Windermere Marathon report :)

Never try anything new on race day?

Ask on any running forum or Facebook group what advice people would give before a marathon and you can absolutely bet that someone will sagely warn against trying anything new on race day. This is very good advice, especially when it comes to your race day nutrition! I’ve blogged before about my love of Tailwind as I cannot stand gels and sickly sweet products over marathon distance and it means that, in regards to food, I stick rigidly to the rules. However, I have to admit to being a bit more lax in other areas… last weekend I ran the Windermere marathon and I tried two new things on race day:

  1. Hydration: as I use Tailwind I need to take water with me as it’s a powder which needs mixing in. This is something that isn’t an issue on ultras where you take your backpack or race vest anyway, but in road marathons things are more tricky. I wore a camelbak at Manchester, but I’ve been exploring other options. I recently bought myself a snazzy handheld Salomon Water bottle with the idea that I could use this- so, having never run with it, I decided that yesterday would be a perfect test. Overall I thought it worked well. I soon forgot that I was carrying it and I definitely preferred it to a camelbak. The downside was that the bottle is only 500ml so if, like me, you pour with sweat, you have to stop and fill it up at the water stations. Ditto with the Tailwind sachets, which aren’t the easiest on the move- I definitely need to think of some sort of tube which I can pour into the bottle more easily whilst running. I wasn’t aiming for a time yesterday so stopping to fill up wasn’t an issue, clearly if PB hunting then it might be back to the camelbak.
  2. Trainers: I know, this is probably the biggest running crime going. I had a bad time at Manchester last month and I’m convinced that my trainers (Brooks Adrenaline) were part of the problem. I’ve worn Adrenalines for years without issue, but haven’t been enjoying the feel of them this year for some reason. A couple of weeks ago I went to a free Saucony Stride Lab assessment at Up and Running and the results of that

    New shoe porn

    suggested that a Saucony Hurricane would be a good option for me. I highly recommend getting booked on to a Stride Lab session if you get the chance. It took about 45 minutes and involved filming your running stride from the front, side and back so you could get a really close look at what you are doing. My hip extension and toe off were pretty good (yay, think my lazy glute issue is on its way to being fixed), but I do overpronate and drop my hips, so a mild stability shoe was suggested. I took a chance on the Hurricanes- managed one short 4 miler in them before the marathon and decided to test them on race day. The result? My legs felt a hundred times better than at Manchester, I absolutely loved the feel of these shoes!

So, whilst I’m not advocating this as a good rule to follow, I guess I’m saying that if you feel you NEED to make a change, sometimes it can pan out ok. I think that you need to decide what your race is for- is this your ‘A’ race of the season, or is it more of a training run? Obviously if it is your ‘A’ race, then you should have all your preparation in place well before the big day!

Windermere Marathon: My quick review

All I can really say is that if you get chance to run this race, do it. I’m not a huge road running fan, but this is a really stunning route around the lake. Much of the race is run on closed roads and, certainly in the second half, you get some amazing views and some good crowd support from the tourists. The organisation by the Brathay Trust is absolutely flawless- regular aid stations and loads of smiley marshals and volunteers around the course. What I especially enjoyed was the location of the race HQ which was in the grounds of Brathay Hall and there was a real party atmosphere, with plenty for family and friends to do whilst the race was in progress (climbing wall, zip line, canoes, food stalls etc!) and some great options for refuelling after the race (a cider and a monster cheeseburger really hit the spot!) I will definitely be back, despite the horrendous hill at 7 miles!

Happy running this weekend folks, I have some BMF training planned for Saturday and a Sprint Tri on Sunday- no rest for the wicked! 🙂

Training thoughts & some exciting news!

Ask people what my running motto is and they’d probably say ‘wing-it’. I’m well known for winging it round many an event- from a sprint triathlon to a marathon, even an ultramarathon.

winging it

They even made a jumper with my motto on 🙂

Now this is perhaps a little misleading and suggests that I don’t train at all… which is not true. I just don’t train conventionally. I can think of nothing worse than following a 5 day a week running plan which involves me plodding around the streets of my home town whilst looking anxiously at my Garmin to see if I’m ‘on pace’ or not. I’ve been there, I’ve done it and I’m sure it works; but it just doesn’t suit me. As I’ve said in an earlier blog, I get bored easily and when I get bored, I’m liable to stop doing whatever it is that is boring- life is too short after all!! However, I do train pretty hard, I just like to mix things up a bit.


In a typical week I will train 6 days out of 7 and it might consist of:

Monday- British Military Fitness class

Tuesday- Pilates class in the morning, 4-6 mile run in the evening (off road in the lighter months)

Wednesday- BMF class

Thursday- Weights session with PT, Pilates and Tri Club Swim session (Thursdays are pretty intense!)

Friday- REST

Saturday- BMF class and maybe a bike ride

Sunday- Long Slow Run

jodie and bob

This week’s LSR: 17 miles with my mate Bob

Now this won’t work for everyone. Indeed, I’d probably be a faster runner if I trained less and focused on running more closely, but then we are back to the boredom factor. My primary motivation for running and training is to enjoy myself and to challenge myself, and my schedule works perfectly for that. I guess what I am trying to say is that you need to find what works for YOU. If you are not enjoying things, mix it up, try something new. By all means ask others for advice, but there are many options and Plan A is not necessarily the best.


Speaking of training, I’ve been quite busy over the last few weeks since my last post. A few months ago I had some VERY exciting news. I won one of those competitions on Facebook- you know the ones, ‘share a photo and like and share this post’ competitions- the ones you think nobody ever wins. Well it turns out they do! Wiggle and Montane were offering an entry into the Lakeland 50 Ultramarathon, plus a heap of Montane kit…and I won it! I had tried to enter this race back when it opened, but hadn’t anticipated that it would sell out in about five minutes, so I was over the moon to win this! However, I will be running this solo, without my usual ultra-running buddies and so there is an added fear factor that I’ll get lost in the dark on my own. Deep down I know it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be totally on my own, but it has prompted me into seriously refreshing my navigation skills. I CAN navigate but I tend to be a bit slow and indecisive, so I’m on a mission to improve this over the next few months.


Nav practice!

The great thing is that it has really encouraged me to go out exploring and finding new and unfamiliar routes. I’m lucky that I live near the Pennines and so there is no shortage of beautiful places to run. The dogs are enjoying joining me which is great as I get to tire them out at the same time as getting my own training in!


Loving the views



This week will be a little less hectic as I’m winding down slightly for the Windermere marathon on Sunday. I’ve been told that the route is challenging, but beautiful, so it should be a great training run for the ultras I have coming up over the next few months.

Happy running folks, would love to hear any of your Lakeland 50 tips if you have any