Nick Hutchings's marathon blog 7

Nick Hutchings's marathon blog
(Image credit: Uknown)

In my last blog I wrote that I was going to do 29km on the Sunday. I had completely forgotten that in fact I was meant to be running 21km at the Silverstone Half Marathon.

I did not run the Silverstone Half Marathon. My car broke down about five miles outside of Oxford, which put paid to that. Silverstone is a race I've run before and enjoyed so I can't tell you how gutted I was. Having to pay £200 to get the suspension on my car fixed didn’t help.

Once I'd managed to get back home I was determined not to let the day go to waste running-wise. It was pouring down so I toyed with doing a long run on a treadmill at my local gym. I've done these kinds of distances before on a treadmill and they can be mind-numbingly boring unless you’re properly prepared, so I downloaded two movies – Real Steel and Fright Night – to keep me entertained during the indoor slog I was about to undertake 

Then I did a bit of research into how you can best replicate an outdoor run on a treadmill. It turns out it's very difficult because you don't have to deal with the changing terrain you'll face outside, there's no wind resistance and the belt cushions each footstrike so you're not having to build up the same impact resistance.

After reading that I decided to brave the elements and do the run outside. I got lucky because it stopped raining just after I set out and stayed dry for the entire run. The real problem I had was that I was running a new route and even though I checked it on several times, I got lost almost immediately. So I had to make a early adjustment from running the route I'd carefully planned to simply running for the length of time I thought it would take to cover 30km – three hours. 

The first hour was the worst because it felt as if I was going to be running forever, but once I passed the 90-minute mark things got a little easier. I felt fine until about the final 40 minutes when I nearly lost the will to live. I just about held on to my sanity thanks to MMA and football podcasts and kept my energy up by snacking on cashew nuts, Maxifuel Viper gels and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Not sure marathon coaches would recommend the last one but you've got to have something that gives you a hit of fuel and keeps your spirits up. 

After three hours, I'd run 28km. Not quite what I'd intended but after my rotten weekend it felt as if I'd pulled victory from the jaws of defeat. I've got one monster run left to do before race day – a 35km, which I'll be taking on the weekend after next. This week I'll back to a hill session, an interval session and then a 16km (with hills and off-road) on the weekend. After 28km I'm actually looking forward to it.

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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.