Apparently the human brain is made up of approximately 76% water, mine is probably closer to 100% as I still have this inability to put enough of the clear stuff in my system to get the rest of me hydrated.  It is not that we are short of water in this country, especially at the moment, maybe I should keep my mouth open when I am running!

Sunday’s long run was admittedly in slightly warmer conditions than other runs recently, I’m sure my nutrition was good enough, so the arduous trudge up Abbey Avenue and the feeling afterwards was probably down to hydration.

It is known that fluid loss will impair performance before glycogen depletion, so take note and “Drink more water Mick”. Pre run, during run, post run, when you’re not running, when you’re sleeping, just all the time, but obviously not too much that you dilute the electrolytes in your system and cause hypernatremia.

This running lark continues to surprise me and to throw up more challenges.

This continuing voyage of self-discovery had exhausted me so much that I missed my first Strider session of the year, so I chose to do a very slow recovery run instead. On Wednesday I conducted my own 1k reps around Midway and Abbey Avenue. It really is so much more difficult to push yourself when you are on your own, but 5 reps, a warm down and a stretching session were worth doing.

I visited Colin Bailey for some untangling of muscles in my left calf on the Friday and after an hour of wincing, I dragged my mullered leg out of the treatment room and back home for a cup of tea, a digestive biscuit and some counseling. I was still knackered, so I took a couple of days off training apart from a gentle three miles on the Saturday to get the legs working ready for the big run to tomorrow.

17 miles of fun

The second of Gade Valley Harriers pre-marathon training runs took place on another rain threatened Sunday morning. This 17 mile run was an extended version of the 12 miler a month ago taking in the tow path along the Grand Union Canal and then up into and around Ashridge Forest. It was a lot warmer or maybe it was just less windier, either way after a few miles I had to wrap my rain jacket around my waist and put my gloves in my pockets. It wasn’t the most comfortable, but there was no other real option. Pre-hydration and regular sips from my bottle ensured better hydration, so much so that I had to stop for a wiz within the first four miles. I was joined by my GVH running partner Neil, where we hopefully helped each other through this run by distracting each other with trivial chat. Incidentally, there were a couple of girls behind us who just yakked away for miles until one of them stopped with a stitch, probably to the vocal cords.

Lovely as Ashridge is, it has some brutally long inclines that take a lot out of you and it was after the last of these with nearly four miles to go that my left leg was tweaking at almost every step. One’s concentration is easy re-focused onto this discomfort and the body reacts by trying to adjust your style to ease this nuisance, which in turn makes it worse. I had to stop for a minute or two to stretch the offending areas before resuming the series of declines back to the last mile along the canal, taking in some well needed jelly babies en route. We arrived at the 17 mile mark in just under three hours. We made our way to the very welcome coffee and cake stop in the club house, stopping outside for one of the most refreshing stretches I have think I have ever performed. It was pure bliss to relieve all those parts of my legs that were throbbing and tensing after this longest run of my life, so far!

What was now becoming a habit, the afternoons were more about recovery than anything else. A constant craving for food, of any type continued throughout the day and the large roast chicken dinner at the end of it was devoured with incredible ease, bones and all.


The quiz night was finally taking shape with eight teams in and a few more inquiries in the pipe. Raffle prizes were coming in after some of the letter requests, but the more profitable visits to visit business owners bore the fruit that now sees a very creditable prize list. Questions for my own round were also being formulated, especially ones to fox my Mum and two sisters.

More training

Abbey Avenue five x 1k on Tuesday

Four mile recovery run up to Harriers to drop some ball valves off and on return pick up a meal for two at Brasserie Blanc for the raffle.

A gym session of Friday and then another session with Colin Bailey in which his fingers disappeared deeper into my calf tissue to unleash the tension that they were stubbornly holding on to.

The MK half marathon was only nine days away and it would be more beneficial to treat the next week as a mini-taper to allow recovery and try out some strategies on Sunday’s run.

I planned to run for an hour at a slow pace, passing my house after five miles to pick up a bottle of Lucozade Sport to see how that would go down over the next  mile. Lucozade Sport is used at London, so worth trying out to see if they are usable instead of having to carry more supplements about on the day. It was very sweet but not too difficult to choke down, but later in the run I did suffer a bit from gut ache. After a mile I dropped the remains of the Lucozade back at home and then set off at my ‘Marathon Pace’. I managed the last four miles at about 8:50 miles and still had plenty left on my return, so all bodes well for Milton Keynes.