Carly Sharples


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Marathon Training: Month 4

Marathon Training: Month 4

If you read my R Kelly themed marathon training post from last month, you might recall that I've been struggling with getting my head in the game for the past couple of months.

"My mind's tellin' me no, but my body - my body's tellin' me yesssssssss!"


Well, I'm happy to report that I've finally got both mind and body engaged and have been making strides with my training {see what I did there?!}.

Limited edition ASICS Paris Marathon 2018 trainers? YES PLEASE! {Size 6.5 - hmu!} Find them  here .

Limited edition ASICS Paris Marathon 2018 trainers? YES PLEASE! {Size 6.5 - hmu!} Find them here.

The half marathon 13.1 mile mark has long been a psychological barrier for me as, after all, this is the furthest distance I have ever previously run. Not to mention that I've trained bloody hard to have only reached that particular milestone five times before.

I needed to get past that distance, and this month I have managed to crack on with 12, 14, and... EIGHTEEN mile training runs! I wholly believe that the key to me finishing the Paris Marathon in April is to keep my head strong and focused. My legs will (hopefully!) just do as they are told and keep plodding.

The 14 mile run was a bit disjointed, as I stopped at mile 10 for a coffee and snack and sat down for ten minutes. I figured that cyclists will often cycle from point to point, say 20 miles, with a coffee and cake stop in the middle. They don't reach the end of their ride and proclaim "oh, I did two ten milers today", do they? So in my mind, it was perfectly justified to pause my Garmin, get my caffeine fix {and a cheese scone... ssssshhhhh!} and shuffle on for the final four miles. Hence, a 14 mile run in total. Not a 10 mile long run followed by a 4 mile shorter run. Semantics, probably, but it sits better with me.

Look. I'm spending all my spare time running so I've no time for a manicure. OKAY?

Look. I'm spending all my spare time running so I've no time for a manicure. OKAY?

Anyway, I actually found it quite difficult to get going again after the brief pause. I decided to just keep plodding the following week when I'd planned a 16 miler and see how that worked for me. 

One of the key points of these longer runs is to practise fuelling for the day of the marathon itself. I'd bought some Tailwind to try out, so thought I would give that a go on this planned 16 mile LSR. I dutifully filled up my Montane bladder bottle with 500ml water and a sachet of the orange flavoured Tailwind and packed my Spibelt with a mini Soreen, a piece of flapjack and a couple of SiS gels, just in case. {I'm the mother of three young children. I am never knowingly under-snacked. To be fully stocked in the snack department is essential for basic survival as an arbiter of household peace. I now apply this rule to every life situation. There's not much a snack can't solve!}

And off I went, with some banging tunes in my lugholes from Spotify {I use Trekz Titanium wireless, bone conductor headphones as they are approved for wearing during races in the UK} and enough sustenance to fuel me for an entire marathon, if I so wished.

I started sipping the Tailwind from about mile 3 onwards and it led to a real epiphany. It dawned on me that although I carefully hydrate prior to running, I don't take on board enough hydration whilst running. Could this be what is leading to the fatigue and foggy head further on in the long runs, perhaps? I know it's not rocket science, but I don't feel thirsty when I run and will happily run 10 miles without even having a sip of water. Shocking, hey?!

So, whether or not the Tailwind was a placebo, and what I actually needed was just to stay adequately hydrated on the long runs, I don't know. But I felt strong and actually enjoyed this run, finishing with a strong 18.1 miles in the bank! It was an exhilarating feeling. Admittedly, I stopped for the loo and to refill my water bottle once, and walked most of mile 13 so I could eat my flapjack but nevertheless, I RAN 18 MILES!

Because if it's not on Strava, it doesn't count. Right?

Because if it's not on Strava, it doesn't count. Right?

What an achievement! And I've got to add that my walking-to-eat-flapjack situation wasn't even fatigue induced, but more because I lack the coordination to simultaneously eat and run. I'm about as graceful as a baby elephant at the best of times.

I'm feeling pretty positive, going forwards. I need to work on my cross training in the month ahead, building in some more strength training and spend some time on the Wattbike. I'm not putting any pressure on myself to achieve a specific time on marathon day; my goal is to complete, not compete. The very act of completing the marathon will be a euphoric, Herculean achievement for me and by default, a PB. I'm hoping that taking in the atmosphere and appreciating the beautiful Parisian streets will guide me through on the day - along with the thought of those three very special people waiting patiently for me at the finishing line.

Carly xo

Catch up with my previous posts in the Paris Marathon training series:

Month 1 here // Month 2 here // Month 3 here ... and if you've always been intrigued by running, but have lacked confidence or talked yourself out of it, then read So You Think You Can't Run? and change that mindset!

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