Tag Archives: Chester Marathon

Goals for Chester Marathon

So Chester marathon is on Sunday. That’s two sleeps away (help!).

What are my goals for the marathon? Well my first goal is to be able to finish the marathon without major knee pain. I went for a little test run today and my knee still hurts so that hasn’t exactly filled me with confidence. BUT, last year on my last run before Dublin marathon I was still injured and had hip pain, yet during the marathon I never felt it. Sooo maybe I won’t feel my knee pain on Sunday either (wishful thinking). I have never not finished a race but if it comes to that on Sunday then I will have to do it. At the end of the day running is only running and there will always be other races. I need that knee to be able to run a lot more in the future.

How do people take photos when they run? My failed attempt.

But ignoring this knee pain, what are my goals for Chester marathon?

Definitely a pb. That has always been the goal for a marathon and I don’t see why it couldn’t happen this time. But what time am I actually aiming for? I still don’t know.

For about 2 years now I’ve been dreaming about sub 3:30 but it hasn’t happened and I haven’t even been near it. And now sub 3:30 sounds impossible as well. In training my goal marathon pace runs have been just under 5 min/km which equals to about 3:30 marathon. But I don’t feel confident that that time is doable.

There are numerous race time predictors that help you estimate your marathon time based on half marathon time for instance:

Runners world has one here According to this I should be able to run a 3:23 marathon. There’s another one here again predicting me about 3:23 finish. And the McMillan calculator here predicting me a time of 3:25. They all sound very ambitious. My recent half marathon was 1:37:38, double that it’s about 3:15 and according to the first two calculators I’d only spend extra 8 minutes for a full one. Emmm. I don’t think so. Maybe someone else would but not me with my fitness levels.

I managed to find another one that actually takes into account not only your recent race time but your average weekly mileage as well (makes a whole lot more sense to me). That calculator is here According to this one my marathon time would be either 3:37 or 3:39 depending on if I added just my half marathon time or my 10k and half marathon times to the calculator. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, my weekly mileage has been quite low and since this predictor is taking that into account it’s probably closer to the truth than the 3:23. That’s a huge difference between the calculators!!


So now it comes down to the pacing strategies.. I’ve always struggled to keep my pace consistent and especially in longer races it’s easy to start off way too fast as you are full of adrenaline and feeling great. There’s absolutely nothing worse than realising half way through a marathon that you started too fast because the second half can be pure hell from then on (been there done that). My goal is to try and pace myself so that I can enjoy the whole marathon. That being said, I’m not sure if you should enjoy running a marathon but at least I’d like to feel like I’m still alive at the 30km mark.

I recently read that you should set yourself multiple goals so you won’t be so disappointed if you don’t reach your only goal. For instance goal times that are “Amazing”,  “well done”, and “I can live with that”.

I’ve made myself a list of times and how they’d make me feel:

Sub 3:30 = Ridiculously unbelievably happy

Sub 3:35 = Very very happy

Sub 3:40 = Happy

Sub 3:45 = I can live with that.

My previous pb is 3:46, and I do believe I am in a better form than I was when I ran that. So if I break my pb by less than 5 minutes I will be disappointed. I know it’s still a pb but I know myself and I know I won’t be as happy.

The racing strategy is to aim for a negative split (run second half faster than first) but I don’t really know my form well enough and I can’t decide if I should start off with 5:05-5:10 pace and pick it up if I feel good or should I just ambitiously go for the 5 min/km pace and hope it’s not too fast. I’d hate to hit the wall because of my pacing but I’d also hate to feel like I should’ve started faster and I didn’t give my everything out on the course. Also, if I don’t make a plan what pace to stick with but just go with how I feel on the day I know I will go out too fast. I’ll have to decide before Sunday what my starting pace will be… Decisions decisions..

I hope I don’t get DNF next to my name. But all time goals and paces aside, you have to respect the marathon distance, and anything can happen during it.  Sometimes it just isn’t your day, and that is okay too.

At the end of the day, my biggest concern is my knee, if that knee doesn’t let me finish then so be it. And if it slows me down then fine, I’ll have to live with a time that’s slower than 3:45 but hey ho, it’s still another marathon done 🙂

Have a great weekend!



Chester Marathon week.. Not as excited as I should be

SO the week of the marathon is here and I don’t even know how I’m feeling.
I was meant to do my last “long” run on Sunday which was going to be 15km. My knee started hurting from the start and just got worse from then on. Normally I run through the pain if it’s mild and just try and stretch it out.. I could count with one hand the times I’ve cut a run short. Call it determination or stupidity but even when I’ve been in pain I have finished the distance I’ve planned to do. This Sunday I turned back and cut the run just under 2km short running 13.3km. My leg was in agony for the rest of the day.. even walking hurt.. So I obviously got a bit terrified as I knew it was just a week left for the marathon. I’ve had this similar knee/IT band pain before and also on my right leg and it took forever to completely disappear. I’m not sure what eventually made it go away as I did so many things, hence I’m trying everything possible now as well.

