Nick Hutchings's London Marathon Blog 2

Nick Hutchings's London Marathon blog
(Image credit: Future)

Oh dear. At this stage, my training is not going to plan. I've got a pretty comprehensive four-runs-a-week marathon training plan, but I haven't really been able to get my teeth into it yet. That may be something to do with the fact I’ve been shooting in the Alps. 

Here’s what last week's training looked like:

- Monday – cruising around a skatepark on a skateboard

- Tuesday – rest

- Wednesday – two-hour ski hike near Innsbruck, Austria

- Thursday – half day of off-piste snowboarding

- Friday – strength training in the gym (sled pushes and farmer's walks)

- Saturday – rest

- Sunday – 20km run

It all counts, right?

Aside from the 20km run, I didn't do any marathon-specific stuff. Having said that, the skiing – the purpose of the trip was to test a smart Burton snowboard that breaks down into skis so you can use it to hike out to backcountry routes – was as hard work as the run so I'm counting it as a running session. The sled pushes and farmer's walks I did at the gym help develop strength endurance and explosive power in the legs, which will be useful for helping me cope with turning my legs over for 42km and then the sprint finish at the end, so I don't feel that training has fallen completely by the wayside.

Cardio considerations

In terms of cardiovascular demand, I didn't find the 20km as bad as my 18km at the end of week one. This was probably because I listened to an audiobook on the way and this caused me to run at a slower, steadier pace than when I listen to the frenetic hip-hop, metal and dance I usually run to. I'm going to try this strategy again next time I'm going for pure distance.

Unfortunately my pesky left hamstring started burning again about 8km into the run and, as I write a day later, it’s tight as hell. I'm planning to see a sports physio about it in the next couple of weeks and, in the meantime, I'll do some foam-rolling work to reduce the tightness. I also suffered some pretty serious nipple chafing during the slog – it feels as if I've been at them with sandpaper – so next time I go on a long run I'm going to smear Vaseline on them first to create a protective layer between them and my T-shirt.

The week ahead

I've got another heavily disrupted week coming up - I'm off to France to film staff writer Ben Ince learn to freestyle ski and features editor Joel Snape try his hand at biathlon (a vicious combo of cross country skiing and shooting). I’m away for six days in total so I’ll have grab my training sessions where I can. I figure that means I'll only be able to put in two running-specific sessions this week, neither of which will be a long run. Realistically I'll do a 10km interval run tomorrow around Hyde Park, a hill run on a treadmill when I'm in France and lots of snowboarding as cross-training. But once I get back I'll have two or three weeks to really start powering into the plan. And looking on the bright side, the break from long runs might give my poor hammy a chance to recover.

Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.