Marathon Training Stories – The 20 Mile Run

Marathon Training Stories

This is the latest of my marathon training stories, it starts early in the morning I got up at 5:30 intending to be on the move by 06:00, I started slightly later than planned. In this post I will be recalling my feelings (as best as I can) and adding some videos I took on the way round.

I had a bit of preparation to do before setting off, when I completed my last run I had left some water in my hydration pack, so I gave it a good flush out and this time I added a couple of electrolyte tablets to the water, I am glad I did because I did not get the plastic taste that I got last time I used it.

The sun was already above the horizon fortunately it was a bit cloudy and still very cool, I planned my route last night and I had deliberately put as many hills in as I could, the idea behind this is to try and make it like the race route as it possible can be (not that I have been on the route before but the description on their site says undulating).

Notes From The Start Video

I left the house at 06:10 on Sunday 5th of August to start my 20 mile run, the sun was already well above the horizon, I have my hydration pack and my GymBoss, I will try and record my progress as I go on. The only thing I have had since getting out of bed is a drink of water, the last time I ate was 17:00 on Saturday, I am trying to adhere to the Low Carb Running and burning fat for fuel during my run.

When I set off I had to keep reminding myself that it was a training run, I felt that I had set off too fast, this could have been due to the fact that my legs were fresh and felt strong. In an effort to slow my self down I counted my strides both running and walking.

I felt that the pace I was running at from that point on was doable, so for the rest of the run I tried to keep to this pace, and it seemed that I was managing it but the split times tell a different story.

Marathon Training Stories

As I progressed I found that the walking parts were harder than the running parts, it was as if my legs nearly seized this took me by surprise because I was not having any problems when running.

Notes From The First Hour Video

After the first hour I had covered 4.7 miles at this point I was running between 12 and 13 minute mile, I should have been running closer to 13 minute mile as set out by my training plan (I don’t know about you but when I start running I get into a comfortable pace and stick with it). At this point I have some cloud cover which is making it pleasant to run, what I failed to mention in the start video, I had put some electrolyte tablets in with the water, and I did not have the plastic taste that I had without them in.

There was a section of the route that I was concerned about, I had driven along this section of road many times, and I could not remember if there was a pavement or not, the stretch is a mile or more long and the cars really fly along this bit of road.

I need not have worried it is paved somewhat neglected but still passable, this made me feel a lot better as it is going to be a part of my remaining long runs.

After this section there are a couple of long uphill sections taking me towards the town centre, I had been up one of them on a club run and could remember that it seemed to drag on a bit, but on that occasion I was running constant.

Notes From The Second Hour Video

At the start of this video I say the second mile is out of the way, I meant the second hour, at this point I have done 9.42 miles, which is keeping my pace constant I was a bit concerned that I had set off a bit too quick in the first hour because my legs were starting to feel a bit heavy. The sun was now clear of the clouds and I was trying to run in the shade as best as I could, at this point I noticed that my timer had a low battery warning, but there was no need to worry it lasted till the end of the run.

Using the method I am using neither of these hills posed any problems, if you are wondering what method I am talking about you can read about it on this post.

At the top of these hills I had a fairly long run before the next hill which is not as long as some of the hills but is a lot steeper, the only one I would say was as steep is the first hill that comes in the first half mile.

The good thing about your training runs is you can change your route as and when you want, I wanted to change where I was going to finish the run so I extended part of the run before turning towards home.

Notes From The Third Hour Video

Three hours into it the roads are getting busy as you can tell by the noise, the weather has been good to me with the sun going behind the clouds every now and then. At this point I was a bit out of breath after going up the longest hill section on the route I had selected, not long into the third hour I noticed that it was getting harder to walk, after three hours I would have thought it would be the running sections that would be giving me the most problems, when starting to walk my legs felt as if they were going to seize up like after a previous run, but I kept going and tried to maintain the pace I had set for myself.

This did not really make much difference I still finished the run in the same place, I wanted to end the run facing home instead of running away extending the distance of my walk home.

There is one thing my legs did not feel as bad as they did on the 15 mile run and it was a pleasant walk home, that should have been the least of my worries I should have been more concerned with hydration.

I have been filling my hydration pack to the litre mark this time I did not pay much attention to how much was in the bladder it looked like a litre, but as I started the third hour it was very low in water. When I got home and checked the water bladder it was empty, I think I will be making sure that there is plenty of water in it before setting off next time.

Notes From The Forth Hour

As you probably noticed I said that the four miles up it should have been four hours, at this point I had covered 18.76 miles, I had forgotten to mention the mileage on the third hour I think it was around 14 miles. I was still feeling it in my legs when walking, and another problem had shown up at this point the soles of my feet had started hurting, I don’t know if this was caused by the shoes I am using, they certainly look good but they don’t seem to have a lot of padding on the sole and I am beginning to think that they are minimalist shoes, meant for someone who is used to running bare foot. I was glad of the shade on this mile long up hill section and I was still feeling good.

Notes From Final Word Video

Back home and into a comfortable chair for the last video message of this 20 mile run, and my legs are feeling worse since sitting down, I had mentioned earlier on the my legs were a bit stiff I think it was in the second hour video, this did not really get any worse as the run went on, but as I have mentioned the hardest part was the walking sections this got harder after the third hour, in order to try and keep the same pace going I was counting my steps, the count when walking was thirty two steps (counting one foot strike) and I pushed myself to keep this up even after the problems started when walking. All said and done I enjoyed the run and I am pleased with the time, I have two long runs to complete before the marathon in nine weeks and they are 23 miles and 26 miles.

Only A Few More Words

It was a good training session I hope the next two long runs go as well as this one, after a few minutes in the chair I got myself into a cold bath this eased my legs a lot, if I sat too long it took a while to get my legs to loosen up. After a good nights sleep all was well I did not feel anymore stiffness in my legs.

I will be making a recording of my progress in the next two runs so keep an eye open for that, if you have any questions about this run or anything posted on this site please feel free to get in touch using the comments below.

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  1. AvatarMicah

    Hi Bill.
    Thanks for sharing your training run. It looks like you barely brought enough water with you but I was wondering if you brought any food or gels along.
    Also, why did you slow down for a walk when it seemed like you could have just kept running. Good luck on your future training runs and I hope you have a great race.

    1. AvatarBill (Post author)

      I don’t take gels or anything to eat I am on a low carb diet and burning fat for fuel. I tried gels last year on my half marathon but they did not do any good.

      I use a run walk method and I do 30 seconds running and 30 seconds running.

      Thanks for taking the time to make a comment


  2. AvatarJanine

    I guess it takes a lot to train for a marathon. This was interesting since I’ve never even considered the idea. How you can run without eating first is amazing. I get the idea of burning fat for fuel though. Its a good idea to change up your route as needed if required so that was good to learn too. If I were planning to run a marathon I would read your site to learn how to prepare.

    1. AvatarBill (Post author)

      The training programme I followed was for six months, I first got the idea to run a marathon six years ago when I was sixty and have only just got round to it, I had to change my route the one I was using was easy and when looking at the race route there appeared to be a lot of hills. 

      I have now ran the race and at the start I had not eaten for sixteen hours, it was not three thirty before I ate a meal on race day, to be honest I did not feel hungry and I was surprised at how thirsty I felt considering how much I had drank during the race.


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