I’ve been icing the leg like there’s no tomorrow, stretching, foam rolling, wearing compression sleeves, spraying magnesium joint spray, using ice power gel, ibuprofein gel…kneepain
I’ve been doing glute and quad strengthening exercises and tried to mobilise my ankle in case it’s to do with some other weaknesses in the kinetic chain.. In case it’s inflammation I’ve been taking cod liver oil, turmeric and black pepper as they all have anti-inflammatory effects.


I tweeted about the pain asking advice using the hashtag  #ukrunchat (which is great for advice btw!) and many people recommend physios. I don’t think that a physio can necessarily help me this close to the day. Often when I’ve been to see any experts they take so long doing the first assessment of the injury, then diagnose it and tell you to come back for treatments.. Or even worse, they just tell you to rest. As I don’t really have time or money for that and I know vaguely what kind of exercises and stretches to do I decided not to go see anyone.

After the marathon (if I can run it) I have promised myself to take a good few weeks off running and let all my injuries properly heal. Then I might go and see a physio as well to get assessed and treated without relying on just google 🙂

Today I was going to run 8km but instead I used the crosstrainer for 45 minutes. Rest of the day will be resting..

At the moment I’m sitting here with a salt compression around my knee drinking ridiculous amounts of water. Who knows, maybe I just need to be hydrated and then the pain will disappear.. I’ll believe in anything right now 😀 Keep your fingers crossed for me so I can run the marathon on Sunday.

Do you have any quick fixes for knee/IT band pain??


A little bit different marathon training

It’s just under 2 weeks til Chester Marathon so I thought I’d share something about my training.

I’ve never followed a strict plan and I’ve never started marathon training exactly 12 or 16 weeks before until now.  I told you in my last post that I decided to train for a marathon without really committing to one. I knew training would suffer if I didn’t plan though, so I did count 16 weeks backwards from Chester Marathon and started my “official” training for it. I had been running before it as well though so I didn’t start from zero.

Because of my history of injuries I decided to do things differently this time. I made a plan that I would only run 4 times a week, cross train twice and have one rest day a week. I also told myself not to exceed 65km per week just in case. I don’t think that kind of week ever happened.

At the start I was being very careful not to overdo my training and not to run too much too soon. Despite that I still started to get niggles and injuries, this time around it’s been my knee. Training has suffered and overall I have had to take quite a few rest days and a whole week off during this training period. I have run on average only 3 times a week and I think my weekly average has been about 50km. So very little running for marathon training. This time I have been going to the gym fairly regularly though. What has definitely differed is that in my previous marathon training cycles whenever I have got injured I have fallen into total despair where I just give up on life and lay on the couch eating crap food and feeling sorry for myself. Whereas this time when there was knee pain I went to the gym and did what I could there so even though there were days I couldn’t run there hasn’t been that many where I couldn’t exercise.

Another thing I did differently was the length of my longest run. For all my previous marathons I have run 32km at least once. This has been mainly for me to know psychologically that only 10km needs to be added to the distance on the day. This time I decided to try and leave the super long run out. Knowing my injury history I thought that it might just tire me out too much doing it too close to the day and I don’t know if it is necessary to run that 32km. If you look at any marathon training plans or follow any runners’ blogs or instagrams most people run 22 miles as they longest run. This equals to just over 35km. To me that sounds crazy. I understand that elite athletes practise the actual marathon distances sometimes but for a normal runner I really don’t see if running 35km in training is necessary. But then again, I’m no expert.

My friend has run quite a few marathons and for one of them last year her longest training run was 25km. For some that may seem very short but she felt that was enough for her.  And I’m not talking about someone who plods the marathons, she ran a pb of 3:11. So I guess I believe that if she could do it with 25km as her longest run I don’t have to run the 32km let alone 35km to do well in mine. I was too scared to leave it at 25km however, so I did 29km as my longest 😀

I always listen to her advice 🙂


I have also changed my longs runs a bit and included faster sections for some of my long runs. Before I used to do all my long runs at a slow easy pace and my tempos were shorter runs. Now I added some Goal Marathon Pace (GMP) kilometers to my long runs. For instance I ran 24km where the middle 8km was bit faster than GMP, or I did 26km where the last 10km where GMP. I don’t know if this makes a difference to anything but let’s hope so.

So the things that I have done completely differently this training cycle:

  1. Only 3 times running a week as opposed to about 5-6.
  2. Lower mileage than ever before for marathon training (During previous marathon trainings I have run anywhere between 50-90km a week)
  3. Cross-training (bike, crosstrainer, pilates) every week
  4. Shorter longest run than before (29km vs 32km)
  5. GMP included in long runs.

Based on this above list it might sound like I’m not very well prepared for the marathon. I just hope that the runs I have done have been of good enough quality and the quantity of the kilometers won’t matter as much. Some days I feel like I’m well prepared and will do well in Chester and other days I realise that the reality is that my training has not been what marathon training should be like and I have not run enough to be able to push through 42km in a steady pace. I guess I won’t know until race day.

Do you have a specific amount a week you need to run in order to feel prepared for a marathon? Or a certain distance for your longest run?