, being outside for ages with potential shocking weather.  Long runs are meant to be at a nice easy pace – they take time and commitment.  They also take strong willpower as the battle with the mind can be intense.  It was a lovely sunny day this morning so setting off was a little less painful.  I had a rough route in my mind.  As predicted, once I had hit a couple of miles I came into my stride and got lost in the run.  We have to be careful not to overthink the distance.  I knew I wanted to tackle around 16 miles and I would just go with it and run.


First ever energy gel

I attempted my first energy gel around mile 7.  The texture made me feel a little bit sick but I think in time it helped to give me a boost.  Looking down on our wedding venue, Prestonfield House, helped to ease the pain a bit too.  I carried some money in my running belt and purchased fluids on the move as and when I needed to.  All in all it was a fun tour of Edinburgh.

Some days something can happen on a run and it just feels like the world is on our side. Today this happened 3 times.

1 – As I approached mile 14 a couple of smiley faces from a shop in town were handing out gorgeous green smoothies.  It was just what I needed at that point to give me a boost.  It can be tricky when you are out running long distance solo style with no crowds to cheer you on.  Crowds that understand how much you are pushing yourself. This pair really spurred me on (and they also insisted I have two cups for running so far).

2 – As I approached the end of my run I realised I was going to have to make it up a pretty mammoth hill to get home.


I stopped to take this picture and then my phone cut out leaving me with no music.  I had half a mile to go and was relying on a decent tune to get me to the 17 miles.  I was shattered and the sun was beating down on me.  I then realised that the car coming up the brutal hill in this picture was in fact ours with my husband and children in it.  I was MORE than happy to miss out on the final half mile and get home.  After all, the plan was 16 miles so 16 and a half was a bonus.

3 – My post run boost.  We have lost at the grand national the past couple of years but I decided to bet on my marathon date number (29) tonight and won us £260. This was hands down the most exciting race I have ever watched.  My 3 year old was so amused with how excited I was.


In 7 weeks at the one and only Edinburgh Marathon Festival  I will have to run a further 10 miles on top of what I did today.  I am no athlete and I was so tired at the end of this run.  I know that with very hard work and determination I should be able to tackle the full marathon #keeponrunning

I have dropped 3 clothes sizes since I started running last year.  I am still working on my ‘Mummy tummy’ but I am by far the fittest I have ever been.  A lot of this is from regular exercise but I have also learnt some valuable tips along the way.  I feel we can get SO bombarded with so many messages of what works and what doesn’t.  I have set up a facebook page to keep me motivated and to start sharing the tips I have learnt along the way – check it out here and give it a like if you think it will be of use to you. I will try and put a different tip on it most days.  I am off to enjoy some well deserved wine and chocolate now (by the sound of it the hubs has got our 3 year old to sleep – BONUS).  Happy weekend peeps x



  1. Ruth
    April 10, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    How long have you been running for? I’m interested in getting started but am 52 ( female) and while I am active and slimmish, not sure I know what I’m doing health wise. Any tips?

    • April 10, 2016 / 9:43 pm

      I started in January 2015 7 weeks after I had my 2nd baby. I was pretty unfit and overweight. I started slowly. Lots of walking and running. It is amazing how quickly your body builds up. I also think yoga and stretching is great to do to keep body strong and injury free. Give it a shot you will be great and have nothing to lose X

  2. Luca
    April 16, 2016 / 10:25 am

    Hi Mummy Jojo, I admire you for your great strength and determination. Ad regards me, after taking up running in order to lose weight and in spite of not being an atlete, I am going to run the Edinburgh Marathon for the 4 th time this year, it is really a great experience and achievement to get to the end of such a long race. Good Luck with your training plan and on the day of the race!

    • April 16, 2016 / 10:28 am

      Thanks so much. Wow good for you!! Any tips for me?

      • lucacantarutti
        April 16, 2016 / 10:50 am

        Hi Jojo, the tips I can give you are based on my personal experience so it might not work for anybody. Anyway, drink a little at every water station, try not to start too fast, enjoy the atmosphere. The last 3-4 miles are very hard but you are going to get a great boost from the crowd in Musselburgh. 👍

        • April 16, 2016 / 11:17 am

          👌👌 thanks am getting excited now 🏃🏃 a bit nervous but excited too !!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.