The 20 Mile Run

I recently planned to run a marathon distance in training and so prepared well the previous evening. I checked the weather to make sure I had the right clothing, I made sure I ate properly, filled my hydration bag with 1.5l of my sports drink and I planned a route. Everything was looking good. In fact, I felt as mentally prepared as I was logistically and I was eager to get out on the longest run I had ever done.

Next morning, I’m up at 6:00 and by the time I’m fully awake, clothed and tooled up with bag, iPhone, watch etc it’s 6:30 when I leave the house.

A welcome freezing cold morning quickly wrapped itself around my face and I knew that weather-wise it was almost perfect. Small patches of frost and ice made the going a little slippery but as the sun came up it started to melt away.

The first part of my run was up the Coast Road which is as straight as you like for about 7 miles from the Coast to the the outskirts of Newcastle. It’s also relatively flat, only rising and falling where the slip roads are. I ran a further mile and a half into the deserted city centre, a very bizarre experience, I ran around Earl Greys Monument and then back up Northumberland Street. I stopped briefly to use the facilities of a well known fast food outlet and, for reasons I best not go in to here, I won’t be able to go back there for a while!!

I continued up to Byker and dropped down into Walker and onto Wallsend river side. Up until now I had felt really good, strong and energetic. I was pacing my drink well and my legs felt really good, despite a slightly sore calf muscle the day before. But it was approaching Wallsend, approximately 14 miles in that my legs started to feel a little heavy and I slowed. My breathing was still good and I felt I had loads left in the tank so, with weary pins, I kept going.

Another 4 miles on I arrived on the far end of North Shields promenade faced with…a hill! It’s only short but it’s like climbing a cliff face after 18 miles! I made it half way up before having to concede to a fast walk. Almost immediately after this hill is another, longer hill, almost as steep as the last. I took deep breaths and told myself in no uncertain terms that I was going to run all the way up it, no excuses. I dug deep and focused and somehow made it to the top. Once there I managed to keep on running the last mile and a bit home. I almost dragged myself up to the driveway and slumped into a chair in the back garden to cool down.

I was over the moon. Bizarrely I felt great, after half an hour I wanted to do it again, my legs were shot for a couple of hours but I recovered so quickly through the afternoon that I am confident looking ahead to the London Marathon.

Unfortunately, it seemed from my running App that I had only completed 20 miles and not the 26 that I had mapped the previous evening. Still, 20 miles is 20 miles. It was a cracking run and great training. I’ve got time on my side to prepare for the marathon so I can take it fairly easy so as to avoid injury and fatigue.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to donate to my chosen charities by using the links on this site.

I drank 1.5 litres of Elivar Endure en route followed by 500ml of Elivar Recover about 15 minutes after finishing and the same again a couple of hours later. Ideally I would have drank 500ml of Elivar Prepare before heading out but I didn’t leave myself enough time. This would have helped prevent the fatigue in my legs later into the run.Elivar - Tailored Sports Nutrition for the Over 35's


3 thoughts on “The 20 Mile Run”

  1. Well done! Im also training for a marathon. My plan only goes up to 20 miles as apparently you shouldn’t plan on doing the full distance before the race. If you can do 20, the last 6.2 miles will be pushed along by adreniline and atmosphere on the day. Best of luck !

    1. I agree that the adrenalin will push you along and if I was training for just 1 marathon that might be enough. If anything I’d like to get up to 30 miles so that 26 is ‘comfortable’!

      Thanks for your support and good luck to you too.

      1. Oh wow. I have just read your site! I understand now. That is absolutely fantastic! Huge well done and best of luck!

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